classes ::: Albert_Camus, book, Philosophy,
children :::
branches ::: The Plague
see also :::

Instances - Classes - See Also - Object in Names
Definitions - Quotes - Chapters


object:The Plague
class:Albert Camus
class:book
subject class:Philosophy


questions, comments, suggestions/feedback, take-down requests, contribute, etc
contact me @ integralyogin@gmail.com or via the comments below
or join the integral discord server (chatrooms)
if the page you visited was empty, it may be noted and I will try to fill it out. cheers



--- OBJECT INSTANCES [0]

TOPICS


AUTH


BOOKS


CHAPTERS

--- PRIMARY CLASS


Albert_Camus
book

--- SEE ALSO


--- SIMILAR TITLES [0]


6.04 - The Plague Athens
The Plague
select ::: Being, God, injunctions, media, place, powers, subjects,
favorite ::: cwsa, everyday, grade, mcw, memcards (table), project, project 0001, Savitri, the Temple of Sages, three js, whiteboard,
temp ::: consecration, experiments, knowledge, meditation, psychometrics, remember, responsibility, temp, the Bad, the God object, the Good, the most important, the Ring, the source of inspirations, the Stack, the Tarot, the Word, top priority, whiteboard,

--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



--- QUOTES [2 / 2 - 343 / 343] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



KEYS (10k)

   2 Albert Camus

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   22 Albert Camus

   7 Anonymous

   6 John Green

   5 John Ringo

   5 Brian Godawa

   5 Barbara W Tuchman

   4 William Shakespeare

   4 Colson Whitehead

   3 Ta Nehisi Coates

   3 Ovid
   3 Fyodor Dostoyevsky

   3 Charles Dickens

   3 Anne Sexton

   3 A G Riddle

   2 Ted Hughes

   2 Stuart Turton

   2 Saint Jerome

   2 Robert Browning
   2 Ren Girard

   2 Ray Bradbury

   2 Peter V Brett

   2 Peter Frankopan

   2 Peter Ackroyd

   2 Percy Bysshe Shelley
   2 Napoleon Bonaparte

   2 Michel de Montaigne

   2 Mark Twain

   2 Kresley Cole

   2 Khaled Hosseini

   2 Joe Abercrombie

   2 Hillary Clinton

   2 Henry Miller

   2 Erasmus Darwin

   2 Eleanora Duse

   2 Dylan Thomas

   2 Douglas Rushkoff

   2 Danielle Paige

   2 Connie Willis

   2 Catherynne M Valente

   2 Cal Newport

   2 Arthur Rimbaud

   2 Angela Carter

   2 Ally Condie

   2 Albert Camus
   2 Ada Cambridge


1:The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits. ~ Albert Camus, The Plague ,
2:And he knew, also, what the old man was thinking as his tears flowed, and he, Rieux, thought it too: that a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one's work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart. ~ Albert Camus, The Plague ,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Gossiping is the plague of little towns. ~ George Sand
2:about clichés. Avoid them like the plague. ~ Khaled Hosseini
3:The plague of ignorance overflows all the earth. ~ Hermes II
4:We have to tackle the plague of gun violence. ~ Hillary Clinton
5:The plague of government is senile delinquency. ~ Mignon McLaughlin
6:His smile is infectious. But again, so was the plague. ~ Karina Halle
7:The plague of gold strikes far and near. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
8:The plague of man is boasting of his knowledge. ~ Michel de Montaigne
9:Uncertainty is more contagious than the plague. Cesare, ~ Sarah Dunant
10:But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all. ~ Albert Camus
11:How now? Even so quickly may one catch the plague? ~ William Shakespeare
12:How now?
Even so quickly may one catch the plague? ~ William Shakespeare
13:The infectiousness of crime is like that of the plague. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
14:If I don't come back find a way to give everyone the plague. ~ Danielle Paige
15:Some days you were the plague, and some days you were the Egyptian. ~ Adrianne Brooks
16:To win the guilty kiss of a saint, I'd welcome the plague as a blessing. ~ Emil M Cioran
17:Avoid, as you would the plague, a clergyman who is also a man of business. ~ Saint Jerome
18:I am the plague which will burn through the marrow of the Anointed City. ~ Catherynne M Valente
19:I hate horror movies! I avoid them like the plague. I don't like getting scared. ~ Danai Gurira
20:Nicia: God send him the plague!
Timoteo: Why?
Nicia: So he'll get it! ~ Niccol Machiavelli
21:The want of occupation is no less the plague of society than of solitude. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau
22:Tell them I have the headache--no, the plague! I need something nice and contagious. ~ Lauren Willig
23:And of all the plagues with which mankind are cursed, Ecclesiastic tyranny's the worst. ~ Daniel Defoe
24:Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours. ~ Voltaire
25:Make peace. The plague has shown me that we must ensure words of love are not hoarded. ~ Elisabeth Storrs
26:Yeah, I don't deal with current events or pop culture, and I avoid politics like the plague. ~ Max Cannon
27:Roses, the rash; posies to sweeten the putrid air. The ring is…the plague-token, of course. ~ Lauren Royal
28:The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits. ~ Albert Camus, The Plague,
29:She’s trying to figure out the Plague on her own and not taking what the Rising says for granted. ~ Ally Condie
30:Worrying about inflation now is like worrying about the measles when you might get the plague. ~ Kenneth Rogoff
31:A revolution is interesting insofar as it avoids like the plague the plague it promised to heal. ~ Daniel Berrigan
32:events in the past—events that are key to finding a cure for the plague.” “Interesting,” Kate murmured. ~ A G Riddle
33:Our parents resorted to the lash the way flagellants in the plague years resorted to the scourge. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates
34:The American Scream is the personification of the plague of madness sweeping the states. Only he's real ~ Peter Milligan
35:There was no reason for Bella Swan to cross paths with me. She would be avoided like the plague she was. ~ Stephenie Meyer
36:Just swerve Golovkin like the plague. He punches like a mule. I don't need to be in with him. Dangerous fight. ~ Carl Froch
37:There are plagues, and there are victims, and it's the duty of good men not to join forces with the plagues. ~ Albert Camus
38:The last day I was here, in eighteen forty-three, was the only time since the plague when we were not at war. ~ Ian Mortimer
39:As I say—it’s not the plague. It’s this new illness. They call it the sweating sickness, a new plague that King ~ Philippa Gregory
40:I held Star close before I departed. “If I don’t come back,” I told her, “find a way to give everyone the plague. ~ Danielle Paige
41:We need to fight the plague of the uninsured the way we have fought other threats to our way of life and our basic values. ~ Herb Kohl
42:Of all the plagues a lover bears,
Sure rivals are the worst
I can endure my own despair,
But not another’s hope. ~ William Walsh
43:When the plague went global, everyone wanted someone to blame. You were the first story and for many reasons, the best story. ~ A G Riddle
44:We have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we're seeing today. ~ Hillary Clinton
45:Physic himself must fade.
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by.
I am sick, I must die

P.98 ~ Ally Condie
46:The plague did not lead to Europe’s economic collapse. Rather, Europe’s currency-driven economic collapse led to the plague. ~ Douglas Rushkoff
47:Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity. ~ Saint Jerome
48:To save the Theatre, the Theatre must be destroyed, and actors and actresses all die of the Plague ... they make art impossible. ~ Eleanora Duse
49:Administrators everywhere on the planet, in all businesses and pursuits, and at all times in history, have been the plague. ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb
50:In a word, the right granted to a man to inflict corporal punishment on his fellow-men, is one of the plague-spots of our society. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
51:Indeed, the one thing these prophecies had in common was that, ultimately, all were reassuring. Unfortunately, though, the plague was not. ~ Albert Camus
52:It was a full Spears album, apparently, and each song was as ridiculous as the one before. They were catchy, yes, but so was the plague. ~ Heidi Cullinan
53:The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our borders. Act fast! ~ Donald Trump
54:Poor Humanity, crazed with fear, was fleeing in all directions on hearing the thundering pace of the Plague, War, Hunger and Death. ~ Vicente Blasco Ib ez
55:You dare to wrestle with my mind? I’m the Plaguebringer. Gods flee when they hear me coming.” “If my hands weren’t busy, I’d clap for you. ~ Ilona Andrews
56:Again and again there comes a time in history when the man who dares to say that two and two make four is punished with death. ("The Plague") ~ Albert Camus
57:It is far easier for a woman to lead a blameless life than it is for a man; all she has to do is to avoid sexual intercourse like the plague. ~ Angela Carter
58:The windows are boarded up with that same “black owned” tag on them, like it’s lamb’s blood protecting the store from the plague of death. The ~ Angie Thomas
59:One cannot escape dogmas—those who hold most firmly to dogmas today are those whose only dogma is that dogmas should be feared like the plague. ~ Sigrid Undset
60:Her life wasn’t some medieval romance novel. And even if it had been, she probably would’ve ended up dying of the plague. Now that was reality. ~ Shelli Stevens
61:The plague that every person carries with them is transmitted as much in the breath of our words as in a cough or sneeze. ~ A. Camus twitter.com/rebeca6169/sta…
62:This happened when, for instance, they fell to making plans implying that the plague had ended. Or when, quite unexpectedly, by some kindly chance, ~ Albert Camus
63:He knew that fear was the only weapon he had left to save my life and if I didn’t fear the threat of the plague, then dammit, I was going to fear him! ~ Max Brooks
64:When in all the nations of the world the rule of law is the darling of the leaders and the plague of the people, we ought to begin to recognize this. ~ Howard Zinn
65:When you see the suffering and pain that it brings, you’d have to be blind, mad, or a coward to resign yourself to the plague. ALBERT CAMUS, The Plague ~ Jill Leovy
66:It is far easier for a woman to lead
a blameless life than it is for a man;
all she has to do is to avoid
sexual intercourse like the plague. ~ Angela Carter
67:The plague of man is the opinion of knowledge. That is why ignorance is so recommended by our religion as a quality suitable to belief and obedience. ~ Michel de Montaigne
68:Indeed, statistical modelling based on these results even suggests that one of the effects of the plague was a substantial improvement in life expectancy. ~ Peter Frankopan
69:This woman only became a criminal because she touched me. I am oozing with crime. She caught it off me as one may catch typhus, or cholera, or the plague! ~ Alexandre Dumas
70:Do you truly believe that you can defeat the plague? I believe that I must try or we are all lost, anyway. A sombre thought, but the logic is undeniable. ~ Adrian Tchaikovsky
71:In his mind, the business of existence was about minimizing consequences. The plague had raised the stakes, but he had been in training for this his whole life. ~ Colson Whitehead
72:On average, every year, thirty-five people in the United States die of the plague; close to two thousand worldwide. But those are hardly frightening statistics. ~ Jacqueline Druga
73:I don't believe in evil; I believe only in horror. In nature there is no evil, only an abundance of horror: the plagues and the blights and the ants and the maggots. ~ Isak Dinesen
74:It was plague. We've had the plague here.' You'd almost think they expected to be given medals for it. But what does that mean--'plague'? Just life, no more than that. ~ Albert Camus
75:Nobody biting it from the plague or smallpox or yellow fever or whatever, because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in dying of. ~ John Green
76:The Egyptians had the locusts and in the Middle Ages there was the Black Death with the rats, but tourists are the plague of our century and we'll not survive this one. ~ Richard Conniff
77:Jerome says (Ep. ad Nepot. lii): "Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being a nobody has become a celebrity. ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas
78:How would I feel about hearing that the plague killed another nearby village a month later? Didn’t I tell you stupidity is the eighth sin?

Excerpt From: Cameron Jace. “. ~ Cameron Jace
79:The plague had killed far more females than males. As one of the few women in The New America, especially an educated, civilized woman, I’d always supposed I was ever man’s type. ~ Anna Carey
80:On working with director Werner Herzog: I have to shoot without any breaks. I yell at Herzog and hit him. I have to fight for every sequence. I wish Herzog would catch the plague. ~ Klaus Kinski
81:It was ordained.
Just as the fates deal out
the plague with a tarot card.
Just as the Supreme Being drills
holes in our skulls to let
the Boston Symphony through. ~ Anne Sexton
82:That's the way to get the chicks for free. And getting the chicks for free is the only true pursuit for a grown-up male. Before puberty, of course, it's avoiding them like the plague. ~ John Ringo
83:Indifference, the plague of modern Western culture in general and evangelicalism in particular, is at best the result of intellectual laziness, at worst a sign of moral abdication. ~ Carl R Trueman
84:You thought perhaps you would drink it away, the plague? Was that the plan?"

"I thought perhaps I'd try to die drunk."

"Such ambition. And this from a dragon-slayer. ~ Richard K Morgan
85:Mark Spitz didn't ask about Harry. You never asked about the characters that disappeared from a Last Night story. You knew the answer. The plague had a knack for narrative closure. ~ Colson Whitehead
86:All I can say, in answer to this kind queries [of friends] is that I have not the distemper called the Plague; but that I have allthe plagues of old age, and of a shattered carcase. ~ Lord Chesterfield
87:where are the gods the gods hate us the gods have run away the gods have hidden in holes the gods are dead of the plague they rot and stink too there never were any gods there’s only death ~ Ted Hughes
88:Pay no attention to pop culture, for it is what poisons our minds and divides our children. Materialism promotes negative values and egotism. Eliminate all of it. It is the plague of Big Business. ~ Suzy Kassem
89:The plague of racism is insidious, entering into our minds as smoothly and quietly and invisibly as floating airborne microbes enter into our bodies to find lifelong purchase in our bloodstreams. ~ Maya Angelou
90:You got to pay your dues to get the joke. Besides, laughter is cheap and very portable. If there's a pogrom, or they're blaming you for the plague, nothing is easier to pack than a sense of humor. ~ Lenny Bruce
91:The perfection of created life and the absolute beauty of nature is tarnished only by mortality and the cruel evils perpetrated by human kind. If humanity is the plague- only the divine is the cure... ~ Anonymous
92:Governor Bradford is said to have attributed the plague to “the good hand of God,” which “favored our beginnings” by “sweeping away great multitudes of the natives … that he might make room for us. ~ Charles C Mann
93:The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other. They are worse than ever when, at the termination of their punishment, they return to society. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
94:Hillary Clinton has said numerous times in this campaign, "If Congress doesn't act to end the plague of gun violence in America," that she will do so by executive action. Now, what is she going to do? ~ Rush Limbaugh
95:And yet, despite the horror it caused, the plague turned out to be the catalyst for social and economic change that was so profound that far from marking the death of Europe, it served as its making. ~ Peter Frankopan
96:There is no man in creation who is not your brother No woman not your sister, no child not your own For all suffer the Plague, righteous and sinful alike And all must band together to withstand the night. ~ Peter V Brett
97:the plague was not the kind of calamity that inspired mutual help. Its loathsomeness and deadliness did not herd people together in mutual distress, but only prompted their desire to escape each other. ~ Barbara W Tuchman
98:Shall I give you my recipe for happiness? I find everything useful and nothing indispensable. I find everything wonderful and nothing miraculous. I reverence the body. I avoid first causes like the plague. ~ Norman Douglas
99:Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. ~ Thomas Malthus
100:It is in fact agreed that I am the plague, the cholera of the benevolent and generous men who are interested in art and that, when I show myself with my plasters, even the Emperor of the Sahara would flee. ~ Camille Claudel
101:A great nation assailed by war has not only its frontiers to protect: it must also protect its good sense. It must protect itself from the hallucinations, injustices, and follies which the plague lets loose. ~ Romain Rolland
102:Philip’s local squabble with Plymouth Colony had mutated into a regionwide war that, on a percentage basis, had done nearly as much as the plagues of 1616–19 to decimate New England’s Native population. ~ Nathaniel Philbrick
103:Yes, it’s a lie, but the media repeated it, and a lie repeated becomes perception, and perception is reality. Perception is also very hard to change. When the plague went global, everyone wanted someone to blame. ~ A G Riddle
104:where are the gods
the gods hate us
the gods have run away
the gods have hidden in holes
the gods are dead of the plague
they rot and stink too

there never were any gods
there’s only death ~ Ted Hughes
105:The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague. ~ Edsger Dijkstra
106:of legend. It was impossible to imagine it overrun with the plague, the dead carts full of bodies being pulled through the narrow streets, the colleges boarded up and abandoned, and everywhere the dying and the already dead. ~ Connie Willis
107:For each of the four hundred and four bodily ailments celebrated physicians have produced infallible remedies, but the malady which brings the greatest distress to mankind - to even the wisest and cleverest of us - is the plague of poverty. ~ Ihara Saikaku
108:In some circles, admitting you love Top 40 radio is tantamount to bragging you gave your grandmother the clap, in church, in the front row at your aunt's funeral, but those are the circles I avoid like the plague or, for that matter, the clap. ~ Rob Sheffield
109:are two types of the mentally deficient in this world. The first type mistake their lack of understanding for bold perception. This type of deficiency is often found in urologists and presidential candidates and is as dangerous as the plague. ~ William Lashner
110:For there is no denying that the plague had gradually killed off in all of us the faculty not of love only but even of friendship. Naturally enough, since love asks something of the future, and nothing was left us but a series of present moments. ~ Albert Camus
111:And did you ever wonder why you avoided boys like the plague up until now ? "
" I know exactly why. Because I'm shy and because - "
"Boys suck the brains out of girls. . ."
" And make them crazy!" I finish my father's warning with a sad smile. ~ K A Tucker
112:PLAGUE, n. In ancient times a general punishment of the innocent for admonition of their ruler, as in the familiar instance of Pharaoh the Immune. The plague today . . . is merely Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness. ~ Ambrose Bierce
113:So you haven't understood yet?" Rambert shrugged his shoulders almost
scornfully.
"Understood what?"
"The plague."
"Ah!" Rieux exclaimed.
"No, you haven't understood that it means exactly that, the same thing over and
over and over again. ~ Albert Camus
114:That’s the girl you complain about driving home with every weekend? That’s the girl youwhine endlessly about walking in on you when you’re acting the fool? That’s the girl you dodge calls from and avoid like the plague? Geez Rule I never knew you were gay. ~ Jay Crownover
115:If you developed diphtheria, spotted fever, or the plague while you were in possession of a library book, you were required to inform the library, and the book had to be fumigated before it was put back in circulation, but the library covered the cost. Three ~ Susan Orlean
116:The Plague Doctor claimed Blackheath was meant to rehabilitate us, but bars can’t build better men and misery can only break what goodness remains. This place pinches out the hope in people, and without that hope, what use is love or compassion or kindness? ~ Stuart Turton
117:12And this shall be  e the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. ~ Anonymous
118:Did you see the way she ran out of here? Like I had the plague or something."

"Who? The witch?"

"Aye."

"And this bothers you because..."

"Well...it's rude."

"Uh huh."

Brastias growled at his second in command. "Shut up. ~ G A Aiken
119:Most knowledge workers avoid the uncomfortable strain of deliberate practice like the plague, a reality emphasized by the typical cubicle dweller’s obsessive e-mail–checking habit—for what is this behavior if not an escape from work that’s more mentally demanding? As ~ Cal Newport
120:In Zechariah 14.. their flesh dissolves away, because of the plague hitting them for coming against the Jews in Jerusalem. When did that happen? I've never read when flesh dissolved; it can now, because of necrotizing fasciitis, or the neutron bomb, but not in 70AD. ~ Jack Van Impe
121:The majestic architecture, the cultivated manners, the simplicity of life, the disregard for one's fellow man, the plagues, the rampant corruption, the unmitigated racism, and the uncontrollable violence--all the things our grandparents called 'the good old days'... ~ Chris Elliott
122:You sign for a sequel for everything these days, just in case, options. In the past, you avoided them like the plague because it meant somewhere down the road you couldn't take a job because you had to do a sequel. Now it's a feature of pretty much any feature you do. ~ Mark Strong
123:But behind every misguided treatment—from Ottomans eating clay to keep the plague away to Victorian gents sitting in a mercury steam room for their syphilis to epilepsy sufferers sipping gladiator blood in ancient Rome—is the incredible power of the human desire to live. ~ Lydia Kang
124:O witches, O misery, O hate, to you has my treasure been entrusted! I contrived to purge my mind of all human hope. On all joy, to strangle it, I pounced with the strength of a wild beast. I called to the plagues to smother me in blood, in sand, misfortune was my God. ~ Arthur Rimbaud
125:The ideal of self-advancement which the civilizing west offers to backward populations brings with it the plague of individual frustration. All the advantages brought by the West are ineffectual substitutes for the sheltering and soothing anonymity of communal existence. ~ Eric Hoffer
126:To say that Siena and Florence have always been competitive is an understatement. In medieval times, a statue of Venus stood on Il Campo. After the plague hit Siena, the monks blamed the pagan statue. The people cut it to pieces and buried it along the walls of Florence. ~ Rick Steves
127:The approval of the public is to be avoided like the plague. It is absolutely essential to keep the public from entering if one wishes to avoid confusion. I must add that the public must be kept panting in expectation at the gate by a system of challenges and provocations. ~ Andre Breton
128:Before the plague, women were rulers and peacekeepers and cooks and dancers and whatever they wanted to be. And they had medicine that made it impossible to get pregnant. They were free. And now they’re property almost everywhere, raped to death and sold to monsters by monsters. ~ Meg Elison
129:I am in favor of deliberately spreading methodically prepared bacteria among people and animals -- mildew ... to destroy the harvests, anthrax to destroy horses and livestock, and the plague, in order to kill not only entire armies, but also the inhabitants of large regions. ~ Winston Churchill
130:Skousen remembered a world falling apart. Kira remembered a world pulling together to save itself. That was the difference. That was why Skousen and the Senate were too afraid to do what it took to solve this. If it was going to get done, it would have to be the plague babies who did it. ~ Dan Wells
131:Maybe love was a myth anyhow, a brew of hormones and fantasy, evolution's way of getting men and women together long enough for them to procreate,back in the day when girls got pregnant at twelve, were pregnant or nursing for the next twenty years, and were dead of the plague by forty. ~ Jennifer Weiner
132:Kit bowed to all in the manner of a single wave of obeisance and left the chamber in some anger and disquiet. Outside the door he saw Baines waiting for entrance. Kit spat and said: No buboes yet? The devils of the plague know their own. Baines said:
&emdash; That is not friendly. ~ Anthony Burgess
133:They asked for Plato's assistance. He told them: "You hated wisdom and ran away from geometry, therefore God has afflicted you a punishment, for wisdom and philosophical knowledge have a high rank with God." ... The plague was lifted and they ceased to defame the branches of theoretical knowledge. ~ Mulla Sadra
134:The bricked-up fourteenth-century “doors of the dead” are still visible. These ghosts of doors beside the main entrance were designed, some say, to take out the plague victims—bad luck for them to exit by the main entrance. I notice in the regular doors, people often leave their keys in the lock. ~ Frances Mayes
135:Indeed the Here and Now had come to mean everything to them. For there is no denying that the plague had gradually killed off in all of us the faculty not of love only but eve of friendship. Naturally enough, since love asks something of the future, and nothing was left but a series of present moments. ~ Albert Camus
136:Personally, I avoid deus ex machina like the plague - if you have to use one, it means you failed to set up the universe and the plot properly. It's like a whodunnit where there's no actual way for the reader to identify the perpetrator before the climactic reveal: there's no sense of closure for the reader. ~ Charles Stross
137:The plague spread and moved on. In the whole world only a few people were able to save themselves: the pure and the chosen, predestined to begin a new race of men and a new life, to renew and purify the earth; but these people were not seen anywhere by anybody, and nobody heard their voices or their words. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
138:The twentieth century ended with its dreams in ruins. The notion of the community as a voluntary association of enlightened citizens has died forever. We realize how suffocatingly humane we've become, dedicated to moderation and the middle way. The suburbanization of the soul has overrun our planet like the plague. ~ J G Ballard
139:Derrida believes that the “triumph” of capitalism in the West has only served to highlight its own failures, as human suffering continues and environmental catastrophe appears inevitable. Western economic systems have only exacerbated the plagues of underemployment, foreign debt, arms trade, and inter-ethnic violence.4 ~ Philip Clayton
140:Out with it, Tarrou! What on earth prompted you to take a hand in this?”
“I don’t know. My code of morals, perhaps.”
“Your code of morals? What code?”
“Comprehension.”

Camus, Albert (2012-08-08). The Plague (Vintage International) (Kindle Locations 1767-1769). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. ~ Albert Camus
141:This brings to mind an expression I coined ages ago: A peach a day keeps the plague spirits away!'
Percy sneezed. 'I though it was apples and doctors.'
The karpos hissed.
'Or peaches,' Percy said. 'Peaches work too.'
'Peaches,' agrees the karpos.
Percy wiped his nose. 'Not criticizing, but why is her grooting? ~ Rick Riordan
142:He chewed my head off about the "threadsoul," the "causal body," "ablation," the Upanishads, Plotinus, Krishnamurti, "the karmic vestiture of the soul," "the Nirvanic consciousness," all that flapdoodle which blows out of the east like a breath from the plague . . . he had worn himself out, like a coat whose nape is worn off. ~ Henry Miller
143:18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  p if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in  q the tree of life and in  r the holy city, which are described in this book. ~ Anonymous
144:And Meredith says that reminds her of a Camus novel, the one about the plague, and she tells the story of it, the tale holding you in thrall, and she ends her version with a line you’ll write down in your notebook, the place where the atheist doctor hollers at a priest: All your certainties aren’t worth one strand of a woman’s hair. ~ Mary Karr
145:Heinlein once said that ignorance is its own death penalty. Truth is, the way the world has worked for a long time, it's not been true. Now . . . it's literally true. Don't know about the plagues or reject the information and it's an automatic and irrevocable death penalty. Besides, one death is a tragedy, a billion is a statistic. ~ John Ringo
146:He was a violent, unjust man. Why the plague germs spared him I can never understand. It would seem, in spite of our old metaphysical notions about absolute justice, that there is no justice in the universe. Why did he live?—an iniquitous, moral monster, a blot on the face of nature, a cruel, relentless, bestial cheat as well. All ~ Jack London
147:That provision in the constitution which requires that the president shall be a native-born citizen (unless he were a citizen of the United States when the constitution was adopted,) is a happy means of security against foreign influence, which, where-ever it is capable of being exerted, is to be dreaded more than the plague. ~ St George Tucker
148:What can you do? [Bernie] Sanders, as a Jewish man: What could Pharaoh do to extend his time, and stop the plagues from coming on Egypt? This is the modern "Egypt", Mr. Sanders. Let the Black man go and give us justice, and these things that are whipping you today will start diminishing, and you will get a longer period of time. ~ Louis Farrakhan
149:And he knew, also, what the old man was thinking as his tears flowed, and he, Rieux, thought it too: that a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one's work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart. ~ Albert Camus, The Plague,
150:A creative writing teacher at San Jose State used to say about clichés: 'Avoid them like the plague.' Then he'd laugh at his own joke. The class laughed along with him, but I always thought clichés got a bum rap. Because, often, they're dead-on. But the aptness of the clichéd saying is overshadowed by the nature of the saying as a cliché. ~ Khaled Hosseini
151:Courts send black teenagers to jail for possession of marijuana, while white college kids are sentenced to community service for driving while intoxicated, a considerably more deadly offense. And Evangelicals editorialize about the sexual abominations of consenting adults, while very little is said about the plague of date rapes in college towns. ~ Eula Biss
152:Stacked up after the plague came through, spread out after a battle?’ ‘Aye, I’ve seen that.’ ‘Did you notice some of those corpses had a kind of glow about them? A sweet smell like roses on a spring morning?’ Shivers frowned. ‘No.’ ‘The good men and the bad, then – all looked about the same, did they? They always did to me, I can tell you that. ~ Joe Abercrombie
153:to inspire his men, wont about among the plague-stricken soldiers, touching their wounds with his bare hands. He said that the man who had no fear would never be stricken with the plague. he believed that the mind is master of the body. If there was over a believer in the almost omnipotent power of the mind and of the will, it was Napoleon. ~ Orison Swett Marden
154:I stayed against the back wall, as far away as I could get. Not just to stay away from the Plague Lady but to be farther away from the weird old dolls that lined the shelves of her office. Real-looking hair sprouted from their crumbling heads and all their faces were painted with smiles. Kids in the old days must have loved nightmares or something. ~ Scott Westerfeld
155:These movies belonged to the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries that period of great, unsustainable, and hedonistic prosperity, driven by the burning of Earth's reserves of perishable oil, which culminated in the False Tribulation, and the wars, and the plagues, and the painful dwindling of inflated populations to more reasonable numbers. ~ Robert Charles Wilson
156:The first century of the plague had seen the country turned upside down. In the twilight years of Edward III it seemed that nothing could damage the greatness of the Plantagenet royal estate. But the world of the village went from impoverished claustrophobia to traumatized infection. A hundred years later, everything had been upended, courtesy of King Death. ~ Simon Schama
157:To save the theatre, the theatre must be destroyed, the actors and actresses must all die of the plague. They poison the air, they make art impossible. It is not drama that they play, but pieces for the theatre. We should return to the Greeks, play in the open air; the drama dies of stalls and boxes and evening dress, and people who come to digest their dinner. ~ Eleanora Duse
158:God, look at you! Then look back. A thousand centuries of absolute terror, absolute grief. How parents stayed sane to raise their kids when half of them died, damned if I know. Yet with broken hearts, they did. While millions died of flu or the Plague. ‘So here we are in a new time that we can’t see because we stand in the eye of the hurricane, where everything’s calm. ~ Ray Bradbury
159:Without memories, without hope, they lived for the moment only. indeed, the here and now had come to mean everything to them. For there is no denying that the plague had gradually killed off in all of us the faculty not of love only but even of friendship. Naturally enough, since love asks something of the future, and nothing was left us but a series of present moments. ~ Albert Camus
160:Freud thought he was bringing the plague to the U.S.A., but the U.S.A. has victoriously resisted the psychoanalytical frost by real deep freezing, by mental and sexual refrigeration. They have countered the black magic of the Unconscious with the white magic of "doing your own thing," air conditioning, sterilization, mental frigidity and the cold media of information. ~ Jean Baudrillard
161:It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute. ~ Connie Willis
162:As our kissing progresses, I don’t care that our tryst seems raunchy and wrong. I don’t care that I’m at school, in the boy’s bathroom. I don’t care that to most people this would seem cheap, dirty, and despicable. The only thing I can think about while he kisses me deeper, harder, faster, is that Henry Garner is the plague and the only thing I want him to do is infect me. ~ Lauren Hammond
163:For instance,” said Alan, “we’re now learning that the smallpox pandemics of the Middle Ages, not the plague, mind you, but smallpox, left generations of people with a rare genetic defect that protects them against infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. We estimate that approximately one percent of people descended from northern Europeans are virtually immune to HIV infection. ~ Brad Thor
164:musicians, athletes, and chess players, among others, know all about deliberate practice, but knowledge workers do not. Most knowledge workers avoid the uncomfortable strain of deliberate practice like the plague, a reality emphasized by the typical cubicle dweller’s obsessive e-mail–checking habit—for what is this behavior if not an escape from work that’s more mentally demanding? ~ Cal Newport
165:The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity. ~ Thomas Szasz
166:Each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth is free from it. And i know, too, that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in a careless moment we breath in someone's face and fasten the infection on him. What's natural is the microbe. All the rest – health, integrity, purity (if you like) – is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. ~ Albert Camus
167:The Whites have carried to these (colonial) people the worst that they could carry: the plagues of the world: materialism, fanaticism, alcoholism, and syphilis. Moreover, since what these people possessed on their own was superior to anything we could give them, they have remained themselves... The sole result of the activity of the colonizers is: they have everywhere aroused hatred. ~ Adolf Hitler
168:It was another terrible spiritual picture of the monstrous evil of idolatry that day. And it was Phineas’ cleansing act that stopped the plague. From that moment on, the sickness released its stranglehold on the Israelites and faded away. Phineas would receive a promise of perpetual priesthood, because that very day Phineas was jealous for Yahweh and made atonement for the people of Israel. ~ Brian Godawa
169:Avoid stock expressions (like the plague, as William Safire used to say) and repetitions. Don't say that as a boy your grandmother used to read to you, unless at that stage of her life she really was a boy, in which case you have probably thrown away a better intro. If something is worth hearing or listening to, it's very probably worth reading. So, this above all: Find your own voice. ~ Christopher Hitchens
170:I want to celebrate these elms which have been spared by the plague, these survivors of a once flourishing tribe commemorated by all the Elm Streets in America. But to celebrate them is to be silent about the people who sit and sleep underneath them, the homeless poor who are hauled away by the city like trash, except it has no place to dump them. To speak of one thing is to suppress another. ~ Lisel Mueller
171:That it is at least as difficult to stay a moral infection as a physical one; that such a disease will spread with the malignity and rapidity of the Plague; that the contagion, when it has once made head, will spare no pursuit or condition, but will lay hold on people in the soundest health, and become developed in the most unlikely constitutions; is a fact as firmly established by experience ~ Charles Dickens
172:For the plague-stricken their peace of mind is more important than a human life. Decent folks must be allowed to sleep easy o' nights, mustn't they? Really it would be in shockingly bad taste to linger on such details, that's common knowledge. But personally I've never been able to sleep well since then. The bad taste remained in my mouth and I've kept lingering on the details, brooding over them. ~ Albert Camus
173:Thought the death took many forms, though people died early in many different ways, the death itself was very simple and the cause was simple, too: as simple as the plague: the kids had been told that they weren’t worth shit and everything they saw around them proved it. They struggled, they struggled, but they fell, like flies, and they congregated on the garbage heaps of their lives like flies. ~ James Baldwin
174:most of us unconsciously grew to resist and resent accountability altogether. Then, when we turned 18, we embraced every ounce of freedom we could get our hands on, continuing to avoid accountability like it was the plague, perpetuating a downward spiral into mediocrity, developing detrimental mindsets and habits such as laziness, deflecting responsibility, and taking short cuts—hardly a recipe for success. ~ Hal Elrod
175:It is inconceivable to me that a man who is a true believer can listen to a presentation of the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the glory of the Gospel, without being moved in two ways. One is to feel for a while, in view of what he knows about the plague of his own heart, that perhaps he is not a Christian at all; and, then, to rejoice in the glorious Gospel remedy which gives him deliverance. Many ~ D Martyn Lloyd Jones
176:she was never to be allowed to exchange a word with him; and that she was forbidden to pay him a visit even when he was ailing. He was quarantined from her as if she had been suffering from the plague. She was actually forbidden to converse with Simon the shoemaker, the boy’s tutor, from whom she might have gleaned a little information about her son. His seclusion from her was to be unconditional and absolute. ~ Stefan Zweig
177:In 1828 Professor Bianchi demonstrated how the fearful reappearance of the plague at Modena was caused by excavations in ground where, THREE HUNDRED YEARS PREVIOUSLY, the victims of the pestilence had been buried. Mr. Cooper, in explaining the causes of some epidemics, remarks that the opening of the plague burial-grounds at Eyam resulted in an immediate outbreak of disease.'—NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, NO. 3, VOL. 135. ~ Mark Twain
178:He is announcing to the most powerful ruler of the ancient world that these people may be your slaves but they are My children. The story of the exodus is as much political as theological. Theologically, the plagues showed that the Creator of nature is supreme over the forces of nature. Politically it declared that over every human power stands the sovereignty of God, defender and guarantor of the rights of humankind. ~ Jonathan Sacks
179:In 1362, for the first time in almost three centuries, English was acknowledged as a language of official business. Since the Conquest, court cases had been heard in French. Now the law recognised that too few people understood that language, perhaps because many of the educated lawyers, like the clergy, had died in the plague. From now on, it was declared, cases could be pleaded, defended, debated and judged in English. ~ Melvyn Bragg
180:JULY 25 – RECIPE FOR SPREADING THE PLAGUE
In the fourteenth century fanatical custodians of the Catholic faith declared war on cat in Europe’s cities. These diabolical animals, instruments of Satan, were crucified, skewered, skinned alive or chucked into bonfires.
Then the rats, liberated from their worst enemies, came to rule the cities. And the Black Death, transmitted by rats, killed thirty million Europeans. ~ Eduardo Galeano
181:That the mortality was accepted as God’s punishment may explain in part the vacuum of comment that followed the Black Death. An investigator has noticed that in the archives of Périgord references to the war are innumerable, to the plague few. Froissart mentions the great death but once, Chaucer gives it barely a glance. Divine anger so great that it contemplated the extermination of man did not bear close examination. ~ Barbara W Tuchman
182:The Plague Doctor claimed Blackheath was meant to rehabilitate us, but bars can’t build better men and misery can only break what goodness remains. This place pinches out the hope in people, and without that hope, what use is love or compassion or kindness? Whatever the intention behind its creation, Blackheath speaks to the monster in us, and I have no intention of indulging mine any longer. It’s had free rein long enough. ~ Stuart Turton
183:When the Spirit came to Moses, the plagues came upon Egypt, and he had power to destroy men's lives; when the Spirit came upon Elijah, fire came down from heaven; when the Spirit came upon Gideon, no man could stand before him; and when it came upon Joshua, he moved around the city of Jericho and the whole city fell into his hands; but when the Spirit came upon the Son of Man, He gave His life; He healed the broken-hearted. ~ Dwight L Moody
184:There is a world of science necessary in choosing books. I have known some people in great sorrow fly to a novel, or the last light book in fashion. One might as well take a rose-draught for the plague! Light reading does not do when the heart is really heavy. I am told that Goethe, when he lost his son, took to study a science that was new to him. Ah! Goethe was a physician who knew what he was about. ~ Edward Bulwer Lytton 1st Baron Lytton
185:What a good thing, for instance, it was that one princess should sleep for a hundred years! Was she not saved from all the plague of young men who were not worthy of her? And did not she come awake exactly at the right moment when the right prince kissed her? For my part, I cannot help wishing a good many girls would sleep till just the same fate overtook them. It would be happier for them, and more agreeable to their friends. ~ George MacDonald
186:I'm afraid I've got to leave for a while. Will you be all right while I'm gone."
"I'm pregnant,Ethan,not dying of the plague.I'll be quite all right while you are away."
He seemed to miss the humor. "Are you certain?"
"Actually,I could use a moment to myself.You've been hovering over me like a hen with a chick since the day you came home."
His mouth faintly curved. "And I shall continue to do so until your babe has arrived. ~ Kat Martin
187:. When the plague struck Chicago, the townspeople here erected the gargoyles, and nary a soul was lost to the Black Death.”
“The bubonic plague predates Chicago by about five hundred years.”
He lowered himself to the bench. “I know. I was very disappointed when I found out. Almost as bad as when I learned there were no fairies. The world is much more interesting with goblins and plagues.”
“Unless you catch the plague. ~ Kelley Armstrong
188:Just one question, you arrogant fucking cocksucker" said Locke. "I'll grant the Lamora part is easy to spot; the truth is, I didn't know about the apt translation when I took the name. I borrowed it from this old sausage dealer who was kind to me once, back in Catchfire before the plague. I just liked the way it sounded.
"But what the fuck" he said slowly, "ever gave you the idea that Locke was the first name I was actually born with? ~ Scott Lynch
189:In the same five years three new colleges were founded at Cambridge—Trinity, Corpus Christi, and Clare—although love of learning, like love in marriage, was not always the motive. Corpus Christi was founded in 1352 because fees for celebrating masses for the dead were so inflated after the plague that two guilds of Cambridge decided to establish a college whose scholars, as clerics, would be required to pray for their deceased members. ~ Barbara W Tuchman
190:He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city. ~ Albert Camus
191:If you were to go, and hopefully someday you will, you would see a lot of paintings of dead people. You'd see Jesus on the cross, and you'd see a dude get stabbed in the neck, and you'd see people dying at sea and in battle and a parade of martyrs. But Not. One. Single. Cancer. Kid. Nobody biting it from the plague or smallpox or yellow fever or whatever, because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in dying of. ~ John Green
192:Anon from the castle walls
The crescent banner falls,
And the crowd beholds instead,
Like a portent in the sky,
Iskander's banner fly,
The Black Eagle with double head;
And a shout ascends on high,
For men's souls are tired of the Turks,
And their wicked ways and works,
That have made of Ak-Hissar
A city of the plague;
And the loud, exultant cry
That echoes wide and far
Is: "Long live Scanderbeg! ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
193:The figure leaned forward and saw the visage of his quarry for the first time. With a wave of his hand, the powerful Dark Paladin destroyed the darkling. The pitiful creature cried out as its young existence was extinguished, but the man barely noticed. All that mattered was that he was one step closer to his prey. The captain of the plague squad left the charred shell of the warehouse and slowly spoke the name of his quarry aloud, as if tasting it. ~ Aleron Kong
194:To hear the tales told at night-time hearths you would think we had made a whole new country in Britain, named it Camelot and peopled it with shining heroes, but the truth is that we simply ruled Dumnonia as best we could, we ruled it justly and we never called it Camelot. Camelot exists only in the poets' dreams, while in our Dumnonia, even in those good years, the harvests still failed, the plagues still ravaged us and wars were still fought. ~ Bernard Cornwell
195:If you were to go, and hopefully someday you will, you would see a lot of paintings of dead people. You'd see Jesus on the cross, and you'd see a dude getting stabbed in the neck, and you'd see people dying at sea and in battle and a parade of martyrs. But Not. One. Single. Cancer. Kid. Nobody biting it from the plague or smallpox or yellow fever or whatever, because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in dying of. ~ John Green
196:If you were to go, and hopefully someday you will, you would see a lot of paintings of dead people. You’d see Jesus on the cross, and you’d see a dude getting stabbed in the neck, and you’d see people dying at sea and in battle and a parade of martyrs. But Not. One. Single. Cancer. Kid. Nobody biting it from the plague or smallpox or yellow fever or whatever, because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in dying of. ~ John Green
197:A large majority of our respondents were inspired by a tension in their domain that became obvious when looked at from the perspective of another domain. Even though they do not think of themselves as interdisciplinary, their best work bridges realms of ideas. Their histories tend to cast doubt on the wisdom of overspecialization, where bright young people are trained to become exclusive experts in one field and shun breadth like the plague. ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
198:No, my son. Not she. I. I lay on the rocks and the sun gnawed at my flesh. I pleaded for my life with a useless stump of a tongue. I watched your precious Cveti close up my severed breasts in a silver box. And I listened to the soldiers praise her false name—Ghyfran! Ghyfran! The whore who betrayed her god for power. This body is new, but I am Ragnhild, first of my name, and I am the plague which will burn through the marrow of the Anointed City. ~ Catherynne M Valente
199:There is a certain mentality that believes in covering up. They believe in it with the sincerity and fanaticism that members of some religious groups believe in the divinity of Jesus. Because, for some people, the necessity to continue covering up even after the damage is done is all-important. It makes me wonder how many immunes they killed in Atlanta and San Francisco and the Topeka Viral Center before the plague finally killed them and made an end to their butchery. ~ Stephen King
200:I'd been reading Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year when the [1992 Los Angeles] riots broke out and I began to see them both - L.A. and the London plague - as the same event. A time of crisis. A time when rich and poor get thrown together - and, suddenly one sees alternatives. I began to think about what happens when the containment of a presumed danger through the regimentation of space breaks down, such as when South-Central L.A. began to invade Beverly Hills. ~ Naomi Wallace
201:When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour, which was really a good thing because any kind of noise would make the soufflé drop, and there is nothing worse than a flaccid soufflé, is there, Jezebel darling? Fallen! Fallen is the great soufflé! Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail and the fallen soufflé. ~ Rabih Alameddine
202:Stress can be bad for you. We no longer die of smallpox or the plague and instead die of stress-related diseases of lifestyle, like heart disease or diabetes, where damage slowly accumulates over time. It is understood how stress can cause or worsen disease or make you more vulnerable to other risk factors. Much of this is even understood on the molecular level. Stress can even cause your immune system to abnormally target hair follicles, causing your hair to turn gray. ~ Robert M Sapolsky
203:5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. ~ Anonymous
204:Real good luck would be to abandon life without ever encountering dishonesty, or hypocrisy, or self-indulgence, or pride. But the “next best voyage” is to die when you’ve had enough. Or are you determined to lie down with evil? Hasn’t experience even taught you that—to avoid it like the plague? Because it is a plague—a mental cancer—worse than anything caused by tainted air or an unhealthy climate. Diseases like that can only threaten your life; this one attacks your humanity. ~ Marcus Aurelius
205:The Lord indicates the increasing intensity and proximity of the effects of this plague, but when Pharaoh uses the same phrase to qualify his repentance (v. 27) it is clear that he has still not taken any of the plagues to heart. The Hebrew phrase translated “on you yourself” is literally “on your heart” (see esv footnote) and is likely an intended wordplay with the continued reference to the state of Pharaoh’s heart (vv. 34–35) and the hearts of his servants (v. 34; see vv. 20–21). ~ Anonymous
206:The town was peopled with sleepwalkers, whose trance was broken only on the rare occasions when at night their wounds, to all appearance closed, suddenly reopened. Then, waking with a start, they would run their fingers over the wounds with a sort of absentminded curiosity, twisting their lips, and in a flash their grief blazed up again, and abruptly there rose before them the mournful visage of their love. In the morning they harked back to normal conditions, in other words, the plague. ~ Albert Camus
207:Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea. ~ Primo Levi
208:I have a terrible time during elections. I am way too politically involved. I absolutely never argue politics with anyone, as it makes me crazy and full of judgment and hostility. I have two very conservative friends, whom I cherish and would entrust my life to; we avoid politics like the plague. So in a certain way, it limits how completely we let ourselves know each other, but this is just the way it is and it is the best we can do. And I am secretly convinced that God is a progressive Democrat. ~ Anne Lamott
209:Every now and then, I’d meet a guy and think that we were getting along great, and suddenly I’d stop hearing from him. Not only did he stop calling, but if I happened to bump into him sometime later he always acted like I had the plague. I didn’t understand it. I still don’t. And it bothered me. It hurt me. With time, it got harder and harder to keep blaming the guys, and I eventually came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with me. That maybe I was simply meant to live my life alone. ~ Nicholas Sparks
210:I still don't know where the evil comes from that makes men bestial to others like you have told" . . . .

"Perhaps it is because you have so little evil in yourself."

"No, no, I do not think so. That is not what I meant at all. I do not believe that ordinary men have this evil. Perhaps it is like a fever that blows in the air, like cholera, like the plague; it blows in the air and settles on men -- or a town -- or a nation -- and everyone in it, or nearly everyone, falls a victim. ~ Winston Graham
211:For the last 250 years or so, secularists have waited patiently for the fulfilment of their prediction that religion would die out in the next generation or two. But religious people have been singularly uncooperative, and new strategies have developed for controlling this blight on human progress. If religion won't "wither away" as philosopher Richard Rorty has wished, then perhaps it can be privatized and thereby removed from influence on public life‚ - sort of like localizing an outbreak of the plague. ~ Daniel Taylor
212:I had hoped to the very last minute I would slip through the net, but there was no escape – Yngve and I had decided she would get a speech from both of us. I dreaded it like the plague. Sometimes when I had to do a reading or an interview or participate in a discussion on stage I was so nervous I could barely walk. But ‘nervous’ in no way covered my state, nervousness was a transient phase of nerves, a minor aberration, a quivering of the spirit. This was painful and unyielding. It would pass though. ~ Karl Ove Knausg rd
213:I was an adult and I was in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I was performing in this cave - they used to bury the plague victims in these caves underneath the streets of Edinburgh, when I got this weird cold sensation up my spine, it gave me this really weird feeling, and then I looked up and there was this white, sudden white shape, that just zapped from me and went straight to the light that was at the back of the room, and I just stopped cold and said to the audience, "Did you guys see that?" No one saw it. ~ Rhys Darby
214:I don't get or like human interest. Back before the Plague, it had ruined all sorts of stuff. The Olympics for one. Back when I was a kid, you'd watch the Olympics and it'd be about sports. By the time I was a teenager it was all about "poor Bobby was born with a heart defect but he managed to overcome it and become an expert male syncronized swimmer!"
The fucking Olympics are about who wins and who loses. Period fucking dot. I don't give a shit if Bobby has a heart murmur. Did he get a gold? No. Fucking loser. ~ John Ringo
215:To A Reason
A rap of your finger on the drum
fires all the sounds
and starts a new harmony.
A step of yours: the levy of new men
and their marching on.
Your head turns away:
O the new love!
Your head turns back:
O the new love!
'Change our lots, confound the plagues,
beginning with time,'
to you these children sing.
'Raise no matter where the substance
of our fortune and our desires,'
they beg you.
Arrival of all time,
who will go everywhere.
~ Arthur Rimbaud
216:As a collective exhale hit the airwaves, Qhuinn found himself looking over at Blay. Aw, hell, talk about a suck zone—this was why he avoided the guy like the plague. Just one glance and he was locked on, all kinds of reactions rolling through him, until the room spun a little—
For no good reason, Blay’s eyes flipped up and met his.
It was like getting goosed in the ass with a live wire, his body spasming to the point where he had to hide the reaction by coughing while he glanced away.
About as smooth as a crater. Yup. Fantastic. ~ J R Ward
217:Haply for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have; or for I am declined Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much— She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage, That we can call these delicate creatures ours And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad And live upon the vapor of a dungeon Than keep a corner in the thing I love For others’ uses. Yet ’tis the plague of great ones; Prerogatived are they less than the base. ’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. ~ William Shakespeare
218:Have a shower, Si," George urged. "Start the day refreshed. Maybe style your hair a little. It wouldn't kill you."
Simon shook his head. "There's a dead rat in the bathroom, George. I am not going in the bathroom, George."
"He's not dead," George said. "He's sleeping. I'm certain of it."
"Senseless optimism is how plagues get started," Simon said. "Ask the medieval peasants of Europe. Oh, wait, you can't."
"Were they a jolly bunch?" George asked skeptically.
"I'm sure they were much jollier before all the plague," said Simon. ~ Cassandra Clare
219:...and when the Assembly arrived at Dusk I hasten'd into the Streets and made my self a child of Hazard. There was a Band of little Vagabonds who met by moon-light in the Moorfields, and for a time I wandred with them; most of them had been left as Orphans in the Plague and, out of the sight of Constable or Watch, would call out to Passers-by Lord Bless you give us a Penny or Bestow a half penny on us: I still hear their Voices in my Head when I walk abroad in a Croud, and some times I am seiz'd with Trembling to think I may be still one of them. ~ Peter Ackroyd
220:Talk about keeping slaves, as if we did it for our convenience," said Marie. "I'm sure, if we consulted that, we might let them all go at once."

Evangeline fixed her large, serious eyes on her mother's face, with an earnest and perplexed expression, and said, simply, "What do you keep them for, mamma?"

"I don't know, I'm sure, except for a plague; they are the plague of my life. I believe that more of my ill health is caused by them than by any one thing; and ours, I know, are the very worst that ever anybody was plagued with. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
221:You just don’t have the heart to kill?”

“I have the heart to do what I have to do.” He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. “In the beginning it was about staying alive. Then it was about protecting my brothers and sisters from the crazies running around after the plague first hit. Then it was about protecting my territory and supplies…”

“What’s it about now?” I asked quietly. That was the first time I’d seen him even mildly worked up.

“It settles my nerves,” he admitted with an embarrassed shrug. “Gives me something to do. ~ Rick Yancey
222:the Lieutenant’s theory of the barricades. Yes, they were the only vessel strong enough to contain our faith. But then there are the personal barricades, Mark Spitz thought. Since the first person met the second person. The ones that keep other people out and our madness in so we can continue to live. That’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s what this country was built on. The plague merely made it more literal, spelled it out in case you didn’t get it before. How were we to get through the day without our barricades? But look at him now, he thought. ~ Colson Whitehead
223:Coffee, he insisted, has all but destroyed the plague in England. It preserves health in general and makes those who drink it hearty and fat; it helps the digestion and cures consumption and other maladies of the lung. It is wonderful for fluxes, even the bloody flux, and has been known to cure jaundice and every kind of inflammation. Besides all that, the Englishman wrote, it imparts astonishing powers of reason and concentration. In the years to come, the author said, the man who does not drink coffee may never hope to compete with the man who avails himself of its secrets. ~ David Liss
224:With his story in one’s mind he can almost see his benignant countenance moving calmly among the haggard faces of Milan in the days when the plague swept the city, brave where all others were cowards, full of compassion where pity had been crushed out of all other breasts by the instinct of self-preservation gone mad with terror, cheering all, praying with all, helping all, with hand and brain and purse, at a time when parents forsook their children, the friend deserted the friend, and the brother turned away from the sister while her pleadings were still wailing in his ears. ~ Mark Twain
225:He knew by heart every individual clump of bunch grass in the miles of red shaggy prairie that stretched before his cabin. He knew it in all the deceitful loveliness of its early summer, in all the bitter barrenness of its autumn. He had seen it smitten by all the plagues of Egypt. He had seen it parched by drought, and sogged by rain, beaten by hail, and swept by fire, and in the grasshopper years he had seen it eaten as bare and clean as bones that the vultures have left. After the great fires he had seen it stretch for miles and miles, black and smoking as the floor of hell. ~ Willa Cather
226:Haply for I am black,
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have; or for I am declined
Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much—
She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief
Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad
And live upon the vapor of a dungeon
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others’ uses. Yet ’tis the plague of great ones;
Prerogatived are they less than the base.
’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death. ~ William Shakespeare
227:… I wonder why she hasn't spread the tale."
"The only reason she would not is if she is ill or the story would somehow reflect badly on herself," replied Lady Badgery. "Otherwise, Portia Troutbridge has never been known to keep a scandal to herself."
"Oh, I do hope she is ill!" exclaimed Truthful. "I mean, only just ill enough to keep the news quiet for a little longer. Is that too dreadful of me?"
"Not at all," announced Lady Badgery. "It is a very reasonable desire. In the case of Portia Troutbridge I myself would wish for something much more severe. Scarlet fever, perhaps. Or the plague. ~ Garth Nix
228:It's a strange thing to be dying. For so long I thought the end of my life would come suddenly, when the plague found its way north to the neutral country, or the Red rebelled once more and we were plunged into another bout of fratricide. Instead, I've been sentenced to that most ordinary of deaths, an overabundance of malfunctioning cells. I read once that a moderately ravenous cancer is, in a pragmatic sense, a decent way to die - not so prolonged as to entail years of suffering, but affording enough time that one might have a chance to make the necessary arrangements, to say what needs to be said. ~ Omar El Akkad
229:spirits in the trees and plants. He explained that the earth with all its forests, lakes and rivers, and all the living things upon it was like one connected being and that being was the goddess. And it was man that ruined that harmony by raping Mother Earth. Man was like a plague on the earth that had to be cured, just like the plague that killed her uncle last year. He lay on his bed rotting away like a living corpse. It was a hideous memory, but it painted a picture she could understand. Humanity must be sacrificed for the benefit of the whole balance of life on Mother Earth. Gaia was well pleased. ~ Brian Godawa
230:There’re three ways to get there from here, each one worse than the last. You can either hold your breath through the plague colonies, slip through Slaverville, or take the mountain route.” Something flashed in his expression, something somber, which seemed out of place on his animated face. “That’s where the cannibals really like to hole up.”
“You’ve seen them?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. And it’s, like, totally worse than you can imagine. Their steady diet of grilled Homo sapiens really screws with their heads. And the miner cannibals in North Carolina? They’re the worst! Dude. They don’t even grill. ~ Kresley Cole
231:As I say, it’s as if he’s afraid for anyone to see that side. Be patient with him, Rahab. About this other matter. You are doing the right thing. If any man persists, come and tell me. I’ll see to it.” Rahab hesitated, then said, “I heard what you did when the plague was among the people, how you killed the two who had shamed Israel with their adultery.” “It happened so fast. I knew that people were dying everywhere,” Phinehas said, his eyes cloudy. “And then the voice of God came and told me to kill them. If I had time to think about it, I might not have been able to. I had never hurt anyone before. ~ Gilbert Morris
232:If you go to the Rijksmuseum, which I really wanted to do- but who are we kidding, neither of us can walk through a museum. But anyway, I looked at the collection online before we left. If you were to go, and hopefully someday you will, you would see a lot of paintings of dead people. You'd see Jesus on the cross, and you'd see a dude getting stabbed in the neck, and you'd see people dying at sea and in battle and a parade of martyrs. But Nor. One. Single. Cancer. Kid. Nobody biting it from the plague or smallpox or yellow fever or whatever, because there's no gory in illness. there is no meaning to it. There is no honour of dying of ~ John Green
233:3. The Greek pharmakoi, singular pharmakos, refers to victims who were ritually beaten, driven out of cities, and killed, for example, by being forced over the edge of a precipice. The word pharmakos, designating a person who is selected as a ritual victim, is related to pharmakon, which means both "remedy" and "poison," depending on the context. In the story of the horrible miracle of Apollonius, the beggar is a pharmakos, a kind of ritual victim. Apollonius points to him as the demon causing the plague (he is the source of pollution or poison), but his lynching restores the well being of Ephesus (he becomes the remedy for the crisis). — Trans. 4. ~ Ren Girard
234:Bull of September 1348 in which he said that Christians who imputed the pestilence to the Jews had been “seduced by that liar, the Devil,” and that the charge of well-poisoning and ensuing massacres were a “horrible thing.” He pointed out that “by a mysterious decree of God” the plague was afflicting all peoples, including Jews; that it raged in places where no Jews lived, and that elsewhere they were victims like everyone else; therefore the charge that they caused it was “without plausibility.” He urged the clergy to take Jews under their protection as he himself offered to do in Avignon, but his voice was hardly heard against local animus. ~ Barbara W Tuchman
235:I know positively—yes, Rieux, I can say I know the world inside out, as you may see—that each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth is free from it. And I know, too, that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in a careless moment we breathe in somebody’s face and fasten the infection on him. What’s natural is the microbe. All the rest—health, integrity, purity (if you like)—is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. And it needs tremendous will-power, a never ending tension of the mind, to avoid such lapses. ~ Albert Camus
236:It is not as though we have not heard of you, Captain Laurence. We have all had a great many arguments, whether your aid would not be too expensive, to begin with.”

“Sir,” Laurence said, now baffled, “I beg your pardon; however should you know me from Adam?”

“If the world had not heard of you, after your adventure at Gdansk,” Kutuzov said, meaning Danzig, where they had rescued the garrison from the wreck of the Prussian campaign, “or after the plague, we should certainly have heard of you after Brazil. Where you go, you leave half the world overturned behind you. You are more dangerous than Bonaparte in your own way, you and that beast of yours. ~ Naomi Novik
237:In theory, sure, Gregor could still go home. Pack up his three-year-old sister, Boots, get his mom out of the hospital, where she was recovering from the plague, and have his bat, Ares, fly them back up to the laudry room of their appartment building in New York City. Ares, his bond, who saved his life numerous times and who had had nothing but suffering since he had met Gregor. He tried to imagine the parting. "Well, Ares, it's been great. I'm heading home now. I know by leaving I'm completely dooming to annihilation everbody who's helped me down here, but I'm really not up for this whole war thing anymore. So, fly you high, you know?" Like that would ever happen. ~ Suzanne Collins
238:Your suns and worlds are not within my ken,
I merely watch the plaguey state of men.
The little god of earth remains the same queer sprite
As on the first day, or in primal light.
His life would be less difficult, poor thing,
Without your gift of heavenly glimmering;
He calls it Reason, using light celestial
Just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.
To me he seems, with deference to Your Grace,
One of those crickets, jumping round the place,
Who takes his flying leaps, with legs so long,
Then falls to grass and chants the same old song;
But, not content with grasses to repose in,
This one will hunt for muck to stick his nose in. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
239:When you cease to be fearful of Authority, you become Authority. Neither Baker or Wily, or any of the members of Wily's lock-step staff were Authority. Rather, they all gave obeisance to the intangible Authority of Science, and stood together as self-appointed vicars of that Authority, demanding penance for the slightest blasphemy against it. And each one stood in living terror of such censure. The same ghost haunted the halls of Government. The smallest civil servant, in his meanest incivility, could invoke the same reverence for that unseen mantle of Authority that rested, however falsely, on his thin shoulders. The ghost existed in but one place, the minds of the victims of the Plague. ~ Various
240:There are few more striking indications of the changes of manners and customs that two or three hundred years have brought about, than these deserted churches.  Many of them are handsome and costly structures, several of them were designed by WREN, many of them arose from the ashes of the great fire, others of them outlived the plague and the fire too, to die a slow death in these later days.  No one can be sure of the coming time; but it is not too much to say of it that it has no sign in its outsetting tides, of the reflux to these churches of their congregations and uses.  They remain like the tombs of the old citizens who lie beneath them and around them, Monuments of another age.  ~ Charles Dickens
241:Mark Spitz had met plenty of the divine-retribution folks over the months. This was their moment; they were umbrella salesmen standing outside a subway entrance in a downpour. The human race deserved the plague, we brought it on ourselves for poisoning the planet, for the Death of God, the calculated brutalities of the global economic system, for driving primordial species to extinction: the entire collapse of values as evidenced by everything from nuclear fission to reality television to alternate side of the street parking. Mark Spitz could only endure these harangues for a minute or two before he split. It was boring.The plague was the plague. You were wearing galoshes, or you weren't. ~ Colson Whitehead
242:Interestingly, it’s possible that practices related to the observance of Passover helped to protect Jewish neighborhoods from the plague. Passover is a week-long holiday commemorating Jews’ escape from slavery in Egypt. As part of its observance, Jews do not eat leavened bread and remove all traces of it from their homes. In many parts of the world, especially Europe, wheat, grain, and even legumes are also forbidden during Passover. Dr. Martin J. Blaser, a professor of internal medicine at New York University Medical Center, thinks this “spring cleaning” of grain stores may have helped to protect Jews from the plague, by decreasing their exposure to rats hunting for food—rats that carried the plague. ~ Sharon Moalem
243:We were laughing but I know that we were afraid of those who loved us most. Our parents resorted to the lash the way flagellants in the plague years resorted to the scourge… The law did not protect us and now, in your time, the law has become an excuse for stopping and frisking you, which is to say for furthering the assault on your body. But a society that protects some people through a safety net of schools, government-backed home loans, and ancestral wealth but can only protect you with the club of criminal justice has either failed at enforcing its good intentions or has succeeded at something much darker. However you call it, the result was our infirmity before the criminal forces of the world. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates
244:Sonnet Lxxxvi
VEnemous toung tipt with vile adders sting,
Of that selfe kynd with which the Furies tell
theyr snaky heads doe combe, from which a spring
of poysoned words and spitefull speeches well.
Let all the plagues and horrid paines of hell,
vpon thee fall for thine accursed hyre:
that with false forged lyes, which thou didst tel,
in my true loue did stirre vp coles of yre,
The sparkes whereof let kindle thine own fyre,
and catching hold on thine owne wicked hed
consume thee quite, that didst with guile conspire
in my sweet peace such breaches to haue bred.
Shame be thy meed, and mischiefe thy reward.
dew to thy selfe that it for me prepard.
~ Edmund Spenser
245:New Orleans, though beautiful and desperately alive, was desperately fragile. There was something forever savage and primitive there. Something that threatened the exotic and sophisticated life both from within and without. Not an inch of those wooden streets nor a brick of the crowded Spanish houses had not been bought from the fierce wilderness that forever surrounded the city, ready to engulf it. Hurricanes, floods, fevers, the plague, and the damp of the Louisiana climate itself worked tirelessly on every hewn plank or stone facade, so that New Orleans seemed at all times like a dream in the imagination of her striving populace, a dream held intact at every second by a tenacious though unconscious collective will. ~ Anne Rice
246:The debt is paid,
The verdict said,
The Furies laid,
The plague is stayed,
All fortunes made;
Turn the key and bolt the door,
Sweet is death forevermore.
Nor haughty hope, nor swart chagrin,
Nor murdering hate, can enter in.
All is now secure and fast;
Not the gods can shake the Past;
Flies-to the adamantine door
Bolted down forevermore.
None can reenter there, -
No thief so politic,
No Satan with a royal trick
Steal in by window, chink or hole,
To bind or unbind, add what lacked
Insert a leaf, or forge a name,
New-face or finish what is packed,
Alter or mend eternal Fact.
by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Past

247:One of those chaps would make short work of a fellow. Pick the bones clean no matter who it was. Ordinary meat for them. A corpse is meat gone bad. Well and what's cheese? Corpse of milk. I read in that Voyages in China that the Chinese say a white man smells like a corpse. Cremation better. Priests dead against it. Devilling for the other firm. Wholesale burners and Dutch oven dealers. Time of the plague. Quicklime feverpits to eat them. Lethal chamber. Ashes to ashes. Or bury at sea. Where is that Parsee tower of silence? Eaten by birds. Earth, fire, water. Drowning they say is the pleasantest. See your whole life in a flash. But being brought back to life no. Can't bury in the air however. Out of a flying machine. Wonder ~ James Joyce
248:New England, would face no real Indian challenge. Indeed, the plague helped prompt the legendarily warm reception Plymouth enjoyed from the Wampanoags. Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader, was eager to ally with the Pilgrims because the plague had so weakened his villages that he feared the Narragansetts to the west.28 When a land conflict did develop between new settlers and old at Saugus in 1631, “God ended the controversy by sending the small pox amongst the Indians,” in the words of the Puritan minister Increase Mather. “Whole towns of them were swept away, in some of them not so much as one Soul escaping the Destruction.” 29 By the time the Native populations of New England had replenished themselves to some degree, it was too late to ~ James W Loewen
249:Chorus Of Women
They're always abusing the women,
As a terrible plague to men:
They say we're the root of all evil,
And repeat it again and again;
Of war, and quarrels, and bloodshed,
All mischief, be what it may!
And pray, then, why do you marry us,
If we're all the plagues you say?
And why do you take such care of us,
And keep us so safe at home,
And are never easy a moment
If ever we chance to roam?
When you ought to be thanking heaven
That your Plague is out of the way,
You all keep fussing and fretting-'Where is _my_ Plague to-day?'
If a Plague peeps out of the window,
Up go the eyes of men;
If she hides, then they all keep staring
Until she looks out again.
~ Aristophanes
250:Philistine Lords knew the Rephaim ranks were too crucial to their success as an army, so instead, they decided to take responsibility and get rid of the abominable offense. They sent the ark away on a cart pulled by two unblemished milking cows and accompanied by a guilt offering of images; five rats and five tumors made out of gold, one for each of the Philistine Lords of the pentapolis. They reasoned that if it was Yahweh that had harmed them with the plagues, then he would lead the cows back to an Israelite city. But if the harm had been by coincidence then the cows would just wander into the desert to be consumed by Azazel. The cows had gone directly to Beth-shemesh of Israel, a known residence of their Levitical priests. Lahmi didn’t care where the ~ Brian Godawa
251:Survivors of the plague, finding themselves neither destroyed nor improved, could discover no Divine purpose in the pain they had suffered. God’s purposes were usually mysterious, but this scourge had been too terrible to be accepted without questioning. If a disaster of such magnitude, the most lethal ever known, was a mere wanton act of God or perhaps not God’s work at all, then the absolutes of a fixed order were loosed from their moorings. Minds that opened to admit these questions could never again be shut. Once people envisioned the possibility of change in a fixed order, the end of an age of submission came in sight; the turn to individual conscience lay ahead. To that extent the Black Death may have been the unrecognized beginning of modern man. ~ Barbara W Tuchman
252:Mermaids weren't mammalian. They couldn't be. Too many sightings focused on their 'slender backs' and 'narrow waists'--features that seemed reasonable to modern readers with modern beauty standards, but which made no sense for an Italian fisherman during the plague years, or a Puerto Rican swimmer in the 1920s. If the mermaid had been an idealized projection of a human woman onto a marine mammal, she would have looked different every time, fat during some eras, thin during others, not consistently slim to the point of freezing in oceanic waters. The people who described mermaids were describing a real creature, something that wasn't mammalian, but looked mammalian enough to make a tempting lure. And why would anything lure sailors, if not as a form of sustenance? ~ Mira Grant
253:Matthias nodded to the fisherman and Rotty winked back at him, giving a brief tug on the beard of his disguise. He poled the boat rapidly down the canal.

As they approached Zentsbridge, Matthias caught sight of the huge bottleboat parked beneath it. It was wide enough that the hulls scraped as Rotty tried to pass. The bottle man and Rotty broke into a heated argument, and Nina let loose another wail, long and loud enough that Matthias wondered if she was trying to compete with the plague siren.

“Perhaps some deep breathing?” the medik suggested from the railing.

