The Iliad of Homer rendered into English blank verse (Volume 1) online

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bf Troy invoke Minerva's awful name,
But to the height of Ilium's topmost tow'r
Andromache is gone ; since tidings came 450

The Trojan force was overmatch'd, and great
The Grecian strength ; whereat, like one distract,
She hurried to the walls, and with her took,
Borne in the nurse's arms, her infant child." 454

So spoke the ancient dame ; and Hector straight
Through the wide streets his rapid steps retrae'd.
But when at last the mighty city's length


"Was travers'd, and the Seasan gates were reach'd,

Whence was the outlet to tlie plain, in haste

Running to meet him came his priceless wife, 460

Eetion's daughter, fair Andromache ;

Eel ion, who from Thebes Cilicia sway'd,

Thebes, at the foot of Placos' wooded heights.

His child to Hector of the brazen helm

Was giv'n in marriage : she it was who now 465

Met him, and by her side the nurse, who bore,

Clasp'd to her breast, his all unconscious child,

Hector's lov'd infant, fair as morning star ;

"Whom Hector call'd Seaman drius, but the rest

Astyanax, in honour of his sire, 470

The matchless chief, the only prop of Troy.

Silent he smil'd as on his boy he gaz'd :

But at his side Andromache, in tears,

Hung on his arm, and thus the chief address'd :

" Dear Lord, thy dauntless spirit will work thy doom :
Nor hast thou pity on this thy helpless child, 476
Or me forlorn, to be thy widow soon :
For thee will all the Greeks with force combin'd
Assail and slay : for me, 'twere better far,


Of thee bereft, to lie beneath the sod ; 480

Nor comfort shall be mine, if thou be lost,

But endless grief; to me nor sire is left,

Nor honour'd mother ; fell Achilles' hand

My sire Eetion slew, what time his arms

The populous city of Cilicia raz'd, 485

The lofty-gated Thebes ; he slew indeed,

But stripp'd him not ; he reverenc'd the dead ;

And o'er his body, with his armour burnt,

A mound erected ; and the mountain nymphs,

The progeny of regis-bearing Jove, 490

Planted around his tomb a grove of elms.

There were sev'n brethren in my father's house ;

All in one day they fell, amid their herds

And fleecy flocks, by fierce Achilles' hand.

My mother, Queen of Placos' wooded height, 495

Brought with the captives here, he soon releas'd

For costly ransom ; but by Dian's shafts

She, in her father's house, was stricken down.

But, Hector, thou to me art all in one,

Sire, mother, brethren ! thou, my wedded love ! 500

Then pitying us, within the tow'r remain,


Nor make thy cliild an orphan, and thy wife

A hapless widow ; by the fig-tree here

Array thy troops ; for here the city wall,

Easiest of access, most invites assault. 505

Thrice have their boldest chiefs this point assail'd,

The two Ajaces, brave Idomeneus,

Th' Atridse both, and Tydens' warlike son,

Or by the prompting of some Heav'n-taught seer,

Or by their own advent'rous courage led." 510

To whom great Hector of the glancing helm ;
" Think not, dear wife, that by such thoughts as these
My heart has ne'er been wrung ; but I should blush
To face the men and long-rob'd dames of Troy,
If, like a coward, I could shun the fight. 515

Nor could my soul the lessons of my youth
So far forget, whose boast it still has been
In the fore-front of battle to be found,
Charg'd with my father's glory and mine own.
Yet in my inmost soul too well I know, 520

The day must come when this our sacred Troy,
And Priam's race, and Priam's royal self
Shall in one common ruin be o'erthrown.

Book VI HOMEfi'S ILIAD. 221

But not the thoughts of Troy's impending fate,

Nor Hecuba's nor royal Priam's woes, 525

Nor loss of brethren, numerous and brave,

By hostile hands laid prostrate in the dust,

So deeply wring my heart as thoughts of thee,

Thy days of freedom lost, and led away

A weeping captive by some brass-clad Greek ; 530

Haply in Argos, at a mistress' beck,

Condemn'd to ply the loom, or water draw

From Hypereia's or Messeis' fount,

Heart-wrung, by stern necessity constrain'd. 534

Then they who see thy tears perchance may say,

4 Lo ! this was Hector's wife, who, when they fought

On plains of Troy, was Ilium's bravest chief.'

Thus may they speak ; and thus thy grief renew

For loss of him, who might have been thy shield

To rescue thee from slav'ry's bitter hour. 540

Oh may I sleep in dust, ere be condemn'd

To hear thy cries, and see thee dragg'd away ! "

Thus as he spoke, great Hector stretch'd his arms
To take his child ; but back the infant shrank,
Crying, and sought his nurse's shelt'ring breast, 545


Scar'd by the brazen helm and horse-hair plume,
That nodded, fearful, on the warrior's crest.
Laugh'd the fond parents both, and from his brow
Hector the casque remov'd, and set it down, 549
All elitt'ring, on the ground : then kiss'd his child,


And danc'd him in his arms ; then thus to Jove
And to th' Immortals all address'd his pray'r :
" Grant, Jove, and all ye Gods, that this my son
May be, as I, the foremost man of Troy,
For valour fam'd, his country's guardian King ; 555
That men may say, ' This youth surpasses far
His father,' when they see him from the fight,
From slaughter'd foes, with bloody spoils of war
Returning, to rejoice his mother's heart!"

Thus saying, in his mother's arms he plac'd 560
His child ; she to her fragrant bosom clasp'd,
Smiling through tears ; with eyes of pitying love
Hector beheld, and press'd her hand, and thus
Address'd her — " Dearest, wring not thus my heart !
For till my day of destiny is come, 5 Go

No man may take my life ; and when it comes,
Nor brave nor coward can escape that day.

book VI. HOMER'S ILIAD. 223

But go thou home, and ply thy household cares,
The loom and distaff, and appoint thy maids
Their sev'ral tasks ; and leave to men of Troy 570
And, chief of all to me, the toils of -war."

Great Hector said, and rais'd his plumed helm ;
And homeward, slow, with oft-reverted eyes,
Shedding hot tears, his sorrowing wife return'd.
Arriv'd at valiant Hector's well-built house, 575

Her maidens press'd around her ; and in all
Arose at once the sympathetic grief.
For Hector, yet alive, his household mourn'd,
Deeming he never would again return,
Safe from the fight, by Grecian hands unharm'd. 580

Nor linger'd Paris in his lofty halls ;
But donn'd his armour, glitt'ring o'er with brass,
And through the city pass'd with bounding steps.
As some proud steed, at well-fill'd manger fed,
His halter broken, neighing, scours the plain, 585
And revels in the widely-flowing stream
To bathe his sides ; then tossing high his head,
While o'er his shoulders streams his ample mane,
Light borne on active limbs, in conscious pride,


To the wide pastures of the mares he flies ; 590

So Paris, Priam's son, from Ilium's height,

His bright arms flashing like the gorgeous sun,

Hasten'd, with boastful mien, and rapid step.

Hector he found, as from the spot he tum'd

Where with his wife he late had converse held ; 505

Whom thus the godlike Paris first address'd :

" Too long, good brother, art thou here detain'd,

Impatient for the fight, by my delay ;

Nor have I timely, as thou bad'st me, come."

To whom thus Hector of the glancing helm : 600

" My gallant brother, none who thinks aright

Can cavil at thy prowess in the field ;

For thou art very valiant; but thy will

Is weak and sluggish ; and it grieves my heart,

When from the Trojans, who in thy behalf 605

Such labours undergo, I hear thy name

Coupled with foul reproach ! But go we now !

Henceforth shall all be well, if Jove permit

That from our shores we drive th' invading Greeks,

And to the ever-living Gods of Heav'n 610

In peaceful homes our free libations pour." 611



The battle renewing with double ardour upon the return of Hector,
Minerva is under apprehensions for the Greeks. Apollo, seeing
her descend from Olympus, joins her near the Scsean gate. They
agree to put off the general engagement for that day, and incite
Hector to challenge the Greeks to a single combat. Nine of the
princes accepting the challenge, the lot is cast, and falls upon
Ajax. These heroes, after several attacks, are parted by the night.
The Trojans calling a council, Antenor proposes the delivery of
Helen to the Greeks, to which Paris will not consent, but offers
to restore them her riches. Priam sends a herald to make this
offer, and to demand a truce for burning the dead, the last of
which only is agreed to by Agamemnon. When the funerals are
performed, the Greeks, pursuant to the advice of Nestor, erect a
fortification to protect their fleet and camp, flanked with towers,
and defended by a ditch and palisades. Neptune testifies his
jealousy at this work, but is pacified by a promise from Jupiter.
Both armies pass the night in feasting, but Jupiter disheartens
the Trojans with thunder and other signs of his wrath.

The three-and-twenticth day ends with the duel of Hector and Ajax ;
the next day the truce is agreed : another is taken up in the fu-
neral rites of the slain; and one more in building tne fortifica-
tion before the ships; so that somewhat above three days is
employed in this book. The scene lies wholly in the field.



nnHUS as he spoke, from out the city gates

The noble Hector pass'd, and by his side
His brother Paris ; in the breast of both
Burnt the fierce ardour of the battle-field.
As when some God a fav'ring breeze bestows 5

On seamen tugging at the well-worn oar,
Faint with excess of toil, ev'n so appear'd
Those brethren twain to Troy's o'erlabour'd host.

Then to their prowess fell, by Paris' hand
Menesthius, royal Areithous' son, 10

"Whom to the King, in Arna, where he dwelt,
The stag-ey'd dame Phylomedusa bore ;
While Hector smote, with well-directed spear,
Beneath the brass-bound headpiece, through the throat,
Eioneus, and slack'd his limbs in death ; 15

And Glaucus, leader of the Lycian bands,


Son of Hippolochus, amid the fray

Iphinous, son of Dexias, borne on high

By two fleet mares upon a lofty car,

Pierc'd through the shoulder ; from the car he fell 20

Prone to the earth, his limbs relax'd in death.

But them when Pallas saw, amid the fray

Dealing destruction on the hosts of Greece,

From high Olympus to the walls of Troy

She came in haste ; Apollo there she found, 25

As down he look'd from Ilium's topmost tow'r,

Devising vict'ry to the arms of Troy.

Beside the oak they met ; Apollo first,

The son of Jove, the colloquy began :

" Daughter of Jove, from great Olympus' heights, 30

Why com'st thou here, by angry passion led ?

Wouldst thou the vict'ry, swaying here and there,

Give to the Greeks ? since pitiless thou see'st

The Trojans slaughter'd ? Be advis'd by me,

For so 'twere better ; cause we for to-day 35

The rage of battle and of war to cease ;

To-morrow morn shall see the fight renew'd,

Until the close of Ilium's destiny ;


For so ye Goddesses have wrought your will,

That this fair city should in ruin fall." 40

To whom the blue-ey'd Goddess thus replied :
" So be it, Archer-lung ; with like intent
I from Olympus came ; but say, what means
Wilt thou devise to bid the conflict cease ?"

To whom Apollo, royal son of Jove : 45

*' The might of valiant Hector let us move
To challenge to the combat, man to man,
Some Grecian warrior ; while the brass-clad Greeks
Their champion urge the challenge to accept,
And godlike Hector meet in single fight." 50

He said ; nor did Minerva not assent ;
But Helenus, the son of Priam, knew
The secret counsel by the Gods devis'd ;
And drawing near to Hector, thus he spoke :
" Hector, thou son of Priam, sage as Jove 55

In council, hearken to a brother's words.
Bid that the Greeks and Trojans all sit down,
And thou defy the boldest of the Greeks
With thee in single combat to contend ;
By revelation from th' eternal Gods, 00


I know that here thou shalt not meet thy fate."
He said, and Hector joy'd to hear his words ;
Forth in the midst he stepp'cl, and with his spear
Grasp'd in the middle, stay'd the Trojan ranks.
With one accord they sat ; on th' other side 65

