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From the Sixth Book of the ILIAD.
Hector, returning from the field of battle, to vifit Helen bis fifter-in-law, and his brother Paris, who had fought unfuccessfully hand to hand with Menelaus, from thence goes to his own palace to Jee his wife Andromache, and his infant fon Aftyanax. The description of that interview is the fubject of this translation.
HUS having faid, brave Hector went to fee His virtuous wife, the fair Andromache. He found her not at home; for he was gone, Attended by her maid and infant fon,
To climb the fteepy tow'r of Ilion:
From whence, with heavy heart, fhe might survey
The bloody bufinefs of the dreadful day.
Her mournful eyes fhe caft around the plain,
And fought the lord of her defires in vain.
But he, who thought his peopled palace bare,
When fhe, his only comfort, was not there,
Stood in the gate, and ask'd of ev'ry one,
Which way she took, and whither she was gone;
If to the court, or, with his mother's train,
In long proceffion to Minerva's fane?
The fervants answer'd, Neither to the court,
Where Priam's fons and daughters did refort,
Nor to the temple was fhe gone, to move
With prayers the blue-ey'd progeny of Jove ;
But more folicitous for him alone,
Than all their safety, to the tow'r was gone,
There to furvey the labours of the field,
Where the Greeks conquer, and the Trojans yield;
Swiftly she pafs'd, with fear and fury wild
The nurse went lagging after with the child.
This heard, the noble Hector made no stay; Th' admiring throng divide, to give him way; He pass'd thro every street, by which he came, And at the gate he met the mournful dame.
His wife beheld him, and with eager pace Flew to his arms, to meet a dear embrace: His wife, who brought in dow'r Cilicia's crown, And, in herself, a greater dow'r alone: Aetion's heir, who on the woody plain Of Hippoplacus did in Thebe reign. Breathless the flew, with joy and paffion wild; The nurse came lagging after with her child. The royal babe upon her breast was laid; Who, like the morning star, his beams difplay'd.
Scamandrius was his name, which Hector gave,
From that fair flood which Ilion's wall did lave:
But him Aftyanax the Trojans call,
great father, who defends the wall.
Hector beheld him with a filent smile;
His tender wife ftood weeping by the while:
Prefs'd in her own, his warlike hand fhe took,
Then figh'd, and thus prophetically spoke.
Thy dauntless heart (which I foresee too late)
Too daring man, will urge thee to thy fate:
Nor doft thou pity, with a parent's mind,
This helpless orphan, whom thou leav'ft behind;
Nor me, th' unhappy partner of thy bed;
Who must in triumph by the Greeks be led:
They seek thy life, and, in unequal fight
With many, will oppress thy fingle might:
Better it were for miserable me
To die, before the fate which I foresee.
For ah! what comfort can the world bequeath
To Hector's widow, after Hector's death?
Eternal forrow and perpetual tears
Began my youth, and will conclude my years:
I have no parents, friends, nor brothers left;
By ftern Achilles all of life bereft.
Then when the walls of Thebes he overthrew, His fatal hand my royal father flew;
He flew Aetion, but defpoil'd him not;
Nor in his hate the funeral rites forgot;
Arm'd as he was he fent him whole below,
And reverenc'd thus the manes of his foe:
A tomb he rais'd; the mountain nymphs around
Inclos'd with planted elms the holy ground.
My feven brave brothers in one fatal day
To death's dark manfions took the mournful way;
Slain by the fame Achilles, while they keep
The bellowing oxen and the bleating sheep.
My mother, who the royal fceptre sway'd,
Was captive to the cruel victor made,
And hither led; but, hence redeem'd with gold,
Her native country did again behold,
And but beheld: for foon Diana's dart
In an unhappy chace transfix'd her heart.
But thou, my Hector, art thyself alon
My parents, brothers, and my lord in one:
O kill not all my kindred o'er again,
Nor tempt the dangers of the dufty plain;
But in this tow'r, for our defence, remain.
Thy wife and fon are in thy ruin lost:
This is a husband's and a father's post.
The Scean gate commands the plains below;
Here marfhal all thy foldiers as they go;
And hence with other hands repel the foe.
By yon wild fig-tree lies their chief afcent,
And thither all their pow'rs are daily bent:
The two Ajaces have I often seen,
And the wrong'd husband of the Spartan queen:
With him his greater brother; and with these
Fierce Diomede and bold Meriones:
Uncertain if by augury, or chance,
But by this easy rise they all advance;
Guard well that pafs, fecure of all befide.
To whom the noble Hector thus reply'd.
That and the reft are in my daily care;
But fhould I fhun the dangers of the war,
With fcorn the Trojans would reward my pains,
And their proud ladies with their sweeping trains.
The Grecian fwords and lances I can bear:
But lofs of honour is my only fear.
Shall Hector, born to war, his birth-right yield,
Belye his courage, and forfake the field?
Early in rugged arms I took delight,
And still have been the foremost in the fight:
With dangers dearly have I bought renown,
And am the champion of my father's crown.
And yet my mind forebodes, with fure prefage,
That Troy fhall perifh by the Grecian rage.
The fatal day draws on, when I must fall;
And univerfal ruin cover all.