« PreviousContinue »
With four Tegæans, whose indignant chief, I see the pride of Asia's monarch swell
Hast thou with grief contended. Lo! I plaut
To pass th' irremeable bound. No more Meantime with Teribazus thus conferrid (youth, Shall 'Teribazus backward turn bis step, Th’ applauding prince. “ Thou much deserving But here conclude his doom. Then cease to heave, Had twenty warriors in the dang'rous van
Thou troubled bosom, ev'ry thought be calm Like thee maintain'd the onset, Greece had wept Now at th' approach of everlasting peace.” Her prostrate ranks. The weary'd fight awhile He ended; when a mighty foe drew nigh, I now relax, till Abradates strong,
Not less than Dithyrambus. Ere they join'd, Orontes and Mazæus are advanc'd.
The Persian warrior to the Greek began. Then to the conflict will I give no pause.
“ Art thou th' unconquerable chief, who mow'd If not by prowess, yet by endless toil
Our battle down? That eagle on thy shield Successive numbers shall exhaust the foe," Too well proclaims thee. "To attempt thy force
He said. Immers'd in sadness, scarce reply'd, I rashly purpos'd. That my single arm But to himself complain’d the am'rous youth. Thou deign'st to meet, accept my thanks, and know,
“ Still do I languish, mourning o'er the fame The thought of conquest less employs my soul, My arm acquires. Tormented heart! thou seat Than admiration of thy glorious deeds, Of constant sorrow, what deceitful smiles
And tbat by thee I cannot fall disgrac'd.” Yet canst thou borrow from unreal hope
He ceas'd. These words the Thespian youth To flatter life? At Ariana's feet
return'd. What if with supplicating knees I bow,
“ Of all the praises from thy gen'rous mouth Implore her pity, and reveal my love.
The only portion my desert may claim, Wretch! canst thou climb to yon effulgent orb, Is this my bold adventure to confront And share the splendours which irradiate Heav'n? | Thee, yet unmatch’d. What Grecian hath not mark'd Dost thou aspire to that exalted maid,
Thy flaming steel? From Asia's boundless camp Great Xerxes' sister, rivalling the claim
Not one hath equall’d thy victorious might. Of Asia's proudest potentates and kings?
But whence thy armour of the Grecian form? Unless within her bosom I inspir'd
Whence thy tall spear, thy helmet? Whence the A passion fervent as my own, nay more,
weight Such, as dispelling ev'ry virgin fear,
Of that strong shield ? Unlike thy eastern friends, Might, unrestrain'd, disclose its fond desire, O if thou be'st some fugitive, who, lost My love is hopeless; and her willing hand, To liberty and virtue, art become Should she bestow it, draws from Asia's lord A tyrant's vile stipendiary, that arm, On both perdition.” By despair benumb’d, That valour thus triumphant I deplore, His limbs their action lose. A wish for death Which after all their efforts and success O'ercasts and chills his sou). When sudden cries Deserve no honour from the gods, or men." From Ariamnes rouse his drooping pow'rs.
Here Teribazus in a sigh rejoin’d. Alike in manners they of equal age
“I am to Greece a stranger, am a wretch Were friends, and partners in the glorious toil To thee unknown, who courts this hour to die, Of war. Together they victorious chas'd
Yet not ignobly, but in death to raise The bleeding sons of Nile, when Egypt's pride My name from darkness, while I end my woes." Before the sword of Hyperanthes sell.
The Grecian then. “I view thee, and I monrn. That lov'd companion Teribazus views
A dignity, which virtue only bears,
My veneration : and, whatever be
Infesting thus thy quiet, they create
Why then, constraining my reluctant hand
Th' unjust ambition of malignant kings,
My adverse weapon. Victory I ask.
Pois'd on their arms, in silent wonder gaze. From thy ill fortune I perbaps derive
The fight commences.
