« PreviousContinue »
Swear, that th'assistance which our arms shall lend, , These to the grots retir'd and dark retreat
Gain'd in a moment high Olympus' brow. "My son, th' injustice of thy tongue restrain, Meanwhile the princes in the cleansing wave Nor let such thoughts thy pious soul profane : With purifying rites their senior lave. By Phoebus, heavenly augur, who inspires
Next from the spoil, which on Bybricia's shore My conscious bosom with prophetic fires;
From vanquish'd Amycus stern Pollux tore,
A victim they select with pious care;
Then in the palace each heroic guest
Partakes the pleasure of the sumptuous feast. From their resentments not in death secure, With them sate Phineus, and refresh'd his soul If falsely their dread godheads I adjure:
With savoury viands and the cheering bowl. That your assisting hands shall never move
Unsatiated he feeds, and bathes in streams
Then acquiescing in the solemn prayer,
THE HYMN OF CLEANTHES!. Nigh stand the brothers, ardent to oppose
O UNDER various sacred names ador'd !
The suppliant prayer, and tributary song;
Embodied portions of the soul divine. Then o'er th' Ægean far away they flew;
Therefore to thee will I attune my string, Upspringing swift with threatening blades pursue And of thy wondrous power for ever sing. The featherd chiefs. That day Saturnius steeld The wheeling orbs, the wandering fires above, Their vigorous nerves with force untaught to yield; That round this earthly sphere incessant move, And did not Jove their wearying strength sustain, Through all this boundless world admit thy sway, Their flitting pinions had they spread in vain : And roll spontaneous where thou point'st the way. For when to Phineus furious they repair,
Such is the awe imprest on Nature round Or quitting Phineus seek the fields of air,
When through the void thy dreadful thunders sound, The light-wing'd monsters, fleeter than the wind, Those flaming agents of thy matchless power: Leave the impetuous zephyrs far behind.
Astonish'd worlds hear, tremble, and adore. As when the hound experienc'd in the chase, Thus paramount to all, by all obey'd, Through some wide forest o'er the scented grass Ruling that reason which through all convey'd A bounding hind or horned goat pursues,
Informs this general mass, thou reign'st ador'd,
Por nor in earth, nor earth-encircling floods,
Is aught perform'd without thy aid divine;
Strength, wisdom, virtue, mighty Jove, are thine! But now far off in the Sicilian main,
Vice is the act of man, by passion tost, By the wing'd brothers, sons of Boreas, slain, And in the shoreless sea of folly lost : The race of harpies (though Heaven disallow'd) But thou, what vice disorders, canst compose, Had staind the Plotian isles with sacred blood; And profit by the malice of thy foes; Their sore distress had Iris not survey'd,
So blending good with evil, fair with foul, And, darting from the skies, the heroes staid. As hence to model one barmonious whole : “ O sons of Boreas, the dread laws above
One universal law of truth and right; Permit ye not to wound the dogs of Jove.
But wretched mortals shun the heavenly light; And, lo! my oath I pledge, that never more And, thongh to bliss directing still their choice, Shall those fell dogs approach Bithynia's shore.” Hear not, or heed not, Reason's sacred voice, This said, adjuring the tremendous floods, Most fear'd, most honour'd, by th' immortal gods: By the slow-dripping urn of Styx she swore,
" Cleanthes, the author of this hymn, was a The prophet's peaceful mansions evermore
Stoic philosopher, a disciple of Zeno. He wrote From those rapacious spoilers should be free; many pieces, none of which are come down to us, Such was the fatal sister's fixt decree,
but this and a few fragments, which are printed The goddess swore, the brothers straight obey, by H. Stephens, in a collection of philosophical And back to Argo wing their airy way.
poems. This hymn was translated at the request The Strophades from thence derive their name, of a very learned and ingenious friend of mine, The Plotian islands styl’d by ancient fame. who was pleased to find such just sentiments of the Then part the harpies and Thaumantian maid, deity in a heathen, and so much poetry in a phiIn thousand various mingling dyes array'd. losopher.
That common guide ordain'd to point the road While, like a bow-string by the forceful arm
Of some bold archer strain'd, the cracking sinews Thence, quitting Virtue's lovely paths, they rove, Labour and stretch; and force me to complain, As various objects various passions move.
That length of time but strengthens the disease. Some through opposing crowds and threatening war
NURSE. Seek Power's bright throne, and Fame's triumphal
Raise thyself up, my son, nor bear so hard, car.
Lest, helpless as thou art, with thee I fall.
Less weighty then, to humour thee, I'll lean, Drown in corporeal sweets th' immortal mind.
And rest npon my foot, and bear my pain. But, O great father, thunder-ruling god!
For shame it is that youth should ask the aid Who in thick darkness mak'st thy dread abode!
Of such a prating, old, decrepit wretch. Thou, from whose bounty all good gifts descend,
NURSE. Do thou from ignorance mankind defend!
Forbear, vain boy, thy scoffing insolence. The clouds of vice and folly, o control;
Nor vaunt too much thy youth; for well thou knowist, And shed the beams of wisdom on the soul ! In sickness youth is impotent as age.
Those radiant beams, by whose all-piercing flame Be govern'd; for, this arm should I withdraw, • Thy justice rules this universal frame.
Thou fall'st, while my old feet unshaken stand. That, honour'd with a portion of thy light,
OCY PUS. We may essay thy goodness to requite
But if thou fallst, through age thou fallost, not With honorary songs and grateful lays,
sickness : And hymn thy glorious work with ceaseless praise, Old age is weak, though prompt and willing ever The proper task of man: and sure to sing Of Nature's laws, and Nature's mighty king,
NURSE. Is bliss supreme. Let gods with mortals join!
Leave arguing; and tell me by what chance The subject may transport a breast divine. This pain hath got possession of thy toe ?
Why, as the fellow said, who careless sat
Clipping his grisly beard, then run again.
Or wrestling might I not the hurt receive,
A trusty champion by my troth thou art,
If all thy fury light upon thyself, GODDESS OF THE GOUT.
But this is a mere circle of evasions, OCY PUS.
And I myself the like discourse have held PHYSICIAN.
In former time, and tried to varnish o'er, NURSE.
E'en to my dearest friends, th unpleasing truth; Scene lies in Thebes.
But now, when every swelling member speaks,
And burning dolours torture thy whole bodySCENE, A CHAMBER.
For lame, I hear, are his victorious feet;
Supine he lies !-Heaven grant thee health, my son, 1 Ocypus, the son of Podalirius and Astasia, was And to thy feet restore their wonted strength! eminent for his strength and beauty, a great lover Declare to me, 0 Ocypus, the cause of hunting, and of all gymnastic exercises. This Of thy complaint: perhaps my powerful art young man having been accustomed to insult and May for thy anguish find some quick relief. deride whomsoever he saw grievously afflicted with
W OCY PUS. the gout, telling them at the same time that their Intolerable pain my foot consumes. pains were nothing, brought upon himself the in
PHYSICIAN. dignation of the goddess who presides over that
Whence came? how? what accident ?--explain. distemper, and was at last, by the violence of the disease, driven to a recantation. Lucian had com
OCY PUS. posed an entire drama upon this subject; but as
Or in the straining race, or haply while only the beginning of this piece remains, I have My gymnic exercises I perform’d, translated it, and, with very little alteration in Some hurt from my companions I receiv'd. either, have made it a part of his other drama,
PHYSICIAN. whose subject is the triumph of the gout over Then where's the sore and angry inflammation? physie,
And why no fomentation on the part?
In hunting after this and that solution,
But can't mistake the nature of his evil.
And now hear this, howe'er unpleasing truth,
“ At length with vengeance due, 't is come upon How baneful is the pride of handsome looks !
It? what? Alas! what terrible disease, What therefore must be done ? shall I lay open That needs such preface to its horrid name? Thy tumid foot ? But, Ocypus, be sure If once I seize upon it, I shall drain,
The Gout, O wretched Ocypus, whose pangs At many bleeding wounds, thy arteries.
And gnawing tortures thou didst once deride. OCYPUS. Put all thy new devices now in practice, So from this horrid pain my foot be freed.
But what, О skilful artist, what say'st thou?
Farewell; to serve thee I neglect myself.
What accident or business calls thee hence?
Into a cureless evil thou art fall’n.
Must I then, ever lame, tormented ever,
Drag on a life of everlasting woe?
Pear not: thou shalt not be for ever lame
What worse have I to fear?
On either leg
Her galling fetters will the goddess bind.
Alas! in t other sympathising foot And, “Oh!” he cried, “ whence came this dire Methinks I feel a new unusual pain. mischance?
Or am I motionless? Or wherefore dread I (rising up. Some torturing demon seizes on my foot !” To place these once so nimble feet on earth? Thus on his couch up-sitting, all night long Seiz'd like a child with vain and sudden fear: His foot in sad solemnity he moan'd.
Now by the gods, th’immortal gods, I beg, But when the cock's shrill-sounding trump proclaims If aught thy art suggest of aid or comfort, The dawning day, lamenting forth he comes, Thy friendly help impart, and heal my pain, And on my shoulder leans his feverish hand, Or surely I shall die: within I feel While his disabled footsteps ( upheld.
The secret venom, and the thrilling arrow All that he told thee is a forg'd device
That pierces through my feet, and tears my sinews. To veil the secret of his dire disease, Which now in every limb begins to rack him,
Not to amuse thee with unmeaning words, Nor yet is able to extort the truth.
Like some of those who call themselves physicians, OCYPUS.
But of the healing science nothing know, Old Age is ever arm'd with mighty words ; I'll briefly show the state of thy complaint :Vaunting in speech, but impotent in action.
An unsurmountable and strong disease He, who when sick his nursing friends deceives, Is fall’n upon thee: bonds more hard and stubborn Like the starv'd wretch that hungry mastico chews, Than those steel-temper'd shackles which the hand But cheats himself, and fosters his disease. Of Justice fixes on the bold offender: PHYSICIAN.
A dreadful, undiscover'd, secret ill, Thou cheatest all; now that, now saying this,
Whose burthen human nature scarce can bear. Confessing pain, but not explaining what.
Alas! oh! oh! what inward smart is this, And how shall I explain it? I indeed
That penetrates my foot? oh! on thy arm
Support me, ere I fall, and lead me on
[ falls on the couch, When pain, without apparent cause, invades
PHYSICIAN. The swelling foot, a man may please himself
There leave him on the couch; refreshing sleep
His much-exhausted spirits will recruit, * Mastic is a great strengthener of the stomach,
[Exeunt Nurse and Physician. and consequently promotes appetite; which to a
Ocypus solus. Inan dying of hunger is so far from being a relief, that it rather increases bis complaint: this I take to be the meaning of this passage.
O horrid name! detested by the gods!
Gout, rueful Gout! of sad Cocytus born!
SCENE, A CHAMBER.
Come, O my comfort, my supporter, come,
That lightly on the earth my foot may tread. For crimes committed in their days of nature, Wretch, froin thy pallet raise thy heavy limbs, What need was there in Pluto's dreary realms
And quit the cover'd closeness of the room. With streams forbidden Tantalus to vex?
Dispel the cloud, that weighs thy eyelids down, To whirl Ixion on the giddy wheel?
In open day, and in the golden Sun, And weary Sisyphus with fruitless toil ?
On purer air thy enliven'd spirit feast.
For now my willing mind invites me forth;
Be resolute, my soul; for well thou know'st, While through th' obstructed pores the struggling The gouty wretch, that would but cannot more, vapour
Ought to be number'd with th' inactive dead. And bitter distillation force their way:
[Exit Ocypus. E'en through the bowels runs the scalding plague, And wastes the flesh with floods of eddying fire.
Scene changes. So rage the flames in Etna's sulphurous womb: Enter Ocypus, who discovers the Chorus before a So 'twixt Charybdis and vex'd Scylla rave
temple offering sacrifices to the Gout, with music Th’imprison'd tides, and, in wild whirlpools tost, and dancing. Dance, Dash 'gainst the mouldering rocks the foaming O evil unexplor'd! how oft in vain (surge. But who are they, whose hands with crutches fillid, We fondly try to mitigate thy woes,
Whose tossing heads with eldern garlands bound, And find no comfort, by false hopes abus'd! [Sleeps. Seem in wild dance some feast to celebrate?
Do they to thee, Apollo, Pæans sing? Scene changes, and discovers the Chorus, consisting Then would the Delphic laurel shade their brows.
of gouty men and women, marching in proces Or chant they rather Bacchanalian hymns ? sion to the Temple of the Goul, with music and Then would their temples be with ivy wreath'd. dancing.
Whence are ye, strangers ? speak: the truth de
Declare, O friends, what deity ye worship.
But who art thou, who mak'st us this demand?
Thou too, as from thy crutch may be inferr'd,
And hobbling pace, thou art a votary
Of the invincible divinity.
I am; nor am unworthy of the name.
When Cyprian Venus, queen of love,
In pearly dews fell from above,
Nereus amass'd her scatter'd frame,
And form'd the fair-proportion'd dame.
