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Ulysses, having wonne the pryse, within a whyle was sent
To Thoants and Hysiphiles realme, the land defamde of old
For murthering all the men therin by women over bold.
At length attayning land and lucke according to his mynd,
To carry Hercles arrowes backe he set his sayles to wynd.
Which when he with the lord of them among the Greekes had brought,
And of the cruell warre at length the utmost feate had wrought,
At once both Troy and Priam fell. And Priams wretched wife
Lost (after all) her womans shape, and barked all her lyfe
In forreine countrye. In the place that bringeth to a streight
The long spred sea of Hellespont, did Ilion burne in height.
The kindled fyre with blazing flame continewed unalayd,
And Priam with his aged blood Joves Altar had berayd.
And Phebus preestesse casting up her handes to heaven on hye,
Was dragd and haled by the heare. The Grayes most spyghtfully
(As eche of them had prisoners tane in meede of victorye)
Did drawe the Trojane wyves away, who lingring whyle they mought
Among the burning temples of theyr Goddes, did hang about
Theyr sacred shrynes and images. Astyanax downe was cast
From that same turret from the which his moother in tyme past
Had shewed him his father stand oft fyghting to defend
Himself and that same famous realme of Troy that did descend
From many noble auncetors. And now the northerne wynd
With prosperous blasts, to get them thence did put the Greekes in mynd.
The shipmen went aboord, and hoyst up sayles, and made fro thence.
Adeew deere Troy (the women cryde), wee haled are from hence.
And therwithall they kist the ground, and left yit smoking still
Theyr native houses. Last of all tooke shippe ageinst her will
Queene Hecub: who (a piteous cace to see) was found amid
The tumbes in which her sonnes were layd. And there as Hecub did
Embrace theyr chists and kisse theyr bones, Ulysses voyd of care
Did pull her thence. Yit raught shee up, and in her boosom bare
Away a crum of Hectors dust, and left on Hectors grave
Her hory heares and teares, which for poore offrings shee him gave.
Ageinst the place where Ilion was, there is another land
Manured by the Biston men. In this same Realme did stand
King Polemnestors palace riche, to whom king Priam sent
His little infant Polydore to foster, to th'entent
He might bee out of daunger from the warres: wherin he ment
Ryght wysely, had he not with him great riches sent, a bayt
To stirre a wicked covetous mynd to treason and deceyt.
For when the state of Troy decayd, the wicked king of Thrace
Did cut his nurcechylds weazant, and (as though the sinfull cace
Toogither with the body could have quyght beene put away)
He threw him also in the sea. It happened by the way,
That Agamemnon was compeld with all his fleete to stay
Uppon the coast of Thrace, untill the sea were wexen calme,
And till the hideous stormes did cease, and furious wynds were falne.
Heere rysing gastly from the ground which farre about him brake,
Achilles with a threatning looke did like resemblance make
As when at Agamemnon he his wrongfull swoord did shake,
And sayd: Unmyndfull part yee hence of mee, O Greekes, and must
My merits thanklesse thus with mee be buryed in the dust?
Nay, doo not so. But to th'entent my death dew honour have,
Let Polyxene in sacrifyse bee slayne uppon my grave.
Thus much he sayd: and shortly his companions dooing as
By vision of his cruell ghost commaundment given them was,
Did fetch her from her mothers lappe, whom at that tyme, well neere,
In that most great adversitie alonly shee did cheere.
The haultye and unhappye mayd, and rather to bee thought
A man than woman, to the tumb with cruell hands was brought,
To make a cursed sacrifyse. Whoo mynding constantly
Her honour, when shee standing at the Altar prest to dye,
Perceyvd the savage ceremonies in making ready, and
The cruell Neoptolemus with naked swoord in hand
Stand staring with ungentle eyes uppon her gentle face,
She sayd: Now use thou when thou wilt my gentle blood. The cace
Requyres no more delay. Bestow thy weapon in my chest,
Or in my throte: (in saying so shee proferred bare her brest,
And eeke her throte). Assure your selves it never shalbee seene,
That any wyght shall (by my will) have slave of Polyxeene.
Howbee't with such a sacrifyse no God yee can delyght.
I would desyre no more but that my wretched moother myght
Bee ignorant of this my death. My moother hindreth mee,
And makes the pleasure of my death much lesser for to bee.
Howbeeit not the death of mee should justly greeve her hart:
But her owne lyfe. Now to th'entent I freely may depart
To Limbo, stand yee men aloof: and sith I aske but ryght
Forebeare to touch mee. So my blood unsteyned in his syght
Shall farre more acceptable been what ever wyght he bee
Whom you prepare to pacifye by sacrifysing mee.
Yit (if that these last woordes of myne may purchace any grace),
I, daughter of king Priam erst, and now in prisoners cace,
Beeseeche you all unraunsomed to render to my moother
My bodye: and for buriall of the same to take none other
Reward than teares: for whyle shee could shee did redeeme with gold.
This sayd: the teares that shee forbare the people could not hold.
And even the verry preest himself full sore ageinst his will
And weeping, thrust her through the brest which she hild stoutly still.
Shee sinking softly to the ground with faynting legges, did beare
Even to the verry latter gasp a countnance voyd of feare.
And when shee fell, shee had a care such parts of her to hyde,
As womanhod and chastitie forbiddeth to be spyde.
The Trojane women tooke her up, and moorning reckened
King Priams children, and what blood that house alone had shed.
They syghde for fayer Polyxeene: they syghed eeke for thee
Who late wart Priams wyfe, whoo late wart counted for to bee
The flowre of Asia in his flowre, and Queene of moothers all:
But now the bootye of the fo as evill lot did fall,
And such a bootye as the sly Ulysses did not passe
Uppon her, saving that erewhyle shee Hectors moother was.
So hardly for his moother could a mayster Hector fynd.
Embracing in her aged armes the bodye of the mynd
That was so stout, shee powrd theron with sobbing syghes unsoft
The teares that for her husband and her children had so oft
And for her countrye sheaded beene. Shee weeped in her wound
And kist her pretye mouth, and made her brist with shrekes to sound,
According to her woonted guyse, and in the jellyed blood
Beerayed all her grisild heare, and in a sorrowfull mood
Sayd theis and many other woordes with brest bescratcht and rent:

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    • Charles Simmons, The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Books XIII and XIV, 13.425
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