Veil'd by the night, secure the Trojan lies.
Burning with wrath, he view'd his soldiers fall.
"Thou youth accurst, thy life shall pay for all!"360
Quick from the sheath his flaming glaive he drew,
And, raging, on the boy defenceless flew.
Nisus, no more the blackening shade conceals,
Forth, forth he starts, and all his love reveals;
Aghast, confus'd, his fears to madness rise,
And pour these accents, shrieking as he flies;
"Me, me,—your vengeance hurl on me alone;
Here sheathe the steel, my blood is all your own;
Ye starry Spheres! thou conscious Heaven! attest!
He could not—durst not—lo! the guile confest!370
No object meets them but the earth and skies.
He burns for vengeance, rising in his wrath—
Then you, accursed, thy life shall pay for both;
Then from the sheath his flaming brand he drew,
And on the raging boy defenceless flew.
Nisus no more the blackening shade conceals,
Forth forth he rushed and all his love reveals;
Pale and confused his fear to madness grows,
And thus in accents mild he greets his Foes.
"On me, on me, direct your impious steel,
Let me and me alone your vengeance feel—
Let not a stripling's blood by Chiefs be spilt,
Be mine the Death, as mine was all the guilt.
By Heaven and Hell, the powers of Earth and Air.
Yon guiltless stripling neither could nor dare:
Spare him, oh! spare by all the Gods above,
A hapless boy whose only crime was Love."
He prayed in vain; the fierce assassin's sword
Pierced the fair side, the snowy bosom gored;
Drooping to earth inclines his lovely head,
O'er his fair curls, the purpling stream is spread.
As some sweet lily, by the ploughshare broke
Languid in Death, sinks down beneath the stroke;
Or, as some poppy, bending with the shower,
Gently declining falls a waning flower.—[MS. Newstead.]