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Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God :
A port of calms, a state of ease
From the rough rage of swelling seas.
Why then thy flowing fable stoles,
Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn herses, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that as they tread,
Nod o'er the 'scutcheons of the dead ?
Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the foul, these forms of woe :
As men who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
When-e'er their suff'ring years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glitt'ring sun :
Such joy, tho' far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence.
On earth, and in the body plac’d,
A few, and evil, years they waste :
But when their chains are cast aside,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tow'r away,
And mingle with the blaze of day.
E said, and past with sad presaging heart
To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part ; At home he sought her, but he fought in vain: She, with one maid of all her menial train, Had thence retir'd; and with her second joy, The young Altyanax, the hope of Troy, Pensive the flood on Ilion's tow'ry height, Beheld the war, and sicken'd at the fight;
There her sad eyes in vain her Lord explore,
Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore.
But he who found not whom his soul desir'd,
Whose virtue charm'd him as her beauty fir'd,
Stood in the gates, and ask'd what way she bent
Her parting step? If to the fane she went,
Where late the mourning matrons made resort;
Or fought her sisters in the Trojan court?
Not to the court, (reply'd th' attendant train)
Nor mix'd with matrons to Minerva's fane :
To Ilion's steepy tow'r she bent her way,
To mark the fortunes of the doubtful day.
Troy fled, she heard, before the Grecian sword;
She heard, and trembled for her absent Lord ;
Distracted with surprise, she seem'd to fly,
Fear on her cheek, and forrow in her eye.
The nurse attended with her infant boy,
The young Aftyanax, the hope of Troy.
Hector, this heard, return'd without delay;
Swift thro' the town he trod his former way,
Thro' streets of palaces, and walks of ftate ;
And met the mourner at the Scæan gate.
With hafte to meet him sprung the joyful fair,
His blameless wife, Aëtion's wealthy heir :
(Cilician Thebè great Aëtion sway'd,
And Hippoplacus' wide extended shade)
The nurse stood near, in whose embraces prest,
His only hope hung smiling at her breast,
Whom each soft charm and early grace adorn,
Fair as the new-born star that gilds the morn.
To this lov'd infant Hector gave the name
Scamandrius, from Scamander's honour'd stream;
Aftyanax the Trojans call'd the boy,
From his great father, the defence of Troy.
Silent the warriour smild, and pleas'd resign'd
To tender passions all his mighty mind :
His beauteous princess cast a mournful look,
Hung on his hand, and then dejected spoke ;
Her bosom labour'd with a boding figh,
And the big tear ftood trembling in her eye.
Too daring prince ! ah whither dost thou run ?
Ah too forgetful of thy wife and son !
And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be,
A widow I, an helpless orphan he !
For fure such courage length of life denies,
And thou must fall, thy virtue's sacrifice.
Greece in her single heroes Atrove in vain ;
Now hosts oppose thee, and thou must be slain !
Oh grant me, Gods! ere Hector meets his doom,
All I can ask of heav'n, an early tomb !
So shall any days in one sad tenour run, And end with sorrows as they first begun.