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The LOVE of JASON and MEDEA.
From the Third Book, Verse 743, of Apollonius
HE translator has taken the liberty in the follow
ing version from the Argonautics of Apollonius, as well as in the story of Talus, to omit whatever has not an immediate relation to the subject; yet hopes that a due connection is not wanting; and that the reader will not be displeased with these short sketches from a Poet, who is affirmed to be every where sublime, by no less a critic than Longinus; and from whom many verses are borrowed by so great a Poet as Virgil.
OW rising shades a solemn gloom display,
O'er the wide earth, and o'er th' ethereal way: All night the failor marks the northern team, And golden circlet of Orion's beam : A deep repose the weary wanderer shares, And the faint watchman sleeps away his cares ; Ev’n the fond mother, while all breathlefs lies Her child of love, in flumber seals her eyes ;
No sound of village-dog, no noise invades
The death-like silence of the midnight shades;
Alone Medea wakes : To love a prey,
Restless the rolls, and groans the night away:
Now the fire-breathing bulls command her cares,
She thinks on Jafon, and for Jason fears :
In fad review, on horrors horrors rise,
Quick beats her heart, from thought to thought the flies :
As from replenih'd urns, with dubious ray,
The sun-beams dancing from the surface play,
Now here, now there, the trembling radiance falls,
Alternate flashing round th' illumin’d walls;
'Thus fluttering bounds the trembling virgin's blood,
And from her shining eyes defcends a flood:
Now l'aving with resistless flames the glows,
Now fick with love the melts with softer woes :
The tyrant Gol, of every thought pofseft,
Beats in each pulse, and stings and racks her breast:
Now she resolves the magic to betray
To tame the bulls, now yield him up a prey :
Again the drugs disdaining to supply,
She loaths the light, and meditates to die :
Anon, repelling with a brave disdain
The coward thought, she nourishes the pain :
Thus tost, retost with furious storms of cares,
On the cold ground the rolls, and thus with tears :
Ah me! where'er I turn, before my eyes
A dreadful view, on sorrows forrows rise !
Tost in a giddy whirl of strong desire,
I glow, I burn, yet blefs the pleafing fire;
O had this spirit from its prison fled,
By Dian sent to wander with the dead,
Ere the proud Grecians view'd the Cholchian skies,
Ere Jafon, lovely Jafon, met these eyes!
Hell gave the shining mischief to our coast,
Medea saw him, and Medea's lost-
But why these forrows ? if the powers on high
His death decree, die, wretched Jafon die!
Shall I elude my fire ? my art betray?
Ab me! what words shall purge the guilt away!
But could I yield-O whither must I run
To find the man -whom virtue bids me shun?
Shall I, all loft to shame, to Jason fly?
And yet I must---If Jason bleeds, I die!
Then, shame, farewell! Adieu for ever, fame!
Hail black disgrace ! be fam’d for guilt my name !
Live! Jafon, live! enjoy the vital air !
Live through my aid! and fly where winds can bear!
But when he flies, ye poisons, lend your powers,
That day, Medea treads th' infernal lheres !
Then, wretched maid, thy lot is endless ihame,
Then the proud dames of Cholchos blast thy name :
I hear them cry---- The falte Medea's dead,
Through guilty paffion for a stranger's bed,
• Medea, careless of her virgin fame,
• Prefer'd a stranger to a father's name!'
I rather yield this vital breath,
Than bear that bafi dishonour, worse than death!
Thus wail'di the fair, and seiz’d with horrid joy
Drugs foes to life, and potent to destroy,
A magazine of death! again the pours
From her swoln eye-balls tears in shining showers ;
With grief insatiate, and with trembling hands,
All comfortless the cask of death expands :
A sudden fear her labouring foul invades,
Struck with the horrors of th’infernal shades :
She stands deep-musing with a faded brow,
Absorpt in thought, a monument of woe!
While all the comforts that on life attend,
The chearful converse, and the faithful friend,
By thought deep-imag’d in her bosom play,
Endearing life, and charm despair away:
Th’all-chearing suns with sweeter light arise,
And every object brightens to her eyes :
Then from her hand the baneful drugs the throws,
Consents to live, recover'd from her woes;
Resolu'd the magic virtue to betray,
She waits the dawn, and calls the lazy day :
Time seems to stand, or backward drive his wheels :
The hours she chides, and eyes the eastern hills.
At length the dawn with orient beams appears,
The shades disperse, and man awakes to cares.
Studious to pleafe, her graceful length of hair
With art she binds, that wanton’d with the air ;
From her soft cheek she wipes the tear away,
And bids keen lightnings from her eyes to play ;
From limb to limb refreshing unguents pours,
Unguents, that breathe of heaven, in copious showers;
Her robe the next assumes ; bright clasps of gold
Close to the lefiening waist the robe infold;
Down from her swelling loins, the rest unbound
Floats in rich waves redundant o'er the ground :
Last, with a fining veil her cheeks she shades,
Then swimming smooth along magnificently treads.
Thus forward moves the fairest of her kind,
Blind to the future, to the present blind;
Twelve maids, attendants on her virgin bower,
Alike unconscious of the bridal hour,
Join to the car the mules ; dire rites to pay,
To Hecate's black fane fhe bends her way;
A juice the bears, whose magic virtue tames
(Through fell Persephone) the rage of flames;
It gives the hero, strong in matchless might,
To stand secure of harms in mortal fight;
It mocks the sword : the sword without a wound,
Leaps as from marble thiver'd to the ground :
She mounts the car *, nor rode the nymph alone,
On either side two lovely damsels thone :
Her hand with kill th' embroider'd rein controls,
Back fly the streets, as swift the chariot rolls.
Along the wheel-worn road they hold their
The domes retreat, the sinking towers decay :
Bare to the knee fuccinct a damsel train
Behind attends, and glitters tow'rd the plain.
As when her limbs divine, Diana laves
In fair Parthenius, or th' Amnelian waves,
Sublime in royal state the bounding roes
Whirl her bright car along the mountain brows;
Swift to her fane in pomp the goddess moves,
The nymphs attend that haunt the shady groves,