« PreviousContinue »
For that, in frantic theft,
Beheld a stock of warriors spring,
Six valiant sons, as legends sing.-
Where Alpheus' stream in wat'ry ring,
Encircles half his turfy mound,
Near that blest spot where strangers move
In many a long procession round Of him who sits above by men and gods adored ? The altar of protecting Jove.
Yet chief, in yonder lists of fame, For such offence, a doom severe,
Survives the noble Pelop's name; Sent down the sun to sojourn here
Where strength of hands and nimble feet Among the fleeting race of man;
In stern and dubious contest meet; Who, when the curly down began
And high renown and honeyed praise, To clothe his cheek in darker shade,
And following length of honoured days,
To victor's weary toil repays.-
But what are past or future joys?
The present is our own! } And raised to him the suppliant cry,
And he is wise who best employs The hoarse earth-shaking deity.
The passing hour alone.
To crown with knightly wreath the king, Nor called in vain, through cloud and storm
(A grateful task,) be mine; Half-seen, a huge and shadowy form,
And on the smooth Æolian string
To praise his ancient line!
A chief so just,-a friend so kind;
With every grace of fortune blest;
The mightiest, wisest, bravest, best ! Repel the tyrant's brazen spear
God, who beholdeth thee and all thy deeds,(4) That guards my lovely dame! And grant a car whose rolling speed
Have thee in charge, king Hiero!-so again May help a lover at his need;
The bard may sing thy horny-hoofed steeds Condemned by Pisa's hand to bleed
In frequent triumph o'er the Olympian plain;
Nor shall the Bard awake a lowly strain,
His wild notes flinging o'er the Cronian steep
Whose ready muse, and not invoked in vain,
For such high mark her strongest shaft shall keep.
Each hath his proper eminence !
To kings indulgent, Providence
(No farther search the will of Heaven) Were evil augury;-
The glories of the earth hath given.Nor durst a coward's heart the strife essay!
Still may'st thou reign! enough for me Yet, since alike to all
To dwell with heroes like to thee, The doom of death must fall,
Myself the chief of Grecian minstrelsy.-
Wear out a nameless life,
TO THERON OF AGRAGAS, VICTOR Yes!-I will dare the course! but, thou,
IN THE CHARIOT RACE. Immortal friend, my prayer allow!"
O SONG! whose voice the harp obeys, Thus, not in vain, his grief he told
Accordant aye with answering string; The ruler of the wat'ry space
What god, what hero wilt thou praise,
What man of godlike prowess sing ?-
And Jove's strong son the first to raise
And now, victorious on the wing
Of sounding wheels, our bards proclaim
His patient sires, for many a year,
Essayed their sacred home to rear,— Till time assigned, in fatal hour, Their native virtues, wealth and power ; And made them from their low degree, The eye of warlike Sicily.
And, may that power of ancient birth, From Saturn sprung, and parent Earth,
Of tall Olympus' lord, Who sees with still benignant eye The games' long splendour sweeping by
His Alpheus' holy ford :Appeased with anthems chanted high, To Theron's late posterity
A happier doom accord !
But who would these recall,— When happier days would fain efface The memory of each past disgrace, And, from the gods, on Theron's race
· Unbounded blessings fall ?
That same tremendous Providence
And lay the mighty low.-
Whose son, with murder dyed,
Unconscious parricide! -
Spared from their kindred strife,
The young Thersander's life, Stern Polynices' heir, was left alone :
In every martial game,
And in the field of fame,
Was left, the pride and prop to be
In fair Olympia crowned;
The isthmus twelve times round.
And wealth, unstained by pride,
Of syren ease abide :-
O’er life's unsteady tide!-
He in his heart hath known
In chambers dark and dread,
Where he, whom none may name,(6)
Seated in judgment high;
But, ever bright, by day, by night,
Nor stem for scanty food the wave;
No tear bedims their thankful eye,
Nor mars their long tranquillity; While those accursed howl in pangs unspeakable
Example meet for such a song, The sister queens of Laius' blood;
Who sorrow's edge endured long, Made keener by remembered good! Yet now, she breathes the air of Heaven (On earth by smouldering thunder riven.)
Long-haired Semele :
To Pallas dear is she;-
And thus, they tell that deep below
But, ignorant and blind,
Our life in peace resigned,
A ruddy smile behind. For grief and joy with fitful gale Our crazy bark by turns assail,
And, whence our blessings flow,
But, but who the thrice-renewed probation Though twenty lustres rolling round
With rising youth her nation crowned, And keep with righteous destination
In heart, in hand, should none be found The soul from all transgression pure;
Like Theron's honoured name.To such and such alone is given,
Yes! we have heard the factious liel To walk the rainbow paths of heaven,
But let the babbling vulgar try To that tall city of almighty time,
To blot his worth with tyranny.Where Ocean's balmy breezes play,
Seek thou the ocean strand ! And, flashing to the western day,
And when thy soul would fain record
Go-reckon up the sand !