Matthias gave Nina the barest warning glance. They could fake a pregnancy. They couldn’t fake an actual birth. At least he didn’t think they could. He wouldn’t put anything past Kaz at this point. ~ Leigh Bardugo
254:Fid-mer,” or the evening flyer, is the Somali name for a bat. These little animals are not disturbed in houses, because they keep off flies and mosquitoes, the plagues of the Somali country. Flies abound in the very jungles wherever cows have been, and settle in swarms upon the traveller. Before the monsoon their bite is painful, especially that of the small green species; and there is a red variety called “Diksi as,” whose venom, according to the people, causes them to vomit. The latter abounds in Gulays and the hill ranges of the Berberah country: it is innocuous during the cold season. The mosquito bites bring on, according to the same authority, deadly fevers: the superstition probably arises from the fact that mosquitoes and fevers become formidable about the same time. ~ Richard Francis Burton
255:London was a city of ghosts, some deader than others.
Thorne knew that in this respect, it wasn't unlike any other major city - New York or Paris or Sydney - but he felt instinctively that London was .... at the extreme. The darker side of that history, as opposed to the parks, palaces and pearly kings' side that made busloads of Japanese and American tourists gawk and jabber. The hidden history of a city where the lonely, the dispossessed, the homeless, wandered the streets, brushing shoulders with the shadows of those that had come before them. A city in which the poor and the plague-ridden, those long-since hanged for stealing a loaf or murdered for a shilling, jostled for position with those seeking a meal, or a score, or a bed for the night.
A city where the dead could stay lost a long time ~ Mark Billingham
256:It disgusted Joshua. Not the plague so much as the spiritual and moral corruption that it pointed toward. These Canaanite gods of depravity inspired the debasement of every aspect of Yahweh’s image in man. They bred sexual perversions that violated all sacred separations: Fornication, Incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality; they provoked fetishes with excrement like vomit and fecal matter; and they defaced the body with occultic tattoos and mutilations. And they mocked the atonement of redemption with their human sacrifices. Israel had become a festering cesspool of evil. The only thing that made Joshua feel any better was knowing that he was to be the instrument for Yahweh’s cleansing. Sin was a cancerous tumor. It had to be gouged out, not merely from those who hated Yahweh, but also from Yahweh’s own people. ~ Brian Godawa
257:The Great Mother aborts children, and is the dead fetus; breeds pestilence, and is the plague; she makes of the skull something gruesomely compelling, and is all skulls herself. To unveil her is to risk madness, to gaze over the abyss, to lose the way, to remember the repressed trauma. She is the molestor of children, the golem, the bogey-man, the monster in the swamp, the rotting cadaverous zombie who threatens the living. She is progenitor of the devil, the “strange son of chaos.” She is the serpent, and Eve, the temptress; she is the femme fatale, the insect in the ointment, the hidden cancer, the chronic sickness, the plague of locusts, the cause of drought, the poisoned water. She uses erotic pleasure as bait to keep the world alive and breeding; she is a gothic monster, who feeds on the blood of the living. ~ Jordan Peterson
258:The Great Mother aborts children, and is the dead fetus; breeds pestilence, and is the plague; she makes of the skull something gruesomely compelling, and is all skulls herself. To unveil her is to risk madness, to gaze over the abyss, to lose the way, to remember the repressed trauma. She is the molestor of children, the golem, the bogey-man, the monster in the swamp, the rotting cadaverous zombie who threatens the living. She is progenitor of the devil, the “strange son of chaos.” She is the serpent, and Eve, the temptress; she is the femme fatale, the insect in the ointment, the hidden cancer, the chronic sickness, the plague of locusts, the cause of drought, the poisoned water. She uses erotic pleasure as bait to keep the world alive and breeding; she is a gothic monster, who feeds on the blood of the living. ~ Jordan B Peterson
259:The Melding Plague attacked our society at the core. It was not quite a biological virus, not quite a software virus, but a strange and shifting chimera of the two. No pure strain of the plague has ever been isolated, but in its pure form it must resemble a kind of nano-machinery, analogous to the molecular-scale assemblers of our own medichine technology. That it must be of alien origin seems beyond doubt. Equally clear is the fact that nothing we have thrown against the plague has done more than slow it. More often than not, our interventions have only made things worse. The plague adapts to our attacks; it perverts our weapons and turns them against us. Some kind of buried intelligence seems to guide it. We don’t know whether the plague was directed toward humanity—or whether we have just been terribly unlucky. ~ Alastair Reynolds
260:Those who are truly alive are kindly and unsuspecting in their human relationships and consequently endangered under present conditions. They assume that others think and act generously, kindly and helpfully, in accordance with the laws of life. This natural attitude, fundamental to healthy children as well as primitive man, inevitably represents a great danger in the struggle for a rational way of life as long as the emotional plague subsists, because the plague-ridden impute their own manner of thinking and acting to their fellow men. A kindly man believes that all men are kindly, while one infected with the plague believes that all men lie and cheat and are hungry for power. In such a situation, the living are at an obvious disadvantage. When they give to the plague-ridden they are sucked dry, then ridiculed or betrayed. ~ Wilhelm Reich
261:There were actual land sites all over the planet that should be very badly contaminated by lipofuscin, because their soil has been seeded with the stuff for generations. I speak, of course, of graveyards. Think about it: hundreds of bodies put into the ground—sometimes en masse, as happened throughout Europe during the horrors of the Plague, and more recently following acts of genocide in Rwanda and elsewhere. These soils should be chockablock with aggregates from their inhabitants’ decaying bodies. Yet, to my knowledge, there was no accumulation of lipofuscin in cemeteries—and if there were, we certainly ought to be aware of it, because lipofuscin is fluorescent. Months later, when I was discussing the issue with fellow Cambridge scientist John Archer, he would put the disconnect succinctly: “Why don’t graveyards glow in the dark? ~ Anonymous
262:I'm still of the same mind. For many years I've been ashamed, mortally ashamed, of having been, even with the best intentions, even at many removes, a murderer in my turn. As time went on, I merely learned that even those who were better than the rest could not keep themselves nowadays from killing or letting others kill, because such is the logic by which they live, and that we can't stir a finger in this world without the risk of bringing death to somebody. Yes, I've been ashamed ever since I have realized that we all have the plague, and I have lost my peace. And today I am still trying to find it; still trying to understand all those others and not to be the mortal enemy of anyone. I only know that one must do what one can to cease being plague stricken, and that's the only way in which we can hope for some peace or, failing that, a decent death. ~ Albert Camus
263:In any case, if the reader would have a correct idea of the mood of these exiles, we must conjure up once more those dreary evenings, sifting down through a haze of dust and golden light upon the treeless streets filled with teeming crowds of men and women. For, characteristically, the sound that rose towards the terraces still bathed in the last glow of daylight, now that the noises of vehicles and motors--the sole voice of cities in ordinary times--had ceased, was but one vast rumour of low voices and incessant footfalls, the drumming of innumerable soles timed to the eerie whistling of the plague in the sultry air above, the sound of a huge concourse of people marking time, a never-ending, stifling drone that, gradually swelling, filled the town from end to end, and evening after evening gave its truest, mournfullest expression to the blind endurance which had ousted love from all our hearts. ~ Albert Camus
264:There are persons who always believe in the imminent peril of the universe in general and of the Church of God in particular, and a sort of popularity is sure to be gained by always crying "Woe! Woe!" Prophets who will spiritually imitate Solomon Eagle, who went about the streets of London in the time of the plague, naked, with a pan of coals on his head, crying "Woe! Woe!" are thought to be faithful, though they are probably dyspeptic. We are not of that order: we dare not shut our eyes to the evils that surround us, but we are able to see the Divine power above us, and to feel it with us, working out its purposes of grace. We say to each of you what the Lord said to Joshua in the chapter we have just read, "Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Our trust is in the living God, who will bring ultimate victory to His own cause. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
265:The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain. They set their clocks by deathwatch beetles, and thrive the centuries. They were the men with the leather-ribbon whips who sweated up the Pyramids seasoning it with other people's salt and other people's cracked hearts. They coursed Europe on the White Horses of the Plague. They whispered to Caesar that he was mortal, then sold daggers at half-price in the grand March sale. Some must have been lazing clowns, foot props for emperors, princes, and epileptic popes. Then out on the road, Gypsies in time, their populations grew as the world grew, spread, and there was more delicious variety of pain to thrive on. The train put wheels under them and here they run down the log road out of the Gothic and baroque; look at their wagons and coaches, the carving like medieval shrines, all of it stuff once drawn by horses, mules, or, maybe, men. ~ Ray Bradbury
266:lot. But she never could keep off the hard drugs, she was hooked. She’d be off for a year and then bingo. She got through the Plague, but when she was thirty-eight she got a dirty needle, and it killed her. And damn if her family didn’t show up and take me over. I’d never even seen them! And they put me through college and law school. And I go up there for Christmas Eve dinner every year. I’m their token Negro. But I’ll tell you, what really gets me is, I can’t decide which color I am. I mean, my father was a black, a real black—oh, he had some white blood, but he was a black—and my mother was a white, and I’m neither one. See, my father really hated my mother because she was white. But he also loved her. But I think she loved his being black much more than she loved him. Well, where does that leave me? I never have figured out.” “Brown,” he said gently, standing behind her chair. “Shit color.” “The color of the earth. ~ Ursula K Le Guin
267:I know positively - yes Rieux I can say I know the world inside out as no one on earth is free from it. And I know too that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in careless moment we breathe in somebody's face and fasten the infection on him. What's natural is the microbe. All the rest- health integrity purity if you like - is a product of the human will of vigilance that must never falter. The good man the man who infects hardly anyone is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. And it needs tremendous will-power a never ending tension of the mind to avoid such lapses. Yes Rieux it's a wearying business being plague-stricken. But it's still more wearying to refuse to be it. That's why everybody in the world today looks so tired everyone is more or less sick of plague. But that is also why some of us who want to get the plague out of their systems feel such desperate weariness a weariness from which nothing remains to set us free except death. ~ Albert Camus
268:I know positively… that each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth, is free from it. And I know, too, that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in a careless moment we breathe in somebody’s face and fasten the infection on him. What’s natural is the microbe. All the rest – health, integrity, purity (if you like) – is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. And it needs tremendous will power, a never ending tension of the mind, to avoid such lapses. Yes… it’s a wearying business, being plague-stricken. But it’s still more wearying to refuse to be it. That’s why everybody in the world today looks so tired; everyone is more or less sick of plague. But that is also why some of us, those who want to get the plague out of our systems, feel such desperate weariness, a weariness from which nothing remains to set us free, except death. ~ Albert Camus
269:It was now that Rieux and his friends came to realize how exhausted they were. Indeed, the workers in the sanitary squads had given up trying to cope with their fatigue. Rieux noticed the change coming over his associates, and himself as well, and it took the form of a strange indifference to everything. Men, for instance, who hitherto had shown a keen interest in every scrap of news concerning the plague now displayed none at all. Rambert, who had been temporarily put in charge of a quarantine station—his hotel had been taken over for this purpose—could state at any moment the exact number of persons under his observation, and every detail of the procedure he had laid down for the prompt evacuation of those who suddenly developed symptoms of the disease was firmly fixed in his mind. The same was true of the statistics of the effects of anti-plague inoculations on the persons in his quarantine station. Nevertheless, he could not have told you the week’s total of plague deaths, and he could not even ~ Albert Camus
270:Do you believe the corelings are our own fault?” Arlen asked. “That we deserve them?” “Of course I believe,” she said. “It is the word of the Creator.” “No,” Arlen said. “It’s a book. Books are written by men. If the Creator wanted to tell us something, why would he use a book, and not write on the sky with fire?” “It’s hard sometimes to believe there’s a Creator up there, watching,” Mery said, looking up at the sky, “but how could it be otherwise? The world didn’t create itself. What power would wards hold, without a will behind creation?” “And the Plague?” Arlen asked. Mery shrugged. “The histories tell of terrible wars,” she said. “Maybe we did deserve it.” “Deserve it?” Arlen demanded. “My mam did not deserve to die because of some stupid war fought centuries ago!” “Your mother was taken?” Mery asked, touching his arm. “Arlen, I had no idea …” Arlen yanked his arm away. “It makes no difference,” he said, storming toward the door. “I have wards to carve, though I hardly see the point, if we all deserve demons in our beds. ~ Peter V Brett
271:At such moments the collapse of their courage, willpower, and endurance was so abrupt that they felt they could never drag themselves out of the pit of despond into which they had fallen. Therefore they forced themselves never to think about the problematic day of escape, to cease looking to the future, and always to keep, so to speak, their eyes fixed on the ground at their feet. But, naturally enough, this prudence, this habit of feinting with their predicament and refusing to put up a fight, was ill rewarded. For, while averting that revulsion which they found so unbearable, they also deprived themselves of those redeeming moments, frequent enough when all is told, when by conjuring up pictures of a reunion to be, they could forget about the plague. Thus, in a middle course between these heights and depths, they drifted through life rather than lived, the prey of aimless days and sterile memories, like wandering shadows that could have acquired substance only by consenting to root themselves in the solid earth of their distress. ~ Albert Camus
272:My involvement, from my very first days in Haiti, caused me to rethink the common practice of American groups coming in and building, or supporting, orphanages without truly understanding the situation in Haiti. Especially since the plague of unemployment is so huge that it is believed 80 percent of all orphans end up in orphanages as a result of poverty. These “poverty orphans” are brought to orphanages mostly because their parents are unable to pay for food and school. Normally, American orphanages, or American-supported orphanages, pay for schooling for the children as well as for food, so to struggling parents these institutions look like the best and only option. However, with as many as 80 percent of orphans having a living parent, the rage to come to Haiti and build orphanages for these children seemed both broken and incongruous. I realized that often what America thinks is the best for children is sometimes just a quick fix, a temporary Band-Aid that may ultimately exacerbate the situation. I knew there had to be a better way. ~ Megan Boudreaux
273:Plague summer in London : and an increase of over 1000 deaths a week. Ralegh tried to kill himself the day after he was imprisoned, but the table knife with which he stabbed himself in the right breast left only a painful wound. During the fortnight in which he was healing, he could hear the bells ringing for plague victims. The bells never stopped tolling. In the streets, people with running sores could be seen, in hatred trying to infect others by strewing contaminated gloves, handkerchiefs, ruffs. Families took their bedding and went out into the country. The court of justice was removed to Winchester. One out of every six in the City was sick or dying of the plague. Infected ale-houses were not shut up. Londoners went out to the outlying towns, and died under the hedges; in Hampstead, they would fall in the yards and out-buildings, and there were barns around London where many would run to die. The jails were infected. There was an outbreak of 30 prisoners in Southwark; they were caught and put under stricter custody.
At the end of July, Ralegh was well and asking for Hariot. ~ Muriel Rukeyser
274:Bonhoeffer spoke of death too: In recent years we have become increasingly familiar with the thought of death. We surprise ourselves by the calmness with which we hear of the death of one of our contemporaries. We cannot hate it as we used to for we have discovered some good in it, and have almost come to terms with it. Fundamentally we feel that we really belong to death already, and that every new day is a miracle. It would probably not be true to say that we welcome death (although we all know that weariness which we ought to avoid like the plague); we are too inquisitive for that—or, to put it more seriously, we should like to see something more of the meaning of our life’s broken fragments. . . . We still love life, but I do not think that death can take us by surprise now. After what we have been through during the war, we hardly dare admit that we should like death to come to us, not accidentally and suddenly through some trivial cause, but in the fullness of life and with everything at stake. It is we ourselves, and not outward circumstances, who make death what it can be, a death freely and voluntarily accepted. ~ Eric Metaxas
275:Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles, and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so. ~ Tony Kushner
276:Unlike most preachers in the medieval era, Francis was conflicted and sometimes even hostile toward academics and theologians. He believed that book knowledge was like material possessions — too much of it occasioned pride and got in the way of simple devotion to Jesus. (In The Last Christian, Adolf Holl imagined Francis meeting Augustine, Barth, Aquinas, and Bultmann in heaven for the first time and asking them what they would be without their books. When they can’t come up with an answer, Francis says, “Without your books perhaps you might have become Christians” [p. 63].) When Francis preached, he avoided theological arguments and polemics like the plague. Rather, his preaching was more autobiographical than intellectual, more performative than argumentative, more spontaneous than scripted, more genuine than contrived, more about transformation than about information. The endgame was to help his listeners find peace, reconciliation, and shalom with God, themselves, others, and creation. As Francis said, “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way. ~ Ian Morgan Cron
277:It was as if the plague had broken out in a country and news had been spreading around that in one or another place there was a man, a wise man, a knowledgeable one, whose word and breath was enough to heal everyone who had been infected with the pestilence, and as such news would go through the land and everyone would talk about it, many would believe, many would doubt, but many would get on their way as soon as possible, to seek the wise man, the helper, just like this this myth ran through the land, that fragrant myth of Gotama, the Buddha, the wise man of the family of Sakya. He possessed, so the believers said, the highest enlightenment, he remembered his previous lives, he had reached Nirvana and never returned into the cycle, was never again submerged in the murky river of physical forms. Many wonderful and unbelievable things were reported of him, he had performed miracles, had overcome the devil, had spoken to the gods. But his enemies and disbelievers said, this Gotama was a vain seducer, he would spent his days in luxury, scorned the offerings, was without learning, and knew neither exercises nor self-castigation. ~ Hermann Hesse
278:Tarantula, Or The Dance Of Death
During the plague I came into my own.
It was a time of smoke-pots in the house
Against infection. The blind head of bone
Grinned its abuse
Like a good democrat at everyone.
Runes were recited daily, charms were applied.
That was the time I came into my own.
Half Europe died.
The symptoms are a fever and dark spots
First on the hands, then on the face and neck,
But even before the body, the mind rots.
You can be sick
Only a day with it before you’re dead.
But the most curious part of it is the dance.
The victim goes, in short, out of his head.
A sort of trance
Glazes the eyes, and then the muscles take
His will away from him, the legs begin
Their funeral jig, the arms and belly shake
Like souls in sin.
Some, caught in these convulsions, have been known
To fall from windows, fracturing the spine.
Others have drowned in streams. The smooth head-stone,
The box of pine,
Are not for the likes of these. Moreover, flame
Is powerless against contagion.
That was the black winter when I came
35
Into my own.
~ Anthony Evan Hecht
279:I seldom come out of the pulpit but my conscience smiteth me that I have been no more serious and fervent. It accuseth me not so much for want of ornaments and elegancy, nor for letting fall an unhandsome word; but it asketh me, 'How couldst thou speak of life and death with such a heart? How couldst thou preach of heaven and hell in such a careless, sleepy manner? Dost thou believe what thou sayest? Art thou in earnest, or in jest? How canst thou tell people that sin is such a thing, and that so much misery is upon them and before them, and be no more affected with it? Shouldst thou not weep over such a people, and should not thy tears interrupt thy words? Shouldst thou not cry aloud, and show them their transgressions; and entreat and beseech them as for life and death?

Truly this is the peal that conscience doth ring in my ears, and yet my drowsy soul will not be awakened. Oh, what a thing is an insensible, hardened heart! O Lord, save us from the plague of infidelity and hardheartedness ourselves, or else how shall we be fit instruments of saving others from it? Oh, do that on our souls which thou wouldst use us to do on the souls of others! ~ Richard Baxter
280:There seemed no answer. He wasn't resigned to anything, he hadn't accepted or adjusted to the life he'd been forced into. Yet here he was, eight months after the plague's last victim, nine since he's spoken to another human being, ten since Virginia had died. Here he was with no future and a virtually hopeless present. Still plodding on.
Instinct? Or was he just stupid? Too unimaginative to destroy himself? Why hadn't he done it in the beginning when he was in the very depths? What had impelled him to enclose the house, install a freezer, a generator, an electric stove, a water tank, build a hothouse, a workbench, burn down the houses on each side of his, collect records and books and mountains of canned supplies, even - it was fantastic when you thought about it - even put a fancy mural on the wall?
Was the life force something more than words, a tangible, mind-controlling potency? Was nature somehow, in him, maintaining its spark against its own encroachments?
He closed his eyes. Why think, why reason? There was no answer. His continuance was an accident and an attendant bovinity. He was just too dumb to end it all, and that was about the size of it. ~ Richard Matheson
281:God performed miracle after miracle for the Israelites. He supernaturally brought them out of slavery. He sent all these plagues on their enemies. Even though the Israelites were living next door, the plagues did not affect them. When they came to a dead end at the Red Sea, with Pharaoh and his army chasing them, it might have looked like their lives were all over, but the water parted.
They went through the sea on dry ground. God gave them water out of a rock, and He led them by the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. But in spite of all of this they never made it into the Promised Land. Psalm 78 tells why. It says, “They forgot what God had done, they didn’t remember the amazing miracles He had shown them and their ancestors.”
When you forget what you should be remembering, it can keep you out of your Promised Land. The Israelites became discouraged, started complaining, and asked Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the desert?”
When they faced an enemy, they thought, “We don’t have a chance.” They already had seen God’s goodness in amazing ways. They had seen God do the impossible, but because they forgot about it, they were afraid, worried, and negative. It kept them from their destiny. ~ Joel Osteen
282:Moses was weeping as much as the rest of them. Joshua was angry. He had been in the tent when Yahweh commanded Moses what to do. He had seen the idolatry of Israel as it worshipped Ba’al and the other gods of the pantheon. They were not yet in their Promised Land of Canaan, and they were already playing the harlot with Ba’al of Peor. It was a form of spiritual adultery. Yahweh had taken care of them in the desert wilderness these forty years until all the original gripers and complainers were dead. They had just conquered the Transjordan and the mighty Og of Bashan as a prelude to Canaan. And still—still—these pathetic miserable backsliding wretches were already fornicating with Ba’al like wanton harlots. They worshipped household idols and even engaged in human sacrifice on Mount Nebo to the god of plague. The plague was therefore an ugly but fitting expression of a spiritual judgment. Afflicted Israelites would get puss filled boils and rashes in their genitals and anus like a sexual disease. Their excrement would be full of blood, both solid and liquid, and excruciatingly painful to release. After a few days, if the victim did not get well, their genitals would turn black and rot. Within a week, the victim would be dead. ~ Brian Godawa
283:To-Day, This Insect
To-day, this insect, and the world I breathe,
Now that my symbols have outelbowed space,
Time at the city spectacles, and half
The dear, daft time I take to nudge the sentence,
In trust and tale I have divided sense,
Slapped down the guillotine, the blood-red double
Of head and tail made witnesses to this
Murder of Eden and green genesis.
The insect certain is the plague of fables.
This story's monster has a serpent caul,
Blind in the coil scrams round the blazing outline,
Measures his own length on the garden wall
And breaks his shell in the last shocked beginning;
A crocodile before the chrysalis,
Before the fall from love the flying heartbone,
Winged like a sabbath ass this children's piece
Uncredited blows Jericho on Eden.
The insect fable is the certain promise.
Death: death of Hamlet and the nightmare madmen,
An air-drawn windmill on a wooden horse,
John's beast, Job's patience, and the fibs of vision,
Greek in the Irish sea the ageless voice:
'Adam I love, my madmen's love is endless,
No tell-tale lover has an end more certain,
All legends' sweethearts on a tree of stories,
My cross of tales behind the fabulous curtain.'
~ Dylan Thomas
284:This background enables us to understand a fact that is symptomatic of the current phase of saturation: there are countless people who want to withdraw from the omnipresence of advertising, who even avoid it like the plague. Here too, it is helpful to distinguish between the states before and after. From the perspective of the burgeoning world of products, advertising could be justified by the argument that spreading the word about the existence of new means of life improvements was indispensable, as the populations of industrial and trading nations would otherwise have been cheated of major knowledge about discreet improvements to the world. As the ambassador of new bringers of advantage, early advertising was the general training medium for contemporary performance collectives thoughtlessly denounced in culture-conservative milieus as 'consumer societies'. The aversion to advertising that pervades the saturated infospheres of the present, however, is based on the correct intuition that, in most of its manifestations, it has long since become a form of downward training. It no longer passes on what people should know in order to access advantageous innovations; it creates illusions of purchasable self-elevations that de facto usually lead to weakenings. ~ Peter Sloterdijk
285:From Lightning And Tempest
The spring-wind pass'd through the forest, and whispered low in the leaves,
And the cedar toss'd her head, and the oak stood firm in his pride ;
The spring-wind pass'd through the town, through the housetops, casements,
and eaves,
And whisper'd low in the hearts of the men, and the men replied,
Singing—'Let us rejoice in the light
Of our glory, and beauty, and might ;
Let us follow our own devices, and foster our own desires.
As firm as our oaks in our pride, as our cedars fair in our sight,
We stand like the trees of the forest that brave the frosts and the fires.'
The storm went forth to the forest, the plague went forth to the town,
And the men fell down to the plague, as the trees fell down to the gale ;
And their bloom was a ghastly pallor, and their smile was a ghastly frown,
And the song of their hearts was changed to a wild, disconsolate wail,
Crying—'God ! we have sinn'd, we have sinn'd,
We are bruised, we are shorn, we are thinn'd,
Our strength is turn'd to derision, our pride laid low in the dust,
Our cedars are cleft by Thy lightnings, our oaks are strew'd by Thy wind,
And we fall on our faces seeking Thine aid, though Thy wrath is just.'
~ Adam Lindsay Gordon
286:It was a Sunday evening in London, gloomy, close and stale. Maddening church bells of all degrees of dissonance, sharp and flat, cracked and clear, fast and slow, made the brick and mortar echoes hideous. Melancholy streets in a penitential garb of soot, steeped the souls of the people who were condemned to look at them out of windows, in a dire despondency. In every thoroughfare, up almost every alley, and down almost every turning, some doleful bell was throbbing, jerking, tolling, as if the Plague were in the city and the dead-carts were going round. Everything was bolted and barred that could by possibility furnish relief to an overworked people. No pictures, no unfamiliar animal, no rare plants or flowers, no natural or artificial wonders of the ancient world - all taboo with that enlightened strictness, that the ugly South sea gods in the British Museum might have supposed themselves at home again. Nothing to see but streets, streets, streets. Nothing to breathe but streets, streets, streets. Nothing to change the brooding mind, or raise it up. Nothing for the spent toiler to do, but to compare the monotony of his seventh day with the monotony of his six days, think what a weary life he led, and make the best of it - or the worst, according to the probabilities. ~ Charles Dickens
287:He is stark mad, whoever says,
That he hath been in love an hour,
Yet not that love so soon decays,
But that it can ten in less space devour ;
Who will believe me, if I swear
That I have had the plague a year?
Who would not laugh at me, if I should say
I saw a flash of powder burn a day?

Ah, what a trifle is a heart,
If once into love's hands it come !
All other griefs allow a part
To other griefs, and ask themselves but some ;
They come to us, but us love draws ;
He swallows us and never chaws ;
By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks do die ;
He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.

If 'twere not so, what did become
Of my heart when I first saw thee?
I brought a heart into the room,
But from the room I carried none with me.
If it had gone to thee, I know
Mine would have taught thine heart to show
More pity unto me ; but Love, alas !
At one first blow did shiver it as glass.

Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite ;
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite ;
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more. ~ John Donne
288:The Thraldom
I came, I saw, and was undone;
Lightning did through my bones and marrow run;
A pointed pain pierc'd deep my heart;
A swift cold trembling seiz'd on every part;
My head turn'd round, nor could it bear
The poison that was enter'd there.
So a destroying angel's breath
Blows-in the plague, and with it hasty death;
Such was the pain, did so begin,
To the poor wretch, when Legion enter'd in.
'Forgive me, God!' I cry'd; for I
Flatter'd myself I was to die.
But quickly to my cost I found,
'T was cruel Love, not Death, had made the wound;
Death a more generous rage does use;
Quarter to all he conquers does refuse:
Whilst Love with barbarous mercy saves
The vanquish'd lives, to make them slaves.
I am thy slave then; let me know,
Hard master! the great task I have to do:
Who pride and scorn do undergo.
In tempests and rough seas thy galleys row;
They pant, and groan, and sigh; but find
Their sighs increase the angry wind.
Like an Egyptian tyrant, some
Thou weariest out in building but a tomb;
Others, with sad and tedious art,
Labour i' th' quarries of a stony heart:
Of all the works thou dost assign
To all the several slaves of thine,
Employ me, mighty Love! to dig the mine.
~ Abraham Cowley
289:You can be a rich person alone. You can be a smart person alone. But you cannot be a complete person alone. For that you must be part of, and rooted in, an olive grove. This truth was once beautifully conveyed by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner in his interpretation of a scene from Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude: Márquez tells of a village where people were afflicted with a strange plague of forgetfulness, a kind of contagious amnesia. Starting with the oldest inhabitants and working its way through the population, the plague causes people to forget the names of even the most common everyday objects. One young man, still unaffected, tries to limit the damage by putting labels on everything. “This is a table,” “This is a window,” “This is a cow; it has to be milked every morning.” And at the entrance to the town, on the main road, he puts up two large signs. One reads “The name of our village is Macondo,” and the larger one reads “God exists.” The message I get from that story is that we can, and probably will, forget most of what we have learned in life—the math, the history, the chemical formulas, the address and phone number of the first house we lived in when we got married—and all that forgetting will do us no harm. But if we forget whom we belong to, and if we forget that there is a God, something profoundly human in us will be lost. ~ Thomas L Friedman
290:Patriotism July 4 ALL “ISMS” RUN OUT IN the end, and good riddance to most of them. Patriotism for example. If patriots are people who stand by their country right or wrong, Germans who stood by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich should be adequate proof that we’ve had enough of them. If patriots are people who believe not only that anything they consider unpatriotic is wrong but that anything they consider wrong is unpatriotic, the late Senator Joseph McCarthy and his backers should be enough to make us avoid them like the plague. If patriots are people who believe things like “Better Dead Than Red,” they should be shown films of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, and then be taken off to the funny farm. The only patriots worth their salt are the ones who love their country enough to see that in a nuclear age it is not going to survive unless the world survives. True patriots are no longer champions of Democracy, Communism, or anything like that but champions of the Human Race. It is not the Homeland that they feel called on to defend at any cost but the planet Earth as Home. If in the interests of making sure we don’t blow ourselves off the map once and for all, we end up relinquishing a measure of national sovereignty to some international body, so much the worse for national sovereignty. There is only one Sovereignty that matters ultimately, and it is of another sort altogether. ~ Frederick Buechner
291:First, the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labor is shunned like the plague. External labor, labor in which man alienates himself, is a labor of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, of the human brain and the human heart, operates on the individual independently of him – that is, operates as an alien, divine or diabolical activity – so is the worker’s activity not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self. ~ Karl Marx
292:So he's right?" Sophia said.

"From what I've read, yes. That was known back when you were...Never mind...Just...Technically he is right. Over."

"Ick," Sophia said. "I just...Maybe calling you wasn't the best choice, Da. Over."

"I'm glad you did. We never get to talk. But, I've got to get this straight. This Walker guy thinks she got pregnant from involuntary emissions on the damp bottom of a lifeboat? Over."

"Yes," Sophia said. "She's...virgo intacta. And they're both...Like Olga said, only virgins could be that incoherent about it. Over."

"You're not particularly incoherent about it, over."

"You've been talking to us about it since we were kids in one way or another," Sophia said. "And let's just say this cruise has been a real eye-opener."

"I'd say sorry but I didn't start the Plague. Okay, Walker. What's his medical background, over?"

"I'm not sure," Sophia said. "He said he took a course once that included advanced midwifery. I'm not even sure what that means except it has to do with delivering babies."

"God knows we're going to need it. Okay, I'm going to get the CDC to call you and see if they can confirm what you've said. I'm also going to pass this around in the official news bulletin. Over."

"Uh, isn't this a little private, Da?" Sophia asked.

"Well, it's that or every little old lady on the Boadicea will be beating him with their canes. Squadron, out. ~ John Ringo
293:The Sea-Child
HE crawls to the cliff and plays on a brink
Where every eye but his own would shrink;
No music he hears but the billow’s noise,
And shells and weeds are his only toys.
No lullaby can the mother find
To sing him to rest like the moaning wind;
And the louder it wails and the fiercer it sweeps,
The deeper he breathes and the sounder he sleeps.
And now his wandering feet can reach
The rugged tracks of the desolate beach;
Creeping about like a Triton imp,
To find the haunts of the crab and shrimp.
He clings, with none to guide or help,
To the furthest ridge of slippery kelp;
And his bold heart glows while he stands and mocks
The seamew’s cry on the jutting rocks.
Few years have wan’d—and now he stands
Bareheaded on the shelving sands.
A boat is moor’d, but his young hands cope
Right well with the twisted cable rope;
He frees the craft, she kisses the tide;
The boy has climb’d her beaten side:
She drifts—she floats—he shouts with glee;
His soul hath claim’d its right on the sea.
’T is vain to tell him the howling breath
Rides over the waters with wreck and death:
He ’ll say there ’s more of fear and pain
On the plague-ridden earth than the storm-lash’d main.
’T would be as wise to spend thy power
In trying to lure the bee from the flower,
The lark from the sky, or the worm from the grave,
As in weaning the Sea-Child from the wave.
~ Eliza Cook
294:The Children
The children are all crying in their pens
and the surf carries their cries away.
They are old men who have seen too much,
their mouths are full of dirty clothes,
the tongues poverty, tears like puss.
The surf pushes their cries back.
Listen.
They are bewitched.
They are writing down their life
on the wings of an elf
who then dissolves.
They are writing down their life
on a century fallen to ruin.
They are writing down their life
on the bomb of an alien God.
I am too.
We must get help.
The children are dying in their pens.
Their bodies are crumbling.
Their tongues are twisting backwards.
There is a certain ritual to it.
There is a dance they do in their pens.
Their mouths are immense.
They are swallowing monster hearts.
So is my mouth.
Listen.
We must all stop dying in the little ways,
in the craters of hate,
in the potholes of indifferencea murder in the temple.
The place I live in
is a maze
and I keep seeking
the exit or the home.
Yet if I could listen
to the bulldog courage of those children
and turn inward into the plague of my soul
with more eyes than the stars
222
I could melt the darknessas suddenly as that time
when an awful headache goes away
or someone puts out the fireand stop the darkness and its amputations
and find the real McCoy
in the private holiness
of my hands.
~ Anne Sexton
295:I have long been of the Opinion, says he, that the Fire was a vast Blessing and the Plague likewise; it gave us Occasion to understand the Secrets of Nature which otherwise might have overwhelm'd us. (I busied my self with the right Order of the Draughts, and said nothing.) With what Firmness of Mind, Sir Chris. went on, did the People see their City devoured, and I can still remember how after the Plague and the Fire the Chearfulnesse soon returned to them: Forgetfulnesse is the great Mystery of Time.

I remember, I said as I took a Chair opposite to him, how the Mobb applauded the Flames. I remember how they sang and danced by the Corses during the Contagion: that was not Chearfulnesse but Phrenzy. And I remember, also, the Rage and the Dying -

These were the Accidents of Fortune, Nick, from which we have learned so much in this Generation.

It was said, sir, that the Plague and the Fire were no Accidents but Substance, that they were the Signes of the Beast withinne. And Sir Chris. laughed at this.

At which point Nat put his Face in: Do you call, sirs? Would you care for a Dish of Tea or some Wine?

Some Tea, some Tea, cried Sir Chris. for the Fire gives me a terrible Thirst. But no, no, he continued when Nat had left the Room, you cannot assign the Causes of Plague or Fire to Sin. It was the negligence of Men that provoked those Disasters and for Negligence there is a Cure; only Terrour is the Hindrance.

Terrour, I said softly, is the Lodestone of our Art. ~ Peter Ackroyd
296:In country after country where local moneys were abolished in favor of interest-bearing central currency, people fell into poverty, health declined, and society deteriorated12 by all measures. Even the plague can be traced to the collapse of the marketplace of the late Middle Ages and the shift toward extractive currencies and urban wage labor. The new scheme instead favored bigger players, such as chartered monopolies, which had better access to capital than regular little businesses and more means of paying back the interest. When monarchs and their favored merchants founded the first corporations, the idea that they would be obligated to grow didn’t look like such a problem. They had their nations’ governments and armies on their side—usually as direct investors in their projects. For the Dutch East India Company to grow was as simple as sending a few warships to a new region of the world, taking the land, and enslaving its people. If this sounds a bit like the borrowing advantages enjoyed today by companies like Walmart and Amazon, that’s because it’s essentially the same money system in operation, favoring the same sorts of players. Yet however powerful the favored corporations may appear, they are really just the engines through which the larger money system extracts value from everyone’s economic activity. Even megacorporations are like competing apps on a universally accepted, barely acknowledged smartphone operating system. Their own survival is utterly dependent on their ability to grow capital for their debtors and investors. ~ Douglas Rushkoff
297:Secrecy is contrary to Christianity. Jesus did not found a secret society. When falsely accused of many things before the Sanhedrin, and when the high priest demanded to know His doctrine, Christ specifically stated: "I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue and in the temple where the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing."' Moreover, He warned His disciples against secret doctrines and practices with these words: "For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest.... Therefore whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light, and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."29 The Bible declares that the "hidden things" are to be reproved and brought to light,' and that anything done in secret will receive special attention in the judgment.31 As for secret revelations beyond those given in Scripture, the Bible clearly rejects this idea by repeated affirmations of its sufficiency and completeness. For example:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect [mature, complete, lacking nothing], thoroughly furnished unto all good works.32
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue... .33
If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. ~ Ed Decker
298:The Strength Of Fate
In heaven-high musings and many,
Far-seeking and deep debate,
Of strong things find I not any
That is as the strength of Fate.
Help nor healing is told
In soothsayings uttered of old,
In the Thracian rines, the verses
Engraven of Orpheus' pen;
No balm of virtue to save
Apollo aforetime gave,
Who stayeth with tender mercies
The plagues of the children of men.
She hath not her habitation
In temples that hands have wrought;
Him that bringeth oblation,
Behold, she heedeth him naught.
Be thou not wroth with us more,
O mistress, than heretofore;
For what God willeth soever,
That thou bringest to be;
Thou breakest in sunder the brand
Far forged in the Iron Land;
Thine heart is cruel, and never
Camp pity anigh unto thee.
Thee, too, O King, hath she taken
And bound in her tenfold chain;
Yet faint not, neither complain:
The dead thou wilt not awaken
For all thy weeping again.
They perish, whom gods begot;
The night releaseth them not.
Beloved was she that died
And dear shall ever abide,
For this was the queen among women, Admetus,
That lay by thy side.
Not as the multitude lowly
28
Asleep in their sepulchres,
Not as their grave be hers,
But like as the gods held holy,
The worship of wayfarers.
Yea, all that travel the way
Far off shall see it and say,
Lo, erst for her lord she died,
Today she sitteth enskied;
Hail, lady, be gracious to usward;
That alway her honor abide.
~ Euripides
299:Standing in the courtyard with a glass eye; only half the world is intelligible. The stones are wet and mossy and in the crevices are black toads. A big door bars the entrance to the cellar; the steps are slippery and soiled with bat dung. The door bulges and sags, the hinges are falling off, but there is an enameled sign on it, in perfect condition, which says: “Be sure to close the door.” Why close the door? I can’t make it out. I look again at the sign but it is removed; in it’s place there is a pane of colored glass. I take out my artificial eye, spit on it and polish it with my handkerchief. A woman is sitting on a dais above an immense carven desk; she has a snake around her neck. The entire room is lined with books and strange fish swimming in colored globes; there are maps and charts on the wall, maps of Paris before the plague, maps of the antique world, of Knossos and Carthage, of Carthage before and after the salting. In the corner of the room I see an iron bedstead and on it a corpse is lying; the woman gets up wearily, removes the corpse from the bed and absent mindedly throws it out the window. She returns to the huge carven desk, takes a goldfish from the bowl and swallows it. Slowly the room begins to revolve and one by one the continents slide into the sea; only the woman is left, but her body is a mass of geography. I lean out the window and the Eiffle Tower is fizzing champagne; it is built entirely of numbers and shrouded in black lace. The sewers are gurgling furiously. There are nothing but roofs everywhere, laid out with execrable geometric cunning. ~ Henry Miller
300:Epistle To Mrs. Tyler
It ever was allow'd, dear Madam,
Ev'n from the days of father Adam,
Of all perfection flesh is heir to,
Fair patience is the gentlest virtue;
This is a truth our grandames teach,
Our poets sing, and parsons preach;
Yet after all, dear Moll, the fact is
We seldom put it into practice;
I'll warrant (if one knew the truth)
You've call'd me many an idle youth,
And styl'd me rude ungrateful bear,
Enough to make a parson swear.
I shall not make a long oration
in order for my vindication,
For what the plague can I say more
Than lazy dogs have done before;
Such stuff is naught but mere tautology,
And so take that for my apology.
First then for custards, my dear Mary,
The produce of your dainty dairy,
For stew'd, for bak'd, for boil'd, for roast,
And all the teas and all the toast;
With thankful tongue and bowing attitude,
I here present you with my gratitude:
Next for you apples, pears, and plums
Acknowledgment in order comes;
For wine, for ale, for fowl, for fish--for
Ev'n all one's appetite can wish for:
But O ye pens and O ye pencils,
And all ye scribbling utensils,
Say in what words and in what meter,
Shall unfeign'd admiration greet her,
For that rich banquet so refin'd
Her conversation gave the mind;
The solid meal of sense and worth,
Set off by the desert of mirth;
Wit's fruit and pleasure's genial bowl,
21
And all the joyous flow of soul;
For these, and every kind ingredient
That form'd your love--your most obedient.
~ Christopher Smart
301:It Is The Sinners' Dust-Tongued Bell
It is the sinners' dust-tongued bell claps me to churches
When, with his torch and hourglass, like a sulpher priest,
His beast heel cleft in a sandal,
Time marks a black aisle kindle from the brand of ashes,
Grief with dishevelled hands tear out the altar ghost
And a firewind kill the candle.
Over the choir minute I hear the hour chant:
Time's coral saint and the salt grief drown a foul sepulchre
And a whirlpool drives the prayerwheel;
Moonfall and sailing emperor, pale as their tide-print,
Hear by death's accident the clocked and dashed-down spire
Strike the sea hour through bellmetal.
There is loud and dark directly under the dumb flame,
Storm, snow, and fountain in the weather of fireworks,
Cathedral calm in the pulled house;
Grief with drenched book and candle christens the cherub time
From the emerald, still bell; and from the pacing weather-cock
The voice of bird on coral prays.
Forever it is a white child in the dark-skinned summer
Out of the font of bone and plants at that stone tocsin
Scales the blue wall of spirits;
From blank and leaking winter sails the child in colour,
Shakes, in crabbed burial shawl, by sorcerer's insect woken,
Ding dong from the mute turrets.
I mean by time the cast and curfew rascal of our marriage,
At nightbreak born in the fat side, from an animal bed
In a holy room in a wave;
And all love's sinners in sweet cloth kneel to a hyleg image,
Nutmeg, civet, and sea-parsley serve the plagued groom and bride
Who have brought forth the urchin grief.
~ Dylan Thomas
302:Ballade Of The Midnight Forest
Still sing the mocking fairies, as of old,
Beneath the shade of thorn and holly-tree;
The west wind breathes upon them, pure and cold,
And wolves still dread Diana roaming free
In secret woodland with her company.
'Tis thought the peasants' hovels know her rite
When now the wolds are bathed in silver light,
And first the moonrise breaks the dusky grey,
Then down the dells, with blown soft hair and bright,
And through the dim wood Dian threads her way.
With water-weeds twined in their locks of gold
The strange cold forest-fairies dance in glee,
Sylphs over-timorous and over-bold
Haunt the dark hollows where the dwarf may be,
The wild red dwarf, the nixies' enemy;
Then 'mid their mirth, and laughter, and affright,
The sudden Goddess enters, tall and white,
With one long sigh for summers pass'd away;
The swift feet tear the ivy nets outright
And through the dim wood Dian threads her way.
She gleans her silvan trophies; down the wold
She hears the sobbing of the stags that flee
Mixed with the music of the hunting roll'd,
But her delight is all in archery,
And naught of ruth and pity wotteth she
More than her hounds that follow on the flight;
The goddess draws a golden bow of might
And thick she rains the gentle shafts that slay.
She tosses loose her locks upon the night,
And through the dim wood Dian threads her way.
ENVOY.
Prince, let us leave the din, the dust, the spite,
The gloom and glare of towns, the plague, the blight:
Amid the forest leaves and fountain spray
There is the mystic home of our delight,
40
And through the dim wood Dian threads her way.
~ Andrew Lang
303:I kind of conned you into believing you were falling in love with a healthy person,” he said. I shrugged. “I’d have done the same to you.” “No, you wouldn’t’ve, but we can’t all be as awesome as you.” He kissed me, then grimaced. “Does it hurt?” I asked. “No. Just.” He stared at the ceiling for a long time before saying, “I like this world. I like drinking champagne. I like not smoking. I like the sound of Dutch people speaking Dutch. And now…I don’t even get a battle. I don’t get a fight.” “You get to battle cancer,” I said. “That is your battle. And you’ll keep fighting,” I told him. I hated it when people tried to build me up to prepare for battle, but I did it to him, anyway. “You’ll…you’ll…live your best life today. This is your war now.” I despised myself for the cheesy sentiment, but what else did I have? “Some war,” he said dismissively. “What am I at war with? My cancer. And what is my cancer? My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They’re made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It is a civil war, Hazel Grace, with a predetermined winner.” “Gus,” I said. I couldn’t say anything else. He was too smart for the kinds of solace I could offer. “Okay,” he said. But it wasn’t. After a moment, he said, “If you go to the Rijksmuseum, which I really wanted to do—but who are we kidding, neither of us can walk through a museum. But anyway, I looked at the collection online before we left. If you were to go, and hopefully someday you will, you would see a lot of paintings of dead people. You’d see Jesus on the cross, and you’d see a dude getting stabbed in the neck, and you’d see people dying at sea and in battle and a parade of martyrs. But Not. One. Single. Cancer. Kid. Nobody biting it from the plague or smallpox or yellow fever or whatever, because there is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it. There is no honor in ~ John Green
304:Tonight, no one will rage and cry: "My Kingdom for a horse!" No ghost will come to haunt the battlements of a castle in the kingdom of Denmark where, apparently something is rotten. Nor will anyone wring her hands and murmur: "Leave, I do not despise you." Three still young women will not retreat to a dacha whispering the name of Moscow, their beloved, their lost hope. No sister will await the return of her brother to avenge the death of their father, no son will be forced to avenge an affront to his father, no mother will kill her three children to take revenge on their father. And no husband will see his doll-like wife leave him out of contempt. No one will turn into a rhinoceros. Maids will not plot to assassinate their mistress, after denouncing her lover and having him jailed. No one will fret about "the rain in Spain!" No one will emerge from a garbage pail to tell an absurd story. Italian families will not leave for the seashore. No soldier will return from World War II and bang on his father's bedroom dor protesting the presence of a new wife in his mother's bed. No evanescent blode will drown. No Spanish nobleman will seduce a thousand and three women, nor will an entire family of Spanish women writhe beneath the heel of the fierce Bernarda Alba. You won't see a brute of a man rip his sweat-drenched T-shirt, shouting: "Stella! Stella!" and his sister-in-law will not be doomed the minute she steps off the streetcar named Desire. Nor will you see a stepmother pine away for her new husband's youngest son. The plague will not descend upon the city of Thebes, and the Trojan War will not take place. No king will be betrayed by his ungrateful daughters. There will be no duels, no poisonings, no wracking coughs. No one will die, or, if someone must die, it will become a comic scene. No, there will be none of the usual theatrics. What you will see tonight is a very simple woman, a woman who will simply talk... ~ Michel Tremblay
305:Mirage
Is it a will-o'-the-wisp, or is dawn breaking,
That our horizon wears so strange a hue?
Is it but one more dream, or are we waking
To find that dreams, at last, are coming true?
Aye, surely, in that golden glimmer streaking
The cloudy sky-line of the life of man,
We see the blessed day he has been seeking
In all directions since the world began.
Sign to each struggling and exhausted nation
Of hope fulfilled, redemption and release;
Sign of the end of needless tribulation,
And the beginning of the reign of Peace.
Country with country, brother with his brother,
Content to share, and not to grab and steal;
Ceasing the wild-beast battle, each with other,
To work in concert for the common weal.
No
No
No
No
class-strife more, neighbour with differing neighbour;
waste or want, to breed the plague of crime;
soul-debasing pomp and sordid labour,
wars, no famines, in the coming time!
But swords of slaughter - valour and brains and money Turned into ploughshares for the lands redeemed,
To fill men's homes, as full as hives of honey,
With wealth unknown and happiness undreamed.
Great Art no more the plaything of the idle,
But nurse and minister to every need;
Nature no longer cowed with bit and bridle;
Conscience enfranchised and Religion freed.
All round our darksome isle the tide encroaches,
Distant and dim as yet, but spreading fast.
The reign of Love and Liberty approaches!
The heirs are coming to their own at last!
143
.
Hark! What was that? The vanquished devil howling,
With guns and bombs, for brother devil's blood?
The primal savage out again - befouling
All this fair promise with his primal mud?
Alas! So soon to see our lovely morning
Back in the hopeless night whence it arose,
And have no time to wait another dawning!
O Lord, how long - how long . . . . . . . .
~ Ada Cambridge
306:When equal sacrifices are required, equal rights must be given likewise. This has been such commonplace of thought for a hundred and twenty years that one is ashamed to find it still in need of emphasis. I any case, if this principle is applied in an army, and the great saying about the Marshal’s baton that every recruit carries in his knapsack is not an mere empty phrase, everybody feels that he is in his place, whether he is born to command or to obey. If I give any offence by this, I may add that this would be an army composed entirely of Fahnenjunker.

Democratic sentiments? I hate democracy as I do the plague – besides, the democratic ideal of an army would be one consisting entirely, not of Fahnenjunker, but of officers with lax discipline and great personal liberty. For my taste, on the contrary, and for that of young Germans in general to-day, an army could not be too iron, too dictatorial, ad too absolute – but if it is to be so, then there must be a system of promotion that is not sheltered behind any sort of privilege, but opened up to the keenest competition.
If we are to come to grief in this war it can only be from moral causes; for materially, whatever any one may say, we are strong enough. And the decisive factor will be the defects of leadership; or to express it more accurately, the relation in which officers and men stand to each other. It would not be for the first time in our experience, and it would be another proof that peoples too (for it is on the shoulders of the whole people, not jsut the ruling class) always repeat the same mistakes just as individuals do. The battle of Jena is an instance. This defeat should not be regarded as a great disaster, but as a just and well-deserved warning of the fate to cut loose from an impossible state of affairs; for in that battle a new principle of leadership encountered and overthrew an antiquated one. Every war that is lost is lost deservedly. One must always bear that in mind if one wishes to be the winner. ~ Ernst J nger
307:Voicemail #1: “Hi, Isabel Culpeper. I am lying in my bed, looking at the ceiling. I am mostly naked. I am thinking of … your mother. Call me.”

Voicemail #2: The first minute and thirty seconds of “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” by the Bee Gees.

Voicemail #3: “I’m bored. I need to be entertained. Sam is moping. I may kill him with his own guitar. It would give me something to do and also make him say something. Two birds with one stone! I find all these old expressions unnecessarily violent. Like, ring around the rosy. That’s about the plague, did you know? Of course you did. The plague is, like, your older cousin. Hey, does Sam talk to you? He says jack shit to me. God, I’m bored. Call me.”

Voicemail #4: “Hotel California” by the Eagles, in its entirety, with every instance of the word California replaced with Minnesota.

Voicemail #5: “Hi, this is Cole St. Clair. Want to know two true things? One, you’re never picking up this phone. Two, I’m never going to stop leaving long messages. It’s like therapy. Gotta talk to someone. Hey, you know what I figured out today? Victor’s dead. I figured it out yesterday, too. Every day I figure it out again. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I feel like there’s no one I can —”

Voicemail #6: “So, yeah, I’m sorry. That last message went a little pear-shaped. You like that expression? Sam said it the other day. Hey, try this theory on for size: I think he’s a dead British housewife reincarnated into a Beatle’s body. You know, I used to know this band that put on fake British accents for their shows. Boy, did they suck, aside from being assholes. I can’t remember their name now. I’m either getting senile or I’ve done enough to my brain that stuff’s falling out. Not so fair of me to make this one-sided, is it? I’m always talking about myself in these things. So, how are you, Isabel Rosemary Culpeper? Smile lately? Hot Toddies. That was the name of the band. The Hot Toddies.”

Voicemail #20: “I wish you’d answer. ~ Maggie Stiefvater
308:The essayist and investor Paul Graham, a peer and rival of Peter Thiel’s, has charted the trajectory of a start-up, with all its ups and downs. After the initial bump of media attention, the rush of excitement from the unexpected success, Graham says that the founders enter a phase where the novelty begins to wear off, and they quickly descend from their early euphoria into what he calls the “trough of sorrow.” A start-up launches with its investments, gets a few press hits, and then smacks right into reality. Many companies never make it out of this ditch. “The problem with the Silicon Valley,” as Jim Barksdale, the former CEO and president of Netscape, once put it, “is that we tend to confuse a clear view with a short distance.” Here, too, like the founders of a start-up, the conspirators have smacked into reality. The reality of the legal system. The defensive bulwark of the First Amendment. The reality of the odds. They have discovered the difference between a good plan and how far they’ll need to travel to fulfill it. They have trouble even serving Denton with papers. Harder has to request a 120-day extension just to wrap his head around Gawker’s financial and corporate structure. This is going to be harder than they thought. It always is. To say that in 2013 all the rush and excitement present on those courthouse steps several months earlier had dissipated would be a preposterous understatement. If a conspiracy, by its inherent desperation and disadvantaged position, is that long struggle in a dark hallway, here is the point where one considers simply sitting down and sobbing in despair, not even sure what direction to go. Is this even possible? Are we wrong? Machiavelli wrote that fortune—misfortune in fact—aims herself where “dikes and dams have not been made to contain her.” Clausewitz said that battle plans were great but ultimately subject to “friction”—delays, confusion, mistakes, and complications. What is friction? Friction is when you’re Pericles and you lay out a brilliant plan to defend Athens against Sparta and then your city is hit by the plague. ~ Ryan Holiday
309:He was in the hospital from the middle of Lent till after Easter. When he was better, he remembered the dreams he had had while he was feverish and delirious. He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia. All were to be destroyed except a very few chosen. Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will. Men attacked by them became at once mad and furious. But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible. Whole villages, whole towns and peoples went mad from the infection. All were excited and did not understand one another. Each thought that he alone had the truth and was wretched looking at the others, beat himself on the breast, wept, and wrung his hands. They did not know how to judge and could not agree what to consider evil and what good; they did not know whom to blame, whom to justify. Men killed each other in a sort of senseless spite. They gathered together in armies against one another, but even on the march the armies would begin attacking each other, the ranks would be broken and the soldiers would fall on each other, stabbing and cutting, biting and devouring each other. The alarm bell was ringing all day long in the towns; men rushed together, but why they were summoned and who was summoning them no one knew. The most ordinary trades were abandoned, because everyone proposed his own ideas, his own improvements, and they could not agree. The land too was abandoned. Men met in groups, agreed on something, swore to keep together, but at once began on something quite different from what they had proposed. They accused one another, fought and killed each other. There were conflagrations and famine. All men and all things were involved in destruction. The plague spread and moved further and further. Only a few men could be saved in the whole world. They were a pure chosen people, destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth, but no one had seen these men, no one had heard their words and their voices. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
310:Cousin Robert
O COUSIN Robert, far away
Among the lands of gold,
How many years since we two met?-You would not like it told.
O cousin Robert, buried deep
Amid your bags of gold-I thought I saw you yesternight
Just as you were of old.
You own whole leagues--I half a rood
Behind my cottage door;
You have your lacs of gold rupees,
And I my children four;
Your tall barques dot the dangerous seas,
My 'ship's come home'--to rest
Safe anchored from the storms of life
Upon one faithful breast.
And it would cause no start or sigh,
Nor thought of doubt or blame,
If I should teach our little son
His cousin Robert's name.-That name, however wide it rings,
I oft think, when alone,
I rather would have seen it graved
Upon a churchyard stone-Upon the white sunshining stone
Where cousin Alick lies:
Ah, sometimes, woe to him that lives!
Happy is he that dies!
O Robert, Robert, many a tear-Though not the tears of old-Drops, thinking of your face last night
Your hand's remembered fold;
75
A young man's face, so like, so like
Our mothers' faces fair:
A young man's hand, so firm to clasp,
So resolute to dare.
I thought you good--I wished you great;
You were my hope, my pride:
To know you good, to make you great
I once had happy died.
To tear the plague-spot from your heart,
Place honor on your brow,
See old age come in crownèd peace-I almost would die now!
Would give--all that's now mine to give-To have you sitting there,
The cousin Robert of my youth-Though beggar'd, with gray hair.
O Robert, Robert, some that live
Are dead, long ere they are old;
Better the pure heart of our youth
Than palaces of gold;
Better the blind faith of our youth
Than doubt, which all truth braves;
Better to mourn, God's children dear,
Than laugh, the Devil's slaves.
O Robert, Robert, life is sweet,
And love is boundless gain:
Yet if I mind of you, my heart
Is stabbed with sudden pain:
And as in peace this Christmas eve
I close our quiet doors,
And kiss 'good-night' on sleeping heads-Such bonnie curls,--like yours:
I fall upon my bended knees
76
With sobs that choke each word;-'On those who err and are deceived
Have mercy, O good Lord!'
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
311:Doctor Rabelais
Once -- it was many years ago.
In early wedded life,
Ere yet my loved one had become
A very knowing wife,
She came to me and said: 'My dear,
I think (and do not you?)
That we should have about the house
A doctor's book or two.
'Our little ones have sundry ills
Which I should understand
And cure myself, if I but had
A doctor's book at hand.
Why not economize, my dear,
In point of doctor's biils
By purchasing the means to treat
Our litt;e household ills?'
Dear, honest, patient little wife!
She did not even guess
She offered me the very prize
I hankered to possess.
'You argus, wisely, wife,' quoth I,
'Proceed without delay
To find and comprehend the works
Of Doctor Rabelais.'
I wrote the title out for her
(She'd never heard the name),
And presently she bought those books,
And home she lugged the same;
I clearly read this taunting boast
On her triumphant brow:
'Aha, ye venal doctors all,
Ye are outwitted now!'
Those volumes stood upon the shelf
A month or two unread,
Save as such times by night I conned
115
Their precious wit in bed;
But once -- it was a wintry time -I heard my loved one say:
'This child is croupy; I'll consult
My doctor, Rabelais!'
Soon from her delusive dream
My beauteous bride awoke.
Too soon she grasped the fulness of
My bibliomaniac joke.
There came a sudden, shocking change,
As you may well suppose,
And with her reprehensive voice
The temperature arose.
But that was many years ago,
In early wedded life,
And that dear lady has become
A very knowing wife;
For she hath learned from Rabelais
What elsewhere is agreed:
The plague of bibliomania is
A cureless ill indeed.
And still at night, when all the rest
Are hushed in sweet repose,
O'er those two interdicted tomes
I laugh and nod and doze.
From worldly ills and business cares
My weary mind is lured,
And by that doctor's magic art
My ailments all are cured.
So my dear, knowing little wife
Is glad that it is so,
And with a smile recalls the trick
I played her years ago;
And whensoe'er dyspeptic pangs
Compel me to their sway,
The saucy girl bids me consult
My Doctor Rabelais!
116
~ Eugene Field
312:The light was crude. It made Artaud's eyes shrink into darkness, as they are deep-set. This brought into relief the intensity of his gestures. He looked tormented. His hair, rather long, fell at times over his forehead. He has the actor's nimbleness and quickness of gestures. His face is lean, as if ravaged by fevers. His eyes do not seem to see the people. They are the eyes of a visionary. His hands are long, long-fingered.
Beside him Allendy looks earthy, heavy, gray. He sits at the desk, massive, brooding. Artaud steps out on the platform, and begins to talk about " The Theatre and the Plague."
He asked me to sit in the front row. It seems to me that all he is asking for is intensity, a more heightened form of feeling and living. Is he trying to remind us that it was during the Plague that so many marvelous works of art and theater came to be, because, whipped by the fear of death, man seeks immortality, or to escape, or to surpass himself? But then, imperceptibly almost, he let go of the thread we were following and began to act out dying by plague. No one quite knew when it began. To illustrate his conference, he was acting out an agony. "La Peste" in French is so much more terrible than "The Plague" in English. But no word could describe what Artaud acted out on the platform of the Sorbonne. He forgot about his conference, the theatre, his ideas, Dr. Allendy sitting there, the public, the young students, his wife, professors, and directors.
His face was contorted with anguish, one could see the perspiration dampening his hair. His eyes dilated, his muscles became cramped, his fingers struggled to retain their flexibility. He made one feel the parched and burning throat, the pains, the fever, the fire in the guts. He was in agony. He was screaming. He was delirious. He was enacting his own death, his own crucifixion.
At first people gasped. And then they began to laugh. Everyone was laughing! They hissed. Then, one by one, they began to leave, noisily, talking, protesting. They banged the door as they left. The only ones who did not move were Allendy, his wife, the Lalous, Marguerite. More protestations. More jeering. But Artaud went on, until the last gasp. And stayed on the floor. Then when the hall had emptied of all but his small group of friends, he walked straight up to me and kissed my hand. He asked me to go to the cafe with him. ~ Ana s Nin
313:Damian, who do you admire?’
I said, ‘St Roch, sir.’
The others stopped talking.
‘Who does he play for?’
‘No one, sir. He’s a saint.’
The others went back to football.
‘He caught the plague and hid in the woods so he wouldn’t infect anyone, and a dog came and fed him every day. Then he started to do miraculous cures and people came to see him – hundreds of people – in his hut in the woods. He was so worried about saying the wrong thing to someone that he didn’t say a word for the last ten years of his life.’ ‘
We could do with a few like him in this class. Thank you, Damian.’ ‘
He’s the patron saint of plague, cholera and skin complaints. While alive, he performed many wonders.’ ‘Well, you learn something new.’
He was looking for someone else now, but I was enjoying being excellent. Catherine of Alexandria (4th century) came to mind.

‘They wanted her to marry a king, but she said she was married to Christ. So, they tried to crush her on a big wooden wheel, but it shattered into a thousand splinters – huge sharp splinters – which flew into the crowd, killing and blinding many bystanders.’ ‘

That’s a bit harsh. Collateral damage, eh?

Well, thank you, Damian.’ By now everyone had stopped debating players versus managers. They were all listening to me.
‘After that they chopped her head off. Which did kill her, but instead of blood, milk came spurting out of her neck. That was one of her wonders.’ ‘Thank you, Damian.’ ‘She’s the patron saint of nurses, fireworks, wheel-makers and the town of Dunstable (Bedfordshire). The Catherine wheel is named after her. She’s a virgin martyr. There are other great virgin martyrs. For instance, St Sexburga of Ely (670– 700).’

Everyone started laughing. Everyone always laughs at that name. They probably laughed at it in 670– 700 too.

‘Sexburga was Queen of Kent. She had four sisters, who all became saints. They were called—’

Before I could say Ethelburga and Withburga, Mr Quinn said, ‘Damian, I did say thank you.’

He actually said thank you three times. If that doesn’t make me excellent, I don’t know what does. I was also an artistic inspiration, as nearly all the boys painted pictures of the collateral damage at the execution of St Catherine. There were a lot of fatal flying splinters and milk spurting out of necks. Jake painted Wayne Rooney, but he was the only one. ~ Frank Cottrell Boyce
314:Marlboro Man paused, his eyes piercing through to my marrow. We’d started out watching the sunset over the ranch, sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, legs dangling playfully over the edge. By the time the sun had gone down, we were lying down, legs overlapping, as the sky turned blacker and blacker. And making out wildly. Making out, oh, so very wildly.
I didn’t want to wait for him to bring it up again--the dreaded subject of Chicago. I’d avoided it like the plague for the past several days, not wanting to face the reality of my impending move, of walking away from my new love so soon after we’d found each other. But now the subject wasn’t so scary; it was safe. I’d made the decision, at least for now, to stay--I just had to tell Marlboro Man. And finally, in between kisses, the words bubbled suddenly and boldly to the surface; I could no longer contain them. But before I had a chance to say them, Marlboro Man opened his mouth and began to speak.
“Oh no,” he said, a pained expression on his face. “Don’t tell me--you’re leaving tomorrow.” He ran his fingers through my hair and touched his forehead to mine.
I smiled, giggling inside at the secret I was seconds away from spilling. A herd of cows mooed in the distance. Serenading us.
“Um…no,” I said, finding it hard to believe what I was about to tell him. “I’m not…I’m…I’m not going.”
He paused, then pulled his face away from mine, allowing just enough distance between us for him to pull focus. “What?” he asked, is strong fingers still grasping my hair. A tentative smile appeared on his face.
I breathed in a deep dose of night air, trying to calm my schoolgirl nervousness. “I, umm…” I began. “I decided to stick around here a little while.” There. I’d said it. This was all officially real.
Without a moment of hesitation, Marlboro Man wrapped his ample arms around my waist. Then, in what seemed to be less than a second, he hoisted me from my horizontal position on the bed of his pickup until we were both standing in front of each other. Scooping me off my feet, he raised me up to his height so his icy blue eyes were level with mine.
“Wait…are you serious?” he asked, taking my face in his hands. Squaring it in front of his. Looking me in the eye. “You’re not going?”
“Nope,” I answered.
“Whoa,” he said, smiling and moving in for a long, impassioned kiss on the back of his Ford F250. “I can’t believe it,” he continued, squeezing me tightly. ~ Ree Drummond
315:There is a story about a man who came to town during the plagues that were killing so many at the time. The rats were the problem and while people did not know this in a scientific way like they do now, it was their intuition that told them that the rats were bringing the disease. He claimed that he knew how to get rid of the rats, but most of all how to get rid of the fevers and the disease that were decimating the countryside. The town had to give him one hundred and thirty of their children for him to take back to his home in Transylvania. The population there were so few that it was becoming almost impossible to marry outside of family. The inbreeding was causing disease in the bloodlines --- primarily mental disease. So he promised to free the city of rats, and hence plague, in exchange for these children. He promised they would be healthy for much longer than any normal children in plague-ridden cities could hope for. The people were so desperate they agreed to the man’s request and within a fortnight the town was the only place for miles around which was miraculously free of rats. Soon the town was also unburdened of the former pestilence. When he came to collect his pay in the form of seventy girls and sixty boys under the age of ten, the town refused. They hung him in the town square, fearful of allowing him to leave in case he would rain the black plague down upon them. The people knew that he was a powerful sorcerer of some type and condemned him to death rather than hand their children over to him.             “It wasn’t until the following spring that people began to see the familiar form of the strange man on the roads leading out of town. He was said to be alive and playing a musical instrument that made people feel dizzy or hypnotized. Soon there was a panic. The woods, still devoid of all rats, were searched for the presumed dead traveler. Nothing was found. Then on the Ides of March, in the middle of the night, one hundred and thirty children disappeared from their beds. The adults spoke of an odd feeling that came over them, accompanied by the faint sound of music on the wind. It had put them to sleep and when they awoke all that was left of their children was a pile of bloody teeth resting on their pillows. The parents searched everywhere, pulling their hair and wailing their mournful cries, but the children had vanished. There are stories that these were the first vampire children who later populated the Carpathians, brought from Hamlin by a dark conjurer. Whatever happened in reality, the song was passed down for hundreds of years as a warning not to make deals that you know you will not uphold. It could be a deal with the devil, and he always gets his due. ~ Anonymous
316:I stood on a rise, overlooking the plague valley. Matthew was beside me.

The last thing I remembered was crawling into my sleeping bag after the whiskey had hit me like a two-by-four to the face. Now my friend was here with me. “I’ve missed you. Are you feeling better?” How much was this vision taking out of him?

“Better.” He didn’t appear as pale. He wore a heavy coat, open over a space camp T-shirt.

“I’m so relieved to hear that, sweetheart. Why would you bring us here?”

“Power is your burden.”

I surveyed all the bodies. “I felt the weight of it when I killed these people.”

“Obstacles multiply.”

“Which ones?” A breeze soughed over the valley. “Bagmen, slavers, militia, or cannibals?”

He held up the fingers of one hand. “There are now five. The miners watch us. Plotting.”

“But miners are the same as cannibals, right?”

He shuffled his boots with irritation. “Miners, Empress.”

“Okay, okay.” I rubbed his arm. “Are you and Finn being safe?”

His brows drew together as he gazed out. “Smite and fall, mad and struck.”

I looked with him, like we were viewing a sunset, a beautiful vista. Not plague and death. “You’ve told me those words before.”

“So much for you to learn, Empress. Beware the inactivated card.”

One Arcana’s powers lay dormant—until he or she killed another player. “Who is it?”

“Don’t ask, if you ever want to know.”

Naturally, I started to ask, but he cut me off. “Do you believe I see far?” He peered down at me. “Do you believe I see an unbroken line that stretches on through eternity? Centuries ago, I told an Empress that a future incarnation of hers would live in a world of ash where nothing grew. She never believed me.”

I could imagine Phyta or the May Queen surveying verdant fields and crops, doubting the Fool.

“Now I tell you that dark days are ahead. Will you believe me?”

“I will. I do. Please tell me what will happen. How dark?”

“Darkest. Power is your burden; knowing is mine.” His expression turned pleading, his soft brown eyes imploring. “Never hate me.”

I raised my hands, cradling his face. “Even when I was so mad at you, I never hated you.”

“Remember. Matthew knows best.” He sounded like his mom—when she’d tried to drown him: Mother knows best, son.

I dropped my hands. “It scares me when you say that.”

“Do you know what you really want? I see it. I feel it. Think, Empress. See far.”

I was trying! “Help me, then. I’m ready. Help me see far!”

“All is not as it seems. What would you sacrifice? What would you endure?”

“To end the game?”

His voice grew thick as he said, “Things will happen beyond your wildest imaginings.”

“Good things?”

His eyes watered. “Good, bad, good, bad, good, good, bad, bad, good-bye. You are my friend. ~ Kresley Cole
317:You’ve seen a lot of death, then?”

Logen winced. In his youth, he would have loved to answer that very question. He could have bragged, and boasted, and listed the actions he’d been in, the Named Men he’d killed. He couldn’t say now when the pride had dried up. It had happened slowly. As the wars became bloodier, as the causes became excuses, as the friends went back to the mud, one by one. Logen rubbed at his ear, felt the big notch that Tul Duru’s sword had made, long ago. He could have stayed silent. But for some reason, he felt the need to be honest.

“I’ve fought in three campaigns,” he began. “In seven pitched battles. In countless raids and skirmishes and desperate defences, and bloody actions of every kind. I’ve fought in the driving snow, the blasting wind, the middle of the night. I’ve been fighting all my life, one enemy or another, one friend or another. I’ve known little else. I’ve seen men killed for a word, for a look, for nothing at all. A woman tried to stab me once for killing her husband, and I threw her down a well. And that’s far from the worst of it. Life used to be cheap as dirt to me. Cheaper.

“I’ve fought ten single combats and I won them all, but I fought on the wrong side and for all the wrong reasons. I’ve been ruthless, and brutal, and a coward. I’ve stabbed men in the back, burned them, drowned them, crushed them with rocks, killed them asleep, unarmed, or running away. I’ve run away myself more than once. I’ve pissed myself with fear. I’ve begged for my life. I’ve been wounded, often, and badly, and screamed and cried like a baby whose mother took her tit away. I’ve no doubt the world would be a better place if I’d been killed years ago, but I haven’t been, and I don’t know why.”

He looked down at his hands, pink and clean on the stone. “There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of. The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends. Blood gets you nothing but more blood. It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it. I should never be free of it. I’ve earned it. I’ve deserved it. I’ve sought it out. Such is my punishment.”

And that was all. Logen breathed a deep, ragged sigh and stared out at the lake. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the man beside him, didn’t want to see the expression on his face. Who wants to learn he’s keeping company with the Bloody-Nine? A man who’s wrought more death than the plague, and with less regret. They could never be friends now, not with all those corpses between them.

Then he felt Quai’s hand clap him on the shoulder. “Well, there it is,” he said, grinning from ear to ear, “but you saved me, and I’m right grateful for it!”

“I’ve saved a man this year, and only killed four. I’m born again.” And they both laughed for a while, and it felt good. ~ Joe Abercrombie
318:MT: That's Régis Debray's thesis: the incarnation of Christ and the defeat of the iconoclasts gave the West mastery of images and thus of innovation. Here's a question that may be absurd: does a phrase like “if someone hits you on one cheek, turn the other” have anything to do with imitation? RG: Of course it does, since it's directed against “adversarial” imitation, and is one and the same thing as the imitation of Christ. In the Gospels, everything is imitation, since Christ himself seeks to imitate and be imitated. Unlike the modern gurus who claim to be imitating nobody, but who want to be imitated on that basis, Christ says: “Imitate me as I imitate the Father.” The rules of the Kingdom of God are not at all utopian: if you want to put an end to mimetic rivalry, give way completely to your rival. You nip rivalry in the bud. We're not talking about a political program, this is a lot simpler and more fundamental. If someone is making excessive demands on you, he's already involved in mimetic rivalry, he expects you to participate in the escalation. So, to put a stop to it, the only means is to do the opposite of what escalation calls for: meet the excessive demand twice over. If you've been told to walk a mile, walk two; if you've been hit on the left cheek, offer up the right. The Kingdom of God is nothing but this, but that doesn't mean it's easily accessible. There is also a pretty strong unwritten tradition that states that “Satan is the ape of God.” Satan is extremely paradoxical in the Gospels. First he is mimetic disorder, but he is also order because he is the prince of this world. When the Pharisees accuse him of freeing the possessed from their demons by the power of “Beelzebub,” Jesus replies: “Now if Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; so how can his kingdom last? […] But if it is through the Spirit of God that I drive out devils, then be sure that the kingdom of God has caught you unawares.” This means that Satan's order is the order of the scapegoat. Satan is the whole mimetic system in the Gospels. That Satan is temptation, that Satan is rivalry that turns against itself—all the traditions see this; succumbing to temptation always means tempting others. What the Gospel adds, and what is unique to it, I think, is that Satan is order. The order of this world is not divine, it's sacrificial, it's satanic in a certain sense. That doesn't mean that religions are satanic, it means that the mimetic system, in its eternal return, enslaves humanity. Satan's transcendence is precisely that violence temporarily masters itself in the scapegoat phenomenon: Satan never expels himself once and for all—only the Spirit of God can do that—but he more or less “chains himself” by means of the sacrificial order. All medieval legends tell you: the devil asks for but one victim, but as for that victim, he can't do without it. If you don't obey the rules of the Kingdom of God, you are necessarily dependent on Satan. Satan means “the Accuser.” And the Spirit of God is called Paraclete, that is to say “the Defender of Victims,” it's all there. The defender of victims reveals the inanity of Satan by showing that his accusations are untruthful. Oedipus's parricide and incest, which give the plague to a whole community—they're a joke, a very bad joke that helps cause quite a bit of damage among us when we take it seriously, as, in the final analysis, is the case with…the psychoanalysts: they take the lie of the Accuser seriously. Our whole culture is dominated by mythical accusation to the extent that it does not denounce it. Psychoanalysis endorses the accusation. ~ Ren Girard
319:In the Village
I came up out of the subway and there were
people standing on the steps as if they knew
something I didn't. This was in the Cold War,
and nuclear fallout. I looked and the whole avenue
was empty, I mean utterly, and I thought,
The birds have abandoned our cities and the plague
of silence multiplies through their arteries, they fought
the war and they lost and there's nothing subtle or vague
in this horrifying vacuum that is New York. I caught
the blare of a loudspeaker repeatedly warning
the last few people, maybe strolling lovers in their walk,
that the world was about to end that morning
on Sixth or Seventh Avenue with no people going to work
in that uncontradicted, horrifying perspective.
It was no way to die, but it's also no way to live.
Well, if we burnt, it was at least New York.
II
Everybody in New York is in a sitcom.
I'm in a Latin American novel, one
in which an egret-haired viejo shakes with some
invisible sorrow, some obscene affliction,
and chronicles it secretly, till it shows in his face,
the parenthetical wrinkles confirming his fiction
to his deep embarrassment. Look, it's
just the old story of a heart that won't call it quits
whatever the odds, quixotic. It's just one that'll
break nobody's heart, even if the grizzled colonel
pitches from his steed in a cavalry charge, in a battle
that won't make him a statue. It is the hell
of ordinary, unrequited love. Watch these egrets
trudging the lawn in a dishevelled troop, white banners
trailing forlornly; they are the bleached regrets
of an old man's memoirs, printed stanzas.
showing their hinged wings like wide open secrets.
38
III
Who has removed the typewriter from my desk,
so that I am a musician without his piano
with emptiness ahead as clear and grotesque
as another spring? My veins bud, and I am so
full of poems, a wastebasket of black wire.
The notes outside are visible; sparrows will
line antennae like staves, the way springs were,
but the roofs are cold and the great grey river
where a liner glides, huge as a winter hill,
moves imperceptibly like the accumulating
years. I have no reason to forgive her
for what I brought on myself. I am past hating,
past the longing for Italy where blowing snow
absolves and whitens a kneeling mountain range
outside Milan. Through glass, I am waiting
for the sound of a bird to unhinge the beginning
of spring, but my hands, my work, feel strange
without the rusty music of my machine. No words
for the Arctic liner moving down the Hudson, for the mange
of old snow moulting from the roofs. No poems. No birds.
IV
The Sweet Life Café
If I fall into a grizzled stillness
sometimes, over the red-chequered tablecloth
outdoors of the Sweet Life Café, when the noise
of Sunday traffic in the Village is soft as a moth
working in storage, it is because of age
which I rarely admit to, or, honestly, even think of.
I have kept the same furies, though my domestic rage
is illogical, diabetic, with no lessening of love
though my hand trembles wildly, but not over this page.
My lust is in great health, but, if it happens
that all my towers shrivel to dribbling sand,
joy will still bend the cane-reeds with my pen's
elation on the road to Vieuxfort with fever-grass
white in the sun, and, as for the sea breaking
in the gap at Praslin, they add up to the grace
39
I have known and which death will be taking
from my hand on this chequered tablecloth in this good place.
~ Derek Walcott
320:I wanted to be a spy,” Olga said, shrugging. “I applied to the CIA. I was turned down. I did not meet the psychological profile. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Basically, I have a hard time taking orders from idiots.”

“Don’t think of me as an idiot and I won’t give you an idiotic order,” Sophia said. “But if I give you one, you’d better do it. Because it’s probably going to mean surviving or dying.”

“You I don’t mind,” Olga said. “Or I wouldn’t have joined your crew. Don’t ask me about Nazar. So I was in Spain with the troupe. When the Plague hit, they shut down travel. And all my guns were in America. In a zombie apocalypse. I was quite upset.”

“You should have seen Faith when they told her she had to be disarmed in New York,” Sophia said. “Then they gave her a taser and that was mistake. What kind of guns?”

“I like that your family prefers the AK series,” Olga said. “I really do think it’s superior to the M16 series in many ways. Much more reliable. They say it is less accurate but that is at longer ranges. The round is not designed for long range.”

“I can hit at a thousand meters with my accurized AK,” Sophia said. “It’s a matter of knowing the ballistics. It’s not real powerful at that range, but try doing the same thing with an M4. I’ll wait.”

“Oh, jeeze, you two,” Paula said. “Get a room.”

“So continue with how you got on the yacht,” Sophia said. “We don’t want our cook getting all woozy with gun geeking.”

“We were called by the agency and asked if anyone wanted to ‘catch a ride’ on a yacht,” Olga said. “When they said who owned the boat… I nearly said no. We all knew Nazar. Or at least of him. Not a nice man, as you might have noticed. We knew what we were getting into. But then we were told he had vaccine… ” she shrugged again.

“Accepting Nazar’s offer was perhaps not the worst decision I have made in my life. I survived. Not how I would have preferred to survive, but I was vaccinated and I survived. But I did not even hint that I knew more about his men’s weapons than they did. They were pigs. Tough guys. But none of them were military and none of them really knew what they were doing with them. When they brought out the RPG, I nearly peed myself. Irinei had no idea what he was doing with it. I don’t think he even knew the safety was off.”

“You know how to use an RPG?” Sophia said.

“My family liked the United States very much,” Olga said, sadly. “We all like guns and anything that goes boom. And in the US, you could find people who had licenses for anything. I’ve fired an RPG, yes.”

“Well, if we find an RPG you can have it,” Sophia said.

“Oh, thank you, captain!” Olga said, clapping her hands girlishly.

“But we’ll be keeping the rounds and the launcher separate,” Sophia said.

“Oh, my, yes,” Olga said. “And both will have to be in a well sealed container. This salt air would cause corrosion quickly.”

“I guess you miss your guns?” Paula said. “That’s not a request for an inventory and loving description of each, by the way. Got that enough from Faith.”

“I do,” Olga said. “But I miss my books more.”

“Books,” Paula said. “Now you’re talking my language.”

“I have more books than shelves,” Olga said. “And I had many shelves. I collect old manuscripts when I can afford them.”

“If we do any land clearance, look in the libraries and big houses,” Sophia said. “I bet around here you can probably pick up some great stuff.”

“This is okay?” Olga said. “We can, salvage?”

“If there’s time and if we clear the town,” Sophia said. “Sure.”

“Oh, thank you, captain!” Olga said, kissing her on the cheek.

“Okay, now you definitely need to get a room. ~ John Ringo
321:Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair
in the Moonlight

1
You scream, waking from a nightmare.

When I sleepwalk
into your room, and pick you up,
and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me
hard,
as if clinging could save us. I think
you think
I will never die, I think I exude
to you the permanence of smoke or stars,
even as
my broken arms heal themselves around you.

2
I have heard you tell
the sun, don't go down, I have stood by
as you told the flower, don't grow old,
don't die. Little Maud,

I would blow the flame out of your silver cup,
I would suck the rot from your fingernail,
I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light,
I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones,
I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body,
I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood,
I would let nothing of you go, ever,

until washerwomen
feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands,
and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades,
and rats walk away from the culture of the plague,
and iron twists weapons toward truth north,
and grease refuse to slide in the machinery of progress,
and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men,
and the widow still whispers to the presence no longer beside her
in the dark.

And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry,
this the nightmare you wake screaming from:
being forever
in the pre-trembling of a house that falls.

3
In a restaurant once, everyone
quietly eating, you clambered up
on my lap: to all
the mouthfuls rising toward
all the mouths, at the top of your voice
you cried
your one word, caca! caca! caca!
and each spoonful
stopped, a moment, in midair, in its withering
steam.

Yes,
you cling because
I, like you, only sooner
than you, will go down
the path of vanished alphabets,
the roadlessness
to the other side of the darkness,
your arms
like the shoes left behind,
like the adjectives in the halting speech
of old folk,
which once could call up the lost nouns.

4
And you yourself,
some impossible Tuesday
in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out
among the black stones
of the field, in the rain,

and the stones saying
over their one word, ci-gît, ci-gît, ci-gît,

and the raindrops
hitting you on the fontanel
over and over, and you standing there
unable to let them in.

5
If one day it happens
you find yourself with someone you love
in a café at one end
of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar
where wine takes the shapes of upward opening glasses,

and if you commit then, as we did, the error
of thinking,
one day all this will only be memory,

learn to reach deeper
into the sorrows
to come—to touch
the almost imaginary bones
under the face, to hear under the laughter
the wind crying across the black stones. Kiss
the mouth
that tells you, here,
here is the world. This mouth. This laughter. These temple bones.

The still undanced cadence of vanishing.

6
In the light the moon
sends back, I can see in your eyes
the hand that waved once
in my father's eyes, a tiny kite
wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look:

and the angel
of all mortal things lets go the string.

7
Back you go, into your crib.

The last blackbird lights up his gold wings: farewell.
Your eyes close inside your head,
in sleep. Already
in your dreams the hours begin to sing.

Little sleep's-head sprouting hair in the moonlight,
when I come back
we will go out together,
we will walk out together among
the ten thousand things,
each scratched in time with such knowledge, the wages
of dying is love. ~ Galway Kinnell
322:I heard the fear in the first music I ever knew, the music that pumped from boom boxes full of grand boast and bluster. The boys who stood out on Garrison and Liberty up on Park Heights loved this music because it told them, against all evidence and odds, that they were masters of their own lives, their own streets, and their own bodies. I saw it in the girls, in their loud laughter, in their gilded bamboo earrings that announced their names thrice over. And I saw it in their brutal language and hard gaze, how they would cut you with their eyes and destroy you with their words for the sin of playing too much. “Keep my name out your mouth,” they would say. I would watch them after school, how they squared off like boxers, vaselined up, earrings off, Reeboks on, and leaped at each other.

I felt the fear in the visits to my Nana’s home in Philadelphia. You never knew her. I barely knew her, but what I remember is her hard manner, her rough voice. And I knew that my father’s father was dead and that my uncle Oscar was dead and that my uncle David was dead and that each of these instances was unnatural. And I saw it in my own father, who loves you, who counsels you, who slipped me money to care for you. My father was so very afraid. I felt it in the sting of his black leather belt, which he applied with more anxiety than anger, my father who beat me as if someone might steal me away, because that is exactly what was happening all around us. Everyone had lost a child, somehow, to the streets, to jail, to drugs, to guns. It was said that these lost girls were sweet as honey and would not hurt a fly. It was said that these lost boys had just received a GED and had begun to turn their lives around. And now they were gone, and their legacy was a great fear.

