Homer's Iliad online

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The soui disdainful seeks the caves of night,
And his seal'd eyes for ever lose the light

Yet not in vain, TIepolemus, was thrown 82#

Thy angry lance ; which, piercing to the bone
Sarpedon's thigh, had robbed the chief of breath :
But Jove was present, and forbade the death.
Borne from the conflict by his Lycian throng,
The wounded hero dragg'd the lance along.
(His friends, each busied in his several part,
Through haste, or danger, had not drawn the dart.)
The Greeks with slain TIepolemus retired ;
Whose fall Ulysses view'd, with fury fired ;
Doubtful if Jove's great son he should pursue, 830

Or pour his vengeance on the Lycian crew.
But Heaven and Fate the first design withstand.
Nor this great death must grace Ulysses' hand.
Minerva drives him on the Lycian train ;
Alastor, Cromius, Halius, strew'd the plain ;
Alcander, Prytanis, Nogmon fell ;
And numbers more his sword had sent to hell,
But Hector saw; and, furious at the sight,
Rush'd terrible amidst the ranks of fight.
With joy Sarpedon view'd the wish'd relief, 840

And faint, lamenting, thus implored the chief:

"Oh ! sufier not the foe to bear away
My helpless corpse, an unassisted prey 1
If I, unbless'd must see my son no more.
My much-loved consort and my native shore.
Yet let me die in Ilion's sacred wall ;
Troy, in whose cause I fell, shall mourn my fall."

He said ; nor Hector to the chief replies,
But shakes his plume, and fierce to combat flies ;
Swift as a whirlwind, drives the scattering foes, 860

\.nd dyes the ground with purple as he goes.

Beneath a beech, Jove's consecrated shade.
His mournful friends divine Sarpedon laid :
Brave Pelagon, his favourite chief, was nigh.
Who wrench'd the javelin from his sinewy thigk.


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The fainting soul stood ready wing'd for flight,
And o'er his eye-balls swam the shades of night ;
But Boreas, rising fresh, with gentle breath
Recall'd his spirit from the gates of death.

The generous Greeks recede with tardy pace, 860

Though Mars and Hector thunder in their face ;
None turn their backs to mean, ignoble flight ;
Slow they retreat, and, ev'n retreating, fight.
Who first, who last, by Mar's and Hector's hand,
Stretch'd in their blood, lay gasping on the sand ?
Teuthras the great, Orestes the renown'd
For managed steeds, and Trechus press'd the ground',
Next (Enomaus, and CEnops' oflspring died ;
Oresbius last fell groaning at their side :
Oresbius, in his painted mitre gay, 870

In fat Bceotia held his wealthy sway.
Where lakes surround low Hyl6's watery plain,
A prince and people studious of their gain.

The carnage Juno from the skies survey'd.
And, touch'd with grie^ bespoke the blue-eyed maid :
•*0h, sight accursed! shall faithless Troy prevail.
And shall our promise to our people fail?
How vain the word to Menelaus given
By Jove's great daughter and the queen of heaven,
Beneath his arm that Priam's towers should fall : 880
If warring gods for ever guard the wall !
Mars, red with slaughter, aids our bated foes :
Haste, let us arm, and force with force oppose I '

She spoke. Minerva bums to meet the war:
And now heaven's empress calls her blazing car.
At her command rush forth the steeds divine ;
Rich with immortal gold their trappings shine.
Bright Hehh waits ; by Heb^, ever young.
The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung.
On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel 890

Of sounding brass ; the polish'd axle steel.
Eight brazen spokes in radiant order flame ;
The circles gold, of uncorrupted frame,
6* I


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Such as the heavens produce : and round the gold

Two brazen rings of work divine were roU'd

The bossy naves of solid silver shone ;

Braces of gold suspend the moving throne :

The car behind an arching figure bore ;

The bending concave form'd an arch before ;

Silver the beam, th' extended yoke was gold, 900

And golden reins th' immortal coursers hold.

Herself, impatient, to the ready car

The coursers joins, and breathes revenge and war.

Pallas disrobes ; her radiant veil untied,
With flowers adom'd with art diversified,
(The laboured veil her heavenly fingers wove,)
Flows on the pavement of the court of Jove.
Now heaven's dread arms her mighty limbs invest,
Jove's cuirass blazes on her ample breast ;
Deck'd in sad triumph for the mournful field, 010

O'er her broad shoulders hang his horrid shield,
Dire, black, tremendous ! Round the margin roK'd,
A fringe of serpents hissing guards the gold :
Here all the terrors of grim War appear.
Here rages Force, here tremble Flight and Fear,
Here storm'd Contention, and here Fury fi-own'd,
And the dire orb portentous (Jorgon crown'd.
The massy golden helm she next assumes,
That dreadful nods with four o'ershading plumes,
So vast, the broad circumference contains 920

A hundred armies on a hundred plains.
The goddess thus th' imperial car ascends ;
Shook by her arm the mighty javelin bends.
Ponderous and huge ; that, when her fury bums.
Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts o'ertums.

Swift at the scourge th' ethereal coursers fl>,.
While the smooth chariot cuts the liquid sky.
Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers.
Heaven's golden gates, kept by the winged Hours ;
Commission'd in alternate watch they stand, 930

l^he sun's bright portals and the skies command.


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Involve in clouds th' eternal gates of day,

Or the dark barrier roll with ease away.

The sounding hinges ring : on either side

The gloomy volumes, pierced with light, divide.

The chariot mounts where, deep in ambient sk'es

Confused, Olympus' hundred heads arise ;

Where far apart the Thunderer fills his throne ;

O'er all the gods superior and alone.

There with her snowy hand the queen restrains 040

The fiery steeds, and thus to Jove complains :

**0h, sire I can no resentment touch thy soul?
Can Mars rebel, and does no thunder roll?
What lawless rage on yon forbidden plain !
What rash destruction I and what heroes slain !
Venus, and Phoebus with the dreadful bow,
Smile on the slaughter, and enjoy, my wo.
Mad, furious power I whose unrelenting mind
No god can govern, and no justice bind.
Say, mighty father ! shall we scourge his pride, 050

And drive from fight th' impetuous homicide?"

To whom, assenting, thus the Thunderer said
•*Gro ! and the great Mmerva be thy aid.
To tame the monster-god Minerva knows,
And ofl afflicts his brutal breast with woes."

He said. Saturnia, ardent to obey,
Lash'd her white steeds along th' atrial way.
Swift down the steep of heaven the chariot rolls.
Between th' expanded earth and starry poles.
Far as a shepherd, from some point on high, 9QQ

O'er the wide main extends his boundless eye ;
Through such a space of air, with thundering sound,
At every leap th' immortal coursers bound :
Troy now they reach'd, and touch'd those banks divine
Where silver SimoTs and Scamander join.
There Juno stopp'd (and her fair steeds unloosed).
Of air condensed a vapour circumfused :
For these, impregnate with celestial dew.
On Simois' brink ambrosial herbage grew.


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Thence to relieve the fainting Argive throng, 970

Smooth as the sailing doves they glide along.

The best and bravest of the Grecian band
(A warlike circle) round Tydides stand :
Such was their look as lions bathed in blood,
Or foaming boars, the terror of the wood.
Heaven's empress mingles with the mortal crowd,
And shouts, in Stentor's sounding voice, aloud —
Stentor the strong, endued with brazen lungs.
Whose throat surpass'd the force of fifty tongues :

" Inglorious Argives ! to your race a shame, 980

And only men in figure and in name !
Once fi*om the walls your timorous foes engaged,
While fierce in war diHne Achilles raged ;
Now issuing fearless they possess the plain.
Now win the shores, and scarce the seas remain.'*

Her speech new fury to their hearts convey'd ;
While near Tydides stood th* Athenian maid ;
The king beside his panting steeds she found,
O'erspent with toil, reposing on the ground :
To cool his glowing wound he sat apart 990

(The wound inflicted by the Lycian dart) ;
Large drops of sweat from all his limbs descend.
Beneath his ponderous shield his sinews bend.
Whose ample belt, that o*er his shoulder lay.
He eased ; and wash'd the clotted gore away.
Th J goddess, leaning o'er the bending yoke.
Bee ide his coursers, thus her silence broke :

** Degenerate prince ! and not of Tydeus' kind,
Wl ose little body lodged a mighty mind ;
Foi emost he press'd in glorious toils to share, IIKM!

