The Library of History

Page 121

Page 121 The Land there is very rich, abounding with pleasant Meadows, Gardens and Orchards, water'd on every side with refreshing Streams; wherein grow all sorts of Fruit-trees and Vines, which grow of themselves, for the most part running up upon the sides of Trees. A gentle, cooling and refreshing Wind pierces through the whole Island, which makes the Place exceeding healthful, so that the Inhabitants live much longer here, than any others in the neighbouring Countries. The first Entrance into the Island runs up in a long Vale, shaded all along with high and lofty Trees, so thick, that only a dim and glimmering light passes through; but the Fiery Beams of the Sun enter not in the least to offend the Passenger. In passing along, drill many Sweet and Christal Springs, so that the Place is most pleasant and delightful to them that have a desire there to divert themselves. When you are out of this Vale, a pleasant and very large Grota, of a round Form, presents it self, arch'd over with an exceeding high Craggy Rock, bespangled with Stones of divers resplendent Colours; for being exchequer'd, some sparkl'd with Purple Rays, some with Azure, and others darted forth their refulgent Beauty in divers other Colours, no Colour being ever known, but it might be seen there. At the Entrance grew Trees of a strange and wonderful Nature, some bearing Fruit, others always green and flourishing, as if they had been created only by Nature to delight the sight: In these nested all sorts of Birds, whose Colour and pleasant Notes, even ravisht the Senses with sweet delight: So that all the Place round, imparted a sort of Divine Pleasure, not only to the Eye, but the Ear; the sweetness of Natural Notes far excelling the Artificial Harmony of all other Musick whatsoever. Passing through this, appears a large and spacious Grota, in every part inlightned by the bright Rays of the Sun: Here grow various sorts of Flowers and Plants, especially Cassia, and others that perpetually preserve their sweet Odours in their natural Strength. Here are to be seen the many pleasant Apartments of the Nymphs, (compos'd of various Flowers, planted in that order by wise Nature's Hands, and not by Man's Art) fit to receive even the Gods themselves. Within all this pleasant Round, is not a Flower or Leaf to be seen wither'd, or in the least decay'd; so that the Spectators are not only delighted with the sight, but even transported with the Pleasures of the fragrant Smells, and sweet Odours of the Place.

To this Cave the Child was brought by Ammon, and committed to the care of Nysa, one of the Sisters of Aristeus, to be brought up; but ordered Aristeus himself to be his Tutor, who was a Prudent, Honest, and very Learned Man: And that the Child might be the beteer secur'd against the mischievous Contrivances of his Stepmother Rhea, to these was joyn'd Minerva to be his Guardian, whom the River Triton they say, brought forth a little before these Times; and therefore from thence she was call'd Tritonides. They report that this Goddess liv'd a Virgin all her Days, and that being likewise endu'd with extraordinary Wisdom, she found out many Arts and Sciences; and that her strength of Body, and Manly Courage was such, that she imploy'd her self in feats of Arms, and went out to the Wars. Amongst her other Actions, this was one remarkable, that she kill'd Aegides a terrible Monster, before esteem'd invincible. It was the Birth of Terra, and (in an horrible manner) naturally breath'd forth Flames of Fire at her Mouth. This Monster first appear'd in Phrygia, and burnt up the whole Country, which is therefore call'd Burnt Phrygia at this Day. Afterwards she bent her Course to the Places about Mount Taurus, and burnt and destroy'd all the Woods and Forests all along, as far as to India: Thence she mov'd towards the Sea-Coasts, and burnt down the Cedars upon Mount Libanus in Phaenicia: Thence passing through Egypt, she burnt up Lybia, as far as to the Western Shoar, till at length she set on Fire all the Woods upon the Ceraunian Mountains. The Earth being thus all in a Flame, and the Inhabitants partly consum'd, and partly through Fear, having forsaken their Country, Minerva (they say) eminently furnish'd both with Wisdom and Courage, kill'd this Monster; and wore its Skin upon her Breast, to be both as a Breast-plate and Coat of Mail against future Encounters, and likewise as a Memorial of her Valour and glorious Victory.

Terra, the Mother of this Monster, being hereat inrag'd, in revenge brought forth the Giants, those implacable Enemies of the Gods, which were afterwards destroy'd by Jupiter, with the assistance of Minerva, Bacchus and other Deities.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books