Homer's Iliad online

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This said, Pisander from the car he cast.
And pierced his breast : supine he breathed his last*
His brother leap'd to earth ; but as he lay.
The trenchant faulchion lopp'd his hands away:
His sever'd head was toss'd among the throng.
And, rolling, drew a bloody trail along. 190

Then, where the thickest fought, the victor flew ;
The king's example all his Greeks pursue.
Now by the foot the flying foot were slain.
Horse trod by horse lay foaming on the plain.
From the dry fields thick clouds of dust arise,
Shade the black host, and intercept the skies. .
The brass-hoofd steeds tumultuous plunge and bound.
And the thick thunder beatg the labouring ground
Still slaughtering on, the king of men proceeds ;
The distanced army wonders at his deeds. 200


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As when the winds with raging flames conspire,

And o'er the forests roll the flood of fire,

In blazing heaps the grove's old honours fall.

And one refulgent ruin levels all :

Before Atrides' rage so sinks the foe.

Whole squadrons vanish, and proud heads he low :

The steeds fly trembling from his waving sword :

And many a car, now lighted of its lord,

Wide o'er the field with guideless fury rolls,

Breaking their ranks, and crushing out their souls ; 210

While his keen faulchion drinks the warriors' lives ;

More grateful, now, to vultures than their wives I

Perhaps great Hector then had found his fate.
But Jove and Destiny prolonged his date.
Safe from the darts, the care of Heaven he stood.
Amidst alarms, and death, and dust, and blood.

Now past the tomb where ancient IIus lay.
Through the mid field the routed urge their way.
Where the wild figs th' adjoining summit crown,
That path they take, and speed to reach the town. 220
As swifl Atrides with loud shouts pursued,
Hot with his toil, and bathed in hostile blood.
Now near the beech-tree, and the Scaean gates.
The hero halts, and his associates waits.
Meanwhile, on every side, around the plain.
Dispersed, disordered, fly the Trojan train :
So flies a herd of beeves, that hear, dismay'd,
The lion's roaring through the midnight shade ;
On heaps they tumble with successless haste ;
The savage seizes, draws, and rends the last : 280

Not with less fury stem Atrides flew,
Still press'd the rout, and still the hindmost slew ;
Hurl'd firom their cars, the bravest chiefs are kill'd,
And rage, and death, and carnage, load the field.

Now storms the victor at the Trojan wall :
Surveys the towers, and meditates their fall.
But Jove, descending, shook the Ida^an hills,
And down their summits pour'd a hundred rills :


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Th' unkindled lightnings in his hand he took,

And thus the many-colour'd maid bespoke : 241^

" Iris, with haste thy golden wings display,
To godlike Hector this our word convey:
While Agamemnon wastes the ranks around,
Fights in the front, and bathes with blood the ground,
Bid him give way ; but issue forth commands,
And trust the war to less important hands.
But when, or wounded by the spear or dart,
That chief shall mount his chariot, and depart,
Then Jove shall string his arm, and fire his breast ;
Then to her ships shall flying Greece be press'd, 250
Till to the main the burning sun descend.
And sacred night her awful shade extend.**

He spoke ; and Iris at his word obey'd ;
On wings of winds descends the various maid.
The chief she found amidst the ranks of war.
Close to the bulwarks, on his glittering car.
The goddess then : "Oh, son of Priam, hear !
From Jove I come, and his high mandate bear.
While Agamemnon wastes the ranks around.
Fights in the front, and bathes with blood the ground 260
Abstain from fight ; yet issue forth commands.
And trust the war to less important hands.
But when, or wounded by the spear or dart.
The chief shall mount his chariot, and depait.
Then Jove shall string thy arm, and fire thy breast ;
Then to her ships shall flying Greece be press'd.
Till to the main the burning sun descend,
And sacred night her awful shade extend.**

She said, and vamsh*d. Hector with a bound,
Springs from his chariot on the trembling ground, 270
In clanging arms : he grasps in either hand
A pointed lance, and speeds from band to band ;
Revives their ardour, turns their steps from flight.
And wakes anew the dying flames of fight.
They stand to arms ; the Greeks their onset dare.
Condense their powers, and wait the coming war.


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New force, new spirit, to each breast returns :

The fight renewed, with fiercer fury burns :

The kings lead on ; all fix on him their eye,

And learn from him to conquer or to die. 280

Ye sacred Nine, celestial Muses I tell,
Who faced him first, and by his prowess fell?
The great Iphidamas, the bold and young.
From sage Antenor and Theano sprung ;
Whom, from his youth, his grandsire Cisseus bred,
And nursed in Thrace, where snowy flocks are fed.
Scarce did the down his rosy cheeks invest,
And early honour warm his generous breast,
When the kind sire consign'd his daughter's charms
(Theano's sister) to his youthful arms, 290

But, caird by glory to the wars of Troy,
He leaves untasted the first fruits of joy:
From his loved bride departs with melting eyes.
And swift to aid his dearer country flies.
With twelve black ships he reached Percop^'s strand.
Thence took the long laborious march by land.
Now, fierce for fame, before the ranks he springs.
Towering in arms, and braves the king of kings.
Atrides first discharged the missive spear ;
The Trojan stoop'd, the javelin pass'd in air. 300

Then near the corslet, at the monarch's heart.
With all his strength the youth directs his dart :
But the broad belt, with plates of silver bound.
The point rebated, and repel'd the wound.
Encumber'd with the dart, Atrides stands,
Till, grasp'd with force, he wrenched it from his hands ;
At once Ws weighty sword discharged a wound
Full on his neck, that fell'd him to the ground.
Stretch'd in the dust th' unhappy warrior lies.
And sleep eternal seals his swimming eyes. 310

Oh, worthy better fate ! oh, early slain !
Thy country's friend ! and virtuous, though in vain 2
No more the youth shall join his consort's side.
At once a virgin, and at once a bride !
11 Q


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No more with presents her embraces meet,

Or lay the spoils of conquest at her feet !

On whom his passion, lavish of his store,

Bestow'd so much, and vainly promised more.

Unwept, uncovered, on the plain he lay,

While the proud victor bore his arms away. 5t«>o

Coon, Antenor's eldest hope, was nigh :
Tears, at the sight, came starting from his eye,
While, pierced with grief, the much-loved youth he view'd.
And the pale features now deform'd with blood.
Then with his spear, unseen, his time he took,
Aim'd at the king, and near his elbow struck.
The thrilling steel transpierced the brawny part.
And through his arm stood forth the barbed dart.
Surprised, the monarch feels ; yet, void of fear.
On Coon rushes with his lifted spear: 330

His brother's corpse the pious Trojan draws.
And calls his country to assert his cause ;
Defends him breathless on the sanguine field,
And o'er the body spreads his ample shield.
Atrides, marking an unguarded part,
Transfix'd the warrior with the brazen dart;
Prone on his brother's bleeding breast he lay.
The monarch's faulchion lopp'd his head away:
The social shades the same dark journey go.
And join each other in the realms below; 340

The vengeful victor rages round the fields.
With every weapon art or fury yields :
By the long lance, the sword, or ponderous stone.
Whole ranks are broken, and whole troops o'erthrown.
This, while yet warm, distill'd the purple flood ;
But when the wound grew stiff" with clotted blood,
Then grinding tortures his strong bosom rend.
Less keen those darts the fierce Ilythiae send,
(The powers that cause the teeming matron's throes.
Sad mothers of unutterable woes !) 350

Stung with the smart, all panting with the pain,
He mounts the car, and gives his squire the rein :


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Then, with a voice which fary made more strong,
And pain augmented, thus exhorts the throng :

"Oh, friends ! oh, Greeks ! assert your honours won ;
Proceed, and finish what this arm begun :
Lo ! angry Jove forbids your chief to stay.
And envies half the glories of the day."

