Page images

Now plac'd in order on their banks, they sweep The sea's smooth face, and cleave the hoary deep; With heavy hearts we labour through the tide, To coasts unknown, and oceans yet untried.

The land of Cyclops first; a savage kind, Nor tam'd by manners, nor by laws confin'd: 120 Untaught to plant, to turn the glebe and sow; They all their products to free nature owe. The soil untill'd a ready harvest yields, With wheat and barley wave the golden fields, Spontaneous wines from weighty clusters pour, And Jove descends in each prolific show'r. By these no statutes and no rights are known, No council held, no monarch fills the throne, But high on hills or airy cliffs they dwell,


Or deep in caves whose entrance leads to hell. 130 Each rules his race, his neighbour not his care, Heedless of others, to his own severe.

Oppos'd to the Cyclopean coasts, there lay An isle, whose hills their subject fields survey; Its name Lachæa, crown'd with many a grove, 135 Where savage goats thro' pathless thickets rove: No needy mortals here, with hunger bold, Or wretched hunters, through the wint'ry cold,

Pursue their flight; but leave them safe to bound From hill to hill, o'er all the desert ground. 140

Nor knows the soil to feed the fleecy care,

Or feels the labours of the crooked share;
But uninhabited, untill'd, unsown

It lies, and breeds the bleating goat alone.
For there no vessel with vermilion prore,



Or bark of traffick, glides from shore to shore;
The rugged race of savages, unskill'd
The seas to traverse, or the ships to build,
Gaze on the coast, nor cultivate the soil;
Unlearn'd in all th' industrious arts of toil.
Yet here all products and all plants abound,
Sprung from the fruitful genius of the ground;
Fields waving high with heavy crops are seen,
And vines that flourish in eternal green,
Refreshing meads along the murmʼring main, 155
And fountains streaming down the fruitful plain.
A port there is, enclos'd on either side,
Where ships may rest, unanchor'd and untied,
Till the glad mariners incline to sail,

And the sea whitens with the rising gale.
High at its head, from out the cavern'd rock


In living rills a gushing fountain broke:

Around it, and above, for ever green


The bushing alders form'd a shady scene.
Hither some fav'ring god, beyond our thought,
Through all-surrounding shade our navy brought;
For gloomy night descended on the main,
Nor glimmer'd Phoebe in th' ethereal plain:
But all unseen the clouded island lay,
And all unseen the surge and rolling sea,
Till safe we anchor'd in the shelter'd bay.
Our sails we gather'd, cast our cables o'er,
And slept secure along the sandy shore.
Soon as again the rosy morning shone,
Reveal'd the landscape and the scene unknown,
With wonder seiz'd we view the pleasing ground,
And walk delighted, and expatiate round.

Rous'd by the woodland nymphs, at early dawn,
The mountain goats came bounding o'er the lawn:
In haste our fellows to the ships repair,

For arms and weapons of the silvan war;


Straight in three squadrons all our crew we part,
And bend the bow, or wing the missile dart:
The bounteous gods afford a copious prey,
And nine fat goats each vessel bears away; 185
The royal bark had ten. Our ships complete
We thus supplied (for twelve were all the fleet).

Here, till the setting sun roll'd down the light, We sat indulging in the genial rite:

Nor wines were wanting; those from ample jars
We drain'd, the prize of our Ciconian wars.
The land of Cyclops lay in prospect near;
The voice of goats and bleating flocks we hear,
And from their mountains rising smokes appear.
Now sunk the sun, and darkness cover'd o'er 195
The face of things: along the sea-beat shore
Satiate we slept: but when the sacred dawn
Arising, glitter'd o'er the dewy lawn,

I call'd my fellows, and these words addrest:
My dear associates, here indulge your rest; 200
While, with my single ship, advent'rous I

Go forth, the manners of yon men to try;
Whether a race unjust, of barb'rous might,
Rude, and unconscious of a stranger's right;
Or such who harbour pity in their breast,
Revere the gods, and succour the distrest?
This said, I climb my vessel's lofty side;
My train obey'd me and the ship untied.
In order seated on their banks, they sweep


Neptune's smooth face, and cleave the yielding



When to the nearest verge of land we drew,
Fast by the sea a lonely cave we view,

High, and with dark'ning laurels cover'd o'er;

Where sheep and goats lay slumb'ring round the


Near this, a fence of marble from the rock, 215 Brown with o'er-arching pine, and spreading oak. A giant-shepherd here his flock maintains

Far from the rest, and solitary reigns,

In shelter thick of horrid shade reclin'd;
And gloomy mischiefs labour in his mind.


A form enormous! far unlike the race

Of human birth, in stature, or in face;

As some lone mountain's monstrous growth he


Crown'd with rough thickets, and a nodding wood. I left my vessel at the point of land,


And close to guard it, gave our crew command:
With only twelve, the boldest and the best,
I seek th' adventure, and forsake the rest.
Then took a goatskin fill'd with precious wine,
The gift of Maron of Evantheus' line

(The priest of Phoebus at th' Ismarian shrine).
In sacred shade his honour'd mansion stood

Amidst Apollo's consecrated wood;


« PreviousContinue »