Treasure Island

John Denham

(1615-1669 / England)

Sarpedon's Speech To Glaucus, In The Twelfth Book Of Homer


Thus to Glaucus spake
Divine Sarpedon, since he did not find
Others, as great in place, as great in mind:--
Above the rest why is our pomp, our power?
Our flocks, our herds, and our possessions more?
Why all the tributes land and sea affords
Heap'd in great chargers, load our sumptuous boards?
Our cheerful guests carouse the sparkling tears
Of the rich grape, while music charms their ears?
Why, as we pass, do those on Xanthus' shore,
As gods behold us, and as gods adore?
But that, as well in danger as degree,
We stand the first; that when our Licians see
Our brave examples, they admiring say,
Behold our gallant leaders! These are they
Deserve the greatness, and unenvied stand,
Since what they act transcends what they command.
Could the declining of this fate (O friend!)
Our date to immortality extend?
Or if death sought not them who seek not death,
Would I advance? or should my vainer breath
With such a glorious folly thee inspire?
But since with Fortune Nature doth conspire,
Since age, disease, or some less noble end,
Though not less certain, does our days attend;
Since 'tis decreed, and to this period lead
A thousand ways, the noblest path we'll tread,
And bravely on, till they, or we, or all,
A common sacrifice to honour fall.

Submitted: Saturday, September 18, 2010

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