Verse > Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey > Poetical Works
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517–47).  The Poetical Works.  1880.
The Second Book of Virgil’s Æneid
THEY whisted all, with fixed face attent,
When prince Æneas from the royal seat
Thus gan to speak. O Queen! it is thy will
I should renew a woe cannot be told:
How that the Greeks did spoil, and overthrow        5
The Phrygian wealth, and wailful realm of Troy:
Those ruthful things that I myself beheld;
And whereof no small part fell to my share.
Which to express, who could refrain from tears?
What Myrmidon? or yet what Dolopes?        10
What stern Ulysses’ waged soldier?
And lo! moist night now from the welkin falls;
And stars declining counsel us to rest.
But since so great is thy delight to hear
Of our mishaps, and Troyè’s last decay;        15
Though to record the same my mind abhors,
And plaint eschews, yet thus will I begin.
  The Greeks’ chieftains all irked with the war
Wherein they wasted had so many years,
And oft repuls’d by fatal destiny,        20
A huge horse made, high raised like a hill,
By the divine science of Minerva:
Of cloven fir compacted were his ribs;
For their return a feigned sacrifice
The fame whereof so wander’d it at point.        25
In the dark bulk they clos’d bodies of men
Chosen by lot, and did enstuff by stealth
The hollow womb with armed soldiers.
  There stands in sight an isle, hight Tenedon,
Rich, and of fame, while Priam’s kingdom stood;        30
Now but a bay, and road, unsure for ship.
Hither them secretly the Greeks withdrew,
Shrouding themselves under the desert shore.
And, weening we they had been fled and gone,
And with that wind had fet the land of Greece,        35
Troy discharged her long continued dole.
The gates cast up, we issued out to play,
The Greekish camp desirous to behold,
The places void, and the forsaken coasts.
‘Here Pyrrhus’ band; there fierce Achilles pight;        40
Here rode their ships; there did their battles join.’
Astonnied some the scatheful gift beheld,
Behight by vow unto the chaste Minerve;
All wond’ring at the hugeness of the horse.
  And first of all Timœtes gan advise        45
Within the walls to lead and draw the same;
And place it eke amid the palace court:
Whether of guile, or Troyè’s fate it would.
Capys, with some of judgment more discreet,
Will’d it to drown; or underset with flame        50
The suspect present of the Greeks’ deceit;
Or bore and gage the hollow caves uncouth.
So diverse ran the giddy people’s mind.
  Lo! foremost of a rout that follow’d him,
Kindled Laocoon hasted from the tower,        55
Crying far off: ‘O wretched citizens!
What so great kind of frenzy fretteth you?
Deem ye the Greeks our enemies to be gone?
Or any Greekish gifts can you suppose
Devoid of guile? Is so Ulysses known?        60
Either the Greeks are in this timber hid;
Or this an engine is to annoy our walls,
To view our towers, and overwhelm our town.
Here lurks some craft. Good Troyans! give no trust
Unto this horse; for what so ever it be,        65
I dread the Greeks; yea! when they offer gifts.’
And with that word, with all his force a dart
He lanced then into that crooked womb;
Which trembling stuck, and shook within the side:
Wherewith the caves gan hollowly resound.        70
And, but for Fates, and for our blind forecast,
The Greeks’ device and guile had he descried;
Troy yet had stood, and Priam’s towers so high.
  Therewith behold, whereas the Phrygian herds
Brought to the king with clamour, all unknown        75
A young man, bound his hands behind his back;
Who willingly had yielden prisoner,
To frame this guile, and open Troyè’s gates
Unto the Greeks; with courage fully bent,
And mind determed either of the twain;        80
To work his feat, or willing yield to death.
Near him, to gaze, the Trojan youth gan flock.
And strove who most might at the captive scorn.
The Greeks’ deceit behold, and by one proof
Imagine all the rest.        85
  For in the press as he unarmed stood
With troubled chere, and Phrygian routs beset;
‘Alas!’ quod he, ‘what earth now, or what seas
May me receive? catiff, what rests me now?
For whom in Greece doth no abode remain.        90
The Trojans eke offended seek to wreak
Their heinous wrath, with shedding of my blood.’
  With this regret our hearts from rancour moved.
The bruit appeas’d, we ask’d him of his birth,
What news he brought; what hope made him to yield.        95
  Then he, all dread removed, thus began:
‘O King! I shall what ever me betide,
Say but the truth: ne first will me deny
A Grecian born; for though fortune hath made
Sinon a wretch, she cannot make him false.        100
If ever came unto your ears the name,
Nobled by fame, of the sage Palamede,
Whom trait’rously the Greeks condemn’d to die;
Guiltless, by wrongful doom, for that he did
Dissuade the wars; whose death they now lament;        105
Underneath him my father, bare of wealth,
Into his band young, and near of his blood,
In my prime years unto the war me sent.
While that by fate his state in stay did stand,
And when his realm did flourish by advice,        110
Of glory, then, we bare some fame and bruit.
But since his death by false Ulysses’ sleight,
(I speak of things to all men well beknown)
A dreary life in doleful plaint I led,
Repining at my guiltless friend’s mischance.        115
Ne could I, fool! refrain my tongue from threats,
That if my chance were ever to return
Victor to Arge, to follow my revenge.
With such sharp words procured I great hate.
Here sprang my harm. Ulysses ever sith        120
With new found crimes began me to affray.
In common ears false rumours gan he sow:
Weapons of wreak his guilty mind gan seek.
Ne rested aye till he by Calchas mean———
But whereunto these thankless tales in vain        125
Do I rehearse, and linger forth the time,
In like estate if all the Greeks ye price?
It is enough ye here rid me at once.
Ulysses, Lord! how he would this rejoice!
Yea, and either Atride would buy it dear.’        130
  This kindled us more eager to inquire,
And to demand the cause; without suspect
Of so great mischief thereby to ensue,
Or of Greeks’ craft. He then with forged words
And quivering limbs, thus took his tale again.        135
  ‘The Greeks oftimes intended their return
From Troyè town, with long wars all ytired,
And to dislodge; which, would God! they had done.
But oft the winter storms of raging seas,
And oft the boisterous winds did them to stay;        140
And chiefly, when of clinched ribs of fir
This horse was made, the storms roared in the air.
Then we in doubt to Phœbus’ temple sent
Euripilus, to weet the prophesy.
From whence he brought these woful news again.        145
With blood, O Greeks! and slaughter of a maid,
Ye peas’d the winds, when first ye came to Troy.
With blood likewise ye must seek your return:
A Greekish soul must offer’d be therefore.’
  ‘But when this sound had pierc’d the peoples’ ears,        150
With sudden fear astonied were their minds;
The chilling cold did overrun their bones,
To whom that fate was shap’d, whom Phœbus would.’
Ulysses then amid the press brings in
Calchas with noise, and will’d him to discuss        155
The Gods’ intent. Then some gan deem to me
The cruel wreak of him that fram’d the craft;
Foreseeing secretly what would ensue.
In silence then, yshrowding him from sight,
But days twice five he whisted; and refused        160
To death, by speech, to further any wight.
At last, as forced by false Ulysses’ cry,
Of purpose he brake forth, assigning me
To the altar; whereto they granted all:
And that, that erst each one dread to himself,        165
Returned all unto my wretched death.
And now at hand drew near the woful day.
All things prepar’d wherewith to offer me;
Salt, corn, fillets, my temples for to bind.
I scap’d the death, I grant! and brake the bands,        170
And lurked in a marish all the night
Among the ooze, while they did set their sails;
If it so be that they indeed so did.
Now rests no hope my native land to see,
My children dear, nor long desired sire;        175
On whom, perchance, they shall wreak my escape:
Those harmless wights shall for my fault be slain.
  ‘Then, by the gods, to whom all truth is known;
By faith unfil’d, if any anywhere
With mortal folk remains; I thee beseech,        180
O king, thereby rue on my travail great:
Pity a wretch that guiltless suffereth wrong.’
  Life to these tears with pardon eke, we grant.
And Priam first himself commands to loose
His gyves, his bands; and friendly to him said:        185
‘Whoso thou art, learn to forget the Greeks:
Henceforth be ours; and answer me with truth:
Whereto was wrought the mass of this huge horse?
Whose the devise? and whereto should it tend?
What holy vow? or engine for the wars?’        190
  Then he, instruct with wiles and Greekish craft,
His loosed hands lift upward to the stars:
‘Ye everlasting lamps! I testify,
Whose power divine may not be violate;
Th’ altar, and sword,’ quoth he, ‘that I have scap’d;        195
Ye sacred bands! I wore as yielden host;
Lawful be it for me to break mine oath
To Greeks; lawful to hate their nation;
Lawful be it to sparkle in the air
Their secrets all, whatso they keep in close:        200
For free am I from Greece and from their laws.
So be it, Troy, and saved by me from scathe,
Keep faith with me, and stand to thy behest;
If I speak truth, and opening things of weight,
For grant of life requite thee large amends.        205
  ‘The Greeks’ whole hope of undertaken war
In Pallas’ help consisted evermore.
But sith the time that wicked Diomed,
Ulysses eke, that forger of all guile,
Adventur’d from the holy sacred fane        210
For to bereave Dame Pallas’ fatal form,
And slew the watches of the chiefest tower.
And then away the holy statue stole;
(That were so bold with hands embrued in blood,
The virgin Goddess veils for to defile)        215
Sith then their hope ’gan fail, their hope to fall,
Their pow’r appair, their Goddess’ grace withdraw
Which with no doubtful signs she did declare.
Scarce was the statue to our tents ybrought,
But she ’gan stare with sparkled eyes of flame;        220
Along her limbs the salt sweat trickled down:
Yea thrice herself, a hideous thing to tell!
In glances bright she glittered from the ground,
Holding in hand her targe and quivering spear.
Calchas by sea then bade us haste our flight:        225
Whose engines might not break the walls of Troy,
Unless at Greece they would renew their lots,
Restore the God that they by sea had brought
In warped keels. To Arge sith they be come,
They ’pease their Gods, and war afresh prepare.        230
And cross the seas unlooked for eftsoons
They will return. This order Calchas set.
  ‘This figure made they for th’ aggrieved God,
In Pallas’ stead; to cleanse their heinous fault.
Which mass he willed to be reared high        235
Toward the skies, and ribbed all with oak,
So that your gates ne wall might it receive;
Ne yet your people might defensed be
By the good zeal of old devotion.
For if your hands did Pallas’ gift defile,        240
To Priam’s realm great mischief should befall:
Which fate the Gods first on himself return.
But had your own hands brought it in your town,
Asia should pass, and carry offer’d war
In Greece, e’en to the walls of Pelop’s town;        245
And we and ours that destiny endure.’
  By such like wiles of Sinon, the forsworn,
His tale with us did purchase credit; some,
Trapt by deceit; some, forced by his tears;
Whom neither Diomed, nor great Achille,        250
Nor ten years war, ne a thousand sail could daunt.
  Us caitiffs then a far more dreadful chance
Befel, that troubled our unarmed breasts.
Whiles Laocoon, that chosen was by lot
Neptunus’ priest, did sacrifice a bull        255
Before the holy altar; suddenly
From Tenedon, behold! in circles great
By the calm seas come fleeting adders twain,
Which plied towards the shore (I loathe to tell)
With reared breast lift up above the seas:        260
Whose bloody crests aloft the waves were seen;
The hinder part swam hidden in the flood.
Their grisly backs were linked manifold.
With sound of broken waves they gat the strand,
With glowing eyen, tainted with blood and fire;        265
Whose waltring tongues did lick their hissing mouths.
We fled away; our face the blood forsook:
But they with gait direct to Lacon ran.
And first of all each serpent doth enwrap
The bodies small of his two tender sons;        270
Whose wretched limbs they bit, and fed thereon.
Then raught they him, who had his weapon caught
To rescue them; twice winding him about,
With folded knots and circled tails, his waist:
Their scaled backs did compass twice his neck,        275
With reared heads aloft and stretched throats.
He with his hands strave to unloose the knots,
(Whose sacred fillets all-besprinkled were
With filth of gory blood, and venom rank)
And to the stars such dreadful shouts he sent,        280
Like to the sound the roaring bull forth lows,
Which from the altar wounded doth astart,
The swerving axe when he shakes from his neck.
The serpents twain, with hasted trail they glide
To Pallas’ temple, and her towers of height:        285
Under the feet of the which Goddess stern,
Hidden behind her target’s boss they crept.
New gripes of dread then pierce our trembling breasts.
They said; Lacon’s deserts had dearly bought
His heinous deed; that pierced had with steel        290
The sacred bulk, and thrown the wicked lance.
The people cried with sundry greeing shouts
To bring the horse to Pallas’ temple blive;
In hope thereby the Goddess’ wrath t’ appease.
We cleft the walls and closures of the town;        295
Whereto all help: and underset the feet
With sliding rolls, and bound his neck with ropes.
This fatal gin thus overclamb our walls,
Stuft with arm’d men; about the which there ran
Children and maids, that holy carols sang;        300
And well were they whose hands might touch the cords.
With threat’ning cheer thus slided through our town
The subtle tree, to Pallas’ temple-ward.
O native land! Ilion! and of the Gods
The mansion place! O warlike walls of Troy!        305
Four times it stopt in th’ entry of our gate;
Four times the harness clatter’d in the womb.
But we go on, unsound of memory,
And blinded eke by rage persever still:
This fatal monster in the fane we place.        310
  Cassandra then, inspired with Phœbus sprite,
Her prophet’s lips, yet never of us ’lieved,
Disclosed eft; forespeaking things to come.
We wretches, lo! that last day of our life
With boughs of feast the town, and temples deck.        315
  With this the sky gan whirl about the sphere:
The cloudy night gan thicken from the sea,
With mantles spread; that cloaked earth and skies,
And eke the treason of the Greekish guile.
The watchmen lay dispers’d to take their rest;        320
Whose wearied limbs sound sleep had then oppress’d:
When, well in order comes the Grecian fleet
From Tenedon, toward the coasts well known,
By friendly silence of the quiet moon.
When the king’s ship put forth his mark of fire,        325
Sinon, preserved by froward destiny,
Let forth the Greeks enclosed in the womb:
The closures eke of pine by stealth unpinn’d,
Whereby the Greeks restored were to air.
With joy down hasting from the hollow tree,        330
With cords let down did slide unto the ground
The great captains; Sthenel, and Thessander,
And fierce Ulysses, Athamas, and Thoas;
Machaon first, and then king Menelae;
Opeas eke that did the engine forge.        335
And straight invade the town yburied then
With wine and sleep. And first the watch is slain:
Then gates unfold to let their fellows in,
They join themselves with the conjured bands.
  It was the time when granted from the Gods        340
The first sleep creeps most sweet in weary folk.
Lo! in my dream before mine eyes, methought,
With rueful chere I saw where Hector stood,
(Out of whose eyes there gushed streams of tears)
Drawn at a car as he of late had been,        345
Distained with bloody dust, whose feet were bowln
With the strait cords wherewith they hailed him.
Ay me, what one? that Hector how unlike,
Which erst return’d clad with Achilles’ spoils;
Or when he threw into the Greekish ships        350
The Trojan flame! so was his beard defiled,
His crisped locks all clust’red with his blood,
With all such wounds, as many he received
About the walls of that his native town.
Whom frankly thus methought I spake unto,        355
With bitter tears and doleful deadly voice:
‘O Troyan light! O only hope of thine!
What lets so long thee staid? or from what coasts,
Our most desired Hector, dost thou come?
Whom, after slaughter of thy many friends,        360
And travail of the people, and thy town,
All-wearied lord! how gladly we behold.
What sorry chance hath stain’d thy lively face?
Or why see I these wounds, alas! so wide?’
He answer’d nought, nor in my vain demands        365
Abode; but from the bottom of his breast
Sighing he said: ‘Flee, flee, O Goddess’ son!
And save thee from the fury of this flame.
Our en’mies now are masters of the walls;
And Troyè town now falleth from the top.        370
Sufficeth that is done for Priam’s reign.
If force might serve to succour Troyè town,
This right hand well might have been her defence.
But Troyè now commendeth to thy charge
Her holy reliques, and her privy Gods.        375
Them join to thee, as fellows of thy fate.
Large walls rear thou for them: for so thou shalt,
After time spent in th’ overwand’red flood.’
This said, he brought forth Vesta in his hands;
Her fillets eke, and everlasting flame.        380
  In this mean while with diverse plaint, the town
Throughout was spread; and louder more and more
The din resounded: with rattling of arms,
Although mine old Father Anchises’ house
Removed stood, with shadow hid of trees,        385
I waked: therewith to the house-top I clamb,
And hark’ning stood I: like as when the flame
Lights in the corn, by drift of boisterous wind;
Or the swift stream that driveth from the hill,
Roots up the fields, and presseth the ripe corn,        390
And ploughed ground, and overwhelms the grove:
The silly herdman all astonnied stands,
From the high rock while he doth hear the sound.
  Then the Greeks’ faith, then their deceit appeared.
Of Deiphobus the palace large and great        395
Fell to the ground, all overspread with flash.
His next neighbour Ucalegon afire:
The Sygean seas did glister all with flame.
Up sprang the cry of men, and trumpets blast.
Then, as distraught, I did my armour on;        400
Ne could I tell yet whereto arms avail’d.
But with our feres to throng out from the press
Toward the tower, our hearts brent with desire.
Wrath prick’d us forth; and unto us it seemed
A seemly thing to die, arm’d in the field.        405
  Wherewith Panthus scap’d from the Greekish darts,
Otreus’ son, Phœbus’ priest, brought in hand
The sacred reliques, and the vanquish’d Gods:
And in his hand his little nephew led;
And thus, as phren’tic, to our gates he ran.        410
‘Panthus,’ quod I, ‘in what estate stand we?
Or for refuge what fortress shall we take?’
Scarce spake I this, when wailing thus he said:
‘The latter day, and fate of Troy is come;
The which no plaint, or prayer may avail.        415
Troyans we were; and Troyè was sometime,
And of great fame the Teucrian glory erst:
Fierce Jove to Greece hath now transposed all.
The Greeks are lords over this fired town.
Yonder huge horse that stands amid our walls        420
Sheds armed men: and Sinon, victor now,
With scorn of us doth set all things on flame.
And, rushed in at our unfolded gates,
Are thousands mo’ than ever came from Greece.
And some with weapons watch the narrow streets;        425
With bright swords drawn, to slaughter ready bent
And scarce the watches of the gate began
Them to defend, and with blind fight resist.’
  Through Panthus’ words, and lightning of the Gods,
Amid the flame and arms ran I in press,        430
As fury guided me, and whereas I had heard
The cry greatest that made the air resound.
Into our band then fell old Iphytus,
And Rypheus, that met us by moonlight;
Dymas and Hypanis joining to our side,        435
With young Chorebus, Mygdonius’ son;
Which in those days at Troy did arrive,
(Burning with rage of dame Cassandra’s love)
In Priam’s aid, and rescue of his town.
Unhappy he! that would no credit give        440
Unto his spouse’s words of prophecy.
  Whom when I saw, assembled in such wise,
So desperately the battle to desire;
Then furthermore thus said I unto them:
‘O! ye young men, of courage stout in vain!        445
For nought ye strive to save the burning town.
What cruel fortune hath betid, ye see!
The Gods out of the temples all are fled,
Through whose might long this empire was maintain’d:
Their altars eke are left both waste and void.        450
But if your will be bent with me to prove
That uttermost, that now may us befall;
Then let us die, and run amid our foes.
To vanquish’d folk, despair is only hope.’
  With this the young men’s courage did increase;        455
And through the dark, like to the ravening wolves
Whom raging fury of their empty maws
Drives from their den, leaving with hungry throat
Their whelps behind; among our foes we ran,
Upon their swords, unto apparent death;        460
Holding alway the chief street of the town,
Cover’d with the close shadows of the night.
  Who can express the slaughter of that night?
Or tell the number of the corpses slain?
Or can in tears bewail them worthily?        465
The ancient famous city falleth down,
That many years did hold such seignory.
With senseless bodies every street is spread,
Each palace, and sacred porch of the gods.
Nor yet alone the Troyan blood was shed.        470
Manhood ofttimes into the vanquish’d breast
Returns, whereby some victors Greeks are slain.
Cruel complaints, and terror everywhere,
And plenty of grisly pictures of death.
  And first with us Androgeus there met,        475
Fellowed with a swarming rout of Greeks,
Deeming us, unware, of that fellowship,
With friendly words whom thus he call’d unto:
‘Haste ye, my friends! what sloth hath tarried you?
Your feres now sack and spoil the burning Troy:        480
From the tall ships were ye but newly come?’
  When he had said, and heard no answer made
To him again, whereto he might give trust;
Finding himself chanced amid his foes,
’Maz’d he withdrew his foot back with his word:        485
Like him that wand’ring in the bushes thick,
Treads on the adder with his reckless foot,
Reared for wrath, swelling her speckled neck,
Dismay’d, gives back all suddenly for fear:
Androgeus so, fear’d of that sight, stept back,        490
And we ’gan rush amid the thickest rout;
When, here and there we did them overthrow,
Stricken with dread, unskilful of the place.
Our first labour thus lucked well with us.
  Chorebus then, encouraged by this chance,        495
Rejoicing said: ‘Hold forth the way of health,
My feres, that hap and manhood hath us taught.
Change we our shields; the Greeks’ arms do we on
Craft or manhood with foes what recks it which:
The slain to us their armour they shall yield.’        500
And with that word Androgeus’ crested helm
And the rich arms of his shield did he on;
A Greekish sword he girded by his side:
Like gladly Dimas and Ripheus did:
The whole youth ’gan them clad in the new spoils.        505
Mingled with Greeks, for no good luck to us,
We went, and gave many onsets that night,
And many a Greek we sent to Pluto’s court.
Other there fled and hasted to their ships,
And to their coasts of safeguard ran again.        510
And some there were for shameful cowardry,
Clamb up again unto the hugy horse,
And did them hide in his well knowen womb.
  Ay me! bootless it is for any wight
To hope on aught against will of the gods.        515
Lo! where Cassandra, Priam’s daughter dear,
From Pallas’ church was drawn with sparkled tress,
Lifting in vain her flaming eyen to heaven;
Her eyen, for fast her tender wrists were bound.
Which sight Chorebus raging could not bear,        520
Reckless of death, but thrust amid the throng;
And after we through thickest of the swords.
