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Myself, my daughters, dragg'd by hostile bands;
Our dignity exchang'd for servile bands:
All this the gods may purpose, and fulfil;
And we with patience must endure their will." BOOK IX.
As thus Laodice her sorrow try'd
With sympathy to sooth; the maid reply'd: sd now the king of men his army calls “Great queen! on whom the sov'reign pow'rs Back from the danger of th’impending walls; A gen'rous heart to feel another's woe; (bestov They quit the combat, and in order long Let still untouch'd through life your honours last, The field possess, a phalanx deep and strong. With happier days to come for sorrows past ! Rank following rank, the Theban squadrons Yet strive not thus a hopeless wretch to cheer,
Whom sure conjecture leads the worst to fear. Still to the rampart, and the tow'rs above: Shall Diomed a public cause forego, Creon himself, unwilling, quits the field, Flis faithful friends betray, and trust a foe? Enrag'd, defeated, and constrainod to yield: By treachery behold the host o'erthrown, 'Gainst all his foes, bis indignation burus, Renounce the public interest and his own? But first on Diomed its fury turns.
Shall kings and armies, in the balance laid, He call'd a vulgar warrior from the crowd, Avail not to out-weigh a single maid? A villain dark, and try'd in works of blood, One, whom his fury falsely did reprove Erembus nam'd, of huge gigantic size, [eyes; For crimes unknown, whose only crime was loveli. With cloudy features mark'd, and down-cast No, sure ere this he triumphs in the field; Cold and inactive still in combat found,
Your armies to his matchless valour yield: Nor wont to kindle at the trumpet's sound ; And soon submitting to the fatal blow, But bold in villauy when puw'r commands; This head must gratify a vanquish'd foe. A weapon fited for a tyrant's hands. (sword, If symbuls e'er the secret fates explain, And thus the wrathful monarch: “Take this If visions do not always warn in vain, A sign, to all my servants, from their lord; If dreams do ever true prognostics prove, And hither bring the fair Etolian's head; And dreams, the sages say, descend from Jove, 1, who com nayd you, will reward the deed: My fate approaches : late at dead of night; But let not pity, or remorse, prevail;
My veins yet freeze with horrour and affright! Your own shall answer, if in aught you fail." I thought that, all forsaken and alone,
He said ; the murth’rer, practis'd to obey, Pensive I wander'd far through ways unknown; The royal sword receiv'd, and took bis way A gloomy twilight, neither night wor day, Straight to the palace, where the captive fair, Frown'd on my steps, and sadden'd all the way : Of hope bereft, and yielding to despair,
Long dreary vales I saw on ev'ry side, Lamenting sat. Their mutual griefs to blend, And caverns sinking deep, with entrance wide; The queen and all the royal maids attend. On ragged cliffs the blasted forests hung; And thus the queen: “Fair stranger! shall your Her baleful note the boding screech-owl sung. All hopes reject of comfort and relief? (grief At last, with many a weary step, I found Your woes I've measur'd, all your sorrows known; | This melancholy country's outmost bound, And find them light when balanc'd with my own. An oce.in vast: upon a cliff I stood, In one sad day my valiant sire 1 mourn'd; And saw, beneath me far, the sable flood; My brother slain; my native walls o'erturn'd; No islanıls rose the dull expanse to grace, Mlyself a captive, destin'd to fulfil,
And nought was seen, through all the boundless In servile drudgery, a master's will;
[frown'd, Yet to a fall so low, the gods decreerd
But low-brow'd clouds, which on the billows This envy'd beight of greatness to succeed. And, in a night of shade, the prospect drown'd. The pow'rs above, for purposes unknown, The winds, which scem'd around the cliffs to Oft raise the fall'n, and bring the lofty down;
blow, Elude the vigilance of all our care:
With doleful cadence, utter'd sounds of woe, Our surest hopes deceive, and mock despair. Wafting, from ev'ry cave and dreary den, Let no desponding thoughts your mind possess, The wail of infants mix'd with groans of men : To banish hope, the med'cine of distress: Amaz'd, on ev'ry side my eyes I turn, For nine short days your freedom will restore, And see depending from the craggy bourn And break the bondage which you thus deplore. Wretches unnumber'd; some the mould'ring But I, alas ! unhappy still, must mourn
soil, Jogs once possess'd, which never can return; Some grasp'd the slipp’ry rock, with fruitless Four valiant sons, who perish'd on the plain Some hung suspended by the roots, which pass In this dire strife, a fifth on (eta slain :
Through cranuies of the cliffs, or wither'd grass. These shall return to bless my eyes no more ; Still from the steep they plung'd into the main ; The grave's dark mansion knows not to restore, As from the eres descends the trickling rain. For time, which bids so oft the solar ray Amaz'd I turn'd, and strove in vain to fly; Repeat, with light renew'd, th' ethereal way, Thickets oppos'd, and precipices high And from the soil, by heat and vernal winds, To stop my flight: anel, from the airy steep, To second life the lateni plant unbinds,
A tempest snatch'd, and huri'd me to the deep. Again to flourish, nurs'd by wbolesome dews, The sudden violence my slumber broke; Never to mortal man his life renews.
The waves I seem'd to touch, and straight awoke. These griefs are sure; but others still I fear; With sleep the vision filed; but, in my mind, A royal husband lost, and bondage near; Imprinted deep, its image left behind
For hand the frightful scene which fancy drew, What holds us, and restrains our martial por'rs;
And safely meditates a new surprise:
Or mirth disarms us, and the genial hoar; “ Futurity, in dreams, we seek in vain ; No, let us rather, now when fortune calls, For oft, from thoughts disturb’d, such phan. With bold assault, attempt to mount the walls ; toms rise,
Myself the first a chosen band shall lead, As fogs from marshes climb, to blot the skies: Where yon low rampart sinks into the mead: With a dark veil, the cheerful face of day There will I gain the battlements, and lay, They sadden, and eclipse the solar ray;
For others to succeed, an open way,
“ Confed’rate kings : and thou, whose sov'reign Now to the tow'rs I haste, to view from far
band The danger or success of this day's war.
Sways the dread sceptre of supreme command ! Let Clymene with me the walls ascend;
Let pot Tydides now, with martial rage, The rest at home domestic cares attend.” In measures hot and rash, the host engage.
She ended thus; and from her seat arose; To sober reason, still let passion yield, The royal maid attends her, as she goes
Nor here, admit the ardour of the field: Towards the western gate; where full to view If Thebes could thus with cne assault be won, Exposod, the armies and the camp she knew, Her armjes vanquish'd, and her wall o'erthrown; And now appear'd within the lofty gate, Could this one signal day reward our toil, By Creon sent, the messenger of fate.
So long endur'd, with victory and spoil :
No soldier in the ranks, no leader bere,
But if for victory, a foul defeat, And scatt'ring, fill the dome with female cries : With all the shame and danger of retreat, But, bolder from despair, Cassandra staid, Should be the issue, which the wise must dread, And to th' assassin thus, undaunted, said: To stop is better, sure, than to proceed. “ Approach ! divide this neck with deathful On yonder walls and lofty turrets, stand, steel,
Not, sav'd from shameful flight, a heartless band, A tyrant's rassal no remorse should feel. Who, desp'rate of their state, would soon forego o Diomed! let this example prove,
Their last defences, and admit a foe; In man, that stubborn honour conquers love: But who, from fight recalld, without dismay, With weight superior, great ambition draws A safe retreat maintain'd, in firm array. The scale for glory, and a public cause. Secure they combat from protecting walls; 1 blame thee not for this ; nor will impeach Thrown from above each weapon heavier fails; A great example, which I could not reach: Against such odds, can we the fight maintain, For had whole armies, in the balance laid, And with a foe found equal on the plain? And kings and mighty states with thee been Though we desist, no leader will oppose weigh’d,
That thus the fruits of victory ne lose; And I the judge appointed to decree,
When, pent within their battlements and tow'rs, They all had perished to ransom thee.”
In narrow space, we hold the Theban pow'rs: Cassandra thus; and for the blow prepard, For oftener, than by arms, are hosts o'erthrowa With both her bands, her shining neck she bar'd, By dearth and sickness, in a straiten’d town. And round her bead a purple garment roll’d, He who can only wield the sword and spear, With leares of silver mark’d, and flow'rs of gold. Knows less than half the instruments of war. Rais'd for the stroke, the glittring falchion Heart-gpawing hunger, enemy to life, hung,
Wide-wasting pestilence, and civil strife, And swift descending, bore the head along. By want inflam'd, to all our weapons claim A tide of gore, diffus'd in purple streams, Superior force, and strike with surer aim: Dasbes the wall, and o'er the pavement swims, With these, whoever arm'd to combat goes, Frone to the ground the headless trunk reclines, Instructed how to turn them on his foes, And life, in long convulsive throbs, resigns. Shall see them soon laid prostrate on the ground,
Now on the open plain before the walls, His aims accomplish'd, and his wishes crown'd. The king of men the chiefs to council calls. Our warriors, therefore, let us straight recall, And Diomed, with secret griefs oppress'd, Nor, by assault, attempt to force the wall; Impatient, thus the public ear address'd: But with a rampart, to the gates oppos'd, “ Confed'rate kings and thou, wbose sov'reign Besiege, in narrow space, our foes enclos'd. hand
The hero thus; and, eager to reply, Sways the dread sceptre of supreme command ! Tydides rose: when on a turret bigb
Tror appeard; Cassandra's head, display'd Supine npon the earth the hero falls, * Upma lance's point, he held, and said: Mix'd with the smoke and ruin of the walls. 1.** Ye Arrive warriors ! view this sign; and know, Ny disappointment chaf’d, and fierce from pain, That Creon never fails to quit a fve.
Unable now the rampart to regain, 4. This bloody trophy mark; and if it brings He turn'd, and saw his native bands afar, Grief and despair to any of the kings,
By fear restrain'd, and ling'ring in the war. Lat bim revenge it on the man who broke
From Creon straight and Thebes, his anger His faith, and darid my fury to proroke."
turns, He ended thus. Tydides, as he heard, And 'gainst his friends, with equal fury, burns ; i With rage distracted, and despair, appear'd. As wiren, from snows dissolvd or gudden rains,
· Long on the tow'r he fix'd his burning eyes; A torrent swells and roars along the plains ;
In full career, it meets a mountain's siile; " If any favour claim niy merits past;
In foaming eddies, backwards to its source, If, by a present benefit, ye'd bind
It wheels, and rages with inverted course: To future services a grateful mind;
So turn'd at once, the fury, in his breast, Let what I crge in council, now prerail,
Against Ulysses, thus itself exprest : 1 Witb hostile arms yon rampart tv assail: “ Author accurs'd, and source of all my poes! Else, with my native bands, alone I'll try Friend more pernicious than the worst of foes! The combat, fix'd to conquer or to die.”
By thy suggestions from my purpose sway'd, The hero thos. Ulysses thus exprest
I slew Cassandra, and myself betray'd ; The prudent dictates of his generous breast : Hence, lodg'd within this tortar'd breast, remains
" Princes ! shall dire contentiju still preside A fury, to inflict eternal pains. • In alt oar councils, and the kings diride ? I need not follow, with vindictive spear, Sure, of the various ills that can distress
A traitor absent, while a worse is near: luted armies and prevent success,
Crcon but acted what you well foreknew,
And then on Creon and myself succeed:
Thus as he spoke, Ulysses pond'ring stood, If he prevails, to victory he leads;
Whether by art to sooth bis furious mood, and safe bebind him all the host succeeds: Or, with a suduen hand, his lance to throw, If love forbids and all-decreeing fate,
Preventing, ere it fell, the threaten'd blow. The field is open, and a safe retreat.”
But, gliding from above, the martial maid Ulysses tbus. The princes all assent; [went, Between them stood, in majesty display'd; Straight from the council through the host they Her radiant eyes with indignation burro, Review'd its order, and in front dispos'd
On Diomed their piercing light she turn'd; The slingers; and the rear with bowmen clos'd; And frowning thus: “Thy frantic rage restrain ; - Anning the rest with all that could avail, Else by dread Styx I swear, nor swear in vain,
The tow'rs and battlements to sap or scale. That proof shall teach you whether mortal might
Is 't not enough that he whose hoary hairs
The chief who sav'd alike the host and thee. With wide destruction through the host to roll, Had Thebes prevail'd, and one decisive hour To mix its order ard confound the whole. The victory had fix'd beyond thy pow'r;
Intrepid still th’Etolian chief proceeds; These limbs, ere now, had captive fetters wors, And still Ulysses follows as he leads.
To infamy condemn'd, and hostile scorn; They reach'd the wall. Tydides, with a bound, Wbile fair Cassandra, with her virgin charms, Twice strove in vain to mount it from the ground. A prize decreed, had blest some rival's arms. Twice fled the foe; as, to the boist'rous sway Did not the worth of mighty Tydeus plead, Of some proud billow, mariners give way; Approv'd when living, and rever'd when dead, Which, rous'd by tempests, 'gainst a vessel For favourto his guilty son, and stand bends
A rampart to oppose my vengeful hand; Its force, and mounting o'er the deck ascends : You soon had found how mad it is to wage Again he rose : the third attempt prevail'd; War with the gods, and tempt immortal rage. But, crumbling in his grasp, the rampart faild: This Thebes shall know, ere to the ocean's For thunder there its fury hard imprest,
streams And loos’d a shatter'd fragment from the rest. The Sun agaiu withdraws his setting beams;
For now the gods consent, in vengeance just, And Theseus thus addrese'd his martial train :
Descending, on the town his warrivis pours?
With those who conquer now an equal fame." Tydides stood, nor dar'd to lift his eyes,
The monarch thus; and to the combat leads; Of fate regardless; though from ev'ry tow'r, With emulation fir'd, the host proceeds; Stones, darts, and arrows fell, a mingled show'r: | Under a show'r of falling darts they go, Tor awe divine subdu'd him, and the shame Climb the steep ramparts, and assault the foe; Which virtue suffers from the touch of blame. As winds outrageous, from the ocean wide, But to Ulysses turning, thus at last :
Against some mole impel the stormy tide, “ Prince ! can thy gen'rous love forget the past; Whose rocky arms, opposed to the deep, And all remembrance banish from thy mind, From ternpests, safe the anchoring vessel keep; Of what my fury and despair design'd?
Wave heap'd on wave, the stormy deluge tow'rs, If you forgive me, straight our pow'rs recall And o'er it, with resistless sury, pours : Who shun the tight, while I attempt the wall. Such seem'd the fight, the Theban host o'er. Some present gud inspires me; for I feel
thrown, My heart exulting knock the plated steel : The wall deserts, and mingles with the town. Jo brisker rounds the vital spirit fies,
Creon in vain the desp'rate rout withstands And ev'ry limb with double force
With sharp reproaches and vindictjve hands; Tydides thus. Ulysses thus again:
His rage they shun not, nor his threatnings "Shall Heav'n forgive offences, man retain;
hear, Though born to err, by jarring passions tost? From stunning clamours deaf,and blind from fear. The best, in good, no steadiness can boast : And thus the monarch with uplifted eyes, No malice therefore in my heart shall live; And both bis hands extended to the skies. To sin is human; human to forgive.
“Ye pow'rs supreme, whose unresisted sway But do not now your single force oppose
The fates of men and mortal things obey ! To lofty ramparts and an host of foes;
Against your counsels, vain it is to strive, Let me at least, attending at your side,
Which only ruin nations or retrieve. Partake the danger, and the toil divide:
Here in your sight, with patience I resign For see our pow'rs advancing to the storm ! That envy'd royalty which once was mine; Pallas excites them in a mortal form.
Renounce the cares, that wait upon a crown, Let us, to mount the rampart, straight proceed ; And make my last attention all my own. They of themselves will follow as we lead.” Seven virgin daughters in my house remain,
Ulysses thus ; and, springing froin the ground, who must not live to swell a victor's train; Both chiefs at once ascend the lofty mound. Nor shall my wretched queen, iu triumph borne, Before him each his shining buckler bears Be lifted to the eye of public scord : 'Gainst flying darts, and thick portended spears. One common fate our miseries shall end, Now, on the bulwark's level top, they stand, And, with the dust of Thebes, our asbes blend." And charge on ev'ry side the hostile band :
His fix'd decree the monarch thus exprest; There many warriors in close right they slew, One half the fates confirm'd, deny'd the rest : And many headlong from the rampart threw. For now surrounded by the hostile crowd Pallas her fav'rite champions still inspires, (fires. His captive queen, an humble suppliunt, stood. Their nerves confirms, and wakes their martial Tydides found her as she left the walls; With course divided, on the foe they fall, Before the hero to the ground she falls; And bare between them leave a length of wall; With trembling hands, his mighty knees she As fire, when kindled on some mountain's head,
press'd, Where runs, in long extent, the woodland shade, And, supplicating, thus with tears address’d: Consumes the middle forest, and extends “ Hlustrious cbief! for sure your gallant mien Its parted progress to the distant ends :
No less proclaims you, spare a wretched queen; So fought the leaders, while their scatter'd pow'rs, One whom the gods with endless hate pursue, In phalanx join'd, approach'd the Theban tow'rs; To griefs already sumless adding new; With hands, and heads against the rampart lean'd, O spare a helpless wretch, who humbly bends, The first, upon their shields, the rest sustain'd: And for protection on thy might depends !” Rank abve rank the living structure grows, As supplicating thus her suit she press'd, As seitliig bees the pendent heap compose, Ulysses heard, and thus the chief address'd: Which to some cavern's roof united clings, “ See how th' immortals, by a just decree, Woven thick with complicated feet and wings: Cassandra's fall avenge, and honour thee ! Thus mutually sustain'd, the warriors bend; See, at thy feet, the wife of Creon laid, While o'er their heads the order'd ranks ascend. A victim offer'd for the injur'd maid.
And now the martial goddess with delight, Let her the first your just resentment feel; Plac'd on a turret's top, survey'd the fight. By Heav'n presented to your vengeful steel.” Thrice to the height she rais'd her awful voice; Ulysses thus. With sighs the hero said: The tow'rs and bulwarks trembled at the noise: “ Enough is offer'd to Cassandra's shade; · Both warring hosts alike the signal hear; With wide destruction, wasting sword and fire, To this, the cause of hope, to that, of fear. To plague the authors of her fall, conspire.
IN THE MANNER OF SPENSER.
Yet all in vain. No sacrifice recalls
“ Certes," quoth I, “ the critics are the cause The parted ghost from Pluto's gloomy walls. Of this and many other mischiefs more; Too long, alas! has lawless fury rul'd,
Who tie the Muses to such rigid laws, To reason deaf, by no reflection cool'd :
That all their songs are frivolous and poor.' While I unhappy, by its dictates sway'd,
They cannot now, as oft they did before, My guardian murder'd, and the host betray'd. Ere pow'rful prejudice had clipt their wings, No victim, therefore, to my rage Pll pay;
Nature's domain with boundless flight explore, Nor ever follow as it points the way."