Have they told you this story? When your grandmother was sixteen years old a young man knocked on her door. The young man was your Nana Jo’s boyfriend. No one else was home. Ma allowed this young man to sit and wait until your Nana Jo returned. But your great-grandmother got there first. She asked the young man to leave. Then she beat your grandmother terrifically, one last time, so that she might remember how easily she could lose her body. Ma never forgot. I remember her clutching my small hand tightly as we crossed the street. She would tell me that if I ever let go and were killed by an onrushing car, she would beat me back to life. When I was six, Ma and Dad took me to a local park. I slipped from their gaze and found a playground. Your grandparents spent anxious minutes looking for me. When they found me, Dad did what every parent I knew would have done—he reached for his belt. I remember watching him in a kind of daze, awed at the distance between punishment and offense. Later, I would hear it in Dad’s voice—“Either I can beat him, or the police.” Maybe that saved me. Maybe it didn’t. All I know is, the violence rose from the fear like smoke from a fire, and I cannot say whether that violence, even administered in fear and love, sounded the alarm or choked us at the exit. What I know is that fathers who slammed their teenage boys for sass would then release them to streets where their boys employed, and were subject to, the same justice. And I knew mothers who belted their girls, but the belt could not save these girls from drug dealers twice their age. We, the children, employed our darkest humor to cope. We stood in the alley where we shot basketballs through hollowed crates and cracked jokes on the boy whose mother wore him out with a beating in front of his entire fifth-grade class. We sat on the number five bus, headed downtown, laughing at some girl whose mother was known to reach for anything—cable wires, extension cords, pots, pans. We were laughing, but I know that we were afraid of those who loved us most. Our parents resorted to the lash the way flagellants in the plague years resorted to the scourge. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates
323:Afar Off
1.
Is it a will o' the wisp, or is dawn breaking,
That our horizon wears so strange a hue?
Is it but one more dream, or are we waking
To find at last that dreams are coming true?
2.
Far off and faint, a golden line is streaking
The cloudy night that shrouds the life of man;
It is the sun that dim eyes have been seeking,
Through all blind pathways, since the world began.
3.
The sign to weary heart and waiting nation
That day will come to bring them their release
That, late or soon, through storm and tribulation,
Or with slow change, the earth shall rest in peace.
4.
That One, invoked, with half- despairing passion.
Through years and years of wrong, will right us then;
Will take away, in rude or gentle fashion,
The curse that man has laid on brother- men.
5.
Ah, blessed One! our souls go out to meet thee,
At whose feet Hope will fold her tired wing;
And yet we know not how we ought to greet thee,
And take the gifts thy bounteous arms will bring.
6.
Come not, O friend! with vengeful weapons, borrowed
Of them that warred against thee — sword and flame;
42
For all alike have suffered and have sorrowed,
And all alike have sinned against thy name.
7.
Come thou to men who groan in sore affliction
A breathing spirit of new life and grace;
Come in thy robes of light and benediction,
That all may recognize thy perfect face.
8.
Yet, as thou must, come soon, for them than need thee —
And thou wilt come — Deliverer great and strong!
Brighten, O tender dawn, though few may heed thee,
And bring the day that we have sought so long!
9.
No
No
No
No
class strife then, each man against his neighbour,
waste, no want, to breed the plague of crime;
insolent pomp, no hard and sordid labour,
wars, no famines, in that happier time!
10.
But pleasant homes, and good days growing better;
Contented hearts throughout the tranquil land,
That keep the law, in spirit and in letter,
Which we have been so dull to understand.
11.
And fruitful work, instead of barren duty,
With fruitful rest and leisure interweaved;
And life made bright with plenty and with beauty,
And souls made strong with noble aims achieved.
12.
Great Art, no more the plaything of the idle,
But nurse and handmaid to all human needs;
43
Great Nature, curbed no more with bit and bridle,
Nor men's religion crushed in bitter creeds.
13.
Nor sacred Love a crime, a jest, an error,
To keep or lose, to give or to suppress,
A secret shame, an anguish and a terror,
A curse to them that it was meant to bless.
14.
All round our narrow lives the tide encroaches,
Distant and dim, but spreading far and fast.
O Liberty, thy longed- for reign approaches
That is to give man's birthright back at last!
vasts;
15.
And must we go, who see the new age dawning,
While yet we suffer in the pangs of birth,
Nor breathe one breath of the divinest morning
That yet has come to bless our waiting earth?
16.
Oh, must we go, just when the day is growing?
Oh, must we waste with vast and vain desires,
Like sparks put out when viewless winds are blowing,
We, lit and quickened with supernal fires
17.
Are we to read no more the wondrous pages
Of this great tale that evermore goes on?
Will suns and stars light up eternal ages
With happier worlds — and we alone be gone?
18.
Never to learn the moral of the story —
44
Why we have toiled for what we must not keep,
Why we have fought to win no crown of glory,
Why we have sown what unborn hands will reap.
19.
Never to learn wherefore our Maker sent us
With these immortal passions in our breast.
Ah me! Ah me! Wherewith can we content us
To know so much, and not to know the rest!
~ Ada Cambridge
324:Peter Simson's Farm
Simson settled in the timber when his arm was strong and true,
And his form was straight and limber; and he wrought the long day through
In a struggle, single-handed, and the trees fell slowly back,
Twenty thousand giants banded ’gainst a solitary jack.
Through the fiercest days of summer you might hear his keen axe ring
And re-echo in the ranges, hear his twanging crosscut sing;
There the great gums swayed and whispered, and the birds were skyward blown,
As the circling hills saluted o’er a bush king overthrown.
Clearing, grubbing, in the gloaming, strong in faith the man descried
Heifers sleek and horses roaming in his paddocks green and wide,
Heard a myriad corn-blades rustle in the breeze’s soft caress,
And in every thew and muscle felt a joyous mightiness.
So he felled the stubborn forest, hacked and hewed with tireless might,
And a conqueror’s peace went with him to his fern-strewn bunk at night:
Forth he strode next morn, delighting in the duty to be done,
Whistling shrilly to the magpies trilling carols to the sun.
Back the clustered scrub was driven, and the sun fell on the lands,
And the mighty stumps were riven ’tween his bare, brown, corded hands.
One time flooded, sometimes parching, still he did the work of ten,
And his dog-leg fence went marching up the hills and down again.
By the stony creek, whose tiny streams slid o’er the sunken boles
To their secret, silent meetings in the shaded waterholes,
Soon a garden flourished bravely, gemmed with flowers, and cool and green,
While about the hut a busy little wife was always seen.
Came a day at length when, gazing down the paddock from his door,
Simson saw his horses grazing where the bush was long before,
And he heard the joyous prattle of his children on the rocks,
And the lowing of the cattle, and the crowing of the cocks.
There was butter for the market, there was fruit upon the trees,
There were eggs, potatoes, bacon, and a tidy lot of cheese;
Still the struggle was not ended with the timber and the scrub,
87
For the mortgage is the toughest stump the settler has to grub.
But the boys grew big and bolder—one, a sturdy, brown-faced lad,
With his axe upon his shoulder, loved to go to work ‘like dad’,
And another in the saddle took a bush-bred native’s pride,
And he boasted he could straddle any nag his dad could ride.
Though the work went on and prospered there was still hard work to do;
There were floods, and droughts, and bush-fires, and a touch of pleuro too;
But they laboured, and the future held no prospect to alarm—
All the settlers said: ‘They’re stickers up at Peter Simson’s farm.’
One fine evening Pete was resting in the hush of coming night,
When his boys came in from nesting with a clamorous delight;
Each displayed a tiny rabbit, and the farmer eyed them o’er,—
Then he stamped—it was his habit—and he smote his knee and swore.
Two years later Simson’s paddock showed dust-coloured, almost bare,
And too lean for hope of profit were the cows that pastured there;
And the man looked ten years older. Like the tracks about the place,
Made by half a million rabbits, were the lines on Simson’s face.
As he fought the bush when younger, Simson stripped and fought again,
Fought the devastating hunger of the plague with might and main,
Neither moping nor despairing, hoping still that times would mend,
Stubborn-browed and sternly facing all the trouble Fate could send.
One poor chicken to the acre Simson’s land will carry now.
Starved, the locusts have departed; rust is thick upon the plough;
It is vain to think of cattle, or to try to raise a crop,
For the farmer has gone under, and the rabbits are on top.
So the strong, true man who wrested from the bush a homestead fair
By the rabbits has been bested; yet he does not know despair—
Though begirt with desolation, though in trouble and in debt,
Though his foes pass numeration, Peter Simson’s fighting yet!
He is old too soon and failing, but he’s game to start anew,
And he tells his hopeless neighbours ‘what the Gov’mint’s goin’ to do’.
Both his girls are in the city, seeking places with the rest,
And his boys are tracking fortune in the melancholy West.
88
~ Edward George Dyson
325:Marlburyes Fate
When Londons fatal bills were blown abroad
And few but Specters travel'd on the road,
Not towns but men in the black bill enrol'd
Were in Gazetts by Typographers sold:
But our Gazetts without Errataes must
Report the plague of towns reduct to dust:
And feavers formerly to tenants sent
Arrest the timbers of the tenement.
Ere the late ruines of old Groton's cold,
Of Marlbury's peracute disease we're told.
The feet of such who neighbouring dwellings urnd
Unto her ashes, not her doors return'd
And what remaind of tears as yet unspent
Are to its final gasps a tribute lent.
If painter overtrack my pen let him
An olive colour mix these elves to trim:
Of such an hue let many thousand thieves
Be drawn like Scare-crows clad with oaken leaves,
Exhausted of their verdant life and blown
From place to place without an home to own.
Draw Devils like themselves, upon their cheeks
The banks for grease and mud, a place for leeks.
Whose locks Medusaes snakes, do ropes resemble,
And ghostly looks would make Achilles tremble.
Limm them besmear'd with Christian Bloud and oild
With fat out of white humane bodyes boil'd.
Draw them with clubs like maules and full of stains,
Like Vulcans anvilling New-Englands brains.
Let round be gloomy forrests with crag'd rocks
Where like to castles they may hide their flocks,
Till oppertunity their cautious friend
Shall jogge them fiery worship to attend.
Shew them like serpents in an avious path
Seeking to sow the fire-brands of their wrath.
Most like AEneas in his cloak of mist,
Who undiscover'd move where ere they list
Cupid they tell us hath too sorts of darts.
One sharp and one obtuse, one causing wounds,
One piercing deep the other dull rebounds,
But we feel none but such as drill our hearts.
From Indian sheaves which to their shoulders cling,
Upon the word they quickly feel the string.
Let earth be made a screen to hide our woe
From Heavens Monarch and his Ladyes too;
And least our Jealousie think they partake,
For the red stage with clouds a curtain make.
Let dogs be gag'd and every quickning sound
Be charm'd to silence, here and there all round
The town to suffer, from a thousand holes
Let crawle these fiends with brands and fired poles,
Paint here the house and there the barn on fire,
With holocausts ascending in a spire.
Here granaries, yonder the Churches smoak
Which vengeance on the actors doth invoke.
Let Morpheus with his leaden keyes have bound
In feather-beds some, some upon the ground,
That none may burst his drowsie shackles till
The bruitish pagans have obtain'd their will,
And Vulcan files them off then Zeuxis paint
The phrenzy glances of the sinking saint.
Draw there the Pastor for his bible crying,
The souldier for his sword, The Glutton frying
With streams of glory-fat, the thin-jaw'd Miser
Oh had I given this I had been wiser.
Let here the Mother seem a statue turn'd
At the sad object of her bowels burn'd.
Let the unstable weakling in belief
Be mounting Ashurs horses for relief.
Let the half Convert seem suspended twixt
The dens of darkness, and the Planets fixt,
Ready to quit his hold, and yet hold fast
By the great Atlas of the Heavens vast.
Paint Papists mutterring ore their apish beads
Whome the blind follow while the blind man leads.
Let Ataxy be mounted on a throne
Imposing her Commands on every one,
A many-headed monster without eyes
To see the wayes which wont to make men wise.
Give her a thousand tongues with wings and hands
To be ubiquitary in Commands,
But let the concave of her skull appear
Clean washt and empty quite of all but fear,
One she bids flee, another stay, a third
She bids betake him to his rusty sword,
This to his treasure, th'other to his knees,
Some counsels she to fry and some to freeze,
These to the garison, those to the road,
Some to run empty, some to take their load:
Thus while confusion most mens hearts divide
Fire doth their small exchecquer soon decide.
Thus all things seeming ope or secret foes,
An Infant may grow old before a close,
But yet my hopes abide in perfect strength.
New England will be prosperous once at length.
~ Benjamin Tompson
326:The Frog Prince
Frau Doktor,
Mama Brundig,
take out your contacts,
remove your wig.
I write for you.
I entertain.
But frogs come out
of the sky like rain.
Frogs arrive
With an ugly fury.
You are my judge.
You are my jury.
My guilts are what
we catalogue.
I’ll take a knife
and chop up frog.
Frog
Frog
Frog
Frog
Frog
has not nerves.
is as old as a cockroach.
is my father’s genitals.
is a malformed doorknob.
is a soft bag of green.
The moon will not have him.
The sun wants to shut off
like a light bulb.
At the sight of him
the stone washes itself in a tub.
The crow thinks he’s an apple
and drops a worm in.
At the feel of frog
the touch-me-nots explode
like electric slugs.
Slime will have him.
Slime has made him a house.
Mr. Poison
263
is at my bed.
He wants my sausage.
He wants my bread.
Mama Brundig,
he wants my beer.
He wants my Christ
for a souvenir.
Frog has boil disease
and a bellyful of parasites.
He says: Kiss me. Kiss me.
And the ground soils itself.
Why
should a certain
quite adorable princess
be walking in her garden
at such a time
and toss her golden ball
up like a bubble
and drop it into the well?
It was ordained.
Just as the fates deal out
the plague with a tarot card.
Just as the Supreme Being drills
holes in our skulls to let
the Boston Symphony through.
But I digress.
A loss has taken place.
The ball has sunk like a cast-iron pot
into the bottom of the well.
Lost, she said,
my moon, my butter calf,
my yellow moth, my Hindu hare.
Obviously it was more than a ball.
Balls such as these are not
for sale in Au Bon Marché.
I took the moon, she said,
between my teeth
264
and now it is gone
and I am lost forever.
A thief had robbed by day.
Suddenly the well grew
thick and boiling
and a frog appeared.
His eyes bulged like two peas
and his body was trussed into place.
Do not be afraid, Princess,
he said, I am not a vagabond,
a cattle farmer, a shepherd,
a doorkeeper, a postman
or a laborer.
I come to you as a tradesman.
I have something to sell.
Your ball, he said,
for just three things.
Let me eat from your plate.
Let me drink from your cup.
Let me sleep in your bed.
She thought, Old Waddler,
those three you will never do,
but she made the promises
with hopes for her ball once more.
He brought it up in his mouth
like a tricky old dog
and she ran back to the castle
leaving the frog quite alone.
That evening at dinner time
a knock was heard on the castle door
and a voice demanded:
King’s youngest daughter,
let me in. You promised;
now open to me.
I have left the skunk cabbage
and the eels to live with you.
The kind then heard her promise
and forced her to comply.
The frog first sat on her lap.
265
He was as awful as an undertaker.
Next he was at her plate
looking over her bacon
and calves’ liver.
We will eat in tandem,
he said gleefully.
Her fork trembled
as if a small machine
had entered her.
He sat upon the liver
and partook like a gourmet.
The princess choked
as if she were eating a puppy.
From her cup he drank.
It wasn’t exactly hygienic.
From her cup she drank
as if it were Socrates’ hemlock.
Next came the bed.
The silky royal bed.
Ah! The penultimate hour!
There was the pillow
with the princess breathing
and there was the sinuous frog
riding up and down beside her.
I have been lost in a river
of shut doors, he said,
and I have made my way over
the wet stones to live with you.
She woke up aghast.
I suffer for birds and fireflies
but not frogs, she said,
and threw him across the room.
Kaboom!
Like a genie coming out of a samovar,
a handsome prince arose in the
corner of her bedroom.
He had kind eyes and hands
and was a friend of sorrow.
Thus they were married.
After all he had compromised her.
266
He hired a night watchman
so that no one could enter the chamber
and he had the well
boarded over so that
never again would she lose her ball,
that moon, that Krishna hair,
that blind poppy, that innocent globe,
that madonna womb.
~ Anne Sexton
327:So clear a torch aloft, who first shed light
Upon the profitable ends of man,
O thee I follow, glory of the Greeks,
And set my footsteps squarely planted now
Even in the impress and the marks of thine-
Less like one eager to dispute the palm,
More as one craving out of very love
That I may copy thee!- for how should swallow
Contend with swans or what compare could be
In a race between young kids with tumbling legs
And the strong might of the horse? Our father thou,
And finder-out of truth, and thou to us
Suppliest a father's precepts; and from out
Those scriven leaves of thine, renowned soul
(Like bees that sip of all in flowery wolds),
We feed upon thy golden sayings all-
Golden, and ever worthiest endless life.
For soon as ever thy planning thought that sprang
From god-like mind begins its loud proclaim
Of nature's courses, terrors of the brain
Asunder flee, the ramparts of the world
Dispart away, and through the void entire
I see the movements of the universe.
Rises to vision the majesty of gods,
And their abodes of everlasting calm
Which neither wind may shake nor rain-cloud splash,
Nor snow, congealed by sharp frosts, may harm
With its white downfall: ever, unclouded sky
O'er roofs, and laughs with far-diffused light.
And nature gives to them their all, nor aught
May ever pluck their peace of mind away.
But nowhere to my vision rise no more
The vaults of Acheron, though the broad earth
Bars me no more from gazing down o'er all
Which under our feet is going on below
Along the void. O, here in these affairs
Some new divine delight and trembling awe
Takes hold through me, that thus by power of thine
Nature, so plain and manifest at last,
Hath been on every side laid bare to man!

And since I've taught already of what sort
The seeds of all things are, and how, distinct
In divers forms, they flit of own accord,
Stirred with a motion everlasting on,
And in what mode things be from them create,
Now, after such matters, should my verse, meseems,
Make clear the nature of the mind and soul,
And drive that dread of Acheron without,
Headlong, which so confounds our human life
Unto its deeps, pouring o'er all that is
The black of death, nor leaves not anything
To prosper- a liquid and unsullied joy.
For as to what men sometimes will affirm:
That more than Tartarus (the realm of death)
They fear diseases and a life of shame,
And know the substance of the soul is blood,
Or rather wind (if haply thus their whim),
And so need naught of this our science, then
Thou well may'st note from what's to follow now
That more for glory do they braggart forth
Than for belief. For mark these very same:
Exiles from country, fugitives afar
From sight of men, with charges foul attaint,
Abased with every wretchedness, they yet
Live, and where'er the wretches come, they yet
Make the ancestral sacrifices there,
Butcher the black sheep, and to gods below
Offer the honours, and in bitter case
Turn much more keenly to religion.
Wherefore, it's surer testing of a man
In doubtful perils- mark him as he is
Amid adversities; for then alone
Are the true voices conjured from his breast,
The mask off-stripped, reality behind.
And greed, again, and the blind lust of honours
Which force poor wretches past the bounds of law,
And, oft allies and ministers of crime,
To push through nights and days of the hugest toil
To rise untrammelled to the peaks of power-
These wounds of life in no mean part are kept
Festering and open by this fright of death.
For ever we see fierce Want and foul Disgrace
Dislodged afar from secure life and sweet,
Like huddling Shapes before the doors of death.
And whilst, from these, men wish to scape afar,
Driven by false terror, and afar remove,
With civic blood a fortune they amass,
They double their riches, greedy, heapers-up
Of corpse on corpse they have a cruel laugh
For the sad burial of a brother-born,
And hatred and fear of tables of their kin.
Likewise, through this same terror, envy oft
Makes them to peak because before their eyes
That man is lordly, that man gazed upon
Who walks begirt with honour glorious,
Whilst they in filth and darkness roll around;
Some perish away for statues and a name,
And oft to that degree, from fright of death,
Will hate of living and beholding light
Take hold on humankind that they inflict
Their own destruction with a gloomy heart-
Forgetful that this fear is font of cares,
This fear the plague upon their sense of shame,
And this that breaks the ties of comradry
And oversets all reverence and faith,
Mid direst slaughter. For long ere to-day
Often were traitors to country and dear parents
Through quest to shun the realms of Acheron.
For just as children tremble and fear all
In the viewless dark, so even we at times
Dread in the light so many things that be
No whit more fearsome than what children feign,
Shuddering, will be upon them in the dark.
This terror, then, this darkness of the mind,
Not sunrise with its flaring spokes of light,
Nor glittering arrows of morning sun disperse,
But only Nature's aspect and her law.


author class:Lucretius
~ who first uplifted in such dark, Proem

328:The Forest Boy
THE trees have now hid at the edge of the hurst
The spot where the ruins decay
Of the cottage, where Will of the Woodland was nursed,
And lived so beloved, till the moment accursed
When he went from the woodland away.
Among all the lads of the plough or the fold;
Best esteem'd by the sober and good,
Was Will of the Woodlands; and often the old
Would tell of his frolics, for active and bold
Was William the boy of the wood.
Yet gentle was he, as the breath of the May,
And when sick and declining was laid
The woodman his father, young William away
Would go to the forest to labour all day,
And perform his hard task in his stead.
And when his poor father the forester died,
And his mother was sad, and alone,
He toil'd from the dawn, and at evening he hied
In storm or in snow, or whate'er might betide,
To supply all her wants from the town.
One neighbour they had on the heath to the west,
And no other the cottage was near,
But she would send Phoebe, the child she loved best,
To stay with the widow, thus sad and distress'd,
Her hours of dejection to cheer.
As the buds of wild roses, the cheeks of the maid
Were just tinted with youth's lovely hue,
Her form, like the aspen, wild graces display'd,
And the eyes, over which her luxuriant locks stray'd,
As the skies of the summer were blue.
Still labouring to live, yet reflecting the while,
Young William consider'd his lot;
'Twas hard, yet 'twas honest; and one tender smile
From Phoebe at night overpaid ev'ry toil,
And then all his fatigues were forgot.
By the brook where it glides through the copse of Arbeal,
When to eat his cold fare he reclined,
Then soft from her home his sweet Phoebe would steal,
178
And bring him wood-strawberries to finish his meal,
And would sit by his side while he dined.
And though when employed in the deep forest glade,
His days have seem'd slowly to move,
Yet Phoebe going home, through the wood-walk has stray'd
To bid him good night!--and whatever she said
Was more sweet than the voice of the dove.
Fair Hope, that the lover so fondly believes,
Then repeated each soul-soothing speech,
And touch'd with illusion, that often deceives
The future with light; as the sun through the leaves
Illumines the boughs of the beech.
But once more the tempests of chill winter blow,
To depress and disfigure the earth;
And now ere the dawn, the young woodman must go
To his work in the forest, half buried in snow,
And at night bring home wood for the hearth.
The bridge on the heath by the flood was wash'd down,
And fast fell the sleet and the rain,
The stream to a wild rapid river was grown,
And long might the widow sit sighing alone
Ere sweet Phoebe could see her again.
At the town was a market--and now for supplies,
Such as needed her humble abode,
Young William went forth; and his mother with sighs
Watch'd long at the window, with tears in her eyes,
Till he turn'd through the fields to the road.
Then darkness came on; and she heard with affright
The wind every moment more high;
She look'd from the door; not a star lent its light,
But the tempest redoubled the gloom of the night,
And the rain pour'd in sheets from the sky.
The clock in her cottage now mournfully told
The hours that went heavily on;
'Twas midnight: her spirits sank hopeless and cold,
And it seem'd as each blast of wind fearfully told
That long, long would her William be gone.
Then heart-sick and cold to her sad bed she crept,
Yet first made up the fire in the room
To guide his dark steps; but she listen'd and wept,
Or if for a moment forgetful she slept,
179
Soon she started!--and thought he was come.
'Twas morn; and the wind with a hoarse sullen moan
Now seem'd dying away in the wood,
When the poor wretched mother still drooping, alone,
Beheld on the threshold a figure unknown,
In gorgeous apparel who stood.
'Your son is a soldier,' abruptly cried he,
'And a place in our corps has obtain'd,
Nay, be not cast down; you perhaps may soon see
Your William a captain, he now sends by me
The purse he already has gain'd.'
So William entrapp'd 'twixt persuasion and force,
Is embark'd for the isles of the West,
But he seem'd to begin with ill omens his course,
And felt recollection, regret, and remorse
Continually weigh on his breast.
With useless repentance he eagerly eyed
The high coast as it faded from view,
And saw the green hills, on whose northernmost side
Was his own silvan home: and he falter'd, and cried,
'Adieu! ah! for ever adieu!
'Who now, my poor mother, thy life shall sustain,
Since thy son has thus left thee forlorn?
Ah! canst thou forgive me? And not in the pain
Of this cruel desertion, of William complain,
And lament that he ever was born?
'Sweet Phoebe!--if ever thy lover was dear,
Now forsake not the cottage of woe,
But comfort my mother; and quiet her fear,
And help her to dry up the vain fruitless tear,
That too long for my absence will flow.
'Yet what if my Phoebe another should wed,
And lament her lost William no more?'
The thought was too cruel; and anguish now sped
The dart of disease--With the brave numerous dead
He has fall'n on the plague-tainted shore.
In the lone village church-yard, the chancel-wall near,
High grass now waves over the spot,
Where the mother of William, unable to bear
His loss, who to her widow'd heart was so dear,
Has both him and her sorrows forgot.
180
By the brook where it winds through the wood of Arbeal,
Or amid the deep forest, to moan,
The poor wandering Phoebe will silently steal;
The pain of her bosom no reason can heal,
And she loves to indulge it alone.
Her senses are injured; her eyes dim with tears;
She sits by the river and weaves
Reed garlands, against her dear William appears,
Then breathlessly listens, and fancies she hears
His step in the half wither'd leaves.
Ah! such are the miseries to which ye give birth,
Ye statesmen! ne'er dreading a scar;
Who from pictured saloon, or the bright sculptured hearth
Disperse desolation and death through the earth,
When ye let loose the demons of war.
~ Charlotte Smith
329:Demeter And Persephone
Faint as a climate-changing bird that flies
All night across the darkness, and at dawn
Falls on the threshold of her native land,
And can no more, thou camest, O my child,
Led upward by the God of ghosts and dreams,
Who laid thee at Eleusis, dazed and dumb,
With passing thro' at once from state to state,
Until I brought thee hither, that the day,
When here thy hands let fall the gather'd flower,
Might break thro' clouded memories once again
On thy lost self. A sudden nightingale
Saw thee, and flash'd into a frolic of song
And welcome; and a gleam as of the moon,
When first she peers along the tremulous deep,
Fled wavering o'er thy face, and chased away
That shadow of a likeness to the king
Of shadows, thy dark mate. Persephone!
Queen of the dead no more -- my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet -"Mother!" and I was folded in thine arms.
Child, those imperial, disimpassion'd eyes
Awed even me at first, thy mother -- eyes
That oft had seen the serpent-wanded power
Draw downward into Hades with his drift
Of fickering spectres, lighted from below
By the red race of fiery Phlegethon;
But when before have Gods or men beheld
The Life that had descended re-arise,
And lighted from above him by the Sun?
So mighty was the mother's childless cry,
A cry that ran thro' Hades, Earth, and Heaven!
So in this pleasant vale we stand again,
The field of Enna, now once more ablaze
With flowers that brighten as thy footstep falls,
All flowers -- but for one black blur of earth
69
Left by that closing chasm, thro' which the car
Of dark Aidoneus rising rapt thee hence.
And here, my child, tho' folded in thine arms,
I feel the deathless heart of motherhood
Within me shudder, lest the naked glebe
Should yawn once more into the gulf, and thence
The shrilly whinnyings of the team of Hell,
Ascending, pierce the glad and songful air,
And all at once their arch'd necks, midnight-maned,
Jet upward thro' the mid-day blossom. No!
For, see, thy foot has touch'd it; all the space
Of blank earth-baldness clothes itself afresh,
And breaks into the crocus-purple hour
That saw thee vanish.
Child, when thou wert gone,
I envied human wives, and nested birds,
Yea, the cubb'd lioness; went in search of thee
Thro' many a palace, many a cot, and gave
Thy breast to ailing infants in the night,
And set the mother waking in amaze
To find her sick one whole; and forth again
Among the wail of midnight winds, and cried,
"Where is my loved one? Wherefore do ye wail?"
And out from all the night an answer shrill'd,
"We know not, and we know not why we wail."
I climb'd on all the cliffs of all the seas,
And ask'd the waves that moan about the world
"Where? do ye make your moaning for my child?"
And round from all the world the voices came
"We know not, and we know not why we moan."
"Where?" and I stared from every eagle-peak,
I thridded the black heart of all the woods,
I peer'd thro' tomb and cave, and in the storms
Of Autumn swept across the city, and heard
The murmur of their temples chanting me,
Me, me, the desolate Mother! "Where"? -- and turn'd,
And fled by many a waste, forlorn of man,
And grieved for man thro' all my grief for thee, -The jungle rooted in his shatter'd hearth,
The serpent coil'd about his broken shaft,
The scorpion crawling over naked skulls; --
70
I saw the tiger in the ruin'd fane
Spring from his fallen God, but trace of thee
I saw not; and far on, and, following out
A league of labyrinthine darkness, came
On three gray heads beneath a gleaming rift.
"Where"? and I heard one voice from all the three
"We know not, for we spin the lives of men,
And not of Gods, and know not why we spin!
There is a Fate beyond us." Nothing knew.
Last as the likeness of a dying man,
Without his knowledge, from him flits to warn
A far-off friendship that he comes no more,
So he, the God of dreams, who heard my cry,
Drew from thyself the likeness of thyself
Without thy knowledge, and thy shadow past
Before me, crying "The Bright one in the highest
Is brother of the Dark one in the lowest,
And Bright and Dark have sworn that I, the child
Of thee, the great Earth-Mother, thee, the Power
That lifts her buried life from loom to bloom,
Should be for ever and for evermore
The Bride of Darkness."
So the Shadow wail'd.
Then I, Earth-Goddess, cursed the Gods of Heaven.
I would not mingle with their feasts; to me
Their nectar smack'd of hemlock on the lips,
Their rich ambrosia tasted aconite.
The man, that only lives and loves an hour,
Seem'd nobler than their hard Eternities.
My quick tears kill'd the flower, my ravings hush'd
The bird, and lost in utter grief I fail'd
To send my life thro' olive-yard and vine
And golden grain, my gift to helpless man.
Rain-rotten died the wheat, the barley-spears
Vere hollow-husk'd, the leaf fell, and the sun,
Pale at my grief, drew down before his time
Sickening, and tna kept her winter snow.
Then He, the brother of this Darkness, He
Who still is highest, glancing from his height
On earth a fruitless fallow, when he miss'd
71
The wonted steam of sacrifice, the praise
And prayer of men, decreed that thou should'st dwell
For nine white moons of each whole year with me,
Three dark ones in the shadow with thy King.
Once more the reaper in the gleam of dawn
Will see me by the landmark far away,
Blessing his field, or seated in the dusk
Of even, by the lonely threshing-floor,
Rejoicing in the harvest and the grange.
Yet I, Earth-Goddess, am but ill-content
With them, who still are highest. Those gray heads,
What meant they by their "Fate beyond the Fates"
But younger kindlier Gods to bear us down,
As we bore down the Gods before us? Gods,
To quench, not hurl the thunderbolt, to stay,
Not spread the plague, the famine; Gods indeed,
To send the noon into the night and break
The sunless halls of Hades into Heaven?
Till thy dark lord accept and love the Sun,
And all the Shadow die into the Light,
When thou shalt dwell the whole bright year with me,
And souls of men, who grew beyond their race,
And made themselves as Gods against the fear
Of Death and Hell; and thou that hast from men,
As Queen of Death, that worship which is Fear,
Henceforth, as having risen from out the dead,
Shalt ever send thy life along with mine
From buried grain thro' springing blade, and bless
Their garner'd Autumn also, reap with me,
Earth-mother, in the harvest hymns of Earth
The worship which is Love, and see no more
The Stone, the Wheel, the dimly-glimmering lawns
Of that Elysium, all the hateful fires
Of torment, and the shadowy warrior glide
Along the silent field of Asphodel.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
330:Mortal miasma in Cecropian lands
Whilom reduced the plains to dead men's bones,
Unpeopled the highways, drained of citizens
The Athenian town. For coming from afar,
Rising in lands of Aegypt, traversing
Reaches of air and floating fields of foam,
At last on all Pandion's folk it swooped;
Whereat by troops unto disease and death
Were they o'er-given. At first, they'd bear about
A skull on fire with heat, and eyeballs twain
Red with suffusion of blank glare. Their throats,
Black on the inside, sweated oozy blood;
And the walled pathway of the voice of man
Was clogged with ulcers; and the very tongue,
The mind's interpreter, would trickle gore,
Weakened by torments, tardy, rough to touch.
Next when that Influence of bane had chocked,
Down through the throat, the breast, and streamed had
E'en into sullen heart of those sick folk,
Then, verily, all the fences of man's life
Began to topple. From the mouth the breath
Would roll a noisome stink, as stink to heaven
Rotting cadavers flung unburied out.
And, lo, thereafter, all the body's strength
And every power of mind would languish, now
In very doorway of destruction.
And anxious anguish and ululation (mixed
With many a groan) companioned alway
The intolerable torments. Night and day,
Recurrent spasms of vomiting would rack
Alway their thews and members, breaking down
With sheer exhaustion men already spent.
And yet on no one's body couldst thou mark
The skin with o'er-much heat to burn aglow,
But rather the body unto touch of hands
Would offer a warmish feeling, and thereby
Show red all over, with ulcers, so to say,
Inbranded, like the "sacred fires" o'erspread
Along the members. The inward parts of men,
In truth, would blaze unto the very bones;
A flame, like flame in furnaces, would blaze
Within the stomach. Nor couldst aught apply
Unto their members light enough and thin
For shift of aid- but coolness and a breeze
Ever and ever. Some would plunge those limbs
On fire with bane into the icy streams,
Hurling the body naked into the waves;
Many would headlong fling them deeply down
The water-pits, tumbling with eager mouth
Already agape. The insatiable thirst
That whelmed their parched bodies, lo, would make
A goodly shower seem like to scanty drops.
Respite of torment was there none. Their frames
Forspent lay prone. With silent lips of fear
Would Medicine mumble low, the while she saw
So many a time men roll their eyeballs round,
Staring wide-open, unvisited of sleep,
The heralds of old death. And in those months
Was given many another sign of death:
The intellect of mind by sorrow and dread
Deranged, the sad brow, the countenance
Fierce and delirious, the tormented ears
Beset with ringings, the breath quick and short
Or huge and intermittent, soaking sweat
A-glisten on neck, the spittle in fine gouts
Tainted with colour of crocus and so salt,
The cough scarce wheezing through the rattling throat.
Aye, and the sinews in the fingered hands
Were sure to contract, and sure the jointed frame
To shiver, and up from feet the cold to mount
Inch after inch: and toward the supreme hour
At last the pinched nostrils, nose's tip
A very point, eyes sunken, temples hollow,
Skin cold and hard, the shuddering grimace,
The pulled and puffy flesh above the brows!-
O not long after would their frames lie prone
In rigid death. And by about the eighth
Resplendent light of sun, or at the most
On the ninth flaming of his flambeau, they
Would render up the life. If any then
Had 'scaped the doom of that destruction, yet
Him there awaited in the after days
A wasting and a death from ulcers vile
And black discharges of the belly, or else
Through the clogged nostrils would there ooze along
Much fouled blood, oft with an aching head:
Hither would stream a man's whole strength and flesh.
And whoso had survived that virulent flow
Of the vile blood, yet into thews of him
And into his joints and very genitals
Would pass the old disease. And some there were,
Dreading the doorways of destruction
So much, lived on, deprived by the knife
Of the male member; not a few, though lopped
Of hands and feet, would yet persist in life,
And some there were who lost their eyeballs: O
So fierce a fear of death had fallen on them!
And some, besides, were by oblivion
Of all things seized, that even themselves they knew
No longer. And though corpse on corpse lay piled
Unburied on ground, the race of birds and beasts
Would or spring back, scurrying to escape
The virulent stench, or, if they'd tasted there,
Would languish in approaching death. But yet
Hardly at all during those many suns
Appeared a fowl, nor from the woods went forth
The sullen generations of wild beasts-
They languished with disease and died and died.
In chief, the faithful dogs, in all the streets
Outstretched, would yield their breath distressfully
For so that Influence of bane would twist
Life from their members. Nor was found one sure
And universal principle of cure:
For what to one had given the power to take
The vital winds of air into his mouth,
And to gaze upward at the vaults of sky,
The same to others was their death and doom.
In those affairs, O awfullest of all,
O pitiable most was this, was this:
Whoso once saw himself in that disease
Entangled, ay, as damned unto death,
Would lie in wanhope, with a sullen heart,
Would, in fore-vision of his funeral,
Give up the ghost, O then and there. For, lo,
At no time did they cease one from another
To catch contagion of the greedy plague,-
As though but woolly flocks and horned herds;
And this in chief would heap the dead on dead:
For who forbore to look to their own sick,
O these (too eager of life, of death afeard)
Would then, soon after, slaughtering Neglect
Visit with vengeance of evil death and base-
Themselves deserted and forlorn of help.
But who had stayed at hand would perish there
By that contagion and the toil which then
A sense of honour and the pleading voice
Of weary watchers, mixed with voice of wail
Of dying folk, forced them to undergo.
This kind of death each nobler soul would meet.
The funerals, uncompanioned, forsaken,
Like rivals contended to be hurried through.
   .  .  .  .  .  .
And men contending to ensepulchre
Pile upon pile the throng of their own dead:
And weary with woe and weeping wandered home;
And then the most would take to bed from grief.
Nor could be found not one, whom nor disease
Nor death, nor woe had not in those dread times
Attacked.
By now the shepherds and neatherds all,
Yea, even the sturdy guiders of curved ploughs,
Began to sicken, and their bodies would lie
Huddled within back-corners of their huts,
Delivered by squalor and disease to death.
O often and often couldst thou then have seen
On lifeless children lifeless parents prone,
Or offspring on their fathers', mothers' corpse
Yielding the life. And into the city poured
O not in least part from the countryside
That tribulation, which the peasantry
Sick, sick, brought thither, thronging from every quarter,
Plague-stricken mob. All places would they crowd,
All buildings too; whereby the more would death
Up-pile a-heap the folk so crammed in town.
Ah, many a body thirst had dragged and rolled
Along the highways there was lying strewn
Besides Silenus-headed water-fountains,-
The life-breath choked from that too dear desire
Of pleasant waters. Ah, everywhere along
The open places of the populace,
And along the highways, O thou mightest see
Of many a half-dead body the sagged limbs,
Rough with squalor, wrapped around with rags,
Perish from very nastiness, with naught
But skin upon the bones, well-nigh already
Buried- in ulcers vile and obscene filth.
All holy temples, too, of deities
Had Death becrammed with the carcasses;
And stood each fane of the Celestial Ones
Laden with stark cadavers everywhere-
Places which warders of the shrines had crowded
With many a guest. For now no longer men
Did mightily esteem the old Divine,
The worship of the gods: the woe at hand
Did over-master. Nor in the city then
Remained those rites of sepulture, with which
That pious folk had evermore been wont
To buried be. For it was wildered all
In wild alarms, and each and every one
With sullen sorrow would bury his own dead,
As present shift allowed. And sudden stress
And poverty to many an awful act
Impelled; and with a monstrous screaming they
Would, on the frames of alien funeral pyres,
Place their own kin, and thrust the torch beneath
Oft brawling with much bloodshed round about
Rather than quit dead bodies loved in life.


author class:Lucretius
~ such a manner of disease, 'twas such, The Plague Athens

331: II - BEFORE THE CITY-GATE

(Pedestrians of all kinds come forth.)

SEVERAL APPRENTICES

Why do you go that way?

OTHERS

We're for the Hunters' lodge, to-day.

THE FIRST

We'll saunter to the Mill, in yonder hollow.

AN APPRENTICE

Go to the River Tavern, I should say.

SECOND APPRENTICE

But then, it's not a pleasant way.

THE OTHERS

And what will you?

A THIRD
As goes the crowd, I follow.

A FOURTH

Come up to Burgdorf? There you'll find good cheer,
The finest lasses and the best of beer,
And jolly rows and squabbles, trust me!

A FIFTH

You swaggering fellow, is your hide
A third time itching to be tried?
I won't go there, your jolly rows disgust me!

SERVANT-GIRL

No,no! I'll turn and go to town again.

ANOTHER

We'll surely find him by those poplars yonder.

THE FIRST

That's no great luck for me, 'tis plain.
You'll have him, when and where you wander:
His partner in the dance you'll be,
But what is all your fun to me?

THE OTHER

He's surely not alone to-day:
He'll be with Curly-head, I heard him say.

A STUDENT

Deuce! how they step, the buxom wenches!
Come, Brother! we must see them to the benches.
A strong, old beer, a pipe that stings and bites,
A girl in Sunday clothes,these three are my delights.

CITIZEN'S DAUGHTER

Just see those handsome fellows, there!
It's really shameful, I declare;
To follow servant-girls, when they
Might have the most genteel society to-day!

SECOND STUDENT (to the First)

Not quite so fast! Two others come behind,
Those, dressed so prettily and neatly.
My neighbor's one of them, I find,
A girl that takes my heart, completely.
They go their way with looks demure,
But they'll accept us, after all, I'm sure.

THE FIRST

No, Brother! not for me their formal ways.
Quick! lest our game escape us in the press:
The hand that wields the broom on Saturdays
Will best, on Sundays, fondle and caress.

CITIZEN

He suits me not at all, our new-made Burgomaster!
Since he's installed, his arrogance grows faster.
How has he helped the town, I say?
Things worsen,what improvement names he?
Obedience, more than ever, claims he,
And more than ever we must pay!

BEGGAR (sings)
Good gentlemen and lovely ladies,
So red of cheek and fine of dress,
Behold, how needful here your aid is,
And see and lighten my distress!
Let me not vainly sing my ditty;
He's only glad who gives away:
A holiday, that shows your pity,
Shall be for me a harvest-day!

ANOTHER CITIZEN

On Sundays, holidays, there's naught I take delight in,
Like gossiping of war, and war's array,
When down in Turkey, far away,
The foreign people are a-fighting.
One at the window sits, with glass and friends,
And sees all sorts of ships go down the river gliding:
And blesses then, as home he wends
At night, our times of peace abiding.

THIRD CITIZEN

Yes, Neighbor! that's my notion, too:
Why, let them break their heads, let loose their passions,
And mix things madly through and through,
So, here, we keep our good old fashions!

OLD WOMAN (to the Citizen's Daughter)

Dear me, how fine! So handsome, and so young!
Who wouldn't lose his heart, that met you?
Don't be so proud! I'll hold my tongue,
And what you'd like I'll undertake to get you.

CITIZEN'S DAUGHTER

Come, Agatha! I shun the witch's sight
Before folks, lest there be misgiving:
'Tis true, she showed me, on Saint Andrew's Night,
My future sweetheart, just as he were living.

THE OTHER

She showed me mine, in crystal clear,
With several wild young blades, a soldier-lover:
I seek him everywhere, I pry and peer,
And yet, somehow, his face I can't discover.

SOLDIERS

Castles, with lofty
Ramparts and towers,
Maidens disdainful
In Beauty's array,
Both shall be ours!
Bold is the venture,
Splendid the pay!
Lads, let the trumpets
For us be suing,
Calling to pleasure,
Calling to ruin.
Stormy our life is;
Such is its boon!
Maidens and castles
Capitulate soon.
Bold is the venture,
Splendid the pay!
And the soldiers go marching,
Marching away!

FAUST AND WAGNER

FAUST

Released from ice are brook and river
By the quickening glance of the gracious Spring;
The colors of hope to the valley cling,
And weak old Winter himself must shiver,
Withdrawn to the mountains, a crownless king:
Whence, ever retreating, he sends again
Impotent showers of sleet that darkle
In belts across the green o' the plain.
But the sun will permit no white to sparkle;
Everywhere form in development moveth;
He will brighten the world with the tints he loveth,
And, lacking blossoms, blue, yellow, and red,
He takes these gaudy people instead.
Turn thee about, and from this height
Back on the town direct thy sight.
Out of the hollow, gloomy gate,
The motley throngs come forth elate:
Each will the joy of the sunshine hoard,
To honor the Day of the Risen Lord!
They feel, themselves, their resurrection:
From the low, dark rooms, scarce habitable;
From the bonds of Work, from Trade's restriction;
From the pressing weight of roof and gable;
From the narrow, crushing streets and alleys;
From the churches' solemn and reverend night,
All come forth to the cheerful light.
How lively, see! the multitude sallies,
Scattering through gardens and fields remote,
While over the river, that broadly dallies,
Dances so many a festive boat;
And overladen, nigh to sinking,
The last full wherry takes the stream.
Yonder afar, from the hill-paths blinking,
Their clothes are colors that softly gleam.
I hear the noise of the village, even;
Here is the People's proper Heaven;
Here high and low contented see!
Here I am Man,dare man to be!

WAGNER

To stroll with you, Sir Doctor, flatters;
'Tis honor, profit, unto me.
But I, alone, would shun these shallow matters,
Since all that's coarse provokes my enmity.
This fiddling, shouting, ten-pin rolling
I hate,these noises of the throng:
They rave, as Satan were their sports controlling.
And call it mirth, and call it song!
PEASANTS, UNDER THE LINDEN-TREE
(Dance and Song.)

All for the dance the shepherd dressed,
In ribbons, wreath, and gayest vest
Himself with care arraying:
Around the linden lass and lad
Already footed it like mad:
Hurrah! hurrah!
Hurrahtarara-la!
The fiddle-bow was playing.

He broke the ranks, no whit afraid,
And with his elbow punched a maid,
Who stood, the dance surveying:
The buxom wench, she turned and said:
"Now, you I call a stupid-head!"
Hurrah! hurrah!
Hurrahtarara-la!
"Be decent while you're staying!"

Then round the circle went their flight,
They danced to left, they danced to right:
Their kirtles all were playing.
They first grew red, and then grew warm,
And rested, panting, arm in arm,
Hurrah! hurrah!
Hurrahtarara-la!
And hips and elbows straying.

Now, don't be so familiar here!
How many a one has fooled his dear,
Waylaying and betraying!

And yet, he coaxed her soon aside,
And round the linden sounded wide.
Hurrah! hurrah!
Hurrahtarara-la!
And the fiddle-bow was playing.

OLD PEASANT

Sir Doctor, it is good of you,
That thus you condescend, to-day,
Among this crowd of merry folk,
A highly-learned man, to stray.
Then also take the finest can,
We fill with fresh wine, for your sake:
I offer it, and humbly wish
That not alone your thirst is slake,
That, as the drops below its brink,
So many days of life you drink!

FAUST

I take the cup you kindly reach,
With thanks and health to all and each.

(The People gather in a circle about him.)

OLD PEASANT

In truth, 'tis well and fitly timed,
That now our day of joy you share,
Who heretofore, in evil days,
Gave us so much of helping care.
Still many a man stands living here,
Saved by your father's skillful hand,
That snatched him from the fever's rage
And stayed the plague in all the land.
Then also you, though but a youth,
Went into every house of pain:
Many the corpses carried forth,
But you in health came out again.

FAUST

No test or trial you evaded:
A Helping God the helper aided.

ALL

Health to the man, so skilled and tried.
That for our help he long may abide!

FAUST

To Him above bow down, my friends,
Who teaches help, and succor sends!

(He goes on with WAGNER.)

WAGNER

With what a feeling, thou great man, must thou
Receive the people's honest veneration!
How lucky he, whose gifts his station
With such advantages endow!
Thou'rt shown to all the younger generation:
Each asks, and presses near to gaze;
The fiddle stops, the dance delays.
Thou goest, they stand in rows to see,
And all the caps are lifted high;
A little more, and they would bend the knee
As if the Holy Host came by.

FAUST

A few more steps ascend, as far as yonder stone!
Here from our wandering will we rest contented.
Here, lost in thought, I've lingered oft alone,
When foolish fasts and prayers my life tormented.
Here, rich in hope and firm in faith,
With tears, wrung hands and sighs, I've striven,
The end of that far-spreading death
Entreating from the Lord of Heaven!
Now like contempt the crowd's applauses seem:
Couldst thou but read, within mine inmost spirit,
How little now I deem,
That sire or son such praises merit!
My father's was a sombre, brooding brain,
Which through the holy spheres of Nature groped and wandered,
And honestly, in his own fashion, pondered
With labor whimsical, and pain:
Who, in his dusky work-shop bending,
With proved adepts in company,
Made, from his recipes unending,
Opposing substances agree.
There was a Lion red, a wooer daring,
Within the Lily's tepid bath espoused,
And both, tormented then by flame unsparing,
By turns in either bridal chamber housed.
If then appeared, with colors splendid,
The young Queen in her crystal shell,
This was the medicine the patients' woes soon ended,
And none demanded: who got well?
Thus we, our hellish boluses compounding,
Among these vales and hills surrounding,
Worse than the pestilence, have passed.
Thousands were done to death from poison of my giving;
And I must hear, by all the living,
The shameless murderers praised at last!

WAGNER

Why, therefore, yield to such depression?
A good man does his honest share
In exercising, with the strictest care,
The art bequea thed to his possession!
Dost thou thy father honor, as a youth?
Then may his teaching cheerfully impel thee:
Dost thou, as man, increase the stores of truth?
Then may thine own son afterwards excel thee.

FAUST

O happy he, who still renews
The hope, from Error's deeps to rise forever!
That which one does not know, one needs to use;
And what one knows, one uses never.
But let us not, by such despondence, so
The fortune of this hour embitter!
Mark how, beneath the evening sunlight's glow,
The green-embosomed houses glitter!
The glow retreats, done is the day of toil;
It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring;
Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil,
Upon its track to follow, follow soaring!
Then would I see eternal Evening gild
The silent world beneath me glowing,
On fire each mountain-peak, with peace each valley filled,
The silver brook to golden rivers flowing.
The mountain-chain, with all its gorges deep,
Would then no more impede my godlike motion;
And now before mine eyes expands the ocean
With all its bays, in shining sleep!
Yet, finally, the weary god is sinking;
The new-born impulse fires my mind,
I hasten on, his beams eternal drinking,
The Day before me and the Night behind,
Above me heaven unfurled, the floor of waves beneath me,
A glorious dream! though now the glories fade.
Alas! the wings that lift the mind no aid
Of wings to lift the body can bequeath me.
Yet in each soul is born the pleasure
Of yearning onward, upward and away,
When o'er our heads, lost in the vaulted azure,
The lark sends down his flickering lay,
When over crags and piny highlands
The poising eagle slowly soars,
And over plains and lakes and islands
The crane sails by to other shores.

WAGNER

I've had, myself, at times, some odd caprices,
But never yet such impulse felt, as this is.
One soon fatigues, on woods and fields to look,
Nor would I beg the bird his wing to spare us:
How otherwise the mental raptures bear us
From page to page, from book to book!
Then winter nights take loveliness untold,
As warmer life in every limb had crowned you;
And when your hands unroll some parchment rare and old,
All Heaven descends, and opens bright around you!

FAUST

One impulse art thou conscious of, at best;
O, never seek to know the other!
Two souls, alas! reside within my breast,
And each withdraws from, and repels, its brother.
One with tenacious organs holds in love
And clinging lust the world in its embraces;
The other strongly sweeps, this dust above,
Into the high ancestral spaces.
If there be airy spirits near,
'Twixt Heaven and Earth on potent errands fleeing,
Let them drop down the golden atmosphere,
And bear me forth to new and varied being!
Yea, if a magic mantle once were mine,
To waft me o'er the world at pleasure,
I would not for the costliest stores of treasure
Not for a monarch's robe the gift resign.

WAGNER

Invoke not thus the well-known throng,
Which through the firmament diffused is faring,
And danger thousand-fold, our race to wrong.
In every quarter is preparing.
Swift from the North the spirit-fangs so sharp
Sweep down, and with their barbd points assail you;
Then from the East they come, to dry and warp
Your lungs, till breath and being fail you:
If from the Desert sendeth them the South,
With fire on fire your throbbing forehead crowning,
The West leads on a host, to cure the drouth
Only when meadow, field, and you are drowning.
They gladly hearken, prompt for injury,
Gladly obey, because they gladly cheat us;
From Heaven they represent themselves to be,
And lisp like angels, when with lies they meet us.
But, let us go! 'Tis gray and dusky all:
The air is cold, the vapors fall.
At night, one learns his house to prize:
Why stand you thus, with such astonished eyes?
What, in the twilight, can your mind so trouble?

FAUST

Seest thou the black dog coursing there, through corn and
stubble?

WAGNER

Long since: yet deemed him not important in the least.

FAUST

Inspect him close: for what tak'st thou the beast?

WAGNER

Why, for a poodle who has lost his master,
And scents about, his track to find.

FAUST

Seest thou the spiral circles, narrowing faster,
Which he, approaching, round us seems to wind?
A streaming trail of fire, if I see rightly,
Follows his path of mystery.

WAGNER

It may be that your eyes deceive you slightly;
Naught but a plain black poodle do I see.

FAUST

It seems to me that with enchanted cunning
He snares our feet, some future chain to bind.

WAGNER

I see him timidly, in doubt, around us running,
Since, in his master's stead, two strangers doth he find.

FAUST

The circle narrows: he is near!

WAGNER

A dog thou seest, and not a phantom, here!
Behold him stopupon his belly crawlHis
tail set wagging: canine habits, all!

FAUST

Come, follow us! Come here, at least!

WAGNER

'Tis the absurdest, drollest beast.
Stand still, and you will see him wait;
Address him, and he gambols straight;
If something's lost, he'll quickly bring it,
Your cane, if in the stream you fling it.

FAUST

No doubt you're right: no trace of mind, I own,
Is in the beast: I see but drill, alone.

WAGNER

The dog, when he's well educated,
Is by the wisest tolerated.
Yes, he deserves your favor thoroughly,
The clever scholar of the students, he!

