The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac.
See Equinoctial Line.
The Leader Ram, all bright with golden Wool,
Looks back, and wonders at the mighty Bull,
Whose back Parts first appear: He bending lies
With threatning Head, and calls the Twins to rise:
They clasp for fear, and mutually embrace,
Then comes the Crab with an unsteady Pace:
Next him the angry Lion shakes his Mane:
The following Maid abates his Rage again.
Then Day and Night are ballanc'd in the Scales:
Equal a while, at length the Night prevails:
And longer grown the heavier Scale inclines,
And draws the Scorpion from the Winter Signs.
The Centaur follows, with an aiming Eye,
His Bow full drawn, and ready to let fly:
The twisted Goat his Horns contracted shows,
The Water--Bearer's Urn a Flood o'erflows:
Next their lov'd Waves the Fishes take their Seat,
Join with the Ram, and make the Round compleat.--
Pallas the Ram, and Venus guides the Bull,
The Twins share Phoebus, and enjoy his Rule:
The Crab is Mercury's; great Jove divides
His Mother's Servant, and the Lion guides.
Ceres the Maid, for this her Sheaf declares;
And the fierce Scorpion owns the God of Wars.
The Centaur Dian rules, and Vulcan claims
The Scales, as the just Product of his Flames.
The frozen Goat kind Vesta's Aid requires,
She cheers his Cold, and warms him with her Fires.
Just opposite to where her Husband sways,
The Water--Bearer Juno's Rule obeys.
The shining Fishes are to Neptune known,
Sprung from the Sea, he claims them for his own.--
The Head comes under the Ram's Influence:
The Bull commands the Neck: both Arms the Twins:
The Breast is the Crab's Share: the Lion rules
The Shoulders: and the Bowels claims the Maid:
The Buttocks are the Scales' allotted Part:
And o'er the Private Parts the Scorpion reigns:
The Thighs the Archer loves: the Knees the Goat:
The Water--Bearer o'er the Legs presides:
The Fishes to the Feet Protection give.--
No Sorrow, no complaining Voice was heard:
O'er all, one deep, one horrid Silence reigns:
As when the Rigour of the Winter's Chains,
All Nature, Heav'n, and Earth, at once constrains.
The tuneful feather'd Kind forget their Lays,
And shiv'ring tremble on the naked Sprays:
Ev'n the rude Seas, compos'd, forget to roar,
And freezing Billows stiffen on the Shore.--
Medes, and Arabians, of the slavish East,
Beneath eternal Bondage may be blest:
While, of a diff'ring Mold and Nature, We,
From Sire to Son accustom'd to be free,
Feel Indignation rising in our Blood,
And blush to wear the Chains that make them proud.
Then was our Offspring for all Ages lost!
A Race of future Slaves receiv'd their Doom,
And Children yet unborn were overcome.
How shall our miserable Sons complain,
That they are born beneath a Tyrant's Reign?
Did our base Hands (with Justice shall they say,)
The sacred Cause of Liberty betray?
Why have our Fathers giv'n us up a Prey?
Their Age to Our's the Curse of Bondage leaves;
Themselves were Cowards, and begot us Slaves.--
Then was the Time, when Sycophants began
To heap all Titles on one lordly Man:
Then learn'd our Sires that fawning, lying Strain,
Which we, their slavish Sons, so well retain:
Then, first, were seen to join, (an ill--match'd Pair!)
The Ax of Justice with the Sword of War:
Fasces, and Eagles, mingling march along,
And in proud Caesar's Train promiscuous throng.
But while all Pow'rs in him alone unite,
He mocks the People with the Shews of Right.--
The Stag, superior both in Arms and Force,
From out their common Pasture drove the Horse.
The Vanquish'd flies to Man, to right his Cause,
Begs Help, and takes the Bridle in his Jaws:
But having beat the Victor, could not get
Man from his Back, nor from his Mouth the Bit.
