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'Tis man's bold task the gen'rous strife to try, But in the hands of God is victory. These words scarce spoke, with gen'rous ardor

prest, His manly limbs in azure arms he drest: That day! Atrides! a superior hand Had stretched thee breathless on the hostile strand; But all at once, thy fury to compose, The king of Greece, an awful band arose: Ev'n he their chief, great Agamemnon press'd Thy daring hand, and this advice address'd. Whither, O Menelaus! wouldst thou run, And tempt a fate, which prudence bids thee shun? Griev'd though thou art, forbear the rash design; Great Hector's arm is mightier far than thine. Ev'n fierce Achilles learn'd its force to fear, And trembling met this dreadful son of war. Sit thou secure amidst thy social band; Greece in our cause shall arm some pow'rful hand. The mightiest warrior of the Achaian name, Though bold, and burning with desire of fame, Content the doubtful honor might forego, So great the danger, and so brave the foe.

He said, and turn'd his brother's vengeful mind; He stoop'd to reason, and his rage resigned, No longer bent to rush on certain harıns; His joyful friends unbrace his azure arms.

He, from whose lips divine persuasion flows, Grave Nestor, then, in graceful act arose. Thus to the kings he spoke. What grief, what shame, Attend on Greece, and all the Grecian name? How shall, alas! her hoary heroes mourn Their sons degen'rate, and their race a scorn? What tears shall down thy silver beard be rollid, Oh Peleus, old in arms, in wisdom old! Once with what joy the gen'rous prince would hear Of every chief who fought this glorious war. Participate their fame, and pleased inquire Each name, each action, and each hero's sire? Gods, should he see our warriors trembling stand, And trembling all before one hostile hand; How would he lift his aged arms on high, Lament inglorious Greece, and beg to die! Oh! would to all th' immortal pow'rs above, Minerva, Phæbus, and almighty Jove! Years might again roll back, my youth renew, And give this arm the spring which once it knew When fierce in war, where Jordan's waters fall I led my troops to Phea's trembling wall. And with th’ Arcadian spears my prowess try'd, Where Celedon rolls down his rapid tide. There Ereuthalion brav'd us in the field, Proud, Areit hous' dreadful arms to wield Great Aresthous, known from shore to shore By the huge, knotted, iron mace he bore; No lance he shook, nor bent the twanging bow, But broke, with this, the battle of the foe, Him not by manly force Lycurgus slew. Whose guileful jav'lin from the thicket flew, Deep in a winding way his breast assail'd,

Nor aught the warrior's thundring mace avail'd.
Supine he fell: those arms which Mars before
Had giv'n the vanquish'd, now the victor bore:
But when old age had dimm'd Lycurgus' eyes,
To Ereuthalion he consign'd the prize.
Furious with this, he crush'd our levell'd bands,
And dar'd the trial of the strongest hands;
Nor could the strongest hands his fury stay;
All saw, and fear'd, his huge tempestuous sway.
Till I, the youngest of the host, appear’d,
And youngest, met whom all our army fear'd.
I fought the chief: my arms Minerva crown'd:
Prone fell the giant o'er a length of ground.
What then he was, O were your Nestor now!
Not Hector's self should want an equal foe.
But, warriors, you, that youthful vigor boast,
The flow'r of Greece, th' examples of our host,
Sprung from such fathers, who such numbers sway,
Can you stand trembling, and desert the day?

His warm reproofs the list’ning kings inflame;
And nine, the noblest of the Grecian name,
Up started fierce: but far before the rest
The king of men advanc'd his dauntless breast:
Then bold Tydides, great in arms, appear'd;
And next his bulk gigantic Ajax rear'd,
Oileus followed; Idomen was there,
And Merion, dreadful as the god of war:
With these Eurypylus and Thoas stand,
And wise Ulysses clos'd the daring band.
All these, alike inspir'd with noble rage,
Demand the fight. To whom the Pylian sage:

Lest thirst of glory your brave souls divide;
What chief shall combat, let the lots decide.
Whom heav'n shall choose, be his the chance to raise
His country's fame, his own immortal praise.
The lots produc'd, each hero signs his own;
Then in the gen'ral's helm the fates are thrown.
The people pray, with lifted eyes and hands,
And vows like these ascend from all the bands.
Grant, thou Almighty! in whose hand is fate,
A worthy champion for the Grecian state.
This task let Ajax or Tydides prove,
Or he, the king of kings, belov'd by Jove.

Old Nestor shook the casque. By heaven inspirid,
Leap'd forth the lot, of ev'ry Greek desir'd,
This from the right to left the herald bears,
Held out in order to the Grecian peers;
Each to his rival yields the mark unknown,
Till godlike Ajax finds the lot his own;
Surveys th' inscription with rejoicing eyes,
Then casts before him, and with transport cries:

Warriors! I claim the lot, and arm with joy;
Be mine the conquest of this chief of Troy.
Now, while my brightest arms my limbs invest,
To Saturn's son be all your vows addrest:
But pray in secret, lest the foes should hear,
And deem your pray’rs the mean effect of fear.
Said I in secret? No, your vows declare,
In such a voice as fills the earth and air.
Lives there a chief whom Ajax ought to dream,

Ajax, in all the toils of battle bred?
From warlike Salamis I drew my birth,
And born to combats, fear no force on earth

He said. The troops with elevated eyes,
Implore the god whose thunder rends the skies.
D father of mankind, superior lord!
Dn lofty Ida's holy hill ador'd;
Who in the highest heav'n has fix'd thy throne,
Supreme of gods! unbounded, and alone:
Grant thou, that Telamon may bear away
The praise and conquest of this doubtful day;
Or if illustrious Hector, be thy care
That both may claim it, and that both may share.

Now Ajax brac'd his dazzling armour on; Sheath'd in bright steel the giant-warrior shone. He moves to combat with majestic pace; So stalks in arms the grizzly god of Thrace, When Jove to punish faithless men prepares, And gives whole nations to the waste of wars. Thus march'd the chief, tremendous as a god; Grimly he smil'd; earth trembled as he strode: His massy jav'lin quiv'ring in his hand, He stood, the bulwark of the Grecian band. Through ev'ry Argive heart new transport ran; All Troy stood trembling at the mighty man: Ev'n Hector paus'd; and with new doubt opprest, Felt his great heart suspended in his breast: 'Twas vain to seek retreat, and vain to fear; Himself had challeng'd, and the foe drew near.

Stern Telamon behind his ample shield, As from a brazen tow'r, o'erlooked the field. Huge was its orb, with seven thick folds o'ercast, Of tough bull-hides; o solid brass the last. (The work of Tychicus, who in Hyle dwellid, And all in arts of armoury excell’d.) This Ajax bore before his manly breast, And threat'ning, thus his adverse chief addrest.

Hector! approach my arm, and singly know
What strength thou hast, and what the Grecian foe,
Achilles shuns the fight; yet some there are.
Not void of soul, and not unskill'd in war.
Let him, unactive on the sea-beat shore,
Indulge his wrath, and aid our arms no more;
Whole troops of heroes Greece has yet to boast
And sends thee one, a sample of her host.
Such as I am, I come to prove thy might;
No more—be sudden, and begin the fight.

() son of Telamon, thy country's pride!
(To Ajax thus the Trojan prince reply'd)
Me, as a boy or woman wouldst thou fright
New to the field, and trembling at the fight?
Thou meet'st a chief deserving of thy arms,
To combat born, and bred amidst alarms:
I know to shift my ground, remount the car,
Turn, charge, and answer ev'ry call of war;
To right, to left, the dextrous lance I wield,
And bear thick battle on my sounding shield.
But open be our fight, and bold each blow;
I steal no conquest from a noble foe.

