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How brief are life's enjoyments. Virtue lives
Ere thus each augur in the diff'rent camps The son of Gobryas. “ From the shameful cross Unmann'd the soldier by religious dread, Bid Artamanes in her presence free
Eubæa's coast Sicinus had regain'd. Leonidas the Spartan. Now perform
That peopled island's force of ships and arms Another act of duty to thy lord;
Themistocles bad muster'd. Oreus held Despoil my head of all its curling pride;
The ready chief, expecting weighty news Slight sacrifice to grief—but ev'ry limb,
From Aristides, which Sicinus swift Lopt from this body, and its mangled flesh Imparts. To him Themistocles : “ My friend, Shall in the dust be scatter'd, ere I quit
I ask no more; the assembled host of Greece My chase of great revenge.” Concluding here,
Hath fix'd Mardonius on th’ Asopian verge;
A hasty conflict Aristides shuns;
Ere thy reverted passage can transmit
To him my greetings. Stay and see my oars In howling anguish to an altar huge,
For infamous Thessalia dash the waves;
Now gen’ral silence reigns, as o'er the main Against Mardonius; famine shall invade
His tents, and force him to unequal fight."
He gives command; the signal is uprear'd By pity soften'd, all the air is calm,
For embarkation. All Eubea pours While she sits brooding on her watry nest. Her sons aboard, and loads the groaning decks. Amidst a cloud of frankincense the priest
From his Cleora Hyacinthus parts, Of Elis, Hegesistratus, performs
Brave Haliartus from his new-espous'd The rites of divination ; awful thus
Acanthè. Lo ! each female seeks the beach, At length unfolds the mysteries of time:
Spectatress eager of th' alluring man, “ Hear, all ye nations; great Mardonius, hear; Whose artful eye could summon ev'ry grace Th' Asopian channel is the line of fate;
To fascinate both sexes, and his wiles The host, which passes, falls; success will crown
Arm with enchantment. Beauteous and august Th' assaild; th' assailant is to slaughter doom'd.” | Like Cybelė, prime goddess, turret-crown'd, The multitude, discourag'd by the death
Source of th'ethereal race, his consort lifts Of their belov'd Masistius, hear in joy ;
Above the rest her countenance sublime. Not so Mardonius at revenge delay'd.
By her own offspring, and the pledges dear Inaction aggravates his pain; his tent
Of Aristides, which her hand receiv'd Receives him. Solitary there, like Night
At Salamis, and cherish'd like her own, Within her cavern, thus he feeds his grief: She stands encircled, her embarking lord
“. Ambition curb; let virtue be thy pride.' Accosting thus: “ Unfavourable winds, So spake Masistius, when we parted last
Or Fortune's frown, I fear not. All the gods To meet no more-I feel ambition cold,
Of earth and ocean, who delighted view Benumb’d by sorrow--Let Mardonius think, The virtuous brave, contending for their laws How brief are life's enjoyments;' so thy fate, With lawless tyrants, will combine to bless Dear friend, evinces-Life itself is short;
Themistocles and Aristides link'd Its joys are shorter; yet the scanty span
In harmony of counsels. See, dear lord, Adversity can lengthen, till we loathe.
His and thy children interweave their hands; If, on the brilliant throne of Xerxes plac'd, Thy sure success I augur from their smiles." I held the orient and Hesperian worlds
“ I from Timothea's,” gallantly replies My vassals, could the millions in my host The parting chief. “ This union is thy work; Compel the adamantine gate of death
Thine be the praise from thankful Greece preservid.” To render back my friend? O tortur'd heart ! He said, and lightly to his vessel pass'd; Which burn'st with friendship, of thy gen'rous flame While ev'ry sail was op'ning to the wind. Th' inestimable object is no more.
