Poet Walter Savage Landor

English poet (B:1775-01-30 - D:1864-09-17)

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Thrasymedes And Eunoe

Who will away to Athens with me? Who
Loves choral songs and maidens crown'd with flowers,
Unenvious? mount the pinnace; hoist the sail.
I promise ye, as many as are here,
Ye shall not, while ye tarry with me, taste
From unrinsed barrel the diluted wine
Of a low vineyard or a plant ill-pruned,
But such as anciently the Aegaean iles
Pour'd in libation at their solemn feasts:
And the same goblets shall ye grasp, embost
With no vile figures of loose languid boors,
But such as Gods have lived with and have led.
The sea smiles bright before us. What white sail
Plays yonder? what pursues it? Like two hawks
Away they fly. Let us away in time
To overtake them. Are they menaces
We hear? And shall the strong repulse the weak,
Enraged at her defender? Hippias!
Art thou the man? 'Twas Hippias. He had found
His sister borne from the Cecropian port
By Thrasymedes. And reluctantly?
Ask, ask the maiden; I have no reply.

'Brother! O brother Hipias! O, if love,
If pity, ever toucht thy breast, forbear!
Strike not the brave, the gentle, the beloved,
My Thrasymedes, with his cloak alone
Protecting his own head and mine from harm.'
'Didst thou not once before,' cried Hippias,
Regardless of his sister, hoarse with wrath
At Thrasymedes, 'didst not thou, dog-eyed,
Dare, as she walkt up to the Parthenon,
On the most holy of all holy days,
In sight of all the city, dare to kiss
Her maiden cheek?'

'Ay before all the Gods,
Ay, before Pallas, before Artemis,
Ay, before Aphrodite, before Heré,
I dared; and dare again. Arise, my spouse!
Arise! and let my lips quaff purity
From thy fair open brow.'

The sword was up,
And yet he kist her twice. Some God withheld
The arm of Hippias; his proud blood seeth'd slower
And smote his breast less angrily; he laid
His hand on the white shoulder, and spake thus:
'Ye must return with me. A second time
Offended, will our sire Pisistratos
Pardon the affront? Thou shouldst have askt thyself
This question ere the sail first flapt the mast.'
'Already thou hast taken life from me;
Put up thy sword,' said the sad youth, his eyes
Sparkling; but whether love or rage or grief
They sparkled with, the Gods alone could see.

Piræeus they re-entered, and their ship
Drove up the little waves against the quay,
Whence was thrown out a rope from one above,
And Hippias caught it. From the virgin's waist
Her lover dropt his arm, and blusht to think
He had retain'd it there in sight of rude
Irreverent men: he led her forth, nor spake.
Hippias walkt silent too, until they reacht
The mansion of Pisistratos her sire.
Serenely in his sternness did the prince
Look on them both awhile: they saw not him,
For both had cast their eyes upon the ground.
'Are these the pirates thou hast taken, son?'
Said he. 'Worse, father! worse than pirates they,
Who thus abuse thy patience, thus abuse
Thy pardon, thus abuse the holy rites
'Twice over.'

'Well hast thou performed thy duty,'
Firmly and gravely said Pisistratos.
Nothing then, rash young man I could turn thy heart
From Eunà¶e, my daughter?'
'Nothing, sir,
Shall ever turn it. I can die but once
And love but once. O Eunà¶e! farewell!'
'Nay, she shall see what thou canst bear for her.'
'O father! shut me in my chamber, shut me
In my poor mother's tomb, dead or alive,
But never let me see what he can bear;
I know how much that is, when borne for me.'
'Not yet: come on. And lag not thou behind,
Pirate of virgin and of princely hearts!

Before the people and before the Goddess
Thou hadst evinced the madness of thy passion,
And now wouldst bear from home and plenteousness
To poverty and exile this my child.'
Then shuddered Thrasymedes, and exclaim'd,
'I see my crime; I saw it not before.
The daughter of Pisistratos was born
Neither for exile nor for poverty,
Ah! nor for me!' He would have wept, but one
Might see him, and weep worse. The prince unmoved
Strode on, and said, 'To-morrow shall the people.
All who beheld thy trespasses, behold
The justice of Pisistratos, the love
He bears his daughter, and the reverence
In which he holds the highest law of God.'
He spake; and on the morrow they were one.



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