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YE pow'rs of song! with whose immortal fire
Your bard enraptur'd sung Pelides' ire,
To Greece so fatal, when in evil hour,

He brav'd, in stern debate, the sov'reign pow'r,
By like example teach me now to show
From love, no less, what dire disasters flow.
For when the youth of Greece, by Theseus led,
Return'd to conquer where their fathers bled,
And punish guilty Thebes, by Heav'n ordain'd
For perfidy to fall, and oaths profan'd;
Venus, still partial to the Theban arms,
Tydeus' son seduc'd by female charms;
Who, from his plighted faith by passion sway'd,
The chiefs, the army, and himself betray'd.
This theme did once your fav'rite bard employ,
Whose verse immortaliz'd the fall of Troy :
But time's oblivious gulf, whose circle draws
All mortal things by fate's eternal laws,
In whose wide vortex worlds themselves are tost,
And rounding swift successively are lost,
This song hath snatch'd. I now resume the strain,
Not from proud hope and emulation vain,
By this attempt to merit equal praise
With worth heroic, born in happier days.
Sooner the weed, that with the Spring appears,
And in the Summer's heat its blossom bears,
But, shriv'ling at the touch of Winter hoar,
Sinks to its native earth, and is no more;
Might match the lofty oak, which long hath stood,
From age to age, the monarch of the wood.
But love excites me, and desire to trace
His glorious steps, tho' with unequal pace.
Before me still I see his awful shade,
With garlands crown'd of leaves which never fade;
He points the path to fame, and bids me scale
Parnassus' slipp'ry height, where thousands fail:
I follow trembling; for the cliffs are high,
And hov'ring round them watchful harpies fly,
To snatch the poet's wreath with envious claws,
And biss contempt for merited applause.

But if great Campbell, whose auspicious smile
Bids genius yet revive to bless our isle,
Who, from the toils of state, and public cares,
Oft with the Muses to the shade repairs,
My numbers shall approve, I rise to fame :
For what he praises, envy dares not blame.

Where high Olympus' hundred heads arise,
Divide the clouds, and mingle with the skies,
The gods assembled met: and view'd from far,
Thebes and the various combats of the war.
From all apart the Paphian goddess sat,
And pity'd in her heart her fav'rite state,
Decreed to perish, by the Argive bands,
Pallas's art, Tydides' mighty hands:
Pensive she sat, and every art explor'd
To charm the victor, and restrain his sword;
But veil'd her purpose from the piercing ray
Of Pallas, ever jealous of her sway:
Unseen the goddess, from th' Olympian height
To shady Cyprus bent her rapid flight,
Down the steep air, as, from the setting skies,
At ev'n's approach, a streaming meteor flies.
And sleeps, in peace dissolv'd, the hoary mam;
Where lofty shores the tempest's rage restrain,
which woods embrace, and precipices bound,
In love's fam'd isle a deep recess is found,
To Venus sacred; there her temple stands,
Where azure billows wash the golden sands,
A hollow cave; and lifts its rocky head,
With native myrtle crown'd, a lofty shade;
Whither resort the Naiads of the flood,
Assembl'd with the nymphs from ev'ry wood,
Her heifers there they tend, and fleecy store,
Along the windings of the desert shore.
Thither the goddess, from the Olympian height
Descending swift, precipitates her flight;
Conspicuous, on the yellow sand, she stood,
Above the margin of the azure flood.
From ev'ry grove and stream the nymphs attend,
Some hast'ning to the sacred grot repair,
And to their queen in cheerful homage bend.
And deck its rocky walls with garlands fair;
Others produce the gifts which Autumn brings,
And sparkling nectar quench'd with mountain

