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But since the god his hand has pleased to turn,
And fill thy measures from his bitter urn,
What sees the sun, but hapless heroes' falls?
War and the blood of men surround thy walls!
What must be, must be. Bear thy lot nor shed
These unavailing sorrows o'er the dead :
Thou canst not call him from the Stygian shore,
But thou, alas! mayst live, to suffer more!
To whom the king; Oh favour'd of the skies!
Here let me grow to earth! since Hector lies
On the bare beach deprived of obsequies.
Oh give me Hector! to my eyes restore
His corse, and take the gifts; I ask no more.
Thou, as thou may'st, these boundless stores enjoy;
Safe may'st thou sail, and turn thy wrath from Troy ;
So shall thy pity and forbearance give
A weak old man to see the light and live!
Move me no more (Achilles thus replies,
While kindling anger sparkled in his eyes);
Nor seek by tears my steady soul to bend ;
To yield thy Hector I myself intend:
For know, from Jove my goddess-mother came
Old Ocean's daughter, silver footed dame);
Nor comest thou but by heaven; nor comest alone.
Some god impells with courage not thy own;
No human hand the weighty gates unbarr'd
Nor could the boldest of our youth have dared
To pass our out-works, or elude the guard.
Cease; lest neglectful of high Jove's command,
I shew thee, king! thou tread'st on hostile land;
Release my knees, thy suppliant art give o'er,
And shake the purpose of my soul no more.
The sire obey'd him, trembling and o'erawed,
Achilles, like a lion, rush'd abroad;
Automedon and Alcimus atterd
(Whom most he honour'd since he lost his friend)
These to unyoke the mules and horses went,
And led the hoary herald to the tent;
Next heap'd on high the numerous presents bear
(Great Hector's ransom) from the polish'd car
Two splendid mantles, and a carpet spread,
They leave, to cover and enwrap the dead.
Then call the handmaids, with assistant toil
To wash the body, and anoint with oil,
Apart from Priam; lest the unhappy sire,
Provoked to passion, once more rouse to ire
The stern Pelides; and nor sacred age,
Nor Jove's command should check the rising rage.
This done, the garments o'er the corse they spread:
Achilles lifts it to the funeral bed;
Then, while the body on the car they laid,
He groans, and calls on loved Patroclus' shade:
If, in that gloom which never light must know,
The deeds of mortals touch the ghosts below;
O friend! forgive me, that I thus fulfil
(Restoring Hector) Heaven's unquestion'd will.
The gifts the father gave, be ever thine,
To grace thy manes, and adorn thy shrine.
He said, and, entering, took his seat of state,
Where full before him reverend Priam sate:
To whom, composed, the godlike chief begun:
Lo! to thy prayer restored, thy breathless son;
Extended on the funeral couch he lies;
And soon as morning paints the eastern skies,
The sight is granted to thy longing eyes.
But now the peaceful hours of sacred night
Demand refection, and to rest invite;
Nor thou, O father! thus consumed with woe,
The common cares that nourish life forego.
Not thus did Niobe, of form divine,
A parent once, whose sorrows equall'd thine:
Six youthful sons, as many blooming maids,
In one sad day beheld the Stygian shades;
These by Apollo's silver bow were slain,
Those Cynthia's arrows stretch'd upon the plain :
So was her pride chastised by wrath divine,
Who match'd her own with bright Latona's line;
But two the goddess, twelve the queen enjoy'd ;
Those boasted twelve the avenging two destroy'd.
Steep'd in their blood, and in the dust out-spread
Nine days, neglected, lay exposed the dead:
None by to weep them, to inhume them none
(For Jove had turn'd the nation all to stone);
The gods themselves at length, relenting, gave
The unhappy race the honours of a grave.
Herself a rock (for such was Heaven's high will)
Through deserts wild now pours a weeping rill;
Where round the bed whence Acheloüs springs,
The watery fairies dance in mazy rings,
The rock for ever lasts, the tears for ever flow.
There high on Sipylus's shaggy brow
She stands, her own sad monument of woe;
Such griefs, O king! have other parents known; 780
Remember theirs, and mitigate thy own.
690 The care of Heaven thy Hector has appear'd,
Nor shall he lie unwept and uninterr'd;
Soon may thy aged cheeks in tears be drown'd,
And all the eyes of Ilion stream around.
He said; and, rising, chose the victim ewe
695 With silver fleece, which his attendants slew.
The limbs they sever from the reeking hide,
With skill prepare them, and in parts divide:
Each on the coals the separate morsels lays.
And, hasty snatches from the rising blaze.
With bread the glittering canisters they load,
Which round the board Automedon bestow'd:
The chief himself to each his portion placed,
And each indulging shared in sweet repast.
When now the rage of hunger was represt,
705 The wondering hero eyes his royal guest:
No less the royal guest the hero eyes,
His godlike aspect and majestic size;
Here, youthful grace and noble fire engage;
And there, the mild benevolence of age.
Thus gazing long, the silence neither broke
(A solemn scene! ); at length the father spoke:
Permit me now, beloved of Jove! to steep
My careful temples in the dew of sleep:
For, since the day that number'd with the dead
715 My hapless son, the dust has been my bed;
Soft sleep a stranger to my weeping eyes;
My only food, my sorrows and my sighs;
Till now, encouraged by the grace you give,
I share thy banquet, and consent to live.
With that, Achilles bade prepare the bed,
With purple soft, and shaggy carpets spread;
Forth, by the flaming lights, they bend their way,
And place the couches, and the coverings lay.
Then he: Now, father, sleep, but sleep not here;
725 Consult thy safety, and forgive my fear;
Lest any Argive (at this hour awake,
To ask our counsel, or our orders take)
Approaching sudden to our open'd tent,
Perchance behold thee, and our grace prevent.
730 Should such report thy honour'd person here,
The king of men the ransom might defer:
with speed, if aught of thy desire
Remains unask'd; what time the rites require
To inter thy Hector? For, so long we stay
Our slaughtering arm, and bid the hosts obey.
If then thy will permit (the monarch said,
To finish all due honours to the dead,
This, of thy grace accord: to thee are known
The fears of Ilion, closed within her town;
740 And at what distance from our walls aspire
The hills of Ide, and forests for the fire.
Nine days to vent our sorrows I request,
The tenth shall see the funeral and the feast;
The next to raise his monument be given:
745 The twelfth we war, if war be dooni'd by Heaveni !
This thy request (replied the chief) enjoy:
Till then, our arms suspend the fall of Troy.
Then gave his hand at parting, to prevent
The old man's fears, and turn'd within the tent;
755 Industrious Hermes only was awake,
The king's return revolving in his mind,
To pass the ramparts, and the watch to blind.
The power descending hover'd o'er his head:
And sleep'st thou, father! (thus the vision said);
760 Now dost thou sleep, when Hector is restored?
Nor fear the Grecian foes, or Grecian lord?
Thy presence here should stern Atrides see,
Thy still-surviving sons may sue for thee;
May offer all thy treasures yet contain,
765 To spare thy age; and offer all in vain.
Waked with the word, the trembling sire arose,
And raised his friend: the god before him goes:
He joins the mules, directs them with his hand,
And moves in silence through the hostile land.
770 When now to Xanthus' yellow stream they drove
(Xanthus, immortal progeny of Jove),
The winged deity forsook their view,
And in a moment to Olympus flew
Then as the pensive pomp advanced more near
(Her breathless brother stretch'd upon the bier),
A shower of tears o'erflows her beauteous eyes,
Alarming thus all Ilion with her cries;
Turn here your steps, and here your eyes employ,
Ye wretched daughters, and ye sons of Troy!
If e'er ye rush'd in crowds, with vast delight,
To hail your hero glorious from the fight;
Now meet him dead, and let your sorrows flow!
Your common triumph, and your common woe.
In thronging crowds they issue to the plains;
Nor man, nor woman, in the walls remains:
In every face the self-same grief is shewn ;
And Troy sends forth one universal groan.
