–Preparing to obey
His mighty Father’s Will, first to his Feet
He binds the golden Sandals, which on Wings
Bear him aloft, as o’er the Seas, or Earth
He flies, and round him whirls the rapid Air.
Then takes his Wand:–With This pale Ghosts he calls
From Hell: sends Others to those dreary Realms:
Gives, or breaks Sleep: and Eyes unseals from Death.
Equip’d with This, he drives the Winds, and cuts
Th’ opposing turbid Mists: and now discerns,
In his swift Flight, the Top, and lofty Sides
Of rocky Atlas, who sustains the Sky.
Here first Cyllenius, pois’d on even Wings,
Alighted: Thence with all his Body’s Force,
Flings himself headlong from the steepy Height
Down to the Ocean: Like the Bird that flies,
Low, skimming o’er the Surface, near the Sea,
Around the Shores, around the fishy Rocks:
So Mercury in Air ‘twixt Earth and Heav’n,
Shooting from his maternal Gransire, flew,
And cut the Winds, and Lybia’s sandy Shore.–
With all his Harness soon the God was sped,
His flying Hat was fast’ned on his Head,
Wings on his Heels were hung, and in his Hand
He holds his snaky Sleep–producing Wand.
Then darting from the Skies, his Pinions sound,
And, in an Instant, shoot him on the Ground.–
Hermes she fir’d, as in the Clouds he hung:
So the cold Bullet, that with Fury slung,
From Balearic Engines mounts on high,
Glows in the Whirl, and burns along the Sky.
Now down to Earth he turn’d his Flight, and show’d
The Form divine, the Features of a God.
He knew their Virtue o’er a female Heart,
And yet he strives to better them by Art.
He hangs his Mantle loose, and sets to Show
The golden Edging on the Seam below:
Adjusts his flowing Curls, and in his Hand
Waves with an Air, the Sleep–commanding Wand:
The glitt’ring Sandals to his Feet applies,
And to each Heel the well–trim’d Pinion tyes.–
Hermes obeys, and to his Feet applies
Those golden Wings that cut the yielding Skies:
His ample Hat his beamy Locks o’er–spread,
And veil’d the starry Glories of his Head:
He seiz’d his Wand, that causes Sleep to fly,
Or in soft Slumbers seals the wakeful Eye:
That drives the Dead to dark Tartarean Coasts,
Or back to Life compels the wand’ring Ghosts.
Thus, thro’ the parting Clouds the Son of May,
Wings on the whistling Winds his rapid Way:
Now smoothly steers thro’ Air his equal Flight,
Now springs aloft, and tow’rs th’ etherial Height:
Then wheeling down the Steep of Heav’n he flies,
And draws a radiant Circle o’er the Skies.–
Now Maia’s Son he cites: with ready Speed
The God obeys, his Wings adorn his Head:
He shakes the Virtue of the sleepy Wand,
And hastens to receive the high Command.
Offspring of Atlas, and my Nephew dear,
Of Hell and Heav’n the common Messenger:
Who canst alone appear in either Court,
Free of both Worlds, which own thy glad Resort:
Wing on the rapid Winds thy Flight above,
And bear my Message to the haughty Jove.
Scarce had he spoke, when, with dispatchful Flight,
The sacred Envoy gain’d the Realms of Light.–
Then Brass, and Gold, and Iron too were shewn,
And Silver’s valu’d Weight, and Lead were known:
When mighty Forests, first, on Mountains high,
Fierce Fires consum’d:–Or, kindled from the Sky
By Lightning, or from Man the Flames arose,
Who thought by Fire to scare his rustic Foes:
From whate’er Cause the Flames receiv’d their Birth,
With horrid Cracklings, to their deepest Roots,
They burnt the Forests up, and scorch’d the Earth.
Then Streams of Silver, Gold, and Lead, and Brass,
To where they found prepar’d a hollow Place,
Ran melted down, and form’d a glitt’ring Mass.
Soon as Mankind beheld the sparkling Ore,
Pleas’d with its Shine, each Hollow they explore:
And there observing, that it shew’d the Frame
And Figure of the Place from whence it came,
They judg’d, that run by Heat, ‘twou’d take with Ease,
Whatever useful Shape or Form they please.
They found that Blows would to the Metal give
Sharp Points for Darts, or a keen Edge to cleave
Their Forest Trees: they likewise found it fit
For Tools, to knock, or chop, or pierce, or split,
To smooth, or hollow Wood, as they should manage it.
Silver and Gold no less at first were sought,
Than firmer Brass: till by Experience taught,
Men found their Strength unequal to the Task,
And yielding to the Force such Labours ask:
Then Brass became esteem’d, and chiefly priz’d,
And Gold was for its blunted Edge despis’d.–
Now Brass is look’d on as a Thing of Nought;
And Gold has all the Praise and Honour got.
Time alters thus the Dignity of Things;
Some that were long esteem’d and sought, it flings
Down into low Contempt: makes Others priz’d,
Which lay for Ages useless and despis’d.–
The Use of Brass e’er that of Steel was found,
Because ’twas softer, and did more abound:
Then Ploughs were Brass, and Trumpets heard afar
Were Brass, and Brass their Weapons for the War.
