Homer's Iliad online

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To thee I yield the seat, to thee resign
The ruling charge : the task to fight be mine."

He said. Alcimedon, with active heat,
Snatches the reins, and vaults into the seat.
His friend descends. The chief of Troy descried, 650
And caird iEneas, fighting near his side :


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•*Lo, to my sight, beyond our hope, restored

Achilles' car, deserted of its lord ;

The glorious steeds our ready arms invite,

Scarce their weak drivers guide them through the fight;

Can such opponents stand, when we assail ?

Unite thy fprce, my friend, and we prevail."

The son of Venus to the counsel yields,
Then o'er their backs they spread their solid shields ;
With brass refulgent the broad surface shined, 660

And thick bull-hides the spacious concave lined. ^

Them Chromius follows, Aretus succeeds,
£ach hopes the conquest of the lofty steeds :
In vain, brave youths, with glorious hopes ye bum,
In vain advance I not fated to return.

Unmoved, Automedon attends the fight,
Implores th' Eternal, and collects his might
Then turning to his friend, with dauntless mind :
^'Oh, keep the foaming coursers close behind I
Full on. my shoulders let their nostrils blow, 670

For hard the fight, determined is the foe ;
'Tis Hector comes ; and when he seeks the prize,
War knows no mean : he wins it or he dies."

Then through the field he sends his voice aloud,
And calls th' Ajaces from the warring crowd.
With great Atrides: "Hither turn," he said,
**Turn, where distress demands immediate aid;
The dead, encircled bj his friends, forego,
And save the living from the fiercer foe.
Unhelp'd we stand, unequal to engage 680

The force of Hector and ^Eneas' rage ;
Yet mighty as they are, my force to prove
Is only mine ; th' event belongs to Jove."

He spoke ; and high the sounding javelin flung,
Which pass'd the shield of Aretus the young ;
It pierced his belt, emboss'd with curious art,
Then in the lower belly stuck the dart.
As when a ponderous axe descending full,
Cleaves the broad forehead of some brawny bull ;


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Struck 'twixt the horns, he springs with many a bound, 590
Then tumbling rolls enormous on the ground :
Thus fell the youth ; the air his soul received,
And the spear trembled as his entrails heaved.

Now at Automedon the Trojan foe
Discharged his lance ; the meditated blow,
Stooping, he shunn'd ; the javelin idly fled,
And hiss'd innoxious o'er the hero's head :
Deep-rooted in the ground, the forceful spear
In long vibrations spent its fury there.
With clashing faulchions now the chiefs had closed, 600
But each brave Ajax heard, and interposed ;
Nor longer Hector with his Trojans stood,
But left their slain companion in his blood :
His arms Automedon divests, and cries,
** Accept, Patroclus, this mean sa'crifice.
Thus have I soothed my griefs, and thus have paid.
Poor as it is, some offering to thy shade."

So looks the lion o'er a mangled boar.
All grim with rage, and horrible with gore.
High on the chariot at one bound he sprung, 610

And o'er his seat the bloody trophies hung.

And now Minerva, from the realms of air.
Descends impetuous, and renews the war:
For, pleased at length the Grecian arms to aid.
The lord of thunders sent the blue-eyed maid.
As when high Jove, denouncing future wo.
O'er the dark cloudf extends his purple bow
(In sign of tempes*.tf from the troubled air,
Or from the rage of man, destructive war) ;
The drooping cattle dread th' impending skies, 020

And from his half-till'd field the labourer flies :
In such a form the goddess round her drew
A livid cloud, and to the battle flew.
A.ssummg Phcenix' shape, on earth she falls,
And in his well-known voice to Sparta calls :
"And lies Achilles' friend, beloved by all,
A prey to dogs beneath the Trojan wall?


