"But when Ulysses, with fallacious arts, / Had made impression in the people's hearts,"

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

Work Title
Place of Publication
J. Tonson
"But when Ulysses, with fallacious arts, / Had made impression in the people's hearts,"
Metaphor in Context
"His fear at length dismissed, he said,--'Whate'er
My fate ordains, my words shall be sincere:
I neither can nor dare my birth disclaim;
Greece is my country, Sinon is my name.
Though plunged by Fortune's power in misery,
'Tis not in Fortune's power to make me lie.
If any chance has hither brought the name
Of Palamedes, not unknown to fame,
Who suffered from the malice of the times,
Accused and sentenced for pretended crimes,
Because the fatal wars he would prevent;
Whose death the wretched Greeks too late lament--
Me, then a boy, my father, poor and bare
Of other means, committed to his care,
His kinsman and companion in the war.
While Fortune favoured, while his arms support
The cause, and ruled the counsels of the court,
I made some figure there; nor was my name
Obscure, nor I without my share of fame.
But when Ulysses, with fallacious arts,
Had made impression in the people's hearts,

And forged a treason in my patron's name
(I speak of things too far divulged by fame),
My kinsman fell. Then I, without support,
In private mourned his loss, and left the court.
Mad as I was, I could not bear his fate
With silent grief, but loudly blamed the state,
And cursed the direful author of my woes.--
'Twas told again; and hence my ruin rose.
I threatened, if indulgent heaven once more
Would land me safely on my native shore,
His death with double vengeance to restore.
This moved the murderer's hate; and soon ensued
The effects of malice from a man so proud.
Ambiguous rumours through the camp he spread,
And sought, by treason, my devoted head;
New crimes invented; left unturned no stone,
To make my guilt appear, and hide his own;
Till Calchas was by force and threatening wrought--
But why--why dwell I on that anxious thought?
If on my nation just revenge you seek,
And 'tis to appear a foe, to appear a Greek;
Already you my name and country know;
Assuage your thirst of blood, and strike the blow:
My death will both the kingly brothers please,
And set insatiate Ithacus at ease.'
This fair unfinished tale, these broken starts,
Raised expectations in our longing hearts;
Unknowing as we were in Grecian arts.
His former trembling once again renewed,
With acted fear, the villain thus pursued:--
'Long had the Grecians (tired with fruitless care,
And wearied with an unsuccessful war)
Resolved to raise the siege, and leave the town;
And, had the gods permitted, they had gone.
But oft the wintry seas, and southern winds,
Withstood their passage home, and changed their minds.
Portents and prodigies their souls amazed;
But most, when this stupendous pile was raised:
Then flaming meteors, hung in air, were seen,
And thunders rattled through a sky serene.
Dismayed, and fearful of some dire event,
Eurypylus, to inquire their fate, was sent.
He from the gods this dreadful answer brought:
"O Grecians, when the Trojan shores you sought,
Your passage with a virgin's blood was bought:
So must your safe return be bought again,
And Grecian blood once more atone the main."
The spreading rumour round the people ran;
All feared, and each believed himself the man.
Ulysses took the advantage of their fright;
Called Calchas, and produced in open sight,
Then bade him name the wretch, ordained by fate
The public victim, to redeem the state.
Already some presaged the dire event,
And saw what sacrifice Ulysses meant.
For twice five days the good old seer withstood
The intended treason, and was dumb to blood,
Till, tired with endless clamours and pursuit
Of Ithacus, he stood no longer mute,
But, as it was agreed, pronounced that I
Was destined by the wrathful gods to die.
All praised the sentence, pleased the storm should fall
On one alone, whose fury threatened all.
The dismal day was come; the priests prepare
Their leavened cakes, and fillets for my hair.
I followed nature's laws, and must avow,
I broke my bonds, and fled the fatal blow.
Hid in a weedy lake all night I lay,
Secure of safety when they sailed away.
But now what further hopes for me remain,
To see my friends, or native soil, again;
My tender infants, or my careful sire,
Whom they returning will to death require;
Will perpetrate on them their first design,
And take the forfeit of their heads for mine?
Which, O! if pity mortal minds can move,
If there be faith below, or gods above,
If innocence and truth can claim desert,
Ye Trojans, from an injured wretch avert.'
Searching "heart" and "impression" in HDIS (Poetry)
Text from The Works of John Dryden, 18 vols, Ed. George Saintsbury (Edinburgh and London: William Paterson, 1882-1892). Text available from Persius. Transcription also available in Chadwyck-Healey Full-Text Poetry Database (Cambridge, 1992).

See also The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Aeneis, trans. John Dryden (London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1697). <Link to EEBO><Link to 1709 edition Google Books edition>

Reading Virgil's Aeneid: Translated by John Dryden ed. Frederick M. Keener (New York: Penguin Books, 1997).
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.