The Iliad of Homer with a verse translation online

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Low to each other spake in winged words :
"That Trojans and well-greaved Achaians all
For such a woman long should suffer toils,
It is no blame. Full wondrously in face
To some immortal goddess she is like.
Yet let her even thus, tho' fair she be,
Take ship and go, nor here abide, to us
And to our children after us a bane."

So spake they all. But Priam called aloud :
"Helen, dear child, come hither, sit by me,
To see thy former husband, husband's kin,
And friends. I blame not thee, the gods I blame,
Who urged on me the Achaians' tearful war.
Come, name me now, I pray, yon stalwart man,
Whoe'er he be,. Achaian brave and tall.
His height indeed some other heads o'ertop ;
But wight so goodly saw I never yet
Or stately, for his mien bespeaks him king."

To whom made answer Helen, godlike dame :
"Honour for thee, dear father of my lord,


n 6 IAIAAO2 T.

&)9 o(f>e\ev 6dvar6<$ {JLOL dbelv /catcos, oTTTrore Sevpo
vlel (7a> eTTOfjLTjv, Oaka^ov yvcorovs re \L7rovcra
TralSd re rrj\vyeT7)v Kal 6jJbrf\.LKLr]v dpareLvijv.
aXXa rd 7' OVK eyevovro' TO KOI K\alovcra
rovro Be TOI epea) o ^ dveipeai r)Se
o^ro? 7* 'Ar/Det'S?;? evpvKpeiwv '
d/ji(j)6Tepov, {3ao-L\evs r dyaOos Kparepos r'
Sarjp CLVT eyL60? ecr/ce Kwairtbos, et TTOT' 771^ 76."

co? ^>aro, rw S' 6 yepcov tjjdacraro, <f>a>v7j(rev re
" to fiaKap 'Arpeif^, poiprjyeves, o
17 pa z/y rot TroXXot SeSprjaro tcovpoi *
rjSr} KOI t&pvytrjp elcrrfXvOov df
ev6a L&OV TrXe/a-roL'9

01 pa rore o-rparowvro Trap

Kal 0)^ eTTiKovos (0v ieTa TOICTIV

7Jfj,ari, TO) ore r' r)\6ov 'A/Ltaoz>e? dvridveipai'
d\\ y ov& ot roa-oi rjaav ocroi eXtVwTre?

Sevrepov avr ^OSvarja IStov epeeiv 6
" elif aye poi Kal rovSe, $>i\ov re/eo?, 09 rt9 08'
fjLclcov /J,ev Kecf)a\f) 'A.<yafj,e/jivovos
evpvrepos & a)/j,oicri, l$e crrepvoicn

fj,ev ol Kelrai eirl ^Oovl 7rov\v/3oreLpTj,
e /crt\09 W9 67rt7T&>XetT<zt o-r^a9 dvSpcov.
dpveiw /J,w 670) 76 ei-Wa) 777776(7 tyu,aXXw,
09 r' oiW /^67a TraJv Step^erat dpyevvdwv."

TOV S' ij/jLelfteT* 67Tid' 'EXei/T; Ato9 efcyeyavia'
11 OLT09 8' au AaepTidSr)? 770X^77x^9 'OSUO-0-6U9,
09 rpd<j)7) eV SrjjjLQ) 'I6d/C7]s rcpavafjs Trep 01/0-779,


And reverent awe I feel. O that I then
Had welcomed evil death, when with thy son
Hither I came, my marriage-chamber left
And kin, and darling daughter, and fair troop
Of loved companions. But it was not so ;
And therefore weeping do I melt in tears.
But what thou ask'st and seekest I will tell.
Wide-ruling Agamemnon, Atreus' son,
Is yonder wight ; at once a noble king
And warrior stout : and husband's brother once
(If so indeed he was) to shameless me."

Thus she. The grey-beard gazed in awe, then spake :
" O blessed son of Atreus, happy born,
Favoured of fortune ! Little did I wot
Achaia's sons so many owned thy sway.
Long since I went to Phrygia, land of vines,
And saw a numerous host, swift horsemen all,
By Otreus and by godlike Mygdon led,
Phrygians, who mustered on Sangarius' bank.
For I was counted with them as ally,
What time the Amazons, those peers of men,
To battle came. Yet were not even they
In number as Achaia's bright-eyed sons."

Odysseus next the old man saw, and asked :
" Come, say again, dear child, whom see I here ?
Shorter than Agamemnon Atreus' son
He stands : but in the shoulders and the chest
Broader he shows. Upon the fruitful earth
His arms are laid : himself, as moves a ram,
Is pacing stately through the ranks of men.
Yea, to a thick-fleeced rain I liken him
Moving amid the flock of white-woolled sheep."

To whom made answer Helen, born of Zeus :
"Laertes' son is this, Odysseus hight,
The many-counselled man, whom Ithaca,
Though rugged land it be, claims for her son.


TravTolov? re SoXou? KOI fJirjSea TTVKVO,"
TTJV S' avr 'Avrrjvwp TreTrvvfJLevos dvrlov
" co yvvai, rj /j,d\a rovro erro? vrj/JLepres e
178?; yap KOI Sevpo TTOT rj\vOe 8to? 'Q&vcro-evs, 205

crev eveic dyyeXlrj^ crvv dprjicfriXa) Me^eXao)'
TOI)? S' 670) e^eivio-cra KCLI ev fjL6<ydpoi(ri, (f)i\rjaa,
d/j,<f>OTepQ)v Se tfrvrjv eSdrjv KOI firjbea TTVKVCL.
' ore 8/) Tpcoecrcriv ev dypo/J,evoi(ri,v efJM%0V,

/JLev Me^eXao? i>7relpe^ev evpeas (OJJLOVS, 210

e^ofjievo) yepapwrepos r/ev 'OSuo-creu?.
aXX' ore S^ fj,v6ov$ KOI fjL^ea TTOO-LV v^aivov,
rf TQI fjuev Mez^eXao? eTTLTpo^dBrjv dyopevev,
Travpa pev, aXXa poka Xt7ea>9, eVet ov 7ro\v/j,vQo<;
ovft d<j)a/jLapToe7njs, el teal <yevei varepos rjev. 215

aXX' ore Srj TroXu/z-^rt? dva'tfeiev 'OSucro-eu?.
(rrdcncev, viral 8e t&eovce /cara ^Oovo^ ofi/jLara TT^fa?,
o-fcrJTrrpov S' oi/r' OTTLCTCO ovre TrpoTrprjves ev(a/j,a,
aXX' do-re/jL(j)es e^ea/ceis, d't'Spel ^>a)rt eo^/cco?'
^>at^9 ^:e ^CLKOTOV re T^' e/jifjievai afypovd T' aurco?. 220
aXX' ore S/} OTTO- re /J,eyd\r]v etc crrrjBeo^ IT)
KOI 7rea vitydSecrcri, eotfcora ^ei^epirjcnv,
OVK av evretT* ^GBvarji y epiGGeiev /3^oro? aXXo?.
oiJ rore 7' c58' 'OSucr^o? dyaao-dfjieO' etSo? t8oz/re?."

TO rplrov avr AXavra ISciov epiew o <yepai6s' 225

"Tt9 T' ap' oS' aXXo? 'A^ato? a^?)p 771;? re yue^a? re,
efo^o? 'Apyeicov Ke<f)a\r)v re KCLI evpeas

TW S' 'EXei^?; raz^uTreTrXo? ayLtet/Sero, Sta
" ouro? 8' Ala? ecrrl TreXwpto?, tyicos 'A^ata;z'.

8' erepcodev evl KprfTeao-i 0eo$ 009 230

Se /zt^ KprjrcDV dyol Tjye
7roXXa/a yLtti/ ^elvLacrev dprji&iXos Mez/eXao?


Each crafty wile and counsel shrewd he knows."

To her in turn the sage Antenor spake :
" Fair dame, this word of thine I warrant true.
For hither erst godlike Odysseus came,
Bearing a message to demand thee back,
With Menelaus, him of Ares loved.
I welcomed them as host within my halls,
And knew of both the form and counsels shrewd.
And when they mingled with the Trojan throng,
As there they stood, higher the shoulders broad
Of Menelaus rose : but when they sate,
Odysseus was the statelier of the twain.
Then when they spake and wove before us all
Their web of counsels, Menelaus spake
Right on with running flow, as brief in speech
But clear in tone ; not many words had he,
Nor random missed the mark, tho' younger born.
But when in turn the many-counselled man
Odysseus rose, he stood with look cast down
And eyes fixed on the ground : his royal staff
Nor back he swayed nor forwards, but unmoved
Held firm ; in semblance as some simple wight,
Whom surly one might deem or witless fool.
But when the full voice from his chest forth poured,
And words fast falling as the winter snow,
No mortal with Odysseus then might vie :
It was not then his form our wonder claimed."

Then saw he Ajax, and a third time asked :
"And who is this again, Achaian wight
Both brave and tall, who 'bove the Argive throng
Towers eminent by head and shoulders broad ? "

And answered long-robed Helen, godlike dame,
" Huge Ajax this, Achaia's bulwark strong :
And yonder, as a god, Idomeneus
Among his Cretans stands ; around him crowd
His chiefs. To him full often in our home

120 IAIAAO2 T.

oiKto ev rjfjLerepw, OTrore J^pijrrjdev IKOITO.

vvv 8' aXXoL5 /JLev Trdvras opw ekiKWjras

of;? Kev ev yvolrjv /cal r ovvo/j,a ^vQ-^aal^riv' 235

Soi(u 8' ov ^vva^at, ISeeiv Kocr^Tope \awv,

Kdo-ropd 0' iTTTToSafjLov KOI TT^f dyadov TIo\vSevKa,

avTO/caaiyvijTco, rw poi fJLia <yelvaro /jLjjrrjp.

rj ov% ecr7recr6i]V Aa/ceSat/to^o? e' epareivrjs,

r) Sevpo /JLev eTTOvro veeaa evi TrovroTropoia-iv, 240

vvv avr OVK eOekovai ^d^rjv Kara^v^evai, dvSpatv,

aio"xea SetStore? /cal ovelSea vroXX' a /JLOI eariv."

eS? <f>dro, TOI)? 8' rjSr) fcdre^ev (frval^oos dla
ev Aa/ceSalpovi avQi, <f>i\y ev irarpfBt yalrj.

Kijpv/ces 8' dvd dffrv 0ev (f>epov op/cia Trtcrra, 245

dpve Svci) Kal olvov ev<f)pova, /capirbv dpovprjs,
dcr/ca) ev aljeiaj. (f>ep6 Se /cpijTijpa (fraeivov
tcrjpv^ 'ISaio? ijBe xpvcreia /cuvreXXa,
wrpvvev Be <yepovra irapicrTdiJbevos eTreeacriv.
" opcreo Aao/jLeSovTLdBrj. /caXeovaiv dpiaroi 250


e's TreSlov /caTaflfjvat, 'Lv op/cia mcrrd
avrdp 'AXefai'Spo? Kal dpriLfyiKos Mei/eXao?
fjiafcpys ey%elr](ri fia^crovr d^l ryvvaitci'
TO) 8e /ce vi/ctfo-avTi, yvvrj Kal KT7]/JiaO' eTroiro. 255

ol S' d\\OL (friXoTijTa Kal opKia Trio-rd ra/jbovres
vaioi/jt-ev Tpolrjv epiftwKaKa, roil Be veovrai
"A/070? e? iTTTTopoTov Kal 'A^attSa Ka\\iyvvaiKa"
&J5 (f)dro, plyijaev S' o jepcov, eKekevcre S' eralpoLs

,' Tol 8' oTpa\ea)s eirLdovro. 260


Was Menelaus, loved of Ares, host,
Whene'er from Crete he came. And now I see
The others all, Achaia's bright-eyed sons,
Whom I could well discern, and tell each name.
But two I see not, marshals of the host,
Steed-taming Castor, and, with clenched hand
Brave champion, Polydeuces. These to me
Own brothers were, and of one mother born.
Or came they not from Lacedaemon fair,
Or hither came indeed in sea-borne ships,
But will not enter now the fight of men,
Fearing my shame and deep reproach to hear ? "

Thus Helen spake. But they already slept
Fast bound in life-begetting earth, away
In Lacedaemon their dear fatherland.

Meanwhile the heralds through the city bare
The offerings to the gods to seal the oaths,
Two lambs, and wine the gladdener of the heart,
Fruit of the soil, in goatskin bottle slung.
A glittering bowl withal Idaeus bare,
And golden cups : then went he near and stood,
And thus aroused with words the aged king :
" Son of Laomedon arise ! The chiefs
Of Troy's steed-tamers and their mail-clad foes
Now summon thee to seek the plain below,
That thou may'st seal by faithful oath a truce.
For Menelaus, he whom Ares loves,
And Alexander shall in single fight
With lances long do battle for the dame :
And wealth and wife shall be the victor's meed.
But, for the rest, a trusty friendship sworn,
In deep-soiled Troy we still shall dwell, and they
Return to Argos and her horse-cropt plain,
And to Achaia land of comely dames."

He spake. The grey-beard shuddered, but his squires
He charged to yoke his steeds ; who swift obeyed.

122 IA1AAO2 T.

av 8' ap eprj Hpia/jLos, Kara &' rjvia relvev

Trap Se ol 'Avrrjvcop 7repi/ca\\ea Ptfcrero Slcfrpov.

TO) oe ota Zttcaiwv TreoYoz/S' ^ov co/cea? ILTTTTOVS.

aXX' ore 77 p i/covro pera T/3c3a? KOI 'A^a-tou?,

6 5 f ITTTTWV a7ro/3ai/re? eVt ^dova 7rov\vf3oTei,pav 265

? fjueao-ov Tpoocov KOI 'A^atcoz^ eo-r

wpvvTO 8* avTLK 7TLTa avo% dvSpoov '

av 8' 'OSifcrei)? 7ro\V[J,7)Tis' drap rcijpv/ces dyavol

opKia TTLo-ra Oewv gvvayov, Kprjrrjpi Se olvov

, drap ftacrikevcnv vbcop eVt %et/3a? e^evav. 270

Se epvcro-d/jievos ^eipecrcri fid^aLpav^
rj ol Trap f/<eo9 yLte^a /cov\eov alev acopro,
dpvwv e/c K6(f)a\ea)v rdfjuvev rp/^a?* avrdp eireira
Tpa>a)v Kal * hyai&v vel^av dp icrro t?.
' 'ArpetS?;? fjueydX* eu^ero, ^etpa? dvaa^cov. 275
" ZeO Trdrep "ISijOev fjuebeayv, Kv^iare /j,eyiaT6,
T/eXto? ^' 09 Trdvr e^>opa9 /cat TTCLVT
ical Trorafiol /cal yala, KOI OL vTrevepde

rivvaOov, ort9 ' 7riop/cov ofjLo

fjidprvpot, eo-re, $v\dcrcreTe S' op/cia iridTa. 280

Mez>eXaoz/ 'A\e| r a^Spo9 KaraTrecfrvr],

^\evr)v e^erco /cal Kr^fJiara Trdvra,
' eV vrjecrdi vewpeQa TrovroTropoio-W
el Be K * AXegavSpov Krelvr) %avdbs MeveXaos,
Tpcoa9 eTret^' 'EXe^v /cal KT^ara TTOLVT diroSovvai,, 285
TiprjV 8' 'Ap7e/ot9 aTTOTivefJiev fyv TIV eoucev,
r) re Kal ecro-o/jLevoicn per dv0pa>7roi,o-i, 7re\7jrai.
el 8' az> eLtot rijt,rv ITtaLto9 Ilmofco re


Then mounted Priam, and behind him stretched

The reins ; Antenor mounted by his side

The beauteous car : and so the twain drove on

Their fleet steeds plainwards thro' the Scaean gates.

But when they came where either host was set,

Leaving their steeds, upon the fruitful earth

They lighted down, and to the midst advanced

Between the Trojan and Achaian lines.

Then straight rose Agamemnon king of men,

Rose too Odysseus, many-counselled sage :

And now the reverend heralds duly brought

The offerings to the gods to seal the oaths,

And in the bowl they mixed the wine, and poured

Water upon the hands of all the kings.

Then with his hand Atrides drew the knife

That aye beside his mighty scabbard hung,

And from the lambs' heads cut the hairs ; and these

To Trojan and Achaian chiefs alike

The heralds parted. Then before them all

Loud with uplifted hands Atrides prayed :

"O Father Zeus, who rul'st from Ida's height,

Most glorious, greatest lord ; and thou bright Sun,

Thou who beholdest all and hearest all ;

Ye Rivers, and thou Earth, and ye twin powers

That vengeance wreak upon the dead below

Of human kind, whoe'er be here forsworn :

Witness ye all, and guard our faithful oaths.

If Alexander Menelaus slay,

Then keep he Helen, keep he all her wealth,

While we upon our sea-borne ships return.

But if it be that Alexander fall

By Menelaus of the yellow hair,

Then Helen and her wealth shall Troy restore,

And pay us such a fine as may be meet,

And be a law to rule an after age.

But if to me Priam and Priam's sons

124 IAIAAO2 T.


avrp eyco /ca eireira ^aao^ai ewe/ca Troivs 290

CLV0L fJLevWV, 610)9 K TeXo? 7TO\e/jLOl,0

77, /cal djro crro/xa^ou? dpvwv rd/j,e
/cal TOT)? /J<ev Karedijicev eirl ^dovo
6vfJ,ov Sevo/Jievovs' diro <ydp fj,evos
olvov 8' e/c Kprjrrjpos d^vaaofJievoi, BeTrdeacnv 295

, 778' ev%ovTO Oeols alei<yeveTr)GLv.
$e rt? eiireo-Kev 'A^atcG^ re Tpaxov re.
ZeO Kv&iGTe fjLeyi(7T ) Kal d6dva,TOL 6eoi d\\oi,

TpOTepOl, V7T6p Op/CIO, 7rr)jJL7)V6ia,V,

> ey/cecf)a\o<; xa/JudSis peot 099 o8e otz/09, 3cx>

/cal re/cecov, aXo^oi S' aXXotcrt

009 e<ai/, oi?8' aa TT&)

rotcrt Se AapBavtSrjs IIpia/409 /z-era pvOov eeiTrev.

" KK\vre [lev, Tpcoe9 ^at eu/cvJjfjiLBe^ 'Ap^atot.

77 TOi eytov eifjn, Trporl "iXtoz/ rjvei^oeaaav 305

a-^, eVel ov TTOJ T\^O-O/JL ev ofyOakpolo-iv opdaOcu

vlov dpr)i<f)i\(p Mez/eXaa)'
TO 76 oZSe :al dOdvaroi, 6eol aXXot,
Qavdroio reXo9 TreTrpcojjbivov ecniv"
r) pa, Kal 69 Stypov dpvas Oero IcroOeos <&)9, 310

ai/ 8' a/>' eftaw ai)ro9, Arara S' r;^ta relvev oTrlcraa)'
Trap 8e ot f 'Avrrivcop TrepiicaXkea ftrjcrero Bl(j)pov.
rco fjiev ap dtyoppot, TTporl "\\iov diroviovro'
e Tlpta/ioto irals /cal St09 'OSuo"(7ei;9

Trpwrov 8fc6yLtT/3eo^, avTap 7reira 315

ev /cvverj ^a\/CTjpel 7rd\\ov
Brj TTpocrOev dfalrj ^a\K

Xaol S' 7/pij(ravTO, Oeolai, Be ^etpa^ dveo"%ov'
coBe Be Tt9 eiTreo-Kev 'A^aicS^ re Tpoowv re.


Such fine deny, should Alexander fall,
Then will I still fight on for recompense,
Abiding here till war's full end be won."

He spake, and with unpitying blade he cut
Right through the victims' throats, and laid the Jambs
Yet gasping on the ground, bereft of life,
Whose strength the blade had quelled. Then from the bowl
Drew they the wine, and from the cups forth poured :
And to the everliving gods they prayed,
While thus each Trojan and Achaian spake :
" Most glorious greatest Zeus, and ye the rest
Immortal gods ! grant, of the peoples twain
Whiche'er shall first break oath and dare the wrong,
That on the ground their brains may, as this wine,
Bespattered flow, theirs and their babes' withal ;
And be their wives to other. lords enslaved."

They prayed, but Zeus not yet their prayer confirmed.
To whom spake Priam son of Dardanus :
" Hear Trojans and well-greaved Achaians hear !
I verily to Ilion's wind-swept towers
Will get me back : my eyes may not endure
To see my own dear son a combat wage
With Menelaus, him whom Ares loves.
Zeus and the gods immortal know, I ween,
Whom of the twain the doom of death awaits."

The godlike hero spake, and in the car
The lambs he laid, then gat him up, and stretched
The reins behind : Antenor by his side
Mounted the beauteous car, and so the twain
Backward in haste to Ilion took their way.
But Hector Priam's son, and with him joined
Godlike Odysseus, first marked out the ground,
Then took the lots, and in the brazen helm
Shook, to decide who first should hurl the spear :
While with uplifted hands the armies prayed,
And. thus each Trojan and Achaian spake:

126 IAIAAO2 T.

" Zeu Trdrep "IBrjOev /jieBewv, /cvBiare //.eytcrre, 320

oTTTTorepo? ra8e epya per d/ji(f)OTepoi,criv eBrjxev,
TOV 809 a,7ro(f)0l/JLevov Bvvai BO/JLOV "At'8o9 ei(ra),
^/Aty 8' av (f>L\6rr)Ta Kal opiaa Tricrrd

(9 a/>' e(f)av, 7rd\\ev Be f
ai|r opcwv' Ilapio? Se ^oc5? e/c K\rjpo<? opovaev. 325

ot /Ltez; 7rei^' L^OVTO KCLTO, a-ri^as, r^yi eKaarov
aepcr/TroSe? /cat 7roi,/cl\a rev^e e/cetro*
o <y dfjifi tofAoicrw eSvcreTO rev^ea /ca\d
Bios 'AXefai/Spo9, f EXe^9 TTOO-IS T^VKO/JLOLO.

jJLev Trpwra Trepl /cvijfjLrjcriv Wr^ev 330

dpyvpeoKnv eTTLO-fyvpiow dpapvLas'
Bevrepov av Ocoprj/ca Trepl crTrjdeacriv eBvvev
olo /ca(7iyvrJTOio A.v/cdovo$, rjp^oae 8' avrat.
d/j,<f)l 8' dp 1 w/jLOLo-tv j3a\ero f/009 dpyvp6ij\ov
xdX/ceov, aura/3 eTretra ad/cos /Jieja re crri/Sapov re. 335
Kparl 8' eV l(j)0lp,(p Kvverjv evrvtcrov eOrj/cev

Bewov Be \6(j)o<; /cadvTrepOev evevev.
8' d\KLfjbOv 7^09, o o/ TraXa^^tz/ dprjpei.
0)9 8' ai}r&)9 J\le^eXao9 dprjuos eVre' eSw^e^.

o? 8' eVet oi;^ e/cdrepOev O/JLL\OV Owpi'^drjcrav, 340

9 fjLeao-ov Tpcucov teal 'A^at&)z> e
Sewov BepKo/jLevoi' Qdpffos 8' e

' 771)9 <TTr}T7)v Bia/juerpijTw evl

e'7%e/a9, aXX^Xotcrii/ /coreovre. 345

TTpoaBe 8' 'AXe^az^8/509 Trpo'l'tj BoX^oo'Ktov 67^09,
/cat ftd\ev 'Arpet'Bao KCLT dcnriBa iravrod
oi58' epprj^ev ^aX/co9, dveyvd/jLcfrOi} Be ol at
a<T7rt8' ez/t Kparepfj. o Be Bevrepos upvvro


"O Father Zeus, whose sway from Ida's height
Is over all, most glorious, greatest king !
Who of the twain hath brought these toils on all,
Grant he be slain and enter Hades' home,
While we in peace a trusty friendship swear."

So spake they all. Now with averted eyes
The mighty plumed Hector shook the helm,
And swiftly forth the lot of Paris leapt.
Then sate them down the armies by their ranks,
Each in his place, where his high-prancing steeds
Stood nigh, and where his well-wrought armour lay.
But Alexander, long-haired Helen's lord,
Around his shoulders donned his goodly arms.
First put he round his legs the greaves so fair,
With silver ankle-clasps made fast and sure ;
The corslet next around his breast he drew,
Lycaon's corslet, to his brother lent,
And fitting well : then from his shoulders slung
A silver-studded sword of brazen blade,
And shield both large and stout : his well-wrought helm
Then placed he on his mighty head, with crest
Of horse-hair nodding terribly above :
Then took a tough lance fitted to his hand.
And Menelaus armed him ev'n as he.

But when the twain their harness thus had donned
In either host, forth strode they to the midst
Of Trojans and Achaians. Dread their looks,
And awed were they that saw the sons of Troy
Steed-tamers, and Achaia's well-greaved men.
And now within the measured lists they stood
Full close, with quivering lances, mutual rage.
Then Alexander his long-shadowed spear
First cast, and struck upon Atrides' shield,
His orbed shield, nor brake the brazen plates,
But in the stout targe back the point was turned.
Then Menelaus second rose with lance

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Brass-tipped, and uttered prayer to father Zeus :

"O sovereign Zeus, grant vengeance on the man,

On godlike Alexander, who on me

First wrought the wrong! Quell him beneath my hands.

So may all shudder, ev'n the yet unborn,

Nor guest requite his kindly host with wrong."

He spake, and poising the long-shadowed spear
Cast it, and struck the shield of Priam's son,
His orbed shield. Through shield refulgent came
The forceful spear, through corslet richly wrought
Pressed firmly, and right onwards by the loins
Tore slashing through the tunic ; but aside
The hero bent, and shunned the gloomy death.
Then Atreus' son his silver-studded sword
Drew, lifted high, and smote the helm's front cone,
Snapt there the blade in three or four, and fell
In shivered splinters from the warrior's hand.
Then wailed Atrides as he heavenwards gazed:
"O Father Zeus, no god so harsh as thou !
Surely, I said, for Alexander's wrong
I now shall venge me. But my sword is broke
Here in my hands, and from my grasp the spear
Sped on a bootless quest, nor slew I him."

He spake, and rushing furious seized the helm
Bushy with horse-hair crest, then turning dragged
Towards the well-greaved Achaian host his foe,
Choked by the broidered strap that pressed beneath
His tender neck, the strap that stretching round
Below the chin held firm in place the casque.
And surely he had dragged him off and won
Untold renown, but quick to mark his plight
^Was Aphrodite, child of Zeus ; who brake
The thong (from hide of ox felled heavily),
And empty in his broad hand came away
The casque. And this toward the Achaian host
The victor whirling flung, and trusty squires

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Received. But he again with brazen lance,

Intent to slay, upon his foeman rushed:

Whom Aphrodite rescued from his doom,

Full easily, ev'n as a goddess may ;

And deep in mist enshrouded bare him thence,

And in his perfumed fragrant chamber laid.

Then went she to call Helen. Her she found

Upon a lofty tower with Trojan dames

Full many around her. With her hand she plucked

Her perfumed veil and spake, in semblance like

An aged crone, comber of wool, who wrought

Fair 'work for Helen in her Spartan home

And loved her dearly. Like to her in form

Queen Aphrodite* showed, as thus she spake :

"Away, 'tis Alexander calls thee home.

There in his chamber by the carven bed

He waits thee bright in raiment and in limb :

Nor wouldst thou deem him come from combat dire

With foeman, but or going to the dance

Or resting from the dance but newly done."

She spake, and stirred the heart within her breast.

Online LibraryHomerThe Iliad of Homer with a verse translation → online text (page 8 of 32)