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Provided forage, our spent arms renew'd;
Employ'd at home, or sent abroad, the common cause
The king, deluded in a dream by Jove,
Despair'd to take the town, and order'd to remove.
What subject durft arraign the pow'r supreme,
Producing Jove to justify his dream ?
Ajax might wish the soldiers toʻretain
From shameful flight, but wishes were in vain ;
As wanting of effect had been his words,
Such as of course his thund'ring tongue affords.
Byt did this boafter threaten, did he pray,
Or by his own example urge their stay?
None, none of these, but ran himself away.
I saw him run, and was alham'd to see ;
Who ply'd his feet so fast to get aboard as he ?
Then speeding thro' the place, I made a stand,
And loudly cry'd, O base degen'rate band,
To leave a town already in your hand!
After so long expence of blood, for fame,
To bring home nothing but perpetual shame!
These words, or what I have forgotten finge,
(For grief inspir'd me then with eloquence)
Reduc'd their minds, they leave the crouded port,
And to their late forsaken camp resort ;
Dismay'd the council met: this man was there,
But mute, and not recover'd of his fear:
Therfites tax'd the king, and loudly rail'd,
But his wide opening mouth with blows I leald.
Then, rising, I excite their souls to fame,
And kindle sleeping virtue into flame.
From thence, whatever he perform'd in fight
Is juftly mine, who drew him back from flight.
Which of the Grecian chiefs consorts with thee?
But Diomede desires my company,
And still communicates his praise with me.
As guided by a God, fecure he goes,
Arm'd with my fellowship, amid the foes :
And sure no little merit I may boast,
Whom such a man selects from such an hoft;-
Unfore'd by lots I went without affright,
To dare with him the dangers of the night:
On the same errand sent, we met the spy
Of Hector, double-tongu'd, and us’d to lye ;
Him I dispatch'd, but not till, undermin'd,
I drew him first to tell what treach'rous Troy design’d:
My tak perform'd, with praise I had retir'd,
But not content with this, to greater praise aspir’d;
Invaded Rhesus, and his Thracian crew,
And him, and his, in their own strength, I flew;
Return'd a victor, all my vows complete,
With the king's chariot, in his royal seat:
Refuse me now his arms, whose fiery steeds
Were promis'd to the spy for his nocturnal deeds :
And let dull Ajax bear away my right,
When all his days out-balance this one night.
Nor fought I darkling still: the fun beheld
With slaughter'd Lycians when I strew'd the field:
You faw, and counted as I pass'd along,
Alaftor, Cromius, Ceranos the strong,
Alcander, Prytanis, and Halius,
Noemon, Charopes, and Ennomus,
Choon, Cherfidamas; and five beside,
Men of obscure descent, but courage try'd :
All these this hand laid breathless on the ground;
Nor want. I proofs of many a manly wound:
All honest, all before : believe not me;
Words may deceive, but credit what you fee.
At this he bar'd his breast, and how'd his scars,
As of a furrow'd field, well plough'd with wars ;
Nor is this part unexercis'd, said he ;
That giant bulk of his from wounds is free:
Safe in his shield he fears no foe to try,
And better manages his blood than I:
But this avails me not; our boaster strove
Nòt with our foes alone, but partial Jove,
To save the fleet: this I confefs is true,
(Nor will I take from any man is due :)
But chus assuming all, he robs from you.
Some part of honour to your share will fall,
He did the best indeed, but did not all.
Patrocles in Achilles' arms, and thought
The chief he seem'd, with equal ardour fought;
Preserv'd the fleet, repell’d the raging fire,
And forc'd the fearful Trojans to retire.
But Ajax boasts, that he was only thought
A match for Hector, who the combat sought :
Sure he forgets the king, the chiefs, and me;
All were as eager for the fight as he ;
He but the ninth, and, not by public voice,
Or ours preferr'd, was only fortune's choice :
They fought ; nor can our hero boast th event,
For Hector from the field unwounded went,
Why am I forc’d to name that fatal day,
That snatch'd the prop and pride of Greece away?
I saw Pelides fink, with pious grief,
And ran in vain, alas ! to his relief;
For the brave soul was fled : full of my friend,
I rulh'd amid the war, his relicks to defend :
Ņor ceas'd my toil till I redeem'd the prey,
And, loaded with Achilles, march'd away :
Those arms, which on chele shoulders then I bore,
'Tis just you to these Thoulders should restore.
You see I want not nerves, who could luftain
The pond'rous ruins of so great a man:
Or if in others equal force you find,
None is endu'd with a more grateful mind.
Did Theris then, ambitious in her care, These arms thus labour'd for her son
That Ajax after him the heav'nly gift should wear?
For that dull foul to stare, with stupid eyes,
On the learn'd unintelligible prize!
What are to him the sculptures of the shield,
Heav'n's planets, earth, and ocean's watry field?
The Pleiads, Hyads; less, and greater Bear,
Undipp'd in seas ; Orion's angry ftar;
Two diff'ring cities, grav'd on either hand ?
Would he wear arms he cannot understand ?
Beside, what wise objections he prepares
Against my late accession to the wars :
Does not the fool perceive his argument
Is with more force against Achilles bent?
For if diffembling be so great a crime,
The fault is common, and the same in him:
And if he taxes both of long delay,
My guilt is less, who sooner came away.
His pious mother, anxious for his life,
Detain'd her son ; and me, my pious wife,
To them the blossoms of our youth were due :
Our riper manhood we reserv'd for you.
But grant me guilty, 'tis not much my care,
When with so great a man my guilt I Share :
My wit to war the matchless hero brought,
But by this fool he never had been caught.
Nor need I wonder, chat on me he threw
Sach foul afperfions, when he spares not you :
If Palamede unjustly fell by me,
Your honour suffer'd in th'unjuft decree:
I but accus'd, you doom'd: and yet he dy'd,
Convinc'd of treason, and was fairly try'd :
You heard not he was false ; your eyes beheld
The traitor manifeft; the bribe reveal'd.
That Philoctetes is on Lemnos left,
Wounded, forlorn, of human aid bereft,
Is not my crime, or not my crime alone ;
Defend your justice, for the fact's your own :
'Tis true, th’advice was mine; that staying there
He might his weary limbs with reft repair,
From a long voyage free, and from a longer war.
He took the counsel, and he lives at least;
Th'event declares I counsellid for the beft:
Though faith is all, in minifters of itate;
For who can promise to be fortunate ?
Now since his arrows are the fate of Troy,
Do not my wit, or weak address, employ;
Send Ajax there, with his persuasive sense,
To mollify the man, and draw him thence :
But Xanthus shall run backward ; Ida Atand
A leafless mountain ; and the Grecian band
Shall fight for Troy ; if, when my countels fail,
The wit of heavy Ajax can prevail.
Hard Philoctetes, exercise thy spleen
Against thy fellows, and the king of men;
Curse my devoted head, above the rest,
And with in arms to meet me breast to breaft;
Yet I the dangerous tak will undertake,
And either die myself, or bring thee back.
Nor doubt the same fuccefs, as when before
The Phrygian prophet to these tents I bore,
Surpriz'd by nighē, and forc'd him to declare
In what was plac'd the fortune of the war ;
Heav'n's dark decrees and answers to display,
And how to take the town, and where the secret lay:
Yet this I compass’d, and from Tray convey'd
The fatal image of their guardian maid;
That work was mine; for Pallas, tho' our friend,
Yet while she was in Troy, did Troy defend.
Now what has Ajax done, or what defign'd?
A noisy nothing, and an empty wind.