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Milton's Style imitated, in a Tranflation of
a Story out of the Third Æneid.
OST in the gloomy terror of the night
We ftruck upon the coaft where Ætna lies,
Horrid and wafte, its entrails fraught with fire,
That now cafts out dark fumes and pitchy clouds,
Vaft showers of afhes hov'ring in the fmoke;
Now belches molten ftones and ruddy flame
Incens'd, or tears up mountains by the roots,
Or flings a broken rock aloft in air.
The bottom works with fmother'd fire, involv'd
In peftilential vapours, stench and smoke.
'Tis faid, that thunder-ftruck Enceladus
Groveling beneath th' incumbent mountain's weight
Lies ftretch'd fupine, eternal prey of flames;
And when he heaves against the burning load,
Reluctant, to invert his broiling limbs,
A fudden earthquake fhoots through all the isle,
And Ætna thunders dreadful under ground,
Then pours out smoke in wreathing curls convolv'd,
And fhades the fun's bright orb, and blots out day.
Here in the shelter of the woods we lodg'd,
And frighted heard ftrange founds and difmal yells,
Nor faw from whence they came; for all the night
A murky ftorm deep louring o'er our heads
Hung imminent, that with impervious gloom
Oppos'd itfelf to Cynthia's filver ray,
And fhaded all beneath. But now the fun
With orient beams had chas'd the dewy night
From earth and heav'n; all nature ftood difclos'd:
When looking on the neighbouring woods we faw
The ghaftly figure of a man unknown,
An uncouth feature, meagre, pale, and wild;
Affliction's foul and terrible difmay
Sat in looks, his face impair'd and worn
With marks of famine, fpeaking fore diftrefs;
His locks were tangled, and his fhaggy beard
Matted with filth; in all things elfe a Greek.
He first advanc'd in hafte; but when he faw
Trojans and Trojan arms, in mid career
Stopt fhort, he back recoil'd as one furpris'd:
But foon recovering speed, he ran, he flew
Precipitant, and thus with piteous cries
Our ears affail'd: " By heav'n's eternal fires,
"By ev'ry God that fits inthron'd on high,
"By this good fight, relieve a wretch forlorn,
"And bear me hence to any distant shore,
“So I may fhun this favage race accurst.
" "Tis true I fought among the Greeks that late
"With fword and fire o'erturn'd Neptunian Troy,
"And laid the labour of the Gods in duft;
"For which if fo the fad offence deferves,
Plung'd in the deep, for ever let me lie "Whelm'd under feas; if death must be my dooin, "Let man inflict it, and I die well-pleas'd."
He ended here, and now profuse of tears
In fuppliant mood fell proftrate at our feet;
We bade him fpeak from whence, and what he was,
And how by stress of fortune funk thus low;
Anchifes too with friendly aspect mild
Gave him his hand, fure pledge of amity,
When, thus encourag'd, he began his tale.
I'm one, fays he, of poor defcent, my name
Is Achaemenides, my country Greece,
Ulyffes' fad compeer, who, whilft he fled
The raging Cyclops, left me here behind
Difconfolate, forlorn; within the cave
He left me, giant Polypheme's dark cave;
A dungeon wide and horrible, the walls
On all fides furr'd with mouldy damps, and hung
With clots of ropy gore, and human limbs,
His dire repaft: himself of mighty fize,
Hoarfe in his voice, and in his visage grim,
Intractable, that riots on the flesh
Of mortal men, and fwills the vital blood.
Him did I fee snatch up with horrid grasp
Two fprawling Greeks, in either hand a man:
I faw him when with huge tempeftuous sway
He dash'd and broke 'em on the grundfil edge;
The pavement fwam in blood, the walls around
Were spatter'd o'er with brains. He lapt the blood,.
And chew'd the tender flesh ftill warm with life,
That fwell'd and heav'd itself amidst his teeth.
As fenfible of pain. Not lefs mean while
Our chief incens'd, and ftudious of revenge,.
Plots his deftruction, which he thus effects.
The giant, gorg'd with flesh, and wine, and blood,,
Lay ftretch'd at length and fnoring in his den,
Belching raw gobbets from his maw, o'er-charged
With purple wine and cruddled gore confused.
We gather'd round, and to his fingle eye,.
The fingle eye that in his forehead glar'd
Like a full moon, or a broad burnish'd shield,,
A forky staff we dext'rously apply'd,
Which, in the fpacious focket turning round,,
Scoop'd out the big round gelly from its orb.
But let me not thus interpofe delays;
Fly, mortals, fly this curft detefted race :
A hundred of the fame ftupendous fize,
A hundred Cyclops live among the hills,
Gigantic brotherhood, that ftalk along
With horrid ft rides o'er the high mountains tops,
Enormous in their gait; I oft have heard
Their voice and tread, oft feen 'em as they past,
Sculking and fcowring down, half dead with fear.
Thrice has the moon wash'd all her orb in light,
Thrice travell'd o'er, in her obfcure fojourn,
The realms of night inglorious, fince I've liv'd
Amidst these woods, gleaning from thorns and fhrubs
A wretched fuftenance. As thus he spoke,
We faw defcending from a neighb'ring hill
Blind Polypheme; by weary steps and flow
The groping giant with a trunk of pine
Explor'd his way: around, his woolly flocks
Attended grazing; to the well-known shore
He bent his course, and on the margin ftood,
A hideous monfter, terrible, deform'd ;
Full in the midft of his high front there gap'd
The spacious hollow where his eye-ball roll'd,
A ghaftly orifice; he rins'd the wound,
And wash'd away the ftrings and clotted blood
That cak'd within; then stalking through the deep
He fords the ocean, while the topmost wave
Scarce reaches up his middle fide; we ftood
Amaz'd be sure, a fudden horror chill
Ran through each nerve, and thrill'd in ev'ry vein,