Page images





The Parting of HECTOR and ANDROMACHE. From Homer's Iliad, Book VI.


Tranflated by Mr. POPE.

E faid, and past with sad presaging heart

To feek his spouse, his foul's far dearer part; At home he fought her, but he fought in vain : She, with one maid of all her menial train, Had thence retir'd; and with her fecond joy, The young Aftyanax, the hope of Troy, Penfive fhe flood on Ilion's tow'ry height, Beheld the war, and ficken'd at the fight; G 3


There her fad


in vain her Lord explore,

Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore.
But he who found not whom his foul defir'd,
Whofe virtue charm'd him as her beauty fir'd,
Stood in the gates, and ask'd what way she bent
Her parting ftep? If to the fane she went,
Where late the mourning matrons made refort;
Or fought her fifters in the Trojan court?
Not to the court, (reply'd th' attendant train)
Nor mix'd with matrons to Minerva's fane:
To Ilion's fleepy tow'r fhe bent her way,
To mark the fortunes of the doubtful day.
Troy fled, fhe heard, before the Grecian fword;
She heard, and trembled for her abfent Lord;
Distracted with furprife, fhe feem'd to fly,
Fear on her cheek, and forrow in her eye.
The nurse attended with her infant boy,
The young Aftyanax, the hope of Troy.

Hector, this heard, return'd without delay;
Swift thro' the town he trod his former way,
Thro' ftreets of palaces, and walks of state;
And met the mourner at the Scæan gate.
With hafte to meet him fprung the joyful fair,
His blameless wife, Aëtion's wealthy heir:
(Cilician Thebè great Aëtion fway'd,
And Hippoplacus' wide extended fhade)
The nurse stood near, in whofe embraces preft,
His only hope hung fmiling at her breaft,


Whom each foft charm and early grace adorn,
Fair as the new-born star that gilds the morn.
To this lov'd infant Hector gave the name
Scamandrius, from Scamander's honour'd stream;
Aftyanax the Trojans call'd the boy,

From his great father, the defence of Troy.
Silent the warrior fmil'd, and pleas'd refign'd
To tender paffions all his mighty mind:
His beauteous princess cast a mournful look,
Hung on his hand, and then dejected spoke;
Her bofom labour'd with a boding figh,
And the big tear ftood trembling in her eye.

Too daring prince! ah whither doft thou run?
Ah too forgetful of thy wife and fon !

And think'ft thou not how wretched we fhall be,
A widow I, an helpless orphan he!

For fure fuch courage length of life denies,
And thou must fall, thy virtue's facrifice.
Greece in her fingle heroes ftrove in vain;
Now hofts oppofe thee, and thou must be slain!
Oh grant me, Gods! ere Hector meets his doom,
All I can ask of heav'n, an early tomb!

So fhall my days in one fad tenour run,
And end with forrows 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 wafte, and flew my warlike fire!

[blocks in formation]

His fate compaffion in the victor bred;

Stern as he was, he yet rever'd the dead,
His radiant arms preferv'd from hoftile spoil,
And laid him decent on the fun'ral pile;

Then rais'd a mountain where his bones were burn'd:

The mountain nymphs the rural tomb adorn'd,
Jove's filvan daughters bade their elms bestow
A barren fhade, and in his honour grow.

By the fame arm my fev'n brave brothers fell;
In one fad day beheld the gates of hell:
While the fat herds and fnowy flocks they fed;
Amid their fields the haple's heroes bled!
My mother liv'd to bear the victor's bands,
The queen of Hippoplacia's filvan lands:
Redeem'd too late, the fcarce beheld again
Her pleafing empire and her native plain,
When ah! oppreft by life-consuming woe,
She fell a victim to Diana's bow.

Yet while my Hector ftill furvives; I fee
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 :
Oh prove a husband's and a father's care!
That quarter moft the fkilful Greeks annoy,
Where yon' wild fig-trees join the wall of Troy:
Thou, from this tow'r defend th' important poft ;
There Agamemnon points his dreadful hoût,


That pafs Tydides, Ajax, strive to gain,
And there the vengeful Spartan fires his train.
Thrice our bold foes the fierce attack have giv’n,
Or led by hopes, or dictated from heav'n;
Let others in the field their arms employ,
But ftay my Hector here, and guard his Troy.
The chief reply'd: That post shall be my care,
Nor that alone, but all the works of war.
How would the fons of Troy, in arms renown'd,

And Troy's proud dames, whofe garments fweep the


Attaint the luftre of my

former name,

Should Hector bafely quit the field of fame ?
My early youth was bred to martial pains,
My foul impels me to th' embattl'd 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 fee thy warriors fall, thy glories end.
And yet no dire prefage fo wounds my mind,
My mother's death, the ruin of my kind;
Not Priam's hoary hairs defil'd with gore,
Not all my brothers gafping on the shore ;
As thine, Andromache! thy griefs I dread ;
I fee thee trembling, weeping, captive led!
In Argive looms our battles to defign,
And woes, of which fo large a part was thine!

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »