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XII-Jupiter to the inferior Deities, forbidding them to any Part in the Contention between the Greeks and Trojans.-HOMER.
of the dawn,
Sprinkled with rosy light the dewy lawn;
When Jove conven'd the senate of the skies,
Where high Olympus' cloudy tops arise.
The sire of gods his awful silence broke,
The heavens, attentive, trembled as he spoke :-
"Celestial states! Immortal gods! give ear:
Ilear our decree; and rev'rence what ye hear:
The fix'd decree, which not all heaven can move :
Thou fate fulfil it: and ye powers approve.
What god shall enter yon forbidden field,
Who yields assistance or but wills to yield;
Back to the skies, with shame he shall be driven;
Gash'd with dishonest wounds, the scorn of heaven:
Or, from our sacred hill, with fury thrown,
Deep in the dark Tartarean gulf shall groan;
With burning chains fix'd to the brazen floors,
And lock'd by hell's inexorable doors:
As far beneath th' inférnal centre hurl'd
As from that centre to th' etherial world.
Let each submissive, dread those dire abodes,
Nor tempt the vengeance of the god of gods.
League all your forces, then, ye powers above;
Your strength unite against the might of Jove.
Let down our golden everlasting chain,
Whose strong embrace holds heaven, and earth and main.
Strive all of mortal or immortal birth,
To drag, by this, the thund'rer down to earth.
Ye strive in vain. If I but stretch this hand,
I heave the gods, the ocean and the land.
I fix the chain to great Olympus' height,
And the vast world hangs trembling in my sight.
For such I reign unbounded and above;
And such are men and gods, compar'd to Jove.”
XIII. Æneas to Queen Dido, giving an Account of the
Sack of Troy--VIRGIL.
When from his lofty couch, he thus began:-
Great Queen! What you command me to relate
Renews the sad remembrance of our fate;
An empire from its old foundations rent,
And every woe the Trojans underwent;
A pop'lous city made a desert place;
All that I saw and part of which I was,
Not e'en the hardest of our foes could hear,
Nor stern Ulysses tell without a tear.
'Twas now the dead of night, when sleep repairs
Our bodies wore with toils, our minds with cares,
When Hector's ghost before my sight appears:
Shrouded in blood he stood, and bath'd in tears:
Such as when, by the fierce Pelides slain,
Thessalian coursers dragg'd him o'er the plain.
Swoln were his feet, as when the thongs were thrust
Through the pierc'd limbs; his body black with dust.
Unlike that Hector, who, return'd from toils
Of war, triumphant, in Æacian spoils ;
Or him who made the fainting Greeks retire,
Hurling amidst their fleets the Phrygian fire.
His hair and beard were clotted stiff with gore:
The ghastly wounds he for his country bore,
Now stream'd afresh.
I wept to see the visionary man;
And, whilst my trance continued, thus began:
"O light of Trojans, and support of Troy,
Thy father's champion, and thy country's joy!
O long expected by thy friends! From whence
Art thou so late return'd to our defence?
Alas! what wounds are these? What new disgrace
Deforms the manly honors of thy face?"
The spectre groaning from his inmost breast,
This warning in these mournful words exprest.
"Haste, goddess born! Escape by timely flight,
The flames and horrors of this fatal night;
Thy foes already have possess'd our wall;
Troy nods from high, and totters to her fall.
Enough is paid to Priam's royal name,
Enough to country, and to deathless fame.
If by a mortal arm my father's throne
Could have been sav'd-this arm that feat had done.
Troy now commends to thee her future state,
And gives her gods companions of her fate;
Under their umbrage hope for happier walls,
And follow where thy various fortune calls."
He said, and brought from forth the sacred choir,
The gods and relics of th' immortal fire.
Now peals of shouts came thund'ring from afar,
Cries, threats, and loud lament, and mingled war.
The noise approaches, though our palace stood
Aloof from streets, embosom'd close with wood;
Louder and louder still I hear th' alarms
Of human cries distinct, and clashing arms.
