Abbildungen der Seite

From them in rustic wonderment, the tale
Of things beyond the deep. The distant bands
Late by the deep morass or rocky mound,
Or swelling river, each from each disjoin’d,
In hostile inroad ost commingling, meet
In amity at last. Love's rosy dawn
Dispels th' unsocial gloom. The rustic bard,
Whose song had charm’d the village, half confus'd
And Aush'd with modest diffidence, his lyre
For a more num'rous audience strings anew.
The woodland orator, who pleaded oft
The cause of the wrong'd hamlet, wieiding bold
His petty thunders in the rustic ring
Of sun-burnt sages, thunder-struck himself
Mute and benumb’d, a theatre surveys
Whose vastitude appalls him. But when fate
Had clos'd the reign of Codrus, and the laws
Were sanctioned by the people's vote, he learu'd
A bolder key, and taught the ductile crowd
To spurn at kings. O muse, attune thy lyre
To bolder measures ! dart thy visual ray
Beyond the limits of a mortal's glance,
To that dark region, where the spirits dwell,
Whose potent breath in this sublunar scene
Swells up th' imperial bubble, till it breaks
Spontaneous, or before a stronger gale
Evanishes to nothing. There, a power
Malignant still to man, averse to worth,
To virtue, and to happiness, beheld
Th' unfolding glories of Cecropia's state,
Then thus, pernicious in his views, addrest
The Denizens of darkness, leagu'd of old
With him, to dash the councils of the just,
With mingled venom. “ Haste! inspire the crowd


ec With dread of lordly rule! inflate their pride, “ Kindle their claims, till on the brink they stand “ Of wildest Anarchy, thus to defeat « The views of our great enemy, aud turn " His favour'd purpose from its noblest aim. " (As always was our use)-cross not his views “ But seem to second them, and fill the sail « With every breath, till the encreasing storm, “ O'ersets the vessel of the state. Their claims 66 Of freedom shall inflate their pride, till earth, “ Sea, air, and even the ample cope of heav'n, * Seem all too little for their dignity, " While Duty is forgot, or only lives, " Among the sages of the wrangling schools Contemn’d, except the few and scanty rules, “ By strict necessity, or fate impos'd; 66 Without whose powerful bond, society « And law, would sink in dissolution lost. 6 So shall the name of freedom be revil'd “ And heaven's best blessing for th' abuse despis'd."

Now the dark spell the demagogue inspires, And wins it passage thro' the kindling crowd; Beneath the soft adulatory breeze, In ev'ry breast the genial notion spreads, Of his own consequence, the claims of man, The thought that scorns dependance, love of truth, Hate of tyrannic sway, then thirst of pow'r To curb all tyrants, while the demon's hand, Ambition's tares, and love of conquest sow'd, -. Midst the celestial growth. Another form The wizard now assum'd; in suppliant guise, From fair Ionia's flowery verge he came, With loud complaints of Persian tyranny, And ill besoeming bonds by Grecians worn.

Then, wafted on the cool nocturnal breeze,
That ushers in the dawn, ideal pomp
Of oriental triumphs, beauteous slaves,
Barbaric gems and gold, the rustling pride
Of Asian looms, with gaudy interchange
Haunted their dreams. And there the viewless hand
Bade the cool Zephyr thro' the spicy grove
Whisper at will; and all the mingled stores
Of the Assyrian summer, with the pride
Of India's aromatic world, beneath
The burning line, displayed. The gorgeous view
Kindled imagination, woke the flame
Of young ambition, from her slumbers call'd
The dormant fiend, pale avarice, ne'er again
To know a tranquil hour. " To arms! to arms !"
The thronging passions calld: to arms they flews
+ Niphates trembled, and the horny flood
Of Tigris, shrunk beneath his oozy bed,
To hear the distant din: the distant din
Was not an empty menace.

In the flames
Of Sardis the Memnonian towers beheld
Their coming doom : soon levied, but in vain,
From distant Susa to the Hellespont
The congregated East her fury spent,
On martial Europe. That unmanly crowd
Was stubble to the flame which burst abroad
Involving land, and main. And now the pride
Of conquest, and of independance, wak'd
By stern collision, in the mutual shock
Of popular contention, took the lead
And humbled Greece herself, while far above

* Infuence of the Invasion of Persia on the Greeks.

# Commencement of the Persian war.

Its former pitch their intellectual powers, Alike sublim'd in science and in taste Majestic rose. Religion yet preserv'd Some influence o'er the soul; her lifted hand Still to the bleeding patriot shew'd the palms, That shade Elysium, and the wreaths prepar'd To bind his beamy locks beyond the tomb. Still in the temple nurst, the tuneful bard, Paid for his education by his lyre, To heav'nly themes attun'd, and virtuous lore, Which warm’d alike the soldier and the sage, In studious groves inspir’d, or fighting fields, To win the meed of everlasting fame. But other poets with their mortal strains Forgetful of their heav'nly origin, And privilege, profan'd them both, and fed The vilest passions with Circæan song, Bland, or incentive; and the sacred lore, Which first the savage tribes their duties taught Forgot, or scorn'd. The heav'n-taught orator With fulminating power possess’d, to rouse The bury'd majesty of mind, that scorns The despot's frown, and from his lion gripe Reclaims the spoils of man, with magic spell Oft call'd the wand'ring particles to life, That trame the rising state : his warmth inspir'd The moulded form. With Promethean fire Instinct, the glorious resurrection rose And shuok the world. But far, oh far unlike His boasted sire, the spurious demagogue, In periods all mellifluent as the stores Of antient Hybla, puur'd his varied strain! He lulld them with soft topics fram’d 10 soothe Their swelling pride; or fir'd with fancy'd wrongs:

He taught, that o'er the fall’n to tyrannize,
Oppress, and plunder, to their stores to bring
* Th' accumulated riches of the isles,
That mourn'd the loss in vain, was what they ow'd
Their own supernal worth, their well earned post,
As guardians of the state. The lesson fell
Not in unheedful ears, Ambition learn'd
Beneath the sacred mask of liberty
To roam at large, and Avarice close behind,
Usurp'd the rev'rend form of public care.

Now moody discontent began to fire
The plunder'd provinces, vindictive rage
Lourd in the red horizon round, nor less
The sons of Athens with undaunied brow,
Beheld the gathering storm. By far too mean
For Attic pride it seem'd to own a fault,
Or promise retribution. Right and wrong
(Imaginary limits !) were forgot,
Or, if remember'd, scorn’d. The claims of state
The claims of pride, (their sole criterion now,
Of moral arbitration,) urg'd them on
The menace to anticipate, † and dare
(Tho' foremost in offence) the first to wield
The keen vindictive sword. Then roam'd abroad
In all its tyrant majesty the pow'r,
Of savage INDEPENDENCE, unrestrained
By virtue or religion. Ruthless deeds,
Which level humankind beneath the tribes
That roam the moonlight wilds in search of blood,
Disgrac'd the triumphs of the Grecian world.


During the Persian war, the Athenians were entrusted with the collection, from the different states, of the taxes to carry it on. Their abuse of this power was a principal occasion of the succeed. ing civil wars of Greece.

+ Vide Thucydid. In i.

« ZurückWeiter »