Homer's Iliad online

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Ye all-beholding, all-recording Nine ! MO

Oh, say, when Neptune made proud Ilion yield,
What chief, what hero, first embrued the field?
Of all the Grecians what immortal name.
And whose blest trophies will ye raise to fame f

Thou first, great Ajax ! on th' ensanguined plain
Laid'st Hyrtius, leader of the Mysian train.
Phalces and Mermer, Nestor's son overthrew.
Bold Merion, Morys, and Hippotion slew.
Strong PeriphflBtes and Prothodn bled.
By Teucer's arrows mingled with the dead. 61 (

Pierced in the flank by Menelaus' steel,
His people's pastor, Hyperenor, fell ;
Eternal daurkness wrapt the warrior round.
And the fierce soul came rushing through the wound
But stretch'd in heaps before Oileus' son.
Pall mighty numbers, mighty numbers run ;
Ajax the less, of all the Grecian race
Skill'd in pursuit, and swiftest in the chase.
14* V


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Vis Fifth Battle, at the Ships; and the AcU ofAjax.

A»«VMBXT.— Jupiter, awaking*, eees the Trojans repulsed from the trenclwi^
Hector in a swoon, and Neptune at the head of the (3reeks : he is highly
incensed at the artifice of Juno, who appeases him by her submissions ; shs
W then sent to Iris and Apollo. Juno, repairing to the assembly of the
gods, attempts with extraordinary address to incense them against Jupiter ;
in particular, she touches Mars with a riolent resentment : he is ready to
take arms, but is prevented by Minerva. Iris and Apollo obey the orders
of Jupiter ; Iris commands Neptune to leave the battle, to which, after
much reluctance and passion, he consents. Apollo rSinspires Hector v««ft
vigour, brings him back to the battle, marches before him with his egis,
and turns the fortune of the fighL He breaks down great part of the Gre-
cian wall : the Trojans rush in, and attempt to fire the first line of the fleet,
but are, as yet, repelled by the greater Ajax with a prodigious slaughter.

Now in swift flight they pass the trench profound,
And many a chief lay gasping on the ground :
Then stopp'd and panted, where the chariots lie ;
Fear on their cheek, and horror in their eye.
Meanwhile, awaken'd from his dream of love,
On Ida's summit sat imperial Jove :
Round the wide fields he cast a careful view,
T^here saw the Trojans fly, the Greeks pursue :
These proud in arms, those scattered o'er the plain ;
And, midst the war, the monarch of the main. 10

Not far, great Hector on the dust he spies
(His sad associates round with weeping eyes),
Ejecting blood, and panting yet for breath.
His senses wandering to the verge of death.
The god beheld him with a pitying look.
And thus, incensed, to fraudful Juno spoke:

"Oh thou, still adverse to th' eternal will.
For ever studious in nromoting ill I


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Thy arts have made the godlike Hector yield,

And driven his conquering squadrons from the field. 20

Canst thou, unhappy in thy wiles ! withstand

Our power immense, and brave th' alrpighty hand?

Hast thou forgot, when, bound and fix'd on high,

From the vast concave of the spangled sky,

I hung thee trembling in a golden chain.

And all the raging gpds opposed in vain?

Headlong I hurl'd them from th' Olympian hall,

Stunn'd in the whirl, and breathless with the fall.

For godlike Hercules these deeds were done,

Nor seem'd the vengeance worthy such a son : 30

When, by thy wiles induced, fierce Boreas toss'd

The shipwreck'd hero on the Coan coast, *

Him through a thousand forms of death I bore,

And sent to Argos, and his native shore.

Hear this, remember, and our fury dread,

Nor pull th' unwilling vengeance on thy head:

Lest arts and blandishments successless prove,

Thy soft deceits and well-dissembled love."

