« AnteriorContinuar »
—Well,—these are tales of mystery 1–
And many a darkly woven lie
With men will easy credence gain;
While truth, calm truth, may speak in vain;
For eloquence, whose honeyed sway
Our frailer mortal wits obey,
Can honor give to actions ill,
And faith to deeds incredible;—
And bitter blame, and praises high,
Fall truest from posterity.
But if we dare the deeds rehearse Of those that aye endure, *T were meet that in such dangerous verse Our every word were pure. Then, son of Tantalus, receive A plain unvarnished lay. My song shall elder fables leave, And of thy parent say, That when in heaven a favored guest, He called the gods in turns to feast On Sipylus, his mountain home :The sovereign of the ocean foam, —Can mortal form such favor prove 2– Rapt thee on golden car above To highest house of mighty Jove; To which, in after day,
Came golden-haired Ganymede,
As bard in ancient story read,
The dark-winged eagle’s prey.
And when no earthly tongue could tell
The fate of thee, invisible;—
Nor friends, who sought thee wide in vain,
To soothe thy weeping mother’s pain,
Could bring the wanderer home again;
Some envious neighbor’s spleen,
In distant hints, and darkly, said,
That in the caldron hissing red,
And on the god's great table spread,
Thy mangled limbs were seen.
But who shall tax, I dare not, I,
The blessed gods with gluttony 2–
Full oft the slanderous tongue has felt
By their high wrath the thunder dealt;-
And sure, if ever mortal head
Heaven’s holy watchers honored,
That head was Lydia's lord.
Yet, could not mortal heart digest
The wonders of that heavenly feast;
Elate with pride, a thought unblest
Above his nature soared.
And now, condemned to endless dread,—
(Such is the righteous doom of fate,)
He eyes, above his guilty head,
The shadowy rocks’ impending weight:
The fourth with that tormented three
In horrible society —
For that, in frantic theft, The nectar cup he reft, And to his mortal peers in feasting poured For whom a sin it were With mortal life to share The mystic dainties of th’ immortal board : And who by policy Can hope to 'scape the eye Of him who sits above by men and gods adored:
For such offence, a doom severe,
Sent down the sun to sojourn here
Among the fleeting race of man;
Who when the curly down began
To clothe his cheek in darker shade,
To car-borne Pisa's royal maid
A lover's tender service paid.
But, in the darkness first he stood
Alone, by ocean's hoary flood,
And raised to him the suppliant cry,
The hoarse earth-shaking deity.
Nor called in vain, through cloud and storm
Half-seen, a huge and shadowy form,
The god of waters came.
He came, whom thus the youth addressed-
• O thou, if that immortal breast
Have felt a lover's flame,
A lover's prayer in pity hear,
Repel the tyrant's brazen spear
That guards my lovely dame,
And grant a car whose rolling speed
May help a lover at his need ;
Condemned by Pisa's hand to bleed,
Unless I win the envied meed
In Elis’ field of fame.
For youthful knights thirteen
By him have slaughtered been,
His daughter vexing with perverse delay.
Such to a coward’s eye
Were evil augury;
Nor durst a coward's heart the strife essay.
Yet since alike to all
The doom of death must fall,
Ah, wherefore, sitting in unseemly shade,
Wear out a nameless life,
Remote from noble strife,
And all the sweet applause to valor paid –
Yes,—I will dare the course; but, thou,
Immortal friend, my prayef allow!”
Thus, not in vain, his grief he told—
The ruler of the watery space
Bestowed a wondrous car of gold,
And tireless steeds of winged pace.
So, victor in the deathful race,
He tamed the strength of Pisa's king,
And from his bride of beauteous face,
Beheld a stock of warriors spring,
Six valiant sons, as legends sing.
And now, with fame and virtue crowned,
Where Alpheus' stream in wat'ry ring,
Encircles half his turfy mound,
He sleeps beneath the piled ground;
Near that blessed spot where strangers move
In many a long procession round
The altar of protecting Jove.
Yet chief, in yonder lists of fame,
Survives the noble Pelop’s name;
Where strength of hands and nimble feet
In stern and dubious contest meet ;
And high renown and honeyed praise,
And following length of honored days,
The victor's weary toil repays.
But what are past or future joys 2–
The present is our own.
And he is wise who best employs