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Curve o'er the ruin of an oak,
The woodman lifts his axe on high,
The hills re-echo to the stroke;
I see, I see the shivers fly.
Some rural maid, with apron full,
Brings fuel to the homely flame;
I see the smoky columns roll,
And through the chinky hut the beam'.
Beside a stone o'ergrown with moss,
Two well-met hunters talk at ease;
Three panting dogs beside repose;
One bleeding deer is stretched on grass.
A lake, at distance, spreads to sight,
Skirted with shady forests round,
In midst an island's rocky height
Sustains a ruin once renowned.
One tree bends o'er the naked walls,
Two broad-winged eagles hover nigh,
By intervals a fragment falls,
As blows the blast along the sky 2.
I see the smoky columns roll,
And through the chinky hut the beam.] Hunter, vii. 137.
At length from his low roof black columns rise,
Of pitchy smoke, and gain on evening skies;
Dart through a rocky chink a livid ray.
"The columns of smoke pleased mine eye as they rose above my waves."
Shewing their pale forms through the chinky rocks."
2 By intervals a fragment falls,
As blows the blast along the sky.]
When from a tottering roof a fragment falls.
A fragment falls with each invading blast.
Two rough-spun hinds the pinnace guide,
With lab'ring oars, along the flood;
An angler, bending o'er the tide,
Hangs from the boat th' insidious wood.
Beside the flood, beneath the rocks,
On grassy bank two lovers lean;
Bend on each other amorous looks,
And seem to laugh and kiss between.
The wind is rustling in the oak;
They seem to hear the tread of feet; They start, they rise, look round the rock; Again they smile, again they meet.
But see! the grey mist from the lake
Ascends upon the shady hills;
Dark storms the murmuring forests shake,
Rain beats,-resound a hundred rills.
To Damon's homely hut I fly ;
I see it smoking o'er the plain:
When storms are past,-and fair the sky, I'll often seek my cave again.
I CALL the man unworthy of my praise,
Who wins the palm in wrestling or the race;
Should he excel in bulk and strength mankind,
Or in the course outstrip the Thracian wind;
Though Nature gave him Tithon's form divine,
And Asia poured him wealth from every mine;
Though Pelops' wide domains to him belong,
And more, Adrastus' eloquence of tongue;
Though fortune every other virtue gave,
And yet deny the greatest-to be brave.
And brave alone is he, who can sustain
Who in the front of battle stands unmoved,
The bulwark of the country which he loved;
And loving, prodigal of life, to die,
Avoids no evil more than basely fly.
His great example shall the host inspire,
And thousands follow actions they admire.
He turns the phalanx of the foe to flight,
And rules, with martial art, the tide of fight:
And when he falls amid the field of fame,
He leaves behind a great and lasting name;
His sire, his country, shall with joy surround
His corse, and read their glory in his wound.
Both young and old shall sing his dirge of woe;
And his long fun'ral all the town pursue:
His tomb shall be revered: his children shine
Through every age, a long-extended line.
Ne'er shall his glory fade, or cease his fame;
Though laid in dust, immortal is his name,
Who never from the field of battle flies,
But for his children and his country dies.
But if the sable hand of death he shun,
Returning victor, with his glory won;
By young and old revered, his life he'll lead,
And full of honour sink among the dead:
Or with his growing years his fame shall grow,
And all shall reverence his head of snow 1.
The higher place from every youth he bears,
And age shall quit him all the claim of years.
Who then desires to rise to such a height,
Desires in vain, if he forget the fight.
And all shall reverence his head of snow.] See Lathmon, Vol. i. p. 495. where the repetition of the greater part of this paragraph authenticates the translation of Tyrtæus by Macpherson.
YE, then, who boast Alcides' race divine,
Be strong; great Jove shall ne'er forsake his line.
Aided by Heav'n, no human prowess fear;
Exalt the shady buckler to the war.
But, bent on fate, what danger need you fly,
Or shun a death so grateful to the sky?
Ye knew the horrid work of arms before,
The dismal shock of battle oft ye bore;
Or when you fled, or when the field you won,
In each reverse to you is fortune known.
For those who, in the front of battle, dare
Fight hand to hand, and bear the brunt of war,
But rarely fall.-Though dastards skulk behind,
The fate they shun still haunts the cow'rdly kind.
What mind can well conceive, or tongue relate,
The ills unnamed that on the truant wait?
To shun his fate when from the field he flies,
Pierced from behind, th' inglorious coward dies.
When prone he lies and gasping on the ground,
What shame, to see behind the gaping wound!
But, firm to earth, let every warrior grow,
Strain his large limbs, and low'ring eye the foe;
Let every shield, a mighty round, displayed,
From head to foot the gathered warrior shade;
Each vig'rous hand the spear portended hold,
When dreadful nods above the casque of gold.