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Homer's Battle Of The Frogs And Mice. Book II

When rosy-finger'd Morn had ting'd the Clouds,
Around their Monarch-Mouse the Nation crouds,
Slow rose the Monarch, heav'd his anxious Breast,
And thus, the Council fill'd with Rage, addrest.

For lost Psycarpax much my Soul endures,
'Tis mine the private Grief, the publick, yours.
Three warlike Sons adorn'd my nuptial Bed,
Three Sons, alas, before their Father dead!
Our Eldest perish'd by the rav'ning Cat,
As near my Court the Prince unheedful sate.
Our next, an Engine fraught with Danger drew,
The Portal gap'd, the Bait was hung in View,
Dire Arts assist the Trap, the Fates decoy,
And Men unpitying kill'd my gallant Boy!
The last, his Country's Hope, his Parent's Pride,
Plung'd in the Lake by Physignathus, dy'd.
Rouse all the War, my Friends! avenge the Deed,
And bleed that Monarch, and his Nation bleed.

His Words in ev'ry Breast inspir'd Alarms,
And careful Mars supply'd their Host with Arms.
In verdant Hulls despoil'd of all their Beans,
The buskin'd Warriours stalk'd along the Plains,
Quills aptly bound, their bracing Corselet made,
Fac'd with the Plunder of a Cat they flay'd,
The Lamp's round Boss affords their ample Shield,
Large Shells of Nuts their cov'ring Helmet yield;
And o'er the Region, with reflected Rays,
Tall Groves of Needles for their Lances blaze.
Dreadful in Arms the marching Mice appear:
The wond'ring Frogs perceive the Tumult near,
Forsake the Waters, thick'ning form a Ring,
And ask, and hearken, whence the Noises spring;
When near the Croud, disclos'd to publick View,
The valiant Chief Embasichytros drew:
The sacred Herald's Scepter grac'd his Hand,
And thus his Words exprest his King's Command.

Ye Frogs! the Mice with Vengeance fir'd, advance,
And deckt in Armour shake the shining Lance;
Their hapless Prince by Physignathus slain,
Extends incumbent on the watry Plain.
Then arm your Host, the doubtful Battle try;
Lead forth those Frogs that have the Soul to die.

The Chief retires, the Crowd the Challenge hear,
And proudly-swelling, yet perplex'd appear,
Much they resent, yet much their Monarch blame,
Who rising, spoke to clear his tainted Fame.

O Friends, I never forc'd the Mouse to Death,
Nor saw the Gaspings of his latest Breath.
He, vain of Youth, our Art of Swimming try'd,
And vent'rous, in the Lake the Wanton dy'd.
To Vengeance now by false Appearance led,
They point their Anger at my guiltless Head.
But wage the rising War by deep Device,
And turn its Fury on the crafty Mice.
Your King directs the Way; my Thoughts elate
With Hopes of Conquest, form Designs of Fate.
Where high the Banks their verdant Surface heave,
And the steep Sides confine the sleeping Wave,
There, near the Margin, and in Armour bright,
Sustain the first impetuous Shocks of Fight:
Then where the dancing Feather joins the Crest,
Let each brave Frog his obvious Mouse arrest;
Each strongly grasping, headlong plunge a Foe,
'Till countless Circles whirl the Lake below;
Down sink the Mice in yielding Waters drown'd;
Loud flash the Waters; ecchoing Shores resound:
The Frogs triumphant tread the conquer'd Plain,
And raise their glorious Trophies of the slain.

He spake no more, his prudent Scheme imparts
Redoubling Ardour to the boldest Hearts.
Green was the Suit his arming Heroes chose,
Around their Legs the Greaves of Mallows close,
Green were the Beetes about their Shoulders laid,
And green the Colewort, which the Target made.
Form'd of the vary'd Shells the Waters yield,
Their glossy Helmets glist'ned o'er the Field;
And tap'ring Sea-Reeds for the polish'd Spear,
With upright Order pierc'd the ambient Air.
Thus dress'd for War, they take th' appointed Height,
Poize the long Arms, and urge the promis'd Fight.

But now, where Jove's irradiate Spires arise,
With Stars surrounded in Æthereal Skies,
(A Solemn Council call'd) the brazen Gates
Unbar; the Gods assume their golden Seats:
The Sire superiour leans, and points to show
What wond'rous Combats Mortals wage below:
How strong, how large, the num'rous Heroes stride;
What Length of Lance they shake with warlike Pride:
What eager Fire, their rapid March reveals;
So the fierce Centaurs ravag'd o'er the Dales;
And so confirm'd, the daring Titans rose,
Heap'd Hills on Hills, and bid the Gods be Foes.

This seen, the Pow'r his sacred Visage rears,
He casts a pitying Smile on worldly Cares,
And asks what heav'nly Guardians take the List,
Or who the Mice, or who the Frogs assist?

Then thus to Pallas. If my Daughter's Mind
Have join'd the Mice,
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:01 min read

Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

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