« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
And now Cassandra, full of sad affright,
With loose disheveld trammels, madly skips,
Just in the way betwixt me and my ships":
O! whither wilt thou headlong run? she cries;
Thou bearest fire with thee, whose smoke up-flies
Unto the heavens (O Jove!) thou little fearest
What quenchless flames thou throʻ the water bearest.
Cassandra was too true a prophetess;
Her quenchless flame she spake of (I confess :)
My hot desires burn in my breast so fast,
That no red furnace hotter flames can cast.
I pass the city-gates, my bark I board ;
The favourable winds calm gales afford,
And fill my sails : unto your land I steer,
For whither else his course should Paris bear?
Your husband entertains me as his guest,
And all this happ'neth by the gods behest.
He shows me all his pastures, parks, and fields,
And every rare thing Lacedæmon yields.
He holds himself much pleased with my being,
And nothing hides that he esteems worth seeing.
I am on fire, till I behold your face,
Of all Achaia's kingdom the sole grace.
All other curious objects I defy ;
Nothing but Helen can content mine eye:
Whom when I saw, I stood transform’d with wonder,
Senseless, as one struck dead by Jove's sharp thunder:
As I revive, my eyes I roll and turn,
Whilst my flam'd thoughts with hotter fancies burn:
Even so, as I remember, look'd love's queen,
When she was last in Phrygian Ida seen;
Unto which place by fortune I was train’d,
Where by my censure, she the conquest gain’d.
But had you made a fourth in that contention,
Of Venus' beauty there had been no mention:
Helen assuredly had borne from all
The prize of beauty, the bright golden ball.
Only of you may this your kingdom boast,
By you it is renown'd in every coast :
Rumour hath every where your beauty blaz'd:
In what remote clime is not Helen prais'd ?
From the bright eastern sun's up-rise, inquire,
Even to his downfal, where he slakes his fire;
There lives not any of your sex that dare
Contend with you that are proclaim'd so fair.
Trust me; for truth I speak: nay, what's most true,
Too sparingly the world hath spoke of you.
Fame, that hath undertook your name to blaze,
Play'd but the envious housewife in your praise.
More than report could promise, or fame blazon,
Are these divine perfections that I gaze on:
These were the same that made duke Theseus lavish,
Who in thy prime and nonage did thee ravish :
And worthy rape for such a worthy man !
Thrice happy ravisher! to seize thee then,
When thou wert stript stark naked to the skin;
A sight of force to make the gods to sin.
Such is your country's guise, at seasons when
With naked ladies they mix'd naked men.
That he did steal thee from thy friends, I praise him ;
And for that deed, I to the heavens will raise him.
That he return'd thee back, by Jove I wonder
Had I been Theseus, he that should asunder
Have parted thus, or snatch'd thee from my bed,
First from my shoulders should have par'd my head :
So rich a purchase, such a glorious prey,
Should constantly have been detain'd for aye.
Could these my strong arms possibly unclasp,
Whilst in their amorous folds they Helen grasp?
Neither by forc'd constraint, nor by free giving,
Could you depart that compass, and I living.
But if by rough inforce I must restore you,
Some fruits of love (which I so long have bore you)
I first would reap, and some sweet favour gain,
That all my suit were not bestow'd in vain.
Either with me you shall abide and stay,
Or for your pass your maidenhead should pay:
Or say, I spar'd you that, yet would I try
What other favour I could else come by ;
All that belongs to love I would not miss,
You should not let me both to clip and kiss.
Give me your heart, fair queen, my heart you owe,
And what my resolution is you know.
Till the last fire, my breathless body take,
The fire within my breast can never slake.
Before large kingdoms I preferr’d your face,
And Juno's love, and potent gifts disgrace ;
To fold you in my amorous arms I chus'd,
And Pallas' virtues scornfully refus'd;
When they, with Venus on the hill of Ide,
Made me the judge their beauties to decide.
Nor do I yet repent me, having took
Beauty, and strength and scepter'd rule forsook :
Methinks I chus'd the best (nor think it strange)
I still persist, and never mean to change.
Only that my employment be not vain,
(Oh! you more worth than any empire's gain :)
Let me intreat : lest you my birth should scorn,
Or parentage, know, I am royal born :
By marrying me, you shall not wrong your state,
Nor be a wife to one degenerate.
Search the records where we did first begin,
And you shall find the Pleiads of our kin;
Nay, Jove himself, all others to forbear
That in our stock renowned princes were.
My father of all Asia reigns sole king,
Whose boundless coast scarce any feather'd wing
Can give a girdle to; a happier land,
A neighbour to the ocean cannot stand.
There in a narrow compass you may see
Cities and towers more than may number'd be ;
The houses gilt, rich temples that excel,
And you will say, I near the great gods dwell.
You shall behold high Ilium's lofty towers,
And Troy's brave walls, built by no mortal powers ;
But made by Phobus, the great god of fire,
And by the touch of his melodious lyre.
Ask if we have people to inhabit, when
The sad earth groans to bear such troops of men ;
Judge, Helen, likewise when you come to land,
The Asian women shall admiring stand,
Saluting thee with welcome, more and less,
In pressing throngs, and numbers numberless.
More than our courts can hold of you (most fair)
You to yourself will say, Alas! how bare
And poor Achaia is! when, with great pleasure,
You see each house contain a city's treasure.
Mistake me not, I Sparta do not scorn,
I hold the land blest where my love was born :
Tho' barren else, rich Sparta Helen bore,
And therefore I that province must adore ;
Yet is your land, methinks, but lean and empty,
You worthy of a clime that flows with plenty :
Full Troy I prostrate, it is yours by duty ;
This petty seat becomes not your rich beauty.
Attendance, preparation, curt'sy, state,
Fit such a heavenly form ; on which should wait
Cost, fresh variety, delicious diet,
Pleasure, contentment, and luxurious riot.
What ornaments we use, what fashions feign,
You may perceive by i
me and my proud train.
Thus we attire our men ; but with more cost
Of gold and pearl, the rich gowns are imbost
Of our chief ladies ; guess by what you see,
You may be soon induc'd to credit me.
Be tractable, fair Spartan, nor contemn
A Trojan born, deriv'd from royal stem;
He was a Trojan and ally'd to Hector
That waits upon Jove's cup, and fills his nectar.
A Trojan did the fair Aurora wed,
And nightly slept within her roseate bed.
The goddess that ends night, and enters day,
From our fair Trojan coast stole him away.
Anchises was a Trojan, whom love's queen
(Making the trees of Ida a thick skreen
'Twixt heaven and her) oft lay with. View me well,
I am a 'Trojan too, in Troy I dwell.
Thy husband Menelaus hither bring,
Compare our shapes, our years, and every thing;
I make you judges, wrong me if you can;
You needs must say, I am the properer man.
None of my line hath turn’d the sun to blood,
And robb'd his steeds of their ambrosial food.
My father grew not from the Caucase' rock,
Nor shall I graft you in a bloody stock.
Priam ne'er wrongd the guiltless soul, or further,
Made the Myrtean sea look red with murder;
Nor thirsteth my great grand-sire in the lake
Of Lethe, chin-deep, yet no thirst can slake ;
Nor after ripen'd apples vainly skips,
Who fly him still, and yet still touch his lips:
But what of this ? if you be so derivd,
You, not withstanding, are no right depriv'd : You grace your stock, and being so divine, Jove is of force compell’d into your line. Oh, mischief! whilst I vainly speak of this, Your liusband all unworthy of such bliss, Enjoys you this long night, enfolds your waist, And where he lists, may boldly touch and taste. So when you sat at table, many a toy, Passeth between you, my vex'd soul t' annoy. At such high feasts I wish my enemy sit, Where discontent attends on every bit. I never yet was plac'd at any feast, But oft it irk'd me that I was your guest. That which offends me most, thy rude lord knows; For still his armis about thy neck he throws. Which I no sooner spy, but I grow mad, And hate the man whose courting makes me sad, Shall I be plain? I'm ready to sink down, When I behold him wrap you in his gown; When you sit smiling on his amorous knee, His fingers press where my hands itch to be. But when he hugs you, I am forc'd to frown; The meat I'm eating will by no means down, But sticks half way: amidst these discontents, I have observ'd you laugh at my laments, And with a scornful, yet a wanton smile, Deride my sighs and groans. Oft to beguile . My passions, and to quench my fiery rage, By quaffing healths, I've thought my fame t' assuage ; But Bacchus' full cups make my flames burn higher, Add wine to love, and you add fire to fire. To shun the sight of many a wanton feat, Betwixt your lord and you, I shift my seat, And turn my head ; but thinking of your grace, Love screws my head to gaze back on your face. What were I best to do? to see you play, Mads me, and I perforce must turn away ; And to forbear the place where you abide, Would kill me dead, should I but start aside: As much as lies in me, I strive to bury The shape of love, and in mirth's spite seem merry. But oh! the more I seek it to suppress, The more my blabbing looks my love profess.