John Henry Wright.

Masterpieces of Greek literature; Homer: Tyrtaeus: Archilochus: Callistratus: Alcaeus: Sappho: Anacreon: Pindar: Aeschylus: Sophocles: Euripides Aristophanes: Herodotus: Thucydides: Xenophon: Plato: Theocritus: Lucian, with biographical sketches and notes; online

. (page 3 of 29)
Online LibraryJohn Henry WrightMasterpieces of Greek literature; Homer: Tyrtaeus: Archilochus: Callistratus: Alcaeus: Sappho: Anacreon: Pindar: Aeschylus: Sophocles: Euripides Aristophanes: Herodotus: Thucydides: Xenophon: Plato: Theocritus: Lucian, with biographical sketches and notes; → online text (page 3 of 29)
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had no rest in the realms of the dead so long as the body remained
unburied. Cf. the same belief expressed in the Antigone, p. lo9.



And then the crested Hector, dying, said :

" I know thee, and too clearly I foresaw
I should not move thee, for thou hast a heart
Of iron. Yet reflect that for my sake
The anger of the gods may fall on thee, 445

When Paris and Apollo strike thee down.
Strong as thou art, before the Scaean gates."

Thus Hector spake, and straightway o'er him closed
The night of death ; the soul forsook his limbs.
And flew to Hades, grieving for its fate, — 450

So soon divorced from youth and youthful might.
Then said the great Achilles to the dead :

" Die thou ; and I, whenever it shall please
Jove and the other gods, will meet my fate."

He spake, and plucking forth his brazen lance 455
He laid it by, and from the body stripped
The bloody mail. The thronging Greeks beheld
With wonder Hector's tall and stately form.
And no one came who did not add a wound ;
And looking to each other thus they said : 46c

" How much more tamely Hector now endures
Our touch than when he set the fleet on fire ! "

Such were the words of those who smote the dead.
But now, when swift Achilles from the corpse
Had stripped the armor, he stood forth among 46

The Achaian host, and spake these winged words :

" Leaders and princes of the Grecian host !
Since we, my friends, by favor of the gods.
Have overcome the chief who wrought more harm
To us than all the rest, let us assault 470

The town, and learn what they of Troy intend ; —
Whether their troops will leave the citadel
Since he is slain, or hold it with strong hand.
Though Hector is no more. But why give thought



To plans like these while yet Patroclus lies 475

A corpse unwept, unburied, at the fleet ?

I never will forget him while I live

And while these limbs have motion. Though below

In Hades they forget the dead, yet I

Will there remember my beloved friend. 48o

Now then, ye youths of Greece, move on and chant

A paean, while returning to the fleet.

We bring great glory with us ; we have slain

The noble Hector, whom, throughout their town,

The Trojans ever worshiped like a god." ' 485

He spake, and planning in his mind to treat

The noble Hector shamefully, he bored

The sinews of his feet between the heel

And ankle ; drawing through them leathern thongs

He bound them to the car, but left the head 490

To trail in dust. And then he climbed the car,

Took in the shining mail, and lashed to speed

The coursers. Not unwillingly they flew.

Around the dead, as he was dragged along,

The dust arose ; his dark locks swept the ground. 495

That head, of late so noble in men's eyes,

Lay deep amid the dust, for Jove that day

Suffered the foes of Hector to insult

His corse in his own land. His mother saw, v

And tore her hair, and flung her lustrous veil 500

Away, and uttered piercing shrieks. No less

His father, who so loved him, piteously

Bewailed him ; and in all the streets of Troy

The people wept aloud, with such lament

As if the towery Ilium were in flames 505

Even to its loftiest roofs. They scarce could keep

The aged king within, who, wild with grief.

Struggled to rush through the Dardanian gates,


And, rolling in the dust, entreated all

Who stood around him, calling them by name : 510

" Refrain, my friends, though kind be your intent.
Let me go forth alone, and at the fleet
Of Greece will I entreat this man of blood
And violence. He may perchance be moved
With reverence for my age, and pity me sis

In my gray hairs ; for such a one as I
Is Peleus, his own father, by whose care
This Greek was reared to be a scourge to Troy,
And, more than all, a cause of grief to me,
So many sons of mine in life's fresh prime 520

Have fallen by his hand. I mourn for them,
But not with such keen anguish as I mourn
For Hector. Sorrow for his death will bring
My soul to Hades. Would that he had died
Here in my arms ! this solace had been ours, 525

His most unhappy mother and myself
Had stooped to shed these tears upon his bier."

He spake, and wept, and all the citizens
Wept with him. Hecuba among the dames
Took up the lamentation and began : 530

" Why do I live, my son, when thou art dead.
And I so wretched ? — thou who wert my boast
Ever, by night and day, where'er I went.
And whom the Trojan men and matrons called
Their bulwark, honoring thee as if thou wert 535

A god. They glory in thy might no more.
Since fate and death have overtaken thee."
Weeping she spake. Meantime Andromache
Had heard no tidings of her husband yet.
No messenger had even come to say 540

That he was still without the gates. She sat
In a recess of those magnificent halls,


And wove a twofold web of brilliant hues,

On whicb were scattered flowers of rare device ;

And she had given her bright-haired maidens charge

To place an ample caldron on the fire, 546

That Hector, coming from the battlefield,

Might find the warm bath ready. Thoughtless one !

She knew not that the blue-eyed archer-queen, 1

Far from the bath prepared for him, had slain sso

Her husband by the hand of Peleus' son.

She heard the shrieks, the wail upon the tower,

Trembled in every limb, and quickly dropped

The shuttle, saying to her bright-haired maids :

" Come with me, two of you, that I may learn 555
What now has happened. 'T is my mother's voice
That I have heard. My heart leaps to my mouth ;
My limbs fail under me. Some deadly harm
Hangs over Priam's sons ; far be the hour
When I shall hear of it. And yet I fear 560

Lest that Achilles, having got between
The daring Hector and the city gates,
May drive him to the plain alone, and quell
The desperate valor that was ever his ;
For never would he keep the ranks, but ranged 565
Beyond them, and gave way to no man's might."

She spake, and from the royal mansion rushed
Distractedly, and with a beating heart.
Her maids went with her. When she reached the tower
And throng of men, and, standing on the wall, 570

Looked forth, she saw her husband dragged away
Before the city. Toward the Grecian fleet
The swift steeds drew him. Sudden darkness came
Over her eyes, and in a breathless swoon
She sank away and fell. The ornaments 575

1 Pallas Athena (Minerva).


Dropped from her brow, — the wreath, the woven

The net, the veil which golden Yenus gave
That day when crested Hector wedded her,
Dowereci with large gifts, and led her from her home,
Eetion's palace. Round her in a throng 580

Her sisters of the house of Priam pressed,
And gently raised her in that deathlike swoon.
But when she breathed again, and to its seat
The conscious mind returned, as in their arms
She lay, with sobs and broken speech she said : sss
" Hector, — O wretched me ! — we both were born
To sorrow : thou at Troy, in Priam's house,
And I at Thebe in Eetion's halls.
By woody Placos. From a little child
He reared me there, — unhappy he, and I 990

Unhappy ! O that I had ne'er been born !
Thou goest down to Hades and the depths
Of earth, and leavest me in thine abode,
Widowed, and never to be comforted.
Thy son, a speechless babe, to whom we two 595

Gave being, — hapless parents ! — cannot have
Thy loving guardianship now thou art dead,
Nor be a joy to thee. Though he survive
The cruel warfare which the sons of Greece
Are waging, hard and evil yet will be eoo

His lot hereafter ; others will remove
His landmarks and will make his fields their o wn.
The day in which a boy is fatherless
Makes him companionless ; with downcast eyes
He wanders, and his cheeks are stained with tears, eos
Unfed he goes where sit his father's friends.
And plucks one by the cloak, and by the robe
Another. One who pities him shall give


