The Parting of Achilles and Deidamia
Thus young Achilles, in Bithynia's court,
Had made a private, and a long resort;
Dress'd like a maid, the better to improve,
With this fair princess, undiscover'd love.
Where hours and days, he might secure receive
The mighty bliss that mutual love could give.
Where in full joys the youthful pair remain'd,
And nought awhile but laughing pleasures reign'd.
Till at the last, the gods were envious grown,
To see the bliss of man surpass their own.
All Greece was now with Helen's rape alarm'd,
And all its princes to revenge her arm'd.
When spiteful pow'rs foretold them, their descent
Would be in vain, unless Achilles went.
In vain they might the Phrygian coasts invade,
Scale Troy in vain, no onset could be made,
That should succeed, without that hero's aid.
And now Ulysses, by a crafty flight,
Had found him out in his disguise's spite.
Who though betray'd by his unhappy fate,
Had too much sense of honour to retreat;
Which when his charming Deidamia knew,
She to her late discover'd lover flew.
On his dear neck her snowy arms she hung,
And streaming tears awhile restrained her tongue.
But at the last, her dismal silence broke,
These mournful words the weeping princess spoke.
"Whither, ah! whither would Achilles flee?
From all he's dearest to, from love and me?
Are not my charms the same? the same their pow'r?
Have I lost mine? or has Bellona more?
Oh! let me not so poorly be forsook
But view me, view me with your usual look.
Would you, unkind, from these embraces break?
Is glory grown so strong, or I so weak?
Glory is not your only call, I fear;
You go to meet some other mistress there.
Go then, ungrateful; though from me you fly,
You'll never meet with one so fond as I;
But some camp mistress, lavish of her charms,
Devoted to a thousand rival arms.
Then will you think, when she is common grown,
On Deidamia, who was all your own.
Thus will I clasp thee to my panting breast,
And thus detain thee to my bosom press'd;
And while I fold thee thus, and thus dispense
These kisses, to restore thy wandering sense,
What dismal sound of war shall snatch thee hence
What though the gods have order'd you shall go,
Or Greece return inglorious from her foe?
Have not the self-same cruel gods decreed,
That if you went you should as surely bleed?
Then since your fate is destin'd to be such,
Ah! think, can any Troy be worth so much!
Let Greece whatever she please for vengeance give,
Secure at home shall my Achilles live !
Troy, built by heavenly hands, may stand or fall;
You never shall obey the fatal call;
Your Deidamia swears you shall not go,
Life would be dear to you if she were so.
If not your own, at least my safety prize,
For with Achilles Deidamia dies."
All this and more, the lovely mournful maid
Told the sad youth, who sigh'd at all she said;
Yet would he not his resolution break,
Where all his fame and honour lay at stake.
Now would he think on arms; but when he gave
A sidelong glance on her he was to leave,
Then his tumultuous thoughts began to jar,
And love and glory held a doubtful war;
Till with a deep drawn sigh, and mighty course
Of tears, which nothing else but love could force,
To the dear maid he turns his wat'ry eyes,
And to her sad discourse as sad replies:
"Thou late best blessing of my joyful heart,
Now grown my grief, since I must now depart,
Behold the pangs I bear; look up and see
How much I grieve to go, and comfort me.
Curse on that cunning traitor's smooth deceit,
Whose craft has made me, to my ruin, great;
Curse on that artifice by which I fell;
Curse on these hands for wielding swords so well
Though I should ne'er so fit for battle prove,
All my ambition's to be fit for love:
In his soft wars I would my life beguile,
With thee contend in the transporting toil,
Ravish'd to read my triumph in thy smile.
Boldly I'd strive, yet e'en when conquering yield
To thee the glory of the bloodless field;
With liquid fires melt the rich beauties down,
Rifle thy wealth, yet give thee all my own;
So should our wars be rapture and delight,-
But now I'm summon'd to another fight.
'Tis not my fault that I am forc'd away,
But when my honour calls, I must obey.
Durst I not death and every danger brave,
I were not worthy of the bliss I have;
More hazards than another would I meet,
Only to lay more laurels at your feet.
Oh ! do not fear that I should faithless prove,
For you, my only life, have all my love;
The thought of you shall help me to subdue,
I'll conquer faster, to return to you.
But if my honours should be laid in dust,
And I must fall, as heaven has said I must,
E'en in my death my only grief will be
That I for ever shall be snatch'd from thee;
That, that alone occasions all my fears,
Shakes my resolve, and melts me into tears.
My beating heart pants to thee as I speak,
And wishes, rather than depart, to break.
Feel how it trembles with a panic fright
Sure it will never fail me thus in fight.
I cannot longer hold this fond discourse,
For now the trumpets sound our sad divorce;
Sound ev'ry trumpet there, beat ev'ry drum,
Use all your charms to make Achilles come.
Farewell!-Alas ! I have not time to tell
How wondrous loath I part! -Once more, farewell!
Remember me as I'll remember you;
Like me be constant, and like me be true:
Gods! I shall ne'er be gone; adieu, adieu, adieu!'