At Scæa's gates they meet the mourning wain,
Hang on the wheels, and grovel round the slain.
The wife and mother, frantic with despair,
Kiss his pale cheek, and rend their scatter'd hair:
Thus wildly wailing at the gates they lay;
And there had sigh'd and sorrow'd out the day:
But godlike Priam from the chariot rose :
Forbear (he cried) this violence of woes,
First to the palace let the car proceed,
Then pour your boundless sorrows o'er the dead.
The waves of people at his word divide,
Slow rolls the chariot through the following tide.
E'en to the palace the sad pomp they wait:
They weep, and place him on the bed of state.
A melancholy choir attend around,
With plaintive sighs, and music's solemn sound:
Alternately they sing, alternate flow
The obedient tears, melodious in their woe.
While deeper sorrows groan from each full heart,
And nature speaks at every pause of art.
First to the corse the weeping consort flew;
Around his neck her milk-white arms she threw,
And, oh, my Hector! oh, my lord! she cries,
Snatch'd in thy bloom from these desiring eyes!
Thou to the dismal realms for ever gone!
And I abandon'd, desolate, alone!
An only son, once comfort of our pains,
Sad product now of hapless love, remains!
Never to manly age that son shall rise,
Or with increasing graces glad my eyes;
For Ilion now (her great defender slain)
Shall sink a smoking ruin on the plain.
Who now protects her wives with guardian care?
Who saves her infants from the rage of war?
Now hostile fleets must waft those infants o'er
(Those wives must wait them) to a foreign shore !
Thou too, my son'! to barbarous climes shalt go,
The sad companion of thy mother's woe;
Driven hence a slave before the victor's sword;
Condemn'd to toil for some inhuman lord:
Or else some Greek whose father press'd the plain,
Or son, or brother, by great Hector slain;
In Hector's blood his vengeance shall enjoy,
And hurl thee headlong from the towers of Troy.
For thy stern father never spared a foe:
Thence all these tears, and all this scene of woe!
Thence many evils his sad parents bore,
His parents many, but his consort more.
Why gavest thou not to me thy dying hand?
And why received not I thy last command?
Of all my race thou most by heaven approved,
And by the immortals e'en in death beloved!
While all my other sons in barbarous bands
Achilles bound, and sold to foreign lands,
This felt no chains, but went a glorious ghost,
Free and a hero, to the Stygian coast.
Sentenced, 'tis true, by his inhuman doom,
Thy noble corse was dragg'd around the tomb
880 (The tomb of him thy warlike arm had slain);
Ungenerous insult, impotent and vain!
Yet glow'st thou fresh with every living grace;
No mark of pain or violence of face;
Rosy and fair, as Phoebus' silver bow
Dismiss'd thee gently to the shades below!
Thus spoke the dame, and melted into tears.
Sad Helen next in pomp of grief appears:
Fast from the shining sluices of her eyes
Fall the round crystal drops, while thus she cries:
Ah, dearest friend! in whom the gods had join'd
The mildest manners with the bravest mind;
Now twice ten years (unhappy years) are o'er,
Since Paris brought me to the Trojan shore.
(O had I perish'd ere that form divine
895 Seduced this soft, this easy heart of mine!);
Yet was it ne'er my fate, from thee to find
A deed ungentle, or a word unkind :
When others cursed the authoress of their woe,
Thy pity check'd my sorrows in their flow:
900 If some proud brother eyed me with disdain,
Or scornful sister with her sweeping train;
Thy gentle accents soften'd all my pain.
For thee I mourn; and mourn myself in thee,
The wretched source of all this misery!
Some word thou wouldst have spoke, which, sadly dear,
My soul might keep, or utter with a tear;
Which never, never, could be lost in air,
Fix'd in my heart, and oft repeated there!
920 Roll back the gather'd forests to the town.
These toils continue nine succeeding days,
And high in air a sylvan structure raise.
