The Athenaid: Volume III: Book the Twenty-eighth

While lamentation for Masistius dead
Depress'd the Persians, undisturb'd the Greeks
To all their camp refreshment had deriv'd
From clear Asopus. To th' accustom'd edge
Of his abounding flood they now resort.
Stones, darts and arrows from unnumber'd ranks,
Along the margin opposite dispos'd
By Mindarus, forbid access. Repulse
Disbands the Greeks. Exulting, he forgets
Cleora; active valour in his breast
Extinguishes the embers, cherish'd long
By self-tormenting memory, and warmth
Of fruitless passion. Present too his chief,
His friend and kinsman, from a fiery steed
Mardonius rules and stimulates the fight,
Like Boreas, riding on a stormy cloud,
Whence issue darts of light'ning, mix'd with hail
In rattling show'rs. The enemies dispers'd,
Embolden Mindarus to ford the stream.
In guidance swift of cavalry expert,
With unresisted squadrons he careers
Along the field. Inviolate the flood
He guards; each hostile quarter he insults.

Now Gobryas' son, unfetter'd from the bonds
Of superstitious terrors, joyful sees
In Mindarus a new Masistius rise;
Nor less the tidings Tiridates sends,
Who in Cithæron's passes hath despoil'd
The slaughter'd foes, inspire the gen'ral's thoughts,
Which teem with arduous enterprise. The camp
He empties all; beneath whose forming host
The meadow sounds. The native Persians face
Laconia's station, Greek allies oppose
Th' Athenian. All the force of Thebes array'd
Envenom'd Leontiades commands.

Greece in her lines sits tranquil; either host
Expects the other. By their augurs still
Restrain'd, they shun the interdicted ford.
But of the river's plenteous stream depriy'd
By Mindarus, the Grecians fear a dearth
Of that all-cheering element. A rill
Flows from a distant spring, Gargaphia nam'd,
Their sole resource. Nor dread of other wants
Afflicts them less; their convoy is o'erpow'r'd
By Tiridates. Anxious all exhaust
A night disturb'd; the bravest grieve the most,
Lest through severe necessity they quit
Inglorious their position. Morning shines;
When frequent signals from th' external guards,
Near and remote, successive rise. To arms
All rush. Along the spacious public way
From Megara, obscuring dust ascends.
The sound of trampling hoofs, and laden wheels,
With shouts of multitude, is heard. Behold,
Forth from the cloud, a messenger of joy,
Sicinus breaks, of bold auxiliar bands
Forerunner swift, and unexpected aid
In copious stores, at Megara's wide port
New-landed from Thermopylæ. The camp
Admits, and hails in rapturous acclaim
Euboean standards, Potidæa's ranks,
The laurell'd priest and hero, Timon sage,
Th' ennobled heir of Lygdamis, and thee,
Melissa's brother, great Oïleus' son,
Friend of Leonidas, thee dear to all,
O brave, and gen'rous Medon! From their tents
The chiefs assemble, when Sicinus spake:

Pausanius, gen'ral of united Greece,
Accept these ample succours from the hand
Of provident Themistocles. Possess'd
Of Oeta's passes, he the Persian host
Now with impenetrable toils besets
Like beasts of prey, entangled by the skill
Of some experienc'd hunter. Thou receive,
Just Aristides, from Timothea's love,
A suit of armour new, in Chalcis fram'd,
Without luxuriant ornament, or gold.
The shield, an emblem of thy soul, displays
Truth, equity and wisdom, hand in hand.
This for her children, and thy own, consign'd
To her Euboean roof and pious care,
She bids thee lift and conquer. Thou restore
The little exiles in their native homes
To dwell in peace. Her gift, she adds, derives
Its only value from the wearer's worth.

In smiles, like Saturn at the tribute pure
Of fruits and flow'rs in singleness of heart
Paid by religion of the golden age,
Timothea's gift the righteous man receives,
Not righteous more than practic'd to endure
Heroic labours, soon by matchless deeds
To justify the giver. He began:

Confederated warriors, who withstand
A tyrant's pow'r, unanimous confess
Your debt to great Themistocles, the lord
Of all-admir'd Timothea. He and I
Evince the fruits of concord. Ancient foes,
Through her united, cheerful we sustain
Our public charge. From gen'ral union Greece
Expects her safety. Him success hath crown'd
In arms and counsel; whether on the main
His naval flag he spread, or shook the land
With his triumphant step. O, hero-born
Pausanias! glowing with Herculean blood,
Now under thee let Aristides hope
To share success, nor tarnish with disgrace
His armour new. Behold, yon river gleams
With hostile a
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"The Athenaid: Volume III: Book the Twenty-eighth" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 2 Jul 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/43401/the-athenaid:-volume-iii:-book-the-twenty-eighth>.

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