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ITH sacrifice before the rising morn
Vows have I made by fruitless hope inspired;
And from the infernal gods, 'mid
Of night, my slaughtered lord have I required:
Celestial pity I again implore ;
Restore him to my sight-great Jove, restore!"
So speaking, and by fervent love endowed
With faith, the suppliant heavenward lifts her hands; While, like the sun emerging from a cloud,
Her countenance brightens-and her eye expands; Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stature grows; And she expects the issue in repose.
O terror what hath she perceived?-O joy!
What doth she look on ?-whom doth she behold?
It is if sense deceive her not-'tis he!
Mild Hermes spake-and touched her with his
That calms all fear: "Such grace hath crowned thy
Laodamia! that at Jove's command
Thy husband walks the paths of upper air:
He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space;
Forth sprang the impassioned queen her lord to clasp!
Again that consummation she essayed ;
"Protesilàus, lo! thy guide is gone!
Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice:
This precious boon; and blest a sad abode."
"Great Jove, Laodamia! doth not leave
And something also did my worth obtain;
Thou know'st, the Delphic oracle foretold
That the first Greek who touched the Trojan
Should die; but me the threat could not with
A generous cause a victim did demand;
And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain ;
A self-devoted chief-by Hector slain."
"Supreme of heroes-bravest, noblest, best!
Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest
A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
"But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
As when their breath enriched Thessalian air.
"No spectre greets me,- -no vain shadow this:
Jove frowned in heaven; the conscious Parcæ threw
Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.
"This visage tells thee that my doom is past :
Nor should the change be mourned, even if the joys
Of sense were able to return as fast
And surely as they vanish.
Those raptures duly-Erebus disdains :
"Be taught, O faithful consort, to control
"Ah, wherefore?—Did not Hercules by force
Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom?
"The gods to us are merciful—and they
Yet further may relent: for mightier far
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway
Of magic potent over sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest,
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman's breast.