A scanty draught, which only wets his lips,
But not his palate ; while another boy, 6io

Whose parents both are living, thrusts him thence
With blows and vulgar clamor : ' Get thee gone j
Thy father is not with us at the feast.'
Then to his widowed mother shall return
Astyanax in tears, who not long since 615

Was fed, while sitting in his father's laj),
On marrow and the delicate fat of lambs.
And ever when his childish sports had tired
The boy, and sleep came stealing over him,
He slumbered, softly cushioned, on a couch 620

And in his nurse's arms, his heart at ease
And satiate with delights. But now thy son
Astyanax,^ — whom so the Trojans name
Because thy valor guarded gate and tower, —
Thy care withdrawn, shall suffer many things. 625

While far from those who gave thee birth, beside
The roomy ships of Greece, the restless worms
Shall make thy flesh their banquet when the dogs
Have gorged themselves. Thy garments yet remain
Within the palace, delicately wrought eso

And graceful, woven by the women's hands ;
And these, since thou shalt put them on no more,
Nor wear them in thy death, I burn with fire
Before the Trojan men and dames ; and all
Shall see how gloriously thou wert arrayed." ess

Weeping she spake, and with her wept her maids.

^ Astyanax means Defender of the City. See p. 3, line 521. Sons
often were named from some distinction of the father.



From the Twenty-fourth Book of the Iliad, from verse 718 to the end ; in Bryant's
translation, verses 911-1022.

Old Priam, attended by Hermes (Mercury), the herald of the
gods, has gone to the tent of Achilles, who is moved with com-
passion and gives up to him the body of Hector. On Priam's
return, he is met at the city gate by the Trojan people.

The throng gave way and let the chariot pass ;

And having brought it to the royal halls,

On a fair couch they laid the corse, and placed

Singers beside it, leaders of the dirge,

Who sang a sorrowful, lamenting strain, ais

And all the women answered it with sobs.

White-armed Andromache in both her hands

Took warlike Hector's head, and over it

Began the lamentation midst them all :

" Thou hast died young, my husband, leaving me 920
In this thy home a widow, and one son,
An infant yet. To an unhappy pair
He owes his birth, and never will, I fear.
Bloom into youth ; for ere that day will Troy
Be overthrown, since thou, its chief defence, 925

Art dead, the guardian of its walls and all
Its noble matrons and its speechless babes.
Yet to be carried captive far away,
And I among them, in the hollow barks ;
And thou, my son, wilt either go with me, 930

W^here thou shalt toil at menial tasks for some
Pitiless master ; or perhaps some Greek
Will seize thy little arm, and in his rage
Will hurl thee from a tower and dash thee dead,
Remembering how thy father, Hector, slew 935

His brother, son, or father ; for the hand
Of Hector forced full many a Greek to bite

20 HOMER s

The dust of earth. Not slow to smite was he

In the fierce conflict ; therefore all who dwell

Within the city sorrow for his fall. 940

Thou bringest an unutterable grief,

O Hector, on thy parents, and on me

The sharpest sorrows. Thou didst not stretch forth

Thy hands to me, in dying, from thy couch,

Nor speak a word to comfort me, which I 945

Might ever think of, night and day, with tears."

So spake the weeping wife ; the women all

Mingled their wail with hers, and Hecuba

Took up the passionate lamentation next :

" O Hector, thou who wert most fondly loved 950
Of all my sons ! While yet thou wert alive,
Dear wert thou to the gods, who even now.
When death has overtaken thee, bestow
Such care upon thee. All my other sons
Whom swift Achilles took in war he sold 955

At Samos, Imbrus by the barren sea,
And Lemnos harborless. But as for thee,
When he had taken with his cruel spear
Thy life, he dragged thee round and round the tomb
Of his young friend, Patroclus, whom thy hand 960
Had slain, yet raised he not by this the dead ;
And now thou liest in the palace here,
Fresh and besprinkled as with early dew,
Like one just slain with silent arrows aimed
By Phoebus, bearer of the silver bow." 965

