The Phenomena and Diosemeia of Aratus/Phenomena< The Phenomena and Diosemeia of Aratus
LET us begin from Jove. Let every mortal raise
His grateful voice to tune Jove's endless praise.
Jove fills the heaven—the earth—the sea—the air:
We feel his spirit moving here and every where.
And we his offspring are. He ever good
Daily provides for man his daily food.
Ordains the seasons by his signs on high,
Studding with gems of light the azure canopy.
What time with plough or spade to break the soil,
That plenteous store may bless the reaper's toil,10
What time to plant and prune the vine he shows,
And hangs the purple cluster on its boughs.
To Him—the First—the Last—all homage yield:
Our Father—Wonderful—our Help—our Shield.
Next hail, harmonious Muses, and inspire
Some portion of your own celestial fire,
Not adverse to a daring Poet's flight,
Who scours on fancy's wings the realms of light.
These diamond orbs their various circles trace,
And run incessantly their daily race.
Round a fix’d axis roll the starry skies: 20
Earth, even balanc'd, in the centre lies.
One pole far south is hid from mortal eye,
One o'er our northern ocean rises high:
Round this The Bears, with head to head reverse,
And back to back, pursue their endless course.
With mortals once they dwelt; if truth belong
To old tradition, and the Poet's song.
When saved by craft from Saturn's bloody hand
Jove's mother bare him to the Cretan strand, 30
There Helice and Cynosyra fair
Foster'd the babe with all a mother's care.
The Corybantes beat their cymbals near,
Deafening his cries to Saturn's watchful ear.
Grateful his foster-dames, the Poets say,
Jove plac'd in heaven to run their glorious way.
Pleasing to sight is Helice's bright team,
And Grecian sailors hail her guiding beam,
When toss'd by adverse winds and tempest black
Mid wintry seas their dubious course they track. 40
But hardier sons of Tyre, who love to brave
The unknown monsters of th’ Atlantic wave,
By Cynosyra's surer guidance steer,
And safe return to wife and children dear.
Betwixt the Bears, like foaming river's tide,
The horrid Dragon twists his scaly hide.
To distant Helice his tail extends,
In glittering folds round Cynosyra bends.
Swoln is his neck—eyes charg’d with sparkling fire
His crested head illume. As if in ire 50
To Helice he turns his foaming jaw,
And darts his tongue barb’d with a blazing star.
His head upon the arctic wave he lays,
Where blend the western with the eastern rays.
Around the pole he swims, but never laves
His fiery limbs in ocean’s cooling waves.
A Labouring Man next rises to our sight:
But what his task—or who this honour’d wight—
No Poet tells. Upon his knee he bends,
And hence his name Engonasin descends. 60
He lifts his suppliant arms, and dares to rest
His right foot on the scaly Dragon's crest.
Near shines that diamond Crown, which Bacchus
For faithful Ariadne, when betray'd
By ingrate Theseus, left to grief and shame
Th' enamour'd God consol'd the widow’d dame.
A head of splendour Serpentarius rears:
As crystal clear his shoulder broad appears,
And rivals jealous Cynthia's silver light,
When in full power she rules the wintry night. 70
His feet stamp Scorpio down—enormous beast—
Crushing the monster's eye, and plaited breast.
With outstretch'd arms he holds the serpent's coils:
His limbs it folds within its scaly toils.
With his right hand its writhing tail he grasps,
Its swelling neck his left securely clasps.
The reptile rears its crested head on high,
Reaching the seven-starr'd crown in northern sky.
Beneath its coils the giant Claws are found:
Few are their stars—for splendour unrenown'd. 80
Hard on the traces of the greater Bear
Presses Bootes in his swift career.
'Mong many gems more brilliant than the rest
Arcturus glows upon his belted waist.
Through the long day he drives the Arctic Wain,
And sinks reluctant in the western main.
Rising beneath Bootes' feet admire
That beauteous form in maidenly attire.
In her left hand a golden spike she bears:
Glitter with sparkling gems her yellow hairs. 90
Art thou, fair Virgin, daughter of that fam'd
Immortal sage of old, Astræus nam'd,
With skilful hand who mapp'd the starry sky,
Plumbing its dark abyss with Philosophic eye?
Or art thou, Goddess, she of heavenly birth,
Who condescended once to dwell on earth,
Astræa call'd, in fabled days of old—
Alas! for ever gone—the Poet's age of gold?
Then Justice rul'd supreme, man's only guide:
No fraud—no violence—no strife—no pride. 100
No sailor ventur'd then to distant clime,
And brought back foreign wealth and foreign crime.
All tended then the flock, or till'd the soil,
And milk and fruit repaid their easy toil.
All happy—equal, as the Poets sing,
No fierce seditious mob—no tyrant king—
But soon these days of innocence were gone:
In his sire's place arose a viler son
Of silver race. Then to the mountain's glen
Scar'd and offended from the haunts of men 110
Fair Justice fled. Yet still at times were seen
Her angel figure, and her godlike mien.
But when she view'd the crowded city's throng—
"The proud man's contumely—the poor man's wrong—"
Vex’d was her righteous soul. "Mortals, farewell,
"Farewell," she said, "no more with man I dwell.
"Ye of your sires a vile degenerate race,
"Your offspring you their fathers will disgrace.
"War soon will desolate these fruitful lands—
"A brother's blood will stain a brother's hands. 120
"Rising to view I see a ghastly train—
She said; and hastening to the mountain's height
Fled far away from mortal's longing sight.
These men soon pass'd away, and in their place
Far viler sons arose—the brazen race—
They first the stubborn ore obedient made,
And forg'd—unhallow'd skill—the murderous blade.
The patient ox, long wont to till the soil,
To tread the corn, and share his master's toil, 130
Dragg'd from his stall—poor harmless slaughter'd beast—
Gave to his cruel lord a bloody feast.
Justice was shock'd—the blood-stain’d earth she flies—
Jove bade her welcome to her native skies;
And near Bootes take her honour'd place,
Where men might still adore her angel face.
Sparkle her golden wings with crystal light—
One gem they bear superlatively bright:
It rolls beneath the tail, and may compare
With the fam'd stars that deck the greater Bear. 140
One gem upon her snow-white shoulder shines:
One clasps the silken girdle of her loins:
One decks her bending knee; and in her hand
Glitters her golden spike like fiery brand.
Many less brilliant stars, by name unknown,
Spangle her vestments, and her forehead crown.
The Twins, beneath the muzzle of the Bear,
Parted on earth, but join'd for ever here,
Her middle part below,
The stars in Cancer few, and faintly glow: 150
'Neath her hind feet, as rushing on his prey,
The lordly Lion greets the God of day,
When out of Cancer, in his torrid car
Borne high, he shoots his arrows from afar,
Scorching the empty fields, and thirsty plain:
Secures the barn the harvest's golden grain.
Then murmur first with hollow sound and deep—
Portentous warning—soon o'er ocean sweep
Th’ Etesian winds. Black Neptune's bosom heaves:
He frowns at first, and curbs his restless waves. 160
But soon joins headlong in the desperate fray,
Careering madly on the foaming spray.
Give me a vessel broad, if doom'd to brave
These wild winds’ fury, and the warring wave.
Next the broad back and sinewy limbs appear
Of fam'd Auriga—dauntless charioteer—
Who lash'd the untam’d coursers to the yoke,
And scour'd the dusty plain with fervid spoke.
Now round the pole he holds his swift career,
While presses on his track the greater Bear. 170
Far in the north his giant form begins,
Reaching athwart the sky the distant Twins.
The sacred Goat upon his shoulder rests—
To infant Jove she gave a mother's breasts,
Kind foster-nurse! Grateful he plac'd her here,
And bade her Kids their mother's honour share.
Capella's course admiring landsmen trace,
But sailors hate her inauspicious face.
Beneath Auriga, turning to the east,
The Tyrian Bull, Europa's treacherous beast,
His golden horns and snowy neck displays: 180
Rivals his splendid head Apollo's rays.
Glows his red eye with Aldebaran's fire—
With sparkling gems his brow the Hyads tire.
Auriga and the Bull together meet—
Touches his star-tipp'd horn the hero's feet.
The beast before him to the west descends—
Together with him from the east ascends.
Unhappy Cepheus, though of race divine!
From Jove himself descends the royal line, 190
And not unmindful of his noble birth
To heaven Jove rais'd him from this lower earth.
Above the lesser Bear his form is seen—
Measures her tail the space his feet between.
Near to the studded girdle of his waist
Lies the huge coil of Draco's speckled breast.
Near and before him rolls divinely fair
Proud Cassiopeia in her stately chair.
Few gems, though bright, the mournful matron grace;
Nor can she rival beauteous face. 200
When the bifolding door the warder bars,
His crooked key depict her glittering stars.
She seems to wail the judgments, which betide
Her daughter, victim of a mother's pride.
Near, young Andromeda, more splendid far,
Though grief and fear the maiden's beauty mar.
Her garland'd head—her shoulders bare admire
Her diamond sandall'd feet—her rich attire—
She still in heaven her captive form retains;
And on her wrists still hang the galling chains. 210
Close and above her head the wondrous steed
With hoof and wing exerts a double speed.
So close they meet, one brilliant star they share,
His body it adorns—and decks her hair.
His side and shoulder with three others grac'd,
As if by art at equal distance plac'd—
Splendid and large. Obscure his ample chest—
Black his long neck—and black his flowing crest.
But on his nostril glows a living fire—
Snorting he seems to stamp with rage and ire.
No quadruped this horse; for lost to sight
Vanish his hinder parts in darkest night.
Once, as they say, on Helicon was seen
Starting from rocky cleft sweet Hippocrene;
When with his hoof he struck the sounding rock,
And earth, obedient to the magic shock, 220
Pour'd forth her copious stream. And hence the name
Of Hippocrene—and hence its lasting fame.
Still flows the cooling fount in Thespian grove—
Treads Pegasus th' elysian fields of Jove. 230
While slow the stars of Cynosyra roll,
Creeping in narrow circle round the pole;
The furious Ram pursues a swift career
Through the wide centre of the crystal sphere.
No splendid gems his golden fleece adorn—
Two dimly glitter on his crooked horn.
If you would find him in the crowded skies,
Beneath Andromeda's bright belt he lies.
On the same path he round the heaven is borne,
As Scorpio's claws, and fam'd Orion's zone. 240
Deltoton next—another sign—is given,
Which marks the place of Aries in the heaven.
Three stars the form of a Triangle trace—
Two equal sides upon a shorter base.
Southward of this, declining to the west,
Behold his ample horns and shaggy breast.
Where the equator cuts the zodiac line,
On the blue vault the glittering Fishes shine.
Though far apart a diamond-studded chain,
Clasping their silvery tails, unites the twain. 250
The Northern one more bright is seen to glide
Beneath th' uplifted arm, and near the side
Of fair Andromeda.
Her anxious eyes
Gleam bright with hope: beneath her Perseus flies,
Her brave deliverer—mighty son of Jove—
His giant strides the blue vault climb, and move
A cloud of dust in heaven: his falchion bare
Reaches his honour’d step-dame's golden chair.
Near his left knee the Pleiads next are roll'd,
Like seven pure brilliants set in ring of gold. 260
Though each one small, their splendour all combine
To form one gem, and gloriously they shine.
Their number seven, though some men fondly say,
And Poets feign, that one has pass'd away.
With Maia—honour’d sisterhood—by Jove
To rule the seasons plac’d in heaven above.
Men mark them, rising with the solar ray,
The harbingers of summer's brighter day—
Men mark them, rising with Sol's setting light,
Forerunners of the winter's gloomy night.
They guide the ploughman to the mellow land—
The sower casts his seed at their command. 270
When the mute shell, by cords elastic bound,
Made vocal warbled forth harmonious sound—
Jove snatch'd from earth the care-dispelling Lyre—
The Gods themselves sweet melody admire.
