Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

She dropt the silver goblet on the ground; He deems you lost, and desp'rate of his state, The fragrant liquor drench'd the pavement By grief subdu'd invokes his ling'ring fate: round,

Incessant tears berlew his wrinkled face, And thus Tydides with a frown address'd: And ashes foul his hoary locks disgrace. “ Thy art is useless, and the truth confessd; Return, return! nor let misjudging pride, Nor can that fair disguise of martial arms With further errours, strive the past to hide. And male attire, conceal thy fatal charme, Return, once more to bless his aged eyes, Those eyes I see, whose soft enchantment stole Or, by your guilty stay a parent dies.” My peace, and stirr'd a tempest in my soul : She ended thus. Her arms Cassandra spread By their mild sight, in innocence array'd, To fold, in close embrace, the parting shade; To guilty madness was my heart betray'd. In vain; for, starting from her grasp, it flew, Deipholus is dead; his mournful ghost,

And, gliding thro' the shady walks, withdrew. Lamenting, wanders on the Stvgian coast; The virgin now awaits the rising morn, And blames my wrath. Oh ! that the Sun,which With purpose fix'd impatient to return; gave

And when, thru broken clouds, a glimm'ring ray Light to thy birth, had set upon thy grave; Of early dawn foretold approaching day; And he had liv'd ! now lifeless on the plain The spear she grasp'd, and on her temples plac'd A corse he lies, and number'd with the slain.” The golden casque, with various plumage grac'd ;

The hero ended thus; with melting eye, Tydides' gift; when in the ranks of fight The virgin turn'd, unable to reply.

The brave Clytander sunk beneath his might. In sorrow graceful, as the queen of lore

The gods she call'd; and, hending to the ground, Who mourn'd Adonis in the Syrian grore,

Their aid invok'd with reverence profound. Confounded and abash'd, she left the tent,

Then left the dome; and where Ismenus strays, And thro' the host in silent anguish went, Winding thro’ thickest woods his wat’ry maze, Far to the left ; where, in a lonely wood, Her way pursu'd: a hostile band drew near; To Ceres built, a rural temple stood;

Their tread she heard, and saw their arınour By swains frequented once, but now the place

clear; Unsightly shrubs o'erspread and weeds di: grace. Chief of the Theban youth; the herds they drove, Thither Cassandra went ; and at the shrine, And focks collected from the hills above. With suppliant voice address'd the power divine: For thus the Paphian goddess haid betray'd, “ Hear me, dread genius of this sacred grove ! To hands of cruel foes, the guiltless maid. Let my complaints thy sov’reign pity move. By sudden terrour check d, at first she stood: To seek the friendly shelter of thy dome,

Then turn'd, and sought the covert of the wood; With heart unstain'd, and guiltless hands, I come: Nor so escap'd: her glitt'ring armour shone, Love is my crime ; and, in thy rural seat, The starry helmet and the lofty cone, From infamy I seek a safe retreat,

Full to the glowing east; its golden rays By blame unmerited, and cold neglect,

Her winding flight betray'd thru' all its maze. Banish'd I come; receive me and protect !" The Thebans saw; and, rushing 'midst the shade She pray'd, and entring, 'gainst a pillar, staid With shonts of triumph, seiz'd the trembling Her lance; and on the floor her armour laid. Amaz'd and pale, before the hostile band, (maid. Then falling prostrate pour'd a flood of tears, She stood; and dropt the jar'lin from her hand. With present ills oppress'd and future fears.

0 spare my life!” she cry'), “por wealth, nor 'Twas then the herald of the queen of love, To purchase in the works of war, I came. [fame Zelotypė, descended in the grove,

No hate to you I bear, or Creon's sway, By Venus sent; but still her counsels fail'd; Whose sov'reign will the sons of Thebes obey: And Pallas with superior sway prevailid: Me hapless friendship hither led, to share, The phantom enter'd, and assum'd a form, With Diomed, the dangers of the war. Pale as the Moon appearing thro' a storm ; I now return and quit the martial strife, In Amyclea's shape disguis'd she came;

My sire to succour on the verge of life; The same her aspect, and her voice the name. Who crush'd beneath a load of sorrow bends, Cassandra saw; a sudden horrour froze

And to the grave, with painful steps, descends, Her veins ; erect her parted locks arose,

But if the plea of pity you reject, Stirr'd from the root : impatient thus the maid, The stronger ties of equity respect : With trembling lips, in falt'ring accents, said : A truce we swore; Jove witnesses the deed; “My lov'd, my honour'd parent! have my groans, On him who breaks it, vengeance will succeed." From death's deep slumber, rous'd thy sacred Thus as the virgin spoke, Phericles ey'd bones :

The arms she wore; and sternly thus reply'd: I hop'd that nothing could your peace molest; “ III-fated wretch! that panoply to wear ; Nor mortal cares disturb eternal rest;

The same my brother once in fight did bear; That safe for ever on th’ Elysian shore,

Whom fierce Tydides, with supericr might, You heard of human misery no more.

O’erthrew and vanquishid in the ranks of fight. Cassandra thus; and thus the Papbian maid: If with his foe my brother's spoils you shar'd, “ Your gen'rous love, my child, is ill repaid; A mark of love, or merited reward ; Your griefs I feel, and bear a parent's part ; Prepare to vield them and resign thy breath; Tho' blood no more returns to warm my heart; To vengeance due: Clytander claims thy death." And that, which first your mortal being bred, Frowning he spoke, and drew his shining blade; To dust lies mould'ring in its earthy bed. Beneath the lifted steel, th' unhappy maid To Calydon, my child, with speed return; Confounded stoop'd : Mencetius caught the stroke Your father grieves; your gay companions mourn; On his broad shield; and interposing spoke:

[ocr errors]

“ Brate youth ! respect my counsel, and suspend , With murmurs mix'd the wond'ring crowds reTte suelden vengeance which you now intend.

sound. The chiefs of Thebes, the rulers of the state, Most vote- to spare: the angry monarch cries: la full assembly, at the Cailmean gate,

“Ye ministers, proceed; the captive dies. A monument for great Leophron rear;

Shall any here, by weak compassion mov'd, His naine, achievements, and descent to bear. A captive spare by stern Tydides lov'd ? (hand Thither let this devoted youth be leri,

The scourge of Thebes, whose wide-diestroying An oil'ring grateful to the hero's shade:

Has thinn'd our armies in their native land, Nor shall Clytander less the deed approve; And slain my son: by all the gods I swear, Or friendly zeal applaud, and feel our love ; \Vhose names, to cite in vain, the nations fear, When fame shall tell, in Pluto's gloomy reign, That none, he loves, shall ever 'scape my rage: How stern Tydides mourns this warriour slain.” The vulgar plea l scorn, of sex, or age, Thus immorantly they; nor knew the peace Ev'n she, who now appears with ev'ry grace Of hanpy patriots, when their labors cease; Idorn'd, each charm of stature and of tace: That fell revenge and life-consuming bate Ev’n thongh from Venus she could claim the prize, Find no admittance, to molest their state. Her life to rengeance forfeited, she dies."

And now they led the captive cross the plain; Stern!y the monarch ended. All were still, Scarce could her trembling knees their load sus- With mute submission to the sov'reign will: tain;

Lycaon's valiant son except ; alone Thrice had her falt'ring tongue her sex rereald, His gen'rous ardour thus oppos’d the throne: But conscious shame opposid it and conceal'd. “ Dread sov’reign ! listen with a patient ear, Their monarch at the Cadinean gate they found, And what I now shall offer, deign to hear. In mournful state, with all his peers around, When first by force we seiz'd this captive maid, Oblations to Leophron's mighty shade,

The truce was vi'lated, our faith betray'd; In honey, milk, and fragrant wines they paid. And justice, which, in war and peace, prevails And thus Lycaon's son addresz'd the king: Alike, and weighs their deeds with equal scales, A grateful off'ring to your rites we bring. Her freedom claims, with presents to atone This yonth, the friend of Diomed, we found For what our rage perfidiously has done: Clad in the armour which Clytander own'd; Let us not, now, to further wrongs proceed; Me brother's spoils, by Diomed possest,

