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The chief, descending, through th' unfolded
Upheld a flaming torch. The light disclos'd
One first in servile garments. Near his fide
A woman graceful and majestic stood,
Not with an aspect, rivalling the pow'r
of fatal Helen, or th' insnaring charms
Of love's soft queen, but such, as far furpass'd,
Whate'er the lilly, blending, with the rose,
Spreads on the cheek of beauty foon to fade;
Such, as express'd a mind, by wisdom ruld,
By sweetness temper'd; virtue's purest light
Illumining the countenance divine:
Yet could not foften rig'rous fate, nor charm
Malignant fortune to reverre the good;
Which oft with anguish rends a spotless heart,
And oft associates wisdom with despair
In courteous phrase began the chief humane.
Exalted fair, whose form adorns the night,
Forbear to blame the vigilance of war.
My flow compliance to the rigid law's
Of Mars impute. In me no longer pause
Shall from the presence of our king withold
This thy apparent dignity and worth.
Here ending, he conducts her. At the call
Of his lov'd brother from his couch arose
Leonidas. In wonder he survey'd
TR illustrious virgin, whom his presence aw'd.
Her eye submissive to the ground declin'd
In veneration of the godlike man.
His mien, his voice, her anxious dread dispel,
Benevolent in hospitable thus.
Thy looks, fair stranger, amiable and great,
A mind delineate, which from all commands
Supreme regard. Relate, thou noble dame,
By what relentless destiny compellid,
Thy tender feet the paths of darkness tread;
Rehearle th' afflictions, whence thy virtue mourns.
On her wan cheek a sudden blush arose
Like day, first dawning on the twilight pale;
When, wrapt in grief, these words a passage found.
If to be most unhappy, and to known,
That hope is irrecoverably fled;
If to be great and wretched my deserve
Cominiferation from the brave: behold,
Thou glorious leader of unconquer'd bands,
Behold, descended from Darius' loins,
Th' afflicted Ariana; and my pray'r
Accept with pity, nor my tears disdain.
First, that I lov'd the best of human race,
Heroic, wise, adornd by ev'ry art,
Of shame unconscious doth my heart reveal.
This day, in Grecian arms conspicuous clad,
He fought, he fell. A passion, long conceald,
For me alas ! within my brother's arms
His dying breath resigning he disclos’d.
Oh! I will stay my forrows! will forbid
My eyes to stream before thee, and my breast,
O'erwhelm'd by anguish, will from fighs restrain!
For why should thy humanity be griev'd
At my distress, why learn from me to mourn
The lot of mortals, doom'd to pain and woe.
Hear then, o king, and grant my fole request,
To seek his body in the heaps of slain.
Thus to the hero fu'd the royal maid,
Resembling Ceres in majestic woe,
When supplicating Jove from Stygian gloom,
And Pluto's black embraces to redeem
Her lov'd and lost Proserpina. Awhile
On Ariana fixing stedfast eyes,
These tender thoughts Leonidas recallid.
Such are thy sorrows, o for ever dear,
Who now at Lacedaemon dost deplore
My everlasting absence. Then alide
He turn'd and sigh’d. Recov'ring, he address'd
His brother: Most beneficent of men,
Attend, allist this princess. Night retires
Before purple - winged morn. A band
Is calld. The well-remember'd spot they find,
Where Teribazus from his dying hand
Dropt in their fight his formidable sword;
Soon from beneath a pile of Asian dead
They draw the hero, by his armour known.
Then, Ariana, what transcending pangs
Were thine! what horrors ! In thy tender breast
Love still was mightiest. On the bolom cold
Of Teribazus, grief-distracted maid,
Thy beauteous limbs were thrown. Thy snowy
The clotted gore disfigur’d. On his wounds
Loose flow'd thy hair, and, bubbling from thy
eyes, Impetuous sorrow lav'd th’empurpled clay. When forth in groans these lamentations broké
O torn for ever from these weeping eyes!
Thou, who despairing to obtain a heart,
Which then most lov'd thee, didft untimely yield
Thy life to fate's inevitable dart
For her, who now in agony reveals
Her tender passion, who repeats her vows
To thy deaf car, who fondly to her own
Unites thy cheek insenlible and cold.
Alas! do those unmoving, ghastly orbs
Perceive my gushing sorrow! Can that heart
At my complaint diffolve the ice of death
To share my fuff rings! Never, never more
Shall Ariana bend a list’ning ear
To thy enchanting eloquence, nor feast
Her mind on wisdom from thy copious tongue!
Oh! bitter, insurmountable distress!
She could no more. Invincible despair
Suppress'd all utt'rance. As a marble form,
Fix'd on the folemn fepulcher inclines
The filent head in imitated woe
O'er fome dead hero, whom his country lov'd;
Entranc'd by anguish, o'er the breathless 'clay
So hung the princess. On the gory breach,
Whence life had issu'd by the fatal blow,
Mute for a space and motionless the gaz'd;
When thus in accents firm. Imperial pomp,
Foe to my quiet, take my last farewel.
There is a state, where only virtue holds
The rank supreme. My Teribazus there
From his high order must descend to mine
Then with no trembling hand, no change of
She drew a poniard which her garment veild;
And instant sheathing in her heart the blade,
On her slain laver filent funk in death.
The unexpected stroke prevents the care
Of Azis, pierc'd by horror and distress
Like one, who, standing on a stormy beach,
Beholds a found'ring vessel, by the deep
At once engulph'd; his pity feels and mourns,
Depriv'd of pow'r to save: fo Agis view'd
The prostrate pair. He dropp'd a tear and thus.
Oh! much lamented! Heavy on your heads
Hath evil fall'n, which o'er your pale remains
Commands this sorrow from a stranger's eye.
Illustrious ruins ! May the grave impart
That peace, which life deny'd! And now receive
This pious office from a hand unknown.
Weit unter dem Range des Leonidas fteht die Epis goniade , in neun Büchern, von einem englischen Geisitis chen, William Wilkie, der auch Fabeln in Versen her: ausgegeben hat! Der Inhalt ist der bekannte Krieg der sogenannten Epigonen oder Abkommlinge der vor Theben gebliebenen Helden, welche den Tod ihrer Vater am Kreon und an den Thebanern zu rächen suchten. Die Hauptpers fonen und ihre Charaktere sind aus der Iliade entlehnt; obgleich der Dichter sehr willkührlich von der Tradition ab: gewichen ist, die Eusthatius in seinem Stommentar zum vierten Huche der Iliade, in Ansehung der Damen jener Helden, aufbehalten hat. Uuch Rreon, den er zi!mi damas ligen Sidnige von Theben macht, war damals schon todt. In der Beobachtung des Kostume war dieser Dichter nicht viel sorgfältiger; und bis auf einige glückliche Stellen, ift der Ton seiner Erz&hlung meistens einförmig und ermüdend. Weber diese, und mehrere Fehler dieser Epopde Rehe man das Monthly Review, Vol. XVI!, p. 228 ff. Hier ist eine der lebhaftesten Schilderungen aus dem achten Buche:
Creon beheld, inrag'd to be withstood,
Like some fierce lion when he meets a flood
Or trench defensive, which his rage restrain's
For flocks unguarded, left by careless swains;
O’er all the field he sends his eyes afar,
To mark fit entrance for a pointed war:
Near on the right a narrow space he found,
Where on could sustain and gain the ground.
Thither the warriors of the Theban hoft,
Whose martial skill he priz'd and valor moit,
The monarch sent, Chalcidamus the strong,
Who from fair Thespia led his martial throng,
Where Helicon erects his verdant head,
And crowns the champaign with a lofty shade:
Beisp. Samml. 5. B. 2