Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Some say Antenor did betray the town;
Others report 'twas Sinon's perjury ;
But all in this, that Troy is overcome,
And Priam dead; yet how, we hear no news.

Æn. A woeful tale bids Dido to unfold,
Whose memory, like pale death's stony mace,
Beats forth my senses from this troubled soul,
And makes Æneas sink at Dido's feet.

Diro. What! faints Æneas to remember Troy, In whose defence he fought so valiantly? Look up, and speak.

. Æn. Then speak, Æneas, with Achilles' tongue ! And Dido, and you Carthaginian peers, Hear me! but yet with Myrmidons' harsh ears, Daily inur’d to broils and massacres, Lest you be mov'd too much with my sad tale. The Grecian soldiers, tir'd with ten years' war, Began to cry, “Let us unto our ships, Troy is invincible, why stay we here?" With whose outcries Atrides being appallid, Summond the captains to his princely tent; Who, looking on the scars we Trojans gave, Seeing the number of their men decreas'd, And the remainder weak, and out of heart, Gave up their voices to dislodge the camp, And so in troops all march'd to Tenedos; Where, when they came, Ulysses on the sand Assay'd with honey words to turn them back: And as he spoke, to further his intent, The winds did drive huge billows to the shor

And heaven was darken’d with tempestuous clouds :
Then he alleg'd the gods would have them stay,
And prophecied Troy should be overcome:
And therewithal he call’d false Sinon forth,
A man compact of craft and perjury,
Whose 'ticing tongue was made of Hermes' pipe,
To force a hundred watchful eyes to sleep :
And him, Epeus having made the horse,
With sacrificing wreaths upon his head,
Ulysses sent to our unhappy town,
Who, grov'ling in the mire of Zanthus' banks,
His hands bound at his back, and both his eyes
Turnd up to heaven, as one resolv'd to die,
Our Phrygian shepherds hald within the gates,
And brought unto the court of Priamus;
To whom he us’d actions so pitiful,
Looks so remorseful, vows so forcible,
As therewithal the old man, overcome,
Kiss'd him, embrac'd him, and unloos'd his bands,
And then,-0 Dido, pardon me.

Dido. Nay, leave not here ; resolve me of the rest.

Æn. Oh! the enchanting words of that base slave, Made him to think Epeus' pine-tree horse A sacrifice t' appease Minerva's wrath ; The rather, for that one Laocoon, Breaking a spear upon his hollow breast, Was with two winged serpents stung to death. Whereat, aghast, we were commanded straight, With reverence, to draw it into Troy ; In which unhappy work was I employ'd :

These hands did help to hale it to the gates,
Through which it could not enter, 'twas so huge.
O, had it never enter'd, Troy had stood.
But Priamus, impatient of delay,
Enforc'd a wide breach in that rampir'd wall,
Which thousand battering rams could never pierce,
And so came in this fatal instrument :
At whose accursed feet, as overjoy'd,
We banqueted, tiil, overcome with wine,
Some surfeited, and others soundly slept.
Which Sinon viewing, caus'd the Greekish spies
To haste to Tenedos, and tell the camp:
Then he unlock'd the horse, and suddenly
From out his entrails, Neoptolemus,
Setting his spear upon the ground, leapt forth,
And after him a thousand Grecians more,
In whose stern faces shin'd the quenchless fire,
That after burnt the pride of Asia.
By this the camp was come unto the walls,
And through the breach did march into the streets,
Where, meeting with the rest, " kill! kill!" they cry'd.
Frighted with this confused noise, I rose,
And looking from a turret, might behold
Young infants swimming in their parents' blood!
Headless carcases piled up in heaps !
Virgins half dead, dragg'a by their golden hair,
And with main force flung on a ring of pikes !
Old men with swords thrust through their aged sides,
Kneeling for mercy to a Greekish lad,
Who, with steel pole-axes dash'd out their brains.

Then buckled I mine armour, drew my sword,
And thinking to go down, came Hector's ghost,
With ashy visage, blueish sulphur eyes,
His arms torn from his shoulders, and his breast
Furrow'd with wounds, and, that which made me weep,
'Thongs at his heels,by which Achilles' horse
Drew him in triumph through the Greekish camp,
Burst from the earth, crying, “ Æneas, fly,
Troy is a-fire! the Grecians have the town!"

Dido. O, Hector! who weeps not to hear thy name?

Æn. Yet flung I forth, and, desp'rate of my life,
Ran in the thickest throngs, and, with this sword,
Sent many of their savage ghosts to hell.
At last came Pyrrhus, fell and full of ire,
His harness dropping blood, and on his spear
The mangled head of Priam's youngest son;
And, after him, his band of Myrmidons,
With balls of wild-fire in their murd’ring paws,
Which made the funeral-flame that burnt fair Troy ;
All which hemm'd me about, crying, This is he !
Dido. Ha! how could poor Æneas 'scape their

hands?
Æn. My mother, Venus, jealous of my health,
Convey'd me from their crooked nets and bands;
So I escap'd the furious Pyrrhus' wrath :
Who then ran to the palace of the king,
And, at Jove's altar, finding Priamus,
About whose wither'd neck hung Hecuba,
Folding his hand in her's, and jointly both
Beating their breasts, and falling on the ground,

He with his faulchion's point rais'd up at once,
And with Megara's eyes star'd in their face,
Threat'ning a thousand deaths at every glance;
To whom the aged king thus trembling spoke :-
Achilles' son, remember what I was,
Father of fifty sons, but they are slain ;
Lord of my fortune, but my fortune's turn'd!
King of this city, but my Troy is fired!
And now am neither father, lord, nor king !
Yet who so wretched but desires to live?
o, let me live, great Neoptolemus!"
Not mov'd at all, but smiling at his tears,
This butcher, whilst his hands were yet held up,
Treading upon his breast, struck off his hands.

Dido. O end, Eneas, I can hear no more.

Æn. At which the frantic queen leap'd on his face, And in his eyelids hanging by the nails, A little while prolong’d her husband's life. At last, the soldiers pull'd her by the heels, And swung her howling in the empty air, Which sent an echo to the wounded king : Whereat, he lifted up his bed-rid limbs, And would have grappled with Achilles' son, Forgetting both his want of strength and hands; Which he, disdaining, whisk'd his sword about, And with the wound thereof the king fell down ; Then from the navel to the throat at once He ripp'd old Priam, at whose latter gasp, Jove's marble statue 'gan to bend the brow, As loathing Pyrrhus for this wicked act.

« ZurückWeiter »