  Here were we first y-batter’d with the darts
Of our own feres, from the high temples’ top;
Whereby of us great slaughter did ensue,        525
Mistaken by our Greekish arms and crests.
Then flock’d the Greeks moved with wrath and ire,
Of the virgin from them so rescued.
The fell Ajax; and either Atrides,
And the great band cleped the Dolopes.        530
As wrestling winds, out of dispersed whirl
Befight themselves, the west with southern blast,
And gladsome east proud of Aurora’s horse;
The woods do whiz; and foamy Nereus
Raging in fury, with three forked mace        535
From bottom’s depth doth welter up the seas;
So came the Greeks. And such, as by deceit
We sparkled erst in shadow of the night,
And drave about our town, appeared first:
Our feigned shields and weapons then they found,        540
And, by sound, our discording voice they knew.
We went to wreck with number overlaid.
And by the hand of Peneleus first
Chorebus fell before the altar dead
Of armed Pallas; and Rhipheus eke,        545
The justest man among the Troians all,
And he that best observed equity.
But otherwise it pleased now the Gods.
There Hypanis, and Dymas, both were slain;
Through pierced with the weapons of their feres.        550
Nor thee, Panthus, when thou wast overthrown,
Pity, nor zeal of good devotion,
Nor habit yet of Phœbus hid from scath.
  Ye Troyan ashes! and last flames of mine!
I call in witness, that at your last fall        555
I fled no stroke of any Greekish sword.
And if the fates would I had fallen in fight,
That with my hand I did deserve it well.
  With this from thence I was recoiled back
With Iphytus and Pelias alone.        560
Iphytus weak, and feeble all for age;
Pelias lamed by Ulysses’ hand.
To Priam’s palace cry did call us then.
Here was the fight right hideous to behold;
As though there had no battle been but there,        565
Or slaughter made elsewhere throughout the town.
A fight of rage and fury there we saw.
The Greeks toward the palace rushed fast,
And cover’d with engines the gates beset,
And reared up ladders against the walls;        570
Under the windows scaling by their steps,
Fenced with shields in their left hands, whereon
They did receive the darts; while their right hands
Griped for hold th’ embattle of the wall.
The Troyans on the other part rend down        575
The turrets high, and eke the palace roof;
With such weapons they shope them to defend,
Seeing all lost, now at the point of death.
The gilt spars, and the beams then threw they down;
Of old fathers the proud and royal works.        580
And with drawn swords some did beset the gates,
Which they did watch, and keep in routs full thick.
Our sprites restor’d to rescue the king’s house,
To help them, and to give the vanquish’d strength.
  A postern with a blind wicket there was,        585
A common trade to pass through Priam’s house;
On the back side whereof waste houses stood:
Which way eft-sithes, while that our kingdom dured,
Th’ infortunate Andromache alone
Resorted to the parents of her make;        590
With young Astyanax, his grandsire to see.
Here passed I up to the highest tower,
From whence the wretched Troyans did throw down
Darts, spent in waste. Unto a turret then
We stept, the which stood in a place aloft,        595
The top whereof did reach well near the stars;
Where we were wont all Troyè to behold,
The Greekish navy, and their tents also.
With instruments of iron gan we pick,
To seek where we might find the joining shrunk        600
From that high seat; which we razed, and threw down:
Which falling, gave forthwith a rushing sound,
And large in breadth on Greekish routs it light.
But soon another sort stept in their stead;
No stone unthrown, nor yet no dart uncast.        605
  Before the gate stood Pyrrhus in the porch
Rejoicing in his darts, with glittering arms.
Like to th’ adder with venemous herbès fed,
Whom cold winter all bolne, hid under ground;
And shining bright, when she her slough had slung,        610
Her slipper back doth roll, with forked tongue
And raised breast, lift up against the sun.
With that together came great Periphas;
Automedon eke, that guided had some time
Achilles’ horse, now Pyrrhus armour bare;        615
And eke with him the warlike Scyrian youth
Assail’d the house; and threw flame to the top.
And he an axe before the foremost raught,
Wherewith he ’gan the strong gates hew, and break;
From whence he beat the staples out of brass,        620
He brake the bars, and through the timber pierc’d
So large a hole, whereby they might discern
The house, the court, the secret chambers eke
Of Priamus, and ancient kings of Troy;
And armed foes in th’ entry of the gate.        625
  But the palace within confounded was,
With wailing, and with rueful shrieks and cries;
The hollow halls did howl of women’s plaint:
The clamour strake up to the golden stars.
The ‘fray’d mothers, wand’ring through the wide house,        630
Embracing pillars, did them hold and kiss.
Pyrrhus assaileth with his father’s might;
Whom the closures ne keepers might hold out.
With often pushed ram the gate did shake;
The posts beat down, removed from their hooks:        635
By force they made the way, and th’ entry brake.
And now the Greeks let in, the foremost slew:
And the large palace with soldiers ’gan to fill.
Not so fiercely doth overflow the fields
The foaming flood, that breaks out of his banks;        640
Whose rage of waters bears away what heaps
Stand in his way, the cotes, and eke the herds.
As in th’ entry of slaughter furious
I saw Pyrrhus, and either Atrides.
  There Hecuba I saw, with a hundred mo’        645
Of her sons’ wives, and Priam at the altar,
Sprinkling with blood his flame of sacrifice.
Fifty bed-chambers of his children’s wives,
With loss of so great hope of his offspring,
The pillars eke proudly beset with gold,        650
And with the spoils of other nations,
Fell to the ground: and what so that with flame
Untouched was, the Greeks did all possess.
  Percase you would ask what was Priam’s fate?
When of his taken town he saw the chance,        655
And the gates of his palace beaten down,
His foes amid his secret chambers eke:
Th’ old man in vain did on his shoulders then,
Trembling for age, his cuirass long disused:
His bootless sword he girded him about;        660
And ran amid his foes, ready to die.
