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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 199

Whilst from Olympus pleased Saturnia flew.
O'er high Pieria thence her course she bore,
O'er fair Emathia's ever-pleasing shore,
O'er Hemus' hills with snows eternal crown'd;
[pg 259]
Nor once her flying foot approach'd the ground.
Then taking wing from Athos' lofty steep,
She speeds to Lemnos o'er the rolling deep,
And seeks the cave of Death's half-brother, Sleep.234
"Sweet pleasing Sleep! (Saturnia thus began)
Who spread'st thy empire o'er each god and man;
If e'er obsequious to thy Juno's will,
O power of slumbers! hear, and favour still.
Shed thy soft dews on Jove's immortal eyes,
While sunk in love's entrancing joys he lies.
A splendid footstool, and a throne, that shine
With gold unfading, Somnus, shall be thine;
The work of Vulcan; to indulge thy ease,
When wine and feasts thy golden humours please."
"Imperial dame (the balmy power replies),
Great Saturn's heir, and empress of the skies!
O'er other gods I spread my easy chain;
The sire of all, old Ocean, owns my reign.
And his hush'd waves lie silent on the main.
But how, unbidden, shall I dare to steep
Jove's awful temples in the dew of sleep?
Long since, too venturous, at thy bold command,
On those eternal lids I laid my hand;
What time, deserting Ilion's wasted plain,
His conquering son, Alcides, plough'd the main.
When lo! the deeps arise, the tempests roar,
And drive the hero to the Coan shore:
Great Jove, awaking, shook the blest abodes
With rising wrath, and tumbled gods on gods;
Me chief he sought, and from the realms on high
Had hurl'd indignant to the nether sky,
But gentle Night, to whom I fled for aid,
(The friend of earth and heaven,) her wings display'd;
Impower'd the wrath of gods and men to tame,
Even Jove revered the venerable dame."
"Vain are thy fears (the queen of heaven replies,
And, speaking, rolls her large majestic eyes);
Think'st thou that Troy has Jove's high favour won,
Like great Alcides, his all-conquering son?
Hear, and obey the mistress of the skies,
Nor for the deed expect a vulgar prize;
For know, thy loved-one shall be ever thine,
The youngest Grace, Pasithae the divine."235
"Swear then (he said) by those tremendous floods
That roar through hell, and bind the invoking gods:
[pg 260]
Let the great parent earth one hand sustain,
And stretch the other o'er the sacred main:
Call the black Titans, that with Chronos dwell,
To hear and witness from the depths of hell;
That she, my loved-one, shall be ever mine,
The youngest Grace, Pasithae the divine."
The queen assents, and from the infernal bowers
Invokes the sable subtartarean powers,
And those who rule the inviolable floods,
Whom mortals name the dread Titanian gods.

Illustration: SLEEP ESCAPING FROM THE WRATH OF JUPITER.
SLEEP ESCAPING FROM THE WRATH OF JUPITER.
Then swift as wind, o'er Lemnos' smoky isle
They wing their way, and Imbrus' sea-beat soil;
Through air, unseen, involved in darkness glide,
And light on Lectos, on the point of Ide:
(Mother of savages, whose echoing hills
Are heard resounding with a hundred rills:)

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