Eubea, where she fronts the Malian shore, What then is greatness ? What th' imperial robe, Beneath a promontory's quiet lee The diadem and sceptre? Could you fill
Protects the fleet benighted. Here the son The void, his endless absence hath produc'd Of Neocles aboard his gal calls In my sad bosom? Were ye mine how vain His pupil Hyacinthus, whom he thus The acquisition, which my grief would loathe, Instructs: “ Young hero, since Cleora's love And, wak'd by grief, let honour timely shun, Could not detain thee from the lists of fame, Lest from his grave Masistius should arise
Fame thou shalt win. Thessalia's nearest bounds To shake my pillow with his nightly curse. I from Spercheos in Trachiniæ's bay Not hecatombs on hecatombs of bulls
Mean to invade. Nicanor and thyself Heap'd on his manes, not the votive hair,
With your Carystian force, Nearchus brave Nor fun'ral moan of nations, could avail
With his Chalcidians, must a distant course
To Potidæa take, whose valiant race
Forewarn'd by due intelligence from me, (mouth But wanders restless through the wild of dreams. They will augment your numbers. Through the
Of fam'd Enipeus, Potidæan zeal
At Amarantha's suit my old abode;
My care hatb rais'd, Sandaucè, in those walls Attend Mardonius. Land, and burn th' abode Long resident with me. Two days are past Of Aleuadian Thorax, who conducts
Since Artamanes, governing these tracts, The foe through Greece. O’er all the region spread; Heard of a navy on Thessalia's coast, Where'er thou seest an Aleuadian roof,
And with his force, though slender, took the field The residence of traitors hurl to earth;
To guard Larissa. Your descent unmans The flocks and herds from ev'ry pasture sweep, The few remaining Persians in the fort; From ev'ry store th' accumulated grain,
All with Sandauce and her children flew Support of Asia's myriads. O! recall
To my protection ; mercy to obtain Thy late achievements on the bloody fields Became my charge; her terrours will disperse, Of Chalcis, and of Oreus. They, who brav'd Soon as she knows Themistocles is nigh.” Thy native coast, of Demonax the friends,
The army balts. Trachiniæ's gates admit Now in their own Thessalia lie thy spoil;
Cecropia's hero, Medon, and the son
Sandaucè late in convalescent charms
Her Salaminian guardian; then the warmth In fell Hyrcania, nurse of rav'nous broods, Of gratitude, redoubling all her bloom, The tiger lurks, and meditates unseen
Before him throws her prostrate. To him ran A sudden sally on his heedless prey.
The recollecting children, who embrace The fourth gay dawn with fresh’ning breezes curls Their benefactor's knees. She thus unfolds The Malian waters. In barbaric flags
Her lips, whose tuneful exclamation charms: The wily chief appareiling his masts
“0, my protector” – Interposing swift, Fallacious, ere the horizontal Sun
His ready hand uplifts her from the ground. Couch'd on the ocean, fills with hostile prows “Do not disgrace me, thou excelling fair," The wide Sperchean mouth. Along the vales He said ; " to leave such beauty thus depressid Innumerable carriages display
Would derogate from manhood.” She replies: The plenty huge for Asia's camp amass'd.
“ Forbear to think my present captive lot Th' encircling mountains all their echoes blend Hath humbled thus Sandaucè. No, the weight In one continu'd sound with bleating flocks, Of obligation past, my rescu'd babes With bellowing herds, and dissonant uproar In Salamis, myself from horrour sav'd, Of their conductors; whom Thessalia sent, Have bent my thankful knee. No fears debase Whom all the extent of Thracia, and the realm My bosom now; Themistocles I see, Of Amarantha's lord. Th' affrighted hinds In him a known preserver.” Melting by, Desert their charge. Trachiniæ's neighb'ring gates Melissa, Medon, Haliartus, shed With fugitives are throng'd. Lo! Cleou plants The tend'rest dews of sympathy. In look His bold Eretrian banners on the strand;
Compassionate, but calm, the chief rejoins : The Styrians form; Eudemus bounds ashore,
· Suggest thy wishes, princess, and command Geræstians follow; then auxiliars new,
My full compliance." She these accents sighs: The subjects late of Demonax-; the troops
“Ye gen'rous men, what pity is not due Of Locrian Medon, Delphian Timon land,
To eastern women! Prize, ye Grecian dames, Themistocles the last; whose chosen guard Your envy'd state. When your intrepid lords Of fifty Attic, fifty Spartan youths,
In arms contend with danger on the plain, Still sędulous and faithful close the rear.
You in domestic peace are left behind They reach'd in order'd march Trachinian walls, Among your letter'd progeny, to form Whose gates unclos’d. Majestical advanc'd Their ductile minds, and exercise your skill A form rever'd by universal Greece,
In arts of elegance and use. Alas! Prais'd by each tongue, by ev'ry eye admir'd, Our wretched race, in ignorance and sloth The Oilean priestess of th’immortal Nine, By Asia nurturid, like a captive train, The goddess-like Melissa. Medon swift,
In wheeling dungeons with our infants clos'd, With Haliartus, met her sacred step.
Must wait th' event of some tremendous hour, Her name divulg'd from ev'ry station call’d Which, unpropitious, leaves us on the field The gazing chiefs, Themistocles the first;
A spoil of war. What myriads of my sex Whom, hy her brother pointed out to view, From Greece to distant Hellespont bestrew She thus address'd: “ Themistocles, give ear, The ways, and whiten with their bleaching bones And thou, O Medon, whom, a stranger long The Thracian wilds ! Spercheos views the tomb To my desiring eyes, they see restor’d.
Of Ariana, hapless sister, laid Well may you wonder, that a hostile fort
In foreign mould! My portion of distress Melissa's hand delivers to your pow'r.
You know, benignant guardians, who assuag'd There is a Persian worthy to be rank'd
My suff'rings. Then to quit the direful scene, Among the first of Grecians. Just, humane, Revisiting my native soil, to rest Thy captive, Medon, amply hath discharg'd Among my children, and instruct their youth, His price of ransom. Nine revolving moons As kind Melissa hath instructed mine, Beheld Masistius guardian of my hill
Were sure no wish immoderate or vague. In purity of rev'rence to my fane,
But Artamanes"-Blushing, trembling, here hly person, my dependents. I forsook
She pausd. Melissa takes the word: “Sweet friend,
Let vice, not virtue blush. Cecropian chief, As this indignity to thee." He said,
“Leonteus, Haliartus, rest behind ;
These honour'd relics.” Now in measur'd pace This danger. Let her messenger convey
The warlike bearers tread; their manly breasts A kind injunction, that the noble youth,
Not long with hold the tribute of their sighs
Approaches ; glad she hears him, and replies: With her embarking, seek their native soil.”
“ Hail! brother, hail! thou chosen by the gods The princess hears, and joyfully provides From longer shame to rescue these remains, A messenger of trust. Assembling now
Which once contain'd whate'er is good and great His captains, thus Themistocles ordains :
Among the sons of men. Majestic shade! “ Friends of Eubea, soon as Phæbus dawns By unrelenting laws of Dis forbid Your progress bend to Larissæan tow'rs;
To enter, where thy ancestors reside; Your chief is Cleon. Hyacinthus join;
Who, seed of Jove, to their Elysian joys To your united force the foe must yield.
Expect thee, most illustrious of the race. Sare Artamanes; bring him captive back, Amidst thy wand'rings on the banks of Styx, But not with less humanity than care.
Dost thou recall Melissa's dirge of praise
O'er thee, preparing by a glorious death
Peace in her temple? An atrocious king
Hath barr'd awhile th'accomplishment; thy friend, In this Trachinian station I retain."
Thy soldier, now will ratify my word. By op'ning day each leader on his charge Soon to Lycurgus shall thy spirit pass, Proceeds. Themistocles inspects the vale, To Orpheus, Homer, and th’ Ascræan sage, Constrains the peasants from unnumber'd cars Who shall contend to praise thee in their bow'rs Aboard his feet to lade the golden grain,
Of amaranth and myrtle, ever young Before Thermopyläe the Locrian files
Like thy renown. In Eta's fane these bones, Appear. From Eta's topmast peak, behold, Dear to the Muses, shall repose, till Greece, O'er Medon's bead a vulture wings his flight, Amid her future triumphs, hath decreed Whom to a cross beside the public way
A tomb and temple to her saviour's fame."
This high oblation of pathetic praise,
Was she remote. Her eunuchs she deputes
To bring a coffer large of od'rous wood
To such divine remains. In time appears
While thus the mighty manes he invokes : He sunk, and thus in agony exclaim'd:
“ Hear, thou preserver of thy country, hear! “ Should this flagitious profanation pass Lo! in his palms of Salamis the son l'npunish'd still, th' existence of the gods
Of Nępcles salutes thee. From a hand, Were but a dream. O, long-enduring Jove! Which hath already half aveng'd thy death, Thy own Herculean offspring canst thou see Accept of decent rites. Thy virtue sav'd Defac'd by vultures, and the parching wind, A nation; they hereafter shall complete Yet wield resistless thunder?-But thy ways Thy fun'ral honours, and surround thy tomb Are awfully mysterious; to arraign
With trophies equal to thy deathless name.” Thy heaviest doom is blasphemy. Thy will
He ceas'd. Her mantle on the solemn scene Por me reserv'd the merit to redeem
Night from her car in dusky folds outspread. These precious relics; penitent I own
Three mornings pass. Anon Sperchean banks My rashness; thankful I accept the task. Re-echo shouts of triumph, while the vales
“O mighty spirit! who didst late inform Are clad in arms. Lo! Cleon is return'd, With ev'ry virtue that disfigur'd frame,
Uplifting bloodless ensigns of success, With ev'ry kind affection prov'd by me,
And thus accosts Themistocles: “ Thy prize, The last distinguish'd object of thy care,
This Persian lord, receive; our hasty march
O'ertook his rear. From Larissæan tow'rs,
By Potidæans and Olynthian spears,
With fair Sandaucè's message, and thy terms E’er with such keen resentment stung my heart, Of peace and safety; Artamanes found
Resistance vain, and yielded." From the van Press'd by the youth. With purity their guide,
Trachinian portals. Phoebe on their beads
To preparation for his burial rites
To frame the stately pyre the hills are shorn, Report my kindness, and forget my sword.” Amid this labour Hyacinthus, rich
Amidst his words a soft complaining trill In Aleuadian spoil, his colleague, brave Of Philomela interrupts their sound.