Fast by the fountains of the deep,
Where on their ouze the surges sleep,
On her broad bosom Tethys laid
The partner of Jove's regal bed.
· Minerva, virgin bold and wise,
From the great monarch of the skies,
Saturnian Jove, her birth receiv'd,
In his immortal brain conceiv'd.
But old Ophion, hoary god,
Our goddess first embrac'd,
First in his fond paternal arms
The mighty infant plac'd.
What time primeval Chaos ceas'd,
And Night eternal fled;
Bright rose the Morning, and the Sun
His new-born radiance shed.
Then from the womb of Fate sprung forth
The Gout's tremendous power,
Heaven with portentous thunders rung, [Exit Chorus.
And hail'd ber natal hour
Clotho receiv'd and swath'd the babe, That shades the downy peach, benumbing henbane,
The poppies' soothing gum, th’ emollient bulb,
The costly frankincense, and searching root
Of potent bellebore, soft fenugreek
Temper'd with rosy wine, collamphacum, Doth the dread power her votaries admit ?
Nitre and spawn of frogs, the cypress-cone,
And meal of bearded barley, and the leaf
Of coleworts unprepar'd, and ointments made
The dung of mountain-goats and human ordure,
The weasel some, the frog, the lizard green, Gorge we the raw and bleeding sacrifice:
The fell hyena, and the wily fox, But when the Spring the rising sap impells, And branching stone-buck 5 bearded like a goat. And the young elm with genial moisture swells,
What kind of metals have ye left untried ? When in the hedges on the budding spray What juice? what weeping tree's medicinal tear The blackbird modulates her various lay:
What beasts, what animals, have not bestow'd Then unperceir'd she drives her piercing dart, Their bones, or nerves, or hides, or blood, or marrow, And wounds the inmost sense with secret smart; Or milk, or fat, or excrement, or urine? The hip, the nervous thigh, the ancles swell, The draught of four ingredients some compose, The bending knee, and firm-supporting heel : Some eight, but more from seven expect relief; The strong-knit shoulder and the sinewy arm, Some from the purging hiera seek their cure ; And hand mechanic, feel th' intestine harm; On mystic verses vainly some depend ; Through every joint the thrilling anguish pours, The tricking Jew gulls other fools with charms; And gnaws, and burns, and tortures, and devours; while to the cooling fountain others fly, Till length of suffering the dire power appease, And in the crystal current seek for health, And the fierce torments at her bidding cease. But to all these fell anguish I denounce, OCYPUS.
To all who tempt me ever more severe. Unweeting then her votary am I.
But they who patiently my visit take, Thou, goddess, gentle and benign, approach !
Nor seek to combat me with anodynes, And I, with these thy votaries, will begin
Still find me gentle and benevolent. Thy sacred, solemn, customary song. [Dance. For in my rites whoe'er participates, CHORUS.
His tongue with eloquence I straight endow,
And teach him with facetious wit to please,
A merry, gay, jocose companion boon,
Round whom the noisy crowd incessant laugh,
As to the baths the crippled wretch is borne.
For that dire Até, of whom Homer sings,
Who on the heads of men insulting tread,
And silent, soft, and unobserv'd, approach. And grant in Spring's fermenting hours
But as from me the acid drop descends,
The drop of anguish, I the Gout am call'd.
Now then, my votaries all, my orgies sing,
And praise with hymns th' unconquerable goddess. Unconquerable queen of mighty woes?
Hear, stubborn virgin, fierce and strong,
Impracticable maid !
O listen to our holy song!
And grant thy servants aid!
Thy power, imperious dame, dismays All have essay'd my fury to repel,
The monarch of the dead, Racking th' invention of still-baffled physic.
And strikes the ruler of the seas Some this receipt 'gainst me, some that explore.
And thundering Jove with dread. Plantane they bruise, the parsley's odorous herb,
Thee soft reposing beds delight The lenient lettuce, and the purslain wild;
And Aannels warm embrace, These bitter horehound, and the watery plant
And bandag'd legs nor swift in flight,
Nor victors in the race.
Thy flames the tumid ancles feel,
The finger maiin'd, the burning heel,
And toe that dreads the ground.
3 The Chorus here allude to several religious ceremonies performed by several priests to their gods. The Scripture mentions the priests of Baal cutting and lasting themselves with knives, & c.
4 A kind of red land-toad.
5 A beast with shaggy hair and a beard like a goat, but otherwise like a stag.