He said, and rising, high above the field

Whirl'd the long lance against the sev’nfoid shield,
Full on the brass descending from above
Through six bull-hides the furious weapon drove,
Till in the seventh it fix'd. Then Ajax threw;
Through Hector's shield the forceful jav'rin tiew,
His corslet enters, and his garment rends,
And glancing downwards near his flank descends
The wary Trojan shrinks, and bending low
Beneath his buckler, disappoints the blow.
From their bor'd shields the chiefs their jav'lins drew
Then close impetuous, and the charge renew:
Fierce as the mountain lions bath'd in blood,
Or foaming boars, the terror of the wood.
At Ajax, Hector his long lance extends;
The blunted point against the buckler bends;
But Ajax watchful as his foe drew near,
Drove through the Trojan targe the knotty spear;
It reach'd his neck, with matchless strength impellid:
Spouts the black gore, and dims his shining shield.
Yet ceas'd not Hector thus; but, stooping down,
In his strong hand up-heav'd a flinty stone,
Black, craggy, vast: to this his force he bends;
Full on the brazen boss the stone descends;
The hollow brass resounded with the shock.
Then Ajax seized the fragment of a rock,
Apply'd each nerve, and swinging round on high,
With force tempestuous let the ruin lly:
The huge stone thund'ring through his buckler

broke:
His slacken'd knees received the numbing stroke;
Great Hector fails extended on the field,
His bulk supporting on the shattered shield:
Nor wanted heav'nly aid. Apollo's might
Confirm'd his sinews, and restored to fight.
And now both heroes their broad faulchion's drew:
In flaming circles round their heads they flew;
But then by heralds' voice the word was giv'n,
The sacred ministers of earth and heaven:
Divine Talthybius, whom the Greeks employ,
And sage Idæus on the part of Troy,
Belveen the swords their peaceful sceptres rear'd,
And first Idæus' awful voice was heard.

Forbear, my sons! your farther force to prove,
Both dear to men, and both belov'd of Jove.
To either host your matchless worth is known,
Each sounds your praise, and war is all your own
But now the night extends her awful shade;
The goddess parts you: be the night obey'd.

To whom great Ajax his high soul express'd.
O sage! to Hector be these words addressed.
Let him, who first provok'd our chiefs to fight,
Let him demand the sanction of the night;
If first he ask it, I content obey,
And cease the strife when Hector shows the way

Oh first of Greeks! (his noble foe rejoin'd)
Whom heav'n adorns, superior to thy kind,
With strength of body, and with worth of minds
Now martial law commands us to forbear;
Hereafter we shall meet in glorious war,
Some future day shall lengthen out the strife,

And let the gods decide of death or life!
Since then the night extends her gloomy shade,
And heav'n enjoins it, be the night obey'd.
Return, brave Ajax, to thy Grecian friends,
And joy the nations whom thy arm defends ;
As I shall glad each chief, and Trojan wife,
Who wearies heav'n with vows for Hector's life,
But let us, on this memorable day,
Exchange some gift; that Greece and Troy may say,
· Not hate, but glory, made these chiefs contend;
And each brave foe was in his soul a friend.'

With that, a sword with stars of silver grac'd,
The baldrick studded, and the sheath enchas'd,
He gave the Greek. The gen'rous Greek bestow'd,
A radiant belt that rich with purple glow'd.
Then with majestic grace they quit the plain;
This seeks the Grecian, that the Phrygian train.

The Trojan bands returning Hector wait,
And hail with joy the champion of their state;
Escap'd great Ajax, they survey'd him round,
Alive, unharm'd and vig'rous from his wound.
To Troy's high gates the godlike man they bear,
Their present triumph, as their late despair.

But Ajax, glorying in his hardy deed,
The well-arm'd Greeks to Agamemnon lead.
A steer for sacrifice the king design’d,
Of full five years, and of the nobler kind.
The victim falls; they strip the smoking hide,
The beast they quarter, and the joints divide;
Then spread the tables, the repast prepare.
Each takes his seat, and each receives his share.
The king himself (an honorary sign)
Before great Ajax plac'd the mighty chine.
When now the rage of hunger was removid,
Nestor, in each persuasive art approv'd,
The sage whose counsels long had sway'd the rest,
In words like these his prudent thought exprest.

How dear, O kings! this fatal day has cost, What Greeks are perished! what a people lost! What tides of blood have drench'd Scamander's

shore! What crowds of heroes sunk, to rise no more! Then hear me, chief! nor let the morrow's light Awake thy squadrons to new toils of fight: Some space at least permit the war to breathe, While we to flames our slaughter'd friends bequeathe. From the red field their scattered bodies bear, And nigh the fleet a fun'ral structure rear; So decent urns their snowy bones may keep, And pious children o'er their ashes weep. Here, where on one promiscuous pile they blaz'd, High o'er them all a gen'ral tomb be rais'd; Next, to secure our camp, and naval pow'rs, Raise an embattl'd wall, with lofty tow'rs; From space to space be ample gates around, For passing chariots; and a trench profound. So Greece to combat shall in safety go, Nor fear the fierce incursions of the foe. 'Twas thus the sage his wholesome counsel mov'd, The sceptred kings of Greece his words approv'd.

Meanwhile, conven'd at Priam's palace-gate, The Trojan peers in nightly council sat: A senate void of order, as of choice; Their hearts were fearful, and confus'd their voice. Antenor rising, thus demands their ear: Ye Trojans, Dardans, and auxiliars, hear! 'Tis heav'n the counsel of my breast inspires, And I but move what ev'ry god requires : Let Sparta's treasures be this hour restor'd, And Argive Helen own her ancient lord. The ties of faith, the sworn alliance broke, Our impious battles the just gods provoke. As the advice ye practice, or reject, So hope success, or dread the dire effect.

The senior spoke, and sat. To whom replied
The graceful husband of the Spartan bride:
Cold counsels, Trojan, may become thy years,
But sound ungrateful in a warrior's ears:
Old man, if void of fallacy or art
Thy words express the purpose of thy heart,
Thou, in thy time, more sound advice hast given,
But wisdom has its date assign'd by heaven.
Then hear me, prince of the Trojan name!
Their treasures I'll restore, but not the dame.
My treasure, too, for peace, I will resign;
But be this bright possession ever mine.

'Twas then, the growing discord to compose,
Slow from his seat the reverend Priam rose:
His godlike aspect deep attention drew:
He paused, and these pacific words ensue:

Ye Trojans, Dardans, and auxiliar bands!
Now take refreshment as the hour demands:
Guard well the walls, relieve the watch of night,
Till the new sun restores the cheerful light:
Then shall our herald, to the Atrides sent,
Before their ships proclaim my son's intent.
Next let a truce be ask'd, that Troy may burn
Her slaughtered heroes, and their bones inurn;
That done, once more the fate of war be try'd,
And whose the conquest, mighty Jove decide!
The monarch spoke: the warriors snatch'd with

haste (Each at his post in arms) a short repast. Soon as the rosy morn had waked the day, To the black ships Idæus bent his way; There, to the sons of Mars in council found, He raised his voice: the host stood listening round:

Ye sons of Atreus, and ye Greeks, give ear! The words of Troy, and Troy's great monarch, hear Pleased may he hear (so heaven succeed my prayers) What Paris, author of the war, declares. The spoils and treasures he to Ilion bore, (Oh had he perish'd ere they touch'd our shore !) He proffers injured Greece; with large increase Of added Trojan wealth to buy the peace; But to restore the beauteous bride again, This Greece demands, and Troy requests in vain; Next, O) ye chiefs! we ask a truce to burn Our slaughter'd heroes and their bones inurn That done, once more the fate of war be try'd,

Ana whose the conquest, mighty Jove decide!

The Greeks gave ear, but none the silence broke. At length Tydides rose, and rising spoke: Oh, take not, friends! defrauded of your fame, Their proffer'd wealth, nor e'en the Spartan dame: Let conquest make them ours: fate shakes their wall, And Troy already totters to her fall.

The admiring chiefs, and all the Grecian name, With general shouts return'd him loud acclaim. Then thus the king of kings rejects the peace: Herald! in him thou hear'st the voice of Greece. For what remains; let funeral flames be fed With heroes' corpse; I war not with the dead: Go search your slaughtered chiefs on yonder plain, And gratify the manes of the slain. Be witness, Jove, whose thunder rolls on high!. He said, and rear'd his sceptre to the sky.

