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THE FIRST OLYMPIC ODE.

To HIERo of SYRACUSE, VICTOR IN THE HORSE RACE.

CAN earth, or fire, or liquid air,
With water's sacred stream, compare :
Can aught that wealthy tyrants hold
Surpass the lordly blaze of gold —
Or lives there one, whose restless eye
Would seek along the empty sky,
Beneath the sun's meridian ray,
A warmer star, a purer day 2
O thou, my soul, whose choral song
Would tell of contests sharp and strong,
Extol not other lists above
The circus of Olympian Jove;
Whence borne on many a tuneful tongue,
To Saturn's seed the anthem sung,
With harp, and flute and trumpet’s call,
Hath sped to Hiero's festival.—

Over sheep clad Sicily Who the righteous sceptre beareth, Every flower of virtue’s tree Wove in various wreath he weareth,-But the bud of poesy Is the fairest flower of all; Which the bards, in social glee, Strow round Hiero's wealthy hall.— The harp on yonder pin suspended, Sieze it, boy, for Pisa's sake, And that good steed's, whose thought will wake A joy with anxious fondness blended:— No sounding lash his sleek side rended: By Alpheus' bride, with feet of flame, Self-driven to the goal he tended: And earned the olive wreath of fame For that dear lord, whose righteous name The sons of Syracusa tell:— Who loves the generous courser well: Beloved himself by all who dwell In Pelop's Lydian colony.— —Of earth-embracing Neptune, he The darling, when, in days of yore, All lovely from the caldron red By Clotho's spell delivered, The youth an ivory shoulder bore.—

—Well,—these are tales of mystery !—
And many a daukly 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,)

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