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ARGU M E N T.
The Duel of Menelaus and Paris.
The Armies being ready to engage, a single combat is
agreed upon between Menelaus and Paris (by the intervention of Hector) for the determination of the war. Iris is sent to call Helena to behold the fight. She leads her to the walls of Troy, where Priam fat with his counsellors, observing the Grecian leaders on the plain below, to whom Helen gives an account of the chief of them. The kings on either part take the solemn oath for the conditions of the combat. The duel ensues ; wherein Paris being overcome, he is snatched away in a cloud by Venus, and transported to his apartment. She then calls Helen from the walls, and brings the lovers together. Agamemnon, on the part of the Grecians, demands the restoration of Helen, and the performance of the articles.
The three and twentieth day still continues throughout this book. The scene is sometimes in the Fields Before Troy, and sometimes in Troy itself.
VHUS by their leader's care each martial band
Moves into ranks, and stretches o'er the land. With fhouts the Trojans rushing from afar, Proclaim their motions, and provok'd the war; So when inclement winter vex the plain With piercing frosts, or thick-descending rain, To warmer seas, the Cranes embody'd Hy, With noise, and order, through the mid-way sky; To pigmy nations wounds and death they bring, And all the war descends upon the wing. But silent, breathing rage, resolv'd and skill'd By mutual aids to fix a doubtful field, Swift march the Greeks: the rapid dust around Darkening arises from the labour'd ground. Thus from his faggy wings when Notus fheds 15 A night of vapours round the mountain-heads, Swift gliding mifts the dusky fields invade, To thieves more grateful than the midnight shade; While scarce the Twains their feeding flocks survey, Lost and confusod amidst the thickend day : So, wrapt in gathering dust, the Grecian train, A moving cloud, swept on, and hid the plain.
Now front to front the hostile armies stand, Eager of fight, and only wait command ; When, to the van, before the sons of fame
25 Whom Troy sent forth, the beauteous Paris came, In formi a God! the panther's speckled hide Flow'd o'er his armour with an easy pride, His bended bow across his shoulders Aung, His sword beside him negligently hung, Two pointed spears he shook with gallant grace, And dar'd the bravest of the Grecian race.
As thus, with glorious air and proud disdain, He boldly stalk'd, the foremost on the plain, Him Menelaus, lov’d of Mars, espies, With heart elated, and with joyful eyes : So joys a lion, if the branching deer, Or mountain goat, his bulky prize, appear; Eager he seizes and devours the flain, Prest by bold youths and baying dogs in vain. Thus fond of vengeance, with a furious bound, In clanging arms he leaps upon the ground From his high chariot : him, approaching pear, The beauteous champion views with marks of fear; Smit with a conscious sense, retires behind, 45 And shuns the fate he well desery'd to find. As when some shepherd, from the rustling trees Shot forth to view, a scaly serpent sees; Trembling and pale, he starts with wild affright, And all confus'd precipitates his flight: So from the king the shining warriour flies, And plung'd amid the thickest Trojans lies,
As God-like Hector sees the prince retreat, He thus upbraids him with a generous heat : Unhappy Paris ! but to women brave !
55 So fairly form’d, and only to deceive! Oh, hadst thou died when first thou saw'st the light, Or died at least before thy nuptial rite! A better fate than vainly thus to boast, And fly, the scandal of the Trojan hoft. Gods! how the scornful Greeks exult to see Their fears of danger undeceiv'd in thee! Thy figure promis'd with a martial air, But ill thy soul supplies a form fo fair. In former days, in all thy gallant pride When thy tall ships triumphant ftemm’d the tide, When Greece beheld thy painted canvass flow, And crowds stood wondering at the passing low; Say, was it thus, with such a baffled mien, You met th' approaches of the Spartan queen, 70 Thus from her realm convey'd the beauteous prize, And * both her warlike lords outshin’d in Helen's eyes ? This deed, thy foes delight, thy own disgrace, Thy father's grief, and ruin of thy race ; This deed recalls thee to the proffer'd fight; 75 Or halt thou injur'd whom thou dar'st not right? Soon to thy cost the field would make thee know Thou keep'st the consort of a braver foe. Thy graceful form instilling soft delire, Thy curling tresses, and thy silver lyre,
80 Beauty and youth; in vain to these you trust, When youth and beauty shall be laid in duft:
Troy * Theseus and Menelaus,