Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Boast the pure bloed of an illustrious race,
In quiet flow from Lucrece, to Lucrece:
But by your father's worth if yours you rate,
Count me those only who were good and great.
Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood
Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood:
Go! and pretend your family is young,

Nor own your fathers have been fools so long.
What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look next on greatness-say where greatness lies.
"Where but among the heroes and the wise?"
Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede:
The whole strange purpose of their lives to find,
Or make an enemy of all mankind!

Not one looks backward; onward still he goes;
Yet ne'er looks forward, farther than his nose.
No less alike the politic and wise;

All fly slow things with circumspective eyes.
Men in their loose, unguarded hours they take,
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
But grant that those can conquer ; these can cheat
'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great.
Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Or, failing, smiles in exile or in chains;
Like good Aurelius let him reign or bleed
Like Socrates-that man is great indeed.

What's fame? a fancy'd life in others breath,
A thing beyond us, e'en before our death.
All fame is foreign, but of true desert,
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart;
One self approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas:
And more true joy, Marcellus exil'd feels,
Than Cesar, with a Senate at his heels.

In parts superior what advantage lies?
Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise?
'Tis but to know how little can be known;
To see all other's faults, and feel our own;
Condemn'd in business or in arts to drudge,
Without a second, or without a judge.
Truths would you teach to save a sinking land!
All fear, none aid you, and few understand.
Painful preeminence! yourself to view
Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.

Bring then these blessings to a strict account!
Make fair deductions, see to what they 'mount;
How much of other, each is sure to cost:
How each, for other, oft is wholly lost;

How inconsistent greater goods with these;
How sometimes life is risk'd, and always ease :
Think. And if still such things thy envy call,
Say, would'st thou be the man to whom they fall!
To sigh for ribbands, if thou art so silly,
Mark how they grace Lord Umbra, or Sir Billy.
Is yellow dirt the passion of thy life?
Look but on Gripus, or on Gripus' wife.
If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shin'd;
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.
Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name,
See Cromwell damn'd to everlasting fame.
If all united thy ambition call,

From ancient story learn to scorn them all.

IV.-Adam and Eve's Morning Hymn.
THESE are thy glorious works! Parent of good!
Almighty! thine this universal fråme,
Thus wond'rous fair! Thyself how wond'rous, then,
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen

In these thy lowest works: yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels! for ye behold them, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne, rejoicing. Ye in heaven!
On earth, join, all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars! last, in train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn.

Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun! of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
Moon! that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wand'ring fires! that move
In mystic dance, not without song; resound
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements! the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations! that now rise;
From bill or streaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;

U

[ocr errors]

1

Whether to deck with clouds th' uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling, still advance his priase.
His praise ye winds! that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines
With every plant, in sign of worship, wave.
Fountains! and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling, tune his praise,
Join voices, all ye living souls. Ye birds,
That singing, up to heaven's gate ascend,
Bear on your wings, and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk

The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep!
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,

To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.-
Hail universal Lord! be bounteous still,
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceal'd-
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.

V.- Parting of Hector and Andromache. HECTOR now pass'd with sad presaging heart, To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part. At home he sought her; but he sought in vain : She, with one maid, of all her menial train Had thence retir'd; and with her second joy, The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy, Pensive she stood on Ilion's towery height, Beheld the war and sicken'd at the sight: There her sad eyes in vain her lord explore, Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore. Hector, this heard, return'd without delay; Swift through the town he took his former way, Through streets or palaces, and walks of state, And met the mourner at the Scean gate. With haste to meet him sprung the joyful fair, His blameless wife, Aetion's wealthy heir.

The nurse stood near; in whose embraces press'd, His only hope hung, smiling at her breast; Whom each soft charm and early grace adorn, Fair as the new bo star that gilds the morn. Silent, the warrior smil'd; and pleas'd, resign'd To tender passions, all his mighty mind. His beauteous princess cast a mournful look, Hung on his hand, and then dejected spoke. Her bosom labour'd with a boding sigh, And the big tear stood trembling in her eye.

"Too daring prince! ah! whither wilt thou run? Ah! too forgetful of thy wife and son !

