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144

ALEXANDER'S FEAST.

When he to fair Olympia pressed ;
And stamped an image of himself, a sov'reign of the

world.
The listning crowd admire the lofty sound;
• A present deity !' they shout around;
'A present deity !' the vaulted roofs rebound.

With ravished ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,

Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician sung ;

Of Bacchus, ever fair and ever young:

The jolly god in triumph comes ;
Sound the trumpets ; beat the drums !

Flushed with a purple grace

He shews his honest face.
Now, give the hautboys 4 breath ; he comes! he comes !

Bacchus, ever fair and young,

Drinking joys did first ordain :
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure ;
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure :

Rich the treasure,

Sweet the pleasure ;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.

Soothed with the sound, the king grew vain :

Fought all his battles o'er again :
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.

The master saw the madness rise ;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes ;
And, while he heaven and earth defied,
Changed his hand, and checked his pride.

He chose a mournful muse,

Soft pity to infuse :
He

sung Darius5 great and good,
By too severe a fate
Fall'n, fall'n, fall'n, fall’n,

Fall'n from his high estate,

And welt'ring in his blood;
Deserted at his utmost need
By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth exposed he lies,

With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast look the joyless victor sate,

Revolving in his altered soul

The various turns of fate below;
And now and then a sigh he stole,

And tears began to flow.

The mighty master smiled to see
That love was in the next degree :
'Twas but a kindred sound to move;
For pity melts the mind to love.

Softly sweet in Lydian measures,

Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures ;
War, he sung,

is toil and trouble ;
Honour but an empty bubble ;

Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying.

If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying !

Lovely Thaïs sits beside thee,

Take the good the gods provide thee. The many rend the skies with loud applause ; So love was crowned, but Music won the cause. The prince, unable to conceal his pain,

Gazed on the fair

Who caused his care,
And sighed and looked, sighed and looked,

Sighed and looked, and sighed again.
At length, with love and wine at once oppressed,
The vanquished victor sunk upon her breast.

Now strike the golden lyre again ;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain !

J

146

ALEXANDER'S FEAST.

Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder!
Hark! hark! the horrid sound

Has raised up his head,

As awaked from the dead,
And, amazed, he stares around.
'Revenge! revenge!' Timotheus cries ;

See the Furies arise ;
See the snakes that they rear !

How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes !

Behold a ghastly band,

Each a torch in his hand !
These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,

And unburied remain

Inglorious on the plain.
Give the vengeance due

To the valiant crew :
Behold how they toss their torches on high !
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods !'
The Princes applaud, with a furious joy ;
And the king seized a flambeau, with zeal to destroy ;

Thaïs led the way,

To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy. 8

Thus long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learned to blow,

While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus to his breathing flute

And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.

At last divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarged the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.

Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown:
He raised a mortal to the skies ;

She drew an angel down.

Dryden

i St Cecilla's Day. St Cecilia is the king of the Persians, and was

patroness of music, and the fes- defeated by Alexander near Issus, tival of her votaries takes place on an ancient city in the S.E. of the 22d of November.

Cilicia (333 B.C.). 2 Philip's warlike son. Alexander the Lydian measures, one of the modes

Great was the son of Philip II. of of Greek music. Macedon. He succeeded his 7 Flambeau, a torch. father when twenty years of age, 8 And, liko another Helen, fired another and during the remaining twelve Troy. Helen, wife of Menelaus, years of his life carried the arms king of Sparta, was carried off by of conquest over the greater part Paris, a prince of Troy. The of the then known world.

Grecian chiefs leagued with Mene3 The lovely Thaïs. A beautiful and laus to recover her. After a siege

accomplished Athenian woman of ten years, Troy was taken and who accompanied Alexander in burned by the Greeks. Thaïs is his expedition into Asia.

said to have incited Alexander to 4 Lautboys, wind-instruments resem- burn the palace of the Persian bling flutes.

kings; and thus resembled Helen, 6 He sung Darius. Darius was the last who caused the burning of Troy.

THE ARMAD A.1 Attend all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise : I sing of the thrice-famous deeds she wrought in ancient days, When that great fleet invincible against her bore in vain The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts in Spain.

It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day,3
There came a gallant merchant-ship full sail to Plymouth

Bay ;
The crew had seen Castile's black fleet beyond Aurignay's

isle, 4 At earliest twilight, on the waves lie heaving many a mile. At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace ; And the tall Pinta till the morn had held her close in chase. Forthwith a guard at every gun was placed along the wall; The beacon 6 blazed upon the roof of Edgecombe's lofty hall ;

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Many a fishing bark put out to pry along the coast ;
And with loose rein and bloody spur rode inland many a

post. With his white hair unbonneted, the stout old sheriff comes ; Behind him march the halberdiers, before him sound the

drums. The yeomen? round the market-cr make clear an ample

space, For there behoves him to set up the standard of Her Grace; 8 And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells, As slow upon the labouring wind the royal blazon 9 swells. Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancient crown, And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down.10 So stalked he when he turned to flight, on that famed Picard

field, 11 Bohemia’s plume, and Genoa's bow, and Cæsar's eagle shield. So glared he when at Agincourt 12 in wrath he turned to

bay, And crushed and torn beneath his claws the princely hunters

lay.

Ho! strike the flagstaff deep, sir knight: ho ! scatter flowers,

fair maids : Ho! gunners, fire a loud salute : ho! gallants, draw your

blades : Thou sun, shine on her joyously, ye breezes, waft her wide, Our glorious semper eadem,13 the banner of our pride. The fresh’ning breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy

fold;

The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of

gold; Night sunk upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea ; Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be. From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford

Bay, 14 That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day ; For swift to east, and swift to west, the warning radiance

spread, High on St Michael's Mount it shone : it shone on Beachy

Head.

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