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What shame to Greece for future times to tell ;
To thee the greatest, in whose cause he fell !*'

"Oh, chief! oh, father!'' Atreus' son replies, 63C

**0h, full of days ! by long experience wise !
What more desires my soul, than here, unmoved.
To guard the body of the man I loved?
Ah ! would Minerva send me strength to rear
This wearied arm, and ward the storm of war !
But Hector, like the rage of fire, we dread.
And Jove's own glories blaze around his head."

Pleased to be first of all the powers address'd.
She breathes new vigour in her hero's breast.
And fills with keen revenge, with fell despite, 040

Desire of blood, and rage, and lust of fight.
So bums the vengeful hornet (soul all o'er),
Repulsed in vain, and thirsty still of gore ;
(Bold son of air and heat !) on angry wings,
Untamed, untired, he turns, attacks, and stings.
Fired with like ardour, fierce Atrides flew.
And sent his soul with every lance he threw.

There stood a Trojan, not unknown to fame,
Eetion's son, and. Podes was his name ;
With riches honoured, and with courage bless'd, 650

By Hector loved, his comrade and his guest:
Through his broad belt the spear a passage found,
And ponderous as he falls, his arms resound.
Sudden at Hector'i side Apollo stood ;
Like PhoBnops, Asius' son, appeared the god ;
(Asius the great, who held his wealthy reign
In fair Abydos, by the rolling main.)

"Oh, prince !" he cried, **oh, foremost once in fame !
What Grecian now shall tremble at thy name ?
Dost thou at length to Menelaus yield — 660

A chief once thought no terror of the field?
Yet singly, now, the long-disputed prize
He bears victorious, while our army flies.
By the same arm illustrious Podes bled ;
The friend of Hector, unrevenged, is dead P


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This heard, o'er Hector spreads a cloud of wo,
Rage lifts his lance, and drives him on the foe.

But now th' Eternal shook his sable shield.
That shaded Ide, and all the subject field,
Beneath its ample verge. A rolling cloud 670

Involved the mount ; the thunder roar'd aloud ;
Th' afirighted hills from their foundations nod.
And blaze beneath the lightnings of the god :
At one regard of his all-seeing eye.
The vanquish'd triumph, and the victors fly.

Then trembled Greece : the flight Peneleus led ;
For, as the brave Bceotian tum*d his head
To face the foe, Polydamas drew near,
And razed his shoulder with a shorten'd spear:
By Hector wounded, Leitus quits the plain, 680

Pierced through the wrist ; and, raging with the pain,
Grasps his once-formidable lance in vain.

As Hector followed, Idomen address'd
The flaming javelin to his manly breast:
The brittle point before his corslet yields.
Exulting Troy with clamour fills the fields :
High on his chariot as the Cretan stood,
The son of Priam whirl'd the missive wood ;
But, erring from its aim, th' impetuous spear
Struck to the dust the squire and charioteer 690

Of martial M erion : Cceranus his name,
Who left fair Lyctus for the fields of fame.
On foot bold Merion fought; and now, laid low,
Had graced the triumphs of his Trojan foe ;
But the biave squire the ready coursers brought,
And with his life his master's safety bought.
Between his cheek and ear the weapon went.
The teeth it shattered, and the tongue it rent.
Prone from his seat he tumbles to the plain ;
His dying hand forgets the falling rein : 700

This Merion reaches, bending from the car,
And urges to desert the hopeless war;
Idomeneus consents : the lash applies ;
And the swift chariot to the navy flies.

Digitized by CjOOQ IC


Nor Ajax .ess the will of Heaven descried,
And conquest shifting to the Trojan side,
Turn'd by the hand of Jove. Then thus begun.
To Atreus' seed, the godlike Telamon :

"Alas ! who sees not Jove's almighty hand
Transfers the glory to the Trojan band? 71 C

Whether the weak or strong discharge the dart,
He guides each arrow to a Grecian heail:
Not so our spears : incessant though they rain.
He suffers every lance to fall in vain.
Deserted of the god, yet let us try
What human strength and prudence can supply;
If yet this honour'd corse, in triumph borne,
May glad the fleets that hope not our return.
Who tremble yet, scarce rescued from their fates.
And still hear Hector thundering at their gates. 720

Some hero too must be despatched to bear
The mournful message to Pelides* ear;
For sure he knows not, distant on the shore.
His friend, his loved Patroclus, is no more.
But such a chief I spy not through the host :
The men, the steeds, the armies, all are lost
In general darkness. — Lord of earth and air !
Oh, King ! oh, Father 1 hear my humble prayer :
Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore :
Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more 1 730

If Greece must perish, we thy will obey.
But let us perish in the face of day."

With tears the hero spoke, and at his prayer
The god, relenting, clear'd the douded air;
Forth burst the sun with all-enlightening ray;
The blaze of armour flash'd against the day.
" Now, now, Atrides ! cast around thy sight.
If yet Antilochus survives the fight.
Let him to great Achilles' ear convey
The fatal news." — Atrides hastes away. 740

So turns the lion from the nightly fold,
Though high in courage, and with hunger bold.


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Long gall*d by herdsmen, and long vex'd by hounds,

Stiff with fatigue^ and fretted sore with wounds ;

The darts fly round him from a hundred hands,

And the red terrors of the blazing brands :

Till late, reluctant, at the dawn of day.

Sour he departs, and quits th' untasted prey:

So moved Atrides from his dangerous place

With weary limbs, but with unwilling pace ; 751)

The foe, he fear'd, might yet Patroclus gain.

And much admonish'd, much adjured his train:

**0h ! guard these relics, to your charge consigned,
And bear the merits of the dead in mind ;
How skill'd he was in each obliging art ;
The mildest manners, and the gentlest heart;
He was, alas ! but fate decreed his end ;
In death a hero, as in life a friend I**

So parts the chief; from rank to rank he flew,
And round on all sides sent his piercing view. 760

As the bold bird, endued with sharpest eye.
Of all that wing the mid atrial sky,
The sacred eagle, from his walks above,
Looks down, and sees the distant thicket move,
Then stoops, and, sousing on the quivering hare.
Snatches his life amid the clouds of air:
Not with less quickness, lii» exerted sight
Pass'd this, and that way, through the ranks of fight;
Till on the left the chief he sought, he found.
Cheering his men, and spreading deaths around. 779

To him the king : " Beloved of Jove ! draw near,
For sadder tidings never touch'd thy ear.
Thy eyes have witness'd what a fatal turn ;
How Ilion triumphs, and th' Achaians mourn I
This is not all : Patroclus on the shore.
Now pale and dead, shall succour Greece no more
Ply to the fleet, this instant fly, and tell
The sad Achilles how his loved-one fell :
He too may haste the naked corse to gain ;
The arms are Hector's, who despoil'd the slain.** 78C


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The youthful warrior heard with silent wo,
From Ws fair eyes the tears began to flow ;
Big with the mighty grief, he strove to say
What sorrow dictates, but no word found way.
To brave Laodocus his arms he flung,
Who near him, wheeling, drove his steeds along ;
Then ran, the mournful message to impart.
With tearful eyes and with dejected heart
Swift fled the youth: nor Menelaus stands
(Though sore distressed) to aid the Pylian bands ; 79C
But bids bold Thrasymede those troops sustain ;
Himself returns to his Patroclus slain.

''Gone is Antilochus,^ the hero said;
But hope not, warriors, for Achilles' aid: .
Though fierce his rage, unbounded be his wo,
Unarm'd he fights not with the Trojan foe.
'Tis in our hand alone our hopes remain,
'Tis our own vigour must the dead regain,
And save ourselves, while with impetuous hate
Troy pours along, and this way rolls our fateJ' 800

**'Tis well,** said Ajax : ** be it then thy care,
With Merion's aid, the weighty corse to rear;
Myself and my bold brother will sustain
The shock of Hector and his charging train :
Nor fear we armies, fighting side by side ;
What Troy can dare, we have already tried —
Have tried it, and have stood.** — The hero said;
High from the ground the warriors heave the dead.
A general clamour rises at the sight:
Loud shout the Trojans, and renew the fight. 810

Not fiercer rush along the gloomy wood.
With rage insatiate and with thirst of blood,
Voracious hounds, that many a length before
Their furious hunters, drive the wounded boar ;
But, if the savage turns his glaring eye.
They howl aloof, and round the forest fly.
Thus on retreating Greece the Trojans pour,
Wave their thick faulchions, and their javelins shower:


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But Ajax turning, to their fears they yield ;

All pale they tremble, and forsake the field. 920

While thus aloft the hero's corse they bear,
Behind them rages all the storm of war;
Confusion, tumult, horror, o'er the throng
Of men, steeds, chariots, urged the rout along :
Less fierce the winds with rising flames conspire,
To whelm some city under waves of fire ;
Now sink in gloomy clouds the proud abodes ;
Now crack the blazing temples of the gods ;
The rumbling torrent through the ruin rolls.
And sheets of smoke mount heavy to the poles. 830

The heroes sweat beneath their honoured load.
As when two mules, along the rugged road.
From the steep mountain with exerted strength
Drag some vast beam, or mast's unwieldy length.
Inly they groan, big drops of sweat distil,
Th' enormous timber lumbering down the hill :
So these. — Behind, the bulk of Ajax stands,
And breaks the torrent of the rushing bands.
Thus when a river, swell'd with sudden rains.
Spreads his broad waters o'er the level plains, 840

Some interposing hill the stream divides,
And breaks its force, and turns the winding tides.
Still close they follow, close their rear engage ;
^neas storms, and Hector foams with rage :
While Greece a heavy, thick retreat maintains.
Wedged in one L^ody like a flight of cranes.
That shriek incessant while the falcon, hung
High on poised pinions, threats their callow young:
So from the Trojan chiefs the Grecians fly.
Such the wild terror, and the mingled cry: 850

Within, without the trench, and all the way,
Strew'd in bright heaps, their arms and armour lay:
Such horror Jove impressed ! yet still proceeds
Tlie work of death, and still the battle bleeds.


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The Grief of Achilles, and New Armour made km by Vvlcatu

Abovment. — ^The new* of the death' of Patroclufl is brought to Achilles by
Antilochus. Thetis, hearing his lamentations, comes with all her sea-
nymphs to comfort him. The speeches of the mother and son on this
occasion. Iris appears to Achillos by the command of Juno, and orders
him to show hims^ at the head of the intrenchments. The sig'ht of him
turns the fortunes of the day, az£d the body of Patroclus is carried off by
the Greeks. The Trojans call a council, where Hector and Polydamas
disagree in their opinions ; but the advice of the former prevails, to remain
encamped in the field. The gprief of Achilles over the body of Patroclus.

T^ietis gt>e8 to the palace of Vulcan, to obtain now arms for her son. Tb«
description of the wonderful works of Vulcan ; and lastly, that noble one
of the shield of Achilles.

The latter part of the nine-and-twentieth day, and the night ensuing, tafcs
up this book. The scene is at Achilla* tent on the sea-shore, from whenc«
it changes to the palace of Vulcan.

Thus, like the raging of the fire^ the combat bums ;
And now it rises, now it sinks by turns.
Meanwhile, where Hellespont's broad waters flow
Stood Nestor's son, the messenger of wo :
There sat Achilles, shaded by his sails,
On hoisted yards extended to the gales ;
Pensive he sat; for all that fate design'd.
Rose in sad prospect to his boding mind.
Thus to his soul he said : "Ah what constrains
The Greeks, late victors, now to quit the plains? 10

Is this the day, which Heaven so long ago
Ordain'd, to sink me with the weight of wo?
(So Thetis warn'd,) when by a Trojan hand
The bravest of the Myrmidonian band
Should lose the light? Fulfiird is that decree ;
FaH'n is the warrior, and Patroclus he !
In vain I charged him soon to quit the plain.
And wam'd to shun Hectorian force in vain T


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Thus while he thinks, Antilochus appears.
And tells the melancholy tale with tears. 20

**Sad tidings, son of Peleus ! thou must hear;
And wretched I th' unwilling messenger!
Dead is Patroclus ! For his corse they fight,
His naked corse ; his arms are Hector's right."

