Copyright
Homer.

Homer's Iliad online

. (page 29 of 41)
Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 29 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


But far the vainest of the boastful kind

These sons of Panthus vent their haughty mind.

Yet 'tv^as but late beneath my conquering steel,

This boaster's brother, Hyperenor, fell ;

Against our arm, which rashly he defied.

Vain was his vigour, and as vain his pride. 30

These eyes behejd him on the dust expire,

No more to cheer his spouse or glad his sire.

Presumptuous youth ! like his shall be thy doom :

Go, wait thy brother to the Stygian gloom ;

Or, while thou may'st, avoid the threaten'd fate :

Fools stay to feel it, and are wise too late."

Unmoved Euphorbus thus : " That action known,
Come, for my brother's blood repay thy own.
His weeping father claims thy destined head.
And spouse, a widow in her bridal-bed. 40

On these thy conquered spoils I shall bestow.
To soothe a consort's and a parent's wo.
No longer then defer the glorious strife.
Let Heaven decide our fortune, fame, and life."

Swift as the word the missile lance he flings ;
The well-aim'd weapon on the buckler rings,
But, blupted by the brass, innoxious falls :
On Jove the father, great Atrides calls ;
Nor flies the javelin from his arm in vain.
It pierced his throat, and bent him to the plain ; 50

Wide through the neck appears the grisly wound,
P one sinks the warrior, and his arms resound.
The shining circlets of his golden hair,
Which ev*n the Graces might be proud to wear,
Instarr'd w ith gems and go d, bestrew the shore,
With dust dishonoured, and deform'd with gore.



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII. 377

As the young olive, in some sylvan scene,
Crown'd by fresh fountains with eternal green,
Lifts the gay head, in snowy flow'rets fair.
And plays and dances to the gentle air ; 60

When lo I a whirlwind from high heaven invades
The tender plant, and withers all its shades ;
It lies uprooted from its genial bed,
A lovely ruin now defaced and dead :
Thus young, thus beautiful, Euphorbus lay.
While the fierce Spartan tore his arms away.
Proud of his deed, and glorious in the prize.
Affrighted Troy the towering victor flies :
Flies, as before some mountain-lion's ire
The village curs and trembling swains retire ; 70

When o'er the slaughtered bull they hear him roar
And see his jaws distil with smoking gore :
All pale with fear, at distance scatter'd round.
They shout incessant, and the vales resound.
Meanwhile, Apollo viewed with envious eyes.

And urged great Hector to dispute the prize
(In Mentes' shape, beneath whose martial care

The rough Ciconians leam'd the trade of war).

•* Forbear," he cried, "with fruitless speed to chase

Achilles' coursers, of ethereal race : SO

They stoop not, these, to mortal man's command.

Or stoop to none but great Achilles' hand.
. Too long amused with a pursuit so vain,

Turn, and behold the brave Euphorbus slain I

By Sparta slain I for ever now suppressed

The fire which burn'd in that undaunted breast !"
Thus having spoke, Apollo wing'd his flight.

And mix'd with mortals in the toils of fight:

His words infix'd unutterable care

Deep in great Hector's soul : through all the war 90

He darts his anxious eye : and instant view'd

The breathless hero in his blood imbrued,

(Forth •veiling from the wounds, as prone he lay,)

And in the victor's hands the shining prey.



Digitized



by Google



J



3:8 THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII.

Sheatn'ci in bright arms, through cleaving ranks he flies.
And sends his voice in thunder to the skies.
Fierce as a flood of flame by Vulcan sent,
It flew, and fired the nations as it went.
Atrides from the voice the storm divined,
' And thus explored his own unconquer'd mind : 100

"Then shall I quit Patroclus on the plain.
Slain in my cause, and for my honour slain?
Desert the arms, the relics of my friend?
Or, singly. Hector and his troops attend ?
Sure where such partial favour Heaven bestow'd,
To brave the hero were to brave the god.
Forgive me, Greece, if once I quit the field :
'Tis not to Hector, but to Heaven, I yield.
Yet, nor the god, nor Heaven, should give me fear.
Did but the voice of Ajax reach my ear: 110

Still would we turn, still battle on the plains,
And give Achilles all that yet remains
Of his and our Patroclus." — This, no more.
The time allow'd : Troy thicken'd on the shore,
A sable scene ! The terrors Hector led.
Slow he recedes, and sighing quits the dead.

