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And every trace of the fresh butchery
And cooking, the God soon made disappear, As if it all had vanished through the sky; [hair,
He burned the hoofs and horns and head and The insatiate fire devoured them hungrily ;
And when he saw that everything was clear, He quenched the coals and trampled the black dust, And in the stream his bloody sandals tossed.
All night he worked in the serene moonshine—
But when the light of day was spread abroad He sought his natal mountain-peaks divine.
On his long wandering, neither man nor god Had met him, since he killed Apollo's kine,
Nor house-dog had barked at him on his road; Now he obliquely through the key-hole passed, Like a thin mist, or an autumnal blast.
xxv. Right through the temple of the spacious cave He went with soft light feet—as if his tread Fell not on earth ; no sound their falling gave ; Then to his cradle he crept quick, and spread The swaddling-clothes about him ; and the knave Lay playing with the covering of the bed, With his left hand about his knees—the right Held his beloved tortoise-lyre tight.
There he lay innocent as a new-born child,
As gossips say ; but, though he was a god, The goddess, his fair mother, unbeguiled
Knew all that he had done, being abroad; “Whence come you, and from what adventure wild,
You cunning rogue, and where have you abode All the long night, clothed in your impudence? What have you done since you departed hence
“Apollo soon will pass within this gate,
And bind your tender body in a chain Inextricably tight, and fast as fate,
Unless you can delude the God again, Even when within his arms—ah, runagate'
A pretty torment both for gods and men Your father made when he made you !”—“Dear
Replied sly Hermes, “wherefore scold and bother?
xxviii. “As if I were like other babes as old, And understood nothing of what is what ; And cared at all to hear my mother scold. I in my subtle brain a scheme have got, [rolled, Which, whilst the sacred stars round Heaven are Will profit you and me—nor shall our lot Be as you counsel, without gifts or food, To spend our lives in this obscure abode.
“But we will leave this shadow-peopled cave,
And live among the Gods, and pass each day In high communion, sharing what they have
Of profuse wealth and unexhausted prey And, from the portion which my father gave
To Phoebus, I will snatch my share away, Which if my father will not—nathelesse I, Who am the king of robbers, can but try.
xxx. “And, if Latona's son should find me out, I'll countermine him by a deeper plan ;
And sack the fame of everything I can– Caldrons and tripods of great worth no doubt,
Each golden cup and polished brazen pan, All the wrought tapestries and garments gay.”— So they together talked;—meanwhile the Day
Ethereal born, arose out of the flood
Of flowing Ocean, bearing light to men. Apollo past toward the sacred wood,
Which from the inmost depths of its green glen Echoes the voice of Neptune,—and there stood
On the same spot in green Onchestus then That same old animal, the vine-dresser, Who was employed hedging his vineyard there.
Latona’s glorious Son began –“I pray
Tell, ancient hedger of Onchestus green, Whether a drove of kine has past this way,
All heifers with crooked horns: for they have been Stolen from the herd in high Pieria,
Where a black bull was fed apart, between
“And, what is strange, the author of this theft
Has stolen the fatted heifers every one, But the four dogs and the black bull are left:
Stolen they were last night at set of sun, Of their soft beds and their sweet food bereft—
Now tell me, man born ere the world begun, Have you seen any one pass with the cows t’— To whom the man of overhanging brows,
“My friend, it would require no common skill
Justly to speak of everything I see ; On various purposes of good or ill
Many pass by my vineyard, and to me 'Tis difficult to know the invisible
Thoughts, which in all those many minds may Thus much alone I certainly can say, | be :— I tilled these vines till the decline of day,
“And then I thought I saw, but dare not speak
With certainty of such a wondrous thing, A child, who could not have been born a week,
Those fair-horned cattle closely following, And in his hand he held a polished stick:
And, as on purpose, he walked wavering From one side to the other of the road, And with his face opposed the steps he trod.”
Apollo, hearing this, passed quickly on—
No winged omen could have shown more clear That the deceiver was his father's son.
So the God wraps a purple atmosphere Around his shoulders, and like fire is gone
To famous Pylos, seeking his kine there, And found their track and his, yet hardly cold, And cried—“What wonder do mine eyes behold!
I’ll pierce the Pythian temple-walls, though stout,