Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

And bucklers on their bosoms brazen-mail'd
Encount'ring, shields in opposition firm
Met bossy shields, and tumult wild arose.

There, many a shout and many a dying groan
Were heard, the slayer and the wounded loud
Exclaiming, and the earth was drench'd with blood.
Till sacred morn had brighten’d into noon,
The vollied weapons on both sides their task
Perform'd effectual, and the people fell.
But when the sun had climb'd the middle skies,
The sire of all then took his golden scales;
Doom against doom he weighed, th' eternal fates
In counterpoise,, of Trojans and of Greeks.
le rais'd the beam; low sank the heavier lot
Of the Achaians; the Achaian doom
Subsided, and the Trojan struck the skies.

[ocr errors]

XXXV. Idomeneus's description of the Ambuscade,

in which is finely depicted the brave mun and the coward.

To whom the leader of the host of Crete
Idomeneus. I know thy * valour well,
Why speakest thus to me? Şince, chose we forth
This day an ambush of the bravest Greeks,
(For in the ambush is distinguish'd best
The courage; there, the tim'rous and the bold
Plainly appear; the dastard changes hue
And shifts from place to place, nor can he calın
The fears that shake his trembling limbs, but sits
Low-crouching on his hams, while in his breast
Quick palpitates his death-foreboding heart,
And his teeth chatter; but the valiant man
His posture shifts not; no excessive fears
Feels he, but seated once in ambush, deems
Time tedious till the bloody fight begin)
Ev’n there, thy courage should no blame incur.
For shouldst thou, toiling in the fight, by spear
Or faulchion bleed, the weapon should not pierce

# Meriones discrete.

Thy neck hehind, nor yet thy back annoy,
But it would meet thy bowels or thy chest
While thou didst rush into the clam'rous van.
Haste then—we may not longer loiter here
As children prating, lest some sharp rebuke
Reward us.

Enter quick, and from within
Aly tent provide thee with a noble spear.

XXXVI. Lamentations over the Corse of Hector.

ANDROMACH E.

My hero! thou hast fall’n in prime of life,
Me leaving here a widow, and the fruit
Of our ill-fated loves, an helpless child,
Whom grown to manhood I despair to see.
For, ere that season, from her topmost height
Precipitated shall this city fall.
Since thou hast perish'd, once her sure defence,
Faithful protector of her spotless wives,
And all their little ones. T'hose wives shall soon
lo Grecian barks capacious hence be borne,
And I among the rest. But thou, my child !
Shalt either share my fate, ordain’d to drudge
Beneath some tyrant in a distant clime,
Or, seizing thy weak hand, some furious Greek
Shall headlong hurl thee from the tow'r of Troy
To a sad death-whose brother, it may chance,
Whose father, or whose son, brave lector slew,
For he made many a Grecian bite the ground.
Thy father, boy, bore never into fight
A milky mind, and for that self-same cause
Is now bewail'd in ev'ry house of Troy.
Sorrow unutterable thou hast caused
Thy parents, Hector ! but to me hast left
Largest bequest of misery, to whom,
Dying, thou neither didst thy arms extend
Forth from thy bed, nor gav'st me precious word
To be remember'd day and night with tears.

HECUBA.
Hector! far dearest of my sons to me,
Thee, living must the gods have also loved

[ocr errors][merged small]

Whose kindness even in the bands of death
Attends thee; for what son soe'er of ours
Achilles seized besides, to Samos, him,
Or Imbrus, or the dreaded Lemnian coast,
Far o'er the barren deep, for sale he sent;
But thee, poor victim of his ruthless spear,
Oft, at his wheels, around Patroclus' tomb
He dragg’d, as he would waken into life
His friend whom thou hadst slain—yet still he slept.
But thou, the freshness of a fragrant flow'r
New-gather'd, hold'st, and more resemblest far
Some youth whom Phæbus with his gentle shafts
Hath pierced at home, than one in battle slain.

