[OPPIAN's HALIEUTICKS Part I. OF THE NATURE of FISHES. In Two Books]
THE FIRST BOOK OF OPPIAN's HALIEUTICKS.
1 I sing the Natives of the boundless Main,
2 And tell what Kinds the wat'ry Depths contain.
3 Thou, Mighty Prince, whom farthest Shores obey,
4 Favour the Bard, and hear the humble Lay;
5 While the Muse shows the liquid Worlds below,
6 Where throng'd with busie Shoals the Waters flow;
7 Their diff'ring Forms and Ways of Life relates;
8 And sings their constant Loves, and constant Hates;
9 What various Arts the finny Herds beguile,
10 And each cold Secret of the Fishers Toil.
11 Intrepid Souls! who pleasing Rest despise,
12 To whirl in Eddies, and on Floods to rise;
13 Who scorn the Safety of the calmer Shore,
14 Drive thro' the working Foam, and ply the lab'ring Oar.[Page 2]
15 Th' Abyss they fathom, search the doubtful Way,
16 And through obscuring Depths pursue the Prey.
17 Thro' wild'ring Forrests, and thro' thorny Brakes,
18 The Huntsman's Toil the chafing Boar o'ertakes.
19 Hardy he meets the bristly tusked Foe,
20 And distant darts, or strikes the nearer Blow.
21 But on himself he not depends alone;
22 Assisting Dogs first run the Monster down.
23 They to the secret Dens unerring guide,
24 And op'ning tell where the fierce Sylvans hide.
25 On the firm Continent th' Assailants meet,
26 And unmov'd Earth supports their steady Feet.
27 From Winter's Snow, and from Autumnal Heat
28 The weary'd Hunter has a kind Retreat.
29 In mossy Caves beneath entwining Trees
30 He mocks the coming Storm, and sits at ease.
31 Fresh Fountains here with silver Current glide,
32 Rush from the Hills, and murmur at his Side.
33 Stretcht on the Grass, he quaffs the cooling Streams,
34 Or acts his Pleasures o'er in painted Dreams,
35 The choicest Dainties unmixt Nature yields,
36 Bend from the Trees, or flourish from the Fields.
37 While Fruits the Woods, and Herbs enrich the Soil,
38 The Huntsman's Pleasure must exceed his Toil.[Page 3]
39 And Those, whose Arts the feather'd World ensnare,
40 Nor mighty Pain endure, nor pensive Care.
41 The Birds, when out of Reach, are yet in Sight,
42 And hope in vain their Safety from their Flight.
43 Oft they are seiz'd unthinking as they rest
44 In harmless Dreams, and Slumber in their Nest.
45 Oft make a treach'rous Twig their fatal Seat,
46 While viscous Lime retains the captive Feet.
47 To the drawn Net they hast, and court their Fate,
48 Till in the Snare enclos'd they flutt'ring grieve too late.
49 But ah! continu'd Doubts, returning Pains,
50 And num'rous Dangers wait the Fishing Swains.
51 Fond Hope with Dreams of fancy'd Gain delights,
52 And to new Toils their restless Minds invites.
53 The Fishers labour not on certain Ground,
54 But in a leaky Boat are tost around.
55 Here fierce succeeding Waves tumultuous beat,
56 Roar by their Sides, and swift Destruction threat.
57 Now murm'ring Winds disturb the careful Wight,
58 Now black'ning Clouds, and gath'ring Storms affright.
59 They tremble, who secure from Land behold
60 Contending Waves in angry Conflict roll'd.
61 No shelt'ring Coverts here the Swain befriend,
62 When Clouds condens'd in noisy Streams descend.[Page 4]
63 No Tree from cold bleak Winds, or falling Sleet,
64 Nor Shade secures from Autumn's sickly Heat.
65 Here to the scented Game no Dog can guide;
66 Their native Fish the circling Eddies hide,
67 And thro' the trackless Deep unseen they sportive glide.
68 Besides loud threat'ning Storms, and sudden Winds,
69 He meets vast Whales, and monstrous nameless Kinds.
70 The slender-woven Net, vimineous Weel,
71 The taper Angle, Line, and barbed Steel,
72 Are all the Tools his constant Toil employs;
73 On Arms like these the Fishing Swain relies.
74 But Fishers live altho' expos'd to Harms,
75 They have their Pleasures, and the Sea it's Charms.
76 Long will the Princely Entertainment please,
77 When on smooth Ponds, and artificial Seas
78 The Royal Pinnace born at leisure rides;
79 Some skillful Chief the stately Fabrick guides,
80 While she her Streamers spreads, and in her Owner prides.
81 Here various Kinds of dainty Fish are bred,
82 With constant Meals in gen'rous Plenty fed.
83 For an Imperial Treat, or choice Repast,
84 Such as the Royal Pair may deign to tast.[Page 5]
85 Here you, Dread Prince, the Waters most approve
86 That bear a sullen Gloom, and slowly move.
87 Thither the thronging Boats with Pleasure hast;
88 You in the central Depth the Plummet cast.
89 The willing Fish around ambitious wait,
90 Fly to the Line, and fasten on the Bait.
91 While You with Joy the grateful Prey receive,
92 And from the wounding Steel his Jaw relieve.
93 Well pleas'd You see him gasp, and lab'ring breath,
94 And long in sportive Pain his struggling Body wreath.
95 Great Neptune, whose Commands controll the Seas,
96 Can curb the Tempests, and the Waves appease,
97 And all ye Ocean-Gods, that peaceful reign
98 Low in the Depths of the unfathom'd Main,
99 Permit the Muse to tell, what Kinds obey
100 Your wat'ry Pow'rs, and cut the liquid Way.
101 May the calm Sea smile on the distant Shore,
102 While I discover all the hidden Store.
103 And Thou, O Goddess, tune my artless Tongue,
104 To please the Sov'reign Pair, and form the grateful Song.
105 But ah! how great the Task! for who can know
106 What Creatures swim in secret Depths below?
107 Unnumber'd Shoals glide thro' the cold Abyss
108 Unseen, and wanton in unenvy'd Bliss.[Page 6]
109 For who with all his Skill can certain teach,
110 How deep the Sea, how far the Waters reach?
111 Foolish th' Attempt; none can the Space define,
112 The Depth retires beneath, and mocks the sinking Line.
113 Three hundred Fathoms sounded are the most;
114 Such is the Knowledge which our Labours boast.
115 To comprehend the Whole we fruitless seek;
116 Our Souls are finite, and our Reason weak.
117 And yet we guess the Wat'ry World exceeds
118 In num'rous Offspring, and in various Breeds.
119 More Kinds may roll beneath in briny Floods
120 Than graze the verdant Fields, or range the Woods.
121 But whether Earth or Seas in Kinds excell,
122 The Gods, and sure the Gods alone, can tell.
123 For human Reach has certain Limits set;
124 Men, who too curious search, themselves forget.
125 We ought to know our Bounds, nor grasp at All,
126 But curb the Wish, and the mad Thought recall.
127 Fish have no common Rule of Life assign'd,
128 Not to one Place, or to one Choice confin'd.
129 The sev'ral Kinds pursue their proper Good,
130 Diff'rent their Dwellings, and unlike their Food.
131 Some near the Shore in humble Pleasures blest
132 Approve the Sands, and on their Product feast.[Page 7]
133 The flouncing Horse here restiff drives his Way,
134 And Soles on Sands their softer Bellies lay.
135 Sea-Roach in ruddy Shoals frequent the Land,
136 And puny Black-Tails range the shelving Strand.
137 The clouded Mackrels choose the sandy Ground,
138 And with their speckled Train the Beach surround.
139 Flat Folio's here stretch on the shaded Seas,
140 Here spiny Scads and fruitful Carps encrease.
141 The Broad-Tail here, and dainty Mullet feed,
142 Frisk on the Sands, or batten on the Weed.
143 Close to the shore soft slender Swaths reside,
144 And the gay Mormyl shows his spotted Pride.
145 But what these love the slimy Offspring hate:
146 The Cod, and Whiting Kinds, the prickly Skate,
147 The Thornback-Ray an arm'd, and hardy Race,
148 The pois'nous Fire-Flaire, and the smoother Plaise
149 Stretch on soft Slime; in Slime the Sea-Cow hides,
150 And on the yielding Bed reclines her Sides.
151 The Cramp-Fish rightly nam'd from numming Pain,
152 And wide-mouth'd Lizards sandy Heaps disdain.
153 In grosser Filth they pass their wanton Days,
154 Search the rich Mud, and wreath thro' hidden Ways.
155 Close to green Shores the wat'ry Natives feed,
156 That hide in Wrack, and bite the spiry Weed.[Page 8]
157 Such Food the Cackrels and the Goats approve,
158 Sea-Wolves, and all the prickly Species love.
159 The Ox-ey'd Race the slimy Coverts haunt,
160 Where silent Waters wash the growing Plant.
161 Barbels to fresher Channels are inclin'd,
162 Barbels the justest of the scaly Kind.
163 The slimy Conger, and bold Amies known
164 In hardy Fight the briny Floods disown;
165 Near Rivers stay, and shun the distant Seas;
166 The brackish Tast and pungent Salts displease.
167 With them the Grunter seeks the fresher Flood;
168 Mean are his Pleasures, and unclean his Food.
169 Sweet Streams the Tunnie's Young, and Sea-Wolf crave,
170 And to the Deep prefer the mingled Wave.
171 Where wide-mouth'd Rivers force their rapid Way,
172 And their full Tribute to the Ocean pay;
173 Here with sweet Draughts the joyful Tribes are blest,
174 And the Land-Floods bring down a grateful Feast.
175 Wash'd from each Bank rich Spoils are born away;
176 The Fishes wait, and seize the floating Prey.
177 Sea Wolves within the River's Channels keep,
178 Affect no Change, nor venture on the Deep.
179 Or if they chance to roam, return again
180 With frighted Hast, and fly the hated Main.[Page 9]
181 Diff'rent the Conduct of the restless Eel;
182 He from his wonted Hole will slily Steal;
183 The fresher Streams, his native Home, forsake,
184 Despise the little Brook, or standing Lake.
185 Curious to sport in Depths unknown before,
186 And search the Hollows of the crooked shore,
187 Thro' secret Tracks he glides, and slimy Ways,
188 And wreaths his snaky Length thro' ev'ry winding Maze.
189 Those dreadful Rocks, that rising Tides restrain,
190 And mock the foamy Anger of the Main,
191 Nor of one Form, nor equal Height appear;
192 Some to the Clouds their dark'ning Summits rear.
193 High steepy Cliffs despise the lower Sand,
194 O'erlook the Seas, and distant Views command.
195 On some thick Beds of mossy Verdure grow,
196 Sea-Grass, and spreading Wrack are seen below.
197 Here the Sea-Pearch and gawdy Goldlins sport,
198 Gay Rainbow-Fish, and sable Wrass resort.
199 The Gaper here, whose Jaws but seldom close,
200 Swims near the Rocks, where the rank Herbage grows.
201 They too, who like the mournful Halcyons breed,
202 And form a floating Nest of slimy Weed.
203 And He, unhappy in his hated Name
204 Borrow'd from lawless Loves, and Pathick Shame.[Page 10]
205 Near sandy rising Shelves, at ebbing Tides
206 Unfruitful Rocks display their craggy sides.
207 Here Basilisks and drowsy Sand Eels lie,
208 Here the gay Gurnard boasts his rosie Dye.
209 Where moisten'd Cliffs are all with Herbs o'ergrown,
210 And the rank Stalks lie matted on the Stone,
211 The Sargo will the leafy Covert praise,
212 And here the Dory spends his easy Days.
213 Here Sea-Crows dwell, nam'd from their dusky Hue,
214 And tim'rous Shade-Fish the blind Haunts pursue.
215 Here Scaro's feed, the only Kinds that dare
216 To form shrill Sounds, and strike the trembling Air.
217 To pensive Silence doom'd no other Fish
218 Can speak his Wants, or tell his secret Wish.
219 Twice o'er their Food the wanton Scaro's eat,
220 With Pleasure the luxurious Toil repeat.
221 Like Sheep in grassy Meads, or fat'ning Kine
222 They chew the Cud, and on the Tast refine.
223 Within those Rocks, where clinging Oysters dwell,
224 And all the Natives of the wrinkled Shell;
225 Vast hollow Caves their vaulted Roofs extend,
226 Whose warm Retreat voracious Breams commend.
227 To rocky Cells the wriggling Lampreys steal,
228 And Mackrels here their speckled Sides conceal.[Page 11]
229 Here stretcht at ease slow-dying Oerves remain,
230 Whose Bodies long will stubborn Life retain.
231 Repeated Wounds the tortur'd Wretches feel,
232 Yet dare the cruel Hand, and cutting Steel.
233 The Parts disjoyn'd and mangled as they lie
234 Still pant, and move, and will at leisure die.
235 Some scorn the Rocks, no shallow Waters please,
236 They fly the Shore, and sound the lowest Seas.
237 Sea-Sheep and Liver-Fish are hid below,
238 While far above the troubled Surges flow.
239 Deep in th' Abyss they make their oozy Bed,
240 Nor changing Skies, nor coming Tempests dread.
241 Fixt to their Choice, the dull unwieldy Race
242 Lie in the Depths, and keep one constant Place.
243 Unmov'd they stretch themselves, and longing wait,
244 Till some poor Fish urg'd by unkinder Fate
245 Too near approaching takes his luckless way;
246 They without Labour seize the weaker Prey.
247 With these we may the wary Haddocks joyn,
248 Who prudent know what Dangers to decline,
249 The sickly Autumn dread, and sultry Days,
250 When scorching Sirius darts his baneful Rays.
251 Soon as the Fever taints the blasted Air,
252 They to some gloomy Covert all repair;[Page 12]
253 Close in the darksome Hole they moody grieve,
254 Nor sullen will the inmost Shelter leave;
255 Till the dire Star has spent his venom'd Rage,
256 Till the Brooks fill, and all the Heats asswage.
257 A ruddy Fish, of kin to Barbel Kinds,
258 On Island Rocks uncommon Pleasure finds;
259 Adonis call'd by those who would express
260 The various Beauties of his painted Dress.
261 Who his fond Choice and fickle Temper know
262 Land-Fish expressive Name on him bestow.
263 Th' inconstant Wretch too curious leaves the Deep,
264 Loves the hard Earth, and courts forbidden Sleep.
265 No other Kind of those whose gasping Gills
266 With humid Breath repeated Suction fills,
267 Can bear the sultry Heat, and Summer Sky,
268 Bask in the Sun, and wanton in the Dry.
269 When Calms invite, and angry Storms are ceast,
270 He drives the Stream, and hastens to his Rest.
271 Stretcht on a rising Rock he sunning lies
272 Well-pleas'd, while easy Slumbers close his Eyes,
273 Tho' cautious Fear a sounder Sleep denies;
