Poetic Troynovant
renewing Troy in dreaming rhyme

arranged chronologically

Compilation by
Robert Wilfred Franson


You promis'd once, a progeny divine
Of Romans, rising from the Trojan line,
In after times should hold the world in awe,
And to the land and ocean give the law.

The Aeneid, I.322-325
translated by John Dryden

... Apollo left Timolus, borne
through fluid air until he came to earth
in the land that Laomedon was ruler of,
on this side of the narrow Hellespont.

Sigeum on the right, Rhodes on the left;
between them on a promontory stands
an ancient altar, consecrated to
the Thunderer, Jove of the Oracles;
and there Apollo watched as Laomedon
began the walls of his new city, Troy,
an undertaking of great magnitude,
which was not going well, the god perceived,
and which required very great resources;
so he and Neptune, father of the seas,
assumed the shapes of mortals and erected
walls there for the tyrant of Phrygia,
after arranging to be paid in gold.

The work was soon accomplished, but the king
denied the debt ...

Metamorphoses, XI.271-289
translated by Charles Martin

When the siege and the assault had ceased at Troy, and the
fortress fell in flame to firebrands and ashes ....

                          — it was Aeneas the noble
and his renowned kindred who then laid under them lands ...

When royal Romulus to Rome his road had taken, in
great pomp and pride he peopled it first, and named it with
his own name that yet now it bears ...

and far over the French flood Felix Brutus on many a broad
bank and brae Britain
      established full fair ...

The Pearl-Poet (or Gawain-Poet)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, section 1  (circa 1375)
translated by J.R.R. Tolkien

What is now London was then named New Troy,
maintained as metropolis and master-town since then.
A mighty devil owned the great minster there,
and his name was the title that the temple bore.

Now Erkenwald is a bishop of Augustine's province,
in beloved London-town, and he teaches law;
he worthily holds the seat of Saint Paul's minster ...

This, destroyed and beaten down, was built up anew,
a noble place, to be sure, called the New Work;
many a merry mason was made to work on it,
shaping the hard stones with sharp-edged tools.

The Pearl-Poet (or Gawain-Poet)
"Saint Erkenwald", 25-40  (circa 1380)
The Pearl-Poet: His Complete Works
translated by Margaret Williams

List unto my ditty!

Alas, the more the pity,
From Troynovant's old city
The Aldermen and Mayor
Have driven each poor player.

Actors' lament  (London, circa 1576)

He had two sons, whose eldest (called Lud)
Left of his life most famous memory,
And endless monuments of his great good:
The ruined walls he did re-edify
Of Troynovant, gainst force of enemy,
And built that gate which of his name is hight,
By which he lies entombed solemnly.

Edmund Spenser
The Faerie Queene, II.10.46  (1590)
modern text by Jonathan Barnes, 210.46

When the noble Britomart heard tell
Of Trojan wars, and Priam's city sacked
(The rueful story of Sir Paridell),
She was empassioned at that piteous act,
With zealous envy of Greeks' cruel fact
Against that nation from whose race of old,
She heard, she was lineally extract:
For noble Britons sprang from Trojans bold,
And Troynovant was built of old Troy's ashes cold.

Edmund Spenser
The Faerie Queene, III.9.38  (1590)
modern text by Jonathan Barnes, 309.38

Servant (to King of Cambria):

Now what in God's name doth my Lord intend?

    (to himself):

He thinks he ne're shall come at journey's end.
I would he had old Daedalus' waxen wings,
That he might fly, so I might stay behind:
For e're we get to Troynovant, I see
He quite will tire himself, his horse and me.

King Leir, 5.12-5.18  (printed 1605, but much earlier)
transcribed by Barbara Flues, edited by Robert Brazil
Elizabethan Authors - King Leir


... there are other Trojans that thou dreamest not of, the which for sport' sake are content to do the profession some grace, that would, if matters be looked into, for their own credit' sake make all whole.

William Shakespeare
1 Henry IV, 2.1.64-68

A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
    Fraught with a later prize;
Another Orpheus sings again,
    And loves, and weeps, and dies;
A new Ulysses leaves once more
Calypso for his native shore.

O, write no more the tale of Troy,
    If earth Death's scroll must be!

Percy Bysshe Shelley
"Hellas"  (1821)
Shelley's Poetry and Prose

                         All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.

Alfred Tennyson
"Ulysses"  (1842)

I am the ancient Apple-Queen,
As once I was so am I now.
For evermore a hope unseen,
Betwixt the blossom and the bough.

Ah, where's the river's hidden Gold!
And where the windy grave of Troy?
Yet come I as I came of old,
From out the heart of Summer's joy.

William Morris
"Pomona"  (1891)

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
Or ever Aeneas began.
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
When Brut was an outlaw man.
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town
(From which was London born);
Witness hereby the ancientry
Of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Rudyard Kipling
"A Tree Song"
Puck of Pook's Hill  (1906)
Rudyard Kipling's Verse,
Definitive Edition

Is it good to tell old tales of Troynovant
Or praises of dead heroes, tried and sage,
Or sing the queens of unforgotten age,
Brynhild and Maeve and virgin Bradamant?

How should I sing of them? Can it be good
To think of glory now, when all is done,
And all our labour underneath the sun
Has brought us this — and not the thing we would?

C. S. Lewis
"Spirits in Bondage", VII: Apology; 9-16  (1919)

              Eleven pass, and then
Athena takes Achilles by the hair,
Hector is in the dust, Nietzsche is born,
Because the hero's crescent is in the twelfth.

William Butler Yeats
"The Phases of the Moon", 44-47
The Wild Swans at Coole  (1919)
The Poems, Second Edition

The unnamed creator of an unknown sphere,
Unknown as yet, unknowable,
Uncertain certainty, Apollo
Imagined among the indigenes
And Eden conceived on Morningside,
The center of the self, the self
Of the future, of future man
And future place, when these are known,
A freedom at last from the mystical,
The beginning of a final order,
The order of man's right to be
As he is, the discipline of his scope
Observed as an absolute, himself.

Wallace Stevens
"The Sail of Ulysses", IV  (1954)
Collected Poetry and Prose

The Homeric young fighter Achilles
Was great with the fair Trojan fillies
        But Paris said, "We'll
        Just aim at his heel."
Now Achilles is pushing up lilies.
Isaac Asimov
Asimov Laughs Again  (1992)

Antiquity at Troynovant
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