Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Jason-By heaven I do adjure thee, let me touch their tender skin.

Medea - No, no! in vain this word has sped its flight.

[ocr errors]

Jason O Zeus, dost hear how I am driven hence; dost mark the treatment I receive from this she-lion, fell murderess of her young? Yet so far as I may and can, I raise for them a dirge, and do adjure the gods to witness how thou hast slain my sons, and wilt not suffer me to embrace or bury their dead bodies. Would I had never begotten them to see thee slay them after all!

THE BACCHANALS.

BY JOHN KEATS.

(From "Endymion.")

O SORROW,

Why dost borrow

The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips?—

To give maiden blushes

To the white rose bushes?

Or is 't thy dewy hand the daisy tips?

O Sorrow,

Why dost borrow

The lustrous passion from a falcon eye? -
To give the glowworm light?

Or on a moonless night,

To tinge, on siren shores, the salt sea spray?

O Sorrow,

Why dost borrow

The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue?-
To give at evening pale

Unto the nightingale,

That thou mayst listen the cold dews among?

O Sorrow,

Why dost borrow

Heart's lightness from the merriment of May? -
A lover would not tread

A cowslip on the head,

Though he should dance from eve till peep of day

Nor any drooping flower

Held sacred for thy bower,

Wherever he may sport himself and play.

To Sorrow

I bade good morrow,

And thought to leave her far away behind;
But cheerly, cheerly,

She loves me dearly;

She is so constant to me, and so kind:
I would deceive her

And so leave her,

But ah! she is so constant and so kind.

Beneath my palm trees, by the river side,
I sat a weeping: in the whole world wide
There was no one to ask me why I wept, -
And so I kept

Brimming the water-lily cups with tears
Cold as my fears.

[ocr errors]

Beneath my palm trees, by the river side,
I sat a weeping: what enamored bride,
Cheated by shadowy wooer from the clouds,
But hides and shrouds

Beneath dark palm trees by a river side?

And as I sat, over the light blue hills
There came a noise of revelers: the rills
Into the wide stream came of purple hue-
'Twas Bacchus and his crew!

The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills
From kissing cymbals made a merry din—
'Twas Bacchus and his kin!

Like to a moving vintage down they came,
Crowned with green leaves, and faces all on flame;
All madly dancing through the pleasant valley,
To scare thee, Melancholy!

O then, O then, thou wast a simple name!
And I forgot thee, as the berried holly

By shepherds is forgotten, when, in June,
Tall chestnuts keep away the sun and moon:-
I rushed into the folly!

Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood,
Trifling his ivy dart, in dancing mood,
With sidelong laughing;

And little rills of crimson wine imbrued

His plump white arms, and shoulders, enough white
For Venus' pearly bite:

And near him rode Silenus on his ass,
Pelted with flowers as he on did pass
Tipsily quaffing.

Whence came ye, merry Damsels! whence came ye!
So many, and so many, and such glee?
Why have ye left your bowers desolate,
Your lutes, and gentler fate? -
"We follow Bacchus! Bacchus on the wing,
A conquering!

Bacchus, young Bacchus! good or ill betide,
We dance before him through kingdoms wide:-
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be

To our wild minstrelsy!"

Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs! whence came ye!
So many, and so many, and such glee?

Why have ye left your forest haunts, why left
Your nuts in oak-tree cleft?

"For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree;
For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms,
And cold mushrooms;

For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth;
Great god of breathless cups and chirping mirth!
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be

To our mad minstrelsy!"

Over wide streams and mountains great we went,
And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent,
Onward the tiger and the leopard pants,
With Asian elephants:

Onward these myriads — with song and dance,
With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance,
Web-footed alligators, crocodiles,

Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files,
Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil
Of seamen, and stout galley rowers' toil :
With toying oars and silken sails they glide,
Nor care for wind and tide.

Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes,
From rear to van they scour about the plains;

A three days' journey in a moment done:
And always, at the rising of the sun,
About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn,
On spleenful unicorn.

I saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown

Before the vine-wreath crown!

I saw parched Abyssinia rouse and sing
To the silver cymbals' ring!

I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce
Old Tartary the fierce!

The kings of Inde their jewel scepters vail,
And from their treasures scatter pearled hail;
Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans,
And all his priesthood moans;

Before young Bacchus' eye wink turning pale.
Into these regions came I following him,
Sick hearted, weary so I took a whim
To stray away into these forests drear
Alone, without a peer:

And I have told thee all thou mayest hear.

Young stranger!

I've been a ranger

In search of pleasure throughout every clime: Alas, 'tis not for me!

Bewitched I sure must be,

To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.

Come then, Sorrow!

Sweetest Sorrow!

Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast: I thought to leave thee

And deceive thee,

But now of all the world I love thee best.

[blocks in formation]

Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade.

ETHICS OF THE HEROIC AGE.

BY WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE.

(From "Juventus Mundi.")

[WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE: An English statesman and writer; born in Liverpool, December 29, 1809; died May 19, 1898. He was sent to Eton and then to Oxford, taking the highest honors at the university. He then studied law; entered Parliament; became president of the Board of Trade, chancellor of the exchequer; succeeded Lord Palmerston as leader of the House of Commons; in 1868 succeeded Disraeli as first lord of the treasury; and held many other high offices. He was the greatest statesman in England, and also took a high rank among men of letters. His writings are many and varied, including essays, translations, and works on theology and philology. Among the more notable are: "The State in its Relations with the Church" (1838), "Church Principles considered in their Results" (1840), "Manual of Prayers from the Liturgy (1845), "On the Place of Homer in Classical Education" (1857), "Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age" (3 vols., 1858), "Ecce Homo'" (1868), "A Chapter of Autobiography " (1868), "Juventus Mundi " (1869), "The Vatican Decrees" (1874), "Homeric Synchronism" (1876), "Homer" (1878), "Gleanings of Past Years" (7 vols., 1879), "Landmarks of Homeric Study" (1890), "An Introduction to the People's Bible History (1895), "Studies Subsidiary to the Works of Bishop Butler" (1896), and "On the Condition of Man in a Future Life" (1896).]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE point in which the ethical tone of the heroic age stands highest of all is, perhaps, the strength of the domestic affections.

They are prevalent in Olympus; and they constitute an amiable feature in the portraiture even of deities who have nothing else to recommend them. Not only does Poseidon care for the brutal Polyphemus, and Zeus for the noble and gallant Sarpedon, but Ares for Ascalaphus, and Aphrodite for Æneas. In the Trojan royal family there is little of the higher morality; but parental affection is vehement in the characters, somewhat relaxed as they are in fiber, both of Priam and of Hecuba. Odysseus chooses for the title, by which he would be known, that of the Father of Telemachus. The single portraiture of Penelope, ever yearning through twenty years for her absent husband, and then praying to be removed from life, that she may never gladden the spirit of a meaner man, could not have been designed or drawn, except in a country where the standard, in this great branch of morality, was a high one. This is the palmary and all-sufficient instance. Others might be mentioned to follow, though none can equal it.

Perhaps even beyond other cases of domestic relation, the

« ZurückWeiter »