Atrides bade the well-greav'd Greeks sit down ;
"While, in the likeness of two vultures, sat
On the tall oak of aegis-bearing Jove,
Pallas, and Phoebus of the silver bow,
"With heroes' deeds delighted ; dense around 70
Bristled the ranks, with shield, and helm, and spear.
As when the west wind freshly blows, and brings
A dark'ning ripple o'er the ocean waves,
E'en so appear'd upon the plain the ranks
Of Greeks and Trojans ; standing in the midst, 75
Thus to both armies noble Hector spoke :
" Hear, all ye Trojans, and ye well-greav'd Greeks,
The words I speak, the promptings of my soul.
It hath not pleas'd high-thron'd Saturnian Jove
To ratify our truce, who both afflicts 80

"With labours hard, till either ye shall take
Our well-fenc'd city, or yourselves to us


Succumb beside your ocean-going ships.

Here have ye all the chiefest men of Greece ;

Of all, let him who dares with me to fight, 85

Stand forth, and godlike Hector's might confront.

And this I say, and call to witness Jove,

If with the sharp-edg'd spear he vanquish me,

He shall strip off, and to the hollow ships

In triumph bear my armour ; but my corpse 90

Restore, that so the men and wives of Troy

May deck with honours due my funeral pyre.

But, by Apollo's grace should I prevail,

I will his arms strip off and bear to Troy,

And in Apollo's temple hang on high ; 95

But to the ships his corpse I will restore,

That so the long-hair'd Greeks with solemn rites

May bury him, and to his mem'ry raise

By the broad Hellespont a lofty tomb ;

An d men in days to come shall say, who urge 100

Their full-oar'd bark across the dark-blue sea,

' Lo there a warrior's tomb of days gone by,

A mighty chief, whom glorious Hector slew :'

Thus shall they say, and thus my fame shall live."


Thus Hector spoke ; they all in silence heard, 105
Sham'd to refuse, but fearful to accept.
At length in anger Menelaus rose,
Groaning in spirit, and with bitter words
Eeproach'd them: "Shame, ye braggart cowards, shame !
Women of Greece ! I cannot call you men ! 110

'Twere foul disgrace indeed, and scorn on scorn,
If Hector's challenge none of all the Greeks
Should dare accept ; to dust and water turn
All ye who here inglorious, heartless sit !
I will myself confront him ; for success, 115

Th' immortal Gods above the issues hold."

Thus as he spoke, he donn'd his dazzling arms.
Then, Menelaus, had thine end approach'd
By Hector's hands, so much the stronger he,
Had not the Kings withheld thee and restraind. 120
Great Agamemnon's self, wide-ruling King,
Seizing his hand, address'd him thus by name :
" What ! Heav'n-born Menelaus, art thou mad 1
Beseems thee not such folly ; curb thy wrath,
Though vex'd ; nor think with Hector to contend, 125
Thy better far, inspiring dread in all.


From his encounter in the glorious fight,

Superior far to thee, Achilles shrinks ;

But thou amid thy comrades' ranks retire ;

Some other champion will the Greeks provide ; 130

And, fearless as he is, and of the fight

Insatiate, yet will Hector, should he 'scape

Unwounded from the deadly battle-strife,

Be fain, methinks, to rest his weary limbs."

He said, and with judicious counsel sway'd 135
His brother's mind ; he yielded to his words,
And gladly his attendants doff 'd his arms.

Then Nestor rose, and thus address'd the Greeks :
" Alas, alas ! what shame is this for Greece !
What grief would fill the aged Peleus' soul, 140

Sage chief in council, of the Myrmidons
Leader approv'd, who often in his house
Would question me, and lov'd from me to hear
Of all the Greeks the race and pedigree,
Could he but learn how Hector cow'd them all ! 145
He to the Gods with hands uprais'd would pray
His soul might from his body be divorc'd,
And sink beneath the earth ! Oh would to Jove,


To Pallas and Apollo, such were now

My vig'rous youth, as when beside the banks 150

Of swiftly-flowing Celadon, the men

Of Pylos with th' Arcadian spearmen fought,

By Pheia's walls, around Iardan's streams.

