Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Helen on the Rampart (from Iliad III)
By George Chapman (1559?–1634)
 
                    THEY reach’d the Scaean towers,
Where Priam sat, to see the fight, with all his counsellors;
Panthous, Lampus, Clytius, and stout Hicetaon,
Thymoetes, wise Antenor, and profound Ucalegon;
All grave old men; and soldiers they had been, but for age        5
Now left the wars; yet counsellors they were exceeding sage.
And as in well-grown woods, on trees, cold spiny grasshoppers
Sit chirping, and send voices out, that scarce can pierce our ears
For softness, and their weak faint sounds; so, talking on the tower,
These seniors of the people sate; who when they saw the power        10
Of beauty, in the queen, ascend, even those cold-spirited peers,
Those wise and almost wither’d men, found this heat in their years,
That they were forced (through whispering) to say: ‘What man can blame
The Greeks and Trojans to endure, for so admired a dame,
So many miseries, and so long? In her sweet countenance shine        15
Looks like the Goddesses’. And yet (though never so divine)
Before we boast, unjustly still, of her enforced prize,
And justly suffer for her sake, with all our progenies,
Labour and ruin, let her go; the profit of our land
Must pass the beauty.’ Thus, though these could bear so fit a hand        20
On their affections, yet, when all their gravest powers were used,
They could not choose but welcome her, and rather they accused
The gods than beauty.
 
 
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