He said. The driver whirls his lengthful thong;
The horses fly; the chariot smokes along. 3G0

Clouds from their nostrils the fierce coursers blow.
And from their sides the foam descends in snow ;
Shot through the battle in a moment's space.
The wounded monarch at his tent they place.

No sooner Hector saw the king retired,
But thus his Trojans and his aids he fired :

" Hear, all ye Dardan, all ye Lycian race I
Famed in close fight, and dreadful face to faqe.
Now call to mind your ancient trophies won.
Your great forefathers' virtues, and your own. 370

Behold, the general flies I deserts his powers !
Lo, Jove himself declares the conquest ours !
Now on yon ranks impel your foaming steeds ;
And, sure of glory, dare immortal deeds."

With words like these the fiery chief alarms
His fainting host, and every bosom warms.
As the bold hunter cheers his hounds to tear
The brindled lion or the tusky bear;
With voice and hand provokes their doubtmg heart,
And springs the foremost with his lifted dart: 880

So godlike Hector prompts his troops to dare ;
Nor prompts alone, but leads himself the war.
On the black body of the foes he pours ;
As from the cloud's deep bosom, swelled with showers,
A sudden storm the purple ocean sweeps,
Drives the wild waves, and tosses all the deeps.
Say, Muse ! when Jove the Trojan's glory crown'd.
Beneath his arm what heroes bit the ground?
AssoBus, Dolops, and Autonous died,
Opites next was added to their side ; 890


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Then brave Hipponous, famed in many a fight,

Ophehius, Orus, sunk to endless night;

iEsymnus, Agelaus — all chiefs of name ;

The rest were vulgar deaths, unknown to fame.

As when a western whirlwind, charged with storms,

Dispels the gathered clouds that Notus forms.

The gust continued, violent, and strong.

Rolls sable clouds in heaps on heaps along ;

Now to the skies the foaming billows rears,

Now breaks the surge, and wide the bottom bares : 400

Thus raging Hector, with resistless hands,

O'ertums, confounds, and scatters all their bajids.

Now the last ruin the whole host appals ;

Now Greece had trembled in her wooden walls ;

But wise Ulysses call'd Tydides forth,

His soul rekindled, and awaked his worth :

"And stand we deedless— oh, eternal shame ! —
Till Hector's arm involve the ships in flame ?
Haste ! let us join, and combat side by side."

The warrior thus. And thus the friend replied : €10
"No martial toil I shun, no danger fear;
Let Hector come ; I wait his fury here.
But Jove with conquest crowns the Trojan train ;
And Jove our foe, all human force is vain."

He sigh'd ; but, sighing, raised his vengeful sf^l.
And from his car the proud Thymbrajus fell :
Molion, the charioteer, pursued his lord,
His death ennobled by Ulysses' sword.
There slain, they left them in eternal night,
Then plunged amidst the thickest ranks of fight: 420
So two wild boars outstrip the following hounds.
Then swift revert, and wounds return for wounds.
Stem Hector's conquest in the middle plain
Stood check'd awhile, and Greece respired again.

The sons of Merops shone amidst the war:
Towering they rode in one refulgent car:
In deep prophetic arts their father skill'd.
Had wam'd his children from the Trojan field ;


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Fate u/ged them on ; the father warnM in vain ;

They rush to fight, and perish on the plain ! 430

Their breasts no more the vital spirit wanns :

The stem Tydides strips their Shining arms.

Hypirochus by great Ulysses dies,

And rich Hippodamus becomes his prize.

Great Jove from Ide vnih slaughter fills his sight,

And level hangs the doubtful scale of fight.

By Tydeus' lance Agastrophus vras slain.

The far-famed hero of Pseonian strain ;

Wing'd with his fears, on foot he strove to fly,

His steeds too distant, and the foe too nigh; 44o

Through broken orders, swifter than the wind,

He fled ; but, flying, left his life behind.

