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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
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.
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 beeves, 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 : O 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,
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 flock 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
With spoils abundant to rebuild the fanes.
Precarious benefits are these, thou see'st,
So fram'd by heav'n; but virtue is a good
No foe can spoil, and lasting to the grave.
Beside the public way an oval fount Of marble sparkled with a silver spray Of falling rills, collected from above. The army halted, and their bollow casques Dipp'd in the limpid stream. Behind it rose An edifice, compos'd of native roots, And oaken trunks of knotted girth unwrought. Within were beds of moss. Old, batter'd arms Hung from the roof. The curious chiefs approach. These words, engraven on a tablet rude, Megistias reads; the rest in silence hear. “ Yon marble fountain, by Oïleus plac'd, “ To thirsty lips in living water flows; “ For weary steps he fram'd this cool retreat; “ A grateful off'ring here to rural peace, “ His dinted shield, his helmet he resign'd. “ O passenger, if born to noble deeds “ Thou would'st obtain perpetual grace from Jove, “ Devote thy vigour to heroic toils, “ And thy decline to hospitable cares. “ Rest here; then seek Oïleus in his vale."
The Grecian commanders, after a battle, having retired to a cave
on the side of Mount Eta, Dithyrambus, discovering a passage through it, ascends to the Temple of the Muses.
A cave not distant from the Phocian wall
Through Eta's cloven side had nature formid
In spacious windings. This in moss she clad;
O'er half the entrance downward from the roots
She hung the shaggy trunks of branching firs,
To heav'n's hot ray impervious, Near the mouth
Relucent laurels spread before the sun
A broad and vivid foliage. High above,
The hill was darken'd by a solemn shade,
Diffus'd from ancient cedars. To this cave
Diomedon, Demophilus resort,
And Thespia's youth. A deep recess appears,
Cool as the azure grot where Thetis sleeps
Beneath the vaulted ocean. Whisper'd sounds
Of waters, trilling from the riven stone
To feed a fountain on the rocky floor,
In purest streams o'erflowing to the sea,
Allure the warriors, hot with toil and thirst,
To this retreat serene. Against the sides
Their disincumber'd hands repose their shields;
The helms they loosen from their glowing cheeks;
Propp'd on their spears, they rest: when Agis brings
From Lacedemon's leader these commands.
Leonidas recals you from your toils,
Ye meritorious Grecians. You have reap'd