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While with his buckler cautious he repels
The blows repeated from th' exulting foe.
Greece trembles for her hero. Joy pervades
The Asian ranks, and Hyperanthes strides
Before the line, preparing to receive
His friend triumphant. Teribazus now
Press'd with redoubled efforts. Still the Greek
Sustains th' affault, defensive, and at last,
As with unguarded fury of his strokes
Th’unwary Persian fideways swung his targe.
The fatal moment Dithyrambus watch'd,
And, darting forward with his feet outstretch'd,
His falchion buries in th' obnoxious fide.
Affection, grief, and terror wing the speed
Of Hyperanthes. From his bleeding foe
The Greek retires, not distant, and awaits
The eastern prince. But he with wat'ry cheeks,
And dumb with sorrow, clasps his dying friend,
From whose cold lip with interrupted phrase
These accents broke. O deareit, best of men !
My heart is fruitful with ten thousand thoughts
Of gratitude and love to thee ; but fate
Denies my voice the utt'rance. O my friend!
O Hyperanthes ! hear my tongue unfold,
What thou shouldīt ne'er have known before this
hour; When, as I open
all I may at once retire, and veil iny eyes
In endless night: nor thou presumption deem,
What with my dying breath I here divulge.
I love thy sister. With despair I lov'd,
And thence perhaps untimely is my date ;
Though, witness heav'n, without regret I bleed
With honour thus in Persia's fight and thine.
He ceas'd: th' inexorable hand of fate
Weigh'd down his eyelids, and the gloom of death
His fleeting fight eternally o’ershades.
Him on Choafpes o'er the blooming verge
His frantic mother shall bewail, and strew
Her silver tresses in the crystal tide ;
While all the shore re-echoes to the name
Of Teribazus loft.
In fable pomp with all her starry train
The night assum'd her throne. Recall’d from war,
Her long-protracted labours Greece forgets,
Diffolv'd in silent slumber; all but those,
Who watch'd th' uncertain perils of the dark,
An hundred warriors: Agis was their chief.
High on the wall intent the hero sat,
As o'er the surface of the tranquil main
Along its undulating breast the wind
The various din of Asia's host convey'd,
In one deep murmur fwelling in his ear:
When, by the found of footsteps down the pass
Alarm'd, he calls alouda What feet are those,
Which beat the echoing pavement of the rock?
With speed reply, nor tempt your inftant fate.
He said, and thus return'd a voice unknown.
Not with the feet of enemies we come,
But crave admittance with a friendly tongue.
The Spartan answers. Through the midnight
What purpose draws your wand'ring steps abroad ?
To whom the stranger. We are friends to Greece,
And to the presence of the Spartan king
Admission we implore. The cautious chief
Of Lacedæmon hesitates again;
When thus with accents musically sweet
A tender voice his wondring ear allur'd
O Gen'rous Grecian, listen to the pray'r
Of one distress’d! whom grief alone hath led
In this dark hour to these victorious tents,
A wretched woman innocent of fraud.
The Greek descending through th’ unfolded gates
Upheld a flaming brand. One first appear'd
In fervile garb attir'd; but near his side
A woman graceful and majestic stood;
Not with an aspect rivalling the pow'r
Of fatal Hellen, or the wanton charms
Of love's soft queen : but such as far excell’d,
Whate'er the lily, blending with the rose,
Paints on the cheek of beauty soon
Such, as express’d a mind, which wisdom rul’d,
And sweetness temper'd, virtue's purest light
Illumining the countenance divine,
Yet could not footh remorseless fate, nor teach
Malignant fortune to revere the good,
Which oft with anguish rends the spotless heart,
And oft affociates wisdom with despair.
In courteous phrase began the chief humane.
Exalted fair, who thus adorn'ft the night,
Forbear to blame the vigilance of war,
And to the laws of rigid Mars impute,
That I thus long unwilling have delay'd
Before the great Leonidas to place
This your apparent dignity and worth.
He spake, and gently to the lofty tent
Of Sparta's king the lovely stranger guides.
At Agis' fummons with a mantle broad
His mighty limbs Leonidas infolds,
And quits his couch. In wonder he surveys
Th' illustrious virgin, whom his presence aw'd :
Her eye submissive to the ground inclin'd
With veneration of the godlike man.
But soon his voice her anxious dread dispellid,
Benevolent and hospitable thus.
Thy form alone, thus amiable and great,
Thy mind delineates, and from all commands
Supreme regard. Relate, thou noble dame,
By what relentless deftiny compellid,
Thy tender feet the paths of darkness tread.
Rehearse th' afflictions, whence thy virtue mourns.
On her wan cheek a sudden blush arose,
Like day's first dawn upon the twilight pale,
And, wrapt in grief, these words a passage broke:
If to be most unhappy, and to know,
That hope is irrecoverably fled ;
If to be great and wretched may deserve
Commiseration from the good; behold,
Thou glorious leader of unconquer'd bands,
Behold descended from Darius' loins
Th’ afflicted Ariana, and my pray’r
Accept with pity, nor my tears disdain?
First, that I lov'd the best of human race,
By nature's hand with ev'ry virtue form’d,
Heroic, wise, adorn’d with ev'ry art;
Of shame unconscious does my heart reveal.
This day, in Grecian arms conspicuous clad,
He fought, he fell. A passion long conceal'd
For me alas ! within
His dying breath resigning, he disclos'd.
-Oh I will stay my forrows ! will forbid
My eyes to stream before thee, and my heart,
Thus full of anguish, will from fighs restrain !
For why should thy humanity be griev'd
distress, and learn from me to mourn The lot of nature, doom'd to care and pain! IS