And now the queen, impatient to explain Her secret griefs, address'd her list'ning train: "Ye rural goddesses, immortal fair! Who all my triumphs, all my sorrows share; I come, afflicted, from th' ethereal tow'rs, Where Thebes is doom'd to fall by partial pow'rs. Nor can entreaty save my fav'rite state, Avert or change the rigour of her fate; Though, breathing incense, there my altar stands, With daily gifts supply'd from virgin's hands. Juno now rules the senate of the skies, And with her dictates ev'ry pow'r complies; Her jealous hate the guiltless town condemns To wasteful havoc, and the rage of flames; Since, thither tempted by a stranger's charms, The mighty thunderer forsook her arms. Jove's warlike daughter too promotes her aim, Who for Tydides seeks immortal fame ; For him employs a mother's watchful cares, And the first honours of the war prepares: To frustrate both, a monument would raise Of lasting triumph and immortal praise; To draw the son of Tydeus from the field, To whose victorious hands the town must yield; For, by the all-decreeing will of fate, He only can o'erthrow the Theban state. A way which promises success I'll name: 1 The valiant youth adores a lovely dame, Alcander's daughter, whom the graces join'd With gifts adorn above the human kind : She with her sire forsook th' Hesperian strand, By hostile arms expell'd their native land: For Echetus who rules, with tyrant force, Where Aufidus directs his downward course, And high Garganus, on th' Apulian plain, Is mark'd by sailors, from the distant main; Oft from her sire had claim'd the lovely maid, Who, still averse, to grant his suit delay'd: For, barb'rous in extreme, the tyrant feeds With mangl'd limbs of men his hungry steeds: Impatient of his love, by hostile arms

And force declar'd, he claim'd her matchless charms,

Pelignium raz'd, the hero's royal seat,
Who sought in foreign climes a safe retreat:
His flight, Etolia's friendly shore receives,
Her gen'rous lord protects him and relieves;
Three cities to possess, the chief obtains,
With hills for pasture fit, and fruitful plains.
Cassandra for his bride Tydides claim'd;
For hymeneal rites the hour was nam'd;
When, call'd to arms against the Theban tow'rs,
The chief reluctant led his martial pow'rs.
Hence jealousy and fear his breast divide,
Fear for the safety of an absent bride;
Lest, by his passion rous'd, the tyrant rise,
And unoppos'd usurp the lovely prize.
He knows not, that, in martial arms conceal'd,
With him she braves the terrours of the field;
True to his side, noon's sultry toil endures,
And the cold damps that chill the midnight hours.
If dreams, or signs, could jealousy impart,
And whets the cares that sting the hero's heart,
Impatient of his pain, he'd soon prepare,
With all its native bonds, to quit the war."

The goddess thus: a Paphian nymph reply'd,
And drew the list'ning crow'd on ev'ry side:
Zelotype, whom fell Alecto bore,
With Cupid mixing on th' infernal shore.

"Goddess! these shafts shall compass what

you aim,

My mother dipt their points in Stygian flame;
Where'er my father's darts their way have found,
Mine follow deep, and poison all the wound.
By these, we soon, with triumph, shall behold
Pallas deceiv'd, and Juno's self control'd."

They all approve; and, to the rural fane,
Around their sov'reign, moves the joyful train;
The goddess plac'd, in order each succeeds,
With song and dance the genial feast proceeds;
While to the sprightly harp, the voice explains
The loves of all the gods in wanton strains:
But when arriv'd the silent hour, which brings
The shades of ev'ning on its dewy wings,
Zelotypé, impatient to pursue

Her journey, hast'ning to her cave, withdrew. First to her feet the winged shoes she binds, Which tread the air, and mount the rapid winds; Aloft they bear her through th' ethereal plain, Above the solid earth and liquid main : Her arrows next she takes of pointed steel, For sight too small, but terrible to feel : Rous'd by their smart, the savage lion roars, And mad to combat rush the tusky boars, Of wounds secure; for where their venom lights, What feels their power all other torment slights, A figur'd zone, mysteriously design'd, Around her waist her yellow robe confin'd: There dark Suspicion lurk'd, of sable hue; There hasty Rage his deadly dagger drew; Pale Envy inly pin'd; and by her side Stood Phrenzy, raging with his chains unty'd; Affronted Pride with thirst of vengeance burn'd, And Love's excess to deepest hatred turn'd. All these the artist's curious hand express'd, The work divine his matchless skill confess'd. The virgin last, around her shoulders flung The bow; and by her side the quiver hung: Then, springing up, her airy course she bends For Thebes; and lightly o'er the tents descends, The son of Tydeus, 'midst his bands, she found In arms complete, reposing on the ground; And, as he slept, the hero thus address'd, Her form to fancy's waking eye express'd. "Thrice happy youth! whose glory 'tis to The Paphian goddess's peculiar care; But happy only, as you now improve The warning sent as earnest of her love. Her messenger I am: if in your heart The fair Hesperian virgin claims a part: If, with regret, you'd see her matchless charme Destin'd to bless a happier rival's arms; Your coasts defenceless, and unguarded tow'ns Consum'd and ravag'd by the Latian pow'rs; Withdraw your warriors from the Argive host, And save whate'er you value, ere 'tis lost. For Echetus, who rules with tyrant force, Where Aufidus directs his downward course; And high Garganus on th' Apulian strand Marks to the mariner the distant land, Prepares, by swift invasion, to remove Your virgin bride, and disappoint your love. Before, excited by her matchless charms, He claim'd her from her sire by hostile arms; Pelignium raz'd, the hero's royal seat, When in your land he sought a safe retreat. Cassandra follow'd with reluctant mind, To love the tyrant secretly inclin'd;


