Homer's Iliad online

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They raised embattled walls with lofty towers :
From space to space were ample gates around,
For passing chariots ; and a trench profound.
Of large extent; and deep in earth, below,
Strong piles infix'd, stood adverse to the foe.

So toil'd the Greeks. Meanwhile, the gods above
In shining circles round their father, Jove,
Amazed beheld the wondrous works of man :
Then he, whose trident shakes the earth, began :

**What mortals henceforth shall our power adore, 530
Our fanes frequent, our oracles implore.
If the proud Grecians thus successful boast
Their rising bulwarks on the sea-beat coast?
See the long walls e:^tending to the main,
No god consulted and no victim slain !
Their fame shall fill the world's remotest ends,
Wide as the morn her golden beam extends ;
While old Laomedon's divine abodes —
Those radiant structures raised by labouring gods —
Shall, razed and lost, in long oblivion sleep." 510

Thus spoko the hoary monarch of the deep.

Th' almighty Thunderer with a frown replies.
That clouds the world, and blackens half the skies :
•* Strong god of ocean 1 thou whose rage can make
The solid earth's eternal basis shake !

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What cause of fear from mortal works could move

The meanest subject of our realins above? •

Where'er the sun's refulgent rays are cast,

Thy power is honour'd, and thy fame shall last:

But you proud work no future age shall view, 550

No trace remain where once the glory grew.

The sapp'd foundations by thy force shall fall,

And, whelm'd beneath thy waves, drop the huge wall :

Vast drifts of sand shall change the former shore ;

The ruin vanish'd, and the name no more."

Thus they in heaven : while o'er the Grecian train,
The rolling sun, descending to the main,
Beheld the finish'd work. Their bulls they slew:
Black from the tents the savoury vapours flew.
And now the fleet, arrived from Lemnos' strands, 5CC
With Bacchus' blessings cheer'd the generous bands.
Of fragrant wine the rich Eunseus sent
A thousand measures to the royal tent ;
(Eunaeus, whom Hypsipyle of yore
To Jason, shepherd of his people, bore ;)
The rest they purchased at their proper cost.
And well the plenteous freight supplied the host :
Each, in exchange, proportioned treasures gave :
Some brass, or iron ; some an ox, or slave.
All night they feast, the Greek and Trojan powers : 510
Those on the field, and these within their towers.
But Jove, averse, the signs of wrath displayed.
And shot red lightnings through the gloomy shade :
Humble they stood ; pale horror seized on all.
While the deep thunder shook the aerial hall.
Each pour'd to Jove, before the bowl was crown'd ;
And large libations drench'd the thirsty ground ;
Then late, refreshed with sleep from toils of fight,
Erjoy'd the balmy blessings of the night.


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The Seeond Battle, and the Distreee of the Greekt.

kwavKMKT, — Jupiter SMemblet a council of the deitiet, and threatens ihcM
with the pains of Tartarus if thej assist cither side ; Minerva onlj obtains
of him that she may direct the Greeks by her counsels. The armies join
battle ; Jupiter on Mount Ida weighs in his balances the fates of both, and
affrights the Oreeks with his thunders and lightnings. Nestor alone
eoiLtinues in the field in great danger ; Diomed relieves him ; whose
exploits, and those of Hector, are excellently described. Juno endeavours
to animate Neptune to the assistance of the Greeks, but in vain. The acts
of Teucer, who is at length wounded by Hector, and carried off. Juno
and Minerva prepare to aid the Grecians ; but are restrained by Iris, sent
from Jupiter. The night puts an end to the battle. Hector continues in
the field (the Greeks being driven to their fortifications before the ships),
and gives orders to keep the watch all night in the camp, to prevent the
enemy from rdembarking, and escaping by flight. They kindle fires
through all the field, and pass the night under -arms.

The time of seven-and-twenty days is employed from the opening of the
poem to the end of this book. The scene here, except of the celestial
michincM, Ilea in the field towards ths s e a s h o f .

