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DAUGHTERS of darkling night, much-nam'd, draw near
Infinite Fates, and listen to my pray'r;
Who in the heav'nly lake (where waters white  3
Burst from a fountain hid in depths of night,
And thro' a dark and stony cavern glide, 5
A cave profound, invisible) abide;

p. 191

From whence, wide coursing round the boundless earth,
Your pow'r extends to those of mortal birth
To men with hope elated, trifling, gay,
A race presumptuous, born but to decay; 10
Whose life 'tis your's in darkness to conceal
To sense impervious, in a purple veil,
When thro' the fatal plain they joyful ride
In one great car, Opinion for their guide;
'Till each completes his heav'n-appointed round 15
At Justice, Hope, and Care's concluding bound,
The terms absolv'd, prescrib'd by ancient law
Of pow'r immense, and just without a flaw;
For Fate alone with vision unconfin'd,
Surveys the conduct of the mortal kind. 20
Fate is Jove's perfect and eternal eye,
For Jove and Fate our ev'ry deed descry.
Come, gentle pow'rs, well born, benignant, fam'd,
Atropos, Lachesis, and Clotho nam'd:
Unchang'd, aerial, wand'ring in the night, 25
Restless, invisible to mortal fight;
Fates all-producing all-destroying hear,
Regard the incense and the holy pray'r;
Propitious listen to these rites inclin'd,
And far avert distress with placid mind. 30


190:3 Ver. 3.] Who in the heav'nly lake, &c. Gesner confesses he is ignorant what the poet means by the λίμνη Ὀυρανία, or heavenly lake; as likewise of the dark cavern in which he places the Fates. At first sight indeed the whole seems impenetrably obscure, but on comparing this Hymn with the 68th, to the Furies, we shall find that the poet expressly calls them the Fates; and places them in an obscure cavern by the holy water of Styx. And from hence it appears, that the Heavenly Lake is the same with the Stygian Pool; which is called heavenly perhaps, because the Gods swear by it. But it is not wonderful that the water is called white; since Hesiod, in Theog. v. 791. speaks of the Stygian waters as falling into the sea with silvery whirls. And what strengthens the illustration full more, Fulgentius places the Fates with Pluto.

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