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1 While we to Jove select the holy Victim;
2 Whom apter shall we sing, than Jove himself,
3 The God for ever Great, for ever King;
4 Who slew the Earth-born Race, and measures Right
5 To Heav'n's great Habitants? Dictæan hear'st Thou
6 More joyful, or Lycæan, long Dispute
7 And various Thought has trac'd. On Ida's Mount,
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8 Or Dicte, studious of his Country's Praise,
9 The Cretan boasts Thy Natal Place: but oft
10 He meets Reproof deserv'd: for He presumptuous
11 Has built a Tomb for Thee, who never know'st
12 To die, but liv'st the same To-day and Ever.
13 Arcadian therefore be Thy Birth: Great Rhea
14 Pregnant to high Parrhasia's Cliffs retir'd,
15 And wild Lycæus, black with shading Pines:
16 Holy Retreat! Sithence no Female hither,
17 Conscious of Social Love and Nature's Rites,
18 Must dare approach, from the inferior Reptile
19 To Woman, Form Divine. There the blest Parent
20 Ungirt her spacious Bosom, and discharg'd
21 The pond'rous Birth: She sought a neighb'ring Spring,
22 To wash the recent Babe: In vain: Arcadia,
23 (However streamy now) adust and dry,
24 Deny'd the Goddess Water: where deep Melas,
25 And rocky Cratis flow, the Chariot smoak'd,
26 Obscure with rising Dust: the thirsty Trav'ler
27 In vain requir'd the Current, then imprison'd
28 In subterranean Caverns: Forests grew
29 Upon the barren Hollows, high o'ershading
30 The Haunts of Savage Beasts, where now Iaon,
31 And Erimanth incline their friendly Urns.
32 Thou too, O Earth, great Rhea said, bring forth;
33 And short shall be thy Pangs: She said; and high
34 She rear'd her Arm, and with her Scepter struck
35 The yawning Cliff: from it's disparted Height
36 Adown the Mount the gushing Torrent ran,
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37 And chear'd the Vallies: There the Heav'nly Mother
38 Bath'd, mighty King, Thy tender Limbs: She wrapt them
39 In purple Bands: She gave the precious Pledge
40 To prudent Neda, charging her to guard Thee,
41 Careful and secret: Neda of the Nymphs
42 That tended the great Birth, next Philyre
43 And Styx, the eldest. Smiling She receiv'd Thee,
44 And conscious of the Grace, absolv'd her Trust:
45 Not unrewarded; since the River bore
46 The Fav'rite Virgin's Name: fair Neda rowls
47 By Leprion's ancient Walls, a fruitful Stream.
48 Fast by her flow'ry Bank the Sons of Arcas,
49 Fav'rites of Heav'n, with happy Care protect
50 Their fleecy Charge; and joyous drink her Wave.
51 Thee, God, to Cnossus Neda brought: the Nymphs
52 And Corybantes Thee their sacred Charge
53 Receiv'd; Adraste rock'd Thy golden Cradle:
54 The Goat, now bright amidst her fellow-Stars,
55 Kind Amalthea, reach'd her Tett distent
56 With Milk, Thy early Food: the sedulous Bee
57 Distill'd her Honey on Thy purple Lips.
58 Around, the fierce Curetes (Order solemn
59 To thy foreknowing Mother!) trod tumultuous
60 Their Mystic Dance, and clang'd their sounding Arms;
61 Industrious with the warlike Din to quell
62 Thy Infant-Cries, and mock the Ear of Saturn.
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63 Swift Growth and wond'rous Grace, O heav'nly Jove,
64 Waited Thy blooming Years: Inventive Wit,
65 And perfect Judgment crown'd Thy youthful Act.
66 That Saturn's Sons receiv'd the three-fold Empire
67 Of Heav'n, of Ocean, and deep Hell beneath,
68 As the dark Urn and Chance of Lot determin'd,
69 Old Poets mention, fabling. Things of Moment
70 Well nigh equivalent and neighb'ring Value
71 By Lot are parted: But high Heav'n, Thy Share,
72 In equal Balance laid 'gainst Sea or Hell,
73 Flings up the adverse Scale, and shuns Proportion.
74 Wherefore not Chance, but Pow'r, above Thy Brethren
75 Exalted Thee, their King. When Thy great Will
76 Commands Thy Chariot forth; impetuous Strength,
77 And fiery Swiftness wing the rapid Wheels,
78 Incessant; high the Eagle flies before Thee.
79 And oh! as I and mine consult Thy Augur,
80 Grant the glad Omen; let Thy Fav'rite rise
81 Propitious, ever soaring from the Right.
82 Thou to the lesser Gods hast well assign'd
83 Their proper Shares of Pow'r; Thy own, great Jove,
84 Boundless and universal. Those who labor
85 The sweaty Forge, who edge the crooked Scythe,
86 Bend stubborn Steel, and harden gleening Armor,
87 Acknowledge Vulcan's Aid. The early Hunter
88 Blesses Diana's Hand, who leads Him safe
89 O'er hanging Cliffs; who spreads his Net successful,
90 And guides the Arrow through the Panther's Heart.
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91 The Soldier from successful Camps returning,
92 With Laurel wreath'd, and rich with hostile Spoil,
93 Severs the Bull to Mars. The skilful Bard,
94 Striking the Thracian Harp, invokes Apollo,
95 To make his Hero and Himself Immortal.
96 Those, mighty Jove, mean time, Thy glorious Care,
97 Who model Nations, publish Laws, announce
98 Or Life or Death, and found or change the Empire.
99 Man owns the Pow'r of Kings; and Kings of Jove.
100 And as their Actions tend subordinate
101 To what Thy Will designs, Thou giv'st the Means
102 Proportion'd to the Work; Thou see'st impartial,
103 How They those Means imploy. Each Monarch rules
104 His different Realm, accountable to Thee,
105 Great Ruler of the World: These only have
106 To speak and be obey'd; to Those are giv'n
107 Assistant Days to ripen the Design;
108 To some whole Months; revolving Years to some:
109 Others, ill fated, are condemn'd to toil
110 Their tedious Life, and mourn their Purpose blasted
111 With fruitless Act, and Impotence of Council.
112 Hail! greatest Son of Saturn, wise Disposer
113 Of ev'ry Good: Thy Praise what Man yet born
114 Has sung? or who that may be born shall sing?
115 Again, and often hail! indulge our Prayer,
116 Great Father! grant us Virtue, grant us Wealth:
117 For without Virtue, Wealth to Man avails not;
118 And Virtue without Wealth exerts less Pow'r,
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119 And less diffuses Good. Then grant us, Gracious,
120 Virtue, and Wealth; for both are of Thy Gift.


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Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: blank verse; imitation

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 298-303. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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