Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FROM THE PHOCAEANS, by WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR



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FROM THE PHOCAEANS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Heroes of old would I commemorate
Last Line: By grief and famine, without friend or grave.
Subject(s): Phoenicia


HEROES of old would I commemorate.
Those heroes, who obeyed the high decree
To leave Phocaea, and erect in Gaul
Empire, the fairest heaven had e'er design'd;
And, borne amidst them, I would dedicate
To thee O Liberty, the golden spoils.
For, Liberty, 'tis thou whose voice awakes
Their sons, from slumber in the setting beams
Of sceptred Power, and banishest from Earth,
Tho' tardier than hell's heaviest cloud she move,
And leave behind the wizard cup and sword --
Circaen soul-dissolving Monarchy.

Say, daughters of Mnemosyne and Jove,
Speak, hearts of harmony! what sacred cause
United, so long sever'd, in debate,
Pallas and Neptune? 'Twas when every god
Flew shuddering from the royal feast accurst,
With Ceres most offended, these ordain
Th' eternal terror of proud thrones to rise:
Such among eastern thrones Phocaea stood,
Such, amid Europe's oaken groves retired.

Now had Priene mourn'd her murder'd swains,
Who late ascending Mycale, released
The pipe, and sitting on the wayside crag
Temper'd the tabor to their roundelays:
Of brittle ivy, from the living stone
Stript off with haste, before their partners came,
Chaplets to ward off envy they combined,
To ward off envy, not to ward off death,
Nor to survive themselves: now with amaze
Meander, rising slow from sedgey bed,
Sees soaring high the white-wing'd multitude
Of cranes and cycnets, like a sunny cloud,
Nor till they circle lower, distinguishes
The aerial blue between, and feeble cries
From thin protruded throat: Pactolus tore
His yellow hair with human blood defiled,
And spurn'd his treacherous waves and tempting sand.
Of cities built by heroes built by Gods,
Throughout the AEgaean, Asia now surveyed
None but Phocaea free: her bolder youth
The galling yoke of gifted peace disdain.
On far Iberia's friendly coast arrived,
Rich streamers, snatched from conquest they display;
And Persic spoils, in sportive mockery worn,
Flutter and rustle round the steeds, that rear'd
Amid the caverns of the genial winds,
On Tagrus' top, start sidelong from the tide.
All are advanced to manhood for the hour.
With sweet solicitude and fearful joy,
Each mother from the shaded ship descries
Her son amidst the contest, and her son
Or now excels each rival in the race,
Or if behind them will ere long excel.
Naarchus, whose attemper'd hand heaven-taught,
Directed thro' wide seas and wearying straits
To rich Tartessus the Phocaean sails,
Now, leaning back against a stranded skiff,
Drawn till half upright on the shelving beach,
Turns idly round the rudder in its rest,
And hardly thinks of land; warm youth attracts,
As amber sweet, the wither'd reed of age.
Such on the banks of Hermus, on the banks
Of that most pleasant of all sacred streams,
For 'twas the nearest to his native home,
And first that exercised his crooked oar,
Now distant, swelling forth with sweet regrets! --
Such was Naarchus! steadfastly he gazed,
And harmless envy heav'd one mindful sigh.

Meanwhile, with Euxenus, and Hyelus,
In council sage, but stricken sore by years,
And Cimos, firm in friendship, firm in fight,
And more, whose wisdom, and whose bravery,
The hallowed bosom of but few records,
Men, high in nature, high in sphere of souls
That burn in battle, or that shine in peace --
Protis, the son of Cyrnus, in the halls
Of Arganthonius, suppliant thus implores
His peace, and his protection. "Mighty king,
If ever thou injuriously hast borne
The rage of ruthless war, and surely war
Hath envied and hath visited, a realm
So flourishing, so prosperous, behold
The scattered ruins of no humble race."
Amid these words, a little from the ground
He rais'd his aching eyes, and waved his hand
Where over citron bowers and light arcades
Hung the fresh garlands fluttering from the mast:
Then paused; the hoary monarch, stung with grief,
Sate silent, and observ'd the frequent tear
Flow bitterly from off each manly cheek,
Uninterrupted! for the hero's soul
Flew back upon his country's wrongs and grown
Impatient of the pity it required,
Sunk into sorrow: thus, his foes had said,
Had foes e'er seen him thus, the helpless child
Putting one arm against its mother's breast,
Holds out the other to a stranger's hand,
But, e'er receiv'd, it weeps: th' Iberian king
Then answer'd, "Just and holy are the tears
Of warriors; sweet as cassia to the Gods,
To man and misery they're the dew of heaven,
But wherefore thus disconsolate! this arm
Might heretofore have rescued and avenged,
And now perhaps may succour." He embraced
The stranger, and embracing him, perceived
His heart beat heavy thro' his panting vest;
Then thus continued, "We too have endured
Insulting power, insatiate avarice,
But ere the wrongs we suffer'd half were told
The sun more rapid now his rays decline
Would leave the Atlantic wave." The patriot chiefs
Around, burn each to hear his own exploits
And see the history open on his name.
Fain would they seize congenial glances, fain
Force attestation from the question'd eye:
So pants for Glory, Virtue nurst by war,
That, some amongst them to their neighbours turn
Not for their neighbour's notice but their king's.
Hymmeus was present, of Milesian race,
But he disdain'd his country, and preferr'd
One struggling hard with tyranny, to one
Where power o'er slaves was freedom and was rights,
Nor man degraded could but man degrade.
The harp, his sorrow's solace, he resumed,
Whose gently agitating liquid airs
Melted the wayward shadow of disgrace,
And, bearing highly up his well-stored heart
Above the vulgar, bade him cherish Pride. --
Mother of virtues to the virtuous man,
Her brilliant heavenly-temper'd ornaments
Tarnish to blackness at the touch of vice.
Sometimes the sadly quivering soul-struck wires
Threw a pale lustre on his native shore;
When suddenly the sound "Conspirator,"
How harsh from those we serve and those we love! --
Burst with insulting blow the enchanting strain,
And the fair vision vanish'd into air.
The pleasant solitude of sunny beach,
The yellow bank scoopt out with idle hands,
And near, white birds, and further naked boys,
That o'er the level of the lustrous sand,
Like kindred broods, seem ready to unite,
The tempest whirls away, -- and where they stood
Up starts a monster, that, with hiss and howl,
Seizes the wretch who runs to loose its chains.

When Arganthonius saw him, he exclaim'd
"Hymneus! and thou too here! thy glowing words
Could once, arousing in the warrior's breast
Enthusiastic rage, sublime the soul
So far above the rocks where Danger broods,
That she and all her monstrous progeny
Groveling, and breathing fire, and shadow-winged,
Become invisible. -- O thou of power
With magic tones Affliction to disarm!
Thou canst conjure up fury, call down hope,
Or whisper comfort, or inspire revenge.
Rise! trace the wanderings of thy comrades, shew
What men, relying on the Gods, can bear."
He ended here, and Hymneus thus began.
Long has Tartessus left her fertile fields,
And but by forest beast or mountain bird,
Seen from afar her flocks lie unconsumed;
The maids of Sidon, and the maids of Tyre
To whom proud streams thro' marble arches bend,
Still bid the spindle urge its whirring flight
And waft to wealth the luxury of our woes.
Thus without lassitude barbaric kings
Shall midst their revels read our history;
And thou too, warm to fancy, warm to grief,
In hall and arbour, shade and solitude,
Whose bosom rises at the faintest breath
From dizzy tower, dark dungeon, stormy rock,
But rises not, nor moves, to public pangs --
Woman! our well-wrought anguish shalt admire!
And toy-taught children overtake our flight.
But we have conquer'd: -- hear me valiant youth!
Untired and pressing for the course; O hear
Ye fires, whom stormy life's vicissitudes
At length have driven on no hostile shore,
O hear me, nor repine; but cherish hope,
And fortune will return and cherish you.
We utter'd soothing words from sickening hearts,
And with firm voice in flight and rout proclaim'd,
That we would never yield, would never fly:
While thus, revived by confidence, they rose,
Fortune gave weight to fancy's golden dreams,
And more than hope dare promise time perform'd.
Thus from some desert rock which every tide
Drenches and deluges, the mariner
Marks the uneven surges rolling, marks
The black pods rattling as the wave retires, --
And now another! -- high he folds his arms,
He groans, looks earnest on, and is resign'd.
Danger and safety this dread interval
Brings close; the billow self-suspended hangs;
The tide had reach'd its highest, and has ebbed:
While distant, now appearing, now unseen,
His comrades struggle up the fluited surge,
Their strength, their voices, wreckt! the spring approach'd;
The fields and woods were vocal with the joy
Of birds that twittering from the thin-leav'd broom
Or close laurustin, or the sumach-tufts
Gay, nest-like, meditated nought but love.
Ah! happy far beyond man's happiness,
Who ever saw them wander o'er the waves
For guilty gold, or shiver on the shore
For life-wrung purple to array their breasts?
Theirs cherish, ours repudiate, chaste desire!
In vain was nature gay; in vain the flocks
With fond parental bleatings filled the fold;
In vain the brindled heifer lowed content
To crop the shining herbage, or to browze
The tender maple in the twilight dell.
Cold, O ye flocks and herds the hand will be
That fed ye, cold the hand that sweetly tuned
Its pipe to call ye to your nightly home,
Or gave the feebler dog encouragement
To drive the wolf away! vain care -- the wretch
Who slew your shepherd, at the altar's horn
Slays you to celebrate his victory.
The Tyrians now approach; a thousand oars
Heave with impatient sweep the whitening surge
To seize Tartessus in the noon of peace.
The very zephyr now, that cool'd our coast,
Plays in the bosom of their sail, and smooths
Each rising billow; never more appall'd
The hand that cultivates Vesuvio's slope,
When with dull dash the fiery tide o'erflows
The pumice that surrounds his humble cot,
Than was Tartessus. Olpis first espied
The naval host advancing; now delay
Were death; -- he loosen'd the relaying rope
From his left elbow, and the toils above
Dropt sounding on the surface of the waves.
He ran; nor enter'd he the city gate
Ere, interrupted oft, by haste, and fear,
In accents loud and shrill he thus began.
"Fly, fly, what madness holds you in your streets?
The Tyrians are behind; they climb the rocks
Light and unnumber'd as the brooding gulls. --
O fly, Tartessians! not a hope remains."

Incontinent, the noisy streets are fill'd
With young alike and old; the mother runs
To save her children, playing in the court,
Improvident of ill, and grasps their wrist,
Hurrying them onward till they weep and ask
"For what?" and whining plead the promised hour,
Now threaten loud, and now again in tears.
No more the murmuring labour of the loom
Detains the virgin, who, with patient hand,
But fluttering heart, the whitest vesture wove
For him she loved so tenderly, for him
Who soon arising from the nuptial couch,
Would scatter mid the warbling wanton choir
The lavish nuts, would hear their bland adieu,
And seize the pleasures they were taught to sing.
Here were the fathers sitting; they were seen
To wave their tremulous hand, and bid them go
Whose life is green and vigorous, "for you
The sun will ripen many vintages,
But we are prone to tarry, cruel Tyre
Scarcely can drag the dying in her chains."

The throbs of urgent terror now subside
In all, and every one his earnest arms
With pious anguish throws around them, prays
To lead them into refuge, prays to strow
The bed of age, and close the beamless eye.
Alas! too confident in hoary hairs
God's gift, but not God's blessing -- they refuse
The proffer'd kindness; and their parted limbs
Hung upon hooks, with patriot gore distain'd
The walls they once defended! ah! thy day
Rolls on; a victim to the very sword
Thyself unsheathest, I behold thee fall;
Nor help in any near -- that help, O Tyre!
Blind to the future, why hast thou destroyed?
Were it not better to extend the hand
T'ward rising states, than proudly crush them? realms
Which stand on ruins insecurely stand.
But wherefore turn our eyes to other climes
Which fate has frown'd on! tho' her frowns I dread,
I deem it first of human miseries
To be a tyrant, then to suffer one.
'Tis true we left our city, left our fields,
O'er naked flints we travell'd, and review'd
What once we held so dear: the eye of youth
Saw, tho' the tear would often intervene,
And shake their branches, and suspend their bowers,
The groves that echoed to his horn or waved
With gales that whilom whisper'd notes of love:
He saw; and linger'd long; for seldom fear
Invades a bosom harbouring regret.
But others hasten'd to the far-off heights
Of Calpe: there a hundred grottoes gleam
High-arct with massy spear; from hence descend
Columns of crystal, ranged from side to side
In equal order; there the freshest Nymphs
Bring water sweet and glide away unseen.
But hither few arrive, now darkness reigns
Around; but weary of the slow-paced hours
One lifts his eyes above, and, trembling, views
The moss and ivy shake with every wind
Against the yawning cavern; every wind
He deems a spectre's yell; and every beam
Shed from the clouded orbit stops his flight.
One, when molested from their lone abode
The birds of omen rise aloft in air,
Shrill-shrieking, and on whirring pinion borne
Sidelong, and circling o'er the pinnacles,
In turbid agitation thinks he hears
His infant faintly wailing, or his wife
From far, imploring help he cannot give;
And wishes he were dead, yet fears to die.
'Twere piteous now, had pity past ourselves,
To hear sometimes the long-drawn moan of dogs,
Sometimes their quick impatience, while they sought
Fond master, left behind, or headlong dash'd
Where faithless moonshine fill'd the abrupt abyss.
From waken'd nest, and pinion silence-pois'd,
Th' huge vulture drops rebounding; -- first he fears;
Looks round; draws back; half lifts his cow'ring wing;
Stretches his ruffled neck and rolling eye,
Tastes the warm blood, and flickers for the foe.

Some, seated on the soft declivity,
Sink into weary slumber; others climb
The crumbling cliff, and craggy precipice,
To none accessible but him who fears.
Thus, to the mountain-brake that overhangs
A valley dark and narrow, flies the kid
Before a lion: he from far espies
The pensile fugitive, nor dares pursue;
But gazing often, with tremendous roar
Shakes from his thirsty throat the fretful foam.
Here, love, ambition, labor, victory,
Injustice, vengeance, Hercules forgot.
Forgot how proud Laomedon, from Troy's
High summits, knew the hero, knew the steeds
That paw'd the plain beneath, and all the king
Shrunk, and the perjurer alone remain
Here mournful Thessaly no more occurr'd,
Deserted by her shepherds, while the neck
Of roving oxen soften'd from the yoke.
Here hospitable Scyros he forgot;
Here Tempe, fresh with springs, with woods embower'd;
Larissa too, whose glowing children vied
In paeans, vied in tracing where the throng
Around the quiver, markt the hand, of strength
To lift on high the shafts of Hercules.
While thro' the bulrushes the hero stept,
Slow, and intently looking round him, waved
His torch, and blue-eyed Lerna, lily-crowned,
Shook at the shadow of a future God.
'Twas there he started, matchless in the race;
The race was run; and Calpe was the goal.
'Twas here Tartessus, in distraction fled
Before the steel of Sidon; she with Tyre
Unfurl'd the sail of conquest, Oceans rose
To waft her, suns to strow the yielding way.
Hers were the realms of night -- each star was hers.
But Venus far above the rest, whose orb's
Meek lustre, melting thro' the cedar-sprays
That spire around the lofty Lebanon,
Led forth their matrons all at evening's close
To celebrate the sad solemnity.
There they abided: here, ill-omen'd hour!
Aside Lacippo's stream, with boughs o'erhung,
Dark alder, pearly-blossom'd arbutus,
And myrtle, highest held of earthly flowers,
And mixt with amaranth at the feasts above --
Maids snowy-stoled, and purple-mitred boys,
Foregoing each young pleasure -- mazy dance,
Where Love most but most slightly wounds,
Games, where Contention strives to look like Love,
Scatter anemones, and roses, torn
Ere daylight wakes them, from their mossy cell.

