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And should you nothing in the world deny me;
To give me such a Hector to my brother,
Yet could not, the earth bears not such another.
By him alone all Asia is well mann'd;
He like an enemy 'gainst Greece shall stand ;
Oppos'd to your best fortunes, wherefore strive you :
You do not know his valour that must wive you,
Or what hid worth is in me; but at length
You will confess when you have prov'd my strength.
Thus either war shall still our steps pursue,
Or Greece shall fall in Troy's all-conquering view.
Nor would I fear for such a royal wife,
To set the universal world at strife.
To gain rich prizes men will venture far;
The hope of purchase makes us bold in war.
If all the world about you should contend,
Your name should be eterniz'd without end ;
Only be bold; and fearless may we sail
Into my country, with a prosperous gale!
If the gods grant me my expected day,
It to the full shall all these covenants pay.
HELEN TO PARIS.
No sooner came mine eye unto the sight
Of thy rude lines, but I must needs re-write.
Dar’st thou (O shameless) in such heinous wise,
The laws of hospitality despise?
And being a stranger from thy country's reach,
Solicit a chaste wife to wedlock's breach?
Was it for this our free Tænarian port
Receiv'd thee and thy train, in friendly sort ;
And when great Neptune nothing could appease,
Gave thee fair harbour from the stormy seas;
Was it for this our kingdom's arms spread wide
To entertain thee from the water-side ?
Yet thou of foreign soil remote from hence,
A stranger, coming we scarce know from whence,
Is perjur'd wrong the recompence of right?
Is all our friendship guerdon'd with despite;
I doubt me then, whether in our court doth tarry
A friendly guest, or a fierce adversary,
Nor blame me, for if justly you consider,
And these presumptions well compare together,
So simple my complaint will not appear,
But you yourself must needs excuse my fear.
Well, hold me simple, much it matters not,
Whilst I preserve my chaste name far from spot?
For when I seem touch'd with a bashful shame,
It shews how highly I regard my fame.
When I seem sad, my countenance is not feign'd;
And when I lour, my look is unconstrain'd.
But say my brow be cloudy, my name's clear,
And reverently you shall of Helen hear.
No man from me adulterate spoils can win ;
For to this hour I've sported without sin ;
Which makes me in my heart the more to wonder,
What hope you have in time to bring me under ;
Or from mine eye what comfort thou canst gather,
To pity thee, and not despise thee rather.
Because once Theseus hurry'd me from hence,
And did to me a kind of violence;
Follows it therefore, I am of such price,
That ravish'd once, I should be ravish'd twice?
Was it my fault; because I striv'd in vain,
And wanted strength his fury to restrain?
He flatter'd, and spake fair, I struggled still;
And what he got, was much against my will.
Of all his toil, he reap'd no wished fruit,
For with my wrangling I withstood his suit.
At length I was restor’d, untouch'd, and clear;
In all my rape, I suffer'd nought but fear;
A few untoward kisses he (Got wot)
Dry, without relish by much striving got,
And them with much ado, and to his cost,
Of further favours he could never boast;
I doubt your purpose aims at greater blisses,
And hardly would alone be pleas'd with kisses.
Thou hast some further aim, and seek'st to do,
What, Jove defend, I should consent unto.
He bore not thy bad mind, but did restore me
Unblemish'd to the place from whence he bore me.
'The youth was bashful, and thy boldness lack'a,
And, 'tis well known, repented his bold fact ;
Theseus repented, so should Paris do,
Succeed in love, and in repentance too.
Nor am I angry; who can angry be
With him that loves her ? If your heart agree
With your kind words, your suit I could applaud,
So were I sure your lines were void of fraud,
I cast not these strange doubts, or this dispense,
Like one that were bereft of confidence;
Not that I with myself am in disgrace,
Or do not know the beauty of my face ;
But because too much trust hath damag'd such
As have believ'd men in their loves too much.
And now the general tongue of women saith,
Men's words are full of treason, void of faith.
Let others sin, and hours of pleasure waste,
'Tis rare to find the sober matron chaste.
Why? Say it be that sin prevails with fair ones,
May not my name be rank'd among the rare ones?
Because my mother Læda was beguil'd,
Must I stray too, that am her eldest child?
I must confess my mother made a rape,
But Jove beguild her in a borrow'd shape.
When she (poor soul) nor dreamt of god nor man,
He trod her like a milk-white feather'd swan.
She was.deceiv'd by error ; if I yield
To your unjust request, nothing can shield
Me from reproach; I cannot plead concealing ;
'Twas in her, error; 'tis in me, plain dealing.