Weeping she spake, and woke in all w^io heard
Grief without measure. Helen, last of all
Took up the lamentation, and began :

" O Hector, who wert dearest to my heart
Of all my husband's brothers, — for the wife 970

Am I of godlike Paris, him whose fleet


Brought me to Troy, — would I had sooner died I

And now the twentieth year is past since first

I came a stranger from my native shore,

Yet never have I heard from thee a word 975

Of anger or reproach. And when the sons

Of Priam, and his daughters, and the wives

Of Priam's sons, in all their fair array,

Taunted me grievously, or Hecuba

Herself, — for Priam ever was to me 980

A gracious father, — thou didst take my part

With kindly admonition, and restrain

Their tongues with soft address and gentle words.

Therefore my heart is grieved, and I bewail

Thee and myself at once, — unhappy me ! 935

For now I have no friend in all wide Troy, —

None to be kind to me : they hate me all."

Weeping she spake : the mighty throng again
Answered with wailing. Priam then addressed
The people : " Now bring wood, ye men of Troy, 990
Into the city. Let there be no fear
Of ambush from the Greeks, for when of late
I left Achilles at the dark-hulled barks,
He gave his promise to molest no more
The men of Troy till the twelfth morn shall rise." 995

He spake, and speedily they yoked the mules
And oxen to the wains, and came in throngs
Before the city walls. Nine days they toiled
To bring the trunks of trees, and when the tenth
Arose to light the abodes of men, they brought 1000
The corse of valiant Hector from the town
With many tears, and laid it on the wood
High up, and flung the fire to light the pile.

Now when the early rosy-fingered Dawn
Looked forth, the people gathered round the pile 1005


Of glorious Hector. When they all had come
Together, first they quenched the funeral fires,
Wherever they had spread, with dark-red wine,
And then his brothers and companions searched
For the white bones. In sorrow and in tears loio

That streaming stained their cheeks, they gathered

And placed them in a golden urn. O'er this
They drew a covering of soft purple robes,
And laid it in a hollow grave, and piled
Fragments of rock above it, many and huge. 1015

In haste they reared the tomb, with sentries set
On every side, lest all too soon the Greeks
Should come in armor to renew the war.
When now the tomb was built, the multitude
Returned, and in the halls where Priam dwelt, 1020
Nursling of Jove, were feasted royally.
Such was the mighty Hector's burial rite.


The Ninth Book of the Odyssey ; Worsley's translation.

Odysseus (Ulysses) here begins the story of his wanderings
and adventures on his return from Troy. This story is called
the " Apologue of Alcinous," being told to Alcinous, king of the
Phaeacians, a people who dwelt in fairyland on an island which
the later Greeks identified with Corfu. On the night following the
relation of this story, Odysseus, after ten years at the siege of
Troy and ten years of wanderings, is carried by the Phaeacians
to Ithaca, his home.

Then said Odysseus : Thrice-renowned king,
Sweet is it minstrelsies like these to hear,
Framed by a bard who like the gods can sing.
Find me a joy to human heart more dear
Than is a people's gladness, when good cheer 5


Reigns, and all listening pause in deep delight,
While in mid-feast the bard his song doth rear,
What time the board with all good things is dight,
And for each guest the herald fills the wine-cup bright.

Methinks that nothing can more lovely be ! lo

But thou my soul art turning to a tale
Heavy with heartache even in memory.
Ah ! which then first, if I uplift the veil.
Which of my sorrows shall I last bewail ? —
Woes in such number the celestials poured. 15

First I my name unfold that when from bale
Resting hereafter, to my land restored,
I, though far off, may greet your faces at my board.

I, then, Odysseus am, Laertes' son,
For all wise policies a name of fear 20

To men ; my rumor to the skies hath gone.
And sunward Ithaca my country dear
I boast. Hill Neritus stands waving there
His green trees visible for many a mile,
Centre of soils divine, which clustering near, 25

Stars of the blue sea, round about him smile,
Dulichium, Same steep, Zacynthus' wood-crowned isle.

Thus lies the land high-tabled in the main
Westward ; the others take the morning sun ;
Rough, but a good nurse, and divine in grain so

Her heroes. Never can I gaze upon
Land to my mind so lovely as that one.
Land not to be forgotten — aye, though me
Calypso in her caves would fain have won.
And Circe, deep-embowered within the sea, 35

Held me with artful wiles her own true love to be.


Never could these the inward heart persuade,
Never make sweet the cold unfaithfulness.
More than all pleasures that were ever made
Parents and fatherland our life still bless. 40

Though we rich home in a strange land possess,
Still the old memories about us cling.
But hear, while I the bitter woes express,
Which, as from Troia I my comrades bring,
Zeus, the Olympian Sire, around my life did fling. 45

Me winds to Ismarus from Ilion bear.
To the Ciconians. I their town lay waste,
And wives and wealth with my companions share.
That none for me might sail away disgraced.
Anon I urged them with quick feet to haste 50

Their flight, but they, infatuate fools, forbore —
There the red wine they ever dreaming taste,
While carcasses of sheep lie many a score.
And trailing-footed beeves, slain, on the barren shore.

But all this while, on other works intent, 55

Loudly the Cicons to the Cicons call,
Who more and braver hold the continent.
These both from horseback cope with heroes tall.
Or foot to foot can make their foeman fall.
Wrapt in the morning mist they loom in view, eo
Thick as the leaves and flowers ambrosial,
Children of Spring. Onward the dark fate drew,
Big with the woes which Zeus had destined for our due.

Hard by the swift ships, each in ordered line.
With steely spears the battle they darrayne.^
While toward the zenith clomb the day divine,
We, though much fewer, their assault sustain.
1 Darrayne, i. e. set in array.


But when, toward loosing of the plough, did wane
The slanting sun, then the Ciconian host
Turned us to flight along the shadowy plain. 70

Six of our comrades from each ship were lost.
But we the rest fled safely from the Thracian coast.

Then on our course we sail, distressed in heart,
Glad of our lives, yet grieving for the dead ;
Natheless we list not from that shore depart, 75

Ere thrice with cries we hailed each fallen head
Of those whose blood the fierce Ciconians shed
In the wide plain. Ere yet we ceased to weep,
Zeus on our fleet the rage of Boreas dread
Launched, and with black clouds veiled the earth

and deep, so

While the dark Night came rushing from heaven's

stormy steep.

Headlong the ships were driven with tattered sails.
These having furled we drave our keels ashore.
Fearing destruction from the raving gales.
Two nights and days we eating our heart's core ss
Lay till the third light beauteous Dawn upbore ;
Then we the masts plant, and the white sails spread.
And sitting lean to the laborious oar.
Wind and good pilotage the brave barks sped ;
Soon had I scatheless seen my native earth ahead, 90

But me the current and fell Boreas whirled,

Doubling Malea's cape, and far astray

Beyond the rude cliffs of Cythera hurled.

So for nine days along the watery way,

Teeming with monsters, me the winds affray 95

And with destruction ever seem to whelm :


But, on the afternoon of the tenth day,
We reached, borne downward with an easy helm,
Land of the flowery food, the Lotus-eating realm.

Anon we step forth on the dear mainland, loo

And draw fresh water from the springs, and there,
Seated at ease along the silent strand.
Not far from the swift ships our meal prepare.
Soon having tasted of the welcome fare,
I with the herald brave companions twain los

Sent to explore what manner of men they were,
Who, on the green earth couched beside the main.
Seemed ever with sweet food their lips to entertain.

Who, when they came on the delightful place
Where those sat feeding by the barren wave, no
There mingled with the Lotus-eating race ;
Who nought of ruin for our comrades brave
Dreamed in their minds, but of the Lotus gave ;
And whoso tasted of their flowery meat
Cared not with tidings to return, but clave 115

Fast to that tribe, for ever fain to eat.
Reckless of home-return, the tender Lotus sweet.

These sorely weeping by main strength we bore
Back to the hollow ships with all our speed,
And thrust them bound with cords upon the floor.
Under the benches : then the rest I lead 121

On board and bid them to the work give heed.
Lest others, eating of the Lotus, yearn
Always to linger in that land, and feed.
Careless for ever of the home-return : 125^

Then, bending to their oars, the foamy deep they


Thence we sailed onward overwlielmed in heart,
And to the land of the Cyclopes came,
An undiscerning people, void of art
In life, and tramplers on the sacred claim 130

Of laws which men for civil uses frame.
Scorners of common weal no bounds they keep,
Nor learn with labors the rude earth to tame ;
Who neither plant nor plough nor sow nor reap ;
Still in the gods they trust, still careless wake and
sleep. 135

There all good fruits on the spontaneous soil
Fed by the rain of Zeus for ever grow ;
Unsown, untended, corn and wine and oil
Spring to their hand ; but they no councils know
Nor justice, but for ever lawless go. i40

Housed in the hills they neither buy nor sell.
No kindly offices demand or show ;
Each in the hollow cave where he doth dwell
Gives law to wife and children, as he thinketh well.

Skirting their harbor, neither near nor far, 145

A little island lies, with forest crowned.
Wherein wild goats in countless numbers are ;
Since there no track of mortal men is found
Who hunt in hardship over mountain ground.
And never plough hath pierced the woodland glen.
Unvisited it lies the whole year round, m

None their tame flocks amid those pastures pen,
Feeding wild goats, and widowed of the race of men.

Not to Cyclopian brood doth appertain
Skill in the seas, or vermeil-painted fleet 155

Of barks, which, sailing o'er the azure main,
Pass and repass wherever seemeth meet.


And all the covenants of men complete ;

Nor have they shipwrights who might build them

such ;
Else would they soon have colonized this seat. leo
Not worthless is it, but at human touch
Would take the seasons well, and yield exceeding


Fast by the margin of the hoary deep
Lie soft well- watered meadows. There the vine
Would bloom for ever. If to plough and reap, i65
Observant of the hours,^ one's heart incline.
Black with fertility the soil doth shine.
Smooth is the haven, nor is need at all
Of anchor, cable, and shore-fastened line.
Floating in shelter of the firm sea-wall no

Sailors at will may wait till prosperous breezes call.

There a white waterfall beneath the cave
Springs forth, and flashes at the haven-head ;
Round it the whispering alders darkly wave.
Thitherward sailing through the night we sped, 175
Yea, some divinity the swift ships led
Through glooms not pierceable by power of eye.
Round us the deep night-air swung listless, dead ;
Nor moon nor stars looked down from the wide sky.
Hid by the gross cloud-curtain brooding heavily. iso

No mariner beheld the nearing strand,
Helmsman expert or wielder of the oar.
Nor marked the long waves rolling on the land.
Still with a steady prow we onward bore
Till the keels grated on the shelving shore. m

Then we the sails take down, and, past the line
1 Hours, in the Greek sense, seasons.


Of ripple, landing from the waters hoar,
Along the margin of the deep recline.
And sound asleep wait dreaming for the Dawn divine.

But when the rosy-fingered Dawn came on, 190

Child of the mist, we wondering rose apace
The beauteous island to explore anon.
And lo ! the Nymphs inhabiting the place
Stirred in our sight the creatures of the chase,
That so my comrades might have food to eat. 195
Straight to the ships for bows and spears we race,
And, parted in three bands, the thickets beat ;

Online LibraryJohn Henry WrightMasterpieces of Greek literature; Homer: Tyrtaeus: Archilochus: Callistratus: Alcaeus: Sappho: Anacreon: Pindar: Aeschylus: Sophocles: Euripides Aristophanes: Herodotus: Thucydides: Xenophon: Plato: Theocritus: Lucian, with biographical sketches and notes; → online text (page 3 of 29)