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The Iliad of Homer with a verse translation online

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ILIAD V. 217

But he one god at least hath ever near

To ward his bane. And yonder at his side

Moves Ares now in form of mortal man.

Face then the Trojans still, but slowly back

Give ground, nor rashly match with gods your might."

He spake : meanwhile the Trojans drew full near.
There Hector slew two wights well skilled in fray
Anchialus and Menesthes, in one car :
Whose fall in mighty Ajax Telamon
Deep pity stirred. Full near he went, and stood,
And threw his shining spear, and smote therewith
Amphius son of Selagus ; who dwelt
In Paesus, rich in hoards, in harvest rich ;
But froward destiny now led him on
Succour to bear to Priam and his sons.
Him on the belt smote Ajax Telamon
And in his belly the long-shadowed lance
Stood fixed : he heavy fell. To strip his arms
On rushed the glorious Ajax, but their spears,
Keen, flashing bright, the Trojans on him poured,
Whose sheltering targe received the countless shower.
Then on the corse he set his heel and drew
Therefrom his brazen spear, but could no more
From foeman's shoulders strip the armour fair ;
For missiles pressed him, and he feared the might
Of lordly Trojans pacing round the dead,
Who many and brave thronged on him with the lance ;
And tall and strong and awful though he was
They thrust him back, and he perforce gave ground.

Thus laboured they throughout the stubborn strife.
And now Tlepolemus, son of Heracles,
Brave man and tall, resistless destiny
Against divine Sarpedon roused to fight.
And when the twain advancing drew anigh,
The son and grandson of cloud-gathering Zeus,
His foeman first Tlepolemus thus addressed :



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ILIAD V.

" Sarpedon, counsellor of Lycia's host,

What need constrains thee here to crouch, as wight

All ignorant of war? They surely lie

Who call thee son of aegis-bearing Zeus.

For much thou lackest of those heroes old

Who in the ages past of Zeus were born.

Not such, they say, was Heracles the strong,

My father staunch and bold, of lion heart :

Who for the horses of Laomedon

Came hither erst, leading six ships alone

And fewer men ; and yet of I lion

He razed the towers and widowed all the ways.

But thou art but a coward heart, and thine

A host that perish fast. No help, I ween,

Wilt thou, from Lycia come, to Trojans prove,

For all thy strength, but slain beneath my hand

Wilt pass full soon the portals of the dead."

To whom Sarpedon, Lycian chief, replied :
"Tlepolemus, that hero, well I wot,
On sacred Ilion destruction wrought
Through folly of one man, the noble king
Laomedon, who for a good deed done
Spake evil words of shame, nor gave the steeds,
The guerdon due for which he came from far.
But as for thee, death and dark doom, I say,
Thou here shalt find from me, and by my spear
Vanquished and slain shalt yield me proud renown
And Hades lord of noble steeds thy life."

So spake Sarpedon ; but Tlepolemus
Upraised his ashen spear. The lances long
Sped from both hands at once. Sarpedon smote
Full on his foeman's neck, and through and through
Passed the fell point and dark night veiled his eyes.
The left thigh of the other with long lance



219



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ILIAD V. 221

Tlepolemus hit, and through it sped the point
In eager haste, and grazed the very bone :
But him as yet his father saved from bane.

Then from the field his godlike comrades bare
Divine Sarpedon, burdened by the length
Of trailing lance ; but none had marked or thought
Forth from the thigh to draw the ashen shaft
That he might mount the car, in their hot haste,
For much ado they had to tend him safe.
And on the other side Tlepolemus
Well-greaved Achaians from the battle bare.
Godlike Odysseus of the patient soul
Marked it, and sore his heart within him yearned.
But doubtful pondered he in thought and mind,
Whether to follow first the son of Zeus
Loud-thundering king, or of mean Lycian throng
To take the lives. But 'twas not fate that he,
Great-souled Odysseus, should with keen lance slay
The stalwart son of Zeus : wherefore his mind
Athend on the meaner Lycians turned.
There slew he Coiranus and Chromius,
Alastor and Alcander, Halius there,
Noemon, Prytanis. And now yet more
Of Lycians had the godlike hero slain,
Had not great Hector of the glancing plume
Been quick to mark his work. He through the van
Now forward moving, armed in burning mail,
Bore terror to the Danaans : but with joy
Sarpedon son of Zeus beheld him come,
And thus with piteous word bespake his friend :
" O son of Priam, leave me not to lie
A prey to Danaan foes, but bear me aid.
That done, I were content to leave my life
Within your walls, since 'twas not so to be
That I to home and fatherland restored
Should glad my much-loved wife and infant son."



222 IAIAAO2 E.

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ILIAD V. 223

He spake : but Hector of the glancing plume
Returned him not a word, but fleeted by
In eager haste to beat the Argives back
Soon as he might, and many foes to slay.
Divine Sarpedon then his godlike friends
'Neath the fair oak of aegis-bearing Zeus
Laid down ; and there the stalwart Pelagon,
His comrade dear, forced through and from the thigh
The ashen shaft. Swooning he sank, his eyes
With mist o'erspread ; but soon again he breathed,
And gales of Boreas blowing cool around
Fanned his weak gasping spirit back to life.

Meanwhile the Argives, though by Ares pressed
And brazen-helmed Hector, turned them not
Toward the black ships, nor yet made equal fight ;
But backward still retired, soon as they learned
That Ares' self amid the Trojans moved.

Whom first, whom last did Hector Priam's son
And brazen Ares in that battle slay?

First Teuthras the divine, Orestes then

Smiter of steeds, Trechus, Aetolian lance,

Oenomaiis, with Helenus Oenops' son,

Oresbius last, with supple girdle braced :

In Hyle dwelt he, busy lord of wealth,

On shelving margin of Cephisian lake,

And round him his Boeotian folk abode

The tenants of a fat and goodly land.

Now soon as Herd, white-armed goddess, saw

The Argives falling in the stubborn strife,

Athene^ she addressed in winged words :

" O shame ! Thou child of aegis-bearing Zeus,

Thou Tameless Maid, that word was then in vain,

Our pledge to Menelaus given, that he

Should raze the walls of Ilion and return,

If thus fell Ares we allow to rage.

But come, prepare we too impetuous might."



224 IAIAAO2 E.

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ILIAD V. 225

So spake she : and Athene", stern-eyed maid,
At once obeyed. Then Here goddess queen,
Daughter of mighty Cronos, went about
To harness forth her horses, shining bright
With golden frontlet, while upon her car
Full swiftly Hebe fixed the orbed wheels,
Brazen, eight-spoked, on iron axle set.
Their felloes are of never-rusting gold
Hooped round with brazen tire close-clamped thereon,
A marvel to behold ; of silver wrought
The naves that round about the axle turn.
The chariot-board is fast by thongs with gold
And silver decked, and circled by two rails.
The pole in front was silver, on whose end
Hebe now bound a fair and golden yoke,
And fair and golden neck- straps. 'Neath the yoke
Herd then led her horses fleet of foot,
All eager for the strife and shout of war.
Meanwhile the maid of aegis-bearing Zeus
Athene' loosed and on the Father's floor
Cast down her flowing mantle, broidered web
By her own hands and labour deftly wrought,
And donned the tunic of cloud-gathering Zeus,
And braced her armour for the tearful war.
Around her shoulders first the goddess cast
The tasselled aegis, awful targe, whose rim
Is crowned with Terror ; Discord too is there,
There Strength, there Havoc chilling all the blood,
There horrid monster Gorgon's horrid head,
That portent grim of aegis-bearing Zeus.
And on her head a helm of double cone
Four-plumed she set, of gold, figured with chiefs
Of five-score towns : then on the fiery car
Set foot, and grasped her lance, long, heavy, stout,
Wherewith she quells the hero ranks who chafe
That maiden daughter of a mighty Sire.

G. H. 15



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ILIAD V. 227

Then Herd swiftly touched with lash the steeds.
Self-moved before them groaned the gates of heaven,
Kept by the Hours : for to the}r charge is given
Olympus and wide heaven, and now to ope
The massy cloud rolled back, and now to close.
There through these gates the goaded steeds they urged.
And Cronos' son sitting alone they found
On many-ridged Olympus' topmost peak.
There Here, white-armed goddess, stayed her steeds,
And Zeus supreme thus questioned and addressed :
"O Father Zeus, seems it not shame to thee
That Ares works destruction, laying low
Achaia's ranks so many and so brave,
Reckless, beyond all rule, a grief to me ;
While Cypris and Apollo Silver-bow
Sit at their ease and take delight herein,
Loosing this mad one, who no law doth know?
O Father, say, wilt thou be moved to wrath,
If Ares now with painful blow I smite
And chase him from the battle-field away?"

To whom in answer spake cloud-gathering Zeus :
" Go now, Athend driver of the spoil
Spur thou against him : she above all else
Is wont to punish him with grievous pains."

He spake : nor white-armed Herd disobeyed,
But lashed the steeds, who not unwilling flew
Midway between the earth and starry sky.
And far as man may see, who with his eyes
Scans the dim offing, seated on a peak
And o'er the dark sea gazing e'en so far
Bounded the neighing coursers of the gods.
But when to Troy and to the rivers twain,
Where Simois and Scamander join their floods,
They came, there Herd, white-armed goddess, stayed

152



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ILIAD V. 229

And loosed her horses from the car, and shed
Thick mist around : while Simois clothed the mead
With blade ambrosial for their pasturage.
Onward afoot then went the goddess pair,
Soft-stepping as the timorous doves. But when
They came where most and bravest stood, around
Steed-taming Diomedes' mighty form
Close-massed, to flesh-devouring lions like,
Or savage boars, whose is no feeble strength,
Then Herd, white-armed goddess, stood and cried,
Taking the form of Stentor, mighty heart,
That hero brazen-voiced, whose shout was heard
Loud-sounding as of fifty other men :
" Shame, Argives ! Cravens base, for comely limbs
Alone admired. So long as to the war
Godlike Achilleus went, these sons of Troy
Ne'er ventured forth from their Dardanian gates,
For sore they feared his weighty lance. But now
Far from their town and by our ships they fight."

She spake, and stirred the mood and soul of each.
But quick Athene, stern-eyed goddess, sped
To Tydeus' son ; and by his steeds and car
She found the king, cooling the aching wound
That Pandarus with arrow-point had given.
For now the sweat 'neath the broad belt that braced
His orbed shield fretted the sore. With sweat
Distressed he was, and weary was his hand.
So lifting up the belt he wiped away
The dark blood clotted there. His horses' yoke
Then did the goddess touch, and thus she spake :
"Surely a son but little like himself
Tydeus begat. Tydeus, of stature small,
Was yet a fighter : e'en when I forbade
To seek the war or flash impetuous forth,
What time without Achaia's host he came
A messenger to Thebes, to Cadmus' sons,



230 IAIAAO2 E.

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ILIAD V. 231

A numerous throng. I bade him in their halls

To feast in peaceful guise ; but he, with soul

Valiant as heretofore, did challenge forth

The youth of Cadmus' land, and vanquished all,

And lightly vanquished such an aid was I.

And now by thee I stand, and guard thee sure,

And bid thee boldly with the Trojans fight.

But either weariness from toilful war

Steeps all thy limbs, or else, I trow, 'tis fear

Disheartening holds thee. Thus thou art no more

True seed of warlike Tydeus Oeneus' son."

To her stout Diomedes made reply :
" I know thee, goddess, daughter thou of Zeus
The aegis-bearer : wherefore I will speak
Frankly to thee my word ; nor hide the truth,
Nor me disheartening fear, nor sloth holds back,
But thy commandment bear I yet in mind.
'Twas thou forbadst me to oppose in fight
All other blessed gods : but, to the war
Should Aphrodite^ come, the child of Zeus,
Her with keen point thou chargedst me to wound.
Therefore I now myself retreat, and bade
The other Argives gather round me here :
For Ares marshals, as I know, the fray."

Then answered him Athene', stern-eyed maid :
" O Diomedes, of my soul beloved,
Nor Ares fear thou now, nor of the gods
Immortal any : such an aid am I.
But come, on Ares first thy firm-hoofed steeds
Turn thou, and smite him close, nor be thou awed
At this impetuous Ares, raging god,
Made all of mischief, shifting weather-vane :
Who two days back gave me and Herd pledge
With earnest words to fight as foe to Troy
And aid the Argive arms ; but now is found
Leagued with Troy's sons, his promise clean forgot."



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ILIAD V. 233

So speaking she laid hand on Sthenelus
And pulled him back and from the driver's place
Forced to the ground, who sped in haste away.
Then on the car beside the godlike chief
Eager the goddess stept ; and loudly groaned
The oaken axle with unwonted weight,
Bearing a goddess dread and peerless man.
The whip and reins Pallas Athene* took,
And turned on Ares first the firm-hoofed steeds.
He even now huge Periphas had slain,
The best by far of all Aetolia's host,
Ochesius' noble son him had he slain,
That blood-stained Ares, when Athene came
With helm of Hades dark around her drawn,
To be of mighty Ares all unseen.
But soon as man-destroying Ares saw
The godlike Diomedes, there he left
Huge Periphas to lie where at the first
He slew him and bereft of life : but he
Straight at steed-taming Diomedes rushed.
And when the twain advancing drew anigh,
First Ares o'er the yoke and horses' reins
Lunged out with brazen lance, in haste to slay :
But with her hand Athene*, stern-eyed maid,
Seizing the spear, aside and from the car
Thrust it away to spend an idle speed.



Online LibraryHomerThe Iliad of Homer with a verse translation → online text (page 14 of 32)