The Thunderer spoke: imperial Juno mourn'd,
And, trembling, these submissive words retum'd : 40

** By every oath that powers immortal ties,
The foodful earth, and all infolding skies ;
By thy black waves, tremendous Styx 1 that flow.
Through the drear realms of gliding ghosts below ;
By the dread honours of thy sacred head.
And that unbroken vow, our virgin-bed I
Not by my arts the ruler of the main
Steeps Troy in blood, and rages round the plain ;
By his own ardour, his own pity, sway'd
To help his Greeks, he fought and disobey'd : 50

Else had thy Juno better counsel given,
And taught submission to the sire of heaven."

"Think'st thou with me, fair empress of the skies?"
Th' immortal Father with a smile replies ;
"Then soon the haughty sea-god sl:all obey.
Nor dare to act but when we point the way.


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If truth inspires thy tongue, proclaim our wJl

To yon bright synod on th' Olympian hill :

Our high decree let various Iris know.

And call the god that bears the silver bow. 60

Let her descend, and from th' embattled plain

Command the sea-god to. his watery reign:

While Phoebus hastes great Hector to prepare

To rise afresh, and once more wake the war;

llis labouring bosom rSinspires with breath.

And calls his senses from the verge of death.

Greece chased by Troy ev'n to Achilles' fleet,

Shall fall by thousands at the hero's feet.

He, not untouch'd with pity, to the plain

Shall send Patroclus, but shall send in vain. 70

What youths he slaughters under Ilion's walls !

Ev'n my loved son, divine Sarpedon, falls !

Vanquished at last by Hector's lance he lies.

Then, nor till then, shall great Achilles rise :

And, lo ! that instant godlike Hector dies.

From that great hour the war's whole fortune turns,

Pallas assists, and lofty Ilion bums.

Not till that day shall Jove relax his rage.

Nor one of all the heavenly host engage

In aid of Greece. The promise of a god 80

I gave, and seal'd it with th' almighty nod,

Achilles' glory to the stars to raise ;

Such was our word, and Fate the word obeys."

The trembling queen (th' almighty order given)
Swift from the Idaean summit shot to heaven.
As some way-faring man, who wanders o'er
In thought a length of lands he trod before.
Sends forth his active mind from place to place.
Joins hill to dale, and measures space with space,
So swift flew Juno to the blest abodes, 00

If thought of man can match the speed of gods.
There sat the powers in awful synod placed ;
They bow'd, and made obeisance as she pass'd.
Through all the brazen dome: with goblets crown'd.
They hail her queen ; the nectar streams around.

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Pair Themis first presents the golden bowl,
And anxious asks what cares disturb ^er soul?

To whom the white-arm'd goddess thus replies :
•* Enough thou know'st the tyrant of the skies.
Severely bent his purpose to fulfil, 100

Unmoved his mind, and unrestrained his will.
Go thou, the feasts of heaven attend thy call ;
Bid the crown'd nectar circle round the hall ;
But Jove shall thunder through th' ethereal dome.
Such stem decrees, such threatened woes to come,
As soon shall fireeze mankind with dire surprise.
And damp th' eternal banquets of the skies."

The goddess said; and sullen took her place ;
Blank horror sadden'd each celestial face :
To see the gathering grudge in every breast, 110

Smiles on her lips a spleenful joy express'd ;
While on her wrinkled front, and eye-brow bent,
Sat steadfast care, and lowering discontent.

Thus she proceeds: "Attend, ye powers above !
But know, 'tis madness to contest with Jove :
Supreme he sits ; and sees, in pride. of sway.
Your vassal godheads grudgingly obey :
Fierce in the majesty of power controls ;
Shakes all the thrones of heaven, and bends the poles.
Submiss, immortals 1 all he wills obey; 120

And thou, great Mars, begin and show the way.
Behold Ascalaphus ! behold him die.
But dare not murmur — dare not vent a sigh ;
Thy own loved, boasted ofispring lies o'erthrown,
If that loved, boasted offspring be thy own."

Stem Mars, with anguish for his slaughtered son.
Smote his rebelling breast, and fierce begun :
"Thus then, immortals 1 thus shall Mars obey;
Forgive me, gods, and yield my vengeance way:
Descending first to yon forbidden plain, 130

The god of battles dares avenge the slain ;
Dares, though the thunder, bursting o'er my head.
Should hurl me blazing on those heaps of dead.**

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With that, he gives command to Fear and Flight.
To join his rapid coursers for the fight:
Then, grim in arms, with hasty vengeance flies ;
Arms, that reflect a radiance through the skies.
And now had Jove, by bold rebellion driven,
Discharged his wrath on half the host of heaven ;
But Pallas, springing through the bright abode, 140

Starts from her azure throne to calm the god.
Struck for th' immortal race with timely fear,
From frantic Mars she snatch'd the shield and spear;
Then the huge helmet lifting from his head,
Thus to th' impetuous homicide she said :

" By what wild passion, furious 1 art thou toss'd ?
Striv'st thou with Jove? thou art already lost
Shall not the Thunderer's dread command restrain,
And was imperial Juno heard in vain ?
Back to the skies would'st thou with shame be driven 150
And in thy guilt involve the host of heaven?
Ilion and Greece no more shall Jove engage ;
The skies would yield an ampler scene of rage*
Guilty and guiltless find an equal fate.
And one vast ruin whelm th' Olympian state.
Cease then thy ofispring's death unjust to call :
Heroes as great have died, and yet shall fall.
Why should heaven's law with foolish man comply.
Exempted from the race ordain'd to die?"

This menace fix'd the warrior to his throne ; 160

Sullen he sat, and curb'd the rising groan.
Then Juno call'd (Jove's orders to obey)
The winged Iris, and the god of day.
"Go, wait the Thunderer's will," Satumia cried,
"On yon tall summit of the fountful Ide:
There in the Father's awfiil presence stand,
Receive, and execute his dread command."

She said, and sat: the god that gilds the day,
And various Iris, wing their airy way.
Swift as the wind, to Ida's hill they came 170

(Fair nurse of fountains and of savage game).


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Theie sal K Eternal: he whose nod controls
The trembling world, and shakes the steady poles.
VeiFd in a mist of fragrance him they found,
With clouds of gold and purple circled round.
Well-pleased the Thunderer saw their earnest care,
And prompt obedience to the queen of air;
Then, while a smile serenes his awful brow,
Commands the goddess of the showery bow:

"Iris ! descend, and what we here ordain, 180

Report to yon mad tyrant of the main.
Bid him from fight to his own deeps repair.
Or breathe from slaughter in the fields of air.
If he refuse, then let him timely weigh
Our elder birthright, and superior sway.
How shall his rashness stand the dire alarms,'
If heaven's omnipotence descend in arms?
Strives he with me, by whom his power was given?
And is there equal to the Lord of heaven?"

Th' Almighty spoke; the goddess wing'd her flight 190
To sacred Uion from the Idaean height.
Swift as the rattling hail, or fleecy snows.
Drives through the skies when Boreas fiercely blows :
So from the clouds descending Iris falls ;
And to blue Neptune thus the goddess calls :

"Attend the mandate of the sire above.
In me behold the messenger of Jove :
He bids thee from forbidden wars repair
To thy own deeps, or to the fields of air.
This if refused, he bids thee timely weigh 200

His elder birthright, and superior sway.
How shall thy rashness stand the dire alarms.
If heaven's omnipotence descend in arms?
Striv'st thou with him, by whom all power is given ?
And art thou equal to the Lord of heaven ?"

"What means the haughty sovereign of the skies?"
The king of ocean thus, incensed, replies :
* Rule as he will his portioned realms on high ;
No vassal god, nor of his train, am I.


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Three brother-deities from Saturn came, 210

And ancient Rhea, Earth's immortal dame:

Assigned by lot, our triple rule we know:

Infernal Pluto sways the shades below;

O'er the wide clouds, and o'er the starry plain,

Ethereal Jove extends his high domain ;

My court beneath the hoary waves I keep.

