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If I am lame, that stain my natal hour
By fate impos'd; such me my parent bore:
Why was I born? See how the wanton lies!
O sight tormenting to an husband's eyes!
But yet I trust, this once e'en Mars would fly 355
His fair-one's arms—he thinks her, once, too nigh,
But there remain, ye guilty, in my pow'r,

Till Jove refunds his shameless daughter's dow'r.
Too dear I priz'd a fair enchanting face:
Beauty unchaste is beauty in disgrace.

360

Meanwhile the gods the dome of Vulcan throng,

Apollo comes, and Neptune comes along,
With these gay Hermes trod the starry plain;
But modesty withheld the goddess-train.
All heav'n beholds, imprison'd as they lie, 365
And unextinguish'd laughter shakes the sky.

Then mutual, thus they spoke: Behold on wrong Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong! Dwells there a god on all th' Olympian brow More swift than Mars, and more than Vulcan slow? Yet Vulcan conquers, and the god of arms 371 Must pay the penalty for lawless charms.

Thus serious they: but he who gilds the skies,

The gay Apollo, thus to Hermes cries:

374

Would'st thou enchain'd like Mars, O Hermes, lie, And bear the shame like Mars, to share the joy?

O envy'd shame! (the smiling youth rejoin'd) Add thrice the chains, and thrice more firmly bind; Gaze all ye gods, and ev'ry goddess gaze,

Yet eager would I bless the sweet disgrace. 380
Loud laugh the rest, e'en Neptune laughs aloud,
Yet sues importunate to loose the god:
And free, he cries, O Vulcan! free from shame
Thy captives; I ensure the penal claim.

Will Neptune (Vulcan then) the faithless trust?
He suffers who gives surety for th' unjust: 386
But
say, if that lewd scandal of the sky,

To liberty restor❜d, perfidious fly;

Say, wilt thou bear the mulct? He instant cries, The mulct I bear, if Mars perfidious flies.

390

To whom appeas'd: No more I urge delay; When Neptune sues, my part is to obey. Then to the snares his force the god applies; They burst; and Mars to Thrace indignant flies: To the soft Cyprian shores the goddess, moves, 395 To visit Paphos and her blooming groves, Where to the pow'r an hundred altars rise, And breathing odours scent the balmy skies:

Conceal'd she bathes in consecrated bow'rs,

The Graces unguents shed, ambrosial show'rs, 400 Unguents that charm the gods! she last assumes Her wond'rous robes; and full the goddess blooms. Thus sung the bard: Ulysses hears with joy, And loud applauses rend the vaulted sky.

404

Then to the sports his sons the king commands: Each blooming youth before the monarch stands, In dance unmatch'd! A wond'rous ball is brought, (The work of Polybus, divinely wrought) This youth with strength enormous bids it fly, And bending backward whirls it to the sky; 410 His brother springing with an active bound, At distance intercepts it from the ground: The ball dismiss'd, in dance they skim the strand, Turn and return, and scarce imprint the sand. Th' assembly gazes with astonish'd eyes, And send in shouts applauses to the skies. Then thus Ulysses: Happy king, whose name The brightest shines in all the rolls of fame: In subjects happy! with surprise I gaze; Thy praise was just; their skill transcends thy praise.

415

419

Pleas'd with his people's fame the monarch hears, And thus benevolent accosts the

peers:

Since wisdom's sacred guidance he pursues,
Give to the stranger-guest a stranger's dues:
Twelve princes in our realm dominion share, 425
O'er whom supreme, imperial pow'r I bear:
Bring gold, a pledge of love; a talent bring,
A vest, a robe; and imitate your king:
Be swift to give; that he this night may share
The social feast of joy, with joy sincere.
And thou, Euryalus, redeem thy wrong:
A gen'rous heart repairs a sland'rous tongue.
Th' assenting peers, obedient to the king,
In haste their heralds send the gifts to bring.
Then thus Euryalus: O prince, whose sway 435
Rules this bless'd realm, repentant I obey!

430

Be his this sword, whose blade of brass displays A ruddy gleam; whose hilt, a silver blaze; Whose ivory sheath, inwrought with curious pride, Adds graceful terror to the wearer's side.

440

He said, and to his hand the sword consign'd;

And if, he cried, my words affect thy mind,
Far from thy mind those words, ye whirlwinds, bear,
And scatter them, ye storms, in empty air!
Crown, O ye heav'ns, with joy his peaceful hours,
And grant him to his spouse and native shores! 446

And bless'd be thou, my friend, Ulysses cries, Crown him with ev'ry joy, ye fav'ring skies; To thy calm hours continu'd peace afford,

And never, never may'st thou want this sword! 450

He said, and o'er his shoulder flung the blade. Now o'er the earth ascends the evʼning shade: The precious gifts th' illustrious heralds bear, And to the court th' embody'd peers repair. Before the queen Alcinous' sons unfold The vests, the robes, and heaps of shining gold; Then to the radiant thrones they move in state: Aloft, the king in pomp imperial sat.

455

Thence to the queen: O partner of our reign, O sole belov'd! command thy menial train 460 A polish'd chest and stately robes to bear, And healing waters for the bath prepare: That bath'd, our guest may bid his sorrows cease, Hear the sweet song, and taste the feast in peace. A bowl that flames with gold, of wond'rous frame, Ourself we give, memorial of our name; To raise in off'rings to almighty Jove,

And ev'ry god that treads the courts above.

Instant the queen, observant of the king,

466

Commands her train a spacious vase to bring; 470

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