What ghostly spectres, shades of midnight pale
Cross o’er the sky and raise a frightening wail!
The sound of hounds, more than the winter frost,
It chills the spine. Alas, all hope is lost!
For who can stand and boast to Woden’s face,
Who sees the train he leads in fearful chase?
To him mere mortals are but prey; who flees
Shall find his feet too slow – that king shall seize
Him when he wills. The huntsman to the skies
Shall rise and take with him the soul as prize.
The echo of his steps shall herald war,
When weak and wicked souls he vexes sore.
Bucephalus, who feared the shadows cast,
Whose breaths came from his nostrils as a blast;
He snorted, reared, rejected every hand,
And every rider he bucked back to land;
They called him wild, wholly untameable,
And only barely was he restrainable.
Now, Philip, king of Macedon, refused
To buy this horse, by whom he was abused:
But Alexander wagered that he’d tame
The beast, and Philip consented to the game.
Towards the sun, Alexander turned the horse;
He had no need to use, then, brutal force:
He lightly mounted, shadows thrown behind;
His horse was then to all fear truly blind:
Like Phoebus did he ride towards the sun,
And when he turned, the bet he’d made he won.
His father, Philip, gave a hearty roar,
And praises on his young son did he pour.
And Alexander gave the horse a name,
Bucephalus, and marked him with the same;
On his haunches was placed an ox-head brand,
Submitted he to none but his master’s hand.
Bucephalus in many battles fought,
And many victories Alexander wrought.
What age, what wisdom, what great tradition
Was brought to ruin and sad condition!
When the tyrant king in his zeal for what
Was base and ugly did in destruction glut,
He banished games and every show of might,
And the priests applauded and called it right.
His mobs the books of the Serapeum burned,
Against the learned of old the tide was turned.
Apollo’s temple at Delphi with violence
Did they destroy, and the Pythia silence.
By edict the emperor the temples closed,
And the Vestal Virgins from their place deposed.
For all these acts of persecution he
Was made a saint by the “Holy See”.