How! doth the monarch purpose what no man
Of noble mind, who loves his honest name,
Whose bosom reverence for the gods restrains,
Would ever think of? Will he force employ
To drag me from the altar to his bed?
Then will I call the gods, and chiefly thee,
Diana, goddess resolute, to aid me;
Thyself a virgin, wilt a virgin shield,
And to thy priestess gladly render aid.
Be tranquil! Passion, and youth’s fiery
Impel not Thoas rashly to commit
A deed so lawless. In his present mood,
I fear from him another harsh resolve,
Which (for his soul is steadfast and unmov’d)
He then will execute without delay.
Therefore I pray thee, canst thou grant no more;
At least be grateful—give thy confidence.
Oh tell me what is further known to thee.
Learn it from him. I see the king approach:
Him thou dost honor, thine own heart enjoins
To meet him kindly and with confidence.
A man of noble mind may oft be led
By woman’s gentle word.
How to observe
His faithful counsel see I not in sooth.
But willingly the duty I perform
Of giving thanks for benefits receiv’d,
And much I wish that to the king my lips
With truth could utter what would please his ear.
Her royal gifts the goddess shower on thee
Imparting conquest, wealth, and high renown
Dominion, and the welfare of thy house,
With the fulfilment of each pious wish,
That thou, whose sway for multitudes provides,
Thyself may’st be supreme in happiness!
Contented were I with my people’s praise;
My conquests others more than I enjoy.
Oh! be he king or subject, he’s most blest;
Whose happiness is centred in his home.
My deep affliction thou didst share with me
What time, in war’s encounter, the fell sword
Tore from my side my last, my dearest son;
So long as fierce revenge possessed my heart,
I did not feel my dwelling’s dreary void;
But now, returning home, my rage appeas’d,
Their kingdom wasted, and my son aveng’d,
I find there nothing left to comfort me.
The glad obedience I was wont to see
Kindling in every eye, is smother’d now
In discontent and gloom; each, pondering, weighs
The changes which a future day may bring,
And serves the childless king, because he must.
To-day I come within this sacred fane,
Which I have often enter’d to implore
And thank the gods for conquest. In my breast
I bear an old and fondly-cherish’d wish,
To which methinks thou canst not be a stranger;
I hope, a blessing to myself and realm,
To lead thee to my dwelling as my bride.