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Forth sprang the impassioned queen her lord to clasp ;
As often as that eager grasp was made.
Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice:
Speak! and the floor thou tread'st on will rejoicc. Not to appal me have the gods bestowed This precious boon, and blest a sad abode."
"Great Jove, Laodamia, doth not leave
His gifts imperfect :-spectre though I be,
And something also did my worth obtain;
"Thou know'st, the Delphic oracle foretold
That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand Should die; but me the threat could not withhold— A generous cause a victim did demand; And forth I leapt upon the sandy plainA self-devoted chief, by Hector slain.”
"Supreme of heroes! bravest, noblest, best!
Thy matchless courage I bewail no more, Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore; Thou found'st—and I forgive thee—here thou art--A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
"But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
"No spectre greets me,- -no vain shadow this;
Come, blooming hero, place thee by my side! Give, on this well-known couch, one nuptial kiss
To me, this day a second time thy bride!" Jove frowned in heaven; the conscious Parcæ threw Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.
"This visage tells thee that my doom is past;
Nor should the change be mourned, even if the joys Of sense were able to return as fast
And surely as they vanish.
"Be taught, O faithful consort, to control
Rebellious passion: for the gods approve
'Ah, wherefore ?-Did not Hercules by force
Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom?
"The gods to us are merciful, and they
Yet further may relent; for mightier far Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway
Of magic potent over sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest,
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman's breast.
"But if thou goest, I follow—”
"Peace !" he said ;—
She looked upon him and was calmed and cheered; The ghastly colour from his lips had fled;
In his deportment, shape, and mien appeared
In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
The past unsighed for, and the future sure;
Of all that is most beauteous, imaged there
And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
Yet there the soul shall enter which hath earned
Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight,
" And while my youthful peers before
By martial sports,—or, seated in the tent,
"The wished-for wind was given ;-I then revolved The oracle, upon the silent sea;
And, if no worthier led the way, resolved
That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be The foremost prow in pressing to the strandMine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand.
'Yet bitter, ofttimes bitter, was the pang When of thy loss I thought, beloved wife! On thee too fondly did my memory hang,
And on the joys we shared in mortal life— The paths which we had trod—these fountains, flowers— My new-planned cities, and unfinished towers.
"But should suspense permit the foe to cry,
Behold they tremble!-haughty their array,
Yet of their number no one dares to die?'
In soul I swept th' indignity away.
Old frailties then recurred;-but lofty thought,
"And thou, though strong in love, art all too weak In reason, in self-government too slow;
I counsel thee by fortitude to seek
Our blest reunion in the shades below.
"Learn, by a mortal yearning, to ascend,Seeking a higher object. Love was given, Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for that end;
For this the passion to excess was driven,— That self might be annulled-her bondage prove The fetters of a dream, opposed to love."
Aloud she shrieked! for Hermes reappears!
Round the dear shade she would have clung,-'tis vain ; The hours are past,—too brief had they been years; And him no mortal effort can detain.
Swift, toward the realms that know not earthly day,
Thus, all in vain exhorted and reproved,
She perished; and, as for a wilful crime,
Was doomed to wear out her appointed time,
-Yet tears to human suffering are due;
That Ilium's walls were subject to their view,