Ulysses in his bark the gory spoils
Of Dolon placed, designing them a gift 675
To Pallas. Then, descending to the sea,
Neck, thighs, and legs from sweat profuse they cleansed,
And, so refresh’d and purified, their last
Ablution in bright tepid baths perform’d.
Each thus completely laved, and with smooth oil 680
Anointed, at the well-spread board they sat,
And quaff’d, in honor of Minerva, wine
Delicious, from the brimming beaker drawn.
* * * * *
The vividness of the scenes presented to us in this Book constitute its chief beauty. The reader sees the most natural night-scene in the world. He is led step by step with the adventurers, and made the companion of all their expectations and uncertainties. We see the very color of the sky; know the time to a minute; are impatient while the heroes are arming; our imagination follows them, knows all their doubts, and even the secret wishes of their hearts sent up to Minerva. We are alarmed at the approach of Dolon, hear his very footsteps, assist the two chiefs in pursuing him, and stop just with the spear that arrests him. We are perfectly acquainted with the situation of all the forces, with the figure in which they lie, with the disposition of Rhesus and the Thracians, with the posture of his chariot and horses. The marshy spot of ground where Dolon is killed, the tamarisk, or aquatic plant upon which they hung his spoils, and the reeds that are heaped together to mark the place, are circumstances the most picturesque imaginable.
ARGUMENT OF THE ELEVENTH BOOK.
Agamemnon distinguishes himself. He is wounded, and retires. Diomede is wounded by Paris; Ulysses by Socus. Ajax with Menelaus flies to the relief of Ulysses, and Eurypylus, soon after, to the relief of Ajax. While he is employed in assisting Ajax, he is shot in the thigh by Paris, who also wounds Machaon. Nestor conveys Machaon from the field. Achilles dispatches Patroclus to the tent of Nestor, and Nestor takes that occasion to exhort Patroclus to engage in battle, clothed in the armor of Achilles.
Aurora from Tithonus’ side arose
With light for heaven and earth, when Jove dispatch’d
Discord, the fiery signal in her hand
Of battle bearing, to the Grecian fleet.
High on Ulysses’ huge black ship she stood 5
The centre of the fleet, whence all might hear,
The tent of Telamon’s huge son between,
And of Achilles; for confiding they
In their heroic fortitude, their barks
Well-poised had station’d utmost of the line. 10
There standing, shrill she sent a cry abroad
Among the Achaians, such as thirst infused