Page images
PDF
EPUB

was facrificed. Agamemnon obeyed, and fent for Iphigenia; but as he was going to be facrificed, Diana put a hind in her stead, and carried off Iphigenia to Tauros, where he made her one of her priefteffes. After this, the winds became more favourable, and they purfued their voyage to Troy, where they landed and began the fiege; but the Trojans defended their city fo well, that the fiege. lafted ten years.

The Greeks, finding they could not take it by force, had recourfe to ftratagem. They made a great wooden horse, and inclosed in its body a number of armed men; after which they pretended to retire to their fhips, and abandon the fiege. The Trojans fell into this fnare; and brought the horfe into their town, which coft them dear; for, in the middle of the night, the men concealed in it, got out, fet fire to the city, opened the gates, and let in the Grecian army, that had returned under the walls of Troy.

The Greeks took the town by storm, and put all the inhabitants to the fword, except a very few, who saved themselves by flight. Among thefe was ENEAS, a Trojan prince, son of Anchifes and of the goddess Venus, who protected him in all the dangers he underwent.

With his aged father on his shoulders*, his young fon Afcanius, or Jülus, by one hand, the household gods in the other, and his wife Crëúfa following behind him, but who was killed in the flight, he made his escape to Antander, a town fituate near

For which reafon he was furnamed by Virgil, the pious Æneas.

+ The household gods were the deities who took the care and guardianship of private families, and were called Penates. They were placed in the utmost recefs of the house. Dardanus brought them from Samothracia to Troy, whence, on the deftruction of that city, Æneas tranfports them to Italy. They were reckoned fo facred, that the expreffion of driving a man from his Penates, was used to fignify his being profcribed, or expelled his country.

E 3

mount

mount Ida, where he found the remainder of the Trojans, who had efcaped the fword of the Grecians. Here they built a fleet of twenty fhips, and the fpring following they fet fail and arrive at Thrace on the other fide the Propontis, where they founded the city of Ænea, called fo, in honour of Eneas.

They had not refided here long, before they were warned to depart, by a voice that iffued from a fmall mount, whither Æneas went to pluck fome branches to hide, or overshadow his altars; which informed them, that he who fpoke was Polidāre, Priam's young fon; whom, being fent thither during the wars, loaded with gold, Polymneftor, then king of Thrace, had treacherously murdered, and there buried.

After performing Polidore's funeral obfequies, which he had requested of them, they all agreed to depart; and hoifting fail, they directed their course down the Egean fea, and arrived at Ortygia or Delos, a small and pleasant island near the islands Mycāne, and Gyaros, where was a famous temple and oracle of Apollo, whofe king and priest happened to be an old acquaintance of Anchifes, named Anius +. Here

APOLLO was fon of Jupiter and Latona, who was delivered of him and Diana in the ifland of Delos. He is god of the fun, and thence generally is called Phabus. The poets defcribe him as drawn in a chariot by four horfes full of life. and fire, and breathing quick as they run along. His courfe is faid to lie between two fixed points; the first half is all uphill, and the latter all down-hill. He fets out from the eaftern, and drives into the western sea, where he is fuppofed to pass the nights in the palace of Oceanus. He is imagined daily to drive his chariot over a tranfparent (or cryftal) arch in the heavens, on which appear the tracks of his wheels, as on a common road upon earth. Apollo is alfo the god of poetry and mufic; in which character he is reprefented with a lyre in his hand.

+ Anius was of the family of Cadmus, on the fide of his mother Rheo, the daughter of Staphilus, who claimed Bacchus for his father. Rheo having had fome intrigue, her father expofed her upon the fea in a little fhip, in which the arrived at Delos, where he was delivered of Anius, who, by his marriage with Doripe, had three daughters, extremely frugal, and who

laid

Here they afked the oracle what place the gods had appointed for their fixt abode.

By a misinterpretation of the oracle's anfwer, Anthifes fuppofed it to be the ifland Crete; accordingly they fet fail for that place, where they arrived after a three days voyage, having paffed by the iflands of Naxos, famous for wines, Paros for marble, the verdant Donyfa, Olearon, and the Ciclades. Here they were no fooner landed, than looking upon this country as the place of their abode, they laid the foundations of the city of Pergamus, drew their fleet on fhore, and attempted to fettle; but lo! a fudden plague feized the men; blights destroyed their trees, their corn was blafted, and their grafs burnt up. In this afflicted condition, they knew not what fteps to purfue: Anchifes, therefore, as the best method, advised them to difpatch a meffenger back again to confult the oracle at Delos, when the night following the household gods gave the true fenfe of the oracle to Æneas in a vifion, advising him to make the best of his way to Italy; adding,

Thofe are the native realms the Fates affign;
Thence rofe the fathers of the Trojan line.
The great Iäfius, fprung from Heaven above,]
And ancient Dardanus, deriv'd from Jove;
Rise then, in hafte, these joyful tidings bear,
Thefe truths unqueftion'd, to thy father's ear.
Be gone-the fair Aufonian realms explore,
For Jove himself denies the Cretan fhore.