Then from the ranks, in likeness as a God,

Advanc'd their champion, Ereuthalion bold. 155

The arms of Areithous he wore :

Of godlike Areithous, whom men

And richly-girdled women had surnam'd

The Macebearer ; for not with sword or bow

He went to fight, but with an iron mace 160

Broke through the squadrons : him L^curgus slew,

By stealth, not brav'ry, in a narrow way,

Where nought avail'd his iron mace from death

To save him ; for Lycurgus, with his spear,

Preventing, thrust him through the midst ; he fell 165

Prostrate ; and from his breast the victor stripp'd

His armour off, the gift of brass-clad Mars ;

And in the tug of war he wore it oft ;

But when Lycurgus felt th' approach of age,

He to his faithful follower and friend, 170


To Ereutlialion gave it ; therewith, arm'd,

He now to combat challeng'd all the chiefs.

None dar'd accept, for fear had fallen on all ;

Then I with dauntless spirit his might oppos'd,

The youngest of thern all ; with him I fought, 175

And Pallas gave the vict'ry to my arm.

Him there I slew, the tallest, strongest man ;

For many another there beside him lay.

Would that my youth and strength were now the same ;

Then soon should Hector of the glancing helm 180

A willing champion find ; but ye, of Greece

The foremost men, with Hector fear to fight."

The old man spoke reproachful ; at his words
Up rose nine warriors : far before the rest,
The monarch Agamemnon, King of men ; 185

Next Tydeus' son, the valiant Diomed ;
The two Ajaces, cloth'd with courage high ;
Idorneneus, and of Idomeneus
The faithful follower, brave Meriones,
Equal in fight to blood-stain'd Mars ; with these 190
Eurypylus, Eusemon's noble son ;
Thoas, Anclrgemon's son ; Ulysses last :


These all with Hector offer'd to contend.

Then thus again Gerenian Nestor spoke :

" Shake then the lots ; on whomsoe'er it fall, 195

Great profit shall he bring to Grecian arms,

Great glory to himself, if he escape

Un wounded from the deadly "battle strife."

He said : each mark'd his sev'ral lot, and all

Together threw in Agamemnon's helm. 200

The crowd, with hands uplifted, pray'd the Gods,

And looking heav'nward, said, " Grant, Father Jove,

The lot on Ajax, or on Tydeus' son,

Or on Mycenae's wealthy King may fall."

Thus they : then aged Nestor shook the helm, 205
And forth, according to their wish, was thrown
The lot of Ajax ; then from left to right
A herald show'd to all the chiefs of Greece,
In turn, the token ; they who knew it not,
Disclaini'd it all ; but when to him he came 210

Who mark'd, and threw it in Atrides' helm,
The noble Ajax, and, approaching, placed
The token in his outstretch'd hand, forthwith
He knew it, and rejoie'd ; before his feet

book VII. HOMER'S ILIAD. 237

He threw it down upon the ground, and said, 215

" O friends, the lot is mine ; great is my joy,

And hope o'er godlike Hector to prevail.

But now, while I my warlike armour don,

Pray ye to Saturn's royal son, apart,

In silence, that the Trojans hear ye not ; 220

Or ev'n aloud, for nought have we to fear.

No man against my will can make me fly,

By greater force or skill ; nor will, I hope,

My inexperience in the field disgrace

The teaching of my native Salamis." 225

Thus he ; and they to Saturn's royal son
Address'd their pray'rs, and looking heav'nward, said :
" Father Jove, who rul'st on Ida's height !
Most great ! most glorious ! grant that Ajax now
May gain the vict'ry,and immortal praise : 230

Or if thy love and pity Hector claim,
Give equal pow'r and equal praise to both."

Ajax meanwhile in dazzling brass was clad ;
And when his armour all was duly donn'd,
Forward he mov'd, as when gigantic Mars 235

Leads nations forth to war, whom Saturn's son


In life-destroying conflict hath involv'd ;

So mov'd the giant Ajax, prop of Greece,

"With sternly smiling mien ; with haughty stride

lie trod the plain, and pois'd his pond'rons spear. 240

The Greeks, rejoicing, on their champion gaz'd,

The Trojans' limbs beneath them shook with fear ;

Ev'n Hector's heart beat quicker in his breast ;

Yet quail he must not now, nor back retreat

Amid his comrades — he, the challenger ! 245

Ajax approach' d ; before him, as a tow'r

His mighty shield he bore, sev'n-fold, brass-bound,

The work of Tychius, best artificer

That wrought in leather ; he in Hyla dwelt.

Of sev'n-fold hides the pond'rous shield was wrought

Of lusty bulls ; the eighth was glitt'ring brass. 251

This by the son of Telamon was borne

Before his breast ; to Hector close he came,

And thus with words of haughty menace spoke :

" Hector, I now shall teach thee, man to man, 255
The mettle of the chiefs we yet possess,
Although Achilles of the lion heart,
Mighty in battle, be not with us still ;


He by Iris ocean-going ships indeed
Against Atrides nurses still his wrath ; 260

Yet are there those who dare encounter thee,
And not a few ; then now begin the fight."

To whom great Hector of the glancing helm :
" Ajax, brave leader, son of Telamon,
Deal not with me as with a feeble child, 265

Or woman, ign'rant of the ways of war ;
Of war and carnage every point I know ;
And well I know to wield, now right, now left,
The tough bull's-hide that forms my stubborn targe :
Well know I too my fiery steeds to urge, 270

And raise the war-cry in the standing fight.
But not in secret ambush would I watch,
To strike, by stealth, a noble foe like thee ;
But slay thee, if I may, in open fight."

He said ; and, poising, hurl'd his pond'rous spear ;
The brazen cov'ring of the shield it struck, 276

The outward fold, the eighth, above the sev'n
Of tough bull's-hide ; through six it drove its way
With stubborn force ; but in the seventh was stay'd.
Then Ajax hurl'd in turn his pond'rous spear, 280


And struck the circle true of Hector's shield ;

Right thro' the glitt'ring shield the stout spear pass'd,

And thro' the well-wrought breastplate drove its way ;

And, underneath, the linen vest it tore ; 284

But Hector, stooping, shunn'd the stroke of death.

"Withdrawing then their weapons, each on each

They fell, like lions fierce, or tusked hoars,

In strength the mightiest of the forest beasts.

Then Hector fairly on the centre struck

The stubborn shield ; yet drove not through the spear ;

For the stout brass the blunted point repell'd. 291

But Ajax, with a forward bound, the shield

Of Hector pierc'd ; right through the weapon pass'd ;

Arrested with rude shock the warrior's course,

And graz'd his neck, that spouted forth the blood. 295

Yet did not Hector of the glancing helm

Flinch from the contest : stooping to the ground,

With his broad hand a pond'rous stone he seiz'd,

That lay upon the plain, dark, jagg'd, and huge,

And hurl'd against the sev'n-fold shield, and struck

Full on the central boss ; loud rang the brass : 301

Then Ajax rais'd a weightier mass of rock


And sent it "whirling, giving to his ami

Unmeasur'd impulse ; with a millstone's weight

It crush'd the buckler ; Hector's knees gave way ; 305

Backward he stagger'd, yet upon his shield

Sustain'd, till Phoebus rais'd him to his -feet.

Wow had they hand to hand with swords engag'd,

Had not the messengers of Gods and men,

The heralds, interpos'd ; the one for Troy, 310

The other umpire for the brass-clad Greeks,

Talthybius and Idaeus, well approv'd.

Between the chiefs they held their wands, and thus

Idseus both with prudent speech address'd :

" Wo more, brave youths ! no longer wage the light :

To cloud-compelling Jove ye both are dear, 316

Both valiant spearmen ; that, we all have seen.

Night is at hand ; behoves us yield to night."

Whom answer'd thus the son of Telamon :
" Idaeus, bid that Hector speak those words : 320

He ch alienor' d all our chiefs : let him beojin :
If he be willing, I shall not refuse."

To whom great Hector of the glancing helm :
" Ajax, since God hath giv'n thee size, and strength,

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