Imágenes de páginas
PDF

II.

TO THERON OF AGRAGAS, VICTOR
IN THE CHARIOT RACE.

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 ?—
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 tires, 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.

[ocr errors]

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 ?—

Ex ample meet for such a song,
The sister queens of Laius' blood;

Who sorrow's edjre 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 ;—
Dear to the sire of gods, and dear

[ocr errors]

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 if 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 parricide.

For early force and matchless prowess k

Unco nscious-yet§avenging hell
Pursued th’ oH_ender’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,

Was left, the pride and prop to be
Of good Adrastus’ pedigree.

[ocr errors]

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
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 :

[ocr errors]

Led by that star of heavenly ray,
Which best may keep our darkling way
O'er life's unsteady tide.

For, whoso holds in righteousness the throne,

He in his heart hath known
How the foul spirits of the guilty dead,

In chambers dark and dread,
Of nether earth abide, and penal flame:

Where he, whom none may name,
Lays bare the soul by stern necessity;

Seated in judgment high; The minister of God whose arm is there, In heaven alike and hell, almighty every where!

But, ever bright, by day, by night, Exulting in excess of light; From labor free and long distress, The good enjoy their happiness. No more the stubborn soil they cleave, Nor stem for scanty food the wave; But with the venerable gods they dwell: No tear bedims their thankful eye, Nor mars their long tranquillity; While those accursed, howl in pangs unspeakable.

But, who the thrice-renewed probation

« AnteriorContinuar »