Th’ avenging force of Hercules, from Spain, Arriv’d in triumph, from Geryon slain: Thrice liv’d the giant, and thrice liv’d in vain.
Like Hercules himself his son appears, In salvage pomp; a lion’s hide he wears; About his shoulders hangs the shaggy skin; The teeth and gaping jaws severely grin.
With these he long sustain’d th’ Herculean arm; And these I wielded while my blood was warm, This languish’d frame while better spirits fed, Ere age unstrung my nerves, or time o’ersnow’d my head.
’T was on a solemn day: th’ Arcadian states, The king and prince, without the city gates, Then paid their off’rings in a sacred grove To Hercules, the warrior son of Jove.
He said, and, rising from his homely throne, The solemn rites of Hercules begun, And on his altars wak’d the sleeping fires; Then cheerful to his household gods retires; There offers chosen sheep.
Proud of his steeds, he smokes along the field; His father’s hydra fills his ample shield: A hundred serpents hiss about the brims; The son of Hercules he justly seems By his broad shoulders and gigantic limbs; Of heav’nly part, and part of earthly blood, A mortal woman mixing with a god.
The lay records the labors, and the praise, And all th’ immortal acts of Hercules: First, how the mighty babe, when swath’d in bands, The serpents strangled with his infant hands; Then, as in years and matchless force he grew, Th’ Oechalian walls, and Trojan, overthrew.
Nor Hercules more lands or labors knew, Not tho’ the brazen-footed hind he slew, Freed Erymanthus from the foaming boar, And dipp’d his arrows in Lernaean gore; Nor Bacchus, turning from his Indian war, By tigers drawn triumphant in his car, From Nisus’ top descending on the plains, With curling vines around his purple reins.
Not far from him was Gyas laid along, Of monstrous bulk; with Cisseus fierce and strong: Vain bulk and strength! for, when the chief assail’d, Nor valor nor Herculean arms avail’d, Nor their fam’d father, wont in war to go With great Alcides, while he toil’d below.
"From hence Tarentum’s bay appears in view, For Hercules renown’d, if fame be true.
Young Pallas, when he saw the chief advance Within due distance of his flying lance, Prepares to charge him first, resolv’d to try If fortune would his want of force supply; And thus to Heav’n and Hercules address’d: "Alcides, once on earth Evander’s guest, His son adjures you by those holy rites, That hospitable board, those genial nights; Assist my great attempt to gain this prize, And let proud Turnus view, with dying eyes, His ravish’d spoils."
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Heracles is the Greek mythological equivalent of the Roman Hercules.