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HE chiefs were set, the soldiers crown'd
the field : . To these the master of the sevenfold 1
4 Upstarted fierce: and kindled with disdain,
Eager to speak, unable to contain
His boiling rage, he roll’d his eyes around
The shore, and Grecian gallies hallod a-ground.
Then stretching out his hands, O Jove, he cry'd,
Must then our cause before the fleet be try'd ?
And dares Ulysses for the prize contend,
In sight of what he durst not once defend?
But basely fled that memorable day,
When I from Hector's hands redeem'd the flaming
So much 'tis safer at the noisy bar
With words to flourish, than engage in war.
By diff'rent methods we maintain'd our right,
Nor am I made to talk, nor he to fight.
In bloody fields I labour to be great;
His arms are a smooth tongue, and soft decelt.
Nor need I speak my deeds, for those you see ;
The sun and day are witnesses for me.
Let him who fights unseen relate his own,
And vouch the silent stars, and conscious moon.
Great is the prize demanded, I confess,
But such an abject rival makes it less.
That gift, those honors, he but hop'd to gain,
Can leave no room for Ajax to be vain :
Losing he wins, because his name will be
Ennobled by defeat, who durst contend with me,
Were mine own valour question’d, yet my
blood Without that plea would make my
title good: My fire was Telamon, whose arms, employ’d With Hercules, these Trojan walls destroy'd ; And who before, with Jason, sent from Greece, In the first ship brought hone the golden fleece:
Great Telamon from Æacus derives
§ His birth (th' inquisitor of guilty lives
In shades below; where Sisyphus, whose son
This thief is thought, rolls up the restless heavy
Just Æacus the king of Gods above
Begot: thus Ajax is the third from Jove.
Nor should I seek advantage from my
Unless (Achilles) it were mix'd with thine:
As next of kin Achilles' arms I claim ;
This fellow would ingraft a foreign name
Upon our stock, and the Sisyphian feed
By fraud and theft asserts his father's breed.
Then must I lose these arms, because I came
To fight uncall’d, a voluntary name?
Nor shunn'd the cause, but offer'd you my aid,
While he long lurking was to war betray'd:
Forc'd to the field he came, but in the rear ;
And feign'd distraction to conceal his fear:
Till one more cunning caught him in the snare,
(Ill for himself) and dragg’d him into war.
Now let a hero's arms a coward vest,
And he, who shunn'd all honors, gain the best;
And let me stand excluded from my right, Robb’d of my kinsman's arms, who first appear'd
in fight. Better for us, at home he had remain’d, Had it been true the madness which he feign'd, Or so believ'd; the less had been our shame, The less his counsellid crime, which brands the
Grecian name; Nor Philoctetes had been left inclos'd In a bare isle, to wants and pains expos’d, Where to the rocks, with folitary groans, His fuff’rings and our baseness he bemoans ; And wishes (so may heav'n his with fulfil) The due reward to him who caus'd his ill. Now he, with us to Troy's destruction sworn, Our brother of the war, by whom are borne Alcides' arrows, pent in narrow bounds, With cold and hunger pinch'd, and pain’d with
wounds, To find him food and clothing, muft employ Against the birds the shafts due to the fate of
Yet ftill he lives, and lives from treason free,
Because he left Ulysses' company: