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and lotos burnt and rush and galingale which round the fair streams of
the river grew in multitude. And the eels and fishes beneath the eddies
were afflicted, which through the fair streams tumbled this way and
that, in anguish at the blast of crafty Hephaistos. And the strong River
burned, and spake and called to him by name: "Hephaistos, there is no
god can match with thee, nor will I fight thee thus ablaze with fire.
Cease strife, yea, let noble Achilles drive the Trojans forthwith out of
their city; what have I to do with strife and succour?"

Thus spake he, burnt with fire, for his fair streams were bubbling. And
as a cauldron boileth within, beset with much fire, melting the lard of
some fatted hog spurting up on all sides, and logs of firewood lie
thereunder, - so burned his fair streams in the fire, and the water
boiled. He had no mind to flow, but refrained him, for the breath of
cunning Hephaistos violently afflicted him. Then unto Hera, earnestly
beseeching her,' he spake winged words: "Hera, wherefore hath thy son
assailed my stream to vex it above others? I am less chargeable than all
the rest that are helpers of the Trojans. But lo, I will give over, if
thou wilt, and let thy son give over too. And I further will swear even
this, that never will I ward the day of evil from the Trojans, not even
when all Troy is burning in the blaze of hungry fire, and the warlike
sons of Achaians are the burners thereof."

Then when the white-armed goddess Hera heard his speech, straightway she
spake unto Hephaistos her dear son: "Hephaistos, hold, famed son; it
befitteth not thus for mortals' sake to do violence to an immortal god."

Thus said she and Hephaistos quenched the fierce-blazing fire, and the
wave once more rolled down the fair river-bed.

So when the rage of Xanthos was overcome, both ceased, for Hera stayed
them, though in wrath. But among the other gods fell grievous bitter
strife, and their hearts were carried diverse in their breasts. And they
clashed together with a great noise, and the wide earth groaned, and the
clarion of great Heaven rang around. Zeus heard as he sate upon Olympus,
and his heart within him laughed pleasantly when he beheld that strife
of gods. Then no longer stood they asunder, for Ares piercer of shields
began the battle and first made for Athene with his bronze spear, and
spake a taunting word: "Wherefore, O dogfly, dost thou match gods with
gods in strife, with stormy daring, as thy great spirit moveth thee?
Rememberest thou not how thou movedst Diomedes Tydeus' son to wound me,
and thyself didst take a visible spear and thrust it straight at me and
pierce through my fair skin? Therefore deem I now that thou shalt pay me
for all that thou hast done."

Thus saying he smote on the dread tasselled aegis that not even the
lightning of Zeus can overcome - thereon smote bloodstained Ares with his
long spear. But she, giving back, grasped with stout hand a stone that
lay upon the plain, black, rugged, huge, which men of old time set to be
the landmark of a field; this hurled she, and smote impetuous Ares on
the neck, and unstrung his limbs. Seven roods he covered in his fall,
and soiled his hair with dust, and his armour rang upon him. And Pallas
Athene laughed, and spake to him winged words exultingly: "Fool, not
even yet hast thou learnt how far better than thou I claim to be, that
thus thou matchest thy might with mine. Thus shalt thou satisfy thy
mother's curses, who deviseth mischief against thee in her wrath, for
that thou hast left the Achaians and givest the proud Trojan's aid."

Thus having said she turned from him her shining eyes. Him did Aphrodite
daughter of Zeus take by the hand and lead away, groaning continually,
for scarce gathered he his spirit back to him. But when the white-armed
goddess Hera was aware of them, straightway she spake unto Athene winged
words: "Out on it, child of aegis-bearing Zeus, maiden invincible, lo
there the dogfly is leading Ares destroyer of men out of the fray of
battle down the throng - nay then, pursue her."

She said, and Athene sped after her with heart exultant, and made at her
and smote her with stout hand upon the breast, and straightway her knees
and heart were unstrung. So they twain lay on the bounteous earth, and
she spake winged words exultingly: "Such let all be who give the Trojans
aid when they fight against the mailed Argives. Be they even so bold and
brave as Aphrodite when she came to succour Ares and defied my might.
Then should we long ago have ceased from war, having laid waste the
stablished citadel of Ilios."

[She said, and the white-armed goddess Hera smiled.] Then to Apollo
spake the earth-shaking lord: "Phoebus, why stand we apart? It befitteth
not after the rest have begun: that were the more shameful if without
fighting we should go to Olympus to the bronze-thresholded house of
Zeus. Begin, for thou art younger; it were not meet for me, since I was
born first and know more. Fond god, how foolish is thy heart! Thou
rememberest not all the ills we twain alone of gods endured at Ilios,
when by ordinance of Zeus we came to proud Laomedon and served him
through a year for promised recompense, and he laid on us his commands.
I round their city built the Trojans a wall, wide and most fair, that
the city might be unstormed, and thou Phoebus, didst herd shambling
crook-horned kine among the spurs of woody many-folded Ida. But when the
joyous seasons were accomplishing the term of hire, then redoubtable
Laomedon robbed us of all hire, and sent us off with threats. He
threatened that he would bind together our feet and hands and sell us
into far-off isles, and the ears of both of us he vowed to shear off
with the sword. So we went home with angry hearts, wroth for the hire he
promised and gave us not. To his folk not thou showest favour, nor
essayest with us how the proud Trojans may be brought low and perish
miserably with their children and noble wives."

Then to him answered King Apollo the Far-darter: "Shaker of the earth,
of no sound mind wouldst thou repute me if I should fight against thee
for the sake of pitiful mortals, who like unto leaves now live in
glowing life, consuming the fruit of the earth, and now again pine into
death. Let us with all speed cease from combat, and let them do battle
by themselves."

Thus saying he turned away, for he felt shame to deal in blows with his
father's brother. But his sister upbraided him sore, the queen of wild
beasts, huntress Artemis, and spake a taunting word: "So then thou
fleest, Far-darter, hast quite yielded to Poseidon the victory, and
given him glory for naught! Fond god, why bearest thou an ineffectual
bow in vain? Let me not hear thee again in the halls of our sire boast
as before among the immortal gods thou wouldst stand up to fight against

Thus spake she, but far-darting Apollo answered her not. But angrily the
noble spouse of Zeus [upbraided the Archer Queen with taunting words:]
"How now art thou fain, bold vixen, to set thyself against me? Hard were
it for thee to match my might, bow-bearer though thou art, since against
women Zeus made thee a lion, and giveth thee to slay whomso of them thou
wilt. Truly it is better on the mountains to slay wild beasts and deer
than to fight amain with mightier than thou. But if thou wilt, try war,
that thou mayest know well how far stronger am I, since thou matchest
thy might with mine."

She said, and with her left hand caught both the other's hands by the
wrist, and with her right took the bow from off her shoulders, and
therewith, smiling, beat her on the ears as she turned this way and
that; and the swift arrows fell out of her quiver. And weeping from
before her the goddess fled like a dove that from before a falcon flieth
to a hollow rock, a cleft - for she was not fated to be caught; - thus
Artemis fled weeping, and left her bow and arrows where they lay. Then
to Leto spake the Guide, the slayer of Argus: "Leto, with thee will I no
wise fight; a grievous thing it is to come to blows with wives of
cloud-gathering Zeus; but boast to thy heart's content among the
immortal gods that thou didst vanquish me by might and main."

Thus said he, and Leto gathered up the curved bow and arrows fallen
hither and thither amid the whirl of dust: so taking her daughter's bow
she went back. And the maiden came to Olympus, to the bronze-thresholded
house of Zeus, and weeping set herself on her father's knee, while round
her her divine vesture quivered: and her father, Kronos' son, took her
to him and asked of her, laughing gently: "Who of the inhabitants of
heaven, dear child, hath dealt with thee thus [hastily, as though thou
hadst been doing some wrong thing openly]?"

And to him in answer spake the fair-crowned queen of the echoing chase:
"It was thy wife that buffeted me, father, the white-armed Hera, from
whom are strife and contention come upon the immortals."

Thus talked they unto one another. Then Phoebus Apollo entered into
sacred Ilios, for he was troubled for the wall of the well-builded city,
lest the Danaans waste it before its hour upon that day. But the other
ever-living gods went to Olympus, some angry and some greatly
triumphing, and sat down beside Zeus who hideth himself in dark clouds.

Now Achilles was still slaying the Trojans, both themselves and their
whole-hooved horses. And as when a smoke goeth up to the broad heaven,
when a city burneth, kindled by the wrath of gods, and causeth toil to
all, and griefs to many, thus caused Achilles toil and griefs to the
Trojans. And the old man Priam stood on the sacred tower, and was aware
of dread Achilles, how before him the Trojans thronged in rout, nor was
any succour found of them. Then with a cry he went down from the tower,
to rouse the gallant warders along the walls: "Hold open the gates in
your hands until the folk come to the city in their rout, for closely is
Achilles chasing them - now trow I there will be deadly deeds. And when
they are gathered within the wall and are taking breath, then again shut
back the gate-wings firmly builded; for I fear lest that murderous man
spring in within the wall."

Thus spake he, and they opened the gates and thrust back the bolts; and
the gates flung back gave safety. Then Apollo leapt forth to the front
that he might ward destruction from the Trojans. They straight for the
city and the high wall were fleeing, parched with thirst and dust-grimed
from the plain, and Achilles chased them vehemently with his spear, for
strong frenzy possessed his heart continually, and he thirsted to win
him renown. Then would the sons of the Achaians have taken high-gated
Troy, had not Phoebus Apollo aroused goodly Agenor, Antenor's son, a
princely man and strong. In his heart he put good courage, and himself
stood by his side that he might ward off the grievous visitations of
death, leaning against the oak, and he was shrouded in thick mist. So
when Agenor was aware of Achilles waster of cities, he halted, and his
heart much wavered as he stood; and in trouble he spake to his great
heart: "Ay me, if I flee before mighty Achilles, there where the rest
are driven terror-struck, nathless will he overtake me and slaughter me
as a coward. Or what if I leave these to be driven before Achilles the
son of Peleus, and flee upon my feet from the wall by another way to the
Ileian plain, until I come to the spurs of Ida, and hide me in the
underwood? So then at evening, having bathed in the river and refreshed
me of sweat, I might return to Ilios. Nay, why doth my heart debate thus
within me? Lest he might be aware of me as I get me from the city for
the plain, and speeding after overtake me with swift feet; then will it
no more be possible to avoid the visitation of death, for he is
exceeding mighty above all mankind. What then if in front of the city I
go forth to meet him? Surely his flesh too is penetrable by sharp
bronze, and there is but one life within, and men say he is mortal,
howbeit Zeus the son of Kronos giveth him renown."

Thus saying, he gathered himself to await Achilles, and within him his
stout heart was set to strive and fight. As a leopardess goeth forth
from a deep thicket to affront a huntsman, nor is afraid at heart, nor
fleeth when she heareth the bay of hounds; for albeit the man first
smite her with thrust or throw, yet even pierced through with the spear
she ceaseth not from her courage until she either grapple or be slain,
so noble Antenor's son, goodly Agenor, refused to flee till he should
put Achilles to the proof, but held before him the circle of his shield,
and aimed at him with his spear, and cried aloud: "Doubtless thou hopest
in thy heart, noble Achilles, on this day to sack the city of the proud
men of Troy. Fond man, there shall many woful things yet be wrought
before it, for within it we are many men and staunch, who in front of
our parents dear and wives and sons keep Ilios safe; but thou shalt here
meet death, albeit so redoubtable and bold a man of war."

He said, and hurled his sharp spear with weighty hand, and smote him on
the leg beneath the knee, nor missed his mark, and the greave of
new-wrought tin rang terribly on him; but the bronze bounded back from
him it smote, nor pierced him, for the god's gift drave it back. Then
the son of Peleus in his turn made at godlike Agenor, but Apollo
suffered him not to win renown, but caught away Agenor, and shrouded him
in thick mist, and sent him in peace to be gone out of the war. Then by
wile kept the son of Peleus away from the folk, for in complete
semblance of Agenor himself he stood before the feet of Achilles, who
hasted to run upon him and chase him. And while he chased him over the
wheat-bearing plain, edging him toward the deep-eddying river
Skamandros, as he ran but a little in front of him (for by wile Apollo
beguiled him that he kept ever hoping to overtake him in the race),
meantime the other Trojans in common rout came gladly unto their
fastness, and the city was filled with the throng of them. Neither had
they heart to await one another outside the city and wall, and to know
who might have escaped and who had perished in the fight, but
impetuously they poured into the city, whomsoever of them his feet and
knees might save.


How Achilles fought with Hector, and slew him, and brought
his body to the ships.

Thus they throughout the city, scared like fawns, were cooling their
sweat and drinking and slaking their thirst, leaning on the fair
battlements, while the Achaians drew near the wall, setting shields to
shoulders. But Hector deadly fate bound to abide in his place, in front
of Ilios and the Skaian gates. Then to the son of Peleus spake Phoebus
Apollo: "Wherefore, son of Peleus, pursuest thou me with swift feet,
thyself being mortal and I a deathless god? Thou hast not even yet known
me, that I am a god, but strivest vehemently. Truly thou regardest not
thy task among the affliction of the Trojans whom thou affrightedst, who
now are gathered into the city, while thou heat wandered hither. Me thou
wilt never slay, for I am not subject unto death."

Then mightily moved spake unto him Achilles fleet of foot: "Thou hast
baulked me, Far-darter, most mischievous of all the gods, in that thou
hast turned me hither from the wall: else should full many yet have
bitten the dust or ever within Ilios had they come. Now hast thou robbed
me of great renown, and lightly hast saved them, because thou hadst no
vengeance to fear thereafter. Verily I would avenge me on thee, had I
but the power."

Thus saying toward the city he was gone in pride of heart, rushing like
some victorious horse in a chariot, that runneth lightly at full speed
over the plain; so swiftly plied Achilles his feet and knees. Him the
old man Priam first beheld as he sped across the plain, blazing as the
star that cometh forth at harvest-time, and plain seen his rays shine
forth amid the host of stars in the darkness of night, the star whose
name men call Orion's Dog. Brightest of all is he, yet for an evil sign
is he set, and bringeth much fever upon hapless men. Even so on
Achilles' breast the bronze gleamed as he ran. And the old man cried
aloud and beat upon his head with his hands, raising them on high, and
with a cry called aloud beseeching his dear son; for he before the gates
was standing, all hot for battle with Achilles. And the old man spake
piteously unto him, stretching forth his hands: "Hector, beloved son, I
pray thee await not this man alone with none beside thee, lest thou
quickly meet thy doom, slain by the son of Peleus, since he is mightier
far, a merciless man. Would the gods loved him even as do I! then
quickly would dogs and vultures devour him on the field - thereby would
cruel pain go from my heart - the man who hath bereft me of many valiant
sons, slaying them and selling them captive into far-off isles. Ay even
now twain of my children, Lykaon and Polydoros, I cannot see among the
Trojans that throng into the fastness, sons whom Laothoe bare me, a
princess among women. If they be yet alive amid the enemy's host, then
will we ransom them with bronze and gold, for there is store within, for
much goods gave the old man famous Altes to his child. If they be dead,
then even in the house of Hades shall they be a sorrow to my soul and to
their mother, even to us who gave them birth, but to the rest of the
folk a briefer sorrow, if but thou die not by Achilles' hand. Nay, come
within the wall, my child, that thou preserve the men and women of Troy,
neither give great triumph to the son of Peleus, and be thyself bereft
of sweet life. Have compassion also on me, the helpless one, who still
can feel, ill-fated; whom the father, Kronos' son, will bring to naught
by a grievous doom in the path of old age, having seen full many ills,
his sons perishing and his daughters carried away captive, and his
chambers laid waste and infant children hurled to the ground in terrible
war, and his sons' wives dragged away by the ruinous hands of the
Achaians. Myself then last of all at the street door will ravening dogs
tear, when some one by stroke or throw of the sharp bronze hath bereft
my limbs of life - even the dogs I reared in my halls about my table and
to guard my door, which then having drunk my blood, maddened at heart
shall lie in the gateway. A young man all beseemeth, even to be slain in
war, to be torn by the sharp bronze and lie on the field; though he be
dead yet is all honourable to him, whate'er be seen: but when dogs
defile the hoary head and hoary beard of an old man slain, this is the
most piteous thing that cometh upon hapless men."

Thus spake the old man, and grasped his hoary hairs, plucking them from
his head, but he persuaded not Hector's soul. Then his mother in her turn
wailed tearfully, loosening the folds of her robe, while with the other
hand she showed her breast; and through her tears spake to him winged
words: "Hector, my child, have regard unto this bosom and pity me, if
ever I gave thee consolation of my breast. Think of it, dear child, and
from this side the wall drive back the foe, nor stand in front to meet
him. He is merciless; if he slay thee it will not be on a bed that I or
thy wife shall bewail thee, my own dear child, but far away from us by
the ships of the Argives will swift dogs devour thee."

Thus they with wailing spake to their dear son, beseeching him sore, yet
they persuaded not Hector's soul, but he stood awaiting Achilles as he
drew nigh in giant might. As a serpent of the mountains upon his den
awaiteth a man, having fed on evil poisons, and fell wrath hath entered
into him, and terribly he glared as he coileth himself about his den, so
Hector with courage unquenchable gave not back, leaning his shining
shield against a jutting tower. Then sore troubled he spake to his great
heart: "Ay me, if I go within the gates and walls, Polydamas will be
first to bring reproach against me, since he bade me lead the Trojans to
the city during this ruinous night, when noble Achilles arose. But I
regarded him not, yet surely it had been better far. And now that I have
undone the host by my wantonness, I am ashamed before the men of Troy
and women of trailing robes, lest at any time some worse man than I
shall say: 'Hector by trusting his own might undid the host.' So will
they speak; then to me would it be better far to face Achilles and
either slay him and go home, or myself die gloriously before the city.
Or what if I lay down my bossy shield and my stout helm, and lean my
spear against the wall, and go of myself to meet noble Achilles and
promise him that Helen, and with her all possessions that Alexandros
brought in hollow ships to Troy, the beginning of strife, we will give
to the Sons of Atreus to take away, and therewithal to divide in half
with the Achaians all else that this city holdeth: and if thereafter I
obtain from the Trojans an oath of the Elders that they will hide
nothing but divide all in twain [whatever wealth the pleasant city hold
within]? But wherefore doth my heart debate thus? I might come unto him
and he would not pity or regard me at all, but presently slay me unarmed
as it were but a woman, if I put off my armour. No time is it now to
dally with him from oaktree or from rock, like youth with maiden, as
youth and maiden hold dalliance one with another. Better is it to join
battle with all speed: let us know upon which of us twain the Olympian
shall bestow renown."

Thus pondered he as he stood, but nigh on him came Achilles, peer of
Enyalios warrior of the waving helm, brandishing from his right shoulder
the Pelian ash, his terrible spear; and all around the bronze on him
flashed like the gleam of blazing fire or of the Sun as he ariseth. And
trembling seized Hector as he was aware of him, nor endured he to abide
in his place, but left the gates behind him and fled in fear. And the
son of Peleus darted after him, trusting in his swift feet. As a falcon
upon the mountains, swiftest of winged things, swoopeth fleetly after a
trembling dove; and she before him fleeth, while he with shrill screams
hard at hand still darteth at her, for his heart urgeth him to seize
her; so Achilles in hot haste flew straight for him, and Hector fled
beneath the Trojans' wall, and plied swift knees. They past the
watch-place and wind-waved wild fig-tree sped ever, away from under the
wall, along the waggon-track, and came to the two fair-flowing springs,
where two fountains rise that feed deep-eddying Skamandros. The one
floweth with warm water, and smoke goeth up therefrom around as it were
from a blazing fire, while the other even in summer floweth forth like
cold hail or snow or ice that water formeth. And there beside the
springs are broad washing-troughs hard by, fair troughs of stone, where
wives and fair daughters of the men of Troy were wont to wash bright
raiment, in the old time of peace, before the sons of the Achaians came.
Thereby they ran, he flying, he pursuing. Valiant was the flier but far
mightier he who fleetly pursued him. For not for beast of sacrifice or
for an oxhide were they striving, such as are prizes for men's speed of
foot, but for the life of horse-taming Hector was their race. And as
when victorious whole-hooved horses run rapidly round the
turning-points, and some great prize lieth in sight, be it a tripod or a
woman, in honour of a man that is dead, so thrice around Priam's city
circled those twain with flying feet, and all the gods were gazing on
them. Then among them spake first the father of gods and men: "Ay me, a
man beloved I see pursued around the wall. My heart is woe for Hector,
who hath burnt for me many thighs of oxen amid the crests of many-folded
Ida, and other times on the city-height; but now is goodly Achilles
pursuing him with swift feet round Priam's town. Come, give your
counsel, gods, and devise whether we shall save him from death or now at
last slay him, valiant though he be, by the hand of Achilles Peleus'

Then to him answered the bright-eyed goddess Athene: "O Father, Lord of
the bright lightning and the dark cloud, what is this thou hast said? A
man that is a mortal, doomed long ago by fate, wouldst thou redeem back
from ill-boding death? Do it, but not all we other gods approve."

And unto her in answer spake cloud-gathering Zeus: "Be of good cheer,
Trito-born, dear child: not in full earnest speak I, and I would fain be
kind to thee. Do as seemeth good to thy mind, and draw not back."

Thus saying he roused Athene, that already was set thereon, and from the
crests of Olympus she darted down.

Online LibraryHomerThe Iliad → online text (page 26 of 31)