O winged Fiend, who from the Earth
And an infernal Viper drew'st thy birth,
Thou cam'st, thou cam'st, to bear away,
Amidst incessant groans, thy prey,
And harass Cadmus' race,
Thy frantic pinions did resound,
Thy fangs impress'd the ghastly wound,
Thou ruthless monster with a virgin's face:
What youths from Dirce's fount were borne aloof,
While thou didst utter thy discordant song,
The furies haunted every roof,
And o'er these walls sat Slaughter brooding long.
Sure from some God whose breast no mercy knew,
Their source impure these horrors drew.
From house to house, the cries
Of matrons did resound,
And wailing maidens rent the skies
With frequent shrieks loud as the thunder's burst,
Oft as the Sphynx accurst,
Some youth, whom in the Theban streets she found,
Bore high in air; all glaz'd in wild affright,
Till she vanished from their sight.