Anecdotes of Archery
Part 2 of 34
THE fuitors of PENELOPE, having in vain attempted to bend the bow of ULYSSES, (that hero being prefent, difguifed like a beggar) he with much difficulty obtains leave to try his fkill.
. . . . . . . . One hand aloft difplay'd
The bending horns, and one the ftring effay'd.
From his effaying hand the ftring let fly,
Twang'd fhort and fharp, like the fhrill fwallow's cry.
A general horror ran thro' all the race,
Sunk was each heart, and pale was every face:
Then fierce the hero o'er the threfhold ftrode ;
Stript of his rags, he blaz'd out like a god.
Full in their face the lifted bow he bore,
And quiver'd deaths, a formidable ftore;
Before his feet the rattling fhow'r he threw,
And thus terrific to the fuitor crew:
"One vent'rous game this hand has won to-day,
Another, princes ! yet remains to play;
Another mark our arrow muft attain,
PHOEBUS ! affift ;—nor be the labour vain."
Swift as the word the parting arrow fings,
And bears thy fate, ANTINOUS, on its wings.
Wretch that he was, of unprophetic foul !
High in his hands he rear'd the golden bowl!
Even then to drain it, lengthen'd out his breath,
Changed to the deep, the bitter draught of death
For fate, who fear'd, amidft a feaftful band ?
And fate to numbers, by a fingle hand ?
Full thro' his throat Ulysses' weapon paft,
And pierc'd the neck: He falls and breaths his laft.
ENEAS in celebrating the anniverfary of his father's funeral, amongft other fports and exercifes, introduces Archery.
Forthwith ENEAS to the fports invites
All who with feather'd fhafts wou'd try their fkill,
And names the prizes. With his ample hand
He from SERESTUS' fhip a maft erects;
And on it by a rope fufpended ties
A fwift-wing'd dove, at which they all fhould aim
Their arrows : They affemble; and the lots
Shuffled into a brazen cafque are thrown.
With fav'ring fhouts HIPPOCOON firft appears,
Offspring of HYRTACUS : Then MNESTHEUS next,
So lately victor in the naval ftrife,
And crown'd with olive-greens: EURYTION third,
Brother to thee, O PANDARUS! renown'd,
Who once, commanded to diffolve the league,
Didft firft among the Grecians hurl a dart:
ACESTES to the helmet's bottom finks
The laft; himfelf prefuming to attempt
The fports of youth. Then all with manly ftrength
Bend their tough yeugh; each with his utmoft force
All from their quivers draw their fhafts : and firft
Shot from the twanging nerve HIPPOCOON'S flies
Along the fky, beats the thin liquid air,
And on the body of the maft adverfe
Stands fix'd: The maft and frighted bird at once
Tremble, and all the cirque with fhouts refounds.
Next eager MNESTHEUS with his bended bow
Stands ready, and his eyes and arrow aim'd
Directs to heav'n ; yet cou'd not reach the dove
Herfelf unfortunate, but cut the knots
And hempen ligaments in which fhe hung
Ty'd by the feet upon the lefty maft;
She flies into the winds and dufky clouds.
EURYTION then impatient, and long fince
Holding his ready bow and fitted fhaft,
Invokes his brother; and, in open air,
Seeing the dove now fhake her founding wings,
Transfixes her amidft the clouds : The bird
Falls dead, and, leaves her life among the ftars.