  Amid the court, under the heaven, all bare,
A great altar there stood, by which there grew
An old laurel tree, bowing thereunto,
Which with his shadow did embrace the gods.        665
Here Hecuba, with her young daughters all
About the altar swarmed were in vain;
Like doves, that flock together in the storm,
The statues of the Gods embracing fast.
But when she saw Priam had taken there        670
His armour, like as though he had been young:
‘What furious thought my wretched spouse,’ quod she,
‘Did move thee now such weapons for to wield?
Why hastest thou? This time doth not require
Such succour, ne yet such defenders now:        675
No, though Hector my son were here again.
Come hither; this altar shall save us all:
Or we shall die together.’ Thus she said.
Wherewith she drew him back to her, and set
The aged man down in the holy seat.        680
  But lo! Polites, one of Priam’s sons,
Escaped from the slaughter of Pyrrhus,
Comes fleeing through the weapons of his foes,
Searching, all wounded, the long galleries
And the void courts; whom Pyrrhus all in rage        685
Followed fast to reach a mortal wound;
And now in hand, well near strikes with his spear.
Who fleeing forth till he came now in sight
Of his parents, before their face fell down
Yielding the ghost with flowing streams of blood.        690
Priamus then, although he were half dead,
Might not keep in his wrath, nor yet his words;
But crieth out: ‘For this thy wicked work,
And boldness eke such thing to enterprise,
If in the heavens any justice be,        695
That of such things takes any care or keep,
According thanks the Gods may yield to thee;
And send thee eke thy just deserved hire,
That made me see the slaughter of my child,
And with his blood defile the father’s face.        700
But he, by whom thou feign’st thyself begot,
Achilles, was to Priam not so stern.
For, lo! he tend’ring my most humble suit,
The right, and faith, my Hector’s bloodless corpse
Render’d, for to be laid in sepulture;        705
And sent me to my kingdom home again.’
  Thus said the aged man, and therewithal,
Forceless he cast his weak unwieldy dart.
Which repuls’d from the brass where it gave dint,
Without sound, hung vainly in the shield’s boss.        710
Quod Pyrrhus: ‘Then thou shalt this thing report:
On message to Pelide my father go:
Shew unto him my cruel deeds, and how
Neoptolem is swerved out of kind.
Now shalt thou die,’ quod he. And with that word        715
At the altar him trembling ’gan he draw
Wallowing through the bloodshed of his son:
And his left hand all clapsed in his hair,
With his right arm drew forth his shining sword,
Which in his side he thrust up to the hilts.        720
Of Priamus this was the fatal fine,
The woful end that was allotted him,
When he had seen his palace all on flame,
With ruin of his Troyan turrets eke.
That royal prince of Asia, which of late        725
Reign’d over so many peoples and realms,
Like a great stock now lieth on the shore;
His head and shoulders parted been in twain:
A body now without renown and fame.
  Then first in me enter’d the grisly fear:        730
Dismay’d I was. Wherewith came to my mind
The image eke of my dear father, when
I thus beheld the king of equal age,
Yield up the spirit with wounds so cruelly.
Then thought I of Creusa left alone;        735
And of my house in danger of the spoil,
And the estate of young Iulus eke.
I looked back to seek what number then
I might discern about me of my feres:
But wearied they had left me all alone.        740
Some to the ground were lopen from above,
Some in the flame their irked bodies cast.
  There was no mo’ but I left of them all,
When that I saw in Vesta’s temple sit,
Dame Helen, lurking in a secret place;        745
Such light the flame did give as I went by
While here and there I cast mine eyen about:
For she in dread lest that the Troians should
Revenge on her the ruin of their walls;
And of the Greeks the cruel wreaks also;        750
The fury eke of her forsaken make,
The common bane of Troy, and eke of Greece!
Hateful she sat beside the altars hid.
Then boil’d my breast with flame, and burning wrath,
To revenge my town, unto such ruin brought;        755
With worthy pains on her to work my will.
Thought I: “Shall she pass to the land of Sparte
All safe, and see Mycene her native land,
And like a queen return with victory
Home to her spouse, her parents, and children,        760
Followed with a train of Troyan maids,
And served with a band of Phrygian slaves;
And Priam eke with iron murder’d thus,
And Troyè town consumed all with flame,
Whose shore hath been so oft for-bathed in blood?        765
No! no! for though on women the revenge
Unseemly is; such conquest hath no fame:
To give an end unto such mischief yet
My just revenge shall merit worthy praise;
And quiet eke my mind, for to be wroke        770
On her which was the causer of this flame,
And satisfy the cinder of my feres.’
  With furious mind while I did argue thus,
My blessed mother then appear’d to me,
Whom erst so bright mine eyes had never seen,        775
And with pure light she glistred in the night,
Disclosing her in form a goddess like,
As she doth seem to such as dwell in heaven.
My right hand then she took, and held it fast,
And with her rosy lips thus did she say:        780
‘Son! what fury hath thus provoked thee
To such untamed wrath? what ragest thou?
Or where is now become the care of us?
Wilt thou not first go see where thou hast left
Anchises, thy father fordone with age?        785
Doth Creusa live, and Ascanius thy son?
Whom now the Greekish bands have round beset:
And were they not defenced by my cure,
Flame had them raught, and en’mies’ sword ere this.
Not Helen’s beauty hateful unto thee,        790
Nor blamed Paris yet, but the Gods’ wrath
Reft you this wealth, and overthrew your town.
Behold! and I shall now the cloud remove,
Which overcast thy mortal sight doth dim;
Whose moisture doth obscure all things about:        795
And fear not thou to do thy mother’s will,
Nor her advice refuse thou to perform.
