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But if great Campbell, whose auspicious smila EPIGONIAD.
Bids genius yet revive to bless our isle,
Who, from the toils of state, and public cares, BOOK I.
Oft with the Muses to the shade repairs, Ye pow'rs of song! with whose immortal fire
My numbers shall approve, I rise to fame :
For what he praises, envy dares not blame. Your bard enraptur'd sung Pelides' ire,
Where high Olympus' hundred beads arise, To Greece so fatal, when in evil hour,
Divide the clouds, and mingle with the skies, He brav'd, in stern debate, the sov'reign pow'r,
The gods assembled met: and view'd from far, By like example teach me now to show
Thebes and the various combats of the war. From love, no less, what dire disasters flow.
From all apart the Paphian goddess sat, For when the youth of Greece, by Theseus led,
And pity'd in her heart her fav'rite state, Return'd to conquer where their fathers bled,
Decreed to perish, by the Argive bands, And panish guilty Thebes, by Heav'n ordain'd
Pallas's art, Tydides' mighty hands: For perfidy to fall, and oaths profan'd ; Pensive she sat, and every art explor'd Venus, still partial to the Theban arms,
To charm the victor, and restrain his sword; Tydeus' son seduc'd by female charms;
But veil'd her purpose from the piercing ray Who, from his plighted faith by passion sway'd, Of Pallas, ever jealous of her sway: The chiefs, the army, and himself betray'd. Unseen the goddess, from th’Olympian height This theme did once your fav'rite bard employ, To shady Cyprus bent her rapid fight, Whose verse immortaliz'd the fall of Troy :
Down the steep air, as, from the setting skies, But time's oblivious gulf, whose circle draws
At ev'n's approach, a streaming meteor flies. All mortal things by fate's eternal laws,
Where lofty shores the tempest's rage restrain, In whose wide vortex worlds themselves are tost, And sleeps, in peace dissolv'd, the hoary main; And rounding swift successively are lost, In love's fam'd isle a deep recess is found, This song hath snatch'd. I now resume the strain, which woods embrace, and precipices bound, Not from proud hope and emulation vain, To Venus sacred; there her temple stands, By this attempt to merit equal praise
Where azure billows wash the golden sands, With worth heroic, born in happier days. A hollow cave ; and lifts its rocky head, Sooner the weed, that with the Spring appears, With native myrtle crown'd, a lofty shade; And in the Summer's heat its blossom bears, Whither resort the Naiads of the flood, But, shriv’ling at the touch of Winter hoar, Assemblid with the nymphs from ev'ry wood, Sinks to its native earth, and is no more;
Her heifers there they tend, and fleecy store, Blight match the lofty oak, which long hath stood, along the windings of the desert shore. Frum age to age, the monarch of the wood. Thither the goddess, from the Olympian height But love excites me, and desire to trace
Descending swift, precipitates her flight ; His glorious steps, tho' with unequal pace. Conspicuous, on the yellow sand, she stood, Before me still I see his awful shade,
Above the margin of the azure flood. With garlands crown'd of leaves which never fade; From ev'ry grove and stream the nymphs attend, He points the path to fame, and bids me scale
And to their queen in cheerful homage bend. Parnassus' slipp'ry height, where thousands fail: Some hast’ning to the sacred gidt repair, I follow trembling ; for the cliffs are high, And deck its rocky walls with garlands fair; And huviring round them watchful harpies fly, Others produce the gifts which Autumn brings, To snatch the poet's wreath with envious claws, And sparkling nectar quench'd with mountain And biss contempt for merited applause.
And now the queen, impatient to explain “Goddess ! these shafts shall compass what Her secret griefs, address'd her list ning train: “ Ye rural goddesses, immortal fair!
My mother dipt their points in Stygian flame; Who all my triumphs, all my sorrows share ; Where'er my father's darts their way have found, I come, afflicted, from th'ethereal tow’rs, Mine follow deep, and poison all the wound. Where Thebes is doom'd to fall by partial pow'rs. By these, we soon, with triumph, shall behold Nos can entreaty sare my fav’rite state,
Pallas deceiv'd, and Juno's self control'd.” Avert or change the rigour of her fate;
They all approve; and, to the rural fane, Though,breathing incense, there my altar stands, Around their sov'reign, moves the joyful train ; With daily gifts supply'd from virgin's hands. The goddess plac'd, in order each succeeds, Juno not rules the senate of the skies,
With song and dance the genial feast proceeds ; And with her dictates ev'ry pow'r complies; While to the sprightly harp, the voice explains Her jealous hate the guiltless town condemns The loves of all the gods in wauton strains: To wasteful havoc, and the rage of flames; But when arriv'd the silent hour, which brings Since, thither tempted by a stranger's charms, The shades of ev'ning on its dewy wings, The mighty thunderer forsook her arms.
Zelotype, impatient to pursue Jove's warlike daughter too promotes her aim, Her journey, hastning to her cave, withdrew. Who for Tydides seeks immortal fame;
First to her feet the winged shoes she binds, For him employs a mother's watchful cares, Which tread the air, and mount the rapid winds; And the first honours of the war prepares:
Aloft they bear her through th' ethereal plain, To frustrate both, a monument would raise Above the solid earth and liquid main : Of lasting triumph and immortal praise; Her arrows next she takes of pointed steel, To draw the son of Tydeus from the fielu,
For sight too small, but terrible to feel : To whose victorious hands the town must yield; Rous'd by their smart, the savage lion roars, For, by the all-decreeing will of fate,
And mad to combat rush the tusky boars, He only can o'erthrow the Theban state.
Of wounds secure; for where their venom lights, A way which promises success I'll name: What feels their power all other torment slights, The valiant youth adores a lovely dame,
A figur'd zone, mysteriously design'd, Alcander's daughter, whom the graces join'd Around her waist her yellow robe confin'd : With gifts adorn above the human kind : There dark Suspicion lurk'd, of sable hue; She with her sire forsook th' Hesperian strand, There hasty Rage his deadly dagger drew; By hostile arms expelld their natire land : Pale Envy inly pin'd; and by her side For Echetus who rules, with tyrant force, Stood Phrenzy, raging with his chains unty'd ; Where Aufidus directs his downward course,
Affronted Pride with thirst of vengeance burn'd, And high Garganus, on th’Apulian plain, And Love's excess to deepest hatred turn'd. Is mark'd by sailors, from the distant main; All these the artist's curious hand express'd, Oft from her sire had claim'd the lovely maid, The work divine his matchless skill confess'd. Who, still averse, to grant his suit delay'd: The virgin last, around her shoulders flung For, barb'rous in extreme, the tyrant feeds The bow; and by her side the quiver hung: With mangl'd limbs of men bis hungry steeds : Then, springing up, her airy course she bends Impatient of his love, by hostile arms
For Thebes; and lightly o'er the tents descends, And force declar'd, he claim'd her matchless The son of Tydeus, 'midst his bands, she found charms,
In arms complete, reposing on the ground; Pelignium raz'd, the hero's royal seat,
And, as he slept, the hero thus address'd, Who sought in foreign climes a safe retreat: Her form to fancy's waking eye express'd. His flight, Ætolia's friendly shore receives,
“ Thrice happy youth! whose glory 'tis to Her gen'rous lord protects him and relievos; The Paphian goddess's peculiar care; (share Three cities to possess, the chief obtains,
But happy only, as you now improve With hills for pasture fit, and fruitful plains. The warning sent as earnest of her love. Cassandra for his bride Tydides claim'd; Her messenger I am: if in your heart For hymeneal rites the hour was nam'd; The fair Hesperian virgin claims a part: When, call'd to arms against the Theban tow'rs, If, with regret, you'd see her matchless charms The chief reluctant led his martial pow'rs. Destin'd to bless a happier rival's arms; Hence jealousy and fear his breast divide, Your coasts defenceless, and unguarded tow'rs Fear for the safety of an absent bride ;
Consum'd and rarag'd by the Latian pow'rs; Lest, by his passion rous'd, the tyrant rise, Withdraw your warriors from the Argive hosi, And unoppos'd usurp the lovely prize.
And save whate'er you value, ere 'tis lost. He knows not, that, in martial arms conceal'd, For F.chetus, who rules with tyrant force, With him she braves the terrours of the field; Where Aufidus directs his downward cuurse; True to his side, noon's sultry toil endures, And high Garganus on th’Apulian strand And the cold damps that chill the midnight hours. Marks to the mariner the distant land, If dreams, or signs, could jealonsy impart, Prepares, by swift invasion, to remove And whets the cares that sting the hero's heart, Your virgin bride, and disappoint your love. Impatient of his pain, he'd soon prepare, Before, excited by her matchless charms, With all its native bonds, to quit the war." He claim'd her from her sire by hostile arms;
The goddess thus: a Paphian nymph reply'd, Pelignium raz'd, the hero's royal seat, and drew the list'oing crow'd on ev'ry side: When in your land he sought a safe retreat. Zelotypé, whom fell Alecto bore,
Cassandra follow' with reluctant mind, With Cupid mixing on th' infernal shore, To love the tyrant secretly inclin'd;
Thorigh fierce and barb'rous in extreme, he feeds In Phthia staid ; to Chiron's care resign'd,
The chiefs were plac'd. Superior to the rest
She said; and turning, fix'd upon the bow Which prudence may prevent, or force resist, A venom'd shaft, the cause of future woe : We come prepard to counsel and assist:” Then, with rererted aim, the subtile dart The monarch thus. Tydides thus reply'd, Dismiss'd, and fix'd it in the hero's heart. And drew attention deep on ev'ry side. Amaz'd be wak'd; and, on his arm reclin'd, " Princes! I have not now the host conven'd, With sighs, thus spoke the anguish of his mind. For secrets by intelligence obtain’d;
" What dire disasters all my ways beset ! But openly my judgment to express How close around me pitch'd the fatal net ! Of mischiefs seen, which prudence must redress: Here if I stay, nor quit the Argive host,
By war's devouring rage, our martial pow'rs Etolia's ravag'd, and Cassandra's lost :
Grow thin and waste before these hostile tow'rs; For sure the pow'rs immortal ne'er in vain While Thebes, secure, our vain attempts withTo mortals thus the secret fates explain.
By daily aid sustain'd from distant lands. (stands, If I retire, the princes must upbraid
Shall we proceed to urge this dire debate, My plighted faith infring'd, the bost betray'd; And press, with hostile arms, the Theban state? And, to succeeding times, the voice of fame, Or, by experience taught the worst to fear, With cowardice and sloth, will blot my name, Consult the public safety, and forbear? Eetween these sad alternatives I find
Had our great sires, by happier counsels sway'd, Nu distant hopes to sooth my anxious mind; As prudence taught, necessity obey'd; Unless I could persuade the Argive pow'rs Renounc'd in time this fatal strife, which brings To quit at once these long contested tow'rs : Alike to nations mischief, and to kings; Nor want I reasons specious in debate
Those heroes had not, with their martial train, To move the boldest warriors to retreat,
Distinguish'd by their fall a foreign plain.
Thus pond'ring in his mind the hero lay, In judgment just, they sow'd the seeds of strise,
Since Thebes grows stronger; and the Argive pow'rs And sought the son of Dares as he went:
Decrease, as famine or the sword devours, Talthybius he sought, nor sought in vain ; To murrow I withdraw my inartial train ; He found tbe hero 'midst his native train; Nor stay to perish, like my sire, in vain." And charg'd bim to convene, from tent to tent, Thus as the hero spoke, the kings divide, The kings to Eteon's lofty monument.
And mingled murmurs round th' assembly glide, Obedient to the charge, he took his way, Heard like the sound which warn the careful Where Theseus 'midst the bold Athenians lay,
swain The king of men; in whose superior hand, Of sudden winds or thick-descending rain ; Consenting princes plac'd the chief command. When mountain echoes catch the sullen roar Adrąstus next be call’d, whose hoary hairs Of billows bursting on the sandy shore, By age were whiten's and a length of cares; And hurl it round in airy circles tost, Who first to Thebes the Argive warriors led : Till in the distant clouds the voice is lost. la vaip for Polynices' right they bled,
The king of men to sudden rage resign'd, By fate decreed to fall; he now inspires
At once, the empire of his mighty mind, The sons to conquer, and avenge their sires. With sharp reproaches hast’ning to reply; Ulysses heard, who led his martial train, But, more sedate, the Pylian monarch pigh, In twenty ships, across the sounding main : In act to rise, the angry chief confin'd; The youth, in Ithaca, Zacynthus, bred, And, whisp'ring, thus address'd with head deAnd Cephalenia crown'd with lofty shade.
clin'd : The Spartan monarch, with his brother, heard “ It ill becomes the prince, whose sov'reign hand The herald's call; and at the call appear'd: Sways the dread sceptre of supreme command, Yet young in arms, but destin'd to command To be the first in discord; and obey Al Greece, assembled on the Trojan strand. As headlong passion blindly leads the way. The Cretan chief appear'd; and he whose sway
For wben the kings in rash debate engage, Messenia and the Pylian realms obey.
'Tis yours to check and moderate their rage; Oileus next be callà, whose martial pow'rs Since, of the various ills that can distress From Bessa move and Scarphe's lofty tow'rs. Confed'rate councils, and prevent success, Elpenot too, who from the Chalcian strand Discord is chief; where'er the fury sways, And fair Eretria led his martial band,
The parts she severs, and the whole bei rays." Appear'd; and all who merited renown
The hero thus. The king of men remain'd In ten years war before the Trojan town. By sound advice persuaded, and restrain'd. Achilles only, yet unfit to wield
Crete's valiant monarch rose; and to the rest, The Pelian jarlin, and the pond'rous shield, Thus spoke the dictates of his gen'rous breast.
Confedérate kings, when any leader here I freely own th’unnumber'd ills that wait The war dissuades, and warns you to forbear, On strife prolong'd, and war's disastrous state, I might approve; for, safe beyond the sea, With war lean famine and diseases dwell, Creon and Thebes can never injure me.
And Discord fierce, escap'd the bounds of Hell.
And teach the tyrants of the Earth to fear.
(If oaths despis'd, and all the ties wbich bind : By foreign aids the more our foes increase, The great society of human kind ;) The greater glory waits us from success.
For Eteocles in the war she stood, You all remember, on the Isthmean strand, And drench'd her thirsty fields with Grecian Where noighb'ring seas besiege the straiten'd
The gods themselves have err'd, and plac'd in When Greece enleagu'd a full assembly held, The scepter'd kings injustice to restrain; By public justice to the war compell’d;
Else she deserves the last extremes to feel That blood of slaughter'd victims drench'd the Of wasteful fire and keen devouring steel. ground,
Though prudence urg'd and equity approv'd, While oaths divine the willing nations bound, Joining to second what Tydides mor'd, Ne'er to return, till our victorious pow'rs We could not hope the war for peace to change, Had level'd with the dust the Theban tow'rs. Thebes thinks not now of safety, but revenge. Jove heard, and bid applauding thunders roll,, Last night, disguis'd, I mingled with the foe, Loud on the right; they shook the starry pole: Their secret hopes and purposes to know; For Sore himself is witness of our vows,
And found that Creon, with his martial traini, And him, who violates, bis wrath pursues. This day intends to brave us on the plain. Our joyful shouts the earth, the ocean heard ; Greece too, I heard, by barb'rous sovereigus We claim'd the omen, and the God rever'd:
claim'd, In confidence of full success we came,
Some Athens, Argos, some Mycæne nam'd; To conquer Thebes, and win immortal fame,
Sparta and Pylos, with the various towns But if the gods and fate our fears distrust,
Wbich grace, in prospect fair, th' Arcadian To public justice and ourselves unjust;
downs: Dishonour'd to our native seats we go,
Others Etolia challeng'd for their lot; And yield a lasting triumph to the foe. [ghost Nor was even Ithaca itself forgot. Should now, from hence arriv'd, some warrior's From such vain hopes to boasting they proceeds Greet valiant Tydeus on the Stygian coast, Each promises to win some hero's head. And tell, when danger or distress is near,
Leophron too, distinguished from the rest, That Diomed persuades the rest to fear;
Superior pride and insolence express'd; He'd shun the synod of the mighty dead,
In form a god he 'midst th'assembly stood, And hide his anguish in the deepest shade: By all ador'd, the idol of the crowd; Nature in all an equal course maintains ; Aud promis'd, if he chanc'd in fight to meet The lion's whelp succeeds to awe the plains; Th’Etolian chief, to stretch him at his feet; Pards gender pards s from tigers tigers spring; Unless some god oppos'd, or dastard fear No doves are hatch'd beneath a vulture's wing: By sudden flight, should swatch him from his Each parent's image in his offspring lives;
spear. But nought of 'Tydeus in his son survives.”
Can we then hope by peace to end our toils, He said; and by his sharp reproaches stung, When foes secure already share our spoils; And wav'ring in suspence the hero hung, Peace to expect from fight itself were rain; Iu words now prone to vent his kindl'dire,
And flight, I know, your gen'rous souis disdain." Or fix'd in sullen silence to retire.
He said. The chiefs with indignation burn'd; As when a current, from the ocean wide,
And Diomed submitting thus return'd: Rolls, through the Cyclades, its angry tide; “ Princes! I need not for myself profess, Now here, now there, in circling eddies tost, What all have witness'd, all must sure confess; The certain tencur of its course is lost,
That in the front of battle still engag d, Each wary pilot for bis safety fears
I never shunu'd to mingle where it rag'd. In mute suspense, anl trembles as he steers : Nor now does fear persuade me to retire, Such seem'd the tumult of the hero's breast, False Creon safe, and guilty Thebes entire; And such amazement long restraiu'd the rest. But war and farmine thin our martial pow'rs, Laertes' son at last the silence broke,
Whilst adverse fates protect the Theban tow'rs. And, rising, thus with prudent purpose spoke: And as the careful shepherd turns his flock
* Princes! I counsel war; but will not blame Back froin the dangers of the slipp'ry rock, The chief dissenting, whose illustrions name And from the haunts where foxes mark the We all must honour: yet, with patience, bear
ground, What now I offer to the public ear:
Or rapid rivers fox with banks unsound;
kings should värritbe penple to forbear The Thracians next, a formidable band; Attempts, when symptoms mark destruction near. Nations and tribes distinct, in order stand : But since the leaders, with consenting voice, Byzantines fierce, whose crooked keels divide For war already fix the public choice;
The Pontic gulf, and stem the downward tide: I freely yield, nor ever will divide,
In Grecian arms the hardy warriors move, Where all deliberate, and all decide.”
With pond'rous shields and glittring spears The hero thus, and ceas'd. And thus the rest,
above. From bis high seat, the king of men address'd: The 'Thynians next were marshall’d on the field; “ Since war is now decreed, 'tis next our care Each with a falchion arm'd and lunar shield, That all should speedily for fight prepare ; Whose ben:ling hoins a verge of silver bound; Creon, this day, intends with all his train And figures tierce their brazen Helmets crown'd: To try our valour on the equal plain;
With these the Daci came, a mart al race; And will, with diligence, iinprove an hour, Fierce as their clime, they rear the pond'rous Which finds us inattentive and secure.
mace; First let each leader with his bands in haste In giant strength secure, they scorn the spear, Soatch, as the time allows, a short repast; And crush, with weighty blows, the ranks of war: Then arm for fight, and to the field proceed, From Ister's icy streams, a barb'rous crowd, The phalanx following as the chariots lead. In shaggy furs, a herd promiscnous stood; Who arms the first, and first to coinbat goes, Sivift as their savage game ; fur wide they roam Though weaker, seems superior to his foes; In tribes and nations, ignorant of home; But such as lag are more than half o'erthrown, ExceHing all who boast superior skill Less in the eyes of others and their own." To send the winged arrow swift to kill :
The monarch thus. The princes all assent. These Rhesus ruld, of various tribes compos'do Straight from the council through the hust they By various leaders on the field dispos’d. went,
To figlit the Argives mov'd in close array ;
The parched fields, and darken all the skies.
Beneath the shade, the ardent warriors close;
Their shields and helmets ring with sounding EPIGONIAD.
First Menelaus struck a Theban lord;
His armed breast the weighty lance explor'd ;
Burst the close mail; the shining breast-plate ASSEMBL'D on the plain, the Theban pow'rs
tore; In order'd racks appear before the tow'rs; And from life's fountain drew a stream of gore. Creon their leader, whose superior sway,
Supine he fell amidst his native bands, The martial sons of sacred Thebes obey.
And wrenchi'd the fixed dart with dying hands. The chiefs obedient to his high command, To spoil the slain the son of Atreus flies; Ruld the whole war, and marshall'd every band. The Thebans interpose with hostile cries; His valiant son the first, his country's boast, And Creon's valiant son his buckler spreail, Her noblest hope, the bulwark of her host, An orb of triple brass, to guard the deat: Leophron, to the field the warriors led,
As Jove's imperial bird hier wings extends, Whoin 'Thebes herself within her ramparts bred: And from the shepherd's rage her young defende; Peneleus, who from Medeon led his pow'rs, So stern Leophron bore his ample shield; Echalia low, and Arne's lofty tow'rs:
Like Mars he stood, the terrour of the field. Leitus from Thespia, where the verdant shades With dread unusual check'd, the Spartan land Of Helicon invite the tuneful maids:
Recoil'd; Atrides only dar'd to stand. Portbenor rich, whose wide possessions lay He thus began: “ Presumptuous youth ! forbear Where fam'd Æsopus winds bis wat'ry way; To tempt the fury of my flying spear. Beneath Cytheron's height, the lofty mound That warı ior there was by my javelin slain, Which parts Baotian plains from hostile ground: His spoils to guard you interpose in vain." Phericles, who the valiant warriors led
Atrides thus; and Creon's son replies: In Mycallessus, Harma, Aulis, bred :
“ Thy lance I dread not, and thy threats despise, Andremon, leader of his native band,
This hand hath many a chief of high renowo, From lofty Schæous on th' Ismenian strand : And braver warriors oft in fight o'erthrown: And Anthedon, where swist Euripus pent Like theirs, thy fall shall dignify my spear, Divides Euboea from the continent:
And future boasters thence be ianght to fear." These rul'd the Theban pow'rs beneath the care Thus as he spoke bis weighty lance he threw Of Crpori, chief and sov'reigu of the war.
At Atrexs' son, which rising as it flew The aids from Macedon the next were plac'd; Upon the hero's crest with furious sway, Their sb.ning casques with waving plumage Glanc'd as it pass'd and shar'd the plumes away.. grac'd;
Hissing amidst the Spartan ranks it came, A wolf's-grey hide, around their shoulders Aung, And struck a youth of undistinguish'd name: With martial grace above their armour hung: Cold, through his breast, the steel and polish'd From high Dodona's sacred shades they came;
wood Cassander led them to the fields of fame.
A passage forc'd, and drew a stream of blood.