Sidor som bilder



There, with feebleness opprest,
On the friendly staff to rest.
Childhood's strength alone is ours;
Ere expand the youthful powers,
Shrined within the bosom's cell
Mars will never deign to dwell.
When the leaf of life is sere,
Age as weakly wields the spear,

My way of life
Is fallen into the sere, the yellow leaf.”

“ What cold again is able to restore
My fresh greene yeares, that wither thus and fade ?

LORD SURREY. As the decline of life is here compared to the withering of the leaf in autumn, so in Homer is the passing away of generations to its fall in winter :

οίη περ φύλλων γενεή, τοιήδε και ανδρών.
φύλλα τα μέν τ' άνεμος χαμάδις χέει, άλλα δε θ' ύλη
τηλεθόωσα φύει: έαρος δ' επιγίγνεται ώρη.
ώς ανδρών γενεή, η μεν φύει, ή δ' απολήγει.
As that of leaves upon the tree,
Such is thy course, Humanity!
The leaves-on earth the blast strews some,-
The budding wood bids others come ;
New life the spring-tide hour supplies,
And sees a second race arise :
So are man's generations fleeting,

And one is born, while one's retreating. The same simile occurs in the following passage from the Méditations Poëtiques of Lamartine :

“ Mais toujours repasser par une même route,

Voir ses jours épuisés s'écouler goutte à goutte ;
Mais suivre pas à pas dans l'immense troupeau,
Ces générations, inutile fardeau,
Qui meurent pour mourir, qui vécurent pour vivre,
Et dont chaque printems la terre se délivre,


Age, no more in battle strong,
Creeps on borrowed stay along,

Comme dans nos forêts, le chêne avec mépris,
Livre aux vents des hivers ses feuillages flétris;
Sans regrets, sans espoir, avancer dans la vie,
Comme un vaisseau qui dort sur une onde assoupie ;
Sentir son âme usée en impuissant effort,
Se ronger lentement sous la rouille du sort;
Penser sans découvrir, aspirer sans atteindre,
Briller sans éclairer, et pâlir sans s'eteindre:
Hélas ! tel est mon sort et celui des humains."
Along the self-same track for aye to stray,
To see one's days waste drop by drop away,
To follow, step by step, the countless train
Of generations burdening earth in vain,
Who live but to exist, who die to rest,
Of whom, each spring, earth rids her weary breast,
E'en as the forest oak disdainful casts
His withered foliage to the wintry blasts,
Onward without regret or hope to creep,
Like vessel slumbering on a drowsy deep,
To feel one's spirit toil, yet nought advance,
Corroded slowly by the rust of chance,
Muse, but not solve, aspire, but ever fail,

A ray not clear when bright, nor quenched though pale,This lot, not I alone, but all mankind must wail.

(6) Literally, on three feet.” So Sackville, in his description of old age :

“ Crooke-backt he was, tooth-shaken and blear-eyed,
Went on three feet, and sometimes crept on fower—"

Induction to the Mirror of Magistrates. The allusion is to the riddle proposed by the Sphynx to the inhabitants of Thebes, and solved by @dipus :

"Έστι δίπoυν επί γης και τετραπον, ου μία φωνή,
και τρίπον· αλλάσσει δε φυών μόνον, όσσ' επί γαίαν
ερπετα κινείται, ανά τ' αιθέρα και κατά πόντον.
αλλ' οπόταν πλείστοισιν επειγόμενον ποσί βαίνη, ,
ένθα τάχος γυίοισιν αφαυρότατον πέλει αυτού. .




Doting in its last decay,
Shadowy dream that stalks by day.

There is a creature, wont to go
Upon four feet, and three, and two,
Its cry in every state the same.
Can earth, or air, or ocean name,
From every kind that through them ranges,
A single one that, like this, changes ?
To make the prodigy complete,
'Tis slowest when it has most feet.


Κλύθι, και ουκ εθέλουσα, κακόπτερα Μούσα θανόντων,

φωνής ημετέρης σον τέλος αμπλακίης. άνθρωπον κατέλεξας, ός, ηνίκα γαίαν εφέρπει,

πρώτον έφυ τετράπους νήπιος εκ λαγόνων
γηραλέος δε πέλων, τρίτατον πόδα, βάκτρον ερείδει,

αυχένα φορτίζων, γήραϊ καμπτόμενος.
List, Muse of evil pinion,

Unwilling, while I tell,
That fallen is thy dominion ;

I can thy riddle spell.
On man thy mind was musing,

Who, ere erect he stands,
Crawls on earth's bosom, using

As feet his tiny hands.
Age, bowed with years and sorrows,

His limbs on staff must stay;
Another foot he borrows

To aid him on his way.
(7) In Eurip. Phæn. 1531. Edipus replies to Antigone :

τί μ', ώ παρθένε, βακτρεύμασι τυ-
φλού ποδος εξάγαγες εις φώς
λεχήρη σκοτίων εκ θαλάμων
οικτροτάτοισιν δακρύοισιν,
πολιόν αιθέρος τ' αφανές είδωλον, η
νέκυν ένερθεν, ή
πτανόν όνειρον και


Say, Clytæmnestra, wherefore thus,
Thou queenly child of Tyndarus,
Moved by what recent voice of fame,
Thy Heralds bid the altars flame?
On every shrine their gifts bestow
Of Gods above us and below,
Who dwell beyond our mortal ken,
Or mingle in the haunts of men,
And ever stretch their sheltering arm,
Our city to protect from harm?
From each to each the signal spreads,
The welkin flashes o'er our heads

With fires that mount in turn;
Long hath in regal cells been stored
The incense pure, now gently poured,

To bid them clearly burn.
Oh! if thou mayst the tale declare,
Why thus the kindled altars glare,

Restore my soul to rest ;
Now bodes it ill, now Hope's fond smile
Bids heart-corroding cares awhile

Be banished from my breast.

Why hast thou called me forth to day,
While ill these darkling steps I stay ?
Why summoned me, with wail of woe,
From murky cell and pallet low?
With time and grief my hair is white;
Like airy ghost that mocks the sight
This weary, withered form must seem,
Or pallid corpse, or winged dream.



List, while the favouring sign I tell,
That erst our journeying host befell,

Its leaders sent to cheer ;
For still my years can strength supply
For breath of heaven-taught poesy,

Congenial art and dear.

Severed in empire, one in soul,
And swaying Greece with joint controul,

Forth are the Atridæ gone;
And many a spear and hand of might
Is marshalled with them for the fight;

Nor these are there alone;
The bird is nigh of rapid pinion,
The Eagle,8 to whose proud dominion

Quail all the fowls that fly;

(8) In Chaucer's Assembly of Fowls, the Goddess Nature, in addressing the birds, speaks of

“ The tercell Egle, as ye know full well, The foule royall, above you all in degre." See also Massinger :

“Queen of the inhabitants of the air, The Eagle that bears thunder on her wings.”

Great Duke of Florence. Act IV. Sc. 2. In Dunbar's Rose and Thistle, Kind or Nature is represented as crowning the Eagle, King of Birds.

The origin of the supremacy of the Eagle is thus related by Myro.-(Ed. Giles.)

Ζεύς δ' άρ ένι Κρήτη τρέφετο μέγας, ουδ' άρα τις νιν
ήήδει μακάρων" ο δ' άέξετο πάσι μέλεσσι,
τον μεν άρα τρήρωνες υπό ζαθέω τρέφον άντρα,


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