TRANSLATED BY DR. DUNKIN
Lo! from the top of yonder cliff, that shrouds Its airy head amid the azure clouds, Hangs a huge fragment; destitute of props, Prone on the wave the rocky ruin drops; With hoarse rebuff the swelling seas rebound, From shore to shore the rocks return the sound: The dreadful murmur Heaven's high convex cleaves, And Neptune shrinks beneath his subject waves: For, long the whirling winds and beating tides Had scoop'd a vault into its nether sides. Now yields the base, the summits nod, now urge Their headlong course, and lash the sounding surge. Not louder noise could shake the guilty world, When Jove heap'd mountains upon mountains hurl'd; Retorting Pelion from his dread abode, To crush Earth's rebel sons beneath the load.
Oft too with hideous yawn the cavern wide Presents an orifice on either side. A dismal orifice, from sea to sea Extended, pervious to the God of Day: Uncouthly join'd, the rocks stupendous form An arch, the ruin of a future storm: High on the cliff their nests the woodquests make, And sea-calves stable in the oozy lake.
But when bleak Winter with his sullen train Awakes the winds to vex the watery plain; When o'er the craggy steep without control, Big with the blast, the raging billows roll; Not towns beleaguer'd, not the flaming brand, Darted from Heaven by Jove's avenging hand, Oft as on impious men his wrath he pours, Humbles their pride and blasts their gilded towers, Equal the tumult of this wild uproar: Waves rush o'er waves, rebellows shore to shore. The neighbouring race, though wont to brave the shocks Of angry seas, and run along the rocks, Now, pale with terror, while the ocean foams, Fly far and wide, nor trust their native homes.
The goats, while, pendent from the mountain top, The wither'd herb improvident they crop, Wash'd down the precipice with sudden sweep, Leave their sweet lives beneath th'unfathom'd deep.
The frighted fisher, with desponding eyes, Though safe, yet trembling in the harbour lies, Nor hoping to behold the skies serene, Wearies with vows the monarch of the main.
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