Though fierce and barb'rous in extreme, he feeds
With mangl'd limbs of men, his hungry steeds.
And now at anchor on the Latian tide,
With all their train on board, his galleys ride:
Prepar'd when favour'd by the western breeze,
With course direct to cross the narrow seas.
This to your ear the Paphian goddess sends;
The rest upon your timely care depends."

She said; and turning, fix'd upon the bow
A venom'd shaft, the cause of future woe:
Then, with reverted aim, the subtile dart
Dismiss'd, and fix'd it in the hero's heart.
Amaz'd he wak'd; and, on his arm reclin'd,
With sighs, thus spoke the anguish of his mind.
"What dire disasters all my ways beset!
How close around me pitch'd the fatal net!
Here if I stay, nor quit the Argive host,
Etolia's ravag'd, and Cassandra's lost:
For sure the pow'rs immortal ne'er in vain
To mortals thus the secret fates explain.
If I retire, the princes must upbraid
My plighted faith infring'd, the host betray'd;
And, to succeeding times, the voice of fame,
With cowardice and sloth, will blot my name.
Between these sad alternatives I find

No distant hopes to sooth my anxious mind; Unless I could persuade the Argive pow'rs To quit at once these long contested tow'rs: Nor want I reasons specious in debate To move the boldest warriors to retreat. Divided thus, the shame would lighter fall; Reproach is scarce reproach which touches all." Thus pond'ring in his mind the hero lay, Till darkness fled before the morning ray: Then rose; and, grasping in his mighty hand The regal staff, the sign of high command, • Pensive and sad forsook his lofty tent, And sought the son of Dares as he went : Talthybius he sought, nor sought in vain ; He found the hero 'midst his native train; And charg'd him to convene, from tent to tent, The kings to Eteon's lofty monument.

Obedient to the charge, he took his way, Where Theseus 'midst the bold Athenians lay, The king of men; in whose superior hand, Consenting princes plac'd the chief command. Adrastus next he call'd, whose hoary hairs By age were whiten'd and a length of cares; Who first to Thebes the Argive warriors led: In vain for Polynices' right they bled, By fate decreed to fall; he now inspires The sons to conquer, and avenge their sires. Ulysses heard, who led his martial train, In twenty ships, across the sounding main: The youth, in Ithaca, Zacynthus, bred, And Cephalenia crown'd with lofty shade. The Spartan monarch, with his brother, heard The herald's call; and at the call appear'd: Yet young in arms, but destin'd to command All Greece, assembled on the Trojan strand. The Cretan chief appear'd; and he whose sway Messenia and the Pylian realms obey. Oileus next be call'd, whose martial pow'rs From Bessa move and Scarphe's lofty tow'rs. Elpenor too, who from the Chalcian strand And fair Eretria led his martial band, Appear'd; and all who merited renown In ten years war before the Trojan town. Achilles only, yet unfit to wield

The Pelian jav'lin, and the pond'rous shield,

In Phthia staid; to Chiron's care resign'd, Whose wise instructions form'd his mighty mind. The chiefs were plac'd. Superior to the rest The monarch sat, and thus the peers addrest.

"Princes! let Tydeus' valiant son declare What cause convenes the senate of the war. If of himself, or from advice he knows Some secret mischief plotted by our foes, Which prudence may prevent, or force resist, We come prepar'd to counsel and assist:" The monarch thus. Tydides thus reply'd, And drew attention deep on ev'ry side.

"Princes! I have not now the host conven'd, For secrets by intelligence obtain'd; But openly my judgment to express Of mischiefs seen, which prudence must redress: By war's devouring rage, our martial pow'rs Grow thin and waste before these hostile tow'rs; While Thebes, secure, our vain attempts withBy daily aid sustain'd from distant lands. [stands, Shall we proceed to urge this dire debate, And press, with hostile arms, the Theban state? Or, by experience taught the worst to fear, Consult the public safety, and forbear? Had our great sires, by happier counsels sway'd, As prudence taught, necessity obey'd; Renounc'd in time this fatal strife, which brings Alike to nations mischief, and to kings; Those heroes had not, with their martial train, Distinguish'd by their fall a foreign plain. The gods themselves, in vengeance for our crimes, With such disasters lash the guilty times; In judgment just, they sow'd the seeds of strife, To sweep transgressors from the seats of life. Let him, who obstinately will, proceed, And wait the vengeance hov'ring o'er his head; Since Thebes grows stronger; and the Argive pow'rs Decrease, as famine or the sword devours, To morrow I withdraw my martial train; Nor stay to perish, like my sire, in vain."

Thus as the hero spoke, the kings divide,
And mingled murmurs round th' assembly glide,
Heard like the sound which warn the careful

Of sudden winds or thick-descending rain;
When mountain echoes catch the sullen roar
Of billows bursting on the sandy shore,
And hurl it round in airy circles tost,
Till in the distant clouds the voice is lost.
The king of men to sudden rage resign'd,
At once, the empire of his mighty mind,
With sharp reproaches hast'ning to reply;
But, more sedate, the Pylian monarch nigh,
In act to rise, the angry chief confin'd;
And, whisp'ring, thus address'd with head de-

"It ill becomes the prince, whose sov'reign hand
Sways the dread sceptre of supreme command,
To be the first in discord; and obey
As headlong passion blindly leads the way.
For when the kings in rash debate engage,
'Tis yours to check and moderate their rage;
Since, of the various ills that can distress
Confed'rate councils, and prevent success,
Discord is chief; where'er the fury sways,
The parts she severs, and the whole betrays."
The hero thus. The king of men remain'd
By sound advice persuaded, and restrain'd.
Crete's valiant monarch rose; and to the rest,
Thus spoke the dictates of his gen'rous breast.

'Confed'rate kings, when any leader here The war dissuades, and warns you to forbear, I might approve; for, safe beyond the sea, Creon and Thebes can never injure me. And when the barb'rous tyrant, unwithstood, His hot revenge shall quench in Grecian blood; When Thrace and Macedon, by his command, Shall ravage Argos and the Pylian strand; Secure and guarded by the ocean's stream, Crete's hundred towns shall know it but by fame. Yet would not I, though many such were found, For open war, advise a peace unsound. Let Macedon to Thebes her succours send,

And Thrace, with all her barb'rous tribes, descend;

By foreign aids the more our foes increase,
The greater glory waits us from success.
You all remember, on the Isthmean strand,
Where neighb'ring seas besiege the straiten'd

When Greece enleagu'd a full assembly held,
By public justice to the war compell'd;
That blood of slaughter'd victims drench'd the

While oaths divine the willing nations bound,
Ne'er to return, till our victorious pow'rs
Had level'd with the dust the Theban tow'rs.
Jove heard, and bid applauding thunders roll, ̧
Loud on the right; they shook the starry pole:
For Jove himself is witness of our vows,
And him, who violates, his wrath pursues.
Our joyful shouts the earth, the ocean heard;
We claim'd the omen, and the God rever'd:
In confidence of full success we came,
To conquer Thebes, and win immortal fame.
But if the gods and fate our fears distrust,
To public justice and ourselves unjust;
Dishonour'd to our native seats we go,
And yield a lasting triumph to the foe.
Should now, from hence arriv'd, some warrior's
Greet valiant Tydeus on the Stygian coast,
And tell, when danger or distress is near,
That Diomed persuades the rest to fear;
He'd shun the synod of the mighty dead,
And hide his anguish in the deepest shade:
Nature in all an equal course maintains;
The lion's whelp succeeds to awe the plains;
Pards gender pards; from tigers tigers spring;
No doves are hatch'd beneath a vulture's wing:
Each parent's image in his offspring lives;
But nought of Tydeus in his son survives."


He said; and by his sharp reproaches stung, And wav'ring in suspence the hero hung, In words now prone to vent his kind''d ire, Or fix'd in sullen silence to retire. As when a current, from the ocean wide, Rolls, through the Cyclades, its angry tide; Now here, now there, in circling eddies tost, The certain tenour of its course is lost, Each wary pilot for his safety fears In mute suspense, and trembles as he steers: Such seem'd the tumult of the hero's breast, And such amazement long restrain'd the rest. Laertes' son at last the silence broke, And, rising, thus with prudent purpose spoke: "Princes! I counsel war; but will not blame The chief dissenting, whose illustrions name We all must honour: yet, with patience, hear What now I offer to the public ear:

I freely own th' unnumber'd ills that wait
On strife prolong'd, and war's disastrous state.
With war lean famine and diseases dwell,
And Discord fierce, escap'd the bounds of Hell.
Where'er on Earth her course the fury bends,
A crowd of mischiefs still her steps attends;
Fear flies before her swifter than the wind,
And desolation marks her path behind.
Yet her, attended thus, the Gods ordain
Steru arbitress of right to mortal men;
To awe injustice with her lifted spear,
And teach the tyrants of the Earth to fear.
If Thebes is perjur'd, and exerts her might
For usurpation in contempt of right;

(If oaths despis'd, and all the ties which bind
The great society of human kind ;)
For Eteocles in the war she stood,
And drench'd her thirsty fields with Grecian
The gods themselves have err'd, and plac'd in
The scepter'd kings injustice to restrain;
Else she deserves the last extremes to feel
Of wasteful fire and keen devouring steel.
Though prudence urg'd and equity approv'd,
Joining to second what Tydides mov'd,
We could not hope the war for peace to change,
Thebes thinks not now of safety, but revenge.
Last night, disguis'd, I mingled with the foe,
Their secret hopes and purposes to know;
And found that Creon, with his martial train,
This day intends to brave us on the plain.
Greece too, I heard, by barb'rous sovereignŝ

Some Athens, Argos, some Mycæne nam'd;
Sparta and Pylos, with the various towns
Which grace, in prospect fair, th' Arcadian

Others Etolia challeng'd for their lot;
Nor was even Ithaca itself forgot.

From such vain hopes to boasting they proceed;
Each promises to win some hero's head.
Leophron too, distinguished from the rest,
Superior pride and insolence express'd;
In form a god he 'midst th' assembly stood,
By all ador'd, the idol of the crowd;
And promis'd, if he chanc'd in fight to meet
Th' Etolian chief, to stretch him at his feet;
Unless some god oppos'd, or dastard fear
By sudden flight, should snatch him from his


Can we then hope by peace to end our toils,
When foes secure already share our spoils;
Peace to expect from flight itself were vain;
And flight, I know, your gen'rous souls disdain."

He said. The chiefs with indignation burn'd;
And Diomed submitting thus return'd:
"Princes! I need not for myself profess,
What all have witness'd, all must sure confess;
That in the front of battle still engag'd,
I never shunn'd to mingle where it rag'd.
Nor now does fear persuade me to retire,
False Creon safe, and guilty Thebes entire;
But war and famine thin our martial pow'rs,
Whilst adverse fates protect the Tbeban tow'rs.
And as the careful shepherd turns his flock
Back from the dangers of the slipp'ry rock,
And from the haunts where foxes mark the

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okings should warn the people to forbear
Attempts, when symptoms mark destruction near.
But since the leaders, with consenting voice,
For war already fix the public choice;
I freely yield, nor ever will divide,
Where all deliberate, and all decide."

The hero thus, and ceas'd. And thus the rest,
From his high seat, the king of men address'd:
"Since war is now decreed, 'tis next our care
That all should speedily for fight prepare;
Creon, this day, intends with all his train
To try our valour on the equal plain;
And will, with diligence, improve an hour,
Which finds us inattentive and secure.
First let each leader with his bands in haste
Snatch, as the time allows, a short repast;
Then arm for fight, and to the field proceed,
The phalanx following as the chariots lead.
Who arms the first, and first to combat goes,
Though weaker, seems superior to his foes;
But such as lag are more than half o'erthrown,
Less in the eyes of others and their own."

The monarch thus. The princes all assent. Straight from the council through the host they went,

To arm their bands with diligence and care;
They all obey, and all for fight prepare.




