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and by her grief undone, resolved on death,
the manner and the time her secret soul
prepares, and, speaking to her sister sad,
she masks in cheerful calm her fatal will:
“I know a way—O, wish thy sister joy!—
to bring him back to Iove, or set me free.
On Ocean's bound and next the setting sun
lies the last Aethiop land, where Atlas tall
lifts on his shoulder the wide wheel of heaven,
studded with burning stars. From thence is come
a witch, a priestess, a Numidian crone,
who guards the shrine of the Hesperides
and feeds the dragon; she protects the fruit
of that enchanting tree, and scatters there
her slumb'rous poppies mixed with honey-dew.
Her spells and magic promise to set free
what hearts she will, or visit cruel woes
on men afar. She stops the downward flow
of rivers, and turns back the rolling stars;
on midnight ghosts she calls: her vot'ries hear
earth bellowing loud below, while from the hills
the ash-trees travel down. But, sister mine,
thou knowest, and the gods their witness give,
how little mind have I to don the garb
of sorcery. Depart in secret, thou,
and bid them build a lofty funeral pyre
inside our palalce-wall, and heap thereon
the hero's arms, which that blasphemer hung
within my chamber; every relic bring,
and chiefly that ill-omened nuptial bed,
my death and ruin! For I must blot out
all sight and token of this husband vile.
'T is what the witch commands.” She spoke no more,
and pallid was her brow. Yet Anna's mind
knew not what web of death her sister wove
by these strange rites, nor what such frenzy dares;
nor feared she worse than when Sichaeus died,
but tried her forth the errand to fulfil.
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