Nor was that cry by Nestor unperceived
Though drinking, who in words wing’d with surprise
The son of AEsculapius thus address’d.
Divine Machaon! think what this may bode.
The cry of our young warriors at the ships 5
Grows louder; sitting here, the sable wine
Quaff thou, while bright-hair’d Hecamede warms
A bath, to cleanse thy crimson stains away.
I from yon eminence will learn the cause.
So saying, he took a shield radiant with brass 10
There lying in the tent, the shield well-forged
Of valiant Thrasymedes, his own son
(For he had borne to fight his father’s shield)
And arming next his hand with a keen lance
Stood forth before the tent. Thence soon he saw 15
Foul deeds and strange, the Grecian host confused,
Their broken ranks flying before the host
Of Ilium, and the rampart overthrown.
As when the wide sea, darken’d over all
Its silent flood, forebodes shrill winds to blow, 20
The doubtful waves roll yet to neither side,
Till swept at length by a decisive gale;
So stood the senior, with distressful doubts
Conflicting anxious, whether first to seek
The Grecian host, or Agamemnon’s self 25
The sovereign, and at length that course preferr’d.
Meantime with mutual carnage they the field
Spread far and wide, and by spears double-edged
Smitten, and by the sword their corselets rang.
The royal Chiefs ascending from the fleet, 30
Ulysses, Diomede, and Atreus’ son
Imperial Agamemnon, who had each
Bled in the battle, met him on his way.
For from the war remote they had updrawn
Their galleys on the shore of the gray Deep, 35
The foremost to the plain, and at the sterns
Of that exterior line had built the wall.
For, spacious though it were, the shore alone
That fleet sufficed not, incommoding much
The people; wherefore they had ranged the ships 40
Line above line gradual, and the bay
Between both promontories, all was fill’d.
They, therefore, curious to survey the fight,
Came forth together, leaning on the spear,
When Nestor met them; heavy were their hearts, 45
And at the sight of him still more alarm’d,
Whom royal Agamemnon thus bespake.
Neleian Nestor, glory of the Greeks!
What moved thee to forsake yon bloody field,
And urged thee hither? Cause I see of fear, 50
Lest furious Hector even now his threat
Among the Trojans publish’d, verify,
That he would never enter Ilium more
Till he had burn’d our fleet, and slain ourselves.
So threaten’d Hector, and shall now perform. 55