And hush the roarings of the sacred deep ;

Olympus, and this earth, in common lie.

Whatfclaim has here the tyrant of the sky?

Far in the distant clouds let him control, 22C

And awe the younger brothers of the pole ;

There to his children his commands be given.

The trembling, servile, second race of heaven.*

"And must I then," said she, "Oh, sire of floods '
Bear this fierce answer to the king of gods ?
Correct it yet, and change thy rash intent;
A noble .mind disdains not to repent.
To elder brothers guardian fiends are given.
To scourge the wretch insulting them and heaven."

"Great is the profit," thus the god rejoin'd, 230

"When ministers are bless'd with prudent mind:
Warn'd by thy words, to powerful Jove I yield.
And quit, though angry, the contended field.
Not but his threats with justice I disclaim.
The same our honours, and our birth the same.
If yet, forgetful of his promise given
To Hermes, Pallas, and the queen of heaven.
To favour Ilion, that perfidious place.
He breaks his faith with half th' ethereal race :
Give him to know, unless the Grecian train 240

Lay yon proud structures level with the plain,
Howe'er th' offence by other gods be pass'd.
The wrath of Neptune shall for ever last."

Thus cpeaking, furious from the field he strode,
And plunged into the bosom of the flood.
The Lord of Thunders from his lofty height
Beheld, and thus bespoke the source of light:


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** Behold I the god whose liquid arms are hurled
Around the globe, whose earthquakes rock the world,
Desists at length his rebel war to wage, 250

Seeks his own seas, and trembles at our rage ;
Else had my wrath, heaven's thrones all shaking round,
Burn'd to the bottom of the seas profound ;
And all the gods that round old Saturn dwell,
Had heard the thunders to the deeps of hell.
Well was the crime and well the vengeance spared ;
Ev'n power immense had found such battle hard.
Go thou, my son I the trembling Greeks alarm,
Shake my broad aegis on thy active arm.
Be godlike Hector thy peculiar care, 200

Swell his bold heart, and urge his strength to war:
Let nion conquer, till th' Achaian train
Fly to their ships and Hellespont again :
Then Greece shall breathe from toils." — The godhead said .
His will divine the son of Jove obey'd.
Not half so swift the sailing falcon flies.
That drives a turtle through the liquid skies.
As Phoebus, shooting from the Idsean brow.
Glides down the mountain to the plain below.
There Hector seated by the stream he sees, 270

His sense returning with the coming breeze ;
Again his pulses beat, his spirits rise ;
Again his loved companions meet his eyes ;
Jove thinkmg of his pains, they passed away.
To whom the god who gives the golden day :

"Why sits great Hector from the field so far?
What grief, what wound withholds thee from the war?"

The fainting hero, as the vision bright
Stood shining o'er him, half unseal'd his sight :

"What bless'd immortal, with commanding breath,
Thus wakens Hector from the sleep of death? 280

Has Fame not told, how, while my trusty sword
Bathed Greece in slaughter, and her battle gored.
The mighty Ajax with a deadly blow
Had almost sunk me to the shades below?


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Ev'n y^t, methinks, the gliding ghosts I spy,
And hell's black horrors s Jvim before my eye.**

To him Apollo : " Be no more dismay'd ;
See, and be strong ! the Thunderer sends thee aid.
Behold r thy Phoebus shall his arms employ — 29C

PhcBbus, propitious still to thee and Troy.
Inspire thy warriors then with manly force,
And to the ships impel thy rapid horse :
Ev'n I will make thy fiery coursers way.
And drive the Grecians headlong to the sea.**

Thus to bold Hector spoke the son of Jove,
And breathed immortal ardour from above.
As when the pamper'd steed, with reins unbound.
Breaks from his stall, and pours along the ground ;
With ample strokes he rushes to the flood, 800

To bathe his sides, and cool his fiery blood ;
His head now freed, he tosses to the skies ;
His mane dishevelled o'er his shoulder flies ;
He snuffs the females in the well-known plain,
And springs, exulting, to his fields again :
Urged by the voice divine, thus Hector flew.
Full of the god ; and all his hosts pursue.
As when the force of men and dogs combined.
Invade the mountain-goat, or branching hind ;
Far from the hunter's rage secure they lie 310

Close in the rock (not fated yet to die);
When, lo ! a lion shoots across the way !
They fly, at once the chasers and the prey :
So Greece, that late in conquering troops pursued,
And mark'd their progress through the ranks in blood,
Soon as they see the furious chief appear.
Forget to vanquish, and consent to fear.

