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The Persians   

antistrophe 1

Nor Haly's shallow strand
He pass'd, nor from his palace moved his state;
He spoke; his word was Fate.
What strong-based cities could his might withstand?
Not those that lift their heads
Where to the sea the floods of Strymon pass,
Leaving the huts of Thrace;
Nor those, that far the extended ocean o'er
Stand girt with many a tower;
Nor where the Hellespont his broad wave spreads;
Nor the firm bastions' rampired might,
Whose foot the deep Propontis laves;
Nor those, that glorying in their height
Frown o'er the Pontic sea, and shade his darken'd waves.

strophe 2

Each sea-girt isle around
Bow'd to this monarch: humbled Lesbos bow'd;
Paros, of its marble proud;
Naxos with vines, with olives Samos crown'd:
Him Myconos adored;
Chios, the seat of beauty; Andros steep,
That stretches o'er the deep
To meet the wat'ry Tenos; him each bay
Bound by the Icarian sea,
Him Melos, Gnidus, Rhodes confess'd their lord;
O'er Cyprus stretch'd his sceptred hand:
Paphos and Solos own'd his power,
And Salamis, whose hostile strand,
The cause of all our wo, is red with Persian gore.

antistrophe 2

Ev'n the proud towns, that rear'd
Sublime along the lonian coast their towers,
Where wealth her treasures pours,
Peopled from Greece, his prudent reign revered.
With such unconquer'd might
His hardy warriors shook the embattled fields,
Heroes that Persia yields,
And those from distant realms that took their way,
And wedged in close array
Beneath his glitt'ring banners claim'd the fight.
But now these glories are no more:
Farewell the big war's plumed pride:
The gods have crush'd this trophied power;
Sunk are our vanquish'd arms beneath the indignant tide.

XERXES enters, with a few followers. His royal raiment is torn, The entire
closing scene is sung or chanted.

Ah me, how sudden have the storms of Fate,
Beyond all thought, all apprehension, burst
On my devoted head! O Fortune, Fortune!
With what relentless fury hath thy hand
Hurl'd desolation on the Persian race!
Wo unsupportable! The torturing thought
Of our lost youth comes rushing on my mind,
And sinks me to the ground. O Jove, that
Had died with those brave men that died in fight I

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