She happily err'd ; he that her honour spilt,
Had in himself full power to salve the guilt.
Her error happy'd me too (I confess)
If to be Jove's child be a happiness.
T'omit high Jove, of whom I stand in awe,
As the great grand-sire to our father-in-law;
To pass the kin I claim from Tantalus,
From Pelops, and from noble Tindarus ;
Læda by Jove, in shape of swan, beguil'd,
Herself so chang'd, and by him made with child,
Proves Jove my father. Then you idly strive,
Your name from gods and princes to derive.
What need you of old Priam make relation,
Laomedon, or your great Phrygian nation ;
Say all be true ; what then? He of whoni most
To be of your alliance you so boast,
Jove (five degrees at least) from you remov’d,
To be the first from me, is plainly prov'd.
And tho' (as I believ'd well) Troy may stand
Powerful at sea, and full of strength by land;
And no dominion to your state superior,
I hold our clime nothing to Troy inferior.
Say, you in riches pass us, or in number
Of people, whom you boast your streets to cumber ;
Yet yours a barbarous nation is, I tell you,
And in that kind do we of Greece excel you.
Your rich epistle doth such gifts present,
As might the goddesses themselves content,
And woo them to your pleasure: but if I
Shall pass the bounds of shame, and tread awry ;
If ever you should put me to my shifts,
Yourself should move me more than all your gifts.
Or if I ever shall transgress by stealth,
It shall be for your sake, not for your wealth.
But as your gifts I scorn not, so such seem
Most precious, where the giver we esteem,
More than your presents it shall Helen please,
That you for her have past the stormy seas ;
'That she hath caus'd your toil, that you respect her,
And more than all your Trojan dames affect her.
But you're a wag in troth; the notes and signs
You make at table, in the meats and wines,
I have observ’d, when I least seem'd to mind them,
For at the first my curious eye did find them.
Sometimes (you wanton) your fix'd eye advances
His brightness against mine, darting sweet glances,
Out-gazing me with such a steadfast look,
That my dazzl'd eyes their splendor have forsook ;
And then you sigh, and by and by you stretch
Your amorous arm outright, the bowl to reach
'That next me stands, making excuse to sip
Just in the self-same place that kiss'd my lip.
How oft have I observ'd your finger make
Tricks and conceited signs, which straight I take?
How often doth your brow your smooth thoughts cloke';
When, to my seeming, it hath almost spoke?
And still I fear'd my husband would have spy'd you ;
In troth you are to blame, and I must chide you.
You are too manifest a lover (tush)
At such known signs I could not chuse but blush ;
And to myself I oft was forc'd to say,
This man at nothing shames. Is this (I pray)
Qught, save the truth? Oft times upon the board
Where Helen was engraven, you the word
Amo have underwrit, in new spilt wine ;
(Good sooth) at first I could not scan the line,
Nor understand your meaning. Now (oh! spite)
Myself am now taught so to read and write.
Should I offend, as sin to me is strange, [change.
These blandishments have power chaste thoughts to
Or if I could be mov'd to step astray,
These would provoke me to lascivious play :
Besides, I must confess, you have a face
So admirable rare, so full of grace,
That it hath power to woo, and to make seisure
Of the most bright chaste beauties to your pleasure.
Yet had I rather stainless keep my fame,
Than to a stranger hazard my good name.
Make me your instance, and forbear the fair ;
Of that which most doth please you, make most spare.
The greatest virtues, of which wise men boast,
Is to abstain from that which pleaseth most.
How many gallant youths (think you) desire
That which you covet, scorch'd with the selfsame fire ?
Are all the world fools ? only Paris wise?
Or is there none, save you, have judging eyes ?
No, no, you view no more than others see,
But you are plainer and more bold with me.
You are more earnest to pursue your game;
I yield you not more knowledge, but less shame.
I would to God that you had sail'd from Troy,
When my virginity and bed t' enjoy,
A thousand gallant princely suitors came :
Had I beheld young Paris, I proclaim,
Of all those thousand I had made you chief,
And Spartan Menelaus, to his grief,
Should to my censure have subscrib’d and yielded.
But now (alas !) your hopes are weakly builded ;
You covet goods possess'd, pleasures foretasted;
Tardy you come, that should before have hasted ;
What you desire, another claims as due :
As I could wish t' have been espous’d to you,
So let me tell you, since it is my fate,
I hold me happy in my present state.
Then cease, fair prince, an idle suit to move,
Seek not to harm her whom you seem to love.
In my contented state let me be guided,