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SPEECH OF THE CHORUS
THE SAME TRAGEDY,
To dissuade Medea from her purpose of putting her children to death, and flying for protection to Athens.
O haggard queen! to Athens dost thou guide
Thy glowing chariot, steeped in kindred gore ; Or seek to hide thy damned parricide
Where Peace and Mercy dwell for ever more? The land where Truth, pure, precious, and sublime,
Woos the deep silence of sequestered bowers, And warriors, matchless since the first of Time,
Rear their bright banners o'er unconquered towers ! Where joyous Youth, to Music's mellow strain,
Twines in the dance with Nymphs for ever fair, While Spring eternal, on the lilied plain,
Waves amber radiance through the fields of air ! The tuneful Nine (so sacred legends tell)
First waked their heavenly lyre these scenes among Still in your greenwood bowers they love to dwell; Still in
your vales they swell the choral song ! For there the tuneful, chaste, Pierian fair,
The guardian nymphs of green Parnassus now, Sprung from Harmonia, while her graceful hair
Waved in bright auburn o'er her polished brow !
Wheré silent vales, and glades of green array,
The murm’ring wreaths of cool Cephisus lave, There as the Muse hath sung, at noon of day,
The Queen of Beauty bowed to taste the wave;
And blest the stream, and breathed across the land,
The soft sweet gale that fans yon summer bowers; And there the sister Loves, a smiling band,
Crowned with the fragrant wreaths of rosy flowers'
she cries, in yonder valleys rove With Beauty's torch the solemn scenes illume ; Wake in each eye the radiant light of Love,
Breathe on each cheek young Passion's tender bloom!
Entwine with myrtle chains, your soft control,
To sway the hearts of Freedom's darling kind ! With glowing charms enrapture Wisdom's soul,
And mould to grace ethereal Virtue's mind.”
The land where Heaven's own hallowed waters play,
Where friendship binds the generous and the good, Say, shall it hail thee from thy frantic way,
Unholy woman! with thy hands imbrued
In thine own children's gore?-Oh! ere they bleed,
Let Nature's voice thy ruthless heart appal ! Pause at the bold, irrevocable deed
The mother strikes--the guiltless babes shall fall!
Think what remorse thy maddening thoughts shall sting,
When dying pangs their gentle bosoms tear; Where shalt thou sink, when ling’ring echoes ring
The screams of horror in thy tortured ear?
No! let thy bosom melt to Pity's cry,
In dust we kneel—by sacred Heaven implore0! stop thy lifted arm, ere yet they die,
Nor dip thy horrid hands in infant gore!
Say, how shalt thou that barb'rous soul assume,
Undamped by horror at the daring plan? Hast thou a heart to work thy children's doom?
Or bands to finish what thy wrath began? When o’er each babe you look a last adieu,
And gaze on innocence that smiles asleep, Shall no fond feeling beat, to nature true,
Charm thee to pensive thought-and bid thee weer? When the young suppliants clasp their parent dear,
Heave the deep sob, and pour the artless prayer,Ay! thou shalt melt;—and many a heart-shed tear
Gush o'er the hardened features of despair ! Nature shall throb in ev'ry tender string,
Thy trembling heart the ruffian's task deny; Thy horror-smitten hands afar shall fling
The blade, undrenched in blood's eternal dye!
Hallowed Earth! with indignation
Mark, oh mark, the murd'rous deed!
of wide creation,
Perpetrate the dire design,
Children of thy golden line ;
Shall the hand, with murder gory,
Cause immortal blood to flow? Sun of Heav'n-arrayed in glory!
Rise,-forbid,-avert the blow! In the vales of placid gladness
Let no rueful maniac range; Chase afar the fiend of Madness
Wrest the dagger from Revenge! Say, hast thou, with kind protection,
Reared thy smiling race in vain; Fost'ring Nature's fond affection,
Tender cares, and pleasing pain? Hast thou, on the troubled ocean,
Braved the tempest loud and strong, Where the waves, in wild commotion,
Roar Cyanean rocks among? Didst thou roam the paths of danger,
Hymenean joys to prove?
Pledges of thy sacred love!
Watch thee o'er the barb'rous deed ? Shalt thou cleanse, with expiation,
Monstrous, murd'rous, parricide?
LOVE AND MADNESS.
Written in 1795.
Hark! from the battlements of yonder tower The solemn bell has tolled the midnight hour! Roused from drear visions of distempered sleep, Poor B-k wakes—in solitude to weep!
“Cease, Mem’ry cease (the friendless mourner cried) To probe the bosom too severely tried ! Oh ever cease, my pensive thoughts, to stray Through the bright fields of Fortune's better day: When youthful hope, the music of the mind, Tuned all its charms, and E
-n was kind!
“ Yet, can I cease, while glows this trembling frame, In sighs to speak thy melancholy name? I hear thy spirit wail in every storm! In midnight shades I view thy passing form! Pale as in that sad hour, when doomed to feel, Deep in thy perjured heart the bloody steel!
“ Demons of Vengeance! ye at whose command
my wild heart sat smiling o'er the plan, Till Hate fulfilled what baffled Love began !
* Warwick Castle.