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His lance Atrides next prepares to throw; By conscious guilt subdu'd the youth ap. Poises it long, and meditates the blow :
pear'd ; Then, from his hand dismissed with happier aim, Without reply, the just reproach he heard: Thund'ring against the Theban shield it came; Confounded, to the ground be turn'd his eyes ; Where wreath'd around a mimic serpent twin'd, Indignant thus the great Alrides cries : With plates of polish'd silver lightly join'd : “Mycæneans ! Spartans ! taught to seek renown Thence turn'd with course oblique it drove along, From dangers greatly brav'd and battles won ; And spent its fury on the vulgar throng.
Ah warriors ! will ye fiy, when close behind Leopbron straight his flaming falchion drew, Dishonour follows swifter than the wind! And at his foe, with eager fury, few:
Return to glory: whether Jove ordains, As stooping from above, an eaglesprings With wreaths of conquest, to reward your pains, To snatch his prey, and shoots upon bis wings. Or dooms your fall; he merits equal prize, The Spartan warrior dreads impending fate; With him who conquers, he who bravely dies." And, turning, meditates a quick retreat.
Tbe hero thus ; and, like swift lightning drir'n
As when the deep, which, ebbing from the land,
Sa, rushing to the fight, the warriors came; lo wild disorder, scatters o'er the plain.
Ardent to conquer, and retriere their fame.
1; And to his squire Nichomachus : “With speed, He thus exclaim'd: “And shall this dastard Turn to the left, and urge the flying steed :
train For, if these sounds deceive not, Sparta fails; (Warriors of Thebes !) dispute the field again? And, with a tide of conquest, Thebes prevails." Their better chief, I know hiin, leads the band; Quick as the word, the silver reins he drew, But fate shall soon subdue him by my hand.” And through the fight the bounding chariot lew. He said ; and, at the king, his jav'lin threw; Like some quick vessel, when a prosp'rous gale Which, aim'd amiss, with erring fury flew. Favours her course, and stretches ev'ry sail; Across the armed ranks it swiftly drove, Above the parting waves she lightly flies, The warriors stooping as it rush'd above. And smooth behind a tract of ocean lies:
The Spartan hero aim'd his weighty spear;
And save my warriors in this doubtful strife.”
The hero thus; and sent his weighty spear; With hostile spears beset, an iron wood.
With speed it new, and pierc'd the yielding air;
Which on the shield of Hegisander broke.
By Styx embrac'd, the terrour of the gods ;
shore. An armed circle of his friends around.
With grief Leophron saw the warrior slain. “Alas, my brother! hare I liv'd to see
He snatch'd a pond'rous mace from off the Thy life redeemd with deathless infamy!”
plain, (The hero cry'd) " far better that a ghost Cut in the Thracian woods, with snags around You now bad wander'd on the Siygian coast, Uf pointed steel with iron circles bound. And by a glorious fall preserv'd your name Heav'd with gigantic force the club to throw, Safe and unblasted by the breath of fame; He swung it thrice, and hurl'd it at his foe. Which soon shall tell the world, amazid to hear, Thund'ring upon bis armed head it fell; Thaç Menelaus taught the host to fear." The brazen helinet rung with stunning knell
As shen a rock by forceful engines thrown, Throngh all the air a storm of jar'lins sung;
Leophron's jav'lin mix'd him with the slain.
On Malea's cliffs he fed his fleecy store, A life to rescrie yet not due to fate,
Along the windings of the craggy shore. Hadu'er bis head her cloudy beckler held; He vow'd to Phæbus, for a safe return, And half the fury of the blow repell’d.
An hundred victims on his hearth to burn.The son of Creon rush'd to seize bis prize, In vain! the god, in justice, had decrecil, The hero's spoils; and thus exulting cries : His gifts contemn'd, the offerer to bleed: * Warriors of Thebes! your labours soon shall For vjolence angmented still bis store ; cease,
And, unreliev'd, the stranger left his door. And final victory restore your peace;
Prone on the bloody ground the warrior fell, For Teat Atrides, by my valour slain,
His soul indignant sought the shades of Hell. A Lifeless corse, lies stretch'd upon the plain. Next Arcas, Cleon, valiant Chromius dy'd; Oply be men ! and make the Argive bands With Dares, to the Spartan chiefs ally'd. Dread in succeeding times your mighty hands; And Phoemius, whom the gods in early youth That fues no more, when mad ambition calls, Had forın' for virtue and the love of truth; With dire alarms mayshake your peaceful walls.” Ais gen'rous soul to noble deeds they turn'c', Exulting thus, the hero rush'd along;
And love to mankind in his bosom burn'd: Apd kindled with his shouts, the vulgar throng. Culd thro' his throat the hissing weapon glidles, Reso!e'd and firun the Spartan warriors stand And on his neck the waving locks divides. Around their king, a formidable band.
