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PERICLES.

A poem

BY

ANTHONY W. FREELAND.

PERICLES.

WHEN slowly down the dusky West

With fading light the sun 'Mid clouds and darkness sinks to rest

His giant journey run,
With memory's aid we trace again
The glories of his noontide reign;

And while the darkening sky
Veils earth and sea in misty grey,
We mourn the bright and living ray

That won our trancëd eye.

And thus when lordly nations fall,

And empires fade away,
How sadly pleasing to recall

Their bright meridian ray.
To seek in many a storied page
The shadows of a golden age,

Of never dying fame-
Some green oasis bright and blest
On which the eye may fondly rest,

Mid sorrow, guilt, and shame.

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Oh! thus let Florence love to tell

Her noble Cosmo's story,
And Arno's waters, as they swell,

Proclaim Lorenzo's glory.
Of wealth bereft, to honour lost,
Abject and sad, let Venice boast

Her blind old chieftain's sword, (1)
And ever to her latest hour,
Great Cæsar's splendour, fame and power,

Let fallen Rome record.

City of Cecrops, though the fate

Of all things fair be thine,
Though round thy temple's fallen state

The wild flowers idly twine.
Not ruthless time—not dread decay,
Can cast oblivion on that day,

Which beams through Time's long night,
The age of Pericles, the age
Of Poet, Sculptor, Statesman, Sage,

And patriotic might.

O happy age! e'er jealousy

Had dared with baneful hand To burst the ties of Liberty,

And draw th' ungrateful brand.
Ere traitors for a monarch's gold,
Faith, virtue, honour, Freedom sold :

And Athens-desolate,
Her power betrayed—her glory gone-
Beheld the star of Macedon

Rise o'er her fallen state.

(1) Henry Dandolo, the Doge of Venice, when 97 years of age took Constantinople.

Oh happy age! the record fair

Of freedom's well-won fight
In many a heart was lingering there,

And many an eye was bright,
As oft in youth's attentive ear
The glorious tales it loved to hear

The grey-haired sire would tell,
Of Salamis and Marathon,
How god-like hosts the battle won, (2)

And Persia's myriads fell.

Oh then he rose, the guardian tower,

The bulwark of the state,
By simple nature raised to power,

The greatest of the great!
Nor name nor title's vain pretence,
But genius, wisdom, eloquence

Could there the sway impart;
These were the arts, the honours these
Which stamped the name of Pericles

Deep on his country's heart.

His was a mind which loved to soar,

By various wisdom taught,
By poets strain, and sages lore,

And philosophic thought. (3)
Unhurt, untouched, supremely great,
O’er slander's tongue and rivals hate

He held his onward way,
And Factions fierce unholy might,
And envy like the bird of night

Fled from that dazzling day.

(2) The Gods were said to have come from Eleusis to Salamis to assist the Greeks against Xerxes.

(3) The philosopher AnaxagPoras was the instructor of ericles.

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