Acted at His Royal Highness THE DUKE's Theatre.
Written by JOHN BANKES.
Fortunam Priami cantabo & Nobile Bellum.
Quid dignum tanto feret hic Promissor hiatu?
Hor. de Art Poet.
Licensed Ianuary 29. 1678/9.
ROGER L'ESTRANGE. London, Printed by A. G. and I. P. and are to be Sold by Charles Blount, at the Black-Raven in the Strand, near the Savoy. 1679.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LADY KATHERINE ROOS.
Such always has been the Jurisdiction, and so Supreme and Excellent the Authority of the Fair, Noble, and Virtuous, that Poets seem to be created for no other Purpose, but as anointed, to be the Voice of their Oracles, and to attend, and repeat 'em with as much Reverence as Priests do at the Altars of the Divinities they worship; to teach Mankind how to honour them when Living; and when Dead, to inlarge, and transmit their Noble Actions to Posterity: And whilst the World lasts, this will be the most spatious and delightful Theme, and will give the loftiest, and divinest Grace to Poetry; this made Homer sing, he that was blind, had ev'n that Inspiration; and BEAUTY from the Beginning has never faild to have more Adorers than the Gods: Nay it has still had such Power, that it has bin the Author of as strange Miracles; It has oft times made the Miser a Prodigal; the Old, Young; and the Coward, Valiant: what has it not done when joyn'd with VIRTUE? And what are You not able to inspire, in whom both excel; that Your Poet cou'd never be said to run on too lavish in Your Encomium? For Your Fame wou'd put a Blush upon all (as too mean) that can be said of You; and not accuse me of Flattery, if I cou'd describe You with as much Art as that rare Painter, who pictur'd his Venus with all the Smiles, and Graces of Woman-kind put together. How justly then have I heard the World admire at the infinite Happiness of Your LORD---But (pardon me, Madam) this is a Stream wou'd glide me insensibly away, and if I do not check my self, I shall like inspir'd Prophets, say Wonders not to be believ'd, in such a Style as our best Poets have fail'd in. Therefore as one that is more a Plain Dealer than a Courtier, I will leave my self severely to be censur'd by all that know You, for not revealing Your Ladiships Character as I ought, rather then put angry Blushes on your Cheeks by an unexpected Assault of so many rude Phrases: for Virtue so delicate, and tender as Yours, is sooner touch'd, and offended at the hearing of its just Praises, than at the Calumny of the Envious, and Detracters; and I protest to Your Ladiship, I had rather owe my Bread to Charity, then be thought to earn it at so vile a Rate; only grant me leave to Sail a little into the Relation of the Justness, and Gratitude of Your Ladiships Fortune. 'Tis known that You are descended from the most Noble House of the NOELS, and joyn'd to that Incomparable, and Princely Family of the MANNORS; but let me say, by such a Miracle, that never Day appear'd more beneficial to the benighted Travellour, then you o're its clouded Mansion, nor did the Rain-Bow (the Token of the Almighty in the Heavens, after the general Deluge by the Flood) to Noah's poor remaining Progeny shew it self more welcome, and propitious, than Your Ladiship to the despairing and almost distracted Family of the RUTLANDS, which after an unfortunate Marriage, when it had long wander'd upon the Face of barren Waters, You were at last discov'rd as a blest, and fruitful Land to rest its weary Ark upon, and it may for ever hereafter call. You its Good Angel that in its Flight from Heav'n first pitch'd upon the lofty, and most graceful Seat of Belvoire, whose Antiquity (which I hope may ever last) will pay you more Respect, and Adoration as to its Preserver, than it has done to its Founder: For by Your means, and your Illustrious Offspring, England shall never want a Branch that shall spread it self from so Noble an Original as Your kind LORD, nor be the least of its Glories that it can boast thereof. How much is to be admir'd the Wisdom of the Divine Power which made so Excellent a Choice as Your Ladiship, of whom it shall be said, that Atlas has not supported the Heav'ns with more Fame then Your Ladiship the tottering Greatness of Belvoire: And the History of Heroick Women shall henceforth own you to be the Greatest, and Noblest Pattern of 'em all---Pardon me, Madam, I begin to fall into a Relaps. I wou'd not give the Vorld an Occasion to suspect that what I have said is but the Prelude of a Request I intend to beg of your Ladiship, which is, that you wou'd vouchsafe to accept of this poor Poem, and be pleas'd to let me set your Name in the Front of it, as Princes put their Arms over the Dores of Places they wou'd have Reverenc'd, and Esteem'd. I will not then fear the Wise Criticks, nor the conceited Fops that are as curious in passing their Censures on a young Poet, as your stanch'd Beauties are to one that is newly cry'd up in the Town; yet I doubt not but what You please to condescend to own, they will allow of. I am the rather embolden'd to petition this of Your Ladiship, because You are an Incourager of POETRY, and I have been inform'd that not long since in the Person of the famous Earl of Rutland it has met with the most considerable Patron that ever was; and all know that your gallant Father, the present Vicount Cambden, is the best, and greatest Protector of Vit, and Learning in this Age. How can I fail then, in my Address to Your Ladiship, of either an Acknowledgment beyond my Desert, or at least a Pardon for my Faults, which I humbly implore you wou'd not deny, and is the greatest Favour that can be hop'd by, MADAM,
Your Ladiships most Humble, Faithful, and Devoted Servant
Since the Sun's kindly Beams have left us now,
And in the other World make all things grow;
Like Swallows to warm Seasons, we draw near,
And hope to find a fruitful Summer here---
May still our Orb so bright, and gay appear,
And ev'ry Day adorn our Theatre---
Wev'e nothing more to welcome you to Night,
Than a plain, undrest Play, a homely Sight,
No Shew to take your Eyes, that are more kind,
And easier pleas'd than is the dainty mind.
Language with you's esteem'd upon the Stage,
Like some affected Gallants of this Age;
Not for their Sence, but for their Equipage.---
No, the rich Banquet is to come, a Treat
Cook'd by your Chat'lin and La'Froon of Wit.
This is a Christmas Tale has oft been told
Over a Fire by Nurse, and Grandam old,
Where they wou'd Paris the wild Youngster blame,
For stealing Helen, that inconstant Dame.
Yet we're in hopes you will be kind to hear
The Lives of those whose Successours you are:
For when Troy fell, its Remnant here did plant,
And built this Place, and call'd it Troy-novant: But as those Venturers were forc'd to slay
An Hoast of barb'rous Picts that stop'd their Way,
First we're to withstand you Natives of the Bays,
Who hate all new Invaders with new Plays,
And therefore right, or wrong, damn whom you please.
Then, that we may be stronger, we submit
To all you London Trojans of the Pit,
And all the merry Greeks, that seldom think,
But only dive into good Wine, and Drink;
Such may we often see, we'l soon defeat
These Race of Picts that plague the Land of Wit.
Priamus, King of Troy.
Mr. I. Williams.
Agamemnon, General of the Grecians.
Achilles, a great Champion of Greece.
Ulysses, a wise Councellor, and Captain.
Diomedes, a Valiant Confederate.
Patroclus, the belov'd Friend of Achilles.
Menelaus, Husband to Helena.
Ajax, a Stout Champion.
Andromache, the faithful Wife of Hector.
Polyxena, Priam's Daughter belov'd by Achilles,
Cassandra, her Sister that prophesi'd the Destruction of Troy.
ACTUS PRIMUS, SCENA PRIMA.
The Curtain being drawn up, discovers Agamemnon, Achilles, Menelaus, Ulysses, Patroclus, Diomedes, and Ajax, in Council.
Agamemnon. Wise, Noble, Valiant Graecian Princes, all
Deriv'd from Jove, Mars, Hercules, Apollo, The first of Hero's, second Race of Gods,
That during all this famous Ten Years Siege
Have Thousands of your Mortal Slaves out-liv'd,
And like your Fathers, as Immortal stood.
Death in the Fight still cuts the Vulgar off,
Who fall like Grass before the sharpest Scyth,
Whilst, you like Rocks, have felt, and turn'd its Edge;
That we may plainly see, all are not born
Mark'd out by Heav'n, as are your Mighty Selves;
All are not blest to be the brave Achilles, Nor wise Ulysses, valiant Diomed; Nor are there any so inspir'd with Wrong
As Menelaus: Therefore 'tis high time
Some swift Decree should from your Judgments pass,
To put a speedy End to this long War;
Or else, contented with the Fame we 've won,
Let's all agree, straight to break up the Siege,
And once more visit our lov'd Wives and Countries.
We 've done already all that Men could do;
If we stay longer, Fate will soon prevent us,
And sink our Hero's with the Weight of Years:
Old Time will laugh to see us like himself;
Age will perform what War cou'd not have done---
What says the Heav'n born Thetis mighty Son?
Achilles rises up and speaks.
Achilles. Well spoken has the Royal Agamemnon!
This Breast of mine, that was not made for words,
Shall utter too its plain and honest meaning---
How long shall we in vain attempt this City?
