Obrazy na stronie


And now,


For that, in frantic theft,

Beheld a stock of warriors spring,
The nectar cup he reft,

Six valiant sons, as legends sing.-
And to his mortal peers in feasting poured

with fame and virtue crowned, For whom a sin it were

Where Alpheus' stream in wat'ry ring,
With mortal life to share

Encircles half his turfy mound,
The mystic dainties of th' immortal board: He sleeps beneath the piled ground ;(3)
And who by policy

Near that blest spot where strangers move Can hope to 'scape the eye

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 car-borne Pisa's royal maid(2)

To victor's weary toil repays.-
A lover's tender service paid. —
But, in the darkness first he stood

But what are past or future joys ?
Alone, by ocean's hoary flood,

The present is our own!

1 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 The god of waters came.

To praise his ancient line! He came, whom thus the youth addressed For ne'er shall wandering minstrel find "Oh thou, if that immortal breast

A chief so just,-a friend so kind; Have felt a lover's flame,

With every grace of fortune blest; A lover's prayer in pity hear,

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!

Have thee in charge, king Hiero!-so again
And grant a car whose rolling speed
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; Unless I win the envied meed

Nor shall the Bard awake a lowly strain, In Elis' field of fame!

His wild notes flinging o'er the Cronian steep

Whose ready muse, and not invoked in vain, For youthful knights thirteen

For such high mark her strongest shaft shall keep. By him have slaughtered been,

Each hath his proper eminence! His daughter vexing with perverse delay.

To kings indulgent, Providence Such to a coward's eye

(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.-
Ah! wherefore, sitting in unseemly shade,

Wear out a nameless life,
Remote from noble strife,

And all the sweet applause to valour paid ?—

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, Bestowed a wondrous car of gold,

What man of godlike prowess sing ?And tireless steeds of winged pace.

Lo, Jove himself is Pisa's king; So, victor in the deathful race,

And Jove's strong son the first to raise He tamed the strength of Pisa's king, The barriers of th’ Olympic ring.And, from his bride of beauteous face,

And now, victorious on the wing

Of sounding wheels, our bards proclaim
The stranger Theron's honoured name,
The flower of no ignoble race,(5)
And prop of ancient Agragas !-

His patient sires, for many a year,
Where that blue river rolls its flood,
Mid fruitless war and civil blood

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!
Or good or ill, the past is gone,
Nor time himself, the parent one,
Can make the former deeds undone

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
Will oft a varying doom dispense,

And lay the mighty low.-
To Theban Laius that befell,

Whose son, with murder dyed,
Fulfilled the former oracle,

Unconscious parricide!-Unconscio'e!-yet avenging hell Pursued th' offender's stealthy pace, And heavy, sure, and hard it fell, The curse of blood, on all his race !

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,
For early force and matchless prowess known :-

Was left, the pride and prop to be
Of good Adrastus' pedigree.
And hence, through loins of ancient kings,
The warrior blood of Theron springs;
Exalted name! to whom belong
The minstrel's harp, the poet's song,

In fair Olympia crowned ;
And where, mid Pythia's olives blue,
An equal lot his brother drew:
And where his twice-twain coursers flew

The isthmus twelve times round.
Such honour, earned by toil and care,
May best his ancient wrongs repair,

And wealth, unstained by pride,
May laugh at fortune's fickle power,
And blameless in the tempting hour

Of syren ease abide: -
Led by that, star of heavenly ray,
Which best may keep our darkling way

O'er life's unsteady tide!--
For, whoso holds in righteousness the throne,

He in his heart hath known
How the foul spirits of the guilty dead,

In chambers dark and dread,
Of nether earth abide, and penal flame
Where he, whom none may name

me,(6) Lays bare the soul by stern necessity;

Seated in judgment high;
The minister of God whose arm is there,
In heaven alike and hell, almighty every where!

But, ever bright, by day, by night,
Exulting in excess of light;
From labour free and long distress,
The good enjoy their happiness.
No more the stubborn soil they cleave,

Nor stem for scanty food the wave;
But with the venerable gods they dwell :

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;-
Dear to the sire of gods, and dear
To him, her son, in dreadful glee
Who shakes the ivy-wreathed spear.

And thus, they tell that deep below
The sounding ocean's ebb and flow,
Amid the daughters of the sea,
A sister nymph must Ino be,
And dwell in bliss eternally :-

But, ignorant and blind,
We little know the coming hour;
Or if the latter day shall lower;
Or if to nature's kindly power

Our life in peace resigned,
Shall sink like fall of summer eve,
And on the face of darkness leave

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
Of either world may well endure;

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 lie 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
The gorgeous blossoms of such blessed clime, The bounteous deeds of yonder lord,
Now in the happy isles are seen

Go-reckon up the sand !
Sparkling through the groves of green;
And now, all glorious to behold,
Tinge the wave with floating gold.-

Hence are their garlands woven-hence their

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,
Dread Rhea, reigneth here,
On cloudy throne with deathless honour graced. Again, and not in vain, contending-

And Theron for the chariot prize
And still, they say, in high communion, The muse, in numbers bold and high,
Peleus and Cadmus here abide;

Hath taught my Dorian note to fly, And, with the blest in blessed union,

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,
Nor ken the base their import high,

Etolia binds her olive crown;
Yet to the wise they breathe no vulgar melody. Whose sapling root from Scythia down
Yes, he is wise whom nature's dower And Ister's fount Alcides bare,(9)
Hath raised above the crowd. -

To deck his parent's hallowed town;
But, trained in study's formal hour,

With placid brow and suppliant prayer There are who hate the minstrel's power,(8) Soothing the favoured northern seed, As daws who mark the eagle tower,

Whose horny-hoofed victims bleed
And croak in envy loud !

To Phæbus of the flowing hair.
So let them rail! but thou, my heart!
Rest on the bow thy levelled dart;

A boon from these the hero prayed :
Nor seek a worthier aim

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;



Now, through the dappled air, alone,
In perfect ring of glory bright,
Guided her golden-wheeled throne;
The broad and burning eye of night.-
And now the days were told aright,
When Alpheus, from his sandy source,
Should judge the champion's eager might,
And mark of wheels the rolling force.-
Nor yet a tree to cheer the sight
The Cronian vale of Pelops bore;-
Obnoxious to the noonday weight
Of summer suns, a naked shore.-
But she who sways the silent sky,
Latona's own equestrian maid,
Beheld how far Alcides strayed,
Bound on adventure strange and high :
Forth from the glens of Arcady
To Istrian rocks in ice arrayed
He urged th' interminable race,
(Such penance had Eurystheus laid,)
The golden-horned hind to chase,
Which, grateful for Diana's aid,
By her redeemed from foul embrace,
Old Atlas' daughter hallowed.-(10)
Thus, following where the quarry fled,
Beyond the biting North he past,
Beyond the regions of the blast,
And, all unknown to traveller's tread,
He saw the blessed land at last.-
He stopt, he gazed with new delight,
When that strange verdure met his sight;
And soft desire enflamed his soul
(Where twelve-times round the chariots roll,)
To plant with such the Pisan goal.
But now, unseen to mortal eyes,
He comes to Theron's sacrifice;
And with him brings to banquet there
High-bosomed Leda's knightly pair.-
Himself to high Olympus bound,
To these a latest charge he gave,
A solemn annual feast to found,
And of contending heroes round
To deck the strong, the swift, the brave.-
Nor doubt I that on Theron's head,
And on the good Emmenides,
The sons of Jove their blessings shed;
Whom still, with bounteous tables spread,
That holy tribe delight to please ;
Observing with religious dread
The hospitable god's decrees.-
But, wide as water passeth earthy clay,
Or sun-bright gold transcendeth baser ore;
Wide as from Greece to that remotest shore
Whose rock-built pillars own Alcides' sway;
Thy fame hath past thine equals !—To explore
The further ocean all in vain essay,
Or fools or wise ;-here from thy perilous way
Cast anchor here, my bark! I dare no more !

Oh, urging on the tireless speed
Of Thunder's elemental steed,
Lord of the world, Almighty Jove !
Since these thine hours have me forth
The witness of thy champions' worth,
And prophet of thine olive grove ;-
And since the good thy poet hear,
And hold his tuneful message dear;
Saturnian Lord of Etna hill !-
Whose storm-cemented rocks encage
The hundred-headed rebel's rage;
Accept with favourable will
The Muses' gift of harmony;
The dance, the song, whose numbers high
Forbid the hero's dame to die,
A crown of life abiding still !
Hark! round the car of victory,
Where noble Psaumis sits on high,

The cheering notes resound;
Who vows to swell with added fame
His Carnarina's ancient name;

With Pisan olive crowned.-
And thou, oh father, hear his prayer!
For much I praise the knightly care

That trains the warrior steed:-
Nor less the hopitable hall
Whose open doors the stranger call;-
Yet, praise I Psaumis most of all

For wise and peaceful rede,
And patriot love of liberty.-

- What ?-do we wave the glozing lie? Then whoso list my truth to try,

The proof be in the deed !-
To Lemnos's laughing dames of yore,
Such was the proof Ernicus bore,(11)

When, matchless in his speed,
All brazen-armed the racer hoar,
Victorious on the applauding shore,

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,
Its second author owns,) with rite divine

The choicest themes of verse I cull,
Suspends !-His praise the twice six altars tell To each high song a frontal high!-
Of the great gods whom he hath feasted well But, lives there one whose brows around
With blood of bulls; the praise of victory,

The green Olympian wreath is bound;
Where cars and mules and steeds contest the prize; Prophet and priest in those abodes
And that green garland of renown to thee Where Pisans laud the sire of gods;
He ballows, virgin daughter of the sea !

And Syracusa's denizen ?-
And to his sire and household deities–

Who, 'mid the sons of mortal men,
Thee too, returning home from Pelops' land, While envy's self before his name
Thee, guardian Pallas, and thy holy wood, Abates her rage, may fitlier claim
He hails with song; and cool Oanus' flood; Whate'er a bard may yield of fame?
And of his native pool the rushy strand;
And thy broad bed, refreshing Hipparis, For sure to no forbidden strife,
Whose silent waves the peopled city kiss ; In hallowed Pisa's field of praise,
That city which hath blest his bounteous hand, He came, the priest of blameless life!

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.
Who sitt'st the Cronian cliffs above,
And Alpheus' ample wave,

When the fight was ended,

And the sevenfold pyres
And that dark gloom hast deigned to love

All their funeral fires
Of Ida's holy cave!
On softest Lydian notes to thee

In one sad lustre blended.
I tune the choral prayer,
That this thy town, the brave, the free,

The leader of the host

Murmured mournfully,
The strong in virtuous energy,

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,
Thy children standing round !-

Oh Syracusian peer,
And know, when favouring gods have given For of a gentle blood thy race is sprung,
A green old age, a temper even,

As she shall truly tell, the muse of honeyed tongue.
And wealth and fame in store,
The task were vain to scale the heaven ;- Then yoke the mules of winged pace,
-Have those immortals more?

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! TO AGESIAS OF SYRACUSE.

For we to day must journey far,
Who seeks a goodly bower to raise,

To Sparta, and to Pitane.
Conspicuous to the stranger's eye,
With gold the lintel overlays,

She, mournful nymph, and nursing long
And clothes the porch in ivory.-

Her silent pain and virgin wrong,

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »