The Iliad in a Nutshell: or, Homer's Battle of the Frogs and Mice.

The Iliad in a Nutshell: or, Homer's Battle of the Frogs and Mice. Illustrated with Notes.

Rev. Samuel Wesley the Younger

An English translation of the mock heroic Batrachomyomachia, long attributed to Homer, in 75 Prior stanzas. The narrative relates how the mouse Psicharpax is borne across the waters by the frog Physignathos until, at the sight of a snake, the frog dives, drowning the noble mouse. The Mice make war on the Frogs to revenge the death of their young prince. They have the upper hand in the conflict until Olympus intervenes. Much of Samuel Wesley's humor may be found in the notes appended to the foot of his pages. In addition to the stanza, Wesley uses a smattering of archaisms and a more general Spenserian simplicity to create a ludicrous effect. Appearing when they did, one may speculate that Wesley's two Spenserian burlesques, The Battle of the Sexes (1723) and The Iliad in a Nutshell (1726), were instrumental in shaping the constellation of such poems that began to appear in the 1730s; both were reprinted in Wesley's Poems (1736, 1743). Not seen.

Dedication to James, Lord Viscount Limerick: "My Lord, As your Lordship does not esteem it any Accomplishment to forget whatever You learnt at the University, I hope it is no Presumption to inscribe to You the following Poem, translated from the Greek: Your Lordship will be a Judge, how much Latitude it is done with, as well as how far that Liberty is pardonable. Homer is by a few bold Men said to have many Faults: but most of the Criticks insist upon it, that where-ever any thing like an Error appears in that great Author, the Blame is to be charg'd wholly upon the Reader: 'Nor is it Homer nods, but We that dream.' I have endeavoured to take in as many of his disputed Beauties as my Plan would admit, especially his Machinery, which I doubt not will be highly agreeable to all the Admirers of the Marvellous. It is needless to attempt a laboured Encomium of the Original, which is perhaps the best as well as the oldest Burlesque in the World; since the Iliad, so necessary for understanding the Intention of it, is now in every English Reader's Hands, and as much said for it as perhaps the Wit of Man can urge, 'Si Pergama dextra defendi possent.' But howsoever this faint Imitation may be received by the World, my Experience of Your Lordship's Friendship assures me no Trifle will be unacceptable to You; which gives me an Opportunity of declaring Myself, with all Sincerity and Gratitude, My Lord, Your Lordship's most Obliged and Obedient Humble Servant, S. Wesley" pp. 303-04.

Whitwell Elwin: "Samuel Wesley the usher at Westminster school, and eldest brother of the celebrated John. Samuel afterwards became head-master of Tiverton school, and died there in 1739, aged 49. He was a man of sense, and piety, and an admirable son to his infirm, impoverished father. In his ecclesiastical principles he was a high churchman, and in politics a strong tory, and he often vented his feelings in satirical verses, which rendered him obnoxious to the party in power, and kept him down in the world. He published a volume of poems in 1736" in Pope, Correspondence, ed. Elwin (1871) 2:193n.

Richmond P. Bond: "The most remarkable thing about this version of the Batrachomyomachia is the stanza form, which seems to be striving after the Spenserian.... The 'Nutshell' of the title doubtless came from [Samuel] Parker [Homer in a Nutshell, 1700], but in the translation itself there is a dependence on Parnell and some claim on the Iliad and Matt Prior" English Burlesque Poetry (1932) 182-83.

Your Aid, Ye Heav'n-born MUSES, hither bring,
Who sung the wandring GREEK and ILIUM'S Wars,
Hard Argument for mortal Bard I sing,
The Sport tumultuous of Revenger MARS.
How MICE renown'd with FROGS a War maintain'd,
For Fame, for Vengeance, and for Empire strove,
While each Side sternly sought, yet neither gain'd
The hard-fought Field: Mean-time Sky-ruling JOVE
In equal Balance pois'd their Fortunes long;
Dire Arms, and Wounds, and Deaths shall fill the advent'rous Song.

Scap'd from GRIMALKIN'S cruel rending Claws,
A thirsty Mouse sought the refreshing Flood;
His Whiskers, downy Beard, and weary Paws,
With liquid Sweet delighted, he bedew'd.
Him thus accosts a native of the Streams,
O Thou from foreign Realms arriving here,
With Truth, for Truth the Virtuous well beseems,
Thy Name, thy Nation, and thy Rank declare;
My destin'd Guest, if Thee I haply see,
A Guest for Monarchs fit, and not unworthy Me.

Me to Great PELEUS on the Banks of Po,
The fair HYDROMEDUSA joyful bore;
Me for their Lord these watry Regions know,
And slime-born FROGS revere my dreaded Pow'r;
PHYSIGNATHUS my Name, resounded far.
Thee too, when at near Approach I view'd,
Those Arms uncouth, and Limbs design'd for War,
The Prince, the Stranger, and the Warriour shew'd:
Thy Person speaks thee Great, 'tis regal all,
Thy Port and Mein august, thy Stature comely tall.

The Stranger answ'ring spake, PSICHARPAX I,
To Gods and Men throughout the world am known,
Where-e'er or Foot can tread, or Wing can fly.
And is my Name unheard by Thee alone?
By either Parent I of Monarchs spring;
Divine TROXARTES is my Royal Sire,
LEICHOMYLE the Daughter of a King
Maternal Honour claims—
Unparallel'd for wondrous Beauty she,
Matchless for scepter'd Rule and wide Dominion He.

But since on solid Land I place my Bliss,
Since Thou in Lakes or Marshes dost remain,
Can Friendship spring, where Likeness none there is?
Likeness, the surest Link of Friendship's Chain.
Rich Meats my nicely-judging Palate please,
And Boards where choicest Delicates abound;
The creamy Curd, the roughly-coated Cheese,
The well-fill'd Salver, beautifully round:
Delights of Man, and honey'd Cakes I love,
Ambrosial honey'd Cakes, Food for Saturnian JOVE.

What Man's inventive Luxury could find,
Have I unbought by Gold or Sweat enjoy'd;
Nor yet could Pleasure's Charms unnerve my Mind,
In Acts of famous Chivalry employ'd:
When 'gainst my Foemen I advance my Spear
Opposing to their Ranks my sev'nfold Shield,
I teach the Victor Warrior how to fear,
And hardy Vet'rans to my Prowess yeild;
Nor shun I deadly Danger's glorious Sight,
Highest in Pow'r and Rule, and foremost in the Fight.

Not Man himself, not Giant Man I dread,
But frequent to his Couch undaunted creep;
Insult triumphant o'er his pillow'd Head,
Assail his Hands, and interrupt his Sleep.
By Force unaided, he by secret Train
To work my Fate, his wily Engine bends;
Where profer'd Banquet covers certain Bane,
And Death insidious from a Wire depends.
My Steps with hostile Ken GRIMALKIN eyes;
At me, with Talons arm'd, the Bird of PALLAS flies.

GRIMALKIN most, so JOVE ordains, I fear,
Of ELIMOUSER fierce the fiercer Son;
Whose Malice ever watchful, ever near,
Retir'd to chinky Labyrinths, I shun:
Impervious Creeks secure Retreat afford.
Your foreign Fare incurious I despise,
The wat'ry Radish, and th' insipid Gourd,
And tasteless Greens, which Frogs amphibious prize;
Danger might Change ensue; my present State
Unenvy'd let me keep, nor envy Others' Fate.

PHYSIGNATHUS half smiling, soft reply'd,
Thy Princely Virtues thou hast largely told,
Thou seem'st in Meats to place peculiar Pride,
Land-bred, despising what the Waters hold.
Amphibious FROGS can greater Wonders show.
If now thou list a Journey new t' assay,
Countries remote and Manners strange to know,
Past without Peril is the wat'ry Way,
Plac'd on my Back, Thou may'st securely ride,
While I with skilful Strokes dispart the yielding Tide.

He spoke; his Shoulders low the Monarch bends,
PSICHARPAX, clasping close his slimy Neck,
The profer'd Seat light-vaulting soon ascends,
And rides triumphant o'er the Subject Lake.
While yet the Banks, receding by degrees,
Not quite conceal'd in rising Waters lay,
The Swimmer's Guise uncouth well-pleas'd he sees,
Whose Art and Strength united win his way.
High o'er the swelling Waves his Limbs were spread,
Floated his Bosom prone, upheav'd his dewy Head.

Soon as his native Land appear'd no more,
The trembling Mouse shook with unwonted Fears:
It booted nought his Rashness to deplore,
Or shed with ill-tim'd Grief repentant Tears:
With strictest Gripe he clings, with shrilling Plaints
Lamenting loud, the distant Shores he fills;
His Fear-sick Heart with Throbs unusual pants,
Approaching Death his Soul with Horror thrills.
To Gods supreme he sends his suppliant Pray'r,
Whose unavailing Sounds are 'sperst in idle Air.

As erst EUROPA, on Phoenicia's Strand,
Was mounted sportive on Saturnian JOVE;
When swift th' enamour'd Bull forsook the Land,
Bearing to distant Crete his Freight of Love:
She wail'd her Country lost, nor hop'd Return,
For instant Death the rising Surges threat;
With trembling Hand she grasp'd his bending Horn,
High from the Waves she shrunk her quiv'ring Feet;
Shrieking unheard; nor Object meets her Eyes,
Save broad and boundless Seas, and wide expanded Skies.

So far'd the Prince whom o'er th' extended Lake
Lightfoot PELIDES on his Shoulders bear,
When lo! tremendous Sight! a crested Snake,
Whose blood-shot Eyes glar'd terrible from far,
Erect, with Scales of Gold his Bosom glow'd,
While far behind his waving Wreaths extend;
The Frog, unmindful of his Godlike Load,
Deserts dismay'd his newly-chosen Friend,
His destin'd Guest; to shun th' unequal Foe,
Dives sudden to the Deep, and swims secure below.

Lost in a Wild of Waves the MOUSE divine,
Deserted, helpless, comfortless, forlorn,
Now headlong sinks, emerges now supine,
And spurns the solid Wave, a while up-born.
Vain strugling, his enfeebled Strength impairs,
Striving t' avoid inevitable Fate:
But as his Force grows less, his moisten'd Hairs
His Limbs o'erburthen with rodoubled Weight.
Yet e'er the flitting Life her hold forsook,
Oft rising, sinking oft, these winged Words he spoke.

