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Steel, flashing, pours on steel, foe crowds on foe;
Rage nerves his arm, fate gleams in every blow;
In vain beneath unnumber'd wounds he bleeds,
Nor wounds, nor death, distracted Nisus heeds;
In viewless circles wheel'd, his falchion flies,
Nor quits the hero's grasp till Volscens dies;
Deep in his throat its end the weapon found,
The tyrant's soul fled groaning through the wound.
Thus Nisus all his fond affection proved-
Dying, revenged the fate of him he loved;
Then on his bosom sought his wonted place,
And death was heavenly in his friend's embrace!

Celestial pair! if aught my verse can claim,
Wafted on Time's broad pinion, yours is fame!
Ages on ages shall your fate admire,

No future day shall see your names expire,
While stands the Capitol, immortal dome!

And vanquish'd millions hail their empress, Rome!



WHEN fierce conflicting passions urge
The breast where love is wont to glow,
What mind can stem the stormy surge
Which rolls the tide of human woe?

First printed in Hours of Idleness.-ED.

The hope of praise, the dread of shame,
Can rouse the tortured breast no more;
The wild desire, the guilty flame,
Absorbs each wish it felt before.


But if affection gently thrills

The soul by purer dreams possest,
The pleasing balm of mortal ills

In love can soothe the aching breast;
If thus thou comest in disguise*


Fair Venus! from thy native heaven,
What heart unfeeling would despise
The sweetest boon the gods have given?


But never from thy golden bow
May I beneath the shaft expire!
Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,
Awakes an all-consuming fire:
Ye racking doubts! ye jealous fears!
With others wage internal war;
Repentance, source of future tears,
From me be ever distant far!


May no distracting thoughts destroy
The holy calm of sacred love!

May all the hours be winged with joy,
Which hover faithful hearts above!

* Comest in disguise. In the first edition, com'st in gentle guise.—ED.

Fair Venus! on thy myrtle shrine

May I with some fond lover sigh,
Whose heart may mingle pure with mine-
With me to live, with me to die!


My native soil! beloved before,
Now dearer as my peaceful home,
Ne'er may I quit thy rocky shore,
A hapless banish'd wretch to roam!
This very day, this very hour,

May I resign this fleeting breath!
Nor quit my silent humble bower;
A doom to me far worse than death.


Have I not heard the exile's sigh,
And seen the exile's silent tear,
Through distant climes condemn'd to fly,
A pensive weary wanderer here?

Ah! hapless dame*! no sire bewails,

No friend thy wretched fate deplores,

No kindred voice with rapture hails

Thy steps within a stranger's doors.

Medea, who accompanied Jason to Corinth, was deserted by him for the daughter of Creon, king of that city. The chorus from which this is taken here addresses Medea; though a considerable liberty is taken with the original, by expanding the idea, as also in some other parts of the translation.


Perish the fiend whose iron heart,
To fair affection's truth unknown,
Bids her he fondly loved depart,
Unpitied, helpless, and alone;
Who ne'er unlocks with silver key*
The milder treasures of his soul,—
May such a friend be far from me,

And ocean's storms between us roll!

* The original is 66 Καθαρὰν ἀνοίξαντι κλῇδα φρενῶν ;” literally "disclosing the bright key of the mind."


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