Aurora now, fair daughter of the dawn,
Sprinkled with rosy light the dewy lawn,
When Jove convened the senate of the skies,
Where high Olympus' cloudy tops arise.
The sire of gods his awful silence broke,
The heavens, attentive, trembled ^s he spoke :

"Celestial states, immortal gods, give ear!
Hear our decree, and reverence what ye hear !
The fix*d decree, which not all heaven can move ;
Thou, Fate ! fulfil it ; and, ye powers, approve 1 10

What god but enters yon forbidden field.
Who yields assistance, or but wills to yield,
Back to the skies with shame he shall be driven,
Gash'd with dishonest wounds, the scorn of heaven:
Or far, oh ! far from steep Olympus thrown.
Low in the dark Tartarean gulf shall groan.


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Will, burning chains fix'd to the brazen floors,

And lock'd by helFs inexorable doors ;

As deep beneath th* infernal centre hurl'd,

As from that centre to th* ethereal world. 20

Let him who tempts me, dread those dire abodes ;

And know th' Almighty is the god of gods.

League all your forces then, ye powers above.

Join all, and try th' omnipotence of Jove :

Let down our golden everlasting chain,

Whose strong embrace holds heaven, and earth, and i lain :

Strive all, of mortal and immortal birth.

To drag, by this, the Thunderer down to earth :

Ye strive in vain ! If I but stretch this hand,

I heave the gods, the ocean, and the land ; 30

I fix the chain to great Olympus' height.

And the vast world hangs trembling in my sight !

For such I reign, unbounded and above ;

And such are men and gods, compared to Jove."

Th' Almighty spoke: nor durst the powers reply:
A reverend horror silenced all the sky ;
Trembling they stood before their sovereign's look ;
At length his best beloved, the power of wisdom, spoke :

"Oh, first and greatest ! god, by gods adored !
We own thy might, our father and our lord 1 40

But, all 1 permit to pity human state ;
If not to help, at least lament their fate !
From fields forbidden we submiss refi'ain,
With arms unaiding mourn our Argives slain :
Yet grant my counsels still their breast may move,
Or all must perish in the wrath of Jove."

The cloud-compelling god her suit approved.
And smiled superior on his best beloved.
Then call'd his coursers, and his chariot took ;
The steadfast firmament beneath them shook : 60

Rapt by th' ethereal steeds, the chariot roU'd;
Brass were their hoofs, their curling manes of gold.
Of heaven's undrossy gold the god's array
Refulgent, flash'd intolerable day.


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High on the throne he shines : his coursers fly

Between th' extended earth and starry sky.

But when to Ida's topmost height he came,

(Fair nurse of fountains, and of savage game,)

Where, o'er her pointed summits proudly raised,

His fane breathed odours, and his altars blazed : W)

There, from his radiant car, the sacred sire

Of gods and men released the steeds of fire ;

Blue ambient mists th' immortal steeds embraced.

High on the cloudy point liis seat he placed ;

Thence his broad eye the subject world surveys,

The town, and tents, and navigable seas.

Now had the Grecians snatch'd a short repast,
And buckled on their shining arms with haste.
Troy roused as soon ; for on this dreadful day
The fate of fathers, wives, and infants tay. 70

The gates unfolding pour forth all their train ;
Squadrons on squadrons cloud the dusky plain :
Men, steeds, and chariots, shake the trembling ground ;
The tumult thickens, and the skies resound.
And now with shouts the shocking armies closed,
To lances, lances — shields to shields opposed ;
Host against host with shadowy legions drew.
The sounding darts in iron tempests flew ;
Victors and vanquish'd join promiscuous cries,
Triumphant shouts and dying groans arise : 80

With streaming blood the slippery fields are dyed.
And slaughter'd heroes swell the dreadful tide.
Long as the morning beams increasing bright.
O'er heaven's clear azure spread the sacred light;
Commutual death the fate of war confounds,
Each adverse battle gored with equal wounds.
But when the sur the height of heaven ascends.
The sire of gods his golden scales suspends
With equal hand : in these explored the fate
Of Greece and Troy, and poised the mighty weight. 9(1
Press'd with its load, the Grecian balance lies
Lew sunk on earth, the Trojan strikes the skies.