Before the Labouring Man its place in heaven—
To smooth toil's rugged brow sweet music given. 280
Next soars with wings expanding far and wide
Around the pole in majesty to glide
Jove's mottled Swan. Th’ adulterous bird, they say,
That lent his form fair Leda to betray.
His curving neck around the Lyre he bends—
To distant sky his diamond head extends—
Dark and obscure in parts—in others bright
Studded his wings with numerous gems of light.
Like to a hovering bird his pinions rest,
While floating tranquilly he seeks the west.
Reaches one foot to Cepheus far aloof—
Touches one wing the flying-horse's hoof. 290
About this steed extends the Fish's band—
Upon his mane Aquarius rests his hand.
Before him Capricorn—of monster kind—
In front a goat—a scaly fish behind.
Down to his realms each year the Sun descends:
Returning thence with strength renew'd ascends.
Hapless the mariners, who rashly brave,
Or fates compel to tempt, the wintry wave. 300
The pallid sun, late rising from the east,
Looms through the murky cloud, and seeks the west.
Dark gloomy Night usurps unequal sway,
Nor deigns to share it with the God of day.
The long black billows roll—the whirlwinds roar—
And smokes with shiver'd foam the rocky shore.
Now headlong in the yawning trough they merge—
Now rise like cormorants on the crested surge–
Chills their spray-beaten limbs the icy air—
Chills their heart's blood of death the instant fear. 310
Poor hapless mortals l but a plank of wood
Twixt them and stygian Pluto's drear abode!
Sailors, forewarn'd within your ports remain,
Nor, rashly venturing, loss and ruin gain.
E'en while the sun in Sagittarius lies,
Trust not the faithless sea and clouldless skies.
Mark where on zodiac-line the Archer stands,
With outstretch'd bow and arrow in his hands.
When from the east his monster form he rears,
Bright Scorpio's gem Antar aloft appears; 320
And high in their meridian glory roll
Cold Cynosyra's stars around the pole:
Orion plunges in the western waves,
And half his body northern Cepheus laves.
There lies an Arrow—from what bow it fell
Near to the flying Swan, no Poets tell.
Beneath it soars the Royal Bird of Jove,
Rais'd by his master to these realms above.
To sailors oft an inauspicious star,
Rises at dawn of day, the bright Atair. 330
Where Capricorn his horned forehead rears,
Not distant far his course the Dolphin steers—
Obedient fish—that from a distant shore
His coy reluctant bride to Neptune bore.
With four fair stars he decks the summer skies,
Sparkling and soft as maiden's beauteous eyes.
Now have been sung the various forms that roll
Their daily orbits round the northern pole;
And the twelve signs, through which the God of day,
Varying the seasons, runs his glorious way. 340
There yet remain untold those stars which shine
In realms beyond the equinoctial line.
Athwart the Bull first rise—majestic sight!
Orion's giant limbs and shoulders bright.
Who but admires him stalking through the sky,
With diamond-studded belt, and glittering thigh?
Nor with less ardour, pressing on his back,
The mottled Hound pursues his fiery track.
Dark are his lower parts as wintry night—
His head with burning star intensely bright. 350
Men call him Sirius—for his blasting breath
Dries mortals up in pestilence and death.
When, following hard upon the God of day,
He darts through field and grove his parching ray;
The face of Nature scorch'd and blister'd lies,
And beauteous Flora withers—pines—and dies.
But luscious juice the bursting grapes distil;
And golden stores the reaper's bosom fill.
Up from the east the Hare before him flies—
Close he pursues her through the southern skies. 360
Nearer he cannot reach—farther she cannot strain–
And close they plunge into the western main.
Near to the quarters of Orion's hound
Steers through the azure vault her nightly round
The far-fam'd ship, in which bold Jason's crew
First dar'd dark ocean's trackless path pursue.
When a swift vessel ploughs her watery way,
With forward prow she meets the dashing spray;
But when deep-laden back from distant land
She comes, with forward poop a clamorous band 370
Of joyous sailors haul her to the strand.
And thus, with forward poop and prow reverse
The heavenly Argo steers her westward course.
O'er half her length a shroud of darkness cast—
Some splendid stars illume her head and mast.
Mark where the savage Cetus couching eyes
Andromeda, secure in northern skies.
The Fish and horned Ram his progress bar,
Nor dares he pass the track of Phoebus' car.
The silken bands, that join the Fishes' tails,
Meet in a star upon the monster's scales. 380
Beneath Orion's foot Eridanus begins
His winding course, and reaches Cetus' fins.
When high-born Phaeton with boyish pride
Presum’d his father's fiery steeds to guide,
And, from his shatter'd chariot in the wave
Hurl'd headlong, to ambition gave
An awful warning; from his reedy bed
Rous’d was the river-god—alarm'd he fled
From his parch'd channel—and in pity Jove
Gave him a place in the blue vault above. 390
Where broken Argo ploughs her azure way,
Where savage Cetus eyes his beauteous prey:
Between them both, beneath the flying Hare,
Unnumber'd, small and glittering stars appear.
Nameless they are—and boundless—unconfin'd
In fancied forms by human skill design'd.
These heavenly signs some wise and ancient man,
Skilful and apt the realms of night to scan,
Devis'd and figur'd: each arrang'd with care— 400
Decking with various forms the concave sphere.
Hopeless the task each separate star to name,
Many in lustre and in size the same;
But group'd in constellations they appear
Though nameless known—though numberless in order clear.
The southern Fish beneath Aquarius glides,
And upward turns to Cetus scaly sides.
Rolls from Aquarius' vase a limpid stream,
Where numerous stars like sparkling bubbles gleam;
But two alone beyond the others shine: 410
This on the Fish's jaw—that on the Monster's spine.
Glitters, the forefeet of the Archer near,
The southern Crown: its jewels not so fair
As Ariadne's in the northern sphere.
Where Scorpio to the south his claw expands,
Burning with constant fire an Altar stands.
Few are the hours it shines to mortal eye—
Short is its passage through the wintry sky—
Long as Arcturus o'er the ocean rides,
So long the darksome wave the Altar hides. 420
Primeval Night, who with the God of day
O'er earth and ocean holds divided sway,
Pitying the toils and dangers of the brave
Adventurous sailor through the pathless wave,
By certain signs the coming tempest shows,
While Zephyr breathes, and smoothly ocean flows.
When thou behold'st the Altar bright and clear,
While all around is cloud and darkness drear,
Forewarn'd, take heed—soon loud and fast
Will Notus drive upon the furious blast.
The prudent sailor with attentive eye 430
Observes this warning beacon plac'd on high:
Tightens each rope—binds fast the flapping sail
And rides securely through the threat'ning gale.
Imprudent mariners these signs despise,
Nor heed the murmuring wind and lowering skies:
With sail to shivers torn and broken mast
Headlong they drive before the furious blast:
Now frowns with ruin big the mountain wave—
Now gapes the dark abyss a yawning grave.
If to their prayer propitious Jove attend, 440
And from the north storm-quelling Boreas send;
Dispers'd the clouds—serene the troubled air–
And curb'd is Neptune in his mad career.
But if the Centaur 'twixt the east and west
Have half his course perform'd, and on his breast
A cloudy vapour hang—forewarn'd beware—
For Eurus with his blighting breath is near.
The Centaur next his monster form displays.
Is he sage Chiron, sung in Homer's lays? 450
Above his front, of human form divine,
The scaled limbs of blazing Scorpio shine.
Where in a horse his hinder quarters end,
Above on zodiac line the Claws extend.
In his right hand some beast he seems to bear—
They say, an offering for the Altar near.
The Hydra next her giant length extends—
Around the Centaur's head her tail she bends.
Above her coiled back the Lion stands—
Close o'er her glittering head dark Cancer hangs. 460
On the mid coil a Goblet rests—below,
As pecking at her skin, the crafty Crow.
Beneath the Twins the portals of the east
Dread Procyon bursts—though last, in splendour not the least.
These are the heavenly orbs that ever roll
In their fix'd circles round the central pole.
