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glowed nearer, and Potitius led forth
the priest-procession, girt in ancient guise
with skins of beasts and carrying burning brands.
new feasts are spread, and altars heaped anew
with gifts and laden chargers. Then with song
the Salian choir surrounds the blazing shrine,
their foreheads wreathed with poplar. Here the youth,
the elders yonder, in proud anthem sing
the glory and the deeds of Hercules:
how first he strangled with strong infant hand
two serpents, Juno's plague; what cities proud,
Troy and Oechalia, his famous war
in pieces broke; what labors numberless
as King Eurystheus' bondman he endured,
by cruel Juno's will. “Thou, unsubdued,
didst strike the twy-formed, cloud-bred centaurs down,
Pholus and tall Hylaeus. Thou hast slain
the Cretan horror, and the lion huge
beneath the Nemean crag. At sight of thee
the Stygian region quailed, and Cerberus,
crouching o'er half-picked bones in gory cave.
Nothing could bid thee fear. Typhoeus towered
in his colossal Titan-panoply
o'er thee in vain; nor did thy cunning fail
when Lema's wonder-serpent round thee drew
its multudinous head. Hail, Jove's true son!
New glory to the gods above, come down,
and these thine altars and thy people bless!”
Such hymns they chanted, telling oft the tale
of Cacus' cave and blasting breath of fire:
while hills and sacred grove the note prolong.
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