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64 WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO
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,
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
Went to the ground: 1 and the repeated air
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.2
TO A FRIEND
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.
FOR A COPY OF THEOCRITUS 2
SINGER of the field and fold,
Theocritus! Pan's pipe was thine,-
For thee the scent of new-turned mold,
Thou sang'st the simple feasts of old, -
Thou bad'st the rustic loves be told, -
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
Alas for us! Our songs are cold;
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,
wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;
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;
Nature moved by Universal Mind;
at the doubtful doom of human kind;
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 that loved thee since my day began,
ever molded by the lips of man.
“FRATER AVE ATQUE VALE”1
Roof venusta RO'S
OW us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!
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,
DANTE AND THE DIVINE COMEDY 1
'USCAN, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,
With thoughtful pace, and sad, majestic eyes,
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.