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Astyanax, the Trojans call'd the boy,
From his great father, the defence of Troy.
Silent the warrior smil'd, and pleas'd resign'd
To tender passions all his mighty mind:
His beauteous princess cast a mournful look,
Hung on his hand, and then dejected spoke;
Her bosom labour'd with a boding sigh,
And the big tear stood trembling in her eye.
Too daring prince! ah whither dost thou run?
Ah too forgetful of thy wife and son!
And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be,
A widow I, a helpless orphan he!
For sure such courage length of life denies,
And thou must fall, thy virtue's sacrifice.
Greece in her single heroes strove in vain ;
Now hosts oppose thee, and thou must be slain!
Oh grant me, gods! ere Hector meets his doom,
All I can ask of heav'n, an early tomb!
So shall my days in one sad tenor run,
And end in sorrows, as they first begun.
No parent now remains, my griefs to share,
No father's aid, no mother's tender care.
The fierce Achilles wrapt our walls in fire,
Laid Thebe waste, and slew my warlike sire!
His fate compassion in the victor bred;
Stern as he was, he yet rever'd the dead,
Ilis radiant arms preserv'd from hostile spoil,
And laid him decent on the fun'ral pile;
Then rais'd a mountain where his bones were buru'd ;
The mountain-nymphs the rural tomb adorn'd;
Jove's sylvan daughters bade their elms bestowy
A barren shade, and in his honour grow.
By the same arm my sev’n brave brothers fell,
In one sad day beheld the gates of hell;
While the fat herds and snowy flocks they fed,
Amid their fields the hapless heroes bled.
My mother liv'd to bear the victor's bands,
The queen of Hippoplacia's sylvan lands :
Redecm'd too late, she scarce beheld again
Her pleasing empire, and her native plain,
When ah! oppress’d by life-consuming wo,
She fell a victim to Diana's bow.
Yet, while my Hector still survives, I gcc
My father, mother, brethren, all in thee.
Alas! my parents, brothers, kindred, all,
Once more will perish, if my Hector fall.
Thy wife, thy insant, in thy danger share ;
Oh prove a husband's and a father's care !
That quarter most the skilful Greeks annoy,
Where yon wild fig trees join the wall of Troy :
Thou, from this tow'r, defend th’ important post;
There Agamemnon points his dreadful host,
That pass Tydides, Ajax, strive to gain,
And there the vengeful Spartan fires his train.
Thrice our bold foes the fierce attack have giv'n.
Or led by hopes, or dictated from heav'n.
Let others in the field their arms employ,
But stay my Hector here, and guard his Troy.
The chief reply'd: That post shall be my care,
Nor that alone, but all the works of war.
How would the sons of Troy, in arms renown'd,
And Troy's proud dames, whose garments sweep the
Attaint the lustre of my former name,
Should Hector basely quit the field of fame!
My early youth was bred to martial pains,
My soul impels me to th' embattl'd plains :
Let me be foremost to defend the throne,
And guard my father's glories, and my own.
Yet come it will, the day decreed by fates;
(How my heart trembles while my tongue relates !
The day when thou, imperial Troy! must bend,
And see thy warriors fall, thy glories end.
And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind,
My mother's death, the ruin of my kind,
Not Priam's hoary hairs defild with gore,
Not all my brothers gasping on the shore,
As thine, Andromache! thy griefs I dread;
I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led !
In Argive looms our battles to design,
And woes, of which so large a part was thine!
To bear the victor's hard commands, or bring
The weight of waters from Hyperia's spring.
• There, while you groan beneath the load of life,
They cry, Behold the mighty Hector's wife!
Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to see,
Embitters all thy woes, by naming me.
The thoughts of glory past, and present shame,
A thousand griefs shall waken at the name;
May I lie cold before that dreadful day,
Press'd with a load of monumental clay!
Thy Hector, wrapt in everlasting sleep,
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep.
Thus having spoke, th' illustrious chief of Troy
Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy..
The babe clung erying to his nurse's breast,
Scard at the dazzling helm, and nodding crest.
With secret pleasure each fond parent smild,
And Hector hasted to relieve his child,
The glittring terrors from his brows unbound,
And plac'd the beaming helmet on the ground; as
Then kiss'd the child, and lifting high in air,
Thus to the gods preferr'd a father's pray'r:
O thou, whose glory fills th’ etherial throne,
And all ye deathless pow'rs! protect my son!
Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,
To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown,
Against his country's foes the war to wage,
And rise the Hector of the future age!
So when, triumphant from successful toils
Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils,
Whole hosts may hail him with desery'd acclaim,
And say, This chief transcends his father's fame :
While pleas'd amidst the gen’ral shouts of Troy,
Ilis mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy,
He spoke, and, fondly gazing on her charms,
Restor'd the pleasing burden to her arms;
Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid,
Hush'd to repose, and with a smile survey’d.
The trouble'd pleasure soon chastis’d by fear,
She mingled with the smile a tender tear.
The soften'd chief with kind compassion view'd,
And dry'd the falling drops, and thus pursu'd :
Andromache! my soul's far better part,
Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy heart?
No hostile hand can antedate my doom,
Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb.
Fix'd is the term to all the race of earth,
And such the hard condition of our birth.
No force can then resist, no flight can save,
All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.
No more-but hasten to thy task at home,
There guide the spindle, and direct the loom :
Me glory summons to the martial scene,
The field of combat is the sphere for men,
Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim,
The first in danger, as the first in fame.
Thus having said, the glorious chief resumes
His tow'ry helmet, black with shading plumes ;
His princess parts with a prophetic sigh,
Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye,
That stream'd at every look ; then moving slow,
Sought her own palace, and indulg'd her wo.
There, while her tears deplor'd the godlike man,
Through all her train the soft infection ran,
The pious maids their mingted sorrows shed,
And mourn the living Hector as the dead.”
Achilles was the most valiant of the Greeks, as Hector was of the Trojans. The fierce Achilles wrapt our walls in fire, &c. The lines immediately following this, describe the conduct of Achilles as the victor of Thebes and Hippoplacia in Cilicia. Andromache was a princess of that country: she says Achilles respected her
dead father, and gave him the honour of a funeral pile, raised a heap of earth over his ashes, and permitted a grove of elms to be planted by the young women of the place around his tomb. The brothers of Andromache, feeding their flocks, were surprised by the ferocious chief, and sent to hell. This expression, in this place, only intimates sudden death. Andromache's mother, the queen of Hippoplacia, was at first made a slave to the victor, but he restored her to her sylvan lands—too late however --she fell a victim to Diana's bow. Diana was one of the powers of life and death. This is a figurative manner of saying—the queen died.
I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led, &c. Hector foresees the day in which his wife, according to the custom of that time, should, when she had become a prisoner of war, be made a slave to the conquerors of his country.
There guide the spindle, and direct the loom. This shows the simplicity of the modes of life among princes at that time. Andromache's brothers, like Jacob's sons, fed their flocks—The mighty Hector's wife employed her-, self in domestic manufactures.
REVENGE OF ACHILLES. Hector killed Patroclus, the beloved friend of Achilles. Achilles felt unbounded fury at this act, and resolves upon the death of Hector. Upon this event, which Achilles accomplishes, the implacable vengeance of his heart is shocking-he refuses funeral rites to the dead, and drags his corpse in the most outrageous manner round the monument of Patroclus..
• Then his fell soul a thought of vengeance bred, (Unworthy of himself, and of the dead,) The nervous ankles bor'd, his feet he bound With thongs inserted through the double wound; . These fix'd up high behind the rolling wain, Ilis graceful head was trail'd along the plain.