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64 WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO

THE CITY

CAPT

APTAIN, or Colonel, or Knight in arms,

Whose chance on these defenseless doors may seize, If deed of honor did thee ever please, Guard them, and him within protect from harms. He can requite thee; for he knows the charms

That call fame on such gentle acts as these,

And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower:

The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower

Went to the ground: 1 and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power

To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.2

1

John Milton

65

TO A FRIEND

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WHO prop, thou ask’st, in these bad days, my mind?

He much, the old man, who, clearest-souled of men, Saw The Wide Prospect,) and the Asian Fen,

1 “When Thebes was destroyed (335 B. C.) and the citizens massacred by thousands, Alexander ordered the house of Pindar [the greatest of Greek lyric poets] to be spared.”. (From a note by F. T. Palgrave.)

2 “Amongst Plutarch's vague stories, he says that when the Spartan confederacy in 404 B. C. took Athens, a proposal to demolish it was rejected through the effect produced on the commanders by hearing part of a chorus from the Electra of Euripides sung at a feast.” (From a note by F. T. Palgrave.)

3 The name Europe (Evpóan, the wide prospect) probably describes the appearance of the European coast to the Greeks on the coast of Asia Minor opposite. The name Asia, again, comes, it has been thought, from the muddy fens of the rivers of Asia Minor, such as the Cayster of Mæander, which struck the imagination of the Greeks living near them. [Author's note.]

And Tmolus' hill, and Smyrna's bay, though blind.
Much he, whose friendship I not long since won,
That halting slave, who in Nicopolis
Taught Arrian, when Vespasian's brutal son
Clcared Rome of what most shamed him. But be his
My special thanks, whose even-balanced soul,
From first youth tested up to extreme old age,
Business could not make dull, nor Passion wild:
Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole:
The mellow glory of the Attic stage;
Singer of sweet Colonus, and its child,1

Matthew Arnold

66

FOR A COPY OF THEOCRITUS 2

SINGER of the field and fold,

Theocritus! Pan's pipe was thine,-
Thine was the happier Age of Gold.

O

For thee the scent of new-turned mold,
The beehives, and the murmuring pine,
O Singer of the field and fold!

Thou sang'st the simple feasts of old, -
The beechen bowl made glad with wine ...
Thine was the happier Age of Gold.

Thou bad'st the rustic loves be told, -
Thou bad'st the tuneful reeds combine,
O Singer of the field and fold!

1 The three writers alluded to are Homer, Epictetus, and Sophocles.

2 Reprinted through special arrangement with Mr. Alban Dobson and with the Oxford University Press.

And round thee, ever-laughing, rolled
The blithe and blue Sicilian brine
Thine was the happier Age of Gold.

Alas for us! Our songs are cold;
Our Northern suns too sadly shine:-
O Singer of the field and fold,
Thine was the happier Age of Gold!

Austin Dobson

67

TO VIRGILI

THE

WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF THE MANTUANS FOR

NINETEENTH CENTENARY OF VIRGIL'S DEATH

OMAN VIRGIL, thou that singest

Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,

wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;
Landscape-lover, lord of language

more than he that sang the Works and Days, All the chosen coin of fancy

flashing out from many a golden phrase; Thou that singest wheat and woodland,

tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd; All the charm of all the Muses

often flowering in a lonely word; Poet of the happy Tityrus

piping underneath his beechen bowers; Poet of the poet-satyr

whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers; Chanter of the Pollio, glorying

in the blissful years again to be, 1 Reprinted with the permission of The Macmillan Company.

Summers of the snakeless meadow,

unlaborious earth and oarless sea;
Thou that seëst Universal

Nature moved by Universal Mind;
Thou majestic in thy sadness

at the doubtful doom of human kind;
Light among the vanished ages;

star that gildest yet this phantom shore; Golden branch amid the shadows,

kings and realms that pass to rise no more; Now thy Forum roars no longer,

fallen every purple Cesar's domeTho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm

sound for ever of Imperial RomeNow the Rome of slaves hath perished,

and the Rome of freemen holds her place, I, from out the Northern Island

sundered once from all the human race,
I salute thee, Mantovano,

I that loved thee since my day began,
Wielder of the stateliest measure

ever molded by the lips of man.

Alfred Tennyson

68

“FRATER AVE ATQUE VALE”1

Roof venusta RO'S

OW us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!
So they rowed, and there we landed—“O
Sirmio!”

i Reprinted with the permission of The Macmillan Company.-The words of the title--meaning “O my brother, hail and farewell!”—conclude a poem by Catullus mourning the death of a brother, of which the following is a prose rendering by Charles Stuttaford:

“Borne over many lands and many seas, I come, O my brother,

There to me thro' all the groves of olive in the summer glow,
There beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow,
Came that “Ave atque Vale” of the Poet's hopeless woe,
Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen-hundred years ago,
“Frater Ave atque Vale”- -as we wandered to and fro
Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the Garda Lake below
Sweet Catullus's all-but-island, olive-silvery Sirmio!

Alfred Tennyson

69

DANTE AND THE DIVINE COMEDY 1

TWI

'USCAN, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,

With thoughtful pace, and sad, majestic eyes,
Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul arise,
Like Farinata from his fiery tomb.
Thy sacred song is like the trump of doom;
Yet in thy heart what human sympathies,
What soft compassion glows; as in the skies
The tender stars their clouded lamps relume!
Methinks I see thee stand with pallid cheeks
By Fra Hilario in his diocese,
As up the convent-walls, in golden streaks,
The ascending sunbeams mark the day's decrease;

to the sad spot where you repose; that I may render to you the last sad rites of the dead, and call, although in vain, to your dumb ashes. Since fate has snatched your dear presence from my eyes, alas, O my brother, so cruelly taken from me, yet receive these last sad rites, that are according to the pious usages of our forefathers and are washed with a brother's many tears, and now forever, O my brother, hail and farewell!” (Reprinted with the permission of Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.) In another poem-which may

be seen below, p. 612-the Roman poet celebrates a return to his home on the peninsula, or "all-but-island," of Sirmio: in this occurs the "O venusta Sirmio!” (O fair Sirmio”).

1 Editors' title. The editors are further responsible, in part, for the grouping of the sonnets.

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