The Iliad of Homer eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 499 pages of information about The Iliad of Homer.
And from his perilous wound the sable blood
Continual stream’d; yet was his mind composed. 990
Him seeing, Menoetiades the brave
Compassion felt, and mournful, thus began. 

    Ah hapless senators and Chiefs of Greece! 

Left ye your native country that the dogs
Might fatten on your flesh at distant Troy? 995
But tell me, Hero! say, Eurypylus! 
Have the Achaians power still to withstand
The enormous force of Hector, or is this
The moment when his spear must pierce us all? 

    To whom Eurypylus, discreet, replied. 1000

Patroclus, dear to Jove! there is no help,
No remedy.  We perish at our ships. 
The warriors, once most strenuous of the Greeks,
Lie wounded in the fleet by foes whose might
Increases ever.  But thyself afford 1005
To me some succor; lead me to my ship;
Cut forth the arrow from my thigh; the gore
With warm ablution cleanse, and on the wound
Smooth unguents spread, the same as by report
Achilles taught thee; taught, himself, their use 1010
By Chiron, Centaur, justest of his kind
For Podalirius and Machaon both
Are occupied.  Machaon, as I judge,
Lies wounded in his tent, needing like aid
Himself, and Podalirius in the field 1015
Maintains sharp conflict with the sons of Troy. 

    To whom Menoetius’ gallant son replied. 

Hero!  Eurypylus! how shall we act
In this perplexity? what course pursue? 
I seek the brave Achilles, to whose ear 1020
I bear a message from the ancient chief
Gerenian Nestor, guardian of the Greeks. 
Yet will I not, even for such a cause,
My friend! abandon thee in thy distress. 

    He ended, and his arms folding around 1025

The warrior bore him thence into his tent. 
His servant, on his entrance, spread the floor
With hides, on which Patroclus at his length
Extended him, and with his knife cut forth
The rankling point; with tepid lotion, next, 1030
He cleansed the gore, and with a bitter root
Bruised small between his palms, sprinkled the wound. 
At once, the anodyne his pain assuaged,
The wound was dried within, and the blood ceased.

* * * * *

It will be well here to observe the position of the Greeks.  All human aid is cut off by the wounds of their heroes, and all assistance from the Gods forbidden by Jupiter.  On the contrary, the Trojans see their general at their head, and Jupiter himself fights on their side.  Upon this hinge turns the whole poem.  The distress of the Greeks occasions first the assistance of Patroclus, and then the death of that hero brings back Achilles.

The poet shows great skill in conducting these incidents.  He gives Achilles the pleasure of seeing that the Greeks could not carry on the war without his assistance, and upon this depends the great catastrophe of the poem.

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The Iliad of Homer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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