Five other stars remain of various size,
That lawless seem to wander through the skies.
Hence Planets call'd—yet still they ever run
Through the twelve signs, the circuit of the sun. 470
Thousands of ages come—thousands depart—
Ere all return and meet where once they start.
Rash the attempt for artless hand like mine
To trace their orbits and their bounds define:
My easier task the circles to rehearse
Of the fix’d stars, and trace Sol's annual course.
If with admiring ken some cloudless night,
When no full moon obtrudes her jealous light,
To the high Heavens thou lift the starry eye,
A radiant girdle belts the azure sky— 480
A pearly pavement softly bright it seems—
Its silvery whiteness rivals Cynthia's beams—
The Milky Zone. No other circle given
Thus visible to mortal eyes in Heaven.
Four circles trace we on the heavenly sphere
To mark the course of each revolving year;
Round the mid heavens the larger two are bound,
Nearer the poles the lesser two are found.
Upon the northern, dear to sailors, shine
The brother Twins, of Jove's immortal line. 490
With glowing knees Auriga it adorns;
And close below the Bull expands his horns.
To Perseus legs and shoulders it extends—
Andromeda her beauteous arm upon it bends
Down from the north. The Flying Horse aloof
Reaches the circle with his prancing hoof.
Stretches the Swan his neck and head afar,
Seeking to touch it with his utmost star.
Near it his shoulders Serpentarius rears,
And nearer yet the Serpent's head appears. 500
Astræa's virgin form below reclines—
Her angel face on realms more southern shines.
It runs athwart the Lion's loins and breast—
Cutting his shaggy mane and tawny chest.
Hence into Cancer, where its course begun,
And where in northern Tropic rests the Sun.
If in eight parts this circle we divide,
Five rise above—three sink in ocean's tide.
When Phœbus gains this point, approaching near
E'en to the forefeet of the greater Bear,
He checks his steeds, and turns his burning car
Down from the north to Capricorn afar. 510
The other corresponding circle lies
As distant from the pole in southern skies.
The breast it cuts and loins of Capricorn,
And both his legs, who holds the Watering Urn.
Its track on Cetus fishy tail is found—
Through the swift Hare—and swift pursuing Hound.
Onward it runs o'er Argo's glittering mast,
And to the monster Centaur's hairy breast. 520
Divides the Scorpion near its fiery sting—
Cutting the Archer's crooked bow and string.
His southern limits here the Sun attains,
When tyrant Winter holds in icy chains
Our northern realms. Five parts of weary night
Our hapless lot—and three of solar light.
Betwixt them both a greater circle lies,
And equally bisects the starry skies.
When Phœbus cuts this Equinoctial way,
He gives to man the balanc'd night and day:
When weeping Autumn mourns the empty fields,
And when to genial Spring stern Winter yields.
On it the Ram his golden fleece reclines; 530
To it his crooked knees the Bull inclines;
On it Orion's diamond-studded waist;
To it the Hydra lifts her coiled breast;
Onward through Scorpio's outstretch'd Claws its track,
Cutting the Serpent, and the brawny back
Of Serpentarius. Closely soars above
The mighty messenger of thundering Jove. 540
Nor distant far the snorting Winged Horse,
With flowing mane pursues his daily course.
The orbits of three circles we have trac'd,
Directly round the polar axis plac'd:
The fourth, obliquely running through the sky
From lowest Capricorn to Cancer high,
Touches each Tropic, and unites the twain,
Twice cutting through the equinoctial line.
No skilful hand, though Pallas lent her art,
To orbs such various movements could impart, 550
Harmonious all. On the celestial sphere
Though stars untold, as ocean's sand, appear,
Each tracks its separate orbit through the skies—
Fix’d is its place to set—its place to rise.
But the fourth circle on the ocean's face
To set and rise has no determin’d place.
Now mounting high to Cancer's torrid side—
With Capricorn now sinking in the tide.
If we this circle measure in the sky,
Spanning a sixth part with the human eye, 560
Two signs of twelve it can at once embrace,
Thence to the central eye an equal space.
