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Page:Masterpieces of Greek Literature (1902).djvu/110

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Would I record the Salaminian wave [1]
Fam'd in thy triumphs; and my tuneful lyre
To Sparta's sons with sweetest praise should tell,
Beneath Cithaeron's shade [2] what Medish archers fell. 160

But on fair Himera's wide-water'd shores [3]
Thy sons, Dinomenes, my lyre demand,
To grace their virtues with the various stores
Of sacred verse, and sing th' illustrious band
Of valiant brothers, who from Carthage won 165
The glorious meed of conquest, deathless praise.
A pleasing theme! but censure's dreaded frown
Compels me to contract my spreading lays.
In verse conciseness pleases ev'ry guest,
While each impatient blames and loathes a tedious feast. 170

Nor less distasteful is excessive fame
To the sour palate of the envious mind;
Who hears with grief his neighbor's goodly name,
And hates the fortune that he ne'er shall find.
Yet in thy virtue, Hiero, persevere! 175
Since to be envied is a nobler fate
Than to be pitied. Let strict justice steer
With equitable hand the helm of state,
And arm thy tongue with truth. Ο king, beware
Of ev'ry step! a prince can never lightly err. 180

O'er many nations art thou set, to deal

The goods of fortune with impartial hand;

  1. Referring to the battle of Salamis, 480 B. C.
  2. Referring to the battle of Plataea, 479 B. C.
  3. The poet thus compares the battle of Himera, 480 B. C., won by Hiero and his brothers (sons of Dinomenes the elder) over the Carthaginians, with the battles of Salamis and Plataea.