Thomas Parnell

(1679 - 1718 / Ireland)

Homer's Battle Of The Frogs And Mice. Book Ii - Poem by Thomas Parnell

When rosy-finger'd Morn had ting'd the Clouds,
Around their Monarch-Mouse the Nation crouds,
Slow rose the Monarch, heav'd his anxious Breast,
And thus, the Council fill'd with Rage, addrest.

For lost Psycarpax much my Soul endures,
'Tis mine the private Grief, the publick, yours.
Three warlike Sons adorn'd my nuptial Bed,
Three Sons, alas, before their Father dead!
Our Eldest perish'd by the rav'ning Cat,
As near my Court the Prince unheedful sate.
Our next, an Engine fraught with Danger drew,
The Portal gap'd, the Bait was hung in View,
Dire Arts assist the Trap, the Fates decoy,
And Men unpitying kill'd my gallant Boy!
The last, his Country's Hope, his Parent's Pride,
Plung'd in the Lake by Physignathus, dy'd.
Rouse all the War, my Friends! avenge the Deed,
And bleed that Monarch, and his Nation bleed.

His Words in ev'ry Breast inspir'd Alarms,
And careful Mars supply'd their Host with Arms.
In verdant Hulls despoil'd of all their Beans,
The buskin'd Warriours stalk'd along the Plains,
Quills aptly bound, their bracing Corselet made,
Fac'd with the Plunder of a Cat they flay'd,
The Lamp's round Boss affords their ample Shield,
Large Shells of Nuts their cov'ring Helmet yield;
And o'er the Region, with reflected Rays,
Tall Groves of Needles for their Lances blaze.
Dreadful in Arms the marching Mice appear:
The wond'ring Frogs perceive the Tumult near,
Forsake the Waters, thick'ning form a Ring,
And ask, and hearken, whence the Noises spring;
When near the Croud, disclos'd to publick View,
The valiant Chief Embasichytros drew:
The sacred Herald's Scepter grac'd his Hand,
And thus his Words exprest his King's Command.

Ye Frogs! the Mice with Vengeance fir'd, advance,
And deckt in Armour shake the shining Lance;
Their hapless Prince by Physignathus slain,
Extends incumbent on the watry Plain.
Then arm your Host, the doubtful Battle try;
Lead forth those Frogs that have the Soul to die.

The Chief retires, the Crowd the Challenge hear,
And proudly-swelling, yet perplex'd appear,
Much they resent, yet much their Monarch blame,
Who rising, spoke to clear his tainted Fame.

O Friends, I never forc'd the Mouse to Death,
Nor saw the Gaspings of his latest Breath.
He, vain of Youth, our Art of Swimming try'd,
And vent'rous, in the Lake the Wanton dy'd.
To Vengeance now by false Appearance led,
They point their Anger at my guiltless Head.
But wage the rising War by deep Device,
And turn its Fury on the crafty Mice.
Your King directs the Way; my Thoughts elate
With Hopes of Conquest, form Designs of Fate.
Where high the Banks their verdant Surface heave,
And the steep Sides confine the sleeping Wave,
There, near the Margin, and in Armour bright,
Sustain the first impetuous Shocks of Fight:
Then where the dancing Feather joins the Crest,
Let each brave Frog his obvious Mouse arrest;
Each strongly grasping, headlong plunge a Foe,
'Till countless Circles whirl the Lake below;
Down sink the Mice in yielding Waters drown'd;
Loud flash the Waters; ecchoing Shores resound:
The Frogs triumphant tread the conquer'd Plain,
And raise their glorious Trophies of the slain.

He spake no more, his prudent Scheme imparts
Redoubling Ardour to the boldest Hearts.
Green was the Suit his arming Heroes chose,
Around their Legs the Greaves of Mallows close,
Green were the Beetes about their Shoulders laid,
And green the Colewort, which the Target made.
Form'd of the vary'd Shells the Waters yield,
Their glossy Helmets glist'ned o'er the Field;
And tap'ring Sea-Reeds for the polish'd Spear,
With upright Order pierc'd the ambient Air.
Thus dress'd for War, they take th' appointed Height,
Poize the long Arms, and urge the promis'd Fight.

But now, where Jove's irradiate Spires arise,
With Stars surrounded in Æthereal Skies,
(A Solemn Council call'd) the brazen Gates
Unbar; the Gods assume their golden Seats:
The Sire superiour leans, and points to show
What wond'rous Combats Mortals wage below:
How strong, how large, the num'rous Heroes stride;
What Length of Lance they shake with warlike Pride:
What eager Fire, their rapid March reveals;
So the fierce Centaurs ravag'd o'er the Dales;
And so confirm'd, the daring Titans rose,
Heap'd Hills on Hills, and bid the Gods be Foes.

This seen, the Pow'r his sacred Visage rears,
He casts a pitying Smile on worldly Cares,
And asks what heav'nly Guardians take the List,
Or who the Mice, or who the Frogs assist?

Then thus to Pallas. If my Daughter's Mind
Have join'd the Mice, why stays she still behind?
Drawn forth by sav'ry Steams they wind their Way,
And sure Attendance round thine Altar pay,
Where while the Victims gratify their Tast,
They sport to please the Goddess of the Feast.

Thus spake the Ruler of the spacious Skies,
When thus, resolv'd, the Blue-Ey'd Maid replies.
In vain, my Father! all their Dangers plead,
To such, thy Pallas never grants her Aid.
My flow'ry Wreaths they petulantly spoil,
And rob my chrystal Lamps of feeding Oil.
(Ills following Ills) but what afflicts me more,
My Veil, that idle Race profanely tore.
The Web was curious, wrought with Art divine;
Relentless Wretches! all the Work was mine.
Along the Loom the purple Warp I spread,
Cast the light Shoot, and crost the silver Thread;
In this their Teeth a thousand Breaches tear,
The thousand Breaches skilful Hands repair,
For which vile earthly Dunns thy Daughter grieve,
And Gods, that use no Coin, have none to give.
And Learning's Goddess never less can owe,
Neglected Learning gets no Wealth below.
Nor let the Frogs to gain my Succour sue,
Those clam'rous Fools have lost my Favour too.
For late, when all the Conflict ceast at Night,
When my stretch'd Sinews work'd with eager Fight,
When spent with glorious Toil, I left the Field,
And sunk for Slumber on my swelling Shield,
Lo from the Deep, repelling sweet Repose,
With noisy Croakings half the Nation rose:
Devoid of Rest, with aking Brows I lay,
'Till Cocks proclaim'd the crimson Dawn of Day.
Let all, like me, from either Host forbear,
Nor tempt the flying Furies of the Spear.
Let heav'nly Blood (or what for Blood may flow)
Adorn the Conquest of a meaner Foe,
Who, wildly rushing, meet the wond'rous Odds,
Tho' Gods oppose, and brave the wounded Gods.
O'er gilded Clouds reclin'd, the Danger view,
And be the Wars of Mortals Scenes for you.

So mov'd the blue-ey'd Queen, her Words persuade,
Great Jove assented, and the rest obey'd.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 17, 2010



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