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Lost to the milky fares and rural seat,
He came to perish on the bank of fate.
The dread Pternoglyphus demands the fight, Which tender Calaminthius shuns by flight, Drops the green target, springing quits the foe, Glides through the lake, and safely dives below: But dire Pternophagus divides his way
Through breaking ranks, and leads the dreadful day.
No nibbling prince excell'd in fierceness more,
His parents fed him on the savage boar;
But where his lance the field with blood imbrued,
Swift as he moved Hydrocharis pursued,
Till fall'n in death he lies, a shattering stone
Sounds on the neck, and crushes all the bone,
His blood pollutes the verdure of the plain,
And from his nostrils bursts the gushing brain.
Lychopynax with Borboreates fights,
A blameless Frog, whom humbler life delights;
The fatal javelin unrelenting flies,
And darkness seals the gentle croaker's eyes.
Incensed Prassophagus, with sprightly bound,
Bears Cnissodioctes off the rising ground,
Then drags him o'er the lake, deprived of breath,
And, downward plunging, sinks his soul to death.
But now the great Psycarpax shines afar,
(Scarce he so great whose loss provoked the war)
Swift to revenge his fatal javelin fled,
And through the liver struck Pelusius dead;
His freckled corpse before the victor fell,
His soul indignant sought the shades of hell.
This saw Pelobates, and from the flood
Heaved with both hands a monstrous mass of mud;
The cloud obscene o'er all the hero flies,
Dishonours his brown face, and blots his eyes.
Enraged, and wildly sputtering, from the shore
A stone immense of size the warrior bore,
A load for labouring earth, whose bulk to raise,
Ask ten degenerate Mice of modern days:
Full on the leg arrives the crushing wound;
The Frog, supportless, writhes upon the ground.
Thus flush'd, the victor wars with matchless force,
Till loud Craugasides arrests his course;
Hoarse-croaking threats precede, with fatal speed
Deep through the belly run the pointed reed,
Then strongly tugg'd, return'd imbrued with gore,
And on the pile his reeking entrails bore.
The lame Sitophagus, oppress'd with pain,
Creeps from the desperate dangers of the plain;
And where the ditches rising weeds supply
To spread their lowly shades beneath the sky,
There lurks the silent Mouse relieved from heat,
And safe embower'd, avoids the chance of fate.
But here Troxartas, Physignathus there,
Whirl the dire furies of the pointed spear;
But where the foot around its ankle plies
Troxartas wounds, and Physignathus flies,
Halts to the pool, a safe retreat to find,
And trails a dangling length of leg behind:
The Mouse still urges, still the Frog retires,
And half in anguish of the flight expires.
Then pious ardour young Prassæus brings Betwixt the fortunes of contending kings: Lank, harmless Frog! with forces hardly grown, He darts the reed in combats not his own, Which faintly tinkling on Troxartas' shield, Hangs at the point, and drops upon the field. Now nobly towering o'er the rest appears A gallant prince that far transcends his years,
Pride of his sire, and glory of his house,
And more a Mars in combat than a Mouse:
His action bold, robust his ample frame,
And Meridarpax his resounding name.
The warrior, singled from the fighting crowd,
Boasts the dire honours of his arms aloud;
Then strutting near the lake, with looks elate,
To all its nations threats approaching fate;
And such his strength, the silver lakes around
Might roll their waters o'er unpeopled ground.
But powerful Jove, who shows no less his grace
To Frogs that perish than to human race,
Felt soft compassion rising in his soul,
And shook his sacred head, that shook the pole;
Then thus to all the gazing powers began
The sire of gods, and frogs, and mice, and man:
'What seas of blood I view! what worlds of
An Iliad rising from a day's campaign; [slain!
How fierce his javelin o'er the trembling lakes
The black-furr'd hero Meridarpax shakes!
Unless some favouring deity descend,
Soon will the Frogs' loquacious empire end.
Let dreadful Pallas wing'd with pity fly,
And make her ægis blaze before his eye:
While Mars, refulgent on his rattling car,
Arrests his raging rival of the war.'
He ceased, reclining with attentive head,
When thus the glorious god of combats said:
'Nor Pallas, Jove! though Pallas take the field,
With all the terrors of her hissing shield,
Nor Mars himself, though Mars in armour bright
Ascend his car, and wheel amidst, the fight,
Not these can drive the desperate Mouse afar,
Or change the fortunes of the bleeding war.
Lét all go forth, all heaven in arms arise,
Or launch thy own red thunder from the skies.
Such ardent bolts as flew that wondrous day,
When heaps of Titans mix'd with mountains lay,
When all the giant-race enormous fell,
And huge Enceladus was hurl'd to hell.'
'Twas thus the' armipotent advised the gods, When from his throne the cloud-compeller nods; Deep lengthening thunders run from pole to pole, Olympus trembles as the thunders roll.
Then swift he whirls the brandish'd bolt around,
And headlong darts it at the distant ground;
The bolt discharged, inwrapp'd with lightning flies,
And rends its flaming passage though the skies:
Then earth's inhabitants, the nibblers, shake,
And Frogs, the dwellers in the waters, quake.
Yet still the Mice advance their dread design,
And the last danger threats the croaking line,
Till Jove, that inly mourn'd the loss they bore,
With strange assistants fill'd the frighted shore.
Pour'd from the neighbouring strand, deform'd to
They march, a sudden unexpected crew! [view,
Strong suits of armour round their bodies close,
Which, like thick anvils, blunt the force of blows;
In wheeling marches turn'd oblique they go;
With harpy claws their limbs divide below;
Fell sheers the passage to their mouth command;
From out the flesh their bones by nature stand;
Broad spread their backs, their shining shoulders
Unnumber'd joints distort their lengthen'd thighs; With nervous cords their hands are firmly braced; Their round black eyeballs in their bosom placed;
On eight long feet the wondrous warriors tread;
And either end alike supplies a head:
These, mortal wits to call the Crabs agree,
The gods have other names for things than we.
Now where the jointures from their loins depend,
The heroes' tails with severing grasps they rend;
Here, short of feet, deprived the power to fly,
There, without hands, upon the field they lie:
Wrench'd from their holds, and scatter'd all around,
The bended lances heap'd the cumber'd ground.
Helpless amazement, fear pursuing fear,
And mad confusion through their host appear:
O'er the wild waste with headlong flight they go,
creep conceal'd in vaulted holes below.
But down Olympus to the western seas
Far-shooting Phoebus drove with fainter rays;
And a whole war (so Jove ordain'd) begun,
Was fought, and ceased, in one revolving sun.