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In battle vanquish'd in a foreign land!
Or had at least more fav’ring gods assign'd
To her the common ruin of her race !
Had war's remorseless hand, in one sad day,
Mix'd with the sire's the daughter's virgin blood,
Ere in the secret shade, with guilty joy,
I listen’d to thy tender tale of love,
And with fond rapture prest thee to my heart,
Thy hands yet reeking with my father's blood !
Now his dear image haunts my broken sleep.
Dreadful he frowns, upbraids my parricide,
Dooms me to horrid pains, and ling’ring death,
Or worse than death, to savage Guendolen
Delivers me, a trembling, helpless victim.
With kinder gesture now, and look benignant,
He whispers soft forgiveness in my ear.
Sudden the scene is chang’d. The cry of woe
Invades my sense, the scream of female horror.
I see thee stretch'd before me, pale and lifeless,
And pierc'd with wounds, and stiff with clotted blood."
· Would'st thou forget our loves ?" the hero cried :
“No; when these black ideas haunt thy fancy,
Bid fond remembrance dwell on ev'ry kiss,
Each stolen rapture, and each soft endearment.
Pledge of our mutual bliss, thy gentle Sabra
Displays her blooming charms. Oh fondly press
The beauteous maid to thy maternal bosom,
Then, if thou canst, wish we had never lov'd.
Nor deem that Locrine was thy father's foe: -
For honour was our strife, not hate or vengeance.
The brave, my best belov’d, still prize the brave,
And, might the hero's shade revisit earth,
Pleas'd would his martial hand bestow thy beauty,
On him whose prowess could surpass his own."
. Thus sooth'd he his fair spouse. A pleasing calm .
Stole o'er her soul, a sweet suspense of grief.
She rais’d her streaming eyes, and smil'd in tears.
So, from the region of the sultry South,
When dark collected vapours rolling on,
Have quench'd the radiance of the summer morn,
And the loud thunder growls, and rain descends,
Sudden the golden Sun darts forth his beams,
Scatt'ring the thin skirts of the passing storm;
Then smiles the joyful earth; but other clouds
With dark and threat’ning aspect lour behind.
Now warlike cares demand the chief. He rose
Prepard to part. Again her sorrows flow,
Again the echoing roof resounds her cries.
She beats her wretched breast, entreats his stay,
And hangs upon his robe in frantic grief;
Exhausted now, she faints. The gentle Sabra
With milder action presses with her lips
His hand, while from her eyes the trickling moisture -
Falls silent : he, though firm of soul, not proof
'Gainst human feelings, turns his face to hide
The tear he checks in vain, and hastes away.
And now he reach'd the plain, where, sheath'd in arms
And rang’d in just array, Loëgria's youth
Expect their leader. He with joy surveys
Their numerous files, and marks their bold demeariour.
Nor less elate, they with admiring eyes
Beheld their graceful chief. He seem'd a god.
Such to their fathers, by the sacred wave
Of their ador'd Scamander, when the foe
Sought the vain shelter of their wooden walls,
Appear'd the mighty Hector, or confest
To mortal eyes, the dreadful god of war
Flam'd in the foremost battle. Fear and flight
Precede. Wild horror seiz'd each Grecian heart.
“ Ye brave assertors of your country's rights,
Ye genuine sons of Troy," the hero cried,
- Whence is this mighty nation, whose bold arms
Insult our frontiers, and provoke our wrath ?
Are these the matchless warriors, they who late
Suppliant, with outstretch'd arms, implor'd our aid, .
When the rude natives from their cloudy hills !
Scourg'd back the weak invaders, who but ill
Sustain'd their aspect fierce, and giant strength,. '
When, loos’ning from their seats the rooted rocks,..
They hurl'd th' enormous ruin on their foe?
Then, suppliant, they implor'd our aid, and wag'd
Successful war, with forces not their own.
Presumptuous ! they who would our country seize
Have none but by our gift. Advance, my friends,
Advance your ensigns, lift your shining arms.
They view our fertile plains with envious eyes;
Those fertile plains superior valour won,
Superior valour guards. Hence let them fly
'Midst rugged rocks, and desert caves, to seek
A refuge from our wrath.” He spoke ; at once
A thousand banners float upon the air;
At once they march: a thousand instruments
Sound forth their martial strains, and as they move
Loud rings the brazen armour. Neighing steeds
Whirl o'er the smoking plain the scythed cars ;
Earth shakes, and heav'n's wide-echoing arch resounds.
Upon their dancing plumes, and glitt'ring helms,
Sits Confidence. Elate with hope they move,
And eager for the war: some god deceives
Their dazzled sense, and urges on to ruin.