Through torrid Cancer and the Lion's crest
This Zodiac runs, and o'er the Virgin's vest:
Where Scorpio stretches far his glittering Claws,
And where his arrow Sagittarius draws—
To Capricornus with his fishy stern,
And moist Aquarius with his flowing urn–
To where apart the silvery Fishes glide,
Their tails by silken band together tied— 570
By golden Aries, and the Bull's red eye—
To where the Twins propitious shine on high.
Each year this circle tracks the God of day,
Cheering the earth with his prolific ray.
Six of its parts in heaven conspicuous ride,
While six are hid from sight in ocean's tide.
Deep as it plunges in the southern main,
So high it mounts upon the starry plain.
Black dreary Night now holds extended sway,
Giving to earth the cold contracted day: 580
Now triumphs in his turn the God of light,
Nor deigns to share his power with ancient Night:
Scarce sinks in western wave his burning car,
Ere burst his snorting steeds their eastern bar.
Important task to trace its course aright,
And mark its rising each successive night;
For always held within this zodiac bound,
Running his annual course the Sun is found.
If clouds arise, or mountains intervene,
And Phœbus' rising chariot is not seen; 590
Turn to that part of the horizon's line,
Where uneclips'd the heavenly beacons shine:
Some star there mark, which by its setting ray
Tells of the rising of the God of day.
When Cancer rises from the eastern main,
Not few the gems that deck the azure plain.
The diamond Crown, that amorous Bacchus gave
To Ariadne, in the western wave
One half is plung'd: the southern Fish descends
Headlong, his tail upon his back he bends. 600
Tir'd Serpentarius dips his heaving breast,
With his broad shoulders, and the Serpent's crest.
Arctophylax, insatiable of light,
Unwilling seeks the dreary realms of night—
Above the waves his outstretch'd hand remains,
Through half the night the struggle he maintains.
Rears to meridian sky Orion bold
His massy club—beneath his feet is roll’d
Eridanus—splendid his diamond band,
And sheath'd in flickering gold his flaming brand. 610
When rising fiercely from his eastern lair,
The Lion shakes the dewdrops from his hair,
Jove's Eagle, scar'd, to western ocean flies,
Quenching the fiery bolt, and lightning of his eyes.
Headlong Engonasin—yet still appear
His knee and foot within the starry sphere.
The Hydra, fearless of the lordly beast,
Rises together with him from the east.
And burning Procyon, and the bright-ey'd Hare,
And forefeet of the greater Dog appear. 620
When fair Astræa shows her virgin face,
Propitious to this earth—her dwelling place
In times gone by ; then sets the Arcadian Lyre,
Which skilful Hermes strung for Jove his sire—
Plunges the Dolphin in his native waves—
The mottled Swan his plumes in ocean laves—
Westward Eridanus pours down his tide—
Merges the Horse his head and winged side.
Aloft the Hydra lifts his speckled crest,
Showing the Goblet on his coiled breast. 630
All Sirius now emerges from below,
And glittering Argo with her broken prow.
If few conspicuous stars the Claws can boast,
And their dim light mid brighter gems is lost;
Together with them great Bootes rears
His head, and on his waist Arcturus bears.
While Argo spreads aloft her spangled sails,
And Hydra stretches forth her lengthened scales.
That nameless figure, kneeling in the sky,
Now lifts to sight his rising leg and thigh— 640
Ever he kneels—aloft his arm he flings,
As if to strike the Lyre's responsive strings.
Poor Labouring Man—he knows no night of rest–
Ere all his wearied limbs have gain'd the west
His morning course begins. Slow to the east
He lifts his giant form. His heaving breast
Rises with Scorpio, while his head below
Advances with the Archer’s outstretch'd bow.
Lingering he struggles on the ocean's verge,
And slowly with three signs his limbs emerge. 650
Together with the Claws the diamonds bright,
That deck the northern Crown, arise to sight,
And sink the Swan and Pegasus in utter night.
Of Neptune's wrath Andromeda the fair
No longer mindful dips her golden hair.