So from the fold th' unwilling lion parts.
Forced by loud clamours, and a storm of darts.
He flies indeed, but threatens as he flies.
With heart indignant and retorted eyes. 120

Now entered in the Spartan ranks, he turn'd
Jlis manly breast, and with new fury bum'd ;
O'er all the black battalions sent his view,
And through the cloud the godlike Ajax knew;
Where labouring on the left the warrior stood.
All grim in arms, and cover'd o'er with blood ;
There breathing courage, where the god of day
Had sunk each heart with terror and dismay.

To him the king : **Oh, Ajax I oh, my friend I
Hahte, and Patroclus' loved remains 'detend : 130

The body to Achilles to restore.
Demands our care ; alas, we can no more I



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII. 879

For naked now, despoiled of arms, I e lies ;
And Hector glories in the dazzling prize."

He said, and touch'd his heart. The raging pair
Pierce the thick battle, and provoke the war.
Already had stern Hector seized his head.
And doom'd to Trojan dogs th' unhappy dead ;
But soon (as Ajax rear'd his tower-like shield)
Sprung to his car, and measured back the field. 140

His train to Troy the radiant armour bear.
To stand a trophy of his fame in war.

Meanwhile, great Ajax (his broad shield displayed)
Guards the dead hero with the dreadful shade ;
And now before, and now behind he stood.
Thus, in the centre of some gloomy wood.
With many a step the lioness surrounds
Her tawny young, beset by men and hounds ;
Elate her heart, and rousing all her powers.
Dark o'er the fiery balls each hanging eye-brow lowers. 1 50
Fast by his side the generous Spartan glows
With great revenge, and feeds his inward woes.

But Glaucus, leader of the Lycian aids.
On Hector frowning, thus his flight upbraids :

"Where now in Hector shall we Hector find?
A manly form without a manly mind !
Is this, O chief! a hero's boasted fame?
How vain, without the merit, is the name?
Since battle is renounced, thy thoughts employ
What other methods may preserve thy Troy; 160

'Tis time to try if Ilion's state can stand
By thee alone, nor ask a foreign hand ;
Mean, empty boast I but shall the Lycians stake
Their lives for you? those Lycians you forsake?
What from thy thankless arms can -we expect?
Thy friend Sarpedon proves thy base neglect:
Say, shall our slaughtered bodies guard your walls,
While unrevenged the great Sarpedon falls ?
Ev'n where he died for Troy, you left him there,
A feast for dogs, and all the fowls of air. 170



Digitized



by Google



380 THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII.

On my command if any Lycian wait,

Hence let him march, and give up Troy to fete.

Did such a spirit as the gods impart

Impel one Trojan hand or Trojan heart

(Such as should bum in every soul that draws

The sword for glory and his country's cause),

Ev'n yet our mutual arms we might employ,

And drag yon carcase to the walls of Troy.

Oh ! were Patroclus ours, we might obtain

Sarpedon's arms, and honour'd corse again I 180

Greece with Achilles' friend should be repaid.

And thus due honours purchased to his shade.

But words are vain. Let Ajax once appear,

And Hector trembles, and recedes with fear;

Thou darest not meet the terrors of his eye ;

And, lo I already thou preparest to fly."

