PENELOPE to ULYSSES.
Paraphras'd from OVID.
1 THESE Lines I send, impatient of your Stay,
2 To you, my Lord, who kill me with Delay;
3 Yet crave not any Answer back, beside
4 Yourself, the best of Answers to your Bride.
5 Sure Troy, so hateful to the Grecian Dames,
6 Is ruin'd now, with dire, consuming Flames;
7 Tho' scarcely Troy, nor all her King could boast,
8 Was worth the Trouble, which her Ruin cost.
9 O! had lewd PARIS sunk beneath the Tide,
10 When, o'er the Seas, he sought the Spartan Bride;
11 I had not then accus'd the ling'ring Day,
12 Nor weav'd, to charm the tedious Night away;[Page 238]
13 Nor in the Bed, deserted and forlorn,
14 Lain weeping, cold and comfortless, till Morn.
15 WHENE'ER of Dangers in your Camp I heard,
16 Those Dangers threaten'd you, I always fear'd:
17 For Love, like mine, no cold Indiff'rence bears;
18 It feeds on tim'rous Thoughts, and anxious Cares.
19 I fansy'd, furious Trojans round thee came;
20 And trembling, ever dreaded HECTOR's Name:
21 If any said, ANTILOCHUS was slain,
22 ANTILOCHUS was he who caus'd my Pain:
23 Or, if in borrow'd Arms PATROCLUS bled,
24 I wept, because his Craft no better sped:
25 When Rhodian Blood had bath'd the Lycian Spear,
26 The Rhodian*
* Tlepolemus.Youth again renew'd my Care:
