The Story Of Europa.

Hor. Od. III. xxvii. 25.

Mid teeming ocean’s monster brood,1
Stretched snow-white on the crafty steer,2
At unmasked perils of the flood3
The bold Europa paled with fear.4
She who at noon culled meadow flowers5
And for the nymphs vowed garlands wove,6
Sees nought in twilight’s dusky hours7
Save billows round and stars above.8
So when to Crete’s steep isle she came,9
With five-score cities peopled, cries10
Oh ! father, duty ! daughter’s name !11
To passion fallen a sacrifice.12
Whence come and where ? mere death were gain13
Lost maiden honour to redeem ;14
Wake I and weep th’ inexpiable stain15
Or mocks me guiltless a vain dream16
Sleep though the ivory portal leads ?17
Ah ! which should happier living prove,18
Fresh flowers to gather in the meads19
Or o’er long trailing seas to rove !20
That ill-famed steer would some power give21
Back to these wrathful hands again,22
Into the brute this steel I’d drive23
And tear those fondled horns in twain.24
A shameless fugitive from home,25
Hear me some god and grant my prayer ;26
Too shamed to live, oh ! let me roam27
Naked where lions make their lair.28
‘Ere from my form the juices drain,29
Or foul decay this fair cheek soil,30
Let tigers hunt me o’er the plain,31
But beauteous still devour their spoil.’32
Cries ‘ vile Europa, why delay ? ’33
My far-off sire.  ‘ On yon ash nigh,34
Noosed with thy zone, well snatched away,35
Wanton ! go wrench thy neck and die.36
Or launched on the eddying storm-wind’s breath,37
If rocks and reefs more charm thy soul,38
Dash on these ledges lined with death39
Else take the shame of carding wool,40
Handmaid to some barbarian dame,41
Harlot of royal pedigree ! ’42
With unstrung bow child Love now came,43
And Venus smiling roguishly :44
Who when enough she had jeered the fair45
Hush, hush these brawls, no more complain,46
The hateful bull to meet thy prayer47
Yields thee his horns to rend in twain.48
Of sovereign and all-conquering Jove49
Know thyself consort—sobs disclaim.50
Learn worthy thy proud state to prove51
The world’s cloven orb shall boast thy name.’52