Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boothby: Simonides Preserved by the Gods

How high mankind the learned hold
I've shewn; and you shall now be told,
How by the Gods they are esteem'd.
Simonides (the same redeem'd
From shipwreck) for a set reward,
Agreed in lyrics to record
A wrestler's fame. To work retir'd,
And by his subject ill inspir'd,
With licence due, his theme to raise,
He of immortals sung the praise,
Castor and Pollux: and with art
From them deduc'd the wrestler's part.
Of the fixt price a third was paid;
The rest requir'd, the wrestler said,
"Tis not from me, but from the two
You praise so well, the rest is due;
But not to quarrel, pray, Sir, come
To night; I sup with friends at home."
The bard, though much dissatisfied,
Thought better what he felt to hide,
And went; magnificent the feast,
Convivial bumpers joyous past:
When to the couch where he was plac'd
A little slave approach'd in haste:
"Two youths," he said, "are at the gate;
To see you instantly they wait;
Dusty and heated they appear,
Of more than mortal beauty fair."
He rose, and scarce had stept beyond
The threshold, when with dreadful sound
The roof upon the rest fell down
And slew them. But the youths were gone.
The Gods to pay the honours giv'n,
And save his life, had come from Heav'n.

Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 4.23.

(image source)
M0869 Perry522

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