Imágenes de páginas

.IS --

Look, Romans ! turn your eyes on this sad spectacle !- the daughter of Lucretius, Collatinus' wife! By her own hand she died ! See there a newie lady, whom the ruffian lust of a Tarquin reduced to the necessity of being her own executioner, to attest her innocence: Ilospitably entertained by her as her husband's kinsman, Sextus, thu perfidious guest, became her brutal ravisher. The chaste, the generous Lucretia, could not survive the outrage. Heroic matron!

Biit (v only treated as a slave, life was no longer endurable! And if shr, with her soft woman's nature, disdained a life, that depended in a tyrant's will, shall we — shall men, with such an example before their eyes, and after five-and-twenty years of ignominious servitude

shall we, through a fear of death, delay one moment to assert our freedom ? No, Romans! The favorable moment is come. The time

Fear not that the army will take the part of their Gencrals, rather than of the People. The love of liberty is natural to all; and your fellow-citizens in the Camp feel the weight of oppression as Bensibly as you. Doubt not they will as eagerly seize the opportunity of throwing off their yoke.

Courage, Romans! The Gods are for us! those Gods whose temples and altars the impious Tarquin has profaned. By the blood of the wronged Lucretia, I swear, — hear me, ye Powers Supreme ! — by this blood, which was once so pure, and which nothing but royal villany could have polluted, - I swear that I will pursue, to the death, these Tarquins, with fire and sword ; nor will I ever suffer any one of that family, or of any other family whatsoever, to be King in Rome! On to the Forum! Bear the body hence, high in the public view, through all the streets! On, Romans, on! The fool shall set you free!


[ocr errors]


ONCILIATION. - Couper's Homer.
I just with plainness speak my fixed resolve;
For I abhor the man, not more the gates
Of hell itself! — whose words belie his heart.
So shall not mine! My judgment undisguised
Is this: that neither Agamemnon me
Nor all the Greeks shall move! For ceaseless toil
Wins here no thanks; one recompense awaits
The sedentary and the most alert!
The brave and base in equal honor stand, -
And drones and heroes fall unwept alike'
I, after all my labors, who exposed
My life continual in the field, have earned
No very sumptuous prize! As the pour bird
Gives to her unfledged brood a morsel gained
After long search, though wanting it herself,
So I have worn out many sleepless nights,
And waded deep through many a bloody day

In battle for their wives. I have destroyed
Twelve cities with my fleet; and twelve, save ono
On foot contending, in the fields of Troy.
From all these cities precious spoil I took
Abundant, and to Agamemnon's hand
Gave all the treasure. He within his ships
Abode the while, and, having all received,
Little distributed, and much retained.
He gave, however, to the Kings and Chiefs
A portion, and they keep it. Me alone,
Of all the Grecian host, hath he despoiled !
My bride, my soul's delight, is in his hands!
Tell him my reply:
And tell it him aloud, that other Greeks
May indignation feel like me, if, armed
Always in impudence, he seek to wrong
Them also. “Let him not henceforth presume
Canine and hard in aspect though he be
To look me in the face. I will not share
IIis counsels, neither will I aid his works.
Let it suffice him, that he wronged me once,-
Deceived me once; – henceforth his glozing arta
Are lost on me! But, let him rot in peace,
Crazed as he is, and, by the stroke of Jove,
Infatuate! I detest his gifts ! — and him
So honor as the thing which most I scorn!
And would he give me twenty times the worth
Of this his offer, - all the treasured heaps
Which he possesses, or shall yet possess,
All that Orchoměnos within her walls,
And all that opulent Egyptian Thebes
Receives, — the city with a hundred gates,
Whence twenty thousand chariots rush to war,
And would he give me riches as the sands,
And as the dust of earth, — no gifts from him
Should soothe me, till my soul were first avenged
For all the offensive license of his tongue.
I will not wed the daughter of your Chief,
Of Agamem Could she vie in charms
With golden Venus, - had she all the skill
Of blue-eyed Pallas, - even so endowed.
She were no bride for me!
Bear ye mine answer back.


HECTOR'S REBUKE TO POLYDAMAS. - Couper's Homer. Abrraged.

POLYDĂMAS to dauntless Hector spake : Oittimes in council, Hector, thou art wont

An augur

'To censure me,

although advising well.
Yet hear my best opinion once again .
Proxeed we not in our attempt against
The Grecian fleet. The omens we have seen
All urge against it. When the eagle flew,
Clutching the spotted snake, then dropping it
Into the open space between the hosts,
Troy's host was on the left. Was this propitious
No. Many a Trojan shall we leave behind,
Slain by the Grecians in their fleet's defence.

skilled in omens would expound
This omen thus, and faith would win from all.

To whom dark-louring Hector thus replied:
Polydamas ! I like not thy advice;
Thou couldst have framed far better; but if this
Be thy deliberate judgment, then the Gods
Make thy deliberate judgment nothing worth,
Who bidd 'st me disregard the Thunderer's firm
Assurance to myself announced, and make
The wild inhabitants of air my guides,
Which I alike despise, speed they their course
With right-hand flight toward the ruddy Fast,
Or leftward down into the shades of eve!
Consider we the will of Jove alone,
Sovereign of Heaven and Earth. Omens abound;
But the best omen is our country's cause.
Wherefore should fiery war thy soul alarm?
For were we slaughtered, one and all, around
The fleet of Greece, thou need'st not fear to die,
Whose courage never will thy flight retard.
But if thou shrink thyself, or by smooth speech
Scduce one other from a soldier's part,
Pierced by this spear incontinent thou diest!


So hung the war in balance,
Till Jove himself, superior fame, at length,
To Priamēian Hector gave, who

First through the wall. In loity sounds that reached
Their utmost ranks, he called on all his host :

Now press them! now, ye Trojans, steed-renowned,
Rush on! break through the Grecian rampart! hurl
At once devouring flames into the fleet!

Such was his exhortation. They, his voice - The nobleness of this reply may have been paralleled, but not surpassed, by patriots of succeeding mes

All hearing, with close-ordered ranks, direct
Bore on the barrier, and up-swarming showed
On the high battlement their glittering spears.
But Hector seized a stone; of ample base,
But tapering to a point; before the gate
It stood. No two men, mightiest of a laná
(Such men as now are mighty), could with ease
Have heaved it from the earth up to a wain;
He swung it easily alone, so light
The son of Saturn made it in his hand.
As in one hand with ease the shepherd bears
A ram's fleece home, nor toils beneath the weight.
So Hector, right toward the planks of those
Majestic folding-gates, close-jointed, firm
And solid, bore the stone. Two bars within
Their corresponding force combined transverse
To guard them, and one bolt secured the bars.
He stood fast by them, parting wide his feet
For 'vantage sake, and smote them in the midst.
He burst both hinges ; inward fell the rock
Ponderous, and the portals roared; the bars
Endured not, and the planks, riven by the force
Of that huge mass, flew scattered on all sides.
In leaped the godlike Hero at the breach,
Gloomy as night in aspect, but in arms
All-dazzling, and he grasped two quivering spears
Him entering with a leap the gates, no force
Whate'er of opposition had repressed,
Save of the Gods alone. Fire filled his eyes;
Turning, he bade the multitude without
Ascend the rampart; they his voice obeyed;
Part climbed the wall, part poured into the gato;
The Grecians to their hollow galleys flew,
Scattered; and tumult infinite arose.

9. HECTOR SLAIN BY ACHILLES. — Cowper's Homer.

Bright as among the stars the star of all, Most radiant Hespěrus, at midnight moves, So in the right hand of Achilles beamed His brandished spear, while, meditating woe To Hector, he explored his noble form, Seeking where he was vulnerable most. But every part, his dazzling armor, torn From brave Patroclus' body, well secured, Save where the circling key-bone from the neck Disjoins the shoulder there his throat appeared

Whence injured life with swiftest flight escapes.
Achilles, plunging in that part his spear,
Impelled it through the yielding flesh beyond.
The ashen beam his power of utterance left
Still unimpaired, but in the dust he fell,
And the cxulting conqueror exclaimed :

But Hector: thou had'st once far other hopes,
And, stripping slain Patroclus, thought'st thee safe,
Nor cared'st for absent me Fond dream and vain !
I was not distant far. In yonder fleet
He left one able to avenge his death,
And he hath slain thee. Thee the dogs shall rend
Dishonorably, and the fowls of air, -
But all Achaia's host shall him entomb!

To whom the Trojan Chief languid replied :
By thy own life — by theirs who gave thee birth
And by thy knees — 0! let not Grecian dogs
Rend and devour me; but in gold accept
And brass a ransom at my father's hands,
And at my mother's an illustrious price.
Send home my body!- grant me burial rites
Among the daughters and the sons of Troy!

To whom, with aspect stern, Achilles thus :
Dog! neither knees nor parents name to me!
I would my fierceness of revenge were such
That I could carve and cat thee, to whose arms
Such griefs I owe; so true it is and sure
That none shall save thy carcass from the dogs!
No, trust me, would thy parents bring me, weighed.
Ten — twenty -- ransoms, and engage, on oath,
To add still more; — would thy Dardanian Sire,
Priam, redeem thee with thy weight in gold, -
Not even at that price would I consent
That she who bare should place thee on thy bier,
With lamentation! Dogs and ravening fowls
Shall rend thy body, while a shred remains !

Then, dying, warlike Hector thus replied Full well I knew before how suit of mine Should speed, preferred to thee. Thy heart is steel But, O! while yet thou liv'st, think, lest the Gods Requite thee on that day, when, pierced thyself, By Paris and Apollo, thou shalt fall, Brave as thou art, before the Scæan gate!

He ceased; and death involved him dark around. IIis spirit, from his limbs dismissed, the house Of Adés sought, mourning, in her descent, Youth's prime and vigor lost, — disastrous doom •

« AnteriorContinuar »