But fear the curse for perjury decreed.” When his keen jav'lin pierc'd the hero's breast. Phericles thus: and, with a stern regard, Soon had my rage the hostile deed repaid, His indignation thus the king declar'd: With vengeance grateful to his kindred shade; “Vain giddy yonth! forbear with factious breath, But public griefs the first atonements claim, To rouse my justice to pronounce thy death : And heroes of a more distinguish'd name. In opposition, first of all you move, Izophron, once his country's pride and boast; While others hear in silence, and approve. Andremo, too, the bulwark of the host,

Your bold presumption check, and learn to dread His blood demands; for when their souls shall Myrengeance thunder'd on your wretched head." know

Frowning he ended thus: his thrrats defy'd, The street revenge, in Pluto's shades below, With gen'rous heat Phericles thus reply'd : Pleas'd with our zeal, will each illustrious ghost, · Princes! attend, and trust my words sincere ; With lighter footsteps, press th’Elysian coast.” The king I honour, and his will revere,

He spoke; the princes all at once incline ; When truth gives sanction to his just commands,
The rest, with shouts, applaud the dire design. No common right in opposition stands:
An altar soon of flow'ry turf they raise:

Yet gen'rous minds a principle retain,
On er'ry side the sacred torches blaze:

Which promises and threats attempt in vain, The bowls, in shining order, plac'd around; Which claims dominion, by the gods imprest, The fatal knife was whetted for the wound. The love of justice in the human breast: Decreed to perish, stood the helpless fair; By this inspir’d, against superior might, Like some soft fawn, when, in the hunter's snare I rise undaunted in the cause of right. Involv'd, she sees him from his seat arise, scries : Ani now, by all th' avenging gods, I swear, His brandish'd truncheon dreads, and hears his whose names, to cite in vain, the nations fear; Silent she stands, to barb'rous force resign'd, That no bold warrior of the Theban ban.is, In anguish soft, dissolv'd her tender mind. This maid shall violate with hostile hands; [wield, The priests in order ev'ry rite prepar'd;

While these my arms have force the lance to Her neck and bosom, for the blow, they bar'ıl; And lift in her defence this pond'rous shiell, The helmet loos'd, the buckled mai) unbound, Not ev'n the king himself, whose sov'reign sway Whose shining circles fenc'd her neck around. The martial sons of sacred Thebes obey.' Dorn sunk the fair disguise; and full to sight He said; and, by his bold example fir'd, The virgin stood, with charms divinely bright. Twelve warriors rose, with equal zeal inspir’d. The comely ringlets of her flowing hair,

With shining steel the altar they surround, Such as the wood-nymphs wear, and Naiades fair | The fire now flaming, and the victim crown'd. Hung loose; her middle by a zone embrac'd, On ev'ry side in wild disorder move Which fix'd the floating garment round her waist. The thick compacted crouds : as when a grove, Venus herself divine effulgence shed

Rock'd by a sudden whirlwind, bends and strains O'er all her stature, and her lovely head; From right to left, along the woodland plains : Such as in spring the colour'd blossoms show, Fell discord soon bad rag'd, in civil blood, When on their op’ning leaves the zephyrs blow : With wide destruction not to be withstood; Amazement seiz'd the chiefs; and all around For from his seat the angry monarch sprung,

[ocr errors]

And lifted, for the blow, the sceptre hung: Patient above thy sex! an ill reward,
But 'midst the tumult Clytophon appear’d, Blame and wujust reproach, was all you shar'd.
Approv'd for wisdom, and with rev'rence heard. By my unkindness banish'd, nuw you roam,
Straight, by the robe, the furious chief he seiz'd, Aud seek, through paths unknown, your distant
And thus, with sage advice, his wrath appeas'd:

home: “ Hear, mighty prince! respect the words of age, To mountain wolves expos'd, a helpless prey, And calm the wasteful tempest of thy rage ; And men unjust more terrible than they. The public welfare to revenge prefer,

Save her, ye gods! and let me stand the aim For nations suffer wheu their sov'reigns err. Of Jove's all-dreaded bolt,anıl scorching flame." It ill beeomes us now, when hostile pow'rs

Thus plain'd the hero till the setting ray With strictest siege invest our stait'ned tow'rs! Withdrew, and ev’ning shades expell’d the day; It ill becomes us thus, with civil arms,

Then in his tent, before his lofty seat, To wound the state, and aggravate our harms. Appear'd a herald from the Theban state; Hear, all ye princes! what to me appears The hero's knees, with trembling hands, he A prudent counsel, worthy of your ears :

press'd, Let us inquire, if in our bands we hold

And with his message thus the chief address'd: A life esteem'd by Diomed the bold:

" Flear; mighty prince! the tidings which I bring, If, in his breast, those tender passions reign, From Thebes assembled, and the Theban king. Which charms like these must kindle and main- An armed warriour of vour native train, Our mandates freely to his tent we send, [tain; At early dawn, was seiz'd upon the plain. For to our will his haughty soul must bend: What others did, forgive, if I relate; Nor dares he, while the Theban walls enclose Creou coinmands me and the Theban state, A pledge so dear, invade us or oppose ;

A fairer youth, in martial arms, ne'er came B'it must subinit, whenever we require,

To court bright honour in the fields of fame. Or with his pow'rs to aid us, or retire."

A casqne of polish'd steel his temples press'd, He said; the monarch painfully supprest The golden cone with various pluinage dress'd ; His burning rage, and lock'd it in his brcast. A silver mail embrac'd his bo:ly round, He thus reply'd: “Thy prudent words inspire And greaves of brass his slender ancles bound: Pacific councils, and subdue mine ire:

To Thebes well known the panoply he wore, But if in peace I rul’d the Theban state,

The same, which once, renowu'd Clytander Nor hostile armies thu:ider'd at iny gate;

bore. They had not dar'd, with insolence and spite, Our warriors dragg'd him to the Cadinean gate, My purpose to oppose and scorn my night.” Where Creon, with the rulers of the state, He said, and to his seat again retir'l;

Assembled sat; the trembling captive stood, While sudden transport ev'ry breast inspir’d; With arms surrounded, and th' insulting crowd. As swaius rejoice, when, from the troubled skies, • O spare my life!' he cry'd, 'vor wealth, nor By breezes swept, a gather'd tempest flies; To purchase in the works of war, I came. [fame With wish id return the Sun exerts his beams Yo hate to you I bear, or Creon's sway, To cheer the woods and gild the shining streams. Whose sov'reign will the sons of Thebes obey. Mean while the sou of Tydleus, through the Meluckless friendship hither led, to share, plain,

With Diomed, the dangers of the war. With wishing eyee, Cassandrá sought in vain; I now return, and quit the martial strife, At ev'ry leafler of the bands inquir'd;

My sire to succur on the verge of life; Then, sad and hopeless, to his tent retir’d. Whose feeble age the present aid demands, 'Twas then his grief the bounds of silence broke, | And kind assistance of my filial hands.', And thus in secret to himself he spoke:

His words inclin'd the wisest and the best, “Me sure, of all men's sons, the gods have curst And some their gen'rous syinpathy esprest : With their chief plagues, the greatest and the But others, nothing mov'd, his guiltless head worst;

With threats demanded, to avenge the dead: Doom'd to disasters, from my earliest hour; And thus the king : My countrymen, attend ! Not wise to shun nor patient to endure.

In this, let all your loud contention end:
From me the source, umnumber'd ills proceed If Diomed, to save this valu'd life,
To all my friends; Deiphobus is dead!

The field abandons and the martial strife;
His soul excluded seeks the nether skies,

The captive safe, with presents, l'll restore, And wrong'd Cassandra from my presence flies. Ofbrass, and steel, and gold's refulgentore: Me surely, at my birth, the gods design'd But if these terms the haughty chief shall slight, Their rod of wrath, to scourse the human kind; And for the Argives still exert his might; För slaughter forin'd, with brutal fury brave, Before our hero's tombs, this youth shall bleed, Prompt to destroy, but impotent to save. To please the living, and avenge the dead.' How could my nadness blame thee, gen'rous His sentence all approv'd; and to your ear, maid!

As public herald, I the message bear ; And, with my crime, thy innocence upbraid ? And must your answer crave, without delay; Dëiphobus is fa!l’n! but not by thee;

Creon and Thebes already blame my stay." Thy only fault, alas! was love to ine;

Thus as he spoke, contending passions strore, Forthis, in plated steel thy limbs were dress’d, With force oppos'd, the herv's soul to move; A weighty shield thy tender arm oppress'd: As shifting winds impel the ocean's tide, For this, thou didst to hostile tilds repair, And sway the recling waves from side to side : And court such objects as distract the fair; Rage dictated revenge ; but tender fear,

From love and pity, waru'd him to forbear:

[ocr errors]

Till, like a lion, fiercer from his pain,

" In vain you strive to sway my constant mind ; These words broke forth in wrath and high dis- | I'll not depart while Theseus stays behind : dain :

Me nothing e'er, to change my faith, shall more, Go, tell your tyrant, that he tempts a soul By men attested, and the gods above: Which presents cannot win, nor threats control : But since your lawless tyrant has detain'd Not form'd, like his, to mock at ev'ry tie; A valu'd hostage, treacherously gain'd; With perjury to sport, and Heav'n defy. And dire injustice only will restore A common league the Argive warriors swore, When force compels, or proffer'd gifts implore : And seal'd the sacred tie with wine anil gore; A truce l grant, till the revolving Sun, My faith was plighted then, and ne'er shall fail, Twice ten full circuits of his journey run, Nor Creon's arts, to change me, aught avail. Prom the red ocean, points the morning ray, But tell him loud, that all the host may hear, And on the steps of darkness pours the day: And Thebes through all her warriors learn to Till then, froin fight and council I abstain, fear,

Nor lead my pow'rs to combat on the plain : If any, from himself, or by command,

For this, your monarch to my tent shall send The captive violates with hostile band;

The captive, and from injuries defend. That all shall quickly rue the guilty deed, This proffer is my last ; in vain will prove When, to requite it, multitudes shall bleed.” All your attempts my fixed mind to move: Sternly the hero ended, and resign’d,

If Thebes accepts it, let a sign declare, To fierce disorder, al bis mighty mind.

A flaming torch, display'd aloft in air, Already in his thoughts, with rengeful hands, From that high tow'r, whose airy top is known He dealt destruction 'midst the Theban bands, By trav'lers from afar, and marks the town; In fancy saw the tott'ring turrets fall,

The fane of Jore: but if they shall reject And led bis warriors o'er the level'd wall. The terms I send, nor equity respect, Rous'd with the thought, from his high seat he | They soon shall feel the fury of mine ire, sprung;

lo wasteful havoc, and the rage of fire." And grasp'd the sword, which on a column hung; The hero thus; and round his shoulders fung The shining blade he balanc'd tbrice in air; A shaggy cloak, with vulgar trappings hung; His lances next he view'd, and armour fair. And on his bead a leathern helmet plac'd, When, hanging 'midst the costly panoply, A boar's rough front with grisly terrours grac'd; A scarf embroider'd met the hero's eye,

A spear he next assum'd, and pond'rous shield, Which fair Cassandra's skilful hands had wrought, And led the Theban, issuing to the field. A present for her lord, in secret brought,

Amid surrounding guards they pass'd unseen, That day, when first he led bis martial train For night had stretch'd her friendly shade beIn arms, to combat on the Theban plain. [pose,

[knew; As some strong charm, which magic sounds com- Till nearer, through the gloom, the gate they Suspends a downward torrent as it flows; The herald enter'd, and the chief withdrew : Checks in the precipice its headlong course, But turning oft to 'Thebes his eager eyes, And calls it trembling upwards to its source : The signal, on the tow'r, at last he spies; Such seem'd the robe, which, to the hero's eyes, A flaming torch, upon the top, expos’d, Made the fair artist in her charms to rise. Its ray at once his troubled mind compos'd: His rage, suspended in its full career,

Such joy he felt, as when a watch-tow'r's light, To love resigns, to grief and tender fear.

Seen through the gloom of some tempestuous
Glad would he now his former words revoke, Glads the wet mariner, a star to guide (night,
And change the purpose which in wrath he spoke; His lab'ring vessel, through the stormy tide.
From hostile bands his captive fair to gain,
From fate to save her, or the servile chain :
But pride, and shame, the fond design supprest;
Silent he stood, and lock'd it in his breast.
Yet had the wary Theban well divin'd,

EPIGONIAD.
By symptoms sure, each motion of bis mind :
With joy he saw the heat of rage suppress'd ;

BOOK II.
And thus again his artful words address'd. [ear,
"Illustrious prince! with patience bend thine Now silent night the middle space possest,
And what I now shall offer, deign to hear. Of Heav'n, or journey'd downwards to the west ,
Of all the griefs, distressful mortals prove, But Creon, still with thirst of vengeance fir'd,
The woes of friendship most my pity move. Repose declin'd, nor from his toils respir'd;
You much I pity, and the youth regret,

But held his peers in council to debate Whom you too rigidly resign to fate;

Plans for revenge, suggested by his hate, Expos'd alone, no hope of comfort near,

Before the king Dienices appear'd; The scorn and cruelty of foes to bear.

To speak his tidings sad, the hero fear'd;
O that my timely counsel might avail,

Return'd from Oeta; thither sent to call
For love, and sympathy, to turn the scale! Alcides to protect his native wall.
That Thebes releas'd from thy devouring sword, And Creon thus: “ Dienices ! explain
The captive honor'd, and with gifts restor'd, Your sorrow; are our hopes of aid in vain ?
We yet might hope for peace, and you again Does Hercules neglect his native soil ;
Enjoy the blessings of your native reign.” Wbile strangers reap the harvest of his toil?
Insinuating thus, the herald try'd

We from your silence cannot hope success ;
His aim to compass; and the chief reply'd: But further ills your falling tears confess :
VOL, ITI.

M

tween;

THE

Cleon my son is dead; his fate you mourn; A cave appear'd, which from a mountain steeps I must not hope to see his safe return.

Through a low valley, look'd into the deep. Sure, if he liv’d, he had not come the last ; Thither we turn'd our weary steps, and found But found his father with a filial haste.

The cavern hung with savage spoils aroun; His fate, at once, declare, you need not fear, The wolf's grey fur, the wild boar's shaggy hide, With any tale of grief, to wound mine ear, The lion's mane, the panther's speckled pride: Proof to misfortune: for the man, who knows These signs we mark'd; and knew the rocky scat, The whole variety of human woes,

Some solitary hunter's wild retreat. Can stand unmur'd though loads of sorrow press; Farther invited by a glimm'ring ray, Practis'd to bear, familiar with distress." Which through the darkness shed uncertain day, The monarch question’d thus : and thus the In the recesses of the cave we found youth:

The club of Hercules ; and wrapt around, “Too well thy boding fear has found the truth. Which, seen before, we knew, the lion's spoils, Cleon is dead; the hero's ashes lie

The mantle which he wore in all his toils. Where Pelion's lofty head ascends the sky. Amaz'd we stood ; in silence, each his mind For as, on Oeta's top, he vainly strove

To fear and hope alternately resigo'd: To win the arrows of the son of Jove;

With joy wc hop'd to find the hero ncar; Compelling Philoctetes to resign,

The club and mantle found, dispos'd to fear. The friend of Hercules, his arms divine ;

His force inviucible in tight we knew, The insult to repel, an arrow flew,

Which nought of mortal kind could e'er subdue, And from his heart the vital current drew : But fear'd Apollo's might, or his who heaves Prostrate he sunk; and welling from the wound, The solid earth, and rules the stormy wares. A food of gore impurpled all the ground.”