This Hector sees, as his experienced eyes

Traverse the files, and to the rescue flies :

Shouts, as he pass'd, the crystal regions rend.

And moving armies on his march attend.

Great Diomed himself was seized with fear,

And thus bespoke his brother of the war:

" Mark, how this way yon bending squadrons yield !
The storm rolls on, and Hector rules the field : 450

Here stands his utmost force.** — ^I'he warrior sanl :
Swift at the word his ponderous javelin fled ;
Nor miss'd its aim, but, where the plumage danced.
Razed the smooth cone, and thence obliquely glanced.
Safe in his helm (the gift of PbcBbus' hands)
Without a wound the Trojan hero stands ;
But yet so stunn'd, that, staggering on the plain.
His arm and knee his sinking bulk sustain ;
D'er his dim sight the misty vapours rise,
And a short darkness shades his swimming eyes. 400

Tydides followed, to regain his lance ;
While Hector rose, recovered from the trance ;
Remounts his car, and herds amidst the crowd :
The Greek pursues him, and exults aloud :

"Once more thank Phoebus for thy forfeit breath.
Or thank that swiftness which outstrips the death.


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Well by Apollo are thy prayers repaid,

And oft that partial power has lent his aid.

Thou shalt not long the death deserved withstand,

If any god assist Tydides' hand. 47C

Fly then, inglorious ! but thy flight, this day.

Whole hecatombs of Trojan ghosts shall pay.**

Him, while he triumph'd, Paris eyed from far,
(The spouse of Helen, the fair cause of war:^
Around the fields his feathered shafts he sent
From ancient Ilus' ruined monument:
Behind the column placed, he bent his bow,
And wing'd an arrow at th' unwary foe ;
Just as he stoop'd, Agastrophus's crest
To seize, and drew the corslet from his breast, 480

The bow-string twang'd ; nor flew the shaft in vain,
But pierced his foot, and naiFd it to the plain.
The laughing Trojan, with a joyful spring,
Leaps from his ambush, and insults the king.

" He bleeds 1" he cries, " some god has sped my dart.
Would -the same god had fix'd it in his heart!
So Troy, relieved from that wide-wasting hand,
Should breathe from slaughter, and in combat stand ;
Whose sons now tremble at his darted spear,
As scattered lambs the rushing lion fear." 490

He dauntless thus: "Thou conqueror of the fair,
Thou woman- warrior with the curling hair ;
Vain archer ! trusting to the distant dart,
Unskiird in arms to act a manly part !
Thou hast but done what boys or women can ;
Such hands may wound, but not incense a man.
Nor boast the scratch thy feeble arrow gave,
A coward's weapon never hurts the brave.
Not so this daii, which thou may'st one day feel :
Fate wings its flight, and death is on the steel. 500

Where this but lights, some noble life expires :
Its touch makes orphans, bathes the cheeks of sires ;
Steeps earth in purple, gluts the birds of air.
And leaves such objects as distract the fair."


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Ulysses hastens with a trembling heart.
Before him steps, and bending draws the dart:
Forth flows the blood ; an eager pang succeeds ;
Tydides mounts, and to the navy speeds.

Now on the field Ulysses stands alone,
The Greeks all fled, the Trojans pouring on ; 610

But stands collected in himself, and whole,
And questions *thus his own unconquer'd soul :

"What farther subterfuge, what hopes remain f
What shame inglorious, if I quit the plain I
What danger, singly if I stand the ground.
My friends all scatter'd, all the foes around !
Yet wherefore doubtful? let this truth suffice,
The brave meets danger, and the coward flies :
To die or conquer, proves a hero's heart;
And, knowing this, I know a soldier's part." 520

Such thoughts revolving in his careful breast,
Near, and more near, the shady cohorts press'd :
These, in the warrior, their own fate enclose ;
And round him deep the steely circle grows.
So fares a boar whom all the troop surrounds
Of shouting huntsmen, and of clamorous hounds ;
He grinds his ivory tusks ; he foams with ire.
His sanguine eye-balls glare with living fire :
By these, by those, on every part is plied ;
And the red slaughter spreads on every side. 580

