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Then, maiden, do they instantly remember,
By an instinctive reminiscency,
That they from countless, limitless ages of ages,
Had conversed with each other—that they were
Married in heaven-predestined each for each.
Thus by a supernatural decree,
They instantly rejoin-their sympathies
Melt down into each other, even as mine
Do into thine, Euphrosyne,—what think you?
A darling metaphysical romance,
Upon my word--but do you not believe
"Twould make this intellectual dream more precious,
Could we but superadd an earthly marriage,
As other lovers do?
No, my Euphrosyne,
'Twould only spoil this our celestial one.
We are better as we are ; this spiritual courtship
Is a much finer thing than what the herd
Of vulgar men call marriage.
I'm not sure Of that, at least, mama thought differently.
Enter XENOPHON and Chloe.
Welcome, dear Plato, and my no less dear
Euphrosyne, you are just like a sister
To me and Chloe.
Nay, more than a sister ;
Next to my Xenophon, whose life is due
To the bravery of Socrates, I love
Thee, my Euphrosyne, best. Hast heard the news?
E'er long my Xenophon and I intend
To bow our heads beneath the flowery yoke
Of gentle Hymen.
What! go and get married !
To be sure, what else should we do?
Why, do as we do,
Love one another with a perfect love;
A marriage of the soul.
You make me laugh, .
You transcendental creature. You must be
A fairy, not a woman. No romancing,
I'll marry in the good old Attic way;
And I most heartily would recommend
Friend Plato, and his fair Euphrosyne,
To follow our example. We are going
To visit some gay friends,- live while you live-
My rule is simple-pleasure! pleasure ! pleasure !
You are too wild, and much too saucy, Chloe ;
Such girls as you change our most grave philosophers
Into mere flirters—dangling, lounging, sighing,
Lying, and dying Cupids.
Your blush is telling another tale. Upon.
Your rosy and voluptuous lip there lies
Passion asleep, yet dreaming. When it wakes,
Good bye to all these cold, chaste, snowy dreams
Of bodiless loves_You'll marry like the rest of us;
Or if you don't-hang yourself out of spite.
SCENE I.-The Gymnastic Games.
Enter EURIPIDES, PHÆDon, Herald, and several Gymnasiasts.
Who wins ?-By the faith of a poet, I will write
An ode upon the winner.
You will do it
With a most sympathetic eloquence;
For who so well can write the victor's praise
As he whose brow so often has been circled
By the laurel garland.
I will try for it, With the cestus.
And I too; we will contend With our best courage.
But contend as brethren,
In right good humour-no ill blood, I pray you.
I love these games—and now especially,
When peace revisits Athens, like a goddess
Smiling away war's horrors. Now, dear Attica
Seems doubly happy; for her happiness
Is of that sweet imperishable kind
Which follows on the traces of despair
Like heavenly morning on a night of storms.
EURIPIDES. By Phæbus ! he too grows poetical : I tremble for my chaplet.
As the Sun
Might tremble at his faintest satellite
That drinks his lustre. Come, my gallant boxers,
The races are concluded; now is the hour
For the cestus-Go it merrily, my hearties.
A ring--a ring !- the chaplet for the winner.
(The Gymnasiasts box with the cestus till one defeats
Well fought-Great Mars himself, the invulnerable,
Could not have done it better. Here, brave champion,
I place this garland on thy head,- I won't
Forget the ode.
Would I'd another prize
For the vanquished ; he deserved it ;-come, rise up;
'Twas a mere accident. I'll wager anything
You'll win in the next match; you only need
A little practise.—Ha! here come the wrestlers.
A ring, a ring !—They'll show you gallant sport;
They are Spartans, gentlemen, and you will find them
True game, I'll warrant;-fine display of muscle,
Solid as iron-every nerve is strung
With a fiery energy-every thing tells-
There's not an atom of effeminate softness
In forms like these. They oiled and shaved each other
Like regular knowing ones. Anon you'll see them
Collar and foil, and wallow in the mire
Like swine, and strive, out of pure love, to throttle
Each other's windpipes : then they'll butt like rams
With their brazen foreheads, till, at a happy catch,
One hoists another in the air and hurls him
On the ground with the violence of a thunderbolt,
Then falling on him, binders him from rising,
Pressing his neck with his elbow, till the other
Smites him upon the shoulder, as to say,
I'm conquered, Gentlemen,-a ring--a ring !
(Wrestlers contend, exhibiting a great variety of skill,
till one falls, defeated.)
Socrates (alone). It is the hour when from the Olympic heaven Jove scatters dreams. Athens lies hushed in slumber : Her eager citizens are still as the dead : Her busy, prattling, jangling populace Have quite forgot their brawls—and I am left Sole watcher, with the stars for company. The stars-Oh, ye mysterious ones, what are ye? Can ye not, in your silent harmonies, Which, through the resonant depths of conscience ring, Articulate your essence?--Are ye not Deities visible, inviolableAll lightened and all lightning-spirits eternal Encompassed with those perfect orbs of matter Which are your animated bodies ?-Ha! How is the pinnacle of bright mythology Girt round by clouds !-Resplendent science soars Into a firmament of ignorance, Where extremes meet and lose themselves. And yet My soul longs to hold converse with the souls Of the Stars--for souls they have-souls that emit And receive inspirations. "Tis their height Alone, or rather, shall I say, our lowness, Severs our fellowship. The nearer they Approach the inaccessible throne of God, The more they vanish from our sphere of notice. O hard condition of the sons of men, That we behold all things inversed !-It is The curse of our position-for gross sense, Antagonizing spiritual truth, Deems great things small, and small things great. What way Shall we avoid this phantasy-by rising To God ?-Ay, we must first identify Ourselves with God, the universal centre, Measure all things by him-not by ourselves. Fly from our small particular orbits_stand Upon the sun, and, with no partial gaze, Behold the involved immensity of things : Thus shall we
Ah! the vision comes again. Thus let me kneel to thee, immaculate shape Of divine æther! wherefore dost thou now
Burst on my trance, and make the soleinn midnight
A thing of wild astonishment ?-Speak to me.
Peace be to Socrates. Thus let me wave
The wand of supernatural calmness o'er thee.
Wonderful Presence !-even now I feel
Thy magic-reason wakes serenely, as
The young Aurora, and fierce passions leave me
Like the last murky clouds of a thunder-storm.
I come to show thee that which shall befall thee.
I am all ear.
The Providence of Heaven
Hath given me this commission unto thee;
For thou art one to whom entrancement's power
Is granted, and the foresight of futurity
To thee becomes a blessing, which to others
Were a dire curse.
Then read my destiny.
It is the destiny I warned thee of,
And now 'tis ripe for its accomplishment :
Thy deadliest foes have secretly contrived
Thy accusation ; all things are prepared
For thy destruction ;- They will summon thee
To the Court of the Thirty Tyrants. Critias,
Thy old disciple, for thy just reproof
Is now thy traitor- That apostate sways
The verdict of the court, and thou shalt be
Condemned to the death.
Great Jupiter, I thank thee; 'Tis even so that I would wish to die. Socrates is grown weary of the world ; 'Tis at the best a paltry prison-house For the free soul that struggles to rejoin The Olympians. Here in vain we strive to bring Wisdom and virtue, to the perfectness That prompts ambition. We are frustrated In the best—while to the worst all things conspire.
Genius. Thou dost not fear to die?
Heaven bear me witness