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Re-enter HECTOR.

RHESUS.
Lord Hector, Prince of Ilion, noble son
Of noble sires, all hail! Long years have run
Since last we greeted, and 'tis joy this day
To see thy fortunes firm and thine array
Camped at the foe's gate. Here am I to tame
That foe for thee, and wrap his ships in flame.

HECTOR. P. 23, 11. 394-453, Speeches of Hector and Rhesus.] -The scene reads to me like a rather crude and early form of the celebrated psychological controversies of Euripides. It is simple, but spirited and in character. The description of Thracian fighting again suggests personal knowledge, and so does the boasting. The Thracians apparently bound themselves with heroic boasts before battle much as Irish and Highland chieftains sometimes did, or as the Franks did with their gabs. (See, e.g., Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne, as described in Gaston Paris, Litt. du Moyen Age, I. p. 122 ff.) It was a disgrace if you did not fulfil your gab afterwards. Rhesus's defence is apparently true, though in a modern play one would have expected some explanation of the rather different story that his mother tells, l. 933 ff., p. 51. Perhaps he did not realise how she was holding him back. In any case ancient technique prefers to leave such details unsettled: cf., for instance, Helen's speech in the Trojan Women, in which the false is evidently mixed up with the true, and they are never separated afterwards.
Thou child of Music and the Thracian flood,
Strymonian Rhesus, truth is alway good
In Hector's eyes. I wear no double heart.
     Long, long ago thou shouldst have borne thy part
In Ilion's labours, not have left us here,
For all thy help, to sink beneath the spear.
Why didst thou-not for lack of need made plain!-
Not come, not send, not think of us again?
What grave ambassadors prayed not before
Thy throne, what herald knelt not at thy door?
What pride of gifts did Troy not send to thee?
And thou, a lord of Barbary even as we,
Thou, brother of our blood, like one at sup
Who quaffs his fill and flings away the cup,
Hast flung to the Greeks my city! Yet, long since,
'Twas I that found thee but a little prince
And made thee mighty, I and this right hand;
When round Pangaion and the Paiôn's land,
Front against front, I burst upon the brood
Of Thrace and broke their targes, and subdued
Their power to thine. The grace whereof, not small,
Thou hast spurned, and when thy kinsmen, drowning,
     call,
Comest too late. Thou! Others there have been
These long years, not by nature of our kin . .
Some under yon rough barrows thou canst see
Lie buried; they were true to Troy and me;
And others, yet here in the shielded line
Or mid the chariots, parching in the shine
Of noonday, starving in the winds that bite
Through Ilion's winter, still endure and fight
On at my side. 'Twas not their way, to lie
On a soft couch and, while the cups go by,
Pledge my good health, like thee, in Thracian wine.
     I speak as a free man. With thee and thine
Hector is wroth, and tells thee to thy face.

1 P. 23, 11. 394-453, Speeches of Hector and Rhesus.] -The scene reads to me like a rather crude and early form of the celebrated psychological controversies of Euripides. It is simple, but spirited and in character. The description of Thracian fighting again suggests personal knowledge, and so does the boasting. The Thracians apparently bound themselves with heroic boasts before battle much as Irish and Highland chieftains sometimes did, or as the Franks did with their gabs. (See, e.g., Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne, as described in Gaston Paris, Litt. du Moyen Age, I. p. 122 ff.) It was a disgrace if you did not fulfil your gab afterwards.

Rhesus's defence is apparently true, though in a modern play one would have expected some explanation of the rather different story that his mother tells, l. 933 ff., p. 51. Perhaps he did not realise how she was holding him back. In any case ancient technique prefers to leave such details unsettled: cf., for instance, Helen's speech in the Trojan Women, in which the false is evidently mixed up with the true, and they are never separated afterwards.

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