Thus the mean Wretch, that fearing to be poor,
Exchanges Liberty for shining Ore,
Must bear a Lord, must ever be a Slave,
Cause he knows not to use the Little Nature gave.--
See Battle. Rout. Sea--Fight. Siege.
Now unrelenting Mars, on either Side,
Equall'd the Slaughter, and the mutual Deaths:
The Victors and the Vanquish'd kill, and rush
With equal Force: nor These, nor Those retreat.--
--And now still more
And more the Horror rises in the Field:
--To Heav'n ascends
A dismal Noise confus'd of warrior Youth,
Groaning in Death, and gasping on the Ground.--
Soon as the Lybian Horse their Onset make,
With thund'ring Hoofs the sandy Soil they shake:
Thick o'er the Plain the wavy Clouds arise,
As when thro' Thrace, Bistonian Boreas flies,
Involves the Day in Dust, and darkens all the Skies.
And now the Foot encompass'd all around,
Are massacred, and trodden to the Ground:
None in Resistance vainly prove their Might,
But Death is all the Business of the Fight.
So thick the Darts and Javelins descend,
That had they wounded not,--
Their very Weight would make the Romans bend.
On ev'ry Side the shrinking Front grows less,
And to the Center madly all they press:
Fear, Uproar, and Dismay, increase the Cry,
Crushing, and crush'd, an armed Crowd they die:
Ev'n thronging on their Fellows Swords they run,
And the Foes Business by themselves is done.--
As when Bellona drives the World to War,
Or Mars comes thundring in his Thracian Car:
Rage horrible darts from his Gorgon Shield,
And gloomy Terror broods upon the Field.
Hate, fell and fierce, the dreadful Gods impart,
And urge to Slaughter ev'ry Soldier's Heart:
The Many shout, Arms clash, the Wounded cry,
And one promiscuous Peal groans upwards to the Sky.--
Near the Cimmerians, lies a Cavern deep
Within a Rock, the Court of lazy Sleep.
This the Sun sees not at his Noon--tide Height,
Nor cheers, with rising, or descending Light:
But hazy Vapours from the Earth arise,
And spread perpetual Twilight o'er the Skies.
No wakeful Cocks, with early Crowings, dare
Proclaim the Rise of rosy Morning there:
No watchful Dogs, or more sagacious Geese,
Disturb with Noise the everlasting Peace.
No Voice of Beasts, no Winds among the Boughs,
No human Sounds this Region ever knows.
Here Silence reigns: yet from the Rock below,
An Arm of Lethe, with a gentle Flow,
Arising upwards, o'er the Pebbles creeps,
And with soft Murmurs calls the coming Sleeps.
Around the Entrance nodding Poppies grow,
And num'rous Herbs that balmy Sleep bestow:
Which Night extracting from their juicy Veins,
Sheds as she passes o'er the dusky Plains.
Least Doors should creak, and creaking hinder Sleep,
No Door there was: no Guard the House to keep.
Amidst the Cave was rais'd a lofty Bed,
Stuff'd with black Down, and on an Ebon Sted:
Black was the Cov'ring too, where lay the God,
And slept supine, his Limbs display'd abroad.
About his Head fantastic Visions fly,
Which various Images of Things supply,
And mock their Forms: the Leaves on Trees not more,
Nor bearded Ears in Fields, nor Sands upon the Shore.--
The God his Eye--lids struggles to unloose,
Seal'd, by his deep unbroken Slumbers, close:
Half--way his Head he rears, with sluggish Pain,
Which, heavy, sinks upon his Breast again:
Frequent Attempts without Success he makes,
But, at the last, with long Endeavours, wakes:
Half--rais'd, and half--reclining on his Bed,
Upon his Hand he leans his nodding Head.--
--Again he seeks his Bed,
In whose soft Down he sinks his drooping Head:
Again his Eye--lids are with Sleep opprest,
And the whole God dissolves again to rest.--
--O sacred Rest!