“Pond'ring we stood ; when on the roof above, Thus spoke Dienices. The king supprest The tread of feet descending thro' the grore His big distress, and lock'd it in his breast : Which crown'd the hollow cliff, amaz'd we heards Sighing he thus reply'd : “ The cause declare, And straight before the care a youth appear’d. Which holds the great Alcides from the war ; A bleeding buck across his shoulders fang, And why another pow, the bow commands Ty'd with a rope of twisted rushes, bung And arrows, sacred from his mighty hands. He dropt his burden in the gate, and plac'd, Nor fear my valiant son's untimely fate, Against the pillar'd cliff, his bow unbrac'd. With all its weight of sorrow, to relate :

"Twas then our footsteps in the care he heard, All I can bear. Against my naked head, And thro' the gloom our shining arms appear'd. I see the vengeance of the gods decreed ; His bow he bent; and backwards from the rock With hostile arms beset my tott'ring reign; Retir'd, and, of our purpose quest'ning, spoke ; The people wasted, and my children slain. Say who you are, who seek this wild abode, Attempts prove fruitless ; ev'ry hope deceives; Thro' desert paths, by mortals rarely trod ? Success in prospect, disappointment gives : If just, and with a fair intent you come, With swift approach, I see destruction come; Friendship expect, and safety in my dome: But with a mind unmov'd, I'll meet my doom; But if for violence, your danger learn, Nor stain this war-worn visage with a tear, And trust my admonition wben I warn : Since all that Heav'n bas purpos'd, I can bear.” Certain as fate, where'er this arrow flies, The monarch thus his rising grief suppress'd; * The hapless wretch, who meets its fury, dies : And thus the peers Dieniees address'd :

No buckler to resist its point avails, (fails; " Princes of Thebes! and thou, whose sov'. The hammer'd cuirass yields, the breast-plate reign hand

And where it once has drawn the purple gore, Sways the dread sceptre of supreme command ! No charm can cure, no med'cine health restore." To what I offer, lend an equal ear; [hear. “ With threats he question'd thus; and Cleon The truth I'll speak, and judge me when you

said: If Cleon, by my fault, no more returns,

We come to call Alcides to our aid; For whom, her second hope, his country mourns; By us the senators of Thebes entreat No doom I deprecate, no torture fly,

The hero, to protect his native state : Which justice can denounce, or rage supply: For hostile arms invest the Theban tow'rs: But if my innocence appears, I claim

Famine within, without the sword, devours. Your censure to escape, and public blame. If you hare learn'd where Hercules remains,

"From Marathon by night our course we steerd, In mountain caves, or hamlets on the plains, And pass'd Gerastus when the day appear'd; Our way direct ; for, led by gen'ral fame, Andros we saw, with promontories steep, To find him in these desert wilds we came.' Ascend ; and Delos level with the deep.

“ He spoke; and Philoctetes thus again : A circuit wide; for where Euripus roars

May Jove, for Thebes, some other aid ordain; Between Euboea and the Theban shores,

For Hercules no more exerts his might, The Argives had dispos'd their naval train; Against oppressive force, for injur'd right : And prudence taught to shun the hostile plain. Retir'd, among the gods, he sits serene, Four days we sail'd; the fifth our voyage ends, And views, beneath him far, this mortal scene: Where Oeta, sloping to the sea, descends. But enter now this grotto, and partake The vales I search'd, and woody heights above, What I can offer, for the hero's sake: Guided by fame, to find the son of Jove; With you from sacred Thebes he claim'd his With Cleon only: for we charg'd the band

birth, To stay, and guard our vessel on the strand. For god-like virtue fam'd thro' all the Earth ; In vain we search'd; but when the lamp of day Thebes therefore and her people still shall be, Approach'd the ocean with its setting ray, Like fair Trachines and her sons to mito

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »