The Death of Pentheus

But Pentheus , grown more furious than before,
Resolv'd to send his Messengers no more,
But went himself to the distracted Throng,
Where high Citharon echo'd with their Song.
And as the fiery War-horse paws the Ground,
And snorts and trembles at the Trumpet's Sound;
Transported thus he heard the frantick Rout,
And rav'd and madden'd at the distant Shout.
A spacious Circuit on the Hill there stood,
Level and wide, and skirted round with Wood;
Here the rash Pentheus , with unhallow'd Eyes,
The howling Dames and mystick Orgies spies.
His Mother sternly view'd him where he stood,
And kindled into Madness as she view'd:
Her leafy Jav'lin at her Son she cast,
And cries, " The Boar that lays our Country waste!
" The Boar, my Sisters! Aim the fatal Dart,
" And strike the brindled Monster to the Heart.
Pentheus astonish'd heard the dismal Sound,
And sees the yelling Matrons gath'ring round;
He sees, and weeps at his approaching Fate,
And begs for Mercy, and repents too late.
" Help, help! my Aunt Autonoe , he cry'd;
" Remember how your own Actaeon dy'd.
Deaf to his Cries, the frantick Matron crops
One stretch'd-out Arm, the other Ino lops.
In vain does Pentheus to his Mother sue,
And the raw bleeding Stumps presents to view:
His Mother howl'd; and, heedless of his Pray'r,
Her trembling Hand she twisted in his Hair,
" And This, she cry'd, shall be Agave 's Share.
When from the Neck his struggling Head she tore,
And in her Hands the ghastly Visage bore,
With Pleasure all the hideous Trunk survey;
Then pull'd and tore the mangled Limbs away,
As starting in the Pangs of Death it lay.
Soon as the Wood its leafy Honours casts,
Blown off and scatter'd by autumnal Blasts,
With such a sudden Death lay Pentheus slain,
And in a thousand Pieces strow'd the Plain,
By so distinguishing a Judgment aw'd,
The Thebans tremble, and confess the God.
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