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Fortune an adverse wayward course may run,
But bless'd thy mother in so dear a son.
Now, by my life !—my sire's most sacrod oath-
To thee I pledge my full, my firmest troth,
All the rewards which once to thee were vow'd,
If thou shouldst fall, on her shall be bestow'd.”
Thus spoke the weeping prince, then forth to view
A gleaming falchion from the sheath he drew;
Lycaon's utmost skill had graced the steel,
For friends to envy and for foes to feel :
A tawny hide, the Moorish lion's spoil,
Slain 'midst the forest, in the hunter's toil,
Mnesthous to guard the elder youth bestows,
And old Alethes' casque defends his brows.
Arm'd, thence they go, while all th' assembled train,
To aid their cause, implore the gods in vain.
More than a boy, in wisdom and in grace,
Iulus holds amidst the chiefs his place:
His prayer he sends ; but what can prayers avail,
Lost in the murmurs of the sighing gale!
The trench is pass’d, and, favour'd by the night,
Through sleeping foes they wheel their wary flight.
When shall the sleep of many a foe be o'er?
Alas! some slumber who shall wake no more !
Chariots and bridles, mix'd with arms, are seen ;
And flowing flasks, and scatter'd troops between :
Bacchus and Mars to rule the camp combine ;
A mingled chaos this of war and wine.
“Now," cries the first, “ for deeds of blood preparo,
With me the conquest and the labour share :
Here lies our path ; lest any hand arise,
Watch thou, while many a dreaming chieftain dies :
I'll carve our passage through the heedless foe,
And clear thy road with many a deadly blow.
His whispering accents then the youth repress'd,
And pierced proud Rhamnes through his panting breast :
Stretch'd at his ease, th' incautious king reposed ;
Debauch, and not fatigue, his eyes had closed :
To Turnus dear, a prophet and a prince,
His omens more than augur's skill evince ;
But he, who thus foretold the fate of all,
Could not avert his own untimely fall.
Next Remus' armourbearer, hapless, fell,
And three unhappy slaves the carnage swell;
The charioteer along his courser's sides
Expires, the steel his sever'd neck divides;
And, last, his lord is number'd with the dead :
Bounding convulsive, flies the gasping head;
From the swoll'n veins the blackening torrents pour ;
Stain'd is the couch and earth with clotting gore.
Young Lamyrus and Lamus next expire,
And gay Seranus, fill'd with youthful Gre ;
Half the long night in childish games was pass'd,
Lulld by the potent grape, he slept at last :
Ah! happier far had he the morn survey ,
And till Aurora's dawn bis skill display'd.
In slaughter'd fold, the keepers lost in sleep,
His hungry fangs a lion thus may steep ;
'Mid the sad flock, at dead of night he prowls,
With murder glutted, and in carnage rolls :
Insatiate still, through teeming herds he roams ;
In seas of gore the lordly tyrant foams.
Nor less the other's deadly vengeance came,
But falls on feeble crowds without a name;
His wound unconscious Fadus scarce can feel,
Yet wakeful Rhæsus sees the threatening steel;
His coward breast behind a jar he hides,
And vainly in the weak defence confides ;
Full in his heart, the falchion search'd his veins,
The reeking weapon bears alternate stains ;
Through wine and blood, commingling as they flow,
One feeble spirit seeks the shades below.
Now where Messapus dwelt they bend their way,
Whose fires emit à faint and trembling ray ;
There, unconfined, belold each grazing steed,
Unwatch'd, unheeded, on the herbage feed :
Brave Nisus here arrests his comrade's arm,
Too flush'd with carnage, and with conquest warm:
“Hence let us haste, the dangerous path is pass'd;
Full foes enough to-night have breathed their last:
Soon will the day those eastern clouds adorn ;,
Now let us speed, nor tempt the rising morn.
With silver arms, with various art emboss'd, What bowls and mantles in confusion toss'd, They leave regardless ! yet one glittering prize Attracts the younger bero's wandering eyes ; The gilded haruess Rhamnes' coursers felt, The gems which stud the monarch's golden belt : This from the pailid corse was quickly torn, Once by a line of former chieftains worn. Th' exulting boy the studded girdle wears, Messapus' helm his head in triumph bears ; Then from the tents their cautious steps they bond, To seek the vale where safer paths extend.
Just at this hour, a band of Latian horse To Turnus' camp pursue their destined course : While the slow foot their tardy march delay, The knights, impatient, spur along the way: Three hundred mail-clad men, by Volscens led, To Turnus with their master's promise sped ; Now they approach the trench, and view the walla, When, on the left, a light reflection falls ;
The plunder'd helmet, through the waning night,
Sheds forth a silver radiance, glancing bright.
Volscens with question loud the pair alarms :-
“Stand, stragglers ! stand! why early thus in arms!
From whence, to whom?”—He meets with no reply !
Trusting the covert of the night, they fly :
The thicket's depth with hurried pace they trearl,
While round the wood the hostile squadron spread.
With brakes entangled, scarce a path between,
Dreary and dark appears the sylvan scenu :
Euryalus his heavy spoils impede,
The boughs aud winding turns his steps mislead;
But Nisus scours along the forest's maze
To where Latinus' steeds in safety graze,
Then backward o'er the plain his eyes extend,
On every side they seek his absent friend.
“O God ! my boy,” he cries, " of me bereft,
In what impending perils art thou left !”