Æneas having related this vifion to his father and his friends, they all immediately confent to forfake

laid up great ftores of offerings, which were brought to the temple of Apollo. The Greeks, during the fiege of Troy, fent Palamedes to afk provifions from Anius, and obliged him even to give his daughters hoftages. Thefe princeffes, however, found a way to efcape; which gave occafion to fay, that Bacchus had transformed them to pigeons.

* The ancient name of Italy was Aufonia, from its most ancient inhabitants, the Aufones. VIRGIL, SERVIUS.

[blocks in formation]

Crete, leaving a small colony behind them. They accordingly spread their fails and put to fea; but as foon as they had loft fight of land, they met with a dreadful ftorm, which wrap'd them in darkness three days, and, on the fourth, drove them upon the islands Strophades. These islands lie in the Ionian Sea, and were inhabited by the Harpies *. Thefe devouring monsters they were obliged to difperfe with their fwords, after they had twice feized on their repaft; when Celeno, their chief harpy, prophetically pronounced this tremendous denunciation; that before they should raife the walls of the promised city, they should DEVOUR

THE PLATES ON WHICH THEY THEN FED.

The Trojans were so terrified, that they immediately deprecated the gods to avert the horrid fate, and fet fail; and after paffing within fight of the woody iflands, Zacynthus and Same on their left, and craggy Neriios and Dulichium on the right, avoiding with the greatest care Ithaca, the rocky island of the dire Ulyffes, they caft anchor before the little town of Altium, near the promontory Leucāté, where they pay their vows to Jove, celebrate Trojan games, and, for a monument of their arrival here, Æneas hung up on the fun's temple door, the fhield and buckler he had taken from Abas, with this inscription,

HARPIES, had their name from their rapacity, (ab agrata, rapio.) They were born of Oceanus and Terra, with the faces of virgins, and bodies of birds; their hands were armed with claws, and their habitation was in the islands. ·

But, fiends to fcourge mankind, fo fierce, fo fell,
Heav'n never fummon'd from the depths of hell;
Bloated and gorg'd with prey, with wombs obscene,
Foul paunches, and with ordure still unclean;
A virgin's face, with wings and hooked claws;
Death in their eyes, and famine in their jaws.

Æn. III. 288. Pitt.

Thefe

Thefe arms with blood diftain'd,

From conquering Greece the great Æneas gain'd.

Being pleased they had with fafety paffed through fo many Grecian iflands.

In the winter following they purfued their voyage, and paffed by the lofty ifland of Phaacia, and coafting along the rocky fhores of Epirus, they land at Chaōnia, from whence they go immediately to the town of Buthrōtum, fituate near Dodona, then under the government of Hělěnus, Priam's captive fon, who had juft fucceeded the late king Pyrrhus, and married his widow Andromache, who, before, had been the wife of Hector.

King Hělěnus and his confort received the Trojan wanderers with the greatest joy, and conducted them into their fmall city, the walls of which he laid out in the form of old Troy.

Here they refreshed themselves two days; and at their departure, Hělěnus, who had learnt from Apollo prophecy, informed Eneas of his future adventures, telling him, that he must not expect to reach very foon the deftined fhore of Italy; for that he'd be obliged to cruize along the Sicilian coafts round to Italy, and afterwards to pafs by Circe's ifland, and at length, before he would be able to raise the foundations of his new city, he must pass the Stygian lake, and vifit the infernal regions; promifing him, that Apollo would avert the dire prediction of the offended Harpies; and concluded by giving him this moft certain omen, when he fhall have found the land decreed by fate.

When, loft in contemplation deep, you find

A large white mother of the briftly kind,

1

With her white brood of thirty young, who drain
Her fwelling dugs, where Tyber bathes the plain :
There, there thy town fhall rife.--&c.

EN. III. 52. PITT.

Helenus

« PreviousContinue »