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Night's course half run, soon as the first repose
had banished sleep,—what time some careful wife
whose distaff and Minerva's humble toil
must earn her bread, rekindling her warm hearth,
adds a night-burden to her laboring day,
and by the torch-light cheers her maidens on
to their long tasks; that so her husband's bed
she may in honor keep, and train to power
her dear men-children—at such prime of morn,
with not less eager mind the Lord of Fire
fled his soft couch and to his forges tried.
An island near Aeolian Lipara
not far from a Sicilian headland lies,
where smoking rocks precipitously tower
above a vast vault, which the Cyclops' skill
outhollowed large as Aetna's thunderous caves.
There ring the smitten anvils, and the roof
re-echoes, roaring loud. Chalybian ores
hiss in the gloom, and from the furnace mouths
puff the hot-panting fires. 'T is Vulcan's seat,
and all that island is Vulcania.
Thither descended now the god of fire
from height of heaven.

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Aetna (Italy) (1)

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