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The splendid camp of Xerxes will adorn.
Then be it so. Again I will adore
Her gentle virtue. Her delightful tongue,
Her graceful sweetness shall again diffuse
Refiftiess magic through my ravish'd heart;
And thus when love, with double rage inflam'd,
Swells to distraction in my tortur'd breast,
Then-but in vain through darkness do I search
My fate : despair and fortune be my guides.
The hour arriv’d, when Xerxes first advanced
His arms from S.fa’s gates. The Persian dames
(So were accustom’d all the eastern fair)
In sumptuous cars accompanied his march;
And Ariana grac'd the beauteous train.
From morn till ev'ning Teribazus guards
Her pafling wheels; his arm her weight sustains
With trembling pleasure often, as fhe mounts
Th' imperial chariot; his affiduous hand
pure fountain wafts the living flood : Nor seldom by the fair one's soft command Would he repose him, at her feet reclin'd, While o'er his lips her lovely forehead bow'd, Won with his grateful eloquence, that footh'd With sweet variety the tedious march, Beguiling time. He too would then forget His cares awhile, in raptures vain intranc’d, Delufion all, and feeting rays of joy, Soon overcaft with more intense despair;
Like wintry clouds, which op’ning for a time,
Tinge their black skirts with scatter'd beams of day;
Then, swiftly closing, on the brows of morn
Condense their horrors, and in thickest gloom
The ruddy beauty veil. Such woes oppress’d
The Persian's heart, not foften'd; for this day
His daring valour from the bleeding van
Oppos’d the frown of adamantine Mars.
With no tiara were his temples bound,
The slender lance of Asia he disdain'd,
And her light target.
Eminent he mov'd
In Grecian arms the wonder of his foes.
Among th' Ionians had his ftrenuous limbs
In war been practis'd. A resplendent casque
Flam'd on his head. Before his face and chest
Down to the knees his ample shield was spread.
A pond'rous ash with skilful hands he grasp’d.
Thus arm’d, tremendous in the front he stood.
Beneath his might two bold Philafians died,
And three Tegéans, whose indignant chief,
Brave Hegefander, vengeance breath'd in vain,
With streaming wounds repuls’d. Thus far unmatch'd
His strength prevail'd, when Hyperanthes' voice
Recall'd his fainting legions. Now each band
Their languid courage reinforc'd with rest.
Mean time with Teribazus thus confer'd
The godlike prince. Thou much deserving youth !
O had thy deeds with emulation warm’d-
The frozen hearts of Perfia, Greece had wept Her proftrate ranks, not triumph'd in our shame. Relaxing now the wearied fight, I wait, Till from the camp with Abradates strong The brave Pharnuchus and Mazæus move, And with fresh pow'rs renew the drooping war. For fince surpass’d in valour, we must waste By endless numbers, and continual toil, The matchless ardour of our gallant foes.
He said. Immers’d in sadness, scarce replied,
But to himself thus plain’d the am'rous youth.
Still do I languith, mourning o'er the fame,
My arm acquires. O wretched heart ! thou feat
Of constant forrow, what deceitful smiles
Yet canst thou borrow from illufive hope
To flatter life. At Ariana's feet
What if with supplicating knees I bow'd,
Implor'd her pity, and reveal'd my love?
Wretch, canst thou climb to yon effulgent orb,
- And share the splendors, which irradiate heav'n?
Doft thou aspire to that exalted maid,
Great Xerxes' fifter, rivalling the hopes
Of Asia's purpled potentates and kings?
Unless within her bosom I inspir'd
A pafliun fervent as my own, nay more,
Such as might dislipate each virgin fear,
And unrestrain'd disclose its fond desire,
My hopes are fruitless. Plung'd in black despair,
He thus-revolv’d, when suddenly the cries
Of Aribæus smote his pensive ear.
By mutual danger, and by friendship join’d,
They had been long companions in the toils
Of war. Together with victorious steps
The fons of Nile they chac’d, when Ægypt's pride
Before the arms of Hyperanthes fell.
Stretch'd on the plain, and cover'd o'er with wounds,
By all abandon'd, Teribazus views
His gallant friend. His languid soul awakes,
And forth he issues from the Persian line.
The bleeding warriour in his strong embrace
Swift he conveys. By indignation fir’d,
Fierce from the Grecians Diophantus rufh'd
With loud defiance. Teribazus leaves
His rescu'd friend. His maffy targe he rears,
Advances high his formidable spear,
And turns intrepid on th' approaching foe.
Amazement follow'd. On he strode, and shook
The plumed honours of his shining creft.
Th’ill-fated Greek awaits th’ unequal fight;
Pierc'd in the throat, with sounding arms he falls ;
Through ev'ry band the Mantinéans mourn.
Upon the slain the victor fix'd his fight,
And thus reflected. By thy splendid arms
Thou art a Greek of no ignoble rank,
And from thy fall perhaps am I adorn'd
With more confpicuous lustre. What if heav'n
Should add new victims, like thyself, to grace
My undeserving hand, who knows but the
Might smile upon my trophies ? Oh! vain thought!
Disperse ye phantome hopes ! too long, my heart,
Hast thou in vain contended with thy woes !
I stand this moment on the verge of life,
By fame invited, by despair impelld
To pass th' irremeable bound. No more
Shall Teribazus backward turn his steps,
But here decide his fate. Then beat no more,
Thou troubled heart, and ev'ry grief be still
Now at th' approach of everlasting peace.
He ended, when a mighty foe drew nigh;
Not less than Dithyrambus. Ere they join'd,
The Perfian thus the Thespian youth address'd.
Say, art not thou th' unconquerable Greek, Whose dauntless valour mow'd our battle down, And scatter'd nations ? To attempt thy force This day I purpos'd, when our chiefs from fight Their hoft withdrew? That now my single arm Thou deign'ft to meet, receive my thanks; and know, The thought of conquest less employs my mind, Than that by thee I cannot fall with fame.
He ceas'd. These words the Thespian chief return’d. Of all the praises from thy gen'rous mouth, The only share, which justice bids me claim, Is, that I here adventure to confront Thy matchless strength. Believe not, that unmark'd