27 In fine, whatever Grecian Chief was kill'd,
28 My fearful Heart, like frigid Ice, was chill'd;[Page 239]
29 Lest flatt'ring Fame my doubtful Ears should cheat,
30 And, for my Lord's, proclaim another's Fate:
31 But Heav'n, propitious to my chaste Desire,
32 Preserv'd you safe, and Troy consum'd with Fire.
33 BUT now the other Grecian Chiefs return,
34 And on their smoking Altars Off'rings burn;
35 Their useless Arms they consecrate to Peace,
36 And Trojan Spoils the Grecian Temples grace:
37 Each youthful Bride some pleasing Gift affords,
38 To welcome home their safe-returning Lords;
39 Their safe-returning Lords, in Songs of Joy,
40 Resound the vanquish'd Fates of ruin'd Troy:
41 The wond'ring Sages crowd around to hear,
42 The trembling Girls admire the Tales of War:
43 The Wives stand list'ning, while their Husbands tell,
44 How Greece had conquer'd, and how Ilion fell:[Page 240]
45 One stains a Table with the purple Draught,
46 And shews the furious Battles, which you fought;
47 Paints, with the Wine, which from the Glass he pours,
48 Camps, Rivers, Hills, and all the Trojan Tow'rs:
49 And, This, says he, is the Sigean Plain;
50 And here the silver Simois rolls his Train;
51 There stood old PRIAM's stately Palace, here
52 ACHILLES pitch'd his Tent, ULYSSES there:
53 Here mangled HECTOR, dreadful in his Fall,
54 Affrights the Steeds, that drag him round the Wall.
55 Your Son, who sent by me to NESTOR's Court,
56 To seek his Father, brought me this Report
57 From NESTOR's Mouth, and how the Thracian Lord,
58 In Sleep, became a Victim to your Sword;
59 How DOLON fell into your crafty Snare —
60 But, O! ULYSSES, you too boldly dare;
61 Too fearless, thro' the Camp of Foes you rove,
62 Mindful of Wiles, forgetful of your Love;[Page 241]
63 Slaying so many in the gloomy Night,
64 One Friend alone, to aid you in the Fight.
65 It was not thus you rashly us'd to go
66 Among the midnight Terrors of the Foe;
67 Fondly of me you formerly have thought,
68 With Prudence acted, and with Caution fought.
69 Heav'n knows, with Fear my trembling Bosom beat,
70 To hear my Son your daring Deeds relate;
71 Till told how you victoriously return'd,
72 Safe, to your Camp, with Thracian Spoils adorn'd.
73 BUT what avails it me, your Arms have thrown
74 Troy's stately Walls, and lofty Turrets down?
75 As when they stood, if I am robb'd of thee,
76 Troy's fall'n to others, standing still to me;
77 To others, who, with captive Oxen, toil
78 To turn the Glebe, and till the Trojan Soil;[Page 242]
79 And while, with crooked Ploughs, they discompose
80 Th'ill-bury'd Ashes of their slaughter'd Foes;
81 While Phrygian Fields, grown fat with native Blood,
82 Bear fruitful Crops, where stately Ilion stood;
83 While verdant Harvests hide their ruin'd Wall,
84 I mourn my absent Lord, who wrought its Fall;
85 Nor can I know the Land, where you reside,
86 Nor who, nor what detains you from your Bride.
87 WHATEVER Sailers on our Coast appear,
88 (Hopeful to find some Tidings of my Dear)
89 I fly to them, and ask 'em o'er and o'er,
90 If e'er they saw you on some foreign Shore?
91 Then to their Hands a Letter I impart,
92 To give it you, the Partner of my Heart;
93 If Chance, or Destiny should ever prove
94 So kind to lead them to my absent Love.
95 WE sought for you at ancient NESTOR's Court;
96 But sought in vain, we heard no true Report:
97 We sent to ask the Spartans too; but they
98 Knew not the Climate, where you, ling'ring, stay.
99 O! had APOLLO sav'd his sacred Town —
100 Ye Gods! why did I ever wish it down?
101 If that were standing, and ULYSSES there,
102 I nothing, but the Chance of War, should fear:
103 I should not then be singly curst to cry;
104 Others would fear the War, no less than I.
105 But now a thousand Whimsies feed my Care,
106 Nor know I what to hope, or what to fear;
107 Yet fearing all, that Fancy can suggest,
108 Unnumber'd Troubles rack my anxious Breast:
109 Upon the Land whatever Dangers reign,
110 I fear those Dangers make you there remain;[Page 244]
111 Upon the Seas whatever Storms increase,
112 I fear those Storms detain you on the Seas.
113 While thus my foolish Thoughts uncertain rove,
114 Perhaps you revel with a foreign Love;
115 Perhaps you ridicule your Bride at home,
116 Tell how she spins, or drudges in the Loom:
117 Suspicious Thoughts! that vex my jealous Mind,
118 Begone, and vanish into empty Wind!
119 If cruel Fate did not obstruct the Way,
120 My Lord would never make so long Delay.
121 Your long Delay my Father often blames,
122 And often chides me for my constant Flames:
123 My constant Flames shall ever true remain;
124 Let Fathers chide, and Suiters court in vain.
125 At length my Sire, who finds he can't remove
126 My Faith from you, nor shake my settled Love,
127 Remits his Anger, soften'd with my Pray'rs;
128 Yet still a Crowd of Suiters teaze my Ears;[Page 245]
129 From various Realms they come to seek your Crown,
130 And feast, and reign securely in your Throne:
131 'Twould tire me ev'n to count their Number o'er,
132 MEDON, PISANDER, and a hundred more!
133 All bent on Love, and Robbers of the State,
134 And All, by your pernicious Absence, great!
135 To crown your Shame, the Beggar IRUS preys
136 Upon your Sheep, and all the fattest slays:
137 And ev'n your Shepherd, faithless to his Lord,
138 Slaughters your Lambs, to grace the Suiter's Board:
139 Nor have we Strength, their Rapine to oppose;
140 For how can Three resist so many Foes?
141 Your feeble Wife, your Father worn with Age,
142 Your tender Son, too weak to check their Rage;
143 For whom they lately crafty Ambush laid,
144 And menac'd Death on his devoted Head;
145 When, mocking all their Stratagems, he crost
146 The Seas, to seek you on the Pylian Coast.[Page 246]
147 O! may the Gods extend his vital Date,
148 And guard his Life, till ours submit to Fate:
149 So may he close our Eyes with decent Care;
150 Such is your Servant's, such his Nurse's Pray'r.
151 SINCE then your aged Father, feeble grown,
152 Amidst your Foes, cannot defend your Crown;
153 Your Wife, too weak to chase the Foes away,
154 Your Son, too young to bear the Regal Sway;
155 Haste, haste, ULYSSES, to your Royal Seat;
156 For you alone can cure our troubled State:
157 Think of your Son, who wants you to inspire
158 His Soul with all the Virtues of his Sire:
159 Think, on the Brink of Fate your Father lies:
160 Return, my Lord, return and close his Eyes:
161 Think of your faithful Wife, whose youthful Face,
162 At your Departure, blush'd with blooming Grace:[Page 247]
163 But now I blush with blooming Grace no more;
164 Tears, for your Absence, cloud my Beauty o'er.
165 O! may you soon return, before I prove
166 An ancient Dame, unworthy of your Love.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): PENELOPE to ULYSSES. Paraphras'd from OVID.
Author: Stephen Duck
Genres: heroic couplet; paraphrase
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