Now could the gifts and promised prize be thine,
(The deed, the danger, and the fame be mine,)
Were this decreed, beneath yon rising mound,
Methinks, an easy path, perchance, were found;
Which past, I speed my way to Pallas' walls,
And lead Æneas from Evander's halls."
With equal ardour fir'd, and warlike joy,
His glowing friend address'd the Dardan boy:—
"These deeds, my Nisus, shalt thou dare alone?
Must all the fame, the peril, be thine own?40
Am I by thee despis'd, and left afar,
As one unfit to share the toils of war?
Not thus his son the great Opheltes taught:
Not thus my sire in Argive combats fought;
Not thus, when Ilion fell by heavenly hate,
I track'd Æneas through the walks of fate:
Thou know'st my deeds, my breast devoid of fear,
And hostile life-drops dim my gory spear.
Here is a soul with hope immortal burns,
And life, ignoble life, for Glory spurns.50
Fame, fame is cheaply earn'd by fleeting breath:
The price of honour, is the sleep of death."
Thy heart beats fiercely to the din of arms.
Then Nisus:—"Calm thy bosom's fond alarms:
- And Love, and Life alike the glory spurned. [MS. Newstead.]
Then Nisus, "Ah, my friend—why thus suspect
Thy youthful breast admits of no defect."—[MS. Newstead.]