Thomas Gray to Richard West, [before 24 May 1736]
I send you my translation, which I did not engage in because I liked that part of the Poem, nor do I now send it to you because I think it deserves it, but merely to show you how I misspend my days.
Third in the labours of the Disc came on,
With sturdy step and slow, Hippomedon;
Artful and strong he pois'd the well-known weight,
By Phlegyas warn'd, and fir'd by Mnestheus' fate,
That to avoid, and this to emulate.
His vigorous arm he try'd before he flung,
Brac'd all his nerves, and every sinew strung;
Then with a tempest's whirl and wary eye,
Pursu'd his cast, and hurl'd the orb on high;
The orb on high tenacious of its course,
True to the mighty arm that gave it force,
Far overleaps all bound, and joys to see
Its antient lord secure of victory.
The theatre's green height and woody wall
Tremble ere it precipitates its fall,
The ponderous mass sinks in the cleaving ground,
While vales and woods and echoing hills rebound.
As when from Ætna's smoaking summit broke,
The eyeless Cyclops heav'd the craggy rock;
Where Ocean frets beneath the dashing oar,
And parting surges round the vessel roar;
'Twas there he aim'd the meditated harm,
And scarce Ulysses scap'd his giant arm.
A tyger's pride the victor bore away,
With native spots and artful labour gay,
A Shining border round the margin roll'd,
And calm'd the terrors of his claws in gold.
- The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York: printed by A. Ward; and sold by J. Dodsley, London; and J. Todd, York, 1775, section i, 8-10
- Correspondence of Thomas Gray, 3 vols. Ed. by the late Paget Toynbee and Leonard Whibley, with corrections and additions by H. W. Starr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971 [1st ed. 1935], letter no. 22**, vol. i, 41-42