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Join Theron boldly to their sacred names;
Theron the next honour claims;
Theron to no man gives place,
Is first in Pisa's and in Virtue's race;
Theron there, and he alone,
Ev’n his own swift forefathers has outgone.
They through roughways, o'er many stops theypass'd,
Till on the fatal bank at last
They Agrigentum built, the beauteous eye
Of fair-fac’d Sicily:
Which does itself i' th' river by
With pride and joy espy.
Then cheerful notes their painted years did sing,
And Wealth was one, and Honour th’ other, wing ;
Their genuine virtues did more sweet and clear,
In Fortune's graceful dress, appear.
To which, great son of Rhea say
The firm word which forbids things to decay !
If in Olympus’ top, where thou
Sitt'st to behold thy sacred show;
If in Alpheus' silver flight;
If in my verse thou dost delight,
My verse, O Rhea's son! which is
Lofty as that, and smooth as this.
For the past sufferings of this noble race (Since things once past, and fled out of thine hand, Hearken no more to thy command) Let present joys fill up their place,
And with Oblivion's silent stroke deface
Of foregone ills the very trace.
In no illustrious line
Do these happy changes shine
More brightly, Theron than in thine.
So, in the crystal palaces
Of the blue-ey'd Nereides,
Ino her endless youth does please,
And thanks her fall into the seas.
Beauteous Semele does no less
Her cruel midwife, Thunder, bless;
Whilst, sporting with the Gods on high,
She enjoys secure their company;
Plays with lightnings as they fly,
Nor trembles at the bright embraces of the Deity.
But death did them from future dangers free;
What God, alas! will caution be
For living man's security,
Or will ensure our vessel in this faithless sea
Never did the sun as yet
So healthful a fair-day beget,
That travelling mortals might rely on it.
But Fortune's favour and her spite
Roll with alternate waves like day and night:
Vicissitudes which thy great race pursue,
E’er since the fatal son his father slew,
And did old oracles fulfil -
Of Gods that cannot lye, for they foretell but their
own will. -
Erynnis saw 't, and made in her own seed
The innocent Parricide to bleed;
She slew his wrathful sons with mutual blows:
But better things did then succeed,
And brave Thersander, in amends for what was past,
Brave Thersander was by none,
In war, or warlike sports, out-done.
Thou, Theron, his great virtues dost revive;
He in my verse and thee again does live.
Loud Olympus happy thee,
Isthmus and Nemaea does twice happy see;
For the well-natur'd honour there,
Which with thy brother thou didst share,
Was to thee double grown
By not being all thine own;
And those kind pious glories do deface
The old fraternal quarrel of thy race.
Greatness of mind and fortune too Th’ Olympick trophies shew : Both their several parts must do In the noble chace of fame; This without that is blind, that without this is lame. Nor is fair Virtue's picture seen aright But in Fortune's golden light. Riches alone are of uncertain date, And on short man long cannot wait; The virtuous make of them the best, And put them out to Fame for interest;
With a frail good they wisely buy
The solid purchase of eternity:
They, whilst life's air they breathe, consider well, and
Th’ account they must hereafter give below;
Whereas th' unjust and covetous above,
In deep unlovely vaults,
By the just decrees of Jove,
Unrelenting torments prove,
The heavy necessary effects of voluntary faults.
Whilst in the lands of unexhausted light,
O'er which the god-like sun's unwearied sight
Ne'er winks in clouds, or sleeps in night,
And endless spring of age the good enjoy,
Where neither Want does pinch, nor Plenty cloy:
There neither earth nor sea they plow,
Nor aught to labour owe
For food, that whilst it nourishes does decay,
And in the lamp of life consumes away.
Thrice had these men through mortal bodies pass'd,
Did thrice the trial undergo,
Till all their little dross was purg’d at last,
The furnace had no more to do.
Then in rich Saturn's peaceful state
Were they for sacred treasures plac'd,
The Muse-discovered world of Islands Fortunate.
Soft-footed winds with tuneful voices there
Dance through the perfum’d air:
There silver rivers through enamel'd meadows glide,
And golden trees enrich their side;
The illustrious leaves no dropping autumn fear,
And jewels for their fruit they bear,
Which by the blest are gathered
For bracelets to the arm, and garlands to the head.
Here all the Heroes, and their Poets, live;
Wise Rhadamanthus did the sentence give,
Who for his justice was thought fit
With sovereign Saturn on the bench to sit.
Peleus here, and Cadmus, reign; -
Here great Achilles, wrathful now no more,
Since his blest mother (who before
Had try’d it on his body' in vain)
Dipp'd now his soul in Stygian lake,
Which did from thence a divine hardness take,
That does from passion and from vice invulnerable
To Theron, Muse ! bring back thy wandering song,
Whom those bright troops expect impatiently;
And may they do so long !
How, noble archers do thy wanton arrows fly
At all the game that does but cross thine eye?
Shoot, and spare not, for I see
Thy sounding quiver can ne'er emptied be:
Let Art use method and good-husbandry,
Art lives on Nature's alms, is weak and poor;
Nature herself has unexhausted store,