A sudden horror shot through all the chief.
And wrapp'd his senses in the cloud of grief:
Cast on the ground, with furious hands he spread
The scorching ashes o'er his graceful head;
His purple garments, and his golden hairs.
Those he deforms with dust, and these he tears : SO

On the hard soil his groaning breast he threw,
And roll'd, and grovel'd, as to earth he grew.
Tne virgin captives, with disordered charms,
(Won by his own, or by Patroclus' arms,)
Rush*d from the tents with cries ; and, gathering round,
Beat their white breasts, and fainted on the ground:
While Nestor's son sustains a manlier part,
And mourns the warrior with a warrior's heart ;
Hangs on his arm, amidst his frantic wo,
And oft prevents the meditated blow. 40

Far in the deep abysses of the main,
With hoary Nereus, and the watery train.
The mother-goddess from her crystal throne
Heard his loud cries, and answered groan for groan.
The circling Nereids with their mistress weep.
And all the sea-green sisters of the deep.
Thalia, Glauc^ (every watery name,)
Nesaea mild, and silver Spio came :
Cymothoe and Cymodoc^ were nigh.
And the blue languish of soft Alia's eye. 60

Their locks Acteea and Limnoria rear,
Then Proto, Doris, Panop^ appear,
Thoa, Pherusa, Doto, Melita :
Agav^ gentle, and Amphithod gay:
Next Callianira, Calianassa, show
Their sister looks ; Dexamen^ the slow.


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And swift Dynamen^ now cut the tides :

Isera now the verdant wave divides :

Nemertes with Apseudes lifts the head.

Bright Galatea quits her pearly bed; 60

These Orythia, Clymenfe, attend,

Maera, Amphinomft, the train extend.

And black Janira, and Janassa fair,

And Amatheia with her amber hair. .

All these, and all that deep in ocean held

Their sacred seats, the glimmering grotto fill'd ;

Each beat her ivory breast with silent wo,

Till Thetis' sorrows thus begsui to flow:

" Hear me, and judge, ye sisters of the main f
How just a cause has Thetis to complain I 70

How wretched, were I mortal, were my fate !
How more than wretched in th' immortal state I
Sprung from my bed a godlike hero came,
The bravest far that ever bore the name ;
Like some fair olive, by my careful hand
He grew, he flourish'd, and adom'd the land :
To Troy I sent him ; but the Fates ordain
He never, never must return again.
So short a space the light of heaven to view,
So short, alas ! and flll'd with anguish too. 80

Hear how his sorrows echo through the shore !
I cannot ease them, but I must deplore :
I go at least to bear a tender part.
And mourn my loved one with a mother's heart."

She said ; and left thp caverns of the main,
All bathed ir tears : the melancholy train
Attend her way. Wide opening part the tides.
While the long pomp the silver wave divides.
Approaching now, they touch'd the Trojan land ;
Then, two by two, ascended up the strand. 90

Th' immortal mother, standing close beside
Her mournful offspring, to his sighs replied ;
Along the coast their mingled clamours ran.
And thus the silver- footed dame began :


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••Why mourns my son? thy late-preferr'd request
The god has granted, and the Greeks distressed :
Why mourns my son? thy anguish let me share ;
Reveal the cause, and trust a parent's care."