Pierced through the shoulder, first Deiopis fell.
Next Ennomus and Thoon sunk to hell ;
Chersidamas, beneath the navel thrust.
Falls prone to earth, and grasps the bloody dust.
Charops, the son of Hippasus, was near;
Ulysses reach'd him with the fatal spear;
But to his aid his brother Socus flies,
Socus, the brave, the generous, and the wise :
Near as ho drew the wsurior thus began :

"Oh, great Ulysses ! much-enduring man I 540

Net deeper skill'd in every martial sleight.
Than worn to toils, and active in the fight I


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This day two brothers shall thy conquest grace, '

And end at once the great Hippasian race,

Or thou beneath this lance must press the field."

He said ; and forceful pierced his spacious shiela :
Through the strong brass the ringing javelin thrown,
Plough'd half his side, and bared it to the bone.
By Pallas' care, ihe spear, though deep infix'd
Stopp'd short of life, nor with his entrails mixM. 550

The wound not mortal wise Ulysses knew;
Then furious thus (but first some steps withdrew) :
** Unhappy man ! whose death our hands shall grace .
Fate calls thee hence, and finished is thy race.
No longer check my conquests on the foe ;
But, pierced by this, to endless darkness go.
And add one spectre to the realms below I"

He spoke ; while Socus, seized with sudden fright.
Trembling gave way, and tum'd his back to flight:
Between his shoulders pierced the following dart, 500
And held its passage through the panting heart.
Wide in his breast appeared the grizly wound ;
He falls; his armour rings against the ground.
Then thus Ulysses, gazing on the slain :

" Famed son of Hippasus ! there press the plain ;
There ends thy narrow span, assign *d by fate,
Heaven owes Ulysses yet a longer date.
Ah, wretch ! no father shall thy corpse compose,
Thy dying eyes no tender mother close;
But hungry birds shall tear those balls away, 570

And hovering vultures scream around, their prey.
Me Greece shall honour, when I meet my doom,
With solemn funerals and a lasting tomb."

Then raging with intolerable smart,
He writhes his body and extracts the dart.
The dart a tide of spouting gore pursued.
And gladden'd Troy with sight of hostile blood.
Now troops on troops the fainting chief invade.
Forced he recedes, and loudly calls for aid.
Thrice to its pitch his lofty voice he rears; 5S0

The well-known voice thrice Menelaus hears:

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AJarmMy to Ajax Telamon he cried.

Who shares his labours, and defends his side :

**0h, friend 1 Ulysses* shouts invade my eao*;
Distressed he seems, and no assistance near.
Strong as he is, yet, one opposed to all,
OppressM by midtitudes, the best may fall.
Greece, robb'd of him, must bid her host despair,
And feel a loss not ages can repair.*'

Then where the cry directs, his course he bends ; 590
Great Ajax, like the god of war, attends.
The prudent chief in sore distress they found.
With bands of furious Trojans compass'd round.
As when some huntsman, with a flying spear,
From the blind thicket wounds a stately deer;
Down his cleil side while fresh the blood distils.
He bounds aloft, and scuds from hills to hills ;
Till life's warm vapour, issuing through the wound.
Wild mountain- wolves the fainting beast surround ;
Just as their jaws his prostrate limbs invade, 600

The lion rushes through the woodland shade.
The wolves, though hungry, scour dispersed away;
The lordly savage vindicates his prey:
Ulysses thus, unconquer'd by his pains,
A single warrior, half a host sustains :
But soon as Ajax heaves his tower-like shield.
The scatter'd crowds fly frighted o'er the field ;
Atrides' arm the sinking hero stays.
And, saved from numbers, to his car conveys.