Here, where thou see’st the turrets overthrown,
Stone beat from stone, smoke rising mixt with dust,
Neptunus there shakes with his mace the walls,        800
And eke the loose foundations of the same,
And overwhelms the whole town from his seat:
And cruel Juno with the foremost here
Doth keep the gate that Scea cleped is,
Near woode for wrath, whereas she stands, and calls        805
In harness bright the Greeks out of their ships:
And in the turrets high behold where stands
Bright shining Pallas, all in warlike weed,
And with her shield, where Gorgon’s head appears
And Jupiter, my father, distributes        810
Availing strength, and courage to the Greeks;
Yet overmore, against the Troyan power
He doth provoke the rest of all the Gods.
Flee then, my son, and give this travail end;
Ne shall I thee forsake, in safeguard till        815
I have thee brought unto thy father’s gate.’
This did she say: and therewith gan she hide
Herself, in shadow of the close night.
  Then dreadful figures gan appear to me,
And great Gods eke aggrieved with our town.        820
I saw Troyè fall down in burning gledes;
Neptunus town, clean razed from the soil.
Like as the elm forgrown in mountains high,
Hound hewen with axe, that husbandmen
With thick assaults strive to tear up, doth threat;        825
And hack’d beneath trembling doth bend his top,
Till yold with strokes, giving the latter crack,
Rent from the height, with ruin it doth fall.
  With this I went, and guided by a God
I passed through my foes, and eke the flame:        830
Their weapons and the fire eke gave me place.
And when that I was come before the gates,
And ancient building of my father’s house;
My father, whom I hoped to convey
To the next hills, and did him thereto ’treat,        835
Refused either to prolong his life,
Or bide exile after the fall of Troy.
‘All ye,’ quod he, ‘in whom young blood is fresh,
Whose strength remains entire and in full power,
Take ye your flight.        840
For if the Gods my life would have prorogued,
They had reserved for me this wonning place.
It was enough, alas! and eke too much,
To see the town of Troy thus razed once;
To have lived after the city taken.        845
When ye have said, this corpse laid out forsake;
My hand shall seek my death, and pity shall
Mine en’mies move, or else hope of my spoil.
As for my grave, I weigh the loss but light:
For I my years, disdainful to the Gods,        850
Have lingered forth, unable to all needs,
Since that the Sire of Gods and king of men
Strake me with thunder, and with levening blast.’
Such things he ’gan rehearse, thus firmly bent:
But we besprent with tears, my tender son,        855
And eke my sweet Creusa, with the rest
Of the household, my father ’gan beseech,
Not so with him to perish all at once,
Nor so to yield unto the cruel fate:
Which he refused, and stack to his intent.        860
  Driven I was to harness then again,
Miserably my death for to desire.
For what advice, or other hope was left?
‘Father! thought’st thou that I may once remove,’
Quod I, ‘a foot, and leave thee here behind?        865
May such a wrong pass from a father’s mouth?
If God’s will be, that nothing here be saved
Of this great town, and thy mind bent to join
Both thee and thine to ruin of this town:
The way is plain this death for to attain.        870
Pyrrhus shall come besprent with Priam’s blood,
That gor’d the son before the father’s face,
And slew the father at the altar eke.
O sacred Mother! was it then for this
That you me led through flame, and weapons sharp,        875
That I might in my secret chamber see
Mine en’mies; and Ascanius my son,
My father, with Creusa my sweet wife,
Murder’d, alas! the one in th’ others’ blood?
Why, servants! then, bring me my arms again.        880
The latter day us vanquished doth call.
Render me now to the Greeks’ sight again:
And let me see the fight begun of new:
We shall not all unwroken die this day.’
  About me then I girt my sword again,        885
And eke my shield on my left shoulder cast,
And bent me so to rush out of the house.
Lo! in my gate my spouse, clasping my feet,
For against his father young Iulus set.
‘If thou wilt go,’ quod she, ‘and spill thyself,        890
Take us with thee in all that may betide.
But as expert if thou in arms have set
Yet any hope, then first this house defend,
Whereas thy son, and eke thy father dear,
And I, sometime thine own dear wife, are left.’        895
Her shrill loud voice with plaint thus fill’d the house;
When that a sudden monstrous marvel fell:
For in their sight, and woful parents’ arms,
Behold a light out of the button sprang
That in tip of Iulus cap did stand;        900
With gentle touch whose harmless flame did shine
Upon his hair, about his temples spread.
And we afraid, trembling for dreadful fear,
Bet out the fire from his blazing tress,
And with water ’gan quench the sucred flame.        905
  Anchises glad his eyen lift to the stars;
With hands his voice to heaven thus he bent.
‘If by prayer, almighty Jupiter,
Inclined thou mayst be, behold us then
Of ruth at least, if we so much deserve.        910
Grant eke thine aid, Father! confirm this thing.’
  Scarce had the old man said, when that the heavens
With sudden noise thunder’d on the left hand:
Out of the sky, by the dark night there fell
A blazing star, dragging a brand or flame,        915
Which with much light gliding on the house top,
In the forest of Ida hid her beams;
The which full bright cendleing a furrow, shone,
By a long tract appointing us the way:
And round about of brimstone rose a fume.        920
  My father vanquish’d then, beheld the skies,
Spake to the Gods, and th’ holy star adored:
‘Now, now,’ quod he, ‘no longer I abide:
Follow I shall where ye me guide at hand.
O native Gods! your family defend;        925
Preserve your line, this warning comes of you,
And Troyè stands in your protection now.
Now give I place, and whereso that thou go,
Refuse I not, my son, to be thy fere.’
  This did he say; and by that time more clear        930
The cracking flame was heard throughout the walls,
And more and more the burning heat drew near.
‘Why then! have done, my father dear,’ quod I,
‘Bestride my neck forthwith, and sit thereon,
And I shall with my shoulders thee sustain,        935
Ne shall this labour do me any dere.
What so betide, come peril, come welfare,
Like to us both and common there shall be.
Young Iulus shall bear me company;
And my wife shall follow far off my steps.        940
Now ye, my servants, mark well what I say:
Without the town ye shall find, on a hill,
An old temple there stands, whereas some time
Worship was done to Ceres the Goddess;
Beside which grows an aged cypress tree,        945
Preserved long by our forfathers’ zeal:
Behind which place let us together meet.
And thou, Father, receive into thy hands
The reliques all, and the Gods of the land:
The which it were not lawful I should touch,        950
That come but late from slaughter and bloodshed,
Till I be washed in the running flood.’
  When I had said these words, my shoulders broad,
And laied neck with garments ’gan I spread,
And thereon cast a yellow lion’s skin;        955
And thereupon my burden I receive.
Young Iulus clasped in my right hand,
Followeth me fast with unegal pace;
And at my back my wife. Thus did we pass
By places shadowed most with the night.        960
And me, whom late the dart which enemies threw
Nor press of Argive routs could make amaz’d,
Each whisp’ring wind hath power now to fray,
And every sound to move my doubtful mind:
So much I dread my burden, and my fere.        965
  And now we ’gan draw near unto the gate,
Right well escap’d the danger, as me thought,
When that at hand a sound of feet we heard.
My father then, gazing throughout the dark,
Cried on me, ‘Flee, son! they are at hand.’        970
With that bright shields, and shene armours I saw.
But then, I know not what unfriendly God
My troubled wit from me bereft for fear:
For while I ran by the most secret streets,
Eschewing still the common haunted track,        975
From me catiff, alas! bereaved was
Creusa then, my spouse, I wot not how;
Whether by fate, or missing of the way,
Or that she was by weariness retain’d:
But never sith these eyes might her behold;        980
Nor did I yet perceive that she was lost,
Ne never backward turned I my mind,
Till we came to the hill, whereas there stood
The old temple dedicate to Ceres.
  And when that we were there assembled all,        985
She was only away, deceiving us
Her spouse, her son, and all her company.
What God or man did I not then accuse,
Near woode for ire? or what more cruel chance
Did hap to me, in all Troy’s overthrow?        990
Ascanius to my feres I then betook,
With Anchises, and eke the Troyan Gods.
And left them hid within a valley deep.
And to the town I ’gan me hie again,
Clad in bright arms, and bent for to renew        995
Aventures past, to search throughout the town,
And yield my head to perils once again.
  And first the walls and dark entry I sought
Of the same gate whereat I issued out;
Holding backward the steps where we had come        1000
In the dark night, looking all round about:
In every place the ugsome sights I saw;
The silence self of night aghast my sprite.
From hence again I pass’d unto our house,
If she by chance had been returned home.        1005
The Greeks were there, and had it all beset:
The wasting fire, blown up by drift of wind,
Above the roofs the blazing flame sprang up;
The sound whereof with fury pierc’d the skies.
To Priam’s palace, and the castle then        1010
I made; and there at Juno’s sanctuair,
In the void porches, Phenix, Ulysses eke
Stern guardians stood, watching of the spoil.
The riches here were set, reft from the brent
Temples of Troy: the tables of the Gods,        1015
The vessels eke that were of massy gold,
And vestures spoil’d, were gather’d all in heap:
The children orderly, and mothers pale for fright,
Long ranged on a row stood round about.
  So bold was I to show my voice that night        1020
With clepes and cries to fill the streets throughout,
With Creuse’ name in sorrow, with vain tears;
And often sithes the same for to repeat.
The town restless with fury as I sought,
Th’ unlucky figure of Creusa’s ghost,        1025
Of stature more than wont, stood ’fore mine eyen.
Abashed when I woxe: therewith my hair
’Gan start right up: my voice stack in my throat:
When with such words she ’gan my heart remove:
‘What helps, to yield unto such furious rage,        1030
Sweet spouse?’ quod she, ‘Without will of the Gods
This chanced not: ne lawful was for thee
To lead away Creusa hence with thee:
The King of the high heaven suff’reth it not.
A long exile thou art assigned to bear,        1035
Long to furrow large space of stormy seas:
So shalt thou reach at last Hesperian land,
Where Lidian Tiber with his gentle stream
Mildly doth flow along the fruitful fields.
There mirthful wealth, there kingdom is for thee;        1040
There a king’s child prepar’d to be thy make.
For thy beloved Creusa stint thy tears:
For now shall I not see the proud abodes
Of Myrmidons, nor yet of Dolopes:
Ne I, a Troyan lady, and the wife        1045
Unto the son of Venus, the Goddess,
Shall go a slave to serve the Greekish dames.
Me here the God’s great mother holds———
And now farewell: and keep in father’s breast
The tender love of thy young son and mine.’        1050
  This having said, she left me all in tears,
And minding much to speak; but she was gone,
And subtly fled into the weightless air.
Thrice raught I with mine arms t’ accoll her neck:
Thrice did my hands vain hold th’ image escape,        1055
Like nimble winds, and like the flying dream.
So night spent out, return I to my feres;
And there wond’ring I find together swarm’d
A new number of mates, mothers, and men
A rout exiled, a wretched multitude,        1060
From each-where flock together, prest to pass
With heart and goods, to whatsoever land
By sliding seas, me listed them to lead.
And now rose Lucifer above the ridge
Of lusty Ide, and brought the dawning light.        1065
The Greeks held th’ entries of the gates beset:
Of help there was no hope. Then gave I place,
Took up my sire, and hasted to the hill.

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