To sacred Troy, where all her princes lay To wait the event, the herald bent his way. He came, and, standing in the midst, explain'd The peace rejected, but the truce obtain'd. Straight to their several cares the Trojans move, Some search the plain, some fell the sounding grove: Nor less the Greeks, descending on the shore, Hew'd the green foresls, and the bodies bore, And now from forth the chambers of the main To shed his sacred light on earth again, Arose the golden chariot of the day, And tipp'd the mountains with a purple ray. In mingled throngs the Greek and Trojan train Through heaps of carnage search'd the mournful

plain. Scarce could the friend his slaughter'd friend explore, With dust dishonor'd, and deform'd with gore. The wounds they wash'd, their pious tears they shed And, laid along their cars, deplored the dead. Sage Priam check'd their grief: with silent haste The bodies decent on their piles were placed: With melting hearts their cold remains they burn'd; And sadly slow to sacred Troy return'd. Nor less the Greeks their pious sorrow shed And decent on the pile dispose their dead: The cold remains consume with equal care; And slowly, sadly, to their feet repair. Now, ere the morn had streak’d with reddening light The doubtful confines of the day and night, About the dying flames the Greeks appear'd, And round the pile a general tomb they rear'd. Then to secure the camp and naval powers, They raised embattled walls with lofty towers: From space to space were ample gates around, For passing chariots; and a trench profound, Of large extent, and deep in earth, below, Strong piles infix'd, stood adverse to the foe.

So toil'd the Greeks: meanwhile the gods above In shining circle round their father Jove, Amazed beheld the wondrous works of man; Then he, whose trident shakes the earth, began:

What mortals henceforth shall our power adore, Our fanes frequent, our oracles implore,

If the proud Grecians thus successful boast
Their rising bulwarks on the sea-beat coast?
See the long walls extending to the main,
No god consulted, and no victim slain!
Their fame shall fill the world's remotest ends,
Wide as the morn her golden beams extends;
While old Laomedon's divine abodes,
Those radiant structures raised by laboring gods,
Shall, razed and lost, in long oblivion sleep.
Thus spoke the hoary monarch of the deep.

The Almighty Thunderer with a frown replies,
That clouds the world, and blackens half the skies:
Strong god of ocean! thou, whose rage can make
The solid earth's eternal basis shake!
What cause of fear from mortal works could move:
The meanest subject of our realms above!
Where'er the sun's refulgent rays are cast,
Thy power is honor'd, and thy fame shall last;
But yon proud work no future age shall view,
No trace remain, where once the glory grew.
The sapp'd foundations by thy force shall fall,
And, whelm'd beneath thy waves, drop the huge

wall: Vast drifts of sand shall change the former shore; The ruin vanish'd, and the name no more.

Thus they in heaven: while o'er the Grecian train, The rolling sun descending to the main Beheld the finish'd work. Their bulls they slew: Black from the tents the savory vapors flew. And now the fleet, arrived from Lemnos' strands, With Bacchus' blessings cheer'd the generous bands. Of fragrant wines the rich Eunæus sent A thousand measures to the royal tent; (Eunæus, whom Hypsipyle of yore To Jason, shepherd of his people, bore). The rest they purchased at their proper cost, And well the plenteous freight supplied the host: Each, in exchange, proportion'd treasures gave; Some brass, or iron; some an ox, or slave. All night they feast, the Greek and Trojan powers; Those on the fields, and these within their towers. But Jove averse the signs of wrath display'd, And shot red lightnings through the gloomy shade: Humbled they stood; pale horror seized on all, While the deep thunder shook the aërial hall. Each pour'd to Jove, before the bowl was crown'd; And large libations drench'd the thirsty ground: Then late, refresh'd with sleep from toils of fight, Enjoy'd the balmy blessings of the night.

BIRDS PAIRING IN SPRING.

JAMES THOMSON-"SEASONS."

.

