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He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries,
But touch'd with sorrow for the dead too late,
babes before their parents' eyes, And feeds and thrives on public miseries.
But gen'rous rage the bold Choræbus warms, Choræbus, fam'd for virtue, as for arms; 715
NOTES. Ver. 705. He sends] Much superior to the original. I desire to add in this place, that there are many excellent remarks on Statius in the two volumes entitled, Observations on Ancient and Modern Authors, published by Dr. Jortin.
Famam posthabita faciles extendere vita,
Some few like him, inspir’d with martial flame,
Ver. 720. Two bleeding babes] This image has a near resemblance to a very tremendous one in Gray's eighth Ode, the Fatal Sisters:
“See the grisly texture grow
("Tis of human entrails made), And the weights that play below,
Each a gasping warrior's head!" Which I have heard critics of weak nerves, and affected sensibility, complain of as too horrid.
Sævior in miseros fatis ultricis ademptæ Delius insurgit, summaque biverticis umbra 740 Parnassi residens, arcu crudelis iniquo Pestifera arma jacit, camposque, et celsa Cyclopum Tecta, superjecto nebularum incendit amictu. Labuntur dulces animæ : Mors fila sororum Ense metit, captamque tenens fert manibus urbem. Quærenti
quæ causa duci, quis ab æthere lævus Ignis, et in totum regnaret Sirius annum, Idem auctor Pæan rursus jubet ire cruento In ferias monstro juvenes, qui cæde potiti. 750
Fortunate animi, longumque in sæcula digne Promeriture diem ! non tu pia degener arma Occulis, aut certæ trepidas occurrere morti. Cominus ora ferens, Cyrrhæi in limine templi Constitit, et sacras ita vocibus asperat iras : 756
Non missus, Thymbræe, tuos supplexve penates Advenio : mea me pietas, conscia virtus Has egere vias. ego sum qui cæde subegi, Phoebe, tuum mortale nefas ; quem nubibus atris,
But fir’d with rage, from cleft Parnassus' brow Avenging Phæbus bent his deadly bow, 740 And hissing flew the feather'd fates below : A night of sultry clouds involv'd around The tow'rs, the fields, and the devoted ground : And now a thousand lives together fled, Death with his scythe cut off the fatal thread, 745 And a whole province in his triumph led.
But Phoebus ask'd why noxious fires appear, And raging Sirius blasts the sickly year ; Demands their lives by whom his monster fell, And dooms a dreadful sacrifice to hell.
750 Blest be thy dust, and let eternal fame Attend thy Manes, and preserve thy name, Undaunted hero! who divinely brave, In such a cause disdain'd thy life to save; But view'd the shrine with a superior look, 755 And its upbraided Godhead thus bespoke :
With piety the soul's securest guard, And conscious virtue, still its own reward, Willing I come, unknowing how to fear; Nor shalt thou, Phæbus, find a suppliant here. 760 Thy monster's death to me was ow'd alone, And 'tis a deed too glorious to disown.
Ver. 743.] Vida thus justly characterizes Ovid and Statius, which might have deterred our young author from imitating two writers of so bad a taste :
“ Hic namque ingenio confisus, posthabet artem;
Vidæ Poetic. l. 1. v. 180.