Zeus Slays Typhon

When Zeus the Titans had vanquished in war,
Then Earth upon the underworld did pour
Her love, and from this union bore a beast,
And a blasting curse did on all release.
This fell fiend was fashioned with the force of fire,
Where’er he dwelled was made a smoking pyre.
It had a hundred heads, each one a snake,
And eyes of fire and mouths from which each spake;
Their tongues were black; their voices did astound,
When from out their mouths their noises did resound
Through all the Earth. Sometimes they bellowed loud
Like bulls; other times they roared like lions proud:
Sometimes like gods immortal did they speak:
But just as oft they whined like puppies meek.
The mountains underneath this monster did
Ghastly echo all it said like servants bid.
And had the voices of the serpent sped,
With all his snaky parts through Earth and spread
His pestilential presence through every field,
Then would gods and men have been forced to yield:
In pits of sulfur serpents might have lain,
And all that’s good and beautiful been slain.
But Zeus spied quick the danger and arose
At once the monster Typhon to oppose:
Through all the Earth his thunder echoed fierce,
And through the fiend his lightning bolts did pierce.
When he arose did Earth and Ocean shake:
In dim Tartatus did old Kronos quake.
Each eye on Typhon’s heads sent out a flame,
Such as Hephaistos wields, that god who’s lame;
The flame of Typhon and the bolts of Zeus,
Upon the Earth and Sea great heat did loose.
The ocean waves did rage and shake their shores,
And Earth did burn, the forests, plains, and moors.
Tartarus shook and Hades quaked with fear,
When in the chthonic depths did appear
The might of Zeus. It terrified those who
With Kronos Zeus in battle did subdue.
Zeus hurled his bolts and burned each snaky head,
And earthquakes heaved wherever he did tread.
He seized a whip and lashed him like a slave,
Then threw him down deformed into his grave.
A fire leapt out from Typhon when the blow
Of Zeus his soul sent to the shades below;
The fire of Typhon struck a mountainside,
And down its side did melted iron slide;
Like Vulcan’s forge a smoke blackened the air,
But Zeus was untouched, unharmed by this affair.
Zeus hurled him to Tartarus in a rage,
And only then his great wrath did assuage.
From Typhon also come winds of fearsome rains,
And dreadful gusts that bring to sailors pains:
The gentle winds the gods send as a gift,
But the evil winds blow great ships adrift;
In violent bursts they scatter and they kill,
And glut the sea until it’s had its fill.
Helpless are the men who meet these winds at sea:
As one they fall to dread calamity.
And if by chance the sea these winds forsake,
And instead a path o’er the Earth do take,
They kick up dust and leave men’s fields a waste,
Ruining the crops that with care they placed.
If likewise from the mouths of men a blast
Of evil words should issue, let them be cast
From out the land, like Typhon was by Zeus,
Lest to better men they bring foul abuse;
For Typhon being thrown down was destroyed,
And gods, and men, and Earth were overjoyed;
In heaven too was joy and gladness spread
When at the hands of Zeus Typhon was dead.

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