Victorious Ajax plies the routed crew; 610

And first Doryclus, Priam's son, he slew;
On strong Pandocus next inflicts a wound.
And lays Lysander bleeding on the ground.
As when a torrent, swell'd with wintry rains,
Pours from the mountains o'er the deluged plains.
And pines, and oaks, from their foundations torn,
A co'mtry's ruins ! to the seas are borne ;
Fieice Ajax thus o'erwhelms the yielding throng:
Men, steeds, and chariots, roll in heaps along.

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But Hector, from this scene of slaughter far, 62C

Raged on the left, and rules the tide of war:
Loud groans proclaim his progress through the plain,
And deep Scamander swells with heaps of slain.
There Nestor and Idomeneus oppose
The warrior's fury, there the battle glows :
There, fierce on foot, or from the chariot's height,
His sword deforms the beauteous ranks of fight
The spouse of Helen, dealing darts around.
Had pierced Machaon with a distant wound ;
In his right shoulder the broad shaft appear'd, 630

And trembling Greece for her physician fear'd.
To Nestor then Idomeneus begun :

"Glory of Greece, old Neleus' valiant son!
Ascend thy chariot, haste with speed away,
And great Machaon to the ships convey.
A wise physician, skill'd our wounds to heal.
Is more than armies to the public weal."

Old Nestor mounts the seat. Beside him rode
The wounded ofispring of the healing god.
He lends the lash ; the steeds with sounding feet 640
Shake the dry field, and thunder tow'rd the fleet.

But now Cebriones, from Hector's car,
Survey'd the various fortunes of the war.
"While here," he cried, "the flying Greeks are slain,
Trojans on Trojans yonder load the plain.
Before great Ajax see the mingled throng
Of men and chariots driven in heaps along !
I know him well, distinguish'd o'er the field
By the broad glittering of the seven-fold shield.
Thitlier, oh. Hector ! thither urge thy steeds, 650

There danger calls, and there the combat bleeds 1
There horse and foot in mingled deaths unite.
And groans of slaughter mix with shouts of fight."

Thus having spoke, the driver's lash resounds ;
Swift through the ranks the rapid chariot bounds;
Stung by the stroke, the coursers scour the fields,
O'er heaps of carcases, and hills of shields.


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The horses* hoofs are bathed in heroes' gore,

And, dashing, purple all the car before ;

The groaning axle sable drops distils, 860

And mangled carnage clogs the rapid wheels.

Here Hector, plunging through the thickest fight.

Broke the dark phalanx, and let in the light:

(By the long lance, the sword, or ponderous stone,

The ranks lie scattered, and the troops o'erthrown.)

Ajax he shuns, through all the dire debate.

And fears that arm whose force he felt so late.

But partial Jove, espousing Hector's part.

Shot heaven-bred horror through the Grecian's heart;

Confused, unnerved, in Hector's presence grown, 6*50

Amazed he stood, with terrors not his own.

Cer his broad back his moony shield he threw.

And glaring round, with tardy steps withdrew.

Thus the grim lion his retreat maintains,

Beset with watchful dogs and shouting swains ;

Repulsed by numbers from the nightly stalls.

Though rage impels him, and though hunger calls,

Long stands the showering darts and missile fires ;

Then sourly slow th' indignant beast retires :

So turn'd stern Ajax, by whole hosts repel'd, 680

While his swoln heart at every step rebel'd.

As the slow beast, with heavy strength endued.
In some wide field, by troops of boys pursued.
Though round his sides a wooden tempest rain.
Crops the tall harvest, and lays waste the plain ;
Thick on his hide the hollow blows resound.
The patient animal maintains his ground.
Scarce from the field with all their efibrts chased.
And stirs but slowly when he stirs at last:
On Ajax thus a weight of Trojans hung, 390

The strokes redoubled on his buckler rung;
Confiding now in bulky strength he stands.
Now turns, and backward bears the yielding bands ;
Now stiff recedes, yet hardly seems to fly,
And threats his followers with retorted eye.


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