Ten years a tedious warfare raged,
Ere Ilium's smoking ruins paid
For wedlock stained and faith betrayed,
And great Atrides' wrath assuaged.
But when heaven's anger asked a life,
And baffling winds his course withstood,
The king put off his fatherhood,
And slew his child with priestly knife.
When by the cavern's glimmering light
His comrades dear Odysseus saw
In the huge Cyclops' hideous maw
Engulfed, he wept the piteous sight.
But blinded soon, and wild with pain--
In bitter tears and sore annoy--
For that foul feast's unholy joy
Grim Polyphemus paid again.
His labours for Alcides win
A name of glory far and wide;
He tamed the Centaur's haughty pride,
And from the lion reft his skin.
The foul birds with sure darts he slew;
The golden fruit he stole--in vain
The dragon's watch; with triple chain
From hell's depths Cerberus he drew.
With their fierce lord's own flesh he fed
The wild steeds; Hydra overcame
With fire. 'Neath his own waves in shame
Maimed Achelous hid his head.
Huge Cacus for his crimes was slain;
On Libya's sands Antaeus hurled;
The shoulders that upheld the world
The great boar's dribbled spume did stain.
Last toil of all--his might sustained
The ball of heaven, nor did he bend
Beneath; this toil, his labour's end,
The prize of heaven's high glory gained.
Brave hearts, press on! Lo, heavenward lead
These bright examples! From the fight
Turn not your backs in coward flight;
Earth's conflict won, the stars your meed!