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His cruell stepdame, seeing what was donne,
her wicked daies with wretched knife did end,
in death avowing th' innocence of her sonne.
Which hearing, his rash syre began to rend
his heare, and hasty tonge that did offend:
tho gathering up the reliques of his smart,
by Diane's means, who was Hippolyts friend,
them brought to Esculape, that by his art
did heale them all againe, and ioyned every part.
Such wondrous science in mans witt to rain
when Jove avizd, that could the dead revive,
and fates expired could renew again,
of endlesse life he might him not deprive:
but unto hell did thrust him downe alive,
with flashing thunderbolt ywounded sore:
where long remaining he did alwaies strive
himselfe with salve to health for to restore,
and slake the hevenly fire that raged evermore.
PROMETHEVS AD CAVCASVM AFFIXVS
ITANUM soboles, socia nostri sanguinis,
generata Cælo, aspicite religatum asperis
vinctumque saxis, navem ut horrisono freto
noctem paventes timidi adnectunt navitæ.
Saturnius me sic infixit Jupiter,
Jovisque numen Mulcebri ascivit manus.
Hos ille cuneos fabrica crudeli inserens
perrupit artus: qua miser sollertia
transverberatus castrum hoc furiarum incolo.
Jam tertio me quoque funesto die
tristi advolatu aduncis lacerans unguibus
Jovis satelles pastu dilaniat fero.
Tum jecore opimo farta et satiata affatim
clangorem fundit vastum et sublime avolans
pinnata cauda nostrum adulat sanguinem.
Quum vero adesum inflatu renovatum est jecur,
tum rursum tetros avida se ad pastus refert.
Sic hunc custodem mosti cruciatûs alo,
qui ne perenni vivum foedat miseria.
Namque, ut videtis, vinclis constrictus Jovis,
arcere nequeo diram volucrem a pectore.
Sic me ipse viduus pestes excipio anxias
amore mortis terminum anquirens mali;
sed longe a leto numine aspellor Jovis.
Atque hæc vetusta, sæclis glomerata horridis,
luctifera clades nostro infixa est corpori,
ex quo liquatæ solis ardore excidunt
guttæ, quæ saxa assidue instillant Caucasi.
1028 TO THE MEMORY OF THE PRINCE CONSORT
HESE to his Memory-since he held them dear, perchance as finding there unconsciously
some image of himself—I dedicate,
I dedicate, I consecrate with tears—
these Idylls. And indeed He seems to me
scarce other than my own ideal knight,
who reverenced his conscience as his king;
whose glory was, redressing human wrong;
who spake no slander, no, nor listen'd to it;
who loved one only and who clave to her—'
her-over all whose realms to their last isle,
commingled with the gloom of imminent war,
the shadow of his loss drew like eclipse,
darkening the world. We have lost him he is gone :
we know him now; all narrow jealousies
are silent; and we see him as he moved,
how modest, kindly, all accomplish'd, wise,
with what sublime repression of himself,
and in what limits, and how tenderly;
not swaying to this faction or to that;
not making his high place the lawless perch
of wing'd ambitions, nor a vantage-ground
for pleasure; but thro' all this tract of years
wearing the white flower of a blameless life,
before a thousand peering littlenesses,
in that fierce light which beats upon a throne,
and blackens every blot; for where is he
who dares foreshadow for an only son
a lovelier life, a more unstain'd, than his?
or how should England dreaming of his sons
hope more for these than some inheritance
of such a life, a heart, a mind as thine,
thou noble Father of her Kings to be,
laborious for her people and her poor-
voice in the rich dawn of ampler day—
far-sighted summoner of war and waste
to fruitful strifes and rivalries of peace-
sweet nature gilded by the gracious gleam
of letters, dear to Science, dear to Art,
dear to thy land and ours, a Prince indeed,
beyond all titles, and a household name,
hereafter, through all times, Albert the Good.
Break not, O woman's-heart, but still endure;
break not, for thou art Royal, but endure,
remembering all the beauty of that star
which shone so close beside thee, that ye made
one light together, but has past and leaves
the Crown a lonely splendour. May all love,
his love, unseen but felt, o'ershadow thee,
the love of all thy sons encompass thee,
the love of all thy daughters cherish thee,
the love of all thy people comfort thee,
till God's love set thee at his side again!
1029 DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND
HO is this that cometh from Edom,
with garments deeply dyed from Botsra?
this, that is magnificent in his apparel,
marching on in the greatness of his strength?
Me. I, who publish righteousness and am mighty to save. Ch. Wherefore is thy apparel red,
and thy garments as of one that treadeth the wine-vat!
Me. I have trodden the vat alone:
and of the people there was not a man with me:
I trod them in mine anger,
and their life-blood was sprinkled upon my garments;
for the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and the year of my redeemed was come.
I looked, and there was no one to help;
therefore mine own arm wrought salvation for me,
and mine indignation itself sustained me.
1030 KING HENRY V BEFORE the GATES OF HARFLEUR
OW yet resolves the governor of the town?
this is the latest parle we will admit:
therefore, to our best mercy give yourselves;
or like to men proud of destruction,
defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier,
(a name, that in my thoughts, becomes me best),
if I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achievéd Harfleur
till in her ashes she lie buried.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up;
and the flesh'd soldier,-rough and hard of heart,--
in liberty of bloody hand, shall range
with conscience wide as hell; mowing like grass
your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if impious war,-
array'd in flames, like to the prince of fiends,—-
do, with his smirch'd complexion, all fell feats
enlinked to waste and desolation?
What is❜t to me, when you yourselves are cause,
if your pure maidens fall into the hand
of hot and forcing violation?
What rein can hold licentious wickedness
when down the hill he holds his fierce career?
We may as bootless spend our vain command
upon the enragéd soldiers in their spoil,
as send precepts to the Leviathan
to come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
take pity of your town and of your people,
whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
o'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
of deadly murder, spoil, and villany.
If not, why, in a moment, look to see
the blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
your fathers taken by the silver beards,
and their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls;
your naked infants spitted upon pikes;
whiles the mad mothers with their howls confus'd
do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
at Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
What say you? will you yield, and this avoid?
Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd?
THE SPIRIT IN COMUS-LADY-COMUS
ACCHUS, that first from out the purple grape crushed the sweet poison of misused wine, after the Tuscan mariners transformed,
coasting the Tyrrhene shore as the winds listed,
on Circe's island fell-who knows not Circe,
the daughter of the Sun, whose charméd cup
whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
and downward fell into a grovelling swine?
This Nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks,
with ivy-berries wreathed, and his blithe youth,
had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
much like his father, but his mother more,
whom therefore she brought up and Comus named:
who, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age,
roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,
at last betakes him to this ominous wood,
and, in thick shelter of black shades embowered,
excels his mother at her mighty art:
offering to every weary traveller
his orient liquor in a crystal glass,
to quench the drought of Phœbus; which as they taste
--for most do taste through fond intemperate thirst-
soon as the potion works, their human countenance,
the express resemblance of the gods, is changed
into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
all other parts remaining as they were.
And they, so perfect is their misery,
not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
but boast themselves more comely than before:
and all their friends and native home forget,
to roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
Therefore when any favoured of high Jove
chances to pass through this adventurous glade,
swift as the sparkle of a glancing star
I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy,
as now I do: but first I must put off
these my sky-robes spun out of Iris' woof,