The Trojan chief with fix'd resentment eyea
The Lycian leader, and sedate replied :

" Say, is it just, my friend, that Hector's ear
From such a. warrior such a speech should hear? 190

I deem'd thee once the wisest of thy kind,
But ill this insult suits a prudent mind.
I shun great Ajax? 1 desert my train?
*Tis mine to prove th6 rash assertion vain.
.1 joy to mingle where the battle bleeds,
And hear the thunder of the sounding steeds.
But Jove's high will is ever uncontrol'd.
The strong he withers, and confounds the bold :
Now crowns with fame the mighty man, and now
Strikes the fresh garland from the victor's brow ! 20C
Come, through yon squadron let us hew the way,
And thou be witness if I fear to-day;
If yet a Greek the sight of Hector dread.
Or yet their hero dare defend the dead.-'

Then, turning to the martial hosts, he cries :
"Ye Trojans, Dardans, Lycians, and allies !
Be men, my friends, in action as in name,
And yet 1 e mindful of vour ancient fame.



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII. 381

Hector in proud Achilles' arms shall shine,

Torn from his friend, hy right of conquest mine." 210

He strode along the field, as thus he said
(The sable plumage nodded o'er his head) :
Swift through the spacious plain he sent a look,
One instant saw, one instant overtook
The distant band, that on the sandy shore
The radiant spoils to sacred Hion bore.
There his own mail unbraced the field bestrow' j :
His train to Troy convey'd the .massy load.
Now blazing in th' immortal arms he stands,
The work and present of celestial hands ; 220

By aged Peleus to Achilles given,
As first to Peleus by the court of heaven :
His father's arms not long Achilles wears.
Forbid by fate to reach his father's years.

Him, proud in triumph, glittering fi*om afeir.
The god whose thunder rends the troubled air.
Beheld with pity, as apart he sate.
And, conscious, look'd through all the scene of fate :
He shook the sacred honours of his head ;
Olympus trembled, and the godhead said : 230

"Ah, wretched man! unmindful of thy end 1
A moment's glory, and what fates attend I
In heavenly panoply divinely bright
Thou stand'st, and armies tremble at thy sight.
As at Achilles' self: beneath thy dart
Lies slain the great Achilles' dearer part:
Thou from the mighty dead those arms hast torn
Which once the greatest of mankind had worn.
Yet live I I give thee one illustrious day,
A blaze of glory ere thou fad'st away. 240

For, ah I no more Andromache shall come.
With joyful tears, to welcome Hector home ;
No more officious, with endearing charms.
From thy tired limbs unbrace Pelides' arms 1"

Then with his sable brow he gave the nod
That seals his word ; the sanction of the god.



Digitized



by Google



882 THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII.

The stubborn arms, by Jove's command disposed,

Conform'd spontaneous, and around him closed.

Fiird with the god, enlarged his members grew.

Through all his veins a sudden vigour flew; 250

The blood m brisker tides began to roll,

And Mars himself came rushing on his soul.

Exhorting loud through all the field he strode.

And look'd, and moved, Achilles, or a god.

Now Mesthles, Glaucus, Medon he inspires,

Now Phorcys, Chromius, and Hippothous fires ;

The great Thersilochus like fury found,

AsteropsBUs kindled at the sound,

And Ennomaus, in augury renown'd.

** Hear, all ye hosts, and hear unnumber'd bands 260
Of neighbouring nations, or of distant lands 1
'Twas not for state we summoned you so far.
To boast our numbers, and the pomp of war;
Ye came to fight; a valiant foe to chase.
To save our present and our future race.
For this, our wealth, our products, you enjoy.
And glean the relics of exhausted Troy.
Now then to conquer or to die prepare.
To die or conquer are the terms of war.
Whatever hand shall win Patroclus slain, 270

Whoe'er shall drag him to the Trojan train.
With Hector's self shall equal honours claim ;
With Hector part the spoil, and share the fame.**

Fired by his words, the troops dismiss their fears,
They join, they thicken, they protend their spears :
Full on the Greeks they drive in firm array.
And each firom Ajax hopes the glorious prey:
Vain hope ! what numbers shall the field o'erspread I
What victims perish round the mighty dead I

Great Ajax mark'd the growing storm from far, 280
And thus bespoke his brother of the war :

"Our fatal day, alas ! is come, my firiend,
And all our wars and glories at an end !
'Tis not this corse alone we guard in vain,
Condemn'd to vultures on the Trojan plain ;

Digitized by CjOOQ IC



.THE ILIAD. BOOK XVII. 383

We too must }rield : the same sad fate must fall

On thee, on me, perhaps, my friend, on all.

See what a tempest direful Hector spreads.

And, lo I it bursts, it thunders on our heads I

Call on our Greeks, if any hear the call, 290

The bravest Greeks : this hour demands them all."

The warrior raised his voice, and wide around
The field rgecho'd the distressful sound.

"Oh, chiefs ! oh, princes ! to whose hand is given
The rule of men, whose glory is from heaven !
Whom with due honours both Atrides grace :
Ye guides and guardians of our Argive race I
All, whom this Well-known voice shall reach so far!
All, whom I see not through this cloud of war!
Come all I let generous rage your arms employ, 300

And save Patroclus from tlje dogs of Troy !"

03ean Ajax first the voice obeyed.
Swift was his pace, and ready was his aid :
Next him Idomeneus, more slow with age.
And Merion, burning with a hero's rage.
The long-succeeding numbers who can name?
But all were Greeks, and eager all for fame.
Pierce to the charge great Hector led the throng ;
Whole Troy embodied rush'd with shouts along.
Thus, when a mountain-billow foams and raves, 310

Where some swollen river disembogues his waves.
Full in the mouth is stbpp'd the rushing tide.
The boiling ocean works from side to side.
The river trembles to his utmost shore.
And distant rocks rebellow to the roar.

Nor less resolved, the firm Achaian band
With brazen shields in horrid circle stand :
Jove, pouring darkness o'er the mingled fight.
Conceals the warrior's shining helms in night:
To him, the chief for whom the hosts contend, 326

Had lived not hateful, for he lived a friend :
Dead he protects him with superior care,
Nor dooms his carcase to the birds of air.



Digitized



by Google



384 THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII.

The first attack the Grecians scarce sustain.

Repulsed they yield, the Trojans seize the slain ;

Then fierce they rally, to revenge led on

By the swift rage of Ajax Telamon ;

(Ajax, to Peleus' son the second name,

In graceful stature next, and next in fame).

With headlong force the foremost ranks he tore : 33G

So through the thicket bursts the mountain-boar.

And rudely scatters, far to distance round,

The frighted hunter and the baying hound.

The son of Lethus, brave Pelasgus' heir,

Hippothous, dragg'd the carcase through the war;

The sinewy ankles bored, the feet he bound

With thongs, inserted through the double wound.

Inevitable fate o'ertakes the deed ;

Doom'd by great Ajax' vengeful lance to bleed :

It cleft the helmet's brazen cheeks in twain ; 340

The shatter'd crest and horse-hair strew the plain ;

With nerves relax'd he tumbles to the ground ;

The brain comes gushing through the ghastly wound ;

He drops Patroclus* foot, and o'er him spread

Now lies, a sad companion of the dead :

Far from Larissa lies, his native air,

And ai requites his parents* tender care.

Lamented youth ! in life's first bloom he fell,

Sent by great Ajax to the shades of hell.

Once more at Ajax, Hector's javelin flies : 350

The Grecian, marking as it cut the skies,

Shunn'd the descending death ; which, hissing on,

Stretch'd in the dust the great Iphytus' son,

Schedius the brave, of all the Phocian kind,

The boldest warrior, and the noblest mind :

In little Panopfe, for strength renown'd.

He held his seat,- and ruled the realms around.

Plunged in his throat, the weapon drank his blood.

And deep transpiercing through (ne shoulder strod ; '

[n clanging arms the hero fell, and all " 360

The fields resounded with Ms weighty fall.



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII. 386

Phorcys, as slain Hippothous he defends.

The Telamonian lance his belly rends ;

The hollow armour burst before the stroke,

And through the wound the rushing entrails broke.

In strong convulsions, panting on the sands

He lies, and grasps the dust with dying hands.

Struck at the sight, recede the Trojan train :
The shouting Argives strip the heroes slain.
And now had Troy, by Greece compel'd to yield, 370
Fled to her ramparts, and resigned the field ;
Greece, in her native fortitude elate.
With Jove averse, had tumM the scale of fate ;
But Phoebus urged ^Eneas to the fight;
He seem'd like aged Periphas to sight
(A herald in Anchises' love grown old,
Revered for prudence ; and with prudence bold).

