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The passing hour alone.
To crown with knightly wreath the king,
(A grateful task,) be mine;
And on the smooth Æolian string
To praise his ancient line,
For ne'er shall wandering minstrel find
A chief so just,--a friend so kind ;
With every grace of fortune blest;
The mightiest, wisest, bravest, best.
God, who beholdeth thee and all thy deeds,
Have thee in charge, king Hiero!—so again
The bard may sing thy horny-hoofed steeds
In frequent triumph o'er the Olympian plain ;
Nor shall the Bard awake a lowly strain,
His wild notes flinging o'er the Cronian steep ;
Whose ready muse, and not invoked in vain,
For such high mark her strongest shaft shall keep.
Each hath his proper eminence.
To kings indulgent, Providence
(No farther search the will of heaven)
The glories of the earth hath given.
Still mayest thou reign enough for me
To dwell with heroes like to thee,
Myself the chief of Grecian minstrelsy.
TO THERON OF AGRAGAS, VICTOR
O song, whose voice the harp obeys,
Accordant aye with answering string ;
What god, what hero wilt thou praise,
What man of godlike prowess sing 2–
Lo Jove himself is Pisa's king;
And Jove's strong son the first to raise
The barriers of the Olympic ring.
And now, victorious on the wing
Of sounding wheels, our bards proclaim
The stranger Theron's honored name,
The flower of no ignoble race,
And prop of ancient Agragas.
His patient sires, for many a year,
Where that blue river rolls its flood,
Mid fruitless war and civil blood
Essayed their sacred home to rear,
Till time assigned, in fatal hour,
Their native virtues, wealth and power;
And made them from their low degree,
The eye of warlikeSicily.
And, may that power of ancient birth,
From Saturn sprung, and parent Earth,
Of tall Olympus’ lord,
Who sees with still benignant eye
The games’ long splendor sweeping by
His Alpheus' holy ford:—
Appeased with anthems chanted high,
To Theron’s late posterity
A happier doom accord;—-
Or good or ill, the past is gone,
Nor time himself, the parent one,
Can make the former deeds undone;—
. But who would these recall,—
When happier days would fain efface
The memory of each past disgrace,
And, from the gods, on Theron's race
Unbounded blessings fall —
Example meet for such a song,
The sister queens of Laius' blood;
Who sorrow’s edge endured long,
Made keener by remembered good.
Yet now she breathes the air of Heaven
(On earth by smouldering thunder riven,)
Long-haired Semele –
To Pallas dear is she 3–
Dear to the sire of gods, and dear
To him, her son, in dreadful glee Who shakes the ivy-wreathed spear.
And thus, they tell that deep below The sounding ocean’s ebb and flow, Amid the daughters of the sea, A sister nymph must Ino be, And dwell in bliss eternally:— But, ignorant and blind, We little know the coming hour; Or if the latter day shall lower ; Or is to nature’s kindly power Our life in peace resigned, Shall sink like fall of summer eve, And on the face of darkness leave A ruddy smile behind,For grief and joy with fitful gale Our crazy bark by turns assail, And, whence our blessings flow, That same tremendous Providence Will oft a varying doom dispense, And lay the mighty low.
To Theban Laius that befell,
Whose son, with murder dyed,
Fulfilled the former oracle,
Unconscious—yet'avenging hell Pursued th' offender's stealthy pace, And heavy, sure, and hard it fell, The curse of blood, on all his race. Spared from their kindred strife, The young Thersander's life, Stern Polynices’ heir, was left alone: In every martial game, And in the field of fame, For early force and matchless prowess known: Was left, the pride and prop to be Of good Adrastus' pedigree. And hence, through loins of ancient kings, The warrior blood of Theron springs; Exalted name, to whom belong The minstrel's harp, the poet's song, In fair Olympia crowned; And where, mid Pythia's olives blue, An equal lot his brother drew : And where his twice-twain coursers flew The isthmus twelve times round. Such honor, earned by toil and care, May best his ancient wrongs repair, And wealth, unstained by pride, May laugh at fortune's fickle power, And blameless in the tempting hour Of syren ease abide:–