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.At another place, Lucrece sees Troy fallen and finds in it a face with sorrows to match her own:… she despairing Hecuba beheld,Staring on Priam's wounds with her old eyes,Which bleeding under Pyrrhus' proud foot lies.—lines 1447-49This incident is past the ending of Homer's Iliad and of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida.It represents the tendencies of the later mythmakers to pile horror on horror and to multiply the tragedy of Troy's final destruction.The Trojan King, Priam (see page I-79), had witnessed his city besieged for ten years and, one by one, nearly every one of his fifty sons killed.Now at last the Greeks were gone, but they had left behind a large wooden horse (see page I-188).Priam and the Trojans are persuaded to drag the horse into the city and the Greek warriors hidden within emerge at night, open the gates for the remainder of the army, and begin their slaughter.Priam and his aged wife, Hecuba (see page I-85), flee to an altar of Zeus where they might be safe.Polites, one of Priam's very few surviving sons, comes running madly toward the altar too.Behind him is Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus) (see page I-115), the son of Achilles.Pyrrhus has been brought to the field of Troy after his father has been killed by an arrow in the heel from the bow of Paris.He quickly proves himself as brave and as cruel as his father.Now it is his cruelty that is predominant.He kills Polites even at the altar and in the presence of his parents.Priam, driven mad at the sight, feebly casts a spear at Pyrrhus, who promptly kills him as well.… perjur'd Sinon.Lucrece sadly views the depicted miseries of falling Troy:Lo, here weeps Hecuba, here Priam dies,Here manly Hector faints, here Troilus sounds [swoons]—lines 1485-86Hector was the greatest of the Trojan warriors (see page I-188), but in the medieval versions of the story of Troy, it is his younger brother, Troilus, who rises to prominence, and it is Troilus who is the titular hero of Troilus and Cressida.Lucrece finally concentrates, however, on a Greek captive, taken by the Trojans after the Greeks had built their wooden horse.This captive, Sinon, who pretended to be a refugee from the Greeks, told a false story that the wooden horse was an offering to Athena and would forever protect Troy from conquest if brought within the city.He is therefore described as:… perjur'd Sinon, whose enchanting storyThe credulous old Priam after slew;—lines 1521-22The story which Priam believed brought about the death of the old king.It is to Sinon, the very symbol of treachery in aftertime, that Lucrece compares Tarquin.… Brutus drewFinally Collatine arrives home from the siege, anxious to know what emergency had caused his wife to write.With him are other men of senatorial rank.To them all, Lucrece tells the story, and while they stand there horrified, she draws her knife and kills herself.For a moment, all stand transfixed.Lucretius, her father, throws himself in sorrow on her body:And from the purple fountain Brutus drewThe murd'rous knife.—lines 1734-35This is the first mention of Lucius Junius Brutus, an aristocrat who had escaped the deadly attentions of King Tarquin by pretending to be a moron and therefore harmless.("Brutus" means "stupid," and this name was, supposedly, given to him because of his successful play acting.However, the truth may be the reverse.It may have been known that one of the destroyers of the Tarquinian kingdom was named Brutus and for lack of other hard details after the Gallic sack in 390 b.c., the meaning of the name was allowed to inspire the tale of his pretending to be a moron.)Brutus had good reason to play it safe in any way he could, for according to the legend, his father and older brother had been among those executed by Tarquin-something which did not cause him to love the king either.Now, seeing the shock, horror, and hatred sweeping the spectators, Brutus feels that he will be able to head a popular movement against the kingdom.He no longer needs his pretense of stupidity:Brutus, who pluck'd the knife from Lucrece' side,Seeing such emulation in their woe,Began to clothe his wit in state and pride,Burying in Lucrece' wound his folly's show.—lines 1807-10Brutus rouses the crowd and the poem ends with a final (and 265th) verse:They did conclude to bear dead Lucrece thence,To show her bleeding body thorough Rome,And so to publish Tarquin's foul offence;Which being done with speedy diligence,The Romans plausibly [with applause] did give consentTo Tarquin's everlasting banishment.—lines 1850-55Thus did the Roman kingdom come to an end.In its place was established the Roman Republic, which five centuries later was to rule all the Mediterranean world.10 [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]