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So the poor cows, straggling o'er pasture land,
When they perceive the prowling wolf at hand,
Crowd close together in a circle full,


And beg the succour of the lordly bull;

They clash their horns, they low with dreadful sound,

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Now here she rush'd, now there; and had she been

But duly prudent, she had slipp'd between,


With course oblique, into the fourth white square,
And the long toil of war had ended there,
The King had fall'n, and all his sable state;
And vanquish'd Hermes cursed his partial fate.
For thence with ease the championess might go,
Murder the King, and none could ward the blow.
With silence, Hermes, and with panting heart,
Perceived the danger, but with subtle art,
(Lest he should see the place) spurs on the foe,
Confounds his thoughts, and blames his being slow.
For shame! move on; would you for ever stay?
What sloth is this, what strange perverse delay ?-
How could you e'er my little pausing blame?



What! you would wait till night shall end the game?

Phoebus, thus nettled, with imprudence slew


A vulgar Pawn, but lost his nobler view.
Young Hermes leap'd, with sudden joy elate;
And then, to save the monarch from his fate,
Led on his martial Knight, who stepp'd between,
Pleased that his charge was to oppose the Queen-
Then, pond'ring how the Indian beast to slay,
That stopp'd the Foot from making farther way,-
From being made a Queen; with slanting aim
An archer struck him; down the monster came,
And dying shook the earth: while Phoebus tries
Without success the monarch to surprise.
The Foot, then uncontroll'd with instant pride,
Seized the last spot, and moved a royal bride.
And now with equal strength both war again,



And bring their second wives upon the plain;


Then, though with equal views each hoped and fear'd,

Yet, as if every doubt had disappear'd,

As if he had the palm, young Hermes flies

Into excess of joy; with deep disguise,

Extols his own Black troops, with frequent spite
And with invective taunts disdains the White.
Whom Phoebus thus reproved with quick return—
As yet we cannot the decision learn
Of this dispute, and do you triumph now?
Then your big words and vauntings I'll allow,
When you the battle shall completely gain;
At present I shall make your boasting vain.
He said, and forward led the daring Queen;
Instant the fury of the bloody scene
Rises tumultuous, swift the warriors fly
From either side to conquer or to die.




They front the storm of war: around 'em Fear,

Terror, and Death, perpetually appear.

All meet in arms, and man to man oppose,

Each from their camp attempts to drive their foes;


Each tries by turns to force the hostile lines;

Chance and impatience blast their best designs.

The sable Queen spread terror as she went

Through the mid ranks: with more reserved intent


The adverse dame declined the open fray,
And to the King in private stole away:
Then took the royal guard, and bursting in,
With fatal menace close besieged the King.
Alarm'd at this, the swarthy Queen, in haste,
From all her havoc and destructive waste
Broke off, and her contempt of death to show,
Leap'd in between the monarch and the foe,
To save the King and state from this impending blow.
But Phoebus met a worse misfortune here:
For Hermes now led forward, void of fear,
His furious Horse into the open plain,




That onward chafed, and pranced, and pawed amain.
Nor ceased from his attempts until he stood

On the long-wished-for spot, from whence he could

Slay King or Queen. O'erwhelm'd with sudden fears, 600

Apollo saw, and could not keep from tears.

Now all seem'd ready to be overthrown;

His strength was wither'd, ev'ry hope was flown.
Hermes, exulting at this great surprise,

Shouted for joy, and fill'd the air with cries;


Instant he sent the Queen to shades below,

And of her spoils made a triumphant show.

But in return, and in his mid career,

Fell his brave Knight, beneath the Monarch's spear.
Phoebus, however, did not yet despair,


But still fought on with courage and with care.

He had but two poor common men to show,
And Mars's favourite with his iv'ry bow.

The thoughts of ruin made 'em dare their best

To save their King, so fatally distress'd.


But the sad hour required not such an aid;

And Hermes breath'd revenge where'er he stray'd.
Fierce comes the sable Queen with fatal threat,
Surrounds the monarch in his royal seat;
Rush'd here and there, nor rested till she slew
The last remainder of the whiten'd crew.
Sole stood the King, the midst of all the plain,
Weak and defenceless, his companions slain.
As when the ruddy morn ascending high
Has chased the twinkling stars from all the sky,
Your star, fair Venus, still retains its light,
And, loveliest, goes the latest out of sight.
No safety's left, no gleams of hope remain;
Yet did he not as vanquish'd quit the plain,
But tried to shut himself between the foe,-
Unhurt through swords and spears he hoped to go,
Until no room was left to shun the fatal blow.




For if none threaten'd his immediate fate,

And his next move must ruin all his state,


All their past toil and labour is in vain,

Vain all the bloody carnage of the plain,

Neither would triumph then, the laurel neither gain.
Therefore through each void space and desert tent,
By different moves his various course he bent:
The Black King watch'd him with observant eye,
Follow'd him close, but left him room to fly.


Then when he saw him take the farthest line,
He sent the Queen his motions to confine,
And guard the second rank, that he could go
No farther now than to that distant row.
The sable monarch then with cheerful mien
Approach'd, but always with one space between.
But as the King stood o'er against him there,
Helpless, forlorn, and sunk in his despair,
The martial Queen her lucky moment knew,
Seized on the farthest seat with fatal view,
Nor left th' unhappy King a place to flee unto.

At length in vengeance her keen sword she draws,
Slew him, and ended thus the bloody cause:
And all the Gods around approved it with applause.
The victor could not from his insults keep,
But laugh'd and sneer'd to see Apollo weep.
Jove call'd him near, and gave him in his hand
The powerful, happy, and mysterious wand
By which the Shades are call'd to purer day,
When penal fire has purged their sins away;
By which the guilty are condemn'd to dwell
In the dark mansions of the deepest hell;
By which he gives us sleep, or sleep denies,
And closes at the last the dying eyes.






Soon after this, the heavenly victor brought

The Game on earth, and first th' Italians taught.

For (as they say) fair Scacchis he espied

Feeding her cygnets in the silver tide,

(Scacchis, the loveliest Seriad of the place)


And as she stray'd, took her to his embrace.

Then, to reward her for her virtue lost,

Gave her the men and chequer'd board, emboss'd
With gold and silver curiously inlay'd,


And taught her how the game was to be play'd.
Ev'n now 'tis honour'd with her happy name;
And Rome and all the world admire the game.
All which the Seriads told me heretofore,
When my boy-notes amused the Serian shore.


[Under this head some editors of Goldsmith's Poems give a number of small pieces extracted from the prose works. Most of these, however, are really not translations by Goldsmith, as will be seen by reference to (for instance) those in the Belles Lettres' essays (v. i.), which are translations by Francis and others. Of the few that remain, we give the following from works by Goldsmith not included in the present edition.-ED.]


[1774, vol. v., p. 312.]

Addison, in some beautiful Latin lines inserted in the 'Spectator,' is entirely of opinion that birds observe a strict chastity of manners, and never admit the caresses of a different tribe.1

CHASTE are their instincts, faithful is their fire,
No foreign beauty tempts to false desire:
The snow-white vesture, and the glittering crown,
The simple plumage, or the glossy down
Prompt not their love. The patriot bird pursues
His well acquainted tints, and kindred hues.
Hence through their tribes no mix'd, polluted flame,
No monster breed to mark the groves with shame;
But the chaste blackbird, to its partner true,
Thinks black alone is beauty's favourite hue;
The nightingale, with mutual passion blest,
Sings to its mate, and nightly charms the nest :
While the dark owl to court its partner flies,
And owns its offspring in their yellow eyes.

1 'Spectator,' No. 412.-ED.

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