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Proud on his car th' insulting victor stood,
And bore alost his arms distilling blood.
He smites the steeds; the rapid chariot flies;
The sudden clouds of circling dust arise.
Now lost is all that formidable air;
The face divine, and long descending hair,
Purple the ground, and streak the sable sand;
Deform’d, dishonour'd, in his native land!
Giv'n to the rage of an insulting throng!
And, in his parents' sight, now dragg'd along!"
FUNERAL OF HECTOR. Achilles, after offering these indignities to the remains of Hector, retains the body. Priam, king of Troy, the unfortunate father of Hector, entreats Achilles to restore the corpse, and, though he had sworn to refuse, his obdurate heart at length yields to the pleading of humanity, and he permits the afflicted Priam to pay the last honours to his son.
"Now shed Aurora round her saffron ray,
Sprung thro’ the gates of light, and gave the day :
Charg'd with their mournful load, to Ilion go
The sage and king, majestically slow.
Cassandra first beholds, from llion's spire,
The sad procession of her hoary sire,
Then, as the pensive pomp advanc'd more near,
Her breathless brother stretch'd upon the bier ;
A show'r of tears d’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 wo.
In thronging crowds they issue to the plains,
Nor man, nor woman, in the walls remains,
In ev'ry face the self-same grief is shown,
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 cry'd) 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 thro’ the following tide;
Ev'n to the palace the sad pomp they wait:
They weep, and place him on the bed of state. -
A melancholy choir attend around,
With plantive sighs, and music's solemn sound :
Alternately they sing, alternate flow
Th' obedient tears, melodious in their wo.
While deeper sorrows groan from each full-heart,
And nature speaks at ev'ry pause of art. .
First to the corse the weeping consort few ;
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 barb'rous climes shalt go, The sad companion of thy mother's wo; Driv'n hence a slave before the victor's sword; Condemn'd to toil for some inhuman lord. Or else some Greek whose father prest the plain, Or son, or brother, by great Hector slain, In Hector's blood his vengeance shall enjoy, And hurl thee headlong from the tow’rs of Troy. For thy stern father never spar'd a foe: Thence all these tears, and all this scene of wo! Thence many evils his sad parents bore, His parents many, but his consort more.. Why gav'st thou not to me thy dying hand ? And why receiv'd not I thy last command ? Some word thou would'st 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!
Thus to her weeping maids she makes her moan; Her weeping handmaids echo groan for groan.
The mournful mother next sustains her part.
O thou, the best, the dearest to my heart!
Of all my race thou most by heav'n approv'd,
And by th' immortals ev’n in death belov’d!
While all my other sons in barb'rous 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,
Sentenc'd, 'tis true, by his inhuman doom,
Thy noble corse was dragg’d around the tomb,
(The tomb of him thy warlike arm had slain,)
Ungen'rous insult, impotent and vain!
Yet glow'st thou fresh with ev'ry living grace,
No mark of pain, or violence of face;
Rosy and fair! as Phæbus' 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 ;
Yet was it ne'er my fate, from thee to find
A deed ungentle, or a word unkind:
· When others curst the authress of their wo,
Thy pity check'd my sorrows in their flow:
If some proud brother ey'd 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!
The fate I caus'd for ever I bemoan;
Sad Helen has no friend now thou art gone !
Thro' Troy's wide streets abandon'd shall I roam !
In Troy deserted, as abhorr'd at home!
So spoke the fair, with sorrow-streaming eye ;
Distressful beauty melts each stander-by; .
On all around th' infectious sorrow grows;
But Priam check’d the sorrow as it rose.
Perform, ye Trojans! what the rites require,
And fell the forests for a fun'ral pyre;
Twelve days, nor foes, nor secret ambush dread,
Achilles grants these honours to the dead.
He spoke ; and, at his word, the Trojan train Their mules and oxen harness to the wain, Pour through the gates, and fell’d from Ida's crown, Roll'd 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 plac'd aloft: while all, with streaming eyes, Beheld the flames and rolling smoke arise.
Soon as Aurora, daughter of the dawn, .
With rosy lustre streak’d the dewy lawn;
Again the mournful crowds surround the pyre,
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 rais'd their 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,
A solemn, silent, melancholy train :
Assembled there, from pious toils they rest,
And sadly shar'd the last sepulchral feast.. .
Such honours Ilion to her hero paid,
And peaceful slept the mighty Hector's shade.”
The sage and king, &c. Priam was accompanied in his journey to the tent of Achilles by Idæus the herald.
Hecuba, the mother of Hector, appears to take a melancholy pleasure in the thought that Hector descended free to the Stygian coast. The Hell of the ancients was watered by the Styx. The deceased lingered on the Stygian shore-the banks of the Styx—"a naked, wandering, melancholy ghost,” till the rites of sepulture were paid, and then the judges of the dead sentenced him to the reward of the “deeds done in the body."
Helen was the wife of Menelaus, the Spartan king. Paris, the brother of Hector, had enticed her to accompany him to Troy. To punish this act, the princes of Greece had invaded Troy. Helen's grief is very honourable to Hector—it describes that affectionate and gentle nature so dear to his parents, his wife, and his domes tics.