Homer's Battle Of The Frogs And Mice. Book III
Now Front to Front the marching Armies shine,
Halt e'er they meet, and form the length'ning Line,
The Chiefs conspicuous seen, and heard afar,
Give the loud Sign to loose the rushing War;
Their dreadful Trumpets deep-mouth'd Hornets sound,
The sounded Charge remurmurs o'er the Ground,
Ev'n Jove proclaims a Field of Horror nigh,
And rolls low Thunder thro' the troubled Sky.
First to the Fight the large Hypsiboas flew,
And brave Lychenor with a Javelin slew.
The luckless Warriour fill'd with gen'rous Flame,
Stood foremost glitt'ring in the Post of Fame;
When in his Liver struck, the Jav'lin hung;
The Mouse fell thund'ring, and the Target rung;
Prone to the Ground he sinks his closing Eye,
And soil'd in Dust his lovely Tresses lie.
A Spear at Pelion Troglodytes cast,
The missive Spear within the Bosom past;
Death's sable Shades the fainting Frog surround,
And Life's red Tide runs ebbing from the Wound.
Embasichytros felt Seutlæus' Dart
Transfix, and quiver in his panting Heart;
But great Artophagus aveng'd the slain,
And big Seutlæus tumbling loads the Plain,
And Polyphonus dies, a Frog renown'd,
For boastful Speech and Turbulence of Sound;
Deep thro' the Belly pierc'd, supine he lay,
And breath'd his Soul against the Face of Day.
The strong Lymnocharis, who view'd with Ire,
A Victor triumph, and a Friend expire;
And fiercely flung where Troglodytes fought,
With heaving Arms a rocky Fragment caught,
A Warriour vers'd in Arts, of sure Retreat,
Yet Arts in vain elude impending Fate;
Full on his sinewy Neck the Fragment fell,
And o'er his Eye-lids Clouds eternal dwell.
Lychenor (second of the glorious Name)
Striding advanc'd, and took no wand'ring Aim;
Thro' all the Frog the shining Jav'lin flies,
And near the vanquish'd Mouse the Victor dies;
The dreadful Stroke Crambophagus affrights,
Long bred to Banquets, less inur'd to Fights,
Heedless he runs, and stumbles o'er the Steep,
And wildly flound'ring flashes up the Deep;
Lychenor following with a downward Blow
Reach'd in the Lake his unrecover'd Foe;
Gasping he rolls, a purple Stream of Blood
Distains the Surface of the Silver Flood;
Thro' the wide Wound the rushing Entrails throng,
And slow the breathless Carkass floats along.
Lymnisius good Tyroglyphus assails,
Prince of the Mice that haunt the flow'ry Vales,
Lost to the milky Fares and rural Seat,
He came to perish on the Bank of Fate.
The dread Pternoglyphus demands the Fight,
Which tender Calaminthius shuns by Flight,
Drops the green Target, springing quits the Foe,
Glides thro' the Lake, and safely dives below.
The dire Pternophagus divides his Way
Thro' breaking Ranks, and leads the dreadful Day.
No nibbling Prince excell'd in Fierceness more,
His Parents fed him on the savage Boar;
But where his Lance the Field with Blood imbru'd,
Swift as he mov'd Hydrocharis pursu'd,
'Till fall'n in Death he lies, a shatt'ring Stone
Sounds on the Neck, and crushes all the Bone,
His Blood pollutes the Verdure of the Plain,
And from his Nostrils bursts the gushing Brain.
Lycopinax with Borbocætes fights
A blameless Frog, whom humbler Life delights;
The fatal Jav'lin unrelenting flies,
And Darkness seals the gentle Croaker's Eyes.
Incens'd Prassophagus with spritely Bound,
Bears Cnissiodortes off the rising Ground,
Then drags him o'er the Lake depriv'd of Breath,
And downward plunging, sinks his Soul to Death.
But now the great Psycarpax shines afar,
(Scarce he so great whose Loss provok'd the War)
Swift to revenge his fatal Jav'lin fled,
And thro' the Liver struck Pelusius dead;
His freckled Corps before the Victor fell,
His Soul indignant sought the Shades of Hell.
This saw Pelobates, and from the Flood
Lifts with both Hands a monst'rous Mass of Mud,
The Cloud obscene o'er all the Warrior flies,
Dishonours his brown Face, and blots his Eyes.
Enrag'd, and wildly sputtring, from the Shore
A Stone immense of Size the Warrior bore,
A Load for lab'ring Earth, whose Bulk to raise,
Asks ten degen'rate Mice of modern Days.
Full to the Leg arrives the crushing Wound,
The Frog supportless, wriths upon the Ground.
Thus flush'd, the Victor wars with matchless Force,
'Till loud Craugasides arrests his Course,
Hoarse-croaking Threats precede, with fatal Speed
Deep thro' the Belly runs the pointed Reed,
Then strongly tug'd, return'd imbru'd with Gore,
And on the Pile his reeking Entrails bore.
