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Great Telamon from Æacus derives
His birth (th' inquisitor of guilty lives
In shades below; where Sisyphus, whose fon
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 line,
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,
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 ifle, to wants and pains expos’d, Where to the rocks, with solitary groans, His suff’rings and our baseness he bemoans ; And wishes (fo 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 still he lives, and lives from treason free,
Because he left Ulysses' company:
Poor Palamede might with, so void of aid
Rather to have been left, than so to death betray'd.
The coward bore the man immortal spite,
Who sham'd him out of madness into fight:
Nor daring otherwise to vent his hate,
Accus'd him first of treason to the state ;
And then for proof produc'd the golden store
Himself had hidden in his tent before :
Thus of two champions he depriv'd our host,
By exile one, and one by treason loft.
Thus fights Ulyffes, thus his fame extends,
A formidable man, but to his friends :
Great, for what greatness is in words and sound:
Ev'n faithful Nestor less in both is found:
But that he might without a rival reign,
He left his faithful Nestor on the plain ;
Forsook his friend ev'n at his utmost need,
Who tir’d and tardy, with his wounded steed,
Cry'd out for aid, and call’d him by his name ;
But cowardise has neither ears nor shame:
Thus fled the good old man, bereft of aid,
And, for as much as lay in him, betray'd.
That this is not a fable forg’d by me,
Like one of his, an Ulyssean lye,
I vouch ev'n Diomede, who, tho' his friend,
Cannot that act excuse, much less defend :
He called him back aloud, and tax'd his fear;
And sure enough he heard, but durst not hear.
The Gods with equal eyes on mortals look ;
He justly was forsaken, who forsook :
Wanted that succour he refus'd to lend,
Found every fellow such another friend :
No wonder, if he roar'd that all might hear,
His elocution was increas'd by fear :
I heard, Iran, I found him out of breath,
Pale, trembling, and half dead with fear of death.
Though he had judg'd himself by his own laws,
And stood condemn'd, I help'd the common
cause : With
broad buckler hid him from the foe; (Ev'n the shield trembled as he lay below ;) And from impending fate the coward freed: Good heav'n forgive me for so bad a deed ! If still he will persist, and urge the strife, First let him give me back his forfeit life: Let him return to that opprobrious field; Again creep under my protecting shield: Let him lie wounded, let the foe be near, And let his quiv’ring heart confess his fear;.
There put him in the very jaws of fate;
And let him plead his cause in that estate :
And yet when snatch'd from death, when from
My lifted shield I loos'd and let him
Good heav'ns, how light he rose, with what a
He sprung from earth, forgetful of his wound:
How fresh, how eager then his feet to ply;
Who had not strength to stand, had speed to fly!
Hector came on, and brought the Gods along;
Fear seiz'd alike the feeble and the strong:
Each Greek was an Ulysses ; such a dread
Th’approach, and ev’n the sound of Hector bred:
Him, Aesh'd with slaughter, and with conquest
I met, and over-turn’d him to the ground.
When after, matchless as he deem'd in might,
He challeng'd all our host to single fight,
All eyes were fix'd on me: the lots were thrown;
But for your champion I was wish'd alone:
Your vows were heard, we fought and neither yield;
Yet I return’d unvanquish'd from the field.
With Jove to friend th’insulting Trojan came,
And menac'd us with force, our feet with flame: