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various battles, under the conduct of ARISTOMENES;† and the Lacedæmonian fpirit much depreffed by her triumphs. TYRTEUS was elected, therefore, as the laft refource, to the command of the Spartan army. The bravery and ftratagems of ARISTOMENES for fome time prevailed. The influence of our poet had no instantaneous effect. But though, for a while, in the field, his efforts proved abortive, he gained distinguished honor, in the city, by quelling a fedition, the violence of which had threatened the very existence of the republic. In the mean time, the two kings of Sparta, reduced to despair, had resolved to abandon the war. But the refolution was strenuously opposed by TYRTÆUS, who, enforcing his arguments with the motives of religion, led them to risk another battle. Here, then, we are to contemplate the great incident of his life. He convened his army. He stood forth, as the miffionary of APOLLO. He reminded his foldiers of the facred Oracle, under the fanction of which they were preparing to fight. He fung a war-fong! Military glory and manly fortitude re-echoed at every pause! The spirit of heroifm was universally rekindled; and every bofom throbbed for war! Every eye fparkled with anticipated triumph! The Spartans rushed to battle, and conquered!

There is a curious circumftance, however, recorded by JUSTIN, which ought not to be omitted. He intimates, that, though the Spartans looked with contempt on death,


§ JUSTIN, b. 3.



they were tremblingly folicitous in refpect to the rites of fepulture:

Non de falute, fed de fepulturá foliciti.

He adds, that an expedient was, at last, discovered, which difpelled all the damps of fear. Each foldier tied a token round his arm, with his own name and that of his family infcribed on it; that, if he should fall in battle, his friends might, by this means, distinguish his body amidst the heaps of the flain, and inter it with the funeral folemnities.

Thus was the Spartan army fired with ardors caught from verfe, and crowned with honors reflected from the Mufes!

And fuch high respect was paid to these rhapsodies of our poet, that after he had enlarged and methodised them into regular poems, they were attached, as fupplementary pieces, to the military code of LYCURGUS, for the inftruction of the Lacedæmonian Youth. It was alfo enacted, that, in every campaign, the Spartan foldiers fhould attend, at the king's tent, the rehearsal of these military lessons.

Wonderful may feem the effects of TYRTEUS's poetry; and equally surprising was the proud distinction he enjoyed from the gratitude of his country. Yet these probably were facts. They feem authenticated by the concurrent teftimonies or authorities of PAUSANIAS and JUSTIN, the Orator LYCURGUS, DIODORUS SICULUS, and PHILOCHORUS.*

* He lived in the age of PTOLEMY EPIPHANES. See ATHENAUS, b. 14, c. 7.

In ancient times, indeed, the combined character of the warrior and the poet was no very extraordinary phænomenon. The tragedian ÆSCHYLUS gained a laurel at the battle of Marathon; and SOPHOCLES, his poetical fucceffor, commanded the Athenian army, in conjunction with PERICLES.

But the influence and the glories of the poet are paft. He is no longer the elect of oracles! He is no more fuperior to kings!


• Who now shall wake the Spartan fife,
And call, in folemn founds, to life
The youths, whofe locks divinely fpreading,
Like vernal hyacinths, in fullen hue,
At once the breath of fear and virtue fhedding,
Applauding freedom lov'd of old, to view?
What new TYRTEUS wield the fword he fings?'

Alas! the modern bard is a feeble being, a folitary character.' The hosts indeed of fancy are his: 'Tis true he can marshal his ideal ranks, and bid them

Now vanish, now appear;

Flame in the van, or darken in the rear!'

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Yet, amidst all the vifionary fplendor, he must envy the trophies of TYRTÆUS!

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