But when the tenth fair morn began to shine,
Forth to the pile was borne the man divine,
And placed aloft: while all, with streaming eyes,
Beheld the flames and rolling smokes arise.
Soon as Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
With rosy lustre streak'd the dewy lawn;
Again the mournful crowds surround the pyre,
930 And quench with wine the yet remaining fire.
The snowy bones his friends and brothers place
(With tears collected) in a golden vase;
The golden vase in purple palls they roll'd,
Of softest texture, and inwrought with gold.
Last o'er the urn the sacred earth they spread,
And raised the tomb, memorial of the dead
(Strong guards and spies, till all the rites were done,
Watch'd from the rising to the setting sun).
All Troy then moves to Priam's court again,
Thus to her weeping maids she makes her moan. 940 A solemn, silent, melancholy train:
Her weeping handmaids echo groan for groan.
The mournful mother next sustains her part.
O thou, the best, the dearest to my heart!
WE have now passed through the Iliad, and seen the anger of Achilles, and the terrible effects of it, at As that only was the subject of the poem, and the nature of epic poetry would not permit our author to proceed to the event of the war, it may, perhaps, be acceptable to the common reader, to give a short account of what happened to Troy and the chief actors of this poem, after the conclusion of it.
I need not mention that Troy was taken soon after the death of Hector, by the stratagem of the wooden horse, the particulars of which are described by Virgil in the second book of the Æneis.
Achilles fell before Troy, by the hand of Paris, by the shot of an arrow in his heel, as Hector had prophesied at his death, Book xxii.
The unfortunate Priam was killed by Pyrrhus the son of Achilles.
Ajax, after the death of Achilles, had a contest with Ulysses for the armour of Vulcan; but, being defeated in his aim, he slew himself through indignation.
Helen, after the death of Paris, married Deïphobus his brother, and at the taking of Troy, betrayed him, in order to reconcile herself to Menelaüs, her first husband, who received her again into favour.
Agamemnon at his return was barbarously murdered by gysthus, at the instigation of Clytemnestra, his wife, who, in his absence, had dishonoured his bed with Ægysthus.
Diomed, after the fall of Troy, was expelled his own country, and scarce escaped with life from his adulterous wife giale; but at last was received by Daunus in Apulia, and shared his kingdom: it is uncertain how he died.
Nestor lived in peace, with his children, in Pylos, his native country.
Ulysses also, after innumerable troubles by sea and land, at last returned in safety to Ithaca, which is the bubject of Homer's Odysses.
I must end these remarks by discharging my duty to two of my friends, which is the more an indispensable piece of justice, as the one of them is since dead: the merit of their kindness to me will appear infinitely the greater, as the task they undertook was, in its own nature, of much more labour than either pleasure or reputation. The larger part of the extracts from Eustathius together with several excellent observations, were sent me by Mr. Broome; and the whole essay upon Homer was written, upon such memoirs as I had collected, by the late Dr. Parnell, archdeacon of Clogher in Ireland how very much that gentleman's friendship prevailed over his genius, in detaining a writer of his spirit in the drudgery of removing the rubbish of past pedants, will soon appear to the world, when they shall see those beautiful pieces of poetry, the publication of which he left to my charge, almost with his dying breath.
For what remains, I beg leave to be excused from the ceremonies of taking leave at the end of my work; and from embracing myself or others with any defences or apologies about it. But instead of raising a vain monument to myself, of the merits or difficulties of it (which must be left to the world, to truth, and to posterity), let me leave behind me a memorial of my friendship, with one of the most valuable men, as well as finest writers, of my age and country: one who has tried, and knows by his own experience how hard an undertaking it is to do justice to Homer; and one who, I am sure, sincerely rejoices with me at the period of my labours. To him, therefore, having brought this long work to a con clusion, I desire to dedicate it; and to have the honour and satisfaction of placing together, in this manner, the names of Mr CONGREVE, and of A. POPE.
THE BATTLE OF THE FROGS AND MICE.
PUBLISHED BY JONES & COMPANY,
3, ACTON PLACE, KINGSLAND ROAD