And traffic freely in her precious things: The son of Tydeus thus; and to his tent, Each bard now fears the rod, and trembles while Frum insults safe, the royal matron sent.
he sings. Himself again the course of conquest led “Though Shakespear, still disdaining narrow rules, Till Thebes was overthrown, and Creon bled. His bosom fill'd with Nature's sacred fire,
Broke all the cobweb limits fix'd by fools,
And left the world to blame him and admire ;
Yet bis reward few mortals would desire; A DREAM.
For, of his learned toil, the only meed
That ever I could find he did acquire,
Is that our dull, degenerate, age of lead, One erining, as by pleasant Porth I stray'd, Says that he wrote by chance, and that he scarca In pensive mood, and meditated still
could read." n poets' learned toil, with scorn repaid
“ I ween,” qnoth he, “that poets are to blame By envy's bitter spite, and want of skill;
When they submit to critics' tyranny: A cave I found, which open'd in a hill. The floor was sand, with various shells yblended, For learned wights there is no greater shame,
Than blindly with their dictates to comply, Through which, in slow meanders, crept a rill; The roof, by Nature's cunning slight suspended : / Whose wit did e'er his airy tract define;
Who ever taught the eagle how to fly, Thither my steps I turn'd, and there my journey
When with free wing he claims his native sky, ended.
Say, will he steer his course by rule and line? Upon the ground my listless limbs I laid, Certes, he'd scorn the bound that would his fight Lulld by the murmur of the passing stream :
confine. Then sleep, soft stealing, did my eyes invade ; “Not that the Muses' art is void of rules : And waking thought soon ended in a dream.
Many there are, I wot, and stricter far, Transported to a region I did seem,
Than those which pedants dictate from the Which with Thessalian Tempe might compare;
schools, Of verdant shade compos'd, and wat’ry gleam: Who wage with wit and taste eternal war : Not ev'n Valdarno, thought so passing fair, For foggy ignorance their sight doth mar; Might match this pleasant land in all perfec- Nor can their low conception ever reach tions rare.
To what dame Nature, crown'd with many a One, like a boary palmer, near a brook,
star, Under an arbour, seated did appear;
Explains to such as know her learned speech ; A shepherd swain, attending, held a book, But few can comprehend the lessons she doth And seem'd to read therein that he mote hear.
teach. From curiosity I stepped near;
“ As many as the stars that gild the sky, But ere I reach'd the place where they did sit, As many as the flow'rs that paint the ground,
The whispring breezes watted to my ear In number like the insect tribes that fly,
bound, For him he seem'l who sung Achilles' rage,
And say that this, and this alone, is right: In lofty numbers that shall never die,
Experience soon such rashness would confound, And wise Ulysses' tedious pilgrimage,
And make its folly obvious as the light; So long the sport of sharp adversity:
For such presumption sure becomes not mortal The praises of his merit, Fame on high,
wight. With her shrill truinp, for ever loud doth sound; “ Therefore each bard should freely entertain
With him no bard, for excellence, can vie, The hints which pleasing fancy gives at will; Of all that late or ancient e'er were found; Nor curb her sallies with too strict a rein, So much he doth surpass ev'o bards the most re- Nature subjecting to her hand-maid Skill: nown'd.
And you yourself in this have done but ill; The shepherd swain invited me to come
With many more, who have not comprehended Cp to the arbour where they seated were;
That genius, crampt, will rarely mount the For Homer call'd me: much I fear'd the doom
hill, Which such a judge seem'd ready to declare.
Whose forked summit with the cloudsis blended : As I approach'd, with meikle dread and care, :
Therefore, when next you write, let this defect be He thus address'd me: “Sir, the cause explain
mended. Why all your story here is told so bare? “But, like a friend, who candidly reproves Few circumstances mix'd of various grain;
For faults and errours which he doth espy, Such, surely, much enrich and raise a poet's Each vice he freely marks; yet always loves strain."
To mingle favour with severity, TOL. XVI,