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Elegy VII: To His Mistress, whom he had beaten. By Henry Cromwell.

Come, if ye're friends, and let these hands be bound,
Which could with impious rage a mistress wound:
What more did Ajax in his fury do,
When all the sacred grazing herd he slew?
Or he1 who spared not her who gave him breath?
So ill the son reveng'd his father's death!
Then I had broke the most religious ties,
Both to my parents and the deities:
I tore (0 heav'ns!) her finely braided hair,
How charming then look'd the disorder'd fair.
So Atalanta in her chaise is drawn,
Where the Arcadian beasts her empire own:
So Ariadne, left upon the shore,
Does all alone her lost estate deplore.
Who would not then have rail'd and talk'd aloud
(Which to the helpless sex might be allowed.)
She only did upbraid me with her eye,
Whose speaking tears did want of words supply.
0, that some merciful superior pow'r
Had struck me lame before that fatal hour,
And not have suffer'd me to pierce my heart
So deeply, in the best and tend'rest part;
To make a lady that subjection own,
Which is not to the meanest Roman known.
'Twas Diomede, who first a goddess struck,
I from his hand that curs'd example took;
But he was far less criminal than I,
I was a lover, he an enemy.
March like a conqueror in triumph now,
With laurel wreaths encompassing your brow,
And render to the mighty gods your vow:
So, as you pass, th' attending gazing crowd,
By their applause shall speak your courage loud:
Let your sad captive in the front appear,
With streaming cheeks, and with dishevell'd hair.
Such lips were form'd for kinder words than these,
Wounds made by lovers' furious ecstasies.
Though like a torrent I was hurried on,
A slave to passion which I could not shun,
I might have only pierc'd her tender ear
With threatening language, such as virgins fear.
Fear having chill'd the current of her blood,
She pale as Parian marble statue stood;
Tears, which suspense did for a while restrain,
Gush'd forth, and down her cheeks the deluge ran.
As when the sun does by a powerful beam
Dissolve the frost, it runs into a stream.
The lamentable objects struck me dead,
And tears of blood to quench those tears I shed;
Thrice at her feet the prostrate suppliant fell,
And thrice did she repulse the criminal.
What would I not your anger to abate,
Redeem your favour, or remove your hate?
To your revenge no means or method spare;
Revenge, alas! is easy to the fair.

1 Orestes

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Charles Simmons, The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Books XIII and XIV, 13.2
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Harper's, Cressa
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TURBO
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