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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 hollow 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 placid, “ 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.
FROM BOOK VI.
A cave not distant from the Phocian wall
Through Cta's cloven side had nature form'd .
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
The first bright harvest on the field of fame.
Our eyes in wonder from the Phocian wall
On your unequall’d deeds incessant gaz'd.
To whom Platæa's chief. Go, Agis, say
To Lacedemon's ruler, that, untir’d,
Diomedon can yet exalt his spear,
Nor feels the armour heavy on his limbs.
Then shall I quit the contest? Ere he sinks,
Shall not this early sun again behold
The slaves of Xerxes tremble at my lance,
Should they adventure on a fresh assault ?
To him the Thespian youth. My friend, my guide
To noble actions, since thy gen'rous heart
Intent on fame disdains to rest, O grant
I too thy glorious labours may partake,
May learn once more to imitate thy deeds.
Thou, gentlest Agis, Sparta's king entreat
Not to command us from the field of war.
Yes, persevering heroes, he replied,
I will return, will Sparta's king entreat
Not to command you from the field of war.
Then interpos’d Demophilus. O friend,
Who lead'st to conquest brave Platæa's sons;
Thou too, lov'd offspring of the dearest man,
Who dost restore a brother to my eyes;
My soul your magnanimity applauds;
But, О reflect, that unabating toil .
Subdues the mightiest. Valour will repine,
When the weak hand obeys the heart no more.
Yet I, declining through the weight of years,
Will not assign a measure to your strength.
If still you find your vigour undecay'd,
Stay and augment your glory. So, when time
Casts from your whiten'd heads the helm aside ;
When in the temples your enfeebled arms.
Have hung their consecrated shields, the land
Which gave you life, in her defence employ'd,
Shall then by honours, doubled on your age,
Bequit the gen’rous labours of your prime.
So spake the senior, and forsook the cave.
But from the fount Diomedon receives
Th' o'erflowing waters in his concave helm,
Addressing thus the genius of the stream.
Whoe'er thou art, divinity unstain'
d e Of this fair fountain, till unsparing Mars Heap'd carnage round thee, bounteous are thy
streams... To me, who ill repay thee. I again Thy silver-gleaming current must pollute, Which, mix'd with gore, shall tinge the Malian slime.
He said, and lifted in his brimming casque, The bright, refreshing moisture. Thus repairs, The spotted panther to Hydaspes' side, 5 Or eastern Indus, feasted on the blood Of some torn deer, which nigh his cruel grasp Had roam’d, unheeding, in the secret shade; Rapacious o'er the humid brink he stoops, And in the pure and fluid crystal cools His reeking jaws. Meantime the Thespian's eye Roves round the yaulted space; when sudden sounds
Of music, utter'd by melodious barps,
And melting voices, distant, bat in iones
By distance soften'd, while the echoes sighid
In lulling replication, fill the vault
With harmony. In admiration mute,
With nerves un brac'd by rapture, he, entranc'd,
Stands like an eagle, when his parting plumes
The balm of sleep relases, and his wings
Fall from his languid side. Platæa's chief,
Observing, rous'd the warrior. Son of Mars,
Shall music's softness from thy bosom steal
The sense of glory? From his neighb’ring camp
Perhaps the Persian sends fresh nations down.
Soon in bright steel Thermopylæ will blaze. -
Awake. Accustom'd to the clang of arms,
Intent on vengeance for invaded Greece,
My ear, my spirit in this hour admit
No new sensation, nor a change of thought.
The Thespian, starting from oblivious sloth
Of ravishment and wonder, quick replied.
These sounds were more than human. Hark!
Again! O honour'd friend, no adverse banner streams In sight. No shout proclaims the Persian freed From his late terror. Deeper let us plunge .. In this mysterious dwelling of the nymphs, . Whose voices charm its gloom. In smiles rejoin'd Diomedon. I see thy soul enthrall’d. is Me thou would'st rank among th' unletter'd rout of yon barbarians, should I press thy stay.