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Then Jove from Ida's top his horror spreads ;

The clouds burst dreadful o'er the Grecian heads :

Thick lightnings flash ; the muttering thunder rolls,

Their strength he withers, and unmans their souls.

Before his wrath the trembling hosts retire ;

The gods in terrors, and the skies on fire.

Nor great Idomeneus that sight could bear,

Nor each stem Ajax, thunderbolts of war: 100

Nor he, the king of men, the alarm sustain'd ;

Nestor alone amidst the storm remain'd.

Unwillmg he remain'd, for Paris' dart

Had pierced his courser in a mortal part:

Fix'd in the forehead, where the springing mane

Curled o'er the brow, it stung him to the brain :

Mad with his anguish, he begins to rear.

Paw with his hoofs aloft, and lash the air.

Scarce had his faulchion cut the reins, and freed

Th' incumber'd chariot from the dying steed, 110

When dreadful Hector, thundering through the war,

Pour'd to the tumult on his whirling car.

That day had stretch'd beneath his matchless hand

The hoary monarch of the Pylian band.

But Diomed beheld ; from forth the crowd

He rush'd, and on Ulysses call'd aloud :

"Whither, oh, whither does Ulysses run !
Oh, flight unworthy great Laertes' son !
Mix'd with the vulgar shall thy fate be found.
Pierced in the back, a vile, dishonest wound? .80

Oh, turn ! and save from Hector's direful rage
The glory of the Greeks, the Pylian sage."

His fruitless words are lost unheard in air ;
Ulysses seeks the ships, and shelters there ;
But bold Tydides to the rescue goes,
A single warrior midst a host of foes ;
Before the coursers, with a sudden spring, •
He leap'd, and anxious thus bespoke the king :

"Great perils, father, wait th' unequal fight;
These younger champions will oppress thy might. 130


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Thy veins no more with ancient vigour glow,

Weak is thy servant, and thy coursers slow.

Theft haste, ascend my seat, and from the car

Observe the steeds of Tros, renown'd in war ;

Practised alike to turn, to stop, to chase,

To dare the fight, or urge the rapid race :

These late obey'd Eneas' guiding rein ;

Leave thou thy chariot to our faithful tram ;

With these against yon Trojans will we go,

Nor shall great Hector want an equal foe : 40

Fierce as he is, ev^n he may learn to fear

The thirsty fury of my flying spear."

Thus said the chief; and Nestor, skill'd in war
Approves his counsel, and ascends the car:
The steeds he left, their trusty servants hold ;
Eurymedon, and Sthenelus the bold :
The reverend charioteer directs the course.
And strains his aged arm to lash the horse.
Hector they face ; unknowing how to fear,
Fierce he drove on : Tydides whirl'd his 1 50

The spear with errmg haste mistook its way.
But plunged in Eniopeus' bosom lay.
His opening hand in death forsakes the rein ;
The steeds fly back : he falls, and spurns the plain.
Great Hector sorrows for his servant kill'd.
Yet unrevenged permits to press the field ;
Till, to supply his place and rule the car.
Rose Archeptolemus, the fierce in war.
And now had death and horror cover'd all ;
Like timorous flocks, the Trojans in their wail . 60

Inclosed had bled : but Jove, with awful sound,
Roird the big thunder o'er the vast profound ;
Full in Tydides' face the lightning flew;
The ground before him flamed with sulphur blue ;
The quivering steeds fell prostrate at the sight ;
And Nestor's trembling hand confess'd his fright
He dropp'd the reins ; and, shook with sacred di eao.
Thus, turning, wamM the intrepid Diomei.