Not thus, Nebrissa, went thy mountaineers.
Mad with religious lust and solemn wine,
They panted for their orgies, at the fount
Accustom'd: part the mangled heifer tear;
Part, stamping on the neck, wrench off its brow
The horns, and blow them bubbling hoarse with blood:
Some gird themselves with adders: others yell
From pipe far-screeching -- trill above their head
The tymbrel -- clash the cymbal -- others drum
The hollow deep-toned Corybantine brass.
Before them, Sycus and Amphyllion,
Glad to have mixt themselves with men, at hours
When fearful childhood is constrain'd to rest,
Ran tripping for Lacippo; but to see
Flowers that profusely floated down the stream,
Breaking the yellow moonshine as they passed,
Surprised and held them; fixt on this, they heard
No plaintive strain beyond: for childhood's mind
Sits on the eyeball; 'tis her boundary.
But, higher up, those who the orgies led
Hearken'd, at every pause, and each was fill'd
With clear responses winding thro' the vale.

Old Cherataegon chided this delay.
"Why stood they gaping? had the wrathful Moon
Struck them? had any Satyr from the heights,
Had he whom every Season stops to crown,
Whom Hellespontic Lampsacus adores,
Answered their carols, kind? if so -- reply."
Then placing to his lips the clarion,
He started, waved it round, and listening
Again, cried out "a female voice I bear,
"Proceed, proceed." They hurry on; they view
The choir: the shrieking damsels cannot fly;
Their vesture baffles each attempt of fear.
In vain implore they Venus, and adjure
By all she suffer'd when Adonis died,
The rustics knew Adonis not by name
Nor Venus by a tear. They wring their hands
In agony, they clasp them in despair,
Or those restricted in the strong embrace,
Raise praying eyes to heaven, and bend the neck
Back till, its tapering column quite convulsed,
The breasts that from the marble sanctuary
Stood out inviting Chastity and Love,
By violence and passion are profaned.
While tumult rages there and wild affright,
Led by avenging deities, and warm'd
With patriot fire, the purest that ascends
Before the presence of those deities,
The caverns we had left, and many a plain
As desolate, where now the wolf, enraged,
Bit the deserted fences of the fold;
And now with plighted faith and pledging vows
Throughout invoke our murder'd countrymen:
For now at las the radiant host of heaven
Seem'd, going one by one, to delegate
Peace and repose behind; these oft enchant
The wicked; but whene'er the weary lids
Drop, either dreadful visions they enclose,
Tenacious, or the senseless breast imbibes
The poison'd balm of sweet security.
Seen through that porch's pillars, yonder wood
Tho' not far distant, yet from hence appears
More like a grassy slope -- by Lybian blasts
Distorted -- there in ambush, we surveyed
Our battlements, whose friendly shadow stretch'd
O'er half the ruins of old Geryon's tomb:
When silently and quick athwart the dale
Glide ranks of helmets; these alone are seen,
Darkness and distance occupy the rest.
They fade away, and eagerly we catch
The rumour of their march: the hunter, worn
With service dragging some ignoble weight,
Stops in the passing wind the well-known cry
Of hound that, after hard-run chase hath leapt
Up to his nostrils, or against his side
Rested one foot -- the other gall'd with thorns --
Like him we, conscious of our former strength,
Quake with the impotence of wild desire.

