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Gracefully girt, their rapid sailing ships,
And pomp of all their opulence; and more
Than all, that mightier miracle, whose praise
Shall still imperishable bloom, the maids
Of Delos, priestesses of him who darts
His rays around the world. Apollo first
They glorify with hymnings, and exalt
Latona's and the quiver'd Dian's name.
Then in their songs record the men of old,
And famous women, soothing with the strain
The listening tribes of mortals; for their voice
Can imitate the modulated sounds

Of various human tongues, and each would say
Himself were speaking. Such their aptitude
Of flexile accents and melodious speech.

Hail, oh Latona! Dian! Phoebus! hail!

And hail, ye charming damsels, and farewell! Bear me hereafter in your memories;

And should some stranger, worn with hardships,


Upon your island and inquire,

"What man,

Oh maidens lives among you as the bard

Of sweetest song, and most enchants your ear?"

Then answer for me all," Our sweetest bard "Is the blind man of Chios' rocky isle."



Bef. Ch. 800.




English Translators:


HESIODUS ASCREUS, or the Ascræan, has left us some biographical particulars of himself in his writings. We learn that his father, in distressed circumstances, emigrated from Cuma in Æoliato Ascra, a village in Boeotia, at the foot of Mount Helicon; that he had a law-suit with his brother Perses, who obtained the chief share of the patri

mony by bribing the judges; and that he had once crossed the strait of Euripus to the isle of Euboea, on occasion of a poetical contest, and won a tripod as the prize, which he dedicated to the Muses of Helicon. It has been pretended, on the faith of a clumsy fabrication of the age of Adrian, that his competitor was Homer; but Cicero considers Homer as preceding Hesiod by several ages.

The poems of Hesiod contain those curious legends of mythologized history, which are found in the ancient theologies of all nations, and which bear a striking affinity to the records of Sacred Scripture. Such are, the origin of labour through the instrumentality of woman, the concealment of the children of Heaven in a dark cave, and the attempt of a giant with many voices to usurp a universal empire over Gods and men. The dry titles of these poems, and certain homely details in the poems themselves, have repelled curiosity; but they are assuredly mistaken, who entertain a notion that his poetry is little else than a nomenclature of Gods, and a string of saws and proverbs.

Voltaire thought the Pandora of Hesiod superior in elegance to any thing of the kind in Homer. To Hesiod, Ovid is indebted for his ages, Virgil for his conception of a poem on husbandry, and Milton for his battle of Angels; and from the beautiful moral allegories in "the Works and Days," has arisen the well-known apologue of Hercules, Sloth and Virtue.

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