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Pablius Papinius Statius

Ode To Sleep

Gentle divinity, how have I merited?
Whither, unfortunate wretch, have I strayed,
Thus of thy bounty to lie disenherited -
I alone whilst every other is paid?
Sleeping are cattle and birds without number,
Beasts of the wilderness rest in their lair;
Even the hills, as if weary, feign slumber,
Even the torment sighs soft in the air.

Lulled are the shuttering waves of the ocean,
Seas in the lap of the land lie at peace.
Only for me in monotonous motion
Day follows day, and there comes no release.

Moonlight & starlight & light of the morning
Seven times flit o'er my feverish cheek.
Once again Dawn's chilly hand offers warning.
Whither, oh whither for rest shall I seek?

Had I the eyes of an Argus, nor heeded

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Thebais - Book Two

Now Jove’s Command fulfill’d, the Son of May
Quits the black Shades and slowly mounts to Day.
For lazy Clouds in gloomy Barriers rise,
Obstruct the God, and intercept the Skies;
No Zephyrs here their airy pinions move,
To spread his progress to the Realms above.
Scarce can he steer his dark laborious Flight,
Lost and encumber’d in the Damps of Night:
There roaring Tides of Fire his Course withstood,
Here Styx in nine wide Circles roll’d his Flood.
Behind old Laius trod th’ infernal Ground,
Trembling with Age, and tardy from his Wound;
(For all his Force his furious Son apply’d,
And plung’d the guilty Faulchion in his Side.)
Propt and supported by the healing Rod,
The Shade pursued the Footsteps of the God.
The Groves that never bloom; the Stygian Coasts,
The House of Woe; the Mansions of Ghosts,
Earth too admires to see the Ground give way,
And gild Hell’s Horrors with the Gleams of Day.

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Thebais - Book One - part III

Oh race confed’rate into crimes, that prove
Triumphant o’er th’ eluded rage of Jove!
This wearied arm can scarce the bolt sustain,
And unregarded thunder rolls in vain:
Th’ o’erlaboured Cyclops from his task retires,
Th’ Æolian forge exhausted of its fires.
For this, I suffered Phœbus’ steeds to stray,
And the mad ruler to misguide the day;
When the wide earth to heaps of ashes turned,
And heaven itself the wand’ring chariot burned.
For this, my brother of the wat’ry reign
Released th’ impetuous sluices of the main:
But flames consumed, and billows raged in vain.
Two races now, allied to Jove, offend;
To punish these, see Jove himself descend.
The Theban kings their line from Cadmus trace,
From godlike Perseus those of Argive race.
Unhappy Cadmus’ fate who does not know,
And the long series of succeeding woe?
How oft the furies, from the deeps of night,

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Thebais - Book One - part II

A robe obscene was o’er her shoulders thrown,
A dress by fates and furies worn alone. us
She tossed her meagre arms; her better hand’
In waving circles whirled a fun’ral brand:
A serpent from her left was seen to rear
His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air.
But when the fury took her stand on high, too
Where vast Oitheron’s top salutes the sky,
A hiss from all the snaky tire went round:
The dreadful signal all the rocks rebound,
And through th’ Aobaian cities send the sound.
Œte, with high Parnassus, heard the voice;
Eurotas’ banks remurmured to the noise;.
Again Leucothea shook at these alarms,
And pressed Palæmon closer in her arms.
Headlong from thence the glowing fury springs,
And o’er the Theban palace spreads her wings,
Once more invades the guilty dome, and shrouds
Its bright pavilions in a veil of clouds.
Straight with the rage of all their race possessed

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Thebais - Book One - part I

Fraternal rage, the guilty Thebes’ alarms,
Th’ alternate reign destroyed by impious arms,
Demand our song; a sacred fury fires
My ravished breast, and all the muse inspires.
O goddess, say, shall I deduce my rhymes
From the dire nation in its early times,
Europa’s rape, Agenor’s stern decree,
And Cadmus searching round the spacious sea?
How with the serpent’s teeth he sowed the soil,
And reaped an iron harvest of his toil?
Or how from joining stones the city sprung,
While to his harp divine Amphion sung?
Or shall I Juno’s hate to Thebes resound,
Whose fatal rage th’ unhappy monarch found?
The sire against the son his arrows drew,
O’er the wide fields the furious mother flew,
And while her arms a second hope contain,
Sprung from the rocks and plunged into the main.
But waive whate’er to Cadmus may belong,
And fix, O muse ! the barrier of thy song

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Thebais - Book One - part IV

For by the black infernal Styx I swear,
(That dreadful oath which binds the thunderer)
‘Tis fixed; th’ irrevocable doom of Jove;
No force can bend me, no persuasion move.
haste then, Cyllenius, through the liquid air;
Go, mount the winds, and to the shades repair;
Bid hell’s black monarch my commands obey,
And give up Laius to the realms of day,
Whose ghost yet shiv’ring on Cocytus’ sand,
Expects its passage to thc further strand:
Let the pale sire revisit Thebes, and bear
These pleasing orders to the tyrant’s ear;
That from his exiled brother, swelled with pride
Of foreign forces, and his Argive bride,
Almighty Jove commands him to detain
The promised empire, and alternate reign:
Be this the cause of more than mortal hate:
The rest, succeeding times shall ripen into fate.”
The god obeys, and to his feet applies
Those golden wings that cut the yielding skies.

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Thebais - Book One - part V

The king once more the solemn rites requires,
And bids renew the feasts, and wake the fires.
his train obey, while all the courts around
With noisy care and various tumult sound.
Embroidered purple clothes the golden beds;
This slave the floor, and that the table spreads;
A third dispels the darkness of the night,
And fills depending lamps with beams of light.
Here loaves in canisters are piled on high,
And there in flames the slaughtered victims fry.
Sublime in regal state Adrastus shone,
Stretched on rich carpets on his iv’ry throne;
A lofty couch rcceives each princely guest;
Around, at awful distance, wait the rest.
And now the king, his royal feast to grace,
Acestis calls, the guardian of his race,
Who first their youth in arts of virtue trained,
And their ripe years in modest grace maintained;
Then softly whispered in her faithful ear,
And bade his daughters at the rites appear.

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