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But after Hector sped fleet Achilles chasing him vehemently. And as when
on the mountains a hound hunteth the fawn of a deer, having started it
from its covert, through glens and glades, and if it crouch to baffle
him under a bush, yet scenting it out the hound runneth constantly until
he find it; so Hector baffled not Peleus' fleet-footed son. Oft as he
set himself to dart under the well-built walls over against the
Dardanian gates, if haply from above they might succour him with darts,
so oft would Achilles gain on him and turn him toward the plain, while
himself he sped ever on the city-side. And as in a dream one faileth in
chase of a flying man, the one faileth in his flight and the other in
his chase - so failed Achilles to overtake him in the race, and Hector to
escape. And thus would Hector have avoided the visitation of death, had
not this time been utterly the last wherein Apollo came nigh to him, who
nerved his strength and his swift knees. For to the host did noble
Achilles sign with his head, and forbade them to hurl bitter darts
against Hector, lest any smiting him should gain renown, and he himself
come second. But when the fourth time they had reached the springs, then
the Father hung his golden balances, and set therein two lots of dreary
death, one of Achilles, one of horse-taming Hector, and held them by the
midst and poised. Then Hector's fated day sank down, and fell to the
house of Hades, and Phoebus Apollo left him. But to Peleus' son came the
bright-eyed goddess Athene, and standing near spake to him winged words:
"Now verily, glorious Achilles dear to Zeus, I have hope that we twain
shall carry off great glory to the ships for the Achaians, having slain
Hector, for all his thirst for fight. No longer is it possible for him
to escape us, not even though far-darting Apollo should travail sore,
grovelling before the Father, aegis-bearing Zeus. But do thou now stand
and take breath, and I will go and persuade this man to confront thee in

Thus spake Athene, and he obeyed, and was glad at heart, and stood
leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen-spear. And she left him and came to
noble Hector, like unto Deiphobos in shape and in strong voice, and
standing near spake to him winged words: "Dear brother, verily fleet
Achilles doth thee violence, chasing thee round Priam's town with swift
feet: but come let us make a stand and await him on our defence."

Then answered her great Hector of the glancing helm: "Deiphobos, verily
aforetime wert thou far dearest of my brothers, but now methinks I shall
honour thee even more, in that thou hast dared for my sake, when thou
sawest me, to come forth of the wall, while the others tarry within."

Then to him again spake the bright-eyed goddess Athene: "Dear brother,
of a truth my father and lady mother and my comrades around besought me
much, entreating me in turn, to tarry there, so greatly do they all
tremble before him; but my heart within was sore with dismal grief. And
now fight we with straight-set resolve and let there be no sparing of
spears, that we may know whether Achilles is to slay us and carry our
bloody spoils to the hollow ships, or whether he might be vanquished by
thy spear."

Thus saying Athene in her subtlety led him on. And when they were come
nigh in onset on one another, to Achilles first spake great Hector of
the glancing helm: "No longer, son of Peleus, will I fly thee, as before
I thrice ran round the great town of Priam, and endured not to await thy
onset. Now my heart biddeth me stand up against thee; I will either slay
or be slain. But come hither and let us pledge us by our gods, for they
shall be best witnesses and beholders of covenants: I will entreat thee
in no outrageous sort, if Zeus grant me to outstay thee, and if I take
thy life, but when I have despoiled thee of thy glorious armour, O
Achilles, I will give back thy dead body to the Achaians, and do thou
the same."

But unto him with grim gaze spake Achilles fleet of foot: "Hector, talk
not to me, thou madman, of covenants. As between men and lions there is
no pledge of faith, nor wolves and sheep can be of one mind, but imagine
evil continually against each other, so is it impossible for thee and me
to be friends, neither shall be any pledge between us until one or other
shall have fallen and glutted with blood Ares, the stubborn god of war.
Bethink thee of all thy soldiership: now behoveth it thee to quit thee
as a good spearman and valiant man of war. No longer is there way of
escape for thee, but Pallas Athene will straightway subdue thee to my
spear; and now in one hour shalt thou pay back for all my sorrows for my
friends whom thou hast slain in the fury of thy spear."

He said, and poised his far-shadowing spear and hurled. And noble Hector
watched the coming thereof and avoided it; for with his eye on it he
crouched, and the bronze spear flew over him, and fixed itself in the
earth; but Pallas Athene caught it up and gave it back to Achilles,
unknown of Hector shepherd of hosts. Then Hector spake unto the noble
son of Peleus: "Thou hast missed, so no wise yet, godlike Achilles, has
thou known from Zeus the hour of my doom, though thou thoughtest it.
Cunning of tongue art thou and a deceiver in speech, that fearing thee I
might forget my valour and strength. Not as I flee shalt thou plant thy
spear in my reins, but drive it straight through my breast as I set on
thee, if God hath given thee to do it. Now in thy turn avoid my spear of
bronze. O that thou mightst take it all into thy flesh! Then would the
war be lighter to the Trojans, if but thou wert dead, for thou art their
greatest bane."

He said, and poised his long-shadowed spear and hurled it, and smote the
midst of the shield of Peleus' son, and missed him not: but far from the
shield the spear leapt back. And Hector was wroth that his swift weapon
had left his hand in vain, and he stood downcast, for he had no second
ashen spear. And he called with a loud shout to Deiphobos of the white
shield, and asked of him a long spear, but he was no wise nigh. Then
Hector knew he truth in his heart, and spake and said: "Ay me, now
verily the gods have summoned me to death. I deemed the warrior
Deiphobos was by my side, but he is within the wall, and it was Athene
who played me false. Now therefore is evil death come very nigh me, not
far off, nor is there way of escape. This then was from of old the
pleasure of Zeus and of the far-darting son of Zeus, who yet before were
fain to succour me: but now my fate hath found me. At least let me not
die without a struggle or ingloriously, but in some great deed of arms
whereof men yet to be born shall hear."

Thus saying he drew his sharp sword that by his flank hung great and
strong, and gathered himself and swooped like a soaring eagle that
darteth to the plain through the dark clouds to seize a tender lamb or
crouching hare. So Hector swooped, brandishing his sharp sword. And
Achilles made at him, for his heart was filled with wild fierceness, and
before his breast he made a covering with his fair graven shield, and
tossed his bright four-plated helm; and round it waved fair golden
plumes [that Hephaistos had set thick about the crest.]. As a star goeth
among stars in the darkness of night, Hesperos, fairest of all stars set
in heaven, so flashed there forth a light from the keen spear Achilles
poised in his right hand, devising mischief against noble Hector, eyeing
his fair flesh to find the fittest place. Now for the rest of him his
flesh was covered by the fair bronze armour he stripped from strong
Patroklos when he slew him, but there was an opening where the collar
bones coming from the shoulders clasp the neck, even at the gullet,
where destruction of life cometh quickliest; there, as he came on, noble
Achilles drave at him with his spear, and right through the tender neck
went the point. Yet the bronze-weighted ashen spear clave not the
windpipe, so that he might yet speak words of answer to his foe. And he
fell down in the dust, and noble Achilles spake exultingly: "Hector,
thou thoughtest, whilst thou wert spoiling Patroklos, that thou wouldst
be safe, and didst reck nothing of me who was afar, thou fool. But away
among the hollow ships his comrade, a mightier far, even I, was left
behind, who now have unstrung thy knees. Thee shall dogs and birds tear
foully, but his funeral shall the Achaians make."

Then with faint breath spake unto him Hector of the glancing helm: "I
pray thee by thy life and knees and parents leave me not for dogs of the
Achaians to devour by the ships, but take good store of bronze and gold,
gifts that my father and lady mother shall give to thee, and give them
home my body back again, that the Trojans and Trojans' wives give me my
due of fire after my death."

But unto him with grim gaze spake Achilles fleet of foot: "Entreat me
not, dog, by knees or parents. Would that my heart's desire could so bid
me myself to carve and eat raw thy flesh, for the evil thou hast wrought
me, as surely is there none that shall keep the dogs from thee, not even
should they bring ten or twenty fold ransom and here weigh it out, and
promise even more, not even were Priam Dardanos' son to bid pay thy
weight in gold, not even so shall thy lady mother lay thee on a bed to
mourn her son, but dogs and birds shall devour thee utterly."

Then dying spake unto him Hector of the glancing helm: "Verily I know
thee and behold thee as thou art, nor was I destined to persuade thee;
truly thy heart is iron in thy breast. Take heed now lest I draw upon
thee wrath of gods, in the day when Paris and Phoebus Apollo slay thee,
for all thy valour, at the Skaian gate."

