Alexander the great, a dramatic poem

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Página 106 - The dullness comes of death.' Or here where Philotas is awaiting death after condemnation, and has drawn from Phylax an oath to revenge him by the assassination of Hephestion : ' Remember An ice-film gathers on my shivering blood. Oh, happy days of youth ! They'll laugh at me, A shadow mid the shades, as I have laugh'd At Homer's ghosts bending to victim blood, A sieve-like throat incapable of joy ! Tell me these things are fables. I'd not live A second time ; for life's too dangerous ! We come from...
Página xii - Great, not merely in the vast compass, and the persevering ardour, of his ambition : nor in the qualities by which he was enabled to gratify it, and to crowd so many memorable actions within so short a period : but in the course which his ambition took, in the collateral aims which ennobled and purified it, so that it almost grew into one with the highest of which man is capable, the desire of knowledge, and the love of good.
Página vii - Macedonian madman.' and moral to declaim against him as a bandit. Maturer reflection has led us to the discovery that 'a fool's luck' helping a robber's ambition could hardly have enabled a youth but twenty-two years of age when he began his enterprise to conquer half the world in ten years. The ancients made no such mistake. They admired, and therefore they understood.
Página xx - Had he lived,' says Mr. de Vere, ' he must have created it. The Romans, whose legions with difficulty resisted the phalanx when wielded by Pyrrhus of Epirus, must have sunk, despite the patriotic confidence of Livy, before the conqueror. The imperial series would then have been far otherwise completed ; the consummating empire, which resumed all its predecessors, inheriting their gifts, and exaggerating at once their good and their evil, the virtues that win power, and the earthly aim that degrades...
Página xviii - Alexander for endeavouring to draw his subjects into the belief of his divine origin, nor be induced to believe it any great crime, because it is very reasonable to imagine he intended no more by it than merely to procure the greater authority among his soldiers.
Página viii - His intellect, he tells us, was at once vast and minute. His aim was to consolidate the whole world into a single empire, redeemed from barbarism and irradiated with Greek science and art; an empire such that its citizens, from the mouths of the Ganges to the pillars of Hercules, should be qualified to learn from Plato and to take delight in Sophocles. It is not necessary to quote further from Mr. Aubrey de Vere.
Página 135 - ... ambition of his life. From the religions of the conquered peoples he extracts material to feed his quenchless pride ; or, if that be impossible, he can at least, by resource to scepticism, set aside their appeals to higher ideals, and at the worst he can cut the tangled knot with his resistless sword. ' This only know we — We walk upon a world not knowable Save in those things which knowledge least deserve, Yet capable, not less, of task heroic. My trust is in my work ; on that I fling me,...
Página 135 - Alexander and the friend who is to him what Patroclus was to Achilles, Alexander confesses, — I sometimes think That I am less a person than a power, Some engine in the right hand of the gods, Some fateful wheel that, round in darkness rolling, Knows this — its work ; but not that work's far scope. Hephestion, what is life ? My life, since boyhood, Hath been an agony of means to ends : An ultimate end I find not. For that cause, On-reeling in the oppression of a void, At times I welcome what...
Página xx - half a century later. At that day Epicurus surely cannot have been known. On the whole, Mr. de Vere does not, primd facie, command any deference to his opinions ; else one might be curious to know, whence he gets his information that Alexander planned the conquest of Italy and Spain. ' The empire which Alexander had resolved to create was that of the whole world. Had he lived, he must have created it .... had ten years more been accorded. But it was not to be. Alexander was not to tread the banks...
Página 112 - ... and an instinct almost animal, are all revealed by Mr. de Vere in firm but delicately contrived strokes ; and much more than these. How much of insight he gives us into the heart of the man in this contemptuous reference to Philotas, whom he has put to death on a suspicion of treason unproven : — ' I, in his place, Had ta'en small umbrage at my days abridged ; There lived not scope nor purpose in his life Which death could mar.

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