Listening he runs-above the waving trees,
Tumultuous voices swell the passing breeze;
The war-cry rises, thundering hoofs around
Wake the dark echoes of the trembling ground.
Again he turns, of footsteps hears the noise ;
The sound elates, the sight his hope destroys :
The hapless boy a ruffian train surround,
While lengthening shades his weary way confound ;
Him with loud shouts the furious knights pursue,
Struggling in vain, a captive to the crew.
What can his friend 'gainst thronging numbers daro /
Ah! must be rush his comrade's fate to share
What force, what aid, what stratagem essay,
Back to redeem the Latian spoiler's prey ?
His life a votive ransom nobly give,
Or die with him for whom he wish'd to live ?
Poising with strength his lifted lance on high,
On Luna's orb he cast his frenzied eye :-
“Goddess serene, transcending every star!
Queen of the sky, whose beams are seen afar !
By night heaven owns thy sway, by day the grove,
When, as chaste Dian, here thou deign'st to rove:
If e'er myself, or sire, have sought to grace
Thine altars with the produce of the chase,
Speed, speed my dart to pierce yon vaunting crowd,
To free my friend, and scatter far the proud."
Thus having said, the hissing dart he flung ;
Through parted shades the hurtling weapon sung ;
The thirsty point in Suumo's entrails lay,
Transfix'd his heart, and stretch'd him on the clay:
He sobs, he dies, the troop in wild amaze,
Unconscious whence the death, with horror gazo.
While pale they stare, through Tagus' temples riven,
A second shaft with equal force is driven.
fierce Volscens rolls around his lowering eyes:
Veild by the night, secure the Trojan lies.
Burning with wrath, he view'd his soldiers fall :
“Thou youth accurst, thy life shall pay for all!"
Quick from the sheath his flaming glaive he drew,
And, raging, on the boy defenceless flew.
Nisus no more the blackening shape conceals,
Forth, forth he starts, and all his love reveals ;
Aghast, confused, his fears to madness rise,
And pour these accents, shrieking as he flies;
"Me, me,-your vengeance hurl on me alone ;
Here sheathe the steel, my blood is all your own.
Ye starry spheres ! thou conscious Heaven! attes !
He could not-durst not-lo! the guile confest !
All, all was mine, his early fate suspend ;
He only loved too well his hapless friend :
Spare, spare, ye chiefs ! from him your rage remove
His fault was friendship, all his crime was love."
He pray'd in vain; the dark assassin's sword
Pierced the fair side, the snowy bosom gored;
Lowly to earth inclines his plume-clad crest,
And sanguine torrents mantle o'er his breast :
As some young rose, wbose blossom scents the air,
Languid in death, expires beneath the sharo;
Or crimson poppy, sinking with the shower,
Declining gently, falls a fading flower;
Thus, sweetly drooping, bends his lovely head,
And lingering beauty hovers round the dead.
But fiery Nisus stems the battle's tide,
Revenge his leader and despair his guide :
Volscens he seeks amidst the gathering host,
Volscens must soon appease his comrade's ghost :
Steel, flashing, pours on steel, foe crowds on foe;
Rage nerves his arm, fate gleams in every blow;
In vain beneath unnumber'd wounds he bleeds,
Nor wounds, nor death, distracted Nisus heeds ;
In viewless circies wheeld, his falchion flies,
Nor quits the hero's grasp till Volscens dies;
Deep in his throat its end the weapon found,
The tyrant's soul iled groaning through the wounda
Thus Nisus all his fond affection proved-
Dying, revenged the fate of him he loved ;
Then on his bosom sought his wonted place,
And death was heavenly in his friend's embraco.
Celestial pair ! if aught my verse can claim,
Wafted on l'ime's broad pinion, yours is faire !
Ages on ages shall your fate admire,
No future day shall see your names expire,
While stands the Capitol, immortal dome !
And vanquish'd millions hail their empress, Romo .
TRANSLATION FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES
When fierce conflicting passions urge
The breast where love is wont to glow,
What mind can stem the stormy surge
Which rolls the tide of human woe ?
The hope of praise, the dread of shame,
Can rouse the tortured breast no moro;
The wild desire, the guilty flame,
Absorbs each wish it felt before.
But if affection gently thrills
The soul by purer dreams possess'd,
The pleasing balm of mortal ills
In love can soothe the aching breast :
If thus thou comest in disguise,
Fair Venus ! from thy native heaven,
What heart unfeeling would despise
The sweetest boon the gods have given ?
But never from thy golden bow
May I beneath the shaft expire !
Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,
Awakes an all-consuming fire:
Ye racking doubts ! ye jealous fears!
With others wage internal war;
Repentance, source of future tears,
From me be ever distant far!
May no distracting thoughts destroy
The holy calm of sacred love!
May all the hours be wing'd with joy,
Which hover faithful hearts above
Fair Venus ! on thy myrtle shrine
May I with some fond lover sigh,
Whose heart may minglo pure with mine
With me to live, with me to die.
My native soil! beloved before,
Now dearer as my peaceful home,
Ne'er may I quit thy rocky shoro,
A hapless banish'd wretch to roam !
This very day, this very hour,
May I resign this fleeting breath!
Nor quit my silent humble
A doom to me far worse than death.
Have I not heard the exile's sigh }
And seen the exile's silent tear,
Through distant climes condemn'd to fly,
A pensive weary wanderer here?