A Town, for ought we know, built by the Gods,
And by the Gods Immortal Aid defended;
Begirt with many huge and massy Walls,
Stronger than Stone hew'd from their growing Caverns,
More hard and beautiful than Marble fetch'd
From the deep Bosom of the shining Quarry.
Still as we follow'd any fierce Assault,
Still we were more and more repuls'd, and often
Slid from the tops of her bright Magick Tow'rs,
Leaving no more Impression with our Blood,
Than restless Waves that dash against the Rocks,
And pitiless drop into the Sea again:
Or, if by any chance, a Breach we made,
That Blood hath only serv'd our Enemies,
To heal, and to cement their Walls again.---
Of all that know Achilles, none can say,
That thought of danger makes him speak these words.
By Divine Thetis, sitting next to Jove, Who, when I was an Infant, held me by the heel,
Bath'd my young soft and tender Limbs all o're,
And plung'd me in the Lake of Acheron, And me Immortal made,---By her I swear,
There's none amongst you all dares think I fear---
Did not the Gods, at her Request, command
Old skilful Vulcan to beat out this Armour,
By Cyclops forg'd upon the Gods own Anvil,
And fram'd o'th' same impenetrable stuff,
That the bright Chariot of the Sun is made of,
And Jupiter's almighty Thunderbolts?
Thus guarded, I'm above the reach of Fate,
And were I sure this War wou'd last yet Ten
Years longer, I wou'd formost lead you on,
Secure, and free from the pale hand of Death:
Nay, wou'd my self depopulate this Town,
Were I but sure only to fight with Men;
But to encounter Mountains made of Stone,
That like a Guard defend the mighty City,
As if it were immur'd and fortifi'd
Against the Gods themselves. Such Walls by Mercury fram'd,
With subtil folding Arms, its Waste embracing
Sev'n times, each one defended by the other,
And of so intricate an Art, that none,
But he that has the Skill of Dedalus, With his Infernal Clew of Thread, can enter.---
Patroclus rises and speaks.
Patroclus. And what have we done all this for? Wherefore?
Only to vindicate a private Quarrel?
For one Man's Interest to sacrifice
The best and sweetest Strength of all our Days.
And what is Menelaus Wrong, though much,
To countervail so many thousand Lives
That it has cost? And in its fatal Cause
Invellop'd Asia in eternal Ruin:
Nay, made the World distracted with it self,
Made you, that were like Gods before, less happy
Than your base Slaves at home, who now enjoy
Their Masters Vineyards, press the wanton Grapes,
And drink the Fruits of what you toil'd for long,
Smile on your Wives, and tempt your Daughters Loves,
In private act those Wrongs you wou'd revenge
On Troy for the long ravish'd Helena. Whilst you, ingrateful for the Gifts of Heav'n,
Like Exiles live, with Beards and Hair o'regrown,
That to stay longer for your great Success,
And wait Troy's mighty and uncertain Ruin,
You wou'd bring pale and Ghost-like Bodies home,
(At your return, in stead of heav'nly Forms)
To fright your Children, and dismay your Wives.---
Think then of this, wise Princes, and think also,
Troy has a Prophecy secures its Fate,
That whilst the great Palladium she keeps safe,
The Gods will all defend it; and wise Pallas, The Owner of that strange and awful Image,
Has, by her sacred Proxy dropt from Heav'n,
Espous'd her dear beloved Troy to her.
Agamemnon. Now, Brother Menelaus, speak your Censure.
Menelaus. 'Tis not for me, wise Princes, to be seen
To contradict what y'ave been pleas'd to say:
To plead my own Cause were an arrogance,
And a presumption high in Menelaus; I who have been the sad Implorer of this War;
How bad, how unsuccessful it has prov'd,
Ye all have known, yet all are satisfi'd
Heav'n found out no Injustice in the Cause.
At the first Motion of my Wrongs, ye all were pleas'd
Friendly t'espouse my Quarrel as your own,
And took the Rape of Helena so near you,
As if you all had suffer'd, all had shar'd
In my unhappy Fate, and all had Wives,
And chast young Daughters torn from your Thresholds,
And by their lustful Victors dragg'd to Troy. If you repent it now, I wish the Gods,
To expiate the Shame of ravish'd Greece, And wash the Stain away, had done it only
With Menelaus, Blood---I'le say no more,
But will submit in all things to the Votes
Of this Great Council.
Ulysses rises, and speaks.
Ulysses. With low submission, great and valiant Hero's,
Let me presume to shew my weak Defence
Against the wise, inestimable Voice
Of this most noble, and illustrious Council,
With all respect to Agamemnon's place,
And due regard to the most brave Achilles, Whom we must justly own, always to be
The great and mighty Genius of the War.---
Let's search the rise of this vain-glorious Troy; We know from whence it came, from Dardanus, Jove's Son, and first it did receive it's Name
From him, and then it pleas'd the Gods she lost
That Title, and Ilium was from Ilus call'd,
Then Troy from Troas, Ilus Son, of no
Immortal Honour she can boast her self;
Twice has she lost her Name, and after this,
If you'l believe her cheating Prophesies,
It shall for ever bear the Name of Troy, Which is, that it shall last to her Destruction,
Which the just Gods 'till now have stay'd to do
By Agamemnon, and Divine Achilles.--- What though the Walls run seav'n times round the Town,
And with such awful strength, and beauty strike you,
Yet were they built by Men, and when at last
Their Men decay, and are too weak, or few
To hold, and to maintain 'em, they'l soon prove
Your Steps to take the Town the nearest way.---
Yes Valiant Hero's, do, and have it said,
That such wise, noble Princes, as you are,
Did undertake a War, for Virtue, Property,
For Credit, Fame, and not to be
Accounted ridiculous, and patient Asses;
That you, I say, shou'd after ten years fighting
Like valiant Men, disheartned now at last,
Talk of retreating home (just Gods forbid!)
And forfeit your renown with all the World.
Well might ye say your Wives, and Children will
Not know you; if they did, I'm sure they wou'd not
But hate you, hate you for the worst of Cowards,
And rather wou'd embrace your Slaves than you.---
I dare be plain, when all of you have prov'd
The things that I have done with a consult applause.
Who brought Achilles to your Aid? Was it
Not I? I who reclaim'd him from the Distaff,
When Thetis by fond superstition was
Forewarn'd, that if her Son went forth to Troy, He should be kill'd, him therefore she did cloath
In soft array, and his young Warlike Body
Bedeck'd with Womens Peticoats, and Bracelets,
Sending him so attir'd to Lycomedes Daughters,
Which I found out by my successful pains,
And hither, hither, to the joy of all
Brought this fam'd Hero to obey the Oracle,
That said, We ne're shou'd conquer Troy without him;
And who discover'd Palamedes Treason,
But my self only? Which I'le urge no more,
And hope you need not many words t'inspire you
With the bold sence of your delighted honours.---
Ajax and Diomedes are to speak.
Ajax. By the Divinity that guards this mighty presence,
I swear Ulysses has said well, so well,
That I who'd rather do than speak my mind,
Am proud to be the first of his opinion.
Ajax has vow'd ne're to return to Greece, Till Troy, and her great Champion Hector are
No more, or else with Age, or mortal Wounds
Lie Bury'd by the Walls---With such a zeal,
I did promote our quarrel at the first.
Had I been less than Ajax, I had gone
Proud of the meanest Service of the War,
Under the standard of so just a cause,
Where the immortal credit of all Greece Is so concern'd---Now talk you of retreating!
When y'ave few Enemies, or none to fear,
And all their great Confed'rates are cut off?
Have they not long since given over rallying,
And fighting in pitch'd Battels? very rarely
Issue beyond their Gates to make a Skirmish,
And when they do, are we not still the stronger?
Have we not Famin fights for us within,
And all the World to range, and at command
Without? and they at best but their own Pris'ners?
Have we not hunted with success, and drove
The tir'd Beasts for refuge to their Dens?
Where let 'em roar, and lash themselves, till they are weary:
For all the damage they can do us now,
Is to despair, and with their last revenge,
Reward us with their sudden ruine.---
Is not their dear Palladium now, and Hector All their poor hopes defence?---Palladium, Whose Priests are all grown hoarse, and weary,
With utt'ring vain, and fruitless Prophesies;
And Hector once the Man cry'd up of all
The World, What Captain is there here among you,
That wou'd refuse to fight him after Ajax? I grapled with this Monster, found him to his shame
A meer weak Man, and boldly in the sight
Of both the Armies, gave him such a blow,
As made him stagger, and forsake the Field.
Diomedes. The Gods inspire us, most Heroick Princes,
With better hopes of all our aged pains,
Then to desert the War, and think that Heav'n
Has e're design'd us less than our revenge,
For all our wrongs, and Iphygenia's Blood,
When in a Storm to save our beaten Vessels
From Shipwrack, nothing wou'd appease their wrath,