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"Oh, chief! too daring in thy friend's defence.
Retire advised, and urge the chariot hence. 170

This day, averse, the sovereign of the skies
Assists great Hector, and our palm denies.
Some other sun may see the happier hooi'
When Greece shall conquer by his heavenly power.
'Tis not in man his fix'd decree to move :
The great will glory to submit to Jove.**

"Oh, reverend prince !" Tydides thus replica :
"Thy years are awful, and thy words are wise.
But, ah, what grief! should haughty Hector boast,
I fled inglorious to the guarded coast. 180

Before that dire disgrace shall blast my fame,
O'erwhelm me, earth, and hide a warrior's shame !"

To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied :
"Gods ! can thy courage fear the Phrygian's pride?
Hector may vaunt, but who shall heed the boast?
Not those who felt thy arm, the Dardan host.
Nor Troy, yet bleeding in her heroes lost ;
Not ev'n a Phrygian dame, who dreads the sword
That laid in dust her loved, lamented lord."

He said ; and hasty o'er the gasping throng 190

Drives the swift; steeds ; the chariot smokes along.
The shouts of Trojans thicken in the wind.
The storm of hissing javelins pours behind.
Then, with a voice that shakes the solid skies,
Pleased Hector braves the warrior as he flies :
"Go, mighty hero, graced above the rest
In seats of (*.ouncil and the sumptuous feast !
Now hope no more those honours from thy train ;
Go, less than woman, in the form of man !
To scale our walls, to wrap our towers in flames, 200
To lead in exile the fair Phrygian dames.
Thy once proud hopes, presumptuous prince, are fled ;
This arm shall reach thy heart, and stretch thee dead."

Now fears dissuade him, and now hopes invite
To stop his coursers, and to stand the fight ;
Thrice tum'd the chief, and thrice imperial Jove
On Ida's summits thunder'd from above :


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61 eat Hector heard ; he saw the flashing llo^ht —
The sign of conquest — and thus urged the fight :

"Hear, every Trojan, Lycian, Dardan band, 210

All famed in war, and dreadful hand to hand.
Be mindful of the wreaths your arms have won,
Your great forefathers' glories and your own.
Heard ye the voice of Jove? Success and fame
Await on Troy ; on Greece, eternal shame.
In vain they skulk behind their boasted wall.
Weak bulwarks ! destined by this arm to fall.
High o'er their slighted trench our steeds shall bound,
And pass victorous o'er the level'd mound.
Soon as before yon hollow ships we stand, 22C

Fight each with flames, and toss the blazing brand ;
Till, their proud navy wrapp'd in smoke and fires,
All Greece, encompass'd in one blaze, expires."
Furious he said ; then, bending o'er the yoke,
Encouraged his proud steeds, while thus he spoke :
*" Now, Xanthus, ^thon, Lampus ! urge the chase,
And thou, Podargus, prove thy generous race :
Be fleet, be fearless, this important day,
And all your master's well-spent care repay I
For this, high-fed in plenteous stalls ye stand, 230

Served with pure wheat, and by a princess' hand ;
For this my spouse, of great Action's Ime,
So oil has steep'd the strengthening grain in wine.
Now swift pursue, now thunder uncontrol'd !
Give me to seize rich Nestor's shield of gold ;
From Tydeus' shoulders strip the costly load,
Vulcanian arms, the kbour of a god :
These if we gain, then victory, ye powers !
This night, this glorious night, the fleet is ours." 240

That heard, deep anguish stung Saturnia's soul -,
She shook her throne, that shook the starry pole ;
And thus to Neptune : " Thou whose force can make
The steadfast earth from her foundation shake,
Seest thou the Greeks, by fates unjust oppress'd.
Nor swells thy heart in that immortal breast?
8* M

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Yet Mgf.y Helici, thy power obey,

And gifts unceasing on thine altars lay.

Would all the deities of Greece combine,

In vain the gloomy Thunderer might repine :

Sole should he sit, with scarce a god to friend, 250

And see his Trojans to the shades descend :

Such be the scene from his Idsean bower ;

Ungrateful prospect to the sullen power P*

Neptune with wrath rejects the rash design ;
"What rage, what madness, furious queen, is thine?
I war not with the Highest. All above
Submit and tremble at the hand of Jove.**

Now godlike Hector, to whose matchless might
Jove gave the glory of the destined fight.
Squadrons on squadrons drives, and fills the fields 2G0
With close-ranged chariots, and with thickened shields ;
Where the deep trench in length extended lay,
Compacted troops stand wedged in firm array,
A dreadful fi*ont I they shake the brands, and threat
With long-destroying flames the hostile fleet.
The king of men, by Juno's self inspired,
ToilM through the tents, and all his army fired.
Swift as he moved, he lifted in his hand
His purple robe, bright ensign of command.
High on the midmost bark the king appeared ; 270

There, from Ulysses* deck, his voice was heard ;
To Ajax and Achilles reach'd the sound.
Whose distant ships the guarded navy bound.
*0h, Argives ! shame of human race T he cried,
(The hollow vessels to his voice replied,)
" Where now are all your glorious boasts of yore,
Your hasty triumphs on the Lemnian shore?
Each fearless hero dares a hundred foes.
While the feast lasts, and while the goblet flows ;
But who to meet one martial man is found, . 280

When the fight rages, and the flames surround?
Oh, mighty Jove ! oh, sire of the distressed !
Was ever king like me, like me oppress'd?


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With power immense, with justice arm'd in vain :

My glory ravish'd, and my people slain !

To thee my vows were breathed from every shore.

What altar smoked not with our victims' gore?

With fat of bulls I fed the constant flame,

And ask'd destruction to the Trojan name.

Now, gracious god ! far humbler our demand ; 290

Give these at least t* escape from Hector's hand,

And save the relics of the Grecian land !"

Thus pray'd the king ; and heaven's great father heard
His vows, in bitterness of soul preferr'd ;
The wrath appeased, by happy signs declares,
And gives the people to their monarch's prayers.
His eagle, sacred bird of heaven ! he sent,
A fawn his talons truss'd — divine portent !
High o'er the wondering hosts he soar'd above,
Who paid their vows to Panomphsean Jove ; 300

Then let the prey before his altar fall :
The Greeks beheld, and transport seized on all :
Encouraged by the sign, the troops revive,
And fierce on Troy with double fury drive.
Tydides first, of all the Grecian force,
O'er the broad ditch impel'd his foaming horse.
Pierced the deep ranks, their strongest battle tore.
And dyed his javelin red with Trojan gore.
Young Agelaus — Phradmon was his sire^ —
With fljdng coursers shunn'd his dreadful ire : 310

Struck through the back, the Phrygian fell oppress'd ;
The dart drove on, and issued at his breast :
Headlong he quits the car ; his arms resound ;
His ponderous buckler thunders on the ground.
Forth rush a tide of Greeks, the passage freed ;
Th' Atridse first, th' Ajaces next succeed :
Meriones, like Mars in arms renown'd.
And godlike Idomen, now pass'd the mound :
Evffimon's son next issues to the foe,
And last, young Teucer with hi^ bended bow. 820

Secure behind the Telamonian shield.
The skilful archer wide survey'd the field.

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With every shaft some hostile victim slew,
Then close beneath the sevenfold orb withdrew.
The conscious infant so, when fear alarms,
Retires for safety to the mother's arms.
Thus Ajax guards his brother in the field,
Moves as he moves, and turns his shining shield.
Who first by Teucer's mortal arrows bled?
Orsilochus ; then fell Ormenus dead : 830

The godlike Lycophon next pressed the plain,
With Chromius, Daetor, Orphelestes slain :
Bold Hamopaon breathless sunk to ground ;
The bloody pile great Menalippus crown'd.
Heaps fell on heaps, sad trophies of his art ;
A Trojan ghost attended every dart.
.Great Agamemnon views with joyful eye
The ranks grow thinner as his arrows fly:

"Oh, youth for ever dear P the monarch cried,
"Thus, always thus, thy early worth be tried ; 840