Thoas with grief observed his dreadful course,
Thoas, the bravest of th' iEtolian force ;
Skill'd to direct the javelin's distant flight, 320

And bold to combat in the standing fight ;
Not more in councils famed for solid sense.
Than winning words and heavenly eloquence.




**6ods ! what portent," he cried, " these eyes invades !
Lo ! Hector rises from the Stygian shades !
We saw him, late, by thundering Ajax kill'd :
What god restores him to the frighted field?
And, not content that half of Greece lie slain,
Pours new destruction on her sons again?
He comes not, Jove ! without thy powerful will ; 830

Lo ! still he lives, pursues, and conquers still !
Yet hear my counsel, and his worst withstand :
The Greeks' main body to the fleet command;
But let the few whom brisker spirits warm.
Stand the first onset, and provoke the storm.
Thus point your arms ; and when such foes appe u\
Fierce as he is, let Hector learn to fear."

The warrior spoke ; the listening Greeks obey,
Thickening their ranks, and form a deep array.

Each Ajax, Teucer, Merion, gave command, 340

The valiant leader of the Cretan band,
And Mars-like Meges : these the chiefs excite.
Approach the foe, and meet the coming fight.
Behind, unnumbered multitudes attend,
To flank the navy, and the shores defend.
Full on the firont the pressing Trojans bear.
And Hector first came towering to the war.
Phoebus himself the rushing battle led ;
A veil of clouds involved his radiant head :
High-held before him, Jove's enormous shield 350

Portentous shone, and. shaded all the field ;
Vulcan to Jove th' immortal gift consign'd.
To scatter hosts and terrify mankind.
The Greeks expect the shock, the clamours rise
From diflferent parts, and mingle in the skies.
Dire was the hiss of darts, by heroes flung.
And arrows leaping from the bow-string sung ;
These drink the life of generous warriors slain ;
Those guiltless fall, and thirst for blood in vain.
As long as Phoebus bore unmoved the shield, 360

Sat doubtful Conquest hovering o'er the field ;


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But when aloft he shakes it in the skies.

Shouts in their ears, and lightens in their eyes,

Deep horror seizes every Grecian breast,

Their force is humbled, and their fear confess'd.

So flies a herd of oxen, scattered wide,

No swain to guard them, and no day to guide.

When two fell lions from the mountain come.

And spread the carnage through the shady gloom

Impending Phoebus pours around them fear, 870

And Troy and Hector thunder in the rear.

Heaps fall on heaps : the slaughter Hector leads ;

First great Arcesilaus, then Stichius bleeds ;

One to the bold Boeotians ever dear.

And one Menestheus' friend, and famed compeer.

Medon and lasus, iEneas sped ;

This sprung from Phelus, and th' Athenians led :

But hapless Medon from Oileus came ;

Him Ajax honour'd with a brother's name.

Though born of lawless love ; from home expel'd, 390

A banish'd man, in Phylac6 he dwell'd,

Press'd by the vengeance of an angry wife ;

Troy ends, at last, his labours and his life.

Mecisteus, next, Polydamas overthrew ;

And thee, brave Clonius, great Agenor slew.

By Paris, Deiochus inglorious dies,

Pierced through the shoulder as he basely flies.

Polites* arm laid Echius on the plain ;

Stretch'd on one heap, the victors spoil the slain.

The Greeks, dismay'd, confused, disperse or fall, 300

Some seek the trench, some skulk behind the wall.

