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of Priam, Helenus, held kingly sway
o'er many Argive cities, having wed
the Queen of Pyrrhus, great Achilles' son,
and gained his throne; and that Andromache
once more was wife unto a kindred lord.
Amazement held me; all my bosom burned
to see the hero's face and hear this tale
of strange vicissitude. So up I climbed,
leaving the haven, fleet, and friendly shore.
That self-same hour outside the city walls,
within a grove where flowed the mimic stream
of a new Simois, Andromache,
with offerings to the dead, and gifts of woe,
poured forth libation, and invoked the shade
of Hector, at a tomb which her fond grief
had consecrated to perpetual tears,
though void; a mound of fair green turf it stood,
and near it rose twin altars to his name.
She saw me drawing near; our Trojan helms
met her bewildered eyes, and, terror-struck
at the portentous sight, she swooning fell
and lay cold, rigid, lifeless, till at last,
scarce finding voice, her lips addressed me thus :
“Have I true vision? Bringest thou the word
Of truth, O goddess-born? Art still in flesh?
Or if sweet light be fled, my Hector, where?”
With flood of tears she spoke, and all the grove
reechoed to her cry. Scarce could I frame
brief answer to her passion, but replied
with broken voice and accents faltering:
“I live, 't is true. I lengthen out my days
through many a desperate strait. But O, believe
that what thine eyes behold is vision true.
Alas! what lot is thine, that wert unthroned
from such a husband's side? What after-fate
could give thee honor due? Andromache,
once Hector's wife, is Pyrrhus still thy lord?”
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