Thy brave example shall retrieve our host.
Thy country's saviour, and thy father's boast I
Sprung from an alien's bed thy sire to grace,
The vigorous oflspring of a stol'n embrace !
Proud of his boy, he own'd the generous flame.
And the brave son repays his cares with fame.
Now hear a monarch's vow : if heaven's high powers
Give me to raze Troy's long-defended towers ;
Whatever treasures Greece for me design.
The next rich honorary gift be thine : £50

Some golden tripod, or distinguish'd oar.
With coursers dreadful in the ranks of war ;
Or some fair captive whom thy eyes approve,
Shall recompense the warrior's toils with love."

To this the chief: " With praise the rest inspire.
Nor urge a soul already filled with fire :
What strength I have, be now in battle tried,
Till every shaft in Phrygian blood be dyed.
Smce rallying from our wall we forced the foe,
Still aim'd at Hector have I bent my bow : 860


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Eight forky arrows from this hand have fled,
And eight bold heroes by their points He dead •
But sure some god denies me to destroy
This fury of the field, this dog of Troyl"

He said, and twang'd the string. The weapon flies
At Hector's breast, and sings along the skies :
He miss'd the mark ; but pierced Gorgythion's heart,
And drench'd in royal blood the thirsty dart.
(Fair Castianira, nymph of form divine.
This offspring added to King Priam's line.) 870

As full-blown poppies, overcharged with rain.
Decline the head, and drooping kiss the plain.
So sinks the youth : his beauteous head, depressed
Beneath his helmet, drops upon his breast.
Another shaft the raging archer drew:
That other shaft with erring fury flew,
(From Hector Phoebus tum*d the flying wound,)
Yet fell not dry or guiltless to the ground :
Thy breast, brave Archeptolemus, it tore,
And dipp'd its leathers in no vulgar gore. 380

Headlong he falls :. his sudden fall alarms
The steeds, that staille at his sounding arms.
Hector with grief his charioteer beheld.
All pale and breathless on the sanguine field.
Then bids Cebriones direct the rein,
Quits his bright car, and issues on the plain.
Dreadful he shouts : from earth a stone he took,
And rush'd on Teucer with the lifted rock.
The youth already strain'd the forceful yew;
The shaft already to his shoulder drew; 8U0

The feather in his hand, just wing'd for flight,
TouchM where the neck and hollow chest unite ;
There, where the juncture knits the channel-bone,''
The furious chief discharged the craggy stone :
The bow-string burst beneath the ponderous blow.
And his numb'd hand dismissed his useless bow.
He fell : but Ajax his broad shield displayed.
And screened his brother with a mighty shade;


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Till great Alastor and Mecistheus bore

The batter'd archer groaning to the shore. 400

Troy yet found grace before th' Olympian sire ;
He arm'd their hands, and fill'd their breasts with fire.
The Greeks, repulsed, retreat behind their wall,
Or in the trench on heaps confus'dly fall.
First of the foe, great Hector marchM along,
With terror clothed, and more than mortal strong.
As the bold hound, that gives the lion chase,
With beating bosom, and with eager pace.
Hangs on his haunch, or fastens on his heels,
Guards as he turns, and circles as he wheels ; 410

Thus oft the Grecians tum'd, but still they flew;
Thus following, Hector still the hindmost slew.
When flying they had pass'd the trench profound.
And many a chief lay gasping on the ground ;
Before the ships a desperate stand they made.
And fired the troops, and call'd the gods to aid.
Fierce on his rattling chariot Hector came ;
His eyes like Gorgon shot a sanguine flame
That wither'd all their host : like Mars he stood ;
Dire as a monster, dreadful as the god ! 420

Their strong distress the wife of Jove surveyed ;
Then pensive thus, to War's triumphant maid :

"Oh ! daughter of that god whose arm can wield
Th' avenging bolt, and shake the sable shield I
Now, in this moment of her last despair,
Shall vn^etched Greece no more confess our care?

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