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My foot this moment on the verge of death,
By fame invited, by despair impellid:.
To pass th' irremeable bound. No more
Shall Teribazus backward turn his step,
But here conclude his doom. Then cease to heave,
Thou troubled bosom, ev'ry thought be calm
Now at th’ approach of everlasting peace.
He ended; when a mighty foe drew nigh,
Not less than Dithyrambus. Ere they join'd, .
The Persian warrior to the Greek began: .
Art thou th' unconquerable chief, who mow'd . Our battle down? That eagle on thy shield.. Too well proclaims thee. To attempt thy force I rashly purpos’d. That my single arm Thou deign'st to meet, accept my thanks, and know, The thought of conquest less employs my soul, Than admiration of thy glorious deeds, And that by thee I cannot fall disgrac'd. He ceas'd. These words the Thespian youth re
turn'd: Of all the praises from thy gen'rous mouth, The only portion my desert may claim, Is this my bold adventure to confront Thee, yet unmatch'd. What Grecian hath not mark'd Thy flaming steel? from Asia's boundless camp . Not one hath equall’d thy victorious: might. But whence thy armour of the Grecian form? Whence thy tall spear, thy helmet? Whence the
weight Of that strong shield? Unlike thy eastern friends,
O if thou be'st some fugitive, who, lost
To liberty and virtue, art become
A tyrant's vile stipendiary, that arm,
That valour thus triumphant I deplore,
Which after all their efforts and success
Deserve no honour from the gods, or men.
Here Teribazus in a sigh rejoin'd,
I am to Greece a stranger, am a wretch
To thee unknown, who courts this hour to die,
Yet not ignobly, but in death to raise ·
My name from darkness, while I end my woes.
The Grecian then: I view thee, and I mourn.
A dignity, which virtue only bears,
Firm resolution, seated on thy brow,
Though grief hath dimm'd thy drooping eye, demand
My veneration : and whatever be
The malice of thy fortune, what the cares,
Infesting thus thy quiet, they create
Within my breast the pity of a friend.
Why then, constraining my reluctant hand
To act against thee, will thy might support
Th' unjust ambition of malignant kings,
The foes to virtue, liberty, and peace ?
Yet free from rage or enmity I lift
My adverse weapon. Victory I ask.
Thy life may fate for happier days reserve.
This said, their beaming lances they protend,
Of hostile hate, or fury both devoid,
As on the Isthmian, or Olympic sands
For fame alone contending. Either host,
Pois'd on their arms, in silent wonder gaze. The fight commences. Soon the Grecian spear, Which all the day in constant battle worn, Unnumber'd shields and corselets had transfix'd, Against the Persian buckler, shiv'ring, breaks, Its master's hand disarming. Then began The sense of honour, and the dread of shame To swell in Dithyrambus. Undismay'd, He grappled with his foe, and instant seiz'd His threat'ning spear, before th' uplifted arm Could execute the meditated wound. The weapon burst between their struggling grasp. Their hold they loosen, bare their shining swords. With equal swiftness to defend or charge, Each active youth advances and recedes. On ev'ry side they traverse. Now direct, Obliquely now the wheeling blades descend. Still is the conflict dubious; when the Greek, Dissembling, points his falchion to the ground, His arm depressing, as o'ercome by toil : While with his buckler cautious he repels The blows, repeated by his active foe.. Greece trembles for her hero. Joy pervades The ranks of Asia. Hyperanthes strides Before the line, preparing to receive ... i.. His friend triumphant: while the wary Greek, Calm and defensive, bears th' assault. At last, As by th' incautious fury of his strokes, The Persian swung his covering shield aside, The fatal moment Dithyrambus seiz’d.
Light darting forward with his feet outstretch',
Between th’ unguarded ribs he plung’d his steel..
Affection, grief, and terror, wing the speed
Of Hyperanthes. From his bleeding foe
The Greek retires, not distant, and awaits
The Persian prince. But he with wat’ry cheeks.
In speechless anguish clasps his dying friend;
From whose cold lip, with interrupted phrase,
These accents break : 0 dearest, best of men !
Ten thousand thoughts of gratitude and love
Are struggling in my heart-O’erpow'ring fate
Denies my voice the utt'rance- my friend!
O Hyperanthes! Hear my tongue unfold
What, had I liv'd, thou never should'st have known.
I lov'd thy sister. With despair I lov’d.
Soliciting this honourable doom,
Without regret in Persia's sight and thine
I fall. Th’ inexorable hand of fate
Weighs down his eyelids, and the gloom of death
His fleeting light eternally o'ershades.
Him on Choaspes o'er the blooming verge
A frantic mother shall bewail; shall strew
Her silver tresses in the crystal wave:
While all the shores re-echo to the name
Of Teribazus lost.
In sable vesture, spangled o'er with stars,
The Night assum'd her throne. Recall'd from war,
Their toil, protracted long, the Greeks forget,
Dissolv'd in silent slumber, all but those
Who watch th' uncertain perils of the dark,
A hundred warriors. Agis was their chief.
High on the wall intent the hero sat. r
Fresh winds across the undulating bay
From Asia's host the various din convey'd
In one deep murmur, swelling on his ear. ,
When by the sound of footsteps down the pass
Alarm’d, he calls aloud. What feet are these
Which beat the echoing pavement of the rock?
Reply, nor tempt inevitable fate.
A voice replied. No enemies we come,
But crave admittance in an humble tone.
The Spartan answers. Through the midnight
shade What purpose draws your wand’ring steps abroad?
To whom the stranger. We are friends to Greece. Through thy assistance we implore access To Lacedemon's king. The cautious Greek Still hesitates; when musically sweet A tender voice his wond’ring ear allures.
O gen’rous warrior, listen to the pray'r Of one distress'd, whom grief alone hath led