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No voice, but thine, O Agis, broke the air !
While thus the issue of thy awful charge
Thy lips deliver'd. Spartans, in your name
I went to Delphi. I inquir’d the doom
Of Lacedemon from th' impending war,
When in these words the deity replied:

“ Inhabitants of Sparta, Persia's arms “ Shall lay your proud and ancient seat in dust; “ Unless a king, from Hercules deriv'd, “ Cause Lacedemon for his death to mourn."

As when the hand of Perseus had disclos'd The snakes of dire Medusa, all who view'd The Gorgon features were congeal'd to stone, With ghastly eyeballs on the hero bent, And horror, living in their marble form; Thus with amazement rooted, where they stood, In speechless terror frozen, on their kings The Spartans gaz'd: but soon their anxious looks All on the great Leonidas unite, Long known his country's refuge. He alone Remains unshaken. Rising, he displays His godlike presence. Dignity and grace Adorn his frame, where manly beauty joins With strength Herculean. On his aspect shine Sublimest virtue, and desire of fame, Where justice gives the laurel, in his eye . The inextinguishable spark, which fires The souls of patriots ; while his brow supports Undaunted valour, and contempt of death. Serene he cast his looks around, and spake :

Why this astonishment on ev'ry face, Ye men of Sparta? Does the name of death Create this fear and wonder? O my friends, Why do we labour through the arduous paths, Which lead to virtue ? Fruitless were the toil, Above the reach of human feet were plac'd The distant summit, if the fear of death Could intercept our passage. But a frown Of unavailing terror he assumes, To shake the firmness of a mind, which knows That, wanting virtue, life is pain and woe, That, wanting liberty, ev'n virtue mourns, And looks around for happiness in vain. Then speak, 0 Sparta, and demand my life! My heart, exulting, answers to thy call, And smiles on glorious fate. To live with fame, The gods allow to many; but to die With equal lustre is a blessing, Jove Among the choicest of his boons reserves, Which but on few his sparing hand bestows.

Salvation thus to Sparta he proclaim'd. Joy, wrapt awhile in admiration, paus’d, Suspending praise; nor praise at last resounds In high acclaim to rend the arch of heav'n: A reverential murmur breathes applause. So were the pupils of Lycurgus train'd To bridle nature. Public fear was dumb Before their senate, ephori, and kings, Nor exultation into clamour broke. Amidst them rose Dieneces, and thus :

Haste to Thermopylæ." To Xerxes show
The discipline of Spartans, long renown'd
In rigid warfare, with enduring minds,
Which neither pain, nor want, nor danger bend.
Fly to the gate of Greece, which open stands
To slavery and rapine. They will shrink
Before your standard, and their native seats
Resume in abject Asia. Arm, ye sires,
Who with a growing race have bless'd the state.
That race, your parents, gen'ral Greece forbid
Delay. Heaven summons. Equal to the cause
A chief behold. Can Spartans ask for more?

Bold Alpheus next. Command my swift return
Amid the Isthmian council, to declare ; .
Your instant march. His dictates all approve.
Back to the Isthmus he unwearied speeds.

Description of the Dwelling of Oileus, at which the Spartan Army

halt on their march to Thermopylæ.

FROM BOOK II. The moon rode high and clear. Her light benign To their pleas'd eyes a rural dwelling show'd, All unadorn'd, but seemly. Either side Was fenc'd by trees high-shadowing. The front Look'd on a crystal pool, by feather'd tribes At ev'ry dawn frequented. From the springs A small redundance fed a shallow brook, O’er smoothest pebbles rippling just to wake, Not startle silence, and the ear of night

Entice to listen undisturb’d. Around
The grass was cover'd by reposing sheep,
Whose drowsy guard no longer bay'd the moon. ·

The warriors stopp'd, contemplating the seat
Of rural quiet. Suddenly a swain
Steps forth. His fingers touch the breathing reed.
Uprise the fleecy train. Each faithful dog
Is rous’d. All heedful of the wonted sound
Their known conductor follow. Slow behind
Th' observing warriors move. Ere long they reach
A broad and verdant circle, thick enclos'd
With birches straight and tall, whose glossy rind
Is clad in silver from Diana's car.
The ground was holy, and the central spot
An altar bore to Pan. Beyond the orh
Of skreening trees th' external circuit swarm'd
With sheep and beeyes, each neighb'ring hamlet's

wealth Collected. Thither soon the swain arriv'd, Whom, by the name of Melibæus hail'd, A peasant throng surrounded. As their chief, He nigh the altar to his rural friends Address'd these words: 0 sent from diff'rent lords With contribution to the public wants, Time presses. God of peasants, bless our course! Speed to the slow-pac'd ox for once impart! That o'er these valleys, cool’d by dewy night,.. We to our summons true, ere noon-tide blaze, May join Oileus, and his praise obtain.

He ceas'd.' To rustic madrigals and pipes, is

Combin'd.with bleating notes and tinkling bells,
With clamour shrill from busy tongues of dogs,
Or hollow-sounding from the deep-mouth'd ox,
Along the valley herd and fuck are driv'n
Successive, halting oft to harmless spoil
Of flow'rs and herbage, springing in their sight. .
While Melibæus marshall'd with address
The inoffensive host, unseen in shades
Dieneces applauded, and the youth
Of Menalippus caution'd. Let no word
Impede the careful peasant. On his charge
Depends our welfare, Diligent and staid
He suits his godlike master. Thou wilt see
That righteous hero soon. Now sleep demands
Our debt to nature. On a carpet dry
Of moss beneath a wholesome beech they lay,
Arm'd as they were. Their slumber short retires
With night's last shadow. At their warning rous'd,
The troops proceed. Th’admiring eye of youth
In Menalippus caught the morning rays
To guide its travel o'er the landscape wide
Of cultivated hillocks, dales, and lawns,
Where mansions, hamlets interpos’d; where domes
Rose to their gods through consecrated shades.
He then exclaims. O say, can Jove devote
· These fields to ravage, those abodes to flames ?

The Spartan answers: Ravage, sword, and fire,
'Must be endur'd as incidental ills.
Suffice it, these invaders, soon or late,
Will leave this soil more fertile by their blood

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