Fraternas acies alternaque regna profanis decertata odiis sontesque evolvere Thebas Pierius menti calor incidit. unde iubetis ire, deae? gentisne canam primordia dirae, 5Sidonios raptus et inexorabile pactum legis Agenoreae scrutantemque aequora Cadmum? longa retro series, trepidum si Martis operti agricolam infandis condentem proelia sulcis expediam penitusque sequar, quo carmine muris 10iusserit Amphion Tyriis accedere montes, unde graves irae cognata in moenia Baccho, quod saevae Iunonis opus, cui sumpserit arcus infelix Athamas, cur non expaverit ingens Ionium socio casura Palaemone mater. 15atque adeo iam nunc gemitus et prospera Cadmi praeteriisse sinam: limes mihi carminis esto Oedipodae confusa domus, quando Itala nondum
- 10tyrios PωΣ (Gronovius)
Pierian fire falls upon my soul: to unfold fraternal warfare, and alternate reigns fought for in unnatural hate, and guilty Thebes. Where do you command me to begin, goddesses? Shall I sing the origins of the dire folk, the rape Sidonian, the inexorable compact of Agenor’s ordinance, and Cadmus searching the seas? 1 Far back goes the tale, were I to recount the affrighted husbandman of covered soldiery hiding battle in unholy furrows 2 and pursue to the uttermost what followed: with what music Amphion bade mountains draw nigh the Tyrian walls, what caused Bacchus’ fierce wrath against a kindred city, 3 what savage Juno wrought, 4 at whom hapless Athamas took up his bow, wherefore Palaemon’s mother did not fear the vast Ionian when she made to plunge in company with her son. 5 No; already shall I let the sorrows and happy days of Cadmus be bygones. Let the limit of my lay be the troubled house of Oedipus. For not yet do I dare breathe forth Italian
- 1Agenor, king of Tyre, ordered his son Cadmus to go in search of his daughter Europa, who had been carried off overseas by Jupiter in the form of a bull, and not to return without her. Eventually Cadmus found himself at the site of Thebes.
- 2Dragon’s teeth, sown by Cadmus in the Theban Field of Mars, came up as warriors, who fought each other until only five survived.
- 3Thebes, whose king Pentheus had resisted him (theme of Euripides’ Bacchae). But his wrath was against the king, not the city. Bacchus was the son of Jupiter and Cadmus’ daughter Semele.
- 4See Semele in Index.
- 5See Ino in Index.