274 Lest hostile Birds should, as they distant fly,
275 Observing stoop, and bear the Prey on high.[Page 13]
276 When feather'd Pillagers intent on Food
277 Skim by the Rocks, or o'er the Waters brood;
278 Clear Skies in vain their pleasing Warmth impart;
279 The Wretches soon from broken Slumbers start.
280 Twining they leap, and antick Postures show,
281 Bound from the Rock, and hast to dive below.
282 To shun the Danger will forgoe their Ease,
283 And seek the Shelter of the kinder Seas.
284 In Rocks, or Sands the glitt'ring Giltheads live,
285 Food and Content from either Place receive.
286 Blewlings, fierce Weavers, and the Ruff enjoy
287 The rocky Caves, when sandy Shallows cloy.
288 To either Choice indifferent alike
289 Both Kinds of Scorpions, and the slender Pike,
290 The horned Gar, and sportive Gudgeon range,
291 And unconfin'd approve th' alternate Change.
292 With them the Sea-Mouse roves of slender Size,
293 But on sharp Teeth, and horny Snout relies.
294 No Fear the furious little Monster knows,
295 Intrepid hasts unequal Strength t' oppose.
296 With innate Courage fir'd, and martial Rage
297 The puny Warriour dares with Man engage.
298 With mighty Soul in narrow Breast confin'd,
299 He swims the Champion of the scaly Kind.[Page 14]
300 Some scorn the weedy Rocks, and sandy Coast,
301 Less Danger know, and greater Freedom boast;
302 The peaceful Waters of the Ocean seek
303 But fly the Straights, and shun the winding Creek.
304 Far from the Shore the nimble Tunnies race
305 O'er the wide Plain, and vast unmeasur'd Space.
306 The Horsetail, and the Sword-Fish arm'd for War
307 Nor make the Shallows nor the Rocks their Care.
308 In distant Seas the spotted Cogniols play,
309 At leisure roll, and cut the trackless Way.
310 Thro' Depths unknown the Serpents curling pass,
311 And twine resistless thro' the slimy Mass.
312 They hate the Shore, who sacred Honours claim,
313 And to their Beauty owe their awful Name.
314 He the deep Seas prefers to noisy Straights,
315 Who for the distant Ship impatient waits,
316 The friendly Pilot-Fish, who joyful views
317 The well-rigg'd Bark, and ev'ry Sail pursues.
318 Around the wanton Shoals in Order move,
319 And frisking gaze on him who steers above:
320 Eager press on, nor will be left behind,
321 Tho' the full Sails swell bloated with the Wind.
322 You'ld think the Captives chain'd to ev'ry Ship.
323 And drawn unwilling thro' the ruffling Deep.[Page 15]
324 As when some Prince returns from martial Toil
325 Victorious, with a conquer'd Nation's Spoil;
326 Or He, who at th' Olympick Games has won
327 The envy'd Honours of the leafy Crown;
328 The swarming Vulgar throng with gladsome Noise,
329 And on the Triumph feed their dazled Eyes;
330 The Champion to his Home in Crowds attend,
331 And when the Chief dismounts, their Marches end.
332 So They, while no approaching Shores displease,
333 Swim with the Ship tumultuous o'er the Seas.
334 But when they conscious Scent the coming Shore,
335 Averse they court the Sailour's look no more;
336 Avoid the nearer Land, and hie again
337 With equal Hast to the unbounded Main.
338 Pilots observe the Sign, and know the Coast
339 Draws nigh, when they perceive their Comrades lost.
340 Auspicious Friends, the Sailor's darling Fish,
341 The Ship's good Omen, and the Steersman's Wish,
342 Laid careless on the Deck, when you appear,
343 The jolly Crew no sudden Dangers fear;
344 But wayward laugh, or vie in wanton Tales:
345 Your Presence gives clear Skies, and pleasing Gales.
346 No raging Tempests toss the sparkling Seas;
347 But unfurl'd Sails expect the gentler Breeze.[Page 16]
348 Far from the Shore the wily Sucker waits
349 The coming Ship, but him the Sailor hates.
350 Slender his Shape, his Length a Cubit ends;
351 No beauteous Spot the gloomy Race commends;
352 An Eel-like clinging Kind, of dusky Looks;
353 His Jaws display tenacious Rows of Hooks.
354 But in strange Pow'r the puny Fish excells,
355 Beyond the boasted Art of Magick Spells.
356 Oft Seamen tell, but few the Tale believe,
357 Or own those Truths they cannot well conceive.
358 Men think they know all Nature's secret Laws,
359 Her Pow'rs define, and trace each hidden Cause.
360 Full of himself the Sceptick over-wise
361 Oft real Facts, because unseen, denies.
362 To strange Effects, when prov'd, no Credit gives,
363 Feeds his false Doubt, and thus himself deceives.
364 The Sucking-Fish beneath with secret Chains
365 Clung to the Keel the swiftest Ship detains.
366 The Seamen run confus'd, no Labour's spar'd,
367 Let fly the Sheets, and hoist the topmost Yard.
368 The Master bids them give her all the Sails,
369 To court the Winds, and catch the coming Gales.
370 But tho' the Canvas bellies with the Blast,
371 And boist'rous Winds bend down the cracking Mast,[Page 17]
372 The Bark stands firmly rooted in the Sea,
373 And will unmov'd nor Winds, nor Waves obey.
374 Still, as when Calms have flatted all the Plain,
375 And Infant Waves scarce wrinkle on the Main.
376 No Ship in Harbour moor'd so careless rides,
377 When ruffling Waters tell the flowing Tides.
378 Appall'd the Sailors stare, thro' strange Surprize
379 Believe they dream, and rub their waking Eyes.
380 As when unerring from the Huntsman's Bow
381 The feather'd Death arrests the flying Doe;
382 Struck thro' the dying Beast falls sudden down,
383 The Parts grow Stiff, and all the Motion's gone;
384 Such sudden Force the floating Captive binds,
385 Tho' beat by Waves, and urg'd by driving Winds.
386 Pilchards, and Shads in Shoals together keep,
387 The num'rous Fry disturbs the mantling Deep.
388 No Home they know, nor can Confinement love,
389 But fond of hourly Change unsettled rove.
390 Now choose the Rocks, now seek the wider Seas;
391 No Place can long the restless Wand'rers please.
392 They soon grow weary when they once enjoy,
393 And Pleasures will, as soon as tasted, cloy.
394 Near hidden Crags, and Rocks unseen below,
395 Where slower Waves with silent Current flow,[Page 18]
396 The Anthies lie conceal'd in close Retreat,
397 But oft must stray far from their Mansion Seat.
398 Voracious Appetite commands away,
399 To range for Food, and find the luckless Prey.
400 Anthies insatiate feel the gnawing Grief,
401 Repeated Luxury gives no Relief.
402 Tho' not for rav'nous Force by Heav'n design'd;
403 For Nature has disarm'd the toothless Kind.
404 Four Kinds of Anthies in the Seas are bred:
405 Some gild the Waters with a shining Red.
406 A second Sort are blanch'd with pleasing White;
407 A third of Hue less grateful to the Sight,
408 A gloomy Race, the blackish Die retain,
409 All swarthed o'er, and ting'd with sooty Stain.
410 What Mark the others bear their Name implies,
411 Call'd from the bending Arch that shades their Eyes.
412 In shelly Armour wrapt, the Lobsters seek
413 Safe Shelter in some Bay, or winding Creek;
414 To rocky Chasms the dusky Natives cleave,
415 Tenacious hold, nor will the dwelling leave.
416 Nought like their Home the constant Lobsters prize,
417 And forreign Shores, and Seas unknown despise.
418 Tho' cruel Hand the banish'd Wretch expell,
419 And force the Captive from his native Cell,[Page 19]
420 He will, if freed, return, with anxious Care
421 Find the known Rock, and to his Home repair:
422 No novel Customs learns in diff'rent Seas,
423 But wonted Food, and home-taught Manners please.
424 His long-deserted House the Lobster owns,
425 And with close ardent Claw indents the fav'rite Stones.
426 The Love of Country's not to Man confin'd;
427 The same Propensions sway the brutal Mind.
428 Fishes their Native Caves with Transport view;
429 They have their Countries, and their Fondness too.
430 No Nation may with that blest Clime compare,
431 That gave us first to breath the vital Air.
432 How dear the first Acquaintance of our Eyes!
433 How rich the Soil! how beautiful the Skies!
434 The Name of Country fills the grateful Mind
435 With all that's tender, generous and kind.
436 Ah! wretched those, who forc'd from what they love
437 Necessitous in vagrant Exile rove;
438 Still restless must the killing Grief renew,
439 Despis'd by All, or pity'd but by Few.
440 Prawns, and the Velvet-Crab, tho' kin to these,
441 Are not so constant to their native Seas.
442 Sometimes th' Amphibious Race the Floods disown,
443 Nor are the Guests to neighb'ring Shores unknown.[Page 20]
444 The Shelly Crawlers each returning Year,
445 Cast off their Coat, and new-made Armour wear.
446 Self-taught, when first the Velvet-Crabs perceive
447 Their loos'ning Shell will soon the Body leave,
448 They cram their Paunch, and bloated strive to thrust
449 From off their rising Back the tott'ring Crust.
450 But when their naked Bodies lie expos'd,
451 No longer with the shelly Fence enclos'd;
452 They senseless seem, stretcht on the sandy Bed
453 All pensive lie, and deem themselves as dead;
454 Nor cautious eat, left gorging Food should swell
455 The tender Flesh, and stop the growing Shell.
456 But when slow Nature moulds the viscous Mass,
457 And Time begins to fix the hard'ning Case,
458 The rising Crust half-form'd they joyous feel,
459 And suck the Sands; yet dread the hearty Meal;
460 Till the firm finisht Work can safe endure
461 The rudest Shock, and ev'ry Part secure.
462 So when the Veins glow with a deeper Red,
463 When Pustules rise, or scarlet Blotches spread;
464 The prudent Leech prescribes a wholesome Fast,
465 Forbids the noxious Pleasures of the Tast.
466 And when his Skill perceives the slaking Heats,
467 While the slow Pulse with equal Motion beats,[Page 21]
468 He cautious fears to raise the sinking Flood,
469 And gives with sparing Hand the slender Food.
470 Till perfect Health restores her former Grace,
471 Strength to the Limbs, and Beauty to the Face.
472 The pois'nous Creeper, and the changing Preke
473 The secret Caverns of the Ocean seek.
474 But curious oft to neighb'ring Shores repair,
475 And tast the Breezes of the cooler Air.
476 The Rustic often hath with wonder seen
477 The climbing Preke browze on the leafy Green.
478 With these the wily Cuttle seeks his Food,
479 Whose Ink distains around the sable Flood.
480 Kinds yet unsung, of the Testaceous Breed,
481 On Sea-beat Rocks, or sandy Hillocks feed.
482 Here slender Sheaths, and juicy Oysters hide,
483 And the gay Authors of the Purple Pride.
484 The Cockle, spiral Whirle, and hardy Mice,
485 With Wilks of various Shell, and quaint Device.
486 Sea-Urchins, who their native Armour boast,
487 All stuck with Spikes, prefer the sandy Coast.
488 Should you with Knives their prickly Bodies wound,
489 Till the crude Morsels pant upon the Ground;
490 You may ev'n then, when Motion seems no more,
491 Departing Sense and fleeting Life restore.[Page 22]
492 If in the Sea the mangled Parts you cast,
493 The conscious Pieces to their Fellows hast;
494 Again they aptly joyn, their Whole compose;
495 Move as before, nor Life, nor Vigour lose.
496 The Hermit-Fish, unarm'd by Nature left,
497 Helpless, and weak, grow strong by harmless Theft.
498 Fearful they strowl, and look with panting Wish
499 For the cast Crust of some new-cover'd Fish;
500 Or such as empty lie, and deck the Shore,
501 Whose first and rightful Owners are no more.
502 They make glad Seizure of the vacant Room,
503 And count the borrow'd Shell their native Home;
504 Screw their soft Limbs to fit the winding Case,
505 And boldly herd with the Crustaceous Race.
506 Careless they enter the first empty Cell;
507 Oft find the plaited Wilk's indented Shell;
508 And oft the deep-dy'd Purple forc'd by Death
509 To Stranger-Fish the painted Home bequeath.
510 The Wilk's etch'd Coat is most with Pleasure worn,
511 Wide in Extent, and yet but lightly born.
512 But when they growing more than fill the Place,
513 And find themselves hard-pinch'd in scanty Space,
514 Compell'd they quit the Roof they lov'd before,
515 And busy search around the pebbly Shore,[Page 23]
516 Till a commodious roomy Seat be found,
517 Such as the larger Cockles living own'd.
518 Oft cruel Wars contending Hermits wage,
519 And long for the disputed Shell engage.
520 The strongest will the doubtful Prize possess,
521 Pow'r gives him Right, and All the Claim confess.
522 Sail-Fish in secret silent Deeps reside,
523 In Shape and Nature to the Preke ally'd;
524 Close in their concave Shells their Bodies wrap,
525 Avoid the Waves, and ev'ry Storm escape.
526 But not to mirksome Depths alone confin'd,
527 When pleasing Calms have still'd the sighing Wind,
528 Curious to know what Seas above contain,
529 They leave the dark Recesses of Main;
530 Now wanton to the changing Surface hast,
531 View clearer Skies, and the pure Welkin tast.
532 But slow they cautious rise, and prudent fear
533 The upper Region of the wat'ry Sphere.
534 Backward they mount, and as the Stream o'erflows,
535 Their convex Shells to pressing Floods oppose.
536 Conscious they know, that should they forward move,
537 O'erwhelming Waves would sink them from above,
538 Fill the void Space, and with the rushing Weight
539 Force down th' Inconstants to their former Seat.[Page 24]
540 When first arriv'd they feel the stronger Blast,
541 They lie Supine, and skim the liquid Wast.
542 The nat'ral Barks outdoe all human Art,
543 When skilful Floaters play the Sailor's part.
544 Two Feet they upward raise, and steady keep,
545 These are the Masts, and Rigging of the Ship.
546 A Membrane stretcht between supplies the Sail,
547 Bends from the Masts, and swells before the Gale.
548 Two other Feet hang paddling on each side,
