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When Nestor of his pleasant tales had made this freendly end,
They called for a boll of wyne, and from the table went,
And all the resdew of the nyght in sleeping soundly spent.
But Neptune like a father tooke the matter sore to hart
That Cygnet to a Swan he was constreyned to convert.
And hating feerce Achilles, he did wreake his cruell teene
Uppon him more uncourteously than had beseeming beene.
For when the warres well neere full twyce fyve yeeres had lasted, hee
Unshorne Apollo thus bespake: O nevew, unto mee
Most deere of all my brothers impes, who helpedst mee to lay
Foundation of the walles of Troy for which we had no pay,
And canst thou syghes forbeare to see the Asian Empyre fall?
And dooth it not lament thy hart when thou to mynd doost call
So many thousand people slayne in keeping Ilion wall?
Or (too th'entent particlerly I doo not speake of all)
Remembrest thou not Hectors Ghost whoo harryed was about
His towne of Troy? where nerethelesse Achilles that same stout
And farre in fyght more butcherly, whoo stryves with all his myght
To stroy the woorke of mee and thee, lives still in healthfull plyght?
If ever hee doo come within my daunger he shall feele
What force is in my tryple mace. But sith with swoord of steele
I may not meete him as my fo, I pray thee unbeeware
Go kill him with a sodeine shaft and rid mee of my care.
Apollo did consent: as well his uncle for to please,
As also for a pryvate grudge himself had for to ease.
And in a clowd he downe among the host of Troy did slyde,
Where Paris dribbling out his shaftes among the Greekes hee spyde:
And telling him what God he was, sayd: Wherfore doost thou waast
Thyne arrowes on the simple sort? If any care thou haste
Of those that are thy freendes, go turne ageinst Achilles head,
And like a man revendge on him thy brothers that are dead.
In saying this, he brought him where Achilles with his brond
Was beating downe the Trojane folk, and leveld so his hond
As that Achilles tumbled downe starke dead uppon the lond.
This was the onely thing wherof the old king Priam myght
Take comfort after Hectors death. That stout and valeant knyght
Achilles whoo had overthrowen so many men in fyght,
Was by that coward carpet knyght beereeved of his lyfe,
Whoo like a caytif stale away the Spartane princes wyfe.
But if of weapon womanish he had foreknowen it had
His destnye beene to lose his lyfe, he would have beene more glad
That Queene Penthesileas bill had slaine him out of hand.
Now was the feare of Phrygian folk, the onely glory, and
Defence of Greekes, that peerelesse prince in armes, Achilles turnd
To asshes. That same God that had him armd, him also burnd.
Now is he dust: and of that great Achilles bydeth still
A thing of nought, that scarcely can a little coffin fill.
Howbee't his woorthy fame dooth lyve, and spreadeth over all
The world, a measure meete for such a persone to beefall.
This matcheth thee, Achilles, full. And this can never dye.
His target also (too th'entent that men myght playnly spye
What wyghts it was) did move debate, and for his armour burst
Out deadly foode. Not Diomed, nor Ajax Oylye durst
Make clayme or chalendge to the same, nor Atreus yoonger sonne,
Nor yit his elder, though in armes much honour they had wonne.
Alone the sonnes of Telamon and Laert did assay
Which of them two of that great pryse should beare the bell away.
But Agamemnon from himself the hurthen putts, and cleeres
His handes of envye, causing all the Capteines and the Peeres
Of Greece to meete amid the camp togither in a place,
To whom he put the heering and the judgement of the cace.
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