The lame Sitophagus oppress'd with Pain,
Creeps from the desp'rate Dangers of the Plain;
And where the Ditches rising Weeds supply,
To spread their lowly Shades beneath the Sky,
There lurks the silent Mouse reliev'd of Heat,
And safe imbower'd, avoids the Chance of Fate.
But here Troxartes, Physignathus there,
Whirl the dire Furies of the pointed Spear:
Then where the Foot around its Ankle plies,
Troxartes wounds, and Physignathus flies,
Halts to the Pool, a safe Retreat to find,
And trails a dangling Length of Leg behind.
The Mouse still urges, still the Frog retires,
And half in Anguish of the Flight expires;
Then pious Ardor young Prassæus brings,
Betwixt the Fortunes of contending Kings:
Lank, harmless Frog! with Forces hardly grown,
He darts the Reed in Combats not his own,
Which faintly tinkling on Troxartes' Shield,
Hangs at the Point, and drops upon the Field.
Now nobly tow'ring o'er the rest appears
A gallant Prince that far transcends his Years,
Pride of his Sire, and Glory of his House,
And more a Mars in Combat than a Mouse:
His Action bold, robust his ample Frame,
And Meridarpax his resounding Name.
The Warrior singled from the fighting Crowd,
Boasts the dire Honours of his Arms aloud;
Then strutting near the Lake, with Looks elate,
Threats all its Nations with approaching Fate.
And such his Strength, the Silver Lakes around,
Might roll their Waters o'er unpeopled Ground.
But pow'rful Jove who shews no less his Grace
To Frogs that perish, than to human Race,
Felt soft Compassion rising in his Soul,
And shook his sacred Head, that shook the Pole.
Then thus to all the gazing Pow'rs began,
The Sire of Gods, and Frogs, and Mouse, and Man.
What Seas of Blood I view, what Worlds of slain,
An Iliad rising from a Day's Campaign!
How fierce his Jav'lin o'er the trembling Lakes
The black-fur'd Hero Meridarpax shakes!
Unless some fav'ring Deity descend,
Soon will the Frogs loquacious Empire end.
Let dreadful Pallas wing'd with Pity fly,
And make her Ægis blaze before his Eye:
While Mars refulgent on his ratling Car,
Arrests his raging Rival of the War.
He ceas'd, reclining with attentive Head,
When thus the glorious God of Combats said.
Nor Pallas, Jove! tho' Pallas take the Field,
With all the Terrors of her hissing Shield,
Nor Mars himself, tho' Mars in Armour bright
Ascend his Car, and wheel amidst the Fight;
Nor these can drive the desp'rate Mouse afar,
And change the Fortunes of the bleeding War.
Let all go forth, all Heav'n in Arms arise,
Or launch thy own red Thunder from the Skies.
Such ardent Bolts as flew that wond'rous Day,
When Heaps of Titans mix'd with Mountains lay,
When all the Giant-Race enormous fell,
And huge Enceladus was hurl'd to Hell.
'Twas thus th' Armipotent advis'd the Gods,
When from his Throne the Cloud-Compeller nods,
Deep length'ning Thunders run from Pole to Pole,
Olympus trembles as the Thunders roll.
Then swift he whirls the brandish'd Bolt around,
And headlong darts it at the distant Ground,
The Bolt discharg'd inwrap'd with Light'ning flies,
And rends its flaming Passage thro' the Skies,
Then Earth's Inhabitants the Niblers shake,
And Frogs, the Dwellers in the Waters, quake.
Yet still the Mice advance their dread Design,
And the last Danger threats the croaking Line,
'Till Jove that inly mourn'd the Loss they bore,
With strange Assistants fill'd the frighted Shore.
Pour'd from the neighb'ring Strand, deform'd to View,
They march, a sudden unexpected Crew,
Strong Sutes of Armor round their Bodies close,
Which, like thick Anvils, blunt the force of Blows;
In wheeling Marches turn'd oblique they go,
With harpy Claws their Limbs divide below,
Fell Sheers the Passage to their Mouth command,
From out the Flesh the Bones by Nature stand,
Broad spread their Backs, their shining Shoulders rise,
Unnumber'd Joints distort their lengthen'd Thighs,
With nervous Cords their Hands are firmly brac'd,
Their round black Eye-balls in their Bosom plac'd,
On eight long Feet the wond'rous Warriors tread,
And either End alike supplies a Head.
These, mortal Wits to call the Crabs, agree;
The Gods have other Names for Things than we.
Now where the Jointures from their Loins depend,
The Heroes Tails with sev'ring Grasps they rend.
Here, short of Feet, depriv'd the Pow'r to fly,
There, without Hands upon the Field they lie.
Wrench'd from their Holds, and scatter'd all around,
The bended Lances heap the cumber'd Ground.
Helpless Amazement, Fear pursuing Fear,
And mad Confusion thro' their Host appear,
O'er the wild Wast with headlong Flight they go,
Or creep conceal'd in vaulted Holes below.
But down Olympus to the Western Seas,
Far-shooting Phœbus drove with fainter Rays,
And a whole War (so Jove ordain'd) begun,
Was fought, and ceas'd, in one revolving Sun.
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