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His actions witness, venerate his mien,
And study Trajan as by Pliny seen;
Behold how fought the chief whose conquering sword
Stretched far as earth might own a single lord;
In the delight of moral prudence schooled,
How feelingly at home the sovereign ruled;
Best of the good-in pagan faith allied
To more than man by virtue deified.
Memorial pillar! mid the wrecks of time Preserve thy charge with confidence sublimeThe exultations, pomps, and cares of Rome, Whence half the breathing world rec ved its doom ; Things that recoil from language; that, if shown By apter pencil, from the light had flown. A pontiff, Trajan here the gods implores, There greets an embassy from Indian shores; Lo! he harangues his cohorts—there the storm Of battle meets him in authentic form! Unharnessed, naked, troops of Moorish horse Sweep to the charge ; more high, the Dacian force. To hoof and finger mailed ;-yet, high or low, None bleed and none lie prostrate but the foe; In every Roman, through all turns of fate, Is Roman dignity inviolate; Spirit in him pre-eminent; who guides, Supports, adorns, and over all presides; Distinguished only by inherent state From honoured instruments that round him wait; Rise as he may, his grandeur scorns the test Of outward symbol, nor will deign to rest On aught by which another is depressed. Alas! that one thus disciplined could toil To enslave whole nations on their native soil; So emulous of Macedonian fame,
That, when his age was measured with his aim,
He drooped, mid else unclouded victories,
And turned his eagles back with deep-drawn sighs;
Oh, weakness of the great! Oh, folly of the wise !
Where now the haughty empire that was spread
With such fond hope? her very speech is dead;
Yet glorious art the sweep of time defies,
And Trajan still, through various enterprise,
Mounts, in this fine illusion, toward the skies:
Still are we present with the imperial chief,
Nor cease to gaze upon the bold relief
Till Rome, to silent marble unconfined,
Becomes with all her years a vision of the mind.
Farr is the swan, whose majesty, prevailing
O'er breezeless water, on Locarno's lake,
Bears him on while proudly sailing
He leaves behind a moon-illumined wake :
Behold! the mantling spirit of reserve
Fashions his neck into a goodly curve;
An arch thrown back between luxuriant wings
Of whitest garniture, like fir-tree boughs
To which on some unruffled morning clings
A Aaky weight of winter's purest snows !
Behold !--as with a gushing impulse heaves
That downy prow, and softly cleaves
The mirror of the crystal flood,
Vanish inverted hill, and shadowy wood,
And pendant rocks, where'er, in gliding state,
Winds the mute creature without visible mate
Or rival, save the queen of night
Showering down a silver light,
From heaven, upon her chosen favourite!
So pure, so bright, so fitted to embrace,
Where'er he turned, a natural grace
Of haughtiness without pretence,
And to unfold a still magnificence,
Was princely Dion in the power
And beauty of his happier hour.
Nor less the homage that was seen to wait
On Dion's virtues, when the lunar beam
Of Plato's genius, from its lofty sphere,
Fell round him in the grove of Academe,
Softening their inbred dignity austere ;-
That he, not too elate
With self-sufficing solitude,
But with majestic lowliness endued,
Might in the universal bosom reign,
And from affectionate observance gain
Help, under every change of adverse fate.
Five thousand warriors-Oh, the rapturous day!
Each crowned with flowers, and armed with spear and
Or ruder weapon which their course might yield,
To Syracuse advance in bright array.
Who leads them on? The anxious people see
Long-exiled Dion marching at their head,
He also crowned with flowers of Sicily,
And in a white, faz-beaming, corselet clad !
Pure transport undisturbed by doubt or fear
The gazers feel; and, rushing to the plain,
Salute those strangers as a holy train
Or blest procession (to the immortals dear)
That brought their precious liberty again.
Lo! when the gates are entered, on each hand,
Down the long street, rich goblets filled with wine
In seemly order stand,
On tables set, as if for rights divine ;
And as the great deliverer marches by,
He looks on festal ground with fruits bestrown;
And flowers are on his person thrown
In boundless prodigality ;
Nor doth the general voice abstain from prayer,
Invoking Dion's tutelary care,
As if a very deity he were !
Mourn, hills and groves of Attica! and mourn
Ilissus, bending o'er thy classic urn!
Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads
Your once-sweet memory, studious walks and shades!
For him who to divinity aspired,
Not on the breath of popular applause,
But through dependence on the sacred laws
Framed in the schools where wisdom dwelt retired,
Intent to trace the ideal path of right
(More fair than heaven's broad causeway paved with
Which Dion learned to measure with delight;
But he hath overleaped the eternal bars;
And, following guides whose craft holds no consent
With aught that breathes the ethereal element,
Hath stained the robes of civil power with blood,
Unjustly shed, though for the public good.
Whence doubts that come too late, and wishes vain,
Hollow excuses, and triumphant pain ;
And oft his cogitations sink as low
As, through the abysses of a joyless heart,
The heaviest plummet of despair can go;
But whence that sudden check? that fearful start!
He hears an uncouth sound
Anon his listed eyes
Saw at a long-drawn gallery's dusky bound,
A shape of more than mortal size
And hideous aspect, stalking round and round;
A woman's garb that phantom wore,
And fiercely swept the marble floor,
Like Auster whirling to and fro,
His force on Caspian foam to try;
Or Boreas when he scours the snow
That skins the plains of Thessaly,
Or when aloft on Mænalus he stops
His flight, mid eddying pine-tree tops !
So, but from toil less sign of profit reaping
The sullen spectre to her purpose bowed,
No pause admitted, no design avowed ?
“Avaunt, inexplicable guest!-avaunt!"
Exclaimed the chieftain-“Let me rather see
The coronal that coiling vipers make;
The torch that flames with many a lurid flake,
And the long train of doleful pageantry
Which they behold, whom vengeful furies haunt:
Who, while they struggle from the scourge to flee,
Move where the blasted soil is not unworn,
And, in their anguish, bear what other minds have
But shapes that come not at an earthly call,
Will not depart when mortal voices bid ;
Lords of the visionary eye whose lid
Once raised, remains aghast and will not fall !
Ye gods, thought he, that servile implement
Obeys a mystical intent!
Your minister would brush away
The spots that to my soul adhere ;
But should she labour night and day,