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For such I reign unbounded and above:
And such are men, and gods, compar'd to J ve."
XIII-Encas to Queen Dido, giving an Account of the Sack of Troy.—Virgil.
ALL were attentive to the godlike man,
When from his lofty couch, he thus began :—
Great Queen! What you command me to relate
Renews the sad remembrance of our fate;
An empire from its old foundations rent,
And every woe the Trojans underwent ;
A populous city made a desert place;
All that I saw and part of which I was,
Not e'en the hardest of our foes could hear,
Nor stern Ulysses tell without a tear.
'Twas now the dead of night, when sleep repairs
Our bodies worn with toils, our minds with cares,
When Hector's ghost before my sight appears :
Shrouded in blood he stood, and bath'd in tears:
Such as when, by the fierce Pelides slain,
Thessalian coursers dragg'd him o'er the plain.
Swoln were his feet, as when the thongs were thrust
Through the piere'd limbs; his body black with dust.
Unlike that Hector, who, return'd from toils
Of war, triumphant, in Eacian spoils ;
Or him, who made the fainting Greeks retire,
Hurling amidst their fleets the Phrygian fire.
His hair and beard were clotted stiff with gore:
The ghastly wounds he for his country bore,
Now stream'd afresh.
I wept to see the visionary man ;
And, whilst my trance continued thus began ;
"O light of Trojans, and support of Troy,
Thy father's champion, and thy country's joy!
O long expected by thy friends! From whence
Art thou so late return'd to our defence?
Alas! what wounds are these? What new disgrace
Deforms the manly honors of thy face?"
The spectre groaning from his inmost breast,
This warning, in these mournful words express'd.
"Haste, goddess born! Escape by timely flight.
The flames and horrors of this fatal night;
Thy foes already have possess'd our wall;
Troy nods from high, and totters to her fall.
Enough is paid to Priam's royal name,
Enough to country, and to deathless fame.
If by a mortal arm my father's throne
Could have been sav'd—this arm the feat had done.
Troy now commends to thee her future state,
And gives her gods companions of her fate;
Under their umbrage hope for happier walls,
And follow where thy various fortune calls."
He said, and brought from forth the sacred choir,
The gods and relics of th' immortal fire.
Now peals of shouts came thund'ring from afar,
Cries, threats, and loud lament, and mingled war.
The noise approaches, though our palace stood
Aloof from streets, embosom'd close with wood;
Louder and louder still I hear th' alarms
Of human cries distinct, and clashing arms.
Fear broke my slumbers.
1 mount the terrace; thence the town survey,
And listen what the swelling sounds convey.
Then Hector's faith was manifestly clear'd,
And Grecian fraud in open light appear'd.
The palace of Deipholus ascends
In smokey flames, and catches on his friends.
Ucalegon burns next; the seas are bright
With splendors not their own, and shine with sparkling light.
New clamors and new clangors now arise,
The trumpets voice, with agonizing cries.
With phrenzy seiz'd, I run to meet th' alarms,
Resolv'd on death, resolv'd to die in arms.
But first to gather friends, with whom t' oppose,
If fortune favor'd, and repel the foes,
By courage rous'd, by love of country fir'd,
With sense of honor and revenge inspir'd.
Pantheus, Apollo's priest, a sacred name,
Had'scap'd the Grecians words and pass'd the flame r
With relics loaded, to my doors he fled,
And by the hand his tender grandson led.
"What hope, O Pantheus? Whither can we run?
Where make a stand? Or, What can yet be done!"
Scarce had I spoke, when Pantheus, with a groan,
"Troy is no more! Her glories now are gone.
The fatal day, th' appointed hour is come,
When wrathful Jove's irrevocable doom
Transfers the Trojan state to Grecian hands :
Our city's wrapt in flames; the foe commands.
To several posts their parties they divide;
Some block the narrow streets; some scour the wide.
The bold they kill; th' unwary they surpise;
Who fights meets death, and death finds him who flies"
XIV.—Moloch, the fallen Angel, to the infernal powers, inciting tfam to renew the War.—Milton.
MY sentence is for open war.
More unexpert, I boast not; then let those
Contrive who need or when they need, not now.
For while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here,
Heav'ns fugitives, and for their dwelling place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny, who reigns
By our delay? No; let us rather choose,
Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once,
O'er heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms,
Against the tort'rer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder; and for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels—and his throne itself,
Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps,
The way seems difficult and steep to scale,
With upright wing, against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still.
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight,
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy then,
Th' event is fear'd. Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find,
To our destruction; if there be in hell,
Fear to be worse destroy'd: What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemn'd
In this abhorred deep to utter woe;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire,
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorable, and the tort'ring hour
Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus
We should be quite abolish'd and expire.
What fear we then? What doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? Which to the height enrag'd,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential, (happier far,
Than miserable, to have eternal being)
Or if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb this heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne ;
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.
XV.—SpeecA of Belial^ advising Peace.-I.
I SHOULD be much for open war, O peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urg'd
Main reason to persuade immediate war.
Did not dissuade the most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who most excels in feats of arms,
In what he counsels, and in what excels,
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of heaven are fillM
Vith armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable; oft on the bordering deep
Encamp their legions; or, with obscure wing,
Scout far and wide, into the realm of night,
Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all hell should rise
With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heaven's purest light—yet our great enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne,
Sit unpolluted; and th' etherial mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat despair. We must exasperate
Th' almighty victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our cure,
To be no more. Sad fate! For who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being.
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
.Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry foe
Can give it, or will ever? How he can,
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence, or unaware, `
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves
To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then?
Say they who counsel war, we are decreed,
Reserv'd and destin'd to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can suffer more,
What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? This hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds; or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake! That sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awak'd should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? Or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were open'd and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threal'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurl'd
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of wrecking whirlwinds, or forever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,
Ages of hopeless end! This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or conceal'd, alike
My voice dissuades.