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As Hylas once-believe the soothing lay
The Nymphs and Death have borne your child away. 266. All that the softly-flowing Phasis waters,
All that the Scythian deep behind it views,
All that the buckler'd dames, unhusbanded,
Behold along Thermodon's martial shores,
My father governs with wide-potent sway.
Then happy, honor'd then, in princely bow'r
I shone a princess. Suitors woo'd me then.
Now 'tis my turn to sue. False, fleeting Fortune
Hath hurl'd me from that height, and driv’n me forth,
A helpless, hopeless, heav'n-abandon’d exile. 267. And hast thou, since thy coming here, done nought?
Who cheer'd the gloomy temper of the king?
Who hath with gentle eloquence annull’d,
From year to year, the usage of our sires,
By which, a victim at Diana's shrine,
Each stranger perish'd, thus from certain death
Sending so oft the bondless captive home ?
Hath not Diana, harbouring no revenge.
For this suspension of her bloody rites,
In richest measure heard thy gentle prayer ? 268.
'Tis true I am a king :
Honour and glory too have been my aim :
But tho' I dare face death and all the dangers
Which furious war wears in its bloody front,
Yet could I choose to fix my name by peace,
By justice, and by mercy; and to raise
My trophies on the blessings of mankind :
Nor would I buy the empire of the world
With ruin of the people whom I sway,
Or forfeit of my honour.
269. Pardon, I pray: I am not light of soul.
Death is to me an awful thing : nay, father,
I fear to die ; and were it in my power,
By suffering of the keenest aching pains,
To keep upon me still these weeds of nature,
I could such things endure that thou would'st
To see such coward bravery.
For, oh! it goes against the mind of man
To be turn’d out from its warm, wonted home
Ere yet one rent admits the winter's chill. 270. How weak, how vain is human pride!
Dares man upon himself confide ?
The wretch who glories in his gain
Amasses heaps on heaps in vain.
Why lose we life in anxious cares,
To lay in hoards for future years ?
Can these, when tortur’d by disease,
Cheer our sick heart, or purchase ease ?
Can they prolong one gasp of breath,
Or calm the troubled hour of death ? 271. R. Alas! no miracle will happen now.
1. Yes, there shall yet be one; a timid dove
Shall with the boldness of the eagle tear
The birds of prey which rend her native land;
And all these island robbers shall she drive
Before her like a flock of timid lambs.
The Lord will be with her, the God of battle.
A weak and trembling creature He will choose,
And through a tender maid proclaim his power:
For He is the Almighty.
272. Now far away from home, the dogs of chase
Rous'd him, as down the river he had swum,
His hot flanks cooling by the grassy bank.
Ascanius loos’d an arrow from his bow
With eager aim, which err'd not ; for the shaft,
Too surely guided, with a fearful sound
Smote the poor stag, his flank and entrails tore.
The wounded creature flew for refuge home,
And groaning reach'd the stall, and dropping blood ;
There all the house with piteous plaint he fills. 273. O master, shroud my body, when I die,
In decent cerements, from the vulgar eye; .
But burn not me upon your funeral pyre,
Nor dare the gods and desecrate their fire.
I am a Persian : 'twere a Persian's shame
To dip his body in the sacred flame.
Nor o'er my worthless limbs your waters pour;
For streams and fountains Persia's sons adore :
But give me to the clods which gave us birth,
For dust should go to dust, and man to earth. 274. O thou, of Gods whom chiefest we adore,
Soracte's guardian, Phæbus, thou for whom
The piny heap is kindled, when thro' fire
In pious confidence thy votaries pass,
And tread the burning coal: grant, Mighty One,
My weapon may extinguish this disgrace.
Nor spoil nor trophy of the vanquish'd maid
I covet; other deeds will speak my praise :
Let me but riddance make of yonder pest,
And willing I return inglorious home.
275. Forth from the thicket rush'd another boar,
So large, he seem'd the tyrant of the woods,
With all his dreadful bristles rais'd up high;
They seem'd a grove of spears upon his back :
Foaming he came at me, where I was posted,
Whetting his huge long tusks, and gaping wide
As he already had me for his prey ;
Till, brandishing my well-pois’d javelin high,
With this bold executing arm I struck
The ugly brindled monster to the heart.
276. L. What boots a husband in the shades below ?
M. He sank below that he might rise above.
L. A weight of boundless earth oppresses him.
M. No weight oppresses him who bore the skies.
L. Force shall compel thee to become my bride.
M. She knows not how to die whom force compels.
L. What welcome gift shall grace the happy day?
M. My death, or thine ; the choice belongs to thee.
L. Distracted woman, art thou bent to die ?
M. Aye, and to meet my husband in the shades. 277. 'Twas then march'd up the stout-limb'd Periphas,
With bold Automedon, who once had been
Achilles' charioteer, and now became
An armour-bearer to Achilles' son.
'Twas then the youth of Scyros all at once
Close to the domes advanc'd, and on the roofs
Toss'd brands of fire. Pyrrhus himself in front,
Snatching a battle-axe, each stubborn gate
Beats through, and from their hinges pulls by force
Door-posts of brass.
278. A. Alas! what need you be so boist'rous rough ?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For Heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound !
Nay, hear me, Hubert; drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.
Is there no remedy? H. None, but to lose your eyes. 279. C. Be patient and attend. I see him now :
On the tower'd wall he stands : the dreadful battle
Roars round him. Through dark smoke and sheeted
And showers of bristling darts and hissing balls,
He strides. Beneath his sword falls many a foe..
His dauntless breast to the full tide of battle
He nobly gives. Still on through the dark storm
Mine eye pursues him to his fate's high cope.
V. Hast thou no utterance for what thou seest?
O God ! O God! thou look’st upon his death. 280. I ask no gold: proffer no price for these.
Like warriors, not like traffickers in war,
With steel, not gold, wage we the mortal strife
Decisive. Whether sov’reign Fate ordains
To you or me the empire, or what else
She purposes, let mutual valour try.
Yet further; they who have not lost their worth
By the award of battle, shall not lose
Their liberty by mine: priceless receive
Your comrades : may the Gods confirm the boon. 281. Close at the mouth and vestibule of hell
Sorrow and vengeful Cares have set their couch ;
Diseases pale, and Fear and Eld forlorn,
Foul Want, and Famine, evil counsellor,
Dwell there, terrific sights; and Death, and Toil,
And Sleep, Death's brother. At the opposite gate
Are baneful Pleasures, and destructive War;
The iron beds of Furies, Discord fell,
Whose viper-locks a gory fillet binds.
282. Utrumne doleam læter an reducem virum ?
Remeasse lætor : vulnus at regni grave
Lugere cogor. Redde jam Graiis, Pater
Altisona quatiens regna, placatos deos.
Nunc omne læta fronde veletur caput :
Sacrifica dulces tibia effundat modos :
Et nivea magnas victima ante aras cadat.
Sed ecce turba tristis, incomtæ comas,
Iliades adsunt: quos super celso gradu
Effræna Phoebas entheas laurus quatit.