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429. With that her glistring helmet she unlac'd ;
Which doft, her golden lockes, that were upbound
Still in a knot, unto her heels downe trac'd,
And like a silken veile in compasse round
About her backe and all her bodie wound :
Like as the shining skie in summer's night,
What time the dayes with scorching heat abound,
Is crested all with lines of firie light,
That it prodigious seemes in common people's sight.
Such when those knights and ladies all about
Beheld her, all were with amazement smit,
And every one 'gan grow in secret dout
Of this and that, according to each wit:
Some thought that some enchantment faygned it;
Some, that Bellona in that warlike wise
To them appear'd, with shield and armour fit;
Some, that it was a maske of strange disguise:
So diversely each one did sundrie douts devise.
430. War too, to compensate for oxen slain,
War on ourselves, besides the havoc made
Upon our cattle, would ye muster now,
Sons of Laomedon ? Would ye expel
Innocent Harpies from their native realm ?
Then lend to me your ears, and heedfully
Deposit these my sayings in your minds.
What Phoebus learnt from Jove, all-potent sire,
What Phoebus has himself reveal'd to me,
Chief of the Furies, I to you disclose.
Ye sail for Italy, ye shall arrive
In Italy, with aid of winds invok'd,
And 'tis allow'd that ye shall gain her ports.
Yet not with walls shall ye encompass round
Your destin'd city, till, in punishment
Of bloody wrongs inflicted upon us,
Dire Famine shall compel you with your teeth
To gnaw your tables, and as food consume.
431. How many women would do such a message ?
Alas, poor Proteus! thou hast entertain'd
A fox, to be the shepherd of thy lambs :
Alas, poor fool! why do I pity him
That with his very heart despiseth me?
Because he loves her, he despiseth me;
Because I love him, I must pity him.
This ring I gave him, when he parted from me,
To bind him to remember my good will :
And now am I (unhappy messenger)
To plead for that which I would not obtain;
To carry that which I would have refus'd;
To praise his faith, which I would have disprais’d.
I am my master's true confirmed love;
But cannot be true servant to my master,
Unless I prove false traitor to myself.
Yet I will woo for him ; but yet so coldly,
As, heaven it knows, I would not have him speed. 432. O sight of grief, the wives of Arvalan, Young Azla, young Nealliny, are seen!
Their widow-robes of white,
With gold and jewels bright,
Each like an eastern queen.
Woe! woe! Around their palankeen,
As on a bridal day,
With symphony, and dance and song,
Their kindred, and their friends come on;
The dance of sacrifice, the funeral song !
And next the victim slaves in long array,
Richly bedight to grace the fatal day,
Move onward to their death ;
The clarion's stirring breath
Lifts their thin robes in every flowing fold,
And swells the woven gold,
That on the agitated air
Trembles and glitters to the torch's glare.
433. A. If there were seeds of the old virtue left,
They liv'd in him. S. He had the fruits, Arruntius,
More than the seeds : Sabinus and myself
Had means to know him within, and can report him.
We were his followers, he would call us friends.
He was a man most like to virtue, in all
And every action nearer to the gods,
Than man, in nature; of a body as fair
As was his mind, and no less reverent
In face than fame : he could so use his state,
Temp'ring his greatness with his gravity,
As it avoided all self-love in him, .
And spite in others. What his funerals lack'd
In images and pomp, they had supplied
With honourable sorrow, soldier's sadness,
A kind of silent mourning, such as men,
Who know no tears but from their captives, use
To show in so great losses.
434. Whilest thus in battell they embusied were,
Belphebe, ranging in her forrest wide,
The hideous noise of their huge strokes did heare,
And drew thereto, making her eare her guide :
Whom when that theife approaching nigh espide,
With bow in hand, and arrows ready bent,
He by his former combate would not bide,
But fled away with ghastly dreriment,
Well knowing her to be his death's sole instrument.
Whom seeing flie, she speedily pourseu'd
With winged feete, as nimble as the winde,
And ever in her bow she ready shew'd
The arrow to his deadly marke desynde :
As when Latona's daughter, cruell kynde,
In vengement of her mother's great disgrace,
With fell despight her cruell arrows tynde
'Gainst wofull Niobe's unhappy race,
That all the gods did move her miserable case.
Let us all
Exile with them their ill example too,
Which never more remains as it began,
But 'tis a wicked sire to a far worse son ;
And stays not till it makes us slaves unto
That universal tyrant of the earth,
Custom, who takes from us our privilege
To be ourselves, rends that great charter too
Of nature, and would likewise cancel man;
And so enchains our judgment and discourse
Unto the present usances, that we
Must all our senses thereunto refer,
Be as we find ourselves, not as we are:
As if we had no other touch of truth
And reason, than the motions of the times,
And place wherein we live ; and being ourselves
Corrupted and abastardized thus,
Think all looks ill that doth not look like us.
436. First with a twang Hippocoon's arrow flew,
And cut the rapid winds, and striking full
Pierc'd the masthead, and shook the lofty beam ;
The dove in terror flutters with her wing,
And plaudits rend the sky. With bended bow
Stood Mnestheus, and his eye and shaft at once
Aim'd upward briskly; but the bird herself
He miss'd, the knot he broke and linen band,
Wherewith her foot was fasten’d to the mast:
Away she fled upsoaring to the clouds.
Eurytion, holding ready on the string
His full-drawn weapon, to his brother pray'd ;
And marking well the dove, as in free space
Joyful she clapp'd her wings, he pierces her
Under a purple cloud; and down she falls
Breathless, her life among th' aerial stars
She leaves, the arrow in her bosom brings.
437. H. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead waist and middle of the night,
Been thus encounter'd. A figure like your father,
Armed at point, exactly, cap-à-pé,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them : thrice he walk'd
By their oppress’d and fear-surprised eyes,
Within his truncheon's length; whilst they, distill’d
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secresy impart they did :
And I with them the third night kept the watch:
Where, as they had deliver'd, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes : I knew your father ;
These hands are not more like. Ha. But where was
M. My Lord, upon the platform, where we watch’d.
488. A. Burrhus, avez-vous vu quels regards furieux
Néron, en me quittant, m'a laissé pour adieux?
C'en est fait : le cruel n'a plus rien qui l'arrête ;
Le coup qu'on m'a prédit, va tomber sur ma tête.
B. Plût au ciel que sa main, heureusement cruelle,
Eût fait sur moi l'essai de sa fureur nouvelle !
Qu'il ne m'eut pas donné, par ce triste attentat,
Un gage trop certain des malheurs de l'état !
Son crime seul n'est pas ce qui me désespère;
Sa jalousie a pu l'armer contre son frère.
Mais s'il vous faut, Madame, expliquer ma douleur,
Néron l'a vu mourir sans changer de couleur.
Ses yeux indifférens ont déjà la constance
D'un tyran dans le crime endurci dès l'enfance.
Qu'il achève, Madame, et qu'il fasse périr
Un ministre importun qui ne le peut souffrir.