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strength. His helmet on, he looked under fifty years of age ; but, his head uncovered, he seemed rather older, from the traces which the constant wearing of his heavy Macedonian casque of polished steel had worn upon his brow.
The court of Seleucus presented a somewhat grotesque mixture of the arts and elegancies of Greece, the martial frankness of the Macedonian camp, and the slavish pomp of a prince of Asia. He had, however, an enlightened judgment, with a decided taste for literature and art, and, like Alexander, he maintained a correspondence with some of the men of genius, his contemporaries, in Greece. An embassy from Athens was at this time received at his court, upon an occasion which sheds equal lustre on his name with his achievements in arms. The Persians, during the memorable invasion of Greece, had robbed Athens of the revered statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton the liberators, who slew the tyrant Hipparchus, and restored to Athens the equality of the laws,—with several other works in sculpture and painting, and the still greater treasure of those writings of the learned and the wise, which Pisistratus had collected at Athens for the instruction of the people and the glory of his tyranny. Seleucus recovered them during the conquest of Persia under Alexander; and now that his wars had left him in undisturbed possession of Upper Asia, wrote to the Athenians, generously requesting their acceptance of these illustrious spoils, to grace once more the city of Minerva. The ambassadors above-mentioned came to thank Seleucus in the name of Athens; and it was to the banquet given on their arrival that Combabus had the honour to be invited by the king.
* * * * * Combabus was conducted by Erasistratus to the royal banquet-room. The guests were already assembled. After a few moments music was heard, and the king and queen advanced to a throne raised in the centre of a crescent formed by the guests. The air was in an instant charged with the fragrance of burning incense and fresh flowers. Slaves placed garlands upon the heads of all, poured pure water upon their hands, and gave to each a cup of wine surmounted with flowers. After a short pause of religious silence, each made a libation to Jupiter the preserver, the good genius, and the graces; and the feast began. and queen did the honours after ancient custom. Seleucus, according to the usage, recorded by Homer, of the heroic age, sent to the Athenian ambassadors the most delicious portion of a sucking-pig: and Stratonice sent to Erasistratus and Combabus a salver of strawberries and cream, sweetened, as she graciously observed, with the honey of the wild bees of Mount Hymettus. The king's favour of a portion of sucking-pig carried with it more honour and distinction, but Combabus has declared that he never tasted any thing so delicious as the queen's strawberries and cream. Dearly did he pay for their sweetness. With this simple salver of strawberries and cream began the courtiers' envy, that poison of the passions, which subsequently did him so much wrong. The repast being concluded, Stratonice rose and took up the golden cup that stood before Seleucus, crowned with roses, of which the leaves floated on the surface. Having lightly tinged her lips with the purple fluid, she spoke these words: “Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes, greets the Athenian ambassadors with the cup of King Seleucus Nicanor.” A herald who
The king stood ready, received the cup and bore it to the ambassadors, who, beginning with the eldest, (they were three,) drank to the glory of Seleucus and the beauty of Stratonice. A pyramidal figure placed upon a pedestal, in the centre between the king and queen on the one side and the guests on the other, and carefully veiled over, was now uncovered by concealed machinery, which carried off the covering out of sight in an instant, and the Athenian ambassadors beheld with delighted eyes the long-lost statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton, their swords wreathed in myrtle, as when they slew the tyrant of Athens. A curtain drawn on the left hand of the throne next displayed a splendid theatre. Leucolene stood at the front of the stage, holding her lyre; and immediately behind her a group of youths clad in the garb of Athenian warriors, their swords concealed with myrtle leaves, their bucklers resting close to their bosoms, in the attitude which precedes the onset, and their spears pointing upwards in their right hands. After a short symphony, Leucolene sang, with the accompaniment of her lyre, one of those simple songs of Harmodius and Aristogiton which the Athenians loved in their convivial meetings, and were sung
