Homer.

Pope's translation of Homer's Iliad, books I, VI, XXII, XXIV; online

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His eldest-born by raging Mars was slain,

In combat on the Solymaean plain.

Hippolochus survived; from him I came,

The honour' d author of my birth and name ;
255 By his decree I sought the Trojan town,

By his instructions learn to win renown ;

To stand the first in worth as in command,

To add new honours to my native land,

Before my eyes my mighty sires to place,
260 And emulate the glories of our race."

He spoke, and transport fill'd Tydides' heart ;

In earth the gen'rous warrior fix'd his dart ;

Then friendly thus the Lycian prince addrest :

" Welcome, my brave hereditary guest !
265 Thus ever let us meet, with kind embrace,

]STor stain the sacred friendship of our race.

Know, chief, our grandsires have been guests of old,

(Eneus the strong, Bellerophon the bold ;

Our ancient seat his honoured presence grac'd,
270 Where twenty days in genial rites he pass'd.

The parting heroes mutual presents left:

A golden goblet was thy grandsire's gift ;

(Eneus a belt of matchless work bestow'd,

That rich with Tyrian dye refulgent glow'd
275 (This from his pledge I learn'd, which, safely stor'd



48 THE ILIAD

Among my treasures, still adorns my board :
For Tydeus left me young, when Thebe's wall
Beheld the sons of Greece untimely fall).
Mindful of this, in friendship let us join ;

280 If heav'n our steps to foreign lands incline,
My guest in Argos thou, and I in Lycia thine.
Enough of Trojans to this lance shall yield,
In the full harvest of yon' ample field ;
Enough of Greeks shall dye thy spear with gore ;

285 But thou and Diomed be foes no more.

Now change we arms, and prove to either host
We guard the friendship of the line we boast."

Thus having said, the gallant chiefs alight,
Their hands they join, their mutual faith they plight;

21)0 Brave Glaucus then each narrow thought resign'd
(Jove warm'd his bosom and enlarg'd his mind) :
For Diomed' s brass arms, of mean device,
For which nine oxen paid (a vulgar price),
He gave his own, of gold divinely wrought :

295 A hundred beeves the shining purchase bought.

Meantime the guardian of the Trojan state,
Great Hector, enter'd at the Scsean gate.
Beneath the beech-tree's consecrated shades,
The Trojan matrons and the Trojan maids

300 Around him flock'd, all press'd with pious care
For husbands, brothers, sons, engag'd in war.
He bids the train in long procession go,
And seek the gods, t' avert th' impending woe.
And now to Priam's stately courts he came,

305 Eais'd on arch'd columns of stupendous frame ;
O'er these a range of marble structure runs,
The rich pavilions of his fifty sons,
In fifty chambers lodg'd : and rooms of state
Oppos'd to those, where Priam's daughters sate :

310 Twelve domes for them and their lov'd spouses shone,



BOOK VT 49

Of equal beauty and of polish' d stone.

Hither great Hector pass'd, nor passed unseen

Of royal Hecuba, his mother queen

(With her Laodice, whose beauteous face
315 Surpassed the nymphs of Troy's illustrious race).

Long in a strict embrace she held her son,

And pressed his hand, and tender thus begun :
" Hector ! say, what great occasion calls

My son from fight, when Greece surrounds our walls ?
320 Com'st thou to supplicate th' almighty pow'r,

With lifted hands from Ilion's lofty tow'r ?

Stay, till I bring the cup with Bacchus crown'd,

In Jove's high name, to sprinkle on the ground,

And pay due vows to all the gods around.
325 Then with a plenteous draught refresh thy soul,

And draw new spirits from the gen'rous bowl j

Spent as thou art with long laborious fight,

The brave defender of thy country's right."

"Far hence be Bacchus' gifts ' (the chief rejoin'd);
330 " Inflaming wine, pernicious to mankind,

Unnerves the limbs, and dulls the noble mind.

Let chiefs abstain, and spare the sacred juice

To sprinkle to the gods, its better use.

By me that holy office were profan'd ;
335 HI fits it me, with human gore distain'd,

To the pure skies these horrid hands to raise,

Or offer heaven's great sire polluted praise.

You, with your matrons, go, a spotless train !

And burn rich odors in Minerva's fane.
340 The largest mantle your full wardrobes hold,

Most priz'd for art, and labour'd o'er with gold,

Before the goddess' honour'd knees be spread,

And twelve young heifers to her altar led.

So may the pow'r, aton'd by fervent pray'r,
345 Our wives, our infants, and our city spare,



50 THE ILIAD

And far avert Tydides' wasteful ire,

Who mows w T hole troops, and makes all Troy retire.

Be this, mother, your religious care ;

I go to rouse soft Paris to the war :
350 If yet, not lost to all the sense of shame,

The recreant warrior hear the voice of fame.

Oh would kind earth the hateful wretch embrace,

That pest of Troy, that ruin, of our race !

Deep to the dark abyss might he descend,
355 Troy yet should flourish, and my sorrows end."

This heard, she gave command ; and summoned came

Each noble matron and illustrious dame.

The Phrygian queen to her rich wardrobe went,

Where treasur'd odors breath' d a costly scent.
360 There lay the vestures of no vulgar art,

Sidonian maids embroider'd ev'ry part,

Whom from soft Sidon youthful Paris bore,

With Helen touching on the Tyrian shore.

Here as the queen revolv'd with careful eyes
365 The various textures and the various dyes,

She chose a veil that shone superior far,

And glow'd refulgent as the morning star.

Herself with this the long procession leads ;

The train majestically slow proceeds.
370 Soon as to Ilion's topmost tow'r they come,

And awful reach the high Palladian dome,

Antenor's consort, fair Theano, waits

As Pallas' priestess, and unbars the gates.

With hands uplifted and imploring eyes,
375 They fill the dome with supplicating cries.

The priestess then the shining veil displays,

Plac'd on Minerva's knees, and thus she prays :
" awful goddess ! ever-dreadful maid,

Troy's strong defence, unconquer'd Pallas, aid !
380 Break thou Tydides' spear, and let him fall



BOOK VI 51

Prone on the dust before the Trojan wall.

So twelve young heifers, guiltless of the yoke,

Shall fill thy temple with a grateful smoke.

But thou, aton'd by penitence and pray'r,
385 Ourselves, our infants, and our city spare ! "

So pray'd the priestess in her holy fane :

So vow'd the matrons, but they vow'd in vain.
While these appear before the pow'r with pray'rs,

Hector to Paris' lofty dome repairs.
390 Himself the mansion rais'd, from every part

Assembling architects of matchless art.

Near Priam's court and Hector's palace stands

The pompous structure, and the town commands.

A spear the hero bore of wond'rous strength :
395 Of full ten cubits was the lance's length ;

The steely point, with golden ringlets join'd,

Before him brandish'd, at each motion shin'd.

Thus entring, in the glitt'ring rooms he found

His brother-chief, whose useless arms lay round,
400 His eyes delighting with their splendid show,

Bright'ning the shield, and polishing the bow.

Beside him Helen with her virgins stands,

Guides their rich labours, and instructs their hands,

Him, thus inactive, with an ardent look
405 The prince beheld, and high-resenting spoke :

" Thy hate to Troy is this the time to show

(0 wretch ill-fated, and thy country's foe) ?

Paris and Greece against us both conspire,

Thy close resentment, and their vengeful ire.
410 For thee great Ilion's guardian heroes fall,

Till heaps of dead alone defend her wall ;

For thee the soldier bleeds, the matron mourns,

And wasteful war in all its fury burns.

Ungrateful man ! deserves not this thy care,
415 Our troops to hearten and our toils to share ?



52 THE ILIAD

Rise, or behold the conquering flames ascend,

And all the Phrygian glories at an end."

"Brother, 'tis just" (replied the beauteous youth) ;

" Thy free remonstrance proves thy worth and truth :
420 Yet charge my absence less, gen'rous chief,

On hate to Troy than conscious shame and grief :

Here, hid from human eyes, thy brother sate,

And mourn'd in secret his and Ilion's fate.

'Tis now enough : now glory spreads her charms,
425 And beauteous Helen calls her chief to arms.

Conquest to-day my happier sword may bless,

'Tis man's to fight, but heavVs to give success.

But while I arm, contain thy ardent mind ;

Or go, and Paris shall not lag behind."
430 He said, nor answer'd Priam's warlike son ;

When Helen thus with lowly grace begun :
" gen'rous brother ! if the guilty dame

That caus'd these woes deserve a sister's name !

Would heav'n, ere all these dreadful deeds were done,
435 The day that show'd me to the golden sun

Had seen my death ! Why did not whirlwinds bear

The fatal infant to the fowls of air ?

Why sunk I not beneath the whelming tide,

And midst the roarings of the waters died ?
440 Heav'n fill'd up all my ills, and I accurst

Bore all, and Paris of those ills the worst.

Helen at least a braver spouse might claim,

Warm'd with some virtue, some regard of fame !

Now, tir'd with toils, thy fainting limbs recline,
445 With toils sustain'd for Paris' sake and mine :

The gods have link'd our miserable doom,

Our present woe, and infamy to come :

Wide shall it spread, and last through ages long,

Example sad ! and theme of future song ! "
450 The chief replied : " This time forbids to rest :



BOOK VI 53

The Trojan bands, by hostile fury prest,

Demand their Hector, and his arm require;

The combat urges, and my soul's @n fire.

Urge thou thy knight to inarch where glory calls,
455 And timely join me, e'er I leave the walls.

E'er yet I mingle in the direful fray,

My wife, my infant, claim a moment's stay ;

This day (perhaps the last that sees me here)

Demands a parting word, a tender tear :
4(>o This day some god who hates our Trojan land

May vanquish Hector by a Grecian hand. 7 '
He said, and past with sad presaging heart

To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part ;

At home he sought her, but he sought in vain :
465 She, with one maid of all her menial train,

Had thence retir'd; and, with her second joy,

The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy,

Pensive she stood on Ilion's tow'ry height,

Beheld the Avar, and sicken'd at the sight ;
470 There her sad eyes in vain her lord explore,

Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore.
But he who found not whom his soul desir'd,

Whose virtue charm'd him as her beauty fir'd,

Stood in the gates, and ask'd what way she bent
475 Her parting steps ; if to the fane she went,

Where late the mourning matrons made resort,

Or sought her sisters in the Trojan court.

" Not to the court " (replied th 7 attendant train),

" Nor, mix'd with matrons, to Minerva's fane :
480 To Ilion's steepy tow'r she bent her way,

To mark the fortunes of the doubtful day.

Troy fled, she heard, before the Grecian sword ;

She heard, and trembled for her absent lord :

Distracted with surprise, she seern'd to fly,
485 Fear on her cheek and sorrow in her eye.



54 THE ILIAD

The nurse attended with her infant boy,
The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy."

Hector, this heard, returned without delay ;
Swift through the town he trod his former way,

400 Thro' streets of palaces and walks of state,
And met the mourner at the Scsean gate.
With haste to meet him sprung the joyful fair,
His blameless wife, Eetion's wealthy heir
(Ciliciaii Thebe great Eetion sway'd,

495 And Hippoplacus' wide-extended shade) :

The nurse stood near, in whose embraces prest
His only hope hung smiling at her breast,
Whom each soft charm and early grace adorn,
Fair as the new-born star that gilds the morn.

noo To this lov'd infant Hector gave the name

Scamandrius, from Scamander's honour'd stream;
Astyanax the Trojans calPd the boy,
From his great father, the defence of Troy.
Silent the warrior smiPd, and pleas'd, resigned

505 To tender passions all his mighty mind :
His beauteous princess -cast a mournful look,
Hung on his hand, and then dejected spoke ;
Her bosom laboured with a boding sigh,
And the big tear stood trembling in her eye.

510 " Too daring prince ! ah whither dost thou run ?
Ah too forgetful of thy wife and son !
And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be,
A widow I, an helpless orphan he !
For sure such courage length of life denies,

515 And thou must fall, thy virtue's sacrifice.
Greece in her single heroes strove in vain ;
Now hosts oppose" thee, and thou must be slain !
Oh grant me, gods ! e'er Hector meets his doom,
All I can ask of heav'n, an early tomb !

520 So shall my days in one sad tenor ruu ;



BOOK VI 55

And end with sorrows as they first begun. .

No parent now remains, my griefs to share,

No father's aid, 110 mother's tender care.

The fierce Achilles wrapt our walls in fire,
525 Laid Thebe waste, and slew my warlike sire !

His fate compassion in the victor bred ;

Stern as he was, he yet rever'd the dead,

His radiant arms preserved from hostile spoil,

And laid him decent on the f un'ral pile ;
530 Then rais'd a mountain where his bones were burn'd :

The mountain nymphs the rural tomb adorn'd ;

Jove's sylvan daughters bade their elms bestow

A barren shade, and in his honour grow.

" By the same arm my sev'n brave brothers fell ;
5o5 In one sad day beheld the gates of hell :

While the fat herds and snowy flocks they fed,

Amid their fields the hapless heroes bled !

My mother liv'd to bear the victor's bands,

The queen of Hippoplacia's sylvan lands :
540 Eedeem'd too late, she scarce beheld again

Her pleasing empire and her native plain,

When, ah ! opprest by life-consuming woe,

She fell a victim to Diana's bow.

" Yet while my Hector still survives, I see
545 My father, mother, brethren, all, in thee :

Alas ! my parents, brothers, kindred, all

Once more will perish if my Hector fall.

Thy wife, thy infant, in thy danger share :

Oh prove a husband's and a father's care !
550 That quarter most the skilful Greeks annoy.

Where yon' wild fig-trees join the wall of Troy:

Thou from this tow'r defend th' important post.

There Agamemnon points his dreadful host,

That pass Tydides, Ajax, strive to gain,
555 And there the vengeful Spartan fires his train:



56 THE ILIAD

Thrice our bold foes the fierce attack have giv'n,

Or led by hopes, or dictated from heav'n.

Let others in the field their arms employ,

But stay my Hector here, and guard his Troy."
560 The chief replied : " That post shall be my care,

Nor that alone, but all the works of war.

How would the sons of Troy, in arms renown'd,

And Troy's proud dames, whose garments sweep the ground,

Attaint the lustre of my former name,
5G5 Should Hector basely quit the field of fame ?

My early youth was bred to martial pains,

My soul impels me to th' embattled plains :

Let me be foremost to defend the throne,

And guard my father's glories, and my own.
570 Yet come it will, the day decreed by fates

(How my heart trembles while my tongue relates !) :

The day when thou, imperial Troy ! must bend,

Arid see thy warriors fall, thy glories end.

And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind,
575 My mother's death, the ruin of my kind,

Not Priam's hoary hairs defil'd with gore,

Not all my brothers gasping on the shore,

As thine, Andromache ! thy griefs I dread :

I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led !
580 In Argive looms our battles to design,

And woes of which so large a part was thine !

To bear the victor's hard commands, or bring

The weight of waters from Hyperia's spring.

There, while you groan beneath the load of life,
585 They cry, ' Behold the mighty Hector's wife ! '

Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to see,

Embitters all thy woes by naming me.

The thoughts of glory past and present shame,

A thousand griefs, shall waken at the name !
590 May I lie cold before that dreadful day,



BOOK VI 57

Pressed with a load of monumental clay !

Thy Hector, wrapped in everlasting sleep,

Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep."

Thus having spoke, th' illustrious chief of Troy
505 Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.

The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,

Scared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest.

With secret pleasure each fond parent smil'd,

And Hector hasted to relieve his child ;
GOO The glittering terrors from his brows unbound,

And plac'd the beaming helmet on the ground.

Then kiss'd the child, and, lifting high in air,

Thus to the gods pref er'd a father's pray'r :

" thou ! whose glory fills th' ethereal throne,
005 And all ye deathless pow'rs ! protect my son !

Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,

To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown,

Against his country's foes the war to wage,

And rise the Hector of the future age !
610 So when, triumphant from successful toils,

Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils,

Whole hosts may hail him with deserv'd acclaim,

And say, i This chief transcends his father's fame ' :

While pleas'd, amidst the gen'ral shouts of Troy,
615 His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy."
He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms,

Kestor'd the pleasing burthen to her arms ;

Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid,

Hush'd to repose, and with a smile survey'd.
620 The troubled pleasure soon chastis'd by fear,

She mingled with a smile a tender tear.

The soften'd chief with kind compassion view'd,

And dried the falling drops, and thus pursued :

" Andromache ! my soul's far better part,
625 Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy heart ?



58 THE ILIAD

No hostile hand can antedate my doom/

Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb.

Fix'd is the term to all the race of earth,

And such the hard condition of our birth.
630 No force can then resist, no flight can save ;

All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.

No more but hasten to thy tasks at home,

There guide the spindle, and direct the loom :

Me glory summons to the martial scene,
635 The field of combat is the sphere for men.

Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim,

The first in danger as the first in fame."

Thus having said, the glorious chief resumes

His tow'ry helmet, black with shading plumes.
640 His princess parts with a prophetic sigh,

Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye,

That streamed at ev'ry look : then, moving slow,

Sought her own palace, and indulg'd her woe.

There, while her tears deplor'd the godlike man,
045 Through all her train the soft infection ran :

The pious maids their mingled sorrows shed,

And mourn the living Hector as the dead.
But now, no longer deaf to honour's call,

Forth issues Paris from the palace wall.
650 In brazen arms that cast a gleamy ray,

Swift through the town the warrior bends his way.

The wanton courser thus, with reins unbound,

Breaks from his stall, and beats the trembling ground ;

Pamper'd and proud, he seeks the wonted tides,
655 And laves, in height of blood, his shining sides :

His head, now freed, he tosses to the skies ;

His mane dishevelPd o'er his shoulders flies ;

He snuffs the females in the distant plain,

And springs, exulting, to his fields again.
600 With equal triumph, sprightly, bold, and gay,



BOOK VI 59

In arms refulgent as the god of day,
The son of Priam, glorying in his might,
Kush'd forth with Hector to the fields of fight.
And now the warriors passing on the way,

665 The graceful Paris first excus'd his stay.
To whom the noble Hector thus replied :
" chief, in blood, and now in arms, allied !
Thy pow'r in war with justice none contest ;
Known is thy courage, and thy strength confest.

670 What pity, sloth should seize a soul so brave,
Or godlike Paris live a woman's slave !
My heart weeps blood at what the Trojans say,
And hopes thy deeds shall wipe the stain away.
Haste then, in all their glorious labours share ;

675 For much they suffer, for thy sake, in war.

These ills shall cease, whene'er by Jove's decree
We crown the bowl to Heav'n and Liberty :
While the proud foe his frustrate triumphs mourns,
And Greece indignant through her seas returns."



-BOOK ^Xl

Thus to their bulwarks, smit with panic fear.
The herded Ilians rush like driven deer ;
There, safe, they wipe the briny drops away,
And drown in bowls the labours of the day.
5 Close to the walls, advancing o'er the fields
Beneath one roof of well-compacted shields,
March, bending on, the Greeks' embodied pow'rs,-
Far-stretching in the shade of Trojan tow'rs.
Great Hector singly stay'd ; chain'd down by fate^

10 There fixt he stood before the Scsean gate,
Still his bold arms determin'd to employ,
The guardian still of long-defended Troy.
/ Apollo now to tir'd Achilles turns
(The power confest in all his glory burns),

15 "And what" (he cries) " has Peleus' son in view,
With mortal speed a godhead to pursue ?
For not to thee to know the gods is giv'n,
UnskilPd to trace the latent marks of heav'n.
What boots thee now that Troy forsook the plain ?

20 Vain thy past labour, and thy present vain :
Safe in their walls are now her troops bestow'd,
While here thy frantic rage attacks a god."

The chief incens'd : " Too partial god of day !
To check my conquests in the middle way :

25 How few in Ilion else had refuge found !

What gasping numbers now had bit the ground !
Thou rob'st me of a glory justly mine,
Pow'rful of Godhead and of fraud divine :
Mean fame, alas ! for one of heav'nly strain,

so To cheat a mortal who repines in vain."

60



BOOK XXII 61

Then to the city, terrible and strong,

With high and haughty steps he tow Vd along :

So the proud courser, victor of the prize,

To the near goal with doubled ardor flies.
35 Him, as he blazing shot across the field,

The careful eyes of Priam first beheld.

Not half so dreadful rises to the sight,

Through the thick gloom of some tempestuous night,

Orion's dog (the year when autumn weighs),
40 And o'er the feebler stars exerts his rays ;

Terrific glory ! for his burning breath

Taints the red air with fevers, plagues, and death.

So flam'd his fiery mail. Then wept the sage ;

He strikes his rev'rend head, now white with age ;
45 He lifts his withered arms ; obtests the skies ;

He calls his much-lov'd son with feeble cries.

The son, resolv'd Achilles' force to dare,

Full at the Scaean gates expects the war,

While the sad father on the rampart stands,
50 And thus abjures him with extended hands :
" Ah stay not, stay not ! guardless and alone ;

Hector, my lov'd, my dearest, bravest son !

Methinks already I behold thee slain,

And stretch'd beneath that fury of the plain.
55 Implacable Achilles ! might'st thou be

To all the gods no dearer than to me !

Thee vultures wild should scatter round the shore,

And bloody dogs grow fiercer from thy gore !

How many valiant sons I late enjoy'd,
GO Valiant in vain ! by thy curst arm destroyed :

Or, worse than slaughtered, sold in distant isles

To shameful bondage and unworthy toils.

Two, while I speak, my eyes in vain explore,

Two from one mother sprung, my Polydore
05 And loved Lycaon ; now perhaps no more !



62 THE ILIAD

Oli ! if in yonder hostile camp they live,
What heaps of gold, what treasures would I give
(Their grandsire's wealth, by right of birth their own,
Consign'd his daughter with Lelegia's throne) !

70 But if (which heav'n forbid) already lost,
All pale they wander on the Stygian coast,
What sorrows then must their sad mother know,
What anguish I ! unutterable woe !
Yet less that anguish, less to her, to me,

75 Less to all Troy, if not deprived of thee.
Yet shun Achilles ! enter yet the wall ;
And spare thyself, thy father, spare us all !
Save thy dear life : or if a soul so brave
Neglect that thought, thy dearer glory save.

80 Pity, while yet I live, these silver hairs ;
While yet thy father feels the woes he bears,
Yet curst with sense ! a wretch, whom in his rage
(All trembling on the verge of helpless age)
Great Jove has plac'd, sad spectacle of pain !

85 The bitter dregs of fortune's cup to drain :
To fill with scenes of death his closing eyes,
And number all his days by miseries !
My heroes slain, my bridal bed o'erturn'd,
My daughters ravish'd, and my city burn'd,

90 My bleeding infants dash'd against the floor,
These I have yet to see, perhaps yet more !
Perhaps ev'n I, reserved by angry fate
The last sad relic of my ruin'd state
(Dire pomp of sovereign wretchedness), must fall

95 And stain the pavement of my regal hall,

Where famish'd dogs, late guardians of my door,
Shall lick their mangled master's spatter'd gore.
Yet for my sons I thank ye, gods ! 'twas well :
Well have they perish'd, for in fight they fell.


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Online LibraryHomerPope's translation of Homer's Iliad, books I, VI, XXII, XXIV; → online text (page 6 of 13)