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And those they loved, in the field of fight,
Are cold in the pale moon's beaming, Where the raven rests from its weary flight,
In dolorous dirges screaming:
HECTOR now passed, with sad presaging heart,
To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part;
At home he sought her, but he sought in vain :
She, with one maid of all her menial train,
Had thence retired ; and with her second joy,
The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy :
Pensive she stood on Ilion's towery height,
Beheld the war, and sickened at the sight;
There her sad eyes in vain her lord explore,
Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore.
Hector, this heard, returned without delay;
Swift through the town he trod his former way,
Through streets of palaces, and walks of state;
And met the mourner at the Scæan gate.
With haste to meet him sprung the joyful fair,
His blameless wife, Aetion's wealthy heir.
The nurse stood near, in whose embraces pressed,
His only hope hung smiling at her breast,
Whom each soft charm and early grace adorn,
Fair as the new-born star that gilds the morn.
Silent the warrior smiled, and pleased resigned
To tender passions all his mighty mind;
His beauteous princess cast a mournful look,
Hung on his hand, and then dejected spoke;
Her bosom laboured 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 thinkest 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 heaven, an early tomb !
So shall my days in one sad tenor run,
And end with 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 revered the dead;
His radiant arms preserved from hostile spoil,
And laid him decent on the funeral pile;
By the same arm my seven 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 lived to bear the victor's bands,
The queen of Hippoplacia's sylvan lands :
Redeemed too late, she scarce beheld again
Her pleasing empire and her native plain,
When, ah ! oppressed by life-consuming woe,
She fell a victim to Diana's bow.
Yet, while my Hector still survives, I see
My father, mother, brethren, all in thee;
Alas! my parents, brothers, kindred, all
Once more will perish, if my Hector fall.
Thy wife, thy infant, in thy danger share :
O 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 tower defend the 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 given,
Or led by hopes, or dictated from heaven.
Let others in the field their arms employ,
But stay my Hector here, and guard his Troy."
The chief replied : “ That post shall be my care,
Not that alone, but all the works of war.
How would the sons of Troy, in arms renowned,
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 the embattled 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 defiled 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,
Pressed with a load of monumental clay!
Thy Hector, wrapped in everlasting sleep,
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep."
Thus having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy
Stretched his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.
The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,
Scared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest.
With secret pleasure each fond parent smiled,
And Hector hasted to relieve his child ;
The glittering terrors from his brows unbound,
And placed the beaming helmet on the ground,
Then kissed the child, and, lifting high in air,
Thus to the gods preferred a father's prayer :-
“O Thou! whose glory fills the ethereal throne,
And all ye deathless powers, 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 deserved acclaim,
And say, “This chief transcends his father's fame :'
While pleased amidst the general shouts of Troy,
His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy."
He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms,
Restored the pleasing burden to her arms;
Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid,
Hushed to repose, and with a smile surveyed.
The troubled pleasure soon chastised by fear,
She mingled with the smile a tender tear.
The softened chief with kind compassion'viewed,
And dried the falling drops, and thus pursued :-
“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.
Fixed 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 tasks 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 towery helmet, black with shading plumes.
His princess parts with a prophetic sigh,
Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye,
That streamed at every look : then, moving slow,
Sought her own palace, and indulged her woe.
There, while her tears deplored the godlike man,
Through all her train the soft infection ran,
The pious maids their mingled sorrows shed,
And mourn the living Hector as the dead.
My chaise the village inn did gain,
Just as the setting sun's last ray
Tipped with refulgent gold, the vane
Of the old church across the way.
Across the way I silent sped,
The time till supper to beguile,
In moralizing o'er the dead,
That mouldered round the ancient pile.