Whom Thou in equal Field durst never face;
Thy more than Match in ev'ry Martial Play,
In Grapling stronger, fleeter for the Race?
My Death, PELIDES may repent too late,
If injur'd THEMIS hear my dying Cries;
In Arms my Subjects may revenge my Fate,
For Thunder-loving JOVE has righteous Eyes:
Then Thou — Th' Abyss his sinking Trunk receives,
His haughty Soul out-breath'd her Corse reluctant leaves.

Nigh the Lake's Marge a Mouse there haply stood
The Prince's Cries re-ecchoing from the Flood,
With well-known Sounds pierc'd his attentive Ear.
Abundant Tears he shed, and mad with Grief
Howl'd dire, but silenc'd with redounding Sighs,
In hopes of Vengance plac'd his sole Relief;
Quick to TROXARTES King of Mice he flies,
The unwelcome News impatient to relate,
The FROG'S unkingly Crime, and young PSICHARPAX'S Fate.

Rage fir'd the King, tho' now the Ev'ning Sun
Hasted declining to his Western Home,
Yet swift as Thought the sweet-voic'd Heralds run,
The Peers to summon to TROXARTES' Dome.
Soon as the rosy-finger'd Morn appear'd
To Gods immortal, and to mortal Man;
Up from his Couch divine TROXARTES rear'd,
(His Nobles met) the great Consult began:
Paternal Care lour'd in his clouded Look,
While to th' Assembly thus th' up-rising Monarch spoke.

Ye MICE belov'd, Lords, Nobles, Barons, Peers,
Slain is the Heir of our Imperial Throne;
War unprovok'd, the Publick justly fears,
Tho' yet the War is fall'n on Me alone:
Three Sons, of nuptial Joys the Pledges dear,
From me their luckless Father have been rent
By Stars adverse: My first and eldest Care,
In Flow'r of Years, on youthful Play intent,
Whilst he his Cave incautious did forego,
By stern GRIMALKIN fell, our never-sated Foe.

The next had liv'd, had not inhuman Man
With novel Art hatch'd an accurst Device;
The treach'rous Door afforded Entrance plain,
Avoidless Ruin to believing MICE,
By Men a Mouse-trap nam'd: This Engine dire,
My second Hope from Life and Empire tore;
Heedless he touch'd a latent magick Wire,
Down fell self-clos'd th' irrevocable Door:
Imprison'd sure, when least suspecting Guile,
Dying he found too late th' inhospitable Wile.

PSICHARPAX, well-lov'd Prince, did yet remain,
To Me, and to his fondling Mother dear,
Whom late PELIDES King of FROGS has slain,
Nor Funeral Wailings can attend his Bier.
War, War at once, let all our Realms declare,
If Wrongs provoke, or Thirst of Vengence warms;
Instant our Swords and Lances we prepare,
Our Limbs adorning bright in temper'd Arms,
He spoke; the Mice obey their King's Commands,
Rage swell'd their glowing Breasts, and arm'd their mighty Hands.

From azure Heav'n alights destroying MART,
Who Wars and Blood his savage pleasure made
T' equip the MICE; and calls the needful Art
Of VULCAN, Lemnian Limper, to his Aid:
Blacksmith divine! vast Strokes on Anvils beat,
His Task incessant huge PYRACMON plies;
Whole Lemnos glows, 'till now the Work compleat,
Thick groves of polish'd Needles bright arise:
Needles, that warlike Lances represent,
Needles, the brazen Gift of MARS armipotent.

Led by the God through Midnight's blackest Gloom,
The Warrior MICE, a bold Excursion make;
The Stalks of Beans, now past their flow'ry Bloom,
Gnawn sheer for Greaves th' audacious Spoilers take;
Squadrons well-booted! Lo, a nobler Prey
The Trunk of ELIMOUSER spread the Land:
Home they with toil the spacious Hide convey,
Which TYCHIUS, Prince of Leather-dressers, tann'd:
A Mouse far-fam'd; this for their Shields they bore,
As erst NEMEAN Spoils renown'd ALCIDES wore.

Strong Nutshels Casks of Proof their Temples guard,
Nodded their Crests of ELIMOUSER'S Hair.
And now the valiant MICE for Fight prepar'd,
Thick-thronging, rush by thousands to the War.
So from an hollow'd Rock, at Spring's Return,
The Bees their swarming Nations endless pour,
Which here by Winds disperst aloft are borne,
Their fall in Clusters on the vernal Flow'r.
A dreadful Gleam their polish'd Needles yield,
And auburn Nutshel Helms imbrown the verdant field.

Of hostile Armies rais'd and Dangers near,
FAME to the FROGS the direful Tidings bore;
PHYSIGNATHUS, appall'd with guilty Fear,
Summon'd his watry Legions to the Shore,
To learn the dreaded Truth; th' imperial Tent
Is rais'd on Land, the slimy Nobles meet,
Council august! when by TROXARTES sent
Enter'd the Camp, EMBASICHYTRUS great.
Grac'd with a Herald's Crown, a gallant MOUSE,
More than his Sire renown'd, his Sire TYROGLYPHUS.

Intent and silent stood the Lake-born Bands.
Ye FROGS amphibious, dauntless he began,
Divine TROXARTES King of MICE demands
Impartial Vengeance for his murder'd Son:
Whom late seduc'd by some deceitful Train
From Land, where subject MICE might help or hear,
Light-foot PELIDES King of FROGS has slain,
Nor Funeral Wailings can attend his Bier:
Or yield to Death deserv'd your guilty Guide,
Or proffer'd War accept; accept, and be defy'd.

This spoke, retir'd EMBASICHYTRUS bold,
The Watry Nation trembled at his Threat:
When strait t' inflame anew their Courage cold,
Light-foot PELIDES started from his Seat:
No! by this Scepter's sacred Wood I swear,
Hereditary Pledge of Royal Pow'r,
Which dying PELEUS gave to Me his Heir,
Which erst our great Progenitors had bore,
Through Centuries of Years deliver'd down
From HYDROCAETES old, first Founder of our Throne.

Slain by himself, the Princely Mouse expir'd,
Nor fell untimely by Your Monarch's Crime;
But near the Lake, while envious he admir'd
How youthful Tadpoles wanton'd in their Prime,
Steer'd by their Strength of Tail, like them he sought
To swim, which Nature has to MICE deny'd;
Presumptious Reptile! soon th' audacious Thought
Dear-rueing, overwhelm'd in Waves he dy'd.
Nor War, nor Vengeance to his Ghost is due,
Like Fate should all expect, who dare to rival You.

Like Fate let all the treach'rous Lineage end,
If prudent FROGS my timely Counsel take,
Rang'd on the Bank their Onset to attend,
Where the steep Brow hangs pendent o'er the Lake;
His adverse MOUSE each by the Helmet seize,
And sudden grappling cast him headlong down;
Safe will we leap the wonted Precipice
At once, and diving deep their Army drown,
Oppress'd with weighty Mail, to swim unskill'd:
So shall we win with ease an uncontested Field.

Laden with Spoils, victorious will we raise
A glorious Trophy for a Nation slain.
He spoke; the shouting FROGS their Monarch praise,
Pitch'd on the Bank, determin'd to remain;
Forth from the Waves the num'rous Squadrons move,
Eager their liquid Fortresses to leave.
Such was the Will of Counsel-giving JOVE,
And sage MINERVA, practis'd to deceive:
While wav'ring MARS promoting bloody Jar,
Again from Heav'n descends, and arms them for the War.

With MARS, the Trident-bearer NEPTUNE went,
The Ocean's Sov'reign, and allotted Lord,
And friendly Aid to FROGS amphibious lent,
For FROGS the watry Deities ador'd.
He bids the Seas produce their secret Store,
And lay their Treasures on the neighb'ring Strand:
The Seas obsequious on the Banks out pour
Unnumber'd Cockle-shells as thick as Sand,
Distinct with Golden Specks of palest Red,
Rich various-colour'd Helms to grace and guard the Head.

Breast-plates of Beets, of Mallows Greaves they chose,
Becoming Arms for martial FROGS to wear;
Thick Leaves of Cabbage light their Shields compose,
Whose spongy Texture deads the thrilling Spear:
Their Lances stiff were sharply pointed Reeds
Erect, which far their Ev'ning Shadow cast.
Now Sable-mantled Night advanc'd her Steeds,
The Deities back to Olympus haste;
Soft downy Slumber all the God's o'erspread,
And JOVE Supreme reclin'd, unsleeping on his Bed.

At length the Saffron-vested Morning shin'd,
To Gods and Men diffusing orient Light;
Saturnian JOVE weigh'd in his prudent Mind
The various Fortunes of the future Fight:
Events important! from his awful Throne,
His Purpose wise, the Thund'rer thus reveal'd:
Fly, HERMES, heav'nly Herald, MAIA'S Son,
And parti-colour'd IRIS, airy-heel'd;
Th' immortal Race to Council bid repair,
Summon'd from Heav'n and Hell, and Earth, and Sea, and Air.

The Subject Gods came at the Royal Call,
All that Ambrosia eat, and Nectar quaff'd;
Stern Murd'rer MARS, that shakes the guarded Wall,
DIANA fair rejoicing in her Shaft,
Earth-shaking NEPTUNE strong by Seas obey'd,
Far-shooting PHOEBUS golden-hair'd unshorn,
PALLAS ethereal Spinster, blue-ey'd Maid,
And VENUS laughter-loving, Ocean-born,
VULCAN, fire-ruling Pow'r in Lemnos own'd,
Empress of Heav'n white-arm'd, great JUNO golden thron'd.

There too the Goddesses of Founts and Trees,
And yellow CERES crown'd with Corn was seen,
The NEREIDS all, Spawn of the fruitful Seas,
And beauteous THETIS, Silver-footed Queen,
Fair-hair'd LATONA, and ALCIDES strong,
HEBE whose Bloom celestial never fades,
BACCHUS, the twice-born Victor ever young,
Inexorable PLUTO King of Shades,
Sad PROSERPINE his Melancholy Love,
And all the base-born Seed of Cloud-compelling JOVE.

Above the cold OLYMPUS' snowy Height,
And leafy IDA'S ever-verdant Hill,
Was built th' Imperial Palace, starry bright,
Whose vaulty Dome the Gods assembled fill:
The Seats of Heav'n, at JOVE'S commanding Nod,
Marshall'd themselves, miraculous to view!
Each golden Throne wrought by the Blacksmith God,
Spontaneous took its Rank in Order due;
And Silver Trevets for the meaner Throng,
Instinct with subtle Life, self-moving leap'd along.