549 And serve for Oars to row, and Helm to guide.
550 'Tis thus they sail, pleas'd with the wanton Game,
551 The Fish, the Sailor, and the Ship the same.
552 But when the Swimmers dread some Danger near,
553 The sportive Pleasure yields to stronger Fear.
554 No more they wanton drive before the Blasts,
555 But strike the Sails, and bring down all the Masts.
556 The rolling Waves their sinking Shells o'erflow,
557 And dash them down again to Sands below.
558 Ye Pow'rs! when Man first fell'd the stately Trees,
559 And past to distant Shores on wafting Seas:
560 Whether some God inspir'd the wond'rous Thought,
561 Or Chance found out, or careful Study sought;
562 If humble Guess may probably divine,
563 And trace th' Improvement to the first Design;[Page 25]
564 Some Wight of prying Search, who wond'ring Stood,
565 When softer Gales had smooth'd the dimpled Flood,
566 Observ'd these careless Swimmers floating move,
567 And how each Blast the easy Sailor drove;
568 Hence took the Hint; hence form'd th' imperfect Draught;
569 And Ship-like Fish the future Sea-man taught.
570 Then Mortals try'd the shelving Hull to slope,
571 To raise the Mast, and twist the stronger Rope,
572 To fix the Yards, let fly the crowded Sails;
573 Sweep thro' the curling Waves, and court auspicious Gales.
574 Prodigious Fishes, of enormous Size,
575 With shiv'ring Fright pale Mariners surprize.
576 Nature's strange Work, vast Whales of diff'ring Form
577 Toss up the troubled Floods, and are themselves a Storm.
578 Uncouth the Sight, when They in dreadful Play
579 Discharge their Nostrils, and refund a Sea;
580 Or angry lash the Foam with hideous Sound,
581 And scatter all the wat'ry Dust around.
582 Fearless the fierce destructive Monsters roll,
583 Ingulph the Fish, and drive the flying Shoal.[Page 26]
584 In deepest Seas these living Isles appear,
585 And deepest Seas can scarce the Pressure bear.
586 Their Bulk would more than fill the shelvy Straight,
587 And fathom'd Depths would yield beneath the Weight.
588 But some will dare approach the rising Lands,
589 Where Tides run free, unchoak'd with cast-up Sands;
590 Haunt the Sea-Marge, where hanging Cliffs out-brave
591 The bootless Threat'nings of the growling Wave.
592 Near high-land Coasts the rav'nous Shoals appear,
593 And in-land Friths th' unwieldy Monsters bear.
594 Sea-Lions here the sounding Waters beat,
595 Fierce Rams and Panthers break the tatter'd Net.
596 White Sharks, the Fisher's Curse, force on their Way,
597 And ominous Hyæna's seize their Prey.
598 With them swift Tunnies drive, a swarthy Brood,
599 Erect their prickly Fins, and hunt for Food.
600 The monstrous Balance-Fish, of hideous Shape,
601 Rounds jetting Lands, and doubles ev'ry Cape.
602 While noisy Fin-Fish let their Fountains fly,
603 And spout the circling Torrents to the Sky.
604 Saw-Fish well arm'd sweep by the winding Shore,
605 And all the In-lets of the Seas explore.
606 And They who, tho' from Rapin unreclaim'd,
607 From easy Softness are but falsly nam'd.[Page 27]
608 Sea-Dogs, who various Tribes unnumber'd boast,
609 Pirate around, and pillage all the Coast.
610 One Sort, that keeps the Seas, is rank'd with Whales,
611 Others deep hide, and press the slimy Vales.
612 Of these the curst Sea-Hogs one Species make,
613 Call'd from black bristly Pricks, that shade their Back.
614 The Morgay, Monk, the Smooth and Prickly Hound,
615 And long-tail'd Fox strike deep the killing Wound.
616 Their widen'd Jaws a Magazine disclose
617 Of pointed Weapons rang'd in num'rous Rows.
618 In Shape agreeing, and in Choice ally'd,
619 They pad in Troops, and the rich Spoils divide.
620 Kind gen'rous Dolphins love the rocky Shore,
621 Where broken Waves with fruitless Anger roar.
622 But tho' to sounding Shores they curious come,
623 Yet Dolphins count the boundless Sea their Home.
624 Nay should these Favorites forsake the Main,
625 Neptune would grieve his melancholly Reign.
626 The calmest stillest Seas, when left by them,
627 Would rueful frown, and all unjoyous seem.
628 But when the Darlings frisk in wanton Play,
629 The Waters smile, and ev'ry Wave looks gay.
630 Neptune his Spousals to the Dolphin owes,
631 And envy'd Honours on the Race bestows.[Page 28]
632 When the fair Nereid, indiscreetly coy,
633 Fled from th' Embrace, and scorn'd the profer'd Joy;
634 The pensive God around the Waters 'sought,
635 Div'd thro' the Gulphs, and search'd each darksome Grot;
636 In vain; the Dolphins saw, and could declare
637 The secret Haunts of the unwilling Fair.
638 They told him where She bashful hid her Charms;
639 He found, and clasp'd her struggling in his Arms.
640 The Dolphins hence with just Ambition claim
641 Uncommon Gifts, and more than vulgar Fame.
642 No grateful Meed the gen'rous God deny'd
643 To the glad Finders of the Royal Bride.
644 Cetaceous Kinds will sometimes leave the Seas,
645 And praise the distant Verdure of the Trees:
646 Pass o'er the Banks, on sandy Fallows rest,
647 Or seize the Covert of some absent Beast.
648 Thus the mail'd Tortoise, and the wand'ring Eel
649 Oft to the neighb'ring Beach will silent steal.
650 And soft-hair'd Beavers inauspicious roam,
651 Officious to declare impending Doom.
652 The frighted Swains stand list'ning on the Vale,
653 Their Limbs all shudder, and their Cheeks turn pale;
654 While luckless Harbingers, with odious Yell,
655 Too sure the fixt Resolves of Fate foretell.[Page 29]
656 So the Grand Whale will court the weedy Strand,
657 Stretch out, and bask upon the wavy Sand.
658 Sea-Calves by Night far from the Waters stray,
659 And sometimes dare to try the sunny Day;
660 Glad to th' unequal dusty Ridges creep,
661 And thoughtless on the breezy Hillocks sleep.
662 Blest Jove! whose Pow'r must Nature's Laws enforce;
663 From whose Abyss, and rich unempty'd Source
664 Divided Streams of Entity descend
665 By whom all Beings are, in whom they cent'ring end;
666 Whether by Choice confin'd thy Godhead stay,
667 Where blissful Æther gives eternal Day,
668 And far above fixt on th' empyreal Throne,
669 Thou guid'st the World, and look'st propitious down;
670 Or art in ev'ry Part a Mundane Soul,
671 An Energy diffus'd, that actuates the Whole;
672 Man strives in vain to know. —
673 What Cement did All-knowing Goodness find,
674 The jarring Principles of Things to bind,
675 And reconcile their Natures to partake
676 Each other's Forms, and mutual Changes make?
677 Light Æther well may scorn the creeping Streams,
678 And subtil Fire with Earth ill-mated seems;
679 But middle Natures joyn the vast Extreams.[Page 30]
680 Pure with less pure, and gross with grosser meet,
681 And thus the Commerce of the Whole compleat.
682 Of Nature's Chain how regular the Links!
683 Matter by slow Gradations downward sinks;
684 And intermediate Changes gently pass
685 From lightsome Æther to the dullest Mass.
686 Or climb by the same Steps from lumpish Clay
687 To the bright Liquid, and the fine-spun Ray.
688 Dissolving Earth in fluid Moisture glides,
689 And Rocks transform'd flow down in silver Tides.
690 Dilating Streams in vap'ry Columns rise,
691 And sweating Seas will gild the distant Skies.
692 Dispersing Clouds to nobler Forms aspire
693 Refine to Æther, or ferment to Fire.
694 Things only differ as condense, or rare.
695 Impurer Skies will thicken into Air;
696 Air when too gross will falling Drops increase,
697 And hang in lucid Pearls on weeping Trees.
698 The glewy Substance, that no longer flows,
699 Stagnates to Slime; and slimy Matter grows
700 To earthly Mould; that hard'ning turns to Stone.
701 So All is diff'rent, and yet All is One.
702 The Elements, to slow themselves agreed,
703 Each often will another's Offspring feed;[Page 31]
704 And hence Amphibious Kinds indiffrent rove,
705 Design'd as Pledges of their mutual Love.
706 The Sea-born Tribes will seek the distant Mead,
707 And feather'd Fowls on restless Waters breed.
708 The rav'nous Eagle, and the noisy Mew
709 Fearless thro' Waves the scaly Prey pursue.
710 Her Nest the mournful Halcyon trusts to Seas,
711 Nor builds in cranny'd Rocks, or shading Trees.
712 Fish too well-poiz'd their finny Wings display,
713 Dart from the Main, and try th' aerial Way.
714 Sea-Hawks, the Swallow, and the wanton Sleve
715 Their native Streams for airy Pastime leave.
716 When rav'nous Foes pursue, they conscious rise,
717 And court the kind Protection of the Skies.
718 Far on unfeather'd Wings the Sleves are born
719 And soaring high the distant Waters scorn.
720 With strange Surprize we view the dubious Sight,
721 Of Fish in Shape, and yet of Birds in Flight.
722 Sea-Swallows lower fly, regard the Main,
723 Mount in their Fear, but quickly dive again.
724 But cautious Hawks, tho' wing'd, will nearer keep,
725 And hov'ring o'er the wavy Surface sweep.
726 They rince their moisten'd Wings, as close they skim,
727 Both Elements enjoy, and flying swim.[Page 32]
728 Some form Societies, and friendly dwell,
729 Obey set Laws, and know the publick Weal.
730 Others, a giddy Race, ungovern'd strowl,
731 The foaming Surface shows the wand'ring Shoal,
732 O'er all the troubled Sea confus'dly spread,
733 Like bleating Flocks on sunny Mountains fed.
734 Others are rang'd, unlike the huddled Drove;
735 In equal Files the moist Battalions move.
736 With firm Platoons they stem the flowing Tide,
737 And regular their wat'ry Marches guide.
738 Some with one Partner all their Blessings share;
739 The strictest Friendship centers in a Pair.
740 Others, a pensive solitary Kind,
741 Wand'ring alone ill-natur'd Pleasure find;
742 Full of themselves the sullen Bliss commend,
743 Nor know the soft Endearments of a Friend.
744 Some keep one Place, and there incurious lie,
745 Ne'er roam abroad, but where they live they die.
746 When Winter's stormy Season is begun,
747 And piercing Cold mocks the declining Sun,
748 Vext by the Winds the angry Billows rise,
749 And would revenge themselves upon the Skies.
750 Dash'd Floods loud echo from the plaining Shore,
751 The Tempest rattles, and the Surges roar.[Page 33]
752 Such Din the Scaly Natives dread to hear,
753 Lurk in the Sands, or to the Caves repair;
754 There trembling lie; or sink to Depths below,
755 Where all the Mother-Waters silent flow;
756 The distant Threats of low'ring Storms despise,
757 Nor fear the clouded Changes of the Skies.
758 The deepest Waves, and fiercest Wind that blows,
759 Can't reach those Depths, or raise the settled Ooze;
760 Eternal Calms protect the peaceful Plain,
761 While Tempests rage, and Waters beat in vain.
762 Warm in old Ocean's Lap they rest secure,
763 While noisy Storms and wintry Colds endure;
764 Till stronger Rays the thawing Frost subdue,
765 And Nature the decaying World renew.
766 When smiling Hours lead in the blooming Year,
767 And Groves and Meads in gayer Dress appear;
768 While soothing Pleasaunce sits on all the Sea;
769 Fishes the kinder Summons will obey,
770 Throng to the Shore, and bound in joyous Play.
771 So Citizens, when hostile Troops confine,
772 With wakefull Fear, and tedious Hunger pine.
773 But when kind Fate, or pressing Want oblige
774 Th' investing Host to raise the fruitless Siege,[Page 34]
775 Freed from Alarms the smiling Neighbours meet,
776 All Ranks and Ages crowd the noisy Street.
777 The Youths and Virgins trip the joyful Round,
778 And guide their Motions by directing Sound.
779 Lovers repeat the long-neglected Bliss,
780 And make amends for the suspended Kiss.
781 When pleasing Heat, and fragrant Blooms inspire
782 Soft leering Looks, kind Thoughts and gay Desire,
783 Love runs thro' All; the feather'd Wantons play,
784 Seek out their Mates, and bill on ev'ry Spray.
785 The savage Kinds a softer Rage express,
786 And gloating Eyes the secret Flame confess.
787 But none like Fishes feel the dear Disease;
788 For Venus doubly warms her native Seas.
789 Males unconcern'd their pleasing Loves repeat,
790 While anxious She's the ripen'd Birth compleat.
791 On sandy Mounds their pressing Bellies lay,
792 And force the Burden of the Womb away.
793 Close joyn'd the complicated Eggs remain;
794 To separate that Heap is racking Pain.
795 Complain no more, ye Fair, or partial Fate,
796 What Sorrows on the teeming Bride await.[Page 35]
797 The Female-Curse is not to Earth confin'd,
798 Severest Throws the Fishes Wombs unbind;
799 Lucina is alike to All unkind.
800 Now when the vernal Breeze has purg'd the Air,
801 To ev'ry Shore the vig'rous Males repair;
802 By Fear compell'd, or Appetite inclin'd,
803 To chace the weak, or fly the stronger Kind:
804 Nor will the am'rous Females stay behind.
805 No Fears or Dangers can the Bliss prevent,
806 When urg'd by Love, and on the Joy intent,
807 They still importunate their Suit renew,
808 And obstinately kind extort their Due.
809 Their Bodies meet, the close Embraces please,
810 Till mingled Slime lies floating on the Seas:
811 The She's gulp greedy down the tepid Seed,
812 And fruitful from the strange Conception breed.
813 Hence the succeeding Colonies increase,
814 And new-spawn'd Tribes replenish all the Seas.
815 But some no lawless Liberties allow;
816 Whose Brides confin'd their private Chambers know.
817 In close Retreat they guard th' imprison'd Fair,
818 Observe their Haunt, and watch with jealous Care,
819 Lest some false Leman should invade their Right,
820 And wanton glory in the stol'n Delight.[Page 36]
821 All Things obey, when softer Passions move,
822 But Fishes feel the keenest Rage of Love.
823 They all the Pangs of jealous Fury know,
824 (That cursed Fiend will dive to Worlds below,)
825 Feel selfish Pride, Distrust, and anxious Pain,
826 And all the Plagues that form Love's pompous Train.
827 As rival Lovers, that one Flame confess,
828 All blooming Youths, whom splendid Fortunes bless,
829 Still haunt the Nymph, and tell the moving Tale;
830 Each hopes his Wealth or Passion may prevail;
831 Thus Sea-born Rivals round the She repair,
832 And claim the sole Enjoyment of the Fair.
833 They boast no Wealth indeed to purchase Love,
834 No soft deluding Eloquence to move;
835 But they have sharpest Teeth, and pointed Jaws,
836 To own their Passion, and maintain their Cause.
837 Long they dispute the Prize in hardy Fight,
838 Till joyful Conquest gives undoubted Right.
839 The vanquisht Wretch must hide in pensive Shame,
840 Forego his Pleasure, and renounce his Claim.
841 Some to successive Choice of Wives are kind,
842 Abhor the Curse of one to one confin'd.
843 Thus the lewd Sargo's spend their wanton Days,
844 And dark-dy'd Wrass the lawless Freedom praise.[Page 37]
845 The Beetle no promiscuous Joys allows,
846 True to his Vow, and grateful to his Spouse.
847 No Change he seeks, nor leaves his dusky Fair;
848 Propitious Hymen joyns the constant Pair.
849 Strange the Formation of the Eely Race,
850 That know no Sex, yet love the close Embrace.
851 Their folded Lengths they round each other twine,
852 Twist am'rous Knots, and slimy Bodies joyn;
853 Till the close Strife brings off a frothy Juice,
854 The Seed that must the wriggling Kind produce.
855 Regardless They their future Offspring leave,
856 But porous Sands the spumy Drops receive.
857 That genial Bed impregnates all the Heap,
858 And little Eelets soon begin to creep.
859 Half-Fish, Half-Slime they try their doubtful strength,
860 And slowly trail along their wormy Length.
861 What great Effects from slender Causes flow!
862 Congers their Bulk to these Productions owe:
863 The Forms, which from the frothy Drop began,
864 Stretch out immense, and eddy all the Main.
865 Justly might Female Tortoises complain,
866 To whom Enjoyment is the greatest Pain.
867 They dread the Tryal, and foreboding hate
868 The growing Passion of the cruel Mate.[Page 38]
869 He amorous pursues, They conscious fly
870 Joyless Caresses, and resolv'd deny.
871 Since partial Heav'n has thus restrain'd the Bliss,
872 The Males they welcome with a closer Kiss,
873 Bite angry, and reluctant Hate declare.
874 The Tortoise-Courtship is a State of War.
875 Eager they fight, but with unlike Design,
876 Males to obtain, and Females to decline.
877 The conflict lasts, till these by Strength o'ercome
878 All sorrowing yield to the resistless Doom.
879 Not like a Bride, but pensive Captive, led
880 To the loath'd Duties of an hated Bed.
881 The Seal, and Tortoise copulate behind
882 Like Earth-bred Dogs, and are not soon disjoyn'd;
883 But secret Ties the passive Couple bind.
884 The Preke's Amours our softest Pity move,
885 Whose certain nat'ral Death is only Love.
886 Once, and but once, the niggard Pow'rs allow
887 The luckless Pair congenial Bliss to know.
888 Soon as the Male has try'd the luscious Joy,
889 The soft repeated Pleasures never cloy.
890 Excessive in Desire he won't give o'er,
891 Till strength and wasting Spirits be no more.[Page 39]
892 When Nature drain'd can grant no fresh Supplies,
893 Stretcht on the Sands all impotent he lies.
894 The little Shell-Fish, late his usual Prey,
895 Insult his Doom, and all his Wrongs repay;
896 Their Foe, so dreadful once, no longer fear,
897 And well reveng'd the living Carkass tear.
898 He passive lies, nor feels the Pow'r to move,
899 But dying grieves his too unsated Love.
900 Nor long, when once enjoy'd, the Females live,
901 Or future Dolours of the Birth survive.
902 Their Eggs lie all compact, and strait's the Way,
903 Which must the cluster'd Heaps to Life convey.
904 Now when ripe Nature will the Birth constrain,
905 The teeming Bride feels her increasing Pain;
906 Nor longer can the tort'ring Pressure bear,
907 When falling Eggs th' unequal Passage tear.
908 Fate stints their Life; that Term they cannot pass,
909 One rolling Year concludes the shorten'd Space.
910 E'er the swift Chariot of the Gold-hair'd Sun
911 Has told the Days, and all his Circuit run,
912 Fond Suicides the dear Destruction prove
913 Of luckless Marriage, and disastrous Love.
914 The Lamprey, glowing with uncommon Fires,
915 The Earth-bred Serpents purfled Curls admires.[Page 40]
916 He no less kind makes amorous Returns,
917 With equal Love the grateful Serpent burns.
918 Fixt on the Joy he bounding shoots along,
919 Erects his azure Crest, and darts his forky Tongue.
920 Now his red Eye-balls glow with doubled Fires;
921 Proudly he mounts upon his folded Spires,
922 Displays his glossy Coat, and speckled Side,
923 And meets in all his Charms the wat'ry Bride.
924 But lest he cautless might his Consort harm,
925 The gentle Lover will himself disarm,
926 Spit out the venom'd Mass, and careful hide
927 In cranny'd Rocks, far from the washing Tide;
928 There leaves the Furies of his noxious Teeth,
929 And putrid Bags, the pois'nous Fund of Death.
930 His Mate he calls with softly hissing Sounds;
931 She joyful hears, and from the Ocean bounds.
932 Swift as the bearded Arrow's Hast she flies,
933 To own her Love, and meet the Serpent's Joys.
934 At her approach, no more the Lover bears
935 Odious Delay, nor sounding Waters fears.
936 Onward he moves on shining Volumes roll'd,
937 The Foam all burning seems with wavy Gold.
938 At length with equal Hast the Lovers meet,
939 And strange Enjoyments slake their mutual Heat.[Page 41]
940 She with wide-gaping Mouth the Spouse invites,
941 Sucks in his Head, and feels unknown Delights.
942 When full Fruition has asswag'd Desire,
943 Well-pleas'd the Bride will to her Home retire.
944 Tir'd with the Strife the Serpent hies to Land,
945 And leaves his Prints on all the furrow'd Sand;
946 With anxious Fear seeks the close private Cleft,
947 Where he in Trust th' important Secret left.
948 From the stain'd Rock he sucks the pois'nous Heaps,
949 Feels his returning Strength, and hissing leaps;
950 With brandish'd Tongue the distant Foe defies,
951 And darts new Light'nings from his Blood-shot Eyes.
952 But if some Swain mean while observing spies
953 Where odious Spume, and venom'd Spittle lies,
954 And while the Serpent wooes, from neighb'ring Seas
955 The cleansing Waters to the Rock conveys;
956 The Serpent comes, and finds his Treasure gone,
957 Looks sorrowing round, and blames the faithless Stone;
958 Disarm'd no more his wonted Pleasure takes,
959 Curls in the Grass, or hisses in the Brakes.
960 He creeps with Shame a tawdry speckled Worm,
961 And prides no longer in his beauteous Form.
962 On the same Rock with Head reclin'd he lies,
963 And, where he lost his Arms, despairing dies.[Page 42]
964 Dolphins like Men perform the nuptial Debt,
965 Parts of like Form the vig'rous Joy repeat;
966 Hide, and contract unseen, till eager Love,
967 And conscious Hopes the pow'rful Fancy move.
968 Thus the moist Tribes the Call of Love obey,
969 Produce their Like, and people all the Sea.
970 Each knows the Time, by proper Instinct drawn,
971 When Nature bids eject th' enliven'd Spawn.
972 Some breed, when vernal Days the Skies renew,
973 And Waves each other but in Sport pursue.
974 When soft Favonius plays in wanton Gales,
975 And pleasing Warmth no future Storm exhales.
976 Others, when Summer darts directer Beams,
977 And fills the tainted Air with sultry Steams.
978 Some from their Wombs the ripen'd Burden force,
979 When weary'd Titan takes a shorter Course,
980 And from high Mountain Tops th' Autumnal Breeze
981 Lets fall the wafted Seeds on barren Seas.
982 Some, when inclement Winter rudely blows,
983 To chilling Cold their tender Young expose.
984 Yearly their Eggs the pregnant Females lay,
985 One annual Birth restores the vast Decay.
986 But twice Sea-Wolves the coming Sorrow mourn;
987 Again the Joys, again the Pangs return.[Page 43]
988 Three yearly Spawns the teeming Mullet bless,
989 Renew the Race, and give the large Increase.
990 The curling Scorpion in each Season knows,
991 The glad Conception, and the wringing Throws.
992 But Carps all Kinds in num'rous Births exceed,
993 They still unweary'd with their Labour breed.
994 With five successive Spawns the Carps abound
995 E'er the swift Sun has trac'd his annual Round.
996 But no Research the puzzling Secret finds,
997 How Whitings gender, and preserve their Kinds.
998 They love, and propagate by Ways unknown,
999 And baffled Men their vain Enquiries own.
1000 Oviparous Fish, whom vernal Labours ease,
1001 And give the full-grown Eggs their ripe Release,
1002 Some in their wonted Dwellings patient stay,
1003 Prepare their Beds, and wait the reckon'd Day.
1004 Others will not Lucina's Call obey,
1005 Till with long March they reach the Euxine Sea.
1006 There pleasant Gulphs uncommon Sweetness boast,
1007 And Salts o'er-pow'rd in fresher Streams are lost.
1008 A thousand River-Gods on ev'ry Side
1009 Their leaning Urns all to the Euxine guide.
1010 The hollow Bason is ingirt around
1011 With fruitful Banks, and fenc'd with rising Ground.[Page 44]
1012 Here all the Pleasures of the Sea they find,
1013 Rich Pastures, sandy Mounds, and gentle Wind.
1014 Capes jetting from the Shores on either Side
1015 Elbow the Floods, and part the swelling Tide.
1016 Here private Ways, and dubious Caverns please,
1017 And bending Fore-lands shade the calmer Seas.
1018 Returning Tides beflime the winding Caves,
1019 And easy Dimples smile in broken Waves.
1020 No rav'nous Kinds, and fierce unwelcome Guest
1021 Thirsting for Blood, the wat'ry Roads infest.
1022 No Whaly Monster here destructive rolls,
1023 No Robber comes that preys on weaker Shoals.
1024 No Lobster on the little Captive feasts;
1025 Nor crawling Preke those harmless Shores molests.
1026 Dolphins are found, but innocently tame
1027 These Dolphins play, and murd'rous Guilt disclaim.
1028 A Species weaker than the Whaly Breed,
1029 Peaceful they rove, and without Slaughter feed.
1030 Hence thronging Fish admire the kind Retreat;
1031 From ev'ry distant Sea the Strangers meet.
1032 Led by one Thought they feel the same Desire,
1033 Come at set Times, and all at once retire.
1034 When Instinct prompts, the She's with one Design
1035 Begin the March, and all their Forces joyn,[Page 45]
1036 Pass the Propontis, and the Thracian Straight,
1037 And now the coming Birth impatient wait.
1038 So prudent Cranes, from Egypt's slimy Banks,
1039 Concert their Flight, and form their airy Ranks;
1040 Bleak Atlas leave, and Æthiopia's Snows,
1041 Where puny Pigmies bend their hostile Bows.
1042 Loud Clangors sound the March; the Flocks on high
1043 Spread their long Wings, and brush th' uncolour'd Sky.
1044 Well-rang'd they file along the trackless Plain,
1045 And busy Plumes the whistling Welkin fan.
1046 Such noisy Tumults stir the mantling Seas,
1047 When breeding Fish joy at the vernal Breeze;
1048 With fisking Tails the circling Eddies beat,
1049 Hast to the Birth, and annual Toils repeat.
1050 Unweary'd they pursue the toilsome Race,
1051 Till the calm Euxine shows his smiling Face.
1052 Here their prolifick Spawn they teeming lay,
1053 While friendly Winds with sportive Waters play.
1054 Sunk Waves supine on the smooth Surface sleep,
1055 And Warmth impregnates all the jelly'd Heap.
1056 But when Autumnal Winds grow hoarse with Cold,
1057 And the rouz'd Billows are confus'dly roll'd;
1058 When Gales, that whisper'd erst, begin to chide,
1059 When Mountains rise, and yawning Combs subside,[Page 46]
1060 So calm before, the Euxine suffers most
1061 From wint'ry Storms, and is incessant tost.
1062 Insulting Winds it's shallow Depth command,
1063 And boiling Floods turn up the working Sand.
1064 Dash'd on themselves the bandy'd Surges roar,
1065 And tell th' unpity'd Tale to ev'ry Shore.
1066 The vap'ry Mountains blacken from afar,
1067 Recruit the Tempest, and maintain the War.
1068 Fishes alarm'd the changing Season mourn,
1069 And with their little Fry in Throngs return.
1070 Backward again their hasty Course they steer,
1071 And the free open Main to in-land Seas prefer.
1072 Soft Fishes, who their plyant Bodies wreath,
1073 In whom no Bones their branching Prickles sheath;
1074 The Bloodless Crusty Race, who crawling play,
1075 Tho' no swoln Veins the purple Life convey;
1076 The various Finny Tribes, that swifter glide,
1077 Array'd in silver Scales, and spotted Pride;
1078 And slow Testaceous Kinds, that constant dwell
1079 Fixt in the Concave of the pearly Shell,
1080 All breed alike, distill a mucous Juice
1081 Whose bladd'ry Heaps the future Young produce.
1082 Eagles, Sea-Dogs, and all the Gristly Race
1083 Bring forth their Like, no shapeless clotted Mass;[Page 47]
1084 Retain the Seed within till perfect grown,
1085 And Nature has her just Proportions shown.
1086 From the full Womb Amphibious Paddlers creep,
1087 And little Sea-Calves bustle on the Deep.
1088 So Dolphins teem, whom Subject Fish revere,
1089 And show the smiling Seas their Infant-Heir.
1090 All other Kinds, whom Parent-Seas confine,
1091 Dolphins excell; that Race is all divine.
1092 Dolphins were Men, (Tradition hands the Tale)
1093 Laborious Swains bred on the Tuscan Vale:
1094 Transform'd by Bacchus, and by Neptune lov'd,
1095 They all the Pleasures of the Deep improv'd.
1096 When new-made Fish the God's Command obey'd,
1097 Plung'd in the Waves, and untry'd Fins display'd,
1098 No further Change relenting Bacchus wrought,
1099 Nor have the Dolphins all the Man forgot;
1100 The conscious Soul retains her former Thought.
1101 When painful Throws, (for Twins the Dolphins bear)
1102 And finish'd Time brings forth the Princely Pair,
1103 They round their Parent frisk, sport by her Side;
1104 Oft in her Mouth the little Wantons hide.
1105 She glad receives, with watchful Eye attends,
1106 Directs their Motions, and from Harm defends;[Page 48]
1107 Exulting leaps, and feels the Mother's Joy,
1108 When with close Kiss she hugs the dandled Boy.
1109 Then suckling gives to each the swelling Breast,
1110 By partial Heav'n with Gifts uncommon blest.
1111 The Dolphins Paps a luscious Milk produce,
1112 Hourly distending with secreted Juice.
1113 But when her Young are grown to just Encrease,
1114 And stronger Fins can wrestle with the Seas,
1115 She to more useful Arts directs the Way,
1116 And shows to vault the Waves, and chace the Prey.
1117 What pleasing Wonders charm the Sailor's sight,
1118 When Calms the Dolphins to their Sports invite?
1119 As jovial Swains in tuneful Measure tread,
1120 And leave their rounding Pressures on the Mead;
1121 So They in circling Dance, with wanton Ease
1122 Pursue each other round the furrow'd Seas,
1123 With rapid Force the curling Streams divide,
1124 Add to the Waves, and drive the slow-pac'd Tide.
1125 The Parent Dolphins, with suspicious Care,
1126 Of casual Harms, and guilty Floods beware,
1127 Move cautious on behind, and guard the Rear.
1128 So when blith Lambs their vernal Revels keep,
1129 Bound from the Turf, and o'er the Hillocks leap;[Page 49]
1130 Now harmless try to butt, then race away,
1131 Now weary'd feed, and thus consume the Day,
1132 Mean while the thoughtful Shepherd watching lies,
1133 Lest sudden Onset should his Flock surprize.
1134 As grave Preceptors, whose instructive Care
1135 By Wisdom's Dictates forms the growing Heir,
1136 When the glad Pupil Throng to Sport inclin'd,
1137 Suspend the nobler Pleasures of the Mind,
1138 With jealous Eyes the while their Steps observe,
1139 Left playful Hours from steady Virtue swerve;
1140 So Parent Dolphins on the Care intent
1141 Watch their gay Young, and threaten'd Ills prevent.
1142 Sea-Calves their Offspring, like the Dolphins, feast,
1143 And milky Stores distend the rising Breast.
1144 When conseious they th' approaching Time perceive,
1145 They fly the Deep, and wat'ry Pastures leave.
1146 On the dry Ground, far from the swelling Tide,
1147 Bring forth their Young, and on the Shores abide,
1148 Till twice six times they see the Eastern Gleams
1149 Brighten the Hills, and tremble on the Streams.
1150 The thirteenth Morn, soon as the early Dawn
1151 Hangs out it's crimson Folds, or spreads it's Lawn,
1152 No more the Fields and leafy Coverts please,
1153 Each hugs her own, and hasts to rolling Seas,[Page 50]
1154 Shows him his better Home, tho' sapless Earth
1155 Reliev'd the Womb, and caught the falling Birth.
1156 So the sad Bride, whom the long-reckon'd Day,
1157 And child-bed Pains confine to tedious Stay,
1158 Far from the lov'd Abode all pensive lies;
1159 Enfeebling Birth the wonted Strength denies.
1160 But when just Time has set th' unjoynted Bones,
1161 New-strung the Nerves, and strain'd their slacken'd Tones,
1162 She warm enwraps the Babe, nor brooks Delay,
1163 Hurries along, and soon devours the Way.
1164 At length the Dame arrives; with weeping Joy
1165 Clasps the dear Child, and shakes the pleasing Toy,
1166 Talks idly fond, bids him admire his Home,
1167 And gay Amusements of each furnish'd Room.
1168 The list'ning Infant turns his little Eyes,
1169 And void of reas'ning Thought by smiling Looks replies.
1170 Good Gods! how tender is the Parent Love!
1171 Their ravisht Hearts what earning Transports move!
1172 All Kinds that move in Ocean, Earth, or Air
1173 Alike the Charms of Piety revere.
1174 Fondly the Savage licks her shapeless Young,
1175 And smooths his Ringlets with her scurfy Tongue.[Page 51]
1176 The careful Birds bring home the hourly Feast,
1177 While unfledg'd Chirpers flicker in the Nest.
1178 Ev'n rav'nous Fish defend their helpless Fry,
1179 Forewarn their Dangers, and their Wants supply.
1180 Not Men alone their lovely Offspring prize
1181 Sweet as their Lives, and dearer than their Eyes;
1182 Unreas'ning Souls the same Propensions move,
1183 Man can claim no Prerogative from Love.
1184 One Instinct runs thro' All. —
1185 Hunters from far the roaring Challenge dread,
1186 When Monarch-Lions with majestick Tread,
1187 Their princely Train thro' all the Forrest lead.
1188 The Royal Dam looks round with proud Disdain,
1189 Lashes her Sides, and curls her flowing Mane;
1190 No Danger fears, but willing to engage
1191 With chafing Jaws she churns the frothy Rage,
1192 Redoubled Fires flash from her rolling Eyes,
1193 Clods scatter'd flie, and dusty Columns rise.
1194 Roaring She frights the Herd, and shakes the Plain,
1195 Mocks the slung Stone, and knaps the Spear in twain;
1196 Still guards her Young, the Hunter's Motion thwarts,
1197 And wrenches from her Sides the reeking Darts.
1198 But when Death hovers o'er her swimming Eyes,
1199 And clotted on the Ground Life's wasted Treasure lies,[Page 52]
1200 When doubtful Staggers own the killing Wound;
1201 Regardless of her self She looks around,
1202 O'er the dear Cub her sinking Head reclines,
1203 In Death defends, nor at her Fate repines.
1204 But dreads to see the Wretch a Captive made,
1205 To hear him roar, and call in vain for Aid,
1206 When close confin'd he strives with bootless Rage,
1207 Unsheaths his Claws, and beats the sounding Cage.
1208 With her blind Whelps the snarling Mother lies,
1209 Uneasy grins, and frets at ev'ry Noise;
1210 Familiar once, but now with growling Threats
1211 The fearful Shepherd She unkindly treats;
1212 Nor licks the bounteous Hand, (ev'n Love provokes)
1213 Nor fisks the Tail, or fawns at gentle Stroaks.
1214 When the lone Cow repeats her daily Moan,
1215 A soft Compassion moves the sturdy Clown.
1216 From lowing Vales the undulating Air
1217 To ev'ry Mountain tells the Dam's Despair.
1218 Oft pensive She reviews the once-lov'd Place,
1219 Where on the Bank She prest the yielding Grass,
1220 Or the calm Shelter of the cooler Wood,
1221 Where with her Calf She chew'd the grateful Cud;
1222 Then restless walks, and rounds the Hedge again,
1223 Looks o'er the Gate, and eyes the winding Lane.[Page 53]
1224 Oft have the list'ning Streams the Osprey heard,
1225 When to the whisp'ring Reeds the injur'd Bird
1226 Of Eggs unhatch'd, or callow Young bereav'd,
1227 In ruthful Cries has told how much She griev'd.
1228 The Mother Nightingale, when childless made,
1229 With mournful Musick fills the lonely Glade.
1230 What pungent Sorrows must the Parent feel,
1231 When idle Swains the downy Songsters steal?
1232 They thoughtless from the Nest the Brood convey;
1233 She in sad murm'ring pines the tedious Day,
1234 At Night the melancholly Strain renews;
1235 Harmonious Plaints ungrateful Man accuse.
1236 How passionate the Swallow tells her Wrong,
1237 When some fell Serpent has devour'd her Young,
1238 Or Churl pull'd down her Nest? She sorrowing flies,
1239 Chatters aloud, and long repeats her fruitless Cries.
1240 Full of the tender Thought, with anxious Care
1241 The Dolphins watch, and guard their Infant Pair,
1242 While they in nimble Race the Tail expand,
1243 Insult the Waves, and Subject Seas command.
1244 Each Parent Fish her Young in Danger hides,
1245 Nurtures the Fry, and in her Likeness prides.
1246 But the Sea-Dog uncommon Toil endures,
1247 While She her Young from dreaded Harm secures.[Page 54]
1248 Within her Womb the Dam receives again
1249 The pressing Burden, and renews her Pain.
1250 To the known Place, when struck with sudden Fear,
1251 The Whelps return, and will ungrateful tear
1252 Those tender Parts; safe in the close Retreat
1253 Escape their Dangers, and their Fears forget;
1254 Again, when all's secure, the Womb release,
1255 Force out their Way, and venture on the Seas.
1256 The same fond Care commends the thorny Skate,
1257 When rav'nous Shoals the Prey impatient wait.
1258 She distant Waters eyes with kind Distrust,
1259 Knows when all's safe, and when her Fears are just.
1260 Nor will her Womb again her Offspring hide;
1261 Two spacious Cavities, on either Side
1262 Below her Gills, the trembling Fry receive,
1263 When guilty Seas the careful Parent grieve.
1264 While the fierce Foes unguarded Shoals surprize,
1265 In safe Recess the prickly Darling lies,
1266 No Dangers fears, tho' rolling Waters swell,
1267 And angry Hast of coming Monsters tell.
1268 Others, when ought disturbs the ravag'd Seas,
1269 And trembling Young their conscious Fears express,
1270 Extend their Jaws, and show the safer Way;
1271 The frighted Stragglers soon the Call obey,[Page 55]
1272 Within the concave Roof uninjur'd rest,
1273 Safe as the Chirper in his mossy Nest.
1274 Thus the Blew-Sharks secure from chacing Foes
1275 Within their widen'd Mouths their Young enclose.
1276 Beneath the circling Arch they fearless hide,
1277 Tho' bulky Forms drive on the rising Tide.
1278 Of all Oviparous Kinds that throng the Seas,
1279 Whose num'rous Shoals from spermy Heaps increase,
1280 The fond Blew-Sharks in tender Care surpass:
1281 With what Concern they wait the teeming Mass!
1282 What anxious Fears confess their secret Love,
1283 Lest the Birth failing should abortive prove!
1284 While most their Eggs to Chance regardless leave,
1285 They watch their Spawn, the slow Formation grieve,
1286 Nature's faint Progress in the Work accuse,
1287 Till rip'ning Hours the vig'rous Life infuse.
1288 They near their Fondlings, like some careful Nurse,
1289 Observe their Motions, and restrain their Course,
1290 Eye ev'ry Wave, and show the doubtful Way,
1291 Teach where to hunt, and where to find the Prey.
1292 When big with secret Guilt the Waters heave,
1293 They in their Mouths their shelter'd Young receive.
1294 But when the Waves at their own Leisure roll,
1295 And no fierce Robber drives the scatter'd Shoal,[Page 56]
1296 Again the Parent's pointed Jaws comprest
1297 By Force expell them from their pleasing Rest.
1298 But void of all Remorse the Tunnies feed
1299 On their own Spawn, and gulp th' enliven'd Seed;
1300 With strange Repast the cruel Parents blest
1301 Devour their Eggs, and praise the monstrous Feast.
1302 Some Kinds without the nuptial Labours breed,
1303 Nor own the common Origine of Seed.
1304 Oysters self-bred in rocky Crannies grow,
1305 Nor to the painful Birth their Being owe.
1306 Some spring spontaneous from the genial Slime;
1307 No curious Frame, or work of slower Time
1308 Nature on them bestows; but form'd in Hast
1309 In ready Clay the Mould is easy cast.
1310 In these no Difference of Sex appears,
1311 No Male sheds down the Spawn, nor Female bears.
1312 The Spirlings thus their idle Lives begin,
1313 No ancient Lineage boast, or gen'rous Kin.
1314 When prest by mighty Jove the swelling Clouds
1315 From their moist Fleeces pour the noisy Floods,
1316 Collected Show'rs their falling Forces joyn,
1317 Beat on the Deep, and bubble up the Brine.
1318 The Waves diluted with the tastless Rain
1319 Vext raise their Foam, and stir the chafing Main.[Page 57]
1320 Soon new-created Shoals of Spirlings play,
1321 Shine on the Waves, and brighten all the Sea.
1322 By unknown Loves, and Ways uncommon bred
1323 All o'er the Seas the thronging Legions spread.
1324 As constant Tides observe their stated Time,
1325 Returning Currents raise the troubled Slime;
1326 That mixt is in the rolling Waters lost,
1327 Wafted afar, and on the Billows tost,
1328 Till purging Winds the winnow'd Ocean sweep,
1329 Force on the Draught, and form the worthless Heap.
1330 To ev'ry Shore the Floods their Load convey,
1331 And leave behind the Refuse of the Sea.
1332 On tainted Sands the mingled Ordure lies,
1333 And waits the Influence of warmer Skies.
1334 The loosen'd Parts, vext with the active Heat,
1335 Clog the dull Air, and reeky Moisture sweat;
1336 Unwholesome Scents breath from the vap'ry Store,
1337 And the gross Steams creep slowly round the Shore.
1338 Then from the teeming Filth, and putrid Heap,
1339 Like Summer Grubs, the little Slime-Fish creep.
1340 Devour'd by All the passive Curse they own,
1341 Opprest by ev'ry Kind, but injure none.
1342 Harmless they live, nor murd'rous Hunger know,
1343 But to themselves their mutual Pleasures owe;[Page 58]
1344 Each other lick, and the close Kiss repeat;
1345 Thus loving thrive, and praise the luscious Treat.
1346 When they in Throngs a safe Retirement seek,
1347 Where pointed Rocks the rising Surges break,
1348 Or where calm Waters in their Bason sleep,
1349 While chalky Cliffs o'erlook the shaded Deep,
1350 The Seas all gilded o'er the Shoal betray,
1351 And shining Tracks inform their wand'ring Way.
1352 As when soft Snows, brought down by Western Gales,
1353 Silent descend and spread on all the Vales;
1354 Add to the Plains, and on the Mountains shine,
1355 While in chang'd Fields the starving Cattle pine;
1356 Nature bears all one Face, looks coldly bright,
1357 And mourns her lost Variety in White,
1358 Unlike themselves the Objects glare around,
1359 And with false Rays the dazzled Sight confound:
1360 So, where the Shoal appears, the changing Streams
1361 Lose their Sky-blew, and shine with silver Gleams.
THE SECOND BOOK OF OPPIAN's HALIEUTICKS.
