The Transformation of Galanthis

Atlas perceiv'd the Load of Heav'n's new Guest
Revenge still rancour'd in Eurystheus' Breast
Against Alcides Race. Alcmena goes
To Iole , to vent maternal Woes;
Here she pours forth her Grief, recounts the Spoils
Her Son had bravely reap'd in glorious Toils.
This Iole , by Hercules' Commands,
Hyllus had lov'd, and joyn'd in nuptial Bands.
Her swelling Womb the teeming Birth confess'd,
To whom Alcmena thus her Speech address'd.
O, may the Gods protect thee, in that Hour,
When, midst thy Throws, thou call'st th' Ilithyian Pow'r!
May no Delays prolong thy racking Pain,
As when I su'd for Juno 's Aid in vain.
When now Alcides' mighty Birth drew nigh,
And the tenth Sign roll'd forward on the Sky,
My Womb extends with such a mighty Load,
As Jove the Parent of the Burthen show'd.
I could no more th'encreasing Smart sustain,
My Horror kindles to recount the Pain;
Cold chills my Limbs while I the Tale pursue,
And now methinks I feel my Pangs anew.
Seven Days and Nights amidst incessant Throws,
Fatigu'd with Ills I lay, nor knew Repose;
When lifting high my Hands, in Shrieks I pray'd,
Implor'd the Gods, and call'd Lucina 's Aid.
She came, but prejudic'd, to give my Fate
A Sacrifice to vengeful Juno 's Hate.
She hears the groaning Anguish of my Fits,
And on the Altar at my Door she sits.
O'er her left Knee her crossing Leg she cast,
Then knits her Fingers close, and wrings them fast:
This stay'd the Birth; in mutt'ring Verse she pray'd,
The mutt'ring Verse th' unfinish'd Birth delay'd.
Now with fierce Struggles, raging with my Pain,
At Jove 's Ingratitude I rave in vain.
How did I wish for Death! such Groans I sent,
As might have made the flinty Heart relent.
Now the Cadmeian Matrons round me press,
Offer their Vows, and seek to bring Redress;
Among the Theban Dames Galanthis stands,
Strong limb'd, red hair'd, and just to my Commands:
She first perceiv'd that all these racking Woes
From the persisting Hate of Juno rose
As here and there she pass'd, by chance she sees
The seated Goddess; on her close-press'd Knees
Her fast-knit Hands she leans; with chearful Voice
Galanthis cries, Whoe'er thou art, rejoice,
Congratulate the Dame, she lies at Rest,
At length the Gods Alcmena 's Womb have blest.
Swift from her Seat the startled Goddess springs,
No more conceal'd, her Hands abroad she flings;
The Charm unloos'd, the Birth my Pangs reliev'd;
Galanthis Laughter vex'd the Pow'r deceiv'd.
Fame says, the Goddess dragg'd the laughing Maid
Fast by the Hair; in vain her Force essay'd
Her grov'ling Body from the Ground to rear;
Chang'd to Fore-feet her shrinking Arms appear:
Her hairy Back her former Hue retains,
The Form alone is lost; her Strength remains;
Who, since the Lye did from her Mouth proceed,
Shall from her pregnant Mouth bring forth her Breed;
Nor shall she quit her long frequented Home,
But haunt those Houses where she lov'd to roam.
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