Ye Pow'rs immortal, Male and Female, hear,
The Royal Father said, and thither bend
Your sharpen'd Sight, where yonder Arms appear,
Say whether Nation shall the Gods befriend:
Speak you that purpose as Auxiliars bold,
For FROGS and MICE to leave the ethereal Coasts,
Array'd and ardent for the Fight behold
The great, the warlike, the heroick Hosts;
So rang'd the Cloud-begotten CENTAURS stood,
So frown'd on Phelgra's Plain, the Giant Earth-born Brood.

And Thou, dear Daughter of my lab'ring Brain,
Athenian PALLAS, wilt thou rest secure,
And view the direful Shock, the Wounds and Pain,
Which mortal FROGS from mortal MICE endure?
Or else to pious MICE afford thine Aid,
Who constant as thine annual Feast return,
Have due attendance at thy Temple paid,
Where, whilst the consecrated Victim burns,
With mystick Dance, in Honour of the Day,
Circling thine Altar's Verge, religiously they play?

With answ'ring Words the Blue-ey'd Maid replies
To tread mine awful Courts the MICE presume;
To share, unbid, my festal Sacrifice,
Allur'd with grateful Scent of holy Fume;
And oft from sacred Lamps the needful Oil
The sacrilegious Ravagers purloin,
And nibbling oft my flow'ry Garlands spoil;
Nor fears the puny Race my Pow'r Divine,
Nor Helm, nor Goat-skin Shield, nor Lance they dread
But ev'n with Ordure vile prophane my Statue's Head

Tho' Wisdom's Pow'r could slight Disgrace alone,
With Loss embitter'd, 'tis severer far;
My Veil which flam'd with Gold, with Purple shone,
With impious Gnawings barb'rously they mar.
Griev'd for the Work Divine, so rudely tore
I courted venal Damsels by Reward,
The num'rous Breaches instant to restore,
The num'rous Breaches artful they repair'd,
And now with Clamours loud demand their Hire,
Nor find I Gold to pay, just Reason for mine Ire.

Nor yet can FROGS amphibious Succour claim,
Unwise, impertinent, loquacious Kind!
When parch'd with Thirst from Battle erst I came,
To drink the Brook my Lips I low inclin'd;
Untimely paddling in the Bev'rage clear,
With gritty Mud they stain'd the promis'd Draught.
Nor less their grating Voice disturb'd mine Ear,
When spent with length of Toil for Rest I sought;
They chas'd sweet Slumbers from my weary Sight,
And harshly croaking loud, prolong'd the tedious Night.

Mean time, like Pains my throbbing Temples wound,
As JOVE sustain'd from Me his Daughter born,
Mother and Sire in one; nor Rest I found,
'Till crowing Cocks proclaim'd the welcome Morn.
For neither Army let Immortals fight,
Or needless tempt the Dangers of the Day;
Since Scenes of Death our heav'nly Minds delight,
Reclin'd securely we at distance stay.
I stay, desert that please their blest Abode,
To meet such Foes in Arms is Daring for a God !

She ended Speech, and all the list'ning Crowd
In hollow Whispers murmur'd an Assent;
Whom JOVE addressing stern in Threatnings loud,
Shook with a Nod the brazen Firmament;
Whate'er rash God attempts Dissention now,
And dares with Me their Sov'reign to contend,
Let Styx infernal bind the solemn Vow,
Him headlong o'er Heaven's Battlements I'll send;
Ev'n JUNO'S self shall from her Throne be driv'n,
Sister and Wife of JOVE, Great Sultaness of Heav'n.

Tho' more than Goddess lov'd or Woman she,
Than CERES beauteous Queen, with golden Hair,
Than BACCHUS' Parent, Theban SEMELE,
Than DANAE, ACRISIUS' Daughter fair,
Of whom great PERSEUS sprung; tho' favour'd more
Than those whose double Births increas'd my Line;
She that, of PHOENIX' Blood descended, bore
MINOS the Just, and RADAMANTH divine:
She that, on Lands and Seas long-wand'ring seen,
To Heav'n a PHOEBUS gave, to Woods a Huntress Queen.

JUNO, more dear than ever Dame was dear,
If now with MICE or FROGS she dares to treat,
Sore will I scourge, suspended high in Air,
And rack'd with pond'rous Anvils at her Feet.
When Hands resistless on my Queen I lay,
Inferior Gods, your due Submission learn.
Trembling the silent Deities obey.
Strait warlike Trumpets breathe out Courage stern,
Hornets, who sounding bid the Battles join,
While Jove from cloudless Heav'n high thund'ring gave the Sign.

The Frog HYPSIBOAS the first advanc'd,
His Jav'lin at LEICHENOR strong to throw
The right-aim'd Spear his Shield and Bosom lanc'd,
Through-pierc'd he fell to Earth, and groveling low,
Soil'd in the Dust his Hairs. PELEION brave
By Mouse TROGLODYTES the next was struck,
Nor Cabbage Target could the Hero save,
Fix'd in his Breast the pointed Weapon shook:
Dark Clouds of Death his swimming Eyes o'erspread,
Forth from her wounded hold his Soul in Terror fled.

Nor miss'd the Mark design'd, a massy Spear;
The brazen Point the sev'nfold Buckler rent,
And past the verdant Beet, nor staying there,
Transfix'd his swelling Chest. It chanc'd a Stone
Lay near at hand, black, rugged, heavy, great,
This by LYMNOCHARIS with Fury thrown,
Crush'd fierce TROGLODYTES beneath its Weight.
Pierc'd by SEUTLAEUS' Lance in fatal Hour,
EMBASICHYTRUS vast fell like a ruin'd Tow'r.

Nor joy'd SEUTLAEUS long, ISENOR griev'd
Vow'd to revenge EMBASICHYTRUS slain;
But hasty Wrath his erring Hand deceiv'd,
The Spear wide swerving struck the distant Plain:
He snatch'd a Land-mark of enormous size,
The Burthen of the Field wherein it lay;
For twelve the tallest strongest modern Mice
To lift or roll it might in vain assay:
As from an Engine shot, the Mill-stone flies
Full on SEUTLAEUS' Neck, and Darkness veils his Eyes.

The Warrior PTERNOTROCTES level'd right
His glitt'ring Javelin 'gainst LIMNISIUS' Head,
Which pierc'd his lifted Shield and Helmet bright,
And inmost Brain; the Soul in terror fled.
CRAMBOPHAGUS, with sudden Fear dismay'd,
Leap'd the steep Bank to gain his native Lake;
But PTERNOTROCTES' winged Weapon stay'd
His Flight, deep ent'ring his inglorious Back:
Stretch'd on the Brink his lifeless Corse remain'd,
While Rays of purple Blood, the silver Water stain'd.

His Spear advancing, struck the FROG with Dread,
Who shameless cast behind his Target green,
And div'd beneath the Waves with Coward Speed.
Not so HYDROCHARIS, who wrathful threw
At Prince PTERNOPHAGUS a rugged Stone;
Right at the destin'd Mark the Mill-stone flew;
Pierc'd to the Scull, and crack'd the solid Bone,
Nor Nutshell Helm avail'd: wide was the Wound;
Brains thro' the Nostrils flow'd, and Blood distain'd the Ground.

Near Hand, to cruel Fate alas too nigh!
A harmless Frog BORBOROCAETES stood,
Who late escap'd his careful Parent's Eye,
New from his Tadpole State, and left the Flood
For Glory: fairest of the Nation deem'd,
With ev'ry Gift of CYTHEREA grac'd:
This nought the stern LEICHOPINAX esteem'd;
Whose strongly-darted Lance his Form defac'd,
Dead, through the Liver struck, he tumbled down,
While Streams of Crimson Red new-dy'd his Olive Brown.

PRASSOPHAGUS dragg'd with unseemly Spite
CNISSODIOCTES' Carcase o'er the Field;
The Mouse PSICHARPAX, wrathful at the Sight,
To screen his Friend, oppos'd his ample Shield.
PRASSOPHAGUS retiring, vainly thought
To shun, by quick Retreat, his speedy Foe;
Him through from Side to Side PSICHARPAX smote,
With utmost Fury rising to the Blow:
Prone down he fell; to PLUTO'S nether Skies,
Where Heroes Shades remain, his Soul unwilling flies.

PELOBATES drew by the Helmet's Thong
The Warrior ARTOTROGUS through the Dust,
And choak'd amid the Waves: nor triumph'd long;
For strong PSICHARPAX through his Liver thrust
His Javelin's deadly Point. PELUSIUS view'd
The Wound amaz'd, but gath'ring Courage new,
Crafty a handful large of oily Mud
At fierce PSICHARPAX Murrion right he threw,
Which all bemir'd with Slime his manly Beard;
Nigh clos'd his open Eyes, and stifled Nose besmear'd.

The MOUSE half blind and strangled, mad with Shame,
A Stone amidst his Foes at random hurl'd,
Which, haply had he seen with Skill to aim,
Had sent some Warrior FROG to PLUTO'S World;
The massy Stone PELUSIUS' Knee-pan broke,
Which fail'd, unable to support its Weight.
PELIDES King of FROGS a second Stroke
Forbad, quick to prevent his Brother's Fate,
He pierc'd PSICHARPAX' Bowels, ent'ring in
Deep far behind his Back the pointed Reed was seen.

Forth from their bleeding Bed his Entrails flow'd,
And fell amid the Dust around his Feet:
With Torture leaning on his Spear he stood,
'Till crowding Friends secur'd his slow Retreat.
A Lance at loud-voic'd BRANCHIAZON thrown,
Transfix'd his Groin, his Thigh the Javelin's Head
Half-sever'd from his Trunk; the Hand unknown,
And whose the Glory of so brave a Deed.
Hardly he limp'd from Fight, his Nerves disjoin'd,
And trail'd a wounded Length of dangling Leg behind.

When lo! divine TROXARTES King of MICE
Marches with sevenfold Target up to fight;
Instant the King of Frogs PELIDES flies
With utmost Swiftness from his injur'd Sight.
With equal Steps the MOUSE pursued the Chase:
Swift as LATONA'S Seed their Arrows shoot.
Still stood the wond'ring Hosts to view the Race;
For either Chief was known so light of Foot,
The FROG was oft by Waves unyielding borne,
The MOUSE by slender Ears of ripe unbending Corn.

SITOPHAGUS but late had trembling fled
The FROG'S terrifick Voice and mighty Arm,
Casting his Shield behind, his dastard Head
Shrowding in Reeds; no longer fearing Harm,
He now the watry Monarch flying sound,
And struck his winged Heel with sudden Dart.
But good PRASSAEUS soon reveng'd the Wound,
Transfix'd the MOUSE, and tore his hairy Heart.
PELIDES fell; e'er yet the fatal Stroke
Incens'd TROXARTES struck, the bleeding Hero spoke:

O King, if Gifts may move, of Jewels rare
My Ransom take, a rich and precious Hoard,
Which dying PELEUS gave to me his Heir;
Which erst my great Progenitors had stor'd,
Spoils of the Waters; Heaps of yellow Ore
My willing Subjects for their Prince shall give:
Reject not then with Scorn the profer'd Store;
Enchain me, let me serve, but let me live:
Better alive sad Slav'ry to sustain,
Than dead o'er all the Ghosts of Chiefs and Kings to reign.

By Thee PSICHARPAX fell, the Mouse reply'd;
If Death so terrible appear, die Thou.
With cruel Spear he lanc'd his naked Side,
Warm Streams of vital Blood his Arms o'erflow:
His panting Bosom heaves with dying Sighs,
Hard lab'ring to retain departing Breath:
At length he yields; black Darkness veils his Eyes,
Seal'd in eternal Sleep of Iron Death.
Nor strive the FROGS to screen their Leader slain,
From greedy Victor's Spoil, or Fun'ral Rites to gain.

Amidst the Press, young MERIDARPAX fought,
ARTEPIBULUS' Son, a Mouse divine!
Who, breathing Wrath and righteous Vengeance, sought
T' extirpate quite the FROGS perfidious Line:
On whom the Gods their various Gifts bestow'd;
Warlike as MARS who shakes the guarded Wall,
As NEPTUNE'S wide his Chest and Shoulders broad,
As JOVE majestick, as ALCIDES tall.
By Troops the Warrior FROGS he slew with ease,

Whilst dealing Death thus MERIDARPAX fares,
A secret Path his chosen Squadrons take,
And seize the num'rous Passes unawares
Betwixt the croaking Host and neighbour Lake.
Now Slaughter reigns: whole Show'rs of Weapons flow
On MERIDARPAX Leathern Shield in vain;
The Folds repel the Points. And surely now
His Hand impartial had the Nation slain,
Had not high JOVE beheld the FROGS distrest,
And thus with gracious Lips his Offspring Gods addrest:

Hear, ev'ry Pow'r of Heaven, Air, Sea, and Hell;
Hear, ev'ry God, and ev'ry Goddess, hear;
How strange to Sight! how wonderful to tell!
What Troops have fall'n by MERIDARPAX' Spear!
What Numbers numberless! afflicted sore!
Say what of Arms or Counsel you prepare;
What Force can vye with MERIDARPAX' Pow'r?
What Slight effectual drive him from the War?
If not from Heav'n the FROGS Assistance find,
His fierce wide-wasting Arm will quite destroy the Kind.

Pond'ring the Deities in Silence sat,
Hard was the Task the desp'rate Field to win;
Nor Prophet PHOEBUS open'd the Debate,
Nor sage MINERVA ventur'd to begin.
At length impatient MARS disclos'd his Mind,
Spoiler of Cities, stain'd with human Gore,
Scarcely so loud three thousand Warriors join'd,
Or shout when fighting, or when wounded roar:
Thus from his brazen Chest the Murd'rer spoke,
Whilst rattling with his Voice th' extended Welkin shook:

Beware, for Gods by mortal Arms may smart,
And Wounds, and Pain, and Shame, have oft endur'd,
JUNO and PLUTO felt ALCIDES' Dart,
Whom PAEON'S healing Medicines hardly cur'd.
OTUS and EPHIALTES dar'd confine,
Ev'n Me, for thirteen Moons in Prison bound;
'Till HERMES stole me thence, sly Thief divine.
Nor JOVE had milder Fate from PALLAS found,
Had not a Giant timely Succour giv'n,
By Men AEGAEON call'd, but BRIAREUS in Heav'n.

What single God can stand th' unequal Shock?
From Dangers past, Immortals, learn to fear.
MINERVA'S self would sink beneath the Stroke,
And tinge with Ichor MERIDARPAX' Spear.
Heav'n's Magazines must arm us for the Charge:
All Arms are needful to repel the Foe;
ALCIDES' Club, MINERVA'S Lance and Targe,
My Sword, and PHOEBE'S and APOLLO'S Bow.
Saturnian JOVE must lead us to the Field,
Arm'd with his 'vengeful Bolt, and Titan-quelling Shield.

That Goat-skin Shield wherewith of old he fought,
When proud ENCELADUS his Throne assail'd;
When Giants leagu'd their promis'd Empire sought,
And first-born TITANS had almost prevail'd:
Such Lightnings keen, as erst TYPHOEUS vast
Sorely dismay'd, and wounded forc'd retire,
When Flames so thick the mighty Thund'rer cast,
That scarcely from the Wreck of horrid Fire
Olympus summited with Snow was sav'd,
Scarce the superior Heav'n, Abode of Gods, brass pav'd.

