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The Aeneid
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The Aeneid
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  • Their tasks perform’d, the serpents quit their prey, And to the tow’r of Pallas make their way: Couch’d at her feet, they lie protected there By her large buckler and protended spear.
  • Laocoon, Neptune’s priest by lot that year, With solemn pomp then sacrific’d a steer; When, dreadful to behold, from sea we spied Two serpents, rank’d abreast, the seas divide, And smoothly sweep along the swelling tide.
  • His wand and holy words, the viper’s rage, And venom’d wounds of serpents could assuage.
  • Scarce had he finish’d, when, with speckled pride, A serpent from the tomb began to glide; His hugy bulk on sev’n high volumes roll’d; Blue was his breadth of back, but streak’d with scaly gold: Thus riding on his curls, he seem’d to pass A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
  • Unseen, unfelt, the fiery serpent skims Betwixt her linen and her naked limbs; His baleful breath inspiring, as he glides, Now like a chain around her neck he rides, Now like a fillet to her head repairs, And with his circling volumes folds her hairs.
  • 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.
  • Deep in the dismal regions void of light, Three daughters at a birth were born to Night: These their brown mother, brooding on her care, Indued with windy wings to flit in air, With serpents girt alike, and crown’d with hissing hair.
  • So stoops the yellow eagle from on high, And bears a speckled serpent thro’ the sky, Fast’ning his crooked talons on the prey: The pris’ner hisses thro’ the liquid way; Resists the royal hawk; and, tho’ oppress’d, She fights in volumes, and erects her crest: Turn’d to her foe, she stiffens ev’ry scale, And shoots her forky tongue, and whisks her threat’ning tail.

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  • a picture of a serpent eating its tail
  • the serpent in the Garden of Eden

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