Till, by Degrees, oft melting down the Mass,
Steel Swords were forg’d, which made them scorn the Brass:
They then began with Steel to cut the Ground,
And in their Wars steel Weapons gave the Wound.–
Then greedy Mortals, rummaging her Store,
Dug from Earth’s Entrails first the precious Ore,
(Which next to Hell the prudent Gods had laid)
And that alluring Ill to Sight display’d.
Then cursed Steel, and more accursed Gold,
Gave Mischief Birth, and made that Mischief bold,
And double Death did wretched Man invade,
By Steel assaulted, and by Gold betray’d.–
To him the God:–
Wish what Thou wilt, and all thy Wish enjoy.
A gen’rous Offer! tho’ but ill bestow’d
On One whose Choice so wrong a Judgment show’d.
Grant me, says he, (nor thought he ask’d too much)
That with my Body whatsoe’er I touch,
Chang’d from the Nature which it held of old,
May be converted into yellow Gold,
He had his Wish: but yet the God repin’d,
To think the Fool no better Wish could find.
In Thought compleatly blest, he leaves the Place,
With Smiles of Gladness sparkling in his Face:
Nor could contain, but, as he took his Way,
Impatient, longs to make the first Essay.
Down from a lowly Branch a Twig he drew,
The Twig strait glitter’d with a golden Hue.
He takes a Stone: the Stone was turn’d to Gold:
A Clod he touches: and the crumbling Mold
Acknowledg’d soon the transmutating Power,
In Weight and Substance a rich Lump of Ore.
He pluck’d the Corn: and strait his Grasp appears
Fill’d with a bending Tuft of golden Ears.
An Apple next he takes: and seems to hold
The bright Hesperian vegetable Gold.
His Hand he careless on a Pillar lays:
With shining Gold the Pillar seems to blaze:
And while he washes, as the Servants pour,
His Touch converts the Stream to Danae’s Show’r.
To see these Miracles so finely wrought,
Fires with transporting Joy his giddy Thought.
The ready Slaves prepare a sumptuous Board,
Spread with rich Dainties for their happy Lord:
Whose pow’rful Hands the Bread no sooner hold,
But its whole Substance is transform’d to Gold.
Up to his Mouth he lifts the sav’ry Meat,
Which turns to Gold as he attempts to eat:
His Patron’s noble Juice! of purple Hue,
Touch’d by his Lips, a gilded Cordial grew:
Unfit for drink, and wondrous to behold,
It trickles from his Jaws a fluid Gold.
The rich poor Fool, confounded with Surprize,
Starving in all his various Plenty lies:
Sick of his Wish, he now detests the Pow’r,
For which he ask’d so earnestly before:
Amidst his Gold with pinching Famine curst,
And justly tortur’d with an equal Thirst.
At last his shining Arms to Heav’n he rears,
And in Distress, for Refuge, flies to Pray’rs.
O, Father Bacchus! I have sinn’d! he cry’d,
And foolishly thy gracious Gift apply’d!
Thy Pity now, repenting, I implore!
Oh! may I feel the golden Plague no more!
The hungry Wretch, his Folly thus confest,
Touch’d the kind Deities good–natur’d Breast:
The gentle God annull’d his first Decree,
And from the cruel Compact set him free.–
A way there is, extending far on high,
Clear to the View in an unclouded Sky;
The Place, for it’s distinguish’d Whiteness fam’d,
By Men below the Milky Way is nam’d.
The bright Immortals tread this heav’nly Road
To Jove’s high Court, the Thunderer’s Abode.–
Nor with enquiring Eyes need we survey
The distant Skies, to find the Milky Way:
By All it must be seen: for, ev’ry Night,
It forcibly intrudes upon the Sight,
And will be mark’d: there shining Streaks adorn
The Skies, as op’ning to let forth the Morn:
Or, as a beaten Path, that spreads between
A trodden Meadow, and divides the Green:
Or, as when Seas are plow’d, behind the Ship
White Foam rolls o’er the Surface of the Deep.
In Heav’n’s dark Arch this Way distinguish’d lies,
And with it’s Brightness parts the azure Skies.
Fame says, (nor shall with me the Fable die,)
That Juno’s Breast, o’erflowing, stain’d the Sky,
And left that Whiteness: whence it justly draws
The Name of Milky from the Milky Cause.–
High on her Helmet, menacing before,
The horrid Typhon’s Form Minerva bore:
Tho’ slain above, below the Monster lives,
Dies in this Part, and in this Part survives.
Pointed with polish’d Steel, her weighty Spear,
Rose like a lofty Beam, erect in Air:
Whilst o’er her Shield, which bore the Gorgon’s Head,
With friendly Care her shining Robe she spread.–
–They carve in Gold,
With Scales of Serpents, angry Pallas’ Shield,
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Based on Keywords: assaulted, steepy, valu, forcibly, tyes, acknowledg, tartarean, equip, adjusts, unseals, rummaging