While these fly trembling, others pant for breath.

And o*er the slaughter stalks gigantic Death.

On rush'd bold Hector, gloomy as the night ;

Forbids to plunder, animates the fight,

Points to the fleet : " For, by the gods I who flies,

Who dares but linger, by this hand he dies 1

No weeping sister his cold eye shall close.

No friendly hand his funeral pyre compose.


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Who stops to plunder in this signal hour, 400

The birds shall tear him, and the dogs devour."

Furious he said ; the smarting scourge resounds ;
The coursers fly; the smoking chariot bounds ;
The hosts rush on ; loud clamours shake the shore ;
The horses thunder, earth and ocean roar !
Apollo, planted at the trench's bound,
Push'd at the bank : down sunk th' enormous mound ;
Roird in the ditch the heapy ruin lay;
A sudden road I a long and ample way.
O'er the dread fosse (a late impervious space) 410

Now steeds, and men, and cars tumultuous pass.
The wondering crowds the downward level trod ;
Before them flamed the shield and march'd the god.
Then with his hand he shook the mighty wall ;
And, lo I the turrets nod, the bulwarks fall.
Easy, as when ashore the infant stands.
And draws imagined houses in the sands,
The sportive wanton, pleased with some new play.
Sweeps the slight works and fashion'd domes away
Thus vanished, at thy touch, the towers and walls ; 420
The toil of thousands in a moment falb.

The Grecians gaze around with wild despair,
Confused, and weary all the powers with prayer ;
Exhort their men with praises, threats, commands ;
And urge the gods with voices, eyes, and hands.
Experienced Nestor chief obtests the skies,
And weeps his country with a father's eyes :

**0h, Jove ! if ever, on his native shore,
One Greek enrich'd thy shrine with offer'd gore ;
If e'er, in hope our country to behold, 480

We paid the fattest firstlings of the fold ;
If e'er thou sign'st our wishes with thy nod ;
Perform the promise of a gracious god I
This day preserve our navies firom the flame,
And save the relics of the Grecian name."

Thus pray'd the sage : th' Eternal gave consent,
And peals of thunder shake the firmament ;


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Presumptuous Troy mistook th' accepting sign,

And catch'd new fury at the voice divine.

As when black tempests mix the seas and skies, 440

The roaring deeps in watery mountains rise,

Above the sides of some tall ship ascend.

Its womb they deluge, and its ribs they rend :

Thus loudly roaring, and o'erpowering all.

Mount the thick Trojans up the Grecian wall :

Legions on legions from each side arise :

Thick sound the keels ; the storm of arrows flies.

Fierce on the ships above, the cars below,

These wield the mace, and those the javelin throw.

While thus the thunder of the battle raged, 450

And labouring armies round the works engaged.
Still in thp tent Patroclus sat, to tend
The good Eurypylus, his wounded friend.
He sprinkles healing balms to anguish kind.
And adds discourse, the med'cine of the mind.
But when he saw, ascending up the fleet.
Victorious Troy, then, starting from his seat.
With bitter groans his sorrows he expressed,
He wrings his hands, he beats his manly breast.

** Though yet thy state requires redress," he cries 460
** Depart I must: what horror strikes my eyes!
Charged with Achilles' high commands I go,
A mournful witness of this scene of wo :
I haste to urge him, by his country's care,
To rise in arms, and shine again in war.
Perhaps some favouring god his soul may bend ;
The voice is powerful of a faithful friend."

He spoke : and, speaking, swifter than the wind,
Sprang from the tent, and left the war behind.
Th' embodied Greeks the fierce attack sustain, 470

But strive, though numerous, to repulse in vain I
Nor could the Trojans, through that firm array.
Force to the fleet and tents th' impervious way.
As when a shipwright^ with Palladian art,
Smoothes the rough wood, and le i^els every part ;


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With equal hand he guides nis whole design,
By the just rule, and the directing lire :

Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 25 of 41)