1 Thus have I sung, how scaly Nations rove,
2 What Food they seek, what Pastures they approve;
3 How all the busy Wantons of the Seas
4 Soft Loves repeat, and form the new Increase.
5 But whence could Man the wond'rous Secret know?
6 To some kind Pow'r he must the Blessing owe,
7 Who to his View the hidden Depths expos'd,
8 Uncover'd all th' Abyss, and the vast Scene disclos'd.
9 For what great Work has Man unaided wrought?
10 Heav'n gives the Means, and Heav'n inspires the Thought.
11 Did not assisting Influence from above
12 With unseen Force the passive Agents move,[Page 60]
13 The Body could no more it's Parts command,
14 Nor Stir the rooted Foot, nor stretch the stiffen'd Hand.
15 Without superiour Aid, the sleeping Eyes
16 Would darken'd ever close, nor blithsome Skies
17 Again behold; but when the Guardian bids,
18 Joyous the Orbs unfold their op'ning Lids.
19 The Gods do all; from Heav'n our Actions guide
20 Distant yet Near, and o'er our Wills preside.
21 We must the grand Necessity obey,
22 Unwilling shall pursue the destin'd Way.
23 Better we unreluctant did submit:
24 Th' unruly Colt may champ the frothy Bit,
25 Restiff uprear the Hoof, and prance around,
26 Race angry o'er th' unequal ridgy Ground:
27 Such headstrong Fury but augments his Pain,
28 At length he must obey the turning Rein.
29 When Heav'n commands, 'tis Folly to deny;
30 The Gods will govern, and the Wise comply,
31 Nor strive to deviate from th' allotted Course,
32 Lest manag'd after with ungentle Force
33 They hear the sounding Lash, and bleeding feel
34 Th' unjoyous Pressure of the galling Steel.
35 To those indulgent Pow'rs Mankind below
36 All gainful Arts, and useful Science owe.[Page 61]
37 The Gods, distinguisht hence by awful Names,
38 Declare their Office, and assert their Claims.
39 And thus deriv'd each sacred Title shows
40 What Gifts on Man each bounteous God bestows.
41 Ceres describ'd the Farmer's annual Toil,
42 What artful Rules improve the barren Soil.
43 She taught to yoke th' unwilling Ox, to sow
44 The harrow'd Ridge, to hold the bending Plough;
45 To guide the brighten'd Share with steady Hands,
46 Force up the Turf, and break the fallow'd Lands.
47 Hence rising Fields their yellow Harvest bear,
48 And wavy Autumn crowns the ripen'd Year.
49 To shape the Beam, the Joyces firmly joyn,
50 Stretch the wide Roof, and the slop'd Arch incline,
51 To carve the Pillar, and the Dome to raise
52 Pallas first taught, and Pallas claims the Praise.
53 She too the gainful Secret did reveal,
54 To draw the Woof, and twirl the murm'ring Wheel.
55 Men curious try'd, by her Assistance led,
56 To fix the Loom, and weave the thwarting Thread.
57 The pointed Spear, the Breast-plate's polisht Brass,
58 The glitt'ring Sword, and Helmet's plumed Grace,
59 With all the dreadful Engin'ry of War,
60 Are Mars his Choice, and fierce Bellona's Care.[Page 62]
61 Apollo, and the sacred Nine inspire
62 Strains worthy them, and fan the Poet's Fire.
63 But subtle Hermes smooths the oily Tongue
64 To move the Passions of the ravish'd Throng.
65 He taught Athletic Slights, and dusty Toil,
66 To ward the Blow, and give th' inglorious Foil.
67 Vulcan first taught to mould the stubborn Mass,
68 To form the sparkling Steel, and flowing Brass.
69 Mankind with all their Search could never know
70 What Natives glide in Liquid Worlds below.
71 Those mirksome Deeps, and Regions far conceal'd
72 That blest immortal Pow'r to Man reveal'd,
73 Who cleft the Earth, and winding Furrows made,
74 Where Rivers glide beneath the reedy Shade;
75 Who distant Bounds to rolling Waves assign'd,
76 And scatter'd Fluids in one Void confin'd,
77 Who lofty rais'd the rocky Barriers round,
78 And with the sandy Brim encircled Waters crown'd.
79 Whether that God the Name of Neptune bears,
80 Or Nereus better pleas'd, or Phorcys hears.
81 Whatever Names the Deities approve,
82 May all agree, Immortal Pow'rs above,
83 Demons of Earth, Those that Aerial fly,
84 And drench their Pinions in the liquid Sky,[Page 63]
85 And the Green-Gods, that midst the Waters spread
86 Their sinewy Arms, and shake their dropping Head,
87 May all propitious guard the Royal Pair,
88 Thee, Mighty Prince, and the World's growing Heir.
89 May they protect the Nations, nor refuse
90 To hear the Song, and aid th' aspiring Muse.
91 No curbing Law restrains the greedy Shoals,
92 No Sense of Wrong th' ungovern'd Wish controlls.
93 O'er all the Seas their Food they rav'nous seek,
94 And stronger Kinds feast on the injur'd weak.
95 Selfish alike each minds his private Good,
96 All in their Turns pursue, and are pursu'd.
97 Some on meer Force depend; they nimble sweep
98 Thro' parting Floods, and eddy all the Deep.
99 Their wider Jaws a Magazine disclose
100 Of pointed Teeth, that shine in double Rows.
101 While some on Stores of venom'd Juice confide,
102 And in close Cells the noxious Treasures hide.
103 Others with sharpen'd Spikes are arm'd around,
104 Erect the Spears, and strike the killing Wound.
105 Weak puny Forms unequal War decline,
106 By wily Fraud they act, and close Design.
107 Such Prudence oft o'er thoughtless Strength prevails;
108 Force may, but well laid Cunning seldome fails.[Page 64]
109 The Pow'r of latent Charms the Cramp-Fish know,
110 Tho' soft their Bodies, and their Motion slow.
111 Unseen, foreboding Chance of future Prey,
112 The crafty Sluggards take their silent Way.
113 Stretcht from each Side they point their magick Wands,
114 Whose icy Touch the strongest Fin commands;
115 Quick thro' the whole it shoots the rushing Pain,
116 Freezes the Blood, and thrills in ev'ry Vein;
117 Strikes all that dare approach with strange Surprize,
118 Stiffens the Fin, and dims the mazed Eyes.
119 Conscious of secret Pow'r, a Gift divine,
120 On Sands, as dead, the Cramp-Fish lies supine,
121 Thus careless stretcht a wide Destruction makes,
122 And wand'ring Shoals without her Labour takes.
123 Fixt sudden they the numming Torpor feel;
124 The Parts contract, the Fluids all congeal.
125 No more the busy Messengers of Sense
126 Motion around, and conscious Life dispense;
127 Nor flowing Streams the circling Heat diffuse,
128 But the chill'd parts forget their former Use.
129 While urg'd by pleasing Hopes, to fresh Repast
130 The wily Cramp-Fish moves with aukward Hast.
131 Oft, as the nimble Swimmers heedless pride
132 In active Course, and curling Streams divide,[Page 65]
133 They lifeless stretch by sudden Pains confin'd,
134 And secret Chains the fetter'd Captives bind.
135 No more they wanton dive, or giddy roam,
136 Vault on the Seas, and vex the rising Foam;
137 Dull Rest they now, and fatal Slumbers love,
138 Nor backward can retreat, nor forward move.
139 As when in Dreams imagin'd Forms appear,
140 When dreaded Sounds we distant seem to hear,
141 Or shady Ghosts with silent Horrour rise,
142 And Spectres glare before the sleeping Eyes,
143 Fearful of coming Ills we sweating lie,
144 And willing would from fancy'd Dangers fly:
145 Rooted we stand, the Heart incessant beats,
146 And hasty Strokes the quicker Pulse repeats.
147 Lab'ring to move we seem to strive in vain,
148 While pond'rous Clogs the struggling Feet retain.
149 With such a binding Force the Cramp-Fish stays
150 The swiftest Fish, and strikes with dizzy Maze.
151 One Touch of her's dams up the vital Flood,
152 Contracts the Nerves, and clots the stagnate Blood.
153 Hid in the Slime the Toad of Form uncouth
154 (That Fish is all one vast extended Mouth)
155 Her tender Body wraps, on Prey intent,
156 And silent there concerts the great Event.[Page 66]
157 What softer Skin, and slower Pace deny,
158 Wise Foresight and successful Frauds supply.
159 Within her Jaws a fleshy Fibre lies,
160 Whose Whiteness, grateful Scent, and Worm-like Size
161 Attract the Shoals, and charm their longing Eyes.
162 She to allure oft shakes the tempting Bait;
163 They eager press, and hurry on their Fate.
164 But as they near approach, with subtle Art
165 The wily Toad contracts th' inviting Part;
166 Till giddy Numbers thus decoy'd she draws
167 Within the Circle of her widen'd Jaws.
168 The Fowler thus the feather'd Race deceives,
169 And strows beneath his Snare the rifled Sheaves.
170 The busy Flocks peck up the scatter'd Seed,
171 Nor midst their Joy the fatal Engine heed;
172 Till with loud Clap the tilted Cover falls,
173 And the close Pit the flutt'ring Prey enthralls.
174 Sea-Toads with Foxes may for Cunning vie,
175 These too (as Rusticks tell) will feign to die.
176 Stretcht at full Length the mimick Carcass lies,
177 The Teeth are set, and fixt the closing Eyes;
178 The Hypocrite low draws his silent Breath,
179 Expressing well the leaden Sleep of Death.[Page 67]
180 Perch'd on her Bough the wanton Chirper mocks
181 The quiet harmless Posture of the Fox.
182 To distant Flocks she sings the pleasing Tale;
183 All glad descend, and hover o'er the Vale,
184 Oft whet the Bill, oft turn the busy Head,
185 And with vain Pride insult the seeming dead.
186 He watches, as they move, with guilty Eyes,
187 Till nimble Jaws the vent'rous Bird surprize.
188 His rav'nous Teeth the little Songster tear;
189 Ah luckless Wretch! thy Death is too sincere.
190 Wide gapes her Breast, he sucks the reeking Wound,
191 While downy Flakes lie scatter'd on the Ground.
192 Parts aptly form'd preserve the Cuttle-Fish
193 From stormy Rage, and Hunger's pining Wish;
194 Long Fibres num'rous branch around his Head,
195 Like twisted Hairs, or Lines of fine-spun Thread.
196 With these the subtle Angler patient waits,
197 The Prey entangles, and her Hunger fates.
198 With these, when Tempests rage, they twining fold
199 The jetting Cliff, nor quit the safer Hold.
200 No Ship in Harbour moor'd so careless rides,
201 Less fears the driving Storms, and beating Tides.
202 The little Prawn, tho' arm'd with pointed Spears,
203 Yet weak and slow, unequal Combat fears.[Page 68]
204 But by the Sea-Wolf's rav'nous Force opprest,
205 He with the Means of sweet Revenge is blest.
206 Within his Jaws enclos'd he furious bounds,
207 Strikes at the Roof, and leaves the killing Wounds.
208 The careless Wolf of tastful Prey possest
209 Regards no Pain, but gluttons on the Feast.
210 Till soon thro' all the deadly Gangrene spreads,
211 And putrid Bane the fretting Ulcer feeds.
212 From rankled Sores the gnawing Pains increase;
213 And now the Wretch his destin'd End foresees,
214 Despairing pines, and racking Torture feels:
215 No friendly Hand the growing Ulcer heals.
216 Oft has the Wolf the bearded Squadrons sought,
217 And oft the luscious Food too dearly bought.
218 No Pity to the shelly Race was shown,
219 'Twas therefore just their Fate should prove his own.
