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And sweetness temper'd, virtue's purest light
Illumining the countenance divine,
Yet could not footh remorseless fate, nor teach
Malignant fortune to revere the good,
Which oft with anguish rends the spotless heart,
And oft affociates wisdom with despair.
In courteous phrase began the chief humane.
Exalted fair, who thus adorn'it the night,
Forbear to blame the vigilance of war,
And to the laws of rigid Mars impute,
That I thus long unwilling have delay'd
Before the great Leonidas to place
This your apparent dignity and worth.
He spake, and gently to the lofty tent
Of Sparta's king the lovely stranger guides.
At Agis' fummons with a mantle broad
His mighty limbs Leonidas infolds,
And quits his couch. In wonder he surveys
Th' illustrious virgin, whom his presence aw'd :
Her eye submissive to the ground inclin'd
With veneration of the godlike man.
But soon his voice her anxious dread dispell’d,
Benevolent and hospitable thus.
Thy form alone, thus amiable and great,
Thy mind delineates, and from all commands
Supreme regard. Relate, thou noble dame,
By what relentless destiny compellid,
Thy tender feet the paths of darkness tread.
Rehearse th' afflictions, whence thy virtue mourns.
On her wan cheek a sudden blush arose,
Like day's first dawn upon the twilight pale,
And, wrapt in grief, these words a passage broke:
If to be most unhappy, and to know,
That hope is irrecoverably fled ;
IF to be
Commiferation from the good ; behold,
Thou glorious leader of unconquer'd bands,
Behold descended from Darius' loins
Th’ amicted Ariana, and my pray’r
Accept with pity, nor my tears disdain!
First, that I lov'd the best of human race,
By nature's hand with ev'ry virtue form’d,
Heroic, wise, adorn’d with ev'ry art;
Of shame unco.scious does my heart reveal.
This day, in Grecian arms conspicuous clad,
He fought, he fell. A paffion long conceal'd
For me alas ! within my brother's arms
His dying breath resigning, he disclos’d.
-Oh I will stay my forrows ! will forbid
My eyes to stream before thee, and my heart,
Thus full of anguish, will from fighs reitrain !
For why should thy humanity be griev'd
With my distress, and learn from me to mourn
The lot of nature, doom'd to care and pain!
Hear then, o king, and grant my fole request,
To seek his body in the heaps of slain.
Thus to the Spartan su'd the regal maid,
Resembling Ceres in majestic woe,
When, fupplicant at Jove's resplendent throne,
From dreary Pluto, and th'infernal gloom,
Her lov'd and lost Proferpina she sought :
Fix'd on the weeping queen with stedfaft eyes,
Laconia's chief these tender thoughts recall’d.
Such are thy forrows, O for ever dear !
Who now at Lacedæmon doft deplore
My everlasting absence! then inclin'd
His head, and figh'd; nor yet forgot to charge
His friend, the gentle Agis, through the straits
The Persian princess to attend and aid.
With careful steps they seek her lover's corse.
The Greeks remember'd, where by fate repress'd,
His arm first ceas'd to mow their legions down,
And from beneath a mass of Persian slain
Soon drew the hero, by his armour known..
To Agis' high pavilion they refort.
Now, Ariana, what transcending pangs
Thy soul involv’d? What horror clasp'd thy heart!
But love grew mightiest, and her beauteous limbs
On the cold breast of Teribazus threw
The grief-distracted maid. The clotted gore
Deform'd her snowy bosom. O'er his wounds
Loose flow'd her hair, and bubbling from her eyes,
Impetuous sorrow lav'd the purple clay.
When forth in groans her lamentations broke :
O torn for ever from my weeping eyes !
Thou, who despairing to obtain her heart,
Who then most lov'd thee, didit untimely yield
Thy life to fate's inevitable dart
For her, who now in
Her tender bosom, and
To thy deaf ear, who fondly to her own
Now clasps thy breast insensible and cold.
Alas! do those unmoving, ghastly orbs
Perceive my gushing anguish! Does that heart,
Which death's inanimating hand hath chill'd,
Share in my fuff'rings, and return my fighs !
-Oh! bitter unsurmountable distress !
Lo! on thy breast is Ariana bow'd,
Hangs o'er thy face, unites her cheek to thine
Not now to listen with enchanted ears
To thy persuasive eloquence, no more
Charm'd with the wisdom of thy copious mind!
She could no more. Invincible despair
Suppress’d her utt'rance. As a marble form,
Fix'd on the folemn sepulcher, unmov'd
O’er some dead hero, whom his country lov’d,
Bends down the head with imitated woe :
So paus'd the princess o'er the breathless clay,
Intrænc'd in forrow. On the dreary wound,
Where Dithyrambus' sword was deepest plung’d,
Mute for a space, and motionless she gaz'd.
Theni with a look unchang'd, nor trembling hand
Drew forth a poniard, which her garment veild,
And, sheathing in her heart th' abhorred steel,
On her flain lover, silent finks in death.