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The first bright harvest on the field of fame.
in wonder from the Phocian wall On your unequall'd deeds incessant gaz'd.
To whom Platæa's chief. Go, Agis, say
To Lacedemon's ruler, that, untir'd,
Diomedon can yet exalt his spear,
Nor feels the armour heavy on his limbs.
Then shall I quit the contest ? -Ere he sinks,
Shall not this early sun again behold
The slaves of Xerxes tremble at my lance,
Should they adventure on a fresh assault?
To him the Thespian youth. My friend, my guide
To noble actions, since thy gen'rous heart
Intent on fame disdains to rest, O grant
I too thy glorious labours may partake,
May learn once more to imitate thy deeds.
Thou, gentlest Agis, Sparta's king entreat
Not to command us from the field of war.
Yes, persevering heroes, he replied,
I will return, will Sparta's king entreat
Not to command you from the field of war.
Then interpos'd Demophilus. O friend,
Who lead'st to conquest brave Platæa's sons ;
Thou too, lov'd offspring of the dearest man,
Who dost restore a brother to my eyes ;
My soul your magnanimity applauds:
But, О reflect, that unabating toil
Subdues the mightiest. Valour will repine,
When the weak hand obeys the heart no more.
Yet I, declining through the weight of years,
Will not assign a measure to your strength.
your vigour undecay'd,
Stay and augment your glory. So, when time
Casts from your whiten'd heads the helm aside ;
When in the temples your enfeebled arms
Have hung their consecrated shields, the land
Which gave you life, in her defence employ'd,
Shall then by honours, doubled on your age,
Bequit the gen'rous labours of your prime.
So spake the senior, and forsook the cave.
But frorn the fount Diomedon receives
Th' o'erflowing waters in his concave helm,
Addressing thus the genius of the stream.
Whoe'er thou art, divinity unstain'd
Of this fair fountain, till unsparing Mars
Heap'd carnage round thee, bounteous are thy
To me, who ill repay thee. I again
Thy silver-gleaming current must pollute,
Which, mix'd with gore, shall tinge the Malian slime.
He said, and lifted in his brimming casque
The bright, refreshing moisture. Thus repairs
The spotted panther to Hydaspes' side,
Or eastern Indus, feasted on the blood
Of some torn deer, which nigh his cruel grasp
Had roam'd, unheeding, in the secret shade;
Rapacious o'er the humid brink he stoops,
And in the pure and fluid crystal cools
His reeking jaws. Meantime the Thespian's eye
Roves round the vaulted space; when sudden sounds
Of inusic, utter'd by melodious harps,
And melting voices, distant, but in tones
By distance soften'd, while the echoes sigh'd
In lulling replication, fill the vault
With harmony. In admiration mute,
With nerves unbrac'd by rapture, he, entranc'd,
Stands like an eagle, when his parting plumes.
The balm of sleep relaxes, and his wings
Fall from his languid side. Platæa's chief,
Observing, rous'd the warrior. Son of Mars,
Shall music's softness from thy bosom steal
The sense of glory? From his neighb'ring camp
Perhaps the Persian sends fresh nations down.
Soon in bright steel Thermopylæ will blaze.
A wake. Accustom'd to the clang of arms,
Intent on vengeance for invaded Greece,
My ear, my spirit in this hour admit
No new sensation, nor a change of thought.
The Thespian, starting from oblivious sloth
Of ravishment and wonder, quick replied.
These sounds were more than human. Hark!
Again! O honour'd friend, no adverse banner streams In sight. No shout proclaims the Persian freed From his late terror. Deeper let us plunge'. In this mysterious dwelling of the nymphs, Whose voices charm its gloom. In smiles rejoin'd Diomedon. I see thy soul enthralld. Me thou would’st rank among th' unletter'd rout Of yon barbarians, should I press thy stay,
Time favours too. Till Agis be return'd,
We cannot act. Indulge thy eager search.
Here will I wait, a centinel unmov'd,
To watch thy coming. In exploring haste
Th' impatient Thespian penetrates the cave.
He finds it bounded by a steep ascent
Of rugged steps; where down the hollow rock
A modulation clear, distinct, and slow
In movement solemn from a lyric string,
Dissolves the stagnant air to sweet accord
With these sonorous lays. Celestial maids !
While, from our cliffs contemplating the war,
We celebrate our heroes, O impart
Orphean magic to the pious strain !
That from the mountain we may call the groves,
Swift motion through these marble fragments breathe
To overleap the high Etæan ridge,
And crush the fell invaders of our peace.
The animated heró upward springs
Light, as a kindled vapour, which, confin'd
In subterranean cavities, at length
Pervading, rives the surface to enlarge
The long-imprison'd flame. Ascending soon,
He sees, he stands abash'd, then rev'rend kneels.
An aged temple with insculptur'd forms Of Jove's harmonious daughters, and a train Of nine bright virgins, round their priestess rang'd, Who stood in awful majesty, receive His unexpected feet. The song is hush'd. The measur'd movement on the lyric chord
In faint vibration dies. The priestess sage,
Whose elevated port and aspect rose
To more than mortal dignity, her lyre
Consigning graceful to attendant hands,
Looks with reproof. The loose, uncover'd hair
Shades his inclining forehead, while a flush
Of modest crimson dyes his youthful cheek.
Her pensive visage softens to a smile
On worth so blooming, which she thus accosts.
I should reprove thee, inadvertent youth,
Who through the sole access by nature left
To this pure mansion, with intruding steps
Dost interrupt our lays. But rise. Thy sword
Perhaps embellish'd that triumphant scene,
Which wak'd these harps to celebrating notes.
What is the impress on thy warlike shield?
A golden eagle on my shield I bear,
Still bending low, he answers. She pursues.
Art thou possessor of that glorious orb,
By me distinguish'd in the late defeat
Of Asia, driven before thee? Speak thy name.
Who is thy sire? Where lies thy native seat?
Com'st thou for glory to this fatal spot,
Or from barbarian violence to guard
A parent's age, a spouse, and tender babes,
Who call thee father? Humbly he again.
I am of Thespia, Dithyrambus nam'd, The son of Harmatides. Snatch'd by fate, He to his brother, and my second sire, Demophilus, consign'd me. Thespia's sons