(They pass in the city-gate.)
Faust

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, BEFORE THE CITY-GATE

332:Raschi In Prague
Raschi of Troyes, the Moon of Israel,
The authoritative Talmudist, returned
From his wide wanderings under many skies,
To all the synagogues of the Orient,
Through Spain and Italy, the isles of Greece,
Beautiful, dolorous, sacred Palestine,
Dead, obelisked Egypt, floral, musk-breathed Persia,
Laughing with bloom, across the Caucasus,
The interminable sameness of bare steppes,
Through dark luxuriance of Bohemian woods,
And issuing on the broad, bright Moldau vale,
Entered the gates of Prague. Here, too, his fame,
Being winged, preceded him. His people swarmed
Like bees to gather the rich honey-dew
Of learning from his lips. Amazement filled
All eyes beholding him. No hoary sage,
He who had sat in Egypt at the feet
Of Moses ben-Maimuni, called him friend;
Raschi the scholiast, poet, and physician,
Who bore the ponderous Bible's storied wisdom,
The Mischna's tangled lore at tip of tongue,
Light as a garland on a lance, appeared
In the just-ripened glory of a man.
From his clear eye youth flamed magnificent;
Force, masked by grace, moved in his balanced frame;
An intellectual, virile beauty reigned
Dominant on domed brow, on fine, firm lips,
An eagle profile cut in gilded bronze,
Strong, delicate as a head upon a coin,
While, as an aureole crowns a burning lamp,
Above all beauty of the body and brain
Shone beauty of a soul benign with love.
Even as a tawny flock of huddled sheep,
Grazing each other's heels, urged by one will,
With bleat and baa following the wether's lead,
Or the wise shepherd, so o'er the Moldau bridge
Trotted the throng of yellow-caftaned Jews,
Chattering, hustling, shuffling. At their head
Marched Rabbi Jochanan ben-Eleazar,
165
High priest in Prague, oldest and most revered,
To greet the star of Israel. As a father
Yearns toward his son, so toward the noble Raschi
Leapt at first sight the patriarch's fresh old heart.
'My home be thine in Prague! Be thou my son,
Who have no offspring save one simple girl.
See, glorious youth, who dost renew the days
Of David and of Samuel, early graced
With God's anointing oil, how Israel
Delights to honor who hath honored him.'
Then Raschi, though he felt a ball of fire
Globe itself in his throat, maintained his calm,
His cheek's opaque, swart pallor while he kissed
Silent the Rabbi's withered hand, and bowed
Divinely humble, his exalted head
Craving the benison.
For each who asked
He had the word of counsel, comfort, help;
For all, rich eloquence of thanks. His voice,
Even and grave, thrilled secret chords and set
Plain speech to music. Certain folk were there
Sick in the body, dragging painful limbs,
To the physician. These he solaced first,
With healing touch, with simples from his pouch,
Warming and lulling, best with promises
Of constant service till their ills were cured.
And some, gray-bearded, bald, and curved with age,
Blear-eyed from poring over lines obscure
And knotty riddles of the Talmud, brought
Their problems to this youth, who cleared and solved,
Yielding prompt answer to a lifetime's search.
Then, followed, pushed by his obsequious tribe,
Who fain had pedestaled him on their backs,
Hemming his steps, choking the airs of heaven
With their oppressive honors, he advanced,
Midst shouts, tumultuous welcomes, kisses showered
Upon his road-stained garments, through Prague's streets,
Gaped at by Gentiles, hissed at and reviled,
But no whit altering his majestic mien
For overwhelming plaudits or contempt.
Glad tidings Raschi brought from West and East
Of thriving synagogues, of famous men,
166
And flourishing academies. In Rome
The Papal treasurer was a pious Jew,
Rabbi Jehiel, neath whose patronage
Prospered a noble school. Two hundred Jews
Dwelt free and paid no tributary mark.
Three hundred lived in peace at Capua,
Shepherded by the learned Rabbi David,
A prince of Israel. In Babylon
The Jews established their Academy.
Another still in Bagdad, from whose chair
Preached the great rabbi, Samuel Ha-levi,
Versed in the written and the oral law,
Who blindfold could repeat the whole vast text
Of Mischna and Gemara. On the banks
Of Eden-born Euphrates, one day's ride
From Bagdad, Raschi found in the wilderness,
Which once was Babylon, Ezekiel's tomb.
Thrice ten perpetual lamps starred the dim shrine,
Two hundred sentinels held the sleepless vigil,
Receiving offerings. At the Feast of Booths
Here crowded Jews by thousands, out of Persia,
From all the neighboring lands, to celebrate
The glorious memories of the golden days.
Ten thousand Jews with their Academy
Damascus boasted, while in Cairo shone
The pearl, the crown of Israel, ben-Maimuni,
Physician at the Court of Saladin,
The second Moses, gathering at his feet
Sages from all the world.
As Raschi spake,
Forgetting or ignoring the chief shrine,
The Exile's Home, whereunto yearned all hearts,
All ears were strained for tidings. Some one asked:
'What of Jerusalem? Speak to us of Zion.'
The light died from his eyes. From depths profound
Issued his grave, great voice: 'Alas for Zion!
Verily is she fallen! Where our race
Dictated to the nations, not a handful,
Nay, not a score, not ten, not two abide!
One, only one, one solitary Jew,
The Rabbi Abraham Haceba, flits
Ghostlike amid the ruins; every year
167
Beggars himself to pay the idolaters
The costly tax for leave to hold a-gape
His heart's live wound; to weep, a mendicant,
Amidst the crumbled stones of palaces
Where reigned his ancestors, upon the graves
Where sleep the priests, the prophets, and the kings
Who were his forefathers. Ask me no more!'
Now, when the French Jew's advent was proclaimed,
And his tumultuous greeting, envious growls
And ominous eyebeams threatened storm in Prague.
'Who may this miracle of learning be?
The Anti-Christ! The century-long-awaited,
The hourly-hoped Messiah, come at last!
Else dared they never wax so arrogant,
Flaunting their monstrous joy in Christian eyes,
And strutting peacock-like, with hideous screams,
Who are wont to crawl, mute reptiles underfoot.'
A stone or two flung at some servile form,
Liveried in the yellow gaberdine
(With secret happiness but half suppressed
On features cast for misery), served at first
For chance expression of the rabble's hate;
But, swelling like a snow-ball rolled along
By mischief-plotting boys, the rage increased,
Grew to a mighty mass, until it reached
The palace of Duke Vladislaw. He heard
With righteous wrath his injured subjects' charge
Against presumptuous aliens: how these blocked
His avenues, his bridges; bared to the sun
The canker-taint of Prague's obscurest coigne;
Paraded past the churches of the Lord
One who denied Him, one by them hailed Christ.
Enough! This cloud, no bigger than one's hand,
Gains overweening bulk. Prague harbored, first,
Out of contemptuous ruth, a wretched band
Of outcast paupers, gave them leave to ply
Their money-lending trade, and leased them land
On all too facile terms. Behold! to-day,
Like leeches bloated with the people's blood,
They batten on Bohemia's poverty;
168
They breed and grow; like adders, spit back hate
And venomed perfidy for Christian love.
Thereat the Duke, urged by wise counsellorsNarzerad the statesman (half whose wealth was pledged
To the usurers), abetted by the priest,
Bishop of Olmutz, who had visited
The Holy Sepulchre, whose long, full life
Was one clean record of pure pietyThe Duke, I say, by these persuasive tongues,
Coaxed to his darling aim, forbade his guards
To hinder the just anger of his town,
And ordered to be led in chains to him
The pilgrim and his host.
At noontide meal
Raschi sat, full of peace, with Jochanan,
And the sole daughter of the house, Rebekah,
Young, beautiful as her namesake when she brought
Her firm, frail pitcher balanced on her neck
Unto the well, and gave the stranger drink,
And gave his camels drink. The servant set
The sparkling jar's refreshment from his lips,
And saw the virgin's face, bright as the moon,
Beam from the curled luxuriance of black locks,
And cast-back linen veil's soft-folded cloud,
Then put the golden ear-ring by her cheek,
The bracelets on her hands, his master's pledge,
Isaac's betrothal gift, whom she should wed,
And be the mother of millions-one whose seed
Dwells in the gates of those which hate them.
So
Yearned Raschi to adorn the radiant girl
Who sat at board before him, nor dared lift
Shy, heavy lids from pupils black as grapes
That dart the imprisoned sunshine from their core.
But in her ears keen sense was born to catch,
And in her heart strange power to hold, each tone
O' the low-keyed, vibrant voice, each syllable
O' the eloquent discourse, enriched with tales
Of venturous travel, brilliant with fine points
Of delicate humor, or illustrated
With living portraits of world-famoused men,
169
Jews, Saracens, Crusaders, Islamites,
Whose hand he had grasped-the iron warrior,
Godfrey of Bouillon, the wise infidel
Who in all strength, wit, courtesy excelled
The kings his foes-imperial Saladin.
But even as Raschi spake an abrupt noise
Of angry shouts, of battering staves that shook
The oaken portal, stopped the enchanted voice,
The uplifted wine spilled from the nerveless hand
Of Rabbi Jochanan. 'God pity us!
Our enemies are upon us once again.
Hie thee, Rebekah, to the inmost chamber,
Far from their wanton eyes' polluting gaze,
Their desecrating touch! Kiss me! Begone!
Raschi, my guest, my son'-But no word more
Uttered the reverend man. With one huge crash
The strong doors split asunder, pouring in
A stream of soldiers, ruffians, armed with pikes,
Lances, and clubs-the unchained beast, the mob.
'Behold the town's new guest!' jeered one who tossed
The half-filled golden wine-cup's contents straight
In the noble pure young face. 'What, master Jew!
Must your good friends of Prague break bolts and bars
To gain a peep at this prodigious pearl
You bury in your shell? Forth to the day!
Our Duke himself claims share of your new wealth;
Summons to court the Jew philosopher!'
Then, while some stuffed their pokes with baubles snatched
From board and shelf, or with malignant sword
Slashed the rich Orient rugs, the pictured woof
That clothed the wall; others had seized and bound,
And gagged from speech, the helpless, aged man;
Still others outraged, with coarse, violent hands,
The marble-pale, rigid as stone, strange youth,
Whose eye like struck flint flashed, whose nether lip
Was threaded with a scarlet line of blood,
Where the compressed teeth fixed it to forced calm.
He struggled not while his free limbs were tied,
His beard plucked, torn and spat upon his robeSeemed scarce to know these insults were for him;
But never swerved his gaze from Jochanan.
Then, in God's language, sealed from these dumb brutes,
170
Swiftly and low he spake: 'Be of good cheer,
Reverend old man. I deign not treat with these.
If one dare offer bodily hurt to thee,
By the ineffable Name! I snap my chains
Like gossamer, and in his blood, to the hilt,
Bathe the prompt knife hid in my girdle's folds.
The Duke shall hear me. Patience. Trust in me.'
Somewhat the authoritative voice abashed,
Even hoarse and changed, the miscreants, who feared
Some strong curse lurked in this mysterious tongue,
Armed with this evil eye. But brief the spell.
With gibe and scoff they dragged their victims forth,
The abused old man, the proud, insulted youth,
O'er the late path of his triumphal march,
Befouled with mud, with raiment torn, wild hair
And ragged beard, to Vladislaw. He sat
Expectant in his cabinet. On one side
His secular adviser, Narzerad,
Quick-eyed, sharp-nosed, red-whiskered as a fox;
On the other hand his spiritual guide,
Bishop of Olmutz, unctuous, large, and bland.
'So these twain are chief culprits!' sneered the Duke,
Measuring with the noble's ignorant scorn
His masters of a lesser caste. 'Stand forth!
Rash, stubborn, vain old man, whose impudence
Hath choked the public highways with thy brood
Of nasty vermin, by our sufferance hid
In lanes obscure, who hailed this charlatan
With sky-flung caps, bent knees, and echoing shouts,
Due to ourselves alone in Prague; yea, worse,
Who offered worship even ourselves disclaim,
Our Lord Christ's meed, to this blaspheming JewThy crimes have murdered patience. Thou hast wrecked
Thy people's fortune with thy own. But first
(For even in anger we are just) recount
With how great compensation from thy store
Of hoarded gold and jewels thou wilt buy
Remission of the penalty. Be wise.
Hark how my subjects, storming through the streets,
Vent on thy tribe accursed their well-based wrath.'
And, truly, through closed casements roared the noise
Of mighty surging crowds, derisive cries,
171
And victims' screams of anguish and affright.
Then Raschi, royal in his rags, began:
'Hear me, my liege!' At that commanding voice,
The Bishop, who with dazed eyes had perused
The grieved, wise, beautiful, pale face, sprang up,
Quick recognition in his glance, warm joy
Aflame on his broad cheeks. 'No more! No more!
Thou art the man! Give me the hand to kiss
That raised me from the shadow of the grave
In Jaffa's lazar-house! Listen, my liege!
During my pilgrimage to Palestine
I, sickened with the plague and nigh to death,
Languished 'midst strangers, all my crumbling flesh
One rotten mass of sores, a thing for dogs
To shy from, shunned by Christian as by Turk,
When lo! this clean-breathed, pure-souled, blessed youth,
Whom I, not knowing for an infidel,
Seeing featured like the Christ, believed a saint,
Sat by my pillow, charmed the sting from pain,
Quenched the fierce fever's heat, defeated Death;
And when I was made whole, had disappeared,
No man knew whither, leaving no more trace
Than a re-risen angel. This is he!'
Then Raschi, who had stood erect, nor quailed
From glances of hot hate or crazy wrath,
Now sank his eagle gaze, stooped his high head,
Veiling his glowing brow, returned the kiss
Of brother-love upon the Christian's hand,
And dropping on his knees implored the three,
'Grace for my tribe! They are what ye have made.
If any be among them fawning, false,
Insatiable, revengeful, ignorant, meanAnd there are many such-ask your own hearts
What virtues ye would yield for planted hate,
Ribald contempt, forced, menial servitude,
Slow centuries of vengeance for a crime
Ye never did commit? Mercy for these!
Who bear on back and breast the scathing brand
Of scarlet degradation, who are clothed
In ignominious livery, whose bowed necks
Are broken with the yoke. Change these to men!
That were a noble witchcraft simply wrought,
172
God's alchemy transforming clods to gold.
If there be one among them strong and wise,
Whose lips anoint breathe poetry and love,
Whose brain and heart served ever Christian needAnd there are many such-for his dear sake,
Lest ye chance murder one of God's high priests,
Spare his thrice-wretched tribe! Believe me, sirs,
Who have seen various lands, searched various hearts,
I have yet to touch that undiscovered shore,
Have yet to fathom that impossible soul,
Where a true benefit's forgot; where one
Slight deed of common kindness sown yields not
As now, as here, abundant crop of love.
Every good act of man, our Talmud says,
Creates an angel, hovering by his side.
Oh! what a shining host, great Duke, shall guard
Thy consecrated throne, for all the lives
Thy mercy spares, for all the tears thy ruth
Stops at the source. Behold this poor old man,
Last of a line of princes, stricken in years,
As thy dead father would have been to-day.
Was that white beard a rag for obscene hands
To tear? a weed for lumpish clowns to pluck?
Was that benignant, venerable face
Fit target for their foul throats' voided rheum?
That wrinkled flesh made to be pulled and pricked,
Wounded by flinty pebbles and keen steel?
Behold the prostrate, patriarchal form,
Bruised, silent, chained. Duke, such is Israel!'
'Unbind these men!' commanded Vladislaw.
'Go forth and still the tumult of my town.
Let no Jew suffer violence. Raschi, rise!
Thou who hast served the Christ-with this priest's life,
Who is my spirit's counselor-Christ serves thee.
Return among thy people with my seal,
The talisman of safety. Let them know
The Duke's their friend. Go, publish the glad news!'
Raschi the Saviour, Raschi the Messiah,
Back to the Jewry carried peace and love.
But Narzerad fed his venomed heart with gall,
Vowing to give his fatal hatred vent,
Despite a world of weak fantastic Dukes
173
And heretic bishops. He fulfilled his vow.
~ Emma Lazarus
333:The Botanic Garden (Part Vii)
THE LOVES OF THE PLANTS.
CANTO III.
And now the Goddess founds her silver shell,
And shakes with deeper tones the inchanted dell;
Pale, round her grassy throne, bedew'd with tears,
Flit the thin forms of Sorrows, and of Fears;
Soft Sighs responsive whisper to the chords,
And Indignations half-unsheath their swords.
'Thrice round the grave CIRCÆA prints her tread,
And chaunts the numbers, which disturb the dead;
Shakes o'er the holy earth her sable plume,
Waves her dread wand, and strikes the echoing tomb!
-Pale shoot the stars across the troubled night,
The timorous moon withholds her conscious light;
Shrill scream the famish'd bats, and shivering owls,
And loud and long the dog of midnight howls!-Then yawns the bursting ground!- two imps obscene
Rise on broad wings, and hail the baleful queen;
Each with dire grin salutes the potent wand,
And leads the sorceress with his sooty hand;
Onward they glide, where sheds the sickly yew
O'er many a mouldering bone its nightly dew;
The ponderous portals of the church unbar,Hoarse on their hinge the ponderous portals jar;
As through the colour'd glass the moon-beam falls,
Huge shapeless spectres quiver on the walls;
Low murmurs creep along the hollow ground,
And to each step the pealing ailes resound;
By glimmering lamps, protecting saints among,
The shrines all tremble as they pass along,
O'er the still choir with hideous laugh they move,
(Fiends yell below, and angels weep above!)
Their impious march to God's high altar bend,
With feet impure the sacred steps ascend;
With wine unbless'd the holy chalice stain,
Assume the mitre, and the cope profane;
To heaven their eyes in mock devotion throw,
54
And to the cross with horrid mummery bow;
Adjure by mimic rites the powers above,
And plite alternate their Satanic love.
Avaunt, ye Vulgar! from her sacred groves
With maniac step the Pythian LAURA moves;
Full of the God her labouring bosom sighs,
Foam on her lips, and fury in her eyes,
Strong writhe her limbs, her wild dishevell'd hair
Starts from her laurel-wreath, and swims in air.While twenty Priests the gorgeous shrine surround
Cinctur'd with ephods, and with garlands crown'd,
Contending hosts and trembling nations wait
The firm immutable behests of Fate;
-She speaks in thunder from her golden throne
With words unwill'd , and wisdom not her own.
So on his NIGHTMARE through the evening fog
Flits the squab Fiend o'er fen, and lake, and bog;
Seeks some love-wilder'd Maid with sleep oppress'd,
Alights, and grinning fits upon her breast.
-Such as of late amid the murky sky
Was mark'd by FUSELI'S poetic eye;
Whose daring tints, with SHAKESPEAR'S happiest grace,
Gave to the airy phantom form and place.Back o'er her pillow sinks her blushing head,
Her snow-white limbs hang helpless from the bed;
While with quick sighs, and suffocative breath,
Her interrupted heart-pulse swims in death.
-Then shrieks of captured towns, and widows' tears,
Pale lovers stretch'd upon their blood-stain'd biers,
The headlong precipice that thwarts her flight,
The trackless desert, the cold starless night,
And stern-eye'd Murder with his knife behind,
In dread succession agonize her mind.
O'er her fair limbs convulsive tremors fleet,
Start in her hands, and struggle in her feet;
In vain to scream with quivering lips she tries,
And strains in palsy'd lids her tremulous eyes;
In vain she wills to run, fly, swim, walk, creep;
The WILL presides not in the bower of SLEEP.
-On her fair bosom sits the Demon-Ape
Erect, and balances his bloated shape;
Rolls in their marble orbs his Gorgon-eyes,
55
And drinks with leathern ears her tender cries.
Arm'd with her ivory beak, and talon-hands,
Descending FICA dives into the sands;
Chamber'd in earth with cold oblivion lies;
Nor heeds, ye Suitor-train , your amorous sighs;
Erewhile with renovated beauty blooms,
Mounts into air, and moves her leafy plumes.
-Where HAMPS and MANIFOLD, their cliffs among,
Each in his flinty channel winds along;
With lucid lines the dusky Moor divides,
Hurrying to intermix their sister tides.
Where still their silver-bosom'd Nymphs abhor,
The blood-smear'd mansion of gigantic THOR,-Erst, fires volcanic in the marble womb
Of cloud-wrapp'd WETTON raised the massy dome;
Rocks rear'd on rocks in huge disjointed piles
Form the tall turrets, and the lengthen'd ailes;
Broad ponderous piers sustain the roof, and wide
Branch the vast rain-bow ribs from side to side.
While from above descends in milky streams
One scanty pencil of illusive beams,
Suspended crags and gaping gulphs illumes,
And gilds the horrors of the deepen'd glooms.
-Here oft the Naiads, as they chanced to play
Near the dread Fane on THOR'S returning day,
Saw from red altars streams of guiltless blood
Stain their green reed-beds, and pollute their flood;
Heard dying babes in wicker prisons wail,
And shrieks of matrons thrill the affrighted Gale;
While from dark caves infernal Echoes mock,
And Fiends triumphant shout from every rock!
--So still the Nymphs emerging lift in air
Their snow-white shoulders and their azure hair;
Sail with sweet grace the dimpling streams along,
Listening the Shepherd's or the Miner's song;
But, when afar they view the giant-cave,
On timorous fins they circle on the wave,
With streaming eyes and throbbing hearts recoil,
Plunge their fair forms, and dive beneath the soil.Closed round their heads reluctant eddies sink,
And wider rings successive dash the brink.Three thousand steps in sparry clefts they stray,
56
Or seek through sullen mines their gloomy way;
On beds of Lava sleep in coral cells,
Or sigh o'er jasper fish, and agate shells.
Till, where famed ILAM leads his boiling floods
Through flowery meadows and impending woods,
Pleased with light spring they leave the dreary night,
And 'mid circumfluent surges rise to light;
Shake their bright locks, the widening vale pursue,
Their sea-green mantles fringed with pearly dew;
In playful groups by towering THORP they move,
Bound o'er the foaming wears, and rush into the Dove.
With fierce distracted eye IMPATIENS stands,
Swells her pale cheeks, and brandishes her hands,
With rage and hate the astonish'd groves alarms,
And hurls her infants from her frantic arms.
-So when MEDÆA left her native soil
Unaw'd by danger, unsubdued by toil;
Her weeping sire and beckoning friends withstood,
And launch'd enamour'd on the boiling flood;
One ruddy boy her gentle lips caress'd,
And one fair girl was pillow'd on her breast;
While high in air the golden treasure burns,
And Love and Glory guide the prow by turns.
But, when Thessalia's inauspicious plain
Received the matron-heroine from the main;
While horns of triumph sound, and altars burn,
And shouting nations hail their Chief's return:
Aghaft, She saw new-deck'd the nuptial bed,
And proud CREUSA to the temple led;
Saw her in JASON'S mercenary arms
Deride her virtues, and insult her charms;
Saw her dear babes from fame and empire torn,
In foreign realms deserted and forlorn;
Her love rejected, and her vengeance braved,
By Him her beauties won, her virtues saved.With stern regard she eyed the traitor-king,
And felt, Ingratitude! thy keenest sting;
'Nor Heaven,' She cried, 'nor Earth, nor Hell can hold
'A Heart abandon'd to the thirst of Gold!'
Stamp'd with wild foot, and shook her horrent brow,
And call'd the furies from their dens below.
-Slow out of earth, before the festive crowds,
57
On wheels of fire, amid a night of clouds,
Drawn by fierce fiends arose a magic car,
Received the Queen, and hovering flamed in air.As with raised hands the suppliant traitors kneel
And fear the vengeance they deserve to feel,
Thrice with parch'd lips her guiltless babes she press'd,
And thrice she clasp'd them to her tortur'd breast;
Awhile with white uplifted eyes she stood,
Then plung'd her trembling poniards in their blood.
'Go, kiss your sire! go, share the bridal mirth!'
She cry'd, and hurl'd their quivering limbs on earth.
Rebellowing thunders rock the marble towers,
And red-tongued lightnings shoot their arrowy showers;
Earth yawns!-the crashing ruin sinks!-o'er all
Death with black hands extends his mighty Pall;
Their mingling gore the Fiends of Vengeance quaff,
And Hell receives them with convulsive laugh.
Round the vex'd isles where fierce tornados roar,
Or tropic breezes sooth the sultry shore;
What time the eve her gauze pellucid spreads
O'er the dim flowers, and veils the misty meads;
Slow, o'er the twilight sands or leafy walks,
With gloomy dignity DICTAMNA stalks;
In sulphurous eddies round the weird dame
Plays the light gas, or kindles into flame.
If rests the traveller his weary head,
Grim MANCINELLA haunts the mossy bed,
Brews her black hebenon, and, stealing near,
Pours the curst venom in his tortured ear.Wide o'er the mad'ning throng URTICA flings
Her barbed shafts, and darts her poison'd stings.
And fell LOBELIA'S suffocating breath
Loads the dank pinion of the gale with death.With fear and hate they blast the affrighted groves,
Yet own with tender care their kindred Loves! So, where PALMIRA 'mid her wasted plains,
Her shatter'd aqueducts, and prostrate sanes,
(As the bright orb of breezy midnight pours
Long threads of silver through her gaping towers,
O'er mouldering tombs, and tottering columns gleams,
And frosts her deserts with diffusive beams),
Sad o'er the mighty wreck in silence bends,
58
Lifts her wet eyes, her tremulous hands extends.If from lone cliffs a bursting rill expands
Its transient course, and sinks into the sands;
O'er the moist rock the fell Hyæna prowls,
The Leopard hisses, and the Panther growls;
On quivering wing the famish'd Vulture screams,
Dips his dry beak, and sweeps the gushing streams;
With foamy jaws, beneath, and sanguine tongue,
Laps the lean Wolf, and pants, and runs along;
Stern stalks the Lion, on the rustling brinks
Hears the dread Snake, and trembles as he drinks;
Quick darts the scaly Monster o'er the plain,
Fold after fold, his undulating train;
And, bending o'er the lake his crested brow,
Starts at the Crocodile, that gapes below.
Where seas of glass with gay reflections smile
Round the green coasts of Java's palmy isle;
A spacious plain extends its upland scene,
Rocks rise on rocks, and fountains gush between;
Soft zephyrs blow, eternal summers reign,
And showers prolific bless the soil,-in vain!
-No spicy nutmeg scents the vernal gales,
Nor towering plaintain shades the mid-day vales;
No grassy mantle hides the sable hills,
No flowery chaplet crowns the trickling rills;
Nor tufted moss, nor leathery lichen creeps
In russet tapestry o'er the crumbling steeps.
-No step retreating, on the sand impress'd,
Invites the visit of a second guest;
No refluent fin the unpeopled stream divides,
No revolant pinion cleaves the airy tides;
Nor handed moles, nor beaked worms return,
That mining pass the irremeable bourn.Fierce in dread silence on the blasted heath
Fell UPAS sits, the HYDRA-TREE of death.
Lo! from one root, the envenom'd soil below,
A thousand vegetative serpents grow;
In shining rays the scaly monster spreads
O'er ten square leagues his far-diverging heads;
Or in one trunk entwists his tangled form,
Looks o'er the clouds, and hisses in the storm.
Steep'd in fell poison, as his sharp teeth part,
59
A thousand tongues in quick vibration dart;
Snatch the proud Eagle towering o'er the heath,
Or pounce the Lion, as he stalks beneath;
Or strew, as marshall'd hosts contend in vain,
With human skeletons the whiten'd plain.
-Chain'd at his root two scion-demons dwell,
Breathe the faint hiss, or try the shriller yell;
Rise, fluttering in the air on callow wings,
And aim at insect-prey their little stings.
So Time's strong arms with sweeping scythe erase
Art's cumberous works, and empires, from their base;
While each young Hour its sickle fine employs,
And crops the sweet buds of domestic joys!
With blushes bright as morn fair ORCHIS charms,
And lulls her infant in her fondling arms;
Soft play Affection round her bosom's throne,
And guards his life, forgetful of her own.
So wings the wounded Deer her headlong flight,
Pierced by some ambush'd archer of the night,
Shoots to the woodlands with her bounding fawn,
And drops of blood bedew the conscious lawn;
There hid in shades she shuns the cheerful day,
Hangs o'er her young, and weeps her life away.
So stood Eliza on the wood-crown'd height,
O'er Minden's plain, spectatress of the sight,
Sought with bold eye amid the bloody strife
Her dearer self, the partner of her life;
From hill to hill the rushing host pursued,
And view'd his banner, or believed she view'd.
Pleased with the distant roar, with quicker tread
Fast by his hand one lisping boy she led;
And one fair girl amid the loud alarm
Slept on her kerchief, cradled by her arm;
While round her brows bright beams of Honour dart,
And Love's warm eddies circle round her heart
-Near and more near the intrepid Beauty press'd,
Saw through the driving smoke his dancing crest,
Heard the exulting shout, 'they run! they run!'
'Great GOD!' she cried, 'He's safe! the battle's won!'
-A ball now hisses through the airy tides,
(Some Fury wing'd it, and some Demon guides!)
Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck,
60
Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck;
The red stream, issuing from her azure veins,
Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains.-'Ah me!' she cried, and, sinking on the ground,
Kiss'd her dear babes, regardless of the wound;
'Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou Vital Urn!
'Wait, gushing Life, oh, wait my Love's return!'Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams from far!
'The angel, Pity, shuns the walks of war!-'Oh, spare ye War-hounds, spare their tender age!'On me, on me,' she cried, 'exhaust your rage!'Then with weak arms her weeping babes caress'd,
And sighing bid them in her blood-stain'd vest.
From tent to tent the impatient warrior flies,
Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes;
Eliza's name along the camp he calls,
Eliza echoes through the canvas walls;
Quick through the murmuring gloom his footsteps tread,
O'er groaning heaps, the dying and the dead,
Vault o'er the plain, and in the tangled wood,
Lo! dead Eliza weltering in her blood!-Soon hears his listening son the welcome sounds,
With open arms and sparkling eyes he bounds:'Speak low,' he cries, and gives his little hand,
'Eliza sleeps upon the dew-cold sand;
'Poor weeping Babe with bloody fingers press'd,
'And tried with pouting lips her milkless breast;
'Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake'Why do you weep?-Mama will soon awake.'
-'She'll wake no more!' the hopeless mourner cried
Upturn'd his eyes, and clasp'd his hands, and sigh'd;
Stretch'd on the ground awhile entranc'd he lay,
And press'd warm kisses on the lifeless clay;
And then unsprung with wild convulsive start,
And all the Father kindled in his heart;
'Oh, Heavens!' he cried, 'my first rash vow forgive!
'These bind to earth, for these I pray to live!'Round his chill babes he wrapp'd his crimson vest,
And clasp'd them sobbing to his aching breast.
Two Harlot-Nymphs, the fair CUSCUTAS, please
With labour'd negligence, and studied ease;
In the meek garb of modest worth disguised,
61
The eye averted, and the smile chastised,
With sly approach they spread their dangerous charms,
And round their victim wind their wiry arms.
So by Scamander when LAOCOON stood,
Where Troy's proud turrets glitter'd in the flood,
Raised high his arm, and with prophetic call
To shrinking realms announced her fatal fall;
Whirl'd his fierce spear with more than mortal force,
And pierced the thick ribs of the echoing horse;
Two Serpent-forms incumbent on the main,
Lashing the white waves with redundant train,
Arch'd their blue necks, and (hook their towering crests,
And plough'd their foamy way with speckled breasts;
Then darting fierce amid the affrighted throngs,
Roll'd their red eyes, and shot their forked tongues,-Two daring Youths to guard the hoary fire
Thwart their dread progress, and provoke their ire.
Round sire and sons the scaly monsters roll'd,
Ring above ring, in many a tangled fold,
Close and more close their writhing limbs surround,
And fix with foamy teeth the envenom'd wound.
-With brow upturn'd to heaven the holy Sage
In silent agony sustains their rage;
While each fond Youth, in vain, with piercing cries
Bends on the tortured Sire his dying eyes.
'Drink deep, sweet youths' seductive VITIS cries,
The maudlin tear-drop glittering in her eyes;
Green leaves and purple clusters crown her head,
And the tall Thyrsus stays her tottering tread.
- Five hapless swains with soft assuasive smiles
The harlot meshes in her deathful toils;
'Drink deep,' she carols, as she waves in air
The mantling goblet, 'and forget your care.'O'er the dread feast malignant Chemia scowls,
And mingles poison in the nectar'd bowls;
Fell Gout peeps grinning through the flimsy scene,
And bloated Dropsy pants behind unseen;
Wrapp'd in his robe white Lepra hides his stains,
And silent Frenzy writhing bites his chains.
So when PROMETHEUS braved the Thunderer's ire,
Stole from his blazing throne etherial fire,
And, lantern'd in his breast, from realms of day
62
Bore the bright treasure to his Man of clay;High on cold Caucasus by VULCAN bound,
The lean impatient Vulture fluttering round,
His writhing limbs in vain he twists and strains
To break or loose the adamantine chains.
The gluttonous bird, exulting in his pangs,
Tears his swoln liver with remorseless fangs.
The gentle CYCLAMEN with dewy eye
Breathes o'er her lifeless babe the parting sigh;
And, bending low to earth, with pious hands
Inhumes her dear Departed in the sands.
'Sweet Nursling! withering in thy tender hour,
'Oh, sleep,' She cries, 'and rise a fairer flower!'
-So when the Plague o'er London's gasping crowds
Shook her dank wing, and steer'd her murky clouds;
When o'er the friendless bier no rites were read,
No dirge slow-chanted, and no pall out-spread;
While Death and Night piled up the naked throng,
And Silence drove their ebon cars along;
Six lovely daughters, and their father, swept
To the throng'd grave CLEONE saw, and wept;
Her tender mind, with meek Religion fraught,
Drank all-resigned Affliction's bitter draught;
Alive and listening to the whisper'd groan
Of others' woes, unconscious of her own!One smiling boy, her last sweet hope, she warms
Hushed on her bosom, circled in her arms,Daughter of woe! ere morn, in vain caress'd,
Clung the cold Babe upon thy milkless breast,
With feeble cries thy last sad aid required,
Stretch'd its stiff limbs, and on thy lap expired!-Long with wide eye-lids on her Child she gazed,
And long to heaven their tearless orbs she raised;
Then with quick foot and throbbing heart she found
Where Chartreuse open'd deep his holy ground;
Bore her last treasure through the midnight gloom,
And kneeling dropp'd it in the mighty tomb;
'I follow next!' the frantic mourner said,
And living plunged amid the festering dead.
Where vast Ontario rolls his brineless tides,
And feeds the trackless forests on his sides,
Fair CASSIA trembling hears the howling woods,
63
And trusts her tawny children to the floods.Cinctured with gold while ten fond brothers stand,
And guard the beauty on her native land,
Soft breathes the gale, the current gently moves,
And bears to Norway's coasts her infant-loves.
-So the sad mother at the noon of night
From bloody Memphis stole her silent flight;
Wrapp'd her dear babe beneath her folded vest,
And clasp'd the treasure to her throbbing breast,
With soothing whispers hushed its feeble cry,
Pressed the soft kiss, and breathed the secret sigh.-With dauntless step she seeks the winding shore,
Hears unappall'd the glimmering torrents roar;
With Paper-flags a floating cradle weaves,
And hides the smiling boy in Lotus-leaves;
Gives her white bosom to his eager lips,
The salt tears mingling with the milk he sips;
Waits on the reed-crown'd brink with pious guile,
And trusts the scaly monsters of the Nile.-Erewhile majestic from his lone abode,
Embassador of Heaven, the Prophet trod;
Wrench'd the red Scourge from proud Oppression's hands,
And broke, curst Slavery! thy iron bands.
Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry,
Which shook the waves and rent the sky!E'en now, e'en now, on yonder Western shores
Weeps pale Despair, and writhing Anguish roars:
E'en now in Afric's groves with hideous yell
Fierce SLAVERY stalks, and slips the dogs of hell;
From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound,
And sable nations tremble at the sound!-YE BANDS OF SENATORS! whose suffrage sways
Britannia's realms, whom either Ind obeys;
Who right the injured, and reward the brave,
Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save!
Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort,
Inexorable CONSCIENCE holds his court;
With still small voice the plots of Guilt alarms,
Bares his mask'd brow, his lifted hand disarms;
But, wrapp'd in night with terrors all his own,
He speaks in thunder, when the deed is done.
Hear him ye Senates! hear this truth sublime,
64
'HE, WHO ALLOWS OPPRESSION, SHARES THE CRIME.'
No radiant pearl, which crested Fortune wears,
No gem, that twinkling hangs from Beauty's ears,
Not the bright stars, which Night's blue arch adorn,
Nor rising suns that gild the vernal morn,
Shine with such lustre as the tear, that breaks
For other's woe down Virtue's manly cheeks.'
Here ceased the MUSE, and dropp'd her tuneful shell,
Tumultuous woes her panting bosom swell,
O'er her flush'd cheek her gauzy veil she throws,
Folds her white arms, and bends her laurel'd brows;
For human guilt awhile the Goddess sighs,
And human sorrows dim celestial eyes.
~ Erasmus Darwin
334:The Book Of Annandale
Partly to think, more to be left alone,
George Annandale said something to his friends—
A word or two, brusque, but yet smoothed enough
To suit their funeral gaze—and went upstairs;
And there, in the one room that he could call
His own, he found a sort of meaningless
Annoyance in the mute familiar things
That filled it; for the grate’s monotonous gleam
Was not the gleam that he had known before,
The books were not the books that used to be,
The place was not the place. There was a lack
Of something; and the certitude of death
Itself, as with a furtive questioning,
Hovered, and he could not yet understand.
He knew that she was gone—there was no need
Of any argued proof to tell him that,
For they had buried her that afternoon,
Under the leaves and snow; and still there was
A doubt, a pitiless doubt, a plunging doubt,
That struck him, and upstartled when it struck,
The vision, the old thought in him. There was
A lack, and one that wrenched him; but it was
Not that—not that. There was a present sense
Of something indeterminably near—
The soul-clutch of a prescient emptiness
That would not be foreboding. And if not,
What then?—or was it anything at all?
Yes, it was something—it was everything—
But what was everything? or anything?
Tired of time, bewildered, he sat down;
But in his chair he kept on wondering
That he should feel so desolately strange
And yet—for all he knew that he had lost
More of the world than most men ever win—
So curiously calm. And he was left
Unanswered and unsatisfied: there came
No clearer meaning to him than had come
275
Before; the old abstraction was the best
That he could find, the farthest he could go;
To that was no beginning and no end—
No end that he could reach. So he must learn
To live the surest and the largest life
Attainable in him, would he divine
The meaning of the dream and of the words
That he had written, without knowing why,
On sheets that he had bound up like a book
And covered with red leather. There it was—
There in his desk, the record he had made,
The spiritual plaything of his life:
There were the words no eyes had ever seen
Save his; there were the words that were not made
For glory or for gold. The pretty wife
Whom he had loved and lost had not so much
As heard of them. They were not made for her.
His love had been so much the life of her,
And hers had been so much the life of him,
That any wayward phrasing on his part
Would have had no moment. Neither had lived enough
To know the book, albeit one of them
Had grown enough to write it. There it was,
However, though he knew not why it was:
There was the book, but it was not for her,
For she was dead. And yet, there was the book.
Thus would his fancy circle out and out,
And out and in again, till he would make
As if with a large freedom to crush down
Those under-thoughts. He covered with his hands
His tired eyes, and waited: he could hear—
Or partly feel and hear, mechanically—
The sound of talk, with now and then the steps
And skirts of some one scudding on the stairs,
Forgetful of the nerveless funeral feet
That she had brought with her; and more than once
There came to him a call as of a voice—
A voice of love returning—but not hers.
Whose he knew not, nor dreamed; nor did he know,
Nor did he dream, in his blurred loneliness
Of thought, what all the rest might think of him.
276
For it had come at last, and she was gone
With all the vanished women of old time,—
And she was never coming back again.
Yes, they had buried her that afternoon,
Under the frozen leaves and the cold earth,
Under the leaves and snow. The flickering week,
The sharp and certain day, and the long drowse
Were over, and the man was left alone.
He knew the loss—therefore it puzzled him
That he should sit so long there as he did,
And bring the whole thing back—the love, the trust,
The pallor, the poor face, and the faint way
She last had looked at him—and yet not weep,
Or even choose to look about the room
To see how sad it was; and once or twice
He winked and pinched his eyes against the flame
And hoped there might be tears. But hope was all,
And all to him was nothing: he was lost.
And yet he was not lost: he was astray—
Out of his life and in another life;
And in the stillness of this other life
He wondered and he drowsed. He wondered when
It was, and wondered if it ever was
On earth that he had known the other face—
The searching face, the eloquent, strange face—
That with a sightless beauty looked at him
And with a speechless promise uttered words
That were not the world’s words, or any kind
That he had known before. What was it, then?
What was it held him—fascinated him?
Why should he not be human? He could sigh,
And he could even groan,—but what of that?
There was no grief left in him. Was he glad?
Yet how could he be glad, or reconciled,
Or anything but wretched and undone?
How could he be so frigid and inert—
So like a man with water in his veins
Where blood had been a little while before?
How could he sit shut in there like a snail?
What ailed him? What was on him? Was he glad?
277
Over and over again the question came,
Unanswered and unchanged,—and there he was.
But what in heaven’s name did it all mean?
If he had lived as other men had lived,
If home had ever shown itself to be
The counterfeit that others had called home,
Then to this undivined resource of his
There were some key; but now … Philosophy?
Yes, he could reason in a kind of way
That he was glad for Miriam’s release—
Much as he might be glad to see his friends
Laid out around him with their grave-clothes on,
And this life done for them; but something else
There was that foundered reason, overwhelmed it,
And with a chilled, intuitive rebuff
Beat back the self-cajoling sophistries
That his half-tutored thought would half-project.
What was it, then? Had he become transformed
And hardened through long watches and long grief
Into a loveless, feelingless dead thing
That brooded like a man, breathed like a man,—
Did everything but ache? And was a day
To come some time when feeling should return
Forever to drive off that other face—
The lineless, indistinguishable face—
That once had thrilled itself between his own
And hers there on the pillow,—and again
Between him and the coffin-lid had flashed
Like fate before it closed,—and at the last
Had come, as it should seem, to stay with him,
Bidden or not? He were a stranger then,
Foredrowsed awhile by some deceiving draught
Of poppied anguish, to the covert grief
And the stark loneliness that waited him,
And for the time were cursedly endowed
With a dull trust that shammed indifference
To knowing there would be no touch again
Of her small hand on his, no silencing
Of her quick lips on his, no feminine
Completeness and love-fragrance in the house,
No sound of some one singing any more,
278
No smoothing of slow fingers on his hair,
No shimmer of pink slippers on brown tiles.
But there was nothing, nothing, in all that:
He had not fooled himself so much as that;
He might be dreaming or he might be sick,
But not like that. There was no place for fear,
No reason for remorse. There was the book
That he had made, though.… It might be the book;
Perhaps he might find something in the book;
But no, there could be nothing there at all—
He knew it word for word; but what it meant—
He was not sure that he had written it
For what it meant; and he was not quite sure
That he had written it;—more likely it
Was all a paper ghost.… But the dead wife
Was real: he knew all that, for he had been
To see them bury her; and he had seen
The flowers and the snow and the stripped limbs
Of trees; and he had heard the preacher pray;
And he was back again, and he was glad.
Was he a brute? No, he was not a brute:
He was a man—like any other man:
He had loved and married his wife Miriam,
They had lived a little while in paradise
And she was gone; and that was all of it.
But no, not all of it—not all of it:
There was the book again; something in that
Pursued him, overpowered him, put out
The futile strength of all his whys and wheres,
And left him unintelligibly numb—
Too numb to care for anything but rest.
It must have been a curious kind of book
That he had made it: it was a drowsy book
At any rate. The very thought of it
Was like the taste of some impossible drink—
A taste that had no taste, but for all that
Had mixed with it a strange thought-cordial,
So potent that it somehow killed in him
The ultimate need of doubting any more—
Of asking any more. Did he but live
279
The life that he must live, there were no more
To seek.—The rest of it was on the way.
Still there was nothing, nothing, in all this—
Nothing that he cared now to reconcile
With reason or with sorrow. All he knew
For certain was that he was tired out:
His flesh was heavy and his blood beat small;
Something supreme had been wrenched out of him
As if to make vague room for something else.
He had been through too much. Yes, he would stay
There where he was and rest.—And there he stayed;
The daylight became twilight, and he stayed;
The flame and the face faded, and he slept.
And they had buried her that afternoon,
Under the tight-screwed lid of a long box,
Under the earth, under the leaves and snow.
II
Look where she would, feed conscience how she might,
There was but one way now for Damaris—
One straight way that was hers, hers to defend,
At hand, imperious. But the nearness of it,
The flesh-bewildering simplicity,
And the plain strangeness of it, thrilled again
That wretched little quivering single string
Which yielded not, but held her to the place
Where now for five triumphant years had slept
The flameless dust of Argan.—He was gone,
The good man she had married long ago;
And she had lived, and living she had learned,
And surely there was nothing to regret:
Much happiness had been for each of them,
And they had been like lovers to the last:
And after that, and long, long after that,
Her tears had washed out more of widowed grief
Than smiles had ever told of other joy.—
But could she, looking back, find anything
That should return to her in the new time,
And with relentless magic uncreate
280
This temple of new love where she had thrown
Dead sorrow on the altar of new life?
Only one thing, only one thread was left;
When she broke that, when reason snapped it off,
And once for all, baffled, the grave let go
The trivial hideous hold it had on her,—
Then she were free, free to be what she would,
Free to be what she was.—And yet she stayed,
Leashed, as it were, and with a cobweb strand,
Close to a tombstone—maybe to starve there.
But why to starve? And why stay there at all?
Why not make one good leap and then be done
Forever and at once with Argan’s ghost
And all such outworn churchyard servitude?
For it was Argan’s ghost that held the string,
And her sick fancy that held Argan’s ghost—
Held it and pitied it. She laughed, almost,
There for the moment; but her strained eyes filled
With tears, and she was angry for those tears—
Angry at first, then proud, then sorry for them.
So she grew calm; and after a vain chase
For thoughts more vain, she questioned of herself
What measure of primeval doubts and fears
Were still to be gone through that she might win
Persuasion of her strength and of herself
To be what she could see that she must be,
No matter where the ghost was.—And the more
She lived, the more she came to recognize
That something out of her thrilled ignorance
Was luminously, proudly being born,
And thereby proving, thought by forward thought,
The prowess of its image; and she learned
At length to look right on to the long days
Before her without fearing. She could watch
The coming course of them as if they were
No more than birds, that slowly, silently,
And irretrievably should wing themselves
Uncounted out of sight. And when he came
Again, she might be free—she would be free.
Else, when he looked at her she must look down,
Defeated, and malignly dispossessed
281
Of what was hers to prove and in the proving
Wisely to consecrate. And if the plague
Of that perverse defeat should come to be—
If at that sickening end she were to find
Herself to be the same poor prisoner
That he had found at first—then she must lose
All sight and sound of him, she must abjure
All possible thought of him; for he would go
So far and for so long from her that love—
Yes, even a love like his, exiled enough,
Might for another’s touch be born again—
Born to be lost and starved for and not found;
Or, at the next, the second wretchedest,
It might go mutely flickering down and out,
And on some incomplete and piteous day,
Some perilous day to come, she might at last
Learn, with a noxious freedom, what it is
To be at peace with ghosts. Then were the blow
Thrice deadlier than any kind of death
Could ever be: to know that she had won
The truth too late—there were the dregs indeed
Of wisdom, and of love the final thrust
Unmerciful; and there where now did lie
So plain before her the straight radiance
Of what was her appointed way to take,
Were only the bleak ruts of an old road
That stretched ahead and faded and lay far
Through deserts of unconscionable years.
But vampire thoughts like these confessed the doubt
That love denied; and once, if never again,
They should be turned away. They might come back—
More craftily, perchance, they might come back—
And with a spirit-thirst insatiable
Finish the strength of her; but now, today
She would have none of them. She knew that love
Was true, that he was true, that she was true;
And should a death-bed snare that she had made
So long ago be stretched inexorably
Through all her life, only to be unspun
With her last breathing? And were bats and threads,
Accursedly devised with watered gules,
282
To be Love’s heraldry? What were it worth
To live and to find out that life were life
But for an unrequited incubus
Of outlawed shame that would not be thrown down
Till she had thrown down fear and overcome
The woman that was yet so much of her
That she might yet go mad? What were it worth
To live, to linger, and to be condemned
In her submission to a common thought
That clogged itself and made of its first faith
Its last impediment? What augured it,
Now in this quick beginning of new life,
To clutch the sunlight and be feeling back,
Back with a scared fantastic fearfulness,
To touch, not knowing why, the vexed-up ghost
Of what was gone?
Yes, there was Argan’s face,
Pallid and pinched and ruinously marked
With big pathetic bones; there were his eyes,
Quiet and large, fixed wistfully on hers;
And there, close-pressed again within her own,
Quivered his cold thin fingers. And, ah! yes,
There were the words, those dying words again,
And hers that answered when she promised him.
Promised him? … yes. And had she known the truth
Of what she felt that he should ask her that,
And had she known the love that was to be,
God knew that she could not have told him then.
But then she knew it not, nor thought of it;
There was no need of it; nor was there need
Of any problematical support
Whereto to cling while she convinced herself
That love’s intuitive utility,
Inexorably merciful, had proved
That what was human was unpermanent
And what was flesh was ashes. She had told
Him then that she would love no other man,
That there was not another man on earth
Whom she could ever love, or who could make
So much as a love thought go through her brain;
And he had smiled. And just before he died
283
His lips had made as if to say something—
Something that passed unwhispered with his breath,
Out of her reach, out of all quest of it.
And then, could she have known enough to know
The meaning of her grief, the folly of it,
The faithlessness and the proud anguish of it,
There might be now no threads to punish her,
No vampire thoughts to suck the coward blood,
The life, the very soul of her.
Yes, Yes,
They might come back.… But why should they come back?
Why was it she had suffered? Why had she
Struggled and grown these years to demonstrate
That close without those hovering clouds of gloom
And through them here and there forever gleamed
The Light itself, the life, the love, the glory,
Which was of its own radiance good proof
That all the rest was darkness and blind sight?
And who was she? The woman she had known—
The woman she had petted and called “I”—
The woman she had pitied, and at last
Commiserated for the most abject
And persecuted of all womankind,—
Could it be she that had sought out the way
To measure and thereby to quench in her
The woman’s fear—the fear of her not fearing?
A nervous little laugh that lost itself,
Like logic in a dream, fluttered her thoughts
An instant there that ever she should ask
What she might then have told so easily—
So easily that Annandale had frowned,
Had he been given wholly to be told
The truth of what had never been before
So passionately, so inevitably
Confessed.
For she could see from where she sat
The sheets that he had bound up like a book
And covered with red leather; and her eyes
Could see between the pages of the book,
Though her eyes, like them, were closed. And she could read
284
As well as if she had them in her hand,
What he had written on them long ago,—
Six years ago, when he was waiting for her.
She might as well have said that she could see
The man himself, as once he would have looked
Had she been there to watch him while he wrote
Those words, and all for her.… For her whose face
Had flashed itself, prophetic and unseen,
But not unspirited, between the life
That would have been without her and the life
That he had gathered up like frozen roots
Out of a grave-clod lying at his feet,
Unconsciously, and as unconsciously
Transplanted and revived. He did not know
The kind of life that he had found, nor did
He doubt, not knowing it; but well he knew
That it was life—new life, and that the old
Might then with unimprisoned wings go free,
Onward and all along to its own light,
Through the appointed shadow.
While she gazed
Upon it there she felt within herself
The growing of a newer consciousness—
The pride of something fairer than her first
Outclamoring of interdicted thought
Had ever quite foretold; and all at once
There quivered and requivered through her flesh,
Like music, like the sound of an old song,
Triumphant, love-remembered murmurings
Of what for passion’s innocence had been
Too mightily, too perilously hers,
Ever to be reclaimed and realized
Until today. Today she could throw off
The burden that had held her down so long,
And she could stand upright, and she could see
The way to take, with eyes that had in them
No gleam but of the spirit. Day or night,
No matter; she could see what was to see—
All that had been till now shut out from her,
The service, the fulfillment, and the truth,
And thus the cruel wiseness of it all.
285
So Damaris, more like than anything
To one long prisoned in a twilight cave
With hovering bats for all companionship,
And after time set free to fight the sun,
Laughed out, so glad she was to recognize
The test of what had been, through all her folly,
The courage of her conscience; for she knew,
Now on a late-flushed autumn afternoon
That else had been too bodeful of dead things
To be endured with aught but the same old
Inert, self-contradicted martyrdom
Which she had known so long, that she could look
Right forward through the years, nor any more
Shrink with a cringing prescience to behold
The glitter of dead summer on the grass,
Or the brown-glimmered crimson of still trees
Across the intervale where flashed along,
Black-silvered, the cold river. She had found,
As if by some transcendent freakishness
Of reason, the glad life that she had sought
Where naught but obvious clouds could ever be—
Clouds to put out the sunlight from her eyes,
And to put out the love-light from her soul.
But they were gone—now they were all gone;
And with a whimsied pathos, like the mist
Of grief that clings to new-found happiness
Hard wrought, she might have pity for the small
Defeated quest of them that brushed her sight
Like flying lint—lint that had once been thread.…
Yes, like an anodyne, the voice of him,
There were the words that he had made for her,
For her alone. The more she thought of them
The more she lived them, and the more she knew
The life-grip and the pulse of warm strength in them.
They were the first and last of words to her,
And there was in them a far questioning
That had for long been variously at work,
Divinely and elusively at work,
With her, and with the grace that had been hers;
They were eternal words, and they diffused
A flame of meaning that men’s lexicons
286
Had never kindled; they were choral words
That harmonized with love’s enduring chords
Like wisdom with release; triumphant words
That rang like elemental orisons
Through ages out of ages; words that fed
Love’s hunger in the spirit; words that smote;
Thrilled words that echoed, and barbed words that clung;—
And every one of them was like a friend
Whose obstinate fidelity, well tried,
Had found at last and irresistibly
The way to her close conscience, and thereby
Revealed the unsubstantial Nemesis
That she had clutched and shuddered at so long;
And every one of them was like a real
And ringing voice, clear toned and absolute,
But of a love-subdued authority
That uttered thrice the plain significance
Of what had else been generously vague
And indolently true. It may have been
The triumph and the magic of the soul,
Unspeakably revealed, that finally
Had reconciled the grim probationing
Of wisdom with unalterable faith,
But she could feel—not knowing what it was,
For the sheer freedom of it—a new joy
That humanized the latent wizardry
Of his prophetic voice and put for it
The man within the music.
So it came
To pass, like many a long-compelled emprise
That with its first accomplishment almost
Annihilates its own severity,
That she could find, whenever she might look,
The certified achievement of a love
That had endured, self-guarded and supreme,
To the glad end of all that wavering;
And she could see that now the flickering world
Of autumn was awake with sudden bloom,
New-born, perforce, of a slow bourgeoning.
And she had found what more than half had been
The grave-deluded, flesh-bewildered fear
287
Which men and women struggle to call faith,
To be the paid progression to an end
Whereat she knew the foresight and the strength
To glorify the gift of what was hers,
To vindicate the truth of what she was.
And had it come to her so suddenly?
There was a pity and a weariness
In asking that, and a great needlessness;
For now there were no wretched quivering strings
That held her to the churchyard any more:
There were no thoughts that flapped themselves like bats
Around her any more. The shield of love
Was clean, and she had paid enough to learn
How it had always been so. And the truth,
Like silence after some far victory,
Had come to her, and she had found it out
As if it were a vision, a thing born
So suddenly!—just as a flower is born,
Or as a world is born—so suddenly.
~ Edwin Arlington Robinson
335:The Prophecy Of Famine
A SCOTS PASTORAL INSCRIBED TO JOHN WILKES, ESQ.
Nos patriam fugimus.--VIRGIL.
When Cupid first instructs his darts to fly
From the sly corner of some cook-maid's eye,
The stripling raw, just enter'd in his teens,
Receives the wound, and wonders what it means;
His heart, like dripping, melts, and new desire
Within him stirs, each time she stirs the fire;
Trembling and blushing, he the fair one views,
And fain would speak, but can't--without a Muse.
So to the sacred mount he takes his way,
Prunes his young wings, and tunes his infant lay,
His oaten reed to rural ditties frames,
To flocks and rocks, to hills and rills, proclaims,
In simplest notes, and all unpolish'd strains,
The loves of nymphs, and eke the loves of swains.
Clad, as your nymphs were always clad of yore,
In rustic weeds--a cook-maid now no more-Beneath an aged oak Lardella lies-Green moss her couch, her canopy the skies.
From aromatic shrubs the roguish gale
Steals young perfumes and wafts them through the vale.
The youth, turn'd swain, and skill'd in rustic lays,
Fast by her side his amorous descant plays.
Herds low, flocks bleat, pies chatter, ravens scream,
And the full chorus dies a-down the stream:
The streams, with music freighted, as they pass
Present the fair Lardella with a glass;
And Zephyr, to complete the love-sick plan,
Waves his light wings, and serves her for a fan.
But when maturer Judgment takes the lead,
These childish toys on Reason's altar bleed;
Form'd after some great man, whose name breeds awe,
Whose every sentence Fashion makes a law;
Who on mere credit his vain trophies rears,
And founds his merit on our servile fears;
Then we discard the workings of the heart,
244
And nature's banish'd by mechanic art;
Then, deeply read, our reading must be shown;
Vain is that knowledge which remains unknown:
Then Ostentation marches to our aid,
And letter'd Pride stalks forth in full parade;
Beneath their care behold the work refine,
Pointed each sentence, polish'd every line;
Trifles are dignified, and taught to wear
The robes of ancients with a modern air;
Nonsense with classic ornaments is graced,
And passes current with the stamp of taste.
Then the rude Theocrite is ransack'd o'er,
And courtly Maro call'd from Mincio's shore;
Sicilian Muses on our mountains roam,
Easy and free as if they were at home;
Nymphs, naiads, nereids, dryads, satyrs, fauns,
Sport in our floods, and trip it o'er our lawns;
Flowers which once flourish'd fair in Greece and Rome,
More fair revive in England's meads to bloom;
Skies without cloud, exotic suns adorn,
And roses blush, but blush without a thorn;
Landscapes, unknown to dowdy Nature, rise,
And new creations strike our wondering eyes.
For bards like these, who neither sing nor say,
Grave without thought, and without feeling gay,
Whose numbers in one even tenor flow,
Attuned to pleasure, and attuned to woe;
Who, if plain Common-Sense her visit pays,
And mars one couplet in their happy lays,
As at some ghost affrighted, start and stare,
And ask the meaning of her coming there:
For bards like these a wreath shall Mason bring,
Lined with the softest down of Folly's wing;
In Love's pagoda shall they ever doze,
And Gisbal kindly rock them to repose;
My Lord ----, to letters as to faith most true-At once their patron and example too-Shall quaintly fashion his love-labour'd dreams,
Sigh with sad winds, and weep with weeping streams;
Curious in grief (for real grief, we know,
Is curious to dress up the tale of woe),
From the green umbrage of some Druid's seat
245
Shall his own works, in his own way, repeat.
Me, whom no Muse of heavenly birth inspires,
No judgment tempers when rash genius fires;
Who boast no merit but mere knack of rhyme,
Short gleams of sense, and satire out of time;
Who cannot follow where trim fancy leads,
By prattling streams, o'er flower-empurpled meads;
Who often, but without success, have pray'd
For apt Alliteration's artful aid;
Who would, but cannot, with a master's skill,
Coin fine new epithets, which mean no ill:
Me, thus uncouth, thus every way unfit
For pacing poesy, and ambling wit,
Taste with contempt beholds, nor deigns to place
Amongst the lowest of her favour'd race.
Thou, Nature, art my goddess--to thy law
Myself I dedicate! Hence, slavish awe!
Which bends to fashion, and obeys the rules
Imposed at first, and since observed by fools;
Hence those vile tricks which mar fair Nature's hue,
And bring the sober matron forth to view,
With all that artificial tawdry glare
Which virtue scorns, and none but strumpets wear!
Sick of those pomps, those vanities, that waste
Of toil, which critics now mistake for taste;
Of false refinements sick, and labour'd ease,
Which art, too thinly veil'd, forbids to please;
By Nature's charms (inglorious truth!) subdued,
However plain her dress, and 'haviour rude,
To northern climes my happier course I steer,
Climes where the goddess reigns throughout the year;
Where, undisturb'd by Art's rebellious plan,
She rules the loyal laird, and faithful clan.
To that rare soil, where virtues clustering grow,
What mighty blessings doth not England owe!
What waggon-loads of courage, wealth, and sense,
Doth each revolving day import from thence?
To us she gives, disinterested friend!
Faith without fraud, and Stuarts without end.
When we prosperity's rich trappings wear,
Come not her generous sons and take a share?
And if, by some disastrous turn of fate,
246
Change should ensue, and ruin seize the state,
Shall we not find, safe in that hallow'd ground,
Such refuge as the holy martyr found?
Nor less our debt in science, though denied
By the weak slaves of prejudice and pride.
Thence came the Ramsays, names of worthy note,
Of whom one paints, as well as t'other wrote;
Thence, Home, disbanded from the sons of prayer
For loving plays, though no dull Dean was there;
Thence issued forth, at great Macpherson's call,
That old, new, epic pastoral, Fingal;
Thence Malloch, friend alike to Church and State,
Of Christ and Liberty, by grateful Fate
Raised to rewards, which, in a pious reign,
All daring infidels should seek in vain;
Thence simple bards, by simple prudence taught,
To this wise town by simple patrons brought,
In simple manner utter simple lays,
And take, with simple pensions, simple praise.
Waft me, some Muse, to Tweed's inspiring stream,
Where all the little Loves and Graces dream;
Where, slowly winding, the dull waters creep,
And seem themselves to own the power of sleep;
Where on the surface lead, like feathers, swims;
There let me bathe my yet unhallow'd limbs,
As once a Syrian bathed in Jordan's flood-Wash off my native stains, correct that blood
Which mutinies at call of English pride,
And, deaf to prudence, rolls a patriot tide.
From solemn thought which overhangs the brow
Of patriot care, when things are--God knows how;
From nice trim points, where Honour, slave to Rule,
In compliment to Folly, plays the fool;
From those gay scenes, where Mirth exalts his power,
And easy Humour wings the laughing hour;
From those soft better moments, when desire
Beats high, and all the world of man's on fire;
When mutual ardours of the melting fair
More than repay us for whole years of care,
At Friendship's summons will my Wilkes retreat,
And see, once seen before, that ancient seat,
247
That ancient seat, where majesty display'd
Her ensigns, long before the world was made!
Mean narrow maxims, which enslave mankind,
Ne'er from its bias warp thy settled mind:
Not duped by party, nor opinion's slave,
Those faculties which bounteous nature gave,
Thy honest spirit into practice brings,
Nor courts the smile, nor dreads the frown of kings.
Let rude licentious Englishmen comply
With tumult's voice, and curse--they know not why;
Unwilling to condemn, thy soul disdains
To wear vile faction's arbitrary chains,
And strictly weighs, in apprehension clear,
Things as they are, and not as they appear.
With thee good humour tempers lively wit;
Enthroned with Judgment, Candour loves to sit;
And nature gave thee, open to distress,
A heart to pity, and a hand to bless.
Oft have I heard thee mourn the wretched lot
Of the poor, mean, despised, insulted Scot,
Who, might calm reason credit idle tales,
By rancour forged where prejudice prevails,
Or starves at home, or practises, through fear
Of starving, arts which damn all conscience here.
When scribblers, to the charge by interest led,
The fierce North Briton foaming at their head,
Pour forth invectives, deaf to Candour's call,
And, injured by one alien, rail at all;
On northern Pisgah when they take their stand,
To mark the weakness of that Holy Land,
With needless truths their libels to adorn,
And hang a nation up to public scorn,
Thy generous soul condemns the frantic rage,
And hates the faithful, but ill-natured page.
The Scots are poor, cries surly English pride;
True is the charge, nor by themselves denied.
Are they not, then, in strictest reason clear,
Who wisely come to mend their fortunes here?
If, by low supple arts successful grown,
They sapp'd our vigour to increase their own;
If, mean in want, and insolent in power,
They only fawn'd more surely to devour,
248
Roused by such wrongs, should Reason take alarm,
And e'en the Muse for public safety arm?
But if they own ingenuous virtue's sway,
And follow where true honour points the way,
If they revere the hand by which they're fed,
And bless the donors for their daily bread,
Or, by vast debts of higher import bound,
Are always humble, always grateful found:
If they, directed by Paul's holy pen,
Become discreetly all things to all men,
That all men may become all things to them,
Envy may hate, but Justice can't condemn.
Into our places, states, and beds they creep;
They've sense to get, what we want sense to keep.
Once--be the hour accursed, accursed the place!-I ventured to blaspheme the chosen race.
Into those traps, which men call'd patriots laid,
By specious arts unwarily betray'd,
Madly I leagued against that sacred earth,
Vile parricide! which gave a parent birth:
But shall I meanly error's path pursue,
When heavenly truth presents her friendly clue?
Once plunged in ill, shall I go farther in?
To make the oath, was rash: to keep it, sin.
Backward I tread the paths I trod before,
And calm reflection hates what passion swore.
Converted, (blessed are the souls which know
Those pleasures which from true conversion flow,
Whether to reason, who now rules my breast,
Or to pure faith, like Lyttelton and West),
Past crimes to expiate, be my present aim
To raise new trophies to the Scottish name;
To make (what can the proudest Muse do more?)
E'en faction's sons her brighter worth adore;
To make her glories, stamp'd with honest rhymes,
In fullest tide roll down to latest times.
Presumptuous wretch! and shall a Muse like thine,
An English Muse, the meanest of the Nine,
Attempt a theme like this? Can her weak strain
Expect indulgence from the mighty Thane?
Should he from toils of government retire,
And for a moment fan the poet's fire;
249
Should he, of sciences the moral friend,
Each curious, each important search suspend,
Leave unassisted Hill of herbs to tell,
And all the wonders of a cockleshell;
Having the Lord's good grace before his eyes,
Would not the Home step forth and gain the prize?
Or if this wreath of honour might adorn
The humble brows of one in England born,
Presumptuous still thy daring must appear;
Vain all thy towering hopes whilst I am here.
Thus spake a form, by silken smile and tone,
Dull and unvaried, for the Laureate known,
Folly's chief friend, Decorum's eldest son,
In every party found, and yet of none.
This airy substance, this substantial shade,
Abash'd I heard, and with respect obey'd.
From themes too lofty for a bard so mean,
Discretion beckons to an humbler scene;
The restless fever of ambition laid,
Calm I retire, and seek the sylvan shade.
Now be the Muse disrobed of all her pride,
Be all the glare of verse by truth supplied.
And if plain nature pours a simple strain,
Which Bute may praise, and Ossian not disdain,-Ossian, sublimest, simplest bard of all,
Whom English infidels Macpherson call,-Then round my head shall Honour's ensigns wave,
And pensions mark me for a willing slave.
Two boys, whose birth, beyond all question, springs
From great and glorious, though forgotten, kings-Shepherds, of Scottish lineage, born and bred
On the same bleak and barren mountain's head;
By niggard nature doom'd on the same rocks
To spin out life, and starve themselves and flocks;
Fresh as the morning, which, enrobed in mist,
The mountain's top with usual dulness kiss'd,
Jockey and Sawney to their labours rose;
Soon clad, I ween, where nature needs no clothes;
Where, from their youth inured to winter-skies,
Dress and her vain refinements they despise.
Jockey, whose manly high-boned cheeks to crown,
With freckles spotted, flamed the golden down,
250
With meikle art could on the bagpipes play,
E'en from the rising to the setting day;
Sawney as long without remorse could bawl
Home's madrigals, and ditties from Fingal:
Oft at his strains, all natural though rude,
The Highland lass forgot her want of food;
And, whilst she scratch'd her lover into rest,
Sunk pleased, though hungry, on her Sawney's breast.
Far as the eye could reach, no tree was seen;
Earth, clad in russet, scorn'd the lively green:
The plague of locusts they secure defy,
For in three hours a grasshopper must die:
No living thing, whate'er its food, feasts there,
But the cameleon, who can feast on air.
No birds, except as birds of passage, flew;
No bee was known to hum, no dove to coo:
No streams, as amber smooth, as amber clear,
Were seen to glide, or heard to warble here:
Rebellion's spring, which through the country ran,
Furnish'd, with bitter draughts, the steady clan:
No flowers embalm'd the air, but one white rose,
Which on the tenth of June by instinct blows;
By instinct blows at morn, and when the shades
Of drizzly eve prevail, by instinct fades.
One, and but one poor solitary cave,
Too sparing of her favours, nature gave;
That one alone (hard tax on Scottish pride!)
Shelter at once for man and beast supplied.
There snares without, entangling briars spread,
And thistles, arm'd against the invader's head,
Stood in close ranks, all entrance to oppose;
Thistles now held more precious than the rose.
All creatures which, on nature's earliest plan,
Were formed to loathe and to be loathed by man,
Which owed their birth to nastiness and spite,
Deadly to touch, and hateful to the sight;
Creatures which, when admitted in the ark,
Their saviour shunn'd, and rankled in the dark,
Found place within: marking her noisome road
With poison's trail, here crawl'd the bloated toad;
There webs were spread of more than common size,
And half-starved spiders prey'd on half-starved flies;
251
In quest of food, efts strove in vain to crawl;
Slugs, pinch'd with hunger, smear'd the slimy wall:
The cave around with hissing serpents rung;
On the damp roof unhealthy vapour hung;
And Famine, by her children always known,
As proud as poor, here fix'd her native throne.
Here, for the sullen sky was overcast,
And summer shrunk beneath a wintry blast-A native blast, which, arm'd with hail and rain,
Beat unrelenting on the naked swain,
The boys for shelter made; behind, the sheep,
Of which those shepherds every day _take keep_,
Sickly crept on, and, with complainings rude,
On nature seem'd to call, and bleat for food.
JOCKEY.
_Sith_ to this cave by tempest we're confined,
And within _ken_ our flocks, under the wind,
Safe from the pelting of this perilous storm,
Are laid _emong_ yon thistles, dry and warm,
What, Sawney, if by shepherds' art we try
To mock the rigour of this cruel sky?
What if we tune some merry roundelay?
Well dost thou sing, nor ill doth Jockey play.
SAWNEY.
Ah! Jockey, ill advisest thou, _I wis_,
To think of songs at such a time as this:
Sooner shall herbage crown these barren rocks,
Sooner shall fleeces clothe these ragged flocks,
Sooner shall want seize shepherds of the south,
And we forget to live from hand to mouth,
Than Sawney, out of season, shall impart
The songs of gladness with an aching heart.
JOCKEY.
Still have I known thee for a silly swain;
Of things past help, what boots it to complain?
Nothing but mirth can conquer fortune's spite;
252
No sky is heavy, if the heart be light:
Patience is sorrow's salve: what can't be cured,
So Donald right areads, must be endured.
SAWNEY.
Full silly swain, _I wot_, is Jockey now.
How didst thou bear thy Maggy's falsehood? How,
When with a foreign loon she stole away,
Didst thou forswear thy pipe and shepherd's lay?
Where was thy boasted wisdom then, when I
Applied those proverbs which you now apply?
JOCKEY.
Oh, she was _bonny_! All the Highlands round
Was there a rival to my Maggy found?
More precious (though that precious is to all)
Than the rare medicine which we Brimstone call,
Or that choice plant, so grateful to the nose,
Which, in I know not what far country, grows,
Was Maggy unto me: dear do I rue
A lass so fair should ever prove untrue.
SAWNEY.
Whether with pipe or song to charm the ear,
Through all the land did Jamie find a peer?
Cursed be that year by every honest Scot,
And in the shepherd's calendar forgot,
That fatal year when Jamie, hapless swain!
In evil hour forsook the peaceful plain:
Jamie, when our young laird discreetly fled,
Was seized, and hang'd till he was dead, dead, dead.
JOCKEY.
Full sorely may we all lament that day,
For all were losers in the deadly fray.
Five brothers had I on the Scottish plains,
Well dost thou know were none more hopeful swains;
Five brothers there I lost, in manhood's pride;
253
Two in the field, and three on gibbets died.
Ah, silly swains! to follow war's alarms;
Ah! what hath shepherds' life to do with arms?
SAWNEY.
Mention it not--there saw I strangers clad
In all the honours of our ravish'd plaid;
Saw the Ferrara, too, our nation's pride,
Unwilling grace the awkward victor's side.
There fell our choicest youth, and from that day
_Mote_ never Sawney tune the merry lay;
Bless'd those which fell! cursed those which still survive,
To mourn Fifteen renew'd in Forty-five!
Thus plain'd the boys, when, from her throne of turf,
With boils emboss'd, and overgrown with scurf,
Vile humours which, in life's corrupted well
Mix'd at the birth, not abstinence could quell,
Pale Famine rear'd the head; her eager eyes,
Where hunger e'en to madness seem'd to rise,
Speaking aloud her throes and pangs of heart,
Strain'd to get loose, and from their orbs to start:
Her hollow cheeks were each a deep-sunk cell,
Where wretchedness and horror loved to dwell;
With double rows of useless teeth supplied,
Her mouth, from ear to ear, extended wide,
Which, when for want of food her entrails pined,
She oped, and, cursing, swallow'd nought but wind:
All shrivell'd was her skin; and here and there,
Making their way by force, her bones lay bare:
Such filthy sight to hide from human view,
O'er her foul limbs a tatter'd plaid she threw.
Cease, cried the goddess, cease, despairing swains!
And from a parent hear what Jove ordains.
Pent in this barren corner of the isle,
Where partial fortune never deign'd to smile;
Like nature's bastards, reaping for our share
What was rejected by the lawful heir;
Unknown amongst the nations of the earth,
Or only known to raise contempt and mirth;
Long free, because the race of Roman braves
254
Thought it not worth their while to make us slaves;
Then into bondage by that nation brought,
Whose ruin we for ages vainly sought;
Whom still with unslaked hate we view, and still,
The power of mischief lost, retain the will;
Consider'd as the refuse of mankind,
A mass till the last moment left behind,
Which frugal nature doubted, as it lay,
Whether to stamp with life or throw away;
Which, form'd in haste, was planted in this nook,
But never enter'd in Creation's book;
Branded as traitors who, for love of gold,
Would sell their God, as once their king they sold,-Long have we borne this mighty weight of ill,
These vile injurious taunts, and bear them still.
But times of happier note are now at hand,
And the full promise of a better land:
There, like the sons of Israel, having trod,
For the fix'd term of years ordain'd by God,
A barren desert, we shall seize rich plains,
Where milk with honey flows, and plenty reigns:
With some few natives join'd, some pliant few,
Who worship Interest and our track pursue;
There shall we, though the wretched people grieve,
Ravage at large, nor ask the owners' leave.
For us, the earth shall bring forth her increase;
For us, the flocks shall wear a golden fleece;
Fat beeves shall yield us dainties not our own,
And the grape bleed a nectar yet unknown:
For our advantage shall their harvests grow,
And Scotsmen reap what they disdain'd to sow:
For us, the sun shall climb the eastern hill;
For us, the rain shall fall, the dew distil.
When to our wishes Nature cannot rise,
Art shall be task'd to grant us fresh supplies;
His brawny arm shall drudging Labour strain,
And for our pleasure suffer daily pain:
Trade shall for us exert her utmost powers,
Hers all the toil, and all the profit ours:
For us, the oak shall from his native steep
Descend, and fearless travel through the deep:
The sail of commerce, for our use unfurl'd,
255
Shall waft the treasures of each distant world:
For us, sublimer heights shall science reach;
For us, their statesman plot, their churchmen preach:
Their noblest limbs of council we'll disjoint,
And, mocking, new ones of our own appoint.
Devouring War, imprison'd in the North,
Shall, at our call, in horrid pomp break forth,
And when, his chariot-wheels with thunder hung,
Fell Discord braying with her brazen tongue,
Death in the van, with Anger, Hate, and Fear,
And Desolation stalking in the rear,
Revenge, by Justice guided, in his train,
He drives impetuous o'er the trembling plain,
Shall, at our bidding, quit his lawful prey,
And to meek, gentle, generous Peace give way.
Think not, my sons, that this so bless'd estate
Stands at a distance on the roll of fate;
Already big with hopes of future sway,
E'en from this cave I scent my destined prey.
Think not that this dominion o'er a race,
Whose former deeds shall time's last annals grace,
In the rough face of peril must be sought,
And with the lives of thousands dearly bought:
No--fool'd by cunning, by that happy art
Which laughs to scorn the blundering hero's heart,
Into the snare shall our kind neighbours fall
With open eyes, and fondly give us all.
When Rome, to prop her sinking empire, bore
Their choicest levies to a foreign shore,
What if we seized, like a destroying flood,
Their widow'd plains, and fill'd the realm with blood;
Gave an unbounded loose to manly rage,
And, scorning mercy, spared nor sex, nor age?
When, for our interest too mighty grown,
Monarchs of warlike bent possessed the throne,
What if we strove divisions to foment,
And spread the flames of civil discontent,
Assisted those who 'gainst their king made head,
And gave the traitors refuge when they fled?
When restless Glory bade her sons advance,
And pitch'd her standard in the fields of France,
What if, disdaining oaths,--an empty sound,
256
By which our nation never shall be bound,-Bravely we taught unmuzzled War to roam,
Through the weak land, and brought cheap laurels home?
When the bold traitors, leagued for the defence
Of law, religion, liberty, and sense,
When they against their lawful monarch rose,
And dared the Lord's anointed to oppose,
What if we still revered the banish'd race,
And strove the royal vagrants to replace;
With fierce rebellions shook the unsettled state,
And greatly dared, though cross'd by partial fate?
These facts, which might, where wisdom held the sway,
Awake the very stones to bar our way,
There shall be nothing, nor one trace remain
In the dull region of an English brain;
Bless'd with that faith which mountains can remove,
First they shall dupes, next saints, last martyrs, prove.
Already is this game of Fate begun
Under the sanction of my darling son;
That son, of nature royal as his name,
Is destined to redeem our race from shame:
His boundless power, beyond example great,
Shall make the rough way smooth, the crooked straight;
Shall for our ease the raging floods restrain,
And sink the mountain level to the plain.
Discord, whom in a cavern under ground
With massy fetters their late patriot bound;
Where her own flesh the furious hag might tear,
And vent her curses to the vacant air;
Where, that she never might be heard of more,
He planted Loyalty to guard the door,
For better purpose shall our chief release,
Disguise her for a time, and call her Peace.
Lured by that name--fine engine of deceit!-Shall the weak English help themselves to cheat;
To gain our love, with honours shall they grace
The old adherents of the Stuart race,
Who, pointed out no matter by what name,
Tories or Jacobites, are still the same;
To soothe our rage the temporising brood
Shall break the ties of truth and gratitude,
Against their saviour venom'd falsehoods frame,
257
And brand with calumny their William's name:
To win our grace, (rare argument of wit!)
To our untainted faith shall they commit
(Our faith, which, in extremest perils tried,
Disdain'd, and still disdains, to change her side)
That sacred Majesty they all approve,
Who most enjoys, and best deserves their love.
~ Charles Churchill
336:Swift as a spirit hastening to his task
Of glory & of good, the Sun sprang forth
Rejoicing in his splendour, & the mask
Of darkness fell from the awakened Earth.
The smokeless altars of the mountain snows
Flamed above crimson clouds, & at the birth
Of light, the Ocean's orison arose
To which the birds tempered their matin lay,
All flowers in field or forest which unclose
Their trembling eyelids to the kiss of day,
Swinging their censers in the element,
With orient incense lit by the new ray
Burned slow & inconsumably, & sent
Their odorous sighs up to the smiling air,
And in succession due, did Continent,
Isle, Ocean, & all things that in them wear
The form & character of mortal mould
Rise as the Sun their father rose, to bear
Their portion of the toil which he of old
Took as his own & then imposed on them;
But I, whom thoughts which must remain untold
Had kept as wakeful as the stars that gem
The cone of night, now they were laid asleep,
Stretched my faint limbs beneath the hoary stem
Which an old chestnut flung athwart the steep
Of a green Apennine: before me fled
The night; behind me rose the day; the Deep
Was at my feet, & Heaven above my head
When a strange trance over my fancy grew
Which was not slumber, for the shade it spread
Was so transparent that the scene came through
As clear as when a veil of light is drawn
O'er evening hills they glimmer; and I knew
That I had felt the freshness of that dawn,
Bathed in the same cold dew my brow & hair
And sate as thus upon that slope of lawn
Under the self same bough, & heard as there
The birds, the fountains & the Ocean hold
Sweet talk in music through the enamoured air.
And then a Vision on my brain was rolled.

As in that trance of wondrous thought I lay
This was the tenour of my waking dream.
Methought I sate beside a public way
Thick strewn with summer dust, & a great stream
Of people there was hurrying to & fro
Numerous as gnats upon the evening gleam,
All hastening onward, yet none seemed to know
Whither he went, or whence he came, or why
He made one of the multitude, yet so
Was borne amid the crowd as through the sky
One of the million leaves of summer's bier.
Old age & youth, manhood & infancy,
Mixed in one mighty torrent did appear,
Some flying from the thing they feared & some
Seeking the object of another's fear,
And others as with steps towards the tomb
Pored on the trodden worms that crawled beneath,
And others mournfully within the gloom
Of their own shadow walked, and called it death
  And some fled from it as it were a ghost,
Half fainting in the affliction of vain breath.
But more with motions which each other crost
Pursued or shunned the shadows the clouds threw
Or birds within the noonday ether lost,
Upon that path where flowers never grew;
And weary with vain toil & faint for thirst
Heard not the fountains whose melodious dew
Out of their mossy cells forever burst
Nor felt the breeze which from the forest told
Of grassy paths, & wood lawns interspersed
With overarching elms & caverns cold,
And violet banks where sweet dreams brood, but they
Pursued their serious folly as of old.
And as I gazed methought that in the way
The throng grew wilder, as the woods of June
When the South wind shakes the extinguished day.
And a cold glare, intenser than the noon
But icy cold, obscured with [[blank]] light
The Sun as he the stars. Like the young moon
When on the sunlit limits of the night
Her white shell trembles amid crimson air
And whilst the sleeping tempest gathers might
Doth, as a herald of its coming, bear
The ghost of her dead Mother, whose dim form
Bends in dark ether from her infant's chair,
So came a chariot on the silent storm
Of its own rushing splendour, and a Shape
So sate within as one whom years deform
Beneath a dusky hood & double cape
Crouching within the shadow of a tomb,
And o'er what seemed the head, a cloud like crape,
Was bent a dun & faint etherial gloom
Tempering the light; upon the chariot's beam
A Janus-visaged Shadow did assume
The guidance of that wonder-winged team.
The Shapes which drew it in thick lightnings
Were lost: I heard alone on the air's soft stream
The music of their ever moving wings.
All the four faces of that charioteer
Had their eyes banded . . . little profit brings
Speed in the van & blindness in the rear,
Nor then avail the beams that quench the Sun
Or that his banded eyes could pierce the sphere
Of all that is, has been, or will be done.
So ill was the car guided, but it past
With solemn speed majestically on . . .
The crowd gave way, & I arose aghast,
Or seemed to rise, so mighty was the trance,
And saw like clouds upon the thunder blast
The million with fierce song and maniac dance
Raging around; such seemed the jubilee
As when to greet some conqueror's advance
Imperial Rome poured forth her living sea
From senatehouse & prison & theatre
When Freedom left those who upon the free
Had bound a yoke which soon they stooped to bear.
Nor wanted here the true similitude
Of a triumphal pageant, for where'er
The chariot rolled a captive multitude
Was driven; althose who had grown old in power
Or misery,all who have their age subdued,
By action or by suffering, and whose hour
Was drained to its last sand in weal or woe,
So that the trunk survived both fruit & flower;
All those whose fame or infamy must grow
Till the great winter lay the form & name
Of their own earth with them forever low,
All but the sacred few who could not tame
Their spirits to the Conqueror, but as soon
As they had touched the world with living flame
Fled back like eagles to their native noon,
Of those who put aside the diadem
Of earthly thrones or gems, till the last one
Were there;for they of Athens & Jerusalem
Were neither mid the mighty captives seen
Nor mid the ribald crowd that followed them
Or fled before . . Now swift, fierce & obscene
The wild dance maddens in the van, & those
Who lead it, fleet as shadows on the green,
Outspeed the chariot & without repose
Mix with each other in tempestuous measure
To savage music. Wilder as it grows,
They, tortured by the agonizing pleasure,
Convulsed & on the rapid whirlwinds spun
Of that fierce spirit, whose unholy leisure
Was soothed by mischief since the world begun,
Throw back their heads & loose their streaming hair,
And in their dance round her who dims the Sun
Maidens & youths fling their wild arms in air
As their feet twinkle; they recede, and now
Bending within each other's atmosphere
Kindle invisibly; and as they glow
Like moths by light attracted & repelled,
Oft to new bright destruction come & go.
Till like two clouds into one vale impelled
That shake the mountains when their lightnings mingle
And die in rain,the fiery band which held
Their natures, snaps . . . ere the shock cease to tingle
One falls and then another in the path
Senseless, nor is the desolation single,
Yet ere I can say where the chariot hath
Past over them; nor other trace I find
But as of foam after the Ocean's wrath
Is spent upon the desert shore.Behind,
Old men, and women foully disarrayed
Shake their grey hair in the insulting wind,
Limp in the dance & strain, with limbs decayed,
Seeking to reach the light which leaves them still
Farther behind & deeper in the shade.
But not the less with impotence of will
They wheel, though ghastly shadows interpose
Round them & round each other, and fulfill
Their work and to the dust whence they arose
Sink & corruption veils them as they lie
And frost in these performs what fire in those.
Struck to the heart by this sad pageantry,
Half to myself I said, "And what is this?
Whose shape is that within the car? & why"-
I would have added"is all here amiss?"
But a voice answered . . "Life" . . . I turned & knew
(O Heaven have mercy on such wretchedness!)
That what I thought was an old root which grew
To strange distortion out of the hill side
Was indeed one of that deluded crew,
And that the grass which methought hung so wide
And white, was but his thin discoloured hair,
And that the holes it vainly sought to hide
Were or had been eyes."lf thou canst forbear
To join the dance, which I had well forborne,"
Said the grim Feature, of my thought aware,
"I will now tell that which to this deep scorn
Led me & my companions, and relate
The progress of the pageant since the morn;
"If thirst of knowledge doth not thus abate,
Follow it even to the night, but I
Am weary" . . . Then like one who with the weight
Of his own words is staggered, wearily
He paused, and ere he could resume, I cried,
"First who art thou?" . . . "Before thy memory
"I feared, loved, hated, suffered, did, & died,
And if the spark with which Heaven lit my spirit
Earth had with purer nutriment supplied
"Corruption would not now thus much inherit
Of what was once Rousseaunor this disguise
Stained that within which still disdains to wear it.
"If I have been extinguished, yet there rise
A thousand beacons from the spark I bore."
"And who are those chained to the car?" "The Wise,
"The great, the unforgotten: they who wore
Mitres & helms & crowns, or wreathes of light,
Signs of thought's empire over thought; their lore
"Taught them not thisto know themselves; their might
Could not repress the mutiny within,
And for the morn of truth they feigned, deep night
"Caught them ere evening." "Who is he with chin
Upon his breast and hands crost on his chain?"
"The Child of a fierce hour; he sought to win
"The world, and lost all it did contain
Of greatness, in its hope destroyed; & more
Of fame & peace than Virtue's self can gain
"Without the opportunity which bore
Him on its eagle's pinion to the peak
From which a thousand climbers have before
"Fall'n as Napoleon fell."I felt my cheek
Alter to see the great form pass away
Whose grasp had left the giant world so weak
That every pigmy kicked it as it lay
And much I grieved to think how power & will
In opposition rule our mortal day
And why God made irreconcilable
Good & the means of good; and for despair
I half disdained mine eye's desire to fill
With the spent vision of the times that were
And scarce have ceased to be . . . "Dost thou behold,"
Said then my guide, "those spoilers spoiled, Voltaire,
"Frederic, & Kant, Catherine, & Leopold,
Chained hoary anarch, demagogue & sage
Whose name the fresh world thinks already old
"For in the battle Life & they did wage
She remained conquerorI was overcome
By my own heart alone, which neither age
"Nor tears nor infamy nor now the tomb
Could temper to its object.""Let them pass"
I cried"the world & its mysterious doom
"Is not so much more glorious than it was
That I desire to worship those who drew
New figures on its false & fragile glass
"As the old faded.""Figures ever new
Rise on the bubble, paint them how you may;
We have but thrown, as those before us threw,
"Our shadows on it as it past away.
But mark, how chained to the triumphal chair
The mighty phantoms of an elder day
"All that is mortal of great Plato there
Expiates the joy & woe his master knew not;
That star that ruled his doom was far too fair
"And Life, where long that flower of Heaven grew not,
Conquered the heart by love which gold or pain
Or age or sloth or slavery could subdue not
"And near [[blank]] walk the [[blank]] twain,
The tutor & his pupil, whom Dominion
Followed as tame as vulture in a chain.
"The world was darkened beneath either pinion
Of him whom from the flock of conquerors
Fame singled as her thunderbearing minion;
"The other long outlived both woes & wars,
Throned in new thoughts of men, and still had kept
The jealous keys of truth's eternal doors
"If Bacon's spirit [[blank]] had not leapt
Like lightning out of darkness; he compelled
The Proteus shape of Nature's as it slept
"To wake & to unbar the caves that held
The treasure of the secrets of its reign
See the great bards of old who inly quelled
"The passions which they sung, as by their strain
May well be known: their living melody
Tempers its own contagion to the vein
"Of those who are infected with itI
Have suffered what I wrote, or viler pain!
"And so my words were seeds of misery
Even as the deeds of others.""Not as theirs,"
I saidhe pointed to a company
In which I recognized amid the heirs
Of Caesar's crime from him to Constantine,
The Anarchs old whose force & murderous snares
Had founded many a sceptre bearing line
And spread the plague of blood & gold abroad,
And Gregory & John and men divine
Who rose like shadows between Man & god
Till that eclipse, still hanging under Heaven,
Was worshipped by the world o'er which they strode
For the true Sun it quenched."Their power was given
But to destroy," replied the leader"I
Am one of those who have created, even
"If it be but a world of agony."
"Whence camest thou & whither goest thou?
How did thy course begin," I said, "& why?
"Mine eyes are sick of this perpetual flow
Of people, & my heart of one sad thought.
Speak.""Whence I came, partly I seem to know,
"And how & by what paths I have been brought
To this dread pass, methinks even thou mayst guess;
Why this should be my mind can compass not;
"Whither the conqueror hurries me still less.
But follow thou, & from spectator turn
Actor or victim in this wretchedness,
"And what thou wouldst be taught I then may learn
From thee.Now listen . . . In the April prime
When all the forest tops began to burn
"With kindling green, touched by the azure clime
Of the young year, I found myself asleep
Under a mountain which from unknown time
"Had yawned into a cavern high & deep,
And from it came a gentle rivulet
Whose water like clear air in its calm sweep
"Bent the soft grass & kept for ever wet
The stems of the sweet flowers, and filled the grove
With sound which all who hear must needs forget
"All pleasure & all pain, all hate & love,
Which they had known before that hour of rest:
A sleeping mother then would dream not of
"The only child who died upon her breast
At eventide, a king would mourn no more
The crown of which his brow was dispossest
"When the sun lingered o'er the Ocean floor
To gild his rival's new prosperity.
Thou wouldst forget thus vainly to deplore
"Ills, which if ills, can find no cure from thee,
The thought of which no other sleep will quell
Nor other music blot from memory
"So sweet & deep is the oblivious spell.
Whether my life had been before that sleep
The Heaven which I imagine, or a Hell
"Like this harsh world in which I wake to weep,
I know not. I arose & for a space
The scene of woods & waters seemed to keep,
"Though it was now broad day, a gentle trace
Of light diviner than the common Sun
Sheds on the common Earth, but all the place
"Was filled with many sounds woven into one
Oblivious melody, confusing sense
Amid the gliding waves & shadows dun;
"And as I looked the bright omnipresence
Of morning through the orient cavern flowed,
And the Sun's image radiantly intense
"Burned on the waters of the well that glowed
Like gold, and threaded all the forest maze
With winding paths of emerald firethere stood
"Amid the sun, as he amid the blaze
Of his own glory, on the vibrating
Floor of the fountain, paved with flashing rays,
"A shape all light, which with one hand did fling
Dew on the earth, as if she were the Dawn
Whose invisible rain forever seemed to sing
"A silver music on the mossy lawn,
And still before her on the dusky grass
Iris her many coloured scarf had drawn.
"In her right hand she bore a crystal glass
Mantling with bright Nepenthe;the fierce splendour
Fell from her as she moved under the mass
"Of the deep cavern, & with palms so tender
Their tread broke not the mirror of its billow,
Glided along the river, and did bend her
"Head under the dark boughs, till like a willow
Her fair hair swept the bosom of the stream
That whispered with delight to be their pillow.
"As one enamoured is upborne in dream
O'er lily-paven lakes mid silver mist
To wondrous music, so this shape might seem
"Partly to tread the waves with feet which kist
The dancing foam, partly to glide along
The airs that roughened the moist amethyst,
"Or the slant morning beams that fell among
The trees, or the soft shadows of the trees;
And her feet ever to the ceaseless song
"Of leaves & winds & waves & birds & bees
And falling drops moved in a measure new
Yet sweet, as on the summer evening breeze
"Up from the lake a shape of golden dew
Between two rocks, athwart the rising moon,
Moves up the east, where eagle never flew.
"And still her feet, no less than the sweet tune
To which they moved, seemed as they moved, to blot
The thoughts of him who gazed on them, & soon
"All that was seemed as if it had been not,
As if the gazer's mind was strewn beneath
Her feet like embers, & she, thought by thought,
"Trampled its fires into the dust of death,
As Day upon the threshold of the east
Treads out the lamps of night, until the breath
"Of darkness reillumines even the least
Of heaven's living eyeslike day she came,
Making the night a dream; and ere she ceased
"To move, as one between desire and shame
Suspended, I said'If, as it doth seem,
Thou comest from the realm without a name,
" 'Into this valley of perpetual dream,
Shew whence I came, and where I am, and why
Pass not away upon the passing stream.'
" 'Arise and quench thy thirst,' was her reply,
And as a shut lily, stricken by the wand
Of dewy morning's vital alchemy,
"I rose; and, bending at her sweet command,
Touched with faint lips the cup she raised,
And suddenly my brain became as sand
"Where the first wave had more than half erased
The track of deer on desert Labrador,
Whilst the fierce wolf from which they fled amazed
"Leaves his stamp visibly upon the shore
Until the second burstsso on my sight
Burst a new Vision never seen before.
"And the fair shape waned in the coming light
As veil by veil the silent splendour drops
From Lucifer, amid the chrysolite
"Of sunrise ere it strike the mountain tops
And as the presence of that fairest planet
Although unseen is felt by one who hopes
"That his day's path may end as he began it
In that star's smile, whose light is like the scent
Of a jonquil when evening breezes fan it,
"Or the soft note in which his dear lament
The Brescian shepherd breathes, or the caress
That turned his weary slumber to content.
"So knew I in that light's severe excess
The presence of that shape which on the stream
Moved, as I moved along the wilderness,
"More dimly than a day appearing dream,
The ghost of a forgotten form of sleep
A light from Heaven whose half extinguished beam
"Through the sick day in which we wake to weep
Glimmers, forever sought, forever lost.
So did that shape its obscure tenour keep
"Beside my path, as silent as a ghost;
But the new Vision, and its cold bright car,
With savage music, stunning music, crost
"The forest, and as if from some dread war
Triumphantly returning, the loud million
Fiercely extolled the fortune of her star.
"A moving arch of victory the vermilion
And green & azure plumes of Iris had
Built high over her wind-winged pavilion,
"And underneath aetherial glory clad
The wilderness, and far before her flew
The tempest of the splendour which forbade
Shadow to fall from leaf or stone;the crew
Seemed in that light like atomies that dance
Within a sunbeam.Some upon the new
"Embroidery of flowers that did enhance
The grassy vesture of the desart, played,
Forgetful of the chariot's swift advance;
"Others stood gazing till within the shade
Of the great mountain its light left them dim.
Others outspeeded it, and others made
"Circles around it like the clouds that swim
Round the high moon in a bright sea of air,
And more did follow, with exulting hymn,
"The chariot & the captives fettered there,
But all like bubbles on an eddying flood
Fell into the same track at last & were
"Borne onward.I among the multitude
Was swept; me sweetest flowers delayed not long,
Me not the shadow nor the solitude,
"Me not the falling stream's Lethean song,
Me, not the phantom of that early form
Which moved upon its motion,but among
"The thickest billows of the living storm
I plunged, and bared my bosom to the clime
Of that cold light, whose airs too soon deform.
"Before the chariot had begun to climb
The opposing steep of that mysterious dell,
Behold a wonder worthy of the rhyme
"Of him whom from the lowest depths of Hell
Through every Paradise & through all glory
Love led serene, & who returned to tell
"In words of hate & awe the wondrous story
How all things are transfigured, except Love;
For deaf as is a sea which wrath makes hoary
"The world can hear not the sweet notes that move
The sphere whose light is melody to lovers-
A wonder worthy of his rhymethe grove
"Grew dense with shadows to its inmost covers,
The earth was grey with phantoms, & the air
Was peopled with dim forms, as when there hovers
"A flock of vampire-bats before the glare
Of the tropic sun, bring ere evening
Strange night upon some Indian isle,thus were
"Phantoms diffused around, & some did fling
Shadows of shadows, yet unlike themselves,
Behind them, some like eaglets on the wing
"Were lost in the white blaze, others like elves
Danced in a thousand unimagined shapes
Upon the sunny streams & grassy shelves;
"And others sate chattering like restless apes
On vulgar paws and voluble like fire.
Some made a cradle of the ermined capes
"Of kingly mantles, some upon the tiar
Of pontiffs sate like vultures, others played
Within the crown which girt with empire
"A baby's or an idiot's brow, & made
Their nests in it; the old anatomies
Sate hatching their bare brood under the shade
"Of demon wings, and laughed from their dead eyes
To reassume the delegated power
Arrayed in which these worms did monarchize
"Who make this earth their charnel.Others more
Humble, like falcons sate upon the fist
Of common men, and round their heads did soar,
"Or like small gnats & flies, as thick as mist
On evening marshes, thronged about the brow
Of lawyer, statesman, priest & theorist,
"And others like discoloured flakes of snow
On fairest bosoms & the sunniest hair
Fell, and were melted by the youthful glow
"Which they extinguished; for like tears, they were
A veil to those from whose faint lids they rained
In drops of sorrow.I became aware
"Of whence those forms proceeded which thus stained
The track in which we moved; after brief space
From every form the beauty slowly waned,
"From every firmest limb & fairest face
The strength & freshness fell like dust, & left
The action & the shape without the grace
"Of life; the marble brow of youth was cleft
With care, and in the eyes where once hope shone
Desire like a lioness bereft
"Of its last cub, glared ere it died; each one
Of that great crowd sent forth incessantly
These shadows, numerous as the dead leaves blown
"In Autumn evening from a popular tree
Each, like himself & like each other were,
At first, but soon distorted, seemed to be
"Obscure clouds moulded by the casual air;
And of this stuff the car's creative ray
Wrought all the busy phantoms that were there
"As the sun shapes the cloudsthus, on the way
Mask after mask fell from the countenance
And form of all, and long before the day
"Was old, the joy which waked like Heaven's glance
The sleepers in the oblivious valley, died,
And some grew weary of the ghastly dance
"And fell, as I have fallen by the way side,
Those soonest from whose forms most shadows past
And least of strength & beauty did abide."
"Then, what is Life?" I said . . . the cripple cast
His eye upon the car which now had rolled
Onward, as if that look must be the last,
And answered. "Happy those for whom the fold
Of
Composed at Lerici on the Gulf of Spezzia in the spring and early summer of 1822 -- the poem on which Shelley was engaged at the time of his death. Published by Mrs. Shelley in the Posthumous Poems of 1824, from a MS. (now in the Bodleian library), whose corrections, omitted words, passages of unrevised improvisation, difficult hand, and long inaccessibility have so far prevented much certainty in the establishment of a text.

Form: terza rima.

The reference to Dante's Divine Comedy in lines 471-76 and to Petrarch's Triumphs in the title (both of which, like The Triumph of Life, are written in terza
rima stanzas) suggests two probable models for the poem.

132-34.
Mary Shelley's text seems impossible, but no textual authority has been
adduced for amending it. Misreading or miswriting of some kind must be
responsible for that apparently parallel, but conflicting, pair, "were there" and
"were neither." W. M. Rossetti makes some sense out of the passage by amending
"or" in 132 to "for" and "were there" in 134 to "whether", and by placing a
semi-colon at the end of 131.

134.
Of Athens or Jerusalem. Commentators assume that the renouncing figures
of which Shelley is thinking are Socrates in Athens and Jesus in Jerusalem. But
the corruption of the text here makes any interpretation doubtful.

190.
Grim Feature: a reminiscence of Paradise Lost, X, 279, where it
represents Death and carries the Latin meaning of "factura" or "creature."