Thus he: **What methods yet, oh chief! remain,
To save your Troy, though Heaven its fall ordain !
There have been heroes, who, by virtuous cai-e, 3S0

By valour, numbers, and by arts of war.
Have forced the powers to spare a sinking state.
And gainM at length the glorious odds of fute :
But you, when fortune smiles, when Jove declares
His partial favour, and assists your wars.
Your shameful eflTorts 'gainst yourselves employ.
And force th' unwilling god to ruin Troy."

iEneas, through the form assumed, descries
The power concealed, and thus to Hector cries :

"Oh, lasting shame 1 to our own feai-s a prey, 390

We seek our ramparts, and desert the day I
A god, nor 5s he less, my bosom warms.
And tells me, Jove asserts the Trojan arms."

He spoke ; and foremost to the combat flew:
The bold example all his host pursue. •

Then first, Leocritus beneath him bled.
In vain beloved by valiant Lycomede ;
Who viewed his fall, and, grieving at the chance,
Swift to revenue it, sent his angry lance :

Digitized by CjOOQ IC



nftfl THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII.

Tne whirling lance, with vigorous force addressed, 400

Descends, and pants in Apisaon's breast:

From rich Paeonia's vales the warrior came,

Next thee, Asteropseus ! in place ?ind fame.

Asteropaeus with grief beheld the slain,

And rush'd to combat, but he rush'd m vain :

Indissolubly firm, around the dead.

Rank within rank, on buckler buckler spread,

And hemm'd with bristled spears, the Grecians stood ;

A brazen bulwark, and an iron wood.

Great Ajax eyes them with incessant care, 41%1

And in an orb contracts the crowded war.

Close in their ranks commands to fight or fall.

And stands the centre and the soul of all :

FixM on the spot they war, and, wounded, wound ;

A sanguine torrent steeps the reeking ground ;

On heaps the Greeks, on heaps the Trojans bled.

And, thickening round them, rise the hills of dead.

Greece, in close order, and collected might.
Yet suffers least, and sways the wavering fight ;
Fierce as conflicting fires, the combat burns, 420

And now it rises, now it sinks by turns.
In one thick darkness all the fight was lost;
The sun; the moon, and all th' ethereal host,
Seem'd as extinct: day ravish'd from their eyes.
And all heaven's splendours blott^ from the skies ;
Such o'er Patroclus' body hung the night.
The rest in sunshine fought, and open light :
Unclouded there, the atrial azure spread,
No vapour rested on the mountain's head ;
The golden sun pour'd forth a stronger ray, 43^

And all the broad expansion flamed with day.
Dispersed around the plain, by fits they fight,
.And here, and there, their scattered arrows light:
But death and darkness o'er the carcase spread.
There bum'd the war, and there the mighty bled.

Meanwhile, the sons of Nestor, in the rear,
rrheir fellows routed,) t^ss the distant spear,



Digitized by



Google



Tlin ILIAD, BOOK XVII. 38T

And skirniish wide: so Nestor gave command,

When from the ships he sent the Pylian band.

The youthful brothers thus for fame contend, 410

Nor knew the fortune of Achilles' friend ;

In thought they view'd him still, with martial joy,

Glorious in arms, and dealing deaths to Troy.

But round the corse the heroes pant for breath,
And thick and heavy grows the work of death :
Cerlabour'd now, with dust, and sweat, and gore,
Their knees, their legs, their feet are covered o'er;
Drops follow drops, the clouds on clouds arise.
And carnage clogs their hands, and darkness fills their eyes.
As when a slaughter'd bull's yet reeking hide, 450

Strain'd with full force, and tugg'd from side to side.
The brawny curriers stretch ; and labour o'er
Th* extended surface, drunk with fat and gore :
So tugging round the corse both armies stood ;
The mangled body bathed in sweat and blood ;
While Greeks and Ilians equal strength employ.
Now to the ships to force it, now to Troy.
Not Pallas' sel^ her breast when fury warms.
Nor he whose anger sets the world in arms.
Could blame this scene ; such rage, such horror reign'd ;
Such Jove, to honour the great dead, ordain'd. 461

