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Το μέλλον ήξει. Και συ μ' εν τάχει παρών
"Αγαν γ' αληθόμαντιν οικτείρας έρείς. .

A'schy. Agamem. 1225.

ARGUMENT.

The Ode commences with an address to the Divine Providence, that regulates into one vast harmony all the events of time however calamitous some of them may appear to mortals. The second Strophe calls on men to suspend their private joys and sorrows, and devote them, for a while, to the cause of human nature in general. The first epode speaks of the Empress of Russia, who died of an apoplexy on the 17th of November, 1796, having just concluded a subsidiary treaty with the Kings combined against France. The first and second Antistrophe describe the image of the departing year, &c., as in a vision. The second epode prophesies in anguish of spirit, the downfall of this country.

STI.OPHE I.

SPIRIT! who sweepest the wild harp of Time,

It is most hard with an untroubled ear

Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear !
Yet, mine eye fix'd on Heaven's unchanging clime,
Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,

With inward stillness, and a bowed mind:

* This Ode was written on the 24th, 25th, and 26th days of December, 1795; and published separately on the last day of the year.

When lo! far onwards waving on the wind I saw the skirts of the DEPARTING YEAR !

Starting from my silent sadness

Then with no unholy madness, Ere yet the enter'd cloud forbade my sight, I rais’d th' impetuous song, and solemniz'd his flight.

STROPHE II.

Hither from the recent tomb,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From poverty's heart-wasting languish,
From distemper's midnight anguish;
Or where his two bright torches blending,

Love illumines manhood's maze;
Or where o'er cradled infants bending

Hope has fixed her wishful gaze:
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Ye Woes, and young-eyed Joys advance !
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand

Whose indefatigable sweep

Forbids its fateful strings to sleep,
I bid you haste, a mix'd tumultuous band;
From every private bower,

And each domestic hearth,
Haste for one solemn hour;
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth,

Weep and rejoice!
Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth
Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Hell;

And now advance in saintly jubilee
Justice and Truth! They, too, have heard the spell,

They, too, obey thy name, divinest Liberty!

E PODE I.

I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!

I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous cry“Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay! Groans not her chariot o'er its onward way?”. Fly; mailed monarch fly! Stunn'd by Death's “ twice mortal

mace, No more on murder's lurid face The insatiate hag shall gloat with drunken eye!

Manes of the unnumber'd slain !

Ye that gasp'd on Warsaw's plain ! Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,

When human ruin chok'd the streams,
Fell in conquest's glutted hour,

Mid women's shrieks and infant's screams!
Whose shrieks, whose screams were vain to stir
Loud-laughing, red-eyed Massacre !
Spirits of th' uncoffin'd slain,

Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Oft, at night, in misty train,

Rush around her narrow dwelling! Th’exterminating fiend is fled

(Foul her life, and dark her doom) Mighty army of the dead

Dance, like death-fires, round her tomb!
Then with prophetic song relate,
Each some sceptred murderer's fate!

ANTISTROPHE I.

Departing Year! 'twas on no earthly shore

My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone,

Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne, Aye Memory sits; there, garmented with gore, With many an unimaginable groan

Thou stored'st thy sad hours ! Silence ensued,

Deep silence o'er th'ethereal multitude, Whose wreathed locks with snow-white glories shone.

Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,

From the choired gods advancing,
The Spirit of the Earth made reverence meet,
And stood up beautiful before the cloudy seat!

ANTISTROPHE II.

On every harp, on every tongue,
While the mute enchantment hung;
Like midnight from a thunder-cloud,
Spake the sudden Spirit loud-
“ Thou in stormy blackness throning

Love and uncreated light,
By the Earth's unsolac'd groaning,
Seize thy terrors, Arm of might!

By Belgium's corse impeded flood ! *

By Vendée's steaming brother's blood! By Peace with proffer'd insult sear'd,

Masked hate and envying scorn!

By years of havoc yet unborn!
And hunger's bosom to the frost-winds bard !
But chief by Afric's wrongs,

Strange, horrible, and foul !
By what deep guilt belongs
To the deaf Senate, ‘full of gifts and lies!'
By wealth's insensate laugh! by torture's howl!

Avenger, rise!

For ever shall the bloody Island scowl? For aye, unbroken, shall her cruel bow

Shoot famine's arrows o'er thy ravag'd world? Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans below!

Rise, God of Nature, rise! Ah why those bolts unhurld?”

* The Rhine.

EPODE II.

The voice had ceas'd, the phantoms fled;
Yet still I gasp'd and reel'd with dread.
And ever, when the dream of night
Renews the vision to my sight,
Cold sweat-damps gather on my limbs;

My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start;
My brain with horrid tumult swims;
Wild is the tempest of my heart;

And my thick and struggling breath

Imitates the toil of death!
No stranger agony confounds

The soldier on the war-field spread,
When all foredone with toils and wounds,

Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead ! (The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,

And the night.wind clamours hoarse!
See! the startful wretch's head

Lies pillowed on a brother's corse!)

O doom'd to fall, enslav'd and vile,
O Albion ! O my mother Isle !
Thy valleys, fair as Eden's bowers,
Glitter green

with sunny showers; Thy grassy uplands gentle swells

Echo to the bleat of flocks ; (Those grassy hills, those glittring dells Proudly ramparted with rocks)

And Ocean mid his uproar wild

Speaks safety to his island-child. Hence for many a fearless age

Has social quiet lov'd thy shore; Nor ever sworded foeman's rage

Orsack’thy towers, or stain'd thy fields with gore.

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