Page images

Much they resent, yet much their monarch blame, Who rising, spoke to clear his tainted fame.

O friends, I never forc'd the Mouse to death, Nor saw the gaspings of his latest breath. He, vain of youth, our art of swimming try'd, And vent'rous, in the lake the wanton dy'd. To vengeance now by false appearance led, They point their anger at my guiltless head. But wage the rising war hy deep device, And turn its fury on the crafty Mice. Your king directs the way, my thoughts elate With hopes of conquest, form designs of fate. Where high the banks their verdant surface heave, And the steep fides confine the sleeping wave, There, near the margin, clad in armour bright, Sustain the first impetuous shocks of fight : Then, where the dancing feather joins the crest, Let each brave Frog his obvious Mouse arrest; Each strongly grasping, headlong plunge a foe, 'Till countless circles whirl the lake below;

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Down sink the Mice in yielding waters drown'd Loud fash the waters ; and the shores resound :: The Frogs triumphant tread the conquer'd plain, And raise their glorious trophies of the slain.

He spake no more, his prudent scheme imparts
Redoubling ardour to the boldest hearts.
Green was the suit his arming heroes chose,
Around their legs the greaves of mallows close,
Green were the beets about their shoulders laid,
And green the colewort, which the target made.
Form’d of the vary'd shells the waters yield,
Their gloffy helmets glift'ned o'er the field :
And tap’ring fea-reeds for the polifh'd spear,
With upright order pierc'd the ambient air,
Thus dress’d for war, they take th’appointed height,
Poize the long arms, and urge the promis'd fight. .

But now, where Jove's irradiate fpires arise,
With stars surrounded in ætherial skies,
(A solemn council calld) the brazen gates
Unbar; the Gods assume their golden seats :


The fire superior leans, and points to show
What wondrous combats mortals wage below :
How strong, how large, the num'rous heroes stride,
What length of lance they shake with warlike pride!
What eager fire, their rapid march reveals !
So the fierce Centaurs ravag'd o'er the dales ;
And so confirm’d, the daring Titans rose,
Heap'd hills on hills, and bid the Gods be foes.

This seen, the Pow'r his sacred visage rears,
He casts a pitying smile on worldly cares,
And asks what heav'nly guardians take the list,
Or who the Mice, or who the Frogs affift?

Then thus to Pallas. If my daughter's mind
Have join'd the Mice, why stays the still behind;
Drawn forth by sav'ry steams they wind their way,
And sure attendance round thine altar pay,
Where while the victims gratify their taste,
They sport to please the Goddess of the feast.

Thus spake the Ruler of the spacious skies, But thus, resolv'd, the blue-ey'd maid replies.

In vain, my father! all their dangers plead,
To such thy Pallas never grants her aid.
My flow'ry wreaths they petulantly spoil,
And rob my chrystal lamps of feeding oil.
(Ills following ills !) but what afflicts me more,
My veil, that idle race profanely tore.
The web was curious, wrought with art divine ;
Relentless wretches ! all the work was mine!
Along the loom the purple warp I spread,
Cast the light shoot, and crost the silver thread ;
In this their teeth a thousand breaches tear,
The thousand breaches skilful hands repair,
For which vile earthly dunns thy daughter grieve,
(The Gods, that use no coin, have none to give.
And learning's Goddess never less can owe,
Neglected learning gains no wealth below.)
Nor let the Frogs to win my succour sue,
Those clam'rous fools have lost my favour too.
For late, when all the conflict ceast at night,
When my stretch'd finews work'd with eager fight,


When {pent with glorious toil, I left the field,
And sunk for slumber on my swelling shield;
Lo from the deep, repelling sweet repose,
With noisy croakings half the nation rose :
Devoid of rest, with aking brows I lay,
'Till cocks proclaim'd the crimson dawn of day.
Let all, like me, from either host forbear,
Nor tempt the Aying furies of the spear,
Let heav'nly blood (or what for blood may flow)
Adorn the conquest of a meaner foe.
Some daring Mouse may meet the wond'rous odds,
Tho'Gods oppose, and brave the wounded Gods.
O’er gilded clouds reclin’d, the danger view,
And be the wars of mortals scenes for

you. So mov'd the blue-ey'd queen; her words persuade, Great Jove assented, and the rest obey'd.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »