Early Modern Mythological Texts: Troia Britanica XIII (51-111)

Thomas Heywood. Troia Britanica (1609)

CANTO XIII (51-111)

Stanzas 51-60 — 61-70 — 71-80 — 81-90 — 91-100 — 101-111 — Heywood’s endnotes to Canto XIII

Ed. Patricia DORVAL



The scale, the scorpion, and the centaur fell,

Stern capricorn, and he that water pours,

The fishes. All these were engravèd well,

There Phoebus stood, about him Days and Hours,

With the four seasons: first the Spring ’gan swell

With sweetest buds; Summer that seldom lours

   Stood next in rank, well clad in freshest green;

   Autumn next her, in raggèd robes was seen;



There stood old Winter in high furs attired,

On whom the flakes of snow like feathers hung;

He shivering looks, as if he warmth desired,

With chattering teeth, hands palsied, quaking tongue;

Below, the earth with dales and hills admired, 

Fields full of grain, and meads with grass new sprung;

   Here cities rarely built, there hamlets stand,

   Here fallow fields, besides them new-tilled land.



Between the middle earth, seas ebb and flow,

Whose billows in their carving seem to move;

Here the Leviathan huge waves doth throw

From out his nostrils to the skies above;

The dolphins of a thousand colours show;

Here whales their heads above the waters prove,

   And sailing ships contrived by cunning rare,

   On which strange fish with wonder seem to stare.



A thousand sundry objects made by art,

This huge orbicular shield in compass holds;

What heaven or earth, or seas to us impart,

His globe-like compass to the eye unfolds;

When Vulcan, taking the fair queen apart―

Who with much wonder his strange work beholds―,

   Presents it her, made perfect for her son,

   In whose rich arms, Troy seems already won.



At Vulcan’s cave she yokes her chariot steeds,

Which o’er the ocean’s ruggèd back make way,

And as she freely on the seas proceeds, 

About her coach the quick-eared dolphins play.

At her son’s tent, famed for his warlike deeds,

She lights, and to the couch on which he lay

   Tossed those rich arms, which when Achilles viewed,

   The half-dead spirit within his breast renewed.



He leaps from off his pallet to embrace

The beauteous queen, and soon entreats her aid

To arm his shoulders, and his head to grace

With that enchasèd helm god Vulcan made;

Who now completely furnished, longs for place,

Where thus beseen, he Hector may invade.

   He cannot sleep for gazing on his shield,

   In hope t’advance it in the morrow’s field.



Thetis departs when th’early cock gave sign,

With his loud notes, Aurora to dispose,

Who leaves the bedrid Tithon sunk in wine;

From whom the gold-haired goddess blushing rose

To harness Phoebus’ coach-steeds, who in fine,

About his face, his beams bright glistering throws

   To dry the Morning’s tears, who weepeth still

   To see th’unkind sun climb th' eastern hill.



He had not left the forlorn goddess long, 

But from Olympus’ top he may espy

Plain-crested Hector, his armed troops among,

Cheering them up, the proud Greeks to defy.

Next him marched noble Troilus, Memnon strong,

Antenor and Aeneas mounted high,

   Young Deiphobus and Polydamas,

   Paris, whose aim in archery doth surpass,


A battle




Sarpedon, King Epistrophus; beside,

Many more kings that sundry battles led.

Against these soon the curled invaders ride.

The grim Atrides first advanced his head;

Achilles next passed with vain-glorious pride

For his rich armour, Nestor next him sped,

   Menon, whose arms were set with many a stone,

   And he that Hector stood, bold Telamon;



The Ithacan, with Lacedaemon’s king,

The widowed Spartan, ground of all this broil.

These to the field their several battles bring,

With thousand followers, bent on death and spoil.

Their barbèd steeds the earth behind them fling;

Harness and quartered limbs block the smooth soil;

   Amongst the rest, Achilles loftiest stood,

   And his new armour double gilds in blood.



With Memnon, son to Tithon and the Morn,

Who came from Egypt in King Priam’s aid,

Aeacides encounters; change of scorn

Between them passed; bold Memnon nought dismayed,

With that strong hand that had the sceptre borne

Of Persia’s kingdom, and did once invade

   Susa as far as where Choaspes flows,

   Upon his helm thunders two persant blows.


Apollodorus, Book III. Hesiodus in Theogony 





They stound him in his saddle, make him kiss

His steed’s curled crest. Ere he can mount his head,

Achilles―who esteems no other bliss

But to behold his foes before him spread―,

Waked from his sudden trance, espies by this

A Grecian squadron ’bout King Memnon dead,

   And his bright sword still towering o’er his crest,

   Threatening in his third fall eternal rest.



The proud Greek sends a blush out of his face,

As red as that in which his proof was laved.

He now records his strength, his god-like race,

And his rich armour with such art engraved.

He knows it ill becomes his name or place

By any mortal puissance to be braved.

   He doubles strength on strength, and stroke on stroke,

   Even till he mists himself in his own smoke.



Aurora’s darling proves too weak a foe

For him, on whose tough shield no steel can bite.

His conquered sword and arms the field must strow,

Achilles is too strong an opposite.

His red-cheeked mother, overcharged with woe,

Laments her son untimely slain in fight,

   In grief of whom, a dusky robe she wears,

   And fills the whole world with her dew-drop tears.



Simonides, poeta



King Memnon slain by Achilles



The death of Memnon even to Hector flies.

That tragic news cost many a prince’s life:

Incensed, he seems all safety to despise,

And where he spurs, he makes red slaughter rife;

For every drop of blood, a bold Greek dies.

Him Troilus seconds in his purpled strife,

   And, if as for a wager, they contend

   Whose sword most pale souls can to Orcus send.



They break a ring of harness, making way

Into the battle’s centre, where they see

A noble knight maintain a gallant fray

’Gainst many Trojan knights in valour free.

Yet of them all, this champion gets the day,

The strongest cannot make him cringe his knee.

   Polydamas against him bravely sped,

   Yet still his gazed-at shield safeguards his head,



Against which, Paris many arrows spends,

But all in vain, they shiver ’gainst his targe,

And whom he best can reach, his force extends

As far as life, the prisoned soul t’enlarge.

Young Deiphobus to that place descends,

And with his spear in rest doth ’gainst him charge.

   But the Dardanian fails in his intent,

   And from the noble knight is bleeding sent.



Victorious Hector at such deeds amazed,

But more at the rich armour that he ware;

Manage and shape in heart he highly praised,

And in his honours longs to have a share.

Hupon, Larissa’s king, that long had gazed

Upon his valour, sees him fight so fair

   A pointed staff against his breast he proved,

   But from his steed the bold Greek was not moved.



Unhappy Hupon could not stay the force

Of his keen sword, but soon before him falls.

King Philos next against him spurred his horse, 

And “Turn thee, valiant Greek”, aloud he calls.

But he was likewise slain without remorse;

It seemed he was inured to such hot brawls.

   Hector no longer can his rage forbear,

   But ’gainst the unknown knight aims a stiff spear,


King Hupon slain


King Philos slain








Who when he Hector from afar espied,

As if he had but sported with the rest,

And that was he ’gainst whom he should be tried,

He thrilled a javelin at the Dardan’s breast.

T’was terror to behold these champions ride

And scorch the plumes that grew in either’s crest

   With fire that from their steel in sparkles flew,

   No sooner dead but still they forcèd new.



“There’s for Patroclus’ death,” the proud Greek says;

“There’s for my arms, which thou didst basely win,”

And, as he speaks, upon his shoulders lays;

At every dint his bruised arms pinched his skin.

Hector now knows his champion by his phrase

And by his stroke―he thinks his arms too thin;

   Such puissant blows, whose weight he scarce can like,

   None but Achilles’ hand hath power to strike.



A well-known knight, in unknown arms he sees,

Against whose force he gathers all his might;

His high-stretched arm contends to make him lease

All forepast fame, and hazard dreadful fight.

But now the multitude, like swarms of bees,

Between them flock, who far from all affright,

   Vex in their heated bloods to be so parted,

   So with their steeds ’mongst other ranks they started.



Three puissant kings beneath Prince Hector fell:

Archilochus, a soldier of high fame, 

Prothoenor, who in battles did excel,

And with th’Atrides to the field then came, 

King Archelaus too, a champion fell,

Who ’mongst the Greeks had won a glorious name;

   And whilst half tired, he from the throng withdrew,

   King Diomed the Sagittary slew.



Three kings slain by Hector





The Sagittary slain by Diomed



Thoas, took prisoner, to the town was sent,

Whom Paris with his arrows had surprised;

Antenor likewise to Ulysses’ tent

Was captive led, whom he before despised;

Epistrophus, his hostile fury bent

’Gainst Polyxenes, in rich arms disguised;

   They part, when Polyxenes full of pride

   Crossed Hector’s course, and by his valour died.









King Polyxenes slain



Once more the dauntless Trojans have the best.

The night comes on, both hosts themselves withdraw;

The city’s captains take them to their rest,

But th’Argive kings―that naught but ruin saw,

Impendent still, whilst Hector’s able breast

Bucklered large Troy from each tempestuous flaw―

   At Agamemnon’s tent a council call

   To find some train by which the prince may fall.



Achilles oft-times mated vows in heart

With his black Myrmidons to girt him round,

And never from a second field depart,

Till Hector’s length be measured on the ground.

Th’assembled kings, whose bleeding wounds yet smart,

Vow by all means his puissance to confound,

   For well they know whilst noble Hector stands,

   In vain ’gainst Troy they rear their armèd hands.



Night passeth on, and the grey morn appears.

The Greeks a six-months truce of Troy demand,

In which the camp blood-stained Scamander clears 

Of bodies slain by War’s infernal hand.

A herald to the camp King Thoas bears,

Receiving back Antenor, nobly manned.

   The truce expires, both parties now provide

   To have their arms tight, and their weapons tried.



Andromache this night dreamt a strange dream

That if her husband tried the field that day,

His slaughter should be made the general theme

Of Troy’s laments. She fain would have him stay;

She woos him, as he loves the populous realm,

Her life, his honours, safety, or decay,

   The aid of Troy, their universal good,

   To save all these in keeping still his blood.


Andromache’s dream




This Hector censures, spoke from womanish fear;

He arms himself in haste and calls to horse,

Takes in his hand a bright brass-headed spear,

Longing for some on whom to prove his force.

Andromache spends many a ruthful tear;

His thoughts were fixed, they bred no soft remorse.

   He arms for field, she to the king’s proceeds,

   And tells him thus: “If Hector fight, he bleeds.”



Her dream and fear she to the king relates,

And prays him to entreat her husband fair,

Or if soft speech his purpose naught abates,

To use his power. This said, she doth repair

Where Hecuba and Helen kept their states,

And where the rest of Priam’s daughters are,

   To whose requests she knows he’ll soonest yield,

   Still urging them to keep him from the field.



The Greeks embattled are, and from the town

The Trojans issue the midway to meet,

When from the lofty palace hastening down,

Andromache, prostrate at Hector’s feet,

Throws her fair self and, by King Priam’s crown,

His mother’s love, her own embracements sweet,

   His brothers, sisters, and his little son,

   Conjures his stay, till one day’s fight be done.








Astyanax, Hector’s son



Hector bids on: she mingles words with tears,

And once more casts herself to stop his way;

That he shall back, she begs, she woos, she swears,

And shun the battle for that ominous day;

Her horrid dream hath filled her heart with fears,

And still she hangs on him to have him stay.

   She weeps, entreats, clings, begs, and conjures still,

   In vain: he’s armed, and to the battle will.



King Priam, by Antenor’s mouth, desires

To unarm him straight, and to the court return,

For should his life fail, Troy’s fair sons and sires,

Matrons and damsels for his death should mourn.

The prince enraged, his eyeballs sparkle fires;

With inward rage his troubled entrails burn.

   He knows from whence these conjurations spring,

   And that his wife’s dream hath incensed the king.



Yet will he forward. When the agèd queen

This hearing, with the Spartan makes swift speed.

They ring his horse, entreat him cease his spleen,

And for one day to act no warlike deed.

The more they pray, the more they rouse his teen,

A purpose irremovably decreed:

   He’ll put in action though they kneel and pray,

   And compass in his steed to have him stay.



This, Priam understanding, he descends,

And in his face a graceful reverence brings;

He stays his courser by the reins, and ends

The difference thus: “O thou, the awe of kings,

Death to thy foes, supporture to thy friends,

From whose strong arm our general safety springs,

   Refrain this day, tempt not the gods’ decree,

   Who by thy wife this night forewarneth thee.”



The discontented prince at length is won,

Yet will he not unarm him for them all;

But to express the duty of a son,

With Priam and the rest he mounts the wall

To see both armies to the skirmish run,

Where some stand high, and some by slaughter fall:

   King Diomed and Troilus from afar

   Wafts to each other as a sign of war.



They meet like bullets by two soldiers changed,

Their way as swift, their charge as full of terror,

Their steeds keep even, they neither tripped nor ranged,

Both man and horse are free from any error,

No art of war was from these knights estranged;

In Troilus might be seen a soldier’s mirror,

   In Diomed the pattern of such skill,

   As they desire that would their foemen kill.



The fair-browed sky shrinks up her azure face,

Lest their sharp splintered staves should race her brow.

Both covet honour in this warlike race,

And in their hearts they either’s ruin vow.

But Menelaus happily came in place,

With him three hundred knights that well knew how

   To manage battle, these between them grew,

   And they to further ranks perforce withdrew.



Miseres, king of Phrygia, met by chance

The Spartan king, and shook him in his seat;

Against Duke Ajax, Paris charged a lance, 

And him, the Sal’mine did but ill entreat;

At the first blow he stounds him in a trance,

Then ’midst the Trojan ranks doth toil and sweat,

   Striving behind, on both sides, and before,

   Even till his arms with blood were vermeiled o’er.




Ajax Telamon



Prince Margareton, unto Hector dear,

Knowing the slaughter noble Ajax made,

Against his vantbrace bravely proves his spear,

And to their vanquished phalanx brings fresh aid;

Ajax is forced his fury to forbear,

The Trojans’ powers on all sides him invade,

   Till Agamemnon comes with fresh supply,

   At whose approach, th’astonished Trojans fly.



Yet noble Margareton keeps his stand,

Nor can the strongest arm of Greece remove him;

He feels the strength of Agamemnon’s hand;

Grim Ajax’ sword with a tower’s weight doth prove him,

Yet shrinks not, till the place was nobly manned

By Paris and Polydamas that love him.

   These, hearing Margareton much distressed,

   Rescue the prince, who bravely guards his crest.



It joys the king and ladies, that on high

Stand on the terras, to behold the field,

To see the prince so full of chivalry,

And with such power to use his sword and shield.

Achilles―in a place where thousands lie,

Besmeared in blood, as if he meant to build

   A wall of limbs and quarters―bravely fought,

   And ’bout himself a siege of bodies wrought,



Where issuing after much effuse of blood,

To calm himself, remotely from the throng,

Retired alike, young Margareton stood,

Striving for breath. He had not rested long,

But spies Achilles with a purple flood

Poured o’er his arms; a javelin light and strong,

   The valiant Trojan prince against him bent,

   Whom the proud Greek receives incontinent.



From broken spears, they come to two-edged steel;

O, how stout Hector yearned to be in place!

His very soul doth all the puissance feel

Of him that hath his brother’s life in chase;

No stroke that makes Prince Margareton reel,

But, as he thinks, it tingles on his face,

   And from the wall in armour he had leapt,

   Had not the king and queen perforce him kept.



By this, the youthful Priameian, tired

With odds of might, he wavers to and fro,

Doubtful which way to fall; the Greek admired 

To find so young a gallant plunge him so,

And therefore with his ancient rancour fired,

He doubles and redoubles blow and blow,

   Till he, whose dear life was to Hector sweet,

   Sinks from his horse beneath his ruthless feet,  









Prince Margareton slain



Who with his barbed steed tramples o’er his corse,

Whose iron hoof the prince’s armour raceth.

This Hector seeing, breaks from all their force;

He claps his beaver down, his helm fast laceth,

With nimble quickness vaults upon his horse,

And issuing, where he rides, the enemy cheereth.

   For Margareton’s death, he vows that day

   Achilles with a thousand more shall pay.



Two noble dukes he chargeth, and both slew,

Duke CoriphusBastidius big and tall,

And forth like lightning ’mongst their squadrons flew,

Where such as cannot fly before him fall.

Leocides an armour fresh and new―

He was amongst the Greeks chief admiral―

   Would prove ’gainst Hector, but in his swift race, 

   The Trojan’s spear brake on the Grecian’s face.



Duke Coriphus and Duke Bastidius slain




Leocides slain



A splinter struck the Greek into the brain,

And down he sinks. Achilles, full of ire,

Spying so many bold Pelasgians slain,

Pricks on with Polyceus. Both desire

To prove themselves with Hector on the plain.

The bold assailants need not far inquire

   For the stern prince: in that part of the host,

   They’re sure to find him, where the cry grows most.



Both menace him, ’gainst both he stands prepared.

Duke Polyceus to Achilles dear―

Whose sister he was promised, had war spared

His destined life―drew to the Trojans near.

At the first stroke his beavered face he bared,

But with the next his sparpled brains appear.

   Achilles mads at this, and swears on high

   For Polyceus’ death Hector shall die. 



 Polyceus slain




His threatened vengeance Hector did soon quail,

For through his thigh he quivers a sharp dart.

Achilles feels his bleeding sinews fail,

And with all speed doth to his tent depart,

Where having bound his wound up, wan and pale,

With fury and the rancour of his heart,

   Three hundred Myrmidons that all things dared

   He leads to field his person to safeguard,



Achilles wounded



Swearing them all their joint rage to bestow

On Hector, and on him stern vengeance pour,

And saving him, t’intend no Dardan foe,

That heaven with him may on his conquests lour.

They listen where the clamours loudest grow,

And there spy Hector, walled in like a tower

   With heaps of men, that ’bout him bleeding lay,

   For not a living Greek durst near him stay.



Now tired with slaughter, he was leaned upon

The pommel of his bright victorious blade,

And for his strength and breath was almost gone,

His armour he had slacked; it loosely played

About his shoulders, for he dreaded none.

Him now the bloody Myrmidons invade:

   In threefold rings about him they were guided

   To take the noble hero unprovided.



O, where is Paris with his archer’s bow?

Where’s youthful Deiphebus now at need?

Where’s the invinced Troilus to bestow

His puissant strokes before Prince Hector bleed?

Where is Aeneas to repulse the foe?

You Troy’s confedered kings, where do you speed?

   Bring rescue now, or in his mountain fall,

   Beneath destruction, he will crush you all.



All these are absent, naught save death and ruin

Compass the prince; a triple ring of blades

Engirds him round, who still their ranks renewing

Threaten to send him to th’infernal shades.

With bloody appetites his fall pursuing,

Achilles as they shrink on high persuades

   With promises, and some with threats: he swears

   To pay the base shame of their dastard fears.



A hundred Myrmidons before him lie,

Drowned in their own bloods, by his strong arm shed,

The rest renew the charge with fresh supply,

And thunder on his shoulders, arms and head.

Achilles, strongly armed and horsed, spurs by

To see the hunger of his bloodhounds fed.

   Was never mortal, without might of gods,

   That stood so long against such powerful odds?



They hew his armour piecemeal from his back,

Yet still the valiant prince maintains the fray;

Though but half-harnessed, yet he holds them tack,

And still the bloody slaves upon him lay;

Armour and breath at once the prince doth lack,

Stored with naught else save wounds―alack the day!

   Yet like a steadfast rock, the Worthy stood,

   From whom ran twenty several springs of blood.



This, when the fresh-breathed Greek beheld, and saw

So much effuse of blood about him run,

He charged his warlike Myrmidons withdraw,

And crying out aloud: “Now Troy is won!”

With shameful odds against all knighthood’s law,

’Gainst naked Hector, well-armed Thetis’ son

   Aims a stiff javelin, and against him rides,

   The ruthless staff through-pierced his royal sides.








The death of Hector



With him, King Priam and whole Asia’s glory,

Queen Hecuba, with all her daughters fair

Sink into Lethe. Even the gods are sorry 

To see the man they made without compare

So basely fall, to make Achilles’ story

Reproachful to all ears that would not spare

   So great a Worthy, but with odds strike under

   Him that achieved things beyond strength and wonder.



Hector thus fallen, the Trojans, whose whole power

Lay in the arm of Hector, fly the field.

And now th’encouraged Greeks Scamander scour

The head subdued, the body needs must yield―,

Behold the prince, that awed within this hour

Millions of Greeks, lies dead upon his shield.

   He gone, whose Atlas arm upheld their states,

   Amazèd Troy rams up her siegèd gates.



At sight of which, Achilles swelled with rage,

From Hector’s breast, the belt Ajax him gave

Snatcheth in haste, and his sad spleen t’assuage,

Fetters his legs, and like a conquered slave,

Void of all honour, ruth, or counsel sage,

At his horse heels he drags him like a slave,

   Having Troy’s walls first three times circled round,

   Hurdling the Dardan hero on the ground.



To think so brave a peer should basely bleed,

A prince t’insult upon a slaughtered foe,

And ’gainst a Worthy act so base a deed,

Makes my soft eye with springs of sorrow flow;

Nor can I further at this time proceed,

The Greek’s black practice doth offend me so.

   Here therefore I desist my tragic verse

   To mourn in silence o’er Prince Hector’s hearse.


[Heywood’s endnotes to canto XIII]

Aeacides, a name we sometimes give to Achilles, is a derivative of Aeacus, and is as much as to say the grand-child of Aeacus; sometime we call him Peleus’ issue, viz. the son of Peleus, the son of Aeacus.

   Patroclus, a noble Greek, son to Menoetius and Sthenele; he was brought up under Chiron the Centaur with Achilles, who ever after entirely loved him.

   Chiron likewise, whom we have before in some places mentioned, is thought to be son of Saturn:



   Ut Saturnus Equo geminum Chirona creavit.

   His mother was called Philyra:

   Ad mare descendit montis de parte suprema Chiron Philerides.

Ovid, Metamorphoses VI

Apollonius, Argonautica, Book I

   Saturn deflowering the fair Philyris, daughter to the old Oceanus, and fearing lest his wife Rhea (otherwise called Sibilla) should discover his wantonness, transhapes himself into a horse, and then begat, in the Islands Philerides, Chiron the Centaur, from the navel upwards having the perfect semblance of man, the rest downwards the shape of an horse.

Apollonius, Book II

   Others have thought him to be the son of Ixion and brother to the race of the Centaurs. He taught Aesculapius physic, Hercules astronomy, and Apollo to play on the lute or harp.


   Of Thetis, otherwise called Amphitrite, it is thus reported that she was the most beautiful of all the goddesses, and when Apollo, Neptune and Jupiter contended about her, which should enjoy her bed, being all frustrate, Jupiter, enraged, doomed her to be a mortal’s bride, because she had so peremptorily despised their godhoods. The goddess much aggrieved to be so abjectly bestowed, despised Peleus, who extremely doted on her beauty, and still when he would have compressed her, she metamorphized herself, sometimes to a flame of fire, sometimes to a lion, then a serpent, so dreadful that he was still deterred from his purpose, till after by the advice of Chiron the Centaur, neglecting all terror, he held her fast so long till having run through all her protean shapes; he wearied her in her transformation till she returned into her own shape of the most beautiful goddess, of whom he begat Achilles.

   Tithon for his beauty beloved of Aurora, the morning, is said to be the son of Laomedon and brother to Priam, though by diverse mothers; he gat Priam of Leucippe, and Tithon of Strymo, or else of Rhoeo, the daughter of Scamander. Aurora begged of the Fates for her husband Tithon immortality, which being immediately granted her, she had forgot, with his length of life, to beg withal that he should never wax old and decrepit, wherefore he is said to be ever bedrid till the gods, pitying his feebleness, turned him after into a grasshopper:











   Longa Tithonum minuit senectus.

Horatius, Book II, Carminum

   Susa, a chief city in Persia, where the great Sophies keep their courts; it is seated near the famous river Choaspes, and was builded by Tithon.

   Pelasgians are an ancient people of Greece dwelling in Peloponnesus in the edge of Macedonia, of whom the general Grecians sometimes have usurped that name.





Back to Canto XIII (1-50)

Notes to Canto XIII

On to Canto XIV (1-50)

How to cite

Patricia Dorval, ed., 2016.  Troia Britanica Canto XIII (1609).  In A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Classical Mythology: A Textual Companion, ed. Yves Peyré (2009-).


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