Him PALLAS answ'ring, spake: Let all remain
Here in their heav'nly Seats reclin'd secure;
Without partaking, view the Wounds and Pain
Which mortal FROGS from mortal MICE endure.
But if our Sov'reign's all-commanding Will
Is fix'd to save them from triumphant MICE,
Launch he his Thunder from yon neighbour Hill,
Or call to dreadful Fight some High Allies,
Whose Strength may turn the Fortune of the Day,
If JOVE'S high-thund'ring Arm should fail to part the Fray.

She ended Speech, and cloud-compelling JOVE
His three-fork'd Thunder takes to part the Fight,
With Goat-skin Shield descending from above,
Swift, silent, black, and terrible as Night.
In sudden Darkness either Host he shrouds,
Harsh Thunders rowl, and blueish Lightnings blaze,
Yet not for loudest Peals or thickest Clouds
His Course impetuous MERIDARPAX stays:
Nor ceas'd the Din of War, tho' all around
Heav'n trembled from above, groan'd underneath the Ground.

As from a Victim Bull the sever'd Meat
To broil by Waiters on the Coals is lain,
Their Eyes devour the Food: They fasting yet
Impatient, turn the Steak, and turn again:
So now with disappointed JOVE it far'd,
From Thought to Thought, from Place to Place he flies.
His Bolt he trusts not, nor Aethereal Guard,
For Barrier to the FROGS, his high Allies
He calls: Sight more prodigious ne'er was shown
On Earth, that bears all Fruits, or Sea producing none.

Dreadful Allies! What once their Gripe possest,
So fast they grasp'd with cruel-rending Claws,
It easier seem'd a Bone by Force to wrest
From Hell-born CERBERUS' devouring Jaws,
Each Champion's Mouth, or what for Mouth appears,
Yawns dismal, discontinuous, darksome, wide,
Wond'rously fenc'd with sharply-grinding Sheers,
Whose Edges meeting temper'd Mail divide,
With seeming double Heads the Monsters threat,
Like AMPHISBOENA'S dire in Africk's Noon-day Heat.

Hands had they none, yet what supplied the Place,
Unnumber'd Arms; scarce BRIAREUS had more:
Which Mother Nature clad in jetty Case,
For tender Skin with Armour plated o'er.
Fixt in their Breasts their round black Eye-balls stood,
Their Chest with Rows of Bone were strongly barr'd;
Their Backs like malleable Anvils show'd,
Extended broad, smooth, solid, shining, hard;
Sure-proof, nor firmer Hardness could they take,
Tho' nine times dip'd in Styx, inviolable Lake.

Fit Instruments of JOVE'S avenging Ire,
Allies for Gods, tho' made of earthly Mould,
Not triple-form'd CHIMAERA half so dire,
Whom brave BELLEROPHON subdued of old.
Oblique, untoward, aukward did they crawl
Insidious, whither tending, hard to say:
Num'rous their Legs and Thighs, distorted all,
Their Shells well-jointed to their Wills gave way,
Such Hinges fine not VULCAN'S self could blame,
Nay, VULCAN'S self from these his Armour learnt to frame.

Forth from the Waves their horrid March they take,
By Man call'd CRABS: o'erpower'd the MICE are kill'd,
Who guard the Passes issuing from the Lake,
And JOVE'S Imperial Purpose is fulfill'd.
No mortal Strength their crusted Limbs could harm,
Or penetrate Dame NATURE'S Panoply;
The MICE in vain around the Monsters swarm,
Sawn clean asunder by their Sheers they die,
Which snap'd their brittle Spears, and crash'd their Mails,
And crop'd their forward Heads, and lop'd their dragging Tails.

Not monstrous Foes, the King of MICE exclaim'd,
But Gods averse I fear, and hostile JOVE;
Tho' Gods immortal might retire unblam'd,
Should Foes like these their heavenly Valour prove.
To whom with winged Answer soon rejoin'd
Young MERIDARPAX, Gods submit to Fate;
Aright, O King, according to my Mind
Advis'd, retreat We. These retiring, straight
Their trembling Host fled headlong wing'd with Fear,
Last MERIDARPAX stalk'd, and sullen clos'd the Rear.

As when a sluggish Ass in Corn is found,
Whose Back has num'rous Staves already broke,
He now with Troops of Boys encompass'd round,
Impenetrably dull receives the Stroke:
Teaz'd, but not hurt, he stands their utmost Spite,
Nor Blows nor Shouts can urge him to return:
Weak are their Cries, and childish is their Might,
Serene he pastures on the bladed Corn:
At length, and scarce at length, he deigns to yield,
Driv'n sated with Repast slow-footing from the Field.

The MUSES knowing all Things, list not show
The Wailings for the Dead and Fun'ral Rites;
To blameless AETHIOPIANS must they go,
To feast with JOVE for twelve succeeding Nights,
Therefore abrupt thus end they-Let suffice
The Gods august Assembly to relate,
Heroick FROGS and Demigods of MICE,
TROXARTES' Vengeance, and PELIDES' Fate.
Hosts routed, Lakes of Gore, and Hills of Slain,
An ILIAD, Work Divine! Rais'd from a Day's Campaign.

[(1736) 305-50]