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Through midnight shades to these victorious tents, A wretched woman, innocent of fraud.
The chief, descending, through th' unfolded gates
Exalted fair, whose form adorns the night,
Here ending, he conducts her. At the call
In veneration of the godlike man.
Thy looks, fair stranger, amiable and great,
On her wan cheek. a sudden blush arose Like day, first dawning on the twilight pale; When, wrapt in grief, these words a passage found.
If to be most unhappy, and to know That hope is irrecoverably fled; If to be great and wretched may deserve Commiseration from the brave; behold, Thou glorious leader of unconquer'd bands, Behold, descended from Darius' loins, Th’ afflicted Ariana ; and my pray'r Accept with pity, nor my tears disdain.. First, that I lov'd the best of human race, Heroic, wise, adorn’d by ev'ry art,. Of shame unconscious doth my heart réveal. This day; in Grecian arms conspicuous clad, He fought, he fell. A passion, long conceal'd, For me, alas! within my brother's arins His dying breath resigning, he disclos'd. Oh! I will stay my sorrows! will forbid My eyes to stream before thee, and my breast, O’erwhelm'd by anguish, will from sighs restrain!'
For why should thy humanity be griev'd
Thus to the hero su'd the royal maid,
Such are thy sorrows, O for ever dear,
Then, Ariana, what transcending pangs
Loose flow'd thy hair ; and, bubbling from thy eyes, Impetuous sorrow lav'd th' empurpled clay.
Then, with no trembling hand, no change of look, She drew a poniard, which her garment veil'd; And instant sheathing in her heart the blade, On her slain lover silent sunk in death. The unexpected stroke prevents the care Of Agis, pierc'd by horror and distress, Like one, who, standing on a stormy beach, Beholds a found'ring vessel, by the deep At once engulf'd; his pity feels and mourns, Depriv'd of pow'r to save: so Agis view'd The prostrate pair. He dropp'd a tear, and thus. · Oh! much lamented! Heavy on your heads Hath evil fall'n, which o'er your pale remains Commands this sorrow from a stranger's eye. Illustrious ruins! May the grave impart That peace which life denied ! and now receive This pious office from a hand unknown.
He spake, unclasping from his shoulders broad His ample robe. He strew'd the waving folds O'er each wan visage; turning then, address'd The slave, in mute dejection standing near.
Thou, who, attendant on this hapless fair, Hast view'd this dreadful spectacle, return. These bleeding relics bear to Persia's king, Thou with four captives, whom I free from bonds.
Song of the Priestess of the Muses to the chosen Band after their
Return from the Inroad into the Persian Camp, on the Night before the Battle of Thermopylæ.
FROM BOOK XII. ' Back to the pass in gentle march he leads Th’embattled warriors. They, behind the shrubs, Where Medon sent such numbers to the shades, In ambush lie. The tempest is o'erblown. Soft breezes only from the Malian wave O’er each grim face, besmear'd with smoke and gore, Their cool refreshment breathe. The healing gale, A crystal rill near Eta's verdant feet, Dispel the languor from their harass'd nerves, Fresh brac'd by strength returning. O'er their heads Lo! in full blaze of majesty appears Melissa, bearing in her hand divine Th' eternal guardian of illustrious deeds, The sweet Phæbean lyre. Her graceful train Of white-robid virgins, seated on a range Half down the cliff, o'ershadowing the Greeks, All with concordant strings, and accents clear, A torrent pour of melody, and swell A high, triumphal, solemn dirge of praise, Anticipating fame. Of endless joys . In bless'd Elysium was the song. Go, meet Lycurgus, Solon, and Zaleucus sage, Let them salute the children of their laws. Meet Homer, Orpheus and th' Ascræan bard, Who with a spirit, by ambrosial food