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Ilath levelld with the dust the tow'rs of Troy;"
('lyt. Joy to thee, herald of the Argive host.
Clyt. The fond desire of those, whose equal love• Her. This of the army say'st thou, whose warm love Streams to this land? is this thy fond desire ?
Clyt. Such, that I oft have breath'd the secret sigh. Her. Whence did the army cause this anxious sad
ness? Clyt. Silence I long have held a healing ba!m. Her. The princes absent, had'st thou whom to fear? Clyt. To use thy words, death were a wish'd ex
change. Her. Well is the conflict ended. In the tide Of so long time, if 'midst the easy flow Of wish'd events some tyrannous blast assail us, What marvel ? who, save the blest gods, can claim Through life's whole course an unmix'd happiness? Should I relate our toils, our wretched plight, Wedg’d in our narrow ill-provided cabins, Each irksome hour was loaded with fatigues. Yet these were slight essays to those worse hardships We suffer'd on the shore : our lodging near The walls of the enemy, the dews of heaven
Fell on us from above, the damps beneath
boast, It well becomes to gratulate the state, . And the brave chiefs : revering Jove's high pow'r That grac'd our conquering arms. Thou hast my mes.
Pythian king. Apollo was called so because he slew the serpent Python. This is figurative : Python was Disease or Malady, and as enemy to the human constitution is called a serpent. Apollo being the god of health, the healer or destroyer of disease, is described as having slain a serpent. .
Thy shafts no longer winged for our destruction. This alludes to that pestilence in the Greek camp, which is described in the first book of the siad. The instantaneous
operation of the pest, causes its effects to be compared to the sudden and mortal wound of an arrow from the bow. This pestilence is ascribed by Homer to Apollo, as a punishment for the affront offered to his priest Chryses. · Mercury, as the messenger of the gods, was esteemed the patron of heralds, whose character therefore was always held sacred.
“Sophocles, surnamed the Bee and the Attic Siren, was born at Athens, in the year 495 B. C. He gave early proofs of his talent for poetry, and aptitude for the business of government. He reached the dignity of Archon, and, in this capacity, commanded the armies of the republic of Athens, with considerable reputation. As a tragic writer, he shared the favour of the Athenian public with Euripides, his contemporary, and rival. Sophocles died at the advanced age of eighty-five. Some of his biographers relate that he expired from an ecstasy of joy, produced by his having carried the prize at the Olympic Games. But his number of years may alone account for his dissolution. He is said to have composed one hundred and twenty tragedies, of which seven only re-. main.”
· ANTIGONE. The character of Antigone, as she is represented by Sophocles, is that of the loveliest and best of women. She was the daughter of Edipus, king of Thebes. Her father being driven from his kingdom, and having in despair torn out his eyes, his faithful and patient child follows his wanderings, and soothes his sufferings as long as he lives. When her father is no more, she is afflicted by the discord of her brothers, and the persecutions of her uncle Creon. Her affection, fortitude, and undismayed sense of duty, are worthy of a Christian heroino.
To illustrate the dialogue which follows, these notes are extracted from Francklin's Sophocles,
“ Eteocles and Polynices, sons of the unfortunate Edipus, having an equal claim to the kingdom of Thebes, had agreed to divide the power, and to reign year by year alternately; but Eteocles stepping first into the throne, and tasting the sweets of sovereignty, broke the contract, and maintained himself in the possession of his dominions Polynices, in revenge, raised an army of Argians, and made an incursion on Thebes; a battle ensued, and, after much slaughter on both sides, the brothers agreed to decide it by single combat; they fought, and were slain by each other. After the death of the brothers, the kingdom of Thebes devolved to their uncle Creon, whose first act of supreme power was an edict forbidding all rites of sepulture to Polyoices, as a traitor ; and pronouncing instant death on any who should dare to bury him. Here the action of the tragedy commences, the subject of which is the piety of Antigone in opposition to the edict of Creon, with the distresses consequent upon it. Antigone calls her sister out of the palace into the adjoining area, to inform her of the decree which had been issued on the preceding day, and her resolutions concerning
Of all the honours paid to the dead by the ancients, the care of their funerals was looked upon by them as most necessary and indispen-able; as to be deprived of sepulture was accounted the greatest misfortune, and the highest injury. No imprecation was therefore so terrible as that any person might die destitute of burial;' it was not to be wondered at that they were thus solicitous about the interment of their dead, when they were strongly possessed with the opinion that the souls of the deceased could not be admitted into the Elysian shades, but were forced to wander desolate and alone, till their bodies were committed to the earth. Nor was it sufficient to be honoured with the solemn performance of their funeral rites, except their bodies were prepared for burial by their relations, and interred in the sepulchres of their fathers.”
The importance attached by the Greeks to the rites of sepulture, is clear from that passage in Homer, in which
Achilles is described as seeing, in a vision of the night, his friend Patroclus, who had recently been killed, and who reproaches him with neglecting the last duty to his remains: "Tis true, 'tis certain, man, though dead, retains Part of himself—the immortal mind remains.
* * * * * * * This night my friend so late in battle lost Stood at my side, a pensive, plaintive ghost.
Sleeps my Achilles'--thus the phantom said
ANTIGone and ISMENE.
Ism. Since that unhappy day, Antigone,
Ant. I thought thou wert a stranger to the tidings, And therefore call’d thee forth, that here alone I might impart them to thee. Ism.
0! what are they? For something dreadful labours in my breast.