He, deeply groaning: "To this cureless grief
Not ev'n the Thunderer's favour brings relief. 100

Patroclus ! — Ah ! — say, goddess, can I boast
A pleasure now? revenge itself is lost;
Patroclus, loved of all my martial train.
Beyond mankind, beyond myself is slain ;
Lost are those arms the gods themselves bestow'd
On Peleus : Hector bears the glorious load.
Cursed be that day, when all the powers above
Thy charms submitted to a mortal love !
Oh ! hadst thou still, a sister of the main.
Pursued the pleasures of the watery reign ; 110

And happier Peleus, less ambitious, led
A mortal beauty to his equal bed !
Ere the sad fruit of thy unhappy womb
Had caused such sorrows past and woes* to come I
For soon, alas ! that wretched offspring slain.
New woes, new sorrows, shall create again.
'Tis not in Fate th' alternate now to give ;
Patroclus dead, Achilles hates to live.
Let me revenge it on proud Hector's heart.
Let his last spirit smoke upon my dart; 120

On these conditions will I breathe : till then,
I blush to walk among the race of men."

A flood of tears, at this, the goddess shed :
"Ah, then, I see thee dying, see thee dead!
When Hector falls, thou diest." — "Let Hector die,
And let me fall !" Achilles made reply.
Far lies Patroclus from his native plain !
He fell, and, falling, wish*d my aid in vain.
Ah ! then, since from this miserable day
I cast all hope of my return away; 130

Since unrevenged, a hundred ghosts demand
The fate of Hector from Achilles' hand ;



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Since here, for brutal courage far renowned,

I live an idle burden to the ground,

(Others in council famed for nobler skill,

More useful to preserve than I to kill :)

Let me — But, oh ! ye gracious powers above 1

Wrath and revenge from men and gods remove :

Far, far too dear to every mortal breast,

Sweet to the soul, as honey to the taste: 140

Gathering like vapours of a noxious kind

From fiery blood, and darkening all the mind,

Me Agamemnon urged to deadly hate :

'Tis past — I quell it ; I resign to fate.

Yes : I will meet the murderer of my friend ;

Or, if the gods ordain it, meet my end.

The stroke of fate the bravest cannot shun ;

The great Alcides, Jove's unequal'd son.

To Juno's hate at length resign'd his breath.

And sunk the victim of all-conquering death. 150

So shall Achilles fall ! stretch'd pale and dead.

No more the Grecian hope, or Trojan dread!

Let me, this instant, rush into the fields.

And reap what glory life's short harvest yields.

Shall I not force some widow'd dame to tear

With frantic hands her long dishevel'd hair?

Shall I not force her breast to heave with sighs,

And the soft tears to trickle from her eyes?

Yes, I shall give the fair those mournful charms —

In vain you hold me — Hence ! My arms ! my arms ! 160

Soon shall the sanguine torrent spread so wide.

That all shall know Achilles swells the tide."

" My son," (cerulean Thetis made reply,
To fate submitting with a secret sigh,)
" The host to succour, and thy friends to save,
Is worthy thee : the duty of the brave.
But canst thou naked issue to the plains?
Thy radiant arms the Trojan foe detains.
Insulting Hector bears the spoils on high.
But vainly glories ; for his fate is nigh. 170


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Yet, yet awhile, thy generous ardour stay;
Assured, I meet thee at the dawn of day,
Charged with refulgent arms, a glorious load,
Vulcanian arms, the labour of a god."

Then, turning to the daughters of the main,
The goddess thus dismissed her azure train :

"Ye sister Nereids ! to your deeps descend;
Haste, and our father's sacred seat attend ;
I go to find the architect divine.

Where vast Olympus' starry summits shine : 180

So tell our hoary sire." — This charge she gave ;
The sea-green sisters plunged beneath the wave ;
Thetis once more ascends the bless'd abodes,
And treads the brazen threshold of the gods.

And now the Greeks, from furious Hector's force.
Urge to broad Hellespont their headlong course :
Nor yet their chiefs Patroclus' body bore
Safe through the tempest to the tented shore.
The horse, the foot, with equal fury join'd,
Pour'd on the rear, and thunder'd close behind ; 100

And like a flame through fields of ripen'd com.
The rage of Hector o'er the ranks was borne. .
Thrice the slain hero by the foot he drew:
Thrice to the skies the Trojan clamour flew:

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