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And every lovely dame and lusty knight, Do pay the prince such honour as they might. The peers, the princes, and the lords of Greece, Touch'd with the rape of this reproachful piece, Not suffering such barbarous villany, Dishonour to their state and country, In fury'gan the quarrel undertake; Not all alone for Menelaus' sake, But to rebuke and to avenge beside Helen's false love, Paris' adulterous pride; Making provision for a lasting war, That wounded all so deep, and yet the scar Remains, and will endure from day to day, That teeth of fretting time shall never wear away. In Aulis' gulf they mightily assemble, Whose power might make the proudest Troy to tremble: Lord Agamemnon there among them all, With Greeks' consent was chosen general. __. Before this time a while, as I can reed, Ulysses, by the means of Palamede, Unhappy man, was fetch'd from Ithaca, Yet well could counterfeit a cause of stay, To tarry with his wife Penelope; But private cause must common cause obey, And though he feign'd a madness for the nonce, Yet can Sir Palamedes all at once To try his wit offer his tender son, Whom while the sire refus’d to over-run, That play'd the frantic ploughman all in vain, He roundly brought him to the Argive train:
That for the hate he harbour'd in his head
Nill cease till this Sir Palamede was dead.
So Peleus' noble son, the great Achilles,
That lothly with the Grecians went to seas,
Clad by his dame in habit of a woman,
Unworthy cowardice of a valiant man,
But that no cowardice this deed can hight
In him that was approv’d so good a knight,
Ulysses with his toys and trifles trim
Full like a pedler can decipher him.
The force of Greece and armies all by this,
For want of wind have hover'd long in Aulis :
What mighty men misdo, the meaner rue;
So great an ill by lingering doth ensue.
Nor was there other help but Iphigen,
That might enforce the winds to blow agen;
And will he, nill he, Agamemnon must,
If he will termed be a general just,
Dispatch some trusty messenger or page,
Under pretence of love or marriage,
To fetch to Aulis' gulf the Argive queen,
To see the spousals of fair Iphigen;
And prince Achilles was her lover nam'd ;
But all untowardly this business fram'd:
For Clytemnestra had espied ere long
Whereto this subtle message did belong.
In fine, the virgin slain in sacrifice,
The Greeks have wind at will, the waters rise. g
How many ills do follow one annoy 2
Now merrily sail our gallant Greeks to Troy,
And scour the seas, and cheerly run forth right,
As shoots a streaming star in winter's night,
Away they fly, their tackling teft and tight,
Top and top-gallant in the bravest sort.
And, as ye wot, this war and tragic sport
It was for Helena.
King Priam now 'gan easily understand
How Greeks with all their power were hard at hand;
And sadly do the peers their prince advise,
The while in rage Cassandra calls and cries,
Render, ye Troyans, to these madding Greeks
The dame that all this expedition seeks.
And to this battle, bruited far by fame,
Great aid of arms on either party came :
From Tyber,” and the quaking Tanais,
To Troy, the queen of Amazons by this,
Penthesilea with her warlike band
Arriv'd in honour of king Priam's land.
And over long it were for me to tell
In this afflicting war what hap befell;
How many Greeks, how many Troyan knights,
As chivalry by kind in love delights,
Upon their helms their plumes can well advance,
And twist their ladies' colours in their lance.
So love doth make them bold and venturous :
So hardy was the true knight Troilus,
All for pure love of the unconstant Cressid,
T'encounter with th' unworthy Diomed.
* Tyber] A misprint which I cannot set right.
But leave I here of Troilus to say,
Whose passions for the ranging Cressida
Require” a volume to unfold at large,
And cunning need he be that takes the charge,
To paint the colours of that changing piece,
Stain to all dames of Troy and stately Greece.
And that I may do every man his right, . . .
Sir Paris mounted, in his armour bright, ; :
Pricks forth, and on his helm his mistress' sleeve; -
How could that sight but Menelaus grieve 1.
And now the Greeks, and now the Troyans may,
As pleaseth Fortune, bear away the day.
The times of truce set down by martial law,
The dames of Troy with lovely looks do draw
The hearts of many Greeks, and lo, at last
The great Achilles is enthralled fast !
That night ne day he might his rest enjoy,
So was his heart engaged whole to Troy:
That now no more of arms this warrior would,
Or, mought I say, no more for love he could;
The camp complains upon his love and sloth,
And charge him with his knighthood and his oath.
Now rides out Hector, call'd the scourge of Greeks,
And like the untam'd panther prys and seeks
Where he might prove his force, and storming thus
He lights upon Achilles' friend, Patroclus.
Whenas the great Achilles 'gan him greet,
And lion-like runs proudly him to meet,
For rescue of his friend, as he were wood, And charging tight his staff in eager mood, Forgetful of the fair Polixena, As faulcon wonts to stoop upon her prey, As Hector had unhors'd Patroclus tho, Despoiling him in field, alas, for woes * Unwares to wreak this deed of his beleek," > He slays a peerless Troyan for a Greek; And having thus perform'd this murderous treason, He triumphs in the spoils of Priam's son. Now 'gan the Grecians clap their hands for glee, But blood will blood, so ever mought it be. The Troyans' glory now 'gan waxen dim, And cold their hope, sith death hath seized him, That gave them hope and happy fortune too. The Mother Queen withouten more ado, 'Gan whether wits to wreak this malice done, And traitorous murder of her valiant son. When Hector's death was more than half forgot, Or at the least dissembled well I wot, Full wisely 'gan this lady offer make, That if the Prince Achilles list to take Her daughter fair Polixena to spouse, In Pallas' temple should he make his vows: And thus the queen that knew no law of arms Wow'd clear to him and void of further harms. But when this Greek did little think of guile, To work revenge for Hector's death the while,
* beleek] For belike, written so for the sake of the rhyme.