HELEN.
Hector! far dearest of my brothers here!
Me godlike Paris to the shores of Troy
Seduced, and made me partner of his bed,
But, Oh, that I had perish'd first at home!
For this, since stolen from my native land
I wander'd hither, is the twentieth year,
Yet never heard I once hard speech from thee,
Or taunt.morose; but if it ever chanced,
That male or female of thy father's house
Blamed me, and even if herself the queen,
(For in the king, whate'er befell, I found
Always a father) thou hast interposed
Thy gentle temper and thy gentle speech
To sooth them; therefore, with a breaking heart
Thee and my wretched self at once I mourn,
For other friend within the ample bounds
Of Ilium have I none, nor hope to hear
Kind word again, with horror view'd by all.

[ocr errors]

XXXVII. Pericles' Oration at the funeral of those

Athenians, who had been first killed in the Pelo. ponnesian War.

Many of those who have spoken before me on occa. sions of this kind, have commended the author of that law which we are now obeying, for having instituted an

oration to the honour of those who sacrifice their lives in fighting for their country. For my part, I think it sufficient for men who have approved their virtue in action, by action to be honoured for it-by such as you see the public gratitude now performing about this funes ral; and that the virtues of many ought not to be endangered by the management of any one person, when their credit must precariously depend on his oration, which may be good, and may be bad. Difficult indeed it is, judiciously to handle a subject, where even probable truth will hardly gain assent. The hearer, enlightened by a long acquaintance, and warm in his affections, may quickly pronounce every thing unfavourally expressed, in respect to what he wishes and what he knows; whilst the stranger pronounceth all exaggerated, through envy of those deeds which he is conscious are above his own achievement. For the praises bestowed on others are then only to be endured, when men imagine they can do those feats they hear to have been done; they envy what they cannot equal, and immediately proDounce it false. Yet, as this solemnity has received its sanction from the authority of our ancestors, it is my duty also to obey the law, and to endeavour to procure, so far as I am able, the good will and approbation of all my audience.

I shall therefore begin first with our forefathers, since both justice and decency require we should, on this occasion, bestow on them an honourable remembrance. In this our country they kept themselves always firmly settled ; and, through their valour, handed it down free to every since succeeding generation.--Worthy, indeed, of praise are they, and yet more worthy are our immediate fathers; since, enlarging their own inheritance into the extensive empire which we now possess, they bequeathed that, their work of toil, to us their sous. Yet even these successes, we ourselves, here present, we who are yet in the strength and vigour of our days, have nobly improved, and have made such provisions for this our Athens, that now it is all-sufficient in itself to answer every exigence of war and of peace. I mean not here to recite those martial exploits by which these ends were accomplished, or the resclute defences we ourselves and our forefathers have made against the formidable invasions of Barbarians and Greeks. Your own knowledge of these will excuse the long detail. But, by what me. thods we have rose to this height of glory and power; by what polity, and by what conduct, we are thus aggrandized; shall first endeavour to shew, and then proceed to the praise of the deceased.

These, in my opinion, can be no impertinent topics on this occasion; the discussion of them must be beneficial to this nume. rous company of Athenians and of strangers.

We are happy in a form of government which cannot enry the laws of our neigbours; for it hath served as a model to others, but is original at Athens. And this our form, as committed not to the few, but to the whole body of the people, is called a democracy. How different soever in a private capacity, we all enjoy the same general equality our laws are fitted to preserve; and superior honours, just as we excel. The public adminis. tration is not confined to a particular family, but is at. tainable only by merit. Porerty is not a hindrance, since whoever is able to serve his country meets with no obstacle to preferment from his first obscurity. The offices of the state we go through without obstructions from one another; and live together in the mutual endear. ments of private life without suspicions; not angry with a neighbour for following the bent of his own humour, nor putting on that countenance of discontent, which pains, though it cannot punish: so that in private life we converse together without diffidence or damage, whilst we dare not, on any account, offend against the public, through the reverence we bear to the magistrates and the laws, chiefly to those enacted for redress of the injured, and to those unwritten, a breach of which is allowed dis. grace. Our laws have further provided for the mind most frequent intermissions of care, by the appointment of public recreations and sacrifices throughout the year, elegantly performed with a peculiar pomp, the daily delight of which is a charm that puts melancholy to Hight. The grandeur of this our Athens causes the produce of the whole earth to be imported here, by which we reap a familiar enjoyment, not more of the delicacies of onr own growth, thạn of those of other nations.

In the affairs of war we excel those of our enemies, who adhere to methods opposite to our own; for we lay

« AnteriorContinua »