ARGUMENT OF THE TWELFTH BOOK.
The Trojans assail the ramparts, and Hector forces the gates.
So was Menoetius’ gallant son employ’d
Healing Eurypylus. The Greeks, meantime,
And Trojans with tumultuous fury fought.
Nor was the foss ordain’d long time to exclude
The host of Troy, nor yet the rampart built 5
Beside it for protection of the fleet;
For hecatomb the Greeks had offer’d none,
Nor prayer to heaven, that it might keep secure
Their ships with all their spoils. The mighty work
As in defiance of the Immortal Powers 10
Had risen, and could not therefore long endure.
While Hector lived, and while Achilles held
His wrathful purpose; while the city yet
Of royal Priam was unsack’d, so long
The massy structure stood; but when the best 15
And bravest of the Trojan host were slain,
And of the Grecian heroes, some had fallen
And some survived, when Priam’s towers had blazed
In the tenth year, and to their native shores
The Grecians with their ships, at length, return’d, 20
Then Neptune, with Apollo leagued, devised
Its ruin; every river that descends
From the Idaean heights into the sea
They brought against it, gathering all their force.
Rhesus, Caresus, Rhodius, the wide-branch’d 25
Heptaporus, AEsepus, Granicus,
Scamander’s sacred current, and thy stream
Simoeis, whose banks with helmets and with shields
Were strew’d, and Chiefs of origin divine;
All these with refluent course Apollo drove 30
Nine days against the rampart, and Jove rain’d
Incessant, that the Grecian wall wave-whelm’d
Through all its length might sudden disappear.
Neptune with his tridental mace, himself,
Led them, and beam and buttress to the flood 35
Consigning, laid by the laborious Greeks,
Swept the foundation, and the level bank
Of the swift-rolling Hellespont restored.
The structure thus effaced, the spacious beach
He spread with sand as at the first; then bade 40
Subside the streams, and in their channels wind
With limpid course, and pleasant as before,
Apollo thus and Neptune, from the first,
Design’d its fall; but now the battle raved
And clamors of the warriors all around 45
The strong-built turrets, whose assaulted planks
Rang, while the Grecians, by the scourge of Jove
Subdued, stood close within their fleet immured,
At Hector’s phalanx-scattering force appall’d.
He, as before, with whirlwind fury fought. 50