An«l scarce refrained when I forbade the war.
Alone, unguarded, once he dared to go
And feast, encircled by the Theban foe ;
There braved, and vanquish'd, many a hardy knight ;
Such nerves I gave him, and such force in fight.
Thou too no less hast been my constant care ;
Thy hands I arm'd, and sent thee forth to war:


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But thee or fear deters, or sloth detains;
No drop of all thy father warms thy veins."

The chief thus answered mild: "Immortal maidl 1010
I own thy presence, and confess thy aid.
Not fear, thou know'st, withholds me from the plams,
Nor sloth hath seized me, but thy word restrains ;
From warring gods thou bad'st me turn my spear,
And Venus only found resistance here.
Hence, goddess, heedful of thy high commands.
Loath I gave way, and warn'd our Argive bands;
For Mars, the homicide, these eyes beheld,
With slaughter red, and raging round the field."

Then thus Minerva: "Brave Tydides, hear! 1020

Not Mars himself, nor aught immortal, fear.
Full on the god impel thy foaming horse;
Pallas commands, and Pallas lends thee force.
Rash, furious, blind, from these to those he flies.
And every side of wavering combat tries ;
Large promise makes, and breaks the promise made ;
Now gives the Grecians, now the Trojans aid."

She said; and to the steeds approaching near.
Drew fi'om his soat the martial charioteer.
The vigorous power the trembling car ascends, . 1030
Fierce for revenge; and Diomed attends.
The groaning axle bent beneath the load ;
So great a hero and so great a god.
She snatch'd the reins, she lash'd with all her force.
And full on Mars impel'd the foaming horse:
But first, to hide her heavenly visage, spread
Black Qrcus' helmet o'er her radiant head.

Just then gigantic Periphas lay slain.
The strongest warrior of th' iEtolian train ;
The god who slew him leaves his prostrate prize 1040
Stretch'd where he fell, and at Tydides flies.
Now, rushing fierce, in equal arms appear
The daring Greek; the dreadful god of war!
Full at the chief, above his coursers' head.
From Mars' arm th' enormous weapon fled:


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Pallas opposed her hand, and caused to glance,

Far from the car, the strong immortal lance.

Then threw the force of Tydeus* warlike son ;

The javelin hiss'd ; the goddess urged it on :

Where the broad cincture girt his armour round, 1050

It pierced the god ; his groin received the wounds

From the rent skin the warrior tugs again

The smoking steel. Mars bellows with the pain ;

Loud as the roar encountering armies yield.

When shouting millions shake the thundering field.

Both armies start, and, trembling, gaze around ;

And earth and heaven rebellow to the sound.

As vapours blown by Auster's sultry breath.

Pregnant with plagues, and shedding seeds of death.

Beneath the rage of burning Sirius rise, 1060

Choke the parchM earth, and blacken all the skies:

In such a cloud the god, from combat driven.

High o'er the dusty whirlwind scales the heaven.

Wild with his pain, he sought the bright abodes ;

There sullen sat beneath the sire of gods,

Show*d the celestial blood, and, with a groan,

Thus pour'd his plaints before th' immortal throne :

"Can Jove, supine, flagitious facts survey.
And brook the furies of this daring day?
For mortal men celestial powers engage, 1070

And gods on gods exert external rage.
From thee, O father ! all these ills we bear.
And thy fell daughter with the shield and spear:
Thou gav'st that fury to the realms of light,
Pernicious, wild, regardless of the right.
All heaven beside reveres thy sovereign sway.
Thy voice we hear, and thy behests obey;
'Tis hers t' offend, and, eVn offending, share
Thy breast, thy counsels, thy distinguish'd care ;
So boundless she, and thou so partial grown, 1090

Well may we deem the wondrous birth thy own.
Now frantic Diomed, at her command.
Against th* immortals lifts his raging hand :


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The heavenly Venus first his fury found,

Me, next encountering, me he dared to wuiuid ,

Vanquished I fled ; ev'n I, the god of fight,

From mortal madness scarce was saved by flight

Else hadst thou seen me sink on yonder plain,

Heap'd round, and heaving under loads of slain I

Or pierced with Grecian darts, for ages lie, 1090

Condemned to pain, though fated not to die."

Him thus upbraiding, with a wrathful look
The lord of thunders view'd, and stem bespoke :
••To me, perfidious ! this lamenting strain?
Of lawless force shall lawless Mars complain?
Of all the gods who tread the spangled skies.
Thou, most unjust, most odious in our eyes I
Inhuman discord is thy du'e delight.
The waste of slaughter, and the rage of fight
No bofond, no law, thy fiery temper quells, 11 00

And all thy mother in thy soul rebels.
In vain our threats, in vain our power we use.
She gives th' example, and her son pursues.
Yet long th' inflicted pangs thou shalt not mourn,
Sprung since thou art from Jove, and heavenly bom ;
Else, singed with lightning, hadst thou hence been thrown,
Where, chain'd on burning rocks, the Titans groan.**

Thus he who shakes Olympus with his nod :
Then gave to Paeon's care the bleeding god.
With gentle hand the balm he pour'd around, 1110

And heal'd th' immortal flesh, and closed the wound.
As when the fig's press'd juice, infused in cream,
To curds coagulate the liquid stream.
Sudden the fluids fix, the parts combined ;
Such, and so soon, th' ethereal texture join'd.
Cleansed from the dust and gore, fair Heb6 dress'd
His mighty limbs in an immortal vest
Glorious he sat, in majesty restored.
Fast by the throne of heaven's superior lord,
juno and Pallas mount the bless'd abodes, 1120

Their task performed, and mix among the gods.


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T%e Episodes of Olaucus and Dumed, and of Hector and Andromache

AmaxjUEXT, — ^The goda having- left the field, the Grecians prevail. Helcnai^
the chief aug^r of Troy, commands Hector to return to the city, in ordei
to appoint a solemn procession of the queen and the Trojan matrons tc
the temple of Minerva, to entreat her to remove Diomed from the fig'ht.
The battle relaxing* during the absence of Hector, Glaucus and Dioincd
have an interview between the two armies ; where, coming to the knowledg-e
of the friendship and hospitality passed between their ancestors, they make
exchange of their arms. Hector having performed the orders of Helenus,
prevails upon Paris to return to the battle ; and, taking a tender leave of
his wife Andromache, hastens again to the field.

The scene is first in the field of battle, between the rivers Simols and
Scamander, and then changes to Troy.

Now heaven forsakes the fight, th* immprtals yield
To human force and human skill the field ;
Dark showers of javelins fly from foes to foes ;
Now here, now there, the tide of combat flows ;
While Troy*s famed streams,* that bound thedeathful plain.
On either side run purple to the main.

Great Ajax first to conquest led the way,
Broke the thick ranks, and tum'd the doubtful day.
The Thracian Acamas his faulchion found,
And hew'd th* enormous giant to the ground : 10

His thundering arm a deadly stroke impress'd
Where the black horse-hair nodded o'er his crest.
Fix'd in his front, the brazen weapon lies.
And seals in endless shades his swimming eyes.
Next Teuthras' son distain'd the sands with blood, .
Axylus, hospitable, rich, and good :
In fair Arisba's walls (his native place)
He held his seat ; a friend to human race.

* Scamander and Simois.


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Fast by the road, his ever-open door

Obliged the wealthy, and pelieved the poor. 20

To stem Tydides now he falls a prey,

No friend to guard hun in the dreadful day!

Breathless the good man fell, and by his side

His faithful servant, old Calesius, died.

By great Euryalus was Dresus slain,
And next he laid Opheltius on the plain.
Two twins were near — ^bold, beautiful, and young —
From a fair Naiad and Bucolion sprung :
(Laomedon's white flocks Bucolion fed.
That monarch's first-bom by a foreign bed , 80

In secret woods he won the Naiad's grace.
And two fair infants crown'd his strong embrace.)
Here dead they lay in all their youthful charms ;
The ruthless victor stripp'd their shining arms.

Astyalus by Polypcetes fell :
Ulysses' spear Pidytes sent to hell ;
By Teucer's shaft brave Aretaon bled,
And Nestor's son laid stem Ablerus dead.
Great Agamemnon, leader of the brave,
The mortal wound of rich Elatus gave, 40

Who held in Pedasus his proud abode.
And till'd the banks where silver Satnio flow'd.
Melanthius by Eurypylus was slain ;
And Phylacus from Leitus flies in vain.

Unblcss'd Adrastus next at mercy lies
Beneath the Spartan spear, a living prize.
Scared with the din and tumult of the fight.
His headlong steeds, precipitate in flight,
Rush'd on a tamarisk's strong trunk, and broke
The shatter'd chariot from the crooked yoke. 50

Wide o'er the field, resistless as the wind,
For Troy they fly, and leave their lord behind.
Prone on his face he sinks beside the wheel ;
Atrides o'er him shakes his vengeful steel ;
The fallen chief in suppliant posture press'd
The victor's knees, and thus his prayer address'd : .


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"Oh, spare my youth ! and, for the life I owe,
Large gifts of price my father shall bestow.
When fame shall tell that, not in battle slain,
Thy hollow ships his captive son detain, 60

Rich heaps of brass shall in thy tent be told,
And steel well-temper'd, and persuasive gold."

He said. Compassion touch'd the hero's heart ;
He stood, suspended, with the lifted dart :
As pity pleaded for his vanquished prize,
Stem Agamemnon swift to vengeance flies,
And furious thus: "Oh, impotent of mind !
Shall these, shall these Atrides' mercy find?
Well hast thou known proud Troy's perfidious land,
And well her natives merit at thy hand ! 70

Not one of all the race, nor sex, nor age.
Shall save a Trojan from our boundless rage :
Ilion shall perish whole, and bury all ;
Her babes, her infants at the breast, shall fall :
A dreadful lesson of exampled fate.
To warn the nations, and to curb the great !"

The monarch spoke. The words with warmth address'd.
To rigid justice steel'd his brother's breast.
Fierce from his knees the hapless chief he thrust ;
The monarch's javelin stretch'd him in the dust ; 80

Then pressing with his foot his panting heart.
Forth from the slain he tugg'd the reeking dart

Old Nestor saw, and roused the warrior's rage :
" Thus, heroes I thus the vigorous combat wage !
No son of Mars descend, for servile gains.
To touch the booty, while a foe remains.
Behold yon glittering host, your fiiture spoil !
First gain the conquest, then reward the toil."

And now had Greece eternal fame acquired,
And frighten'd Troy within her walls retired, 00

Had not sage Helenus her state redress'd.
Taught by the gods that moved his sacred breast.
Where Hector stood with great JEneas join'd,
Thq seer reveal'd the counsels of his mind :


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** Ye generous chiefs ! on whom th' immortals lay
The cares and glories of this doubtful day;
On whom your aids', your country's hopes depend,
Wise to consult, and active to defend I
Here, at our gates, your brave eflTorts unite.
Turn back the routed, and forbid the flight ; 100

Ere yet their wives' soft arms the cowards gain,
The sport and insult of the hostile train.
When your commands have hearten'd every band.
Ourselves, here fix'd, will make the dangerous stand ;
Press'd as we are, and sore of former fight,
These straits demand our last remains of might.
Meanwhile, thou. Hector, to the town retire.
And teach our mother what the gods require ;
Direct the queen to lead th' assembled train
Of Troy's chief matrons to Minerva's fane ; 110

Unbar the sacred gates, and seek the power
With ofler'd vows in Ilion's topmost tower.
The largest mantle her rich wardrobes hold,
Most prized for art, and labdur'd o'er with gold,
Before the goddess' honour'd knees be spread,
And twelve young heifers to her altars led :
If so the power, atoned by fervent prayer,
Our wives, our infants, and our city spare,
And far avert Tydides' wastefiil ire,
That mows whole troops, and makes all Troy retire. 120
Not thus Achilles taught our hosts to dread.
Sprung though he was from more than mortal bed ;
Not thus resistless ruled the stream of fight.
In rage unbounded, and unmatch'd in might."

Hector obedient heard ; and, with a bound,
Leap'd fi*om his trembling chariot to the ground ; *
Through all his host, inspiring force, he flies.
And bids the thunder of the battle rise.
With rage recruited the bold Trojans glow,
And turn the tide of conflict on the foe ; 180

Fierce in the front, he shakes two dazzling spears ;
All Greece recedes, and 'midst her triumph fears :


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Some god, they thought, who ruled the fate of wars.
Shot down avenging, from the vault of stars.

Then thus aloud : " Ye dauntless Dardans, hear !
And you whom distant nations send to war !
Be mindful of the strength your fathers bore ;
Be still yourselves, and Hector asks no more.
One hour demands me in the Trojan wall.
To bid our altars flame, and victims fall ; 140

Nor .shall, I trust, the matrons' holy train
And reverend elders seek the gods in vain."

This said, with ample strides the hero pass'd ;
The shield's large orb behind his shoulder east.
His nack o'ershading, to his ankle hung ;
And, as he marchM, the brazen buckler rung.

Now paused the battle (godlike Hector gone).
When daring Glaiicus and great Tydeus' son
Between both armies met : the chiefs from far
Observed each other, and had mark'd for war. 150

Near as they drew, Tydides thus began :

" What art thou, boldest of the race of man?
Our eyes, till now, that aspect ne'er beheld.
Where fame is reap'd amid th' embattled field ;
Yet far before the troops thou darest appear,
And meet a lance the fiercest heroes fear.
Unhappy they, and bom of luckless sires.
Who tempt our fury when Minerva fires !
But if firom heaven, celestial, thou descend,
Know, with immortals we no more contend. 160

Not long Lycurgus view'd the golden light.
That daring man who mix'd with gods in fight.
Bacchus, and Bacchus' votaries, he drove,
WitR brandish'd steel, fi-om Nyssa's sacred grove ;
Their consecrated spears lay scattered round,
With curling vines and twisted ivy bound :
While Bacchus headlong sought the b/iny flood.
And Thetis' arms received the trembling god.
Nor fail'd the crime th' immortals' wrath to move
(Th' immortals bless'd with endless ease above) : 170


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Deprived of sight by their avenging doom,
Cheerless he breathed, wd wander'd in the gloom •
Then sunk unpitied to the dire abodes,
A wretch accui-sed, and hated by the gods !
I brave not heaven : but if the fruits of earth
Sustain thy life, and human be thy birth.
Bold as thou art, too prodigal of breath.
Approach, and enter the dark gates of death/'

" What, or from whence I am, or who my sire,"
Replied the chief, "can Tydeus* son inquire? 180

Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground ;
Another race the following spring supplies ;
They fall successive, and successive rise :
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these when those are pass'd away.
But if thou still persist to search my birth,
The)i hear a tale that fills the spacious earth :

"A city stands on Argos' utmost bound —
Argos the fair, for warlike steeds renown'd — 190

iEolian Sisyphus, with wisdom bless'd.
In ancient time the happy walls possessed.
Then call'd Ephyr^ : Glaucus was his son,
Great Glaucus, father of Bellerophon,

Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 11 of 41)