To the deep woods They haste away, all as their fancy leads, Pleasure, or food, or secret safety prompts; That nature's great command may be obeyed: Nor all the sweet sensations they perceive Indulged in vain. Some to the holly hedge

Nestling repair, and to the thicket some;
Some to the rude protection of the thorn
Commit their feeble offspring; the cleft tree
Offers its kind concealment to a few,
Their food its insects, and its moss their nests:
Others apart, far in the grassy dale
Or roughening waste their humble texture weave:
But most in woodland solitudes delight,
In unfrequented glooms or shaggy banks,
Steep, and divided by a babbling brook,
Whose murmurs soothe them all the livelong day,
When by duty fixed. Among the roots
Of hazel pendent o'er the plaintive stream,
They frame the first foundation of their domes,
Dry sprigs of trees, in artful fabric laid,
And bound with clay together. Now 'tis nought
But restless hurry through the busy air,
Beat by unnumbered wings. The swallow sweeps
The slimy pool, to build his hanging house
Intent: and often from the careless back
Of herds and flocks a thousand tugging bills
Pluck hair and wool; and oft, when unobserved,
Steal from the barn a straw; till soft and warm,
Clean and complete, their habitation grows.

As thus the patient dam assiduous sits,
Not to be tempted from her tender task
Or by sharp hunger or by smooth delight,
Though the whole loosened Spring around her blows,
Her sympathising lover takes his stand
High on the opponent bank, and ceaseless sings
The tedious time away; or else supplies
Her place a moment, while she sudden flits
To pick the scanty meal. The appointed time
With pious toil fulfilled, the callow young,
Warmed and expanded into perfect life,
Their brittle bondage break, and come to light;
A helpless family, demanding food
With constant clamour: O what passions then,
What melting sentiments of kindly care,
On the new parents seize! away they fly
Affectionate, and, undesiring, bear
The most delicious morsel to their young,
Which equally distributed, again
The search begins. Even so a gentle pair,
By fortune sunk, but formed of generous mould,
And charmed with cares beyond the vulgar breast,
In some lone cot amid the distant woods,
Sustained alone by providential heaven,
Oft as they, weeping, eye their infant train,
Check their own appetites, and give them all.

Lifted in solemn thought. 'Tis not the pomp
And pageantry of death that with such force
Arrests the sense,-the mute and mourning train,
The white plume nodding o'er the sable hearse,
Had passed unheeded, or perchance awoke
A serious smile upon the poor man's cheek
At Pride's last triumph. Now these measured

sounds,
This universal language, to the heart
Speak instant, and on all these various minds
Compel one feeling.

But such better thoughts
Will pass away, how soon! and these who here
Are following their dead comrade to the grave,
Ere the night fall, will in their revelry
Quench all remembrance. From the ties of life
Unnaturally rent, a man who knew
No resting-place, nor no delights at home,
Belike who never saw his children's face,
Whose children knew no father, he is gone,
Dropp'd from existence, like the witner'd leaf
That from the summer tree is swept away,
Its loss unseen,

She hears not of his death
Who bore him, and already for her son
Her tears of bitterness are shed; when first
He had put on the livery of blood,
She wept him dead to her.

We are indeed
Clay in the potter's hand! one favour'd mind,
Scarce lower than the angels, shall explore
The ways of Nature, whilst his fellow-man,
Framed with like miracle the work of God,
Must as the unreasonable beast drag on
A life of labour, like this soldier here,
His wondrous faculties bestow'd in vain,
Be moulded to his fate till he becomes
A mere machine of murder.

And there are
Who say that this is well! as God has made
All things for man's good pleasure, so of men
The many for the few! court-moralists,
Revereud lip-comforters, that once a week
Proclaim how blessed are the poor, for they
Shall have their wealth hereafter, and though now
Toiling and troubled, though they pick the crumbs
That from the rich man's table fall, at length
In Abraham's bosom rest with Lazarus.
Themselves meantime secure their good things here
And feast with Dives. These are they, O Lord,
Who in thy plain and simple Gospel see
All mysteries, but who find no peace enjoin'd,
No brotherhood, no wrath denounced on them
Who shed their brethren's blood,-blind at noonday
As owls, lynx-eyed in darkness !

O my God!
I thank thee that I am not such as these;
I thank thee for the eye that sees, the heart
That feels, the voice that in these evil days,
Amid these evil tongues, exalts itself
And cries aloud against iniquity.

THE SOLDIER'S FUNERAL.

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

It is the funeral march. I did not think
That there had been such magic in sweet sounds!
Hark! from the blackened cymbal that dead tone-
It awes the very rabble multitude.
They follow silently, their earnest brows

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