Less dangerous now is our determined course
Toward Tartessus: we approach the walls;
We reach them; nor had halted, ere the gates
Fly open: staring at the prodigy,
Encouraged at the fact, the Iberian bands
Rush in, and with a dreadful shout proclaim
The vengeance of the Gods; afraid to strike
At first, lest any one of these, conceal'd
In human likeness, at the portal placed,
The force, himself inspired them with, bewail.
Astounded and aghast, the Tyrians rise
From slumber: these imagine it a dream,
Discrediting their senses' evidence;
Those in the portico cry out to arms,
Forgetful of their own, while many, driven
By desperation, reckless of their shield
Or buckler, rush amidst us, sword in hand,
Impetuous, covering with their prostrate corse
The spot they fought on: others, overthrown
By numbers pressing forward, under throngs
Of enemies, groan loud; a double pang
Such feel, in dying with no hostile wound.
Hundreds and fortunate are they, prolong
Sleep into death, nor ever know the change.
The remnant in their hollow ships confide
For refuge, close pursued; thrice happy few
Who now, the pitchy, hard, and slippery side
Surmounted, mindless yet of sail or oar,
Embrace their own Pataecus on the prow.
O'er their companions, in the crowded strand
Death, leading up night's rear, her banner waves,
Invisible, but rustling like the blast
That strips the fallen year: with arms outstretched,
Dismay, before her, pushes on; and Fear
Crouching unconscious close beside her casts
A murky paleness o'er her wing black-plumed.
Just liberated from their noisome cells,
Slavery's devoted, thirsting for revenge,
Drink deep; the fetter is at last become
An instrument of slaughter, and the feet
Swoln with it bathe themselves in hostile blood,
Till from the valleys deep the fogs arise
Perceptible; while on the summits Morn
Her saffron robe and golden sceptre lays.
Then of their lofty vessels we descry
Nought save the topmost sails, each nether part
By Gades, tho' behind them, was obscured;
These, distant yet, seem'd o'er the town displayed.

'Tis painful, O Phocaeans, to unfold
The brazen gates of War, and find Revenge
Bursting her brittle manacles, while Rage
Strikes with impatient spear the sounding floor.
Here Sycus and Amphyllion I behold,
Shivering, and with the back of feeble wrist
Drawn frequently across their swollen eyes,
Wiping large tears away -- poor harmless pair!
You, playing near life's threshold strown with flowers,
Common indeed, but sweet, and all your own,
Death snatcht away, and flapt her raven wing.

The Tyrians sally forth, to meet the hour
When woe and darkness yield to light and glee,
And reach Lacippo's fount ere earliest dawn.
No mortal meet they, nor the faintest noise
Hear, but of rustling leaves and tinkling rill.
They wonder; look around them; shudder, seize
Each zephyr, and each shadow which he makes
By nimbly lighting on the pliant boughs
Creep further on the grass: for every man
Imagines, tho' all others may have strayed,
Surely his own must near him still remain.
But all upon the distant hills were drag'd
Thro' wild and winding sheep-walks, into huts
Where with unsated eye Nebrissan wives,
Not yet suspicious of supplanting charms,
Survey their strange attire: one draws the veil
Aside, and fancies somewhat in the face
Tho' foreign like her countrywomen; lips
Rosy, but rather blighted; eyes full-orbed,
Ringlets that o'er pellucid temples wave,
As cedars o'er steep snow-drifts; blooming cheeks,
But, courted not by sun or sea-born gale,
Pallid and puny when compared with hers:
Another, hath some broken flower escaped
Mid the dishevel'd hair, with curious hand
Twists round, on tiptoe, its exotic stem,
Exulting high with ingenuity.

The Tyrians now, disconsolate, unite
In counsel: each one differs in the way
To follow, each his neighbour's choice amends.
When on the pathway haply one espied
A torch; he whirl'd, he kindled it; he sware
By earth and heaven 'twas happy; he exclaim'd
"We too will sacrifice! Revenge be ours!
Revenge is worthy to succeed to Love.
Each irresistible, immortal each,
Not blind -- the wretch feigns that -- their pupils roll
In fire unquenchable: Persuasion form'd
Their lips, and raptured at their lively hue
She kist her new creation; hence delight
Breathes through the thirsting fibres of the breast,
Like honey from Dodona's prophet-grove,
Sweet and inspiring too -- Revenge, revenge."
Silence dwelt shortly with them, ere he touched
This jarring nerve; when suddenly their hearts
Vibrated into dreadful unison.
They gape upon him, gathering from his breath
(As manna from the desert men would seize)
The substance of their wishes; they demand
In sentences imperfect, how to grasp
The phantom set before them, whispering
With eager but with hesitating haste
Together and awaiting no reply:
Nay, often an enquiry that commenced
With one concluded in another's ear.
They moved; the crowd seem'd growing: swift they strode
Toward the streamlet, thither where it spread,
Wider, and (as upon its bosom fell
The frigid, iron-color'd, unripe light)
Just trembled: here the boy Amphyllion
Stood waiting for the broken garlands, borne
No farther by the current; forward lean'd
The busy idler, under where he stood
Sweeping them gently on with willow wand.
He thought, full sure he thought -- such eagerness
His one protended and one poising hand,
Half-open lips, and steady lustrous eyes,
Show'd plainly -- safe arrived ere others woke,
To deck his mother's door, and be forgiven.
Sycus more weary, on his arm inclined,
Sat peevish by, and, often of the way
Complaining, yet unwilling to arise,
Bit acid sorrels from their juicy stalk.
"Lo yonder!" he exclaim'd, "the morning dawns
Among the junipers, and ill forebodes
Beside such dampness when no dew has fallen --
This bursting glare, while all around is shade.
Can it be morning? No; there mornings rise:
It is not morning; and the moon is gone;
It cannot be the moon." Too rightly judged
Poor Sycus; nearer now flashed redder light
Than rising moons give reapers going home;
Now nearer, and now nearer yet, approach'd
Voices and armour glimmer'd thro' the glade;
Next, helmets were distinguisht; lastly, vests
Black afar off, their proper crimson shew'd.
They tremble at the sight, and deadly drops
Trickle down ankles white as ivory.
Pity and mercy they implore -- the soul
Presages ere it reasons -- they implore
Pity and mercy, ere the enemy's hand
Seizes them, ere, in painful bondage bent,
Behind them hang so helplessly their own.

Uprooted smells the hazel underwood,
The verdant pile ascends; upon the top
Branches of pitch-tree are arranged, across,
And cover'd with their leaves: the cymbals ring;
The tymbrels rough, and doubling drums reply.

Music, when thunders arm her heavenly voice,
May rouse most other passions -- she may rouse
The Furies from their deep Tartarian dens,
Or Wonder from her unseen orbit, fixt
The middlemost of endless myriads --
Terror she stops amid his wild career,
Engages and subdues. Amphyllion's heart
Flutter'd indeed but flutter'd less confined,
He trembled more, yet dreaded less: the boy
Would now with rapturous violence have rubbed
His palms to sparkling, were they but unbound,
His head he would have nestled in the lap
Of Fortune, when he found the budded spoils
Lie innocent, squared well, and garland-hung.
He laughed at their device; he look'd around,
And saw the knife, but sought the sacrifice.

Can you ethereal Powers! if any rule
Above us or below, or if concern
For human sins and sorrows touches you --
Can you see, quivering, shrinking, shrivelling,
Lips without guile, and bosoms without gall,
Nor pity, succour, save! Alas, your will
Was pleaded, and your presence was invoked.
First, 'twas revenge -- but, when 'twas done, 'twas heaven!
When others rise in anger, men exclaim
"Fierce Furies urge them:" but when they themselves,
"Righteous inflexible Eumenides."
Even thou Venus! Goddess! even thou,
That leadest the Gaetulian lioness
From caves and carnage, and on sunny sands
Makest to slumber with satiety --
Thou wreathest serpents as thou wreathest flowers,
Thou silencest the winds without a word,
Thou curbest the black Tempest; and the face
Of Ocean brightens at thy filial smile,
Yet, either art thou cruel or profaned.

When Cruelty and Youth together dwell
Nature may weep indeed! they also wept.
The sons of Tyre and Sidon also wept.
Returning to the gates, they only heard
A few last groans, only a few fond names
Given them long ago: by madness driven,
Like Atys, when he left his father's home,
Never to see it more, nor to admire
His face dim-shining from his olived thigh --
They run into the woods and are devour'd
By grief and famine, without friend or grave.





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