They took their stand where the appointed judges Had cast their lots and ranged the rival cars. Rang out the brazen trump! Away they bound, Cheer the hot steeds and shake the slackened reins; As with a body the large space is filled With the huge clangor of the rattling cars. High whirl aloft the dust-clouds; blent together, Each presses each and the lash rings; and loud Snort the wild steeds, and from their fiery breath, Along their manes and down the circling wheels Scatter the flaking foam. Orestes still— Ays, as he swept around the perilous pillar Last in the course, wheeled in the rushing axle; The left rein curbed,—that on the dexter hand Flung loose.— So on erect the chariots rolled! Sudden the Ænian’s fierce and headlong steeds Broke from the bit — and, as the seventh time now The course was circled, on the Libyan car Dashed their wild fronts: then order changed to ruin: Car crashed on car; the wide Crissæan plain Was sea-like strewed with wrecks; the Athenian saw, Slackened his speed, and wheeling round the marge, Unscathed and skillful, in the midmost space, Left the wild tumult of that tossing storm. Behind, Orestes, hitherto the last, Had yet kept back his coursers for the close; Now one sole rival left — on, on he flew, And the sharp sound of the impelling scourge Rang in the keen ears of the flying steeds. He nears, he reaches — they are side by side — Now one — the other — by a length the victor. The courses all are past — the wheels erect — All safe — when, as the hurrying coursers round The fatal pillar dashed, the wretched boy Slackened the left rein: on the column’s edge Crashed the frail axle: headlong from the car Caught and all meshed within the reins, he fell; And masterless the mad steeds raged along! Loud from that mighty multitude arose A shriek — a shout! But yesterday such deeds, To-day such doom! Now whirled upon the earth, Now his limbs dashed aloft, they dragged him — those Wild horses — till all gory from the wheels Released; — and no man, not his nearest friends, Could in that mangled corpse have traced Orestes. They laid the body on the funeral-pyre; And while we speak, the Phocian strangers bear, In a small, brazen, melancholy urn, That handful of cold ashes to which all The grandeur of the Beautiful hath shrunk.
In honor of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, we present this work by a poet who was denied the benefits of both.
Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light, Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write. While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms, She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms. See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan, And nations gaze at scenes before unknown! See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light Involved in sorrows and the veil of night! The Goddess comes, she moves divinely fair, Olive and laurel binds Her golden hair: Wherever shines this native of the skies, Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise. Muse! Bow propitious while my pen relates How pour her armies through a thousand gates, As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms, Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms; Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar, The refluent surges beat the sounding shore; Or think as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign, Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train. In bright array they seek the work of war, Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air. Shall I to Washington their praise recite? Enough thou know’st them in the fields of fight. Thee, first in peace and honors-we demand The grace and glory of thy martial band. Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more, Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore! One century scarce perform’d its destined round, When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found; And so may you, whoever dares disgrace The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race! Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales, For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails. Anon Britannia droops the pensive head, While round increase the rising hills of dead. Ah! Cruel blindness to Columbia’s state! Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late. Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side, Thy ev’ry action let the Goddess guide. A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine, With gold unfading, Washington! Be thine.
Whilst heaven with envy on the earth looked down, Saw us unworthy of the royal pair, And justly claimed Maria as its own, Yet kindly left the glorious William here: The heaven and earth alike do in the blessing share. He makes the earth, she heaven our great allies, And though we mourn, she for our comfort dies, Nor need we fear the rash presumptuous foe, Whilst she’s our saint above, and he our king below.