ven in the grand Panathenean procession of Minerva Polias. The song chosen on this occasion turned upon the private wrong which chiefly moved Harmodius to enter into the conspiracy against the Pisistratidæ. Harmodius loved, and was beloved of, a young Athenian virgin, who surpassed the fairest of Athens, and even of Greece, in talents and beauty. When returning with her mother from the temple of Ceres, the young men of Athens watched, with respectful admiration, the casual raising of her veil by the breeze; and on the following morning her door was hung with wreaths of flowers, and the trees growing before her father's house had inscribed on them by different hands “ Callirhoe is beautiful, there is no beauty like Callirhoe--Callirhoe is amiable, there is no one amiable as Callirhoe.” Finding her one day in tears, Harmodius asked and learned the cause. It was some days before the grand Panathenean procession, in which a select number of Athenian virgins, chosen for their high rank, for those accomplishments over which Minerva presided, and for their beauty, which should be so bright as to attract all eyes, carried baskets of sacred sweetmeats, fruits, and flowers. All Athens named Callirhoe for the place of honour in this lovely assemblage ; but the son of Pisistratus caused her to be excluded, in order to make room for a virgin of his own family. “Weep not, my life and soul," said Harmodius: “although you do not bear the sacred fruits and flowers, yet will the Panathenean feast consummate the felicity and glory of us both.” The unhappy girl, who thought of no felicity or glory but that of being united with her lover, and who dreaded that the disgrace of her exclusion might alienate his affection, supposed he alluded to the ceremony of their marriage. But Harmodius's thoughts were of sacrificing the tyrant to vindicate his country and his beloved one. He slew the victim, but was himself overpowered by the tyrant's guards. The following are the verses.
SONG OF HARMODIUS.
It is, it is the nuptial hour,
He bids me to the nuptial bower.
What doth the tyrant here?
Aristogiton draws his sword,
“ Tó Athens liberty” Harmodius calls.
Ha! impious slaves! they kill my love;
But still to thee my truth I prove.
Thus dying with thee-thus-my soul's adored. Here she dropped lifeless into the arms of one of the chorus. The rest sing the pæan, beating their bucklers with their lances, and dancing the pyrrhic dance.
Sing we the päan of the free,
For Athens, and for liberty.t The charming tones of Leucolene's voice and lyre, the wild yet graceful energy of movement which followed, the clangor of the bucklers struck with the spears, the quick time and martial cadence of the music which governed the performance at the close excited an enthusiasm which would have been almost delirious, were it not softened and subdued by the picturesque attitude and pathetic expression of the bride of Harmodius seeming dead in the arms of the Chorus.
This enchanting girl excelled not only in music, but in those dances of her country whose mute eloquence wakes emotions beyond the most powerful declamation. An Ionian girl at Athens, in the time of Pericles, and who had been brought from Miletus by his consort, the celebrated Aspasia, won the prize from the most famed rhapsodists of
A person whispered something to Hipparchus--the conspirators thought themselves betrayed, and struck instantly.
t Several fragments of these songs of Harmodius and Aristogiton have been preserved. One is given in the Memoirs of the French Academy, from Athenæus. The French version is given in prose without the original, and professes to be literal. It is from it that I translate as follows :
Song of Harmodius and Aristogiton. “ I'll wear my sword covered with inyrtle-leaves, as did Harmodius and Aristogiton, when they slew the tyrant, and established at Athens the equality of the laws.
“ Dear Harmodius, thou art not dead. They say thou art in the Isles of the Blessed, with swift-footed Achilles, and Diomede the valiant son of Tydeus.
“ I'll wear my sword covered with myrtle-leaves, as did Harmodius and Aristogiton, when they slew the tyrant, in the time of the Panathenæa.
“ Eternal be your glory, dear Harmodius, dear Aristogiton! for you slew the tyrant, and established at Athens the equality of the laws." (Trans.)
