Canto VII: The Great One, the Carp-goat, Pabilsang, the Scorpion, and the Scales

Canto VII
The Great One, the Carp-goat,
Pabilsang, the Scorpion, and the Scales

  [The chorus sang.]

The snow and ice began to disappear,
But oh!  So slowly.  Still, throughout this time
Our ancestors were taught to hunt wild beasts
And gather berries.  Learning these we passed
The Great One's Reign, which lasted fully half
Five thousand years.  He ceded then the Watch
To Carp-goat, reigning seven hundred past
A thousand years; of Him we say no more.

[Venatrix (Huntress), an alto, declaimed the following.]

The next to take the Tillar of the World
Was Pabilsang, so-called, the Centaur son
Of Tinia,* known as Apa Maris** to                   [*Jupiter, **Mars-piter, Father Ares]
Our folk.  His Reign was short, for it was just
One hundred-twenty years beyond the time
It takes the Dog to come back home,* but in       [*c.1580 yrs.]
That time He taught us many things: to make
Strong rope, and lances long and straight; nor must
We throw them with bare hands, because he showed
Us how to make spear-throwers.  Nor there stopped
He, but He also taught us how to bend
A bow with sinew stretched, to launch our swift
And deadly arrows - such His welcome gifts
For hunting and defense.  Not these alone,
For Maris also showed to us the skill
Of crushing berries, or of grinding rocks
In water, all for making marks upon
The walls of caves to show our thoughts, and show
The paths to places sacred and to us
Important - sources bountiful of food
And drink.  And lastly Pabilsang the Wise,
The Centaur, showed us how to make a notch
Each day in bone to mark the passing of
The nights until the Moon's full light returns,
And so to count the months.  But when His Watch
Was done, the Carrier was yielded to
The Hard-shelled Minister of Turan, He
Who creepeth low upon the ground; with Him
We passed two thousand years, before again
Another pair of thousands passed away,
These latter weighed upon the Balanced Beam.

[continue to Canto VIII]

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Last updated: Sat April 21, 2012