22 APRIL 1882, Page 14



Down from the crags of highest Pergamus, In broken lines of tillage, eastward sloped King Priam's orchard ; where through frequent rocks The wild fig forced a crannied way, to lend The trailing vines its strength, and pomegranates, Citrons, and all the wealth of Phrygia's soil, Basked, undisturbed, for never foeman's eye Had marked the sheltered prize, nor foeman's foot Dared the steep cliff. Only a postern gate, Screened by huge boulders, through the topmost wall Gave secret passage. Hither, when the dews Of falling night were thick, all careless tripped Ill-starred Lycaon, whom Laothoe bore To Priam, twin with ill-starred Polydore, And twin their doom. This one, with careless knife, Was shaping to his use a sapling shaft, His chariot's future rim, when on his ear Sudden, and sudden on his shoulder, smote The dreadful voice and hand of Peleus' son.

Unhappy boy ! where now thy childish dreams Of playmates, and the chariot-race, and crown,

And battle's easy triumphs ? Lemnian rocks

For Troy's rich champaign, for a mother's arms The carking chain, for freedom of the field The master's menaced lash, and squalid cell, These were the boons thy captor's ruth bestowed ;: Not yet all ruthless, for the war was young, And young the prisoner boy, nor outraged pride,.

Nor grief for dead Patroclus, and the hate Of Priam's seed, had chilled Achilles' heart To utter stone. So, for six weary years,

Lycaon pined in Lemnos; then kind fate— Kind fate, or cruel fate—from Imbros brought-

Eetion. He, for lost Laothoe's love, And memory of, his kinsmen, sire and sons, Slain in one day 'neath Placian Thebe's walls.

By fell Achilles, stinted not his gold To loose the captive's chain, and brought him safe.

To friendly Phrygia's shores, where life, and love,.

And home, and freedom were his own again.

Ah ! happy wretch, how swift the hours went by,.

From dawn to dark one passion of delight, From dark to dawn one paradise of peace !

Eleven swift days, eleven swift nights, no more ;.

For on the twelfth, an eager word was sent Through all the city to go forth, and aid The rout of vanquished Greece. Lycaon heard, And straight his boyish soul was fain to face The untried battle. So with Polydore, Till noon was blazing in the middle heaven, He scoured the plain; then grim Achilles' spear Drank the life-blood of Polydore; and grief, And fear, and heat, and weariness o'ercame His brother's spirit. Shield away and sword He flung, and headlong sought the caverned banks.

Of silver-eddying Xanthus, if the throng Might pass him by, till kindly evening's shades Should screen him from the slayer. - Bnt stern fate?

Was other purposed. Scarce the boy had stepped.

Ten paces from the stream, when lo ! the form That haunted all his thought ! Alike amazed, The one with fear, the one with gathering wrath,.

Captive and captor met. Achilles first : "Ye Gods! is this cursed seed of Priam doomed To vex my soul for ever, that yon boy, Sold into far-off Lemnos, meets me here, To mock my misspent mercy ? Fool, to dream That aught of mercy lives, Patroclus dead !"

To whom Lycaon : " Not of Hector's blood, Nor guilty of Patroclus, nor the war, Am I, unhappy ; but have broke thy bread, And hold my life from thee, a sacred gift, Which may not be revoked. Now, therefore, take- Large ransom, what thou wilt, but let me live !

For sweet is life, yea, to a slave who lives His life in utter bondage, chained with chains, As I in Lemnos, sweeter far than death, The dismal dreadfulness of gibbering ghosts, And Hades' horrid halls ! 0, let me live !"

Then answer made Achilles, stern and slow :- " Yea, is life sweet ? Think'st thou I know it not I, who shall die before my day, nor see Old Peleus, nor my Phthiaa home again ; But Hades shall possess me, when my wrath Is wreaked on Hector, and on Hector's kin.

Die, therefore, stripling ; better men than thou Must bide their doom." And with the word, he drave.

Hilt-deep his sword ; and Xanthus' reddened waves Rolled on, with dead Lycaon, to the sea. 0. OGLE..