Fear broke my slumbers.
I mount the terrace; thence the town survey,
And listen what the swelling sounds convey.
Then Hector's faith was manifestly clear'd;
And Grecian fraud in open light appear'd.
The palace of Deipholus ascends
In smoky flames, and catches on his friends.
Ucalegon burns next; the seas are bright
With splendors not their own, and shine with sparkling light.
New clamors and new clangors now arise,
The trumpet's voice, with agonizing cries.
With phrenzy seiz'd, I run to meet th' alarms,
Resolv'd on death, resolv'd to die in arms.
But first to gather friends, with whom t' oppose,
If fortune favor'd, and repel the foes,
By courage rous'd, by love of country fir'd,
With sense of honor and revenge inspir'd.
Pantheus, Apollo's priest, a sacred name,
Had 'scap'd the Grecian swords and pass'd the flame :
With relics loaded, to my doors he fled,
And by the hand his tender grandson led.
"What hope, O Pantheus? Whither can we run?
Where make a stand? Or, What can yet be done!"
Scarce had I spoke, when Pantheus, with a groan,
"Troy is no more! Her glories now are gone.
The fatal day, th' appointed hour is come,
When wrathful Jove's irrevocable doom
Transfers the Trojan state to Grecian hands:
Our city's wrapt in flames; the foe commands:
To several posts their parties they divider;
Some block the narrow streets; some scour the wide.
The bold they kill; th' unwary they surprise;
Who fights meets death, and death finds him who flies."
XIV.-Moloch, the fallen Angel, to the infernal powers, inciting them to renew the War.-MILTON. sentence is for open war.
More unexpert, I boast not; then let those
Contrive who need: or when they need, not now.
For while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here,
Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame
The prison of his tyranny, who reigns
By our delay? No; let us rather choose,
Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once,
O'er heav'n's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms,
Against the tort'rer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder; and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels-and his throne itself,
Mix'd with Tartarian sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But, perhaps,
The way seems difficult and steep to scale,
With upright wing, against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight,
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy then.
Th' event is fear'd. Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find,
To our destruction; if there be in hell,
Fear to be worse destroy'd: What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemn'd
In this abhorred deep to utter woe;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire,
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorable, and the tort'ring hour
Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus
We should be quite abolish'd and expire.
What fear we then? What doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? Which to the height enrag'd,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential, (happier far
Than miserable, to have eternal being)
Or if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
..On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb this heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne;
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."
XV.-Speech of Belial, advising Peace.-Is.
SHOULD be much for open war, O peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urg'd
Main reason to persuade immediate war,
Did not dissuade the most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who most excels in feats of arms,
In what he counsels, and in what excels,
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of heaven are fill'd With armed watch, that render all access Impregnable; oft on the bordering deep Incamp their legions; or, with obscure wing, Scout far and wide, into the realm of night, Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way By force, and at our heels all hell should rise With blackest insurrection, to confound Heaven's purest light-yet our great enemy, All incorruptible, would, on his throne, Sit unpolluted; and th' etherial mould, Incapable of stain, would soon expel Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope Is flat despair. We must exasperate Th' almighty victor to spend all his rage, And that must end us; that must be our cure, To be no more. Sad fate! For who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through eternity, To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry foe Can give it, or will ever? How he can, Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, Belike through impotence, or unaware, To give his enemies their wish, and end Them in his anger, whom his anger saves To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then? Say they who counsel war, we are decreed, Reserv'd and destin'd to eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can suffer more, What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? What when we fled amain, pursued and struck With heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought The deep to shelter us? This hell then seem'd A refuge from those wounds; or when we lay Chain'd on the burning lake? That sure was worse, What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, Awak'd, should blow them into seven-fold rage, And plunge us in the flames? or from above Should intermitted vengeance arm again His red right hand to plague us? What if all Her stores were open'd and this firmament Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire. Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall