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Those arms, which on thefe fhoulders then I bore,
'Tis juft you to these shoulders should restore.
You fee I want not nerves, who could fuftain
The pond'rous ruins of fo great a man :
Or if in others equal force you find,
None is endu'd with a more grateful mind.
Did Thetis then, ambitious in her care,
Thefe arms thus labour'd for her fon prepare;
That Ajax after him the heav'nly gift should
For that dull foul to ftare, with stupid eyes,
On the learn'd unintelligible prize!
What are to him the fculptures of the shield,
Heav'n's planets, earth, and ocean's watry field?
The Pleiads, Hyads; lefs, and greater Bear,
Undipp'd in feas; Orion's angry ftar;
Two diff'ring cities, grav'd on either hand?
Would he wear arms he cannot understand?
Befide, what wife objections he prepares
Against my late acceffion to the wars?
Does not the fool perceive his argument
Is with more force against Achilles bent?
For if diffembling be fo great a crime,
The fault is common, and the same in him:
And if he taxes both of long delay,
My guilt is lefs, who fooner came away.
His pious mother, anxious for his life,
Detain'd her fon; and me, my pious wife.
To them the bloffoms of our youth were due:
Our riper manhood we referv'd for you.
But grant me guilty, 'tis not much my care,
When with fo 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, that on me he threw Such foul afperfions, when he fpares not you: If Palamede unjustly fell by me,
Your honor fuffer'd in th' unjust decree:
I but accus'd, you doom'd: and yet he dy'd, Convinc'd of treafon, and was fairly try'd: You heard not he was falfe; 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 counfel, and he lives at least; Th' event declares I counfell'd for the beft:
Though faith is all, in minifters of state;
For who can promise to be fortunate?
Now fince his arrows are the fate of Troy,
Do not my wit, or weak address, employ;
Send Ajax there, with his perfuafive sense,
To mollify the man, and draw him thence:
But Xanthus fhall run backward; Ida ftand
A leaflefs mountain; and the Grecian band.
Shall fight for Troy; if, when my counfels
The wit of heavy Ajax can prevail.
Hard Philoctetes, exercife thy fpleen
Against thy fellows, and the king of men;
Curfe my devoted head, above the rest,
And wish in arms to meet me breast to breast:
Yet I the dangerous task will undertake,
And either die myself, or bring thee back.
Nor doubt the fame fuccefs, as when before The Phrygian prophet to these tents I bore, Surpriz'd by night, 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 fecret
Yet this I compafs'd, and from Troy convey'd
The fatal image of their guardian maid;
That work was mine; for Pallas, tho our friend,
Yet while fhe was in Troy, did Troy defend.
Now what has Ajax done, or what defign'd?
A noify nothing, and an empty wind.
If he be what he promises in fhow,
Why was I fent, and why fear'd he to go?
Our boasting champion thought the task not light
To pass the guards, commit himself to night;
Not only through a hoftile town to pass,
But scale, with steep afcent, the facred place;
With wand'ring steps to fearch the citadel,
And from the priests their patroness to steal:
Then through furrounding foes to force my way,
And bear in triumph home the heav'nly prey;
Which had I not, Ajax in vain had held,
Before that monftrous bulk, his fev'nfold shield.
That night to conquer Troy I might be said,
When Troy was liable to conquest made.
Why point'st thou to my partner of the war? Tydides had indeed a worthy share
In all my toil, and praise; but when thy might
Our ships protected, didft thou fingly fight?
All join'd, and thou of many wert but one;
I afk'd no friend, nor had, but him alone:
Who, had he not been well affur'd, that art
And conduct were of war the better part,
And more avail'd than ftrength, my valiant friend
Had urg'd a better right, than Ajax can pretend;
As good at least Eurypylus may claim,
And the more moderate Ajax of the name:
The Cretan king, and his brave charioteer,
And Menelaus bold with sword and spear:
All these had been my rivals in the shield,
And yet all these to my pretenfions yield.
Thy boift'rous hands are then of use, when I
With this directing head those hands apply.
Brawn without brain is thine: my prudent care
Forefees, provides, administers the war :
Thy province is to fight; but when shall be
The time to fight, the king confults with me:
No dram of judgment with thy force is join'd;
Thy body is of profit, and my mind.
By how much more the ship her fafety owes
To him who fteers, than him that only rows,
By how much more the captain merits praise
Than he who fights, and fighting but obeys;
By fo much greater is my worth than thine,
Who canft but execute what I defign.