His fate the Graces mourn'd. The gods above, Their spears, protended thick, the foe restrain'd!; Who sit aronnd the starry throne of Jore, Tbeir bucklers join'd, the weighty war sustain'd.
On high Olympris bending from the skies,
In earth or ocean, or th’Olympian tow'rs,
That, still unconquer'd, in its awful hour
With inundation wide the delige reigns, (plains. Cittander, Iphitus, Palemon, fam'd
Drowns the deep valleys, and o'erspreads the For chariots rul'd and fiery coursers tam'd; Thus o'er the field, by great Leophron led, And Iphialtes, like the god of light,
Their foes repuls'd, the Theban sqnadrons spread. Whose pointed arrows thinn'd the lines of fight : The hero, stooping where Atrides lay, These the first transports of his fury feel.
Rent from his head the golden casqne away; Against Leophron now he lifts his steel,
His mail unlock'd; and toos'd the golden chains, And speeds to vengeance ; but, in full career, The zone which by his side the sword sustains. He stood arrested by a vulgar spear,
The monarch now amid the vulgar dead, Fird in his thigh the barbed weapon hung, For wheels to crush and armed hoofs to tread, Relax'd the muscles, and the nerves unstrung. Defenceless lay. But stern Leophron's hate The Spartan warriors to bis succour few; Retriev'd him, thus expos'd, from certain fate. Against the darts their ample shields they In semblance dead, he purpos'd to convey threw,
(war, The body naked to some public way; Which storm'd around ; and, from the rage of Where dogs obscene, and all the rav'nous race, Convey'd the wounded hero to his car.
With wounds unsightly, might his limbs disgrace. With fierce impatience Creon's son beheld
Straight he commands; and to a neighb'ring The Spartan warriors still dispute the field.
grove, Before their leader fall'o thc heroes stood;
His warriors charg'd, the Spartan chief remove, Their spears erected, like the sacred wood
On their broad shields they borc him from the Which round soine altar rises on the plain,
plain, The mystic rites to hide from eyes profane. To sense a corse, and number'd with the slain. Thither his native bands the hero turn'd; His fixed eyes in hor'ring shades were drown'd; Drawn to a wedge, again the combat burn'd.
His mighty limbs in death-like fetters bound.
The shouts tumultuous and the din of war, Adrastus, by unactive age restrain'd,
Under an oak the hoary warrior sat,
Allrastus' valiant son, with grief, beheld Two aged heralds there the chief obey'd ; The Spartans to inglorious flight compelld; The squire attending by his master stay'd. (ear Their valiant chief resign'd to hostile hands, And thus the king: "What sounds invade mine He thus aloud address'd the scatt'ring bands: My friends! what sad disaster must we hear? “ What shame, ye warriors ! if ye thus expose Some hero's fall, for with the shots, I know Your leader to the injuries of foes !
Loud lamentation mixt, and sounds of woe. Though all should quit him, honour bids you bring So were we told, when mighty Tydeus fell, His reliques back, or perish with your king, And Polynices trod the path to Hell; Leophron sure injuriously ordains,
So rag'd the combat o'èr the heroes slain, With insults, to deface his dear remains; And such the din and tumult of the plain." Spurn'd by the feet of men, expos'd and bare, He said ; atid list’ning (what he greatly feard) For dogs obscene and ravinous birds to share." Hegialus's name at last he heard Exclaiming thus, through all the field he flew; Mix'd with the noise; and, sick’ning at the And call'd the host the conflict to renew.
sound, They stop, they charge; again the combat burns: By grief subdu'd, fell prostrate on the ground. They bleed, they conquer, and retreat by turns. But rage succeeding and despair, he rose Hegialus excites the dire debate;
Eager to rush amid the thickest focs. And, by example, leads the work of fate:
His spear he grasp'd, inpatient for the fight; For now he sees Atrides borne afar,
And pond'rous shield, unequal to the weight. By hostile hands, beyond the lines of war. Ilim frant.c thus his wise attendants held; With indignation fierce his bosom glows; And to retire with prudent care compell’d. He rushes fearless 'midst a host of foes;
Impatient of his state, by quick returns, And now had merited a deathless name,
With grief he melts, with indignation burns. And with a deed immortal crown'd his faine, And thus at last : “ Stern ruler of the sky ! Atrides sav'd; but fate's supreme command Whose sport is man, and human misery ; That honour destin'd for a mightier hand. What deed of mine has stirr'd thy boundless rage,
Leophron vex'd, that twice constrain'd to yield, And call'd for vengeance on my helpless age? The Spartan warriors re-assum'd the field; Have I, by sacrilege, your treasures drain'd; His pow'rs address'l: “For ever lost our fame, Your altars slighted, or your rites profan'd? Dishonour foul will blot the Theban name; Did I forget my holy rows to pay? If dastard foes, twice routed and pursu'd, Or bid you witness, and my faith betray? Shall brave the victors still with rage renewid: Has lawless rapine e'er increas'd my store, Your glory gain'd with vigour now maintain ; Or unrelier'd the stranger left my door? Nor let us conquer thus and bleed in vain.” If not; in justice, can your stern decree He said, and 'gainst the Argive hero turn'd; Withi wrath pursue my guiltless race and me! With martial wrath his ardent bosom burn'd; Here valiant Tydeus, Polynices fell; Who, fearless and undaunted, dar'd to wait; In one sad hour they trod the path to Hell: Nor by ignoble flight declin'd his fate.
For them my daughters mourn, their sorrow Por, at the Thebau chief, his lance he threw,
And all our native virtues brighter burn.
Now let me perish, that my fleeting ghost
By love inspir', she sought the fields of war : EPIGONIAD.
Her hero's safety was her only care,
A polish'd casque her lovely temples bound,
With Aow'rs of gold and various plumagecrown'd;
Confus'dly gay, the peacock's changeful train, The Spartan bands, with thirst of vengeance With gaudy colours mix’d of ev'ry grain ; fir'd,
(spir’d. The virgin white, the yellow's golden hue, The fight maintain'd; nor from their toils re- The rcgal purple, and the shining blue, Before the hero fall’n the warriors stand, With female skill compos'd. The shield she bore Firin as the chains of rock which guard the strand; / With flow’rs of gold was mark'd and spangled Whose rooted strength the angry ocean braves,
o'er: And bounds the fury of his bursting waves. Light and of slend'rest make, she held a lance: So Sparta stood; their serred bucklers bar Like some mock warrior armed for the dance, The Theban phalanx, and exclude the war. When spring's return and music's cheerful strain While from the field, upon their shoulders laid, The youth invite to frolic on the plain. His warriors sad the Argive prince convey'd; “Illustrious chief,” the armed virgin said, Leopbron saw, with indignation fir'd,
" To rule your steeds on me the task be laid; And, with his shouts, the ling'ring war inspir'd. Skill'd to direct their course with steady rein, Again the rigour of the shock returns;
To wake their fiery mettle, or restrain; The slaughter rages, and the combat burns; To stop, to turn, the various arts I know ; Till, push'd and yielding to superior sway, To push them on direct, or shun the foe. In slow retreat the Spartan ranks gave way. With ready hand your voice I shall obey; As, in some channel pent, entangled wood And urge their fury where you point the way." Reluctant stirs before the angry flood;
The virgin thus: and thus Tydides said : Which, on its loaded current, slowly heaves “ Your zeal I honour, but reject your aid. The spoils of forests mix'd with harvest sheaves. Fierce are my steeds; their fury to restrain
Pallas observ'd, and from the Olympian height The strongest hand requires and stiffest rein : Precipitated swift her downward flight.
For oft, their mettle rous'd, they rush along; Like Cleon's valiant son, the goddess came;
Nor feel the biting curb, or sounding thong. The same her stature, and her arms the same. Oft have I seen you brave the toils of fight, Descending from his chariot to the ground, With dauntless courage but unequal might. The son of Tydeus, 'midst his bands, she found; Sinall is your force; and, from your arm unHis steeds înruld; for stretch'd before the
The harmless lance is impotently fung. Lay the bold driver pierc'd with Theban steel. Yet not for this you shun the martial strife, On the high car her mighty hand she laid; Patient of wounds and prodigal of life. And thus address'd the valiant Dioined: [fight, Where'er I combat, faithful to my side, "'The Spartan warriors, prince! renounce the No danger awes you, and no toils divide. D'ermatch'd by numbers and superior might: Yet grudge not that your service I decline; While adverse fate their valiant chief restrains, Homocleon's better hand shall guide the rein: Who dead or wounded with the foe remains; His manly voice my horses will obey, Hegialus lies lifeless on the earth,
And move submissive to his firmer sway." Brother to her from whom you claim your birth: Th’ Etolian warrior thus; and, with a bound, The great' Atrides, as he pressid to save, Rose to his lofty chariot from the ground. Leophron's jav’lin mark'd him for the grave. The goddess to the driver's seat proceeds ; To rengeance haste; and, ere it is too late, Assumes the reins, and winds the willing steeds. With speed y succour stop impending fate: On their smooth sides the sounding lash she plies; For stern Leophron, like the rage of Glasne, And through the fight the smoking chariot flies. With ruin threatens all the Spartan name.” Th’Athenians soon they pass'd; and Phocians The gorldess thus: Tydides thus replies :
strong, • How partial are the counsels of the skies! Who from fair Crissa led their martial throng. Por vulgar mer t oft the gods with care
'Th’ Arcadians next from Alpheus' silver flood, Ilonour and peace and happiness prepare; Apd hardy Eleans, grim with dust and blood, While worth, distinguish d, by their partial hale, In order rang'd. As when some pilot spies Submits to all the injuries of fate.
The rocky cliffs in long succession rise, Adrastus thus, with justice, may complain When near the land bis galley scours the shores, His daughters widow'd, sons in battle slain. By prosp'rous winds impell’d and speeding oais: In the devoted line myself I stand;
So, hastening to the fight, the hero tlew. And here must perish by some hostile hand: And now the Spartan host appears in view: Yet not, for this, I shun the works of war, By wounds subdu'd, their bravest warriors lay; Nur sculk inglorjuus when I ought to dare. Others, by shameful flight, their fear obey; And now l'il mect yon terrour of the plain ; The rest, in slow retreat, forsake the field, To crown bis conquests, or avenge the slain. O'ermatch'd by numbers,and constrain'd to yield. Bat wish some valiant youth, to rule my car Th’Etolian hero saw, and rais'd his voice, And push the busses through the shock of war, Loud as the silver trumpet's martial noise; Were present; for, extended in hix gore, And rush'd to fight : through all the field it few; The brave Speusippus knows his charge po more." The host at once the happy signal knew;
Thus as the hero spoke, Cassandra-heard, Anil joy'd, as they who, from the found'ring slring Aud present, to assume the charge, appear'd. Escap'd, had struggled long amid the deep:
Faint from despair, when hope and vigour fail, Nor stopp'd Tydides to despoil the slain ;
way. With hope restor'd, their gen'rous bosoms glow: Thither amid surrounding foes they haste ; While Thebes, suspended 'midst her conquest, Who shun'd them, still retreating, as they pass'd: stands;
And ent'ring found the Spartan bero laid And feels a sudden check through all her bands. On the green sward, beneath the bow'ring shade. Leophron only, far before the rest,
The guard secure, lay stretch'd upon the group; Tydides waited with a dauntless breast.
Their shields resigu'd, their lances pitch'd Firm and unaw'd the hardy warrior stood; One only near a winding riv'let stood, (around : Like some fierce boar amid his native wood, Which turn'd its wandring current through the When arıned swains his gloomy haunts invade,
wood; And trace his footsteps through the lonely shade; His helmet fill'd with both his hands he rear'd, Resolr'd he hears approach the hostile sound, In act to drink; when in the grove appear'd Grinds his white teeth, and threat'ning glares Th’Etolian prince. His armour's fiery blaze around :
The dark recess illumin'd with its rays. So stood Leophron trusting in his might,
Amaz'd the Theban stood"; and, from his hand, And shook his armour, eager for the fight. The belmet slipp'd, and roll'd upon the sand. Tydides saw ; and, springing from his car, Not more afraid the wond'ring swain descries, Thus bray'd the hero, as he rush'd to war : 'Midst night's thick gloom, a flaming meteor “O son uubappy, of a sire accurst ! The p'ague of all, and fated to the worst ! Sent by the furies, as he deems, to sow The injuries of Greece demand thy breath; Death and diseases on the Earth below. [cry'd, See, in my hand, the justrument of death. “ Tydides comes !” with fault'ring voice he Regialus's ghost sball less deplore
And straight to Aight his willing limbs apply'd. His fate untimely on the Stygian shore,
With sudden dread surpris'd the guards retire ; When banish'd from the light, your shade shall As shepherd swains avoid a lion's ire, To mingle with the dark infernal gloom.” [come Who roams the heights and plains, from samnine Tydides thus : and Creon's son replies :
bold, "Your fear in vain, by boasting, you disguise; The stall to ravage or assault the fold. Such vulgar art a novice oft confounds,
Now, lifeless as he lay, the martial maid To scenes of battle new and martial sounds; Atrides, with a pitying eye, survey'd; Thongh lost on me, who dwell amid alarms,
And, with her spear revers'd, the hero shook: And never met a greater yet in arms.”
The touch divine his iron slumber broke : Thos as the warrior spoke, bis lance with care As when his drowsy mate the shepherd swain He aim'd, and sent it hissing through the air. Stirs with his crook, and calls bim to the plain; On Diomed's broad shield the weapon fell; When in the east be sees the morning rise, Loud rung the echoing brass with stunning knell: And rcdd'ning o'er his head the colour'd skies. But the strong orb, by Vulcan’s labour bound, When from the ground his head the hero rais'd, Repellid, and sent it blunted to the ground. In full divinity the goddess blaz'd; 'Tydides next his pond'rous jav'lin threw : Her left, reveal'd, the dreadful xgis rears, With force impellid, it brighten'd as it few; Whose ample field the snaky Gorgon bears; And pierc'd the border of the Theban shield, Th’immortal lance stood faming in the right, Where, wreath'd around, a serper.t guards the Which scatters and confounds the ranks of fight: field;
Speechless the chiefs remain'd; amazement Through the close mail an easy passage found,
strong, And mark’d his thigh, in passing, with a wound. In mute suspence and silence, held them long. Now in close fight the angry chiess engage; And thus the goddess : “ Atreus' son ! arise, Like two fell griffins rous'd to equal rage; Confess the partial favour of the skies. Poisid on their rolling trains they fiercely rise, For thee I leave the thund'rer's lofty seat, With blood-bespotted crests and burning eyes; To wake thee slumb'ring on the verge of fate : With poison fraught they aim their deadly stings, To you let Diomed his arms resign; Clasp their sharp fangs, and mix their rattling Unequal were your force to guvern mine ; wings.
His stronger arm shall bear this pond'rous shield; in combat thus, the ardent warriors clos's, His better hand the weighty jav'lin wield. With shield to shield, and foot to fuot oppos'd. Arise! be sudden, for your foes draw near; First at his fue Leoplırın aim'd a stroke;
Assurd to conquer when the gods appear.' But, on tis polish'd casque, the falchion broke: The goddess thus; and, mixing with the wind, From the smooth steel the shiver'd weapon Left in a heap her shining arms behind sprung;
Upon the field ; with loud harmonious peal, Aloft in air its hissing splinters sung.
Th' immortal buckler rung, and gulden mail. Not so, Tydides, did thy weapon fail ;
And thus Atrides, rising from the ground: With force impell’d it pierc'd the silver mail, “ In this approv'd is hoar tradition found ; Whose slidit: plates the warrior's neck surround: That oft, descending from th'ethereal tow'rs, A tide of gore came rushing from the wound. To mix with mortals, come the hearinly pow's : Stagg'ring to earth he sunk 'th head declin'd; But ne'er till now I saw a god appear, And life in long couvulsive throbs resign'de Or more than human voice did ever hear.