He ended, and the shadow of death came down upon him, and his soul flew
forth of his limbs and was gone to the house of Hades, wailing her fate,
leaving her vigour and youth. Then to the dead man spake noble Achilles:
"Die: for my death, I will accept it whensoever Zeus and the other
immortal gods are minded to accomplish it."

He said, and from the corpse drew forth his bronze spear, and set it
aside, and stripped the bloody armour from the shoulders. And other sons
of Achaians ran up around, who gazed upon the stature and marvellous
goodliness of Hector. Nor did any stand by but wounded him, and thus
would many a man say looking toward his neighbour: "Go to, of a truth
far easier to handle is Hector now than when he burnt the ships with
blazing fire." Thus would many a man say, and wound him as he stood hard
by. And when fleet noble Achilles had despoiled him, he stood up among
the Achaians and spake winged words: "Friends, chiefs and counsellors of
the Argives, since the gods have vouchsafed us to vanquish this man who
hath done us more evil than all the rest together, come let us make
trial in arms round about the city, that we may know somewhat of the
Trojans' purpose, whether since he hath fallen they will forsake the
citadel, or whether they are minded to abide, albeit Hector is no more.
But wherefore doth my heart debate thus? There lieth by the ships a dead
man unbewailed, unburied, Patroklos; him will I not forget, while I
abide among the living and my knees can stir. Nay if even in the house
of Hades the dead forget their dead, yet will I even there be mindful of
my dear comrade. But come, ye sons of the Achaians, let us now, singing
our song of victory, go back to the hollow ships and take with us our
foe. Great glory have we won; we have slain the noble Hector, unto whom
the Trojans prayed throughout their city, as he had been a god."

He said, and devised foul entreatment of noble Hector. The tendons of
both feet behind he slit from heel to ankle-joint, and thrust
therethrough thongs of ox-hide, and bound him to his chariot, leaving
his head to trail. And when he had mounted the chariot and lifted
therein the famous armour, he lashed his horses to speed, and they
nothing loth flew on. And dust rose around him that was dragged, and his
dark hair flowed loose on either side, and in the dust lay all his once
fair head, for now had Zeus given him over to his foes to entreat foully
in his own native land.

Thus was his head all grimed with dust. But his mother when she beheld
her son, tore her hair and cast far from her her shining veil, and cried
aloud with an exceeding bitter cry. And piteously moaned his father, and
around them the folk fell to crying and moaning throughout the town.
Most like it seemed as though all beetling Ilios were burning utterly in
fire. Scarcely could the folk keep back the old man in his hot desire to
get him forth of the Dardanian gates. For he besought them all, casting
himself down in the mire, and calling on each man by his name: "Hold,
friends, and though you love me leave me to get me forth of the city
alone and go unto the ships of the Achaians. Let me pray this accursed
horror-working man, if haply he may feel shame before his age-fellows
and pity an old man. He also hath a father such as I am, Peleus, who
begat and reared him to be a bane of Trojans - and most of all to me hath
he brought woe. So many sons of mine hath he slain in their flower - yet
for all my sorrow for the rest I mourn them all less than this one
alone, for whom my sharp grief will bring me down to the house of
Hades - even Hector. Would that he had died in my arms; then would we
have wept and wailed our fill, his mother who bore him to her ill hap,
and I myself."

Thus spake he wailing, and all the men of the city made moan with him.
And among the women of Troy, Hekabe led the wild lament: "My child, ah,
woe is me! wherefore should I live in my pain, now thou art dead, who
night and day wert my boast through the city, and blessing to all, both
men and women of Troy throughout the town, who hailed thee as a god, for
verily an exceeding glory to them wert thou in thy life: - now death and
fate have overtaken thee."

Thus spake she wailing. But Hector's wife knew not as yet, for no true
messenger had come to tell her how her husband abode without the gates,
but in an inner chamber of the lofty house she was weaving a double
purple web, and broidering therein manifold flowers. Then she called to
her goodly-haired handmaids through the house to set a great tripod on
the fire, that Hector might have warm washing when he came home out of
the battle fond heart, and was unaware how, far from all washings,
bright-eyed Athene had slain him by the hand of Achilles. But she heard
shrieks and groans from the battlements, and her limbs reeled, and the
shuttle fell from her hands to earth. Then again among her goodly-haired
maids she spake: "Come two of ye this way with me that I may see what
deeds are done. It was the voice of my husband's noble mother that I
heard, and in my own breast my heart leapeth to my mouth and my knees
are numbed beneath me: surely some evil thing is at hand against the
children of Priam. Would that such word might never reach my ear! yet
terribly I dread lest noble Achilles have cut off bold Hector from the
city by himself and chased him to the plain and ere this ended his
perilous pride that possessed him, for never would he tarry among the
throng of men but ran out before them far, yielding place to no man in
his hardihood."

Thus saying she sped through the chamber like one mad, with beating
heart, and with her went her handmaidens. But when she came to the
battlements and the throng of men, she stood still upon the wall and
gazed, and beheld him dragged before the city: - swift horses dragged him
recklessly toward the hollow ships of the Achaians. Then dark night came
on her eyes and shrouded her, and she fell backward and gasped forth her
spirit. From off her head she shook the bright attiring thereof,
frontlet and net and woven band, and veil, the veil that golden
Aphrodite gave her on the day when Hector of the glancing helm led her
forth of the house of Eetion, having given bride-gifts untold. And
around her thronged her husband's sisters and his brothers' wives, who
held her up among them, distraught even to death. But when at last she
came to herself and her soul returned into her breast, then wailing with
deep sobs she spake among the women of Troy: "O Hector, woe is me! to
one fate then were we both born, thou in Troy in the house of Priam, and
I in Thebe under woody Plakos, in the house of Eetion, who reared me
from a little one - ill-fated sire of cruel-fated child. Ah, would he
have begotten me not. Now thou to the house of Hades beneath the secret
places of the earth departest, and me in bitter mourning thou leavest a
widow in thy halls: and thy son is but an infant child - son of unhappy
parents, thee and me - nor shalt thou profit him, Hector, since thou art
dead, neither he thee. For even if he escape the Achaians' woful war,
yet shall labour and sorrow cleave unto him hereafter, for other men
shall seize his lands. The day of orphanage sundereth a child from his
fellows, and his head is bowed down ever, and his cheeks are wet with
tears. And in his need the child seeketh his father's friends, plucking
this one by cloak and that by coat, and one of them that pity him
holdeth his cup a little to his mouth, and moisteneth his lips, but his
palate he moisteneth not. And some child unorphaned thrusteth him from
the feast with blows and taunting words, 'Out with thee! no father of
thine is at our board.' Then weeping to his widowed mother shall he
return, even Astyanax, who erst upon his father's knee ate only marrow
and fat flesh of sheep; and when sleep fell on him and he ceased from
childish play, then in bed in his nurse's arms he would slumber softly
nested, having satisfied his heart with good things; but now that he
hath lost his father he will suffer many ills, Astyanax - that name the
Trojans gave him, because thou only wet the defence of their gates and
their long walls. But now by the beaked ships, far from thy parents,
shall coiling worms devour thee when the dogs have had their fill, as
thou liest naked; yet in these halls lieth raiment of thine, delicate
and fair, wrought by the hands of women. But verily all these will I
consume with burning fire - to thee no profit, since thou wilt never lie
therein, yet that his be honour to thee from the men and the women of

Thus spake she wailing, and the women joined their moan.


Of the funeral of Patroklos, and the funeral games.

Thus they throughout the city made moan: but the Achaians when they were
come to the ships and to the Hellespont were scattered each to his own
ship: only the Myrmidons Achilles suffered not to be scattered, but
spake among his comrades whose delight was in war: "Fleet-horsed
Myrmidons, my trusty comrades, let us not yet unyoke our whole-hooved
steeds from their cars, but with horses and chariots let us go near and
mourn Patroklos, for such is the honour of the dead. Then when we have
our fill of grievous wailing, we will unyoke the horses and all sup

He said, and they with one accord made lamentation, and Achilles led
their mourning. So thrice around the dead they drave their well-maned
steeds, moaning; and Thetis stirred among them desire of wailing.
Bedewed were the sands with tears, bedewed the warriors' arms; so great
a lord of fear they sorrowed for. And Peleus' son led their loud wail,
laying his man-slaying hands on his comrade's breast: "All hail,
Patroklos, even in the house of Hades; for all that I promised thee
before am I accomplishing, seeing I have dragged hither Hector to give
raw unto dogs to devour, and twelve noble children of the Trojans to
slaughter before thy pyre, because of mine anger at thy slaying."

He said, and devised foul entreatment of noble Hector, stretching him
prone in the dust beside the bier of Menoitios' son. And the rest put
off each his glittering bronze arms, and unyoked their high-neighing
horses, and sate them down numberless beside the ship of fleet-footed
Aiakides, and he gave them ample funeral feast. Many sleek oxen were
stretched out, their throats cut with steel, and many sheep and bleating
goats, and many white-tusked boars well grown in fat were spitted to
singe in the flame of Hephaistos; so on all sides round the corpse in
cupfuls blood was flowing.

But the fleet-footed prince, the son of Peleus, was brought to noble
Agamemnon by the Achaian chiefs, hardly persuading him thereto, for his
heart was wroth for his comrade. And when they were come to Agamemnon's
hut, forthwith they bade clear-voiced heralds set a great tripod on the
fire, if haply they might persuade the son of Peleus to wash from him
the bloody gore. But he denied them steadfastly, and sware moreover an
oath: "Nay, verily by Zeus, who is highest and best of gods, not lawful
is it that water should come nigh my head or ever I shall have laid
Patroklos on the fire, and heaped a barrow, and shaved my hair, since
never again shall second grief thus reach my heart, while I remain among
the living. Yet now for the present let us yield us to our mournful
meal: but with the morning, O king of men Agamemnon, rouse the folk to
bring wood and furnish all that it beseemeth a dead man to have when he
goeth beneath the misty gloom, to the end that untiring fire may burn
him quickly from sight, and the host betake them to their work."

Thus spake he, and they listened readily to him and obeyed, and eagerly
making ready each his meal they supped, and no lack had their soul of
equal feast. But when they had put off from them the desire of meat and
drink, the rest went down each man to his tent to take his rest, but the
son of Peleus upon the beach of the sounding sea lay groaning heavily,
amid the host of Myrmidons, in an open place, where waves were breaking
on the shore. Now when sleep took hold on him, easing the cares of his
heart, deep sleep that fell about him, (for sore tired were his glorious
knees with onset upon Hector toward windy Ilios), then came there unto
him the spirit of hapless Patroklos, in all things like his living self,
in stature, and fair eyes, and voice, and the raiment of his body was
the same; and he stood above Achilles' head and spake to him: "Thou
sleepest, and hast forgotten me, O Achilles. Not in my life wast thou
ever unmindful of me, but in my death. Bury me with all speed, that I
pass the gates of Hades. Far off the spirits banish me, the phantoms of
men outworn, nor suffer me to mingle with them beyond the River, but
vainly I wander along the wide-gated dwelling of Hades. Now give me, I
pray pitifully of thee, thy hand, for never more again shall I come back
from Hades, when ye have given me my due of fire. Never among the living
shall we sit apart from our dear comrades and take counsel together, but
me hath the harsh fate swallowed up which was appointed me even from my
birth. Yea and thou too thyself, Achilles peer of gods, beneath the wall
of the noble Trojans art doomed to die. Yet one thing will I say, and
charge thee, if haply thou wilt have regard thereto. Lay not my bones
apart from thine, Achilles, but together, even as we were nurtured in
your house, when Menoitios brought me yet a little one from Opoeis to
your country by reason of a grievous man-slaying, on the day when I slew
Amphidamas' son, not willing it, in childish wrath over the dice. Then
took me the knight Peleus into his house and reared me kindly and named
me thy squire: so therefore let one coffer hide our bones [a golden
coffer, two handled, thy lady mother's gift]."

Then made answer unto him Achilles fleet of foot: "Wherefore, O my
brother, hast thou come hither, and chargest me everything that I should
do? Verily I will accomplish all, and have regard unto thy bidding. But
stand more nigh me; for one moment let us throw our arms around each
other, and take our fill of dolorous lament."

He spake, and reached forth with his hands, but clasped him not; for
like a vapour the spirit was gone beneath the earth with a faint shriek.
And Achilles sprang up marvelling, and smote his hands together, and
spake a word of woe: "Ay me, there remaineth then even in the house of
Hades a spirit and phantom of the dead, albeit the life be not anywise
therein: for all night long hath the spirit of hapless Patroklos stood
over me, wailing and making moan, and charged me everything that I
should do, and wondrous like his living self it seemed."

Thus said he, and stirred in all of them yearning to make lament; and
rosy-fingered Morn shone forth on them while they still made moan around
the piteous corpse. Then lord Agamemnon sped mules and men from all the
huts to fetch wood; and a man of valour watched thereover, even

Online LibraryHomerThe Iliad → online text (page 27 of 31)