Jupiter And The Thunderbolts.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine

Said Jupiter, one day,
As on a cloud he lay,
'Observing all our crimes,
Come, let us change the times,
By leasing out anew
A world whose wicked crew
Have wearied out our grace,
And cursed us to our face.
Hie hellward, Mercury;
A Fury bring to me,
The direst of the three.
Race nursed too tenderly,
This day your doom shall be!'
E'en while he spoke their fate,
His wrath began to moderate.

O kings, with whom His will
Hath lodged our good and ill,
Your wrath and storm between
One night should intervene!

The god of rapid wing,
And lip unfaltering,
To sunless regions sped,
And met the sisters dread.
To grim Tisiphone,
And pale Megaera, he
Preferr'd, as murderess,
Alecto, pitiless.
This choice so roused the fiend,
By Pluto's beard she swore
The human race no more
Should be by handfuls glean'd,
But in one solid mass
Th' infernal gates should pass.
But Jove, displeased with both
The Fury and her oath,
Despatched her back to hell.
And then a bolt he hurl'd,
Down on a faithless world,
Which in a desert fell.
Aim'd by a father's arm,
It caused more fear than harm.
(All fathers strike aside.)
What did from this betide?
Our evil race grew bold,
Resumed their wicked tricks,
Increased them manifold,
Till, all Olympus through,
Indignant murmurs flew.
When, swearing by the Styx,
The sire that rules the air
Storms promised to prepare
More terrible and dark,
Which should not miss their mark.
'A father's wrath it is!'
The other deities
All in one voice exclaim'd;
'And, might the thing be named,
Some other god would make
Bolts better for our sake.'
This Vulcan undertook.
His rumbling forges shook,
And glow'd with fervent heat,
While Cyclops blew and beat.
Forth, from the plastic flame
Two sorts of bolts there came.
Of these, one misses not:
'Tis by Olympus shot, -
That is, the gods at large.
The other, bearing wide,
Hits mountain-top or side,
Or makes a cloud its targe.
And this it is alone
Which leaves the father's throne.

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