Greece, during a public procession in which it was the custom to recite verses from Homer. One of the passages chosen for trial, was the lamentation of Helen over the body of Hector. What is there, for situation and sentiment, in history or in fiction, so nobly and at the same time so tenderly moving? The rhapsodist read it with a nobleness of action and purity of intonation which the women confessed by their tears, the men by their applause. The dancing girl followed she looked for a moment at the body of the slain hero-her bosom heaved -her tears flowed—a series of moving pictures in her looks, her tears, her neglected tresses, the lightning movements of her countenance and limbs, told the whole scene-the reproaches of the brothers, the scorn of the sisters, the cutting unkindness of the motherqueen-contrasted with the noble magnanimity of Hector, who, though more than all exposed, by her misconduct, to danger and fatigue-yet, not only never gave her an unkind word, but protected her from insult, and rebuked those who gave her pain! There was now no applause ; but manhood sobbed, and beauty forgot the disfigurement of its features in the sincerity of its emotion. Another dancer, also of Ionia, produced effects so terrible, in the temple of Apollo, during the celebration of the Pythian games, as to be prohibited from repeating the performance. The subject was the memorable pride and punishment of Niobe. The transition of Niobe from childless agony to marble horror, was so heart-rending to the spectators, that the presiding magistrates interfered to arrest the performance.
Why is it that mute signs, necessarily so imperfect and vague, have this superiority over language? May not their very vagueness be the cause? Language expresses thoughts precisely and in detail, leaving comparatively little for the imagination. But the mute play of countenance and gesture presents only a glimpse, or sketch, which the imagination completes, far beyond the utmost power of detailed and palpable expression. It was to this surpassing power of the imagination that Timanthes left the painting of the father's grief, when he represented Agamemnon at the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia, with his face hidden in his robe. The same principle applies to poetry. Perhaps a poet, endued in his art, with the genius and felicity of Timanthes in painting, would have also flung a mantle over the figure of a sufferer, in the same or a kindred situation-and left the imagination no visible materials but the convulsive heavings of agony from beneath it. But to return.
The music gradually died away; the curtain was drawn forward, and the spectacle vanished like a dream. One of the ambassadors then spoke these words : “ O Seleucus, the Athenians have placed your statue in the porch of the Academy: is there any thing else by which Athens can honour the friendship of Seleucus Nicanor ?” bassadors," said Seleucus, “ I am grateful to the Athenians for having placed my statue in the porch of the Academy. There is one thing more by which Athens will complete my happiness and glory : let an inscription on the pedestal which receives the images of these two heroes, tell posterity that Seleucus Nicanor, who reigned over Upper Asia, and built thirty-four cities of men therein, was the friend of the Athenians." Next day the king and the ambassadors sanctified their hospitality anew, by a joint sacrifice to Jupiter the preserver, and to
Castor and Pollux. After that, the king offered separate sacrifice to Minerva Polias, in honour of the Athenians; and the ambassadors sacrificed in return to Apollo, who, as will hereafter appear, was reputed the father of Seleucus. Having received the books, statues, and other objects from the hands of Seleucus, the Athenians departed. It may be well to relate here, for the greater glory of these two heroic assertors of Athenian freedom, and for the sake of virtue among men, that upon the ship’s putting in at Rhodes, the statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton were received with the honours of publie hospitality, and placed in the temple of Apollo, upon sacred cushions, near that column of the temple which bears inscribed the ode of Pindar, in which Rhodes is called “the daughter of Venus, and Apollo's bride."
In the mean time Combabus surrendered himself wholly to the captivating illusions which had constantly surrounded him since his arrival at the court of Antioch. It was yet but three days, and he had forgotten all that he had known and seen-Athens and the Isles of Greece—the bonds of friendship, and the dearer reminiscences of love. He forgot all but the place that held the divine Stratonice ;-like those who have eaten of the Lotus-tree. Unthinking one! he must soon awake to the perils that already surround him, and the trials to which he is doomed.-But we will not anticipate the order of time.
The ordeal's tatal trumpet sounded,
She wept, delivered from her danger ;
“ For he is in a foreign far land
Nay! say not that his faith is tainted!”-