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Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain; Fought all his battles o'er again: And thrice he routed all his foes; and thrice he slew the slain.— The master saw the madness rise; His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes; And while he heaven and earth defy'd, Chang'd his hand, and check'd his pride. He chose a mournful muse Soft pity to infuse: He sung Darius great and good, By too severe a fate, Fall’n, fall'n, fall'n, fall'n, Fall’n from his high estate, And welt'ring in his blood: Deserted at his utmost need, By those his former bounty fed, On the bare earth expos'd he lies, With not a friend to close his eyes. With downcast look the joyless victor sate, Revolving in his alter'd soul The various turns of fate below; And now and then a sigh he stole; And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smil'd, to see
That love was in the next degree:
'Twas but a kindred sound to move;
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honour but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying:
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O, think it worth enjoying!
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee.—
The many rend the skies with loud applause;
So love was crown'd, but music won the cause.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gaz'd on the fair
Who caus'd his care,
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again:
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.
Now strike the golden lyre again;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark! the horrid sound Has rais'd up his head; As awak'd from the dead, And amaz'd, he stares around. Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries, See the furies arise, See the snakes that they rear, How they hiss in their hair And the sparkles that flash from their eyes. Behold a ghastly band, Each a torch in his hand! These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain. And unbury'd remain, Inglorious on the plain; Give the vengeance due To the valiant crew: Behold how they toss their torches on high, How they point to the Persian abodes, And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods! The Princes applaud, with a furious joy; And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to destroy; Thais led the way, To light him to his prey, And, like another Helen, fir’d another Troy.
Thus, long ago
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus to the breathing flute
And sounding lyre Could swell the soul to rage or kindle soft desire. At last divine Cecilia came, Inventress of the vocal frame; The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store, Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds, And added length to solemn sounds, With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before. Let old Timotheus yield the prize, Or both divide the crown; He rais'd a mortal to the skies; She drew an angel down.
At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale's song in the grove:
'Twas then, by the cave of a mountain reclin'd,
A Hermit his nightly complaint thus began,
Though mournful his voice, his heart was resign'd,
He thought as a sage, but he felt as a man:
“Ah, why thus abandon'd to darkness and woe,
Why thus, lonely Philomel, flows thy sad strain?
For Spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And thy bosom no trace of misfortune retain.
Yet if pity inspire thee, ah! cease not thy lay,
Mourn, sweetest complainer, Man calls thee to mourn:
Osoothe him, whose pleasures like thine pass away—
Full quickly they pass, but they never return.
“Now gliding remote, on the verge of the sky,
The Moon half-extinguish'd her crescent displays:
But lately I mark'd, when majestic on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.
Roll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendor again.—
But Man's faded glory no change shall renew,
Ah fool! to exult in a glory so vain!
“'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;
I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
Perfum'd with fresh fragrance, and glitt'ring with dew,
Nor yet for the ravage of Winter I mourn;
Kind Nature the embryo blossom will save.—
But when shall Spring visit the mouldering urn!
O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!”