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Το μέλλον ήξει. Και συ μ' εν τάχει παρών
A'schy. Agamem. 1225.
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.
SPIRIT! who sweepest the wild harp of Time,
It is most hard with an untroubled ear
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear !
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.
Hither from the recent tomb,
Love illumines manhood's maze;
Hope has fixed her wishful gaze:
Whose indefatigable sweep
Forbids its fateful strings to sleep,
And each domestic hearth,
Weep and rejoice!
And now advance in saintly jubilee
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,
Mid women's shrieks and infant's screams!
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
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!
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,
On every harp, on every tongue,
Love and uncreated light,
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!
Strange, horrible, and foul !
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.
The voice had ceas'd, the phantoms fled;
My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start;
And my thick and struggling breath
Imitates the toil of death!
The soldier on the war-field spread,
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead ! (The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,
And the night.wind clamours hoarse!
Lies pillowed on a brother's corse!)
O doom'd to fall, enslav'd and vile,
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.