The Story of the Pierides.
The Muse yet spoke; when they began to hear
A Noise of Wings that flutter'd in the Air;
And strait a Voice, from some high spreading Bough,
Seem'd to salute the Company below.
The Goddess wonder'd, and inquir'd from whence
That Tongue was heard, that spoke so plainly Sense:
(It seem'd to her a human Voice to be,
But prov'd a Bird's; for in a shady Tree
Nine Magpies perch'd lament their alter'd State,
And, what they hear, are skilful to repeat.)
The Sister to the wondring Goddess said,
These, foil'd by us, by us were thus repaid.
These did Evippè of Pæonia bring
With nine hard Labour-Pangs to Pella's King.
The foolish Virgins, of their Number proud,
And puff'd with Praises of the senseless Crowd,
Thro' all Achaia, and th' Æmonian Plains,
Defy'd us thus, to match their artless Strains;
No more, ye Thespian Girls, your Notes repeat,
Nor with false Harmony the Vulgar cheat;
In Voice or Skill, if you with us will vye,
As many we, in Voice or Skill will try.
Surrender you to us, if we excel,
Fam'd Aganippè, and Medusa's Well.
The Conquest yours, your Prize from us shall be
Th' Æmathian Plains to snowy Pæonè;
The Nymphs our Judges. To dispute the Field,
We thought a Shame; but greater Shame to yield.
On Seats of living Stone the Sisters sit,
And by the Rivers swear to judge aright.