204.
Rousseau. Compare Byron's portrait of Rousseau in Childe Harold's
Pilgrimage, III, lxxvii-lxxxii.

236.
Frederick and Paul, Catherine and Leopold: Frederick the Great of Prussia,
Czar Paul and Catherine the Great of Russia, and Leopold II of the Holy Roman
Empire.

254.
Plato. In the lines which follow, Shelley refers to the legend that Plato in
his old age fell in love with a boy, whose name, Aster, is Greek for a star as
well as for a particular (and short-lived) flower.

261.
The tutor and his pupil: Aristotle and Alexander the Great.

283-84.
The heirs of Caesar's crime from him to Constantine. Julius Caesar's
crime was to undermine the Roman republic and prepare the way for the
Roman emperors ("anarch chiefs" in 286), a procession of which up to
Constantine Shelley now observes.

288.
Gregory and John. "Gregory the Great is appropriate, as the true founder
of the independent political power of the papacy. Which of many Johns is
involved, there is no way of telling" (H. Bloom).

414.
Lucifer: the Morning Star.

421-22.
The soft note in which his dear lament the Brescian shepherd breathes.
"The favourite song, 'Stanco di pascolar le peccorelle, [being weary of pasturing
the little sheep], is a Brescian national air" (Mrs. Shelley's note).

439.
Iris: classical goddess of the rainbow.

472.
Him: Dante in The Divine Comedy.

544.
Here the MS. breaks off.


~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Triumph Of Life

337:The Botanic Garden (Part Iv)
The Economy Of Vegetation
Canto IV
As when at noon in Hybla's fragrant bowers
CACALIA opens all her honey'd flowers;
Contending swarms on bending branches cling,
And nations hover on aurelian wing;
So round the GODDESS, ere she speaks, on high
Impatient SYLPHS in gawdy circlets fly;
Quivering in air their painted plumes expand,
And coloured shadows dance upon the land.
I. 'SYLPHS! YOUR light troops the tropic Winds confine,
And guide their streaming arrows to the Line;
While in warm floods ecliptic breezes rise,
And sink with wings benumb'd in colder skies.
You bid Monsoons on Indian seas reside,
And veer, as moves the sun, their airy tide;
While southern gales o'er western oceans roll,
And Eurus steals his ice-winds from the Pole.
Your playful trains, on sultry islands born,
Turn on fantastic toe at eve and morn;
With soft susurrant voice alternate sweep
Earth's green pavilions and encircling deep.
OR in itinerant cohorts, borne sublime
On tides of ether, float from clime to clime;
O'er waving Autumn bend your airy ring,
Or waft the fragrant bosom of the Spring.
II. 'When Morn, escorted by the dancing Hours,
O'er the bright plains her dewy lustre showers;
Till from her sable chariot Eve serene
Drops the dark curtain o'er the brilliant scene;
You form with chemic hands the airy surge,
Mix with broad vans, with shadowy tridents urge.
SYLPHS! from each sun-bright leaf, that twinkling shakes
O'er Earth's green lap, or shoots amid her lakes,
Your playful bands with simpering lips invite,
10
And wed the enamour'd OXYGENE to LIGHT.Round their white necks with fingers interwove,
Cling the fond Pair with unabating love;
Hand link'd in hand on buoyant step they rise,
And soar and glisten in unclouded skies.
Whence in bright floods the VITAL AIR expands,
And with concentric spheres involves the lands;
Pervades the swarming seas, and heaving earths,
Where teeming Nature broods her myriad births;
Fills the fine lungs of all that
breathe
or
bud
Warms the new heart, and dyes the gushing blood;
With Life's first spark inspires the organic frame,
And, as it wastes, renews the subtile flame.
'So pure, so soft, with sweet attraction shone
Fair PSYCHE, kneeling at the ethereal throne;
Won with coy smiles the admiring court of Jove,
And warm'd the bosom of unconquer'd LOVE.Beneath a moving shade of fruits and flowers
Onward they march to HYMEN'S sacred bowers;
With lifted torch he lights the festive train,
Sublime, and leads them in his golden chain;
Joins the fond pair, indulgent to their vows,
And hides with mystic veil their blushing brows.
Round their fair forms their mingling arms they fling,
Meet with warm lip, and clasp with rustling wing.-Hence plastic Nature, as Oblivion whelms
Her fading forms, repeoples all her realms;
Soft Joys disport on purple plumes unfurl'd,
And Love and Beauty rule the willing world.
III. 1. 'SYLPHS! Your bold myriads on the withering heath
Stay the fell SYROC'S suffocative breath;
Arrest SIMOOM in his realms of sand,
The poisoned javelin balanced in his hand;Fierce on blue streams he rides the tainted air,
Points his keen eye, and waves his whistling hair;
While, as he turns, the undulating soil
Rolls in red waves, and billowy deserts boil.
11
You seize TORNADO by his locks of mist,
Burst his dense clouds, his wheeling spires untwist;
Wide o'er the West when borne on headlong gales,
Dark as meridian night, the Monster sails,
Howls high in air, and shakes his curled brow,
Lashing with serpent-train the waves below,
Whirls his black arm, the forked lightning flings,
And showers a deluge from his demon-wings.
2. 'SYLPHS! with light shafts YOU pierce the drowsy FOG,
That lingering slumbers on the sedge-wove bog,
With webbed feet o'er midnight meadows creeps,
Or flings his hairy limbs on stagnant deeps.
YOU meet CONTAGION issuing from afar,
And dash the baleful conqueror from his car;
When, Guest of DEATH! from charnel vaults he steals,
And bathes in human gore his armed wheels.
'Thus when the PLAGUE, upborne on Belgian air,
Look'd through the mist and shook his clotted hair,
O'er shrinking nations steer'd malignant clouds,
And rain'd destruction on the gasping crouds.
The beauteous AEGLE felt the venom'd dart,
Slow roll'd her eye, and feebly throbb'd her heart;
Each fervid sigh seem'd shorter than the last,
And starting Friendship shunn'd her, as she pass'd.
-With weak unsteady step the fainting Maid
Seeks the cold garden's solitary shade,
Sinks on the pillowy moss her drooping head,
And prints with lifeless limbs her leafy bed.
-On wings of Love her plighted Swain pursues,
Shades her from winds, and shelters her from dews,
Extends on tapering poles the canvas roof,
Spreads o'er the straw-wove matt the flaxen woof,
Sweet buds and blossoms on her bolster strows,
And binds his kerchief round her aching brows;
Sooths with soft kiss, with tender accents charms,
And clasps the bright Infection in his arms.With pale and languid smiles the grateful Fair
Applauds his virtues, and rewards his care;
Mourns with wet cheek her fair companions fled
On timorous step, or number'd with the dead;
Calls to its bosom all its scatter'd rays,
And pours on THYRSIS the collected blaze;
12
Braves the chill night, caressing and caress'd,
And folds her Hero-lover to her breast.Less bold, LEANDER at the dusky hour
Eyed, as he swam, the far love-lighted tower;
Breasted with struggling arms the tossing wave,
And sunk benighted in the watery grave.
Less bold, TOBIAS claim'd the nuptial bed,
Where seven fond Lovers by a Fiend had bled;
And drove, instructed by his Angel-Guide,
The enamour'd Demon from the fatal bride.-SYLPHS! while your winnowing pinions fan'd the air,
And shed gay visions o'er the sleeping pair;
LOVE round their couch effused his rosy breath,
And with his keener arrows conquer'd DEATH.
IV. 1. 'You charm'd, indulgent SYLPHS! their learned toil,
And crown'd with fame your TORRICELL, and BOYLE;
Taught with sweet smiles, responsive to their prayer,
The spring and pressure of the viewless air.
-How up exhausted tubes bright currents flow
Of liquid silver from the lake below,
Weigh the long column of the incumbent skies,
And with the changeful moment fall and rise.
-How, as in brazen pumps the pistons move,
The membrane-valve sustains the weight above;
Stroke follows stroke, the gelid vapour falls,
And misty dew-drops dim the crystal walls;
Rare and more rare expands the fluid thin,
And Silence dwells with Vacancy within.So in the mighty Void with grim delight
Primeval Silence reign'd with ancient Night.
2. 'SYLPHS! your soft voices, whispering from the skies,
Bade from low earth the bold MONGULFIER rise;
Outstretch'd his buoyant ball with airy spring,
And bore the Sage on levity of wing;Where were ye, SYLPHS! when on the ethereal main
Young ROSIERE launch'd, and call'd your aid in vain?
Fair mounts the light balloon, by Zephyr driven,
Parts the thin clouds, and sails along the heaven;
Higher and yet higher the expanding bubble flies,
Lights with quick flash, and bursts amid the skies.Headlong He rushes through the affrighted air
13
With limbs distorted, and dishevel'd hair,
Whirls round and round, the flying croud alarms,
And DEATH receives him in his sable arms!So erst with melting wax and loosen'd strings
Sunk hapless ICARUS on unfaithful wings;
His scatter'd plumage danced upon the wave,
And sorrowing Mermaids deck'd his watery grave;
O'er his pale corse their pearly sea-flowers shed,
And strew'd with crimson moss his marble bed;
Struck in their coral towers the pausing bell,
And wide in ocean toll'd his echoing knell.
V. 'SYLPHS! YOU, retiring to sequester'd bowers,
Where oft your PRIESTLEY woos your airy powers,
On noiseless step or quivering pinion glide,
As sits the Sage with Science by his side;
To his charm'd eye in gay undress appear,
Or pour your secrets on his raptured ear.
How nitrous Gas from iron ingots driven
Drinks with red lips the purest breath of heaven;
How, while Conferva from its tender hair
Gives in bright bubbles empyrean air;
The crystal floods phlogistic ores calcine,
And the pure ETHER marries with the MINE.
'So in Sicilia's ever-blooming shade
When playful PROSERPINE from CERES stray'd,
Led with unwary step her virgin trains
O'er Etna's steeps, and Enna's golden plains;
Pluck'd with fair hand the silver-blossom'd bower,
And purpled mead,-herself a fairer flower;
Sudden, unseen amid the twilight glade,
Rush'd gloomy DIS, and seized the trembling maid.Her starting damsels sprung from mossy seats,
Dropp'd from their gauzy laps the gather'd sweets,
Clung round the struggling Nymph, with piercing cries,
Pursued the chariot, and invoked the skies;Pleased as he grasps her in his iron arms,
Frights with soft sighs, with tender words alarms,
The wheels descending roll'd in smoky rings,
Infernal Cupids flapp'd their demon wings;
Earth with deep yawn received the Fair, amaz'd,
And far in Night celestial Beauty blaz'd.
14
VI. 'Led by the Sage, Lo! Britain's sons shall guide
Huge SEA-BALLOONS beneath the tossing tide;
The diving castles, roof'd with spheric glass,
Ribb'd with strong oak, and barr'd with bolts of brass,
Buoy'd with pure air shall endless tracks pursue,
And PRIESTLEY'S hand the vital flood renew.Then shall BRITANNIA rule the wealthy realms,
Which Ocean's wide insatiate wave o'erwhelms;
Confine in netted bowers his scaly flocks,
Part his blue plains, and people all his rocks.
Deep, in warm waves beneath the Line that roll,
Beneath the shadowy ice-isles of the Pole,
Onward, through bright meandering vales, afar,
Obedient Sharks shall trail her sceptred car,
With harness'd necks the pearly flood disturb,
Stretch the silk rein, and champ the silver curb;
Pleased round her triumph wondering Tritons play,
And Seamaids hail her on the watery way.
-Oft shall she weep beneath the crystal waves
O'er shipwreck'd lovers weltering in their graves;
Mingling in death the Brave and Good behold
With slaves to glory, and with slaves to gold;
Shrin'd in the deep shall DAY and SPALDING mourn,
Each in his treacherous bell, sepulchral urn!Oft o'er thy lovely daughters, hapless PIERCE!
Her sighs shall breathe, her sorrows dew their hearse.With brow upturn'd to Heaven, 'WE WILL NOT PART!'
He cried, and clasp'd them to his aching heart,-Dash'd in dread conflict on the rocky grounds,
Crash the mock'd masts, the staggering wreck rebounds;
Through gaping seams the rushing deluge swims,
Chills their pale bosoms, bathes their shuddering limbs,
Climbs their white shoulders, buoys their streaming hair,
And the last sea-shriek bellows in the air.Each with loud sobs her tender sire caress'd,
And gasping strain'd him closer to her breast!-Stretch'd on one bier they sleep beneath the brine,
And their white bones with ivory arms intwine!
'VII. SYLPHS OF NICE EAR! with beating wings you guide
The fine vibrations of the aerial tide;
15
Join in sweet cadences the measured words,
Or stretch and modulate the trembling cords.
You strung to melody the Grecian lyre,
Breathed the rapt song, and fan'd the thought of fire,
Or brought in combinations, deep and clear,
Immortal harmony to HANDEL'S ear.YOU with soft breath attune the vernal gale,
When breezy evening broods the listening vale;
Or wake the loud tumultuous sounds, that dwell
In Echo's many-toned diurnal shell.
YOU melt in dulcet chords, when Zephyr rings
The Eolian Harp, and mingle all its strings;
Or trill in air the soft symphonious chime,
When rapt CECILIA lifts her eye sublime,
Swell, as she breathes, her bosoms rising snow,
O'er her white teeth in tuneful accents slow,
Through her fair lips on whispering pinions move,
And form the tender sighs, that kindle love!
'So playful LOVE on Ida's flowery sides
With ribbon-rein the indignant Lion guides;
Pleased on his brinded back the lyre he rings,
And shakes delirious rapture from the strings;
Slow as the pausing Monarch stalks along,
Sheaths his retractile claws, and drinks the song;
Soft Nymphs on timid step the triumph view,
And listening Fawns with beating hoofs pursue;
With pointed ears the alarmed forest starts,
And Love and Music soften savage hearts.
VIII. 'SYLPHS! YOUR bold hosts, when Heaven with justice dread
Calls the red tempest round the guilty head,
Fierce at his nod assume vindictive forms,
And launch from airy cars the vollied storms.From Ashur's vales when proud SENACHERIB trod,
Pour'd his swoln heart, defied the living GOD,
Urged with incessant shouts his glittering powers;
And JUDAH shook through all her massy towers;
Round her sad altars press'd the prostrate crowd,
Hosts beat their breasts, and suppliant chieftains bow'd;
Loud shrieks of matrons thrill'd the troubled air,
And trembling virgins rent their scatter'd hair;
High in the midst the kneeling King adored,
16
Spread the blaspheming scroll before the Lord,
Raised his pale hands, and breathed his pausing sighs,
And fixed on Heaven his dim imploring eyes,'Oh! MIGHTY GOD! amidst thy Seraph-throng
'Who sit'st sublime, the Judge of Right and Wrong;
'Thine the wide earth, bright sun, and starry zone,
'That twinkling journey round thy golden throne;
'Thine is the crystal source of life and light,
'And thine the realms of Death's eternal night.
'Oh, bend thine ear, thy gracious eye incline,
'Lo! Ashur's King blasphemes thy holy shrine,
'Insults our offerings, and derides our vows,-'Oh! strike the diadem from his impious brows,
'Tear from his murderous hand the bloody rod,
'And teach the trembling nations, 'THOU ART GOD!'-SYLPHS! in what dread array with pennons broad
Onward ye floated o'er the ethereal road,
Call'd each dank steam the reeking marsh exhales,
Contagious vapours, and volcanic gales,
Gave the soft South with poisonous breath to blow,
And rolled the dreadful whirlwind on the foe!Hark! o'er the camp the venom'd tempest sings,
Man falls on Man, on buckler buckler rings;
Groan answers groan, to anguish anguish yields,
And DEATH'S loud accents shake the tented fields!
-High rears the Fiend his grinning jaws, and wide
Spans the pale nations with colossal stride,
Waves his broad falchion with uplifted hand,
And his vast shadow darkens all the land.
IX. 1. 'Ethereal cohorts! Essences of Air!
Make the green children of the Spring your care!
Oh, SYLPHS! disclose in this inquiring age
One GOLDEN SECRET to some favour'd sage;
Grant the charm'd talisman, the chain, that binds,
Or guides the changeful pinions of the winds!
-No more shall hoary Boreas, issuing forth
With Eurus, lead the tempests of the North;
Rime the pale Dawn, or veil'd in flaky showers
Chill the sweet bosoms of the smiling Hours.
By whispering Auster waked shall Zephyr rise,
Meet with soft kiss, and mingle in the skies,
17
Fan the gay floret, bend the yellow ear,
And rock the uncurtain'd cradle of the year;
Autumn and Spring in lively union blend,
And from the skies the Golden Age descend.
2. 'Castled on ice, beneath the circling Bear,
A vast CAMELION spits and swallows air;
O'er twelve degrees his ribs gigantic bend,
And many a league his leathern jaws extend;
Half-fish, beneath, his scaly volutes spread,
And vegetable plumage crests his head;
Huge fields of air his wrinkled skin receives,
From panting gills, wide lungs, and waving leaves;
Then with dread throes subsides his bloated form,
His shriek the thunder, and his sigh the storm.
Oft high in heaven the hissing Demon wins
His towering course, upborne on winnowing fins;
Steers with expanded eye and gaping mouth,
His mass enormous to the affrighted South;
Spreads o'er the shuddering Line his shadowy limbs,
And Frost and Famine follow as he swims.SYLPHS! round his cloud-built couch your bands array,
And mould the Monster to your gentle sway;
Charm with soft tones, with tender touches check,
Bend to your golden yoke his willing neck,
With silver curb his yielding teeth restrain,
And give to KIRWAN'S hand the silken rein.
-Pleased shall the Sage, the dragon-wings between,
Bend o'er discordant climes his eye serene,
With Lapland breezes cool Arabian vales,
And call to Hindostan antarctic gales,
Adorn with wreathed ears Kampschatca's brows,
And scatter roses on Zealandic snows,
Earth's wondering Zones the genial seasons share,
And nations hail him 'MONARCH OF THE AIR.'
X. 1. 'SYLPHS! as you hover on ethereal wing,
Brood the green children of parturient Spring!Where in their bursting cells my Embryons rest,
I charge you guard the vegetable nest;
Count with nice eye the myriad SEEDS, that swell
Each vaulted womb of husk, or pod, or shell;
Feed with sweet juices, clothe with downy hair,
18
Or hang, inshrined, their little orbs in air.
'So, late descry'd by HERSCHEL'S piercing sight,
Hang the bright squadrons of the twinkling Night;
Ten thousand marshall'd stars, a silver zone,
Effuse their blended lustres round her throne;
Suns call to suns, in lucid clouds conspire,
And light exterior skies with golden fire;
Resistless rolls the illimitable sphere,
And one great circle forms the unmeasured year.
-Roll on, YE STARS! exult in youthful prime,
Mark with bright curves the printless steps of Time;
Near and more near your beamy cars approach,
And lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach;Flowers of the sky! ye too to age must yield,
Frail as your silken sisters of the field!
Star after star from Heaven's high arch shall rush,
Suns sink on suns, and systems systems crush,
Headlong, extinct, to one dark centre fall,
And Death and Night and Chaos mingle all!
-Till o'er the wreck, emerging from the storm,
Immortal NATURE lifts her changeful form,
Mounts from her funeral pyre on wings of flame,
And soars and shines, another and the same.
2. 'Lo! on each SEED within its slender rind
Life's golden threads in endless circles wind;
Maze within maze the lucid webs are roll'd,
And, as they burst, the living flame unfold.
The pulpy acorn, ere it swells, contains
The Oak's vast branches in its milky veins;
Each ravel'd bud, fine film, and fibre-line
Traced with nice pencil on the small design.
The young Narcissus, in it's bulb compress'd,
Cradles a second nestling on its breast;
In whose fine arms a younger embryon lies,
Folds its thin leaves, and shuts its floret-eyes;
Grain within grain successive harvests dwell,
And boundless forests slumber in a shell.
-So yon grey precipice, and ivy'd towers,
Long winding meads, and intermingled bowers,
Green files of poplars, o'er the lake that bow,
And glimmering wheel, which rolls and foams below,
In one bright point with nice distinction lie
19
Plan'd on the moving tablet of the eye.
-So, fold on fold, Earth's wavy plains extend,
And, sphere in sphere, its hidden strata bend;Incumbent Spring her beamy plumes expands
O'er restless oceans, and impatient lands,
With genial lustres warms the mighty ball,
And the GREAT SEED evolves, disclosing ALL;
LIFE
buds
or
breathes
from Indus to the Poles,
And the vast surface kindles, as it rolls!
3. 'Come, YE SOFT SYLPHS! who sport on Latian land,
Come, sweet-lip'd Zephyr, and Favonius bland!
Teach the fine SEED, instinct with life, to shoot
On Earth's cold bosom its descending root;
With Pith elastic stretch its rising stem,
Part the twin Lobes, expand the throbbing Gem;
Clasp in your airy arms the aspiring Plume,
Fan with your balmy breath its kindling bloom,
Each widening scale and bursting film unfold,
Swell the green cup, and tint the flower with gold;
While in bright veins the silvery Sap ascends,
And refluent blood in milky eddies bends;
While, spread in air, the leaves respiring play,
Or drink the golden quintessence of day.
-So from his shell on Delta's shower-less isle
Bursts into life the Monster of the Nile;
First in translucent lymph with cobweb-threads
The Brain's fine floating tissue swells, and spreads;
Nerve after nerve the glistening spine descends,
The red Heart dances, the Aorta bends;
Through each new gland the purple current glides,
New veins meandering drink the refluent tides;
Edge over edge expands the hardening scale,
And sheaths his slimy skin in silver mail.
-Erewhile, emerging from the brooding sand,
With Tyger-paw He prints the brineless strand,
High on the flood with speckled bosom swims,
Helm'd with broad tail, and oar'd with giant limbs;
Rolls his fierce eye-balls, clasps his iron claws,
20
And champs with gnashing teeth his massy jaws;
Old Nilus sighs along his cane-crown'd shores,
And swarthy Memphis trembles and adores.
XI. 'Come, YE SOFT SYLPHS! who fan the Paphian groves,
And bear on sportive wings the callow Loves;
Call with sweet whisper, in each gale that blows,
The slumbering Snow-drop from her long repose;
Charm the pale Primrose from her clay-cold bed,
Unveil the bashful Violet's tremulous head;
While from her bud the playful Tulip breaks,
And young Carnations peep with blushing cheeks;
Bid the closed
Petals
from nocturnal cold
The virgin
Style
in silken curtains fold,
Shake into viewless air the morning dews,
And wave in light their iridescent hues;
While from on high the bursting
Anthers
trust
To the mild breezes their prolific dust;
Or bend in rapture o'er the central Fair,
Love out their hour, and leave their lives in air.
So in his silken sepulchre the Worm,
Warm'd with new life, unfolds his larva-form;
Erewhile aloft in wanton circles moves,
And woos on Hymen-wings his velvet loves.
XII. 1. 'If prouder branches with exuberance rude
Point their green gems, their barren shoots protrude;
Wound them, ye SYLPHS! with little knives, or bind
A wiry ringlet round the swelling rind;
Bisect with chissel fine the root below,
Or bend to earth the inhospitable bough.
So shall each germ with new prolific power
Delay the leaf-bud, and expand the flower;
Closed in the
Style
the tender pith shall end,
21
The lengthening Wood in circling
Stamens
bend;
The smoother Rind its soft embroidery spread
In vaulted
Petals
o'er their fertile bed;
While the rough Bark, in circling mazes roll'd,
Forms the green
Cup
with many a wrinkled fold;
And each small bud-scale spreads its foliage hard,
Firm round the callow germ, a
Floral Guard
2. 'Where cruder juices swell the leafy vein,
Stint the young germ, the tender blossom stain;
On each lop'd shoot a softer scion bind,
Pith press'd to pith, and rind applied to rind,
So shall the trunk with loftier crest ascend,
And wide in air its happier arms extend;
Nurse the new buds, admire the leaves unknown,
And blushing bend with fruitage not its own.
'Thus when in holy triumph Aaron trod,
And offer'd on the shrine his mystic rod;
First a new bark its silken tissue weaves,
New buds emerging widen into leaves;
Fair fruits protrude, enascent flowers expand,
And blush and tremble round the living wand.
XIII. 1. 'SYLPHS! on each Oak-bud wound the wormy galls,
With pigmy spears, or crush the venom'd balls;
Fright the green Locust from his foamy bed,
Unweave the Caterpillar's gluey thread;
Chase the fierce Earwig, scare the bloated Toad,
Arrest the snail upon his slimy road;
Arm with sharp thorns the Sweet-brier's tender wood,
And dash the Cynips from her damask bud;
Steep in ambrosial dews the Woodbine's bells,
And drive the Night-moth from her honey'd cells.
So where the Humming-bird in Chili's bowers
On murmuring pinions robs the pendent flowers;
22
Seeks, where fine pores their dulcet balm distill,
And sucks the treasure with proboscis-bill;
Fair CYPREPEDIA with successful guile
Knits her smooth brow, extinguishes her smile;
A Spiders bloated paunch and jointed arms
Hide her fine form, and mask her blushing charms;
In ambush sly the mimic warrior lies,
And on quick wing the panting plunderer flies.
2. 'Shield the young Harvest from devouring blight,
The Smut's dark poison, and the Mildew white;
Deep-rooted Mould, and Ergot's horn uncouth,
And break the Canker's desolating tooth.
First in one point the festering wound confin'd
Mines unperceived beneath the shrivel'd rin'd;
Then climbs the branches with increasing strength,
Spreads as they spread, and lengthens with their length;
-Thus the slight wound ingraved on glass unneal'd
Runs in white lines along the lucid field;
Crack follows crack, to laws elastic just,
And the frail fabric shivers into dust.
XIV. 1. 'SYLPHS! if with morn destructive Eurus springs,
O, clasp the Harebel with your velvet wings;
Screen with thick leaves the Jasmine as it blows,
And shake the white rime from the shuddering Rose;
Whilst Amaryllis turns with graceful ease
Her blushing beauties, and eludes the breeze.SYLPHS! if at noon the Fritillary droops,
With drops nectareous hang her nodding cups;
Thin clouds of Gossamer in air display,
And hide the vale's chaste Lily from the ray;
Whilst Erythrina o'er her tender flower
Bends all her leaves, and braves the sultry hour;Shield, when cold Hesper sheds his dewy light,
Mimosa's soft sensations from the night;
Fold her thin foilage, close her timid flowers,
And with ambrosial slumbers guard her bowers;
O'er each warm wall while Cerea flings her arms,
And wastes on night's dull eye a blaze of charms.
2. Round her tall Elm with dewy fingers twine
The gadding tendrils of the adventurous Vine;
From arm to arm in gay festoons suspend
23
Her fragrant flowers, her graceful foliage bend;
Swell with sweet juice her vermil orbs, and feed
Shrined in transparent pulp her pearly seed;
Hang round the Orange all her silver bells,
And guard her fragrance with Hesperian spells;
Bud after bud her polish'd leaves unfold,
And load her branches with successive gold.
So the learn'd Alchemist exulting sees
Rise in his bright matrass DIANA'S trees;
Drop after drop, with just delay he pours
The red-fumed acid on Potosi's ores;
With sudden flash the fierce bullitions rise,
And wide in air the gas phlogistic flies;
Slow shoot, at length, in many a brilliant mass
Metallic roots across the netted glass;
Branch after branch extend their silver stems,
Bud into gold, and blossoms into gems.
So sits enthron'd in vegetable pride
Imperial KEW by Thames's glittering side;
Obedient sails from realms unfurrow'd bring
For her the unnam'd progeny of spring;
Attendant Nymphs her dulcet mandates hear,
And nurse in fostering arms the tender year,
Plant the young bulb, inhume the living seed,
Prop the weak stem, the erring tendril lead;
Or fan in glass-built fanes the stranger flowers
With milder gales, and steep with warmer showers.
Delighted Thames through tropic umbrage glides,
And flowers antarctic, bending o'er his tides;
Drinks the new tints, the sweets unknown inhales,
And calls the sons of science to his vales.
In one bright point admiring Nature eyes
The fruits and foliage of discordant skies,
Twines the gay floret with the fragrant bough,
And bends the wreath round GEORGE'S royal brow.
-Sometimes retiring, from the public weal
One tranquil hour the ROYAL PARTNERS steal;
Through glades exotic pass with step sublime,
Or mark the growths of Britain's happier clime;
With beauty blossom'd, and with virtue blaz'd,
Mark the fair Scions, that themselves have rais'd;
Sweet blooms the Rose, the towering Oak expands,
24
The Grace and Guard of Britain's golden lands.
XV. SYLPHS! who, round earth on purple pinions borne,
Attend the radiant chariot of the morn;
Lead the gay hours along the ethereal hight,
And on each dun meridian shower the light;
SYLPHS! who from realms of equatorial day
To climes, that shudder in the polar ray,
From zone to zone pursue on shifting wing,
The bright perennial journey of the spring;
Bring my rich Balms from Mecca's hallow'd glades,
Sweet flowers, that glitter in Arabia's shades;
Fruits, whose fair forms in bright succession glow
Gilding the Banks of Arno, or of Po;
Each leaf, whose fragrant steam with ruby lip
Gay China's nymphs from pictur'd vases sip;
Each spicy rind, which sultry India boasts,
Scenting the night-air round her breezy coasts;
Roots whose bold stems in bleak Siberia blow,
And gem with many a tint the eternal snow;
Barks, whose broad umbrage high in ether waves
O'er Ande's steeps, and hides his golden caves;
-And, where yon oak extends his dusky shoots
Wide o'er the rill, that bubbles from his roots;
Beneath whose arms, protected from the storm
A turf-built altar rears it's rustic form;
SYLPHS! with religious hands fresh garlands twine,
And deck with lavish pomp HYGEIA'S shrine.
'Call with loud voice the Sisterhood, that dwell
On floating cloud, wide wave, or bubbling well;
Stamp with charm'd foot, convoke the alarmed Gnomes
From golden beds, and adamantine domes;
Each from her sphere with beckoning arm invite,
Curl'd with red flame, the Vestal Forms of light.
Close all your spotted wings, in lucid ranks
Press with your bending knees the crowded banks,
Cross your meek arms, incline your wreathed brows,
And win the Goddess with unwearied vows.
'Oh, wave, HYGEIA! o'er BRITANNIA'S throne
Thy serpent-wand, and mark it for thy own;
Lead round her breezy coasts thy guardian trains,
Her nodding forests, and her waving plains;
25
Shed o'er her peopled realms thy beamy smile,
And with thy airy temple crown her isle!'
The GODDESS ceased,-and calling from afar
The wandering Zephyrs, joins them to her car;
Mounts with light bound, and graceful, as she bends,
Whirls the long lash, the flexile rein extends;
On whispering wheels the silver axle slides,
Climbs into air, and cleaves the crystal tides;
Burst from its pearly chains, her amber hair
Streams o'er her ivory shoulders, buoy'd in air;
Swells her white veil, with ruby clasp confined
Round her fair brow, and undulates behind;
The lessening coursers rise in spiral rings,
Pierce the slow-sailing clouds, and stretch their shadowy wings.
~ Erasmus Darwin
338:Scene. Colmar in Alsatia: an Inn. 1528.
Paracelsus, Festus.
Paracelsus
[to Johannes Oporinus, his Secretary].
Sic itur ad astra! Dear Von Visenburg
Is scandalized, and poor Torinus paralysed,
And every honest soul that Basil holds
Aghast; and yet we live, as one may say,
Just as though Liechtenfels had never set
So true a value on his sorry carcass,
And learned Ptter had not frowned us dumb.
We live; and shall as surely start to morrow
For Nuremberg, as we drink speedy scathe
To Basil in this mantling wine, suffused
A delicate blush, no fainter tinge is born
I' the shut heart of a bud. Pledge me, good John
"Basil; a hot plague ravage it, and Ptter
"Oppose the plague!" Even so? Do you too share
Their panic, the reptiles? Ha, ha; faint through these,
Desist for these! They manage matters so
At Basil, 't is like: but others may find means
To bring the stoutest braggart of the tribe
Once more to crouch in silencemeans to breed
A stupid wonder in each fool again,
Now big with admiration at the skill
Which stript a vain pretender of his plumes:
And, that done,means to brand each slavish brow
So deeply, surely, ineffaceably,
That henceforth flattery shall not pucker it
Out of the furrow; there that stamp shall stay
To show the next they fawn on, what they are,
This Basil with its magnates,fill my cup,
Whom I curse soul and limb. And now despatch,
Despatch, my trusty John; and what remains
To do, whate'er arrangements for our trip
Are yet to be completed, see you hasten
This night; we'll weather the storm at least: to-morrow
For Nuremberg! Now leave us; this grave clerk
Has divers weighty matters for my ear:
[Oporinus goes out.
And spare my lungs. At last, my gallant Festus,
I am rid of this arch-knave that dogs my heels
As a gaunt crow a gasping sheep; at last
May give a loose to my delight. How kind,
How very kind, my first best only friend!
Why, this looks like fidelity. Embrace me!
Not a hair silvered yet? Right! you shall live
Till I am worth your love; you shall be pround,
And Ibut let time show! Did you not wonder?
I sent to you because our compact weighed
Upon my conscience(you recall the night
At Basil, which the gods confound!)because
Once more I aspire. I call you to my side:
You come. You thought my message strange?
Festus.
                      So strange
That I must hope, indeed, your messenger
Has mingled his own fancies with the words
Purporting to be yours.
Paracelsus.
            He said no more,
'T is probable, than the precious folk I leave
Said fiftyfold more roughly. Well-a-day,
'T is true! poor Paracelsus is exposed
At last; a most egregious quack he proves:
And those he overreached must spit their hate
On one who, utterly beneath contempt,
Could yet deceive their topping wits. You heard
Bare truth; and at my bidding you come here
To speed me on my enterprise, as once
Your lavish wishes sped me, my own friend!
Festus.
What is your purpose, Aureole?
Paracelsus.
                Oh, for purpose,
There is no lack of precedents in a case
Like mine; at least, if not precisely mine,
The case of men cast off by those they sought
To benefit.
Festus.
     They really cast you off?
I only heard a vague tale of some priest,
Cured by your skill, who wrangled at your claim,
Knowing his life's worth best; and how the judge
The matter was referred to, saw no cause
To interfere, nor you to hide your full
Contempt of him; nor he, again, to smother
His wrath thereat, which raised so fierce a flame
That Basil soon was made no place for you.
Paracelsus.
The affair of Liechtenfels? the shallowest fable,
The last and silliest outragemere pretence!
I knew it, I foretold it from the first,
How soon the stupid wonder you mistook
For genuine loyaltya cheering promise
Of better things to comewould pall and pass;
And every word comes true. Saul is among
The prophets! Just so long as I was pleased
To play off the mere antics of my art,
Fantastic gambols leading to no end,
I got huge praise: but one can ne'er keep down
Our foolish nature's weakness. There they flocked,
Poor devils, jostling, swearing and perspiring,
Till the walls rang again; and all for me!
I had a kindness for them, which was right;
But then I stopped not till I tacked to that
A trust in them and a respecta sort
Of sympathy for them; I must needs begin
To teach them, not amaze them, "to impart
"The spirit which should instigate the search
"Of truth," just what you bade me! I spoke out.
Forthwith a mighty squadron, in disgust,
Filed off"the sifted chaff of the sack," I said,
Redoubling my endeavours to secure
The rest. When lo! one man had tarried so long
Only to ascertain if I supported
This tenet of his, or that; another loved
To hear impartially before he judged,
And having heard, now judged; this bland disciple
Passed for my dupe, but all along, it seems,
Spied error where his neighbours marvelled most;
That fiery doctor who had hailed me friend,
Did it because my by-paths, once proved wrong
And beaconed properly, would commend again
The good old ways our sires jogged safely o'er,
Though not their squeamish sons; the other worthy
Discovered divers verses of St. John,
Which, read successively, refreshed the soul,
But, muttered backwards, cured the gout, the stone,
The colic and what not. Quid multa? The end
Was a clear class-room, and a quiet leer
From grave folk, and a sour reproachful glance
From those in chief who, cap in hand, installed
The new professor scarce a year before;
And a vast flourish about patient merit
Obscured awhile by flashy tricks, but sure
Sooner or later to emerge in splendour
Of which the example was some luckless wight
Whom my arrival had discomfited,
But now, it seems, the general voice recalled
To fill my chair and so efface the stain
Basil had long incurred. I sought no better,
Only a quiet dismissal from my post,
And from my heart I wished them better suited
And better served. Good night to Basil, then!
But fast as I proposed to rid the tribe
Of my obnoxious back, I could not spare them
The pleasure of a parting kick.
Festus.
                 You smile:
Despise them as they merit!
Paracelsus.
               If I smile,
'T is with as very contempt as ever turned
Flesh into stone. This courteous recompense,
This grateful . . . Festus, were your nature fit
To be defiled, your eyes the eyes to ache
At gangrene-blotches, eating poison-blains,
The ulcerous barky scurf of leprosy
Which findsa man, and leavesa hideous thing
That cannot but be mended by hell fire,
I would lay bare to you the human heart
Which God cursed long ago, and devils make since
Their pet nest and their never-tiring home.
Oh, sages have discovered we are born
For various endsto love, to know: has ever
One stumbled, in his search, on any signs
Of a nature in us formed to hate? To hate?
If that be our true object which evokes
Our powers in fullest strength, be sure 't is hate!
Yet men have doubted if the best and bravest
Of spirits can nourish him with hate alone.
I had not the monopoly of fools,
It seems, at Basil.
Festus.
          But your plans, your plans!
I have yet to learn your purpose, Aureole!
Paracelsus.
Whether to sink beneath such ponderous shame,
To shrink up like a crushed snail, undergo
In silence and desist from further toil,
and so subside into a monument
Of one their censure blasted? or to bow
Cheerfully as submissively, to lower
My old pretensions even as Basil dictates,
To drop into the rank her wits assign me
And live as they prescribe, and make that use
Of my poor knowledge which their rules allow,
Proud to be patted now and then, and careful
To practise the true posture for receiving
The amplest benefit from their hoofs' appliance
When they shall condescend to tutor me?
Then, one may feel resentment like a flame
Within, and deck false systems in truth's garb,
And tangle and entwine mankind with error,
And give them darkness for a dower and falsehood
For a possession, ages: or one may mope
Into a shade through thinking, or else drowse
Into a dreamless sleep and so die off.
But I,now Festus shall divine!but I
Am merely setting out once more, embracing
My earliest aims again! What thinks he now?
Festus.
Your aims? the aims?to Know? and where is found
The early trust . . .
Paracelsus.
           Nay, not so fast; I say,
The aimsnot the old means. You know they made me
A laughing-stock; I was a fool; you know
The when and the how: hardly those means again!
Not but they had their beauty; who should know
Their passing beauty, if not I? Still, dreams
They were, so let them vanish, yet in beauty
If that may be. Stay: thus they pass in song!
[He sings.
Heap cassia, sandal-buds and stripes
Of labdanum, and aloe-balls,
Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes
From out her hair: such balsam falls
Down sea-side mountain pedestals,
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain,
Spent with the vast and howling main,
To treasure half their island-gain.
And strew faint sweetness from some old
Egyptian's fine worm-eaten shroud
Which breaks to dust when once unrolled;
Or shredded perfume, like a cloud
From closet long to quiet vowed,
With mothed and dropping arras hung,
Mouldering her lute and books among,
As when a queen, long dead, was young.
Mine, every word! And on such pile shall die
My lovely fancies, with fair perished things,
Themselves fair and forgotten; yes, forgotten,
Or why abjure them? So, I made this rhyme
That fitting dignity might be preserved;
No little proud was I; though the list of drugs
Smacks of my old vocation, and the verse
Halts like the best of Luther's psalms.
Festus.
                     But, Aureole,
Talk not thus wildly and madly. I am here
Did you know all! I have travelled far, indeed,
To learn your wishes. Be yourself again!
For in this mood I recognize you less
Than in the horrible despondency
I witnessed last. You may account this, joy;
But rather let me gaze on that despair
Than hear these incoherent words and see
This flushed cheek and intensely-sparkling eye.
Paracelsus.
Why, man, I was light-hearted in my prime
I am light-hearted now; what would you have?
Aprile was a poet, I make songs
'T is the very augury of success I want!
Why should I not be joyous now as then?
Festus.
Joyous! and how? and what remains for joy?
You have declared the ends (which I am sick
Of naming) are impracticable.
Paracelsus.
               Ay,
Pursued as I pursued themthe arch-fool!
Listen: my plan will please you not, 't is like,
But you are little versed in the world's ways.
This is my plan(first drinking its good luck)
I will accept all helps; all I despised
So rashly at the outset, equally
With early impulses, late years have quenched:
I have tried each way singly: now for both!
All helps! no one sort shall exclude the rest.
I seek to know and to enjoy at once,
Not one without the other as before.
Suppose my labour should seem God's own cause
Once more, as first I dreamed,it shall not baulk me
Of the meanest earthliest sensualest delight
That may be snatched; for every joy is gain,
And gain is gain, however small. My soul
Can die then, nor be taunted"what was gained?"
Nor, on the other hand, should pleasure follow
As though I had not spurned her hitherto,
Shall she o'ercloud my spirit's rapt communion
With the tumultuous past, the teeming future,
Glorious with visions of a full success.
Festus.
Success!
Paracelsus.
    And wherefore not? Why not prefer
Results obtained in my best state of being,
To those derived alone from seasons dark
As the thoughts they bred? When I was best, my youth
Unwasted, seemed success not surest too?
It is the nature of darkness to obscure.
I am a wanderer: I remember well
One journey, how I feared the track was missed,
So long the city I desired to reach
Lay hid; when suddenly its spires afar
Flashed through the circling clouds; you may conceive
My transport. Soon the vapours closed again,
But I had seen the city, and one such glance
No darkness could obscure: nor shall the present
A few dull hours, a passing shame or two,
Destroy the vivid memories of the past.
I will fight the battle out; a little spent
Perhaps, but still an able combatant.
You look at my grey hair and furrowed brow?
But I can turn even weakness to account:
Of many tricks I know, 't is not the least
To push the ruins of my frame, whereon
The fire of vigour trembles scarce alive,
Into a heap, and send the flame aloft.
What should I do with age? So, sickness lends
An aid; it being, I fear, the source of all
We boast of: mind is nothing but disease,
And natural health is ignorance.
Festus.
                 I see
But one good symptom in this notable scheme.
I feared your sudden journey had in view
To wreak immediate vengeance on your foes
'T is not so: I am glad.
Paracelsus.
             And if I please
To spit on them, to trample them, what then?
'T is sorry warfare truly, but the fools
Provoke it. I would spare their self-conceit
But if they must provoke me, cannot suffer
Forbearance on my part, if I may keep
No quality in the shade, must needs put forth
Power to match power, my strength against their strength,
And teach them their own game with their own arms
Why, be it so and let them take their chance!
I am above them like a god, there's no
Hiding the fact: what idle scruples, then,
Were those that ever bade me soften it,
Communicate it gently to the world,
Instead of proving my supremacy,
Taking my natural station o'er their head,
Then owning all the glory was a man's!
And in my elevation man's would be.
But live and learn, though life's short, learning, hard!
And therefore, though the wreck of my past self,
I fear, dear Ptter, that your lecture-room
Must wait awhile for its best ornament,
The penitent empiric, who set up
For somebody, but soon was taught his place;
Now, but too happy to be let confess
His error, snuff the candles, and illustrate
(Fiat experientia corpore vili)
Your medicine's soundness in his person. Wait,
Good Ptter!
Festus.
      He who sneers thus, is a god!
      Paracelsus.
Ay, ay, laugh at me! I am very glad
You are not gulled by all this swaggering; you
Can see the root of the matter!how I strive
To put a good face on the overthrow
I have experienced, and to bury and hide
My degradation in its length and breadth;
How the mean motives I would make you think
Just mingle as is due with nobler aims,
The appetites I modestly allow
May influence me as being mortal still
Do goad me, drive me on, and fast supplant
My youth's desires. You are no stupid dupe:
You find me out! Yes, I had sent for you
To palm these childish lies upon you, Festus!
Laughyou shall laugh at me!
Festus.
               The past, then, Aureole,
Proves nothing? Is our interchange of love
Yet to begin? Have I to swear I mean
No flattery in this speech or that? For you,
Whate'er you say, there is no degradation;
These low thoughts are no inmates of your mind,
Or wherefore this disorder? You are vexed
As much by the intrusion of base views,
Familiar to your adversaries, as they
Were troubled should your qualities alight
Amid their murky souls; not otherwise,
A stray wolf which the winter forces down
From our bleak hills, suffices to affright
A village in the valeswhile foresters
Sleep calm, though all night long the famished troop
Snuff round and scratch against their crazy huts.
These evil thoughts are monsters, and will flee.
Paracelsus.
May you be happy, Festus, my own friend!
Festus.
Nay, further; the delights you fain would think
The superseders of your nobler aims,
Though ordinary and harmless stimulants,
Will ne'er content you. . . .
Paracelsus.
               Hush! I once despised them,
But that soon passes. We are high at first
In our demand, nor will abate a jot
Of toil's strict value; but time passes o'er,
And humbler spirits accept what we refuse:
In short, when some such comfort is doled out
As these delights, we cannot long retain
Bitter contempt which urges us at first
To hurl it back, but hug it to our breast
And thankfully retire. This life of mine
Must be lived out and a grave thoroughly earned:
I am just fit for that and nought beside.
I told you once, I cannot now enjoy,
Unless I deem my knowledge gains through joy;
Nor can I know, but straight warm tears reveal
My need of linking also joy to knowledge:
So, on I drive, enjoying all I can,
And knowing all I can. I speak, of course,
Confusedly; this will better explainfeel here!
Quick beating, is it not?a fire of the heart
To work off some way, this as well as any.
So, Festus sees me fairly launched; his calm
Compassionate look might have disturbed me once,
But now, far from rejecting, I invite
What bids me press the closer, lay myself
Open before him, and be soothed with pity;
I hope, if he command hope, and believe
As he directs mesatiating myself
With his enduring love. And Festus quits me
To give place to some credulous disciple
Who holds that God is wise, but Paracelsus
Has his peculiar merits: I suck in
That homage, chuckle o'er that admiration,
And then dismiss the fool; for night is come.
And I betake myself to study again,
Till patient searchings after hidden lore
Half wring some bright truth from its prison; my frame
Trembles, my forehead's veins swell out, my hair
Tingles for triumph. Slow and sure the morn
Shall break on my pent room and dwindling lamp
And furnace dead, and scattered earths and ores;
When, with a failing heart and throbbing brow,
I must review my captured truth, sum up
Its value, trace what ends to what begins,
Its present power with its eventual bearings,
Latent affinities, the views it opens,
And its full length in perfecting my scheme.
I view it sternly circumscribed, cast down
From the high place my fond hopes yielded it,
Proved worthlesswhich, in getting, yet had cost
Another wrench to this fast-falling frame.
Then, quick, the cup to quaff, that chases sorrow!
I lapse back into youth, and take again
My fluttering pulse for evidence that God
Means good to me, will make my cause his own.
See! I have cast off this remorseless care
Which clogged a spirit born to soar so free,
And my dim chamber has become a tent,
Festus is sitting by me, and his Michal . . .
Why do you start? I say, she listening here,
(For yonderWrzburg through the orchard-bough!)
Motions as though such ardent words should find
No echo in a maiden's quiet soul,
But her pure bosom heaves, her eyes fill fast
With tears, her sweet lips tremble all the while!
Ha, ha!
Festus.
   It seems, then, you expect to reap
No unreal joy from this your present course,
But rather . . .
Paracelsus.
         Death! To die! I owe that much
To what, at least, I was. I should be sad
To live contented after such a fall,
To thrive and fatten after such reverse!
The whole plan is a makeshift, but will last
My time.
Festus.
    And you have never mused and said,
"I had a noble purpose, and the strength
"To compass it; but I have stopped half-way,
"And wrongly given the first-fruits of my toil
"To objects little worthy of the gift.
"Why linger round them still? why clench my fault?
"Why seek for consolation in defeat,
"In vain endeavours to derive a beauty
"From ugliness? why seek to make the most
"Of what no power can change, nor strive instead
"With mighty effort to redeem the past
"And, gathering up the treasures thus cast down,
"To hold a steadfast course till I arrive
"At their fit destination and my own?"
You have never pondered thus?
Paracelsus.
               Have I, you ask?
Often at midnight, when most fancies come,
Would some such airy project visit me:
But ever at the end . . . or will you hear
The same thing in a tale, a parable?
You and I, wandering over the world wide,
Chance to set foot upon a desert coast.
Just as we cry, "No human voice before
"Broke the inveterate silence of these rocks!"
Their querulous echo startles us; we turn:
What ravaged structure still looks o'er the sea?
Some characters remain, too! While we read,
The sharp salt wind, impatient for the last
Of even this record, wistfully comes and goes,
Or sings what we recover, mocking it.
This is the record; and my voice, the wind's.
[He sings.
Over the sea our galleys went,
With cleaving prows in order brave
To a speeding wind and a bounding wave,
A gallant armament:
Each bark built out of a forest-tree
Left leafy and rough as first it grew,
And nailed all over the gaping sides,
Within and without, with black bull-hides,
Seethed in fat and suppled in flame,
To bear the playful billows' game:
So, each good ship was rude to see,
Rude and bare to the outward view,
But each upbore a stately tent
Where cedar pales in scented row
Kept out the flakes of the dancing brine,
And an awning drooped the mast below,
In fold on fold of the purple fine,
That neither noontide nor starshine
Nor moonlight cold which maketh mad,
Might pierce the regal tenement.
When the sun dawned, oh, gay and glad
We set the sail and plied the oar;
But when the night-wind blew like breath,
For joy of one day's voyage more,
We sang together on the wide sea,
Like men at peace on a peaceful shore;
Each sail was loosed to the wind so free,
Each helm made sure by the twilight star,
And in a sleep as calm as death,
We, the voyagers from afar,
Lay stretched along, each weary crew
In a circle round its wondrous tent
Whence gleamed soft light and curled rich scent,
And with light and perfume, music too:
So the stars wheeled round, and the darkness past,
And at morn we started beside the mast,
And still each ship was sailing fast.
Now, one morn, land appeareda speck
Dim trembling betwixt sea and sky:
"Avoid it," cried our pilot, "check
"The shout, restrain the eager eye!"
But the heaving sea was black behind
For many a night and many a day,
And land, though but a rock, drew nigh;
So, we broke the cedar pales away,
Let the purple awning flap in the wind,
And a statute bright was on every deck!
We shouted, every man of us,
And steered right into the harbour thus,
With pomp and pan glorious.
A hundred shapes of lucid stone!
All day we built its shrine for each,
A shrine of rock for every one,
Nor paused till in the westering sun
We sat together on the beach
To sing because our task was done.
When lo! what shouts and merry songs!
What laughter all the distance stirs!
A loaded raft with happy throngs
Of gentle islanders!
"Our isles are just at hand," they cried,
"Like cloudlets faint in even sleeping
"Our temple-gates are opened wide,
"Our olive-groves thick shade are keeping
"For these majestic forms"they cried.
Oh, then we awoke with sudden start
From our deep dream, and knew, too late,
How bare the rock, how desolate,
Which had received our precious freight:
Yet we called out"Depart!
"Our gifts, once given, must here abide.
"Our work is done; we have no heart
"To mar our work,"we cried.
Festus.
In truth?
Paracelsus.
     Nay, wait: all this in tracings faint
On rugged stones strewn here and there, but piled
In order once: then followsmark what follows!
"The sad rhyme of the men who proudly clung
"To their first fault, and withered in their pride."
Festus.
Come back then, Aureole; as you fear God, come!
This is foul sin; come back! Renounce the past,
Forswear the future; look for joy no more,
But wait death's summons amid holy sights,
And trust me for the eventpeace, if not joy.
Return with me to Einsiedeln, dear Aureole!
Paracelsus.
No way, no way! it would not turn to good.
A spotless child sleeps on the flowering moss
'T is well for him; but when a sinful man,
Envying such slumber, may desire to put
His guilt away, shall he return at once
To rest by lying there? Our sires knew well
(Spite of the grave discoveries of their sons)
The fitting course for such: dark cells, dim lamps,
A stone floor one may writhe on like a worm:
No mossy pillow blue with violets!
Festus.
I see no symptom of these absolute
And tyrannous passions. You are calmer now.
This verse-making can purge you well enough
Without the terrible penance you describe.
You love me still: the lusts you fear will never
Outrage your friend. To Einsiedeln, once more!
Say but the word!
Paracelsus.
         No, no; those lusts forbid:
They crouch, I know, cowering with half-shut eye
Beside you; 't is their nature. Thrust yourself
Between them and their prey; let some fool style me
Or king or quack, it matters notthen try
Your wisdom, urge them to forego their treat!
No, no; learn better and look deeper, Festus!
If you knew how a devil sneers within me
While you are talking now of this, now that,
As though we differed scarcely save in trifles!
Festus.
Do we so differ? True, change must proceed,
Whether for good or ill; keep from me, which!
Do not confide all secrets: I was born
To hope, and you . . .
Paracelsus.
           To trust: you know the fruits!
           Festus.
Listen: I do believe, what you call trust
Was self-delusion at the best: for, see!
So long as God would kindly pioneer
A path for you, and screen you from the world,
Procure you full exemption from man's lot,
Man's common hopes and fears, on the mere pretext
Of your engagement in his serviceyield you
A limitless licence, make you God, in fact,
And turn your slaveyou were content to say
Most courtly praises! What is it, at last,
But selfishness without example? None
Could trace God's will so plain as you, while yours
Remained implied in it; but now you fail,
And we, who prate about that will, are fools!
In short, God's service is established here
As he determines fit, and not your way,
And this you cannot brook. Such discontent
Is weak. Renounce all creatureship at once!
Affirm an absolute right to have and use
Your energies; as though the rivers should say
"We rush to the ocean; what have we to do
"With feeding streamlets, lingering in the vales,
"Sleeping in lazy pools?" Set up that plea,
That will be bold at least!
Paracelsus.
               'T is like enough.
The serviceable spirits are those, no doubt,
The East produces: lo, the master bids,
They wake, raise terraces and garden-grounds
In one night's space; and, this done, straight begin
Another century's sleep, to the great praise
Of him that framed them wise and beautiful,
Till a lamp's rubbing, or some chance akin,
Wake them again. I am of different mould.
I would have soothed my lord, and slaved for him
And done him service past my narrow bond,
And thus I get rewarded for my pains!
Beside, 't is vain to talk of forwarding
God's glory otherwise; this is alone
The sphere of its increase, as far as men
Increase it; why, then, look beyond this sphere?
We are his glory; and if we be glorious,
Is not the thing achieved?
Festus.
              Shall one like me
Judge hearts like yours? Though years have changed you much,
And you have left your first love, and retain
Its empty shade to veil your crooked ways,
Yet I still hold that you have honoured God.
And who shall call your course without reward?
For, wherefore this repining at defeat
Had triumph ne'er inured you to high hopes?
I urge you to forsake the life you curse,
And what success attends me?simply talk
Of passion, weakness and remorse; in short,
Anything but the naked truthyou choose
This so-despised career, and cheaply hold
My happiness, or rather other men's.
Once more, return!
Paracelsus.
         And quickly. John the thief
Has pilfered half my secrets by this time:
And we depart by daybreak. I am weary,
I know not how; not even the wine-cup soothes
My brain to-night . . .
Do you not thoroughly despise me, Festus?
No flattery! One like you needs not be told
We live and breathe deceiving and deceived.
Do you not scorn me from your heart of hearts,
Me and my cant, each petty subterfuge,
My rhymes and all this frothy shower of words,
My glozing self-deceit, my outward crust
Of lies which wrap, as tetter, morphew, furfair
Wrapt the sound flesh?so, see you flatter not!
Even God flatters: but my friend, at least,
Is true. I would depart, secure henceforth
Against all further insult, hate and wrong
From puny foes; my one friend's scorn shall brand me:
No fear of sinking deeper!
Festus.
              No, dear Aureole!
No, no; I came to counsel faithfully.
There are old rules, made long ere we were born,
By which I judge you. I, so fallible,
So infinitely low beside your mighty
Majestic spirit!even I can see
You own some higher law than ours which call
Sin, what is no sinweakness, what is strength.
But I have only these, such as they are,
To guide me; and I blame you where they bid,
Only so long as blaming promises
To win peace for your soul: the more, that sorrow
Has fallen on me of late, and they have helped me
So that I faint not under my distress.
But wherefore should I scruple to avow
In spite of all, as brother judging brother,
Your fate is most inexplicable to me?
And should you perish without recompense
And satisfaction yettoo hastily
I have relied on love: you may have sinned,
But you have loved. As a mere human matter
As I would have God deal with fragile men
In the endI say that you will triumph yet!
Paracelsus.
Have you felt sorrow, Festus?'t is because
You love me. Sorrow, and sweet Michal yours!
Well thought on: never let her know this last
Dull winding-up of all: these miscreants dared
Insult meme she loved:so, grieve her not!
Festus.
Your ill success can little grieve her now.
Paracelsus.
Michal is dead! pray Christ we do not craze!
Festus.
Aureole, dear Aureole, look not on me thus!
Fool, fool! this is the heart grown sorrow-proof
I cannot bear those eyes.
Paracelsus.
             Nay, really dead?
             Festus.
'T is scarce a month.
Paracelsus.
           Stone dead!then you have laid her
Among the flowers ere this. Now, do you know,
I can reveal a secret which shall comfort
Even you. I have no julep, as men think,
To cheat the grave; but a far better secret.
Know, then, you did not ill to trust your love
To the cold earth: I have thought much of it:
For I believe we do not wholly die.
Festus.
Aureole!
Paracelsus.
    Nay, do not laugh; there is a reason
For what I say: I think the soul can never
Taste death. I am, just now, as you may see,
Very unfit to put so strange a thought
In an intelligible dress of words;
But take it as my trust, she is not dead.
Festus.
But not on this account alone? you surely,
Aureole, you have believed this all along?
Paracelsus.
And Michal sleeps among the roots and dews,
While I am moved at Basil, and full of schemes
For Nuremberg, and hoping and despairing,
As though it mattered how the farce plays out,
So it be quickly played. Away, away!
Have your will, rabble! while we fight the prize,
Troop you in safety to the snug back-seats
And leave a clear arena for the brave
About to perish for your sport!Behold!


~ Robert Browning, Paracelsus - Part IV - Paracelsus Aspires

339:Scene. Basil; a chamber in the house of Paracelsus. 1526.
Paracelsus, Festus.
Paracelsus.
Heap logs and let the blaze laugh out!
Festus.
                     True, true!
'T is very fit all, time and chance and change
Have wrought since last we sat thus, face to face
And soul to soulall cares, far-looking fears,
Vague apprehensions, all vain fancies bred
By your long absence, should be cast away,
Forgotten in this glad unhoped renewal
Of our affections.
Paracelsus.
         Oh, omit not aught
Which witnesses your own and Michal's own
Affection: spare not that! Only forget
The honours and the glories and what not,
It pleases you to tell profusely out.
Festus.
Nay, even your honours, in a sense, I waive:
The wondrous Paracelsus, life's dispenser,
Fate's commissary, idol of the schools
And courts, shall be no more than Aureole still,
Still Aureole and my friend as when we parted
Some twenty years ago, and I restrained
As best I could the promptings of my spirit
Which secretly advanced you, from the first,
To the pre-eminent rank which, since, your own
Adventurous ardour, nobly triumphing,
Has won for you.
Paracelsus.
         Yes, yes. And Michal's face
Still wears that quiet and peculiar light
Like the dim circlet floating round a pearl?
Festus.
Just so.
Paracelsus.
    And yet her calm sweet countenance,
Though saintly, was not sad; for she would sing
Alone. Does she still sing alone, bird-like,
Not dreaming you are near? Her carols dropt
In flakes through that old leafy bower built under
The sunny wall at Wrzburg, from her lattice
Among the trees above, while I, unseen,
Sat conning some rare scroll from Tritheim's shelves
Much wondering notes so simple could divert
My mind from study. Those were happy days.
Respect all such as sing when all alone!
Festus.
Scarcely alone: her children, you may guess,
Are wild beside her.
Paracelsus.
           Ah, those children quite
Unsettle the pure picture in my mind:
A girl, she was so perfect, so distinct:
No change, no change! Not but this added grace
May blend and harmonize with its compeers,
And Michal may become her motherhood;
But't is a change, and I detest all change,
And most a change in aught I loved long since.
So, Michalyou have said she thinks of me?
Festus.
O very proud will Michal be of you!
Imagine how we sat, long winter-nights,
Scheming and wondering, shaping your presumed
Adventure, or devising its reward;
Shutting out fear with all the strength of hope.
For it was strange how, even when most secure
In our domestic peace, a certain dim
And flitting shade could sadden all; it seemed
A restlessness of heart, a silent yearning,
A sense of something wanting, incomplete
Not to be put in words, perhaps avoided
By mute consentbut, said or unsaid, felt
To point to one so loved and so long lost.
And then the hopes rose and shut out the fears
How you would laugh should I recount them now
I still predicted your return at last
With gifts beyond the greatest of them all,
All Tritheim's wondrous troop; did one of which
Attain renown by any chance, I smiled,
As well aware of who would prove his peer
Michal was sure some woman, long ere this,
As beautiful as you were sage, had loved . . .
Paracelsus.
Far-seeing, truly, to discern so much
In the fantastic projects and day-dreams
Of a raw restless boy!
Festus.
           Oh, no: the sunrise
Well warranted our faith in this full noon!
Can I forget the anxious voice which said
"Festus, have thoughts like these ere shaped themselves
"In other brains than mine? have their possessors
"Existed in like circumstance? were they weak
"As I, or ever constant from the first,
"Despising youth's allurements and rejecting
"As spider-films the shackles I endure?
"Is there hope for me?"and I answered gravely
As an acknowledged elder, calmer, wiser,
More gifted mortal. O you must remember,
For all your glorious . . .
Paracelsus.
               Glorious? ay, this hair,
These handsnay, touch them, they are mine! Recall
With all the said recallings, times when thus
To lay them by your own ne'er turned you pale
As now. Most glorious, are they not?
Festus.
                   Whywhy
Something must be subtracted from success
So wide, no doubt. He would be scrupulous, truly,
Who should object such drawbacks. Still, still, Aureole,
You are changed, very changed! 'T were losing nothing
To look well to it: you must not be stolen
From the enjoyment of your well-won meed.
Paracelsus.
My friend! you seek my pleasure, past a doubt:
You will best gain your point, by talking, not
Of me, but of yourself.
Festus.
            Have I not said
All touching Michal and my children? Sure
You know, by this, full well how Aennchen looks
Gravely, while one disparts her thick brown hair;
And Aureole's glee when some stray gannet builds
Amid the birch-trees by the lake. Small hope
Have I that he will honour (the wild imp)
His namesake. Sigh not! 't is too much to ask
That all we love should reach the same proud fate.
But you are very kind to humour me
By showing interest in my quiet life;
You, who of old could never tame yourself
To tranquil pleasures, must at heart despise . . .
Paracelsus.
Festus, strange secrets are let out by death
Who blabs so oft the follies of this world:
And I am death's familiar, as you know.
I helped a man to die, some few weeks since,
Warped even from his go-cart to one end
The living on princes' smiles, reflected from
A mighty herd of favourites. No mean trick
He left untried, and truly well-nigh wormed
All traces of God's finger out of him:
Then died, grown old. And just an hour before,
Having lain long with blank and soulless eyes,
He sat up suddenly, and with natural voice
Said that in spite of thick air and closed doors
God told him it was June; and he knew well,
Without such telling, harebells grew in June;
And all that kings could ever give or take
Would not be precious as those blooms to him.
Just so, allowing I am passing sage,
It seems to me much worthier argument
Why pansies,[1] eyes that laugh, bear beauty's prize
From violets, eyes that dream(your Michal's choice)
Than all fools find to wonder at in me
Or in my fortunes. And be very sure
I say this from no prurient restlessness,
No self-complacency, itching to turn,
Vary and view its pleasure from all points,
And, in this instance, willing other men
May be at pains, demonstrate to itself
The realness of the very joy it tastes.
What should delight me like the news of friends
Whose memories were a solace to me oft,
As mountain-baths to wild fowls in their flight?
Ofter than you had wasted thought on me
Had you been wise, and rightly valued bliss.
But there's no taming nor repressing hearts:
God knows I need such!So, you heard me speak?
Festus.
Speak? when?
Paracelsus.
      When but this morning at my class?
There was noise and crowd enough. I saw you not.
Surely you know I am engaged to fill
The chair here?that't is part of my proud fate
To lecture to as many thick-skulled youths
As please, each day, to throng the theatre,
To my great reputation, and no small
Danger of Basil's benches long unused
To crack beneath such honour?
Festus.
               I was there;
I mingled with the throng: shall I avow
Small care was mine to listen?too intent
On gathering from the murmurs of the crowd
A full corroboration of my hopes!
What can I learn about your powers? but they
Know, care for nought beyond your actual state,
Your actual value; yet they worship you,
Those various natures whom you sway as one!
But ere I go, be sure I shall attend . . .
Paracelsus.
Stop, o' God's name: the thing's by no means yet
Past remedy! Shall I read this morning's labour
At least in substance? Nought so worth the gaining
As an apt scholar! Thus then, with all due
Precision and emphasisyou, beside, are clearly
Guiltless of understanding more, a whit,
The subject than your stoolallowed to be
A notable advantage.
Festus.
           Surely, Aureole,
You laugh at me!
Paracelsus.
         I laugh? Ha, ha! thank heaven,
I charge you, if't be so! for I forget
Much, and what laughter should be like. No less,
However, I forego that luxury
Since it alarms the friend who brings it back.
True, laughter like my own must echo strangely
To thinking men; a smile were better far;
So, make me smile! If the exulting look
You wore but now be smiling, 't is so long
Since I have smiled! Alas, such smiles are born
Alone of hearts like yours, or herdsmen's souls
Of ancient time, whose eyes, calm as their flocks,
Saw in the stars mere garnishry of heaven,
And in the earth a stage for altars only.
Never change, Festus: I say, never change!
Festus.
My God, if he be wretched after all
Paracelsus.
When last we parted, Festus, you declared,
Or Michal, yes, her soft lips whispered words
I have preserved. She told me she believed
I should succeed (meaning, that in the search
I then engaged in, I should meet success)
And yet be wretched: now, she augured false.
Festus.
Thank heaven! but you spoke strangely: could I venture
To think bare apprehension lest your friend,
Dazzled by your resplendent course, might find
Henceforth less sweetness in his own, could move
Such earnest mood in you? Fear not, dear friend,
That I shall leave you, inwardly repining
Your lot was not my own!
Paracelsus.
             And this for ever!
For ever! gull who may, they will be gulled!
They will not look nor think;'t is nothing new
In them: but surely he is not of them!
My Festus, do you know, I reckoned, you
Though all beside were sand-blindyou, my friend,
Would look at me, once close, with piercing eye
Untroubled by the false glare that confounds
A weaker vision: would remain serene,
Though singular amid a gaping throng.
I feared you, or I had come, sure, long ere this,
To Einsiedeln. Well, error has no end,
And Rhasis is a sage, and Basil boasts
A tribe of wits, and I am wise and blest
Past all dispute! 'T is vain to fret at it.
I have vowed long ago my worshippers
Shall owe to their own deep sagacity
All further information, good or bad.
Small risk indeed my reputation runs,
Unless perchance the glance now searching me
Be fixed much longer; for it seems to spell
Dimly the characters a simpler man
Might read distinct enough. Old Eastern books
Say, the fallen prince of morning some short space
Remained unchanged in semblance; nay, his brow
Was hued with triumph: every spirit then
Praising, his heart on flame the while:a tale!
Well, Festus, what discover you, I pray?
Festus.
Some foul deed sullies then a life which else
Were raised supreme?
Paracelsus.
           Good: I do well, most well
Why strive to make men hear, feel, fret themselves
With what is past their power to comprehend?
I should not strive now: only, having nursed
The faint surmise that one yet walked the earth,
One, at least, not the utter fool of show,
Not absolutely formed to be the dupe
Of shallow plausibilities alone:
One who, in youth, found wise enough to choose
The happiness his riper years approve,
Was yet so anxious for another's sake,
That, ere his friend could rush upon a mad
And ruinous course, the converse of his own,
His gentle spirit essayed, prejudged for him
The perilous path, foresaw its destiny,
And warned the weak one in such tender words,
Such accentshis whole heart in every tone
That oft their memory comforted that friend
When it by right should have increased despair:
Having believed, I say, that this one man
Could never lose the light thus from the first
His portionhow should I refuse to grieve
At even my gain if it disturb our old
Relation, if it make me out more wise?
Therefore, once more reminding him how well
He prophesied, I note the single flaw
That spoils his prophet's title. In plain words,
You were deceived, and thus were you deceived
I have not been successful, and yet am
Most miserable; 't is said at last; nor you
Give credit, lest you force me to concede
That common sense yet lives upon the world!
Festus.
You surely do not mean to banter me?
Paracelsus.
You know, orif you have been wise enough
To cleanse your memory of such mattersknew,
As far as words of mine could make it clear,
That't was my purpose to find joy or grief
Solely in the fulfilment of my plan
Or plot or whatsoe'er it was; rejoicing
Alone as it proceeded prosperously,
Sorrowing then only when mischance retarded
Its progress. That was in those Wrzburg days!
Not to prolong a theme I thoroughly hate,
I have pursued this plan with all my strength;
And having failed therein most signally,
Cannot object to ruin utter and drear
As all-excelling would have been the prize
Had fortune favoured me. I scarce have right
To vex your frank good spirit late so glad
In my supposed prosperity, I know,
And, were I lucky in a glut of friends,
Would well agree to let your error live,
Nay, strengthen it with fables of success.
But mine is no condition to refuse
The transient solace of so rare a godsend,
My solitary luxury, my one friend:
Accordingly I venture to put off
The wearisome vest of falsehood galling me,
Secure when he is by. I lay me bare
Prone at his mercybut he is my friend!
Not that he needs retain his aspect grave;
That answers not my purpose; for't is like,
Some sunny morningBasil being drained
Of its wise population, every corner
Of the amphitheatre crammed with learned clerks,
Here OEcolampadius, looking worlds of wit,
Here Castellanus, as profound as he,
Munsterus here, Frobenius there, all squeezed
And staring,that the zany of the show,
Even Paracelsus, shall put off before them
His trappings with a grace but seldom judged
Expedient in such cases:the grim smile
That will go round! Is it not therefore best
To venture a rehearsal like the present
In a small way? Where are the signs I seek,
The first-fruits and fair sample of the scorn
Due to all quacks? Why, this will never do!
Festus.
These are foul vapours, Aureole; nought beside!
The effect of watching, study, weariness.
Were there a spark of truth in the confusion
Of these wild words, you would not outrage thus
Your youth's companion. I shall ne'er regard
These wanderings, bred of faintness and much study.
'T is not thus you would trust a trouble to me,
To Michal's friend.
Paracelsus.
          I have said it, dearest Festus!
For the manner, 't is ungracious probably;
You may have it told in broken sobs, one day,
And scalding tears, ere long: but I thought best
To keep that off as long as possible.
Do you wonder still?
Festus.
           No; it must oft fall out
That one whose labour perfects any work,
Shall rise from it with eye so worn that he
Of all men least can measure the extent
Of what he has accomplished. He alone
Who, nothing tasked, is nothing weary too,
May clearly scan the little he effects:
But we, the bystanders, untouched by toil,
Estimate each aright.
Paracelsus.
           This worthy Festus
Is one of them, at last! 'T is so with all!
First, they set down all progress as a dream;
And next, when he whose quick discomfiture
Was counted on, accomplishes some few
And doubtful steps in his career,behold,
They look for every inch of ground to vanish
Beneath his tread, so sure they spy success!
Festus.
Few doubtful steps? when death retires before
Your presencewhen the noblest of mankind,
Broken in body or subdued in soul,
May through your skill renew their vigour, raise
The shattered frame to pristine stateliness?
When men in racking pain may purchase dreams
Of what delights them most, swooning at once
Into a sea of bliss or rapt along
As in a flying sphere of turbulent light?
When we may look to you as one ordained
To free the flesh from fell disease, as frees
Our Luther's burning tongue the fettered soul?
When . . .
Paracelsus.
     When and where, the devil, did you get
This notable news?
Festus.
         Even from the common voice;
From those whose envy, daring not dispute
The wonders it decries, attributes them
To magic and such folly.
Paracelsus.
             Folly? Why not
To magic, pray? You find a comfort doubtless
In holding, God ne'er troubles him about
Us or our doings: once we were judged worth
The devil's tempting . . . I offend: forgive me,
And rest content. Your prophecy on the whole
Was fair enough as prophesyings go;
At fault a little in detail, but quite
Precise enough in the main; and hereupon
I pay due homage: you guessed long ago
(The prophet!) I should failand I have failed.
Festus.
You mean to tell me, then, the hopes which fed
Your youth have not been realized as yet?
Some obstacle has barred them hitherto?
Or that their innate . . .
Paracelsus.
              As I said but now,
You have a very decent prophet's fame,
So you but shun details here. Little matter
Whether those hopes were mad,the aims they sought,
Safe and secure from all ambitious fools;
Or whether my weak wits are overcome
By what a better spirit would scorn: I fail.
And now methinks't were best to change a theme
I am a sad fool to have stumbled on.
I say confusedly what comes uppermost;
But there are times when patience proves at fault,
As now: this morning's strange encounteryou
Beside me once again! you, whom I guessed
Alive, since hitherto (with Luther's leave)
No friend have I among the saints at peace,
To judge by any good their prayers effect.
I knew you would have helped mewhy not he,
My strange competitor in enterprise,
Bound for the same end by another path,
Arrived, or ill or well, before the time,
At our disastrous journey's doubtful close?
How goes it with Aprile? Ah, they miss
Your lone sad sunny idleness of heaven,
Our martyrs for the world's sake; heaven shuts fast:
The poor mad poet is howling by this time!
Since you are my sole friend then, here or there,
I could not quite repress the varied feelings
This meeting wakens; they have had their vent,
And now forget them. Do the rear-mice still
Hang like a fretwork on the gate (or what
In my time was a gate) fronting the road
From Einsiedeln to Lachen?
Festus.
              Trifle not:
Answer me, for my sake alone! You smiled
Just now, when I supposed some deed, unworthy
Yourself, might blot the else so bright result;
Yet if your motives have continued pure,
Your will unfaltering, and in spite of this,
You have experienced a defeat, why then
I say not you would cheerfully withdraw
From contestmortal hearts are not so fashioned
But surely you would ne'ertheless withdraw.
You sought not fame nor gain nor even love,
No end distinct from knowledge,I repeat
Your very words: once satisfied that knowledge
Is a mere dream, you would announce as much,
Yourself the first. But how is the event?
You are defeatedand I find you here!
Paracelsus.
As though "here" did not signify defeat!
I spoke not of my little labours here,
But of the break-down of my general aims:
For you, aware of their extent and scope,
To look on these sage lecturings, approved
By beardless boys, and bearded dotards worse,
As a fit consummation of such aims,
Is worthy notice. A professorship
At Basil! Since you see so much in it,
And think my life was reasonably drained
Of life's delights to render me a match
For duties arduous as such post demands,
Be it far from me to deny my power
To fill the petty circle lotted out
Of infinite space, or justify the host
Of honours thence accruing. So, take notice,
This jewel dangling from my neck preserves
The features of a prince, my skill restored
To plague his people some few years to come:
And all through a pure whim. He had eased the earth
For me, but that the droll despair which seized
The vermin of his household, tickled me.
I came to see. Here, drivelled the physician,
Whose most infallible nostrum was at fault;
There quaked the astrologer, whose horoscope
Had promised him interminable years;
Here a monk fumbled at the sick man's mouth
With some undoubted relica sudary
Of the Virgin; while another piebald knave
Of the same brotherhood (he loved them ever)
Was actively preparing 'neath his nose
Such a suffumigation as, once fired,
Had stunk the patient dead ere he could groan.
I cursed the doctor and upset the brother,
Brushed past the conjurer, vowed that the first gust
Of stench from the ingredients just alight
Would raise a cross-grained devil in my sword,
Not easily laid: and ere an hour the prince
Slept as he never slept since prince he was.
A dayand I was posting for my life,
Placarded through the town as one whose spite
Had near availed to stop the blessed effects
Of the doctor's nostrum which, well seconded
By the sudary, and most by the costly smoke
Not leaving out the strenuous prayers sent up
Hard by in the abbeyraised the prince to life:
To the great reputation of the seer
Who, confident, expected all along
The glad eventthe doctor's recompense
Much largess from his highness to the monks
And the vast solace of his loving people,
Whose general satisfaction to increase,
The prince was pleased no longer to defer
The burning of some dozen heretics
Remanded till God's mercy should be shown
Touching his sickness: last of all were joined
Ample directions to all loyal folk
To swell the complement by seizing me
Whodoubtless some rank sorcererendeavoured
To thwart these pious offices, obstruct
The prince's cure, and frustrate heaven by help
Of certain devils dwelling in his sword.
By luck, the prince in his first fit of thanks
Had forced this bauble on me as an earnest
Of further favours. This one case may serve
To give sufficient taste of many such,
So, let them pass. Those shelves support a pile
Of patents, licences, diplomas, titles
From Germany, France, Spain, and Italy;
They authorize some honour; ne'ertheless,
I set more store by this Erasmus sent;
He trusts me; our Frobenius is his friend,
And him "I raised" (nay, read it) "from the dead."
I weary you, I see. I merely sought
To show, there's no great wonder after all
That, while I fill the class-room and attract
A crowd to Basil, I get leave to stay,
And therefore need not scruple to accept
The utmost they can offer, if I please:
For't is but right the world should be prepared
To treat with favour e'en fantastic wants
Of one like me, used up in serving her.
Just as the mortal, whom the gods in part
Devoured, received in place of his lost limb
Some virtue or othercured disease, I think;
You mind the fables we have read together.
Festus.
You do not think I comprehend a word.
The time was, Aureole, you were apt enough
To clothe the airiest thoughts in specious breath;
But surely you must feel how vague and strange
These speeches sound.
Paracelsus.
           Well, then: you know my hopes;
I am assured, at length, those hopes were vain;
That truth is just as far from me as ever;
That I have thrown my life away; that sorrow
On that account is idle, and further effort
To mend and patch what's marred beyond repairing,
As useless: and all this was taught your friend
By the convincing good old-fashioned method
Of forceby sheer compulsion. Is that plain?
Festus.
Dear Aureole, can it be my fears were just?
God wills not . . .
Paracelsus.
          Now, 't is this I most admire
The constant talk men of your stamp keep up
Of God's will, as they style it; one would swear
Man had but merely to uplift his eye,
And see the will in question charactered
On the heaven's vault. 'T is hardly wise to moot
Such topics: doubts are many and faith is weak.
I know as much of any will of God
As knows some dumb and tortured brute what Man,
His stern lord, wills from the perplexing blows
That plague him every way; but there, of course,
Where least he suffers, longest he remains
My case; and for such reasons I plod on,
Subdued but not convinced. I know as little
Why I deserve to fail, as why I hoped
Better things in my youth. I simply know
I am no master here, but trained and beaten
Into the path I tread; and here I stay,
Until some further intimation reach me,
Like an obedient drudge. Though I prefer
To view the whole thing as a task imposed
Which, whether dull or pleasant, must be done
Yet, I deny not, there is made provision
Of joys which tastes less jaded might affect;
Nay, some which please me too, for all my pride
Pleasures that once were pains: the iron ring
Festering about a slave's neck grows at length
Into the flesh it eats. I hate no longer
A host of petty vile delights, undreamed of
Or spurned before; such now supply the place
Of my dead aims: as in the autumn woods
Where tall trees used to flourish, from their roots
Springs up a fungous brood sickly and pale,
Chill mushrooms coloured like a corpse's cheek.
Festus.
If I interpret well your words, I own
It troubles me but little that your aims,
Vast in their dawning and most likely grown
Extravagantly since, have baffled you.
Perchance I am glad; you merit greater praise;
Because they are too glorious to be gained,
You do not blindly cling to them and die;
You fell, but have not sullenly refused
To rise, because an angel worsted you
In wrestling, though the world holds not your peer;
And though too harsh and sudden is the change
To yield content as yet, still you pursue
The ungracious path as though't were rosv-strewn.
'T is well: and your reward, or soon or late,
Will come from him whom no man serves in vain.
Paracelsus.
Ah, very fine! For my part, I conceive
The very pausing from all further toil,
Which you find heinous, would become a seal
To the sincerity of all my deeds.
To be consistent I should die at once;
I calculated on no after-life;
Yet (how crept in, how fostered, I know not)
Here am I with as passionate regret
For youth and health and love so vainly lavished,
As if their preservation had been first
And foremost in my thoughts; and this strange fact
Humbled me wondrously, and had due force
In rendering me the less averse to follow
A certain counsel, a mysterious warning
You will not understandbut't was a man
With aims not mine and yet pursued like mine,
With the same fervour and no more success,
Perishing in my sight; who summoned me
As I would shun the ghastly fate I saw,
To serve my race at once; to wait no longer
That God should interfere in my behalf,
But to distrust myself, put pride away,
And give my gains, imperfect as they were,
To men. I have not leisure to explain
How, since, a singular series of events
Has raised me to the station you behold,
Wherein I seem to turn to most account
The mere wreck of the past,perhaps receive
Some feeble glimmering token that God views
And may approve my penance: therefore here
You find me, doing most good or least harm.
And if folks wonder much and profit little
'T is not my fault; only, I shall rejoice
When my part in the farce is shuffled through,
And the curtain falls: I must hold out till then.
Festus.
Till when, dear Aureole?
Paracelsus.
             Till I'm fairly thrust
From my proud eminence. Fortune is fickle
And even professors fall: should that arrive,
I see no sin in ceding to my bent.
You little fancy what rude shocks apprise us
We sin; God's intimations rather fail
In clearness than in energy: 't were well
Did they but indicate the course to take
Like that to be forsaken. I would fain
Be spared a further sample. Here I stand,
And here I stay, be sure, till forced to flit.
Festus.
Be you but firm on that head! long ere then
All I expect will come to pass, I trust:
The cloud that wraps you will have disappeared.
Meantime, I see small chance of such event:
They praise you here as one whose lore, already
Divulged, eclipses all the past can show,
But whose achievements, marvellous as they be,
Are faint anticipations of a glory
About to be revealed. When Basil's crowds
Dismiss their teacher, I shall be content
That he depart.
Paracelsus.
        This favour at their hands
I look for earlier than your view of things
Would warrant. Of the crowd you saw to-day,
Remove the full half sheer amazement draws,
Mere novelty, nought else; and next, the tribe
Whose innate blockish dulness just perceives
That unless miracles (as seem my works)
Be wrought in their behalf, their chance is slight
To puzzle the devil; next, the numerous set
Who bitterly hate established schools, and help
The teacher that oppugns them, till he once
Have planted his own doctrine, when the teacher
May reckon on their rancour in his turn;
Take, too, the sprinkling of sagacious knaves
Whose cunning runs not counter to the vogue
But seeks, by flattery and crafty nursing,
To force my system to a premature
Short-lived development. Why swell the list?
Each has his end to serve, and his best way
Of serving it: remove all these, remains
A scantling, a poor dozen at the best,
Worthy to look for sympathy and service,
And likely to draw profit from my pains.
Festus.
'T is no encouraging picture: still these few
Redeem their fellows. Once the germ implanted,
Its growth, if slow, is sure.
Paracelsus.
               God grant it so!
I would make some amends: but if I fail,
The luckless rogues have this excuse to urge,
That much is in my method and my manner,
My uncouth habits, my impatient spirit,
Which hinders of reception and result
My doctrine: much to say, small skill to speak!
These old aims suffered not a looking-off
Though for an instant; therefore, only when
I thus renounced them and resolved to reap
Some present fruitto teach mankind some truth
So dearly purchasedonly then I found
Such teaching was an art requiring cares
And qualities peculiar to itself:
That to possess was one thingto display
Another. With renown first in my thoughts,
Or popular praise, I had soon discovered it:
One grows but little apt to learn these things.
Festus.
If it be so, which nowise I believe,
There needs no waiting fuller dispensation
To leave a labour of so little use.
Why not throw up the irksome charge at once?
Paracelsus.
A task, a task!
        But wherefore hide the whole
Extent of degradation, once engaged
In the confessing vein? Despite of all
My fine talk of obedience and repugnance,
Docility and what not, 't is yet to learn
If when the task shall really be performed,
My inclination free to choose once more,
I shall do aught but slightly modify
The nature of the hated task I quit.
In plain words, I am spoiled; my life still tends
As first it tended; I am broken and trained
To my old habits: they are part of me.
I know, and none so well, my darling ends
Are proved impossible: no less, no less,
Even now what humours me, fond fool, as when
Their faint ghosts sit with me and flatter me
And send me back content to my dull round?
How can I change this soul?this apparatus
Constructed solely for their purposes,
So well adapted to their every want,
To search out and discover, prove and perfect;
This intricate machine whose most minute
And meanest motions have their charm to me
Though to none elsean aptitude I seize,
An object I perceive, a use, a meaning,
A property, a fitness, I explain
And I alone:how can I change my soul?
And this wronged body, worthless save when tasked
Under that soul's dominionused to care
For its bright master's cares and quite subdue
Its proper cravingsnot to ail nor pine
So he but prosperwhither drag this poor
Tried patient body? God! how I essayed
To live like that mad poet, for a while,
To love alone; and how I felt too warped
And twisted and deformed! What should I do,
Even tho'released from drudgery, but return
Faint, as you see, and halting, blind and sore,
To my old life and die as I began?
I cannot feed on beauty for the sake
Of beauty only, nor can drink in balm
From lovely objects for their loveliness;
My nature cannot lose her first imprint;
I still must hoard and heap and class all truths
With one ulterior purpose: I must know!
Would God translate me to his throne, believe
That I should only listen to his word
To further my own aim! For other men,
Beauty is prodigally strewn around,
And I were happy could I quench as they
This mad and thriveless longing, and content me
With beauty for itself alone: alas,
I have addressed a frock of heavy mail
Yet may not join the troop of sacred knights;
And now the forest-creatures fly from me,
The grass-banks cool, the sunbeams warm no more.
Best follow, dreaming that ere night arrive,
I shall o'ertake the company and ride
Glittering as they!
Festus.
          I think I apprehend
What you would say: if you, in truth, design
To enter once more on the life thus left,
Seek not to hide that all this consciousness
Of failure is assumed!
Paracelsus.
           My friend, my friend,
I toil, you listen; I explain, perhaps
You understand: there our communion ends.
Have you learnt nothing from to-day's discourse?
When we would thoroughly know the sick man's state
We feel awhile the fluttering pulse, press soft
The hot brow, look upon the languid eye,
And thence divine the rest. Must I lay bare
My heart, hideous and beating, or tear up
My vitals for your gaze, ere you will deem
Enough made known? You! who are you, forsooth?
That is the crowning operation claimed
By the arch-demonstratorheaven the hall,
And earth the audience. Let Aprile and you
Secure good places: 't will be worth the while.
Festus.
Are you mad, Aureole? What can I have said
To call for this? I judged from your own words.
Paracelsus.
Oh, doubtless! A sick wretch describes the ape
That mocks him from the bed-foot, and all gravely
You thither turn at once: or he recounts
The perilous journey he has late performed,
And you are puzzled much how that could be!
You find me here, half stupid and half mad;
It makes no part of my delight to search
Into these matters, much less undergo
Another's scrutiny; but so it chances
That I am led to trust my state to you:
And the event is, you combine, contrast
And ponder on my foolish words as though
They thoroughly conveyed all hidden here
Here, loathsome with despair and hate and rage!
Is there no fear, no shrinking and no shame?
Will you guess nothing? will you spare me nothing?
Must I go deeper? Ay or no?
Festus.
               Dear friend . . .
               Paracelsus.
True: I am brutal't is a part of it;
The plague's signyou are not a lazar-haunter,
How should you know? Well then, you think it strange
I should profess to have failed utterly,
And yet propose an ultimate return
To courses void of hope: and this, because
You know not what temptation is, nor how
'T is like to ply men in the sickliest part.
You are to understand that we who make
Sport for the gods, are hunted to the end:
There is not one sharp volley shot at us,
Which 'scaped with life, though hurt, we slacken pace
And gather by the wayside herbs and roots
To staunch our wounds, secure from further harm:
We are assailed to life's extremest verge.
It will be well indeed if I return,
A harmless busy fool, to my old ways!
I would forget hints of another fate,
Significant enough, which silent hours
Have lately scared me with.
Festus.
               Another! and what?
               Paracelsus.
After all, Festus, you say well: I am
A man yet: I need never humble me.
I would have beensomething, I know not what;
But though I cannot soar, I do not crawl.
There are worse portions than this one of mine.
You say well!
Festus.
       Ah!
       Paracelsus.
         And deeper degradation!
If the mean stimulants of vulgar praise,
If vanity should become the chosen food
Of a sunk mind, should stifle even the wish
To find its early aspirations true,
Should teach it to breathe falsehood like life-breath
An atmosphere of craft and trick and lies;
Should make it proud to emulate, surpass
Base natures in the practices which woke
Its most indignant loathing once . . . No, no!
Utter damnation is reserved for hell!
I had immortal feelings; such shall never
Be wholly quenched: no, no!
               My friend, you wear
A melancholy face, and certain't is
There's little cheer in all this dismal work.
But was it my desire to set abroach
Such memories and forebodings? I foresaw
Where they would drive. 'T were better we discuss
News from Lucerne or Zurich; ask and tell
Of Egypt's flaring sky or Spain's cork-groves.
Festus.
I have thought: trust me, this mood will pass away!
I know you and the lofty spirit you bear,
And easily ravel out a clue to all.
These are the trials meet for such as you,
Nor must you hope exemption: to be mortal
Is to be plied with trials manifold.
Look round! The obstacles which kept the rest
From your ambition, have been spurned by you;
Their fears, their doubts, the chains that bind themall,
Were flax before your resolute soul, which nought
Avails to awe save these delusions bred
From its own strength, its selfsame strength disguised,
Mocking itself. Be brave, dear Aureole! Since
The rabbit has his shade to frighten him,
The fawn a rustling bough, mortals their cares,
And higher natures yet would slight and laugh
At these entangling fantasies, as you
At trammels of a weaker intellect,
Measure your mind's height by the shade it casts!
I know you.
Paracelsus.
     And I know you, dearest Festus!
And how you love unworthily; and how
All admiration renders blind.
Festus.
               You hold
That admiration blinds?
Paracelsus.
            Ay and alas!
            Festus.
Nought blinds you less than admiration, friend!
Whether it be that all love renders wise
In its degree; from love which blends with love
Heart answering heartto love which spends itself
In silent mad idolatry of some
Pre-eminent mortal, some great soul of souls,
Which ne'er will know how well it is adored.
I say, such love is never blind; but rather
Alive to every the minutest spot
Which mars its object, and which hate (supposed
So vigilant and searching) dreams not of.
Love broods on such: what then? When first perceived
Is there no sweet strife to forget, to change,
To overflush those blemishes with all
The glow of general goodness they disturb?
To make those very defects an endless source
Of new affection grown from hopes and fears?
And, when all fails, is there no gallant stand
Made even for much proved weak? no shrinking-back
Lest, since all love assimilates the soul
To what it loves, it should at length become
Almost a rival of its idol? Trust me,
If there be fiends who seek to work our hurt,
To ruin and drag down earth's mightiest spirits
Even at God's foot, 't will be from such as love,
Their zeal will gather most to serve their cause;
And least from those who hate, who most essay
By contumely and scorn to blot the light
Which forces entrance even to their hearts:
For thence will our defender tear the veil
And show within each heart, as in a shrine,
The giant image of perfection, grown
In hate's despite, whose calumnies were spawned
In the untroubled presence of its eyes.
True admiration blinds not; nor am I
So blind. I call your sin exceptional;
It springs from one whose life has passed the bounds
Prescribed to life. Compound that fault with God!
I speak of men; to common men like me
The weakness you reveal endears you more,
Like the far traces of decay in suns.
I bid you have good cheer!
Paracelsus.
              Proeclare! Optime!
Think of a quiet mountain-cloistered priest
Instructing Paracelsus! yet't is so.
Come, I will show you where my merit lies.
'T is in the advance of individual minds
That the slow crowd should ground their expectation
Eventually to follow; as the sea
Waits ages in its bed till some one wave
Out of the multitudinous mass, extends
The empire of the whole, some feet perhaps,
Over the strip of sand which could confine
Its fellows so long time: thenceforth the rest,
Even to the meanest, hurry in at once,
And so much is clear gained. I shall be glad
If all my labours, failing of aught else,
Suffice to make such inroad and procure
A wider range for thought: nay, they do this;
For, whatsoe'er my notions of true knowledge
And a legitimate success, may be,
I am not blind to my undoubted rank
When classed with others: I precede my age:
And whoso wills is very free to mount
These labours as a platform whence his own
May have a prosperous outset. But, alas!
My followersthey are noisy as you heard;
But, for intelligence, the best of them
So clumsily wield the weapons I supply
And they extol, that I begin to doubt
Whether their own rude clubs and pebble-stones
Would not do better service than my arms
Thus vilely swayedif error will not fall
Sooner before the old awkward batterings
Than my more subtle warfare, not half learned.
Festus.
I would supply that art, then, or withhold
New arms until you teach their mystery.
Paracelsus.
Content you, 't is my wish; I have recourse
To the simplest training. Day by day I seek
To wake the mood, the spirit which alone
Can make those arms of any use to men.
Of course they are for swaggering forth at once
Graced with Ulysses' bow, Achilles' shield
Flash on us, all in armour, thou Achilles!
Make our hearts dance to thy resounding step!
A proper sight to scare the crows away!
Festus.
Pity you choose not then some other method
Of coming at your point. The marvellous art
At length established in the world bids fair
To remedy all hindrances like these:
Trust to Frobenius' press the precious lore
Obscured by uncouth manner, or unfit
For raw beginners; let his types secure
A deathless monument to after-time;
Meanwhile wait confidently and enjoy
The ultimate effect: sooner or later
You shall be all-revealed.
Paracelsus.
              The old dull question
In a new form; no more. Thus: I possess
Two sorts of knowledge; one,vast, shadowy,
Hints of the unbounded aim I once pursued:
The other consists of many secrets, caught
While bent on nobler prize,perhaps a few
Prime principles which may conduct to much:
These last I offer to my followers here.
Now, bid me chronicle the first of these,
My ancient study, and in effect you bid
Revert to the wild courses just abjured:
I must go find them scattered through the world.
Then, for the principles, they are so simple
(Being chiefly of the overturning sort),
That one time is as proper to propound them
As any otherto-morrow at my class,
Or half a century hence embalmed in print.
For if mankind intend to learn at all,
They must begin by giving faith to them
And acting on them: and I do not see
But that my lectures serve indifferent well:
No doubt these dogmas fall not to the earth,
For all their novelty and rugged setting.
I think my class will not forget the day
I let them know the gods of Israel,
Atius, Oribasius, Galen, Rhasis,
Serapion, Avicenna, Averres,
Were blocks!
Festus.
      And that reminds me, I heard something
About your waywardness: you burned their books,
It seems, instead of answering those sages.
Paracelsus.
And who said that?
Festus.
         Some I met yesternight
With OEcolampadius. As you know, the purpose
Of this short stay at Basil was to learn
His pleasure touching certain missives sent
For our Zuinglius and himself. 'T was he
Apprised me that the famous teacher here
Was my old friend.
Paracelsus.
         Ah, I forgot: you went . . .
         Festus.
From Zurich with advices for the ear
Of Luther, now at Wittenberg(you know,
I make no doubt, the differences of late
With Carolostadius)and returning sought
Basil and . . .
Paracelsus.
        I remember. Here's a case, now,
Will teach you why I answer not, but burn
The books you mention. Pray, does Luther dream
His arguments convince by their own force
The crowds that own his doctrine? No, indeed!
His plain denial of established points
Ages had sanctified and men supposed
Could never be oppugned while earth was under
And heaven above thempoints which chance or time
Affected notdid more than the array
Of argument which followed. Boldly deny!
There is much breath-stopping, hair-stiffening
Awhile; then, amazed glances, mute awaiting
The thunderbolt which does not come: and next,
Reproachful wonder and inquiry: those
Who else had never stirred, are able now
To find the rest out for themselves, perhaps
To outstrip him who set the whole at work,
As never will my wise class its instructor.
And you saw Luther?
Festus.
          'T is a wondrous soul!
          Paracelsus.
True: the so-heavy chain which galled mankind
Is shattered, and the noblest of us all
Must bow to the deliverernay, the worker
Of our own projectwe who long before
Had burst our trammels, but forgot the crowd,
We should have taught, still groaned beneath the load:
This he has done and nobly. Speed that may!
Whatever be my chance or my mischance,
What benefits mankind must glad me too;
And men seem made, though not as I believed,
For something better than the times produce.
Witness these gangs of peasants your new lights
From Suabia have possessed, whom Mnzer leads,
And whom the duke, the landgrave and the elector
Will calm in blood! Well, well; 't is not my world!
Festus.
Hark!
Paracelsus.
   'T is the melancholy wind astir
Within the trees; the embers too are grey:
Morn must be near.
Festus.
         Best ope the casement: see,
The night, late strewn with clouds and flying stars,
Is blank and motionless: how peaceful sleep
The tree-tops altogether! Like an asp,
The wind slips whispering from bough to bough.
Paracelsus.
Ay; you would gaze on a wind-shaken tree
By the hour, nor count time lost.
Festus.
                 So you shall gaze:
Those happy times will come again.
Paracelsus.
                  Gone, gone,
Those pleasant times! Does not the moaning wind
Seem to bewail that we have gained such gains
And bartered sleep for them?
Festus.
               It is our trust
That there is yet another world to mend
All error and mischance.
Paracelsus.
             Another world!
And why this world, this common world, to be
A make-shift, a mere foil, how fair soever,
To some fine life to come? Man must be fed
With angels' food, forsooth; and some few traces
Of a diviner nature which look out
Through his corporeal baseness, warrant him
In a supreme contempt of all provision
For his inferior tastessome straggling marks
Which constitute his essence, just as truly
As here and there a gem would constitute
The rock, their barren bed, one diamond.
But were it sowere man all mindhe gains
A station little enviable. From God
Down to the lowest spirit ministrant,
Intelligence exists which casts our mind
Into immeasurable shade. No, no:
Love, hope, fear, faiththese make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character,
And these I have lost!gone, shut from me for ever,
Like a dead friend safe from unkindness more!
See, morn at length. The heavy darkness seems
Diluted, grey and clear without the stars;
The shrubs bestir and rouse themselves as if
Some snake, that weighed them down all night, let go
His hold; and from the East, fuller and fuller
Day, like a mighty river, flowing in;
But clouded, wintry, desolate and cold.
Yet see how that broad prickly star-shaped plant,
Half-down in the crevice, spreads its woolly leaves
All thick and glistering with diamond dew.
And you depart for Einsiedeln this day,
And we have spent all night in talk like this!
If you would have me better for your love,
Revert no more to these sad themes.
Festus.
                   One favour,
And I have done. I leave you, deeply moved;
Unwilling to have fared so well, the while
My friend has changed so sorely. If this mood
Shall pass away, if light once more arise
Where all is darkness now, if you see fit
To hope and trust again, and strive again,
You will remembernot our love alone
But that my faith in God's desire that man
Should trust on his support, (as I must think
You trusted) is obscured and dim through you:
For you are thus, and this is no reward.
Will you not call me to your side, dear Aureole?


~ Robert Browning, Paracelsus - Part III - Paracelsus

340:BOOK THE SIXTH

The Transformation of Arachne into a Spider

Pallas, attending to the Muse's song,
Approv'd the just resentment of their wrong;
And thus reflects: While tamely I commend
Those who their injur'd deities defend,
My own divinity affronted stands,
And calls aloud for justice at my hands;
Then takes the hint, asham'd to lag behind,
And on Arachne' bends her vengeful mind;
One at the loom so excellently skill'd,
That to the Goddess she refus'd to yield.
Low was her birth, and small her native town,
She from her art alone obtain'd renown.
Idmon, her father, made it his employ,
To give the spungy fleece a purple dye:
Of vulgar strain her mother, lately dead,
With her own rank had been content to wed;
Yet she their daughter, tho' her time was spent
In a small hamlet, and of mean descent,
Thro' the great towns of Lydia gain'd a name,
And fill'd the neighb'ring countries with her fame.

Oft, to admire the niceness of her skill,
The Nymphs would quit their fountain, shade, or hill:
Thither, from green Tymolus, they repair,
And leave the vineyards, their peculiar care;
Thither, from fam'd Pactolus' golden stream,
Drawn by her art, the curious Naiads came.
Nor would the work, when finish'd, please so much,
As, while she wrought, to view each graceful touch;
Whether the shapeless wool in balls she wound,
Or with quick motion turn'd the spindle round,
Or with her pencil drew the neat design,
Pallas her mistress shone in every line.
This the proud maid with scornful air denies,
And ev'n the Goddess at her work defies;
Disowns her heav'nly mistress ev'ry hour,
Nor asks her aid, nor deprecates her pow'r.
Let us, she cries, but to a tryal come,
And, if she conquers, let her fix my doom.

The Goddess then a beldame's form put on,
With silver hairs her hoary temples shone;
Prop'd by a staff, she hobbles in her walk,
And tott'ring thus begins her old wives' talk.

Young maid attend, nor stubbornly despise
The admonitions of the old, and wise;
For age, tho' scorn'd, a ripe experience bears,
That golden fruit, unknown to blooming years:
Still may remotest fame your labours crown,
And mortals your superior genius own;
But to the Goddess yield, and humbly meek
A pardon for your bold presumption seek;
The Goddess will forgive. At this the maid,
With passion fir'd, her gliding shuttle stay'd;
And, darting vengeance with an angry look,
To Pallas in disguise thus fiercely spoke.

Thou doating thing, whose idle babling tongue
But too well shews the plague of living long;
Hence, and reprove, with this your sage advice,
Your giddy daughter, or your aukward neice;
Know, I despise your counsel, and am still
A woman, ever wedded to my will;
And, if your skilful Goddess better knows,
Let her accept the tryal I propose.

She does, impatient Pallas strait replies,
And, cloath'd with heavenly light, sprung from her odd disguise.

The Nymphs, and virgins of the plain adore
The awful Goddess, and confess her pow'r;
The maid alone stood unappall'd; yet show'd
A transient blush, that for a moment glow'd,
Then disappear'd; as purple streaks adorn
The opening beauties of the rosy morn;
Till Phoebus rising prevalently bright,
Allays the tincture with his silver light.
Yet she persists, and obstinately great,
In hopes of conquest hurries on her fate.
The Goddess now the challenge waves no more,
Nor, kindly good, advises as before.
Strait to their posts appointed both repair,
And fix their threaded looms with equal care:
Around the solid beam the web is ty'd,
While hollow canes the parting warp divide;
Thro' which with nimble flight the shuttles play,
And for the woof prepare a ready way;
The woof and warp unite, press'd by the toothy slay.

Thus both, their mantles button'd to their breast,
Their skilful fingers ply with willing haste,
And work with pleasure; while they chear the eye
With glowing purple of the Tyrian dye:
Or, justly intermixing shades with light,
Their colourings insensibly unite.
As when a show'r transpierc'd with sunny rays,
Its mighty arch along the heav'n displays;
From whence a thousand diff'rent colours rise,
Whose fine transition cheats the clearest eyes;
So like the intermingled shading seems,
And only differs in the last extreams.
Then threads of gold both artfully dispose,
And, as each part in just proportion rose,
Some antique fable in their work disclose.

Pallas in figures wrought the heav'nly Pow'rs,
And Mars's hill among th' Athenian tow'rs.
On lofty thrones twice six celestials sate,
Jove in the midst, and held their warm debate;
The subject weighty, and well-known to fame,
From whom the city shou'd receive its name.
Each God by proper features was exprest,
Jove with majestick mein excell'd the rest.
His three-fork'd mace the dewy sea-God shook,
And, looking sternly, smote the ragged rock;
When from the stone leapt forth a spritely steed,
And Neptune claims the city for the deed.

Herself she blazons, with a glitt'ring spear,
And crested helm that veil'd her braided hair,
With shield, and scaly breast-plate, implements of war.
Struck with her pointed launce, the teeming Earth
Seem'd to produce a new surprizing birth;
When, from the glebe, the pledge of conquest sprung,
A tree pale-green with fairest olives hung.

And then, to let her giddy rival learn
What just rewards such boldness was to earn,
Four tryals at each corner had their part,
Design'd in miniature, and touch'd with art.
Haemus in one, and Rodope of Thrace
Transform'd to mountains, fill'd the foremost place;
Who claim'd the titles of the Gods above,
And vainly us'd the epithets of Jove.
Another shew'd, where the Pigmaean dame,
Profaning Juno's venerable name,
Turn'd to an airy crane, descends from far,
And with her Pigmy subjects wages war.
In a third part, the rage of Heav'n's great queen,
Display'd on proud Antigone, was seen:
Who with presumptuous boldness dar'd to vye,
For beauty with the empress of the sky.
Ah! what avails her ancient princely race,
Her sire a king, and Troy her native place:
Now, to a noisy stork transform'd, she flies,
And with her whiten'd pinions cleaves the skies.
And in the last remaining part was drawn
Poor Cinyras that seem'd to weep in stone;
Clasping the temple steps, he sadly mourn'd
His lovely daughters, now to marble turn'd.
With her own tree the finish'd piece is crown'd,
And wreaths of peaceful olive all the work surround.

Arachne drew the fam'd intrigues of Jove,
Chang'd to a bull to gratify his love;
How thro' the briny tide all foaming hoar,
Lovely Europa on his back he bore.
The sea seem'd waving, and the trembling maid
Shrunk up her tender feet, as if afraid;
And, looking back on the forsaken strand,
To her companions wafts her distant hand.
Next she design'd Asteria's fabled rape,
When Jove assum'd a soaring eagle's shape:
And shew'd how Leda lay supinely press'd,
Whilst the soft snowy swan sate hov'ring o'er her breast,

How in a satyr's form the God beguil'd,
When fair Antiope with twins he fill'd.
Then, like Amphytrion, but a real Jove,
In fair Alcmena's arms he cool'd his love.
In fluid gold to Danae's heart he came,
Aegina felt him in a lambent flame.
He took Mnemosyne in shepherd's make,
And for Deois was a speckled snake.

She made thee, Neptune, like a wanton steer,
Pacing the meads for love of Arne dear;
Next like a stream, thy burning flame to slake,
And like a ram, for fair Bisaltis' sake.
Then Ceres in a steed your vigour try'd,
Nor cou'd the mare the yellow Goddess hide.
Next, to a fowl transform'd, you won by force
The snake-hair'd mother of the winged horse;
And, in a dolphin's fishy form, subdu'd
Melantho sweet beneath the oozy flood.

All these the maid with lively features drew,
And open'd proper landskips to the view.
There Phoebus, roving like a country swain,
Attunes his jolly pipe along the plain;
For lovely Isse's sake in shepherd's weeds,
O'er pastures green his bleating flock he feeds,
There Bacchus, imag'd like the clust'ring grape,
Melting bedrops Erigone's fair lap;
And there old Saturn, stung with youthful heat,
Form'd like a stallion, rushes to the feat.
Fresh flow'rs, which twists of ivy intertwine,
Mingling a running foliage, close the neat design.

This the bright Goddess passionately mov'd,
With envy saw, yet inwardly approv'd.
The scene of heav'nly guilt with haste she tore,
Nor longer the affront with patience bore;
A boxen shuttle in her hand she took,
And more than once Arachne's forehead struck.
Th' unhappy maid, impatient of the wrong,
Down from a beam her injur'd person hung;
When Pallas, pitying her wretched state,
At once prevented, and pronounc'd her fate:
Live; but depend, vile wretch, the Goddess cry'd,
Doom'd in suspence for ever to be ty'd;
That all your race, to utmost date of time,
May feel the vengeance, and detest the crime.

Then, going off, she sprinkled her with juice,
Which leaves of baneful aconite produce.
Touch'd with the pois'nous drug, her flowing hair
Fell to the ground, and left her temples bare;
Her usual features vanish'd from their place,
Her body lessen'd all, but most her face.
Her slender fingers, hanging on each side
With many joynts, the use of legs supply'd:
A spider's bag the rest, from which she gives
A thread, and still by constant weaving lives.

The Story of Niobe

Swift thro' the Phrygian towns the rumour flies,
And the strange news each female tongue employs:
Niobe, who before she married knew
The famous nymph, now found the story true;
Yet, unreclaim'd by poor Arachne's fate,
Vainly above the Gods assum'd a state.
Her husband's fame, their family's descent,
Their pow'r, and rich dominion's wide extent,
Might well have justify'd a decent pride;
But not on these alone the dame rely'd.
Her lovely progeny, that far excell'd,
The mother's heart with vain ambition swell'd:
The happiest mother not unjustly styl'd,
Had no conceited thoughts her tow'ring fancy fill'd.

For once a prophetess with zeal inspir'd,
Their slow neglect to warm devotion fir'd;
Thro' ev'ry street of Thebes who ran possess'd,
And thus in accents wild her charge express'd:
Haste, haste, ye Theban matrons, and adore,
With hallow'd rites, Latona's mighty pow'r;
And, to the heav'nly twins that from her spring,
With laurel crown'd, your smoaking incense bring.
Strait the great summons ev'ry dame obey'd,
And due submission to the Goddess paid:
Graceful, with laurel chaplets dress'd, they came,
And offer'd incense in the sacred flame.

Mean-while, surrounded with a courtly guard,
The royal Niobe in state appear'd;
Attir'd in robes embroider'd o'er with gold,
And mad with rage, yet lovely to behold:
Her comely tresses, trembling as she stood,
Down her fine neck with easy motion flow'd;
Then, darting round a proud disdainful look,
In haughty tone her hasty passion broke,
And thus began: What madness this, to court
A Goddess, founded meerly on report?
Dare ye a poor pretended Pow'r invoke,
While yet no altars to my godhead smoke?
Mine, whose immediate lineage stands confess'd
From Tantalus, the only mortal guest
That e'er the Gods admitted to their feast.
A sister of the Pleiads gave me birth;
And Atlas, mightiest mountain upon Earth,
Who bears the globe of all the stars above,
My grandsire was, and Atlas sprung from Jove.
The Theban towns my majesty adore,
And neighb'ring Phrygia trembles at my pow'r:
Rais'd by my husband's lute, with turrets crown'd,
Our lofty city stands secur'd around.
Within my court, where-e'er I turn my eyes,
Unbounded treasures to my prospect rise:
With these my face I modestly may name,
As not unworthy of so high a claim;
Seven are my daughters, of a form divine,
With seven fair sons, an indefective line.
Go, fools! consider this; and ask the cause
From which my pride its strong presumption draws;
Consider this; and then prefer to me
Caeus the Titan's vagrant progeny;
To whom, in travel, the whole spacious Earth
No room afforded for her spurious birth.
Not the least part in Earth, in Heav'n, or seas,
Would grant your out-law'd Goddess any ease:
'Till pitying hers, from his own wand'ring case,
Delos, the floating island, gave a place.
There she a mother was, of two at most;
Only the seventh part of what I boast.
My joys all are beyond suspicion fix'd;
With no pollutions of misfortune mix'd;
Safe on the Basis of my pow'r I stand,
Above the reach of Fortune's fickle hand.
Lessen she may my inexhausted store,
And much destroy, yet still must leave me more.
Suppose it possible that some may dye
Of this my num'rous lovely progeny;
Still with Latona I might safely vye.
Who, by her scanty breed, scarce fit to name,
But just escapes the childless woman's shame.
Go then, with speed your laurel'd heads uncrown,
And leave the silly farce you have begun.

The tim'rous throng their sacred rites forbore,
And from their heads the verdant laurel tore;
Their haughty queen they with regret obey'd,
And still in gentle murmurs softly pray'd.

High, on the top of Cynthus' shady mount,
With grief the Goddess saw the base affront;
And, the abuse revolving in her breast,
The mother her twin-offspring thus addrest.

Lo I, my children, who with comfort knew
Your God-like birth, and thence my glory drew;
And thence have claim'd precedency of place
From all but Juno of the heav'nly race,
Must now despair, and languish in disgrace.
My godhead question'd, and all rites divine,
Unless you succour, banish'd from my shrine.
Nay more, the imp of Tantalus has flung
Reflections with her vile paternal tongue;
Has dar'd prefer her mortal breed to mine,
And call'd me childless; which, just fate, may she repine!

When to urge more the Goddess was prepar'd,
Phoebus in haste replies, Too much we've heard,
And ev'ry moment's lost, while vengeance is defer'd.
Diana spoke the same. Then both enshroud
Their heav'nly bodies in a sable cloud;
And to the Theban tow'rs descending light,
Thro' the soft yielding air direct their flight.

Without the wall there lies a champian ground
With even surface, far extending round,
Beaten and level'd, while it daily feels
The trampling horse, and chariot's grinding wheels.
Part of proud Niobe's young rival breed,
Practising there to ride the manag'd steed,
Their bridles boss'd with gold, were mounted high
On stately furniture of Tyrian dye.
Of these, Ismenos, who by birth had been
The first fair issue of the fruitful queen,
Just as he drew the rein to guide his horse,
Around the compass of the circling course,
Sigh'd deeply, and the pangs of smart express'd,
While the shaft stuck, engor'd within his breast:
And, the reins dropping from his dying hand,
He sunk quite down, and tumbled on the sand.
Sipylus next the rattling quiver heard,
And with full speed for his escape prepar'd;
As when the pilot from the black'ning skies
A gath'ring storm of wintry rain descries,
His sails unfurl'd, and crowded all with wind,
He strives to leave the threat'ning cloud behind:
So fled the youth; but an unerring dart
O'ertook him, quick discharg'd, and sped with art;
Fix'd in his neck behind, it trembling stood,
And at his throat display'd the point besmear'd with blood

Prone, as his posture was, he tumbled o'er,
And bath'd his courser's mane with steaming gore.
Next at young Phaedimus they took their aim,
And Tantalus who bore his grandsire's name:
These, when their other exercise was done,
To try the wrestler's oily sport begun;
And, straining ev'ry nerve, their skill express'd
In closest grapple, joining breast to breast:
When from the bending bow an arrow sent,
Joyn'd as they were, thro' both their bodies went:
Both groan'd, and writhing both their limbs with pain,
They fell together bleeding on the plain;
Then both their languid eye-balls faintly roul,
And thus together brea the away their soul.
With grief Alphenor saw their doleful plight,
And smote his breast, and sicken'd at the sight;
Then to their succour ran with eager haste,
And, fondly griev'd, their stiff'ning limbs embrac'd;
But in the action falls: a thrilling dart,
By Phoebus guided, pierc'd him to the heart.
This, as they drew it forth, his midriff tore,
Its barbed point the fleshy fragments bore,
And let the soul gush out in streams of purple gore.
But Damasichthon, by a double wound,
Beardless, and young, lay gasping on the ground.
Fix'd in his sinewy ham, the steely point
Stuck thro' his knee, and pierc'd the nervous joint:
And, as he stoop'd to tug the painful dart,
Another struck him in a vital part;
Shot thro' his wezon, by the wing it hung.
The life-blood forc'd it out, and darting upward sprung,

Ilioneus, the last, with terror stands,
Lifting in pray'r his unavailing hands;
And, ignorant from whom his griefs arise,
Spare me, o all ye heav'nly Pow'rs, he cries:
Phoebus was touch'd too late, the sounding bow
Had sent the shaft, and struck the fatal blow;
Which yet but gently gor'd his tender side,
So by a slight and easy wound he dy'd.

Swift to the mother's ears the rumour came,
And doleful sighs the heavy news proclaim;
With anger and surprize inflam'd by turns,
In furious rage her haughty stomach burns:
First she disputes th' effects of heav'nly pow'r,
Then at their daring boldness wonders more;
For poor Amphion with sore grief distrest,
Hoping to sooth his cares by endless rest,
Had sheath'd a dagger in his wretched breast.
And she, who toss'd her high disdainful head,
When thro' the streets in solemn pomp she led
The throng that from Latona's altar fled,
Assuming state beyond the proudest queen;
Was now the miserablest object seen.
Prostrate among the clay-cold dead she fell,
And kiss'd an undistinguish'd last farewel.
Then her pale arms advancing to the skies,
Cruel Latona! triumph now, she cries.
My grieving soul in bitter anguish drench,
And with my woes your thirsty passion quench;
Feast your black malice at a price thus dear,
While the sore pangs of sev'n such deaths I bear.
Triumph, too cruel rival, and display
Your conqu'ring standard; for you've won the day.
Yet I'll excel; for yet, tho' sev'n are slain,
Superior still in number I remain.
Scarce had she spoke; the bow-string's twanging sound
Was heard, and dealt fresh terrors all around;
Which all, but Niobe alone, confound.
Stunn'd, and obdurate by her load of grief,
Insensible she sits, nor hopes relief.

Before the fun'ral biers, all weeping sad,
Her daughters stood, in vests of sable clad,
When one, surpriz'd, and stung with sudden smart,
In vain attempts to draw the sticking dart:
But to grim death her blooming youth resigns,
And o'er her brother's corpse her dying head reclines.
This, to asswage her mother's anguish tries,
And, silenc'd in the pious action, dies;
Shot by a secret arrow, wing'd with death,
Her fault'ring lips but only gasp'd for breath.
One, on her dying sister, breathes her last;
Vainly in flight another's hopes are plac'd:
This hiding, from her fate a shelter seeks;
That trembling stands, and fills the air with shrieks.
And all in vain; for now all six had found
Their way to death, each by a diff'rent wound.
The last, with eager care the mother veil'd,
Behind her spreading mantle close conceal'd,
And with her body guarded, as a shield.
Only for this, this youngest, I implore,
Grant me this one request, I ask no more;
O grant me this! she passionately cries:
But while she speaks, the destin'd virgin dies.

The Transformation of Niobe

Widow'd, and childless, lamentable state!
A doleful sight, among the dead she sate;
Harden'd with woes, a statue of despair,
To ev'ry breath of wind unmov'd her hair;
Her cheek still red'ning, but its colour dead,
Faded her eyes, and set within her head.
No more her pliant tongue its motion keeps,
But stands congeal'd within her frozen lips.
Stagnate, and dull, within her purple veins,
Its current stop'd, the lifeless blood remains.
Her feet their usual offices refuse,
Her arms, and neck their graceful gestures lose:
Action, and life from ev'ry part are gone,
And ev'n her entrails turn to solid stone;
Yet still she weeps, and whirl'd by stormy winds,
Born thro' the air, her native country finds;
There fix'd, she stands upon a bleaky hill,
There yet her marble cheeks eternal tears distil.

The Peasants of Lycia transform'd to Frogs

Then all, reclaim'd by this example, show'd
A due regard for each peculiar God:
Both men, and women their devoirs express'd,
And great Latona's awful pow'r confess'd.
Then, tracing instances of older time,
To suit the nature of the present crime,
Thus one begins his tale.- Where Lycia yields
A golden harvest from its fertile fields,
Some churlish peasants, in the days of yore,
Provok'd the Goddess to exert her pow'r.
The thing indeed the meanness of the place
Has made obscure, surprizing as it was;
But I my self once happen'd to behold
This famous lake of which the story's told.
My father then, worn out by length of days,
Nor able to sustain the tedious ways,
Me with a guide had sent the plains to roam,
And drive his well-fed stragling heifers home.
Here, as we saunter'd thro' the verdant meads,
We spy'd a lake o'er-grown with trembling reeds,
Whose wavy tops an op'ning scene disclose,
From which an antique smoaky altar rose.
I, as my susperstitious guide had done,
Stop'd short, and bless'd my self, and then went on;
Yet I enquir'd to whom the altar stood,
Faunus, the Naids, or some native God?
No silvan deity, my friend replies,
Enshrin'd within this hallow'd altar lies.
For this, o youth, to that fam'd Goddess stands,
Whom, at th' imperial Juno's rough commands,
Of ev'ry quarter of the Earth bereav'd,
Delos, the floating isle, at length receiv'd.
Who there, in spite of enemies, brought forth,
Beneath an olive's shade, her great twin-birth.

Hence too she fled the furious stepdame's pow'r,
And in her arms a double godhead bore;
And now the borders of fair Lycia gain'd,
Just when the summer solstice parch'd the land.
With thirst the Goddess languishing, no more
Her empty'd breast would yield its milky store;
When, from below, the smiling valley show'd
A silver lake that in its bottom flow'd:
A sort of clowns were reaping, near the bank,
The bending osier, and the bullrush dank;
The cresse, and water-lilly, fragrant weed,
Whose juicy stalk the liquid fountains feed.
The Goddess came, and kneeling on the brink,
Stoop'd at the fresh repast, prepar'd to drink.
Then thus, being hinder'd by the rabble race,
In accents mild expostulates the case.
Water I only ask, and sure 'tis hard
From Nature's common rights to be debar'd:
This, as the genial sun, and vital air,
Should flow alike to ev'ry creature's share.
Yet still I ask, and as a favour crave,
That which, a publick bounty, Nature gave.
Nor do I seek my weary limbs to drench;
Only, with one cool draught, my thirst I'd quench.
Now from my throat the usual moisture dries,
And ev'n my voice in broken accents dies:
One draught as dear as life I should esteem,
And water, now I thirst, would nectar seem.
Oh! let my little babes your pity move,
And melt your hearts to charitable love;
They (as by chance they did) extend to you
Their little hands, and my request pursue.

Whom would these soft perswasions not subdue,
Tho' the most rustick, and unmanner'd crew?
Yet they the Goddess's request refuse,
And with rude words reproachfully abuse:
Nay more, with spiteful feet the villains trod
O'er the soft bottom of the marshy flood,
And blacken'd all the lake with clouds of rising mud.

Her thirst by indignation was suppress'd;
Bent on revenge, the Goddess stood confess'd.
Her suppliant hands uplifting to the skies,
For a redress, to Heav'n she now applies.
And, May you live, she passionately cry'd,
Doom'd in that pool for ever to abide.

The Goddess has her wish; for now they chuse
To plunge, and dive among the watry ooze;
Sometimes they shew their head above the brim,
And on the glassy surface spread to swim;
Often upon the bank their station take,
Then spring, and leap into the cooly lake.
Still, void of shame, they lead a clam'rous life,
And, croaking, still scold on in endless strife;
Compell'd to live beneath the liquid stream,
Where still they quarrel, and attempt to skream.
Now, from their bloated throat, their voice puts on
Imperfect murmurs in a hoarser tone;
Their noisy jaws, with bawling now grown wide,
An ugly sight! extend on either side:
Their motly back, streak'd with a list of green,
Joyn'd to their head, without a neck is seen;
And, with a belly broad and white, they look
Meer frogs, and still frequent the muddy brook.

The Fate of Marsyas

Scarce had the man this famous story told,
Of vengeance on the Lycians shown of old,
When strait another pictures to their view
The Satyr's fate, whom angry Phoebus slew;
Who, rais'd with high conceit, and puff'd with pride,
At his own pipe the skilful God defy'd.
Why do you tear me from my self, he cries?
Ah cruel! must my skin be made the prize?
This for a silly pipe? he roaring said,
Mean-while the skin from off his limbs was flay'd.
All bare, and raw, one large continu'd wound,
With streams of blood his body bath'd the ground.
The blueish veins their trembling pulse disclos'd,
The stringy nerves lay naked, and expos'd;
His guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd,
With ev'ry shining fibre of his breast.

The Fauns, and Silvans, with the Nymphs that rove
Among the Satyrs in the shady grove;
Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry swain
That fed, or flock, or herd upon the plain,
Bewail'd the loss; and with their tears that flow'd,
A kindly moisture on the earth bestow'd;
That soon, conjoyn'd, and in a body rang'd,
Sprung from the ground, to limpid water chang'd;
Which, down thro' Phrygia's rocks, a mighty stream,
Comes tumbling to the sea, and Marsya is its name.

The Story of Pelops

From these relations strait the people turn
To present truths, and lost Amphion mourn:
The mother most was blam'd, yet some relate
That Pelops pity'd, and bewail'd her fate,
And stript his cloaths, and laid his shoulder bare,
And made the iv'ry miracle appear.
This shoulder, from the first, was form'd of flesh,
As lively as the other, and as fresh;
But, when the youth was by his father slain,
The Gods restor'd his mangled limbs again;
Only that place which joins the neck and arm,
The rest untouch'd, was found to suffer harm:
The loss of which an iv'ry piece sustain'd;
And thus the youth his limbs, and life regain'd.

The Story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela

To Thebes the neighb'ring princes all repair,
And with condolance the misfortune share.
Each bord'ring state in solemn form address'd,
And each betimes a friendly grief express'd.
Argos, with Sparta's, and Mycenae's towns,
And Calydon, yet free from fierce Diana's frowns.
Corinth for finest brass well fam'd of old,
Orthomenos for men of courage bold:
Cleonae lying in the lowly dale,
And rich Messene with its fertile vale:
Pylos, for Nestor's City after fam'd,
And Troezen, not as yet from Pittheus nam'd.
And those fair cities, which are hem'd around
By double seas within the Isthmian ground;
And those, which farther from the sea-coast stand,
Lodg'd in the bosom of the spacious land.

Who can believe it? Athens was the last:
Tho' for politeness fam'd for ages past.
For a strait siege, which then their walls enclos'd,
Such acts of kind humanity oppos'd:
And thick with ships, from foreign nations bound,
Sea-ward their city lay invested round.

These, with auxiliar forces led from far,
Tereus of Thrace, brave, and inur'd to war,
Had quite defeated, and obtain'd a name,
The warrior's due, among the sons of Fame.
This, with his wealth, and pow'r, and ancient line,
From Mars deriv'd, Pandions's thoughts incline
His daughter Procne with the prince to joyn.

Nor Hymen, nor the Graces here preside,
Nor Juno to befriend the blooming bride;
But Fiends with fun'ral brands the process led,
And Furies waited at the Genial bed:
And all night long the scrieching owl aloof,
With baleful notes, sate brooding o'er the roof.
With such ill Omens was the match begun,
That made them parents of a hopeful son.
Now Thrace congratulates their seeming joy,
And they, in thankful rites, their minds employ.
If the fair queen's espousals pleas'd before,
Itys, the new-born prince, now pleases more;
And each bright day, the birth, and bridal feast,
Were kept with hallow'd pomp above the rest.
So far true happiness may lye conceal'd,
When, by false lights, we fancy 'tis reveal'd!

Now, since their nuptials, had the golden sun
Five courses round his ample zodiac run;
When gentle Procne thus her lord address'd,
And spoke the secret wishes of her breast:
If I, she said, have ever favour found,
Let my petition with success be crown'd:
Let me at Athens my dear sister see,
Or let her come to Thrace, and visit me.
And, lest my father should her absence mourn,
Promise that she shall make a quick return.
With thanks I'd own the obligation due
Only, o Tereus, to the Gods, and you.

Now, ply'd with oar, and sail at his command,
The nimble gallies reach'd th' Athenian land,
And anchor'd in the fam'd Piraean bay,
While Tereus to the palace takes his way;
The king salutes, and ceremonies past,
Begins the fatal embassy at last;
The occasion of his voyage he declares,
And, with his own, his wife's request prefers:
Asks leave that, only for a little space,
Their lovely sister might embark for Thrace.

Thus while he spoke, appear'd the royal maid,
Bright Philomela, splendidly array'd;
But most attractive in her charming face,
And comely person, turn'd with ev'ry grace:
Like those fair Nymphs, that are describ'd to rove
Across the glades, and op'nings of the grove;
Only that these are dress'd for silvan sports,
And less become the finery of courts.

Tereus beheld the virgin, and admir'd,
And with the coals of burning lust was fir'd:
Like crackling stubble, or the summer hay,
When forked lightnings o'er the meadows play.
Such charms in any breast might kindle love,
But him the heats of inbred lewdness move;
To which, tho' Thrace is naturally prone,
Yet his is still superior, and his own.
Strait her attendants he designs to buy,
And with large bribes her governess would try:
Herself with ample gifts resolves to bend,
And his whole kingdom in th' attempt expend:
Or, snatch'd away by force of arms, to bear,
And justify the rape with open war.
The boundless passion boils within his breast,
And his projecting soul admits no rest.

And now, impatient of the least delay,
By pleading Procne's cause, he speeds his way:
The eloquence of love his tongue inspires,
And, in his wife's, he speaks his own desires;
Hence all his importunities arise,
And tears unmanly trickle from his eyes.

Ye Gods! what thick involving darkness blinds
The stupid faculties of mortal minds!
Tereus the credit of good-nature gains
From these his crimes; so well the villain feigns.
And, unsuspecting of his base designs,
In the request fair Philomela joyns;
Her snowy arms her aged sire embrace,
And clasp his neck with an endearing grace:
Only to see her sister she entreats,
A seeming blessing, which a curse compleats.
Tereus surveys her with a luscious eye,
And in his mind forestalls the blissful joy:
Her circling arms a scene of lust inspire,
And ev'ry kiss foments the raging fire.
Fondly he wishes for the father's place,
To feel, and to return the warm embrace;
Since not the nearest ties of filial blood
Would damp his flame, and force him to be good.

At length, for both their sakes, the king agrees;
And Philomela, on her bended knees,
Thanks him for what her fancy calls success,
When cruel fate intends her nothing less.

Now Phoebus, hastning to ambrosial rest,
His fiery steeds drove sloping down the west:
The sculptur'd gold with sparkling wines was fill'd,
And, with rich meats, each chearful table smil'd.
Plenty, and mirth the royal banquet close,
Then all retire to sleep, and sweet repose.
But the lewd monarch, tho' withdrawn apart,
Still feels love's poison rankling in his heart:
Her face divine is stamp'd within his breast,
Fancy imagines, and improves the rest:
And thus, kept waking by intense desire,
He nourishes his own prevailing fire.

Next day the good old king for Tereus sends,
And to his charge the virgin recommends;
His hand with tears th' indulgent father press'd,
Then spoke, and thus with tenderness address'd.

Since the kind instances of pious love,
Do all pretence of obstacle remove;
Since Procne's, and her own, with your request,
O'er-rule the fears of a paternal breast;
With you, dear son, my daughter I entrust,
And by the Gods adjure you to be just;
By truth, and ev'ry consanguineal tye,
To watch, and guard her with a father's eye.
And, since the least delay will tedious prove,
In keeping from my sight the child I love,
With speed return her, kindly to asswage
The tedious troubles of my lingring age.
And you, my Philomel, let it suffice,
To know your sister's banish'd from my eyes;
If any sense of duty sways your mind,
Let me from you the shortest absence find.
He wept; then kiss'd his child; and while he speaks,
The tears fall gently down his aged cheeks.
Next, as a pledge of fealty, he demands,
And, with a solemn charge, conjoyns their hands;
Then to his daughter, and his grandson sends,
And by their mouth a blessing recommends;
While, in a voice with dire forebodings broke,
Sobbing, and faint, the last farewel was spoke.

Now Philomela, scarce receiv'd on board,
And in the royal gilded bark secur'd,
Beheld the dashes of the bending oar,
The ruffled sea, and the receding shore;
When strait (his joy impatient of disguise)
We've gain'd our point, the rough Barbarian cries;
Now I possess the dear, the blissful hour,
And ev'ry wish subjected to my pow'r.
Transports of lust his vicious thoughts employ,
And he forbears, with pain, th' expected joy.
His gloting eyes incessantly survey'd
The virgin beauties of the lovely maid:
As when the bold rapacious bird of Jove,
With crooked talons stooping from above,
Has snatcht, and carry'd to his lofty nest
A captive hare, with cruel gripes opprest;
Secure, with fix'd, and unrelenting eyes,
He sits, and views the helpless, trembling prize.

Their vessels now had made th' intended land,
And all with joy descend upon the strand;
When the false tyrant seiz'd the princely maid,
And to a lodge in distant woods convey'd;
Pale, sinking, and distress'd with jealous fears,
And asking for her sister all in tears.
The letcher, for enjoyment fully bent,
No longer now conceal'd his base intent;
But with rude haste the bloomy girl deflow'r'd,
Tender, defenceless, and with ease o'erpower'd.
Her piercing accents to her sire complain,
And to her absent sister, but in vain:
In vain she importunes, with doleful cries,
Each unattentive godhead of the skies.
She pants and trembles, like the bleating prey,
From some close-hunted wolf just snatch'd away;
That still, with fearful horror, looks around,
And on its flank regards the bleeding wound.
Or, as the tim'rous dove, the danger o'er,
Beholds her shining plumes besmear'd with gore,
And, tho' deliver'd from the faulcon's claw,
Yet shivers, and retains a secret awe.

But when her mind a calm reflection shar'd,
And all her scatter'd spirits were repair'd:
Torn, and disorder'd while her tresses hung,
Her livid hands, like one that mourn'd, she wrung;
Then thus, with grief o'erwhelm'd her languid eyes,
Savage, inhumane, cruel wretch! she cries;
Whom not a parent's strict commands could move,
Tho' charg'd, and utter'd with the tears of love;
Nor virgin innocence, nor all that's due
To the strong contract of the nuptial vow:
Virtue, by this, in wild confusion's laid,
And I compell'd to wrong my sister's bed;
Whilst you, regardless of your marriage oath,
With stains of incest have defil'd us both.
Tho' I deserv'd some punishment to find,
This was, ye Gods! too cruel, and unkind.
Yet, villain, to compleat your horrid guilt,
Stab here, and let my tainted blood be spilt.
Oh happy! had it come, before I knew
The curs'd embrace of vile perfidious you;
Then my pale ghost, pure from incestuous love,
Had wander'd spotless thro' th' Elysian grove.
But, if the Gods above have pow'r to know,
And judge those actions that are done below;
Unless the dreaded thunders of the sky,
Like me, subdu'd, and violated lye;
Still my revenge shall take its proper time,
And suit the baseness of your hellish crime.
My self, abandon'd, and devoid of shame,
Thro' the wide world your actions will proclaim;
Or tho' I'm prison'd in this lonely den,
Obscur'd, and bury'd from the sight of men,
My mournful voice the pitying rocks shall move,
And my complainings eccho thro' the grove.
Hear me, o Heav'n! and, if a God be there,
Let him regard me, and accept my pray'r.

Struck with these words, the tyrant's guilty breast
With fear, and anger, was, by turns, possest;
Now, with remorse his conscience deeply stung,
He drew the faulchion that beside her hung,
And first her tender arms behind her bound,
Then drag'd her by the hair along the ground.
The princess willingly her throat reclin'd,
And view'd the steel with a contented mind;
But soon her tongue the girding pinchers strain,
With anguish, soon she feels the piercing pain:
Oh father! father! would fain have spoke,
But the sharp torture her intention broke;
In vain she tries, for now the blade has cut
Her tongue sheer off, close to the trembling root.
The mangled part still quiver'd on the ground,
Murmuring with a faint imperfect sound:
And, as a serpent writhes his wounded train,
Uneasy, panting, and possess'd with pain;
The piece, while life remain'd, still trembled fast,
And to its mistress pointed to the last.

Yet, after this so damn'd, and black a deed,
Fame (which I scarce can credit) has agreed,
That on her rifled charms, still void of shame,
He frequently indulg'd his lustful flame,
At last he ventures to his Procne's sight,
Loaded with guilt, and cloy'd with long delight;
There, with feign'd grief, and false, dissembled sighs,
Begins a formal narrative of lies;
Her sister's death he artfully declares,
Then weeps, and raises credit from his tears.
Her vest, with flow'rs of gold embroider'd o'er,
With grief distress'd, the mournful matron tore,
And a beseeming suit of gloomy sable wore.
With cost, an honorary tomb she rais'd,
And thus th' imaginary ghost appeas'd.
Deluded queen! the fate of her you love,
Nor grief, nor pity, but revenge should move.

Thro' the twelve signs had pass'd the circling sun,
And round the compass of the Zodiac run;
What must unhappy Philomela do,
For ever subject to her keeper's view?
Huge walls of massy stone the lodge surround,
From her own mouth no way of speaking's found.
But all our wants by wit may be supply'd,
And art makes up, what fortune has deny'd:
With skill exact a Phrygian web she strung,
Fix'd to a loom that in her chamber hung,
Where in-wrought letters, upon white display'd,
In purple notes, her wretched case betray'd:
The piece, when finish'd, secretly she gave
Into the charge of one poor menial slave;
And then, with gestures, made him understand,
It must be safe convey'd to Procne's hand.
The slave, with speed, the queen's apartment sought,
And render'd up his charge, unknowing what he brought.
But when the cyphers, figur'd in each fold,
Her sister's melancholy story told
(Strange that she could!) with silence, she survey'd
The tragick piece, and without weeping read:
In such tumultuous haste her passions sprung,
They choak'd her voice, and quite disarm'd her tongue.
No room for female tears; the Furies rise,
Darting vindictive glances from her eyes;
And, stung with rage, she bounds from place to place,
While stern revenge sits low'ring in her face.

Now the triennial celebration came,
Observ'd to Bacchus by each Thracian dame;
When, in the privacies of night retir'd,
They act his rites, with sacred rapture fir'd:
By night, the tinkling cymbals ring around,
While the shrill notes from Rhodope resound;
By night, the queen, disguis'd, forsakes the court,
To mingle in the festival resort.
Leaves of the curling vine her temples shade,
And, with a circling wreath, adorn her head:
Adown her back the stag's rough spoils appear,
Light on her shoulder leans a cornel spear.

Thus, in the fury of the God conceal'd,
Procne her own mad headstrong passion veil'd;
Now, with her gang, to the thick wood she flies,
And with religious yellings fills the skies;
The fatal lodge, as 'twere by chance, she seeks,
And, thro' the bolted doors, an entrance breaks;
From thence, her sister snatching by the hand,
Mask'd like the ranting Bacchanalian band,
Within the limits of the court she drew,
Shading, with ivy green, her outward hue.
But Philomela, conscious of the place,
Felt new reviving pangs of her disgrace;
A shiv'ring cold prevail'd in ev'ry part,
And the chill'd blood ran trembling to her heart.

Soon as the queen a fit retirement found,
Stript of the garlands that her temples crown'd,
She strait unveil'd her blushing sister's face,
And fondly clasp'd her with a close embrace:
But, in confusion lost, th' unhappy maid,
With shame dejected, hung her drooping head,
As guilty of a crime that stain'd her sister's bed.
That speech, that should her injur'd virtue clear,
And make her spotless innocence appear,
Is now no more; only her hands, and eyes
Appeal, in signals, to the conscious skies.
In Procne's breast the rising passions boil,
And burst in anger with a mad recoil;
Her sister's ill-tim'd grief, with scorn, she blames,
Then, in these furious words her rage proclaims.

Tears, unavailing, but defer our time,
The stabbing sword must expiate the crime;
Or worse, if wit, on bloody vengeance bent,
A weapon more tormenting can invent.
O sister! I've prepar'd my stubborn heart,
To act some hellish, and unheard-of part;
Either the palace to surround with fire,
And see the villain in the flames expire;
Or, with a knife, dig out his cursed eyes,
Or, his false tongue with racking engines seize;
Or, cut away the part that injur'd you,
And, thro' a thousand wounds, his guilty soul pursue.
Tortures enough my passion has design'd,
But the variety distracts my mind.

A-while, thus wav'ring, stood the furious dame,
When Itys fondling to his mother came;
From him the cruel fatal hint she took,
She view'd him with a stern remorseless look:
Ah! but too like thy wicked sire, she said,
Forming the direful purpose in her head.
At this a sullen grief her voice supprest,
While silent passions struggle in her breast.

Now, at her lap arriv'd, the flatt'ring boy
Salutes his parent with a smiling joy:
About her neck his little arms are thrown,
And he accosts her in a pratling tone.
Then her tempestuous anger was allay'd,
And in its full career her vengeance stay'd;
While tender thoughts, in spite of passion, rise,
And melting tears disarm her threat'ning eyes.
But when she found the mother's easy heart,
Too fondly swerving from th' intended part;
Her injur'd sister's face again she view'd:
And, as by turns surveying both she stood,
While this fond boy (she said) can thus express
The moving accents of his fond address;
Why stands my sister of her tongue bereft,
Forlorn, and sad, in speechless silence left?
O Procne, see the fortune of your house!
Such is your fate, when match'd to such a spouse!
Conjugal duty, if observ'd to him,
Would change from virtue, and become a crime;
For all respect to Tereus must debase
The noble blood of great Pandion's race.

Strait at these words, with big resentment fill'd,
Furious her look, she flew, and seiz'd her child;
Like a fell tigress of the savage kind,
That drags the tender suckling of the hind
Thro' India's gloomy groves, where Ganges laves
The shady scene, and rouls his streamy waves.

Now to a close apartment they were come,
Far off retir'd within the spacious dome;
When Procne, on revengeful mischief bent,
Home to his heart a piercing ponyard sent.
Itys, with rueful cries, but all too late,
Holds out his hands, and deprecates his fate;
Still at his mother's neck he fondly aims,
And strives to melt her with endearing names;
Yet still the cruel mother perseveres,
Nor with concern his bitter anguish hears.
This might suffice; but Philomela too
Across his throat a shining curtlass drew.
Then both, with knives, dissect each quiv'ring part,
And carve the butcher'd limbs with cruel art;
Which, whelm'd in boiling cauldrons o'er the fire,
Or turn'd on spits, in steamy smoak aspire:
While the long entries, with their slipp'ry floor,
Run down in purple streams of clotted gore.

Ask'd by his wife to this inhuman feast,
Tereus unknowingly is made a guest:
Whilst she her plot the better to disguise,
Styles it some unknown mystick sacrifice;
And such the nature of the hallow'd rite,
The wife her husb and only could invite,
The slaves must all withdraw, and be debarr'd the sight.

Tereus, upon a throne of antique state,
Loftily rais'd, before the banquet sate;
And glutton like, luxuriously pleas'd,
With his own flesh his hungry maw appeas'd.
Nay, such a blindness o'er his senses falls,
That he for Itys to the table calls.
When Procne, now impatient to disclose
The joy that from her full revenge arose,
Cries out, in transports of a cruel mind,
Within your self your Itys you may find.
Still, at this puzzling answer, with surprise,
Around the room he sends his curious eyes;
And, as he still inquir'd, and call'd aloud,
Fierce Philomela, all besmear'd with blood,
Her hands with murder stain'd, her spreading hair
Hanging dishevel'd with a ghastly air,
Stept forth, and flung full in the tyrant's face
The head of Itys, goary as it was:
Nor ever so much to use her tongue,
And with a just reproach to vindicate her wrong.

The Thracian monarch from the table flings,
While with his cries the vaulted parlour rings;
His imprecations eccho down to Hell,
And rouze the snaky Furies from their Stygian cell.
One while he labours to disgorge his breast,
And free his stomach from the cursed feast;
Then, weeping o'er his lamentable doom,
He styles himself his son's sepulchral tomb.
Now, with drawn sabre, and impetuous speed,
In close pursuit he drives Pandion's breed;
Whose nimble feet spring with so swift a force
Across the fields, they seem to wing their course.
And now, on real wings themselves they raise,
And steer their airy flight by diff'rent ways;
One to the woodland's shady covert hies,
Around the smoaky roof the other flies;
Whose feathers yet the marks of murder stain,
Where stampt upon her breast, the crimson spots remain.
Tereus, through grief, and haste to be reveng'd,
Shares the like fate, and to a bird is chang'd:
Fix'd on his head, the crested plumes appear,
Long is his beak, and sharpen'd like a spear;
Thus arm'd, his looks his inward mind display,
And, to a lapwing turn'd, he fans his way.
Exceeding trouble, for his children's fate,
Shorten'd Pandion's days, and chang'd his date;
Down to the shades below, with sorrow spent,
An earlier, unexpected ghost he went.

Boreas in Love

Erechtheus next th' Athenian sceptre sway'd,
Whose rule the state with joynt consent obey'd;
So mix'd his justice with his valour flow'd,
His reign one scene of princely goodness shew'd.
Four hopeful youths, as many females bright,
Sprung from his loyns, and sooth'd him with delight.

Two of these sisters, of a lovelier air,
Excell'd the rest, tho' all the rest were fair.
Procris, to Cephalus in wedlock ty'd,
Bless'd the young silvan with a blooming bride:
For Orithyia Boreas suffer'd pain,
For the coy maid sued long, but sued in vain;
Tereus his neighbour, and his Thracian blood,
Against the match a main objection stood;
Which made his vows, and all his suppliant love,
Empty as air and ineffectual prove.

But when he found his soothing flatt'ries fail,
Nor saw his soft addresses cou'd avail;
Blust'ring with ire, he quickly has recourse
To rougher arts, and his own native force.
'Tis well, he said; such usage is my due,
When thus disguis'd by foreign ways I sue;
When my stern airs, and fierceness I disclaim,
And sigh for love, ridiculously tame;
When soft addresses foolishly I try,
Nor my own stronger remedies apply.
By force and violence I chiefly live,
By them the lowring stormy tempests drive;
In foaming billows raise the hoary deep,
Wri the knotted oaks, and sandy desarts sweep;
Congeal the falling flakes of fleecy snow,
And bruise, with ratling hall, the plains below.
I, and my brother-winds, when joyn'd above,
Thro' the waste champian of the skies we rove,
With such a boist'rous full career engage,
That Heav'n's whole concave thunders at our rage.
While, struck from nitrous clouds, fierce lightnings play,

Dart thro' the storm, and gild the gloomy day.
Or when, in subterraneous caverns pent,
My breath, against the hollow Earth, is bent,
The quaking world above, and ghosts below,
My mighty pow'r, by dear experience, know,
Tremble with fear, and dread the fatal blow.
This is the only cure to be apply'd,
Thus to Erechtheus I should be ally'd;
And thus the scornful virgin should be woo'd,
Not by intreaty, but by force subdu'd.

Boreas, in passion, spoke these huffing things,
And, as he spoke, he shook his dreadful wings;
At which, afar the shiv'ring sea was fan'd,
And the wide surface of the distant land:
His dusty mantle o'er the hills he drew,
And swept the lowly vallies, as he flew;
Then, with his yellow wings, embrac'd the maid,
And, wrapt in dusky clouds, far off convey'd.
The sparkling blaze of Love's prevailing fire
Shone brighter as he flew, and flam'd the higher.
And now the God, possess'd of his delight,
To northern Thrace pursu'd his airy flight,
Where the young ravish'd nymph became his bride,
And soon the luscious sweets of wedlock try'd.

Two lovely twins, th' effect of this embrace,
Crown their soft labours, and their nuptials grace;
Who, like their mother, beautiful, and fair,
Their father's strength, and feather'd pinions share:
Yet these, at first, were wanting, as 'tis said,
And after, as they grew, their shoulders spread.
Zethes and Calais, the pretty twins,
Remain'd unfledg'd, while smooth their beardless chins;
But when, in time, the budding silver down
Shaded their face, and on their cheeks was grown,
Two sprouting wings upon their shoulders sprung,
Like those in birds, that veil the callow young.
Then as their age advanc'd, and they began
From greener youth to ripen into man,
With Jason's Argonauts they cross'd the seas,
Embark'd in quest of the fam'd golden fleece;
There, with the rest, the first frail vessel try'd,
And boldly ventur'd on the swelling tide.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
~ Ovid, BOOK THE SIXTH


341:BOOK THE SEVENTH

The Story of Medea and Jason

The Argonauts now stemm'd the foaming tide,
And to Arcadia's shore their course apply'd;
Where sightless Phineus spent his age in grief,
But Boreas' sons engage in his relief;
And those unwelcome guests, the odious race
Of Harpyes, from the monarch's table chase.
With Jason then they greater toils sustain,
And Phasis' slimy banks at last they gain,
Here boldly they demand the golden prize
Of Scythia's king, who sternly thus replies:
That mighty labours they must first o'ercome,
Or sail their Argo thence unfreighted home.
Meanwhile Medea, seiz'd with fierce desire,
By reason strives to quench the raging fire;
But strives in vain!- Some God (she said) withstands,
And reason's baffl'd council countermands.
What unseen Pow'r does this disorder move?
'Tis love,- at least 'tis like, what men call love.
Else wherefore shou'd the king's commands appear
To me too hard?- But so indeed they are.
Why shou'd I for a stranger fear, lest he
Shou'd perish, whom I did but lately see?
His death, or safety, what are they to me?
Wretch, from thy virgin-breast this flame expel,
And soon- Oh cou'd I, all wou'd then be well!
But love, resistless love, my soul invades;
Discretion this, affection that perswades.
I see the right, and I approve it too,
Condemn the wrong- and yet the wrong pursue.
Why, royal maid, shou'dst thou desire to wed
A wanderer, and court a foreign bed?
Thy native land, tho' barb'rous, can present
A bridegroom worth a royal bride's content:
And whether this advent'rer lives, or dies,
In Fate, and Fortune's fickle pleasure lies.
Yet may be live! for to the Pow'rs above,
A virgin, led by no impulse of love,
So just a suit may, for the guiltless, move.
Whom wou'd not Jason's valour, youth and blood
Invite? or cou'd these merits be withstood,
At least his charming person must encline
The hardest heart- I'm sure 'tis so with mine!
Yet, if I help him not, the flaming breath
Of bulls, and earth-born foes, must be his death.
Or, should he through these dangers force his way,
At last he must be made the dragon's prey.
If no remorse for such distress I feel,
I am a tigress, and my breast is steel.
Why do I scruple then to see him slain,
And with the tragick scene my eyes prophane?
My magick's art employ, not to asswage
The Salvages, but to enflame their rage?
His earth-born foes to fiercer fury move,
And accessary to his murder prove?
The Gods forbid- But pray'rs are idle breath,
When action only can prevent his death.
Shall I betray my father, and the state,
To intercept a rambling hero's fate;
Who may sail off next hour, and sav'd from harms
By my assistance, bless another's arms?
Whilst I, not only of my hopes bereft,
But to unpity'd punishment am left.
If he is false, let the ingrateful bleed!
But no such symptom in his looks I read.
Nature wou'd ne'er have lavish'd so much grace
Upon his person, if his soul were base.
Besides, he first shall plight his faith, and swear
By all the Gods; what therefore can'st thou fear?
Medea haste, from danger set him free,
Jason shall thy eternal debtor be.
And thou, his queen, with sov'raign state enstall'd,
By Graecian dames the Kind Preserver call'd.
Hence idle dreams, by love-sick fancy bred!
Wilt thou, Medea, by vain wishes led,
To sister, brother, father bid adieu?
Forsake thy country's Gods, and country too?
My father's harsh, my brother but a child,
My sister rivals me, my country's wild;
And for its Gods, the greatest of 'em all
Inspires my breast, and I obey his call.
That great endearments I forsake, is true,
But greater far the hopes that I pursue:
The pride of having sav'd the youths of Greece
(Each life more precious than our golden fleece);
A nobler soil by me shall be possest,
I shall see towns with arts and manners blest;
And, what I prize above the world beside,
Enjoy my Jason- and when once his bride,
Be more than mortal, and to Gods ally'd.
They talk of hazards I must first sustain,
Of floating islands justling in the main;
Our tender barque expos'd to dreadful shocks
Of fierce Charybdis' gulf, and Scylla's rocks,
Where breaking waves in whirling eddies rowl,
And rav'nous dogs that in deep caverns howl:
Amidst these terrors, while I lye possest
Of him I love, and lean on Jason's breast,
In tempests unconcern'd I will appear,
Or, only for my husband's safety fear.
Didst thou say husband?- canst thou so deceive
Thy self, fond maid, and thy own cheat believe?
In vain thou striv'st to varnish o'er thy shame,
And grace thy guilt with wedlock's sacred name.
Pull off the coz'ning masque, and oh! in time
Discover and avoid the fatal crime.
She ceas'd- the Graces now, with kind surprize,
And virtue's lovely train, before her eyes
Present themselves, and vanquish'd Cupid flies.

She then retires to Hecate's shrine, that stood
Far in the covert of a shady wood:
She finds the fury of her flames asswag'd,
But, seeing Jason there, again they rag'd.
Blushes, and paleness did by turns invade
Her tender cheeks, and secret grief betray'd.
As fire, that sleeping under ashes lyes,
Fresh-blown, and rous'd, does up in blazes rise,
So flam'd the virgin's breast-
New kindled by her lover's sparkling eyes.
For chance, that day, had with uncommon grace
Adorn'd the lovely youth, and through his face
Display'd an air so pleasing as might charm
A Goddess, and a Vestal's bosom warm.
Her ravish'd eyes survey him o'er and o'er,
As some gay wonder never seen before;
Transported to the skies she seems to be,
And thinks she gazes on a deity.
But when he spoke, and prest her trembling hand,
And did with tender words her aid demand,
With vows, and oaths to make her soon his bride,
She wept a flood of tears, and thus reply'd:
I see my error, yet to ruin move,
Nor owe my fate to ignorance, but love:
Your life I'll guard, and only crave of you
To swear once more- and to your oath be true.
He swears by Hecate he would all fulfil,
And by her grandfa ther's prophetick skill,
By ev'ry thing that doubting love cou'd press,
His present danger, and desir'd success.
She credits him, and kindly does produce
Enchanted herbs, and teaches him their use:
Their mystick names, and virtues he admires,
And with his booty joyfully retires.

The Dragon's Teeth transform'd to Men

Impatient for the wonders of the day,
Aurora drives the loyt'ring stars away.
Now Mars's mount the pressing people fill,
The crowd below, the nobles crown the hill;
The king himself high-thron'd above the rest,
With iv'ry scepter, and in purple drest.

Forthwith the brass-hoof'd bulls are set at large,
Whose furious nostrils sulph'rous flame discharge:
The blasted herbage by their breath expires;
As forges rumble with excessive fires,
And furnaces with fiercer fury glow,
When water on the panting mass ye throw;
With such a noise, from their convulsive breast,
Thro' bellowing throats, the struggling vapour prest.

Yet Jason marches up without concern,
While on th' advent'rous youth the monsters turn
Their glaring eyes, and, eager to engage,
Brandish their steel-tipt horns in threatning rage:
With brazen hoofs they beat the ground, and choak
The ambient air with clouds of dust and smoak:
Each gazing Graecian for his champion shakes,
While bold advances he securely makes
Thro' sindging blasts; such wonders magick art
Can work, when love conspires, and plays his part.
The passive savages like statues stand,
While he their dew-laps stroaks with soothing hand;
To unknown yokes their brawny necks they yield,
And, like tame oxen, plow the wond'ring field.
The Colchians stare; the Graecians shout, and raise
Their champion's courage with inspiring praise.

Embolden'd now, on fresh attempts he goes,
With serpent's teeth the fertile furrows sows;
The glebe, fermenting with inchanted juice,
Makes the snake's teeth a human crop produce.
For as an infant, pris'ner to the womb,
Contented sleeps, 'till to perfection come,
Then does the cell's obscure confinement scorn,
He tosses, throbs, and presses to be born;
So from the lab'ring Earth no single birth,
But a whole troop of lusty youths rush forth;
And, what's more strange, with martial fury warm'd,
And for encounter all compleatly arm'd;
In rank and file, as they were sow'd, they stand,
Impatient for the signal of command.
No foe but the Aemonian youth appears;
At him they level their steel-pointed spears;
His frighted friends, who triumph'd, just before,
With peals of sighs his desp'rate case deplore:
And where such hardy warriors are afraid,
What must the tender, and enamour'd maid?
Her spirits sink, the blood her cheek forsook;
She fears, who for his safety undertook:
She knew the vertue of the spells she gave,
She knew the force, and knew her lover brave;
But what's a single champion to an host?
Yet scorning thus to see him tamely lost,
Her strong reserve of secret arts she brings,
And last, her never-failing song she sings.
Wonders ensue; among his gazing foes
The massy fragment of a rock he throws;
This charm in civil war engag'd 'em all;
By mutual wounds those Earth-born brothers fall.

The Greeks, transported with the strange success,
Leap from their seats the conqu'ror to caress;
Commend, and kiss, and clasp him in their arms:
So would the kind contriver of the charms;
But her, who felt the tenderest concern,
Honour condemns in secret flames to burn;
Committed to a double guard of fame,
Aw'd by a virgin's, and a princess' name.
But thoughts are free, and fancy unconfin'd,
She kisses, courts, and hugs him in her mind;
To fav'ring Pow'rs her silent thanks she gives,
By whose indulgence her lov'd hero lives.

One labour more remains, and, tho' the last,
In danger far surmounting all the past;
That enterprize by Fates in store was kept,
To make the dragon sleep that never slept,
Whose crest shoots dreadful lustre; from his jaws
A tripple tire of forked stings he draws,
With fangs, and wings of a prodigious size:
Such was the guardian of the golden prize.
Yet him, besprinkled with Lethaean dew,
The fair inchantress into slumber threw;
And then, to fix him, thrice she did repeat
The rhyme, that makes the raging winds retreat,
In stormy seas can halcyon seasons make,
Turn rapid streams into a standing lake;
While the soft guest his drowzy eye-lids seals,
Th' ungarded golden fleece the stranger steals;
Proud to possess the purchase of his toil,
Proud of his royal bride, the richer spoil;
To sea both prize, and patroness he bore,
And lands triumphant on his native shore.

Old Aeson restor'd to Youth

Aemonian matrons, who their absence mourn'd,
Rejoyce to see their prosp'rous sons return'd:
Rich curling fumes of incense feast the skies,
An hecatomb of voted victims dies,
With gilded horns, and garlands on their head,
And all the pomp of death, to th' altar led.
Congratulating bowls go briskly round,
Triumphant shouts in louder musick drown'd.
Amidst these revels, why that cloud of care
On Jason's brow? (to whom the largest share
Of mirth was due)- His father was not there.
Aeson was absent, once the young, and brave,
Now crush'd with years, and bending to the grave.
At last withdrawn, and by the crowd unseen,
Pressing her hand (with starting sighs between),
He supplicates his kind, and skilful queen.

O patroness! preserver of my life!
(Dear when my mistress, and much dearer wife)
Your favours to so vast a sum amount,
'Tis past the pow'r of numbers to recount;
Or cou'd they be to computation brought,
The history would a romance be thought:
And yet, unless you add one favour more,
Greater than all that you conferr'd before,
But not too hard for love and magick skill,
Your past are thrown away, and Jason's wretched still.
The morning of my life is just begun,
But my declining father's race is run;
From my large stock retrench the long arrears,
And add 'em to expiring Aeson's years.

Thus spake the gen'rous youth, and wept the rest.
Mov'd with the piety of his request,
To his ag'd sire such filial duty shown,
So diff'rent from her treatment of her own,
But still endeav'ring her remorse to hide,
She check'd her rising sighs, and thus reply'd.

How cou'd the thought of such inhuman wrong
Escape (said she) from pious Jason's tongue?
Does the whole world another Jason bear,
Whose life Medea can to yours prefer?
Or cou'd I with so dire a change dispence,
Hecate will never join in that offence:
Unjust is the request you make, and I
In kindness your petition shall deny;
Yet she that grants not what you do implore,
Shall yet essay to give her Jason more;
Find means t' encrease the stock of Aeson's years,
Without retrenchment of your life's arrears;
Provided that the triple Goddess join
A strong confed'rate in my bold design.

Thus was her enterprize resolv'd; but still
Three tedious nights are wanting to fulfil
The circling crescents of th' encreasing moon;
Then, in the height of her nocturnal noon,
Medea steals from court; her ankles bare,
Her garments closely girt, but loose her hair;
Thus sally'd, like a solitary sprite,
She traverses the terrors of the night.

Men, beasts, and birds in soft repose lay charm'd,
No boistrous wind the mountain-woods alarm'd;
Nor did those walks of love, the myrtle-trees,
Of am'rous Zephir hear the whisp'ring breeze;
All elements chain'd in unactive rest,
No sense but what the twinkling stars exprest;
To them (that only wak'd) she rears her arm,
And thus commences her mysterious charms.

She turn'd her thrice about, as oft she threw
On her pale tresses the nocturnal dew;
Then yelling thrice a most enormous sound,
Her bare knee bended on the flinty ground.
O night (said she) thou confident and guide
Of secrets, such as darkness ought to hide;
Ye stars and moon, that, when the sun retires,
Support his empire with succeeding fires;
And thou, great Hecate, friend to my design;
Songs, mutt'ring spells, your magick forces join;
And thou, O Earth, the magazine that yields
The midnight sorcerer drugs; skies, mountains, fields;
Ye wat'ry Pow'rs of fountain, stream, and lake;
Ye sylvan Gods, and Gods of night, awake,
And gen'rously your parts in my adventure take.

Oft by your aid swift currents I have led
Thro' wand'ring banks, back to their fountain head;
Transformed the prospect of the briny deep,
Made sleeping billows rave, and raving billows sleep;
Made clouds, or sunshine; tempests rise, or fall;
And stubborn lawless winds obey my call:
With mutter'd words disarm'd the viper's jaw;
Up by the roots vast oaks, and rocks cou'd draw,
Make forests dance, and trembling mountains come,
Like malefactors, to receive their doom;
Earth groan, and frighted ghosts forsake their tomb.
Thee, Cynthia, my resistless rhymes drew down,
When tinkling cymbals strove my voice to drown;
Nor stronger Titan could their force sustain,
In full career compell'd to stop his wain:
Nor could Aurora's virgin blush avail,
With pois'nous herbs I turn'd her roses pale;
The fury of the fiery bulls I broke,
Their stubborn necks submitting to my yoke;
And when the sons of Earth with fury burn'd,
Their hostile rage upon themselves I turn'd;
The brothers made with mutual wounds to bleed,
And by their fatal strife my lover freed;
And, while the dragon slept, to distant Greece,
Thro' cheated guards, convey'd the golden fleece.
But now to bolder action I proceed,
Of such prevailing juices now have need,
That wither'd years back to their bloom can bring,
And in dead winter raise a second spring.
And you'll perform't-
You will; for lo! the stars, with sparkling fires,
Presage as bright success to my desires:
And now another happy omen see!
A chariot drawn by dragons waits for me.

With these last words he leaps into the wain,
Stroaks the snakes' necks, and shakes the golden rein;
That signal giv'n, they mount her to the skies,
And now beneath her fruitful Tempe lies,
Whose stories she ransacks, then to Crete she flies;
There Ossa, Pelion, Othrys, Pindus, all
To the fair ravisher, a booty fall;
The tri bute of their verdure she collects,
Nor proud Olympus' height his plants protects.
Some by the roots she plucks; the tender tops
Of others with her culling sickle crops.
Nor could the plunder of the hills suffice,
Down to the humble vales, and meads she flies;
Apidanus, Amphrysus, the next rape
Sustain, nor could Enipeus' bank escape;
Thro' Beebe's marsh, and thro' the border rang'd
Whose pasture Glaucus to a Triton chang'd.

Now the ninth day, and ninth successive night,
Had wonder'd at the restless rover's flight;
Mean-while her dragons, fed with no repast,
But her exhaling simples od'rous blast,
Their tarnish'd scales, and wrinkled skins had cast.
At last return'd before her palace gate,
Quitting her chariot, on the ground she sate;
The sky her only canopy of state.
All conversation with her sex she fled,
Shun'd the caresses of the nuptial bed:
Two altars next of grassy turf she rears,
This Hecate's name, that Youth's inscription bears;
With forest-boughs, and vervain these she crown'd;
Then delves a double trench in lower ground,
And sticks a black-fleec'd ram, that ready stood,
And drench'd the ditches with devoted blood:
New wine she pours, and milk from th' udder warm,
With mystick murmurs to compleat the charm,
And subterranean deities alarm.
To the stern king of ghosts she next apply'd,
And gentle Proserpine, his ravish'd bride,
That for old Aeson with the laws of Fate
They would dispense, and leng then his short date;
Thus with repeated pray'rs she long assails
Th' infernal tyrant and at last prevails;
Then calls to have decrepit Aeson brought,
And stupifies him with a sleeping draught;
On Earth his body, like a corpse, extends,
Then charges Jason and his waiting friends
To quit the place, that no unhallow'd eye
Into her art's forbidden secrets pry.
This done, th' inchantress, with her locks unbound,
About her altars trips a frantick round;
Piece-meal the consecrated wood she splits,
And dips the splinters in the bloody pits,
Then hurles 'em on the piles; the sleeping sire
She lustrates thrice, with sulphur, water, fire.

In a large cauldron now the med'cine boils,
Compounded of her late-collected spoils,
Blending into the mesh the various pow'rs
Of wonder-working juices, roots, and flow'rs;
With gems i' th' eastern ocean's cell refin'd,
And such as ebbing tides had left behind;
To them the midnight's pearly dew she flings,
A scretch-owl's carcase, and ill boding wings;
Nor could the wizard wolf's warm entrails scape
(That wolf who counterfeits a human shape).
Then, from the bottom of her conj'ring bag,
Snakes' skins, and liver of a long-liv'd stag;
Last a crow's head to such an age arriv'd,
That he had now nine centuries surviv'd;
These, and with these a thousand more that grew
In sundry soils, into her pot she threw;
Then with a wither'd olive-bough she rakes
The bubling broth; the bough fresh verdure takes;
Green leaves at first the perish'd plant surround,
Which the next minute with ripe fruit were crown'd.
The foaming juices now the brink o'er-swell;
The barren heath, where-e'er the liquor fell,
Sprang out with vernal grass, and all the pride
Of blooming May- When this Medea spy'd,
She cuts her patient's throat; th' exhausted blood
Recruiting with her new enchanted flood;
While at his mouth, and thro' his op'ning wound,
A double inlet her infusion found;
His feeble frame resumes a youthful air,
A glossy brown his hoary beard and hair.
The meager paleness from his aspect fled,
And in its room sprang up a florid red;
Thro' all his limbs a youthful vigour flies,
His empty'd art'ries swell with fresh supplies:
Gazing spectators scarce believe their eyes.
But Aeson is the most surpriz'd to find
A happy change in body and in mind;
In sense and constitution the same man,
As when his fortieth active year began.

Bacchus, who from the clouds this wonder view'd,
Medea's method instantly pursu'd,
And his indulgent nurse's youth renew'd.

The Death of Pelias

Thus far obliging love employ'd her art,
But now revenge must act a tragick part;

Medea feigns a mortal quarrel bred
Betwixt her, and the partner of her bed;
On this pretence to Pelias' court she flies,
Who languishing with age and sickness lies:
His guiltless daughters, with inveigling wiles,
And well dissembled friendship, she beguiles:
The strange achievements of her art she tells,
With Aeson's cure, and long on that she dwells,
'Till them to firm perswasion she has won,
The same for their old father may be done:
For him they court her to employ her skill,
And put upon the cure what price she will.
At first she's mute, and with a grave pretence
Of difficulty, holds 'em in suspense;
Then promises, and bids 'em, from the fold
Chuse out a ram, the most infirm and old;
That so by fact their doubts may be remov'd,
And first on him the operation prov'd.

A wreath-horn'd ram is brought, so far o'er-grown
With years, his age was to that age unknown
Of sense too dull the piercing point to feel,
And scarce sufficient blood to stain the steel.
His carcass she into a cauldron threw,
With drugs whose vital qualities she knew;
His limbs grow less, he casts his horns, and years,
And tender bleatings strike their wond'ring ears.
Then instantly leaps forth a frisking lamb,
That seeks (too young to graze) a suckling dam.
The sisters, thus confirm'd with the success,
Her promise with renew'd entreaty press;
To countenance the cheat, three nights and days
Before experiment th' inchantress stays;
Then into limpid water, from the springs,
Weeds, and ingredients of no force she flings;
With antique ceremonies for pretence
And rambling rhymes without a word of sense.

Mean-while the king with all his guards lay bound
In magick sleep, scarce that of death so sound;
The daughters now are by the sorc'ress led
Into his chamber, and surround his bed.
Your father's health's concern'd, and can ye stay?
Unnat'ral nymphs, why this unkind delay?
Unsheath your swords, dismiss his lifeless blood,
And I'll recruit it with a vital flood:
Your father's life and health is in your hand,
And can ye thus like idle gazers stand?
Unless you are of common sense bereft,
If yet one spark of piety is left,
Dispatch a father's cure, and disengage
The monarch from his toilsome load of age:
Come- drench your weapons in his putrid gore;
'Tis charity to wound, when wounding will restore.

Thus urg'd, the poor deluded maids proceed,
Betray'd by zeal, to an inhumane deed,
And, in compassion, make a father bleed.
Yes, she who had the kindest, tend'rest heart,
Is foremost to perform the bloody part.

Yet, tho' to act the butchery betray'd,
They could not bear to see the wounds they made;
With looks averted, backward they advance,
Then strike, and stab, and leave the blows to chance.

Waking in consternation, he essays
(Weltring in blood) his feeble arms to raise:
Environ'd with so many swords- From whence
This barb'rous usage? what is my offence?
What fatal fury, what infernal charm,
'Gainst a kind father does his daughters arm?

Hearing his voice, as thunder-struck they stopt,
Their resolution, and their weapons dropt:
Medea then the mortal blow bestows,
And that perform'd, the tragick scene to close,
His corpse into the boiling cauldron throws.

Then, dreading the revenge that must ensue,
High mounted on her dragon-coach she flew;
And in her stately progress thro' the skies,
Beneath her shady Pelion first she spies,
With Othrys, that above the clouds did rise;
With skilful Chiron's cave, and neighb'ring ground,
For old Cerambus' strange escape renown'd,
By nymphs deliver'd, when the world was drown'd;
Who him with unexpected wings supply'd,
When delug'd hills a safe retreat deny'd.
Aeolian Pitane on her left hand
She saw, and there the statu'd dragon stand;
With Ida's grove, where Bacchus, to disguise
His son's bold theft, and to secure the prize,
Made the stoln steer a stag to represent;
Cocytus' father's sandy monument;
And fields that held the murder'd sire's remains,
Where howling Moera frights the startled plains.
Euryphilus' high town, with tow'rs defac'd
By Hercules, and matrons more disgrac'd
With sprouting horns, in signal punishment,
From Juno, or resenting Venus sent.
Then Rhodes, which Phoebus did so dearly prize,
And Jove no less severely did chastize;
For he the wizard native's pois'ning sight,
That us'd the farmer's hopeful crops to blight,
In rage o'erwhelm'd with everlasting night.
Cartheia's ancient walls come next in view,
Where once the sire almost a statue grew
With wonder, which a strange event did move,
His daughter turn'd into a turtle-dove.
Then Hyrie's lake, and Tempe's field o'er-ran,
Fam'd for the boy who there became a swan;
For there enamour'd Phyllius, like a slave,
Perform'd what tasks his paramour would crave.
For presents he had mountain-vultures caught,
And from the desart a tame lion brought;
Then a wild bull commanded to subdue,
The conquer'd savage by the horns he drew;
But, mock'd so oft, the treatment he disdains,
And from the craving boy this prize detains.
Then thus in choler the resenting lad:
Won't you deliver him?- You'll wish you had:
Nor sooner said, but, in a peevish mood,
Leapt from the precipice on which he stood:
The standers-by were struck with fresh surprize,
Instead of falling, to behold him rise
A snowy swan, and soaring to the skies.

But dearly the rash prank his mother cost,
Who ignorantly gave her son for lost;
For his misfortune wept, 'till she became
A lake, and still renown'd with Hyrie's name.

Thence to Latona's isle, where once were seen,
Transform'd to birds, a monarch, and his queen.
Far off she saw how old Cephisus mourn'd
His son, into a seele by Phoebus turn'd;
And where, astonish'd at a stranger sight,
Eumelus gaz'd on his wing'd daughter's flight.

Aetolian Pleuron she did next survey,
Where sons a mother's murder did essay,
But sudden plumes the matron bore away.
On her right hand, Cyllene, a fair soil,
Fair, 'till Menephron there the beauteous hill
Attempted with foul incest to defile.

Her harness'd dragons now direct she drives
For Corinth, and at Corinth she arrives;
Where, if what old tradition tells, be true,
In former ages men from mushrooms grew.

But here Medea finds her bed supply'd,
During her absence, by another bride;
And hopeless to recover her lost game,
She sets both bride and palace in a flame.
Nor could a rival's death her wrath asswage,
Nor stopt at Creon's family her rage,
She murders her own infants, in despight
To faithless Jason, and in Jason's sight;
Yet e'er his sword could reach her, up she springs,
Securely mounted on her dragon's wings.

The Story of Aegeus

From hence to Athens she directs her flight,
Where Phineus, so renown'd for doing right;
Where Periphas, and Polyphemon's neece,
Soaring with sudden plumes amaz'd the towns of Greece.

Here Aegeus so engaging she addrest,
That first he treats her like a royal guest;
Then takes the sorc'ress for his wedded wife;
The only blemish of his prudent life.

Mean-while his son, from actions of renown,
Arrives at court, but to his sire unknown.
Medea, to dispatch a dang'rous heir
(She knew him), did a pois'nous draught prepare;
Drawn from a drug, was long reserv'd in store
For desp'rate uses, from the Scythian shore;
That from the Echydnaean monster's jaws
Deriv'd its origin, and this the cause.

Thro' a dark cave a craggy passage lies,
To ours, ascending from the nether skies;
Thro' which, by strength of hand, Alcides drew
Chain'd Cerberus, who lagg'd, and restive grew,
With his blear'd eyes our brighter day to view.
Thrice he repeated his enormous yell,
With which he scares the ghosts, and startles Hell;
At last outragious (tho' compell'd to yield)
He sheds his foam in fury on the field,-
Which, with its own, and rankness of the ground,
Produc'd a weed, by sorcerers renown'd,
The strongest constitution to confound;
Call'd Aconite, because it can unlock
All bars, and force its passage thro' a rock.

The pious father, by her wheedles won,
Presents this deadly potion to his son;
Who, with the same assurance takes the cup,
And to the monarch's health had drank it up,
But in the very instant he apply'd
The goblet to his lips, old Aegeus spy'd
The iv'ry hilted sword that grac'd his side.
That certain signal of his son he knew,
And snatcht the bowl away; the sword he drew,
Resolv'd, for such a son's endanger'd life,
To sacrifice the most perfidious wife.
Revenge is swift, but her more active charms
A whirlwind rais'd, that snatch'd her from his arms.
While conjur'd clouds their baffled sense surprize,
She vanishes from their deluded eyes,
And thro' the hurricane triumphant flies.

The gen'rous king, altho' o'er-joy'd to find
His son was safe, yet bearing still in mind
The mischief by his treach'rous queen design'd;
The horrour of the deed, and then how near
The danger drew, he stands congeal'd with fear.
But soon that fear into devotion turns,
With grateful incense ev'ry altar burns;
Proud victims, and unconscious of their fate,
Stalk to the temple, there to die in state.
In Athens never had a day been found
For mirth, like that grand festival, renown'd.
Promiscuously the peers, and people dine,
Promiscuously their thankful voices join,
In songs of wit, sublim'd by spritely wine.
To list'ning spheres their joint applause they raise,
And thus resound their matchless Theseus' praise.

Great Theseus! Thee the Marathonian plain
Admires, and wears with pride the noble stain
Of the dire monster's blood, by valiant Theseus slain.
That now Cromyon's swains in safety sow,
And reap their fertile field, to thee they owe.
By thee th' infested Epidaurian coast
Was clear'd, and now can a free commerce boast.
The traveller his journey can pursue,
With pleasure the late dreadful valley view,
And cry, Here Theseus the grand robber slew.
Cephysus' cries to his rescu'd shore,
The merciless Procrustes is no more.
In peace, Eleusis, Ceres' rites renew,
Since Theseus' sword the fierce Cercyon slew.
By him the tort'rer Sinis was destroy'd,
Of strength (but strength to barb'rous use employ'd)
That tops of tallest pines to Earth could bend,
And thus in pieces wretched captives rend.
Inhuman Scyron now has breath'd his last,
And now Alcatho's roads securely past;
By Theseus slain, and thrown into the deep:
But Earth nor Sea his scatter'd bones wou'd keep,
Which, after floating long, a rock became,
Still infamous with Scyron's hated name.
When Fame to count thy acts and years proceeds,
Thy years appear but cyphers to thy deeds.
For thee, brave youth, as for our common-wealth,
We pray; and drink, in yours, the publick health.
Your praise the senate, and plebeians sing,
With your lov'd name the court, and cottage ring.
You make our shepherds and our sailors glad,
And not a house in this vast city's sad.

But mortal bliss will never come sincere,
Pleasure may lead, but grief brings up the rear;
While for his sons' arrival, rev'ling joy
Aegeus, and all his subjects does employ;
While they for only costly feasts prepare,
His neighb'ring monarch, Minos, threatens war:
Weak in land-forces, nor by sea more strong,
But pow'rful in a deep resented wrong
For a son's murder, arm'd with pious rage;
Yet prudently before he would engage,
To raise auxiliaries resolv'd to sail,
And with the pow'rful princes to prevail.

First Anaphe, then proud Astypalaea gains,
By presents that, and this by threats obtains:
Low Mycone, Cymolus, chalky soil,
Tall Cythnos, Scyros, flat Seriphos' isle;
Paros, with marble cliffs afar display'd;
Impregnable Sithonia; yet betray'd
To a weak foe by a gold-admiring maid,
Who, chang'd into a daw of sable hue,
Still hoards up gold, and hides it from the view.

But as these islands chearfully combine,
Others refuse t' embark in his design.
Now leftward with an easy sail he bore,
And prosp'rous passage to Oenopia's shore;
Oenopia once, but now Aegina call'd,
And with his royal mother's name install'd
By Aeacus, under whose reign did spring
The Myrmidons, and now their reigning king.

Down to the port, amidst the rabble, run
The princes of the blood; with Telamon,
Peleus the next, and Phocus the third son:
Then Aeacus, altho' opprest with years,
To ask the cause of their approach appears.

That question does the Gnossian's grief renew,
And sighs from his afflicted bosom drew;
Yet after a short solemn respite made,
The ruler of the hundred cities said:

Assist our arms, rais'd for a murder'd son,
In this religious war no risque you'll run:
Revenge the dead- for who refuse to give
Rest to their urns, unworthy are to live.

What you request, thus Aeacus replies,
Not I, but truth and common faith denies;
Athens and we have long been sworn allies:
Our leagues are fix'd, confed'rate are our pow'rs,
And who declare themselves their foes, are ours.

Minos rejoins, Your league shall dearly cost
(Yet, mindful how much safer 'twas to boast,
Than there to waste his forces, and his fame,
Before in field with his grand foe he came),
Parts without blows- nor long had left the shore,
E're into port another navy bore,
With Cephalus, and all his jolly crew;
Th' Aeacides their old acquaintance knew:
The princes bid him welcome, and in state
Conduct the heroe to their palace gate;
Who entr'ring, seem'd the charming mein to wear,
As when in youth he paid his visit there.
In his right hand an olive-branch he holds,
And, salutation past, the chief unfolds
His embassy from the Athenian state,
Their mutual friendship, leagues of ancient date;
Their common danger, ev'ry thing cou'd wake
Concern, and his address successful make:
Strength'ning his plea with all the charms of sense,
And those, with all the charms of eloquence.

Then thus the king: Like suitors do you stand
For that assistance which you may command?
Athenians, all our listed forces use
(They're such as no bold service will refuse);
And when y' ave drawn them off, the Gods be prais'd,
Fresh legions can within our isle be rais'd:
So stock'd with people, that we can prepare
Both for domestick, and for distant war,
Ours, or our friends' insulters to chastize.

Long may ye flourish thus, the prince replies.
Strange transport seiz'd me as I pass'd along,
To meet so many troops, and all so young,
As if your army did of twins consist;
Yet amongst them my late acquaintance miss'd:
Ev'n all that to your palace did resort,
When first you entertain'd me at your court;
And cannot guess the cause from whence cou'd spring
So vast a change- Then thus the sighing king:

Illustrious guest, to my strange tale attend,
Of sad beginning, but a joyful end:
The whole to a vast history wou'd swell,
I shall but half, and that confus'dly, tell.
That race whom so deserv'dly you admir'd,
Are all into their silent tombs retir'd:
They fell; and falling, how they shook my state,
Thought may conceive, but words can ne'er relate.

The Story of Ants chang'd to Men

A dreadful plague from angry Juno came,
To scourge the land, that bore her rival's name;
Before her fatal anger was reveal'd,
And teeming malice lay as yet conceal'd,
All remedies we try, all med'cines use,
Which Nature cou'd supply, or art produce;
Th' unconquer'd foe derides the vain design,
And art, and Nature foil'd, declare the cause divine.

At first we only felt th' oppressive weight
Of gloomy clouds, then teeming with our fate,
And lab'ring to discarge unactive heat:
But ere four moons alternate changes knew,
With deadly blasts the fatal South-wind blew,
Infected all the air, and poison'd as it flew.
Our fountains too a dire infection yield,
For crowds of vipers creep along the field,
And with polluted gore, and baneful steams,
Taint all the lakes, and venom all the streams.

The young disease with milder force began,
And rag'd on birds, and beasts, excusing Man.
The lab'ring oxen fall before the plow,
Th' unhappy plow-men stare, and wonder how:
The tabid sheep, with sickly bleatings, pines;
Its wool decreasing, as its strength declines:
The warlike steed, by inward foes compell'd,
Neglects his honours, and deserts the field;
Unnerv'd, and languid, seeks a base retreat,
And at the manger groans, but wish'd a nobler fate:
The stags forget their speed, the boars their rage,
Nor can the bears the stronger herds engage:
A gen'ral faintness does invade 'em all,
And in the woods, and fields, promiscuously they fall.
The air receives the stench, and (strange to say)
The rav'nous birds and beasts avoid the prey:
Th' offensive bodies rot upon the ground,
And spread the dire contagion all around.

But now the plague, grown to a larger size,
Riots on Man, and scorns a meaner prize.
Intestine heats begin the civil war,
And flushings first the latent flame declare,
And breath inspir'd, which seem'd like fiery air.
Their black dry tongues are swell'd, and scarce can move,

And short thick sighs from panting lung are drove.
They gape for air, with flatt'ring hopes t' abate
Their raging flames, but that augments their heat.
No bed, no cov'ring can the wretches bear,
But on the ground, expos'd to open air,
They lye, and hope to find a pleasing coolness there.
The suff'ring Earth with that oppression curst,
Returns the heat which they imparted first.

In vain physicians would bestow their aid,
Vain all their art, and useless all their trade;
And they, ev'n they, who fleeting life recall,
Feel the same Pow'rs, and undistinguish'd fall.
If any proves so daring to attend
His sick companion, or his darling friend,
Th' officious wretch sucks in contagious breath,
And with his friend does sympathize in death.

And now the care and hopes of life are past,
They please their fancies, and indulge their taste;
At brooks and streams, regardless of their shame,
Each sex, promiscuous, strives to quench their flame;
Nor do they strive in vain to quench it there,
For thirst, and life at once extinguish'd are.
Thus in the brooks the dying bodies sink,
But heedless still the rash survivors drink.

So much uneasy down the wretches hate,
They fly their beds, to struggle with their fate;
But if decaying strength forbids to rise,
The victim crawls and rouls, 'till on the ground he lies.

Each shuns his bed, as each wou'd shun his tomb,
And thinks th' infection only lodg'd at home.

Here one, with fainting steps, does slowly creep
O'er heaps of dead, and strait augments the heap;
Another, while his strength and tongue prevail'd,
Bewails his friend, and falls himself bewail'd:
This with imploring looks surveys the skies,
The last dear office of his closing eyes,
But finds the Heav'ns implacable, and dies.

What now, ah! what employ'd my troubled mind?
But only hopes my subjects' fate to find.
What place soe'er my weeping eyes survey,
There in lamented heaps the vulgar lay;
As acorns scatter when the winds prevail,
Or mellow fruit from shaken branches fall.

You see that dome which rears its front so high:
'Tis sacred to the monarch of the sky:
How many there, with unregarded tears,
And fruitless vows, sent up successless pray'rs?
There fathers for expiring sons implor'd,
And there the wife bewail'd her gasping lord;
With pious off'rings they'd appease the skies,
But they, ere yet th' attoning vapours rise,
Before the altars fall, themselves a sacrifice:
They fall, while yet their hands the gums contain,
The gums surviving, but their off'rers slain.

The destin'd ox, with holy garlands crown'd,
Prevents the blow, and feels th' expected wound:
When I my self invok'd the Pow'rs divine,
To drive the fatal pest from me and mine;
When now the priest with hands uplifted stood,
Prepar'd to strike, and shed the sacred blood,
The Gods themselves the mortal stroke bestow,
The victim falls, but they impart the blow:
Scarce was the knife with the pale purple stain'd,
And no presages cou'd be then obtain'd,
From putrid entrails, where th' infection reign'd.

Death stalk'd around with such resistless sway,
The temples of the Gods his force obey,
And suppliants feel his stroke, while yet they pray.
Go now, said he, your deities implore
For fruitless aid, for I defie their pow'r.
Then with a curst malicious joy survey'd
The very altars, stain'd with trophies of the dead.

The rest grown mad, and frantick with despair,
Urge their own fate, and so prevent the fear.
Strange madness that, when Death pursu'd so fast,
T' anticipate the blow with impious haste.

No decent honours to their urns are paid,
Nor cou'd the graves receive the num'rous dead;
For, or they lay unbury'd on the ground,
Or unadorn'd a needy fun'ral found:
All rev'rence past, the fainting wretches fight
For fun'ral piles which were another's right.

Unmourn'd they fall: for, who surviv'd to mourn?
And sires, and mothers unlamented burn:
Parents, and sons sustain an equal fate,
And wand'ring ghosts their kindred shadows meet.
The dead a larger space of ground require,
Nor are the trees sufficient for the fire.

Despairing under grief's oppressive weight,
And sunk by these tempestuous blasts of Fate,
O Jove, said I, if common fame says true,
If e'er Aegina gave those joys to you,
If e'er you lay enclos'd in her embrace,
Fond of her charms, and eager to possess;
O father, if you do not yet disclaim
Paternal care, nor yet disown the name;
Grant my petitions, and with speed restore
My subjects num'rous as they were before,
Or make me partner of the fate they bore.
I spoke, and glorious lightning shone around,
And ratling thunder gave a prosp'rous sound;
So let it be, and may these omens prove
A pledge, said I, of your returning love.

By chance a rev'rend oak was near the place,
Sacred to Jove, and of Dodona's race,
Where frugal ants laid up their winter meat,
Whose little bodies bear a mighty weight:
We saw them march along, and hide their store,
And much admir'd their number, and their pow'r;
Admir'd at first, but after envy'd more.
Full of amazement, thus to Jove I pray'd,
O grant, since thus my subjects are decay'd,
As many subjects to supply the dead.
I pray'd, and strange convulsions mov'd the oak,
Which murmur'd, tho' by ambient winds unshook:
My trembling hands, and stiff-erected hair,
Exprest all tokens of uncommon fear;
Yet both the earth and sacred oak I kist,
And scarce cou'd hope, yet still I hop'd the best;
For wretches, whatsoe'er the Fates divine,
Expound all omens to their own design.

But now 'twas night, when ev'n distraction wears
A pleasing look, and dreams beguile our cares,
Lo! the same oak appears before my eyes,
Nor alter'd in his shape, nor former size;
As many ants the num'rous branches bear,
The same their labour, and their frugal care;
The branches too a like commotion sound,
And shook th' industrious creatures on the ground,
Who, by degrees (what's scarce to be believ'd)
A nobler form, and larger bulk receiv'd,
And on the earth walk'd an unusual pace,
With manly strides, and an erected face-
Their num'rous legs, and former colour lost,
The insects cou'd a human figure boast.

I wake, and waking find my cares again,
And to the unperforming Gods complain,
And call their promise, and pretences, vain.
Yet in my court I heard the murm'ring voice
Of strangers, and a mixt uncommon noise:
But I suspected all was still a dream,
'Till Telamon to my apartment came,
Op'ning the door with an impetuous haste,
O come, said he, and see your faith and hopes surpast:
I follow, and, confus'd with wonder, view
Those shapes which my presaging slumbers drew:
I saw, and own'd, and call'd them subjects; they
Confest my pow'r, submissive to my sway.
To Jove, restorer of my race decay'd,
My vows were first with due oblations paid,
I then divide with an impartial hand
My empty city, and my ruin'd land,
To give the new-born youth an equal share,
And call them Myrmidons, from what they were.
You saw their persons, and they still retain
The thrift of ants, tho' now transform'd to men.
A frugal people, and inur'd to sweat,
Lab'ring to gain, and keeping what they get.
These, equal both in strength and years, shall join
Their willing aid, and follow your design,
With the first southern gale that shall present
To fill your sails, and favour your intent.

With such discourse they entertain the day;
The ev'ning past in banquets, sport, and play:
Then, having crown'd the night with sweet repose,
Aurora (with the wind at east) arose.
Now Pallas' sons to Cephalus resort,
And Cephalus with Pallas' sons to court,
To the king's levee; him sleep's silken chain,
And pleasing dreams, beyond his hour detain;
But then the princes of the blood, in state,
Expect, and meet 'em at the palace gate.

The Story of Cephalus and Procris

To th' inmost courts the Grecian youths were led,
And plac'd by Phocus on a Tyrian bed;
Who, soon observing Cephalus to hold
A dart of unknown wood, but arm'd with gold:
None better loves (said he) the huntsman's sport,
Or does more often to the woods resort;
Yet I that jav'lin's stem with wonder view,
Too brown for box, too smooth a grain for yew.
I cannot guess the tree; but never art
Did form, or eyes behold so fair a dart!
The guest then interrupts him- 'Twou'd produce
Still greater wonder, if you knew its use.
It never fails to strike the game, and then
Comes bloody back into your hand again.
Then Phocus each particular desires,
And th' author of the wond'rous gift enquires.
To which the owner thus, with weeping eyes,
And sorrow for his wife's sad fate, replies,
This weapon here (o prince!) can you believe
This dart the cause for which so much I grieve;
And shall continue to grieve on, 'till Fate
Afford such wretched life no longer date.
Would I this fatal gift had ne'er enjoy'd,
This fatal gift my tender wife destroy'd:
Procris her name, ally'd in charms and blood
To fair Orythia courted by a God.
Her father seal'd my hopes with rites divine,
But firmer love before had made her mine.
Men call'd me blest, and blest I was indeed.
The second month our nuptials did succeed;
When (as upon Hymettus' dewy head,
For mountain stags my net betimes I spread)
Aurora spy'd, and ravish'd me away,
With rev'rence to the Goddess, I must say,
Against my will, for Procris had my heart,
Nor wou'd her image from my thoughts depart.
At last, in rage she cry'd, Ingrateful boy
Go to your Procris, take your fatal joy;
And so dismiss'd me: musing, as I went,
What those expressions of the Goddess meant,
A thousand jealous fears possess me now,
Lest Procris had prophan'd her nuptial vow:
Her youth and charms did to my fancy paint
A lewd adultress, but her life a saint.
Yet I was absent long, the Goddess too
Taught me how far a woman cou'd be true.
Aurora's treatment much suspicion bred;
Besides, who truly love, ev'n shadows dread.
I strait impatient for the tryal grew,
What courtship back'd with richest gifts cou'd do.
Aurora's envy aided my design,
And lent me features far unlike to mine.
In this disguise to my own house I came,
But all was chaste, no conscious sign of blame:
With thousand arts I scarce admittance found,
And then beheld her weeping on the ground
For her lost husband; hardly I retain'd
My purpose, scarce the wish'd embrace refrain'd.
How charming was her grief! Then, Phocus, guess
What killing beauties waited on her dress.
Her constant answer, when my suit I prest,
Forbear, my lord's dear image guards this breast;
Where-e'er he is, whatever cause detains,
Who-e'er has his, my heart unmov'd remains.
What greater proofs of truth than these cou'd be?
Yet I persist, and urge my destiny.
At length, she found, when my own form return'd,
Her jealous lover there, whose loss she mourn'd.
Enrag'd with my suspicion, swift as wind,
She fled at once from me and all mankind;
And so became, her purpose to retain,
A nymph, and huntress in Diana's train:
Forsaken thus, I found my flames encrease,
I own'd my folly, and I su'd for peace.
It was a fault, but not of guilt, to move
Such punishment, a fault of too much love.
Thus I retriev'd her to my longing arms,
And many happy days possess'd her charms.
But with herself she kindly did confer,
What gifts the Goddess had bestow'd on her;
The fleetest grey-hound, with this lovely dart,
And I of both have wonders to impart.
Near Thebes a savage beast, of race unknown,
Laid waste the field, and bore the vineyards down;
The swains fled from him, and with one consent
Our Grecian youth to chase the monster went;
More swift than light'ning he the toils surpast,
And in his course spears, men, and trees o'er-cast.
We slipt our dogs, and last my Lelaps too,
When none of all the mortal race wou'd do:
He long before was struggling from my hands,
And, e're we cou'd unloose him, broke his bands.
That minute where he was, we cou'd not find,
And only saw the dust he left behind.
I climb'd a neighb'ring hill to view the chase,
While in the plain they held an equal race;
The savage now seems caught, and now by force
To quit himself, nor holds the same strait course;
But running counter, from the foe withdraws,
And with short turning cheats his gaping jaws:
Which he retrieves, and still so closely prest,
You'd fear at ev'ry stretch he were possess'd;
Yet for the gripe his fangs in vain prepare;
The game shoots from him, and he chops the air.
To cast my jav'lin then I took my stand;
But as the thongs were fitting to my hand,
While to the valley I o'er-look'd the wood,
Before my eyes two marble statues stood;
That, as pursu'd appearing at full stretch,
This barking after, and at point to catch:
Some God their course did with this wonder grace,
That neither might be conquer'd in the chase.
A sudden silence here his tongue supprest,
He here stops short, and fain wou'd wave the rest.

The eager prince then urg'd him to impart,
The Fortune that attended on the dart.
First then (said he) past joys let me relate,
For bliss was the foundation of my fate.
No language can those happy hours express,
Did from our nuptials me, and Procris bless:
The kindest pair! What more cou'd Heav'n confer?
For she was all to me, and I to her.
Had Jove made love, great Jove had been despis'd;
And I my Procris more than Venus priz'd:
Thus while no other joy we did aspire,
We grew at last one soul, and one desire.
Forth to the woods I went at break of day
(The constant practice of my youth) for prey:
Nor yet for servant, horse, or dog did call,
I found this single dart to serve for all.
With slaughter tir'd, I sought the cooler shade,
And winds that from the mountains pierc'd the glade:
Come, gentle air (so was I wont to say)
Come, gentle air, sweet Aura come away.
This always was the burden of my song,
Come 'swage my flames, sweet Aura come along.
Thou always art most welcome to my breast;
I faint; approach, thou dearest, kindest guest!
These blandishments, and more than these, I said
(By Fate to unsuspected ruin led),
Thou art my joy, for thy dear sake I love
Each desart hill, and solitary grove;
When (faint with labour) I refreshment need,
For cordials on thy fragrant breath I feed.
At last a wand'ring swain in hearing came,
And cheated with the sound of Aura's name,
He thought I some assignation made;
And to my Procris' ear the news convey'd.
Great love is soonest with suspicion fir'd:
She swoon'd, and with the tale almost expir'd.
Ah! wretched heart! (she cry'd) ah! faithless man.
And then to curse th' imagin'd nymph began:
Yet oft she doubts, oft hopes she is deceiv'd,
And chides herself, that ever she believ'd
Her lord to such injustice cou'd proceed,
'Till she her self were witness of the deed.
Next morn I to the woods again repair,
And, weary with the chase, invoke the air:
Approach, dear Aura, and my bosom chear:
At which a mournful sound did strike my ear;
Yet I proceeded, 'till the thicket by,
With rustling noise and motion, drew my eye:
I thought some beast of prey was shelter'd there,
And to the covert threw my certain spear;
From whence a tender sigh my soul did wound,
Ah me! it cry'd, and did like Procris sound.
Procris was there, too well the voice I knew,
And to the place with headlong horror flew;
Where I beheld her gasping on the ground,
In vain attempting from the deadly wound
To draw the dart, her love's dear fatal gift!
My guilty arms had scarce the strength to lift
The beauteous load; my silks, and hair I tore
(If possible) to stanch the pressing gore;
For pity beg'd her keep her flitting breath,
And not to leave me guilty of her death.
While I intreat she fainted fast away,
And these few words had only strength to say:
By all the sacred bonds of plighted love,
By all your rev'rence to the Pow'rs above,
By all the truth for which you held me dear,
And last by love, the cause through which I bleed,
Let Aura never to my bed succeed.
I then perceiv'd the error of our fate,
And told it her, but found and told too late!
I felt her lower to my bosom fall,
And while her eyes had any sight at all,
On mine she fix'd them; in her pangs still prest
My hand, and sigh'd her soul into my breast;
Yet, being undeceiv'd, resign'd her breath
Methought more chearfully, and smil'd in death.

With such concern the weeping heroe told
This tale, that none who heard him cou'd with-hold
From melting into sympathizing tears,
'Till Aeacus with his two sons appears;
Whom he commits, with their new-levy'd bands,
To Fortune's, and so brave a gen'ral's hands.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
~ Ovid, BOOK THE SEVENTH


342:MANTIS EIM ESQLWN AGWNWN
--Oedip. Colon.

TO HIS EXCELLENCY PRINCE ALEXANDER MAVROCORDATO LATE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO THE HOSPODAR OF WALLACHIA THE DRAMA OF HELLAS IS INSCRIBED AS AN IMPERFECT TOKEN OF THE ADMIRATION, SYMPATHY, AND FRIENDSHIP OF THE AUTHOR.

PROLOGUE TO HELLAS
Herald of Eternity.
It is the day when all the sons of God
Wait in the roofless senate-house, whose floor
Is Chaos, and the immovable abyss
Frozen by His steadfast word to hyaline...
The shadow of God, and delegate
Of that before whose breath the universe
Is as a print of dew.

           Hierarchs and kings
Who from your thrones pinnacled on the past
Sway the reluctant present, ye who sit
Pavilioned on the radiance or the gloom
Of mortal thought, which like an exhalation
Steaming from earth, conceals the...of heaven
Which gave it birth,...assemble here
Before your Father's throne; the swift decree
Yet hovers, and the fiery incarnation
Is yet withheld, clothd in which it shall
...annul
The fairest of those wandering isles that gem
The sapphire space of interstellar air,
That green and azure sphere, that earth enwrapped
Less in the beauty of its tender light
Than in an atmosphere of living spirit
Which interpenetrating all the...
...it rolls from realm to realm
And age to age, and in its ebb and flow
Impels the generations
To their appointed place,
Whilst the high Arbiter
Beholds the strife, and at the appointed time
Sends His decrees veiled in eternal...

Within the circuit of this pendent orb
There lies an antique region, on which fell
The dews of thought in the world's golden dawn
Earliest and most benign, and from it sprung
Temples and cities and immortal forms
And harmonies of wisdom and of song,
And thoughts, and deeds worthy of thoughts so fair.
And when the sun of its dominion failed,
And when the winter of its glory came,
The winds that stripped it bare blew on and swept
That dew into the utmost wildernesses
In wandering clouds of sunny rain that thawed
The unmaternal bosom of the North.
Haste, sons of God,...for ye beheld,
Reluctant, or consenting, or astonished,
The stern decrees go forth, which heaped on Greece
Ruin and degradation and despair.
A fourth now waits: assemble, sons of God,
To speed or to prevent or to suspend,
If, as ye dream, such power be not withheld,
The unaccomplished destiny...

Chorus.

The curtain of the Universe
Is rent and shattered,
The splendour-wingd worlds disperse
Like wild doves scattered.

  Space is roofless and bare,
And in the midst a cloudy shrine,
Dark amid thrones of light.
In the blue glow of hyaline
Golden worlds revolve and shine.
In...flight
From every point of the Infinite,
Like a thousand dawns on a single night
The splendours rise and spread;
And through thunder and darkness dread
Light and music are radiated,
And in their pavilioned chariots led
By living wings high overhead
The giant Powers move,
Gloomy or bright as the thrones they fill...
A chaos of light and motion
Upon that glassy ocean...
The senate of the Gods is met,
Each in his rank and station set;
  There is silence in the spaces
Lo! Satan, Christ, and Mahomet
Start from their places!

Christ.

             Almighty Father!
Low-kneeling at the feet of Destiny. . .
There are two fountains in which spirits weep
When mortals err, Discord and Slavery named,
And with their bitter dew two Destinies
Filled each their irrevocable urns; the third,
Fiercest and mightiest, mingled both, and added
Chaos and Death, and slow Oblivion's lymph,
And hate and terror, and the poisoned rain. . .
The Aurora of the nations. By this brow
Whose pores wept tears of blood, by these wide wounds,
By this imperial crown of agony,
By infamy and solitude and death,
For this I underwent, and by the pain
Of pity for those who would...for me
The unremembered joy of a revenge,
For this I feltby Plato's sacred light,
Of which my spirit was a burning morrow
By Greece and all she cannot cease to be,
Her quenchless words, sparks of immortal truth,
Stars of all nighther harmonies and forms,
Echoes and shadows of what Love adores
In thee, I do compel thee, send forth Fate,
Thy irrevocable child: let her descend,
A seraph-wingd Victory [arrayed]
In tempest of the omnipotence of God
Which sweeps through all things.

From hollow leagues, from Tyranny which arms
Adverse miscreeds and emulous anarchies
To stamp, as on a wingd serpent's seed,
Upon the name of Freedom; from the storm
Of faction, which like earthquake shakes and sickens
The solid heart of enterprise; from all
By which the holiest dreams of highest spirits
Are stars beneath the dawn...

                 She shall arise
Victorious as the world arose from Chaos!
And as the Heavens and the Earth arrayed
Their presence in the beauty and the light
Of Thy first smile, O Father,as they gather
The spirit of Thy love which paves for them
Their path o'er the abyss, till every sphere
Shall be one living Spirit,-- so shall Greece--

Satan.
Be as all things beneath the empyrean,
Mine! Art thou eyeless like old Destiny,
Thou mockery-king, crowned with a wreath of thorns?
Whose sceptre is a reed, the broken reed
Which pierces thee! whose throne a chair of scorn;
For seest thou not beneath this crystal floor
The innumerable worlds of golden light
Which are my empire, and the least of them
...which thou wouldst redeem from me?
Know'st thou not them my portion?
Or wouldst rekindle the...strife
Which our great Father then did arbitrate
Which he assigned to his competing sons
Each his apportioned realm?

               Thou Destiny,
Thou who art mailed in the omnipotence
Of Him who sends thee forth, whate'er thy task,
Speed, spare not to accomplish, and be mine
Thy trophies, whether Greece again become
The fountain in the desert whence the earth
Shall drink of freedom, which shall give it strength
To suffer, or a gulf of hollow death
To swallow all delight, all life, all hope.
Go, thou Vicegerent of my will, no less
Than of the Father's; but lest thou shouldst faint,
The wingd hounds, Famine and Pestilence,
Shall wait on thee, the hundred-forkd snake
Insatiate Superstition still shall...
The earth behind thy steps, and War shall hover
Above, and Fraud shall gape below, and Change
Shall flit before thee on her dragon wings,
Convulsing and consuming, and I add
Three vials of the tears which daemons weep
When virtuous spirits through the gate of Death
Pass triumphing over the thorns of life,
Sceptres and crowns, mitres and swords and snares,
Trampling in scorn, like Him and Socrates.
The first is Anarchy; when Power and Pleasure,
Glory and science and security,
On Freedom hang like fruit on the green tree,
Then pour it forth, and men shall gather ashes.
The second Tyranny--

Christ.
           Obdurate spirit!
Thou seest but the Past in the To-come.
Pride is thy error and thy punishment.
Boast not thine empire, dream not that thy worlds
Are more than furnace-sparks or rainbow-drops
Before the Power that wields and kindles them.
True greatness asks not space, true excellence
Lives in the Spirit of all things that live,
Which lends it to the worlds thou callest thine...

Mahomet.
Haste thou and fill the waning crescent
With beams as keen as those which pierced the shadow
Of Christian night rolled back upon the West,
When the orient moon of Islam rode in triumph
From Tmolus to the Acroceraunian snow...
                       Wake, thou Word
Of God, and from the throne of Destiny
Even to the utmost limit of thy way
May Triumph...........
Be thou a curse on them whose creed
Divides and multiplies the most high God.

HELLAS

DRAMATIS PERSONAE
Mahmud.
Hassan.
Daood.
Ahasuerus, a Jew.
Chorus of Greek Captive Women.
The Phantom of Mahomet II.
Messengers, Slaves, and Attendants.

Scene, Constantinople. Time, Sunset.

Scene--A Terrace on the Seraglio. Mahmud sleeping, an Indian Slave sitting beside his Couch.
Chorus of Greek Captive Women.
We strew these opiate flowers
  On thy restless pillow,
They were stripped from Orient bowers,
  By the Indian billow.
   Be thy sleep
   Calm and deep,
Like theirs who fellnot ours who weep!
Indian.
Away, unlovely dreams!
  Away, false shapes of sleep!
Be his, as Heaven seems,
  Clear, and bright, and deep!
Soft as love, and calm as death,
Sweet as a summer night without a breath.
Chorus.
Sleep, sleep! our song is laden
  With the soul of slumber;
It was sung by a Samian maiden,
  Whose lover was of the number
   Who now keep
   That calm sleep
Whence none may wake, where none shall weep.
Indian.
I touch thy temples pale!
  I breathe my soul on thee!
And could my prayers avail,
  All my joy should be
Dead, and I would live to weep,
So thou mightst win one hour of quiet sleep.
Chorus.
  Breathe low, low
The spell of the mighty mistress now!
When Conscience lulls her sated snake,
And Tyrants sleep, let Freedom wake.
  Breathe lowlow
The words which, like secret fire, shall flow
Through the veins of the frozen earthlow, low!
Semichorus I.
Life may change, but it may fly not;
Hope may vanish, but can die not;
Truth be veiled, but still it burneth;
Love repulsed,but it returneth!
Semichorus II.
Yet were life a charnel where
Hope lay coffined with Despair;
Yet were truth a sacred lie,
Love were lust
Semichorus I.
         If Liberty
Lent not life its soul of light,
Hope its iris of delight,
Truth its prophet's robe to wear,
Love its power to give and bear.
Chorus.
In the great morning of the world,
The Spirit of God with might unfurled
The flag of Freedom over Chaos,
And all its banded anarchs fled,
Like vultures frighted from Imaus,
Before an earthquake's tread.
So from Time's tempestuous dawn
Freedom's splendour burst and shone:
Thermopylae and Marathon
Caught, like mountains beacon-lighted,
The springing Fire.The wingd glory
On Philippi half-alighted,
Like an eagle on a promontory.
Its unwearied wings could fan
The quenchless ashes of Milan.[1]
From age to age, from man to man,
It lived; and lit from land to land
Florence, Albion, Switzerland.
Then night fell; and, as from night,
Reassuming fiery flight,
From the West swift Freedom came,
Against the course of Heaven and doom,
A second sun arrayed in flame,
To burn, to kindle, to illume.
From far Atlantis its young beams
Chased the shadows and the dreams.
France, with all her sanguine steams,
Hid, but quenched it not; again
Through clouds its shafts of glory rain
From utmost Germany to Spain.
As an eagle fed with morning
Scorns the embattled tempest's warning,
When she seeks her aerie hanging
In the mountain-cedar's hair,
And her brood expect the clanging
Of her wings through the wild air,
Sick with famine:Freedom, so
To what of Greece remaineth now
Returns; her hoary ruins glow
Like Orient mountains lost in day;
Beneath the safety of her wings
Her renovated nurslings prey,
And in the naked lightenings
Of truth they purge their dazzled eyes.
Let Freedom leavewhere'er she flies,
A Desert, or a Paradise:
Let the beautiful and the brave
Share her glory, or a grave.
Semichorus I.
With the gifts of gladness
Greece did thy cradle strew;
Semichorus II.
With the tears of sadness
Greece did thy shroud bedew!
Semichorus I.
With an orphan's affection
She followed thy bier through Time;
Semichorus II.
And at thy resurrection
Reappeareth, like thou, sublime!
Semichorus I.
If Heaven should resume thee,
To Heaven shall her spirit ascend;
Semichorus II.
If Hell should entomb thee,
To Hell shall her high hearts bend.
Semichorus I.
If Annihilation
Semichorus II.
Dust let her glories be!
And a name and a nation
Be forgotten, Freedom, with thee!
Indian.
His brow grows darkerbreathe notmove not!
He startshe shuddersye that love not,
With your panting loud and fast,
Have awakened him at last.
Mahmud
(starting from his sleep).
Man the Seraglio-guard! make fast the gate!
What! from a cannonade of three short hours?
'Tis false! that breach towards the Bosphorus
Cannot be practicable yetwho stirs?
Stand to the match; that when the foe prevails
One spark may mix in reconciling ruin
The conqueror and the conquered! Heave the tower
Into the gapwrench off the roof!
(Enter Hassan.)
                  Ha! what!
The truth of day lightens upon my dream
And I am Mahmud still.
Hassan.
            Your Sublime Highness
Is strangely moved.
Mahmud.
          The times do cast strange shadows
On those who watch and who must rule their course,
Lest they, being first in peril as in glory,
Be whelmed in the fierce ebb:and these are of them.
Thrice has a gloomy vision hunted me
As thus from sleep into the troubled day;
It shakes me as the tempest shakes the sea,
Leaving no figure upon memory's glass.
Would thatno matter. Thou didst say thou knewest
A Jew, whose spirit is a chronicle
Of strange and secret and forgotten things.
I bade thee summon him:'tis said his tribe
Dream, and are wise interpreters of dreams.
Hassan.
The Jew of whom I spake is old,so old
He seems to have outlived a world's decay;
The hoary mountains and the wrinkled ocean
Seem younger still than he;his hair and beard
Are whiter than the tempest-sifted snow;
His cold pale limbs and pulseless arteries
Are like the fibres of a cloud instinct
With light, and to the soul that quickens them
Are as the atoms of the mountain-drift
To the winter wind:but from his eye looks forth
A life of unconsumd thought which pierces
The Present, and the Past, and the To-come.
Some say that this is he whom the great prophet
Jesus, the son of Joseph, for his mockery,
Mocked with the curse of immortality.
Some feign that he is Enoch: others dream
He was pre-adamite and has survived
Cycles of generation and of ruin.
The sage, in truth, by dreadful abstinence
And conquering penance of the mutinous flesh,
Deep contemplation, and unwearied study,
In years outstretched beyond the date of man,
May have attained to sovereignty and science
Over those strong and secret things and thoughts
Which others fear and know not.
Mahmud.
                 I would talk
With this old Jew.
Hassan.
          Thy will is even now
Made known to him, where he dwells in a sea-cavern
'Mid the Demonesi, less accessible
Than thou or God! He who would question him
Must sail alone at sunset, where the stream
Of Ocean sleeps around those foamless isles,
When the young moon is westering as now,
And evening airs wander upon the wave;
And when the pines of that bee-pasturing isle,
Green Erebinthus, quench the fiery shadow
Of his gilt prow within the sapphire water,
Then must the lonely helmsman cry aloud
'Ahasuerus!' and the caverns round
Will answer 'Ahasuerus!' If his prayer
Be granted, a faint meteor will arise
Lighting him over Marmora, and a wind
Will rush out of the sighing pine-forest,
And with the wind a storm of harmony
Unutterably sweet, and pilot him
Through the soft twilight to the Bosphorus:
Thence at the hour and place and circumstance
Fit for the matter of their conference
The Jew appears. Few dare, and few who dare
Win the desired communionbut that shout
Bodes
[A shout within.
Mahmud.
    Evil, doubtless; like all human sounds.
Let me converse with spirits.
Hassan.
                That shout again.
                Mahmud.
This Jew whom thou hast summoned
Hassan.
                  Will be here
                  Mahmud.
When the omnipotent hour to which are yoked
He, I, and all things shall compelenough!
Silence those mutineersthat drunken crew,
That crowd about the pilot in the storm.
Ay! strike the foremost shorter by a head!
They weary me, and I have need of rest.
Kings are like starsthey rise and set, they have
The worship of the world, but no repose.
[Exeunt severally.
Chorus[2].
Worlds on worlds are rolling ever
From creation to decay,
Like the bubbles on a river
Sparkling, bursting, borne away.
  But they are still immortal
  Who, through birth's orient portal
And death's dark chasm hurrying to and fro,
  Clothe their unceasing flight
  In the brief dust and light
Gathered around their chariots as they go;
  New shapes they still may weave,
  New gods, new laws receive,
Bright or dim are they as the robes they last
  On Death's bare ribs had cast.
   A power from the unknown God,
  A Promethean conqueror, came;
Like a triumphal path he trod
  The thorns of death and shame.
  A mortal shape to him
  Was like the vapour dim
Which the orient planet animates with light;
  Hell, Sin, and Slavery came,
  Like bloodhounds mild and tame,
Nor preyed, until their Lord had taken flight;
  The moon of Mahomet
  Arose, and it shall set:
While blazoned as on Heaven's immortal noon
The cross leads generations on.
  Swift as the radiant shapes of sleep
  From one whose dreams are Paradise
Fly, when the fond wretch wakes to weep,
  And Day peers forth with her blank eyes;
  So fleet, so faint, so fair,
  The Powers of earth and air
Fled from the folding-star of Bethlehem:
  Apollo, Pan, and Love,
  And even Olympian Jove
Grew weak, for killing Truth had glared on them;
  Our hills and seas and streams,
  Dispeopled of their dreams,
Their watrs turned to blood, their dew to tears,
  Wailed for the golden years.
  Enter Mahmud, Hassan, Daood, and others.
Mahmud.
More gold? our ancestors bought gold with victory,
And shall I sell it for defeat?
Daood.
                 The Janizars
Clamour for pay.
Mahmud.
         Go! bid them pay themselves
With Christian blood! Are there no Grecian virgins
Whose shrieks and spasms and tears they may enjoy?
No infidel children to impale on spears?
No hoary priests after that Patriarch[3]
Who bent the curse against his country's heart,
Which clove his own at last? Go! bid them kill,
Blood is the seed of gold.
Daood.
              It has been sown,
And yet the harvest to the sicklemen
Is as a grain to each.
Mahmud.
            Then, take this signet,
Unlock the seventh chamber in which lie
The treasures of victorious Solyman,
An empire's spoil stored for a day of ruin.
O spirit of my sires! is it not come?
The prey-birds and the wolves are gorged and sleep;
But these, who spread their feast on the red earth,
Hunger for gold, which fills not.See them fed;
Then, lead them to the rivers of fresh death. [Exit Daood.

O miserable dawn, after a night
More glorious than the day which it usurped!
O faith in God! O power on earth! O word
Of the great prophet, whose o'ershadowing wings
Darkened the thrones and idols of the West,
Now bright!For thy sake cursd be the hour,
Even as a father by an evil child,
When the orient moon of Islam rolled in triumph
From Caucasus to White Ceraunia!
Ruin above, and anarchy below;
Terror without, and treachery within;
The Chalice of destruction full, and all
Thirsting to drink; and who among us dares
To dash it from his lips? and where is Hope?
Hassan.
The lamp of our dominion still rides high;
One God is GodMahomet is His prophet.
Four hundred thousand Moslems, from the limits
Of utmost Asia, irresistibly
Throng, like full clouds at the Sirocco's cry;
But not like them to weep their strength in tears:
They bear destroying lightning, and their step
Wakes earthquake to consume and overwhelm,
And reign in ruin. Phrygian Olympus,
Tmolus, and Latmos, and Mycale, roughen
With horrent arms; and lofty ships even now,
Like vapours anchored to a mountain's edge,
Freighted with fire and whirlwind, wait at Scala
The convoy of the ever-veering wind.
Samos is drunk with blood;the Greek has paid
Brief victory with swift loss and long despair.
The false Moldavian serfs fled fast and far,
When the fierce shout of 'Allah-illa-Allah!'
Rose like the war-cry of the northern wind
Which kills the sluggish clouds, and leaves a flock
Of wild swans struggling with the naked storm.
So were the lost Greeks on the Danube's day!
If night is mute, yet the returning sun
Kindles the voices of the morning birds;
Nor at thy bidding less exultingly
Than birds rejoicing in the golden day,
The Anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-wingd cities of the sea,
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
Like sulphurous clouds, half-shattered by the storm,
They sweep the pale Aegean, while the Queen
Of Ocean, bound upon her island-throne,
Far in the West, sits mourning that her sons
Who frown on Freedom spare a smile for thee:
Russia still hovers, as an eagle might
Within a cloud, near which a kite and crane
Hang tangled in inextricable fight,
To stoop upon the victor;for she fears
The name of Freedom, even as she hates thine.
But recreant Austria loves thee as the Grave
Loves Pestilence, and her slow dogs of war
Fleshed with the chase, come up from Italy,
And howl upon their limits; for they see
The panther, Freedom, fled to her old cover,
Amid seas and mountains, and a mightier brood
Crouch round. What Anarch wears a crown or mitre,
Or bears the sword, or grasps the key of gold,
Whose friends are not thy friends, whose foes thy foes?
Our arsenals and our armouries are full;
Our forts defy assault; ten thousand cannon
Lie ranged upon the beach, and hour by hour
Their earth-convulsing wheels affright the city;
The galloping of fiery steeds makes pale
The Christian merchant; and the yellow Jew
Hides his hoard deeper in the faithless earth.
Like clouds, and like the shadows of the clouds,
Over the hills of Anatolia,
Swift in wide troops the Tartar chivalry
Sweep;the far flashing of their starry lances
Reverberates the dying light of day.
We have one God, one King, one Hope, one Law;
But many-headed Insurrection stands
Divided in itself, and soon must fall.
Mahmud.
Proud words, when deeds come short, are seasonable:
Look, Hassan, on yon crescent moon, emblazoned
Upon that shattered flag of fiery cloud
Which leads the rear of the departing day;
Wan emblem of an empire fading now!
See how it trembles in the blood-red air,
And like a mighty lamp whose oil is spent
Shrinks on the horizon's edge, while, from above,
One star with insolent and victorious light
Hovers above its fall, and with keen beams,
Like arrows through a fainting antelope,
Strikes its weak from to death.
Hassan.
                 Even as that moon
Renews itself
Mahmud.
        Shall we be not renewed!
Far other bark than ours were needed now
To stem the torrent of descending time:
The Spirit that lifts the slave before his lord
Stalks through the capitals of armd kings,
And spreads his ensign in the wilderness:
Exults in chains; and, when the rebel falls,
Cries like the blood of Abel from the dust;
And the inheritors of the earth, like beasts
When earthquake is unleashed, with idiot fear
Cower in their kingly densas I do now.
What were Defeat when Victory must appal?
Or Danger, when Security looks pale?
How said the messengerwho, from the fort
Islanded in the Danube, saw the battle
Of Bucharest?that
Hassan.
           Ibrahim's scimitar
Drew with its gleam swift victory from Heaven,
To burn before him in the night of battle
A light and a destruction.
Mahmud.
              Ay! the day
Was ours: but how?
Hassan.
           The light Wallachians,
The Arnaut, Servian, and Albanian allies
Fled from the glance of our artillery
Almost before the thunderstone alit.
One half the Grecian army made a bridge
Of safe and slow retreat, with Moslem dead;
The other
Mahmud.
      Speaktremble not.
      Hassan.
                 Islanded
By victor myriads, formed in hollow square
With rough and steadfast front, and thrice flung back
The deluge of our foaming cavalry;
Thrice their keen wedge of battle pierced our lines.
Our baffled army trembled like one man
Before a host, and gave them space; but soon,
From the surrounding hills, the batteries blazed,
Kneading them down with fire and iron rain:
Yet none approached; till, like a field of corn
Under the hook of the swart sickleman,
The band, intrenched in mounds of Turkish dead,
Grew weak and few.Then said the Pacha, 'Slaves,
Render yourselvesthey have abandoned you
What hope of refuge, or retreat, or aid?
We grant your lives.' 'Grant that which is thine own!'
Cried one, and fell upon his sword and died!
Another'God, and man, and hope abandon me;
But I to them, and to myself, remain
Constant:'he bowed his head, and his heart burst.
A third exclaimed, 'There is a refuge, tyrant,
Where thou darest not pursue, and canst not harm
Shouldst thou pursue; there we shall meet again.'
Then held his breath, and, after a brief spasm,
The indignant spirit cast its mortal garment
Among the slaindead earth upon the earth!
So these survivors, each by different ways,
Some strange, all sudden, none dishonourable,
Met in triumphant death; and when our army
Closed in, while yet wonder, and awe, and shame
Held back the base hyaenas of the battle
That feed upon the dead and fly the living,
One rose out of the chaos of the slain:
And if it were a corpse which some dread spirit
Of the old saviours of the land we rule
Had lifted in its anger, wandering by;
Or if there burned within the dying man
Unquenchable disdain of death, and faith
Creating what it feigned;I cannot tell
But he cried, 'Phantoms of the free, we come!
Armies of the Eternal, ye who strike
To dust the citadels of sanguine kings,
And shake the souls throned on their stony hearts,
And thaw their frostwork diadems like dew;
O ye who float around this clime, and weave
The garment of the glory which it wears,
Whose fame, though earth betray the dust it clasped,
Lies sepulchred in monumental thought;
Progenitors of all that yet is great,
Ascribe to your bright senate, O accept
In your high ministrations, us, your sons
Us first, and the more glorious yet to come!
And ye, weak conquerors! giants who look pale
When the crushed worm rebels beneath your tread,
The vultures and the dogs, your pensioners tame,
Are overgorged; but, like oppressors, still
They crave the relic of Destruction's feast.
The exhalations and the thirsty winds
Are sick with blood; the dew is foul with death;
Heaven's light is quenched in slaughter: thus, where'er
Upon your camps, cities, or towers, or fleets,
The obscene birds the reeking remnants cast
Of these dead limbs,upon your streams and mountains,
Upon your fields, your gardens, and your housetops,
Where'er the winds shall creep, or the clouds fly,
Or the dews fall, or the angry sun look down
With poisoned lightFamine, and Pestilence,
And Panic, shall wage war upon our side!
Nature from all her boundaries is moved
Against ye: Time has found ye light as foam.
The Earth rebels; and Good and Evil stake
Their empire o'er the unborn world of men
On this one cast;but ere the die be thrown,
The renovated genius of our race,
Proud umpire of the impious game, descends,
A seraph-wingd Victory, bestriding
The tempest of the Omnipotence of God,
Which sweeps all things to their appointed doom,
And you to oblivion!'More he would have said,
But
Mahmud.
   Diedas thou shouldst ere thy lips had painted
Their ruin in the hues of our success.
A rebel's crime, gilt with a rebel's tongue!
Your heart is Greek, Hassan.
Hassan.
               It may be so:
A spirit not my own wrenched me within,
And I have spoken words I fear and hate;
Yet would I die for
Mahmud.
           Live! oh live! outlive
Me and this sinking empire. But the fleet
Hassan.
Alas!
Mahmud.
    The fleet which, like a flock of clouds
Chased by the wind, flies the insurgent banner!
Our wingd castles from their merchant ships!
Our myriads before their weak pirate bands!
Our arms before their chains! our years of empire
Before their centuries of servile fear!
Death is awake! Repulse is on the waters!
They own no more the thunder-bearing banner
Of Mahmud; but, like hounds of a base breed,
Gorge from a stranger's hand, and rend their master.
Hassan.
Latmos, and Ampelos, and Phanae saw
The wreck
Mahmud.
      The caves of the Icarian isles
Told each to the other in loud mockery,
And with the tongue as of a thousand echoes,
First of the sea-convulsing fightand, then,
Thou darest to speaksenseless are the mountains:
Interpret thou their voice!
Hassan.
               My presence bore
A part in that day's shame. The Grecian fleet
Bore down at daybreak from the North, and hung
As multitudinous on the ocean line,
As cranes upon the cloudless Thracian wind.
Our squadron, convoying ten thousand men,
Was stretching towards Nauplia when the battle
Was kindled.
First through the hail of our artillery
The agile Hydriote barks with press of sail
Dashed:ship to ship, cannon to cannon, man
To man were grappled in the embrace of war,
Inextricable but by death or victory.
The tempest of the raging fight convulsed
To its crystlline depths that stainless sea,
And shook Heaven's roof of golden morning clouds,
Poised on an hundred azure mountain-isles.
In the brief trances of the artillery
One cry from the destroyed and the destroyer
Rose, and a cloud of desolation wrapped
The unforeseen event, till the north wind
Sprung from the sea, lifting the heavy veil
Of battle-smokethen victoryvictory!
For, as we thought, three frigates from Algiers
Bore down from Naxos to our aid, but soon
The abhorrd cross glimmered behind, before,
Among, around us; and that fatal sign
Dried with its beams the strength in Moslem hearts,
As the sun drinks the dew.What more? We fled!
Our noonday path over the sanguine foam
Was beaconed,and the glare struck the sun pale,
By our consuming transports: the fierce light
Made all the shadows of our sails blood-red,
And every countenance blank. Some ships lay feeding
The ravening fire, even to the water's level;
Some were blown up; some, settling heavily,
Sunk; and the shrieks of our companions died
Upon the wind, that bore us fast and far,
Even after they were dead. Nine thousand perished!
We met the vultures legioned in the air
Stemming the torrent of the tainted wind;
They, screaming from their cloudy mountain-peaks,
Stooped through the sulphurous battle-smoke and perched
Each on the weltering carcase that we loved,
Like its ill angel or its damnd soul,
Riding upon the bosom of the sea.
We saw the dog-fish hastening to their feast.
Joy waked the voiceless people of the sea,
And ravening Famine left his ocean cave
To dwell with War, with us, and with Despair.
We met night three hours to the west of Patmos,
And with night, tempest
Mahmud.
              Cease!
              Enter a Messenger.
Messenger.
                 Your Sublime Highness,
That Christian hound, the Muscovite Ambassador,
Has left the city.If the rebel fleet
Had anchored in the port, had victory
Crowned the Greek legions in the Hippodrome,
Panic were tamer.Obedience and Mutiny,
Like giants in contention planet-struck,
Stand gazing on each other.There is peace
In Stamboul.
Mahmud.
       Is the grave not calmer still?
Its ruins shall be mine.
Hassan.
             Fear not the Russian:
The tiger leagues not with the stag at bay
Against the hunter.Cunning, base, and cruel,
He crouches, watching till the spoil be won,
And must be paid for his reserve in blood.
After the war is fought, yield the sleek Russian
That which thou canst not keep, his deserved portion
Of blood, which shall not flow through streets and fields,
Rivers and seas, like that which we may win,
But stagnate in the veins of Christian slaves!
Enter second Messenger.
Second Messenger.
Nauplia, Tripolizza, Mothon, Athens,
Navarin, Artas, Monembasia,
Corinth, and Thebes are carried by assault,
And every Islamite who made his dogs
Fat with the flesh of Galilean slaves
Passed at the edge of the sword: the lust of blood,
Which made our warriors drunk, is quenched in death;
But like a fiery plague breaks out anew
In deeds which make the Christian cause look pale
In its own light. The garrison of Patras
Has store but for ten days, nor is there hope
But from the Briton: at once slave and tyrant,
His wishes still are weaker than his fears,
Or he would sell what faith may yet remain
From the oaths broke in Genoa and in Norway;
And if you buy him not, your treasury
Is empty even of promiseshis own coin.
The freedman of a western poet-chief[4]
Holds Attica with seven thousand rebels,
And has beat back the Pacha of Negropont:
The agd Ali sits in Yanina
A crownless metaphor of empire:
His name, that shadow of his withered might,
Holds our besieging army like a spell
In prey to famine, pest, and mutiny;
He, bastioned in his citadel, looks forth
Joyless upon the sapphire lake that mirrors
The ruins of the city where he reigned
Childless and sceptreless. The Greek has reaped
The costly harvest his own blood matured,
Not the sower, Aliwho has bought a truce
From Ypsilanti with ten camel-loads
Of Indian gold.
Enter a third Messenger.
Mahmud.
        What more?
        Third Messenger.
              The Christian tribes
Of Lebanon and the Syrian wilderness
Are in revolt;Damascus, Hems, Aleppo
Tremble;the Arab menaces Medina,
The Aethiop has intrenched himself in Sennaar,
And keeps the Egyptian rebel well employed,
Who denies homage, claims investiture
As price of tardy aid. Persia demands
The cities on the Tigris, and the Georgians
Refuse their living tribute. Crete and Cyprus,
Like mountain-twins that from each other's veins
Catch the volcano-fire and earthquake-spasm,
Shake in the general fever. Through the city,
Like birds before a storm, the Santons shriek,
And prophesyings horrible and new
Are heard among the crowd: that sea of men
Sleeps on the wrecks it made, breathless and still.
A Dervise, learnd in the Koran, preaches
That it is written how the sins of Islam
Must raise up a destroyer even now.
The Greeks expect a Saviour from the West[5],
Who shall not come, men say, in clouds and glory,
But in the omnipresence of that Spirit
In which all live and are. Ominous signs
Are blazoned broadly on the noonday sky:
One saw a red cross stamped upon the sun;
It has rained blood; and monstrous births declare
The secret wrath of Nature and her Lord.
The army encamped upon the Cydaris
Was roused last night by the alarm of battle,
And saw two hosts conflicting in the air,
The shadows doubtless of the unborn time
Cast on the mirror of the night. While yet
The fight hung balanced, there arose a storm
Which swept the phantoms from among the stars.
At the third watch the Spirit of the Plague
Was heard abroad flapping among the tents;
Those who relieved watch found the sentinels dead.
The last news from the camp is, that a thousand
Have sickened, and
Enter a fourth Messenger.
Mahmud.
           And thou, pale ghost, dim shadow
Of some untimely rumour, speak!
Fourth Messenger.
                 One comes
Fainting with toil, covered with foam and blood:
He stood, he says, on Chelonites'
Promontory, which o'erlooks the isles that groan
Under the Briton's frown, and all their waters
Then trembling in the splendour of the moon,
When as the wandering clouds unveiled or hid
Her boundless light, he saw two adverse fleets
Stalk through the night in the horizon's glimmer,
Mingling fierce thunders and sulphureous gleams,
And smoke which strangled every infant wind
That soothed the silver clouds through the deep air.
At length the battle slept, but the Sirocco
Awoke, and drove his flock of thunder-clouds
Over the sea-horizon, blotting out
All objectssave that in the faint moon-glimpse
He saw, or dreamed he saw, the Turkish admiral
And two the loftiest of our ships of war,
With the bright image of that Queen of Heaven,
Who hid, perhaps, her face for grief, reversed;
And the abhorrd cross
Enter an Attendant.
Attendant.
             Your Sublime Highness,
The Jew, who
Mahmud.
       Could not come more seasonably:
Bid him attend. I'll hear no more! too long
We gaze on danger through the mist of fear,
And multiply upon our shattered hopes
The images of ruin. Come what will!
To-morrow and to-morrow are as lamps
Set in our path to light us to the edge
Through rough and smooth, nor can we suffer aught
Which He inflicts not in whose hand we are.
[Exeunt.
Semichorus I.
Would I were the wingd cloud
Of a tempest swift and loud!
  I would scorn
  The smile of morn
And the wave where the moonrise is born!
  I would leave
  The spirits of eve
A shroud for the corpse of the day to weave
From other threads than mine!
Bask in the deep blue noon divine.
   Who would? Not I.
   Semichorus II.
Whither to fly?
Semichorus I.
Where the rocks that gird th'Aegean
Echo to the battle paean
  Of the free
  I would flee
A tempestuous herald of victory!
  My golden rain
  For the Grecian slain
Should mingle in tears with the bloody main,
And my solemn thunder-knell
Should ring to the world the passing-bell
  Of Tyranny!
  Semichorus II.
Ah king! wilt thou chain
The rack and the rain?
Wilt thou fetter the lightning and hurricane?
The storms are free,
  But we
  Chorus.
O Slavery! thou frost of the world's prime,
Killing its flowers and leaving its thorns bare!
Thy touch has stamped these limbs with crime,
These brows thy branding garland bear,
  But the free heart, the impassive soul
   Scorn thy control!
   Semichorus I.
Let there be light! said Liberty,
And like sunrise from the sea,
Athens arose!Around her born,
Shone like mountains in the morn
Glorious states;and are they now
Ashes, wrecks, oblivion?
Semichorus II.
             Go,
Where Thermae and Asopus swallowed
Persia, as the sand does foam;
Deluge upon deluge followed,
Discord, Macedon, and Rome:
And lastly thou!
Semichorus I.
         Temples and towers,
Citadels and marts, and they
Who live and die there, have been ours,
And may be thine, and must decay;
But Greece and her foundations are
Built below the tide of war,
Based on the crystlline sea
Of thought and its eternity;
Her citizens, imperial spirits,
Rule the present from the past,
On all this world of men inherits
Their seal is set.
Semichorus II.
           Hear ye the blast,
Whose Orphic thunder thrilling calls
From ruin her Titanian walls?
Whose spirit shakes the sapless bones
Of Slavery? Argos, Corinth, Crete
Hear, and from their mountain thrones
The daemons and the nymphs repeat
The harmony.
Semichorus I.
      I hear! I hear!
      Semichorus II.
The world's eyeless charioteer,
  Destiny, is hurrying by!
What faith is crushed, what empire bleeds
Beneath her earthquake-footed steeds?
What eagle-wingd victory sits
At her right hand? what shadow flits
Before? what splendour rolls behind?
  Ruin and renovation cry
'Who but We?'
Semichorus I.
       I hear! I hear!
The hiss as of a rushing wind,
The roar as of an ocean foaming,
The thunder as of earthquake coming.
  I hear! I hear!
The crash as of an empire falling,
The shrieks as of a people calling
'Mercy! mercy!'How they thrill!
Then a shout of 'kill! kill! kill!'
And then a small still voice, thus
Semichorus II.
                    For
Revenge and Wrong bring forth their kind,
The foul cubs like their parents are,
Their den is in the guilty mind,
And Conscience feeds them with despair.
Semichorus I.
In sacred Athens, near the fane
Of Wisdom, Pity's altar stood:
Serve not the unknown God in vain,
But pay that broken shrine again,
Love for hate and tears for blood.
Enter Mahmud and Ahasuerus.
Mahmud.
Thou art a man, thou sayest, even as we.
Ahasuerus.
No more!
Mahmud.
    But raised above thy fellow-men
By thought, as I by power.
Ahasuerus.
              Thou sayest so.
              Mahmud.
Thou art an adept in the difficult lore
Of Greek and Frank philosophy; thou numberest
The flowers, and thou measurest the stars;
Thou severest element from element;
Thy spirit is present in the Past, and sees
The birth of this old world through all its cycles
Of desolation and of loveliness,
And when man was not, and how man became
The monarch and the slave of this low sphere,
And all its narrow circlesit is much
I honour thee, and would be what thou art
Were I not what I am; but the unborn hour,
Cradled in fear and hope, conflicting storms,
Who shall unveil? Nor thou, nor I, nor any
Mighty or wise. I apprehended not
What thou hast taught me, but I now perceive
That thou art no interpreter of dreams;
Thou dost not own that art, device, or God,
Can make the Future presentlet it come!
Moreover thou disdainest us and ours;
Thou art as God, whom thou contemplatest.
Ahasuerus.
Disdain thee?not the worm beneath thy feet!
The Fathomless has care for meaner things
Than thou canst dream, and has made pride for those
Who would be what they may not, or would seem
That which they are not. Sultan! talk no more
Of thee and me, the Future and the Past;
But look on that which cannot changethe One,
The unborn and the undying. Earth and ocean,
Space, and the isles of life or light that gem
The sapphire floods of interstellar air,
This firmament pavilioned upon chaos,
With all its cressets of immortal fire,
Whose outwall, bastioned impregnably
Against the escape of boldest thoughts, repels them
As Calpe the Atlantic cloudsthis Whole
Of suns, and worlds, and men, and beasts, and flowers,
With all the silent or tempestuous workings
By which they have been, are, or cease to be,
Is but a vision;all that it inherits
Are motes of a sick eye, bubbles and dreams;
Thought is its cradle and its grave, nor less
The Future and the Past are idle shadows
Of thought's eternal flightthey have no being:
Nought is but that which feels itself to be.
Mahmud.
What meanest thou? Thy words stream like a tempest
Of dazzling mist within my brainthey shake
The earth on which I stand, and hang like night
On Heaven above me. What can they avail?
They cast on all things surest, brightest, best,
Doubt, insecurity, astonishment.
Ahasuerus.
Mistake me not! All is contained in each.
Dodona's forest to an acorn's cup
Is that which has been, or will be, to that
Which isthe absent to the present. Thought
Alone, and its quick elements, Will, Passion,
Reason, Imagination, cannot die;
They are, what that which they regard appears,
The stuff whence mutability can weave
All that it hath dominion o'er, worlds, worms,
Empires, and superstitions. What has thought
To do with time, or place, or circumstance?
Wouldst thou behold the Future?ask and have!
Knock and it shall be openedlook, and lo!
The coming age is shadowed on the Past
As on a glass.
Mahmud.
       Wild, wilder thoughts convulse
My spiritDid not Mahomet the Second
Win Stamboul?
Ahasuerus.
       Thou wouldst ask that giant spirit
The written fortunes of thy house and faith.
Thou wouldst cite one out of the grave to tell
How what was born in blood must die.
Mahmud.
                    Thy words
Have power on me! I see
Ahasuerus.
              What hearest thou?
              Mahmud.
A far whisper
Terrible silence.
Ahasuerus.
         What succeeds?
         Mahmud.
                 The sound
As of the assault of an imperial city[6],
The hiss of inextinguishable fire,
The roar of giant cannon; the earthquaking
Fall of vast bastions and precipitous towers,
The shock of crags shot from strange enginery,
The clash of wheels, and clang of armd hoofs,
And crash of brazen mail as of the wreck
Of adamantine mountainsthe mad blast
Of trumpets, and the neigh of raging steeds,
The shrieks of women whose thrill jars the blood,
And one sweet laugh, most horrible to hear,
As of a joyous infant waked and playing
With its dead mother's breast, and now more loud
The mingled battle-cry,ha! hear I not
'En toutwi nikh!' 'Allah-illa-Allah!'?
Ahasuerus.
The sulphurous mist is raisedthou seest
Mahmud.
                       A chasm,
As of two mountains, in the wall of Stamboul;
And in that ghastly breach the Islamites,
Like giants on the ruins of a world,
Stand in the light of sunrise. In the dust
Glimmers a kingless diadem, and one
Of regal port has cast himself beneath
The stream of war. Another proudly clad
In golden arms spurs a Tartarian barb
Into the gap, and with his iron mace
Directs the torrent of that tide of men,
And seemshe isMahomet!
Ahasuerus.
              What thou seest
Is but the ghost of thy forgotten dream.
A dream itself, yet less, perhaps, than that
Thou call'st reality. Thou mayst behold
How cities, on which Empire sleeps enthroned,
Bow their towered crests to mutability.
Poised by the flood, e'en on the height thou holdest,
Thou mayst now learn how the full tide of power
Ebbs to its depths.Inheritor of glory,
Conceived in darkness, born in blood, and nourished
With tears and toil, thou seest the mortal throes
Of that whose birth was but the same. The Past
Now stands before thee like an Incarnation
Of the To-come; yet wouldst thou commune with
That portion of thyself which was ere thou
Didst start for this brief race whose crown is death,
Dissolve with that strong faith and fervent passion
Which called it from the uncreated deep,
Yon cloud of war, with its tempestuous phantoms
Of raging death; and draw with mighty will
The imperial shade hither.
[Exit Ahasuerus. The Phantom of Mahomet the Second appears.
Mahmud.
              Approach!
              Phantom.
                   I come
Thence whither thou must go! The grave is fitter
To take the living than give up the dead;
Yet has thy faith prevailed, and I am here.
The heavy fragments of the power which fell
When I arose, like shapeless crags and clouds,
Hang round my throne on the abyss, and voices
Of strange lament soothe my supreme repose,
Wailing for glory never to return.
A later Empire nods in its decay:
The autumn of a greener faith is come,
And wolfish change, like winter, howls to strip
The foliage in which Fame, the eagle, built
Her aerie, while Dominion whelped below.
The storm is in its branches, and the frost
Is on its leaves, and the blank deep expects
Oblivion on oblivion, spoil on spoil,
Ruin on ruin:Thou art slow, my son;
The Anarchs of the world of darkness keep
A throne for thee, round which thine empire lies
Boundless and mute; and for thy subjects thou,
Like us, shalt rule the ghosts of murdered life,
The phantoms of the powers who rule thee now
Mutinous passions, and conflicting fears,
And hopes that sate themselves on dust, and die!
Stripped of their mortal strength, as thou of thine.
Islam must fall, but we will reign together
Over its ruins in the world of death:
And if the trunk be dry, yet shall the seed
Unfold itself even in the shape of that
Which gathers birth in its decay. Woe! woe!
To the weak people tangled in the grasp
Of its last spasms.
Mahmud.
          Spirit, woe to all!
Woe to the wronged and the avenger! Woe
To the destroyer, woe to the destroyed!
Woe to the dupe, and woe to the deceiver!
Woe to the oppressed, and woe to the oppressor!
Woe both to those that suffer and inflict;
Those who are born and those who die! but say,
Imperial shadow of the thing I am,
When, how, by whom, Destruction must accomplish
Her consummation!
Phantom.
         Ask the cold pale Hour,
Rich in reversion of impending death,
When he shall fall upon whose ripe gray hairs
Sit Care, and Sorrow, and Infirmity
The weight which Crime, whose wings are plumed with years,
Leaves in his flight from ravaged heart to heart
Over the heads of men, under which burthen
They bow themselves unto the grave: fond wretch!
He leans upon his crutch, and talks of years
To come, and how in hours of youth renewed
He will renew lost joys, and
Voice without.
                Victory! Victory!
                [The Phantom vanishes.
Mahmud.
What sound of the importunate earth has broken
My mighty trance?
Voice without.
         Victory! Victory!
         Mahmud.
Weak lightning before darkness! poor faint smile
Of dying Islam! Voice which art the response
Of hollow weakness! Do I wake and live?
Were there such things, or may the unquiet brain,
Vexed by the wise mad talk of the old Jew,
Have shaped itself these shadows of its fear?
It matters not!for nought we see or dream,
Possess, or lose, or grasp at, can be worth
More than it gives or teaches: Come what may,
The Future must become the Past, and I
As they were to whom once this present hour,
This gloomy crag of time to which I cling,
Seemed an Elysian isle of peace and joy
Never to be attained.I must rebuke
This drunkenness of triumph ere it die,
And dying, bring despair. Victory! poor slaves!
Exit Mahmud.
Voice without.
Shout in the jubilee of death! The Greeks
Are as a brood of lions in the net
Round which the kingly hunters of the earth
Stand smiling. Anarchs, ye whose daily food
Are curses, groans, and gold, the fruit of death,
From Thule to the girdle of the world,
Come, feast! the board groans with the flesh of men;
The cup is foaming with a nation's blood,
Famine and Thirst await! eat, drink, and die!
Semichorus I.
Victorious Wrong, with vulture scream,
Salutes the rising sun, pursues the flying day!
I saw her, ghastly as a tyrant's dream,
Perch on the trembling pyramid of night,
Beneath which earth and all her realms pavilioned lay
In visions of the dawning undelight.
  Who shall impede her flight?
  Who rob her of her prey?
  Voice without.
Victory! Victory! Russia's famished eagles
Dare not to prey beneath the crescent's light.
Impale the remnant of the Greeks! despoil!
Violate! make their flesh cheaper than dust!
Semichorus II.
Thou voice which art
The herald of the ill in splendour hid!
Thou echo of the hollow heart
Of monarchy, bear me to thine abode
When desolation flashes o'er a world destroyed:
Oh, bear me to those isles of jaggd cloud
Which float like mountains on the earthquake, mid
The momentary oceans of the lightning,
Or to some toppling promontory proud
Of solid tempest whose black pyramid,
Riven, overhangs the founts intensely bright'ning
Of those dawn-tinted deluges of fire
Before their waves expire,
When heaven and earth are light, and only light
  In the thunder-night!
  Voice without.
Victory! Victory! Austria, Russia, England,
And that tame serpent, that poor shadow, France,
Cry peace, and that means death when monarchs speak.
Ho, there! bring torches, sharpen those red stakes,
These chains are light, fitter for slaves and poisoners
Than Greeks. Kill! plunder! burn! let none remain.
Semichorus I.
   Alas! for Liberty!
If numbers, wealth, or unfulfilling years,
Or fate, can quell the free!
   Alas! for Virtue, when
Torments, or contumely, or the sneers
   Of erring judging men
  Can break the heart where it abides.
Alas! if Love, whose smile makes this obscure world splendid,
  Can change with its false times and tides,
   Like hope and terror,
    Alas for Love!
And Truth, who wanderest lone and unbefriended,
If thou canst veil thy lie-consuming mirror
Before the dazzled eyes of Error,
Alas for thee! Image of the Above.
Semichorus II.
  Repulse, with plumes from conquest torn,
Led the ten thousand from the limits of the morn
  Through many an hostile Anarchy!
At length they wept aloud, and cried, 'The Sea! the Sea!'
  Through exile, persecution, and despair,
   Rome was, and young Atlantis shall become
   The wonder, or the terror, or the tomb
Of all whose step wakes Power lulled in her savage lair:
But Greece was as a hermit-child,
  Whose fairest thoughts and limbs were built
To woman's growth, by dreams so mild,
  She knew not pain or guilt;
And now, O Victory, blush! and Empire, tremble
   When ye desert the free
   If Greece must be
A wreck, yet shall its fragments reassemble,
And build themselves again impregnably
   In a diviner clime,
To Amphionic music on some Cape sublime,
Which frowns above the idle foam of Time.
Semichorus I.
Let the tyrants rule the desert they have made;
Let the free possess the Paradise they claim;
Be the fortune of our fierce oppressors weighed
With our ruin, our resistance, and our name!
Semichorus II.
Our dead shall be the seed of their decay,
Our survivors be the shadow of their pride,
Our adversity a dream to pass away
Their dishonour a remembrance to abide!
Voice without.
Victory! Victory! The bought Briton sends
The keys of ocean to the Islamite.
Now shall the blazon of the cross be veiled,
And British skill directing Othman might,
Thunder-strike rebel victory. Oh, keep holy
This jubilee of unrevengd blood!
Kill! crush! despoil! Let not a Greek escape!
Semichorus I.
Darkness has dawned in the East
On the noon of time:
The death-birds descend to their feast
From the hungry clime.
Let Freedom and Peace flee far
To a sunnier strand,
And follow Love's folding-star
To the Evening land!
Semichorus II.
    The young moon has fed
     Her exhausted horn
      With the sunset's fire:
    The weak day is dead,
     But the night is not born;
And, like loveliness panting with wild desire
While it trembles with fear and delight,
Hesperus flies from awakening night,
And pants in its beauty and speed with light
Fast-flashing, soft, and bright.
Thou beacon of love! thou lamp of the free!
   Guide us far, far away,
To climes where now veiled by the ardour of day
    Thou art hidden
  From waves on which weary Noon
  Faints in her summer swoon,
  Between kingless continents sinless as Eden,
  Around mountains and islands inviolably
    Pranked on the sapphire sea.
    Semichorus I.
Through the sunset of hope,
Like the shapes of a dream,
What Paradise islands of glory gleam!
  Beneath Heaven's cope,
Their shadows more clear float by
The sound of their oceans, the light of their sky,
The music and fragrance their solitudes breathe
Burst, like morning on dream, or like Heaven on death,
  Through the walls of our prison;
And Greece, which was dead, is arisen!
Chorus[7].
The world's great age begins anew,
The golden years return,
The earth doth like a snake renew
Her winter weeds outworn:
Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam,
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.
A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
From waves serener far;
A new Peneus rolls his fountains
Against the morning star.
Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.
A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
Fraught with a later prize;
Another Orpheus sings again,
And loves, and weeps, and dies.
A new Ulysses leaves once more
Calypso for his native shore.
Oh, write no more the tale of Troy,
If earth Death's scroll must be!
Nor mix with Laian rage the joy
Which dawns upon the free:
Although a subtler Sphinx renew
Riddles of death Thebes never knew.
Another Athens shall arise,
And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
The splendour of its prime;
And leave, if nought so bright may live,
All earth can take or Heaven can give.
Saturn and Love their long repose
Shall burst[8], more bright and good
Than all who fell, than One who rose,
Than many unsubdued:
Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,
But votive tears and symbol flowers.
Oh, cease! must hate and death return?
Cease! must men kill and die?
Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn
Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past,
Oh, might it die or rest at last!
Hellas was composed at Pisa in the autumn of 1821, and dispatched to London, November 11. It was published, with the author's name, by C. & J. Ollier in the spring of 1822. A transcript of the poem by Edward Williams is in the Rowfant Library.