Nicanor, all the Potidæan bands, The youthful satrap then: “ That pensive bird, Th' Olynthians, and Nearchus, who conducts Sandaucè's warbling summoner, is wont
The youth of Chalcis, reinforce the camp In evening shade on Ariana's tomb
With their victorious ranks. Th' appointed day To sit and sing; my princess there devotes Was then arriv'd. A broad constructed pyre In melancholy solitude this hour
Tow'rs in the centre of Trachiniæ's plain; To meditation, which dissolves in tears."
The diff'rent standards of the Grecian host “Then greet her," said th’Athenian; “thy return Are planted round. The Attic chief convenes Will soothe her tender breast. My promise add, The fifty Spartans of his guard, and thus : That on the first fair whisper of the winds,
“ Themistocles, distinguish'd by your state, She shall revisit her maternal soil."
By your assiduous courage long sustain'd, This said, they parted. At her sister's grave Will now repay these benefits. Your king, The satrap join'd his princess. He began : Leonidas, the brightest star of Greece,
“ I have obey'd thy summons. No disgrace No more shall wander in the gloom of Styx; Was my surrender to the conqu’ring sword, But that last passage to immortal seats Which Persia long hath felt. Thy servant comes Through me obtain. Greek institutes require No more a captive, but to thee by choice; The nearest kindred on the fun'ral stage Themistocles all bounteous and humane,
The dead to lay, the victims to dispose, As heretofore, I find. Forbear to check
To pour libations, and the sacred dust That rising birth of smiles; in perfect light Inurn. Alone of these assembled Greeks Those half-illuminated eyes attire;
Are you the hero's countrymen; alone Enough the tribute of their tears hath lav'd Your hands the pious office shall discharge." These precious tombs. Prepare thee to embark ; Th’ obedient Spartans from Trachiniæ's gates Themistocles hath promis'd thou shalt leave Produce to view the venerable bones A land, whose soaring genius hath depress'd Herculean. Lifted up the structure high The languid plumes of Asia. Lift thy head Of pines and cedars, on the surface large In pleasing hope to clasp thy mother's knees, All, which of great Leonidas remains, To change thy weeds of mourning, and receive By sedulous devotion is compos'd. A royal brother's gift, this faithful hand.”
The various captains follow, some in gaze Nigh Ariana's clay Autarctus slept.
Of wonder, others weeping. Last appears
Melissa, trailing her pontific pall
Of snowy-vested nymphs from Eta's hill,
The ruddy firebrand. In his priestly robe Streaks with a parting, but unsully'd ray,
Phæbean Timon supplicates a breeze Their lively change of plumage, and each rill
From Æolus to raise the creeping flame. Is soften'd by their melody.
Thrice round the crackling heaps the silent host, Accept this omen,” Artamanes cries;
With shields revers'd, and spears inclining low, “ Autarctus favours, Horomazes smiles,
Their solemn movement wind. The shrinking pyre Whose choir of songsters not unprompted seem Now glows in embers; fresh libations damp Our nuptial hymn preludiug.” She replies: The heat. A vase of silver high-emboss'd, “ I want no omen to confirm thy truth.
By Hyacinthus from Larissa brought, Dust of my sister, of my lord, farewell;
Spoil of th' abode wbich treach'rous Thorax held, Secure in Grecian piety remain.
Receives the sacred ashes, and is plac'd Still in his offspring will Sandaucè love
Before Melissa. So the godlike son That husband, thou, my Artamanes, still
Of Neocles directs. An awful sign Revere that friend.” She said, and dropp'd her hand, From her commands attention; thus she spake:
« Thou art not dead, Leonidas; thy mind Among the just and gen'rous. O’er the dead In ev'ry Grecian lives. Thy mortal part, Mardonius rent his vesture, and his hair, Transform’d to ashes, shall on (Eta's hill
Then thus ordain'd: “This precious clay embalmid Among the celebrating Mases dwell
To Artamanes bear, whose pious zeal
Thence o'er the narrow Hellespont to reach
“ I then repeated what my virtuous lord, Nor blood of hecatombs, profusely spilt,
Expiring, utter'd: “Let Mardonius think Can to thy manes pay the tribute due;
How brief are life's enjoyments. Virtue lives The massacre of nations, all the spoil
Through all eternity. By virtue earn'd Of humbled Asia, Destiny hath mark'd
Praise too is long-Melissa, grant me thine'.” For consecration of thy future tomb.
“ • Commend me to Melissa'--starting, spake Two ministers my soul prophetic sees,
The son of Gobryas._From the shameful cross Themistocles and Aristides, stand
Bid Artamanes in her presence free Presiding o'er the sacrifice. The earth,
Leonidas the Spartan.' --All my charge The sea, shall witness to the mighty rites.
Is now accomplish'd faithfully to all.” Cease to regret the transitory doom
Not far was Artamanes. From the train Of thy remains insulted, no disgrace
Of Persians strode a giant stern in look, To thee, but Xerxes. Pass, exalted shade, Who thus address'd the satrap: “ Prince, behold The bounds of Dis, nor longer wail thy term Briareus; hither by Mardonius sent, Of wand'ring now elaps'd; all measur'd time Guard of this noble body, I appear Is nothing to eternity. Assume
A witness too of thy disgrace; I sec Among the bless'd thy everlasting seat.
These Greeks thy victors. Is th’ Athenian chief Th’indignity, thy earthly frame endur'd,
Among the band?” Themistocles advanc'd; Perhaps the gods permitted in their love
To whom Briareus: “ Art thou he, who dar'd To fill the measure of celestial wrath
My lord to battle on the plains of Thebes? Against thy country's foes; then rest in peace, Where have thy fears confin'd thee till this hour Thou twice illustrious victim to her weal." That I reproach thee with thy promise pledg’d? As, when Minerva in th' Olympian hall
But this inglorious enterprise on berds, Amid the synod of celestials pour'd
On flocks, and helpless peasants, was more safe, Her eloquence and wisdom, ev'ry god
Than to abide Mardonius in the field. In silence heard, and Jove himself approv'd;
I now return. What tidings shall I bear Around Melissa thus were seen the chiefs
From thee, great conqueror of beeves and sheep?” In admiration bound; o'er all supreme
Say, I am safe,” Themistocles replies Themistocles applauded. Mycon last,
In calm derision, “and the fun’ral rites,
The spirit of Leonidas, in me
Shake your pavisions on Asopian banks.
I, undisputed master of the main, Embalm'd Masistius. Sent from Asia's camp,
Will waft Masistius to a Persian grave. A passage these had recently obtain'd
Thou mayst depart in safety, as thou cam'st. From good Leonteus, by his brother plac'd
The savage hears, and sullenly retreats; Thermopylæ's sure guard. Melissa knew While pious Medon thus accosts the dead: The page Statirus, foremost of the train,
“ Thou son of honour, to thy promise just, Who at her feet in agony began:
Melissa's brother venerates the clay “ Thy late protector, cold in Death's embrace, of her avow'd protector. Let my care Survey, thou holy paragon; his fall
Preserve these relics where no greedy worm, Asopus saw. Before the hero climb'd
Nor hand profane, may violate thy form; His fatal steed, to me this charge he gave. Till friendly gales transport thee to repose “ . If I return a conqueror this day,
Among thy fathers.” Through Trachinian gates To that excelling dame who made thee mine, He leads the sable chariot, thence conveys Who hath enlarg'd whate'er of wise and great, Th' illustrious burden to Melissa's roof; Of just and temp'rate I to Nature owe,
Statirus aids. The priestess, there apart, Refind my manners, and my purest thoughts Bespake her brother thus : “My tend'rest tears, Exalted, I my friendship will prolong
From public notice painfully conceald, In gratitude and rev’rence; blessing Heav'n, Shall in thy presence have a lib'ral flow. Which thus prefers Masistius to extend
Thou gav'st me this protector; honour, truth, Benevolence to virtue. If I fall,
Humanity, and wisdom like thy own, Resume with her the happiest lot my care Were his appendage. Virtue is the same Can recommend, Statirus. Thoughino Greek, In strangers, kindred, enemies, and friends. Her pupil, say, in offices humane
He won my friendship-might in earlier days Hath not been tardy; by her light inspir'd, Have kindled passion-0! since Fate decreed He went more perfect to a noble grave.'
Thee from Asopus never to return;
I bless the hours; and memory shall hold