TO THE SAME. Filled with triumphal boughs ;-the righteous May my solemn strain ascending doom
Please the long-haired Helen well, Of Rhadamanthus, whom, o'er these his lands,
And those brave twins of Leda's shell A blameless judge in every time to come,
The stranger's holy cause defending! Chronos, old Chronos, sire of gods hath placed ;
With whose high name the chorus blending Who with his consort dear,
To ancient Agragas shall rise,
And Theron for the chariot prize
And still, they say, in high communion, The muse, in numbers bold and high,
Hath taught my Dorian note to fly,
Worthy of silent awe, a strange sweet harmony. (Nor Jove has Thetis' prayer denied.)(7)
Yes !-as I fix mine eager view The daughter of the ancient sea
On yonder wreath of paly blue, Hath brought her warrior boy to be;
That olive wreath, whose shady round Him whose stern avenging blow
Amid the courser's mane is bounded; Laid the prop of Ilium low,
I feel again the sacred glow Hector, trained to slaughter, fell,
That bids my strain of raptare flow, By all but him invincible;
With shrilly breath of Spartan flute, And sea-born Cycnus tamed; and slew The many-voiced harp to suit; Aurora's knight of Ethiop hue.
And wildly fling my numbers sweet,
Again mine ancient friend to greet. Beneath my rattling belt I wear
Nor, Pisa, thee I leave unstrung; A sheaf of arrows keen and clear,
To men the parent of renown. Of vocal shafts, that wildly fly,
Amid whose shady ringlets strung,
Etolia binds her olive crown;
And Ister's fount Alcides bare,(9)
To deck his parent's hallowed town;
With placid brow and suppliant prayer
To Phæbus of the flowing hair.
A boon from these the hero prayed :
One graft of that delightful tree; For arrow sent on friendship’s wing,
To Jove's high hill a welcome shade, Than him the Agragantine king
To men a blessed fruit to be, Who best thy song may claim.
And crown of future victory.For, by eternal truth I swear,
For that fair moon, whose slender light His parent town shall scantly bear
With inefficient horn had shone, A soul to every friend so dear,
When late on Pisa's airy height A breast so void of blame;
He reared to Jove the altar stone;
TO PSAUMIS OF CAMARINA.
Now, through the dappled air, alone,
Tor yet a tree to cheer the sight
Oh, urging on the tireless speed
The cheering notes resound;
With Pisan olive crowned.-
That trains the warrior steed:
For wise and peaceful rede,
The proof be in the deed !
When, matchless in his speed,
Sprang to the proffered meed;Bowed to the queen his wreathed head;“ Thou seest my limbs are light,” he said;
“And, lady, may'st thou know, That every joint is firmly strung, And hand and heart alike are young; Though treacherous time my locks among
Have strewed a summer snow!"
TO THE SAME. Accept of these Olympian games the crown, Daughter of Ocean, rushy Camarine ! The flower of knightly worth and high renown, Which car-borne Psaumis on thy parent shrinę
(Psaumis, the patriot, whom thy peopled town So bright, so bold, so wonderful,
The choicest themes of verse I cull,
And Syracusa's denizen ?
Who, 'mid the sons of mortal men,
Rearing her goodly bowers on high.—(12) Nor who in peace hath past his days,
That now, redeemed from late disgrace, Marring with canker sloth his might, The wealthy mother of a countless race,
May hope a name in standing fight She lifts her front in shining majesty.- Nor in the hollow ship to raise !'Tis ever thus! by toil, and pain,
By toil, illustrious toil alone, And cumbrous cost, we strive to gain
Of elder times the heroes shone;. Some seeming prize whose issues lie
And, bought by like emprize, to thee, In darkness and futurity.
Oh warrior priest, like honour be! And yet, if conquest crown our aim,
Such praise as good Adrastus bore Then, foremost in the rolls of fame,
To him, the prophet chief(13) of yore, Even from the envious herd a forced applause we
When, snatched from Thebes’ accursed fight, claim.
With steed and car and armour bright, O cloud-enthroned, protecting Jove,
Down, down he sank to earthly night.
When the fight was ended,
And the sevenfold pyres
All their funeral fires
In one sad lustre blended.
The leader of the host
" I lament for the eye May feel thine endless care.
Of all mine army lost!And, victor thou, whose matchless might
To gods and mortals dear, The Pisan wreath bath bound;
Either art he knew; Still, Psaumis, be thy chief delight
Augur tried and true, In generous coursers found.
And strong to wield the spear!" Calm be thy latter age, and late
And by the powers divine, And gently fall the stroke of fate,
Such praise is justly thine,
Oh Syracusian peer,
As she shall truly tell, the muse of honeyed tongue.
And, Phintis, climb the car with me ;(14)
For well they know the path to trace
Of yonder victor's pedigree :
Unbar the gates of song, unbar!-
For we to day must journey far,
To Sparta, and to Pitane.-
She, mournful nymph, and nursing long
Her silent pain and virgin wrong,