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As I wish you, I had been wish'd by others;
'The fairest maids by me would have been mothers :
Of all my favours, I bestow'd not any,
You only may enjoy the loves of many.
Nor by the daughters of great dukes and kings,
Have I alone been sought, whose marriage rings
I have turn'd back ; but by a strain more high,
By nymphs and fairies, such as never die.
No sooner were you promis'd as my due,
But I all hated, to remember you ;
Waking, I saw your image ; if I dreamt,
Your beauteous figure still appear'd to tempt,
And urge this voyage ; still your face excelling,
dreams were all of Helen.
Imagine how your face should now incite me,
Being seen, that unseen did so much delight me.
If I was scorch'd so far off from the fire,
How am I burnt to cinders thus much nigher !
Nor could I longer owe myself this treasure,
But through the ocean I must search my pleasure.
The Phrygian hatchets to the roots are put
Of the Idean pines ; asunder cut,
The woodland mountain yielded me large fees,
Being despoil'd of all their tallest trees.
From whence we have squar'd out unnumber'd beams,
That must be wash'd within the marine streams.
The grounded oaks are bow'd, tho' stiff as steel,
And to the tough ribs in the bending keel
Woven by shipwright's craft ; then the main-mast,
Across whose middle is the sail yard plac'd,
Tackles and sails ; and next you may discern
Our painted gods upon the hooked stern :
The god that bears me on my happy way,
And is my guide, is Cupid. Now the day
In which the last stroke of the hammer's heard
Within our navy, in the east appear’d:
And I must now launch forth (so the fates please)
To seek adventures in the Ægean seas.
My father and my mother move delay,
And by intreaties would inforce my stay :
They hang about my neck, and with their tears
Woo me, defer my journey ; but their fears
Can have no power to keep me from thy sight :
And now Cassandra, full of sad affright,
With loose dishevel'd trammels, madly skips,
Just in the way betwixt me and my ships :
() whither wilt thou headlong run ? she cries ;
Thou bearest fire with thee, whose smoke up-fies
Unto the heavens (o Jove !) thou little fearest
What quenchless flames thou thro' the water bearest.
Cassandra was too true a prophetess ;
Her quenchless flame5 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 Achaja'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 tura,
Whilst my flain'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 ;
(5? We should read-The quenchless Aames, &c.
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 iny 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,
28 VOL. IX.
And Juno's love, and potent gifts disgrace ;
To fold you in my aniorous arms I choos'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 choos'd the best (nor think it strange)
I still persist, and never mean to change.
Only that my employment be not vain,
(O! you more worth than any.empire's gain !)
żet 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 Phoebus, 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 woman shall admiring stand,
Saluting thee with welcome, more and less,
In pressing throngs, and numbers numberless.
More, that 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 me and my proud train.
Thus we attire our men ; but with niore 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 T'roy I dwell.
Thy husband Menelaus hither bring,
Compare our shapes, our years, and every thing ;
I make you judgess, 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 wrong’d 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 deriv'd,
You, notwithstanding, are no right depriv’d :