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النشر الإلكتروني

HYMN TO THE PENATES.

Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. - THE WORDS OF AGUR. ΟΙΚΟΙ βέλτερον είναι, επει βλαβερόν το θύρηφι. - HESIOD.

Yet one Song more, one high and solemn strain,
Ere, Phæbus! on thy temple’s ruined wall
I hang the silent harp: there may its strings,
When the rude tempest shakes the aged pile,
Make melancholy music! One song more!
PENATES, hear me! for to you I hymn
The votive lay; whether, as sages deem,
Ye dwell in inmost * Heaven, the Counsellors t
Of Jove; or if, Supreme of Deities,
All things are yours, and in your holy train
Jove proudly ranks, and Juno, white-armed Queen,
And, wisest of Immortals, the dread Maid
Athenian Pallas. Venerable Powers,
Hearken your hymn of praise! Though from your

rites

* Hence one explanation of the name Penates, because they were supposed to reign in the inmost heavens.

† This was the belief of the ancient Hetrusci, who called them Concertes and Complices.

Estranged, and exiled from your altars long,
I have not ceased to love you, Household Gods !
In many a long and melancholy hour
Of solitude and sorrow, hath my heart
With earnest longings prayed to rest at length
Beside

your hallowed hearth; for Peace is there!
Yes, I have loved you long! I call on ye
Yourselves to witness with what holy joy,
Shunning the common herd of human-kind,
I have retired to watch your lonely fires,
And coinmune with myself: delightful hours,
That gave mysterious pleasure, made me know
Mine inmost heart, its weakness and its strength,
Taught me to cherish with devoutest care
Its deep, unworldly feelings, taught me too
The best of lessons, - to respect myself.

Nor have I ever ceased to reverence you, Domestic Deities ! from the first dawn Of reason, through the adventurous paths of youth, Even to this better day, when on mine ear The uproar of contending nations sounds But like the passing wind, and wakes no pulse To tumult. When a child (for still I love To dwell with fondness on my childish years), When first, a little one, I left my home, I can remember the first grief I felt, And the first painful smile that clothed my front With feelings not its own: sadly at night I sat me down beside a stranger's hearth,

And, when the lingering hour of rest was come,
First wet with tears my pillow. As I grew
In

years and knowledge, and the course of time
Developed the young feelings of my heart,
When most I loved in solitude to rove
Amid the woodland gloom; or where the rocks
Darkened old Avon's stream, in the ivied cave
Recluse to sit and brood the future song,
Yet not the less, PENATES, loved I then
Your altars; not the less at evening hour
Loved I beside the well-trimmed fire to sit,
Absorbed in many a dear deceitful dream
Of visionary joys, - deceitful dreams,
And yet not vain; for, painting purest bliss,
They formed to Fancy's mould her votary's heart.

By Cherwell's sedgy side, and in the meads Where Isis in her calm, clear stream reflects The willow's bending boughs, at early dawn, In the noontide hour, and when the night-mist rose, I have remembered you ; and when the noise Of lewd Intemperance on my lonely ear Burst with loud tumult, as recluse I sate, Musing on days when man should be redeemed From servitude and vice and wretchedness, I blessed you, Household Gods! because I loved Your peaceful altars and serener rites. Nor did I cease to reverence you, when driven Amid the jarring crowd, an unfit man To mingle with the world ; still, still my heart

Sighed for your sanctuary, and inly pined;
And, loathing human converse, I have strayed
Where o'er the sea-beach chilly howled the blast,
And gazed upon the world of waves, and wished
That I were far beyond the Atlantic deep,
In woodland haunts, a sojourner with Peace.

Not idly did the ancient poets dream, Who peopled earth with Deities. They trod The wood with reverence where the Dryads dwelt ; At day's dim dawn or evening's misty hour They saw the Oreads on their mountain haunts, And felt their holy influence; nor impure Of thought, nor ever with polluted hands, * Touched they without a prayer the Naiad's spring; Nor without reverence to the River-god Crossed in unhappy hour his limpid stream. Yet was this influence transient ; such brief awe Inspiring as the thunder's long, loud peal

* Μηδέ ποτ' αενάων ποταμών καλλίρροον ύδωρ

Ποσσι περν, πριν γ εύξη ιδών ές καλα ρεεθρα,
Χείρας νιψάμενος πολυηράτω ύδατι λευκό
"Ος ποταμον διαβή, κακότητι δε χείρας ανιπτος,
Τώδε θεοι νεμεσωσι, και άλγεα δωκαν οπίσσω.

Hesiod. " Whene'er thy feet the river-ford essay,

Whose flowing current winds its limpid way.
Thy hands amid the pleasant waters lave;
And, lowly gazing on the beauteous wave.
Appease the River-god: if thou perverse
Pass with unsprinkled hands, a heavy curse
Shall rest upon thee from the observant skies,
And after-woes retributive arise."

ELTON.

Strikes to the feeble spirit. Household Gods,
Not such your empire! in

your

votaries' breasts No momentary impulse ye awake; Nor fleeting, like their local energies, The deep devotion that your fanes impart. O ye

whom Youth has wildered on your way, Or Pleasure with her siren

song

hath lured, Or Fame with spirit-stirring trump hath called To climb her summits,

to your Household Gods
Return! for not in Pleasure's gay abodes,
Nor in the unquiet, unsafe halls of Fame,
Doth Happiness abide. O ye who grieve
Much for the miseries of your fellow-kind,
More for their vices; ye whose honest eyes
Scowl on Oppression; ye whose honest hearts
Beat high when Freedom sounds her dread alarm ;
Oye who quit the path of peaceful life,
Crusading for mankind, a spaniel race
That lick the hand that beats them, or tear all
Alike in frenzy,

to your Household Gods
Return ! for by their altars Virtue dwells,
And Happiness with her; for by their fires
Tranquillity, in no unsocial mood,
Sits silent, listening to the pattering shower;
For, so Suspicion * sleep not at the gate
Of Wisdom, Falsehood shall not enter there.

*"Oft though Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps

At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity
Resigns her charge; while Goodness thinks no ill
Where no ill seems."

MILTON .

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