ASSEMBL'D on the plain, the Theban pow'rs
In order'd ranks appear before the tow'rs;
Creon their leader, whose superior sway,
The martial sons of sacred Thebes obey.
The chiefs obedient to his high command,
Rul'd the whole war, and marshall'd every band.
His valiant son the first, his country's boast,
Her noblest hope, the bulwark of her host,
Leophron, to the field the warriors led,
Whom Thebes herself within her ramparts bred:
Peneleus, who from Medeon led his pow'rs,
Echalia low, and Arne's lofty tow'rs:
Leitus from Thespia, where the verdant shades
Of Helicon invite the tuneful maids:
Porthenor rich, whose wide possessions lay
Where fam'd Æsopus winds his wat'ry way;
Beneath Cytheron's height, the lofty mound
Which parts Boeotian plains from hostile ground:
Phericles, who the valiant warriors led
In Mycallessus, Harma, Aulis, bred:
Andremon, leader of his native band,
From lofty Schoenus on th' Ismenian strand:
And Anthedon, where swift Euripus pent
Divides Euboea from the continent:
These rul'd the Theban pow'rs beneath the care
Of Creou, chief and sov'reign of the war.

The aids from Macedon the next were plac'd; Their shining casques with waving plumage grac'd;

A wolf's grey hide, around their shoulders flung, With martial grace above their armour hung: From high Dodona's sacred shades they came; Cassander led them to the fields of fame.

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The Thracians next; a formidable band;
Nations and tribes distinct, in order stand:
Byzantines fierce, whose crooked keels dividė
The Pontic gulf, and stem the downward tide:
In Grecian arms the hardy warriors move,
With pond'rous shields and glitt'ring spears

The Thynians next were marshall'd on the field;
Each with a falchion arm'd and lunar shield,
Whose bending hoins a verge of silver bound;
And figures tierce their brazen helmets crown'd:
With these the Daci came, a martial race;
Fierce as their clime, they rear the pond'rous


In giant strength secure, they scorn the spear,
And crush, with weighty blows, the ranks of war:
From Ister's icy streams, a barb'rous crowd,
In shaggy furs, a herd promiscuous stood;
Swift as their savage game; for wide they roam
In tribes and nations, ignorant of home;
ExceHing all who boast superior skill
To send the winged arrow swift to kill:
These Rhosus rul'd, of various tribes compos'd,
By various leaders on the field dispos'd.

To fight the Argives inov'd in close array; Bright shone their arms and flash'd redoubl'd day;

Resolv'd, and still as silent night, they go;
Nor with insulting shouts provoke the foe.
Thick from their steps, in dusky voluines, rise
The parched fields, and darken all the skies.
Beneath the shade, the ardent warriors close;
Their shields and helmets ring with sounding

First Menelaus struck a Theban lord;
His armed breast the weighty lance explor'd ;
Burst the close mail; the shining breast-plate

tore ;

And from life's fountain drew a stream of gore.
Supine he fell amidst his native bands,
And wrench'd the fixed dart with dying hands.
To spoil the slain the son of Atreus flies;
The Thebans interpose with hostile cries;
And Creon's valiant son his buckler spread,
An orb of triple brass, to guard the dead :
As Jove's imperial bird her wings extends,
And from the shepherd's rage her young defends;
So stern Leophron bore his ample shield;
Like Mars he stood, the terrour of the field.
With dread unusual check'd, the Spartan band
Recoil'd; Atrides only dar'd to stand.
He thus began: "Presumptuous youth! forbear
To tempt the fury of my flying spear.
That warrior there was by my javelin slain,
His spoils to guard you interpose in vain,"
Atrides thus; and Creon's son replies:
"Thy lance I dread not, and thy threats despise,
This hand hath many a chief of high renown,
And braver warriors oft in fight o'erthrown:
Like theirs, thy fall shall dignify my spear,
And future boasters thence be taught to fear."
Thus as he spoke his weighty lance he threw
At Atreus' son; which rising as it flew
Upon the hero's crest with furious sway,
Glanc'd as it pass'd and shav'd the plumes away.
Hissing amidst the Spartan ranks it came,
And struck a youth of undistinguish'd name:
Cold, through his breast, the steel and polish'd

A passage forc'd, and drew a stream of blood.

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