Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Behind her descended

Her billows unblended
With the brackish Dorian stream: -

Like a gloomiy stain

On the emerald main, Alpheus rushed behind, —

As an eagle pursuing

A dove to its ruin
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

Under the bowers

Where the Ocean Powers Sit on their pearlèd thrones,

Through the coral woods

Of the weltering floods, Over heaps of unvalued stones;

Through the dim beams

Which amid the streams Weave a network of colored light;

And under the caves,

Where the shadowy waves Are as green as the forest's night:

Outspeeding the shark,

And the sword-fish dark, Under the ocean foam,

And up through the rists

Of the mountain clifts
They past to their Dorian home.

And now from their fountains

In Enna's mountains, Down one vale where the morning basks,

Like friends once parted

Grown single-hearted, They ply their watery tasks.

At sunrise they leap

From their cradles steep
In the cave of the shelving hill;

At noontide they flow

Through the woods below And the meadows of Asphodel:

And at night they sleep

In the rocking deep
Beneath the Ortygian shore; –

Like spirits that lie

In the azure sky
When they love but live no more

$ 89. The Fate of Actæon.' – Diana's severity toward young Actæon, grandson of Cadmus whose kindred fell under the curse of Mars, is thus narrated.

One day, having repaired to a valley enclosed by cypresses and pines where gushed a fountain of sparkling water, the chaste Diana handed her javelin, her quiver, and her bow to one nymph, her robe to another, while a third unbound the sandals from her feet. Then Crocale, the most skilful of them, arranged her hair, and Nephele, Hyale, and the rest drew water in capacious urns. While the huntress-queen was thus employed in the labors of the toilet, Actæon, the son of Autonoë and Aristæus, having quitted his companions of the chase, and rambling without any especial object, came to the place, led thither by his destiny. As he presented himself at the entrance of the cave, the nymphs, seeing a man, screamed and rushed towards the goddess to hide her with their bodies. But she was taller than the rest, and overtopped them all by a head. Such a color as tinges the clouds at sunset or at dawn came over the countenance of Diana thus taken by surprise. Surrounded as she was by her nymphs, she yet turned half away, and sought with a sudden impulse for her arrows. As they were not at hand, she dashed the water into the face of the intruder, saying, “ Now go and tell, if you can, that you have seen Diana unapparelled.” Immediately a pair of branching stag's horns grew out of the huntsman's head, his neck gained in length, his ears grew sharp-pointed, his hands became feet, his arms, his long legs, and his body were covered with a hairy spotted hide. Fear took the place of his former boldness, and the hero fled. What should he do? — go home to the palace, or lie hid in the woods ?

1 Ovid, Metam. 3: 138–252.

While he hesitated his dogs saw him. Over rocks and cliffs, through mountain gorges that seemed impracticable, he fled, and they followed. The air resounded with the bark of the dogs. Presently one fastened on his back, another seized his shoulder ; the rest of the pack came up and buried their teeth in his flesh. His friends and fellow-huntsmen cheered on the dogs, and looking everywhere for Actæon, called on him to join the sport. At the

[graphic][subsumed]

sound of his name, he turned his head, and heard them regret that he should be away. He earnestly wished he was. But Diana had no pity for him, nor was her anger appeased till the dogs had torn his life out.

$ 90. The Fortunes and Death of Orion. — Orion, the son of Neptune, was a giant and a mighty hunter, whose prowess and manly favor gained for him the rare good-will of Diana.

It is related that he loved Merope, the daughter of Enopion, king of Chios, and sought her in marriage. He cleared the island of wild beasts, and brought the spoils of the chase as presents to his beloved ; but as (Enopion constantly deferred his consent, Orion attempted to gain possession of the maiden by violence. Her father, incensed at this conduct, made Orion drunk, deprived him of his sight, and cast him out on the seashore. The blinded

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]
« НазадПродовжити »