And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be?
A widow I, an helpless orphan he!

For sure, such courage length of life denies;
And thou must fall, thy virtue's sacrifice.
Greece in her single heroes strove in vain ;
Now hosts oppose thee and thou must be slain.
Oh, grant me gods! ere Hector meets his doom,
All I can ask of heaven-an early tomb!
So shall my days in one sad tenor run,
And end with sorrows, as they first begun.
Thy wife, thy infant, in thy danger share;
Oh! prove a husband's and a parent's care.
That quarter most the skilful Greek's annoy,
Where yon wild figtree joins the wall of Troy :
Thrice our bold foes the fierce attack have given ;
Or led by hopes, or dictated from heaven.
Let others in the field their arms employ;
But stay my Hector here, and guard his Troy."

The chief replied-" That post shall be my care;
Nor that alone, but all the works of war.
How would the sons of Troy, in arms renown'd,

And Troy's proud dames, whose garments sweep the ground,
Attaint the lustre of my former name,

Should Hector basely quit the field of fame!
My early youth was bred to warlike pains;
My soul impels me to the martial plains,
Still foremost let me stand to guard the throne,
To save my father's honours and my own.
Yet come it will! the day decreed by fates!
(How my heart trembles while my tongue relates!)
The day when thou imperial Troy must bend,
Must see thy warriors fall, thy glories end,
And yet, no dire presage so wounds my mind,
My mother's death, the ruin of my kind,
Not Priam's hoary hairs, defiled with gore,
Not all my brothers gasping on the shore,
As thine Andromache! Thy griefs I dread!
I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led,
In Argive looms our battles to design,
And woes, of which so large a part was thine,
There while you groan beneath the load of life,
They cry-"Behold the mighty Hector's wife!"
Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to see,
Embitters all thy woes by naming me.
The thoughts of glory past, and present shame,
A thousand griefs shall waken at the name!
May I lie cold before that dreadful day,
Press'd with a load of monumental clay!
Thy Hector wrapp'd in everlasting sleep,
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep."

Thus having spoke, th' illustrious chief of Troy
Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.
The babe clung, crying, to the nurse's breast,
Scar'd with the dazzling helm, and nodding crest.

With secret pleasure, each fond parent smil❜d,
And Hector hasted to relieve his child:
The glitt'ring terrors from his brows unbound,
And plac'd the beaming helmet on the ground.
Then kiss'd the child; and, lifting high in air,
Thus to the gods preferr'd a parent's prayer.

"Oh thou whose glory fills the etherial throne!
And all ye deathless powers! protect my son!
Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,,
To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown;
Against his country's foes the war to wage,
And rise the Hector of the future age.
So when triumphant from successful toils,
Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils,
Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim,
And say,
"This chief transcends his father's fame
While pleas' amidst the general shouts of Troy,
His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy."
He spoke and fondly gazing on her charms,
Restor'd the pleasing burden to her arms.
Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid,
Hush'd to repose, and with a smile survey'd:
The troubled pleasure, soon chastis'd with fear,
She mingled with a smile a tender tear.
The soften'd chief with kind compassion view'd,
And dry'd the falling drops; and thus pursu'd·---
"Andromache! my soul's far better part!
Why with untimely sorrow heaves thy heart!
No hostile hand can antedate my doom,
Till fate condemn me to the silent tomb:
Fix'd is the term of all the race of earth;
And such the hard condition of our birth.
No force can then resist, no flight can save;
All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.
No more but hasten to thy task at home;
There guide the spindle and direct the loom.
Me, glory summons to the martial scene;
The field of combat is the sphere for men:
Where heroes war the foremost place I claim,
The first in danger, as the first in fame."

Thus having said, th' undaunted chief resumes, His towery helmet, black with shading plumes. His princess parts with a prophetic sigli, Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye, That stream'd at every look; then moving slow, Sought her own palace, and indulg'd her woe. There while her tears deplor'd the godlike man, Through all her train the soft infection ran: The pious maids their mingled sorrows shed, And mourn'd the living Hector as the dead,

« ÎnapoiContinuă »