Soon the Grecian spear, A more conspicuous lustre- What if Heav'n Which, all the day in constant battle worn, Should add new victims, such as thou, to grace Unnumber'd shields and corselets had transfix'd, My undeserving hand? Who knows, but she Against the Persian buckler, shiv'ring, breaks, Might smile upon my trophies. Oh! vain tbought! Its master's hand disarming. Then began
The sense of honour, and the dread of shame " Hold thee, barbarian, from a life more worth
Than thou and Xerxes with his host of slaves."
His words he seconds with his rapid lance.
But Intaphernes, Mindus, and a crowd
With fruitless efforts they attempt the fight.
So rage two balls along th' opposing banks
As by malignant fortune if a drop
Of moisture mingles with a burning mass
Of liquid metal, instant show'rs of death
So disappointment irritates the flame
Of fierce Platæa's chief, whose vengeance bursts
Arsæus, Ochus, Mendes, Artias die;
And ten most hardy of th' immortal guard,
Their gold embellish'd weapons, raise a mound
From this thy temporary tomb is dragg'd
By forceful zeal of satraps to the shore;
Strong reinforcement from th’immortal guard
Those Grecians next the mountain. Thou unite
Less stable seem. Our joint impression try;
Let all the weight of battle here impend. Without regret in Persia's sight and thine Rouse, Hyperanthos. Give regret to winds. I fall.” Th' inexorable band of Fate
Who hath not lost a friend this direful day?
Too strong already; or let sorrow act:
Send Hyperanthes to the foremost line.
His vengeful ardour leads. The battle joins.
Who stemm'd this tide of onset ? Who imbru'd Of Teribazus lost. Th' afflicted prince,
His shining spear the first in Persian blood ?
Eupalamus. Artembares he slew
“Oh! Teribazus! Oh! my friend, whose loss On his tempestrious brow, the savage sons
Of vialence and rapine. But their doom
Arrests the victor in his haughty course. She should, she must have lov'd thee-Now no Beneath the strony Abrocomes o'erwhelm’d, more
Melissus swells the number of the dead.
He ended, rushing furious on the Greek; O'ershades the Pythian games, the envy'd prize
Of Fame obtain'd. Low sinks his laurell'd head While Hyperanthes tenderly receiv'd
In death's cold night; and horrid gore deforms
The graceful hair. Impatient to revenge,
A storm of fury darkens all bis brow.
Is Alyattes mark'd, of regal blood,
Deriv'd from Croesus, once imperial lord
Of nations. Him the nymphs of Halys wept ; Precipitating down the sacred cave,
That Sparta's rauks, advancing, should repair
Dieneces inspires them. Fame, my friends, Th’ill-destin d prince, that envious Fortune watch'd Calls forth your valour in a signal hour. That direful moment from his hand to wrest For you this glorious crisis sbe reserv'd The sceptre of his fathers. In the shade
Laconia's splendour to assert. Young man, Of humble life his race on Timolus' brow
Son of Megistias, follow.” He conducts (wedg'd Lay hid; till, rous'd to battle, on this field Th’experienc'd troop. They lock their shields, and Sinks Alyattes, and a royal breed
In dense arrangement, repossess the void In him extinct for ever. Lycis dies,
Left by the faithless Thebans, and repulse For boist'rous war ill-chosen. He was skill'd 'Th' exulting Persians. When with efforts vain To tune the lulling fute, and melt the heart; These oft renew'd the contest, and recoil'd, Or with his pipe's awak'ning strain allure
As oft confounded with diminish'd ranks; The lovely dames of Lydia to the dance,
Lo! Hyperanthes blush'd, repeating late
The words of Artemisia. “ Learn, O chiefs,
Depriv'd of union. Do not we preside
O'er Asia's armies, and our courage boast, Invades his knee, and cuts the sinewy cords. Our martial art above the vulgar herd ? The Mycenæans with uplifted shields,
Let us, ye chiefs, attempt in order'd ranks Corinthians and Phliasians close around
To form a troop, and emulate the foe." The wounded chieftain. In redoubled rage
They wait not dubious. On the Malian shore 'The contest glows. Abrocomes incites
In gloomy depth a column soon is form’d Each noble Persian. Each his voice obeys.
Of all the nobles, Abradates strong, Here Abradates, there Mazzus press,
Orontes bold, Mazæus, and the might Orontes and Hydarnes. None retire
Of brave Abrocomes with each, who bore From toil, or peril. Urg'd on ev'ry side,
The highest l'onours, and excell'd in arms; Mycena's band to Fortune leave their chief. Themselves the lords of nations, who before Despairing, raging, destitute he stands,
The throne of Xerxes tributary bow'd. Propt on his spear. His wound forbids retreat. To these succeed a chosen number, drawn None, but his brother, Eumenes, abides
From Asia's legions, vaunted most in fight; The dire extremity. His studded orb
Who from their king perpetual stipends share; Is held defensive. On bis arm the sword
Who, stationd round the provinces, by force Of Hyperanthes rapidly descends.
His tyranny uphold. In ev'ry part Down drops the buckler, and the sever'd hand Is Hyperanthes active, ardent seen Resigns its hold. The unprotected pair
Throughout the huge battalion. He adjusts By Asia's hero to the ground are swept;
Their equal range, then cautious, lest on march As to a reaper crimson poppies low'r
Their unaccustom'd order should relax, Their heads luxuriant on the vellow plain.
Fill in the centre of the foremost rank
In high-embroider'd gold. The wary prince
This said, he drew his Thebans from their post, By this alone his even pace and slow,
Chief of the spangles on that fancy'd Bear, Nor knew the Asian chief, that Asia's friends Once an Idæan nymph, and nurse of Jove, Before him bled. Meantime, as mighty Jove, Bright Cynosura to the Boreal pole Or he more ancient on the throne of Heav'n, Attracts the sailor's eye; when distance hides When from the womb of Chaos dark the world The headland signals, and her guiding ray, Emerg'd to birth, where'er he view'd the jar New-ris'o, she throws. The hero next appoints, Of atoms yet discordant and unform’d,
That ev'ry warrior through the length’ning files, Confusion thence with pow'rful voice dispellid, Observing none, but those before him plac'd, Tin light and order universal reign'd;
Shall watch their motions, and their steps pursue. So from the hill Leonidas survey'd
Nor is th' important thicket next the pass The various war. He saw the Theban rout; Forgot. Two thousand of th' immortal guard That Corinth, Phlius, and Mycenæ look'd
That station seize. His orders all perform'd, Affrighted backward. Instantly his charge Close by the standard he assumes his post. Is borne by Maron, whom obcdience wings, Intrepid thence he animates his friends.
" Heroic chieftains, whose unconquer'd force By his resistless steel, Orontes falls, Rebellionis Egypt, and the Libyan felt,
And quits th' imperial banner. This the chief Think, what the splendour of your former deeds In triumph waves. The Spartans press the foe. From you exacts. Remember, from the great Close-wedg'd and square, in slow, progressive pace Illustrious actions are a debt to Farne.
O'er heaps of mangled carcasses and arms No middle path remains for them to tread, Invincible they tread. Composing flutes Whom she hath once ennobled. Lo! this day Each thought, each motion harmonize. No rage By trophies new will signalize your names, Untunes their souls. The phalanx yet more deep Or in dishonour will for ever cloud.”
Of Medon follows; while the lighter bands He said, and vig'rous all to fight proceed. Glide by the flanks, and reach the broken foe. As, when tempestuous Eurus stems the weight Amid their flight what vengeance from the arın Of western Neptune, struggling through the straits Of Alpheus falls ? O'er all in swift pursuit Which bound Alcides' labours, here the storm Was he renown'd. His active feet had match'd With rapid wing reverberates the tide;
The son of Peleus in the dusty course; There the contending surge with furrow'd tops But now the wrongs, the long-remember'd wrongs To mountains swells, and, whelming o'er the beach Of Polydorus animate his strength Ou either coast, impells the hoary foam
With ten-fold vigour. Like th' empurpled Moon, On Mauritanian and Iberian strands:
When in eclipse her silver disk hath lost Such is the dreadful onset. Persia keeps
The wonted light, his buckler's polish'd face Her foremost ranks unbroken, which are filled Is now obscur'd; the figur'd bosses drop By chosen warriors; while the num'rous crowd, In crimson, spouting from his deathfi strokes. Though still promiscuous pouring from behind, As, when with horrour wing'd, a whirlwind rends Give weight and pressure to th' embattled chiefs, A shatter'd navy; from the ocean cast, Despising danger. Like the mural strength Enormous fragments hide the level beach ; Of some proud city, bulwark'd round and arm'd Such as dejected Persia late beheld With rising tow'rs to guard her wealthy stores, On Thessaly's unnavigable strand : Immoveable, impenetrable stood
Thus o'er the champaign satraps lay bestrewp Laconia's serry'd phalanx. In their face
By Alpheus, persevering in pursuit Grim Tyranny her threatning fetters shakes, Beyond the pass. Not Phæbus could indict Red Havoc grinds insatiable his jaws.
On Niobe more vengeance, when, incens'd Greece is behind, entrusting to their swords By her maternal arrogance, which scorn'd Her laws, her freedom, and the sacred urns Latona's race, he twang'd his ireful bow, Of their forefathers. Present now to thought And one by one from youth and beauty hurl'd Their altars rise, the mansions of their birth, Her sons to Pluto; nor severer pangs Whate'er they honour, venerate, and love. That mother felt, than pierc'd the gen'rous soul
Bright in the Persian van th' exalted lance Of Hyperanthes, while his noblest friends Of Hyperanthes flam'd. Beside him press'd On ev'ry side lay gasping. With despair Abro comes, Hydarnes, and the bulk
He still contends. Th' immortals from their stand Of Abradates terrible in war.
Behind th' entangling thicket next the pass Firm, as a Memphian pyramid, was seen
His signal rouses. Ere they clear their way, Dieneces; while Agis close in rank
Well-caution'd Medon from the close defile With Menalippus, and the added strength Two thousand Locrians pours. An aspect new Of dauntless Maron, their connected shields The fight assumes. Through implicated shrubs l'pheld. Each unrelax'd array maintains Confusion waves each banner. Falchions, spears, The conflict undecided ; nor could Greece
And shields are all encumber'd; till the Greeks Repel the adverse numbers, nor the weight Had forc'd a passage to the yielding foe. Of Asia's band select remove the Greeks.
Then Medon's arm is felt. The dreadful boar, Swift from Laconia's king, perceiviug soon Wide-wasting once the Calydonian fields, The Persian's new arrangement, Medlon flew, In fury breaking from his gloomy lair, Who thus the staid Dieneces aduress'd.
Rang'd with less havoc through unguarded folds, “ Leonidas commands the Spartan ranks Than Medon, sweeping down the glitt'ring files, To measure back some paces. Soon he deems So vainly styl'd immortal. From the cliff The unexperienc'd foes in wild pursuit
Divine Melissa, and Laconia's king Will break their order. Then the charge renew." Enjoy the glories of Oileus' son.
This heard, the signal of retreat is giv'n. Fierce Alpheus too, returning from his chase, The Spartans seem to yield. The Persians stop. Joins in the slaughter. Ev'ry Persian falls. Astonishment restrains them, and the doubt
To him the Locrian chief. “ Brave Spartan, Of unexpected victory. Their sloth
thanks. Abrocomes awakens. “ By the Sun
Through thee my purpose is accomplish'd full. They fly before us. My victorious friends, My phalanx here with levell’d rows of spears Do you delay to enter Greece ? Away,
Shall guard the shatter'd bushes. Come what may Rush on intrepid. I already hear
From Asia's camp, th' assailant, flank'd and driv'n Our horse, our chariots thund'ring on her plains. Down yonder slope, shall perish. Gods of Greece, I see her temples wrapt in Persian fires."
You shall behold your faves profusely deck'd He spake. In hurry'd violence they roll In splendid off'rings from barbarian spoils, Tumultuous forward. All in headlong pace Won by your free-born supplicants this day." Disjoin their order, and the line dissolve.
This said, he forms his ranks. Their threat'ning This when the sage Dieneces descries,
points The Spartans halt, returuing to the charge Gleam through the thicket, whence the shiv'ring foes With sudden rigour. In a moment piere'd Arert their sight, like passengers dismay'd,
Who on their course by Nile's portentous banks Of Dithyrambus and Diomedon,
Who from the hill are wheeling on their flank,
While there, encircled by a grove of spears, Not yet discourag'd, Hyperanthes strives They stand devoted hecatombs to Mars. The scatter'd host to rally. He exhorts,
Now not a moment's interval delays Entreats, at length indignant thus exclaims. Their gen'ral dooin; but down the Malian steep
“ Degen'rate Persians ! to sepulchral dust Prone are they hurry'd to th' expanded arms Could breath return, your fathers from the tomb Of Horrour, rising from the oozy deep, Would utter groans. Inglorious, do ye leave And grasping all their numbers, as they fall. Behind you Persia's standard to adorn
The dire confusion like a storm invades Some Greciap temple! Can your splendid cars, The chafing surge. Whole troops Bellona rolls Volaptuous couches, and delicious boards,
In one vast ruin from the craggy ridge. Your gold, your gems, ye satraps, be preservod
O'er all their arms, their ensigns, deep-engulf'd,
Few hear him, fewer follow; while the fight
Night coming on, the Grecians retire to their tents, For numbers to embattle, still his post
A guard is placed on the Phocian wall under the
command of Agis. · He admits into the camp a Bold Intaphernes underneath a cliff
lady, accompanied by a single slave, and conAgainst the firm Platæan line maintain'd.
ducts them to Leonidas; when she discovers On him look'd down Leonidas like Death,
herself to be Ariana, sister of Xerxes and HyperWhen, from his iron cavern call’d by Jove,
anthes, and sues for the body of Teribazus; He stands gigantic on a mountain's head; Whence he commands th'affrighted Earth to quake,
which being found among the slain, she kills
herself upon it. The slave, who attended her, And, crags and forests in his direful grasp
proves to be Polydorus, brother to Alpheus and High-wielding, dashes on a town below, Whose deeds of black impiety provoke
Maron, and who had been formerly carried into The long-enduring guds. Around the verge
captivity by a Phænician pirate. He relates
before an assembly of the chiefs a message from Of Eta, curving to a crescent's shape,
Demaratus to the Spartans, which discloses the The marbles, timbers, fragments lay amass'd.
treachery of the Thebans, and of Epialtes, the The Helots, peasants, mariners attend In order nigh Leonidas. They watch
Malian, who had undertaken to lead part of the
Persian army through a pass among the mounHis look. He gives the signal. Rous'd at once
tains of ta." This information throws the The force, the skill, activity, and zeal
council into a great tumult, which is pacified by Of thousands are combin'd. Down rush the piles.
Leonidas, who sends Alpheus to observe the Trees, roll'd on trees, with mingled rock descend,
motions of these Persians, and Dieneces with a Unintermitted ruin. Loud resound
party of Lacedæmonians to support the Phocians, The hollow trunks against the mountain's side.
with wbom the defence of these passages in the Swift bounds each craggy mass. The foes below
hills had been entrusted. In the mean time Look up aghast, in horrour shrink and die.
Agis sends the bodies of Teribazus and Ariana to Whole troops, o'erwhelm'd beneath th' enormous load,
the camp of Xerxes.
In sable vesture, spangled o'er with stars,
High on the wall, intent the hero sat.
Fresh winds across the undulating bay
In one deep murmur, swelling on his ear.