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And, as he crofs'd her chamber, afk'd his name,
And what his business was, and whence he came.
"I come, reply'd the god, from heaven to woo
"Your fifter, and to make an aunt of you ;
“ I am the fon and meffenger of Jove,
My name is Mercury, my bufinefs love;
“Do you, kind damfel, take a lover's part,
"And gain admittance to your fifter's heart."
She ftar'd him in the face with looks amaz'd,
As when the on Minerva's fecret gaz'd,
And asks a mighty treasure for her hire,
And, till he brings it, makes the god retire.
Minerva griev'd to fee the nymph fucceed;
And now remembring the late impious deed,
When, disobedient to her strict command,
She touch'd the cheft with an unhallow'd hand;
In big-fwoln fighs her inward rage exprefs'd,
That heav'd the rifing Ægis on her breast;
Then fought out Envy in her dark abode,
Defil'd with ropy gore and clots of blood :
Shut from the winds, and from the wholesome skies,
In a deep vale the gloomy dungeon lies,
Difmal and cold, where not a beam of light
Invades the winter, or disturbs the night.
Directly to the cave her course she steer'd;
Against the gates her martial lance the rear'd;
The gates flew open, and the fiend appear'd.
A poisonous morfel in her teeth she chew'd,
And gorg'd the flesh of vipers for her food.
Minerva, loathing, turn'd away her eye;
The hideous monster, rifing heavily,
Came ftalking forward with a fullen pace,
And left her mangled offals on the place.
Soon as she faw the goddess gay and bright,
She fetch'd a groan at such a chearful fight.
Livid and meagre were her looks, her eye
In foul distorted glances turn'd awry ;
A hoard of gall her inward parts poffefs'd,
And spread a greennefs o'er her canker'd breast;
Her teeth were brown with ruft; and from her tongue,
In dangling drops, the ftringy poifon hung,
She never fmiles but when the wretched weep,
Nor lulls her malice with a moment's fleep.
Reftlefs in fpite: while, watchful to destroy,
She pines and fickens at another's joy;
Foe to herself, diftreffing and diftreft,
She bears her own tormenter in her breast.
The goddess gave (for the abhorr'd her fight)
A fhort command: "To Athens speed thy flight;
"On curft Aglauros try thy utmost art,
"And fix thy rankeft venoms in her heart."
This faid, her fpear fhe pufh'd against the ground,
And, mounting from it with an active bound,
Flew off to heaven: The hag with eyes askew
Look'd up, and mutter'd curses as she flew;
For fore the fretted, and began to grieve
At the fuccefs which she herself must give.
Then takes her staff, hung round with wreaths of thorn,
And fails along, in a black whirlwind borne,
O'er fields and flowery meadows: where the steers
Her baneful course a mighty blast appears,
Mildews and blights; the meadows are defac'd,
The fields, the flowers, and the whole year, laid wafte
On mortals next, and peopled towns she falls,
And breathes a burning plague among their walls,
When Athens fhe beheld, for arts renown'd,
made happy, and with plenty crown'd,
Scarce could the hideous fiend from tears forbear,
To find out nothing that deferv'd a tear.
Th' apartment now she enter'd, where at reft
Aglauros lay, with gentle fleep oppreft.
To execute Minerva's dire command,
She strok'd the virgin with her canker`d hand,
Then prickly thorns into her breast convey'd,
That ftung to madnefs the devoted maid:
Her fubtle venom ftill improves the smart,
Frets in the blood, and fefters in the heart.
To make the work more fure, a fcene fhe drew
And plac'd before the dreaming virgin's view
Her fifter's marriage, and her glorious fate
Th' imaginary bride appears in ftate;
The bridegroom with unwonted beauty glows;
For Envy magnifies whate'er she shows.
Full of the dream, Aglauros pin'd away
In tears all night, in darkness all the day;
Confum'd like ice, that juft begins to run,
When feebly fmitten by the diftant fun;
Or like unwholefome weeds, that fet on fire
Are flowly wafted, and in smoke expire.
Given up to envy (for in every thought
The thorns, the venom, and the vision wrought)
Oft did fhe call on death, as oft decreed,
Rather than fee her fifter's wish fucceed,
To tell her awful father what had past :
At length before the door herself she caft;
And, fitting on the ground with fullen pride,
A paffage to the love-fick god deny'd.
The god carefs'd, and for admiffion pray'd,
And footh'd in fofteft words th' envenom'd maid.
In vain he footh'd; "Begone! the maid replies,
"Or here I keep my feat, and never rife."
Then keep thy feat for ever,” cries the god,
And touch'd the door, wide opening to his rod..
Fain would the rife, and ftop him, but she found
Her trunk too heavy to forfake the ground;
Her joints are all benumb'd, her hands are pale,
And marble now appears in every nail.
As when a cancer in the body feeds,
And gradual death from limb to limb proceeds; .
So does the chilnefs to each vital part
Spread by degrees, and creeps into her heart;
Till, hardening every where, and speechless grown,
She fits unmov'd, and freezes to a stone.
But ftill her envious hue and fullen mien
Are in the fedentary figure seen.
When now the god his fury had allay'd, And taken vengeance of the stubborn maid, From where the bright Athenian turrets rife He mounts aloft, and re-afcends the skies.
Jove faw him enter the fublime abodes,
And, as he mix'd among the croud of Gods,
Beckon'd him out, and drew him from the rest,
And in foft whifpers thus his will expreft:
"My trufty Hermes, by whofe ready aid "Thy Sire's commands are through the world convey'd, "Refume thy wings, exert their utmost force, And to the walls of Sidon speed thy course; "There find a herd of heifers wandering o'er "The neighbouring hill, and drive them to the shore." Thus fpoke the God, concealing his intent. The trufty Hermes on his meffage went,
And found the herd of heifers wandering o'er
A neighbouring hill, and drove them to the shore;
Where the King's daughter with a lovely train
Of fellow-nymphs, was fporting on the plain.
The dignity of empire laid afide
(For love but ill agrees with kingly pride);
The ruler of the fkies, the thundering God,
Who shakes the world's foundations with a nod,
Among a herd of lowing heifers ran,
Frisk'd in a bull, and bellow'd o'er the plain.
Large rolls of fat about his foulders clung,
And from his neck the double dewlap hung.
His fkin was whiter than the fnow that lies
Unfully'd by the breath of fouthern skies;
Small fhining horns on his curi'd forehead ftand,
As turn'd and polish'd by the workman's hand;
His eye-balls roll'd, not formidably bright,
But gaz'd and languish'd with a gentle light.