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The Persians   


Join'd Lydia, and the Phrygians; to his power
Ionia bent reluctant; but the gods
His son then wore the regal diadem.
With victory his gentle virtues crown'd
His son then wore the regal diadem.
Next to disgrace his country, and to stain
The splendid glories of this ancient throne,
Rose Mardus: him, with righteous vengeance fired
Artaphernes, and his confederate chiefs
Crush'd in his palace: Maraphis assumed
The sceptre: after him Artaphernes.
Me next to this exalted eminence,
Crowning my great ambition, Fortune raised.
In many a glorious field my glittering spear
Flamed in the van of Persia's numerous hosts;
But never wrought such ruin to the state.
Xerxes, my son, in all the pride of youth
Listens to youthful counsels, my commands
No more remember'd; hence, my hoary friends,
Not the whole line of Persia's sceptred lords,
You know it well, so wasted her brave sons.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Why this? To what fair end are these thy words
Directed? Sovereign lord, instruct thy Persians
How, mid this ruin, best to guide their state.
GHOST OF DARIUS
No more 'gainst Greece lead your embattled hosts;
Not though your deep'ning phalanx spreads the field
Outnumb'ring theirs: their very earth fights for them.

LEADER
What may thy words import? How fight for them?

GHOST OF DARIUS
With famine it destroys your cumbrous train.

LEADER
Choice levies, prompt for action, will we send,

GHOST OF DARIUS
Those, in the fields of Greece that now remain,
Shall not revisit safe the Persian shore.
LEADER
What! shall not all the host of Persia pass
Again from Europe o'er the Hellespont?
GHOST OF DARIUS
Of all their numbers few, if aught avails
The faith of heaven-sent oracles to him
That weighs the past, in their accomplishment
Not partial: hence he left, in faithless hope
Confiding, his selected train of heroes.
These have their station where Asopus flows
Wat'ring the plain, whose grateful currents roll
Diffusing plenty through Boeotia's fields.
There misery waits to crush them with the load
Of heaviest ills, in vengeance for their proud
And impious daring; for where'er they held
Through Greece their march, they fear'd not to profane
The statues of the gods; their hallow'd shrines
Emblazed, o'erturn'd their altars, and in ruins,
Rent from their firm foundations, to the ground
Levell'd their temples; such their frantic deeds,
Nor less their suff'rings; greater still await them;
For Vengeance hath not wasted all her stores;

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