Sweet pleasing Sleep! of all the Pow'rs the best!
O Peace of Mind! Repairer of Decay,
At whose Approach, Care, sullen, flies away:
Whose Balm renews the weary'd Limbs to Labours of the Day.--
Sweet Sleep despises not the Poor,
Nor passes by the Cottage Door:
He loves the Shades, he loves the Plains,
And favours most the lowly Swains.--
Fool, what is Sleep, but th' Image of cold Death?
The Fates will grant a long long Time of Rest.--
Mezentius quits his Arms, and round his Head
Thrice whirls his sounding Sling: Shot from the Thong
The Lead, half--melted as it flies, divides
His Temples, and extends him on the Sand.--
As Tyrrhen stood high on the Galley's Prow,
Sure aiming, from his Balearic Thong,
Bold Lygdamus a pond'rous Bullet slung:
Thro' liquid Air the Ball shrill whistling flies,
And cuts its Way thro' hapless Tyrrhen's Eyes.
Th' astonish'd Youth stands struck with sudden Night,
While bursting start the bleeding Orbs of Sight.--
With much adoe, his Book before him laid,
And Parchment with the smoother Side display'd,
He takes the Papers: lays 'em down again:
And with unwilling Fingers tries the Pen.
Some peevish Quarrel strait he strives to pick:
His Quill writes double: or his Ink's too thick.
Infuse more Water;--now 'tis grown so thin,
It sinks, nor can the Characters be seen.
O Wretch! and still more wretched ev'ry Day!
Are Mortals born to dream their Lives away!
Go back to what thy Infancy began,
Thou who wert never meant to be a Man:
Eat Pap and Spoon--meat: for thy Gewgaws cry:
Be sullen, and refuse the Lullaby.
No more accuse thy Pen, but charge the Crime
On native Sloth, and Negligence of Time.
Think'st Thou thy Master, or thy Friends, to cheat?
Fool, 'tis Thyself, and that's a worse Deceit.--
Th' unfinish'd Tow'rs no longer rise: the Youth
Undisciplin'd in Arms, no longer form
Ports, and strong Fortresses of War: the Works
Neglected stand: the Threat'nings of the Walls,
And tall Machines no more invade the Sky:
But, sticking in mid way, come short of Heav'n.--
Rogues rise before 'tis Day to kill, and thieve:
Will You not wake to save Yourself alive?
If now, when well, you will not leave your Ease,
In vain you'l try when prest with a Disease.--
Man's Understanding dull'd by Idleness,
Contracts a Rust, that makes it daily less.
Unless you often plow the fruitful Field,
No Grain, but mixt with Thistles, will it yield.
Ill runs the Horse, and hind--most in the Race,
Who long has been unpractic'd in the Chace.--
Creatures so small there are, their midmost Part,
The sharpest Sight, by all the Helps of Art
Assisted, cannot possibly descry:
How fine are then the Guts, the Heart, the Eye?
How fine each Limb, each Fibre of the whole?
How infinitely fine the Texture of the Soul?--
See Man. People (First.)
Between the Brutes and Us this Diff'rence lies:
Jove did to them but Earth--born Life dispence,
To Us, for mutual Aid, celestial Sense:
From straggling Mountaineers, for publick Good,
To rank in Tribes, and quit the savage Wood,
Houses to build, and them contiguous make,
For cheerful Neighbourhood and Safety's Sake:
In War a common Standard to erect:
A wounded Friend in Battle to protect:
To march together at the Trumpet's Call,
Sally from one Port, or man one public Wall.--
From Capricorn, decreasing Nights appear,
And Heav'n turns up the right Side of the Year:
The Day proceeds to lengthen all the Way,
Till high in Cancer rais'd, it makes a Stay:
The Solstice then:--when Day and Night are found
Equal to Day and Night that drove the Winter round.
Then, by the said Degrees, again the Light,
Decreasing, what it took returns to Night.—