Note by Mrs. Shelley: 'Hellas was among the last of his compositions, and is among the most beautiful. The choruses are singularly imaginative, and melodious in their versification. There are some stanzas that beautifully exemplify Shelley's peculiar style; as, for instance, the assertion of the intellectual empire which must be for ever the inheritance of the country of Homer, Sophocles, and Plato:--
''But Greece and her foundations are
Built below the tide of war,
Based on the crystalline sea
Of thought and its eternity.'''
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hellas - A Lyrical Drama

343:BOOK THE EIGHTH

The Story of Nisus and Scylla

Now shone the morning star in bright array,
To vanquish night, and usher in the day:
The wind veers southward, and moist clouds arise,
That blot with shades the blue meridian skies.
Cephalus feels with joy the kindly gales,
His new allies unfurl the swelling sails;
Steady their course, they cleave the yielding main,
And, with a wish, th' intended harbour gain.
Mean-while King Minos, on the Attick strand,
Displays his martial skill, and wastes the land.
His army lies encampt upon the plains,
Before Alcathoe's walls, where Nisus reigns;
On whose grey head a lock of purple hue,
The strength, and fortune of his kingdom, grew.

Six moons were gone, and past, when still from far
Victoria hover'd o'er the doubtful war.
So long, to both inclin'd, th' impartial maid
Between 'em both her equal wings display'd.
High on the walls, by Phoebus vocal made,
A turret of the palace rais'd its head;
And where the God his tuneful harp resign'd.
The sound within the stones still lay enshrin'd:
Hither the daughter of the purple king
Ascended oft, to hear its musick ring;
And, striking with a pebble, wou'd release
Th' enchanted notes, in times of happy peace.
But now, from thence, the curious maid beheld
Rough feats of arms, and combats of the field:
And, since the siege was long, had learnt the name
Of ev'ry chief, his character, and fame;
Their arms, their horse, and quiver she descry'd,
Nor cou'd the dress of war the warriour hide.

Europa's son she knew above the rest,
And more, than well became a virgin breast:
In vain the crested morion veils his face,
She thinks it adds a more peculiar grace:
His ample shield, embost with burnish'd gold,
Still makes the bearer lovelier to behold:
When the tough jav'lin, with a whirl, he sends,
His strength and skill the sighing maid commends;
Or, when he strains to draw the circling bow,
And his fine limbs a manly posture show,
Compar'd with Phoebus, he performs so well,
Let her be judge, and Minos shall excell.

But when the helm put off, display'd to sight,
And set his features in an open light;
When, vaulting to his seat, his steed he prest,
Caparison'd in gold, and richly drest;
Himself in scarlet sumptuously array'd,
New passions rise, and fire the frantick maid.
O happy spear! she cries, that feels his touch;
Nay, ev'n the reins he holds are blest too much.
Oh! were it lawful, she cou'd wing her way
Thro' the stern hostile troops without dismay;
Or throw her body to the distant ground,
And in the Cretans happy camp be found.
Wou'd Minos but desire it! she'd expose
Her native country to her country's foes;
Unbar the gates, the town with flames infest,
Or any thing that Minos shou'd request.

And as she sate, and pleas'd her longing sight,
Viewing the king's pavilion veil'd with white,
Shou'd joy, or grief, she said, possess my breast,
To see my country by a war opprest?
I'm in suspense! For, tho' 'tis grief to know
I love a man that is declar'd my foe;
Yet, in my own despite, I must approve
That lucky war, which brought the man I love.
Yet, were I tender'd as a pledge of peace,
The cruelties of war might quickly cease.
Oh! with what joy I'd wear the chains he gave!
A patient hostage, and a willing slave.
Thou lovely object! if the nymph that bare
Thy charming person, were but half so fair;
Well might a God her virgin bloom desire,
And with a rape indulge his amorous fire.
Oh! had I wings to glide along the air,
To his dear tent I'd fly, and settle there:
There tell my quality, confess my flame,
And grant him any dowry that he'd name.
All, all I'd give; only my native land,
My dearest country, shou'd excepted stand,
For, perish love, and all expected joys,
E're, with so base a thought, my soul complies.
Yet, oft the vanquish'd some advantage find,
When conquer'd by a noble, gen'rous mind.
Brave Minos justly has the war begun,
Fir'd with resentment for his murder'd son:
The righteous Gods a righteous cause regard,
And will, with victory, his arms reward:
We must be conquer'd; and the captive's fate
Will surely seize us, tho' it seize us late.
Why then shou'd love be idle, and neglect
What Mars, by arms and perils, will effect?
Oh! Prince, I dye, with anxious fear opprest,
Lest some rash hand shou'd wound my charmer's breast:
For, if they saw, no barb'rous mind cou'd dare
Against that lovely form to raise a spear.

But I'm resolv'd, and fix'd in this decree,
My father's country shall my dowry be.
Thus I prevent the loss of life and blood,
And, in effect, the action must be good.
Vain resolution! for, at ev'ry gate
The trusty centinels, successive, wait:
The keys my father keeps; ah! there's my grief;
'Tis he obstructs all hopes of my relief.
Gods! that this hated light I'd never seen!
Or, all my life, without a father been!
But Gods we all may be; for those that dare,
Are Gods, and Fortune's chiefest favours share.
The ruling Pow'rs a lazy pray'r detest,
The bold adventurer succeeds the best.
What other maid, inspir'd with such a flame,
But wou'd take courage, and abandon shame?
But wou'd, tho' ruin shou'd ensue, remove
Whate'er oppos'd, and clear the way to love?
This, shall another's feeble passion dare?
While I sit tame, and languish in despair:
No; for tho' fire and sword before me lay,
Impatient love thro' both shou'd force its way.
Yet I have no such enemies to fear,
My sole obstruction is my father's hair;
His purple lock my sanguine hope destroys,
And clouds the prospect of my rising joys.

Whilst thus she spoke, amid the thick'ning air
Night supervenes, the greatest nurse of care:
And, as the Goddess spreads her sable wings,
The virgin's fears decay, and courage springs.
The hour was come, when Man's o'er-labour'd breast
Surceas'd its care, by downy sleep possest:
All things now hush'd, Scylla with silent tread
Urg'd her approach to Nisus' royal bed:
There, of the fatal lock (accursed theft!)
She her unwitting father's head bereft.
In safe possession of her impious prey,
Out at a postern gate she takes her way.
Embolden'd, by the merit of the deed
She traverses the adverse camp with speed,
'Till Minos' tent she reach'd: the righteous king
She thus bespoke, who shiver'd at the thing.

Behold th' effect of love's resistless sway!
I, Nisus' royal seed, to thee betray
My country, and my Gods. For this strange task,
Minos, no other boon but thee I ask.
This purple lock, a pledge of love, receive;
No worthless present, since in it I give
My father's head.- Mov'd at a crime so new,
And with abhorrence fill'd, back Minos drew,
Nor touch'd th' unhallow'd gift; but thus exclaim'd
(With mein indignant, and with eyes inflam'd),
Perdition seize thee, thou, thy kind's disgrace!
May thy devoted carcass find no place
In earth, or air, or sea, by all out-cast!
Shall Minos, with so foul a monster, blast
His Cretan world, where cradled Jove was nurst?
Forbid it Heav'n!- away, thou most accurst!

And now Alcathoe, its lord exchang'd,
Was under Minos' domination rang'd.
While the most equal king his care applies
To curb the conquer'd, and new laws devise,
The fleet, by his command, with hoisted sails,
And ready oars, invites the murm'ring gales.
At length the Cretan hero anchor weigh'd,
Repaying, with neglect, th' abandon'd maid.
Deaf to her cries, he furrows up the main:
In vain she prays, sollicits him in vain.

And now she furious grows in wild despair,
She wrings her hands, and throws aloft her hair.
Where run'st thou? (thus she vents her deep distress)
Why shun'st thou her that crown'd thee with success?
Her, whose fond love to thee cou'd sacrifice
Her country, and her parent, sacred ties!
Can nor my love, nor proffer'd presents find
A passage to thy heart, and make thee kind?
Can nothing move thy pity? O ingrate,
Can'st thou behold my lost, forlorn estate,
And not be soften'd? Can'st thou throw off one
Who has no refuge left but thee alone?
Where shall I seek for comfort? whither fly?
My native country does in ashes lye:
Or were't not so, my treason bars me there,
And bids me wander. Shall I next repair
To a wrong'd father, by my guilt undone?-
Me all Mankind deservedly will shun.
I, out of all the world, my self have thrown,
To purchase an access to Crete alone;
Which, since refus'd, ungen'rous man, give o'er
To boast thy race; Europa never bore
A thing so savage. Thee some tygress bred,
On the bleak Syrt's inhospitable bed;
Or where Charybdis pours its rapid tide
Tempestuous. Thou art not to Jove ally'd;
Nor did the king of Gods thy mother meet
Beneath a bull's forg'd shape, and bear to Crete.
That fable of thy glorious birth is feign'd;
Some wild outrageous bull thy dam sustain'd.
O father Nisus, now my death behold;
Exult, o city, by my baseness sold:
Minos, obdurate, has aveng'd ye all;
But 'twere more just by those I wrong'd to fall:
For why shou'dst thou, who only didst subdue
By my offending, my offence pursue?
Well art thou matcht to one whose am'rous flame
Too fiercely rag'd, for human-kind to tame;
One who, within a wooden heifer thrust,
Courted a low'ring bull's mistaken lust;
And, from whose monster-teeming womb, the Earth
Receiv'd, what much it mourn'd, a bi-form birth.
But what avails my plaints? the whistling wind,
Which bears him far away, leaves them behind.
Well weigh'd Pasiphae, when she prefer'd
A bull to thee, more brutish than the herd.
But ah! Time presses, and the labour'd oars
To distance drive the fleet, and lose the less'ning shores.

Think not, ungrateful man, the liquid way
And threat'ning billows shall inforce my stay.
I'll follow thee in spite: My arms I'll throw
Around thy oars, or grasp thy crooked prow,
And drag thro' drenching seas. Her eager tongue
Had hardly clos'd the speech, when forth she sprung
And prov'd the deep. Cupid with added force
Recruits each nerve, and aids her wat'ry course.
Soon she the ship attains, unwelcome guest;
And, as with close embrace its sides she prest,
A hawk from upper air came pouring down
('Twas Nisus cleft the sky with wings new grown).
At Scylla's head his horny bill he aims;
She, fearful of the blow, the ship disclaims,
Quitting her hold: and yet she fell not far,
But wond'ring, finds her self sustain'd in air.
Chang'd to a lark, she mottled pinions shook,
And, from the ravish'd lock, the name of Ciris took.

The Labyrinth

Now Minos, landed on the Cretan shore,
Performs his vows to Jove's protecting pow'r;
A hundred bullocks of the largest breed,
With flowrets crown'd, before his altar bleed:
While trophies of the vanquish'd, brought from far
Adorn the palace with the spoils of war.

Mean-while the monster of a human-beast,
His family's reproach, and stain, increas'd.
His double kind the rumour swiftly spread,
And evidenc'd the mother's beastly deed.
When Minos, willing to conceal the shame
That sprung from the reports of tatling Fame,
Resolves a dark inclosure to provide,
And, far from sight, the two-form'd creature hide.

Great Daedalus of Athens was the man
That made the draught, and form'd the wondrous plan;
Where rooms within themselves encircled lye,
With various windings, to deceive the eye.
As soft Maeander's wanton current plays,
When thro' the Phrygian fields it loosely strays;
Backward and forward rouls the dimpl'd tide,
Seeming, at once, two different ways to glide:
While circling streams their former banks survey,
And waters past succeeding waters see:
Now floating to the sea with downward course,
Now pointing upward to its ancient source,
Such was the work, so intricate the place,
That scarce the workman all its turns cou'd trace;
And Daedalus was puzzled how to find
The secret ways of what himself design'd.

These private walls the Minotaur include,
Who twice was glutted with Athenian blood:
But the third tri bute more successful prov'd,
Slew the foul monster, and the plague remov'd.
When Theseus, aided by the virgin's art,
Had trac'd the guiding thread thro' ev'ry part,
He took the gentle maid, that set him free,
And, bound for Dias, cut the briny sea.
There, quickly cloy'd, ungrateful, and unkind,
Left his fair consort in the isle behind,
Whom Bacchus saw, and straining in his arms
Her rifled bloom, and violated charms,
Resolves, for this, the dear engaging dame
Shou'd shine for ever in the rolls of Fame;
And bids her crown among the stars be plac'd,
With an eternal constellation grac'd.
The golden circlet mounts; and, as it flies,
Its diamonds twinkle in the distant skies;
There, in their pristin form, the gemmy rays
Between Alcides, and the dragon blaze.

The Story of Daedalus and Icarus

In tedious exile now too long detain'd,
Daedalus languish'd for his native land:
The sea foreclos'd his flight; yet thus he said:
Tho' Earth and water in subjection laid,
O cruel Minos, thy dominion be,
We'll go thro' air; for sure the air is free.
Then to new arts his cunning thought applies,
And to improve the work of Nature tries.
A row of quils in gradual order plac'd,
Rise by degrees in length from first to last;
As on a cliff th' ascending thicket grows,
Or, different reeds the rural pipe compose.
Along the middle runs a twine of flax,
The bottom stems are joyn'd by pliant wax.
Thus, well compact, a hollow bending brings
The fine composure into real wings.

His boy, young Icarus, that near him stood,
Unthinking of his fate, with smiles pursu'd
The floating feathers, which the moving air
Bore loosely from the ground, and wasted here and there.

Or with the wax impertinently play'd,
And with his childish tricks the great design delay'd.

The final master-stroke at last impos'd,
And now, the neat machine compleatly clos'd;
Fitting his pinions on, a flight he tries,
And hung self-ballanc'd in the beaten skies.
Then thus instructs his child: My boy, take care
To wing your course along the middle air;
If low, the surges wet your flagging plumes;
If high, the sun the melting wax consumes:
Steer between both: nor to the northern skies,
Nor south Orion turn your giddy eyes;
But follow me: let me before you lay
Rules for the flight, and mark the pathless way.
Then teaching, with a fond concern, his son,
He took the untry'd wings, and fix'd 'em on;
But fix'd with trembling hands; and as he speaks,
The tears roul gently down his aged cheeks.
Then kiss'd, and in his arms embrac'd him fast,
But knew not this embrace must be the last.
And mounting upward, as he wings his flight,
Back on his charge he turns his aking sight;
As parent birds, when first their callow care
Leave the high nest to tempt the liquid air.
Then chears him on, and oft, with fatal art,
Reminds the stripling to perform his part.

These, as the angler at the silent brook,
Or mountain-shepherd leaning on his crook,
Or gaping plowman, from the vale descries,
They stare, and view 'em with religious eyes,
And strait conclude 'em Gods; since none, but they,
Thro' their own azure skies cou'd find a way.

Now Delos, Paros on the left are seen,
And Samos, favour'd by Jove's haughty queen;
Upon the right, the isle Lebynthos nam'd,
And fair Calymne for its honey fam'd.
When now the boy, whose childish thoughts aspire
To loftier aims, and make him ramble high'r,
Grown wild, and wanton, more embolden'd flies
Far from his guide, and soars among the skies.
The soft'ning wax, that felt a nearer sun,
Dissolv'd apace, and soon began to run.
The youth in vain his melting pinions shakes,
His feathers gone, no longer air he takes:
Oh! Father, father, as he strove to cry,
Down to the sea he tumbled from on high,
And found his Fate; yet still subsists by fame,
Among those waters that retain his name.

The father, now no more a father, cries,
Ho Icarus! where are you? as he flies;
Where shall I seek my boy? he cries again,
And saw his feathers scatter'd on the main.
Then curs'd his art; and fun'ral rites confer'd,
Naming the country from the youth interr'd.

A partridge, from a neighb'ring stump, beheld
The sire his monumental marble build;
Who, with peculiar call, and flutt'ring wing,
Chirpt joyful, and malicious seem'd to sing:
The only bird of all its kind, and late
Transform'd in pity to a feather'd state:
From whence, O Daedalus, thy guilt we date.

His sister's son, when now twelve years were past,
Was, with his uncle, as a scholar plac'd;
The unsuspecting mother saw his parts,
And genius fitted for the finest arts.
This soon appear'd; for when the spiny bone
In fishes' backs was by the stripling known,
A rare invention thence he learnt to draw,
Fil'd teeth in ir'n, and made the grating saw.
He was the first, that from a knob of brass
Made two strait arms with widening stretch to pass;
That, while one stood upon the center's place,
The other round it drew a circling space.
Daedalus envy'd this, and from the top
Of fair Minerva's temple let him drop;
Feigning, that, as he lean'd upon the tow'r,
Careless he stoop'd too much, and tumbled o'er.

The Goddess, who th' ingenious still befriends,
On this occasion her asssistance lends;
His arms with feathers, as he fell, she veils,
And in the air a new made bird he sails.
The quickness of his genius, once so fleet,
Still in his wings remains, and in his feet:
Still, tho' transform'd, his ancient name he keeps,
And with low flight the new-shorn stubble sweeps,
Declines the lofty trees, and thinks it best
To brood in hedge-rows o'er its humble nest;
And, in remembrance of the former ill,
Avoids the heights, and precipices still.

At length, fatigu'd with long laborious flights,
On fair Sicilia's plains the artist lights;
Where Cocalus the king, that gave him aid,
Was, for his kindness, with esteem repaid.
Athens no more her doleful tri bute sent,
That hardship gallant Theseus did prevent;
Their temples hung with garlands, they adore
Each friendly God, but most Minerva's pow'r:
To her, to Jove, to all, their altars smoak,
They each with victims, and perfumes invoke.

Now talking Fame, thro' every Grecian town,
Had spread, immortal Theseus, thy renown.
From him the neighb'ring nations in distress,
In suppliant terms implore a kind redress.

The Story of Meleager and Atalanta

From him the Caledonians sought relief;
Though valiant Meleagros was their chief.
The cause, a boar, who ravag'd far and near:
Of Cynthia's wrath, th' avenging minister.
For Oeneus with autumnal plenty bless'd,
By gifts to Heav'n his gratitude express'd:
Cull'd sheafs, to Ceres; to Lyaeus, wine;
To Pan, and Pales, offer'd sheep and kine;
And fat of olives, to Minerva's shrine.
Beginning from the rural Gods, his hand
Was lib'ral to the Pow'rs of high command:
Each deity in ev'ry kind was bless'd,
'Till at Diana's fane th' invidious honour ceas'd.

Wrath touches ev'n the Gods; the Queen of Night,
Fir'd with disdain, and jealous of her right,
Unhonour'd though I am, at least, said she,
Not unreveng'd that impious act shall be.
Swift as the word, she sped the boar away,
With charge on those devoted fields to prey.
No larger bulls th' Aegyptian pastures feed,
And none so large Sicilian meadows breed:
His eye-balls glare with fire suffus'd with blood;
His neck shoots up a thick-set thorny wood;
His bristled back a trench impal'd appears,
And stands erected, like a field of spears;
Froth fills his chaps, he sends a grunting sound,
And part he churns, and part befoams the ground,
For tusks with Indian elephants he strove,
And Jove's own thunder from his mouth he drove.
He burns the leaves; the scorching blast invades
The tender corn, and shrivels up the blades:
Or suff'ring not their yellow beards to rear,
He tramples down the spikes, and intercepts the year:
In vain the barns expect their promis'd load,
Nor barns at home, nor recks are heap'd abroad:
In vain the hinds the threshing-floor prepare,
And exercise their flail in empty air.
With olives ever-green the ground is strow'd,
And grapes ungather'd shed their gen'rous blood.
Amid the fold he rages, nor the sheep
Their shepherds, nor the grooms their bulls can keep.

From fields to walls the frighted rabble run,
Nor think themselves secure within the town:
'Till Meleagros, and his chosen crew,
Contemn the danger, and the praise pursue.
Fair Leda's twins (in time to stars decreed)
One fought on foot, one curb'd the fiery steed;
Then issu'd forth fam'd Jason after these,
Who mann'd the foremost ship that sail'd the seas;
Then Theseus join'd with bold Perithous came;
A single concord in a double name:
The Thestian sons, Idas who swiftly ran,
And Ceneus, once a woman, now a man.
Lynceus, with eagle's eyes, and lion's heart;
Leucippus, with his never-erring dart;
Acastus, Phileus, Phoenix, Telamon,
Echion, Lelix, and Eurytion,
Achilles' father, and great Phocus' son;
Dryas the fierce, and Hippasus the strong;
With twice old Iolas, and Nestor then but young.
Laertes active, and Ancaeus bold;
Mopsus the sage, who future things foretold;
And t' other seer, yet by his wife unsold.
A thousand others of immortal fame;
Among the rest, fair Atalanta came,
Grace of the woods: a diamond buckle bound
Her vest behind, that else had flow'd upon the ground,
And shew'd her buskin'd legs; her head was bare,
But for her native ornament of hair;
Which in a simple knot was ty'd above,
Sweet negligence! unheeded bait of love!
Her sounding quiver, on her shoulder ty'd,
One hand a dart, and one a bow supply'd.
Such was her face, as in a nymph display'd
A fair fierce boy, or in a boy betray'd
The blushing beauties of a modest maid.
The Caledonian chief at once the dame
Beheld, at once his heart receiv'd the flame,
With Heav'ns averse. O happy youth, he cry'd;
For whom thy fates reserve so fair a bride!
He sigh'd, and had no leisure more to say;
His honour call'd his eyes another way,
And forc'd him to pursue the now-neglected prey.

There stood a forest on a mountain's brow,
Which over-look'd the shaded plains below.
No sounding ax presum'd those trees to bite;
Coeval with the world, a venerable sight.
The heroes there arriv'd, some spread around
The toils; some search the footsteps on the ground:
Some from the chains the faithful dogs unbound.
Of action eager, and intent in thought,
The chiefs their honourable danger sought:
A valley stood below; the common drain
Of waters from above, and falling rain:
The bottom was a moist, and marshy ground,
Whose edges were with bending oziers crown'd:
The knotty bulrush next in order stood,
And all within of reeds a trembling wood.

From hence the boar was rous'd, and sprung amain,
Like lightning sudden, on the warrior train;
Beats down the trees before him, shakes the ground.
The forest echoes to the crackling sound;
Shout the fierce youth, and clamours ring around.
All stood with their protended spears prepar'd,
With broad steel heads the brandish'd weapons glar'd.
The beast impetuous with his tusks aside
Deals glancing wounds; the fearful dogs divide:
All spend their mouths aloof, but none abide.
Echion threw the first, but miss'd his mark,
And stuck his boar-spear on a maple's bark.
Then Jason; and his javelin seem'd to take,
But fail'd with over-force, and whiz'd above his back.
Mopsus was next; but e'er he threw, address'd
To Phoebus, thus: O patron, help thy priest:
If I adore, and ever have ador'd
Thy pow'r divine, thy present aid afford;
That I may reach the beast. The God allow'd
His pray'r, and smiling, gave him what he cou'd:
He reach'd the savage, but no blood he drew:
Dian unarm'd the javelin, as it flew.

This chaf'd the boar, his nostrils flames expire,
And his red eye-balls roul with living fire.
Whirl'd from a sling, or from an engine thrown,
Amid the foes, so flies a mighty stone,
As flew the beast: the left wing put to flight,
The chiefs o'er-born, he rushes on the right.
Eupalamos and Pelagon he laid
In dust, and next to death, but for their fellows' aid.
Onesimus far'd worse, prepar'd to fly,
The fatal fang drove deep within his thigh,
And cut the nerves: the nerves no more sustain
The bulk; the bulk unprop'd, falls headlong on the plain.

Nestor had fail'd the fall of Troy to see,
But leaning on his lance, he vaulted on a tree;
Then gath'ring up his feet, look'd down with fear,
And thought his monstrous foe was still too near.
Against a stump his tusk the monster grinds,
And in the sharpen'd edge new vigour finds;
Then, trusting to his arms, young Othrys found,
And ranch'd his hips with one continu'd wound.

Now Leda's twins, the future stars, appear;
White were their habits, white their horses were:
Conspicuous both, and both in act to throw,
Their trembling lances brandish'd at the foe:
Nor had they miss'd; but he to thickets fled,
Conceal'd from aiming spears, not pervious to the steed.

But Telamon rush'd in, and happ'd to meet
A rising root, that held his fastned feet;
So down he fell, whom, sprawling on the ground,
His brother from the wooden gyves unbound.

Mean-time the virgin-huntress was not slow
T' expel the shaft from her contracted bow:
Beneath his ear the fastned arrow stood,
And from the wound appear'd the trickling blood.
She blush'd for joy: but Meleagros rais'd
His voice with loud applause, and the fair archer prais'd.

He was the first to see, and first to show
His friends the marks of the successful blow.
Nor shall thy valour want the praises due,
He said; a virtuous envy seiz'd the crew.
They shout; the shouting animates their hearts,
And all at once employ their thronging darts:
But out of order thrown, in air they joyn,
And multitude makes frustrate the design.
With both his hands the proud Ancaeus takes,
And flourishes his double-biting ax:
Then, forward to his fate, he took a stride
Before the rest, and to his fellows cry'd,
Give place, and mark the diff'rence, if you can,
Between a woman warrior, and a man,
The boar is doom'd; nor though Diana lend
Her aid, Diana can her beast defend.
Thus boasted he; then stretch'd, on tiptoe stood,
Secure to make his empty promise good.
But the more wary beast prevents the blow,
And upward rips the groin of his audacious foe.
Ancaeus falls; his bowels from the wound
Rush out, and clotted blood distains the ground.

Perithous, no small portion of the war,
Press'd on, and shook his lance: to whom from far
Thus Theseus cry'd; O stay, my better part,
My more than mistress; of my heart, the heart.
The strong may fight aloof; Ancaeus try'd
His force too near, and by presuming dy'd:
He said, and while he spake his javelin threw,
Hissing in air th' unerring weapon flew;
But on an arm of oak, that stood betwixt
The marks-man and the mark, his lance he fixt.

Once more bold Jason threw, but fail'd to wound
The boar, and slew an undeserving hound,
And thro' the dog the dart was nail'd to ground.

Two spears from Meleager's hand were sent,
With equal force, but various in th' event:
The first was fix'd in earth, the second stood
On the boar's bristled back, and deeply drank his blood.

Now while the tortur'd savage turns around,
And flings about his foam, impatient of the wound,
The wound's great author close at hand provokes
His rage, and plies him with redoubled strokes;
Wheels, as he wheels; and with his pointed dart
Explores the nearest passage to his heart.
Quick, and more quick he spins in giddy gires,
Then falls, and in much foam his soul expires.
This act with shouts heav'n-high the friendly band
Applaud, and strain in theirs the victor's hand.
Then all approach the slain with vast surprize,
Admire on what a breadth of earth he lies,
And scarce secure, reach out their spears afar,
And blood their points, to prove their partnership of war.

But he, the conqu'ring chief, his foot impress'd
On the strong neck of that destructive beast;
And gazing on the nymph with ardent eyes,
Accept, said he, fair Nonacrine, my prize,
And, though inferior, suffer me to join
My labours, and my part of praise, with thine:
At this presents her with the tusky head
And chine, with rising bristles roughly spread.
Glad she receiv'd the gift; and seem'd to take
With double pleasure, for the giver's sake.
The rest were seiz'd with sullen discontent,
And a deaf murmur through the squadron went:
All envy'd; but the Thestyan brethren show'd
The least respect, and thus they vent their spleen aloud:

Lay down those honour'd spoils, nor think to share,
Weak woman as thou art, the prize of war:
Ours is the title, thine a foreign claim,
Since Meleagrus from our lineage came.
Trust not thy beauty; but restore the prize,
Which he, besotted on that face, and eyes,
Would rend from us: at this, enflam'd with spite,
From her they snatch the gift, from him the giver's right.

But soon th' impatient prince his fauchion drew,
And cry'd, Ye robbers of another's due,
Now learn the diff'rence, at your proper cost,
Betwixt true valour, and an empty boast.
At this advanc'd, and sudden as the word,
In proud Plexippus' bosom plung'd the sword:
Toxeus amaz'd, and with amazement slow,
Or to revenge, or ward the coming blow,
Stood doubting; and while doubting thus he stood,
Receiv'd the steel bath'd in his brother's blood.

Pleas'd with the first, unknown the second news;
Althaea to the temples pays their dues
For her son's conquest; when at length appear
Her grisly brethren stretch'd upon the bier:
Pale at the sudden sight, she chang'd her cheer,
And with her cheer her robes; but hearing tell
The cause, the manner, and by whom they fell,
'Twas grief no more, or grief and rage were one
Within her soul; at last 'twas rage alone;
Which burning upwards in succession, dries
The tears, that stood consid'ring in her eyes.

There lay a log unlighted on the hearth,
When she was lab'ring in the throws of birth
For th' unborn chief; the fatal sisters came,
And rais'd it up, and toss'd it on the flame:
Then on the rock a scanty measure place
Of vital flax, and turn'd the wheel apace;
And turning sung, To this red brand and thee,
O new born babe, we give an equal destiny;
So vanish'd out of view. The frighted dame
Sprung hasty from her bed, and quench'd the flame:
The log, in secret lock'd, she kept with care,
And that, while thus preserv'd, preserv'd her heir.
This brand she now produc'd; and first she strows
The hearth with heaps of chips, and after blows;
Thrice heav'd her hand, and heav'd, she thrice repress'd:

The sister and the mother long contest,
Two doubtful titles, in one tender breast:
And now her eyes, and cheeks with fury glow,
Now pale her cheeks, her eyes with pity flow:
Now low'ring looks presage approaching storms,
And now prevailing love her face reforms:
Resolv'd, she doubts again; the tears she dry'd
With burning rage, are by new tears supply'd;
And as a ship, which winds and waves assail
Now with the current drives, now with the gale,
Both opposite, and neither long prevail:
She feels a double force, by turns obeys
Th' imperious tempest, and th' impetuous seas:
So fares Althaea's mind, she first relents
With pity, of that pity then repents:
Sister, and mother long the scales divide,
But the beam nodded on the sister's side.
Sometimes she softly sigh'd, then roar'd aloud;
But sighs were stifled in the cries of blood.

The pious, impious wretch at length decreed,
To please her brothers' ghost, her son should bleed:
And when the fun'ral flames began to rise,
Receive, she said, a sister's sacrifice;
A mother's bowels burn: high in her hand,
Thus while she spoke, she held the fatal brand;
Then thrice before the kindled pile she bow'd,
And the three Furies thrice invok'd aloud:
Come, come, revenging sisters, come, and view
A sister paying her dead brothers due:
A crime I punish, and a crime commit;
But blood for blood, and death for death is fit:
Great crimes must be with greater crimes repaid,
And second fun'rals on the former laid.
Let the whole houshold in one ruin fall,
And may Diana's curse o'ertake us all.
Shall Fate to happy Oenus still allow
One son, while Thestius stands depriv'd of two?
Better three lost, than one unpunish'd go.
Take then, dear ghosts (while yet admitted new
In Hell you wait my duty), take your due:
A costly off'ring on your tomb is laid,
When with my blood the price of yours is paid.

Ah! whither am I hurry'd? Ah! forgive,
Ye shades, and let your sister's issue live;
A mother cannot give him death; tho' he
Deserves it, he deserves it not from me.

Then shall th' unpunish'd wretch insult the slain,
Triumphant live, nor only live, but reign?
While you, thin shades, the sport of winds, are tost
O'er dreary plains, or tread the burning coast.
I cannot, cannot bear; 'tis past, 'tis done;
Perish this impious, this detested son:
Perish his sire, and perish I withal;
And let the house's heir, and the hop'd kingdom fall.

Where is the mother fled, her pious love,
And where the pains with which ten months I strove!
Ah! had'st thou dy'd, my son, in infant years,
Thy little herse had been bedew'd with tears.

Thou liv'st by me; to me thy breath resign;
Mine is the merit, the demerit thine.
Thy life by double title I require;
Once giv'n at birth, and once preserv'd from fire:
One murder pay, or add one murder more,
And me to them who fell by thee restore.

I would, but cannot: my son's image stands
Before my sight; and now their angry hands
My brothers hold, and vengeance these exact;
This pleads compassion, and repents the fact.

He pleads in vain, and I pronounce his doom:
My brothers, though unjustly, shall o'ercome.
But having paid their injur'd ghosts their due,
My son requires my death, and mine shall his pursue.

At this, for the last time, she lifts her hand,
Averts her eyes, and, half unwilling, drops the brand.
The brand, amid the flaming fewel thrown,
Or drew, or seem'd to draw, a dying groan;
The fires themselves but faintly lick'd their prey,
Then loath'd their impious food, and would have shrunk away.

Just then the heroe cast a doleful cry,
And in those absent flames began to fry:
The blind contagion rag'd within his veins;
But he with manly patience bore his pains:
He fear'd not Fate, but only griev'd to die
Without an honest wound, and by a death so dry.
Happy Ancaeus, thrice aloud he cry'd,
With what becoming fate in arms he dy'd!
Then call'd his brothers, sisters, sire around,
And, her to whom his nuptial vows were bound,
Perhaps his mother; a long sigh she drew,
And his voice failing, took his last adieu.
For as the flames augment, and as they stay
At their full height, then languish to decay,
They rise and sink by fits; at last they soar
In one bright blaze, and then descend no more:
Just so his inward heats, at height, impair,
'Till the last burning breath shoots out the soul in air.

Now lofty Calidon in ruins lies;
All ages, all degrees unsluice their eyes,
And Heav'n, and Earth resound with murmurs, groans, and cries.

Matrons and maidens beat their breasts, and tear
Their habits, and root up their scatter'd hair:
The wretched father, father now no more,
With sorrow sunk, lies prostrate on the floor,
Deforms his hoary locks with dust obscene,
And curses age, and loaths a life prolong'd with pain.
By steel her stubborn soul his mother freed,
And punish'd on her self her impious deed.

Had I a hundred tongues, a wit so large
As could their hundred offices discharge;
Had Phoebus all his Helicon bestow'd
In all the streams, inspiring all the God;
Those tongues, that wit, those streams, that God in vain

Would offer to describe his sisters' pain:
They beat their breasts with many a bruizing blow,
'Till they turn livid, and corrupt the snow.
The corps they cherish, while the corps remains,
And exercise, and rub with fruitless pains;
And when to fun'ral flames 'tis born away,
They kiss the bed on which the body lay:
And when those fun'ral flames no longer burn
(The dust compos'd within a pious urn),
Ev'n in that urn their brother they confess,
And hug it in their arms, and to their bosoms press.

His tomb is rais'd; then, stretch'd along the ground,
Those living monuments his tomb surround:
Ev'n to his name, inscrib'd, their tears they pay,
'Till tears, and kisses wear his name away.

But Cynthia now had all her fury spent,
Not with less ruin than a race content:
Excepting Gorge, perish'd all the seed,
And her whom Heav'n for Hercules decreed.
Satiate at last, no longer she pursu'd
The weeping sisters; but With Wings endu'd,
And horny beaks, and sent to flit in air;
Who yearly round the tomb in feather'd flocks repair.

The Transformation of the Naiads

Theseus mean-while acquitting well his share
In the bold chace confed'rate like a war,
To Athens' lofty tow'rs his march ordain'd,
By Pallas lov'd, and where Erectheus reign'd.
But Achelous stop'd him on the way,
By rains a deluge, and constrain'd his stay.

O fam'd for glorious deeds, and great by blood,
Rest here, says he, nor trust the rapid flood;
It solid oaks has from its margin tore,
And rocky fragments down its current bore,
The murmur hoarse, and terrible the roar.
Oft have I seen herds with their shelt'ring fold
Forc'd from the banks, and in the torrent roul'd;
Nor strength the bulky steer from ruin freed,
Nor matchless swiftness sav'd the racing steed.
In cataracts when the dissolving snow
Falls from the hills, and floods the plains below;
Toss'd by the eddies with a giddy round,
Strong youths are in the sucking whirlpools drown'd.
'Tis best with me in safety to abide,
'Till usual bounds restrain the ebbing tide,
And the low waters in their channel glide.

Theseus perswaded, in compliance bow'd:
So kind an offer, and advice so good,
O Achelous, cannot be refus'd;
I'll use them both, said he; and both he us'd.

The grot he enter'd, pumice built the hall,
And tophi made the rustick of the wall;
The floor, soft moss, an humid carpet spread,
And various shells the chequer'd roof inlaid.
'Twas now the hour when the declining sun
Two thirds had of his daily journey run;
At the spread table Theseus took his place,
Next his companions in the daring chace;
Perithous here, there elder Lelex lay,
His locks betraying age with sprinkled grey.
Acharnia's river-God dispos'd the rest,
Grac'd with the equal honour of the feast,
Elate with joy, and proud of such a guest.
The nymphs were waiters, and with naked feet
In order serv'd the courses of the meat.
The banquet done, delicious wine they brought,
Of one transparent gem the cup was wrought.

Then the great heroe of this gallant train,
Surveying far the prospect of the main:
What is that land, says he, the waves embrace?
(And with his finger pointed at the place);
Is it one parted isle which stands alone?
How nam'd? and yet methinks it seems not one.
To whom the watry God made this reply;
'Tis not one isle, but five; distinct they lye;
'Tis distance which deceives the cheated eye.
But that Diana's act may seem less strange,
These once proud Naiads were, before their change.
'Twas on a day more solemn than the rest,
Ten bullocks slain, a sacrificial feast:
The rural Gods of all the region near
They bid to dance, and taste the hallow'd cheer.
Me they forgot: affronted with the slight,
My rage, and stream swell'd to the greatest height;
And with the torrent of my flooding store,
Large woods from woods, and fields from fields I tore.
The guilty nymphs, oh! then, remembring me,
I, with their country, wash'd into the sea;
And joining waters with the social main,
Rent the gross land, and split the firm champagne.
Since, the Echinades, remote from shore
Are view'd as many isles, as nymphs before.

Perimele turn'd into an Island

But yonder far, lo, yonder does appear
An isle, a part to me for ever dear.
From that (it sailors Perimele name)
I doating, forc'd by rape a virgin's fame.
Hippodamas's passion grew so strong,
Gall'd with th' abuse, and fretted at the wrong,
He cast his pregnant daughter from a rock;
I spread my waves beneath, and broke the shock;
And as her swimming weight my stream convey'd,
I su'd for help divine, and thus I pray'd:
O pow'rful thou, whose trident does comm and
The realm of waters, which surround the land;
We sacred rivers, wheresoe'er begun,
End in thy lot, and to thy empire run.
With favour hear, and help with present aid;
Her whom I bear 'twas guilty I betray'd.
Yet if her father had been just, or mild,
He would have been less impious to his child;
In her, have pity'd force in the abuse;
In me, admitted love for my excuse.
O let relief for her hard case be found,
Her, whom paternal rage expell'd from ground,
Her, whom paternal rage relentless drown'd.
Grant her some place, or change her to a place,
Which I may ever clasp with my embrace.

His nodding head the sea's great ruler bent,
And all his waters shook with his assent.
The nymph still swam, tho' with the fright distrest,
I felt her heart leap trembling in her breast;
But hardning soon, whilst I her pulse explore,
A crusting Earth cas'd her stiff body o'er;
And as accretions of new-cleaving soil
Inlarg'd the mass, the nymph became an isle.

The Story of Baucis and Philemon

Thus Achelous ends: his audience hear
With admiration, and admiring, fear
The Pow'rs of Heav'n; except Ixion's Son,
Who laugh'd at all the Gods, believ'd in none:
He shook his impious head, and thus replies.
These legends are no more than pious lies:
You attri bute too much to heav'nly sway,
To think they give us forms, and take away.

The rest of better minds, their sense declar'd
Against this doctrine, and with horror heard.
Then Lelex rose, an old experienc'd man,
And thus with sober gravity began;
Heav'n's pow'r is infinite: Earth, Air, and Sea,
The manufacture mass, the making Pow'r obey:
By proof to clear your doubt; in Phrygian ground
Two neighb'ring trees, with walls encompass'd round,
Stand on a mod'rate rise, with wonder shown,
One a hard oak, a softer linden one:
I saw the place, and them, by Pittheus sent
To Phrygian realms, my grandsire's government.
Not far from thence is seen a lake, the haunt
Of coots, and of the fishing cormorant:
Here Jove with Hermes came; but in disguise
Of mortal men conceal'd their deities;
One laid aside his thunder, one his rod;
And many toilsome steps together trod:
For harbour at a thousand doors they knock'd,
Not one of all the thousand but was lock'd.
At last an hospitable house they found,
A homely shed; the roof, not far from ground,
Was thatch'd with reeds, and straw, together bound.
There Baucis and Philemon liv'd, and there
Had liv'd long marry'd, and a happy pair:
Now old in love, though little was their store,
Inur'd to want, their poverty they bore,
Nor aim'd at wealth, professing to be poor.
For master, or for servant here to call,
Was all alike, where only two were all.
Command was none, where equal love was paid,
Or rather both commanded, both obey'd.

From lofty roofs the Gods repuls'd before,
Now stooping, enter'd through the little door:
The man (their hearty welcome first express'd)
A common settle drew for either guest,
Inviting each his weary limbs to rest.
But ere they sate, officious Baucis lays
Two cushions stuff'd with straw, the seat to raise;
Coarse, but the best she had; then rakes the load
Of ashes from the hearth, and spreads abroad
The living coals; and, lest they should expire,
With leaves, and bark she feeds her infant fire:
It smoaks; and then with trembling breath she blows,
'Till in a chearful blaze the flames arose.
With brush-wood, and with chips she streng thens these,
And adds at last the boughs of rotten trees.
The fire thus form'd, she sets the kettle on
(Like burnish'd gold the little seether shone),
Next took the coleworts which her husb and got
From his own ground (a small well-water'd spot);
She stripp'd the stalks of all their leaves; the best
She cull'd, and them with handy care she drest.
High o'er the hearth a chine of bacon hung;
Good old Philemon seiz'd it with a prong,
And from the sooty rafter drew it down,
Then cut a slice, but scarce enough for one;
Yet a large portion of a little store,
Which for their sakes alone he wish'd were more.
This in the pot he plung'd without delay,
To tame the flesh, and drain the salt away.
The time beween, before the fire they sat,
And shorten'd the delay by pleasing chat.

A beam there was, on which a beechen pail
Hung by the handle, on a driven nail:
This fill'd with water, gently warm'd, they set
Before their guests; in this they bath'd their feet,
And after with clean towels dry'd their sweat.
This done, the host produc'd the genial bed,
Sallow the feet, the borders, and the sted,
Which with no costly coverlet they spread,
But coarse old garments; yet such robes as these
They laid alone, at feasts, on holidays.
The good old housewife, tucking up her gown,
The table sets; th' invited Gods lie down.
The trivet-table of a foot was lame,
A blot which prudent Baucis overcame,
Who thrusts beneath the limping leg a sherd,
So was the mended board exactly rear'd:
Then rubb'd it o'er with newly gather'd mint,
A wholsom herb, that breath'd a grateful scent.
Pallas began the feast, where first was seen
The party-colour'd olive, black, and green:
Autumnal cornels next in order serv'd,
In lees of wine well pickled, and preserv'd.
A garden-sallad was the third supply,
Of endive, radishes, and succory:
Then curds, and cream, the flow'r of country fare,
And new-laid eggs, which Baucis' busie care
Turn'd by a gentle fire, and roasted rare.
All these in ear then ware were serv'd to board;
And next in place, an ear then pitcher stor'd,
With liquor of the best the cottage could afford.
This was the table's ornament and pride,
With figures wrought: like pages at his side
Stood beechen bowls; and these were shining clean,
Varnish'd with wax without, and lin'd within.
By this the boiling kettle had prepar'd,
And to the table sent the smoaking lard;
On which with eager appetite they dine,
A sav'ry bit, that serv'd to relish wine:
The wine itself was suiting to the rest,
Still working in the must, and lately press'd.
The second course succeeds like that before,
Plums, apples, nuts, and of their wintry store
Dry figs, and grapes, and wrinkled dates were set
In canisters, t' enlarge the little treat:
All these a milk-white honey-comb surround,
Which in the midst the country-banquet crown'd:
But the kind hosts their entertainment grace
With hearty welcome, and an open face:
In all they did, you might discern with ease,
A willing mind, and a desire to please.

Mean-time the beechen bowls went round, and still,
Though often empty'd, were observ'd to fill;
Fill'd without hands, and of their own accord
Ran without feet, and danc'd about the board.
Devotion seiz'd the pair, to see the feast
With wine, and of no common grape, increas'd;
And up they held their hands, and fell to pray'r,
Excusing, as they could, their country fare.

One goose they had ('twas all they could allow),
A wakeful centry, and on duty now,
Whom to the Gods for sacrifice they vow:
Her with malicious zeal the couple view'd;
She ran for life, and limping they pursu'd:
Full well the fowl perceiv'd their bad intent,
And would not make her master's compliment;
But persecuted, to the Pow'rs she flies,
And close between the legs of Jove she lies:
He with a gracious ear the suppliant heard,
And sav'd her life; then what he has declar'd,
And own'd the God. The neighbourhood, said he,
Shall justly perish for impiety:
You stand alone exempted; but obey
With speed, and follow where we lead the way:
Leave these accurs'd; and to the mountain's height
Ascend; nor once look backward in your flight.

They haste, and what their tardy feet deny'd,
The trusty staff (their better leg) supply'd.
An arrow's flight they wanted to the top,
And there secure, but spent with travel, stop;
Then turn their now no more forbidden eyes;
Lost in a lake the floated level lies:
A watry desart covers all the plains,
Their cot alone, as in an isle, remains.
Wondring, with weeping eyes, while they deplore
Their neighbours' fate, and country now no more,
Their little shed, scarce large enough for two,
Seems, from the ground increas'd, in height and bulk to grow.

A stately temple shoots within the skies,
The crotches of their cot in columns rise:
The pavement polish'd marble they behold,
The gates with sculpture grac'd, the spires and tiles of gold.

Then thus the sire of Gods, with looks serene,
Speak thy desire, thou only just of men;
And thou, o woman, only worthy found
To be with such a man in marriage bound.

A-while they whisper; then, to Jove address'd,
Philemon thus prefers their joint request:
We crave to serve before your sacred shrine,
And offer at your altars rites divine:
And since not any action of our life
Has been polluted with domestick strife;
We beg one hour of death, that neither she
With widow's tears may live to bury me,
Nor weeping I, with wither'd arms may bear
My breathless Baucis to the sepulcher.

The Godheads sign their suit. They run their race
In the same tenour all th' appointed space:
Then, when their hour was come, while they relate
These past adventures at the temple gate,
Old Baucis is by old Philemon seen
Sprouting with sudden leaves of spritely green:
Old Baucis look'd where old Philemon stood,
And saw his leng then'd arms a sprouting wood:
New roots their fasten'd feet begin to bind,
Their bodies stiffen in a rising rind:
Then, ere the bark above their shoulders grew,
They give, and take at once their last adieu.
At once, Farewell, o faithful spouse, they said;
At once th' incroaching rinds their closing lips invade.

Ev'n yet, an ancient Tyanaean shows
A spreading oak, that near a linden grows;
The neighbourhood confirm the prodigy,
Grave men, not vain of tongue, or like to lie.
I saw my self the garlands on their boughs,
And tablets hung for gifts of granted vows;
And off'ring fresher up, with pious pray'r,
The good, said I, are God's peculiar care,
And such as honour Heav'n, shall heav'nly honour share.

The Changes of Proteus

He ceas'd in his relation to proceed,
Whilst all admir'd the author, and the deed;
But Theseus most, inquisitive to know
From Gods what wondrous alterations grow.
Whom thus the Calydonian stream address'd,
Rais'd high to speak, the couch his elbow press'd.
Some, when transform'd, fix in the lasting change;
Some with more right, thro' various figures range.
Proteus, thus large thy privilege was found,
Thou inmate of the seas, which Earth surround.
Sometimes a bloming youth you grac'd the shore;
Oft a fierce lion, or a furious boar:
With glist'ning spires now seem'd an hissing snake,
The bold would tremble in his hands to take:
With horns assum'd a bull; sometimes you prov'd
A tree by roots, a stone by weight unmov'd:
Sometimes two wav'ring contraries became,
Flow'd down in water, or aspir'd in flame.

The Story of Erisichthon

In various shapes thus to deceive the eyes,
Without a settled stint of her disguise,
Rash Erisichthon's daughter had the pow'r,
And brought it to Autolicus in dow'r.
Her atheist sire the slighted Gods defy'd,
And ritual honours to their shrines deny'd.
As fame reports, his hand an ax sustain'd,
Which Ceres' consecrated grove prophan'd;
Which durst the venerable gloom invade,
And violate with light the awful shade.
An ancient oak in the dark center stood,
The covert's glory, and itself a wood:
Garlands embrac'd its shaft, and from the boughs
Hung tablets, monuments of prosp'rous vows.
In the cool dusk its unpierc'd verdure spread,
The Dryads oft their hallow'd dances led;
And oft, when round their gaging arms they cast,
Full fifteen ells it measu'rd in the waste:
Its height all under standards did surpass,
As they aspir'd above the humbler grass.

These motives, which would gentler minds restrain,
Could not make Triope's bold son abstain;
He sternly charg'd his slaves with strict decree,
To fell with gashing steel the sacred tree.
But whilst they, lingring, his commands delay'd,
He snatch'd an Ax, and thus blaspheming said:
Was this no oak, nor Ceres' favourite care,
But Ceres' self, this arm, unaw'd, shou'd dare
Its leafy honours in the dust to spread,
And level with the earth its airy head.
He spoke, and as he poiz'd a slanting stroak,
Sighs heav'd, and tremblings shook the frighted oak;
Its leaves look'd sickly, pale its acorns grew,
And its long branches sweat a chilly dew.
But when his impious hand a wound bestow'd,
Blood from the mangled bark in currents flow'd.
When a devoted bull of mighty size,
A sinning nation's grand atonement, dies;
With such a plenty from the spouting veins,
A crimson stream the turfy altars stains.

The wonder all amaz'd; yet one more bold,
The fact dissuading, strove his ax to hold.
But the Thessalian, obstinately bent,
Too proud to change, too harden'd to repent,
On his kind monitor, his eyes, which burn'd
With rage, and with his eyes his weapon turn'd;
Take the reward, says he, of pious dread:
Then with a blow lopp'd off his parted head.
No longer check'd, the wretch his crime pursu'd,
Doubled his strokes, and sacrilege renew'd;
When from the groaning trunk a voice was heard,
A Dryad I, by Ceres' love preferr'd,
Within the circle of this clasping rind
Coeval grew, and now in ruin join'd;
But instant vengeance shall thy sin pursue,
And death is chear'd with this prophetick view.

At last the oak with cords enforc'd to bow,
Strain'd from the top, and sap'd with wounds below,
The humbler wood, partaker of its fate,
Crush'd with its fall, and shiver'd with its weight.

The grove destroy'd, the sister Dryads moan,
Griev'd at its loss, and frighted at their own.
Strait, suppliants for revenge to Ceres go,
In sable weeds, expressive of their woe.

The beauteous Goddess with a graceful air
Bow'd in consent, and nodded to their pray'r.
The awful motion shook the fruitful ground,
And wav'd the fields with golden harvests crown'd.
Soon she contriv'd in her projecting mind
A plague severe, and piteous in its kind
(If plagues for crimes of such presumptuous height
Could pity in the softest breast create).
With pinching want, and hunger's keenest smart,
To tear his vitals, and corrode his heart.
But since her near approach by Fate's deny'd
To famine, and broad climes their pow'rs divide,
A nymph, the mountain's ranger, she address'd,
And thus resolv'd, her high commands express'd.

The Description of Famine

Where frozen Scythia's utmost bound is plac'd,
A desart lies, a melancholy waste:
In yellow crops there Nature never smil'd,
No fruitful tree to shade the barren wild.
There sluggish cold its icy station makes,
There paleness, frights, and aguish trembling shakes,
Of pining famine this the fated seat,
To whom my orders in these words repeat:
Bid her this miscreant with her sharpest pains
Chastise, and sheath herself into his veins;
Be unsubdu'd by plenty's baffled store,
Reject my empire, and defeat my pow'r.
And lest the distance, and the tedious way,
Should with the toil, and long fatigue dismay,
Ascend my chariot, and convey'd on high,
Guide the rein'd dragons thro' the parting sky.

The nymph, accepting of the granted carr,
Sprung to the seat, and posted thro' the air;
Nor stop'd 'till she to a bleak mountain came
Of wondrous height, and Caucasus its name.
There in a stony field the fiend she found,
Herbs gnawing, and roots scratching from the ground.
Her elfelock hair in matted tresses grew,
Sunk were her eyes, and pale her ghastly hue,
Wan were her lips, and foul with clammy glew.
Her throat was furr'd, her guts appear'd within
With snaky crawlings thro' her parchment skin.
Her jutting hips seem'd starting from their place,
And for a belly was a belly's space,
Her dugs hung dangling from her craggy spine,
Loose to her breast, and fasten'd to her chine.
Her joints protuberant by leanness grown,
Consumption sunk the flesh, and rais'd the bone.
Her knees large orbits bunch'd to monstrous size,
And ancles to undue proportion rise.

This plague the nymph, not daring to draw near,
At distance hail'd, and greeted from afar.
And tho' she told her charge without delay,
Tho' her arrival late, and short her stay,
She felt keen famine, or she seem'd to feel,
Invade her blood, and on her vitals steal.
She turn'd, from the infection to remove,
And back to Thessaly the serpents drove.

The fiend obey'd the Goddess' comm and
(Tho' their effects in opposition stand),
She cut her way, supported by the wind,
And reach'd the mansion by the nymph assign'd.

'Twas night, when entring Erisichthon's room,
Dissolv'd in sleep, and thoughtless of his doom,
She clasp'd his limbs, by impious labour tir'd,
With battish wings, but her whole self inspir'd;
Breath'd on his throat and chest a tainting blast,
And in his veins infus'd an endless fast.

The task dispatch'd, away the Fury flies
From plenteous regions, and from rip'ning skies;
To her old barren north she wings her speed,
And cottages distress'd with pinching need.

Still slumbers Erisichthon's senses drown,
And sooth his fancy with their softest down.
He dreams of viands delicate to eat,
And revels on imaginary meat,
Chaws with his working mouth, but chaws in vain,
And tires his grinding teeth with fruitless pain;
Deludes his throat with visionary fare,
Feasts on the wind, and banquets on the air.

The morning came, the night, and slumbers past,
But still the furious pangs of hunger last;
The cank'rous rage still gnaws with griping pains,
Stings in his throat, and in his bowels reigns.

Strait he requires, impatient in demand,
Provisions from the air, the seas, the land.
But tho' the land, air, seas, provisions grant,
Starves at full tables, and complains of want.
What to a people might in dole be paid,
Or victual cities for a long blockade,
Could not one wolfish appetite asswage;
For glutting nourishment increas'd its rage.
As rivers pour'd from ev'ry distant shore,
The sea insatiate drinks, and thirsts for more;
Or as the fire, which all materials burns,
And wasted forests into ashes turns,
Grows more voracious, as the more it preys,
Recruits dilate the flame, and spread the blaze:
So impious Erisichthon's hunger raves,
Receives refreshments, and refreshments craves.
Food raises a desire for food, and meat
Is but a new provocative to eat.
He grows more empty, as the more supply'd,
And endless cramming but extends the void.

The Transformations of Erisichthon's Daughter

Now riches hoarded by paternal care
Were sunk, the glutton swallowing up the heir.
Yet the devouring flame no stores abate,
Nor less his hunger grew with his estate.
One daughter left, as left his keen desire,
A daughter worthy of a better sire:
Her too he sold, spent Nature to sustain;
She scorn'd a lord with generous disdain,
And flying, spread her hand upon the main.
Then pray'd: Grant, thou, I bondage may escape,
And with my liberty reward thy rape;
Repay my virgin treasure with thy aid
('Twas Neptune who deflower'd the beauteous maid).

The God was mov'd, at what the fair had su'd,
When she so lately by her master view'd
In her known figure, on a sudden took
A fisher's habit, and a manly look.
To whom her owner hasted to enquire;
O thou, said he, whose baits hide treach'rous wire;
Whose art can manage, and experienc'd skill
The taper angle, and the bobbing quill,
So may the sea be ruffled with no storm,
But smooth with calms, as you the truth inform;
So your deceit may no shy fishes feel,
'Till struck, and fasten'd on the bearded steel.
Did not you standing view upon the strand,
A wand'ring maid? I'm sure I saw her stand;
Her hair disorder'd, and her homely dress
Betray'd her want, and witness'd her distress.

Me heedless, she reply'd, whoe'er you are,
Excuse, attentive to another care.
I settled on the deep my steady eye;
Fix'd on my float, and bent on my employ.
And that you may not doubt what I impart,
So may the ocean's God assist my art,
If on the beach since I my sport pursu'd,
Or man, or woman but my self I view'd.
Back o'er the sands, deluded, he withdrew,
Whilst she for her old form put off her new.

Her sire her shifting pow'r to change perceiv'd;
And various chapmen by her sale deceiv'd.
A fowl with spangled plumes, a brinded steer,
Sometimes a crested mare, or antler'd deer:
Sold for a price, she parted, to maintain
Her starving parent with dishonest gain.

At last all means, as all provisions, fail'd;
For the disease by remedies prevail'd;
His muscles with a furious bite he tore,
Gorg'd his own tatter'd flesh, and gulph'd his gore.
Wounds were his feast, his life to life a prey,
Supporting Nature by its own decay.

But foreign stories why shou'd I relate?
I too my self can to new forms translate,
Tho' the variety's not unconfin'd,
But fix'd, in number, and restrain'd in kind:
For often I this present shape retain,
Oft curl a snake the volumes of my train.
Sometimes my strength into my horns transfer'd,
A bull I march, the captain of the herd.
But whilst I once those goring weapons wore,
Vast wresting force one from my forehead tore.
Lo, my maim'd brows the injury still own;
He ceas'd; his words concluding with a groan.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
~ Ovid, BOOK THE EIGHTH



--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



0

   11 Poetry
   9 Fiction
   6 Occultism
   3 Philosophy
   3 Mythology
   3 Christianity
   1 Psychology
   1 Kabbalah
   1 Integral Yoga


   6 James George Frazer
   6 H P Lovecraft
   3 Saint Augustine of Hippo
   3 Percy Bysshe Shelley
   3 Ovid
   2 Saint John of Climacus
   2 Lucretius


   6 The Golden Bough
   3 Shelley - Poems
   3 Metamorphoses
   3 City of God
   2 The Ladder of Divine Ascent
   2 Of The Nature Of Things


--- WEBGEN

Isle of the Dead (1945) ::: 6.6/10 -- Not Rated | 1h 11min | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 1 September 1945 (USA) -- On a Greek island during the 1912 war, several people are trapped by quarantine for the plague. If that isn't enough worry, one of the people, a superstitious old peasant woman, suspects ... See full summary Director: Mark Robson Writer: Ardel Wray
Restoration (1995) ::: 6.6/10 -- R | 1h 57min | Biography, Drama, History | 2 February 1996 (USA) -- The exiled royal physician to King Charles II devotes himself to helping Londoners suffering from the plague, and in the process falls in love with an equally poor woman. Director: Michael Hoffman Writers:
The Plague Dogs (1982) ::: 7.8/10 -- PG-13 | 1h 43min | Animation, Adventure, Drama | 9 January 1985 (USA) -- Two dogs escape from a laboratory and are hunted as possible carriers of the bubonic plague. Director: Martin Rosen Writers: Richard Adams (novel), Martin Rosen Stars:
The Plague of the Zombies (1966) ::: 6.6/10 -- Approved | 1h 30min | Horror | 12 January 1966 (USA) -- Young workers are dying because of a mysterious epidemic in a little village in Cornwall. Doctor Thompson is helpless and asks professor James Forbes for help. The professor and his ... See full summary Director: John Gilling Writer:
Vampire Circus (1972) ::: 6.4/10 -- PG | 1h 24min | Horror | 11 October 1972 (USA) -- As the plague sweeps the countryside, a quarantined village is visited by a mysterious traveling circus. Soon, young children begin to disappear, and the locals suspect the circus troupe might be hiding a horrifying secret. Director: Robert Young Writer:
Z Nation ::: TV-14 | 44min | Action, Comedy, Drama | TV Series (20142018) -- Three years after the zombie virus has gutted the United States of America a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Creators:
Wikipedia - The Plague
Wikipedia - The Plague (magazine)
change font "color":
change "background-color":
change "font-family":
change "padding": 1869 site hits