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And the same evening did he steal away Apollo's herds;—the fourth day of the moon, On which him bore the venerable May,
From her immortal limbs he leaped full soon, Nor long could in the sacred cradle keep, But out to seek Apollo's herds would creep.
Out of the lofty cavern wandering
He found a tortoise, and cried out "A treasure!" (For Mercury first made the tortoise sing) The beast before the portal at his leisure The flowery herbage was depasturing,
Moving his feet in a deliberate measure Over the turf. Jove's profitable son Eyeing him laughed, and laughing thus begun :
"A useful godsend are you to me now, King of the dance, companion of the feast, Lovely in all your nature! Welcome, you Excellent plaything! Where, sweet mountain beast,
Got you that speckled shell? Thus much I know, You must come home with me and be my guest; You will give joy to me, and I will do
All that is in my power to honour you.
"Better to be at home than out of door;
So come with me, and though it has been said
That you alive defend from magic power,
I know you will sing sweetly when you're dead." Thus having spoken, the quaint infant bore,
Lifting it from the grass on which it fed,
Then scooping with a chisel of gray steel,
He bored the life and soul out of the beastNot swifter a swift thought of woe or weal
Darts through the tumult of a human breast Which thronging cares annoy-not swifter wheel The flashes of its torture and unrest
Out of the dizzy eyes—than Maia's son
And through the tortoise's hard strong skin
And with a piece of leather overlaid
When he had wrought the lovely instrument, He tried the chords, and made division meet Preluding with the plectrum, and there went Up from beneath his hand a tumult sweet
HYMNS OF HOMER.
HYMN TO MERCURY.
SING, Muse, the son of Maia and of Jove,
And all its pastoral hills, whom in sweet love
Now, when the joy of Jove had its fulfilling,
A shepherd of thin dreams, a cow-stealing,
A night-watching, and door-waylaying thief, Who 'mongst the Gods was soon about to thieve, And other glorious actions to achieve.
The babe was born at the first peep of day;
Of mighty sounds, and from his lips he sent
He sung how Jove and May of the bright sandal
And his own birth, still scoffing at the scandal,
Seized with a sudden fancy for fresh meat,
The hollow lyre, and from the cavern sweet
Revolving in his mind some subtle feat
Of thievish craft, such as a swindler might
Lo! the great Sun under the ocean's bed has Driven steeds and chariot-the child mean
O'er the Pierian mountains clothed in shadows, Where the immortal oxen of the God