220 They wound with Pain, what they with Pleasure fill,
221 Subdue their Conquerour, and dying kill.
222 Enwrapt in softer Slime the Sea-Cow dwells,
223 Who ev'ry Sea-bred Kind in Breadth excells.
224 To twice six Cubits stretcht their flatted Sides
225 Press down the lab'ring Waves, and smooth the Tides.
226 Unarm'd their Body, tho' with monstrous Size
227 And bulky Form they strike the wond'ring Eyes.[Page 69]
228 Born on the struggling Floods that broad-back'd Ray
229 Unwieldy lolls, and takes up all the Way.
230 Few are their Teeth, unfit for martial Toil,
231 Thin set, nor made to seize the doubtful Spoil.
232 But Schemes well-laid they resolute pursue,
233 And by superior Fraud ev'n Man subdue.
234 Man is their choicest Food, and when possest
235 Of a fat Corps, they scorn the meaner Feast.
236 They mark, when daring Mortals plunge below,
237 Where Pearls are hid, and Coral Branches grow;
238 Then hover o'er the Place, and float at ease,
239 Stretch on the Waves, and shade the cover'd Seas.
240 With patient Hope unmov'd their Station keep,
241 Till from the secret Chambers of the Deep
242 Laden with Spoils the Diver mounts again,
243 Nor can the Surface reach with all his Pain.
244 By wonted Arts he strives himself to raise,
245 But o'er his Head th' unwelcome Pressure stays.
246 Poiz'd on the Floods the Cieling hangs above,
247 No human Force the vaulted Roof can move.
248 Kept back from look'd-for Day the Mortal grieves,
249 In vain the pressing Lid his Shoulder heaves;
250 His weaker Trust the stubborn Weight withstands,
251 And backward sinks him down to lowest Sands.[Page 70]
252 If he swims forward, and the Surface leaves,
253 The subtle Fish the vain Attempt perceives;
254 Still hangs aloof, and o'er his pensive Head
255 The Shades unwish'd their gloomy Covert spread.
256 Till weary'd Arms their toilsome Work refuse,
257 But faintly strike, and catch the yielding Ooze.
258 As when the falling Lid with quick Surprize
259 Close in the Trap confines th' unwary Mice,
260 Immur'd they search the concave Prison round,
261 Hurry despairing, and impatient bound;
262 As well they might the fruitless Labour cease,
263 No friendly Gap affords a kind Release;
264 Till wanton Boys the trembling Wretch relieve,
265 Free from Confinement, but of Life bereave.
266 Such is the Toil, when vent'rous Divers meet
267 The floating Roof, and push the pressing Weight.
268 Stretcht on the wat'ry Plain unmov'd it lies,
269 And open Air, and lightsome Day denies:
270 Till swallow'd Waves an easy Passage find,
271 And in it's latest Breath Life mingles with the Wind.
272 Thus proud of her Success the spreading Ray
273 By Stratagem obtains the noblest Prey.
274 As in some mossy Cave the Fishing Swain
275 At Leisure sits, and views the wavy Main,[Page 71]
276 Oft he beholds how Crabs their Watches keep,
277 And wait the Motions of the shelly Heap.
278 Oysters around on cliffy Peaks are hung,
279 To rocky Beds, and cranny'd Jettings clung.
280 Immur'd they lie close in the pearly Shell,
281 But cannot long their juicy Stores conceal;
282 Moisture they seek, and then no longer hid
283 Loosen'd they gape, and heave the upper Lid.
284 The Crab observes, and to the sandy Mounds,
285 Where polish'd Stones the whirling Eddy rounds,
286 He busy creeps along, with forked Claws
287 From the loose Heap the flinty Pebble draws.
288 Thus burden'd, silent to the Oyster steals,
289 And wedges fast the Stone between the Shells.
290 Divided thus no more the Parts are clos'd,
291 But all the luscious Sweets must lie expos'd.
292 By prosp'rous Fraud he gains the envy'd Meal,
293 And drags the panting Captive from his Cell.
294 The prickly Star creeps on with like Deceit,
295 To force the Oyster from his close Retreat.
296 When gaping Lids their widen'd Void display,
297 The watchful Star thrusts in a pointed Ray,
298 Of all its Treasure spoils the rifled Case;
299 And empty Shells the sandy Hillocks grace.[Page 72]
300 In clouded Depths below the Nacre hides,
301 And thro' the silent Paths obscurely glides;
302 A stupid Wretch, and void of thoughtful Care,
303 He forms no Bait, nor lays the tempting Snare.
304 But the dull Sluggard boasts a kinder Friend,
305 Whose busy Eyes the coming Prey attend.
306 One Room contains them; and the Partners dwell
307 Beneath the Convex of one sloping Shell.
308 Deep in the wat'ry Vast the Comrades rove,
309 And mutual Int'rest binds their constant Love.
310 That wiser Friend the lucky Juncture tells,
311 When in the Circuit of his gaping Shells
312 Fish wand'ring enter; then the bearded Guide
313 Warns the dull Mate, and pricks his tender Side.
314 He knows the Hint, nor at the Treatment grieves,
315 But hugs th' Advantage, and the Pain forgives.
316 His closing Shells the Nacre sudden joyns.
317 And 'twixt the pressing Sides his Prey confines.
318 Thus fed by mutual Aid, the friendly Pair
319 Divide their Gains, and all the Plunder share.
320 Men are not all with equal Knowledge blest;
321 Man differs more from Man, than Man from Beast.
322 The prudent Mind by studious Labour taught
323 Wise Schemes pursues, and fines the ruder Draught.[Page 73]
324 While blockish Mortals doze their Hours away,
325 Or give to brutal Joys the cheated Day.
326 Like them the gliding Shoals, that gladsome rove
327 O'er liquid Fields, and Sea-green Pastures love,
328 Are not with equal Shares of Wit endow'd;
329 Heav'n has unlike the partial Gift bestow'd.
330 Some on the Cares of future Life intent
331 Consult their Welfare, and their Ills prevent;
332 While worthless Numbers take their giddy Way,
333 Cumber the Seas, and only serve for Prey.
334 Hear now th' instructive Song, ye thoughtless Wights,
335 Wedded to Sense, and fixt on mean Delights.
336 The Sea's dull Sleeper bids, that shortliv'd Fish,
337 In Time to curb your yet unbounded Wish.
338 Think on his Conduct, and remark his Fate,
339 And in th' insatiate Fish the Glutton hate.
340 In sensual Joys he squanders Life away,
341 Revels the Night, and slumbers out the Day.
342 Fixt backward on his Head the rolling Eyes
343 Look up, and might behold the distant Skies;
344 But the curst Sluggard flies the chearful Ray,
345 And in long Slumbers skreens the hated Day.
346 Midst these his Mouth it's spacious Chasm displays,
347 And the lewd Call of Hunger's Wish obeys.[Page 74]
348 All the bright gladsome Hours he sullen Sleeps,
349 Battens on Sands, or hides in slimy Heaps;
350 Hence call'd the Ocean-Owl, like Owls afraid
351 Of brighten'd Skies, and fond of gloomy Shade.
352 When the brown Dusk on slumb'ring Waters broods,
353 And midnight Breezes rock the murm'ring Floods,
354 When darken'd Billows sound with deeper Roar,
355 Rouz'd from Repose he quits the weedy Shore:
356 Hunger's loud Call bids wake from slothful Ease,
357 And search th' unempty'd Stores of plenteous Seas.
358 But the lewd Wretch of ready Meals possest
359 Unsated gluts, when full begins the Feast,
360 Feeds on, in midst of Plenty most accurst,
361 Till the cram'd Paunch o'er-fill'd with Pressure burst.
362 O'er-charg'd with Food the pamper'd Glutton lies,
363 Motion and Strength th' unwieldy Load denies;
364 Till Death's last Pains to fatal Treats succeed,
365 And hov'ring Shades the darken'd Eyes o'er-spread.
366 If with kind Hand you give the Glutton Meat,
367 He rav'nous feeds, and will unweary'd eat,
368 Till his swoln Maw with useless Lumber stow'd
369 Bursting at length discharge the nauseous Load.
370 Like him luxurious Men their Vigour wast,
371 The Throat to tickle, and indulge the Tast.[Page 75]
372 But future Pain the lawless Joy begets,
373 A Train of Ills succeeds the transient Sweets.
374 While ill-tim'd Feasts and midnight Revels please,
375 Continu'd Meals improve the hid Disease,
376 To Poyson turn the undigested Food,
377 And treasure up their Ills in tainted Blood.
378 From cruder Meats unactive Vapours rise,
379 The Spirits clog, and cloud the languid Eyes.
380 Ridges of Fat the manly Form disgrace,
381 And bloated Veins enlarge the purpled Face.
382 Reason's weak Light from noisome Fumes retires,
383 And too much Fewel choaks the smother'd Fires.
384 Men too unwise let go the slacken'd Rein,
385 But they who think will lewd Desires restrain,
386 Check the Emotion, and the Wish control,
387 And shun the Fate of the luxurious Owl.
388 Foresight and Art the prickly Urchins boast,
389 To keep the Seas, and shun the rocky Coast.
390 When teeming Clouds the infant Tempest form,
391 And whisp'ring Winds concert the future Storm,
392 They careful fear, lest forc'd to distant Lands
393 They dash on Rocks, or bulge on rising Sands.
394 Too light themselves their Motions to control
395 When the tenth Billows o'er their Fellows roll,[Page 76]
396 They Ballast seek, with busy Eyes explore
397 The various Pebbles of the winding Shore,
398 Choose out the Stone, and with that steady Weight
399 Fixt on their Backs, the raging Waters meet.
400 Thus poiz'd they careless keep their destin'd Way,
401 Nor the rude Shock of thwarting Floods obey.
402 All Fishers know the changing Prekes Deceit
403 How clung to Rocks, when coming Dangers threat,
404 New Forms they take, and wear a borrow'd Dress,
405 Mock the true Stone, and Colours well express.
406 Now o'er their liken'd Parts the Limners spread
407 A mossy Green, or streak with dusky Red;
408 On their soft Skin now whitish Marl imprint,
409 Or raise the clouded Azure of the Flint:
410 As the Rock looks, they take a diff'rent Stain,
411 Dapple with Grey, or branch the livid Vein.
412 Nor scaly Foes, nor Fishers curious Eyes
413 Perceive the Cheat, or find the false Disguise.
414 Thus they conceal'd the dreaded Danger shun,
415 By borrow'd Shapes obscur'd, and lost in seeming Stone.
416 But when with near Approach the weaker Prey
417 Invites, her waning Colours all decay;
418 No Vizard then, or mimick Form they seek;
419 Vig'rous they quit the Rock, and own the real Preke.[Page 77]
420 When wint'ry Skies o'er the black Ocean frown,
421 And Clouds hang low with ripen'd Storms o'ergrown,
422 Close in the Shelter of some vaulted Cave
423 The soft-skin'd Prekes their porous Bodies save.
424 But forc'd by Want, while rougher Seas they dread,
425 On their own Feet necessitous are fed.
426 But when returning Spring serenes the Skies,
427 Nature the growing Parts anew supplies.
428 Again on breezy Sands the Roamers creep,
429 Twine to the Rocks, or paddle in the Deep.
430 Doubtless the God, whose Will commands the Seas,
431 Whom liquid Worlds, and wat'ry Natives please,
432 Had taught the Fish by tedious Wants opprest
433 Life to preserve, and be himself the Feast.
434 Thus, when the Clouds their snowy Burden drop,
435 And rising Heaps improve the Mountain's Top,
436 When Earth scarce feels the Sun's obliquer Beams,
437 And creeping Ice confines the lessen'd Streams,
438 The rough-clad Bear declines the rig'rous Day,
439 Hides in his Den, nor hunts abroad for Prey:
440 Sullen he lays him down, with busy Toil
441 Licks his large Feet, and sucks the fat'ning Oil.
442 Thus fed with poor Repast the Savage lives,
443 Till with fresh Sap the wither'd Plant revives,[Page 78]
444 Till lengthen'd Days the Bands of Winter loose,
445 And Warmth untwists the Threads of soften'd Snows.
446 Then he to Woods returns, with tender Feet
447 Roams thro' the Brakes, and seeks the wonted Treat;
448 Slain Beasts devours, or climbs the rifted Tree,
449 And steals the Labours of the painful Bee.
450 In Wars alternate, with embitter'd Rage,
451 The Lobster, Lamprey, and the Preke engage.
452 Mutual their Fate, reciprocal the Wound;
453 By Turns they kill, and scatter Deaths around.
454 Each to the other is a grateful Feast,
455 Successively they treat th' unwelcome Guest.
456 Antipathy's entail'd; the future Breed
457 Must to hereditary Hate succeed.
458 While sportive Breezes fan the gentler Wave,
459 From the moist Crannies, or the winding Cave
460 Roaming abroad for Prey, the Lamprey sees
461 Where sandy Walks the lazy Creeper please.
462 Rapt with glad Hopes she feeds her wistful Eyes,
463 And all her Strength the finless Glider tries.
464 Conscious the Preke the curling Eddy fears,
465 Now from the rising Beach he list'ning hears
466 The rolling Floods, now shudd'ring looks around,
467 When troubled Waves with nearer Murmurs sound.[Page 79]
468 The joyful Lamprey winds along the Flood,
469 And in glad Thought enjoys the coming Food:
470 Bounding she mounts all eager on the Chace;
471 Nor can the crawling Preke's too heavy Pace
472 Escape her Rage; He must unwilling try
473 War's doubtful Chance, and with hard Doom comply.
474 Born on high Waves the slipp'ry Foe commands
475 The nearer Shore, and darts on yielding Sands.
476 No Time to fly, no Hopes of coming Aid,
477 While murd'rous Teeth his tender Flesh invade.
478 Forc'd to the Fight, the Preke despairing strives,
479 All Postures shows, and various Schemes contrives.
480 Now on her Back his twining Tendrills play,
481 Now grasp her Sides, or force their heedless Way
482 Down her wide Throat, now round her Tail they fold,
483 To force her back, and break the fasten'd hold.
484 All Parts in vain are try'd; her slipp'ry Train
485 Eludes his Touch, and mocks the fruitless Pain.
486 So when contending Wrestlers twine around
487 In close Embrace, and beat the trampled Ground,
488 Now wreath their oily Limbs, now firmly stand,
489 And grasp the adverse Arm with dusty Hand;
490 Their cautious Feet incessant tread the Round,
491 Meet in rude Shock, and undistinguish'd sound;[Page 80]
492 With various Shifts each others Skill perplex,
493 While Sweat in briny Streams flows down the Cheeks.
494 Like them the Preke his supple Members plies,
495 But less indulgent Fate Success denies.
496 Piteous the Scene, when mangled Parts employ
497 Remorseless Teeth, and give the cruel Joy.
498 Along the Sands the panting Pieces reek,
499 And ev'n in Death a Shelter seem to seek.
500 So when the Stag breaths on the guilty Heaps,
501 Where hid from Cold the wily Serpent sleeps,
502 That wond'rous Spell will rouze the crested Snake,
503 Forc'd from the Covert of the inmost Brake.
504 Angry he comes, high on his Folds uprears
505 His speckled Form, and hides his secret Fears.
506 Resolv'd the Stag his fixt Design pursues,
507 Gripes fast the Wretch, and gives the killing Bruise.
508 The Snake impatient winds his twisted Train,
509 And knotted Wreaths express the wringing Pain.
510 Now round the Stag's branch'd Horns he curling twines,
511 Now on his Neck the glossy Circle shines.
512 The Stag unmov'd the restless Struggler tears,
513 While greenish Stain the drooping Flow'ret smears.
514 Scatter'd around the mangled Gobbets fall,
515 And wriggling o'er the blasted Herbage crawl.[Page 81]
516 Nor can the Preke by usual Arts escape,
517 And hide in borrow'd Forms the Fishy Shape.
518 All are besides deceiv'd; to her alone
519 Whom most he dreads his Artifice is known;
520 Her curious Thought the mimick Secret learns,
521 And painted Show from real Stone discerns.
522 With scornful Smile the Lamprey seems to speak,
523 And thus insults the Colour-changing Preke.
524 "Vain Trifler, can you hope by false Disguise
525 " T' elude my Wish, and cheat observing Eyes?
526 "Since you so well express the rocky Hue,
527 " If you'd be safer, take its Hardness too.
528 "By potent Charms the cleaving Stone divide,
529 " Enter within and there securely hide;
530 "Or let the Rock it's craggy Summit bend,
531 " Incline the Roof, and skreen the liken'd Friend.
532 "But since in changing Forms you vainly pride,
533 " Learn Wretch in meaner Cunning to confide.
534 Thus said, her spiral Circles on she bears,
535 And from the Rock the Preke relentless tears.
536 He, tho' no more his wonted Frauds deceive,
537 Hangs to the Cliff, nor will the Jetting leave.
538 When other Parts are lost, the branching Feet
539 Maintain their Hold, and grasp the rocky Seat.[Page 82]
540 So when sack'd Towns to hostile Fury yield,
541 And mournful Streets with slaughter'd Heaps are fill'd,
542 The raving Mother strains with close Embrace
543 Her darling Babe, and hides his little Face:
544 The Parent's Neck his clinging Arms enfold;
545 Fear gives him Strength, and knits the firmer Hold.
546 Nor can the Plund'rers Rage with impious Hands
547 Divide the Pair, and loose their mutual Bands.
548 The Dame, midst the wild Transports of Despair,
549 Still clasps her weeping Babe, and minds her latest Care.
550 With Conquest flush'd new Wars the Lamprey breaths,
551 In prouder State her silver Volumes wreaths:
552 But urg'd by partial Hopes, and vain Conceit,
553 In her last Duel will the Lobster meet.
554 The well-arm'd Lobster clad in dusky Mail,
555 Nor fears her pointed Teeth, nor winding Tail.
556 Close by the Cave, where in the silent Shade
557 The feasted Lamprey sinks her easy Head,
558 He shakes his bearded Front, with Scorn extends
559 His wrinkled Horns, and thus the Challenge sends.
560 As, when two adverse Hosts encamp'd delay
561 The destin'd Fight, and wait the coming Day,
562 Impatient of Repose, some bolder Chief
563 Regrets lost Time, and feeds his inward Grief,[Page 83]
564 Braces his Cuirass on, and grasps his Arms;
565 Thus dreadful pleases, and with Terrour charms:
566 Erect he walks, and waves his plumed Crest,
567 To Action calls, and blames inglorious Rest.
568 With taunting Language, and disdainful Eyes
569 The boldest Champion to the Plain defies.
570 While adverse Troops the haughty Menace hear,
571 Nor will the hostile Youth such Insult bear;
572 With Shame he reddens, and with Anger burns,
573 Accepts the Challenge, and the Scorn returns.
574 So from her inmost Cave, with proud Disdain,
575 The soft Sea-Lamprey spreads her wavy Train:
576 Enrag'd she comes, darts sudden from her Cell,
577 Seizes the Foe, and fixes on the Shell.
578 But vainly weary'd with successless Toil
579 From the hard Crust the baffled Teeth recoil.
580 No Entrance there the blunted Weapons find,
581 No Pressure leaves th' indented Mark behind.
582 At length provok'd the bearded Lobster ends
583 Unequal Strife, his forked Claw extends,
584 Pinches with rigid Force her yielding Sides,
585 Drives back the Blood, and all the Mass divides.
586 The Parts all bruis'd in racking Torture swell,
587 And languid Spots declining Vigour tell.[Page 84]
588 By cruel Gripe the passive Wretch comprest
589 Twines up her Tail, and rears her shining Breast.
590 No Rest the Lobster gives, nor quits his hold;
591 In vain her spiry Wreaths their Circles fold.
592 Restless she moves, nor can her Pains conceal,
593 Clings to her Foe, and hugs the pointed Shell.
594 The piercing Lancets prick each tender Vein,
595 And purple Drops her beauteous Yellow stain:
596 She vainly striving but augments her Pain.
597 O'er his rough Back she twists the fatal Round,
598 Tears her soft Skin, and gives her self the Wound.
599 As when the captive Pard to bloody Sights,
600 And barb'rous Sports the gazing Throng invites,
601 The Champion, who the gawdy Sylvan dares,
602 First by rude Din the sullen Beast prepares.
603 Grimly he looks, and with malicious Leer
604 Grins at the Crowd, and mocks the shining Spear.
605 His unsheath'd Paws their pointed Fangs expose,
606 And wrinkled Lips exert their dreadful Rows.
607 Foolish he gapes, and with wide Mouth expects
608 As the bold Youth his well-aim'd Blow directs.
609 While grinning Jaws their open Void display,
610 Down the flung Spear takes swift it's destin'd Way.[Page 85]
611 The yawning Beast a ready Passage gives,
612 And sheath'd within his Throat the whizzing Steel receives.
613 Th' imprudent Lamprey, urg'd by fierce Despite,
614 Thus aids the Foe, and tries the fruitless Bite.
615 While shelly Crusts the dusky Chief befriend,
616 And from rude Touch the tender Parts defend.
617 Madded with Pain, and crush'd by meeting Claws,
618 On the firm Plate the fond Sea-Lamprey gnaws:
619 Nor fears the rising Spikes that closely set
620 O'er the hard Shell their pointed Terrours threat:
621 But twines her Body round the sharpen'd Rows,
622 And the deep mortal Wounds to heedless Passion owes.
623 Such is the Combat, when in lone Retreats
624 Of silent Woods the crested Serpent meets
625 The Urchin's secret Track: by Nature they
626 The fierce Impulse of mutual Hate obey.
627 Approaching War the Urchin soon perceives,
628 And hears the distant Rustle of the Leaves.
629 Close in her own Embrace she shelter'd hides,
630 Contracts her Feet, and rounds her prickly Sides:
631 From ev'ry Part the thorny Bristles rise;
632 And thus enwrapt, unmov'd the Urchin lies.[Page 86]