Achilles in his ships at distance lay,
Nor knew the fatal fortune of the day;
He, yet unconscious of Patroclus' fall.
In dust extended under Ilion's wall,
Expects him glorious from the conquered plain.
And for his wish'd return prepares in vain ;
Though well he knew, to make proud Ilion bend.
Was more than heaven had destined to his friend :
Perhaps to him: this Thetis had reveal'd; 470

The rest, in pity to her son, concealed.

Still raged the conflict round the hero dead.
And heaps on heaps by mutual wounds they bled.
"Cursed be the man," ev'n private Greeks would say,
** Who dares desert this well-disputed day !



Digitized



by Google



388 THE ILIAD, BOOK XVIf.

First may the cleaving earth before our eyes
Gape wide, and drink our blood for sacrifice 1
First perish all, ere haughty Troy shall boast
We lost Patroclus, and our glory lost !"

Thus they. While with one voice the Trojans said, -161
"Grant this day, Jove I or heap us on the dead !"

Then clash their sounding arms ; the clangours rise.
And shake the brazen concave of the skies.
Meantime, at distance from the scene of blood,
The pensive steeds of great Achilles stood ;
Their godlike master, slain before their eyes.
They wept, and shared in human miseries.
In vain Automedon now shakes the rein.
Now plies the lash, and soothes and threats in vain ;
Nor to the fight nor Hellespont they go, 490

Restive they stood, and obstinate in wo ;
Still as a tombstone, never to be moved.
On some good man or woman unreproved
Lays its eternal weight; or fix'd as stands
A marble courser by the sculptor's hands,
Placed on the hero's grave. Along their face.
The big round drops coursed down with silent pace,
Conglobing on the dust. Their manes, that late
Circled their arched necks, and waved in state,
Traird on the dust beneath the yoke were spread, 500
And prone to earth was hung their languid head :
Nor Jove disdain'd to cast a pitying look,
While thus relenting to the steeds he spoke :

" Unhappy coursers of immortal strain !
Exempt from age, and deathless now in vain !
Did we your race on mortal man bestow.
Only, alas ! to share in mortal wo?
For, ah I what is there, of inferior birth,
That breathes or creeps upon the dust of earth ;
What wretched creature, of what wretched kind, 51 C
Than man more weak, calamitous and blind?
A miserable race I But cease to mourn ;
For not by you shall Priam's son be borne



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XVII. 389

High on the splendid car: one glorious prize

He rashly boasts ; the rest our will denies.

Ourself will swiftness to your nerves impart,

Ourself with rising spirits swell your heart.

Automedon your rapid flight shall bear

Safe to the navy through the storm of war.

For yet 'tis given to Troy, to ravage o'er 620

The field, and spread her slaughters to the shore :

The sun shall see her conquer, till his fall

With* sacred darkness shades the face of all."

He said ; and breathing in th' immortal horse
Excessive spirit, urged them to the course :
From their high manes they shake the dust, and bear
The kindling chariot through the parted war:
So flies a vulture through the clamorous train
Of geese, that scream, and scatter round the plain.
From danger now with^swiftest speed they flew, 580

And now to conquest with like speed pursue ;
Sole in the seat the charioteer remains,
Now plies the javelin, now directs the reins :
Him brave Alcimedon beheld distress'd,
Approach'd the chariot, and the chief address'd:

*• What god provokes thee, rashly thus to dare,
Alone, una' ^ed, in the thickest war?
Alas I thy friend is slain, and Hector wields
Achilles' arms triumphant in the fields.**

**In happy time," the charioteer replies, 540

*• The bold Alcimedon now greets my eyes :
No Greek like him the heavenly steeds restrains.
Or holds their fury in suspended reins :
Patroclus, while he lived, their rage could tame !
But now Patroclus is an empty name !



Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 29 of 41)