Page images
PDF
EPUB

- The listening crowd admire the lofty sound!
A present deity! they shout around:
A present deity! the vaulted roofs rebound!
With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musi

cian sung:
Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young :
The jolly god in triumph comes !
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums !
Flush'd with a purple grace
He shows his honest face:
Now give the hautboys breath, he comes, he

comes !
Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain ;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure:
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure,
Sweet is pleasure after pain.

Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain;
Fought all his battles o'er again,
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice

he slew the slain !
The master saw the madness rise,
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
And while he Heaven and Earth defied
Chang'd his hand, and check'd his pride.
He chose a mournful Muse
Soft pity to infuse:
He sung Darius great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high estate,
And welt'ring in his blood;
Deserted, at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed;
On the bare earth expos'd he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.

With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,
Revolving in his alter'd soul
The various turns of Chance below;
And, now and then, a sigh he stole,
And tears began to flow.

The mighty master smiled to see That love was in the next degree;

'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet in Lydian measures
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble,
Honor, but an empty bubble,
Never ending, still beginning;
Fighting still, and still destroying;
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying:
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee!
The many rend the skies with loud ap-

plause; So Love was crown'd, but Music won the

cause. The prince, unable to conceal his pain, Gazed on the fair Who caus'd his care, And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd, Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh’d again: At length, with love and wine at once opprest, The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.

Now strike the golden lyre again : A louder yet, and yet a louder strain!

Break his bands of sleep asunder
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark! the horrid sound
Has rais'd up his head:
As awak'd from the dead,
And amaz'd, he stares around.

Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise!
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes !
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand !
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were

slain
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain:
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew !
Behold how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes
And glittering temples of their hostile gods.

The princes applaud with a furious joy: And the King seiz'd a flambeau with zeal to

destroy;

Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy!

- Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft

desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarg’d the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown

before. - Let old Timotheus yield the prize, Or both divide the crown; He rais'd a mortal to the skies; She drew an angel down!

John Dryden.

« PreviousContinue »