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"Apollo soon will pass within this gate, And bind your tender body in a chain Inextricably tight, and fast as fate,
Unless you can delude the God again, Even when within his arms-ah, runagate! A pretty torment both for gods and men Your father made when he made you!"-" Dear mother,"
Replied sly Hermes, "wherefore scold and bother?
"As if I were like other babes as old
Will profit you and me-nor shall our lot
"But we will leave this shadow-peopled cave,
To Phoebus, I will snatch my share away,
"And, if Latona's son should find me out,
Each golden cup and polished brazen pan, All the wrought tapestries and garments gay."So they together talked ;—meanwhile the Day
Ethereal born, arose out of the flood
Of flowing Ocean, bearing light to men. Apollo past toward the sacred wood,
Which from the inmost depths of its green glen Echoes the voice of Neptune,-and there stood On the same spot in green Onchestus then That same old animal, the vine-dresser, Who was employed hedging his vineyard there.
Latona's glorious Son began:-"I pray
Stolen from the herd in high Pieria
Where a black bull was fed apart, between Two woody mountains in a neighbouring glen, And four fierce dogs watched there, unanimous as
"And, what is strange, the author of this theft
Now tell me, man born ere the world begun, Have you seen any one pass with the cows?" To whom the man of overhanging brows,—
"My friend, it would require no common skill
Many pass by my vineyard,—and to me 'Tis difficult to know the invisible
Thoughts, which in all those many minds may
Thus much alone I certainly can say,
"And then I thought I saw, but dare not speak
And in his hand he held a polished stick :
From one side to the other of the road,
Apollo, hearing this, passed quickly on
No winged omen could have shown more clear That the deceiver was his father's son.
So the God wraps a purple atmosphere Around his shoulders, and like fire is gone
To famous Pylos, seeking his kine there,
And found their track and his, yet hardly cold, And cried" What wonder do mine eyes behold!
"Here are the footsteps of the horned herd
Turned back towards their fields of asphodel;— But these are not the tracks of beast or bird, Gray wolf, or bear, or lion of the dell, Or maned Centaur-sand was never stirred By man or woman thus! Inexplicable! Who with unwearied feet could e'er impress The sand with such enormous vestiges?
"That was most strange-but this is stranger still!"
Thus having said, Phoebus impetuously Sought high Cyllene's forest-cinctured hill,
And the deep cavern where dark shadows lie, And where the ambrosial nymph with happy will Bore the Saturnian's love-child, Mercury
And a delighted odour from the dew
Of the hill pastures, at his coming flew.
And Phoebus stooped under the craggy roof Arched over the dark cavern:-Maia's child Perceived that he came angry, far aloof,
About the cows of which he had been beguiled, And over him the fine and fragrant woof
Of his ambrosial swaddling-clothes he piled— As among firebrands lies a burning spark Covered, beneath the ashes cold and dark.
There, like an infant who had sucked his fill,
And gathered in a lump, hands, feet, and head, He lay; and his beloved tortoise still
He grasped and held under his shoulder-blade; Phoebus the lovely mountain goddess knew, Not less her subtle, swindling baby, who
Lay swathed in his sly wiles. Round every crook Of the ample cavern, for his kine Apollo Looked sharp; and when he saw them not, he
The glittering key, and opened three great Recesses in the rock-where many a nook
Was filled with the sweet food immortals swallow, And mighty heaps of silver and of gold Were piled within-a wonder to behold!