ACHILLES: When Jupiter in all his might
Was seated on his throne
And in his strength ordered aright
By his right hand alone
The courses of the day and night;
And warrior Mars to Earth had lent
His bolts of victory
And parted with his armament;
When Saturn still slept peacefully
With all his firmament;
When the Sun shone with clearer light
And an intenser ray
And the Moon's beams illumed the night,
More brightly than noonday,
And Venus sang her loveliest lay;
When wisdom, that he now doth keep,
Was given by Mercury,
And mirth flashed o'er the heaven's steep
And the winds were gently hushed asleep
And a calm lay on the sea;
When joy and fame together checked
The hands of destiny
And glory's flags the poles bedecked
And the heavens, by no clouds beflecked,
Gleamed in their radiancy;
When every heart with unfeigned cheer
Was merry upon Earth,
In that day and month and year,
When all these portents did appear,
Your Highnesses had birth.
Now I, Achilles, in my youth
Lived here for many days
And happy am I in good sooth
To see the kingdom's splendid growth
Honoured in countless ways.
Its noble sons these honours reap,
But let no careless strain
Prevent you what you win to keep;
Ye prelates, 'tis no time for sleep!
Ye priests, do not complain!
When mighty Rome was in full sail
Conquering all the Earth
The girls and matrons without fail,
That so the soldiers should prevail,
Gave all their jewels' worth.
Then O ye shepherds of the Church
Down, down with Mahomet's creed!
Leave not the fighters in the lurch!
For if to scourge yourselves you speed
Then Rome may spare the birch.
You should sell your chalices,
Yes and pawn your breviaries,
Turn your gourds into flasks, and e'er
Of bread and parsnips make your fare,
To vanquish thus your enemies.