When lo! to western wave the dauntless brute,
The fishy Cetus rolls, as in pursuit
Of his lost prey. And in the northern waves
Cepheus his head, and hand, and shoulder laves.
When Scorpio rises with the bright Antar, 660
Orion marks that signal from afar;
Nor turns to view the monster form again,
But hastens downward to the western main.
Pardon, chaste Dian, if I now relate,
As ancient bards have sung, Orion's fate.
He rashly dar'd, they say, on Chian strand
To touch thy virgin vest with impious hand,
What time invited by Œnopion came
The giant warrior in pursuit of game;
And slaughter'd heaps, and vacant forests told 670
The skill and vigour of the hunter bold.
A mightier beast, that could his might withstand,
From the cleft rock arose at thy command;
And this huge Scorpion with the hunter's blood
Aveng'd the harmless tenants of the wood.
Hence not in heaven unmindful of the fray
Orion shuns the Scorpion's blasting ray.
With him Andromeda and Cetus merge
Their total limbs deep in the briny surge.
Within the Arctic circle Cepheus glides— 680
His glittering girdle night from day divides.
Each eve his crowned head and breast he laves
Down to the waist in ocean's cooling waves.
Behind Andromeda her mother queen
With head immers'd, and legs aloft is seen,
A royal matron and a stately dame,
Like to a tumbler at some rustic game!
Unsightly posture—Will she now compare
With graceful Panope and Doris fair?
While headlong to the west all these descend, 690
Up from the east the lower parts ascend
Of Hydra's snaky length—the crown appears—
The Centaur's head—and victim which he bears.
When the great Archer Monster from below
Rising obtrudes his outstretch'd arm and bow;
Then mounting with him Serpentarius shines—
Round him its speckled coils the serpent twines.
Engonasin above revers'd appears—
First to the sky his feet and legs he rears—
Sweet soother of his toils the Lyre he brings, 700
Harmonious warbling with its golden strings.
The stars that Sirius and Orion boast
In deepest night to human ken are lost.
Auriga stands upon the watery verge–
Touches his naked feet the rising surge.
Capella on his shoulder shines afar,
To sailors oft an unpropitious star.
Cepheus now rises on the eastern sky,
And Perseus half is lost to human eye.
When rising next appears with butting horn 710
Half goat, half fish, the wintry Capricorn,
Auriga setting bears his Kids away;
And ocean quenches Procyon's feverish ray.
Up from the east the Swan majestic sails—
Returning light Jove's mighty Eagle hails.
When dripping from his dreary watery bed
Aquarius lifts his cloud-environ’d head,
The rising Horse the starry pavement paws
With panting nostril and extended jaws.
Night drags the Centaur down to her domain— 720
Aloft his head and shoulders broad remain
Till from their native waves the Fishes glide;
Then the whole monster sinks beneath the tide.
Andromeda now gladly quits the main,
Where Neptune and th' offended Nereids reign.
Long time emerging from the briny waves,
One fetter'd hand in ocean still she laves.
When rises Aries with his golden head,
And couching rests as on a flowery bed,
Quench'd in the ocean sinks the Altar's fire— 730
To hapless sailors oft an omen dire.
And Perseus arm'd emerges from the tide,
As rushing to defend his captive bride.
When quits the Bull the portals of the east,
Rises, attendant on the lordly beast,
Auriga. On him rests Capella bright,
And rivals Aldebaran's ruby light:
Not all his limbs the eastern ocean clear
Till in the heavens the brother Twins appear.
Now first Bootes sinks into the main, 740
Struggling through four long signs the shore to gain
One hand he keeps above the arctic way,
As if intent to seize his grisly prey.
Dips Serpentarius both his feet and knees,
As mount the Twins above the eastern seas;
And high in their meridian splendour shine
The numerous stars on Cetus' fin and spine.
Rising Eridanus the sailors cheers,
And soon Orion's splendid belt appears:
By Him the watches of the night they mark, 750
Intent on Him they steer the fragile bark.
The Gods, propitious to man's feeble race,
These signs in heaven his guides and beacons place.