Abbildungen der Seite
[blocks in formation]


When the wicked are confounded,
And by bitter flames surrounded,
Be my joyful pardon sounded!

Prostrate, all my guilt discerning,
Heart as though to ashes turning;
Save, O save me from the burning!

Day of weeping, when from ashes
Man shall rise mid lightning-flashes,
Guilty, trembling with contrition,
Save him, Father, from perdition!




(UCH, O men of Athens! were your ancestors: so glorious in the eye of the world; so bountiful and munificent to their country; so sparing, so modest, so self-denying to themselves. What resemblance can we find, in the present generation, of these great men? At a time when your ancient competitors have left you a clear stage; when the Lacedæmonians are disabled, the Thebans employed in troubles of their own; when no other State whatever is in a condition to rival or molest you; in short, when you are at full liberty; when you have the opportunity and the power to become once more the sole arbiters of Greece; you permit, patiently, whole provinces to be wrested from you; you lavish the public money in scandalous and obscure uses; you suffer your allies to perish in time of peace, whom you preserved in time of war; and, to sum up all, you yourselves, by your mercenary court, and servile resignation to the will and pleasure of designing, insidious leaders, abet, encourage, and strengthen the most dangerous and formidable of your enemies. Yes, Athenians, I repeat it, you yourselves are the contrivers of your own ruin. Lives there a man who has confidence enough to deny it? Let him arise, and assign, if he can, any other cause of the success and prosperity of Philip. "But," you reply, "what Athens may have lost in reputation abroad, she has gained in splendor at home. Was there ever a greater appearance of prosperity, a greater face of plenty? Is not the city enlarged? Are not the streets better



paved, houses repaired and beautified?" Away with such trifles! Shall I be paid with counters? An old square new-vamped up! a fountain! an aqueduct! are these acquisitions to brag of? Cast your eyes upon the magistrate under whose ministry you boast these precious improvements. Behold the despicable creature. raised, all at once, from dirt to opulence; from the lowest obscurity to the highest honors. Have not some of these upstarts built private houses and seats vieing with the most sumptuous of our public palaces? And how have their fortunes and their power increased, but as the commonwealth has been ruined and impoverished?

To what are we to impute these disorders; and to what cause assign the decay of a state so powerful and flourishing in past times? The reason is plain. The servant is now become the master. The magistrate was then subservient to the people; punishments and rewards were properties of the people; all honors, dignities, and preferments, were disposed by the voice and favor of the people; but the magistrate now has usurped the right of the people, and exercises an arbitrary authority over his ancient and natural lord. You, miserable people! (the meanwhile, without money, without friends,) from being ruler, are become the servant; from being the master, the dependant: happy that these governors, into whose hands you have thus resigned your own power, are so good and so gracious as to continue your allowance to see plays!



HE golden light into the painter's room
Streamed richly, and the hidden colors stole

From the dark pictures radiantly forth,

And, in the soft and dewy atmosphere,

Like forms and landscape magical they lay.
Parrhasius stood, gazing forgetfully
Upon his canvas. There Prometheus lay
Chained to the cold rocks of Mount Caucasus-

The vulture at his vitals, and the links

Of the lame Lemnian festering in his flesh;

And, as the painter's mind felt through the dim


Rapt mystery, and plucked the shadows forth
With its far-reaching fancy, and with form
And color clad them, his fine, earnest eye

Flashed with a passionate fire, and the quick curl
Of his thin nostril, and his quivering lip,

Were like the winged god's, breathing from his flight.

"Bring me the captive, now!

My hand feels skillful, and the shadows lift
From my waked spirit airily and swift,
And I could paint the bow

Upon the bended heavens-around me play
Colors of such divinity to-day.

"Ha! bind him on his back!

Look!-as Prometheus in my picture here!
Quick!--or he faints!-stand with the cordial near!
Now-bend him on the rack!

Press down the poisoned links into his flesh!
And tear agape that healing wound afresh!

"So, let him writhe! How long

Will he live thus? Quick, my good pencil, now!
What a fine agony works upon his brow!

Ha! gray-haired and so strong!

How fearfully he stifles that short moan!
Gods! If I could but paint a dying groan!

66 6

"Pity' thee! So I do!

I pity the dumb victim at the altar

But does the robed priest for his pity falter?
I'd rack thee, though I knew

A thousand lives were perishing in thine—
What were ten thousand to a fame like mine?

"Ay, there's a deathless name!

A spirit that the smothering vault shall spurn,
And, like a steadfast planet, mount and burn-
And though its crown of flame

Consumed my brain to ashes as it won me-
By all the fiery stars! I'd bind it on me!




"Ay-though it bid me rifle.

My heart's last fount for its insatiate thirst-
Though every life-strung nerve be maddened first-
Though it should bid me stifle

The yearning in my throat for my sweet child,
And taunt its mother till my brain went wild-

"All-I would do it all

Sooner than die, like a dull worm, to rot-
Thrust foully into earth to be forgot!

O heavens! but I appall

Your heart, old man!-forgive-ha! on your lives
Let him not faint!-rack him till he revives!

“Vain—vain—give o'er. His eye

Glazes apace. He does not feel you now-
Stand back! I'll paint the death-dew on his brow!
Gods! if he do not die

But for one moment-one-till I eclipse
Conception with the scorn of those calm lips!

"Shivering! Hark! he mutters

Brokenly now that was a difficult breath-
Another? Wilt thou never come, O Death?
Look! how his temple flutters!

Is his heart still? Aha! lift up his head!
He shudders-gasps-Jove help him-so-he's dead."

How like a mounting devil in the heart
Rules the unreined ambition! Let it once
But play the monarch, and its haughty brow
Glows with a beauty that bewilders thought,
And unthrones peace forever. Putting on
The very pomp of Lucifer, it turns
The heart to ashes, and with not a spring
Left in the bosom for the spirit's life,
We look upon our splendor, and forget
The thirst of which we perish!

« ZurückWeiter »