The Iliad of Homer eBook

The Iliad of Homer by Homer

The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.

(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
BOOK X.121
BOOK X.121

Page 1


Achilles sing, O Goddess!  Peleus’ son;
His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woes
Caused to Achaia’s host, sent many a soul
Illustrious into Ades premature,
And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove) 5
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey,
When fierce dispute had separated once
The noble Chief Achilles from the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, King of men. 
Who them to strife impell’d?  What power divine? 10
Latona’s son and Jove’s.[1] For he, incensed
Against the King, a foul contagion raised
In all the host, and multitudes destroy’d,
For that the son of Atreus had his priest
Dishonored, Chryses.  To the fleet he came 15
Bearing rich ransom glorious to redeem
His daughter, and his hands charged with the wreath
And golden sceptre[2] of the God shaft-arm’d. 
His supplication was at large to all
The host of Greece, but most of all to two, 20
The sons of Atreus, highest in command. 
Ye gallant Chiefs, and ye their gallant host,
(So may the Gods who in Olympus dwell
Give Priam’s treasures to you for a spoil
And ye return in safety,) take my gifts 25
And loose my child, in honor of the son
Of Jove, Apollo, archer of the skies.[3]
At once the voice of all was to respect
The priest, and to accept the bounteous price;
But so it pleased not Atreus’ mighty son, 30
Who with rude threatenings stern him thence dismiss’d. 
Beware, old man! that at these hollow barks
I find thee not now lingering, or henceforth
Returning, lest the garland of thy God
And his bright sceptre should avail thee nought. 35
I will not loose thy daughter, till old age
Steal on her.  From her native country far,
In Argos, in my palace, she shall ply
The loom, and shall be partner of my bed. 
Move me no more.  Begone; hence while thou may’st. 40
He spake, the old priest trembled and obey’d. 
Forlorn he roamed the ocean’s sounding shore,
And, solitary, with much prayer his King
Bright-hair’d Latona’s son, Phoebus, implored.[4]
God of the silver bow, who with thy power 45
Encirclest Chrysa, and who reign’st supreme
In Tenedos and Cilla the divine,
Sminthian[5] Apollo![6] If I e’er adorned
Thy beauteous fane, or on the altar burn’d
The fat acceptable of bulls or goats, 50
Grant my petition.  With thy shafts avenge
On the Achaian host thy servant’s tears. 
Such prayer he made, and it was heard.[7] The God,
Down from Olympus with his radiant bow
And his full quiver o’er his shoulder slung, 55
Marched in his anger; shaken as he moved
His rattling arrows told of his approach. 
Gloomy he came as night; sat from the ships

Page 2

Apart, and sent an arrow.  Clang’d the cord
[8]Dread-sounding, bounding on the silver bow.[9] 60
Mules first and dogs he struck,[10] but at themselves
Dispatching soon his bitter arrows keen,
Smote them.  Death-piles on all sides always blazed. 
Nine days throughout the camp his arrows flew;
The tenth, Achilles from all parts convened 65
The host in council.  Juno the white-armed
Moved at the sight of Grecians all around
Dying, imparted to his mind the thought.[11]
The full assembly, therefore, now convened,
Uprose Achilles ardent, and began. 70
Atrides!  Now, it seems, no course remains
For us, but that the seas roaming again,
We hence return; at least if we survive;
But haste, consult we quick some prophet here
Or priest, or even interpreter of dreams, 75
(For dreams are also of Jove,) that we may learn
By what crime we have thus incensed Apollo,
What broken vow, what hecatomb unpaid
He charges on us, and if soothed with steam
Of lambs or goats unblemish’d, he may yet 80
Be won to spare us, and avert the plague. 
He spake and sat, when Thestor’s son arose
Calchas, an augur foremost in his art,
Who all things, present, past, and future knew,
And whom his skill in prophecy, a gift 85
Conferred by Phoebus on him, had advanced
To be conductor of the fleet to Troy;
He, prudent, them admonishing, replied.[12]
Jove-loved Achilles!  Wouldst thou learn from me
What cause hath moved Apollo to this wrath, 90
The shaft-arm’d King?  I shall divulge the cause. 
But thou, swear first and covenant on thy part
That speaking, acting, thou wilt stand prepared
To give me succor; for I judge amiss,
Or he who rules the Argives, the supreme 95
O’er all Achaia’s host, will be incensed. 
Wo to the man who shall provoke the King
For if, to-day, he smother close his wrath,
He harbors still the vengeance, and in time
Performs it.  Answer, therefore, wilt thou save me? 100
To whom Achilles, swiftest of the swift. 
What thou hast learn’d in secret from the God
That speak, and boldly.  By the son of Jove,
Apollo, whom thou, Calchas, seek’st in prayer
Made for the Danai, and who thy soul 105
Fills with futurity, in all the host
The Grecian lives not, who while I shall breathe,
And see the light of day, shall in this camp
Oppress thee; no, not even if thou name
Him, Agamemnon, sovereign o’er us all. 110
Then was the seer embolden’d, and he spake. 
Nor vow nor hecatomb unpaid on us
He charges, but the wrong done to his priest
Whom Agamemnon slighted when he sought
His daughter’s freedom, and his gifts refused. 115

Page 3

He is the cause.  Apollo for his sake
Afflicts and will afflict us, neither end
Nor intermission of his heavy scourge
Granting, ’till unredeem’d, no price required,
The black-eyed maid be to her father sent, 120
And a whole hecatomb in Chrysa bleed. 
Then, not before, the God may be appeased. 
He spake and sat; when Atreus’ son arose,
The Hero Agamemnon, throned supreme. 
Tempests of black resentment overcharged 125
His heart, and indignation fired his eyes. 
On Calchas lowering, him he first address’d. 
Prophet of mischief! from whose tongue no note
Of grateful sound to me, was ever heard;
Ill tidings are thy joy, and tidings glad 130
Thou tell’st not, or thy words come not to pass. 
And now among the Danai thy dreams
Divulging, thou pretend’st the Archer-God
For his priest’s sake, our enemy, because
I scorn’d his offer’d ransom of the maid 135
Chryseis, more desirous far to bear
Her to my home, for that she charms me more
Than Clytemnestra, my own first espoused,
With whom, in disposition, feature, form,
Accomplishments, she may be well compared. 140
Yet, being such, I will return her hence
If that she go be best.  Perish myself—­
But let the people of my charge be saved
Prepare ye, therefore, a reward for me,
And seek it instant.  It were much unmeet 145
That I alone of all the Argive host
Should want due recompense, whose former prize
Is elsewhere destined, as ye all perceive. 
To whom Achilles, matchless in the race. 
Atrides, glorious above all in rank, 150
And as intent on gain as thou art great,
Whence shall the Grecians give a prize to thee? 
The general stock is poor; the spoil of towns
Which we have taken, hath already passed
In distribution, and it were unjust 155
To gather it from all the Greeks again. 
But send thou back this Virgin to her God,
And when Jove’s favor shall have given us Troy,
A threefold, fourfold share shall then be thine. 
To whom the Sovereign of the host replied. 160
Godlike Achilles, valiant as thou art,
Wouldst thou be subtle too?  But me no fraud
Shall overreach, or art persuade, of thine. 
Wouldst thou, that thou be recompensed, and I
Sit meekly down, defrauded of my due? 165
And didst thou bid me yield her?  Let the bold
Achaians give me competent amends,
Such as may please me, and it shall be well. 
Else, if they give me none, I will command
Thy prize, the prize of Ajax, or the prize 170
It may be of Ulysses to my tent,
And let the loser chafe.  But this concern
Shall be adjusted at convenient time. 
Come—­launch we now into the sacred deep

Page 4

A bark with lusty rowers well supplied; 175
Then put on board Chryseis, and with her
The sacrifice required.  Go also one
High in authority, some counsellor,
Idomeneus, or Ajax, or thyself,
Thou most untractable of all mankind; 180
And seek by rites of sacrifice and prayer
To appease Apollo on our host’s behalf. 
Achilles eyed him with a frown, and spake. 
Ah! clothed with impudence as with a cloak,
And full of subtlety, who, thinkest thou—­ 185
What Grecian here will serve thee, or for thee
Wage covert war, or open?  Me thou know’st,
Troy never wronged; I came not to avenge
Harm done to me; no Trojan ever drove
My pastures, steeds or oxen took of mine, 190
Or plunder’d of their fruits the golden fields
Of Phthia[13] the deep-soil’d.  She lies remote,
And obstacles are numerous interposed,
Vale-darkening mountains, and the dashing sea. 
No, [14]Shameless Wolf!  For thy good pleasure’s sake 195
We came, and, [15]Face of flint! to avenge the wrongs
By Menelaus and thyself sustain’d,
On the offending Trojan—­service kind,
But lost on thee, regardless of it all. 
And now—­What now?  Thy threatening is to seize 200
Thyself, the just requital of my toils,
My prize hard-earn’d, by common suffrage mine. 
I never gain, what Trojan town soe’er
We ransack, half thy booty.  The swift march
And furious onset—­these I largely reap, 205
But, distribution made, thy lot exceeds
Mine far; while I, with any pittance pleased,
Bear to my ships the little that I win
After long battle, and account it much. 
But I am gone, I and my sable barks 210
(My wiser course) to Phthia, and I judge,
Scorn’d as I am, that thou shalt hardly glean
Without me, more than thou shalt soon consume.[16]
He ceased, and Agamemnon thus replied
Fly, and fly now; if in thy soul thou feel 215
Such ardor of desire to go—­begone! 
I woo thee not to stay; stay not an hour
On my behalf, for I have others here
Who will respect me more, and above all
All-judging Jove.  There is not in the host 220
King or commander whom I hate as thee,
For all thy pleasure is in strife and blood,
And at all times; yet valor is no ground
Whereon to boast, it is the gift of Heaven
Go, get ye back to Phthia, thou and thine! 225
There rule thy Myrmidons.[17] I need not thee,
Nor heed thy wrath a jot.  But this I say,
Sure as Apollo takes my lovely prize
Chryseis, and I shall return her home
In mine own bark, and with my proper crew, 230
So sure the fair Briseis shall be mine. 
I shall demand her even at thy tent. 
So shalt thou well be taught, how high in power

Page 5

I soar above thy pitch, and none shall dare
Attempt, thenceforth, comparison with me. 235
He ended, and the big, disdainful heart
Throbbed of Achilles; racking doubt ensued
And sore perplex’d him, whether forcing wide
A passage through them, with his blade unsheathed
To lay Atrides breathless at his foot, 240
Or to command his stormy spirit down. 
So doubted he, and undecided yet
Stood drawing forth his falchion huge; when lo! 
Down sent by Juno, to whom both alike
Were dear, and who alike watched over both, 245
Pallas descended.  At his back she stood
To none apparent, save himself alone,
And seized his golden locks.  Startled, he turned,
And instant knew Minerva.  Flashed her eyes
Terrific;[18] whom with accents on the wing 250
Of haste, incontinent he questioned thus. 
Daughter of Jove, why comest thou? that thyself
May’st witness these affronts which I endure
From Agamemnon?  Surely as I speak,
This moment, for his arrogance, he dies. 255
To whom the blue-eyed Deity.  From heaven
Mine errand is, to sooth, if thou wilt hear,
Thine anger.  Juno the white-arm’d alike
To him and thee propitious, bade me down: 
Restrain thy wrath.  Draw not thy falchion forth. 260
Retort, and sharply, and let that suffice. 
For I foretell thee true.  Thou shalt receive,
Some future day, thrice told, thy present loss
For this day’s wrong.  Cease, therefore, and be still. 
To whom Achilles.  Goddess, although much 265
Exasperate, I dare not disregard
Thy word, which to obey is always best.[19]
Who hears the Gods, the Gods hear also him. 
He said; and on his silver hilt the force
Of his broad hand impressing, sent the blade 270
Home to its rest, nor would the counsel scorn
Of Pallas.  She to heaven well-pleased return’d,
And in the mansion of Jove AEgis[20]-armed
Arriving, mingled with her kindred Gods. 
But though from violence, yet not from words 275
Abstained Achilles, but with bitter taunt
Opprobrious, his antagonist reproached. 
Oh charged with wine, in steadfastness of face
Dog unabashed, and yet at heart a deer! 
Thou never, when the troops have taken arms, 280
Hast dared to take thine also; never thou
Associate with Achaia’s Chiefs, to form
The secret ambush.[21] No.  The sound of war
Is as the voice of destiny to thee. 
Doubtless the course is safer far, to range 285
Our numerous host, and if a man have dared
Dispute thy will, to rob him of his prize. 
King! over whom?  Women and spiritless—­
Whom therefore thou devourest; else themselves
Would stop that mouth that it should scoff no more. 290
But hearken.  I shall swear a solemn oath. 

Page 6

By this same sceptre,[22] which shall never bud,
Nor boughs bring forth as once, which having left
Its stock on the high mountains, at what time
The woodman’s axe lopped off its foliage green, 295
And stript its bark, shall never grow again;
Which now the judges of Achaia bear,
Who under Jove, stand guardians of the laws,
By this I swear (mark thou the sacred oath)
Time shall be, when Achilles shall be missed; 300
When all shall want him, and thyself the power
To help the Achaians, whatsoe’er thy will;
When Hector at your heels shall mow you down: 
The Hero-slaughtering Hector!  Then thy soul,
Vexation-stung, shall tear thee with remorse, 305
That thou hast scorn’d, as he were nothing worth,
A Chief, the soul and bulwark of your cause. 
So saying, he cast his sceptre on the ground
Studded with gold, and sat.  On the other side
The son of Atreus all impassion’d stood, 310
When the harmonious orator arose
Nestor, the Pylian oracle, whose lips
Dropped eloquence—­the honey not so sweet. 
Two generations past of mortals born
In Pylus, coetaneous with himself, 315
He govern’d now the third—­amid them all
He stood, and thus, benevolent, began. 
Ah! what calamity hath fall’n on Greece! 
Now Priam and his sons may well exult,
Now all in Ilium shall have joy of heart 320
Abundant, hearing of this broil, the prime
Of Greece between, in council and in arms. 
But be persuaded; ye are younger both
Than I, and I was conversant of old
With Princes your superiors, yet from them 325
No disrespect at any time received. 
Their equals saw I never; never shall;
Exadius, Coeneus, and the Godlike son
Of AEgeus, mighty Theseus; men renown’d
For force superior to the race of man, 330
Brave Chiefs they were, and with brave foes they fought,
With the rude dwellers on the mountain-heights
The Centaurs,[23] whom with havoc such as fame
Shall never cease to celebrate, they slew. 
With these men I consorted erst, what time 335
From Pylus, though a land from theirs remote,
They called me forth, and such as was my strength,
With all that strength I served them.  Who is he? 
What Prince or Chief of the degenerate race
Now seen on earth who might with these compare? 340
Yet even these would listen and conform
To my advice in consultation given,
Which hear ye also; for compliance proves
Oft times the safer and the manlier course. 
Thou, Agamemnon! valiant as thou art, 345
Seize not the maid, his portion from the Greeks,
But leave her his; nor thou, Achilles, strive
With our imperial Chief; for never King
Had equal honor at the hands of Jove

Page 7

With Agamemnon, or was throned so high. 350
Say thou art stronger, and art Goddess-born,
How then?  His territory passes thine,
And he is Lord of thousands more than thou. 
Cease, therefore, Agamemnon; calm thy wrath;
And it shall be mine office to entreat 355
Achilles also to a calm, whose might
The chief munition is of all our host. 
To whom the sovereign of the Greeks replied,
The son of Atreus.  Thou hast spoken well,
Old Chief, and wisely.  But this wrangler here—­ 360
Nought will suffice him but the highest place: 
He must control us all, reign over all,
Dictate to all; but he shall find at least
One here, disposed to question his commands. 
If the eternal Gods have made him brave, 365
Derives he thence a privilege to rail? 
Whom thus Achilles interrupted fierce. 
Could I be found so abject as to take
The measure of my doings at thy lips,
Well might they call me coward through the camp, 370
A vassal, and a fellow of no worth. 
Give law to others.  Think not to control
Me, subject to thy proud commands no more. 
Hear yet again!  And weigh what thou shalt hear. 
I will not strive with thee in such a cause, 375
Nor yet with any man; I scorn to fight
For her, whom having given, ye take away. 
But I have other precious things on board;
Of those take none away without my leave. 
Or if it please thee, put me to the proof 380
Before this whole assembly, and my spear
Shall stream that moment, purpled with thy blood. 
Thus they long time in opposition fierce
Maintained the war of words; and now, at length,
(The grand consult dissolved,) Achilles walked 385
(Patroclus and the Myrmidons his steps
Attending) to his camp and to his fleet. 
But Agamemnon order’d forth a bark,
A swift one, manned with twice ten lusty rowers;
He sent on board the Hecatomb:[24] he placed 390
Chryseis with the blooming cheeks, himself,
And to Ulysses gave the freight in charge. 
So all embarked, and plow’d their watery way. 
Atrides, next, bade purify the host;
The host was purified, as he enjoin’d, 395
And the ablution cast into the sea. 
Then to Apollo, on the shore they slew,
Of the untillable and barren deep,
Whole Hecatombs of bulls and goats, whose steam
Slowly in smoky volumes climbed the skies. 400
Thus was the camp employed; nor ceased the while
The son of Atreus from his threats denounced
At first against Achilles, but command
Gave to Talthybius and Eurybates
His heralds, ever faithful to his will. 405
Haste—­Seek ye both the tent of Peleus’ son
Achilles.  Thence lead hither by the hand
Blooming Briseis, whom if he withhold,

Page 8

Not her alone, but other spoil myself
Will take in person—­He shall rue the hour. 410
With such harsh message charged he them dismissed
They, sad and slow, beside the barren waste
Of Ocean, to the galleys and the tents
Moved of the Myrmidons.  Him there they found
Beneath the shadow of his bark reclined, 415
Nor glad at their approach.  Trembling they stood,
In presence of the royal Chief, awe-struck,
Nor questioned him or spake.  He not the less
Knew well their embassy, and thus began. 
Ye heralds, messengers of Gods and men, 420
Hail, and draw near!  I bid you welcome both. 
I blame not you; the fault is his alone
Who sends you to conduct the damsel hence
Briseis.  Go, Patroclus, generous friend! 
Lead forth, and to their guidance give the maid. 425
But be themselves my witnesses before
The blessed Gods, before mankind, before
The ruthless king, should want of me be felt
To save the host from havoc[25]—­Oh, his thoughts
Are madness all; intelligence or skill, 430
Forecast or retrospect, how best the camp
May be secured from inroad, none hath he. 
He ended, nor Patroclus disobey’d,
But leading beautiful Briseis forth
Into their guidance gave her; loth she went 435
From whom she loved, and looking oft behind. 
Then wept Achilles, and apart from all,
With eyes directed to the gloomy Deep
And arms outstretch’d, his mother suppliant sought. 
Since, mother, though ordain’d so soon to die, 440
I am thy son, I might with cause expect
Some honor at the Thunderer’s hands, but none
To me he shows, whom Agamemnon, Chief
Of the Achaians, hath himself disgraced,
Seizing by violence my just reward. 445
So prayed he weeping, whom his mother heard
Within the gulfs of Ocean where she sat
Beside her ancient sire.  From the gray flood
Ascending sudden, like a mist she came,
Sat down before him, stroked his face, and said. 450
Why weeps my son? and what is thy distress? 
Hide not a sorrow that I wish to share. 
To whom Achilles, sighing deep, replied. 
Why tell thee woes to thee already known? 
At Thebes, Eetion’s city we arrived, 455
Smote, sack’d it, and brought all the spoil away. 
Just distribution made among the Greeks,
The son of Atreus for his lot received
Blooming Chryseis.  Her, Apollo’s priest
Old Chryses followed to Achaia’s camp, 460
That he might loose his daughter.  Ransom rich
He brought, and in his hands the hallow’d wreath
And golden sceptre of the Archer God
Apollo, bore; to the whole Grecian host,
But chiefly to the foremost in command 465
He sued, the sons of Atreus; then, the rest

Page 9

All recommended reverence of the Seer,
And prompt acceptance of his costly gifts. 
But Agamemnon might not so be pleased,
Who gave him rude dismission; he in wrath 470
Returning, prayed, whose prayer Apollo heard,
For much he loved him.  A pestiferous shaft
He instant shot into the Grecian host,
And heap’d the people died.  His arrows swept
The whole wide camp of Greece, ’till at the last 475
A Seer, by Phoebus taught, explain’d the cause. 
I first advised propitiation.  Rage
Fired Agamemnon.  Rising, he denounced
Vengeance, and hath fulfilled it.  She, in truth,
Is gone to Chrysa, and with her we send 480
Propitiation also to the King
Shaft-arm’d Apollo.  But my beauteous prize
Briseis, mine by the award of all,
His heralds, at this moment, lead away. 
But thou, wherein thou canst, aid thy own son! 485
Haste hence to Heaven, and if thy word or deed
Hath ever gratified the heart of Jove,
With earnest suit press him on my behalf. 
For I, not seldom, in my father’s hall
Have heard thee boasting, how when once the Gods, 490
With Juno, Neptune, Pallas at their head,
Conspired to bind the Thunderer, thou didst loose
His bands, O Goddess! calling to his aid
The Hundred-handed warrior, by the Gods
Briareus, but by men, AEgeon named.[26] 495
For he in prowess and in might surpassed
His father Neptune, who, enthroned sublime,
Sits second only to Saturnian Jove,
Elate with glory and joy.  Him all the Gods
Fearing from that bold enterprise abstained. 500
Now, therefore, of these things reminding Jove,
Embrace his knees; entreat him that he give
The host of Troy his succor, and shut fast
The routed Grecians, prisoners in the fleet,
That all may find much solace[27] in their King, 505
And that the mighty sovereign o’er them all,
Their Agamemnon, may himself be taught
His rashness, who hath thus dishonor’d foul
The life itself, and bulwark of his cause. 
To him, with streaming eyes, Thetis replied. 510
Born as thou wast to sorrow, ah, my son! 
Why have I rear’d thee!  Would that without tears,
Or cause for tears (transient as is thy life,
A little span) thy days might pass at Troy! 
But short and sorrowful the fates ordain 515
Thy life, peculiar trouble must be thine,
Whom, therefore, oh that I had never borne! 
But seeking the Olympian hill snow-crown’d,
I will myself plead for thee in the ear
Of Jove, the Thunderer.  Meantime at thy fleet 520
Abiding, let thy wrath against the Greeks
Still burn, and altogether cease from war. 
For to the banks of the Oceanus,[28]
Where AEthiopia holds a feast to Jove,[29]
He journey’d yesterday, with whom the Gods

Page 10

Went also, and the twelfth day brings them home. 
Then will I to his brazen-floor’d abode,
That I may clasp his knees, and much misdeem
Of my endeavor, or my prayer shall speed. 
So saying, she went; but him she left enraged 530
For fair Briseis’ sake, forced from his arms
By stress of power.  Meantime Ulysses came
To Chrysa with the Hecatomb in charge. 
Arrived within the haven[30] deep, their sails
Furling, they stowed them in the bark below. 535
Then by its tackle lowering swift the mast
Into its crutch, they briskly push’d to land,
Heaved anchors out, and moor’d the vessel fast. 
Forth came the mariners, and trod the beach;
Forth came the victims of Apollo next, 540
And, last, Chryseis.  Her Ulysses led
Toward the altar, gave her to the arms
Of her own father, and him thus address’d. 
O Chryses!  Agamemnon, King of men,
Hath sent thy daughter home, with whom we bring 545
A Hecatomb on all our host’s behalf
To Phoebus, hoping to appease the God
By whose dread shafts the Argives now expire. 
So saying, he gave her to him, who with joy
Received his daughter.  Then, before the shrine 550
Magnificent in order due they ranged
The noble Hecatomb.[31] Each laved his hands
And took the salted meal, and Chryses made
His fervent prayer with hands upraised on high. 
God of the silver bow, who with thy power 555
Encirclest Chrysa, and who reign’st supreme
In Tenedos, and Cilla the divine! 
Thou prov’dst propitious to my first request,
Hast honor’d me, and punish’d sore the Greeks;
Hear yet thy servant’s prayer; take from their host 560
At once the loathsome pestilence away! 
So Chryses prayed, whom Phoebus heard well-pleased;
Then prayed the Grecians also, and with meal
Sprinkling the victims, their retracted necks
First pierced, then flay’d them; the disjointed thighs 565
They, next, invested with the double caul,
Which with crude slices thin they overspread. 
The priest burned incense, and libation poured
Large on the hissing brands, while, him beside,
Busy with spit and prong, stood many a youth 570
Trained to the task.  The thighs with fire consumed,
They gave to each his portion of the maw,
Then slashed the remnant, pierced it with the spits,
And managing with culinary skill
The roast, withdrew it from the spits again. 575
Their whole task thus accomplish’d, and the board
Set forth, they feasted, and were all sufficed. 
When neither hunger more nor thirst remained
Unsatisfied, boys crown’d the beakers high
With wine delicious, and from right to left 580
Distributing the cups, served every guest. 
Thenceforth the youths of the Achaian race

Page 11

To song propitiatory gave the day,
Paeans[32] to Phoebus, Archer of the skies,
Chaunting melodious.  Pleased, Apollo heard. 585
But, when, the sun descending, darkness fell,
They on the beach beside their hawsers slept;
And, when the day-spring’s daughter rosy-palm’d
Aurora look’d abroad, then back they steer’d
To the vast camp.  Fair wind, and blowing fresh, 590
Apollo sent them; quick they rear’d the mast,
Then spread the unsullied canvas to the gale,
And the wind filled it.  Roared the sable flood
Around the bark, that ever as she went
Dash’d wide the brine, and scudded swift away. 595
Thus reaching soon the spacious camp of Greece,
Their galley they updrew sheer o’er the sands
From the rude surge remote, then propp’d her sides
With scantlings long,[33] and sought their several tents. 
But Peleus’ noble son, the speed-renown’d 600
Achilles, he, his well-built bark beside,
Consumed his hours, nor would in council more,
Where wise men win distinction, or in fight
Appear, to sorrow and heart-withering wo
Abandon’d; though for battle, ardent, still 605
He panted, and the shout-resounding field. 
But when the twelfth fair morrow streak’d the East,
Then all the everlasting Gods to Heaven
Resorted, with the Thunderer at their head,
And Thetis, not unmindful of her son, 610
Prom the salt flood emerged, seeking betimes
Olympus and the boundless fields of heaven. 
High, on the topmost eminence sublime
Of the deep-fork’d Olympian she perceived
The Thunderer seated, from the Gods apart. 615
She sat before him, clasp’d with her left hand
His knees, her right beneath his chin she placed,
And thus the King, Saturnian Jove, implored. 
Father of all, by all that I have done
Or said that ever pleased thee, grant my suit. 620
Exalt my son, by destiny short-lived
Beyond the lot of others.  Him with shame
The King of men hath overwhelm’d, by force
Usurping his just meed; thou, therefore, Jove,
Supreme in wisdom, honor him, and give 625
Success to Troy, till all Achaia’s sons
Shall yield him honor more than he hath lost! 
She spake, to whom the Thunderer nought replied,
But silent sat long time.  She, as her hand
Had grown there, still importunate, his knees 630
Clasp’d as at first, and thus her suit renew’d.[34]
Or grant my prayer, and ratify the grant,
Or send me hence (for thou hast none to fear)
Plainly refused; that I may know and feel
By how much I am least of all in heaven. 635
To whom the cloud-assembler at the last
Spake, deep-distress’d.  Hard task and full of strife
Thou hast enjoined me; Juno will not spare
For gibe and taunt injurious, whose complaint

Page 12

Sounds daily in the ears of all the Gods, 640
That I assist the Trojans; but depart,
Lest she observe thee; my concern shall be
How best I may perform thy full desire. 
And to assure thee more, I give the sign
Indubitable, which all fear expels 645
At once from heavenly minds.  Nought, so confirmed,
May, after, be reversed or render’d vain. 
He ceased, and under his dark brows the nod
Vouchsafed of confirmation.  All around
The Sovereign’s everlasting head his curls 650
Ambrosial shook,[35] and the huge mountain reeled. 
Their conference closed, they parted.  She, at once,
From bright Olympus plunged into the flood
Profound, and Jove to his own courts withdrew. 
Together all the Gods, at his approach, 655
Uprose; none sat expectant till he came,
But all advanced to meet the Eternal Sire. 
So on his throne he sat.  Nor Juno him
Not understood; she, watchful, had observed,
In consultation close with Jove engaged 660
Thetis, bright-footed daughter of the deep,
And keen the son of Saturn thus reproved. 
Shrewd as thou art, who now hath had thine ear? 
Thy joy is ever such, from me apart
To plan and plot clandestine, and thy thoughts, 665
Think what thou may’st, are always barred to me. 
To whom the father, thus, of heaven and earth. 
Expect not, Juno, that thou shalt partake
My counsels at all times, which oft in height
And depth, thy comprehension far exceed, 670
Jove’s consort as thou art.  When aught occurs
Meet for thine ear, to none will I impart
Of Gods or men more free than to thyself. 
But for my secret thoughts, which I withhold
From all in heaven beside, them search not thou 675
With irksome curiosity and vain. 
Him answer’d then the Goddess ample-eyed.[36]
What word hath passed thy lips, Saturnian Jove,
Thou most severe!  I never search thy thoughts,
Nor the serenity of thy profound 680
Intentions trouble; they are safe from me: 
But now there seems a cause.  Deeply I dread
Lest Thetis, silver-footed daughter fair
Of Ocean’s hoary Sovereign, here arrived
At early dawn to practise on thee, Jove! 685
I noticed her a suitress at thy knees,
And much misdeem or promise-bound thou stand’st
To Thetis past recall, to exalt her son,
And Greeks to slaughter thousands at the ships. 
To whom the cloud-assembler God, incensed. 690
Ah subtle! ever teeming with surmise,
And fathomer of my concealed designs,
Thy toil is vain, or (which is worse for thee,)
Shall but estrange thee from mine heart the more. 
And be it as thou sayest,—­I am well pleased 695
That so it should be.  Be advised, desist,

Page 13

Hold thou thy peace.  Else, if my glorious hands
Once reach thee, the Olympian Powers combined
To rescue thee, shall interfere in vain. 
He said,—­whom Juno, awful Goddess, heard 700
Appall’d, and mute submitted to his will. 
But through the courts of Jove the heavenly Powers
All felt displeasure; when to them arose
Vulcan, illustrious artist, who with speech
Conciliatory interposed to sooth 705
His white-armed mother Juno, Goddess dread. 
Hard doom is ours, and not to be endured,
If feast and merriment must pause in heaven
While ye such clamor raise tumultuous here
For man’s unworthy sake:  yet thus we speed 710
Ever, when evil overpoises good. 
But I exhort my mother, though herself
Already warn’d, that meekly she submit
To Jove our father, lest our father chide
More roughly, and confusion mar the feast. 715
For the Olympian Thunderer could with ease
Us from our thrones precipitate, so far
He reigns to all superior.  Seek to assuage
His anger therefore; so shall he with smiles
Cheer thee, nor thee alone, but all in heaven. 720
So Vulcan, and, upstarting, placed a cup
Full-charged between his mother’s hands, and said,
My mother, be advised, and, though aggrieved,
Yet patient; lest I see thee whom I love
So dear, with stripes chastised before my face, 725
Willing, but impotent to give thee aid.[37]
Who can resist the Thunderer?  Me, when once
I flew to save thee, by the foot he seized
And hurl’d me through the portal of the skies. 
“From morn to eve I fell, a summer’s day,” 730
And dropped, at last, in Lemnos.  There half-dead
The Sintians found me, and with succor prompt
And hospitable, entertained me fallen. 
So He; then Juno smiled, Goddess white-arm’d,
And smiling still, from his unwonted hand[38] 735
Received the goblet.  He from right to left
Rich nectar from the beaker drawn, alert
Distributed to all the powers divine. 
Heaven rang with laughter inextinguishable
Peal after peal, such pleasure all conceived 740
At sight of Vulcan in his new employ. 
So spent they in festivity the day,
And all were cheered; nor was Apollo’s harp
Silent, nor did the Muses spare to add
Responsive melody of vocal sweets. 745
But when the sun’s bright orb had now declined,
Each to his mansion, wheresoever built
By the lame matchless Architect, withdrew.[39]
Jove also, kindler of the fires of heaven,
His couch ascending as at other times 750
When gentle sleep approach’d him, slept serene,
With golden-sceptred Juno at his side.

* * * * *

Page 14

The first book contains the preliminaries to the commencement of serious action.  First, the visit of the priest of Apollo to ransom his captive daughter, the refusal of Agamemnon to yield her up, and the pestilence sent by the god upon the Grecian army in consequence.  Secondly, the restoration, the propitiation of Apollo, the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilles, and the withdrawing of the latter from the Grecian army.  Thirdly, the intercession of Thetis with Jupiter; his promise, unwillingly given, to avenge Achilles; and the assembly of the gods, in which the promise is angrily alluded to by Juno, and the discussion peremptorily checked by Jupiter.  The poet, throughout this book, maintains a simple, unadorned style, but highly descriptive, and happily adapted to the nature of the subject.—­FELTON.




Jupiter, in pursuance of his purpose to distress the Grecians in answer to the prayer of Thetis, deceives Agamemnon by a dream.  He, in consequence of it, calls a council, the result of which is that the army shall go forth to battle.  Thersites is mutinous, and is chastised by Ulysses.  Ulysses, Nestor, and Agamemnon, harangue the people; and preparation is made for battle.  An exact account follows of the forces on both sides.


[1]All night both Gods and Chiefs equestrian slept,
But not the Sire of all.  He, waking soon,
Mused how to exalt Achilles, and destroy
No few in battle at the Grecian fleet. 
This counsel, at the last, as best he chose 5
And likeliest; to dispatch an evil Dream
To Agamemnon’s tent, and to his side
The phantom summoning, him thus addressed. 
Haste, evil Dream!  Fly to the Grecian fleet,
And, entering royal Agamemnon’s tent, 10
His ear possess thou thus, omitting nought
Of all that I enjoin thee.  Bid him arm
His universal host, for that the time
When the Achaians shall at length possess
Wide Ilium, hath arrived.  The Gods above 15
No longer dwell at variance.  The request
Of Juno hath prevail’d; now, wo to Troy! 
So charged, the Dream departed.  At the ships
Well-built arriving of Achaia’s host,
He Agamemnon, son of Atreus, sought. 20
Him sleeping in his tent he found, immersed
In soft repose ambrosial.  At his head
The shadow stood, similitude exact
Of Nestor, son of Neleus; sage, with whom
In Agamemnon’s thought might none compare. 25
His form assumed, the sacred Dream began. 
Oh son of Atreus the renown’d in arms
And in the race!  Sleep’st thou?  It ill behoves
To sleep all night the man of high employ,
And charged, as thou art, with a people’s care. 30

Page 15

Now, therefore, mark me well, who, sent from Jove,
Inform thee, that although so far remote,
He yet compassionates and thinks on thee
With kind solicitude.  He bids thee arm
Thy universal host, for that the time 35
When the Achaians shall at length possess
Wide Ilium, hath arrived.  The Gods above
No longer dwell at variance.  The requests
Of Juno have prevail’d.  Now, wo to Troy
From Jove himself!  Her fate is on the wing. 40
Awaking from thy dewy slumbers, hold
In firm remembrance all that thou hast heard. 
So spake the Dream, and vanishing, him left
In false hopes occupied and musings vain. 
Full sure he thought, ignorant of the plan 45
By Jove design’d, that day the last of Troy. 
Fond thought!  For toils and agonies to Greeks
And Trojans both, in many a bloody field
To be endured, the Thunderer yet ordain’d. 
Starting he woke, and seeming still to hear 50
The warning voice divine, with hasty leap
Sprang from his bed, and sat.[2] His fleecy vest
New-woven he put on, and mantle wide;
His sandals fair to his unsullied feet
He braced, and slung his argent-studded sword. 55
Then, incorruptible for evermore
The sceptre of his sires he took, with which
He issued forth into the camp of Greece. 
Aurora now on the Olympian heights
Proclaiming stood new day to all in heaven, 60
When he his clear-voiced heralds bade convene
The Greeks in council.  Went the summons forth
Into all quarters, and the throng began. 
First, at the ship of Nestor, Pylian King,[3]
The senior Chiefs for high exploits renown’d 65
He gather’d, whom he prudent thus address’d. 
My fellow warriors, hear!  A dream from heaven,
Amid the stillness of the vacant night
Approach’d me, semblance close in stature, bulk,
And air, of noble Nestor.  At mine head 70
The shadow took his stand, and thus he spake. 
Oh son of Atreus the renown’d in arms
And in the race, sleep’st thou?  It ill behoves
To sleep all night the man of high employ,
And charged as thou art with a people’s care. 75
Now, therefore, mark me well, who, sent from Jove,
Inform thee, that although so far remote,
He yet compassionates and thinks on thee
With kind solicitude.  He bids thee arm
Thy universal host; for that the time 80
When the Achaians shall at length possess
Wide Ilium, hath arrived.  The Gods above
No longer dwell at variance.  The requests
Of Juno have prevail’d.  Now, wo to Troy
From Jove himself!  Her fate is on the wing. 85
Charge this on thy remembrance.  Thus he spake,
Then vanished suddenly, and I awoke. 
Haste therefore, let us arm, if arm we may,[4]
The warlike sons of Greece; but first, myself

Page 16

Will prove them, recommending instant flight 90
With all our ships, and ye throughout the host
Dispersed, shall, next, encourage all to stay. 
He ceased, and sat; when in the midst arose
Of highest fame for wisdom, Nestor, King
Of sandy Pylus, who them thus bespake. 95
Friends, Counsellors, and Leaders of the Greeks! 
Had any meaner Argive told his dream,
We had pronounced it false, and should the more
Have shrunk from battle; but the dream is his
Who boasts himself our highest in command. 100
Haste, arm we, if we may, the sons of Greece. 
So saying, he left the council; him, at once
The sceptred Chiefs, obedient to his voice,
Arising, follow’d; and the throng began. 
As from the hollow rock bees stream abroad, 105
And in succession endless seek the fields,
Now clustering, and now scattered far and near,
In spring-time, among all the new-blown flowers,
So they to council swarm’d, troop after troop,
Grecians of every tribe, from camp and fleet 110
Assembling orderly o’er all the plain
Beside the shore of Ocean.  In the midst
A kindling rumor, messenger of Jove,
Impell’d them, and they went.  Loud was the din
Of the assembling thousands; groan’d the earth 115
When down they sat, and murmurs ran around. 
Nine heralds cried aloud—­Will ye restrain
Your clamors, that your heaven-taught Kings may speak? 
Scarce were they settled, and the clang had ceased,
When Agamemnon, sovereign o’er them all, 120
Sceptre in hand, arose. (That sceptre erst
Vulcan with labor forged, and to the hand
Consign’d it of the King, Saturnian Jove;
Jove to the vanquisher[5] of Ino’s[6] guard,
And he to Pelops; Pelops in his turn, 125
To royal Atreus; Atreus at his death
Bequeath’d it to Thyestes rich in flocks,
And rich Thyestes left it to be borne
By Agamemnon, symbol of his right
To empire over Argos and her isles) 130
On that he lean’d, and rapid, thus began.[7]
Friends, Grecian Heroes, ministers of Mars! 
Ye see me here entangled in the snares
Of unpropitious Jove.  He promised once,
And with a nod confirm’d it, that with spoils 135
Of Ilium laden, we should hence return;
But now, devising ill, he sends me shamed,
And with diminished numbers, home to Greece. 
So stands his sovereign pleasure, who hath laid
The bulwarks of full many a city low, 140
And more shall level, matchless in his might. 
That such a numerous host of Greeks as we,
Warring with fewer than ourselves, should find
No fruit of all our toil, (and none appears)
Will make us vile with ages yet to come. 145
For should we now strike truce, till Greece and

Page 17

Might number each her own, and were the Greeks
Distributed in bands, ten Greeks in each,
Our banded decads should exceed so far
Their units, that all Troy could not supply 150
For every ten, a man, to fill us wine;
So far the Achaians, in my thought, surpass
The native Trojans.  But in Troy are those
Who baffle much my purpose; aids derived
From other states, spear-arm’d auxiliars, firm 155
In the defence of Ilium’s lofty towers. 
Nine years have passed us over, nine long years;
Our ships are rotted, and our tackle marr’d,
And all our wives and little-ones at home
Sit watching our return, while this attempt 160
Hangs still in doubt, for which that home we left. 
Accept ye then my counsel.  Fly we swift
With all our fleet back to our native land,
Hopeless of Troy, not yet to be subdued. 
So spake the King, whom all the concourse heard 165
With minds in tumult toss’d; all, save the few,
Partners of his intent.  Commotion shook
The whole assembly, such as heaves the flood
Of the Icarian Deep, when South and East
Burst forth together from the clouds of Jove. 170
And as when vehement the West-wind falls
On standing corn mature, the loaded ears
Innumerable bow before the gale,
So was the council shaken.  With a shout
All flew toward the ships; uprais’d, the dust 175
Stood o’er them; universal was the cry,
“Now clear the passages, strike down the props,
Set every vessel free, launch, and away!”
Heaven rang with exclamation of the host
All homeward bent, and launching glad the fleet. 180
Then baffled Fate had the Achaians seen
Returning premature, but Juno thus,
With admonition quick to Pallas spake. 
Unconquer’d daughter of Jove AEgis-arm’d! 
Ah foul dishonor!  Is it thus at last 185
That the Achaians on the billows borne,
Shall seek again their country, leaving here,
To be the vaunt of Ilium and her King,
Helen of Argos, in whose cause the Greeks
Have numerous perish’d from their home remote? 190
Haste!  Seek the mail-arm’d multitude, by force
Detain them of thy soothing speech, ere yet
All launch their oary barks into the flood. 
She spake, nor did Minerva not comply,
But darting swift from the Olympian heights, 195
Reach’d soon Achaia’s fleet.  There, she perceived
Prudent as Jove himself, Ulysses; firm
He stood; he touch’d not even with his hand
His sable bark, for sorrow whelm’d his soul. 
The Athenaean Goddess azure-eyed 200
Beside him stood, and thus the Chief bespake. 
Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d! 
Why seek ye, thus precipitate, your ships? 
Intend ye flight?  And is it thus at last,
That the Achaians on the billows borne,

Page 18

Shall seek again their country, leaving here,
To be the vaunt of Ilium and her King,
Helen of Argos, in whose cause the Greeks
Have numerous perish’d from their home remote? 
Delay not.  Rush into the throng; by force 210
Detain them of thy soothing speech, ere yet
All launch their oary barks into the flood. 
She ceased, whom by her voice Ulysses knew,
Casting his mantle from him, which his friend
Eurybates the Ithacensian caught, 215
He ran; and in his course meeting the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, from his hand
The everlasting sceptre quick received,
Which bearing, through Achaia’s fleet he pass’d. 
What King soever, or distinguish’d Greek 220
He found, approaching to his side, in terms
Of gentle sort he stay’d him.  Sir, he cried,
It is unseemly that a man renown’d
As thou, should tremble.  Go—­Resume the seat
Which thou hast left, and bid the people sit. 225
Thou know’st not clearly yet the monarch’s mind. 
He proves us now, but soon he will chastize. 
All were not present; few of us have heard
His speech this day in council.  Oh, beware,
Lest in resentment of this hasty course 230
Irregular, he let his anger loose. 
Dread is the anger of a King; he reigns
By Jove’s own ordinance, and is dear to Jove,
But what plebeian base soe’er he heard
Stretching his throat to swell the general cry, 235
He laid the sceptre smartly on his back,
With reprimand severe.  Fellow, he said,
Sit still; hear others; thy superiors hear. 
For who art thou?  A dastard and a drone,
Of none account in council, or in arms. 240
By no means may we all alike bear sway
At Ilium; such plurality of Kings
Were evil.  One suffices.  One, to whom
The son of politic Saturn hath assign’d
The sceptre, and inforcement of the laws, 245
That he may rule us as a monarch ought.[8]
With such authority the troubled host
He sway’d; they, quitting camp and fleet again
Rush’d back to council; deafening was the sound
As when a billow of the boisterous deep 250
Some broad beach dashes, and the Ocean roars. 
The host all seated, and the benches fill’d,
Thersites only of loquacious tongue
Ungovern’d, clamor’d mutinous; a wretch
Of utterance prompt, but in coarse phrase obscene 255
Deep learn’d alone, with which to slander Kings. 
Might he but set the rabble in a roar,
He cared not with what jest; of all from Greece
To Ilium sent, his country’s chief reproach. 
Cross-eyed he was, and halting moved on legs 260
Ill-pair’d; his gibbous shoulders o’er his breast
Contracted, pinch’d it; to a peak his head
Was moulded sharp, and sprinkled thin with hair

Page 19

Of starveling length, flimsy and soft as down. 
Achilles and Ulysses had incurr’d 265
Most his aversion; them he never spared;
But now, imperial Agamemnon ’self
In piercing accents stridulous he charged
With foul reproach.  The Grecians with contempt
Listen’d, and indignation, while with voice 270
At highest pitch, he thus the monarch mock’d. 
What wouldst thou now?  Whereof is thy complaint
Now, Agamemnon?  Thou hast fill’d thy tents
With treasure, and the Grecians, when they take
A city, choose the loveliest girls for thee. 275
Is gold thy wish?  More gold?  A ransom brought
By some chief Trojan for his son’s release
Whom I, or other valiant Greek may bind? 
Or wouldst thou yet a virgin, one, by right
Another’s claim, but made by force thine own? 280
It was not well, great Sir, that thou shouldst bring
A plague on the Achaians, as of late. 
But come, my Grecian sisters, soldiers named
Unfitly, of a sex too soft for war,
Come, let us homeward:  let him here digest 285
What he shall gorge, alone; that he may learn
If our assistance profit him or not. 
For when he shamed Achilles, he disgraced
A Chief far worthier than himself, whose prize
He now withholds.  But tush,—­Achilles lacks 290
Himself the spirit of a man; no gall
Hath he within him, or his hand long since
Had stopp’d that mouth,[9] that it should scoff no more. 
Thus, mocking royal Agamemnon, spake
Thersites.  Instant starting to his side, 295
Noble Ulysses with indignant brows
Survey’d him, and him thus reproved severe. 
Thersites!  Railer!—­peace.  Think not thyself,
Although thus eloquent, alone exempt
From obligation not to slander Kings. 300
I deem thee most contemptible, the worst
Of Agamemnon’s followers to the war;
Presume not then to take the names revered
Of Sovereigns on thy sordid lips, to asperse
Their sacred character, and to appoint 305
The Greeks a time when they shall voyage home. 
How soon, how late, with what success at last
We shall return, we know not:  but because
Achaia’s heroes numerous spoils allot
To Agamemnon, Leader of the host, 310
Thou therefore from thy seat revilest the King. 
But mark me.  If I find thee, as even now,
Raving and foaming at the lips again,
May never man behold Ulysses’ head
On these my shoulders more, and may my son 315
Prove the begotten of another Sire,
If I not strip thee to that hide of thine
As bare as thou wast born, and whip thee hence
Home to thy galley, sniveling like a boy. 
He ceased, and with his sceptre on the back 320
And shoulders smote him.  Writhing to and fro,

Page 20

He wept profuse, while many a bloody whelk
Protuberant beneath the sceptre sprang. 
Awe-quell’d he sat, and from his visage mean,
Deep-sighing, wiped the rheums.  It was no time 325
For mirth, yet mirth illumined every face,
And laughing, thus they spake.  A thousand acts
Illustrious, both by well-concerted plans
And prudent disposition of the host
Ulysses hath achieved, but this by far 330
Transcends his former praise, that he hath quell’d
Such contumelious rhetoric profuse. 
The valiant talker shall not soon, we judge,
Take liberties with royal names again.[10]
So spake the multitude.  Then, stretching forth 335
The sceptre, city-spoiler Chief, arose
Ulysses.  Him beside, herald in form,
Appeared Minerva.  Silence she enjoined
To all, that all Achaia’s sons might hear,
Foremost and rearmost, and might weigh his words. 340
He then his counsel, prudent, thus proposed. 
Atrides!  Monarch!  The Achaians seek
To make thee ignominious above all
In sight of all mankind.  None recollects
His promise more in steed-famed Argos pledged, 345
Here to abide till Ilium wall’d to heaven
Should vanquish’d sink, and all her wealth be ours. 
No—­now, like widow’d women, or weak boys,
They whimper to each other, wishing home. 
And home, I grant, to the afflicted soul 350
Seems pleasant.[11] The poor seaman from his wife
One month detain’d, cheerless his ship and sad
Possesses, by the force of wintry blasts,
And by the billows of the troubled deep
Fast lock’d in port.  But us the ninth long year 355
Revolving, finds camp’d under Ilium still. 
I therefore blame not, if they mourn beside
Their sable barks, the Grecians.  Yet the shame
That must attend us after absence long
Returning unsuccessful, who can bear? 360
Be patient, friends! wait only till we learn
If Calchas truly prophesied, or not;
For well we know, and I to all appeal,
Whom Fate hath not already snatch’d away,
(It seems but yesterday, or at the most 365
A day or two before) that when the ships
Wo-fraught for Priam, and the race of Troy,
At Aulis met, and we beside the fount
With perfect hecatombs the Gods adored
Beneath the plane-tree, from whose root a stream 370
Ran crystal-clear, there we beheld a sign
Wonderful in all eyes.  A serpent huge,
Tremendous spectacle! with crimson spots
His back all dappled, by Olympian Jove
Himself protruded, from the altar’s foot 375
Slipp’d into light, and glided to the tree. 
There on the topmost bough, close-cover’d sat
With foliage broad, eight sparrows, younglings all,
Then newly feather’d, with their dam, the ninth. 
The little ones lamenting shrill he gorged,

Page 21

While, wheeling o’er his head, with screams the dam
Bewail’d her darling brood.  Her also next,
Hovering and clamoring, he by the wing
Within his spiry folds drew, and devoured. 
All eaten thus, the nestlings and the dam, 385
The God who sent him, signalized him too,
For him Saturnian Jove transform’d to stone. 
We wondering stood, to see that strange portent
Intrude itself into our holy rites,
When Calchas, instant, thus the sign explain’d. 390
Why stand ye, Greeks, astonish’d?  Ye behold
A prodigy by Jove himself produced,
An omen, whose accomplishment indeed
Is distant, but whose fame shall never die.[12]
E’en as this serpent in your sight devour’d 395
Eight youngling sparrows, with their dam, the ninth,
So we nine years must war on yonder plain,
And in the tenth, wide-bulwark’d Troy is ours. 
So spake the seer, and as he spake, is done. 
Wait, therefore, brave Achaians! go not hence 400
Till Priam’s spacious city be your prize. 
He ceased, and such a shout ensued, that all
The hollow ships the deafening roar return’d
Of acclamation, every voice the speech
Extolling of Ulysses, glorious Chief. 405
Then Nestor the Gerenian,[13] warrior old,
Arising, spake; and, by the Gods, he said,
Ye more resemble children inexpert
In war, than disciplined and prudent men. 
Where now are all your promises and vows, 410
Councils, libations, right-hand covenants?[14]
Burn them, since all our occupation here
Is to debate and wrangle, whereof end
Or fruit though long we wait, shall none be found. 
But, Sovereign, be not thou appall’d.  Be firm. 415
Relax not aught of thine accustomed sway,
But set the battle forth as thou art wont. 
And if there be a Grecian, here and there,
One,[15] adverse to the general voice, let such
Wither alone.  He shall not see his wish 420
Gratified, neither will we hence return
To Argos, ere events shall yet have proved
Jove’s promise false or true.  For when we climb’d
Our gallant barks full-charged with Ilium’s fate,
Saturnian Jove omnipotent, that day, 425
(Omen propitious!) thunder’d on the right. 
Let no man therefore pant for home, till each
Possess a Trojan spouse, and from her lips
Take sweet revenge for Helen’s pangs of heart. 
Who then?  What soldier languishes and sighs 430
To leave us?  Let him dare to lay his hand
On his own vessel, and he dies the first. 
But hear, O King!  I shall suggest a course
Not trivial.  Agamemnon! sort the Greeks
By districts and by tribes, that tribe may tribe 435
Support, and each his fellow.  This performed,
And with consent of all, thou shalt discern

Page 22

With ease what Chief, what private man deserts,
And who performs his part.  The base, the brave,
Such disposition made, shall both appear; 440
And thou shalt also know, if heaven or we,
The Gods, or our supineness, succor Troy. 
To whom Atrides, King of men, replied. 
Old Chief!  Thou passest all Achaia’s sons
In consultation; would to Jove our Sire, 445
To Athenaean Pallas, and Apollo! 
That I had ten such coadjutors, wise
As thou art, and the royal city soon
Of Priam, with her wealth, should all be ours.[16]
But me the son of Saturn, Jove supreme 450
Himself afflicts, who in contentious broils
Involves me, and in altercation vain. 
Thence all that wordy tempest for a girl
Achilles and myself between, and I
The fierce aggressor.  Be that breach but heal’d! 455
And Troy’s reprieve thenceforth is at an end. 
Go—­take refreshment now that we may march
Forth to our enemies.  Let each whet well
His spear, brace well his shield, well feed his brisk
High-mettled horses, well survey and search 460
His chariot on all sides, that no defect
Disgrace his bright habiliments of war. 
So will we give the day from morn to eve
To dreadful battle.  Pause there shall be none
Till night divide us.  Every buckler’s thong 465
Shall sweat on the toil’d bosom, every hand
That shakes the spear shall ache, and every steed
Shall smoke that whirls the chariot o’er the plain. 
Wo then to whom I shall discover here
Loitering among the tents; let him escape 470
My vengeance if he can.  The vulture’s maw
Shall have his carcase, and the dogs his bones. 
He spake; whom all applauded with a shout
Loud as against some headland cliff the waves
Roll’d by the stormy South o’er rocks that shoot 475
Afar into the deep, which in all winds
The flood still overspreads, blow whence they may. 
Arising, forth they rush’d, among the ships
All scatter’d; smoke from every tent arose,
The host their food preparing; next, his God 480
Each man invoked (of the Immortals him
Whom he preferr’d) with sacrifice and prayer
For safe escape from danger and from death. 
But Agamemnon to Saturnian Jove
Omnipotent, an ox of the fifth year 485
Full-flesh’d devoted, and the Princes call’d
Noblest of all the Grecians to his feast. 
First, Nestor with Idomeneus the King,
Then either Ajax, and the son he call’d
Of Tydeus, with Ulysses sixth and last, 490
Jove’s peer in wisdom.  Menelaus went,
Heroic Chief! unbidden, for he knew
His brother’s mind with weight of care oppress’d. 
The ox encircling, and their hands with meal
Of consecration fill’d, the assembly stood, 495

Page 23

When Agamemnon thus his prayer preferred. 
Almighty Father!  Glorious above all! 
Cloud-girt, who dwell’st in heaven thy throne sublime,
Let not the sun go down, till Priam’s roof
Fall flat into the flames; till I shall burn 500
His gates with fire; till I shall hew away
His hack’d and riven corslet from the breast
Of Hector, and till numerous Chiefs, his friends,
Around him, prone in dust, shall bite the ground. 
So prayed he, but with none effect, The God 505
Received his offering, but to double toil
Doom’d them, and sorrow more than all the past. 
They then, the triturated barley grain
First duly sprinkling, the sharp steel infix’d
Deep in the victim’s neck reversed, then stripp’d 510
The carcase, and divided at their joint
The thighs, which in the double caul involved
They spread with slices crude, and burn’d with fire
Ascending fierce from billets sere and dry. 
The spitted entrails next they o’er the coals 515
Suspended held.  The thighs with fire consumed,
They gave to each his portion of the maw,
Then slash’d the remnant, pierced it with the spits,
And managing with culinary skill
The roast, withdrew it from the spits again. 520
Thus, all their task accomplished, and the board
Set forth, they feasted, and were all sufficed. 
When neither hunger more nor thirst remain’d
Unsatisfied, Gerenian Nestor spake. 
Atrides!  Agamemnon!  King of men! 525
No longer waste we time in useless words,
Nor to a distant hour postpone the work
To which heaven calls thee.  Send thine heralds forth. 
Who shall convene the Achaians at the fleet,
That we, the Chiefs assembled here, may range, 530
Together, the imbattled multitude,
And edge their spirits for immediate fight. 
He spake, nor Agamemnon not complied. 
At once he bade his clear-voiced heralds call
The Greeks to battle.  They the summons loud 535
Gave forth, and at the sound the people throng’d. 
Then Agamemnon and the Kings of Greece
Dispatchful drew them into order just,
With whom Minerva azure-eyed advanced,
The inestimable AEgis on her arm, 540
Immortal, unobnoxious to decay
A hundred braids, close twisted, all of gold,
Each valued at a hundred beeves,[17] around
Dependent fringed it.  She from side to side
Her eyes cerulean rolled, infusing thirst 545
Of battle endless into every breast. 
War won them now, war sweeter now to each
Than gales to waft them over ocean home.[18]
As when devouring flames some forest seize
On the high mountains, splendid from afar 550
The blaze appears, so, moving on the plain,
The steel-clad host innumerous flash’d to heaven. 
And as a multitude of fowls in flocks

Page 24

Assembled various, geese, or cranes, or swans
Lithe-neck’d, long hovering o’er Cayster’s banks 555
On wanton plumes, successive on the mead
Alight at last, and with a clang so loud
That all the hollow vale of Asius rings;
In number such from ships and tents effused,
They cover’d the Scamandrian plain; the earth 560
Rebellow’d to the feet of steeds and men. 
They overspread Scamander’s grassy vale,
Myriads, as leaves, or as the flowers of spring. 
As in the hovel where the peasant milks
His kine in spring-time, when his pails are fill’d, 565
Thick clouds of humming insects on the wing
Swarm all around him, so the Grecians swarm’d
An unsumm’d multitude o’er all the plain,
Bright arm’d, high crested, and athirst for war. 
As goat-herds separate their numerous flocks 570
With ease, though fed promiscuous, with like ease
Their leaders them on every side reduced
To martial order glorious;[19] among whom
Stood Agamemnon “with an eye like Jove’s,
To threaten or command,” like Mars in girth, 575
And with the port of Neptune.  As the bull
Conspicuous among all the herd appears,
For he surpasses all, such Jove ordain’d
That day the son of Atreus, in the midst
Of Heroes, eminent above them all. 580
Tell me, (for ye are are heavenly, and beheld[20]
A scene, whereof the faint report alone
Hath reached our ears, remote and ill-informed,)
Tell me, ye Muses, under whom, beneath
What Chiefs of royal or of humbler note 585
Stood forth the embattled Greeks?  The host at large;
They were a multitude in number more
Than with ten tongues, and with ten mouths, each mouth
Made vocal with a trumpet’s throat of brass
I might declare, unless the Olympian nine, 590
Jove’s daughters, would the chronicle themselves
Indite, of all assembled, under Troy. 
I will rehearse the Captains and their fleets.
[21]Boeotia’s sturdy sons Peneleus led,
And Leitus, whose partners in command 595
Arcesilaus and Prothoenor came,
And Clonius.  Them the dwellers on the rocks
Of Aulis followed, with the hardy clans
Of Hyrie, Schoenos, Scholos, and the hills
Of Eteon; Thespia, Graea, and the plains 600
Of Mycalessus them, and Harma served,
Eleon, Erythrae, Peteon; Hyle them,
Hesius and Ocalea, and the strength
Of Medeon; Copae also in their train
Marched, with Eutresis and the mighty men 605
Of Thisbe famed for doves; nor pass unnamed
Whom Coronaea, and the grassy land
Of Haliartus added to the war,
Nor whom Plataea, nor whom Glissa bred,
And Hypothebae,[22] and thy sacred groves 610
To Neptune, dark Onchestus.  Arne claims
A record next for her illustrious sons,

Page 25

Vine-bearing Arne.  Thou wast also there
Mideia, and thou Nissa; nor be thine
Though last, Anthedon, a forgotten name. 615
These in Boeotia’s fair and gallant fleet
Of fifty ships, each bearing o’er the waves
Thrice forty warriors, had arrived at Troy. 
In thirty ships deep-laden with the brave,
Aspledon and Orchomenos had sent 620
Their chosen youth; them ruled a noble pair,
Sons of Astyoche; she, lovely nymph,
Received by stealth, on Actor’s stately roof,
The embraces of a God, and bore to Mars
Twins like himself, Ascalaphus the bold, 625
And bold Iaelmenus, expert in arms. 
Beneath Epistrophus and Schedius, took
Their destined station on Boeotia’s left,
The brave Phocensians; they in forty ships
From Cyparissus came, and from the rocks 630
Of Python, and from Crissa the divine;
From Anemoria, Daulis, Panopeus,
And from Hyampolis, and from the banks
Of the Cephissus, sacred stream, and from
Lilaea, seated at its fountain-head. 635
Next from beyond Euboea’s happy isle
In forty ships conveyed, stood forth well armed
The Locrians; dwellers in Augeia some
The pleasant, some of Opoeis possessed,
Some of Calliarus; these Scarpha sent, 640
And Cynus those; from Bessa came the rest,
From Tarpha, Thronius, and from the brink
Of loud Boagrius; Ajax them, the swift,
Son of Oileus led, not such as he
From Telamon, big-boned and lofty built, 645
But small of limb, and of an humbler crest;
Yet he, competitor had none throughout
The Grecians of what land soe’er, for skill
In ushering to its mark the rapid lance. 
Elphenor brought (Calchodon’s mighty son) 650
The Euboeans to the field.  In forty ships
From Histriaea for her vintage famed,
From Chalcis, from Iretria, from the gates
Of maritime Cerinthus, from the heights
Of Dios rock-built citadel sublime, 655
And from Caristus and from Styra came
His warlike multitudes, all named alike
Abantes, on whose shoulders fell behind
Their locks profuse,[23] and they were eager all
To split the hauberk with the pointed spear. 660
Nor Athens had withheld her generous sons,
The people of Erectheus.  Him of old
The teeming glebe produced, a wondrous birth! 
And Pallas rear’d him:  her own unctuous fane
She made his habitation, where with bulls 665
The youth of Athens, and with slaughter’d lambs
Her annual worship celebrate.  Then led
Menestheus, whom, (sage Nestor’s self except,
Thrice school’d in all events of human life,)
None rivall’d ever in the just array 670
Of horse and man to battle.  Fifty ships
Black-prowed, had borne them to the distant war. 

Page 26

Ajax from Salamis twelve vessels brought,
And where the Athenian band in phalanx stood
Marshall’d compact, there station’d he his powers. 675
The men of Argos and Tyrintha next,
And of Hermione, that stands retired
With Asine, within her spacious bay;
Of Epidaurus, crown’d with purple vines,
And of Troezena, with the Achaian youth 680
Of sea-begirt AEgina, and with thine,
Maseta, and the dwellers on thy coast,
Wave-worn Eionae; these all obeyed
The dauntless Hero Diomede, whom served
Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, a Chief 685
Of deathless fame, his second in command,
And godlike man, Euryalus, the son
Of King Mecisteus, Talaues’ son, his third. 
But Diomede controll’d them all, and him
Twice forty sable ships their leader own’d. 690
Came Agamemnon with a hundred ships,
Exulting in his powers; more numerous they,
And more illustrious far than other Chief
Could boast, whoever.  Clad in burnish’d brass,
And conscious of pre-eminence, he stood. 695
He drew his host from cities far renown’d,
Mycenae, and Corinthus, seat of wealth,
Orneia, and Cleonae bulwark’d strong,
And lovely Araethyria; Sicyon, where
His seat of royal power held at the first 700
Adrastus:  Hyperesia, and the heights
Of Gonoessa; AEgium, with the towns
That sprinkle all that far-extended coast,
Pellene also and wide Helice
With all their shores, were number’d in his train. 705
From hollow Lacedaemon’s glen profound,
From Phare, Sparta, and from Messa, still
Resounding with the ring-dove’s amorous moan,
From Brysia, from Augeia, from the rocks
Of Laas, from Amycla, Otilus, 710
And from the towers of Helos, at whose foot
The surf of Ocean falls, came sixty barks
With Menelaus.  From the monarch’s host
The royal brother ranged his own apart,
and panted for revenge of Helen’s wrongs, 715
And of her sighs and tears.[24] From rank to rank,
Conscious of dauntless might he pass’d, and sent
Into all hearts the fervor of his own. 
Gerenian Nestor in thrice thirty ships
Had brought his warriors; they from Pylus came, 720
From blithe Arene, and from Thryos, built
Fast by the fords of Alpheus, and from steep
And stately AEpy.  Their confederate powers
Sent Amphigenia, Cyparissa veiled
With broad redundance of funereal shades, 725
Pteleos and Helos, and of deathless fame
Dorion.  In Dorion erst the Muses met
Threician Thamyris, on his return
From Eurytus, Oechalian Chief, and hush’d
His song for ever; for he dared to vaunt 730
That he would pass in song even themselves
The Muses, daughters of Jove AEgis-arm’d. 
They therefore, by his boast incensed, the bard

Page 27

Struck blind, and from his memory dash’d severe
All traces of his once celestial strains. 735
Arcadia’s sons, the dwellers at the foot
Of mount Cyllene, where AEpytus sleeps
Intomb’d; a generation bold in fight,
And warriors hand to hand; the valiant men
Of Pheneus, of Orchomenos by flocks 740
Grazed numberless, of Ripe, Stratia, bleak
Enispe; Mantinea city fair,
Stymphelus and Parrhasia, and the youth
Of Tegea; royal Agapenor these,
Ancaeus’ offspring, had in sixty ships 745
To Troy conducted; numerous was the crew,
And skilled in arms, which every vessel brought,
And Agamemnon had with barks himself
Supplied them, for, of inland realms possessed,
They little heeded maritime employs.[25] 750
The dwellers in Buprasium, on the shores
Of pleasant Elis, and in all the land
Myrsinus and the Hyrminian plain between,
The rock Olenian, and the Alysian fount;
These all obey’d four Chiefs, and galleys ten 755
Each Chief commanded, with Epeans filled. 
Amphimachus and Thalpius govern’d these,
This, son of Cteatus, the other, sprung
From Eurytus, and both of Actor’s house. 
Diores, son of Amarynceus, those 760
Led on, and, for his godlike form renown’d,
Polyxenus was Chieftain o’er the rest,
Son of Agasthenes, Augeias’ son. 
Dulichium, and her sister sacred isles
The Echinades, whose opposite aspect 765
Looks toward Elis o’er the curling waves,
Sent forth their powers with Meges at their head,
Brave son of Phyleus, warrior dear to Jove. 
Phyleus in wrath, his father’s house renounced,
And to Dulichium wandering, there abode. 770
Twice twenty ships had follow’d Meges forth. 
Ulysses led the Cephallenians bold. 
From Ithaca, and from the lofty woods
Of Neritus they came, and from the rocks
Of rude AEgilipa.  Crocylia these, 775
And these Zacynthus own’d; nor yet a few
From Samos, from Epirus join’d their aid,
And from the opposite Ionian shore. 
Them, wise as Jove himself, Ulysses led
In twelve fair ships, with crimson prows adorn’d. 780
From forty ships, Thoas, Andraemon’s son,
Had landed his AEtolians; for extinct
Was Meleager, and extinct the house
Of Oeneus all, nor Oeneus self survived;
To Thoas therefore had AEtolia fallen; 785
Him Olenos, Pylene, Chalcis served,
With Pleuro, and the rock-bound Calydon. 
Idomeneus, spear-practised warrior, led
The numerous Cretans.  In twice forty ships
He brought his powers to Troy.  The warlike bands 790
Of Cnossus, of Gortyna wall’d around,
Of Lyctus, of Lycastus chalky-white,
Of Phaestus, of Miletus, with the youth

Page 28

Of Rhytius him obey’d; nor these were all,
But others from her hundred cities Crete 795
Sent forth, all whom Idomeneus the brave
Commanded, with Meriones in arms
Dread as the God of battles blood-imbrued. 
Nine ships Tlepolemus, Herculean-born,
For courage famed and for superior size, 800
Fill’d with his haughty Rhodians.  They, in tribes
Divided, dwelt distinct.  Jelyssus these,
Those Lindus, and the rest the shining soil
Of white Camirus occupied.  Him bore
To Hercules, (what time he led the nymph 805
From Ephyre, and from Sellea’s banks,
After full many a city laid in dust.)
Astyocheia.  In his father’s house
Magnificent, Tlepolemus spear-famed
Had scarce up-grown to manhood’s lusty prime 810
When he his father’s hoary uncle slew
Lycimnius, branch of Mars.  Then built he ships,
And, pushing forth to sea, fled from the threats
Of the whole house of Hercules.  Huge toil
And many woes he suffer’d, till at length 815
At Rhodes arriving, in three separate bands
He spread himself abroad, Much was he loved
Of all-commanding Jove, who bless’d him there,
And shower’d abundant riches on them all. 
Nireus of Syma, with three vessels came; 820
Nireus, Aglaea’s offspring, whom she bore
To Charopus the King; Nireus in form,
(The faultless son of Peleus sole except,)
Loveliest of all the Grecians call’d to Troy. 
But he was heartless and his men were few.[26] 825
Nisyrus, Casus, Crapathus, and Cos
Where reign’d Eurypylus, with all the isles
Calydnae named, under two valiant Chiefs
Their troops disposed; Phidippus one, and one,
His brother Antiphus, begotten both 830
By Thessalus, whom Hercules begat. 
In thirty ships they sought the shores of Troy. 
The warriors of Pelasgian Argos next,
Of Alus, and Alope, and who held
Trechina, Phthia, and for women fair 835
Distinguish’d, Hellas; known by various names
Hellenes, Myrmidons, Achaeans, them
In fifty ships embark’d, Achilles ruled. 
But these were deaf to the hoarse-throated war,
For there was none to draw their battle forth, 840
And give them just array.  Close in his ships
Achilles, after loss of the bright-hair’d
Briseis, lay, resentful; her obtained
Not without labor hard, and after sack
Of Thebes and of Lyrnessus, where he slew 845
Two mighty Chiefs, sons of Evenus both,
Epistrophus and Mynes, her he mourn’d,
And for her sake self-prison’d in his fleet
And idle lay, though soon to rise again. 
From Phylace, and from the flowery fields 850
Of Pyrrhasus, a land to Ceres given
By consecration, and from Iton green,
Mother of flocks; from Antron by the sea,

Page 29

And from the grassy meads of Pteleus, came
A people, whom while yet he lived, the brave 855
Protesilaues led; but him the earth
Now cover’d dark and drear.  A wife he left,
To rend in Phylace her bleeding cheeks,
And an unfinish’d mansion.  First he died
Of all the Greeks; for as he leap’d to land 860
Foremost by far, a Dardan struck him dead. 
Nor had his troops, though filled with deep regret,
No leader; them Podarces led, a Chief
Like Mars in battle, brother of the slain,
But younger born, and from Iphiclus sprung 865
Who sprang from Phylacus the rich in flocks. 
But him Protesilaues, as in years,
So also in desert of arms excell’d
Heroic, whom his host, although they saw
Podarces at their head, still justly mourn’d; 870
For he was fierce in battle, and at Troy
With forty sable-sided ships arrived. 
Eleven galleys, Pherae on the lake,
And Boebe, and Ioelchus, and the vale
Of Glaphyrae supplied with crews robust 875
Under Eumelus; him Alcestis, praised
For beauty above all her sisters fair,
In Thessaly to King Admetus bore. 
Methone, and Olizon’s craggy coast,
With Meliboea and Thaumasia sent 880
Seven ships; their rowers were good archers all,
And every vessel dipped into the wave
Her fifty oars.  Them Philoctetes, skill’d
To draw with sinewy arm the stubborn bow,
Commanded; but he suffering anguish keen 885
Inflicted by a serpent’s venom’d tooth,
Lay sick in Lemnos; him the Grecians there
Had left sore-wounded, but were destined soon
To call to dear remembrance whom they left. 
Meantime, though sorrowing for his sake, his troops 890
Yet wanted not a chief; them Medon ruled,
Whom Rhena to the far-famed conqueror bore
Oileus, fruit of their unsanction’d loves. 
From Tricca, from Ithome rough and rude
With rocks and glens, and from Oechalia, town 895
Of Eurytus Oechalian-born, came forth
Their warlike youth by Podalirius led
And by Machaon, healers both expert
Of all disease, and thirty ships were theirs. 
The men of Ormenus, and from beside 900
The fountain Hypereia, from the tops
Of chalky Titan, and Asteria’s band;
Them ruled Eurypylus, Evaemon’s son
Illustrious, whom twice twenty ships obeyed. 
Orthe, Gyrtone, Olooesson white, 905
Argissa and Helone; they their youth
Gave to control of Polypoetes, son
Undaunted of Pirithoues, son of Jove. 
Him, to Pirithoues, (on the self-same day
When he the Centaurs punish’d and pursued 910
Sheer to AEthicae driven from Pelion’s heights
The shaggy race) Hippodamia bore. 
Nor he alone them led.  With him was join’d
Leonteus dauntless warrior, from the bold

Page 30

Coronus sprung, who Caeneus call’d his sire. 915
Twice twenty ships awaited their command. 
Guneus from Cyphus twenty and two ships
Led forth; the Enienes him obey’d,
And the robust Peroebi, warriors bold,
And dwellers on Dodona’s wintry brow. 920
To these were join’d who till the pleasant fields
Where Titaresius winds; the gentle flood
Pours into Peneus all his limpid stores,
But with the silver-eddied Peneus flows
Unmixt as oil;[27] for Stygian is his stream, 925
And Styx is the inviolable oath. 
Last with his forty ships, Tenthredon’s son,
The active Prothoues came.  From the green banks
Of Peneus his Magnesians far and near
He gather’d, and from Pelion forest-crown’d. 930
These were the princes and the Chiefs of Greece. 
Say, Muse, who most in personal desert
Excell’d, and whose were the most warlike steeds
And of the noblest strain.  Their hue, their age,
Their height the same, swift as the winds of heaven 935
And passing far all others, were the mares
Which drew Eumelus; on Pierian hills
The heavenly Archer of the silver bow,
Apollo, bred them.  But of men, the chief
Was Telamonian Ajax, while wrath-bound 940
Achilles lay; for he was worthier far,
And more illustrious were the steeds which bore
The noble son of Peleus; but revenge
On Agamemnon leader of the host
Was all his thought, while in his gallant ships 945
Sharp-keel’d to cut the foaming flood, he lay. 
Meantime, along the margin of the deep
His soldiers hurled the disk, or bent the bow. 
Or to its mark dispatch’d the quivering lance. 
Beside the chariots stood the unharness’d steeds 950
Cropping the lotus, or at leisure browsed
On celery wild, from watery freshes gleaned. 
Beneath the shadow of the sheltering tent
The chariot stood, while they, the charioteers
Roam’d here and there the camp, their warlike lord 955
Regretting sad, and idle for his sake. 
As if a fire had burnt along the ground,
Such seem’d their march; earth groan’d their steps beneath;
As when in Arimi, where fame reports
Typhoeus stretch’d, the fires of angry Jove 960
Down darted, lash the ground, so groan’d the earth
Beneath them, for they traversed swift the plain. 
And now from Jove, with heavy tidings charged,
Wind-footed Iris to the Trojans came. 
It was the time of council, when the throng 965
At Priam’s gate assembled, young and old: 
Them, standing nigh, the messenger of heaven
Accosted with the voice of Priam’s son,
Polites.  He, confiding in his speed
For sure deliverance, posted was abroad 970
On AEsyeta’s tomb,[28] intent to watch
When the Achaian host should leave the fleet. 

Page 31

The Goddess in his form thus them address’d. 
Oh, ancient Monarch!  Ever, evermore
Speaking, debating, as if all were peace; 975
I have seen many a bright-embattled field,
But never one so throng’d as this to-day. 
For like the leaves, or like the sands they come
Swept by the winds, to gird the city round. 
But Hector! chiefly thee I shall exhort. 980
In Priam’s spacious city are allies
Collected numerous, and of nations wide
Disseminated various are the tongues. 
Let every Chief his proper troop command,
And marshal his own citizens to war. 985
She ceased; her Hector heard intelligent,
And quick dissolved the council.  All took arms. 
Wide flew the gates; forth rush’d the multitude,
Horsemen and foot, and boisterous stir arose. 
In front of Ilium, distant on the plain, 990
Clear all around from all obstruction, stands
An eminence high-raised, by mortal men
Call’d Bateia, but the Gods the tomb
Have named it of Myrinna swift in fight. 
Troy and her aids there set the battle forth. 995
Huge Priameian Hector, fierce in arms,
Led on the Trojans; with whom march’d the most
And the most valiant, dexterous at the spear. 
AEneas, (on the hills of Ida him
The lovely Venus to Anchises bore, 1000
A Goddess by a mortal man embraced)
Led the Dardanians; but not he alone;
Archilochus with him and Acamas
Stood forth, the offspring of Antenor, each,
And well instructed in all forms of war. 1005
Fast by the foot of Ida, where they drank
The limpid waters of AEsepus, dwelt
The Trojans of Zeleia.  Rich were they
And led by Pandarus, Lycaon’s son,
Whom Phoebus self graced with the bow he bore. 1010
Apaesus, Adrastea, Terie steep,
And Pitueia—­them, Amphius clad
In mail thick-woven, and Adrastus, ruled. 
They were the sons of the Percosian seer
Merops, expert in the soothsayers’ art 1015
Above all other; he his sons forbad
The bloody fight, but disobedient they
Still sought it, for their destiny prevailed. 
The warriors of Percote, and who dwelt
In Practius, in Arisba, city fair, 1020
In Sestus, in Abydus, march’d behind
Princely Hyrtacides; his tawny steeds,
Strong-built and tall, from Sellcentes’ bank
And from Arisba, had him borne to Troy. 
Hippothous and Pilmus, branch of Mars, 1025
Both sons of Lethus the Pelasgian, they,
Forth from Larissa for her fertile soil
Far-famed, the spear-expert Pelasgians brought. 
The Thracians (all whom Hellespont includes
Within the banks of his swift-racing tide) 1030
Heroic Acamas and Pirous led. 
Euphemus, offspring of Troezenus, son
Of Jove-protected Ceas, was the Chief

Page 32

Whom the spear-arm’d Ciconian band obey’d. 
Paeonia’s archers follow’d to the field 1035
Pyraechmes; they from Amydon remote
Were drawn, where Axius winds; broad Axius, stream
Diffused delightful over all the vale. 
Pylaemenes, a Chief of giant might
From the Eneti for forest-mules renowned 1040
March’d with his Paphlagonians; dwellers they
In Sesamus and in Cytorus were,
And by the stream Parthenius; Cromna these
Sent forth, and those AEgialus on the lip
And margin of the land, and some, the heights 1045
Of Erythini, rugged and abrupt. 
Epistrophus and Odius from the land
Of Alybe, a region far remote,
Where veins of silver wind, led to the field
The Halizonians.  With the Mysians came 1050
Chromis their Chief, and Ennomus; him skill’d
In augury, but skill’d in vain, his art
Saved not, but by AEacides[29] the swift,
With others in the Xanthus[30] slain, he died. 
Ascanius, lovely youth, and Phorcis, led 1055
The Phrygians from Ascania far remote,
Ardent for battle.  The Moeonian race,
(All those who at the foot of Tmolus dwelt,)
Mesthles and Antiphus, fraternal pair,
Sons of Pylaemenes commanded, both 1060
Of the Gygaean lake in Lydia born. 
Amphimachus and Nastes led to fight
The Carians, people of a barbarous speech,[31]
With the Milesians, and the mountain-race
Of wood-crown’d Phthira, and who dwelt beside 1065
Maeander, or on Mycale sublime. 
Them led Amphimachus and Nastes, sons
Renown’d of Nomion.  Like a simple girl
Came forth Amphimachus with gold bedight,
But him his trappings from a woful death 1070
Saved not, when whirled beneath the bloody tide
To Peleus’ stormy son his spoils he left. 
Sarpedon with the noble Glaucus led
Their warriors forth from farthest Lycia, where
Xanthus deep-dimpled rolls his oozy tide. 1075




The armies meet.  Paris throws out a challenge to the Grecian Princes.  Menelaus accepts it.  The terms of the combat are adjusted solemnly by Agamemnon on the part of Greece, and by Priam on the part of Troy.  The combat ensues, in which Paris is vanquished, whom yet Venus rescues.  Agamemnon demands from the Trojans a performance of the covenant.


Page 33

[1]Now marshall’d all beneath their several chiefs, With deafening shouts, and with the clang of arms, The host of Troy advanced.  Such clang is heard Along the skies, when from incessant showers Escaping, and from winter’s cold, the cranes 5 Take wing, and over Ocean speed away;[2] Wo to the land of dwarfs! prepared they fly For slaughter of the small Pygmaean race.  Not so the Greeks; they breathing valor came, But silent all, and all with faithful hearts 10 On succor mutual to the last, resolved.  As when the south wind wraps the mountain top In mist the shepherd’s dread, but to the thief Than night itself more welcome, and the eye Is bounded in its ken to a stone’s cast, 15 Such from beneath their footsteps dun and dense Uprose the dust, for swift they cross the plain. 
  When, host to host opposed, full nigh they stood,
Then Alexander[3] in the Trojan van Advanced was seen, all beauteous as a God; 20 His leopard’s skin, his falchion and his bow Hung from his shoulder; bright with heads of brass He shook two spears, and challenged to the fight The bravest Argives there, defying all.  Him, striding haughtily his host before 25 When Menelaus saw, such joy he felt As hunger-pinch’d the lion feels, by chance Conducted to some carcase huge, wild goat, Or antler’d stag; huntsmen and baying hounds Disturb not him, he gorges in their sight. 30 So Menelaus at the view rejoiced Of lovely Alexander, for he hoped His punishment at hand.  At once, all armed, Down from his chariot to the ground he leap’d
  When godlike Paris him in front beheld 35
Conspicuous, his heart smote him, and his fate Avoiding, far within the lines he shrank.[4] As one, who in some woodland height descrying A serpent huge, with sudden start recoils, His limbs shake under him; with cautious step 40 He slow retires; fear blanches cold his cheeks; So beauteous Alexander at the sight Of Atreus’ son dishearten’d sore, the ranks Of haughty Trojans enter’d deep again:  Him Hector eyed, and thus rebuked severe. 45
  Curst Paris!  Fair deceiver!  Woman-mad! 
I would to all in heaven that thou hadst died Unborn, at least unmated! happier far Than here to have incurr’d this public shame!  Well may the Grecians taunt, and laughing loud, 50 Applaud the champion, slow indeed to fight And pusillanimous, but wondrous fair.  Wast thou as timid, tell me, when with those Thy loved companions in that famed exploit, Thou didst consort with strangers, and convey 55 From distant lands a warrior’s beauteous bride To be thy father’s and his people’s curse, Joy to our foes, but to thyself reproach?  Behold her husband!  Darest thou not to face The warlike prince?  Now learn how brave a Chief 60 Thou hast defrauded of his blooming spouse. 

Page 34

Thy lyre, thy locks, thy person, specious gifts Of partial Venus, will avail thee nought, Once mixt by Menelaus with the dust.  But we are base ourselves, or long ago, 65 For all thy numerous mischiefs, thou hadst slept Secure beneath a coverlet[5] of stone.[6]
  Then godlike Alexander thus replied. 
Oh Hector, true in temper as the axe Which in the shipwright’s hand the naval plank 70 Divides resistless, doubling all his force, Such is thy dauntless spirit whose reproach Perforce I own, nor causeless nor unjust.  Yet let the gracious gifts uncensured pass Of golden Venus; man may not reject 75 The glorious bounty by the Gods bestow’d, Nor follows their beneficence our choice.  But if thy pleasure be that I engage With Menelaus in decision fierce Of desperate combat bid the host of Troy 80 And bid the Grecians sit; then face to face Commit us, in the vacant field between, To fight for Helen and for all her wealth.  Who strongest proves, and conquers, he, of her And hers possess’d shall bear them safe away; 85 While ye (peace sworn and firm accord) shall dwell At Troy, and these to Argos shall return And to Achaia praised for women fair. 
  He ceased, whom Hector heard with joy; he moved
Into the middle space, and with his spear 90 Advanced athwart push’d back the Trojan van, And all stood fast.  Meantime at him the Greeks Discharged full volley, showering thick around From bow and sling;[7] when with a mighty voice Thus Agamemnon, leader of the host. 95
  Argives!  Be still—­shoot not, ye sons of Greece! 
Hector bespeaks attention.  Hear the Chief! 
  He said, at once the Grecians ceased to shoot,
And all sat silent.  Hector then began. 
  Hear me, ye Trojans, and ye Greeks mail-arm’d, 100
While I shall publish in your ears the words Of Alexander, author of our strife.  Trojans, he bids, and Grecians on the field Their arms dispose; while he, the hosts between, With warlike Menelaus shall in fight 105 Contend for Helen, and for all her wealth.  Who strongest proves, and conquers, he, of her And hers possess’d, shall bear them safe away, And oaths of amity shall bind the rest. 
  He ceased, and all deep silence held, amazed; 110
When valiant Menelaus thus began. 
  Hear now me also, on whose aching heart
These woes have heaviest fallen.  At last I hope Decision near, Trojans and Greeks between, For ye have suffer’d in my quarrel much, 115 And much by Paris, author of the war.  Die he who must, and peace be to the rest.  But ye shall hither bring two lambs, one white, The other black;[8] this to the Earth devote, That to the Sun.  We shall ourselves supply 120 A third for Jove.  Then bring ye Priam forth, Himself to swear the covenant, (for his sons Are faithless) lest the

Page 35

oath of Jove be scorn’d.  Young men are ever of unstable mind; But when an elder interferes, he views 125 Future and past together, and insures The compact, to both parties, uninfringed. 
  So Menelaus spake; and in all hearts
Awaken’d joyful hope that there should end War’s long calamities.  Alighted each, 130 And drew his steeds into the lines.  The field Glitter’d with arms put off, and side by side, Ranged orderly, while the interrupted war Stood front to front, small interval between. 
  Then Hector to the city sent in haste 135
Two heralds for the lambs, and to invite Priam; while Agamemnon, royal Chief, Talthybius to the Grecian fleet dismiss’d For a third lamb to Jove; nor he the voice Of noble Agamemnon disobey’d. 140
  Iris, ambassadress of heaven, the while,
To Helen came.  Laoedice she seem’d, Loveliest of all the daughters of the house Of Priam, wedded to Antenor’s son, King Helicaeon.  Her she found within, 145 An ample web magnificent she wove,[9] Inwrought with numerous conflicts for her sake Beneath the hands of Mars endured by Greeks Mail-arm’d, and Trojans of equestrian fame.  Swift Iris, at her side, her thus address’d. 150
  Haste, dearest nymph! a wondrous sight behold! 
Greeks brazen-mail’d, and Trojans steed-renown’d.  So lately on the cruel work of Mars Intent and hot for mutual havoc, sit Silent; the war hath paused, and on his shield 155 Each leans, his long spear planted at his side.  Paris and Menelaus, warrior bold, With quivering lances shall contend for thee, And thou art his who conquers; his for ever. 
  So saying, the Goddess into Helen’s soul 160
Sweetest desire infused to see again Her former Lord, her parents, and her home.  At once o’ermantled with her snowy veil She started forth, and as she went let fall A tender tear; not unaccompanied 165 She went, but by two maidens of her train Attended, AEthra, Pittheus’ daughter fair, And soft-eyed Clymene.  Their hasty steps Convey’d them quickly to the Scaean gate.  There Priam, Panthous, Clytius, Lampus sat, 170 Thymoetes, Hicetaon, branch of Mars, Antenor and Ucalegon the wise, All, elders of the people; warriors erst, But idle now through age, yet of a voice Still indefatigable as the fly’s[10] 175 Which perch’d among the boughs sends forth at noon Through all the grove his slender ditty sweet.  Such sat those Trojan leaders on the tower, Who, soon as Helen on the steps they saw, In accents quick, but whisper’d, thus remark’d. 180
  Trojans and Grecians wage, with fair excuse,
Long war for so much beauty.[11] Oh, how like In feature to the Goddesses above!  Pernicious loveliness!  Ah, hence away, Resistless as thou art and all divine, 185 Nor

Page 36

leave a curse to us, and to our sons. 
  So they among themselves; but Priam call’d
Fair Helen to his side.[12] My daughter dear!  Come, sit beside me.  Thou shalt hence discern Thy former Lord, thy kindred and thy friends. 190 I charge no blame on thee.  The Gods have caused, Not thou, this lamentable war to Troy.[13] Name to me yon Achaian Chief for bulk Conspicuous, and for port.  Taller indeed I may perceive than he; but with these eyes 195 Saw never yet such dignity, and grace.  Declare his name.  Some royal Chief he seems. 
  To whom thus Helen, loveliest of her sex,
My other Sire! by me for ever held In reverence, and with filial fear beloved! 200 Oh that some cruel death had been my choice, Rather than to abandon, as I did, All joys domestic, matrimonial bliss, Brethren, dear daughter, and companions dear, A wanderer with thy son.  Yet I alas! 205 Died not, and therefore now, live but to weep.  But I resolve thee.  Thou behold’st the son Of Atreus, Agamemnon, mighty king, In arms heroic, gracious in the throne, And, (though it shame me now to call him such,) 210 By nuptial ties a brother once to me. 
  Then him the ancient King-admiring, said. 
Oh blest Atrides, happy was thy birth, And thy lot glorious, whom this gallant host So numerous, of the sons of Greece obey! 215 To vine-famed Phrygia, in my days of youth, I journey’d; many Phrygians there I saw, Brave horsemen, and expert; they were the powers Of Otreus and of Mygdon, godlike Chief, And on the banks of Sangar’s stream encamp’d. 220 I march’d among them, chosen in that war Ally of Phrygia, and it was her day Of conflict with the man-defying race, The Amazons; yet multitudes like these Thy bright-eyed Greeks, I saw not even there. 225
  The venerable King observing next
Ulysses, thus inquired.  My child, declare Him also.  Shorter by the head he seems Than Agamemnon, Atreus’ mighty son, But shoulder’d broader, and of ampler chest; 230 He hath disposed his armor on the plain, But like a ram, himself the warrior ranks Ranges majestic; like a ram full-fleeced By numerous sheep encompass’d snowy-white. 
  To whom Jove’s daughter Helen thus replied. 235
In him the son of old Laertes know, Ulysses; born in Ithaca the rude, But of a piercing wit, and deeply wise. 
  Then answer thus, Antenor sage return’d. 
Princess thou hast described him:  hither once 240 The noble Ithacan, on thy behalf Ambassador with Menelaus, came:  Beneath my roof, with hospitable fare Friendly I entertained them.  Seeing then Occasion opportune, I closely mark’d 245 The genius and the talents of the Chiefs, And this I noted well; that when they stood Amid the assembled counsellors of Troy, Then Menelaus his advantage show’d, Who by the shoulders overtopp’d his friend.

Page 37

250 But when both sat, Ulysses in his air Had more of state and dignity than he.  In the delivery of a speech address’d To the full senate, Menelaus used Few words, but to the matter, fitly ranged, 255 And with much sweetness utter’d; for in loose And idle play of ostentatious terms He dealt not, though he were the younger man.  But when the wise Ulysses from his seat Had once arisen, he would his downcast eyes 260 So rivet on the earth, and with a hand That seem’d untutor’d in its use, so hold His sceptre, swaying it to neither side, That hadst thou seen him, thou hadst thought him, sure, Some chafed and angry idiot, passion-fixt. 265 Yet, when at length, the clear and mellow base Of his deep voice brake forth, and he let fall His chosen words like flakes of feather’d snow, None then might match Ulysses; leisure, then, Found none to wonder at his noble form. 270
  The third of whom the venerable king
Inquired, was Ajax.—­Yon Achaian tall, Whose head and shoulders tower above the rest, And of such bulk prodigious—­who is he? 
  Him answer’d Helen, loveliest of her sex. 275
A bulwark of the Greeks.  In him thou seest Gigantic Ajax.  Opposite appear The Cretans, and among the Chiefs of Crete stands, like a God, Idomeneus.  Him oft From Crete arrived, was Menelaues wont 280 To entertain; and others now I see, Achaians, whom I could recall to mind, And give to each his name; but two brave youths I yet discern not; for equestrian skill One famed, and one a boxer never foiled; 285 My brothers; born of Leda; sons of Jove; Castor and Pollux.  Either they abide In lovely Sparta still, or if they came, Decline the fight, by my disgrace abash’d And the reproaches which have fallen on me.[14] 290
  She said; but they already slept inhumed
In Lacedemon, in their native soil. 
  And now the heralds, through the streets of Troy
Charged with the lambs, and with a goat-skin filled With heart-exhilarating wine prepared 295 For that divine solemnity, return’d.  Idaeus in his hand a beaker bore Resplendent, with its fellow cups of gold, And thus he summon’d ancient Priam forth. 
  Son of Laoemedon, arise.  The Chiefs 300
Call thee, the Chiefs of Ilium and of Greece.  Descend into the plain.  We strike a truce, And need thine oath to bind it.  Paris fights With warlike Menelaues for his spouse; Their spears decide the strife.  The conqueror wins 305 Helen and all her treasures.  We, thenceforth, (Peace sworn and amity) shall dwell secure In Troy, while they to Argos shall return And to Achaia praised for women fair. 
  He spake, and Priam, shuddering, bade his train 310
Prepare his steeds; they sedulous obey’d.  First, Priam mounting, backward stretch’d the reins; Antenor, next, beside him sat, and through

Page 38

The Scaean gate they drove into the plain.  Arriving at the hosts of Greece and Troy 315 They left the chariot, and proceeded both Into the interval between the hosts.  Then uprose Agamemnon, and uprose All-wise Ulysses.  Next, the heralds came Conspicuous forward, expediting each 320 The ceremonial; they the beaker fill’d With wine, and to the hands of all the kings Minister’d water.  Agamemnon then Drawing his dagger which he ever bore Appendant to his heavy falchion’s sheath, 325 Cut off the forelocks of the lambs,[15] of which The heralds gave to every Grecian Chief A portion, and to all the Chiefs of Troy.  Then Agamemnon raised his hands, and pray’d. 
  Jove, Father, who from Ida stretchest forth 330
Thine arm omnipotent, o’erruling all, And thou, all-seeing and all-hearing Sun, Ye Rivers, and thou conscious Earth, and ye Who under earth on human kind avenge Severe, the guilt of violated oaths, 335 Hear ye, and ratify what now we swear!  Should Paris slay the hero amber-hair’d, My brother Menelaues, Helen’s wealth And Helen’s self are his, and all our host Shall home return to Greece; but should it chance 340 That Paris fall by Menelaues’ hand, Then Troy shall render back what she detains, With such amercement as is meet, a sum To be remember’d in all future times.  Which penalty should Priam and his sons 345 Not pay, though Paris fall, then here in arms I will contend for payment of the mulct My due, till, satisfied, I close the war. 
  He said, and with his ruthless steel the lambs
Stretch’d panting all, but soon they ceased to pant, 350 For mortal was the stroke.[16] Then drawing forth Wine from the beaker, they with brimming cups Hail’d the immortal Gods, and pray’d again, And many a Grecian thus and Trojan spake. 
  All-glorious Jove, and ye the powers of heaven, 355
Whoso shall violate this contract first, So be the brains of them and of their sons Pour’d out, as we this wine pour on the earth, And may their wives bring forth to other men! 
  So they:  but them Jove heard not.  Then arose 360
Priam, the son of Dardanus, and said,
  Hear me, ye Trojans and ye Greeks well-arm’d. 
Hence back to wind-swept Ilium I return, Unable to sustain the sight, my son With warlike Menelaues match’d in arms. 365 Jove knows, and the immortal Gods, to whom Of both, this day is preordain’d the last. 
  So spake the godlike monarch, and disposed
Within the royal chariot all the lambs; Then, mounting, check’d the reins; Antenor next 370 Ascended, and to Ilium both return’d. 
  First, Hector and Ulysses, noble Chief,
Measured the ground; then taking lots for proof Who of the combatants should foremost hurl His spear, they shook them in a brazen casque; 375 Meantime the people raised their hands

Page 39

on high, And many a Grecian thus and Trojan prayed. 
  Jove, Father, who on Ida seated, seest
And rulest all below, glorious in power!  Of these two champions, to the drear abodes 380 Of Ades him appoint who furnish’d first The cause of strife between them, and let peace Oath-bound, and amity unite the rest! 
  So spake the hosts; then Hector shook the lots,
Majestic Chief, turning his face aside. 385 Forth sprang the lot of Paris.  They in ranks Sat all, where stood the fiery steeds of each, And where his radiant arms lay on the field.  Illustrious Alexander his bright arms Put on, fair Helen’s paramour. [17]He clasp’d 390 His polish’d greaves with silver studs secured; His brother’s corselet to his breast he bound, Lycaon’s, apt to his own shape and size, And slung athwart his shoulders, bright emboss’d, His brazen sword; his massy buckler broad 395 He took, and to his graceful head his casque Adjusted elegant, which, as he moved, Its bushy crest waved dreadful; last he seized, Well fitted to his gripe, his ponderous spear.  Meantime the hero Menelaues made 400 Like preparation, and his arms put on. 
  When thus, from all the multitude apart,
Both combatants had arm’d, with eyes that flash’d Defiance, to the middle space they strode, Trojans and Greeks between.  Astonishment 405 Seized all beholders.  On the measured ground Full near they stood, each brandishing on high His massy spear, and each was fiery wroth. 
  First, Alexander his long-shadow’d spear
Sent forth, and on his smooth shield’s surface struck 410 The son of Atreus, but the brazen guard Pierced not, for at the disk, with blunted point Reflex, his ineffectual weapon stay’d.  Then Menelaues to the fight advanced Impetuous, after prayer offer’d to Jove.[18] 415
  King over all! now grant me to avenge
My wrongs on Alexander; now subdue The aggressor under me; that men unborn May shudder at the thought of faith abused, And hospitality with rape repaid. 420 He said, and brandishing his massy spear, Dismiss’d it.  Through the burnish’d buckler broad Of Priam’s son the stormy weapon flew, Transpierced his costly hauberk, and the vest Ripp’d on his flank; but with a sideward bend 425 He baffled it, and baulk’d the dreadful death. 
  Then Menelaues drawing his bright blade,
Swung it aloft, and on the hairy crest Smote him; but shiver’d into fragments small The falchion at the stroke fell from his hand. 430 Vexation fill’d him; to the spacious heavens He look’d, and with a voice of wo exclaim’d—­
  Jupiter! of all powers by man adored
To me most adverse!  Confident I hoped Revenge for Paris’ treason, but my sword 435 Is shivered, and I sped my spear in vain. 
  So saying, he sprang on him, and his

Page 40

long crest
Seized fast; then, turning, drew him by that hold Toward the Grecian host.  The broider’d band That underbraced his helmet at the chin, 440 Strain’d to his smooth neck with a ceaseless force, Chok’d him; and now had Menelaus won Deathless renown, dragging him off the field, But Venus, foam-sprung Goddess, feeling quick His peril imminent, snapp’d short the brace 445 Though stubborn, by a slaughter’d[19] ox supplied, And the void helmet follow’d as he pull’d.  That prize the Hero, whirling it aloft, Threw to his Greeks, who caught it and secured, Then with vindictive strides he rush’d again 450 On Paris, spear in hand; but him involved In mist opaque Venus with ease divine Snatch’d thence, and in his chamber placed him, fill’d With scents odorous, spirit-soothing sweets.  Nor stay’d the Goddess, but at once in quest 455 Of Helen went; her on a lofty tower She found, where many a damsel stood of Troy, And twitch’d her fragrant robe.  In form she seem’d An ancient matron, who, while Helen dwelt In Lacedaemon, her unsullied wool 460 Dress’d for her, faithfullest of all her train.  Like her disguised the Goddess thus began. 
  Haste—­Paris calls thee—­on his sculptured couch,
(Sparkling alike his looks and his attire) He waits thy wish’d return.  Thou wouldst not dream 465 That he had fought; he rather seems prepared For dance, or after dance, for soft repose. 
  So saying, she tumult raised in Helen’s mind. 
Yet soon as by her symmetry of neck, By her love-kindling breasts and luminous eyes 470 She knew the Goddess, her she thus bespake. 
  Ah whence, deceitful deity! thy wish
Now to ensnare me?  Wouldst thou lure me, say, To some fair city of Maeonian name Or Phrygian, more remote from Sparta still? 475 Hast thou some human favorite also there?  Is it because Atrides hath prevailed To vanquish Paris, and would bear me home Unworthy as I am, that thou attempt’st Again to cheat me?  Go thyself—­sit thou 480 Beside him—­for his sake renounce the skies; Watch him, weep for him; till at length his wife He deign to make thee, or perchance his slave.  I go not (now to go were shame indeed) To dress his couch; nor will I be the jest 485 Of all my sex in Ilium.  Oh! my griefs Are infinite, and more than I can bear. 
  To whom, the foam-sprung Goddess, thus incensed. 
Ah wretch! provoke not me; lest in my wrath Abandoning thee, I not hate thee less 490 Than now I fondly love thee, and beget Such detestation of thee in all hearts, Grecian and Trojan, that thou die abhorr’d. 
  The Goddess ceased.  Jove’s daughter, Helen, fear’d,
And, in her lucid veil close wrapt around, 495 Silent retired, of all those Trojan dames Unseen, and Venus led, herself, the way.  Soon then as Alexander’s fair abode

Page 41

They reach’d, her maidens quick their tasks resumed, And she to her own chamber lofty-roof’d 500 Ascended, loveliest of her sex.  A seat For Helen, daughter of Jove AEgis-arm’d, To Paris opposite, the Queen of smiles Herself disposed; but with averted eyes She sat before him, and him keen reproach’d. 505
  Thou hast escaped.—­Ah would that thou hadst died
By that heroic arm, mine husband’s erst!  Thou once didst vaunt thee in address and strength Superior.  Go then—­challenge yet again The warlike Menelaues forth in fight. 510 But hold.  The hero of the amber locks Provoke no more so rashly, lest the point Of his victorious spear soon stretch thee dead. 
  She ended, to whom Paris thus replied. 
Ah Helen, wound me not with taunt severe! 515 Me, Menelaues, by Minerva’s aid, Hath vanquish’d now, who may hereafter, him.  We also have our Gods.  But let us love.  For never since the day when thee I bore From pleasant Lacedaemon o’er the waves 520 To Cranaee’s fair isle, and first enjoy’d Thy beauty, loved I as I love thee now, Or felt such sweetness of intense desire. 
  He spake, and sought his bed, whom follow’d soon
Jove’s daughter, reconciled to his embrace. 525
  But Menelaues like a lion ranged
The multitude, inquiring far and near For Paris lost.  Yet neither Trojan him Nor friend of Troy could show, whom, else, through love None had conceal’d, for him as death itself 530 All hated, but his going none had seen. 
  Amidst them all then spake the King of men. 
Trojans, and Dardans, and allies of Troy!  The warlike Menelaues hath prevailed, As is most plain.  Now therefore bring ye forth 535 Helen with all her treasures, also bring Such large amercement as is meet, a sum To be remember’d in all future times. 
  So spake Atrides, and Achaia’s host
With loud applause confirm’d the monarch’s claim. 540




In a Council of the Gods, a dispute arises between Jupiter and Juno, which is at last compromised, Jove consenting to dispatch Minerva with a charge to incite some Trojan to a violation of the truce.  Minerva descends for that purpose, and in the form of Laodocus, a son of Priam, exhorts Pandarus to shoot at Menelaus, and succeeds.  Menelaus is wounded, and Agamemnon having consigned him to the care of Machaon, goes forth to perform the duties of commander-in-chief, in the encouragement of his host to battle.  The battle begins.


Page 42

Now, on the golden floor of Jove’s abode
The Gods all sat consulting; Hebe them,
Graceful, with nectar served;[1] they pledging each
His next, alternate quaff’d from cups of gold,
And at their ease reclined, look’d down on Troy, 5
When, sudden, Jove essay’d by piercing speech
Invidious, to enkindle Juno’s ire. 
Two Goddesses on Menelaus’ part
Confederate stand, Juno in Argos known,
Pallas in Alalcomene;[2] yet they 10
Sequester’d sit, look on, and are amused. 
Not so smile-loving Venus; she, beside
Her champion station’d, saves him from his fate,
And at this moment, by her aid, he lives. 
But now, since victory hath proved the lot 15
Of warlike Menelaus, weigh ye well
The matter; shall we yet the ruinous strife
Prolong between the nations, or consent
To give them peace? should peace your preference win,
And prove alike acceptable to all, 20
Stand Ilium, and let Menelaus bear
Helen of Argos back to Greece again. 
He ended; Juno and Minerva heard,
Low-murmuring deep disgust; for side by side
They forging sat calamity to Troy. 25
Minerva through displeasure against Jove
Nought utter’d, for with rage her bosom boil’d;
But Juno check’d not hers, who thus replied. 
What word hath pass’d thy lips, Jove most severe! 
How? wouldst thou render fruitless all my pains? 30
The sweat that I have pour’d? my steeds themselves
Have fainted while I gather’d Greece in arms
For punishment of Priam and his sons. 
Do it.  But small thy praise shall be in heaven. 
Then her the Thunderer answer’d sore displeased. 35
Ah shameless! how have Priam and his sons
So much transgress’d against thee, that thou burn’st
With ceaseless rage to ruin populous Troy? 
Go, make thine entrance at her lofty gates,
Priam and all his house, and all his host 40
Alive devour; then, haply, thou wilt rest;
Do even as thou wilt, that this dispute
Live not between us a consuming fire
For ever.  But attend; mark well the word. 
When I shall also doom in future time 45
Some city to destruction, dear to thee,
Oppose me not, but give my fury way
As I give way to thine, not pleased myself,
Yet not unsatisfied, so thou be pleased. 
For of all cities of the sons of men, 50
And which the sun and stars from heaven behold,
Me sacred Troy most pleases, Priam me
Most, and the people of the warrior King. 
Nor without cause.  They feed mine altar well;
Libation there, and steam of savory scent 55
Fail not, the tribute which by lot is ours. 
Him answer’d, then, the Goddess ample-eyed,[3]
Majestic Juno:  Three fair cities me,
Of all the earth, most interest and engage,

Page 43

Mycenae for magnificence renown’d, 60
Argos, and Sparta.  Them, when next thy wrath
Shall be inflamed against them, lay thou waste;
I will not interpose on their behalf;
Thou shalt not hear me murmur; what avail
Complaint or force against thy matchless arm? 65
Yet were it most unmeet that even I
Should toil in vain; I also boast a birth
Celestial; Saturn deeply wise, thy Sire,
Is also mine; our origin is one. 
Thee I acknowledge Sovereign, yet account 70
Myself entitled by a twofold claim
To veneration both from Gods and men,
The daughter of Jove’s sire, and spouse of Jove. 
Concession mutual therefore both thyself
Befits and me, whom when the Gods perceive 75
Disposed to peace, they also shall accord. 
Come then.—­To yon dread field dispatch in haste
Minerva, with command that she incite
The Trojans first to violate their oath
By some fresh insult on the exulting Greeks. 80
So Juno; nor the sire of all refused,
But in wing’d accents thus to Pallas spake. 
Begone; swift fly to yonder field; incite
The Trojans first to violate their oath
By some fresh insult on the exulting Greeks. 85
The Goddess heard, and what she wish’d, enjoin’d,
Down-darted swift from the Olympian heights,
In form a meteor, such as from his hand
Not seldom Jove dismisses, beaming bright
And breaking into stars, an omen sent 90
To mariners, or to some numerous host. 
Such Pallas seem’d, and swift descending, dropp’d
Full in the midst between them.  They with awe
That sign portentous and with wonder view’d,
Achaians both and Trojans, and his next 95
The soldier thus bespake.  Now either war
And dire hostility again shall flame,
Or Jove now gives us peace.  Both are from Jove. 
So spake the soldiery; but she the form
Taking of brave Laodocus, the son 100
Of old Antenor, throughout all the ranks
Sought godlike Pandarus.[4] Ere long she found
The valiant son illustrious of Lycaon,
Standing encompass’d by his dauntless troops,
Broad-shielded warriors, from AEsepus’ stream 105
His followers; to his side the Goddess came,
And in wing’d accents ardent him bespake. 
Brave offspring of Lycaon, is there hope
That thou wilt hear my counsel? darest thou slip
A shaft at Menelaus? much renown 110
Thou shalt and thanks from all the Trojans win,
But most of all, from Paris, prince of Troy. 
From him illustrious gifts thou shalt receive
Doubtless, when Menelaus he shall see
The martial son of Atreus by a shaft 115
Subdued of thine, placed on his funeral pile. 
Come.  Shoot at Menelaus, glorious Chief! 

Page 44

But vow to Lycian Phoebus bow-renown’d
A hecatomb, all firstlings of the flock,
To fair Zeleia’s[5] walls once safe restored. 120
So Pallas spake, to whom infatuate he
Listening, uncased at once his polished bow.[6]
That bow, the laden brows of a wild goat
Salacious had supplied; him on a day
Forth-issuing from his cave, in ambush placed 125
He wounded with an arrow to his breast
Dispatch’d, and on the rock supine he fell. 
Each horn had from his head tall growth attain’d,
Full sixteen palms; them shaven smooth the smith
Had aptly join’d, and tipt their points with gold. 130
That bow he strung, then, stooping, planted firm
The nether horn, his comrades bold the while
Screening him close with shields, lest ere the prince
Were stricken, Menelaus brave in arms,
The Greeks with fierce assault should interpose. 135
He raised his quiver’s lid; he chose a dart
Unflown, full-fledged, and barb’d with pangs of death. 
He lodged in haste the arrow on the string,
And vow’d to Lycian Phoebus bow-renown’d
A hecatomb, all firstlings of the flock, 140
To fair Zeleia’s walls once safe restored. 
Compressing next nerve and notch’d arrow-head
He drew back both together, to his pap
Drew home the nerve, the barb home to his bow,
And when the horn was curved to a wide arch, 145
He twang’d it.  Whizz’d the bowstring, and the reed
Leap’d off, impatient for the distant throng. 
Thee, Menelaus, then the blessed Gods
Forgat not; Pallas huntress of the spoil,
Thy guardian then, baffled the cruel dart. 150
Far as a mother wafts the fly aside[7]
That haunts her slumbering babe, so far she drove
Its course aslant, directing it herself
Against the golden clasps that join’d his belt;
For there the doubled hauberk interposed. 155
The bitter arrow plunged into his belt. 
It pierced his broider’d belt, stood fixt within
His twisted hauberk, nor the interior quilt,
Though penetrable least to arrow-points
And his best guard, withheld it, but it pass’d 160
That also, and the Hero’s skin inscribed. 
Quick flowed a sable current from the wound. 
As when a Carian or Maeonian maid
Impurples ivory ordain’d to grace
The cheek of martial steed; safe stored it lies, 165
By many a Chief desired, but proves at last
The stately trapping of some prince,[8] the pride
Of his high pamper’d steed, nor less his own;
Such, Menelaus, seem’d thy shapely thighs,
Thy legs, thy feet, stained with thy trickling blood. 170
Shudder’d King Agamemnon when he saw
The blood fast trickling from the wound, nor less
Shudder’d himself the bleeding warrior bold. 
But neck and barb observing from the flesh
Extant, he gather’d heart, and lived again.

Page 45

The royal Agamemnon, sighing, grasp’d
The hand of Menelaus, and while all
Their followers sigh’d around them, thus began.[9]
I swore thy death, my brother, when I swore
This truce, and set thee forth in sight of Greeks 180
And Trojans, our sole champion; for the foe
Hath trodden underfoot his sacred oath,
And stained it with thy blood.  But not in vain,
The truce was ratified, the blood of lambs
Poured forth, libation made, and right hands join’d 185
In holy confidence.  The wrath of Jove
May sleep, but will not always; they shall pay
Dear penalty; their own obnoxious heads
Shall be the mulct, their children and their wives. 
For this I know, know surely; that a day 190
Shall come, when Ilium, when the warlike King
Of Ilium and his host shall perish all. 
Saturnian Jove high-throned, dwelling in heaven,
Resentful of this outrage, then shall shake
His storm-clad AEgis over them.  He will; 195
I speak no fable.  Time shall prove me true. 
But, oh my Menelaus, dire distress
Awaits me, if thy close of life be come,
And thou must die.  Then ignominy foul
Shall hunt me back to Argos long-desired; 200
For then all here will recollect their home,
And, hope abandoning, will Helen yield
To be the boast of Priam, and of Troy. 
So shall our toils be vain, and while thy bones
Shall waste these clods beneath, Troy’s haughty sons 205
The tomb of Menelaus glory-crown’d
Insulting barbarous, shall scoff at me. 
So may Atrides, shall they say, perform
His anger still as he performed it here,
Whither he led an unsuccessful host, 210
Whence he hath sail’d again without the spoils,
And where he left his brother’s bones to rot. 
So shall the Trojan speak; then open earth
Her mouth, and hide me in her deepest gulfs! 
But him, the hero of the golden locks 215
Thus cheer’d.  My brother, fear not, nor infect
With fear the Grecians; the sharp-pointed reed
Hath touch’d no vital part.  The broider’d zone,
The hauberk, and the tough interior quilt,
Work of the armorer, its force repress’d. 220
Him answer’d Agamemnon, King of men. 
So be it brother! but the hand of one
Skilful to heal shall visit and shall dress
The wound with drugs of pain-assuaging power. 
He ended, and his noble herald, next, 225
Bespake, Talthybius.  Haste, call hither quick
The son of AEsculapius, leech renown’d,
The prince Machaon.  Bid him fly to attend
The warlike Chieftain Menelaus; him
Some archer, either Lycian or of Troy, 230
A dexterous one, hath stricken with a shaft
To his own glory, and to our distress. 
He spake, nor him the herald disobey’d,

Page 46

But through the Greeks bright-arm’d his course began
The Hero seeking earnest on all sides 235
Machaon.  Him, ere long, he station’d saw
Amid the shielded-ranks of his brave band
From steed-famed Tricca drawn, and at his side
With accents ardor-wing’d, him thus address’d. 
Haste, Asclepiades!  The King of men 240
Calls thee.  Delay not.  Thou must visit quick
Brave Menelaus, Atreus’ son, for him
Some archer, either Lycian or of Troy,
A dexterous one, hath stricken with a shaft
To his own glory, and to our distress. 245
So saying, he roused Machaon, who his course
Through the wide host began.  Arriving soon
Where wounded Menelaus stood, while all
The bravest of Achaia’s host around
The godlike hero press’d, he strove at once 250
To draw the arrow from his cincture forth. 
But, drawing, bent the barbs.  He therefore loosed
His broider’d belt, his hauberk and his quilt,
Work of the armorer, and laying bare
His body where the bitter shaft had plow’d 255
His flesh, he suck’d the wound, then spread it o’er
With drugs of balmy power, given on a time
For friendship’s sake by Chiron to his sire. 
While Menelaus thus the cares engross’d
Of all those Chiefs, the shielded powers of Troy 260
’Gan move toward them, and the Greeks again
Put on their armor, mindful of the fight. 
Then hadst thou[10] not great Agamemnon seen
Slumbering, or trembling, or averse from war,
But ardent to begin his glorious task. 265
His steeds, and his bright chariot brass-inlaid
He left; the snorting steeds Eurymedon,
Offspring of Ptolemy Piraides
Detain’d apart; for him he strict enjoin’d
Attendance near, lest weariness of limbs 270
Should seize him marshalling his numerous host. 
So forth he went, and through the files on foot
Proceeding, where the warrior Greeks he saw
Alert, he roused them by his words the more.[11]
Argives! abate no spark of all your fire. 275
Jove will not prosper traitors.  Them who first
Transgress’d the truce the vultures shall devour,
But we (their city taken) shall their wives
Lead captive, and their children home to Greece. 
So cheer’d he them.  But whom he saw supine, 280
Or in the rugged work of war remiss,
In terms of anger them he stern rebuked. 
Oh Greeks!  The shame of Argos!  Arrow-doom’d! 
Blush ye not?  Wherefore stand ye thus aghast,
Like fawns which wearied after scouring wide 285
The champain, gaze and pant, and can no more? 
Senseless like them ye stand, nor seek the fight. 
Is it your purpose patient here to wait
Till Troy invade your vessels on the shore
Of the grey deep, that ye may trial make

Page 47

Of Jove, if he will prove, himself, your shield? 
Thus, in discharge of his high office, pass’d
Atrides through the ranks, and now arrived
Where, hardy Chief!  Idomeneus in front
Of his bold Cretans stood, stout as a boar 295
The van he occupied, while in the rear
Meriones harangued the most remote. 
Them so prepared the King of men beheld
With joyful heart, and thus in courteous terms
Instant the brave Idomeneus address’d. 300
Thee fighting, feasting, howsoe’er employed,
I most respect, Idomeneus, of all
The well-horsed Danaei; for when the Chiefs
Of Argos, banqueting, their beakers charge
With rosy wine the honorable meed 305
Of valor, thou alone of all the Greeks
Drink’st not by measure.[12] No—­thy goblet stands
Replenish’d still, and like myself thou know’st
No rule or bound, save what thy choice prescribes. 
March.  Seek the foe.  Fight now as heretofore, 310
To whom Idomeneus of Crete replied,
Atrides! all the friendship and the love
Which I have promised will I well perform. 
Go; animate the rest, Chief after Chief
Of the Achaians, that the fight begin. 315
For Troy has scatter’d to the winds all faith,
All conscience; and for such her treachery foul
Shall have large recompence of death and wo. 
He said, whom Agamemnon at his heart
Exulting, pass’d, and in his progress came 320
Where stood each Ajax; them he found prepared
With all their cloud of infantry behind. 
As when the goat-herd on some rocky point
Advanced, a cloud sees wafted o’er the deep
By western gales, and rolling slow along, 325
To him, who stands remote, pitch-black it seems,
And comes with tempest charged; he at the sight
Shuddering, his flock compels into a cave;
So moved the gloomy phalanx, rough with spears,
And dense with shields of youthful warriors bold, 330
Close-following either Ajax to the fight. 
Them also, pleased, the King of men beheld,
And in wing’d accents hail’d them as he pass’d. 
Brave leaders of the mail-clad host of Greece! 
I move not you to duty; ye yourselves 335
Move others, and no lesson need from me. 
Jove, Pallas, and Apollo! were but all
Courageous as yourselves, soon Priam’s towers
Should totter, and his Ilium storm’d and sack’d
By our victorious bands, stoop to the dust. 340
He ceased, and still proceeding, next arrived
Where stood the Pylian orator, his band
Marshalling under all their leaders bold
Alastor, Chromius, Pelagon the vast,
Haemon the prince, and Bias, martial Chief. 345
Chariot and horse he station’d in the front;
His numerous infantry, a strong reserve
Right valiant, in the rear; the worst, and those

Page 48

In whom he trusted least, he drove between,
That such through mere necessity might act. 350
First to his charioteers he gave in charge
Their duty; bade them rein their horses hard,
Shunning confusion.  Let no warrior, vain
And overweening of his strength or skill,
Start from his rank to dare the fight alone, 355
Or fall behind it, weakening whom he leaves.
[13]And if, dismounted from his own, he climb
Another’s chariot, let him not affect
Perverse the reins, but let him stand, his spear
Advancing firm, far better so employ’d. 360
Such was the discipline, in ancient times,
Of our forefathers; by these rules they fought
Successful, and laid many a city low. 
So counsell’d them the venerable Chief
Long time expert in arms; him also saw 365
King Agamemnon with delight, and said,
Old Chief! ah how I wish, that thy firm heart
Were but supported by as firm a knee! 
But time unhinges all.  Oh that some youth
Had thine old age, and thou wast young again! 370
To whom the valiant Nestor thus replied. 
Atrides, I could also ardent wish
That I were now robust as when I struck
Brave Ereuthalion[14] breathless to the ground! 
But never all their gifts the Gods confer 375
On man at once; if then I had the force
Of youth, I suffer now the effects of age. 
Yet ancient as I am, I will be seen
Still mingling with the charioteers, still prompt
To give them counsel; for to counsel youth 380
Is the old warrior’s province.  Let the green
In years, my juniors, unimpaired by time,
Push with the lance, for they have strength to boast. 
So he, whom Agamemnon joyful heard,
And passing thence, the son of Peteos found 385
Menestheus, foremost in equestrian fame,
Among the brave Athenians; near to him
Ulysses held his station, and at hand
The Cephallenians stood, hardy and bold;
For rumor none of the approaching fight 390
Them yet had reach’d, so recent had the stir
Arisen in either host; they, therefore, watch’d
Till the example of some other band
Marching, should prompt them to begin the fight,
But Agamemnon, thus, the King of men 395
Them seeing, sudden and severe reproved. 
Menestheus, son of Peteos prince renown’d,
And thou, deviser of all evil wiles! 
Adept in artifice! why stand ye here
Appall’d? why wait ye on this distant spot 400
’Till others move?  I might expect from you
More readiness to meet the burning war,
Whom foremost I invite of all to share
The banquet, when the Princes feast with me. 
There ye are prompt; ye find it pleasant there 405
To eat your savory food, and quaff your wine
Delicious ’till satiety ensue;

Page 49

But here you could be well content to stand
Spectators only, while ten Grecian troops
Should wage before you the wide-wasting war. 410
To whom Ulysses, with resentful tone
Dark-frowning, thus replied.  What words are these
Which have escaped thy lips; and for what cause,
Atrides, hast thou call’d me slow to fight? 
When we of Greece shall in sharp contest clash 415
With you steed-tamer Trojans, mark me then;
Then thou shalt see (if the concerns of war
So nearly touch thee, and thou so incline)
The father of Telemachus, engaged
Among the foremost Trojans.  But thy speech 420
Was light as is the wind, and rashly made. 
When him thus moved he saw, the monarch smiled
Complacent, and in gentler terms replied. 
Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d! 
Short reprimand and exhortation short 425
Suffice for thee, nor did I purpose more. 
For I have known thee long, that thou art one
Of kindest nature, and so much my friend
That we have both one heart.  Go therefore thou,
Lead on, and if a word have fallen amiss, 430
We will hereafter mend it, and may heaven
Obliterate in thine heart its whole effect! 
He ceased, and ranging still along the line,
The son of Tydeus, Diomede, perceived,
Heroic Chief, by chariots all around 435
Environ’d, and by steeds, at side of whom
Stood Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus. 
Him also, Agamemnon, King of men,
In accents of asperity reproved. 
Ah, son of Tydeus, Chief of dauntless heart 440
And of equestrian fame! why standest thou
Appall’d, and peering through the walks of war? 
So did not Tydeus.  In the foremost fight
His favorite station was, as they affirm
Who witness’d his exploits; I never saw 445
Or met him, but by popular report
He was the bravest warrior of his day. 
Yet came he once, but not in hostile sort,
To fair Mycenae, by the godlike prince
Attended, Polynices, at what time 450
The host was called together, and the siege
Was purposed of the sacred city Thebes. 
Earnest they sued for an auxiliar band,
Which we had gladly granted, but that Jove
By unpropitious tokens interfered. 455
So forth they went, and on the reedy banks
Arriving of Asopus, there thy sire
By designation of the Greeks was sent
Ambassador, and enter’d Thebes.  He found
In Eteocles’ palace numerous guests, 460
The sons of Cadmus feasting, among whom,
Although a solitary stranger, stood
Thy father without fear, and challenged forth
Their best to cope with him in manly games. 
Them Tydeus vanquish’d easily, such aid 465
Pallas vouchsafed him.  Then the spur-arm’d

Page 50

Of Cadmus was incensed, and fifty youths
In ambush close expected his return. 
Them, Lycophontes obstinate in fight,
Son of Autophonus, and Maeon, son 470
Of Haemon, Chief of godlike stature, led. 
Those also Tydeus slew; Maeon except,
(Whom, warned from heaven, he spared, and sent him home
With tidings of the rest) he slew them all. 
Such was AEtolian Tydeus; who begat 475
A son in speech his better, not in arms. 
He ended, and his sovereign’s awful voice
Tydides reverencing, nought replied;
But thus the son of glorious Capaneus. 
Atrides, conscious of the truth, speak truth. 480
We with our sires compared, superior praise
Claim justly.[15] We, confiding in the aid
Of Jove, and in propitious signs from heaven,
Led to the city consecrate to Mars
Our little host, inferior far to theirs, 485
And took seven-gated Thebes, under whose walls
Our fathers by their own imprudence fell. 
Their glory, then, match never more with ours. 
He spake, whom with a frowning brow the brave
Tydides answer’d.  Sthenelus, my friend! 490
I give thee counsel.  Mark it.  Hold thy peace. 
If Agamemnon, who hath charge of all,
Excite his well-appointed host to war,
He hath no blame from me.  For should the Greeks
(Her people vanquished) win imperial Troy, 495
The glory shall be his; or, if his host
O’erpower’d in battle perish, his the shame. 
Come, therefore; be it ours to rouse at once
To action all the fury of our might. 
He said, and from his chariot to the plain 500
Leap’d ardent; rang the armor on the breast
Of the advancing Chief; the boldest heart
Had felt emotion, startled at the sound. 
As when the waves by Zephyrus up-heaved
Crowd fast toward some sounding shore, at first, 505
On the broad bosom of the deep their heads
They curl on high, then breaking on the land
Thunder, and o’er the rocks that breast the flood
Borne turgid, scatter far the showery spray;
So moved the Greeks successive, rank by rank, 510
And phalanx after phalanx, every Chief
His loud command proclaiming, while the rest,
As voice in all those thousands none had been
Heard mute; and, in resplendent armor clad,
With martial order terrible advanced. 515
Not so the Trojans came.  As sheep, the flock
Of some rich man, by thousands in his court
Penn’d close at milking time, incessant bleat,
Loud answering all their bleating lambs without,
Such din from Ilium’s wide-spread host arose. 520
Nor was their shout, nor was their accent one,
But mingled languages were heard of men
From various climes.  These Mars to battle roused,
Those Pallas azure-eyed; nor Terror thence

Page 51

Nor Flight was absent, nor insatiate Strife, 525
Sister and mate of homicidal Mars,
Who small at first, but swift to grow, from earth
Her towering crest lifts gradual to the skies. 
She, foe alike to both, the brands dispersed
Of burning hate between them, and the woes 530
Enhanced of battle wheresoe’er she pass’d. 
And now the battle join’d.  Shield clash’d with shield[16]
And spear with spear, conflicting corselets rang,
Boss’d bucklers met, and tumult wild arose. 
Then, many a yell was heard, and many a shout 535
Loud intermix’d, the slayer o’er the maim’d
Exulting, and the field was drench’d with blood. 
As when two winter torrents rolling down
The mountains, shoot their floods through gulleys huge
Into one gulf below, station’d remote 540
The shepherd in the uplands hears the roar;
Such was the thunder of the mingling hosts. 
And first, Antilochus a Trojan Chief
Slew Echepolus, from Thalysias sprung,
Contending valiant in the van of Troy. 545
Him smiting on his crested casque, he drove
The brazen lance into his front, and pierced
The bones within; night overspread his eyes,
And in fierce battle, like a tower, he fell. 
Him fallen by both feet Calchodon’s son 550
Seized, royal Elephenor, leader brave
Of the Abantes, and in haste to strip
His armor, drew him from the fight aside. 
But short was that attempt.  Him so employ’d
Dauntless Agenor mark’d, and as he stoop’d, 555
In his unshielded flank a pointed spear
Implanted deep; he languid sunk and died. 
So Elephenor fell, for whom arose
Sharp conflict; Greeks and Trojans mutual flew
Like wolves to battle, and man grappled man. 560
Then Telamonian Ajax, in his prime
Of youthful vigor Simoeisius slew,[17]
Son of Anthemion.  Him on Simois’ banks
His mother bore, when with her parents once
She came from Ida down to view the flocks, 565
And thence they named him; but his parents’
He lived not to requite, in early youth
Slain by the spear of Ajax famed in arms. 
For him advancing Ajax at the pap
Wounded; right through his shoulder driven the point 570
Stood forth behind; he fell, and press’d the dust. 
So in some spacious marsh the poplar falls
Smooth-skinn’d, with boughs unladen save aloft;
Some chariot-builder with his axe the trunk
Severs, that he may warp it to a wheel 575
Of shapely form; meantime exposed it lies
To parching airs beside the running stream;
Such Simoeisius seemed, Anthemion’s son,
Whom noble Ajax slew.  But soon at him
Antiphus, son of Priam, bright in arms, 580
Hurl’d through the multitude his pointed spear. 
He erred from Ajax, but he pierced the groin

Page 52

Of Leucus, valiant warrior of the band
Led by Ulysses.  He the body dragg’d
Apart, but fell beside it, and let fall, 585
Breathless himself, the burthen from his hand. 
Then burn’d Ulysses’ wrath for Leucus slain,
And through the foremost combatants, array’d
In dazzling arms, he rush’d.  Full near he stood,
And, looking keen around him, hurl’d a lance. 590
Back fell the Trojans from before the face
Dispersed of great Ulysses.  Not in vain
His weapon flew, but on the field outstretch’d
A spurious son of Priam, from the shores
Call’d of Abydus famed for fleetest mares, 595
Democoon; him, for Leucus’ sake enraged,
Ulysses through both temples with his spear
Transpierced.  The night of death hung on his eyes,
And sounding on his batter’d arms he fell. 
Then Hector and the van of Troy retired; 600
Loud shout the Grecians; these draw off the dead,
Those onward march amain, and from the heights
Of Pergamus Apollo looking down
In anger, to the Trojans called aloud. 
Turn, turn, ye Trojans! face your Grecian foes. 605
They, like yourselves, are vulnerable flesh,
Not adamant or steel.  Your direst dread
Achilles, son of Thetis radiant-hair’d,
Fights not, but sullen in his fleet abides.[18]
Such from the citadel was heard the voice 610
Of dread Apollo.  But Minerva ranged
Meantime, Tritonian progeny of Jove,
The Grecians, rousing whom she saw remiss. 
Then Amarynceus’ son, Diores, felt
The force of fate, bruised by a rugged rock 615
At his right heel, which Pirus, Thracian Chief,
The son of Imbrasus of AEnos, threw. 
Bones and both tendons in its fall the mass
Enormous crush’d.  He, stretch’d in dust supine,
With palms outspread toward his warrior friends 620
Lay gasping life away.  But he who gave
The fatal blow, Pirus, advancing, urged
Into his navel a keen lance, and shed
His bowels forth; then, darkness veil’d his eyes. 
Nor Pirus long survived; him through the breast 625
Above the pap, AEtolian Thoas pierced,
And in his lungs set fast the quivering spear. 
Then Thoas swift approach’d, pluck’d from the wound
His stormy spear, and with his falchion bright
Gashing his middle belly, stretch’d him dead. 630
Yet stripp’d he not the slain, whom with long spears
His Thracians hairy-scalp’d[19] so round about
Encompassed, that though bold and large of limb
Were Thoas, from before them him they thrust
Staggering and reeling in his forced retreat. 635
They therefore in the dust, the Epean Chief
Diores, and the Thracian, Pirus lay
Stretch’d side by side, with numerous slain around. 
Then had Minerva led through all that field
Some warrior yet unhurt, him sheltering safe 640
From all annoyance dread of dart or spear,
No cause of blame in either had he found
That day, so many Greeks and Trojans press’d,
Extended side by side, the dusty plain.

Page 53




Diomede is extraordinarily distinguished.  He kills Pandarus, who had violated the truce, and wounds first Venus and then Mars.


Then Athenaean Pallas on the son
Of Tydeus,[1] Diomede, new force conferr’d
And daring courage, that the Argives all
He might surpass, and deathless fame achieve. 
Fires on his helmet and his shield around 5
She kindled, bright and steady as the star
Autumnal,[2] which in Ocean newly bathed
Assumes fresh beauty; with such glorious beams
His head encircling and his shoulders broad,
She urged him forth into the thickest fight. 10

    There lived a man in Troy, Dares his name,

The priest of Vulcan; rich he was and good,
The father of two sons, Idaeus this,
That, Phegeus call’d; accomplish’d warriors both. 
These, issuing from their phalanx, push’d direct 15
Their steeds at Diomede, who fought on foot. 
When now small interval was left between,
First Phegeus his long-shadow’d spear dismiss’d;
But over Diomede’s left shoulder pass’d
The point, innocuous.  Then his splendid lance 20
Tydides hurl’d; nor ineffectual flew
The weapon from his hand, but Phegeus pierced
His paps between, and forced him to the ground. 
At once, his sumptuous chariot left, down leap’d
Idaesus, wanting courage to defend 25
His brother slain; nor had he scaped himself
His louring fate, but Vulcan, to preserve
His ancient priest from unmixt sorrow, snatch’d
The fugitive in darkness wrapt, away. 
Then brave Tydides, driving off the steeds, 30
Consign’d them to his fellow-warriors’ care,
That they might lead them down into the fleet. 

    The valiant Trojans, when they saw the sons

Of Dares, one beside his chariot slain,
And one by flight preserved, through all their host 35
Felt consternation.  Then Minerva seized
The hand of fiery Mars, and thus she spake. 

    Gore-tainted homicide, town-battering Mars! 

Leave we the Trojans and the Greeks to wage
Fierce fight alone, Jove prospering whom he will, 40
So shall we not provoke our father’s ire. 

    She said, and from the fight conducted forth

The impetuous Deity, whom on the side
She seated of Scamander deep-embank’d.[3]

    And now the host of Troy to flight inclined 45

Before the Grecians, and the Chiefs of Greece
Each slew a warrior.  Agamemnon first
Gigantic Odius from his chariot hurl’d. 
Chief of the Halizonians.  He to flight
Turn’d foremost, when the monarch in his spine 50

Page 54

Between the shoulder-bones his spear infixt,
And urged it through his breast.  Sounding he fell,
And loud his batter’d armor rang around. 

    By brave Idomeneus a Lydian died,

Phaestus, from fruitful Tarne sent to Troy, 55
Son of Maeonian Borus; him his steeds
Mounting, Idomeneus the spear-renown’d
Through his right shoulder pierced; unwelcome night
Involved him; from his chariot down he fell,[4]
And the attendant Cretans stripp’d his arms. 60

    But Menelaus, son of Atreus slew

With his bright spear Scamandrius, Stropius’ son,
A skilful hunter; for Diana him,
Herself, the slaughter of all savage kinds
Had taught, on mountain or in forest bred. 65
But she, shaft-aiming Goddess, in that hour
Avail’d him not, nor his own matchless skill;
For Menelaus, Atreus son spear-famed,
Him flying wounded in the spine between
His shoulders, and the spear urged through his breast. 70
Prone on his loud-resounding arms he fell. 

    Next, by Meriones, Phereclus died,

Son of Harmonides.  All arts that ask
A well-instructed hand his sire had learn’d,
For Pallas dearly loved him.  He the fleet, 75
Prime source of harm to Troy and to himself,
For Paris built, unskill’d to spell aright
The oracles predictive of the wo. 
Phereclus fled; Meriones his flight
Outstripping, deep in his posterior flesh 80
A spear infix’d; sliding beneath the bone
It grazed his bladder as it pass’d, and stood
Protruded far before.  Low on his knees
Phereclus sank, and with a shriek expired. 
Pedaeus, whom, although his spurious son, 85
Antenor’s wife, to gratify her lord,
Had cherish’d as her own—­him Meges slew. 
Warlike Phylides[5] following close his flight,
His keen lance drove into his poll, cut sheer
His tongue within, and through his mouth enforced 90
The glittering point.  He, prostrate in the dust,
The cold steel press’d between his teeth and died. 

    Eurypylus, Evemon’s son, the brave

Hypsenor slew; Dolopion was his sire,
Priest of Scamander, reverenced as a God. 95
In vain before Eurypylus he fled;
He, running, with his falchion lopp’d his arm
Fast by the shoulder; on the field his hand
Fell blood-distained, and destiny severe
With shades of death for ever veil’d his eyes. 100

    Thus strenuous they the toilsome battle waged. 

But where Tydides fought, whether in aid
Of Ilium’s host, or on the part of Greece,
Might none discern.  For as a winter-flood
Impetuous, mounds and bridges sweeps away;[6] 105
The buttress’d bridge checks not its sudden force,
The firm inclosure of vine-planted fields
Luxuriant, falls before it; finish’d works

Page 55

Of youthful hinds, once pleasant to the eye,
Now levell’d, after ceaseless rain from Jove; 110
So drove Tydides into sudden flight
The Trojans; phalanx after phalanx fled
Before the terror of his single arm. 

    When him Lycaon’s son illustrious saw

Scouring the field, and from before his face 115
The ranks dispersing wide, at once he bent
Against Tydides his elastic bow. 
The arrow met him in his swift career
Sure-aim’d; it struck direct the hollow mail
Of his right shoulder, with resistless force 120
Transfix’d it, and his hauberk stain’d with blood. 
Loud shouted then Lycaon’s son renown’d. 

    Rush on, ye Trojans, spur your coursers hard. 

Our fiercest foe is wounded, and I deem
His death not distant far, if me the King[7] 125
Jove’s son, indeed, from Lycia sent to Troy. 

    So boasted Pandarus.  Yet him the dart

Quell’d not.  Retreating, at his coursers’ heads
He stood, and to the son of Capaneus
His charioteer and faithful friend he said. 130

    Arise, sweet son of Capaneus, dismount,

And from my shoulder draw this bitter shaft. 

    He spake; at once the son of Capaneus

Descending, by its barb the bitter shaft
Drew forth; blood spouted through his twisted mail 135
Incontinent, and thus the Hero pray’d. 

    Unconquer’d daughter of Jove AEgis-arm’d! 

If ever me, propitious, or my sire
Thou hast in furious fight help’d heretofore,
Now aid me also.  Bring within the reach 140
Of my swift spear, Oh grant me to strike through
The warrior who hath check’d my course, and boasts
The sun’s bright beams for ever quench’d to me![8]

    He prayed, and Pallas heard; she braced his limbs,

She wing’d him with alacrity divine, 145
And, standing at his side, him thus bespake. 

    Now Diomede, be bold!  Fight now with Troy. 

To thee, thy father’s spirit I impart
Fearless; shield-shaking Tydeus felt the same. 
I also from thine eye the darkness purge 150
Which dimm’d thy sight[9] before, that thou may’st know
Both Gods and men; should, therefore, other God
Approach to try thee, fight not with the powers
Immortal; but if foam-born Venus come,
Her spare not.  Wound her with thy glittering spear. 155

    So spake the blue-eyed Deity, and went,

Then with the champions in the van again
Tydides mingled; hot before, he fights
With threefold fury now, nor less enraged
Than some gaunt lion whom o’erleaping light 160
The fold, a shepherd hath but gall’d, not kill’d,
Him irritating more; thenceforth the swain
Lurks unresisting; flies the abandon’d flock;
Heaps slain on heaps he leaves, and with a bound

Page 56

Surmounting all impediment, escapes; 165
Such seem’d the valiant Diomede incensed
To fury, mingling with the host of Troy. 

    Astynoues and Hypenor first he slew;

One with his brazen lance above the pap
He pierced, and one with his huge falchion smote 170
Fast by the key-bone,[10] from the neck and spine
His parted shoulder driving at a blow. 

    Them leaving, Polyides next he sought

And Abas, sons of a dream-dealing seer,
Eurydamas; their hoary father’s dreams 175
Or not interpreted, or kept concealed,
Them saved not, for by Diomede they died. 
Xanthus and Thoeon he encounter’d next,
Both sons of Phaenops, sons of his old age,
Who other heir had none of all his wealth, 180
Nor hoped another, worn with many years. 
Tydides slew them both; nor aught remain’d
To the old man but sorrow for his sons
For ever lost, and strangers were his heirs. 
Two sons of Priam in one chariot borne 185
Echemon next, and Chromius felt his hand
Resistless.  As a lion on the herd
Leaping, while they the shrubs and bushes browse,
Breaks short the neck of heifer or of steer,
So them, though clinging fast and loth to fall, 190
Tydides hurl’d together to the ground,
Then stripp’d their splendid armor, and the steeds
Consigned and chariot to his soldiers’ care. 

    AEneas him discern’d scattering the ranks,

And through the battle and the clash of spears 195
Went seeking godlike Pandarus; ere long
Finding Lycaon’s martial son renown’d,
He stood before him, and him thus address’d. 

    Thy bow, thy feather’d shafts, and glorious name

Where are they, Pandarus? whom none of Troy 200
Could equal, whom of Lycia, none excel. 
Come.  Lift thine hands to Jove, and at yon Chief
Dispatch an arrow, who afflicts the host
Of Ilium thus, conquering where’er he flies,
And who hath slaughter’d numerous brave in arms, 205
But him some Deity I rather deem
Avenging on us his neglected rites,
And who can stand before an angry God? 

    Him answer’d then Lycaon’s son renown’d. 

Brave leader of the Trojans brazen-mail’d, 210
AEneas!  By his buckler which I know,
And by his helmet’s height, considering, too
His steeds, I deem him Diomede the bold;
Yet such pronounce him not, who seems a God. 
But if bold Diomede indeed he be 215
Of whom I speak, not without aid from heaven
His fury thus prevails, but at his side
Some God, in clouds enveloped, turns away
From him the arrow to a devious course. 
Already, at his shoulder’s hollow mail 220
My shaft hath pierced him through, and him I deem’d

Page 57

Dismiss’d full sure to Pluto ere his time
But he survives; whom therefore I at last
Perforce conclude some angry Deity. 
Steeds have I none or chariot to ascend, 225
Who have eleven chariots in the stands
Left of Lycaon, with fair hangings all
O’ermantled, strong, new finish’d, with their steeds
In pairs beside them, eating winnow’d grain. 
Me much Lycaon my old valiant sire 230
At my departure from his palace gates
Persuaded, that my chariot and my steeds
Ascending, I should so conduct my bands
To battle; counsel wise, and ill-refused! 
But anxious, lest (the host in Troy so long 235
Immew’d) my steeds, fed plenteously at home,
Should here want food, I left them, and on foot
To Ilium came, confiding in my bow
Ordain’d at last to yield me little good. 
Twice have I shot, and twice I struck the mark, 240
First Menelaus, and Tydides next;
From each I drew the blood, true, genuine blood,
Yet have but more incensed them.  In an hour
Unfortunate, I therefore took my bow
Down from the wall that day, when for the sake 245
Of noble Hector, to these pleasant plains
I came, a leader on the part of Troy. 
But should I once return, and with these eyes
Again behold my native land, my sire,
My wife, my stately mansion, may the hand, 250
That moment, of some adversary there
Shorten me by the head, if I not snap
This bow with which I charged myself in vain,
And burn the unprofitable tool to dust. 

    To whom AEneas, Trojan Chief, replied. 255

Nay, speak not so.  For ere that hour arrive
We will, with chariot and with horse, in arms
Encounter him, and put his strength to proof. 
Delay not, mount my chariot.  Thou shalt see
With what rapidity the steeds of Troy 260
Pursuing or retreating, scour the field. 
If after all, Jove purpose still to exalt
The son of Tydeus, these shall bear us safe
Back to the city.  Come then.  Let us on. 
The lash take thou, and the resplendent reins, 265
While I alight for battle, or thyself
Receive them, and the steeds shall be my care. 

    Him answer’d then Lycaon’s son renown’d. 

AEneas! manage thou the reins, and guide
Thy proper steeds.  If fly at last we must 270
The son of Tydeus, they will readier draw
Directed by their wonted charioteer. 
Else, terrified, and missing thy control,
They may refuse to bear us from the fight,
And Tydeus’ son assailing us, with ease 275
Shall slay us both, and drive thy steeds away. 
Rule therefore thou the chariot, and myself
With my sharp spear will his assault receive. 

    So saying, they mounted both, and furious drove

Page 58

Against Tydides.  Them the noble son 280
Of Capaneus observed, and turning quick
His speech to Diomede, him thus address’d. 

    Tydides, Diomede, my heart’s delight! 

Two warriors of immeasurable force
In battle, ardent to contend with thee, 285
Come rattling on.  Lycaon’s offspring one,
Bow-practised Pandarus; with whom appears
AEneas; he who calls the mighty Chief
Anchises father, and whom Venus bore. 
Mount—­drive we swift away—­lest borne so far 290
Beyond the foremost battle, thou be slain. 

    To whom, dark-frowning, Diomede replied

Speak not of flight to me, who am disposed
To no such course.  I am ashamed to fly
Or tremble, and my strength is still entire; 295
I cannot mount.  No.  Rather thus, on foot,
I will advance against them.  Fear and dread
Are not for me; Pallas forbids the thought. 
One falls, be sure; swift as they are, the steeds
That whirl them on, shall never rescue both. 300
But hear my bidding, and hold fast the word. 
Should all-wise Pallas grant me my desire
To slay them both, drive not my coursers hence,
But hook the reins, and seizing quick the pair
That draw AEneas, urge them from the powers 305
Of Troy away into the host of Greece. 
For they are sprung from those which Jove to Tros
In compensation gave for Ganymede;
The Sun himself sees not their like below. 
Anchises, King of men, clandestine them 310
Obtain’d, his mares submitting to the steeds
Of King Laomedon.  Six brought him foals;
Four to himself reserving, in his stalls
He fed them sleek, and two he gave his son: 
These, might we win them, were a noble prize. 315

    Thus mutual they conferr’d; those Chiefs, the while,

With swiftest pace approach’d, and first his speech
To Diomede Lycaon’s son address’d. 

    Heroic offspring of a noble sire,

Brave son of Tydeus! false to my intent 320
My shaft hath harm’d thee little.  I will now
Make trial with my spear, if that may speed. 

    He said, and shaking his long-shadow’d spear,

Dismiss’d it.  Forceful on the shield it struck
Of Diomede, transpierced it, and approach’d 325
With threatening point the hauberk on his breast. 
Loud shouted Pandarus—­Ah nobly thrown! 
Home to thy bowels.  Die, for die thou must,
And all the glory of thy death is mine. 

    Then answer thus brave Diomede return’d 330

Undaunted.  I am whole.  Thy cast was short. 
But ye desist not, as I plain perceive,
Till one at least extended on the plain
Shall sate the God of battles with his blood. 

    He said and threw.  Pallas the spear herself 335

Page 59

Directed; at his eye fast by the nose
Deep-entering, through his ivory teeth it pass’d,
At its extremity divided sheer
His tongue, and started through his chin below. 
He headlong fell, and with his dazzling arms 340
Smote full the plain.  Back flew the fiery steeds
With swift recoil, and where he fell he died. 
Then sprang AEneas forth with spear and shield,
That none might drag the body;[11] lion-like
He stalk’d around it, oval shield and spear 345
Advancing firm, and with incessant cries
Terrific, death denouncing on his foes. 
But Diomede with hollow grasp a stone
Enormous seized, a weight to overtask
Two strongest men of such as now are strong, 350
Yet he, alone, wielded the rock with ease. 
Full on the hip he smote him, where the thigh
Rolls in its cavity, the socket named. 
He crushed the socket, lacerated wide
Both tendons, and with that rough-angled mass 355
Flay’d all his flesh, The Hero on his knees
Sank, on his ample palm his weight upbore
Laboring, and darkness overspread his eyes. 

    There had AEneas perish’d, King of men,

Had not Jove’s daughter Venus quick perceived 360
His peril imminent, whom she had borne
Herself to Anchises pasturing his herds. 
Her snowy arras her darling son around
She threw maternal, and behind a fold
Of her bright mantle screening close his breast 365
From mortal harm by some brave Grecian’s spear,
Stole him with eager swiftness from the fight. 

    Nor then forgat brave Sthenelus his charge

Received from Diomede, but his own steeds
Detaining distant from the boisterous war, 370
Stretch’d tight the reins, and hook’d them fast behind. 
The coursers of AEneas next he seized
Ardent, and them into the host of Greece
Driving remote, consign’d them to his care,
Whom far above all others his compeers 375
He loved, Deipylus, his bosom friend
Congenial.  Him he charged to drive them thence
Into the fleet, then, mounting swift his own,
Lash’d after Diomede; he, fierce in arms,
Pursued the Cyprian Goddess, conscious whom, 380
Not Pallas, not Enyo, waster dread
Of cities close-beleaguer’d, none of all
Who o’er the battle’s bloody course preside,
But one of softer kind and prone to fear. 
When, therefore, her at length, after long chase 385
Through all the warring multitude he reach’d,
With his protruded spear her gentle hand
He wounded, piercing through her thin attire
Ambrosial, by themselves the graces wrought,
Her inside wrist, fast by the rosy palm. 390
Blood follow’d, but immortal; ichor pure,
Such as the blest inhabitants of heaven
May bleed, nectareous; for the Gods eat not

Page 60

Man’s food, nor slake as he with sable wine
Their thirst, thence bloodless and from death exempt. 395
She, shrieking, from her arms cast down her son,
And Phoebus, in impenetrable clouds
Him hiding, lest the spear of some brave Greek
Should pierce his bosom, caught him swift away. 
Then shouted brave Tydides after her—­ 400

    Depart, Jove’s daughter! fly the bloody field. 

Is’t not enough that thou beguilest the hearts
Of feeble women?  If thou dare intrude
Again into the war, war’s very name
Shall make thee shudder, wheresoever heard. 405

    He said, and Venus with excess of pain

Bewilder’d went; but Iris tempest-wing’d
Forth led her through the multitude, oppress’d
With anguish, her white wrist to livid changed. 
They came where Mars far on the left retired 410
Of battle sat, his horses and his spear
In darkness veil’d.  Before her brother’s knees
She fell, and with entreaties urgent sought
The succor of his coursers golden-rein’d. 

    Save me, my brother!  Pity me!  Thy steeds 415

Give me, that they may bear me to the heights
Olympian, seat of the immortal Gods! 
Oh!  I am wounded deep; a mortal man
Hath done it, Diomede; nor would he fear
This day in fight the Sire himself of all. 420

    Then Mars his coursers gold-caparison’d

Resign’d to Venus; she, with countenance sad,
The chariot climb’d, and Iris at her side
The bright reins seizing lash’d the ready steeds. 
Soon as the Olympian heights, seat of the Gods, 425
They reach’d, wing-footed Iris loosing quick
The coursers, gave them large whereon to browse
Ambrosial food; but Venus on the knees
Sank of Dione, who with folded arms
Maternal, to her bosom straining close 430
Her daughter, stroked her cheek, and thus inquired. 

    My darling child! who? which of all the Gods

Hath rashly done such violence to thee
As if convicted of some open wrong? 

    Her then the Goddess of love-kindling smiles 435

Venus thus answer’d; Diomede the proud,
Audacious Diomede; he gave the wound,
For that I stole AEneas from the fight
My son of all mankind my most beloved;
Nor is it now the war of Greece with Troy, 440
But of the Grecians with the Gods themselves. 

    Then thus Dione, Goddess all divine. 

My child! how hard soe’er thy sufferings seem
Endure them patiently.  Full many a wrong
From human hands profane the Gods endure, 445
And many a painful stroke, mankind from ours. 
Mars once endured much wrong, when on a time
Him Otus bound and Ephialtes fast,
Sons of Aloeeus, and full thirteen moons
In brazen thraldom held him.  There, at length,

Page 61

The fierce blood-nourished Mars had pined away,
But that Eeriboea, loveliest nymph,
His step-mother, in happy hour disclosed
To Mercury the story of his wrongs;
He stole the prisoner forth, but with his woes 455
Already worn, languid and fetter-gall’d. 
Nor Juno less endured, when erst the bold
Son of Amphytrion with tridental shaft
Her bosom pierced; she then the misery felt
Of irremediable pain severe. 460
Nor suffer’d Pluto less, of all the Gods
Gigantic most, by the same son of Jove
Alcides, at the portals of the dead
Transfix’d and fill’d with anguish; he the house
Of Jove and the Olympian summit sought 465
Dejected, torture-stung, for sore the shaft
Oppress’d him, into his huge shoulder driven. 
But Paeon[12] him not liable to death
With unction smooth of salutiferous balms
Heal’d soon.  Presumptuous, sacrilegious man! 470
Careless what dire enormities he wrought,
Who bent his bow against the powers of heaven! 
But blue-eyed Pallas instigated him
By whom thou bleed’st.  Infatuate! he forgets
That whoso turns against the Gods his arm 475
Lives never long; he never, safe escaped
From furious fight, the lisp’d caresses hears
Of his own infants prattling at his knees. 
Let therefore Diomede beware, lest strong
And valiant as he is, he chance to meet 490
Some mightier foe than thou, and lest his wife,
Daughter of King Adrastus, the discrete
AEgialea, from portentous dreams
Upstarting, call her family to wail
Her first-espoused, Achaia’s proudest boast, 485
Diomede, whom she must behold no more. 

    She said, and from her wrist with both hands wiped

The trickling ichor; the effectual touch
Divine chased all her pains, and she was heal’d. 
Them Juno mark’d and Pallas, and with speech 490
Sarcastic pointed at Saturnian Jove
To vex him, blue-eyed Pallas thus began. 

    Eternal father! may I speak my thought,

And not incense thee, Jove?  I can but judge
That Venus, while she coax’d some Grecian fair 495
To accompany the Trojans whom she loves
With such extravagance, hath heedless stroked
Her golden clasps, and scratch’d her lily hand. 

    So she; then smiled the sire of Gods and men,

And calling golden Venus, her bespake. 500

    War and the tented field, my beauteous child,

Are not for thee.  Thou rather shouldst be found
In scenes of matrimonial bliss.  The toils
Of war to Pallas and to Mars belong. 

    Thus they in heaven.  But Diomede the while 505

Sprang on AEneas, conscious of the God
Whose hand o’ershadow’d him, yet even him

Page 62

Regarding lightly; for he burn’d to slay
AEneas, and to seize his glorious arms. 
Thrice then he sprang impetuous to the deed, 510
And thrice Apollo with his radiant shield
Repulsed him.  But when ardent as a God
The fourth time he advanced, with thundering-voice
Him thus the Archer of the skies rebuked. 

    Think, and retire, Tydides! nor affect 515

Equality with Gods; for not the same
Our nature is and theirs who tread the ground. 

    He spake, and Diomede a step retired,

Not more; the anger of the Archer-God
Declining slow, and with a sullen awe. 520
Then Phoebus, far from all the warrior throng
To his own shrine the sacred dome beneath
Of Pergamus, AEneas bore; there him
Latona and shaft-arm’d Diana heal’d
And glorified within their spacious fane. 525
Meantime the Archer of the silver bow
A visionary form prepared; it seem’d
Himself AEneas, and was arm’d as he. 
At once, in contest for that airy form,
Grecians and Trojans on each other’s breasts 530
The bull-hide buckler batter’d and light targe. 

    Then thus Apollo to the warrior God. 

Gore-tainted homicide, town-batterer Mars! 
Wilt thou not meet and from the fight withdraw
This man Tydides, now so fiery grown 535
That he would even cope with Jove himself? 
First Venus’ hand he wounded, and assail’d
Impetuous as a God, next, even me. 
He ceased, and on the topmost turret sat
Of Pergamus.  Then all-destroyer Mars 540
Ranging the Trojan host, rank after rank
Exhorted loud, and in the form assumed
Of Acamas the Thracian leader bold,
The godlike sons of Priam thus harangued. 

    Ye sons of Priam, monarch Jove-beloved! 545

How long permit ye your Achaian foes
To slay the people?—­till the battle rage
(Push’d home to Ilium) at her solid gates? 
Behold—­a Chief disabled lies, than whom
We reverence not even Hector more, 550
AEneas; fly, save from the roaring storm
The noble Anchisiades your friend. 

    He said; then every heart for battle glow’d;

And thus Sarpedon with rebuke severe
Upbraiding generous Hector, stern began. 555

    Where is thy courage, Hector? for thou once

Hadst courage.  Is it fled?  In other days
Thy boast hath been that without native troops
Or foreign aids, thy kindred and thyself
Alone, were guard sufficient for the town. 560
But none of all thy kindred now appears;
I can discover none; they stand aloof
Quaking, as dogs that hear the lion’s roar. 
We bear the stress, who are but Troy’s allies;
Myself am such, and from afar I came; 565

Page 63

For Lycia lies far distant on the banks
Of the deep-eddied Xanthus.  There a wife
I left and infant son, both dear to me,
With plenteous wealth, the wish of all who want. 
Yet urge I still my Lycians, and am prompt 570
Myself to fight, although possessing here
Nought that the Greeks can carry or drive hence. 
But there stand’st thou, neither employed thyself,
Nor moving others to an active part
For all their dearest pledges.  Oh beware! 575
Lest, as with meshes of an ample net,
At one huge draught the Grecians sweep you all,
And desolate at once your populous Troy! 
By day, by night, thoughts such as these should still
Thy conduct influence, and from Chief to Chief 580
Of the allies should send thee, praying each
To make firm stand, all bickerings put away. 

    So spake Sarpedon, and his reprimand

Stung Hector; instant to the ground he leap’d
All arm’d, and shaking his bright spears his host 585
Ranged in all quarters animating loud
His legions, and rekindling horrid war. 
Then, rolling back, the powers of Troy opposed
Once more the Grecians, whom the Grecians dense
Expected, unretreating, void of fear. 590

    As flies the chaff wide scatter’d by the wind

O’er all the consecrated floor, what time
Ripe Ceres[13] with brisk airs her golden grain
Ventilates, whitening with its husk the ground;
So grew the Achaians white, a dusty cloud 595
Descending on their arms, which steeds with steeds
Again to battle mingling, with their hoofs
Up-stamp’d into the brazen vault of heaven;
For now the charioteers turn’d all to fight. 
Host toward host with full collected force 600
They moved direct.  Then Mars through all the field
Took wide his range, and overhung the war
With night, in aid of Troy, at the command
Of Phoebus of the golden sword; for he
Perceiving Pallas from the field withdrawn, 605
Patroness of the Greeks, had Mars enjoin’d
To rouse the spirit of the Trojan host. 
Meantime Apollo from his unctuous shrine
Sent forth restored and with new force inspired
AEneas.  He amidst his warriors stood, 610
Who him with joy beheld still living, heal’d,
And all his strength possessing unimpair’d. 
Yet no man ask’d him aught.  No leisure now
For question was; far other thoughts had they;
Such toils the archer of the silver bow, 615
Wide-slaughtering Mars, and Discord as at first
Raging implacable, for them prepared. 

    Ulysses, either Ajax, Diomede—­

These roused the Greeks to battle, who themselves
The force fear’d nothing, or the shouts of Troy, 620
But steadfast stood, like clouds by Jove amass’d

Page 64

On lofty mountains, while the fury sleeps
Of Boreas, and of all the stormy winds
Shrill-voiced, that chase the vapors when they blow,
So stood the Greeks, expecting firm the approach 625
Of Ilium’s powers, and neither fled nor fear’d. 

    Then Agamemnon the embattled host

On all sides ranging, cheer’d them.  Now, he cried,
Be steadfast, fellow warriors, now be men! 
Hold fast a sense of honor.  More escape 630
Of men who fear disgrace, than fall in fight,
While dastards forfeit life and glory both. 

    He said, and hurl’d his spear.  He pierced a friend

Of brave AEneas, warring in the van,
Deicoeon son of Pergasus, in Troy 635
Not less esteem’d than Priam’s sons themselves,
Such was his fame in foremost fight acquired. 
Him Agamemnon on his buckler smote,
Nor stayed the weapon there, but through his belt
His bowels enter’d, and with hideous clang 640
And outcry[14] of his batter’d arms he fell. 

    AEneas next two mightiest warriors slew,

Sons of Diocles, of a wealthy sire,
Whose house magnificent in Phaerae stood,
Orsilochus and Crethon.  Their descent 645
From broad-stream’d Alpheus, Pylian flood, they drew. 
Alpheus begat Orsilochus, a prince
Of numerous powers.  Orsilochus begat
Warlike Diodes.  From Diodes sprang
Twins, Crethon and Orsilochus, alike 650
Valiant, and skilful in all forms of war. 
Their boyish prime scarce past, they, with the Greeks
Embarking, in their sable ships had sail’d
To steed-fam’d Ilium; just revenge they sought
For Atreus’ sons, but perished first themselves. 655

    As two young lions, in the deep recess

Of some dark forest on the mountain’s brow
Late nourished by their dam, forth-issuing, seize
The fatted flocks and kine, both folds and stalls
Wasting rapacious, till, at length, themselves 660
Deep-wounded perish by the hand of man,
So they, both vanquish’d by AEneas, fell,
And like two lofty pines uprooted, lay. 
Them fallen in battle Menelaus saw
With pity moved; radiant in arms he shook 665
His brazen spear, and strode into the van. 
Mars urged him furious on, conceiving hope
Of his death also by AEneas’ hand. 

    But him the son of generous Nestor mark’d

Antilochus, and to the foremost fight 670
Flew also, fearing lest some dire mischance
The Prince befalling, at one fatal stroke
Should frustrate all the labors of the Greeks. 
They, hand to hand, and spear to spear opposed,
Stood threatening dreadful onset, when beside 675
The Spartan chief Antilochus appear’d. 
AEneas, at the sight of two combined,
Stood not, although intrepid.  They the dead

Page 65

Thence drawing far into the Grecian host
To their associates gave the hapless pair, 680
Then, both returning, fought in front again. 

    Next, fierce as Mars, Pylaemenes they slew,

Prince of the shielded band magnanimous
Of Paphlagonia.  Him Atrides kill’d
Spear-practised Menelaus, with a lance 685
His throat transpiercing while erect he rode. 
Then, while his charioteer, Mydon the brave,
Son of Atymnias, turn’d his steeds to flight,
Full on his elbow-point Antilochus,
The son of Nestor, dash’d him with a stone. 690
The slack reins, white as ivory,[15] forsook
His torpid hand and trail’d the dust.  At once
Forth sprang Antilochus, and with his sword
Hew’d deep his temples.  On his head he pitch’d
Panting, and on his shoulders in the sand 695
(For in deep sand he fell) stood long erect,
Till his own coursers spread him in the dust;
The son of Nestor seized, and with his scourge
Drove them afar into the host of Greece. 

    Them Hector through the ranks espying, flew 700

With clamor loud to meet them; after whom
Advanced in phalanx firm the powers of Troy,
Mars led them, with Enyo terror-clad;
She by the maddening tumult of the fight
Attended, he, with his enormous spear 705
in both hands brandish’d, stalking now in front
Of Hector, and now following his steps. 

    Him Diomede the bold discerning, felt

Himself no small dismay; and as a man
Wandering he knows not whither, far from home, 710
If chance a rapid torrent to the sea
Borne headlong thwart his course, the foaming flood
Obstreperous views awhile, then quick retires,
So he, and his attendants thus bespake. 

    How oft, my countrymen! have we admired 715

The noble Hector, skillful at the spear
And unappall’d in fight? but still hath he
Some God his guard, and even now I view
In human form Mars moving at his side. 
Ye, then, with faces to the Trojans turn’d, 720
Ceaseless retire, and war not with the Gods. 

    He ended; and the Trojans now approach’d. 

Then two bold warriors in one chariot borne,
By valiant Hector died, Menesthes one,
And one, Anchialus.  Them fallen in fight 725
Ajax the vast, touch’d with compassion saw;
Within small space he stood, his glittering spear
Dismiss’d, and pierced Amphius.  Son was he
Of Selagus, and Paesus was his home,
Where opulent he dwelt, but by his fate 730
Was led to fight for Priam and his sons. 
Him Telamonian Ajax through his belt
Wounded, and in his nether bowels deep
Fix’d his long-shadow’d spear.  Sounding he fell. 
Illustrious Ajax running to the slain

Page 66

Prepared to strip his arms, but him a shower
Of glittering-weapons keen from Trojan hands
Assail’d, and numerous his broad shield received. 
He, on the body planting firm his heel,
Forth drew the polish’d spear, but his bright arms 740
Took not, by darts thick-flying sore annoy’d,
Nor fear’d he little lest his haughty foes,
Spear-arm’d and bold, should compass him around;
Him, therefore, valiant though he were and huge,
They push’d before them.  Staggering he retired. 745

    Thus toil’d both hosts in that laborious field. 

And now his ruthless destiny impell’d
Tlepolemus, Alcides’ son, a Chief
Dauntless and huge, against a godlike foe
Sarpedon.  They approaching face to face 750
Stood, son and grandson of high-thundering Jove,
And, haughty, thus Tlepolemus began. 

    Sarpedon, leader of the Lycian host,

Thou trembler! thee what cause could hither urge
A man unskill’d in arms?  They falsely speak 755
Who call thee son of AEgis-bearing Jove,
So far below their might thou fall’st who sprang
From Jove in days of old.  What says report
Of Hercules (for him I boast my sire)
All-daring hero with a lion’s heart? 760
With six ships only, and with followers few,
He for the horses of Laomedon
Lay’d Troy in dust, and widow’d all her streets. 
But thou art base, and thy diminish’d powers
Perish around thee; think not that thou earnest 765
For Ilium’s good, but rather, whatsoe’er
Thy force in fight, to find, subdued by me,
A sure dismission to the gates of hell. 

    To whom the leader of the Lycian band. 

Tlepolemus! he ransack’d sacred Troy, 770
As thou hast said, but for her monarch’s fault
Laomedon, who him with language harsh
Requited ill for benefits received,
Nor would the steeds surrender, seeking which
He voyaged from afar.  But thou shalt take 775
Thy bloody doom from this victorious arm,
And, vanquish’d by my spear, shalt yield thy fame
To me, thy soul to Pluto steed-renown’d. 

    So spake Sarpedon, and his ashen beam

Tlepolemus upraised.  Both hurl’d at once 780
Their quivering spears.  Sarpedon’s through the neck
Pass’d of Tlepolemus, and show’d beyond
Its ruthless point; thick darkness veil’d his eyes. 
Tlepolemus with his long lance the thigh
Pierced of Sarpedon; sheer into his bone 785
He pierced him, but Sarpedon’s father, Jove,
Him rescued even on the verge of fate. 

    His noble friends conducted from the field

The godlike Lycian, trailing as he went
The pendent spear, none thinking to extract 790
For his relief the weapon from his thigh,

Page 67

Through eagerness of haste to bear him thence. 
On the other side, the Grecians brazen-mail’d
Bore off Tlepolemus.  Ulysses fill’d
With earnest thoughts tumultuous them observed, 795
Danger-defying Chief!  Doubtful he stood
Or to pursue at once the Thunderer’s son
Sarpedon, or to take more Lycian lives. 
But not for brave Ulysses had his fate
That praise reserved, that he should slay the son 800
Renown’d of Jove; therefore his wavering mind
Minerva bent against the Lycian band. 
Then Coeranus, Alastor, Chromius fell,
Alcander, Halius, Prytanis, and brave
Noemon; nor had these sufficed the Chief 805
Of Ithaca, but Lycians more had fallen,
Had not crest-tossing Hector huge perceived
The havoc; radiant to the van he flew,
Filling with dread the Grecians; his approach
Sarpedon, son of Jove, joyful beheld, 810
And piteous thus address’d him as he came. 

    Ah, leave not me, Priamides! a prey

To Grecian hands, but in your city, at least,
Grant me to die:  since hither, doom’d, I came
Never to gratify with my return 815
To Lycia, my loved spouse, or infant child. 

    He spake; but Hector unreplying pass’d

Impetuous, ardent to repulse the Greeks
That moment, and to drench his sword in blood. 
Then, under shelter of a spreading beech 820
Sacred to Jove, his noble followers placed
The godlike Chief Sarpedon, where his friend
Illustrious Pelagon, the ashen spear
Extracted.  Sightless, of all thought bereft,
He sank, but soon revived, by breathing airs 825
Refresh’d, that fann’d him gently from the North. 

    Meantime the Argives, although press’d alike

By Mars himself and Hector brazen-arm’d,
Neither to flight inclined, nor yet advanced
To battle, but inform’d that Mars the fight 830
Waged on the side of Ilium, slow retired.[16]

    Whom first, whom last slew then the mighty son

Of Priam, Hector, and the brazen Mars! 
First godlike Teuthras, an equestrian Chief,
Orestes, Trechus of AEtolian race, 835
OEnomaues, Helenus from OEnops’ sprung,
And brisk[17] in fight Oresbius; rich was he,
And covetous of more; in Hyla dwelt
Fast by the lake Cephissus, where abode
Boeotian Princes numerous, rich themselves 840
And rulers of a people wealth-renown’d. 
But Juno, such dread slaughter of the Greeks
Noting, thus, ardent, to Minerva spake. 

    Daughter of Jove invincible!  Our word

That Troy shall perish, hath been given in vain 845
To Menelaus, if we suffer Mars
To ravage longer uncontrol’d.  The time
Urges, and need appears that we ourselves
Now call to mind the fury of our might. 

Page 68

    She spake; nor blue-eyed Pallas not complied. 850

Then Juno, Goddess dread, from Saturn sprung,
Her coursers gold-caparison’d prepared
Impatient.  Hebe to the chariot roll’d
The brazen wheels,[18] and joined them to the smooth
Steel axle; twice four spokes divided each 855
Shot from the centre to the verge.  The verge
Was gold by fellies of eternal brass
Guarded, a dazzling show!  The shining naves
Were silver; silver cords and cords of gold
The seat upbore; two crescents[19] blazed in front. 860
The pole was argent all, to which she bound
The golden yoke, and in their place disposed
The breast-bands incorruptible of gold;
But Juno to the yoke, herself, the steeds
Led forth, on fire to reach the dreadful field. 865

    Meantime, Minerva, progeny of Jove,

On the adamantine floor of his abode
Let fall profuse her variegated robe,
Labor of her own hands.  She first put on
The corselet of the cloud-assembler God, 870
Then arm’d her for the field of wo complete. 
She charged her shoulder with the dreadful shield
The shaggy AEgis,[20] border’d thick around
With terror; there was Discord, Prowess there,
There hot Pursuit, and there the feature grim 875
Of Gorgon, dire Deformity, a sign
Oft borne portentous on the arm of Jove. 
Her golden helm, whose concave had sufficed
The legions of an hundred cities, rough
With warlike ornament superb, she fix’d 880
On her immortal head.  Thus arm’d, she rose
Into the flaming chariot, and her spear
Seized ponderous, huge, with which the Goddess sprung
From an Almighty father, levels ranks
Of heroes, against whom her anger burns. 885
Juno with lifted lash urged quick the steeds;
At her approach, spontaneous roar’d the wide-
Unfolding gates of heaven;[21] the heavenly gates
Kept by the watchful Hours, to whom the charge
Of the Olympian summit appertains, 890
And of the boundless ether, back to roll,
And to replace the cloudy barrier dense. 
Spurr’d through the portal flew the rapid steeds;
Apart from all, and seated on the point
Superior of the cloven mount, they found 895
The Thunderer.  Juno the white-arm’d her steeds
There stay’d, and thus the Goddess, ere she pass’d,
Question’d the son of Saturn, Jove supreme. 

    Jove, Father, seest thou, and art not incensed,

These ravages of Mars?  Oh what a field, 900
Drench’d with what Grecian blood!  All rashly spilt,
And in despite of me.  Venus, the while,
Sits, and the Archer of the silver bow
Delighted, and have urged, themselves, to this
The frantic Mars within no bounds confined 905

Page 69

Of law or order.  But, eternal sire! 
Shall I offend thee chasing far away
Mars deeply smitten from the field of war? 

    To whom the cloud-assembler God replied. 

Go! but exhort thou rather to the task 910
Spoil-huntress Athenaean Pallas, him
Accustom’d to chastise with pain severe. 

    He spake, nor white-arm’d Juno not obey’d. 

She lash’d her steeds; they readily their flight
Began, the earth and starry vault between. 915
Far as from his high tower the watchman kens
O’er gloomy ocean, so far at one bound
Advance the shrill-voiced coursers of the Gods. 
But when at Troy and at the confluent streams
Of Simois and Scamander they arrived, 920
There Juno, white-arm’d Goddess, from the yoke
Her steeds releasing, them in gather’d shades
Conceal’d opaque, while Simois caused to spring
Ambrosia from his bank, whereon they browsed. 

    Swift as her pinions waft the dove away 925

They sought the Grecians, ardent to begin: 
Arriving where the mightiest and the most
Compass’d equestrian Diomede around,
In aspect lion-like, or like wild boars
Of matchless force, there white-arm’d Juno stood, 930
And in the form of Stentor for his voice
Of brass renown’d, audible as the roar
Of fifty throats, the Grecians thus harangued. 

    Oh shame, shame, shame!  Argives in form alone,

Beautiful but dishonorable race! 935
While yet divine Achilles ranged the field,
No Trojan stepp’d from yon Dardanian gates
Abroad; all trembled at his stormy spear;
But now they venture forth, now at your ships
Defy you, from their city far remote. 940

    She ceased, and all caught courage from the sound. 

But Athenaean Pallas eager sought
The son of Tydeus; at his chariot side
She found the Chief cooling his fiery wound
Received from Pandarus; for him the sweat 945
Beneath the broad band of his oval shield
Exhausted, and his arm fail’d him fatigued;
He therefore raised the band and wiped the blood
Coagulate; when o’er his chariot yoke
Her arm the Goddess threw, and thus began. 950

    Tydeus, in truth, begat a son himself

Not much resembling.  Tydeus was of size
Diminutive, but had a warrior’s heart. 
When him I once commanded to abstain
From furious fight (what time he enter’d Thebes 955
Ambassador, and the Cadmeans found
Feasting, himself the sole Achaian there)
And bade him quietly partake the feast. 
He, fired with wonted ardor, challenged forth
To proof of manhood the Cadmean youth, 960
Whom easily, through my effectual aid,
In contests of each kind he overcame. 

Page 70

But thou, whom I encircle with my power,
Guard vigilant, and even bid thee forth
To combat with the Trojans, thou, thy limbs 965
Feel’st wearied with the toils of war, or worse,
Indulgest womanish and heartless fear. 
Henceforth thou art not worthy to be deem’d
Son of Oenides, Tydeus famed in arms. 

    To whom thus valiant Diomede replied. 970

I know thee well, oh Goddess sprung from Jove! 
And therefore willing shall, and plain, reply. 
Me neither weariness nor heartless fear
Restrains, but thine injunctions which impress
My memory, still, that I should fear to oppose 975
The blessed Gods in fight, Venus except,
Whom in the battle found thou badest me pierce
With unrelenting spear; therefore myself
Retiring hither, I have hither call’d
The other Argives also, for I know 980
That Mars, himself in arms, controls the war. 

    Him answer’d then the Goddess azure-eyed. 

Tydides!  Diomede, my heart’s delight! 
Fear not this Mars,[22] nor fear thou other power
Immortal, but be confident in me. 985
Arise.  Drive forth.  Seek Mars; him only seek;
Him hand to hand engage; this fiery Mars
Respect not aught, base implement of wrong
And mischief, shifting still from side to side. 
He promised Juno lately and myself 990
That he would fight for Greece, yet now forgets
His promise, and gives all his aid to Troy. 

    So saying, she backward by his hand withdrew

The son of Capaneus, who to the ground
Leap’d instant; she, impatient to his place 995
Ascending, sat beside brave Diomede. 
Loud groan’d the beechen axle, under weight
Unwonted, for it bore into the fight
An awful Goddess, and the chief of men. 
Quick-seizing lash and reins Minerva drove 1000
Direct at Mars.  That moment he had slain
Periphas, bravest of AEtolia’s sons,
And huge of bulk; Ochesius was his sire. 
Him Mars the slaughterer had of life bereft
Newly, and Pallas to elude his sight 1005
The helmet fixed of Ades on her head.[23]
Soon as gore-tainted Mars the approach perceived
Of Diomede, he left the giant length
Of Periphas extended where he died,
And flew to cope with Tydeus’ valiant son. 1010
Full nigh they came, when Mars on fire to slay
The hero, foremost with his brazen lance
Assail’d him, hurling o’er his horses’ heads. 
But Athenaean Pallas in her hand
The flying weapon caught and turn’d it wide, 1015
Baffling his aim.  Then Diomede on him
Rush’d furious in his turn, and Pallas plunged
The bright spear deep into his cinctured waist
Dire was the wound, and plucking back the spear
She tore him.  Bellow’d brazen-throated

Page 71

Mars 1020
Loud as nine thousand warriors, or as ten
Join’d in close combat.  Grecians, Trojans shook
Appall’d alike at the tremendous voice
Of Mars insatiable with deeds of blood. 
Such as the dimness is when summer winds 1025
Breathe hot, and sultry mist obscures the sky,
Such brazen Mars to Diomede appear’d
By clouds accompanied in his ascent
Into the boundless ether.  Reaching soon
The Olympian heights, seat of the Gods, he sat 1030
Beside Saturnian Jove; wo fill’d his heart;
He show’d fast-streaming from the wound his blood
Immortal, and impatient thus complain’d. 

    Jove, Father!  Seest thou these outrageous acts

Unmoved with anger?  Such are day by day 1035
The dreadful mischiefs by the Gods contrived
Against each other, for the sake of man. 
Thou art thyself the cause.  Thou hast produced
A foolish daughter petulant, addict
To evil only and injurious deeds; 1040
There is not in Olympus, save herself,
Who feels not thy control; but she her will
Gratifies ever, and reproof from thee
Finds none, because, pernicious as she is,
She is thy daughter.  She hath now the mind 1045
Of haughty Diomede with madness fill’d
Against the immortal Gods; first Venus bled;
Her hand he pierced impetuous, then assail’d,
As if himself immortal, even me,
But me my feet stole thence, or overwhelm’d 1050
Beneath yon heaps of carcases impure,
What had I not sustain’d?  And if at last
I lived, had halted crippled by the sword. 

    To whom with dark displeasure Jove replied. 

Base and side-shifting traitor! vex not me 1055
Here sitting querulous; of all who dwell
On the Olympian heights, thee most I hate
Contentious, whose delight is war alone. 
Thou hast thy mother’s moods, the very spleen
Of Juno, uncontrolable as she. 1060
Whom even I, reprove her as I may,
Scarce rule by mere commands; I therefore judge
Thy sufferings a contrivance all her own. 
But soft.  Thou art my son whom I begat. 
And Juno bare thee.  I can not endure 1065
That thou shouldst suffer long.  Hadst thou been born
Of other parents thus detestable,
What Deity soe’er had brought thee forth,
Thou shouldst have found long since a humbler sphere. 

    He ceased, and to the care his son consign’d 1070

Of Paeon; he with drugs of lenient powers,
Soon heal’d whom immortality secured
From dissolution.  As the juice from figs
Express’d what fluid was in milk before
Coagulates, stirr’d rapidly around, 1075
So soon was Mars by Paeon skill restored. 
Him Hebe bathed, and with divine attire
Graceful adorn’d; when at the side of Jove
Again his glorious seat sublime he took. 

    Meantime to the abode of Jove supreme 1080

Ascended Juno throughout Argos known
And mighty Pallas; Mars the plague of man,
By their successful force from slaughter driven.

Page 72




The battle is continued.  The Trojans being closely pursued, Hector by the advice of Helenus enters Troy, and recommends it to Hecuba to go in solemn procession to the temple of Minerva; she with the matrons goes accordingly.  Hector takes the opportunity to find out Paris, and exhorts him to return to the field of battle.  An interview succeeds between Hector and Andromache, and Paris, having armed himself in the mean time, comes up with Hector at the close of it, when they sally from the gate together.


Thus was the field forsaken by the Gods. 
And now success proved various; here the Greeks
With their extended spears, the Trojans there
Prevail’d alternate, on the champain spread
The Xanthus and the Simois between.[1] 5
First Telamonian Ajax,[2] bulwark firm
Of the Achaians, broke the Trojan ranks,
And kindled for the Greeks a gleam of hope,
Slaying the bravest of the Thracian band,
Huge Acamas, Eusorus’ son; him first 10
Full on the shaggy crest he smote, and urged
The spear into his forehead; through his skull
The bright point pass’d, and darkness veil’d his eyes. 
But Diomede, heroic Chief, the son
Of Teuthras slew, Axylus.[3] Rich was he, 15
And in Arisba (where he dwelt beside
The public road, and at his open door
Made welcome all) respected and beloved. 
But of his numerous guests none interposed
To avert his woful doom; nor him alone 20
He slew, but with him also to the shades
Calesius sent, his friend and charioteer. 
Opheltius fell and Dresus, by the hand
Slain of Euryalus, who, next, his arms
On Pedasus and on AEsepus turned 25
Brethren and twins.  Them Abarbarea bore,
A Naiad, to Bucolion, son renown’d
Of King Laomedon, his eldest born,
But by his mother, at his birth, conceal’d. 
Bucolion pasturing his flocks, embraced 30
The lovely nymph; she twins produced, both whom,
Brave as they were and beautiful, thy son[4]
Mecisteus! slew, and from their shoulders tore
Their armor.  Dauntless Polypoetes slew
Astyalus.  Ulysses with his spear 35
Transfixed Pydites, a Percosian Chief,
And Teucer Aretaoen; Nestor’s pride
Antilochus, with his bright lance, of life
Bereft Ablerus, and the royal arm
Of Agamemnon, Elatus; he dwelt 40
Among the hills of lofty Pedasus,
On Satnio’s banks, smooth-sliding river pure
Phylacus fled, whom Leitus as swift
Soon smote.  Melanthius at the feet expired
Of the renown’d Eurypylus, and, flush’d 45

Page 73

With martial ardor, Menelaus seized
And took alive Adrastus.  As it chanced
A thicket his affrighted steeds detain’d
Their feet entangling; they with restive force
At its extremity snapp’d short the pole, 50
And to the city, whither others fled,
Fled also.  From his chariot headlong hurl’d,
Adrastus press’d the plain fast by his wheel. 
Flew Menelaus, and his quivering spear
Shook over him; he, life imploring, clasp’d 55
Importunate his knees, and thus exclaim’d. 
Oh, son of Atreus, let me live! accept
Illustrious ransom!  In my father’s house
Is wealth abundant, gold, and brass, and steel
Of truest temper, which he will impart 60
Till he have gratified thine utmost wish,
Inform’d that I am captive in your fleet. 
He said, and Menelaus by his words
Vanquish’d, him soon had to the fleet dismiss’d
Given to his train in charge, but swift and stern 65
Approaching, Agamemnon interposed. 
Now, brother, whence this milkiness of mind,
These scruples about blood?  Thy Trojan friends
Have doubtless much obliged thee.  Die the race! 
May none escape us! neither he who flies, 70
Nor even the infant in his mother’s womb
Unconscious.  Perish universal Troy
Unpitied, till her place be found no more![5]
So saying, his brother’s mind the Hero turn’d,
Advising him aright; he with his hand 75
Thrust back Adrastus, and himself, the King,
His bowels pierced.  Supine Adrastus fell,
And Agamemnon, with his foot the corse
Impressing firm, pluck’d forth his ashen spear. 
Then Nestor, raising high his voice, exclaim’d. 80
Friends, Heroes, Grecians, ministers of Mars! 
Let none, desirous of the spoil, his time
Devote to plunder now; now slay your foes,
And strip them when the field shall be your own.[6]
He said, and all took courage at his word. 85
Then had the Trojans enter’d Troy again
By the heroic Grecians foul repulsed,
So was their spirit daunted, but the son
Of Priam, Helenus, an augur far
Excelling all, at Hector’s side his speech 90
To him and to AEneas thus address’d. 
Hector, and thou, AEneas, since on you
The Lycians chiefly and ourselves depend,
For that in difficult emprize ye show
Most courage; give best counsel; stand yourselves, 95
And, visiting all quarters, cause to stand
Before the city-gates our scatter’d troops,
Ere yet the fugitives within the arms
Be slaughter’d of their wives, the scorn of Greece. 
When thus ye shall have rallied every band 100
And roused their courage, weary though we be,
Yet since necessity commands, even here
Will we give battle to the host of Greece. 
But, Hector! to the city thou depart;

Page 74

There charge our mother, that she go direct, 105
With the assembled matrons, to the fane
Of Pallas in the citadel of Troy. 
Opening her chambers’ sacred doors, of all
Her treasured mantles there, let her select
The widest, most magnificently wrought, 110
And which she values most; that let her spread
On Athenaean Pallas’ lap divine.[7]
Twelve heifers of the year yet never touch’d
With puncture of the goad, let her alike
Devote to her, if she will pity Troy, 115
Our wives and little ones, and will avert
The son of Tydeus from these sacred towers,
That dreadful Chief, terror of all our host,
Bravest, in my account, of all the Greeks. 
For never yet Achilles hath himself 120
So taught our people fear, although esteemed
Son of a Goddess.  But this warrior’s rage
Is boundless, and his strength past all compare. 
So Helenus; nor Hector not complied. 
Down from his chariot instant to the ground 125
All arm’d he leap’d, and, shaking his sharp spears,
Through every phalanx pass’d, rousing again
Their courage, and rekindling horrid war. 
They, turning, faced the Greeks; the Greeks repulsed,
Ceased from all carnage, nor supposed they less 130
Than that some Deity, the starry skies
Forsaken, help’d their foes, so firm they stood. 
But Hector to the Trojans call’d aloud. 
Ye dauntless Trojans and confederate powers
Call’d from afar! now be ye men, my friends, 135
Now summon all the fury of your might! 
I go to charge our senators and wives
That they address the Gods with prayers and vows
For our success, and hecatombs devote. 
So saying the Hero went, and as he strode 140
The sable hide that lined his bossy shield
Smote on his neck and on his ancle-bone. 
And now into the middle space between
Both hosts, the son of Tydeus and the son
Moved of Hippolochus, intent alike 145
On furious combat; face to face they stood,
And thus heroic Diomede began. 
Most noble Champion! who of human kind
Art thou,[8] whom in the man-ennobling fight
I now encounter first?  Past all thy peers 150
I must esteem thee valiant, who hast dared
To meet my coming, and my spear defy. 
Ah! they are sons of miserable sires
Who dare my might; but if a God from heaven
Thou come, behold!  I fight not with the Gods. 155
That war Lycurgus son of Dryas waged,
And saw not many years.  The nurses he
Of brain-disturbing Bacchus down the steep
Pursued of sacred Nyssa; they their wands
Vine-wreathed cast all away, with an ox-goad 160
Chastised by fell Lycurgus.  Bacchus plunged
Meantime dismay’d into the deep, where him
Trembling, and at the Hero’s haughty threats

Page 75

Confounded, Thetis in her bosom hid.[9]
Thus by Lycurgus were the blessed powers 165
Of heaven offended, and Saturnian Jove
Of sight bereaved him, who not long that loss
Survived, for he was curst by all above. 
I, therefore, wage no contest with the Gods;
But if thou be of men, and feed on bread 170
Of earthly growth, draw nigh, that with a stroke
Well-aim’d, I may at once cut short thy days.[10]
To whom the illustrious Lycian Chief replied. 
Why asks brave Diomede of my descent? 
For, as the leaves, such is the race of man.[11] 175
The wind shakes down the leaves, the budding grove
Soon teems with others, and in spring they grow. 
So pass mankind.  One generation meets
Its destined period, and a new succeeds. 
But since thou seem’st desirous to be taught 180
My pedigree, whereof no few have heard,
Know that in Argos, in the very lap
Of Argos, for her steed-grazed meadows famed,
Stands Ephyra;[12] there Sisyphus abode,
Shrewdest of human kind; Sisyphus, named 185
AEolides.  Himself a son begat,
Glaucus, and he Bellerophon, to whom
The Gods both manly force and beauty gave. 
Him Proetus (for in Argos at that time
Proetus was sovereign, to whose sceptre Jove 190
Had subjected the land) plotting his death,
Contrived to banish from his native home. 
For fair Anteia, wife of Proetus, mad
Through love of young Bellerophon, him oft
In secret to illicit joys enticed; 195
But she prevail’d not o’er the virtuous mind
Discrete of whom she wooed; therefore a lie
Framing, she royal Proetus thus bespake. 
Die thou, or slay Bellerophon, who sought
Of late to force me to his lewd embrace. 200
So saying, the anger of the King she roused. 
Slay him himself he would not, for his heart
Forbad the deed; him therefore he dismiss’d
To Lycia, charged with tales of dire import
Written in tablets,[13] which he bade him show, 205
That he might perish, to Anteia’s sire. 
To Lycia then, conducted by the Gods,
He went, and on the shores of Xanthus found
Free entertainment noble at the hands
Of Lycia’s potent King.  Nine days complete 210
He feasted him, and slew each day an ox. 
But when the tenth day’s ruddy morn appear’d,
He asked him then his errand, and to see
Those written tablets from his son-in-law. 
The letters seen, he bade him, first, destroy 215
Chimaera, deem’d invincible, divine
In nature, alien from the race of man,
Lion in front, but dragon all behind,
And in the midst a she-goat breathing forth
Profuse the violence of flaming fire. 220
Her, confident in signs from heaven, he slew. 
Next, with the men of Solymae[14] he fought,

Page 76

Brave warriors far renown’d, with whom he waged,
In his account, the fiercest of his wars. 
And lastly, when in battle he had slain 225
The man-resisting Amazons, the king
Another stratagem at his return
Devised against him, placing close-conceal’d
An ambush for him from the bravest chosen
In Lycia; but they saw their homes no more; 230
Bellerophon the valiant slew them all. 
The monarch hence collecting, at the last,
His heavenly origin, him there detain’d,
And gave him his own daughter, with the half
Of all his royal dignity and power. 235
The Lycians also, for his proper use,
Large lot assigned him of their richest soil,[15]
Commodious for the vine, or for the plow. 
And now his consort fair three children bore
To bold Bellerophon; Isandrus one, 240
And one, Hippolochus; his youngest born
Laodamia was for beauty such
That she became a concubine of Jove. 
She bore Sarpedon of heroic note. 
But when Bellerophon, at last, himself 245
Had anger’d all the Gods, feeding on grief
He roam’d alone the Aleian field, exiled,
By choice, from every cheerful haunt of man. 
Mars, thirsty still for blood, his son destroy’d
Isandrus, warring with the host renown’d 250
Of Solymae; and in her wrath divine
Diana from her chariot golden-rein’d
Laodamia slew.  Myself I boast
Sprung from Hippolochus; he sent me forth
To fight for Troy, charging me much and oft 255
That I should outstrip always all mankind
In worth and valor, nor the house disgrace
Of my forefathers, heroes without peer
In Ephyra, and in Lycia’s wide domain. 
Such is my lineage; such the blood I boast. 260
He ceased.  Then valiant Diomede rejoiced. 
He pitch’d his spear, and to the Lycian Prince
In terms of peace and amity replied. 
Thou art my own hereditary friend,
Whose noble grandsire was the guest of mine.[16] 265
For Oeneus, on a time, full twenty days
Regaled Bellerophon, and pledges fair
Of hospitality they interchanged. 
Oeneus a belt radiant with purple gave
To brave Bellerophon, who in return 270
Gave him a golden goblet.  Coming forth
I left the kind memorial safe at home. 
A child was I when Tydeus went to Thebes,
Where the Achaians perish’d, and of him
Hold no remembrance; but henceforth, my friend, 275
Thine host am I in Argos, and thou mine
In Lycia, should I chance to sojourn there. 
We will not clash.  Trojans or aids of Troy
No few the Gods shall furnish to my spear,
Whom I may slaughter; and no want of Greeks 280
On whom to prove thy prowess, thou shalt find. 
But it were well that an exchange ensued

Page 77

Between us; take mine armor, give me thine,
That all who notice us may understand
Our patrimonial[17] amity and love. 285
So they, and each alighting, hand in hand
Stood lock’d, faith promising and firm accord. 
Then Jove of sober judgment so bereft
Infatuate Glaucus that with Tydeus’ son
He barter’d gold for brass, an hundred beeves 290
In value, for the value small of nine. 
But Hector at the Scaean gate and beech[18]
Meantime arrived, to whose approach the wives
And daughters flock’d of Troy, inquiring each
The fate of husband, brother, son, or friend. 295
He bade them all with solemn prayer the Gods
Seek fervent, for that wo was on the wing. 
But when he enter’d Priam’s palace, built
With splendid porticoes, and which within
Had fifty chambers lined with polish’d stone, 300
Contiguous all, where Priam’s sons reposed
And his sons’ wives, and where, on the other side. 
In twelve magnificent chambers also lined
With polish’d marble and contiguous all,
The sons-in-law of Priam lay beside 305
His spotless daughters, there the mother queen
Seeking the chamber of Laodice,
Loveliest of all her children, as she went
Met Hector.  On his hand she hung and said: 
Why leavest thou, O my son! the dangerous field? 310
I fear that the Achaians (hateful name!)
Compass the walls so closely, that thou seek’st
Urged by distress the citadel, to lift
Thine hands in prayer to Jove?  But pause awhile
Till I shall bring thee wine, that having pour’d 315
Libation rich to Jove and to the powers
Immortal, thou may’st drink and be refresh’d. 
For wine is mighty to renew the strength
Of weary man, and weary thou must be
Thyself, thus long defending us and ours. 320
To whom her son majestic thus replied. 
My mother, whom I reverence! cheering wine
Bring none to me, lest I forget my might.[19]
I fear, beside, with unwash’d hands to pour
Libation forth of sable wine to Jove, 325
And dare on none account, thus blood-defiled,[20]
Approach the tempest-stirring God in prayer. 
Thou, therefore, gathering all our matrons, seek
The fane of Pallas, huntress of the spoil,
Bearing sweet incense; but from the attire 330
Treasured within thy chamber, first select
The amplest robe, most exquisitely wrought,
And which thou prizest most—­then spread the gift
On Athenaean Pallas’ lap divine. 
Twelve heifers also of the year, untouch’d 335
With puncture of the goad, promise to slay
In sacrifice, if she will pity Troy,
Our wives and little ones, and will avert
The son of Tydeus from these sacred towers,
That dreadful Chief, terror of all our host. 340

Page 78

Go then, my mother, seek the hallowed fane
Of the spoil-huntress Deity.  I, the while,
Seek Paris, and if Paris yet can hear,
Shall call him forth.  But oh that earth would yawn
And swallow him, whom Jove hath made a curse 345
To Troy, to Priam, and to all his house;
Methinks, to see him plunged into the shades
For ever, were a cure for all my woes. 
He ceased; the Queen, her palace entering, charged
Her maidens; they, incontinent, throughout 350
All Troy convened the matrons, as she bade. 
Meantime into her wardrobe incense-fumed,
Herself descended; there her treasures lay,
Works of Sidonian women,[21] whom her son
The godlike Paris, when he cross’d the seas 355
With Jove-begotten Helen, brought to Troy. 
The most magnificent, and varied most
With colors radiant, from the rest she chose
For Pallas; vivid as a star it shone,
And lowest lay of all.  Then forth she went, 360
The Trojan matrons all following her steps. 
But when the long procession reach’d the fane
Of Pallas in the heights of Troy, to them
The fair Theano ope’d the portals wide,
Daughter of Cisseus, brave Antenor’s spouse, 365
And by appointment public, at that time,
Priestess of Pallas.  All with lifted hands[22]
In presence of Minerva wept aloud. 
Beauteous Theano on the Goddess’ lap
Then spread the robe, and to the daughter fair 370
Of Jove omnipotent her suit address’d. 
Goddess[23] of Goddesses, our city’s shield,
Adored Minerva, hear! oh! break the lance
Of Diomede, and give himself to fall
Prone in the dust before the Scaean gate. 375
So will we offer to thee at thy shrine,
This day twelve heifers of the year, untouch’d
By yoke or goad, if thou wilt pity show
To Troy, and save our children and our wives. 
Such prayer the priestess offer’d, and such prayer 380
All present; whom Minerva heard averse. 
But Hector to the palace sped meantime
Of Alexander, which himself had built,
Aided by every architect of name
Illustrious then in Troy.  Chamber it had, 385
Wide hall, proud dome, and on the heights of Troy
Near-neighboring Hector’s house and Priam’s stood. 
There enter’d Hector, Jove-beloved, a spear
Its length eleven cubits in his hand,
Its glittering head bound with a ring of gold. 390
He found within his chamber whom he sought,
Polishing with exactest care his arms
Resplendent, shield and hauberk fingering o’er
With curious touch, and tampering with his bow.[24]
Helen of Argos with her female train 395
Sat occupied, the while, to each in turn
Some splendid task assigning.  Hector fix’d
His eyes on Paris, and him stern rebuked. 
Thy sullen humors, Paris, are ill-timed. 

Page 79

The people perish at our lofty walls; 400
The flames of war have compass’d Troy around
And thou hast kindled them; who yet thyself
That slackness show’st which in another seen
Thou would’st resent to death.  Haste, seek the field
This moment, lest, the next, all Ilium blaze. 405
To whom thus Paris, graceful as a God. 
Since, Hector, thou hast charged me with a fault,
And not unjustly, I will answer make,
And give thou special heed.  That here I sit,
The cause is sorrow, which I wish’d to soothe 410
In secret, not displeasure or revenge. 
I tell thee also, that even now my wife
Was urgent with me in most soothing terms
That I would forth to battle; and myself,
Aware that victory oft changes sides, 415
That course prefer.  Wait, therefore, thou awhile,
’Till I shall dress me for the fight, or go
Thou first, and I will overtake thee soon. 
He ceased, to whom brave Hector answer none
Return’d, when Helen him with lenient speech 420
Accosted mild.[25] My brother! who in me
Hast found a sister worthy of thy hate,
Authoress of all calamity to Troy,
Oh that the winds, the day when I was born,
Had swept me out of sight, whirl’d me aloft 425
To some inhospitable mountain-top,
Or plunged me in the deep; there I had sunk
O’erwhelm’d, and all these ills had never been. 
But since the Gods would bring these ills to pass,
I should, at least, some worthier mate have chosen, 430
One not insensible to public shame. 
But this, oh this, nor hath nor will acquire
Hereafter, aught which like discretion shows
Or reason, and shall find his just reward. 
But enter; take this seat; for who as thou 435
Labors, or who hath cause like thee to rue
The crime, my brother, for which Heaven hath doom’d
Both Paris and my most detested self
To be the burthens of an endless song? 
To whom the warlike Hector huge[26] replied. 440
Me bid not, Helen, to a seat, howe’er
Thou wish my stay, for thou must not prevail. 
The Trojans miss me, and myself no less
Am anxious to return.  But urge in haste
This loiterer forth; yea, let him urge himself 445
To overtake me ere I quit the town. 
For I must home in haste, that I may see
My loved Andromache, my infant boy,
And my domestics, ignorant if e’er
I shall behold them more, or if my fate 450
Ordain me now to fall by Grecian hands. 
So spake the dauntless hero, and withdrew. 
But reaching soon his own well-built abode
He found not fair Andromache; she stood
Lamenting Hector, with the nurse who bore 455
Her infant, on a turret’s top sublime. 
He then, not finding his chaste spouse within,
Thus from the portal, of her train inquired. 

Page 80

Tell me, ye maidens, whither went from home
Andromache the fair?[27] Went she to see 460
Her female kindred of my father’s house,
Or to Minerva’s temple, where convened
The bright-hair’d matrons of the city seek
To soothe the awful Goddess?  Tell me true. 
To whom his household’s governess discreet. 465
Since, Hector, truth is thy demand, receive
True answer.  Neither went she forth to see
Her female kindred of thy father’s house,
Nor to Minerva’s temple, where convened
The bright-haired matrons of the city seek 470
To soothe the awful Goddess; but she went
Hence to the tower of Troy:  for she had heard
That the Achaians had prevail’d, and driven
The Trojans to the walls; she, therefore, wild
With grief, flew thither, and the nurse her steps 475
Attended, with thy infant in her arms. 
So spake the prudent governess; whose words
When Hector heard, issuing from his door
He backward trod with hasty steps the streets
Of lofty Troy, and having traversed all 480
The spacious city, when he now approach’d
The Scaean gate, whence he must seek the field,
There, hasting home again his noble wife
Met him, Andromache the rich-endow’d
Fair daughter of Eetion famed in arms. 485
Eetion, who in Hypoplacian Thebes
Umbrageous dwelt, Cilicia’s mighty lord—­
His daughter valiant Hector had espoused. 
There she encounter’d him, and with herself
The nurse came also, bearing in her arms 490
Hectorides, his infant darling boy,
Beautiful as a star.  Him Hector called
Scamandrios, but Astyanax[28] all else
In Ilium named him, for that Hector’s arm
Alone was the defence and strength of Troy. 495
The father, silent, eyed his babe, and smiled. 
Andromache, meantime, before him stood,
With streaming cheeks, hung on his hand, and said. 
Thy own great courage will cut short thy days,
My noble Hector! neither pitiest thou 500
Thy helpless infant, or my hapless self,
Whose widowhood is near; for thou wilt fall
Ere long, assail’d by the whole host of Greece. 
Then let me to the tomb, my best retreat
When thou art slain.  For comfort none or joy 505
Can I expect, thy day of life extinct,
But thenceforth, sorrow.  Father I have none;
No mother.  When Cilicia’s city, Thebes
The populous, was by Achilles sack’d. 
He slew my father; yet his gorgeous arms 510
Stripp’d not through reverence of him, but consumed,
Arm’d as it was, his body on the pile,
And heap’d his tomb, which the Oreades,
Jove’s daughters, had with elms inclosed around.[29]
My seven brothers, glory of our house, 515
All in one day descended to the shades;

Page 81

For brave Achilles,[30] while they fed their herds
And snowy flocks together, slew them all. 
My mother, Queen of the well-wooded realm
Of Hypoplacian Thebes, her hither brought 520
Among his other spoils, he loosed again
At an inestimable ransom-price,
But by Diana pierced, she died at home. 
Yet Hector—­oh my husband!  I in thee
Find parents, brothers, all that I have lost. 525
Come! have compassion on us.  Go not hence,
But guard this turret, lest of me thou make
A widow, and an orphan of thy boy. 
The city walls are easiest of ascent
At yonder fig-tree; station there thy powers; 530
For whether by a prophet warn’d, or taught
By search and observation, in that part
Each Ajax with Idomeneus of Crete,
The sons of Atreus, and the valiant son
Of Tydeus, have now thrice assail’d the town. 535
To whom the leader of the host of Troy. 
These cares, Andromache, which thee engage,
All touch me also; but I dread to incur
The scorn of male and female tongues in Troy,
If, dastard-like, I should decline the fight. 540
Nor feel I such a wish.  No.  I have learn’d
To be courageous ever, in the van
Among the flower of Ilium to assert
My glorious father’s honor, and my own. 
For that the day shall come when sacred Troy, 545
When Priam, and the people of the old
Spear-practised King shall perish, well I know. 
But for no Trojan sorrows yet to come
So much I mourn, not e’en for Hecuba,
Nor yet for Priam, nor for all the brave 550
Of my own brothers who shall kiss the dust,
As for thyself, when some Achaian Chief
Shall have convey’d thee weeping hence, thy sun
Of peace and liberty for ever set. 
Then shalt thou toil in Argos at the loom 555
For a task-mistress, and constrain’d shalt draw
From Hypereia’s fount,[31] or from the fount
Messeis, water at her proud command. 
Some Grecian then, seeing thy tears, shall say—­
“This was the wife of Hector, who excell’d 560
All Troy in fight when Ilium was besieged.” 
Such he shall speak thee, and thy heart, the while,
Shall bleed afresh through want of such a friend
To stand between captivity and thee. 
But may I rest beneath my hill of earth 565
Or ere that day arrive!  I would not live
To hear thy cries, and see thee torn away. 
So saying, illustrious Hector stretch’d his arms
Forth to his son, but with a scream, the child
Fell back into the bosom of his nurse, 570
His father’s aspect dreading, whose bright arms
He had attentive mark’d and shaggy crest
Playing tremendous o’er his helmet’s height. 
His father and his gentle mother laugh’d,[32]
And noble Hector lifting from his head

Page 82

His dazzling helmet, placed it on the ground,
Then kiss’d his boy and dandled him, and thus
In earnest prayer the heavenly powers implored. 
Hear all ye Gods! as ye have given to me,
So also on my son excelling might 580
Bestow, with chief authority in Troy. 
And be his record this, in time to come,
When he returns from battle.  Lo! how far
The son excels the sire!  May every foe
Fall under him, and he come laden home 585
With spoils blood-stain’d to his dear mother’s joy. 
He said, and gave his infant to the arms
Of his Andromache, who him received
Into her fragrant bosom, bitter tears
With sweet smiles mingling; he with pity moved 590
That sight observed, soft touch’d her cheek, and said,
Mourn not, my loved Andromache, for me
Too much; no man shall send me to the shades
Of Tartarus, ere mine allotted hour,
Nor lives he who can overpass the date 595
By heaven assign’d him, be he base or brave.[33]
Go then, and occupy content at home
The woman’s province; ply the distaff, spin
And weave, and task thy maidens.  War belongs
To man; to all men; and of all who first 600
Drew vital breath in Ilium, most to me.[34]
He ceased, and from the ground his helmet raised
Hair-crested; his Andromache, at once
Obedient, to her home repair’d, but oft
Turn’d as she went, and, turning, wept afresh. 605
No sooner at the palace she arrived
Of havoc-spreading Hector, than among
Her numerous maidens found within, she raised
A general lamentation; with one voice,
In his own house, his whole domestic train 610
Mourn’d Hector, yet alive; for none the hope
Conceived of his escape from Grecian hands,
Or to behold their living master more. 
Nor Paris in his stately mansion long
Delay’d, but, arm’d resplendent, traversed swift 615
The city, all alacrity and joy. 
As some stall’d horse high-fed, his stable-cord
Snapt short, beats under foot the sounding plain,
Accustomed in smooth-sliding streams to lave
Exulting; high he bears his head, his mane 620
Undulates o’er his shoulders, pleased he eyes
His glossy sides, and borne on pliant knees
Shoots to the meadow where his fellows graze;
So Paris, son of Priam, from the heights
Of Pergamus into the streets of Troy, 625
All dazzling as the sun, descended, flush’d
With martial pride, and bounding in his course. 
At once he came where noble Hector stood
Now turning, after conference with his spouse,
When godlike Alexander thus began. 630
My hero brother, thou hast surely found
My long delay most irksome.  More dispatch
Had pleased thee more, for such was thy command. 

Page 83

To whom the warlike Hector thus replied. 
No man, judicious, and in feat of arms 635
Intelligent, would pour contempt on thee
(For thou art valiant) wert thou not remiss
And wilful negligent; and when I hear
The very men who labor in thy cause
Reviling thee, I make thy shame my own. 640
But let us on.  All such complaints shall cease
Hereafter, and thy faults be touch’d no more,
Let Jove but once afford us riddance clear
Of these Achaians, and to quaff the cup
Of liberty, before the living Gods. 645

* * * * *

It may be observed, that Hector begins to resume his hope of success, and his warlike spirit is roused again, as he approaches the field of action.  The depressing effect of his sad interview is wearing away from his mind, and he is already prepared for the battle with Ajax, which awaits him.

The student who has once read this book, will read it again and again.  It contains much that is addressed to the deepest feelings of our common nature, and, despite of the long interval of time which lies between our age and the Homeric—­despite the manifold changes of customs, habits, pursuits, and the advances that have been made in civilization and art—­despite of all these, the universal spirit of humanity will recognize in these scenes much of that true poetry which delights alike all ages, all nations, all men.—­FELTON.




Ajax and Hector engage in single combat.  The Grecians fortify their camp.


  So saying, illustrious Hector through the gates
  To battle rush’d, with Paris at his side,
  And both were bent on deeds of high renown. 
  As when the Gods vouchsafe propitious gales
  To longing mariners, who with smooth oars 5
  Threshing the waves have all their strength consumed,
  So them the longing Trojans glad received. 
    At once each slew a Grecian.  Paris slew
  Menesthius who in Arna dwelt, the son
  Of Areithoues, club-bearing chief, 10
  And of Philomedusa radiant-eyed. 
  But Hector wounded with his glittering spear
  Eioneus; he pierced his neck beneath
  His brazen morion’s verge, and dead he fell. 
  Then Glaucus, leader of the Lycian host, 15
  Son of Hippolochus, in furious fight
  Iphinoues son of Dexias assail’d,
  Mounting his rapid mares, and with his lance
  His shoulder pierced; unhorsed he fell and died. 
    Such slaughter of the Grecians in fierce fight 20
  Minerva noting, from the Olympian hills
  Flew down to sacred Ilium; whose approach
  Marking from Pergamus, Apollo flew

Page 84

  To meet her, ardent on the part of Troy. 
  Beneath the beech they join’d, when first the King, 25
  The son of Jove, Apollo thus began. 
    Daughter of Jove supreme! why hast thou left
  Olympus, and with such impetuous speed? 
  Comest thou to give the Danai success
  Decisive?  For I know that pity none 30
  Thou feel’st for Trojans, perish as they may
  But if advice of mine can influence thee
  To that which shall be best, let us compose
  This day the furious fight which shall again
  Hereafter rage, till Ilium be destroy’d. 35
  Since such is Juno’s pleasure and thy own. 
    Him answer’d then Pallas caerulean-eyed. 
  Celestial archer! be it so.  I came
  Myself so purposing into the field
  From the Olympian heights.  But by what means 40
  Wilt thou induce the warriors to a pause? 
    To whom the King, the son of Jove, replied. 
  The courage of equestrian Hector bold
  Let us excite, that he may challenge forth
  To single conflict terrible some chief 45
  Achaian.  The Achaians brazen-mail’d
  Indignant, will supply a champion soon
  To combat with the noble Chief of Troy. 
    So spake Apollo, and his counsel pleased
  Minerva; which when Helenus the seer, 50
  Priam’s own son, in his prophetic soul
  Perceived, approaching Hector, thus he spake. 
    Jove’s peer in wisdom, Hector, Priam’s son! 
  I am thy brother.  Wilt thou list to me? 
  Bid cease the battle.  Bid both armies sit. 55
  Call first, thyself, the mightiest of the Greeks
  To single conflict.  I have heard the voice
  Of the Eternal Gods, and well-assured
  Foretell thee that thy death not now impends. 
    He spake, whom Hector heard with joy elate. 60
  Before his van striding into the space
  Both hosts between, he with his spear transverse[1]
  Press’d back the Trojans, and they sat.  Down sat
  The well-greaved Grecians also at command
  Of Agamemnon; and in shape assumed 65
  Of vultures, Pallas and Apollo perch’d
  High on the lofty beech sacred to Jove
  The father AEgis-arm’d; delighted thence
  They view’d the peopled plain horrent around
  With shields and helms and glittering spears erect. 70
  As when fresh-blowing Zephyrus the flood
  Sweeps first, the ocean blackens at the blast,
  Such seem’d the plain whereon the Achaians sat
  And Trojans, whom between thus Hector spake. 
    Ye Trojans and Achaians brazen-greaved, 75
  Attend while I shall speak!  Jove high-enthroned
  Hath not fulfill’d the truce, but evil plans
  Against both hosts, till either ye shall take
  Troy’s lofty towers, or shall yourselves

Page 85

in flight
  Fall vanquish’d at your billow-cleaving barks. 80
  With you is all the flower of Greece.[2] Let him
  Whose heart shall move him to encounter sole
  Illustrious Hector, from among you all
  Stand forth, and Jove be witness to us both. 
  If he, with his long-pointed lance, of life 85
  Shall me bereave, my armor is his prize,
  Which he shall hence into your fleet convey;
  Not so my body; that he shall resign
  For burial to the men and wives of Troy. 
  But if Apollo make the glory mine, 90
  And he fall vanquish’d, him will I despoil,
  And hence conveying into sacred Troy
  His arms, will in the temple hang them high[3]
  Of the bow-bender God, but I will send
  His body to the fleet, that him the Greeks 95
  May grace with rights funereal.  On the banks
  Of wide-spread Hellespont ye shall upraise
  His tomb, and as they cleave with oary barks
  The sable deep, posterity shall say—­
  “It is a warrior’s tomb; in ancient days 100
  The Hero died; him warlike Hector slew.” 
  So men shall speak hereafter, and my fame
  Who slew him, and my praise, shall never die. 
    He ceased, and all sat mute.  His challenge bold
  None dared accept, which yet they blush’d to shun, 105
  Till Menelaus, at the last, arose
  Groaning profound, and thus reproach’d the Greeks. 
    Ah boasters! henceforth women—­men no more—­
  Eternal shame, shame infinite is ours,
  If none of all the Grecians dares contend 110
  With Hector.  Dastards—­deaf to glory’s call—­
  Rot where ye sit!  I will myself take arms
  Against him, for the gods alone dispose,
  At their own pleasure, the events of war. 
    He ended, and put on his radiant arms. 115
  Then, Menelaus, manifest appear’d
  Thy death approaching by the dreadful hands
  Of Hector, mightier far in arms than thou,
  But that the Chiefs of the Achaians all
  Upstarting stay’d thee, and himself the King, 120
  The son of Atreus, on thy better hand
  Seizing affectionate, thee thus address’d. 
    Thou ravest, my royal brother! and art seized
  With needless frenzy.  But, however chafed,
  Restrain thy wrath, nor covet to contend 125
  With Priameian Hector, whom in fight
  All dread, a warrior thy superior far. 
  Not even Achilles, in the glorious field
  (Though stronger far than thou) this hero meets
  Undaunted.  Go then, and thy seat resume 130
  In thy own band; the Achaians shall for him,
  Doubtless, some fitter champion furnish forth. 
  Brave though he be, and with the toils of war
  Insatiable, he shall be willing yet,
  Seated on his bent knees, to breathe a

Page 86

while, 135
  Should he escape the arduous brunt severe. 
    So saying, the hero by his counsel wise
  His brother’s purpose alter’d; he complied,
  And his glad servants eased him of his arms. 
  Then Nestor thus the Argive host bespake. 140
    Great wo, ye Gods! hath on Achaia fallen. 
  Now may the warlike Pelaus, hoary Chief,
  Who both with eloquence and wisdom rules
  The Myrmidons, our foul disgrace deplore. 
  With him discoursing, erst, of ancient times, 145
  When all your pedigrees I traced, I made
  His heart bound in him at the proud report. 
  But now, when he shall learn how here we sat
  Cowering at the foot of Hector, he shall oft
  His hands uplift to the immortal Gods, 150
  Praying a swift release into the shades. 
  Jove!  Pallas!  Phoebus!  Oh that I were young
  As when the Pylians in fierce fight engaged
  The Arcadians spear-expert, beside the stream
  Of rapid Celadon!  Beneath the walls 155
  We fought of Pheia, where the Jardan rolls. 
  There Ereuthalion, Chief of godlike form,
  Stood forth before his van, and with loud voice
  Defied the Pylians.  Arm’d he was in steel
  By royal Areithous whilom worn; 160
  Brave Areithous, Corynetes[4] named
  By every tongue; for that in bow and spear
  Nought trusted he, but with an iron mace
  The close-embattled phalanx shatter’d wide. 
  Him by address, not by superior force, 165
  Lycurgus vanquish’d, in a narrow pass,
  Where him his iron whirl-bat[5] nought avail’d. 
  Lycurgus stealing on him, with his lance
  Transpierced and fix’d him to the soil supine. 
  Him of his arms, bright gift of brazen Mars, 170
  He stripp’d, which after, in the embattled field
  Lycurgus wore himself, but, growing old,
  Surrender’d them to Ereuthalion’s use
  His armor-bearer, high in his esteem,
  And Ereuthalion wore them on the day 175
  When he defied our best.  All hung their heads
  And trembled; none dared meet him; till at last
  With inborn courage warm’d, and nought dismayed,
  Though youngest of them all, I undertook
  That contest, and, by Pallas’ aid, prevail’d. 180
  I slew the man in height and bulk all men
  Surpassing, and much soil he cover’d slain. 
  Oh for the vigor of those better days! 
  Then should not Hector want a champion long,
  Whose call to combat, ye, although the prime 185
  And pride of all our land, seem slow to hear. 
    He spake reproachful, when at once arose
  Nine heroes.  Agamemnon, King of men,
  Foremost arose; then Tydeus’ mighty son,
  With either Ajax in fierce prowess clad; 190

Page 87

  The Cretan next, Idomeneus, with whom
  Uprose Meriones his friend approved,
  Terrible as the man-destroyer Mars. 
  Evaemon’s noble offspring next appear’d
  Eurypylus; Andraemon’s son the next 195
  Thoas; and last, Ulysses, glorious Chief. 
  All these stood ready to engage in arms
  With warlike Hector, when the ancient King,
  Gerenian Nestor, thus his speech resumed. 
    Now cast the lot for all.  Who wins the chance 200
  Shall yield Achaia service, and himself
  Serve also, if successful he escape
  This brunt of hostile hardiment severe. 
    So Nestor.  They, inscribing each his lot,
  Into the helmet cast it of the son 205
  Of Atreus, Agamemnon.  Then the host
  Pray’d all, their hands uplifting, and with eyes
  To the wide heavens directed, many said[6]—­
    Eternal sire! choose Ajax, or the son
  Of Tydeus, or the King himself[7] who sways 210
  The sceptre in Mycenae wealth-renown’d! 
    Such prayer the people made; then Nestor shook
  The helmet, and forth leaped, whose most they wished,
  The lot of Ajax.  Throughout all the host
  To every chief and potentate of Greece, 215
  From right to left the herald bore the lot
  By all disown’d; but when at length he reach’d
  The inscriber of the lot, who cast it in,
  Illustrious Ajax, in his open palm
  The herald placed it, standing at his side. 220
  He, conscious, with heroic joy the lot
  Cast at his foot, and thus exclaim’d aloud. 
    My friends! the lot is mine,[8] and my own heart
  Rejoices also; for I nothing doubt
  That noble Hector shall be foil’d by me. 225
  But while I put mine armor on, pray all
  In silence to the King Saturnian Jove,
  Lest, while ye pray, the Trojans overhear. 
  Or pray aloud, for whom have we to dread? 
  No man shall my firm standing by his strength 230
  Unsettle, or for ignorance of mine
  Me vanquish, who, I hope, brought forth and train’d
  In Salamis, have, now, not much to learn. 
    He ended.  They with heaven-directed eyes
  The King in prayer address’d, Saturnian Jove. 235
    Jove! glorious father! who from Ida’s height
  Controlest all below, let Ajax prove
  Victorious; make the honor all his own! 
  Or, if not less than Ajax, Hector share
  Thy love and thy regard, divide the prize 240
  Of glory, and let each achieve renown! 
    Then Ajax put his radiant armor on,
  And, arm’d complete, rush’d forward.  As huge Mars
  To battle moves the sons of men between
  Whom Jove with heart-devouring thirst inspires 245
  Of war, so moved huge Ajax to the fight,
  Tower of the Greeks, dilating with a smile

Page 88

  His martial features terrible; on feet,
  Firm-planted, to the combat he advanced
  Stride after stride, and shook his quivering spear. 250
  Him viewing, Argos’ universal host
  Exulted, while a panic loosed the knees
  Of every Trojan; even Hector’s heart
  Beat double, but escape for him remain’d
  None now, or to retreat into his ranks 255
  Again, from whom himself had challenged forth. 
  Ajax advancing like a tower his shield
  Sevenfold, approach’d.  It was the labor’d work
  Of Tychius, armorer of matchless skill,
  Who dwelt in Hyla; coated with the hides 260
  Of seven high-pamper’d bulls that shield he framed
  For Ajax, and the disk plated with brass. 
  Advancing it before his breast, the son
  Of Telamon approach’d the Trojan Chief,
  And face to face, him threatening, thus began. 265
    Now, Hector, prove, by me alone opposed,
  What Chiefs the Danai can furnish forth
  In absence of the lion-hearted prince
  Achilles, breaker of the ranks of war. 
  He, in his billow-cleaving barks incensed 270
  Against our leader Agamemnon, lies;
  But warriors of my measure, who may serve
  To cope with thee, we want not; numerous such
  Are found amongst us.  But begin the fight. 
    To whom majestic Hector fierce in arms. 275
  Ajax! heroic leader of the Greeks! 
  Offspring of Telamon! essay not me
  With words to terrify, as I were boy. 
  Or girl unskill’d in war;[9] I am a man
  Well exercised in battle, who have shed 280
  The blood of many a warrior, and have learn’d,
  From hand to hand shifting my shield, to fight
  Unwearied; I can make a sport of war,
  In standing fight adjusting all my steps
  To martial measures sweet, or vaulting light 285
  Into my chariot, thence can urge the foe. 
  Yet in contention with a Chief like thee
  I will employ no stratagem, or seek
  To smite thee privily, but with a stroke
  (If I may reach thee) visible to all. 290
    So saying, he shook, then hurl’d his massy spear
  At Ajax, and his broad shield sevenfold
  On its eighth surface of resplendent brass
  Smote full; six hides the unblunted weapon pierced,
  But in the seventh stood rooted.  Ajax, next, 295
  Heroic Chief, hurl’d his long shadow’d spear
  And struck the oval shield of Priam’s son. 
  Through his bright disk the weapon tempest-driven
  Glided, and in his hauberk-rings infixt
  At his soft flank, ripp’d wide his vest within. 300
  Inclined oblique he ’scaped the dreadful doom
  Then each from other’s shield his massy spear
  Recovering quick, like lions hunger-pinch’d
  Or wild boars irresistible in force,

Page 89

  They fell to close encounter.  Priam’s son 305
  The shield of Ajax at its centre smote,
  But fail’d to pierce it, for he bent his point. 
  Sprang Ajax then, and meeting full the targe
  Of Hector, shock’d him; through it and beyond
  He urged the weapon with its sliding edge 310
  Athwart his neck, and blood was seen to start. 
  But still, for no such cause, from battle ceased
  Crest-tossing Hector, but retiring, seized
  A huge stone angled sharp and black with age
  That on the champain lay.  The bull-hide guard 315
  Sevenfold of Ajax with that stone he smote
  Full on its centre; sang the circling brass. 
  Then Ajax far a heavier stone upheaved;
  He whirled it, and with might immeasurable
  Dismiss’d the mass, which with a mill-stone weight 320
  Sank through the shield of Hector, and his knees
  Disabled; with his shield supine he fell,
  But by Apollo raised, stood soon again. 
  And now, with swords they had each other hewn,
  Had not the messengers of Gods and men 325
  The heralds wise, Idaeus on the part
  Of Ilium, and Talthybius for the Greeks,
  Advancing interposed.  His sceptre each
  Between them held, and thus Idaeus spake.[10]
    My children, cease! prolong not still the fight. 330
  Ye both are dear to cloud-assembler Jove,
  Both valiant, and all know it.  But the Night
  Hath fallen, and Night’s command must be obeyed. 
    To him the son of Telamon replied. 
  Idaeus! bid thy master speak as thou. 335
  He is the challenger.  If such his choice,
  Mine differs not; I wait but to comply. 
    Him answer’d then heroic Hector huge. 
  Since, Ajax, the immortal powers on thee
  Have bulk pre-eminent and strength bestow’d, 340
  With such address in battle, that the host
  Of Greece hath not thine equal at the spear,
  Now let the combat cease.  We shall not want
  More fair occasion; on some future day
  We will not part till all-disposing heaven 345
  Shall give thee victory, or shall make her mine. 
  But Night hath fallen, and Night must be obey’d,
  That them may’st gratify with thy return
  The Achaians, and especially thy friends
  And thy own countrymen.  I go, no less 350
  To exhilarate in Priam’s royal town
  Men and robed matrons, who shall seek the Gods
  For me, with pious ceremonial due. 
  But come.  We will exchange, or ere we part,
  Some princely gift, that Greece and Troy may say 355
  Hereafter, with soul-wasting rage they fought,
  But parted with the gentleness of friends. 
    So saying, he with his sheath and belt a sword
  Presented bright-emboss’d, and a bright belt
  Purpureal[11] took from Ajax in return.

Page 90

  Thus separated, one the Grecians sought,
  And one the Trojans; they when him they saw
  From the unconquer’d hands return’d alive
  Of Ajax, with delight their Chief received,
  And to the city led him, double joy 365
  Conceiving all at his unhoped escape. 
  On the other side, the Grecians brazen-mail’d
  To noble Agamemnon introduced
  Exulting Ajax, and the King of men
  In honor of the conqueror slew an ox 370
  Of the fifth year to Jove omnipotent. 
  Him flaying first, they carved him next and spread
  The whole abroad, then, scoring deep the flesh,
  They pierced it with the spits, and from the spits
  (Once roasted well) withdrew it all again. 375
  Their labor thus accomplish’d, and the board
  Furnish’d with plenteous cheer, they feasted all
  Till all were satisfied; nor Ajax miss’d
  The conqueror’s meed, to whom the hero-king
  Wide-ruling Agamemnon, gave the chine[12] 380
  Perpetual,[13] his distinguish’d portion due. 
  The calls of hunger and of thirst at length
  Both well sufficed, thus, foremost of them all
  The ancient Nestor, whose advice had oft
  Proved salutary, prudent thus began. 385
    Chiefs of Achaia, and thou, chief of all,
  Great Agamemnon!  Many of our host
  Lie slain, whose blood sprinkles, in battle shed,
  The banks of smooth Scamander, and their souls
  Have journey’d down into the realms of death. 390
  To-morrow, therefore, let the battle pause
  As need requires, and at the peep of day
  With mules and oxen, wheel ye from all parts
  The dead, that we may burn them near the fleet. 
  So, home to Greece returning, will we give 395
  The fathers’ ashes to the children’s care. 
  Accumulating next, the pile around,
  One common tomb for all, with brisk dispatch
  We will upbuild for more secure defence
  Of us and of our fleet, strong towers and tall 400
  Adjoining to the tomb, and every tower
  Shall have its ponderous gate, commodious pass
  Affording to the mounted charioteer. 
  And last, without those towers and at their foot,
  Dig we a trench, which compassing around 405
  Our camp, both steeds and warriors shall exclude,
  And all fierce inroad of the haughty foe. 
    So counsell’d he, whom every Chief approved. 
  In Troy meantime, at Priam’s gate beside
  The lofty citadel, debate began 410
  The assembled senators between, confused,
  Clamorous, and with furious heat pursued,
  When them Antenor, prudent, thus bespake. 
    Ye Trojans, Dardans, and allies of Troy,
  My counsel hear!  Delay not.  Instant yield 415

Page 91

  To the Atridae, hence to be convey’d,
  Helen of Greece with all that is her own. 
  For charged with violated oaths we fight,
  And hope I none conceive that aught by us
  Design’d shall prosper, unless so be done. 420
    He spake and sat; when from his seat arose
  Paris, fair Helen’s noble paramour,
  Who thus with speech impassion’d quick replied. 
    Antenor! me thy counsel hath not pleased;
  Thou could’st have framed far better; but if this 425
  Be thy deliberate judgment, then the Gods
  Make thy deliberate judgment nothing worth. 
  But I will speak myself.  Ye Chiefs of Troy,
  I tell you plain.  I will not yield my spouse. 
  But all her treasures to our house convey’d 430
  From Argos, those will I resign, and add
  Still other compensation from my own. 
    Thus Paris said and sat; when like the Gods
  Themselves in wisdom, from his seat uprose
  Dardanian Priam, who them thus address’d. 435
    Trojans, Dardanians, and allies of Troy! 
  I shall declare my sentence; hear ye me. 
  Now let the legions, as at other times,
  Take due refreshment; let the watch be set,
  And keep ye vigilant guard.  At early dawn 440
  We will dispatch Idaeus to the fleet,
  Who shall inform the Atridae of this last
  Resolve of Paris, author of the war. 
  Discreet Idaeus also shall propose
  A respite (if the Atridae so incline) 445
  From war’s dread clamor, while we burn the dead. 
  Then will we clash again, till heaven at length
  Shall part us, and the doubtful strife decide. 
    He ceased, whose voice the assembly pleased, obey’d. 
  Then, troop by troop, the army took repast, 450
  And at the dawn Idaeus sought the fleet. 
  He found the Danai, servants of Mars,
  Beside the stern of Agamemnon’s ship
  Consulting; and amid the assembled Chiefs
  Arrived, with utterance clear them thus address’d. 455
    Ye sons of Atreus, and ye Chiefs, the flower
  Of all Achaia!  Priam and the Chiefs
  Of Ilium, bade me to your ear impart
  (If chance such embassy might please your ear)
  The mind of Paris, author of the war. 460
  The treasures which on board his ships he brought
  From Argos home (oh, had he perish’d first!)
  He yields them with addition from his own. 
  Not so the consort of the glorious prince
  Brave Menelaus; her (although in Troy 465
  All counsel otherwise) he still detains. 
  Thus too I have in charge.  Are ye inclined
  That the dread sounding clamors of the field
  Be caused to cease till we shall burn the dead? 
  Then will we clash again, ’till heaven at length 470
  Shall part us, and the doubtful strife

Page 92

    So spake Idaeus, and all silent sat;
  Till at the last brave Diomede replied. 
    No.  We will none of Paris’ treasures now,
  Nor even Helen’s self.  A child may see 475
  Destruction winging swift her course to Troy. 
    He said.  The admiring Greeks with loud applause
  All praised the speech of warlike Diomede,
  And answer thus the King of men return’d. 
    Idaeus! thou hast witness’d the resolve 480
  Of the Achaian Chiefs, whose choice is mine. 
  But for the slain, I shall not envy them
  A funeral pile; the spirit fled, delay
  Suits not.  Last rites can not too soon be paid. 
  Burn them.  And let high-thundering Jove attest 485
  Himself mine oath, that war shall cease the while. 
    So saying, he to all the Gods upraised
  His sceptre, and Idaeus homeward sped
  To sacred Ilium.  The Dardanians there
  And Trojans, all assembled, his return 490
  Expected anxious.  He amid them told
  Distinct his errand, when, at once dissolved,
  The whole assembly rose, these to collect
  The scatter’d bodies, those to gather wood;
  While on the other side, the Greeks arose 495
  As sudden, and all issuing from the fleet
  Sought fuel, some, and some, the scatter’d dead. 
    Now from the gently-swelling flood profound
  The sun arising, with his earliest rays
  In his ascent to heaven smote on the fields. 500
  When Greeks and Trojans met.  Scarce could the slain
  Be clear distinguish’d, but they cleansed from each
  His clotted gore with water, and warm tears
  Distilling copious, heaved them to the wains. 
  But wailing none was heard, for such command 505
  Had Priam issued; therefore heaping high
  The bodies, silent and with sorrowing hearts
  They burn’d them, and to sacred Troy return’d. 
  The Grecians also, on the funeral pile
  The bodies heaping sad, burn’d them with fire 510
  Together, and return’d into the fleet. 
  Then, ere the peep of dawn, and while the veil
  Of night, though thinner, still o’erhung the earth,
  Achaians, chosen from the rest, the pile
  Encompass’d.  With a tomb (one tomb for all) 515
  They crown’d the spot adust, and to the tomb
  (For safety of their fleet and of themselves)
  Strong fortress added of high wall and tower,
  With solid gates affording egress thence
  Commodious to the mounted charioteer; 520
  Deep foss and broad they also dug without,
  And planted it with piles.  So toil’d the Greeks. 
    The Gods, that mighty labor, from beside
  The Thunderer’s throne with admiration view’d,
  When Neptune, shaker of the shores, began. 525
    Eternal father! is there on

Page 93

the face
  Of all the boundless earth one mortal man
  Who will, in times to come, consult with heaven? 
  See’st thou yon height of wall, and yon deep trench
  With which the Grecians have their fleet inclosed, 530
  And, careless of our blessing, hecatomb
  Or invocation have presented none? 
  Far as the day-spring shoots herself abroad,
  So far the glory of this work shall spread,
  While Phoebus and myself, who, toiling hard, 535
  Built walls for king Laomedon, shall see
  Forgotten all the labor of our hands. 
    To whom, indignant, thus high-thundering Jove. 
  Oh thou, who shakest the solid earth at will,
  What hast thou spoken?  An inferior power, 540
  A god of less sufficiency than thou,
  Might be allowed some fear from such a cause. 
  Fear not.  Where’er the morning shoots her beams,
  Thy glory shall be known; and when the Greeks
  Shall seek their country through the waves again, 545
  Then break this bulwark down, submerge it whole,
  And spreading deep with sand the spacious shore
  As at the first, leave not a trace behind. 
    Such conference held the Gods; and now the sun
  Went down, and, that great work perform’d, the Greeks 550
  From tent to tent slaughter’d the fatted ox
  And ate their evening cheer.  Meantime arrived
  Large fleet with Lemnian wine; Euneus, son
  Of Jason and Hypsipile, that fleet
  From Lemnos freighted, and had stow’d on board 555
  A thousand measures from the rest apart
  For the Atridae; but the host at large
  By traffic were supplied; some barter’d brass,
  Others bright steel; some purchased wine with hides,
  These with their cattle, with their captives those, 560
  And the whole host prepared a glad regale. 
  All night the Grecians feasted, and the host
  Of Ilium, and all night deep-planning Jove
  Portended dire calamities to both,
  Thundering tremendous!—­Pale was every cheek; 565
  Each pour’d his goblet on the ground, nor dared
  The hardiest drink, ’till he had first perform’d
  Libation meet to the Saturnian King
  Omnipotent; then, all retiring, sought
  Their couches, and partook the gift of sleep. 570




Jove calls a council, in which he forbids all interference of the Gods between the Greeks and Trojans.  He repairs to Ida, where, having consulted the scales of destiny, he directs his lightning against the Grecians.  Nestor is endangered by the death of one of his horses.  Diomede delivers him.  In the chariot of Diomede they both hasten to engage Hector, whose charioteer is slain by Diomede.  Jupiter again interposes by his thunders, and the whole Grecian host, discomfited, is obliged to seek refuge within the rampart.  Diomede, with others, at sight of a favorable omen sent from Jove in answer to Agamemnon’s prayer, sallies.  Teucer performs great exploits, but is disabled by Hector.  Juno and Pallas set forth from Olympus in aid of the Grecians, but are stopped by Jupiter, who reascends from Ida, and in heaven foretells the distresses which await the Grecians.

Page 94

Hector takes measures for the security of Troy during the night, and prepares his host for an assault to be made on the Grecian camp in the morning.


  The saffron-mantled morning[1] now was spread
  O’er all the nations, when the Thunderer Jove
  On the deep-fork’d Olympian topmost height
  Convened the Gods in council, amid whom
  He spake himself; they all attentive heard. 5
    Gods!  Goddesses!  Inhabitants of heaven! 
  Attend; I make my secret purpose known. 
  Let neither God nor Goddess interpose
  My counsel to rescind, but with one heart
  Approve it, that it reach, at once, its end. 10
  Whom I shall mark soever from the rest
  Withdrawn, that he may Greeks or Trojans aid,
  Disgrace shall find him; shamefully chastised
  He shall return to the Olympian heights,
  Or I will hurl him deep into the gulfs 15
  Of gloomy Tartarus, where Hell shuts fast
  Her iron gates, and spreads her brazen floor,
  As far below the shades, as earth from heaven. 
  There shall he learn how far I pass in might
  All others; which if ye incline to doubt, 20
  Now prove me.  Let ye down the golden chain[2]
  From heaven, and at its nether links pull all,
  Both Goddesses and Gods.  But me your King,
  Supreme in wisdom, ye shall never draw
  To earth from heaven, toil adverse as ye may. 25
  Yet I, when once I shall be pleased to pull,
  The earth itself, itself the sea, and you
  Will lift with ease together, and will wind
  The chain around the spiry summit sharp
  Of the Olympian, that all things upheaved 30
  Shall hang in the mid heaven.  So far do I,
  Compared with all who live, transcend them all. 
    He ended, and the Gods long time amazed
  Sat silent, for with awful tone he spake: 
  But at the last Pallas blue-eyed began. 35
    Father!  Saturnian Jove! of Kings supreme! 
  We know thy force resistless; but our hearts
  Feel not the less, when we behold the Greeks
  Exhausting all the sorrows of their lot. 
  If thou command, we, doubtless, will abstain 40
  From battle, yet such counsel to the Greeks
  Suggesting still, as may in part effect
  Their safety, lest thy wrath consume them all. 
    To whom with smiles answer’d cloud-gatherer Jove. 
  Fear not, my child! stern as mine accent was, 45
  I forced a frown—­no more.  For in mine heart
  Nought feel I but benevolence to thee. 
    He said, and to his chariot join’d his steeds
  Swift, brazen-hoof’d, and mailed with wavy gold;
  He put on golden raiment, his bright scourge 50
  Of gold receiving rose into his seat,

Page 95

  And lash’d his steeds; they not unwilling flew
  Midway the earth between and starry heaven. 
  To spring-fed Ida, mother of wild beasts,
  He came, where stands in Gargarus[3] his shrine 55
  Breathing fresh incense! there the Sire of all
  Arriving, loosed his coursers, and around
  Involving them in gather’d clouds opaque,
  Sat on the mountain’s head, in his own might
  Exulting, with the towers of Ilium all 60
  Beneath his eye, and the whole fleet of Greece. 
    In all their tents, meantime, Achaia’s sons
  Took short refreshment, and for fight prepared. 
  On the other side, though fewer, yet constrain’d
  By strong necessity, throughout all Troy, 65
  In the defence of children and wives
  Ardent, the Trojans panted for the field. 
  Wide flew the city gates:  forth rush’d to war
  Horsemen and foot, and tumult wild arose. 
  They met, they clash’d; loud was the din of spears 70
  And bucklers on their bosoms brazen-mail’d
  Encountering, shields in opposition from
  Met bossy shields, and tumult wild arose.[4]
    There many a shout and many a dying groan
  Were heard, the slayer and the maim’d aloud 75
  Clamoring, and the earth was drench’d with blood. 
  ’Till sacred morn[5] had brighten’d into noon,
  The vollied weapons on both sides their task
  Perform’d effectual, and the people fell. 
  But when the sun had climb’d the middle skies, 80
  The Sire of all then took his golden scales;[6]
  Doom against doom he weigh’d, the eternal fates
  In counterpoise, of Trojans and of Greeks. 
  He rais’d the beam; low sank the heavier lot
  Of the Achaians; the Achaian doom 85
  Subsided, and the Trojan struck the skies. 
    Then roar’d the thunders from the summit hurl’d
  of Ida, and his vivid lightnings flew
  Into Achaia’s host.  They at the sight
  Astonish’d stood; fear whiten’d every cheek.[7] 90
  Idomeneus dared not himself abide
  That shock, nor Agamemnon stood, nor stood
  The heroes Ajax, ministers of Mars. 
  Gerenian Nestor, guardian of the Greeks,
  Alone fled not, nor he by choice remain’d, 95
  But by his steed retarded, which the mate
  Of beauteous Helen, Paris, with a shaft
  Had stricken where the forelock grows, a part
  Of all most mortal.  Tortured by the wound
  Erect he rose, the arrow in his brain, 100
  And writhing furious, scared his fellow-steeds. 
  Meantime, while, strenuous, with his falchion’s edge
  The hoary warrior stood slashing the reins,
  Through multitudes of fierce pursuers borne
  On rapid wheels, the dauntless charioteer 105
  Approach’d him, Hector.  Then, past hope, had died

Page 96

  The ancient King, but Diomede discern’d
  His peril imminent, and with a voice
  Like thunder, called Ulysses to his aid. 
    Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d! 110
  Art thou too fugitive, and turn’st thy back
  Like the base multitude?  Ah! fear a lance
  Implanted ignominious in thy spine. 
  Stop—­Nestor dies.  Fell Hector is at hand. 
    So shouted Diomede, whose summons loud, 115
  Ulysses yet heard not, but, passing, flew
  With headlong haste to the Achaian fleet. 
  Then, Diomede, unaided as he was,
  Rush’d ardent to the vanward, and before
  The steeds of the Neleian sovereign old 120
  Standing, in accents wing’d, him thus address’d. 
    Old Chief! these youthful warriors are too brisk
  For thee, press’d also by encroaching age,
  Thy servant too is feeble, and thy steeds
  Are tardy.  Mount my chariot.  Thou shalt see 125
  With what rapidity the steeds of Troy,
  Pursuing or retreating, scour the field. 
  I took them from that terror of his foes,
  AEneas.  Thine to our attendants leave,
  While these against the warlike powers of Troy 130
  We push direct; that Hector’s self may know
  If my spear rage not furious as his own. 
    He said, nor the Gerenian Chief refused. 
  Thenceforth their servants, Sthenelus and good
  Eurymedon, took charge of Nestor’s steeds, 135
  And they the chariot of Tydides both
  Ascended; Nestor seized the reins, plied well
  The scourge, and soon they met.  Tydides hurl’d
  At Hector first, while rapid he advanced;
  But missing Hector, wounded in the breast 140
  Eniopeus his charioteer, the son
  Of brave Thebaeus, managing the steeds. 
  He fell; his fiery coursers at the sound
  Startled, recoil’d, and where he fell he died. 
  Deep sorrow for his charioteer o’erwhelm’d 145
  The mind of Hector; yet, although he mourn’d
  He left him, and another sought as brave. 
  Nor wanted long his steeds a charioteer,
  For finding soon the son of Iphitus,
  Bold Archeptolemus, he bade him mount 150
  His chariot, and the reins gave to his hand. 
  Then deeds of bloodiest note should have ensued,
  Penn’d had the Trojans been, as lambs, in Troy,
  But for quick succor of the sire of all. 
  Thundering, he downward hurled his candent bolt 155
  To the horse-feet of Diomede; dire fumed
  The flaming sulphur, and both horses drove
  Under the axle, belly to the ground. 
  Forth flew the splendid reins from Nestor’s hand,
  And thus to Diomede, appall’d, he spake. 160
    Back to the fleet, Tydides!  Can’st not see
  That Jove ordains not, now, the victory thine? 

Page 97

  The son of Saturn glorifies to-day
  This Trojan, and, if such his will, can make
  The morrow ours; but vain it is to thwart 165
  The mind of Jove, for he is Lord of all. 
    To him the valiant Diomede replied. 
  Thou hast well said, old warrior! but the pang
  That wrings my soul, is this.  The public ear
  In Ilium shall from Hector’s lips be told—­ 170
  I drove Tydides—­fearing me he fled. 
  So shall he vaunt, and may the earth her jaws
  That moment opening swallow me alive! 
    Him answer’d the Gerenian warrior old. 
  What saith the son of Tydeus, glorious Chief? 175
  Should Hector so traduce thee as to call
  Thee base and timid, neither Trojan him
  Nor Dardan would believe, nor yet the wives
  Of numerous shielded warriors brave of Troy,
  Widow’d by thy unconquerable arm. 180
    So saying, he through the fugitives his steeds
  Turn’d swift to flight.  Then Hector and his host
  With clamor infinite their darts wo-wing’d
  Shower’d after them, and Hector, mighty Chief
  Majestic, from afar, thus call’d aloud. 185
    Tydides! thee the Danai swift-horsed
  Were wont to grace with a superior seat,
  The mess of honor, and the brimming cup,
  But now will mock thee.  Thou art woman now. 
  Go, timorous girl!  Thou never shalt behold 190
  Me flying, climb our battlements, or lead
  Our women captive.  I will slay thee first. 
    He ceased.  Then Diomede in dread suspense
  Thrice purposed, turning, to withstand the foe,
  And thrice in thunder from the mountain-top 195
  Jove gave the signal of success to Troy. 
  When Hector thus the Trojans hail’d aloud. 
    Trojans and Lycians, and close-warring sons
  Of Dardanus, oh summon all your might,
  Now, now be men!  I know that from his heart 200
  Saturnian Jove glory and bright success
  For me prepares, but havoc for the Greeks. 
  Fools! they shall find this wall which they have raised
  Too weak to check my course, a feeble guard
  Contemptible; such also is the trench; 205
  My steeds shall slight it with an easy leap. 
  But when ye see me in their fleet arrived,
  Remember fire.  Then bring me flaming brands
  That I may burn their galleys and themselves
  Slaughter beside them, struggling in the smoke.[8] 210
    He spake, and thus encouraged next his steeds. 
  Xanthus!  Podargus! and ye generous pair
  AEthon and glossy Lampus! now requite
  Mine, and the bounty of Andromache,
  Far-famed Eetion’s daughter; she your bowl 215
  With corn fresh-flavor’d and with wine full oft
  Hath mingled, your refreshment seeking first
  Ere mine, who have a youthful husband’s

Page 98

  Now follow! now be swift; that we may seize
  The shield of Nestor, bruited to the skies 220
  As golden all, trappings and disk alike. 
  Now from the shoulders of the equestrian Chief
  Tydides tear we off his splendid mail,
  The work of Vulcan.[10] May we take but these,
  I have good hope that, ere this night be spent, 225
  The Greeks shall climb their galleys and away. 
    So vaunted he, but Juno with disdain
  His proud boast heard, and shuddering in her throne,
  Rock’d the Olympian; turning then toward
  The Ocean’s mighty sovereign, thus she spake. 230
    Alas! earth-shaking sovereign of the waves,
  Feel’st thou no pity of the perishing Greeks? 
  Yet Greece, in Helice, with gifts nor few
  Nor sordid, and in AEgae, honors thee,
  Whom therefore thou shouldst prosper.  Would we all 235
  Who favor Greece associate to repulse
  The Trojans, and to check loud-thundering Jove,
  On Ida seated he might lour alone. 
    To whom the Sovereign, Shaker of the Shores,
  Indignant.  Juno! rash in speech! what word 240
  Hath ’scaped thy lips? never, with my consent,
  Shall we, the powers subordinate, in arms
  With Jove contend.  He far excels us all. 
    So they.  Meantime, the trench and wall between,[11]
  The narrow interval with steeds was fill’d 245
  Close throng’d and shielded warriors.  There immew’d
  By Priameian Hector, fierce as Mars,
  They stood, for Hector had the help of Jove. 
  And now with blazing fire their gallant barks
  He had consumed, but Juno moved the mind 250
  Of Agamemnon, vigilant himself,
  To exhortation of Achaia’s host. 
  Through camp and fleet the monarch took his way,
  And, his wide robe imperial in his hand,
  High on Ulysses’ huge black galley stood, 255
  The central ship conspicuous; thence his voice
  Might reach the most remote of all the line
  At each extreme, where Ajax had his tent
  Pitch’d, and Achilles, fearless of surprise. 
  Thence, with loud voice, the Grecians thus he hail’d. 260
    Oh shame to Greece!  Warriors in show alone! 
  Where is your boasted prowess?  Ye profess’d
  Vain-glorious erst in Lemnos, while ye fed
  Plenteously on the flesh of beeves full-grown,
  And crown’d your beakers high, that ye would face 265
  Each man a hundred Trojans in the field—­
  Ay, twice a hundred—­yet are all too few
  To face one Hector now; nor doubt I aught
  But he shall soon fire the whole fleet of Greece. 
  Jove!  Father! what great sovereign ever felt 270
  Thy frowns as I?  Whom hast thou shamed as me? 
  Yet I neglected not, through all the course
  Of our disasterous voyage (in the hope

Page 99

  That we should vanquish Troy) thy sacred rites,
  But where I found thine altar, piled it high 275
  With fat and flesh of bulls, on every shore. 
  But oh, vouchsafe to us, that we at least
  Ourselves, deliver’d, may escape the sword,
  Nor let their foes thus tread the Grecians down! 
    He said.  The eternal father pitying saw 280
  His tears, and for the monarch’s sake preserved
  The people.  Instant, surest of all signs,
  He sent his eagle; in his pounces strong
  A fawn he bore, fruit of the nimble hind,
  Which fast beside the beauteous altar raised 285
  To Panomphaean[12] Jove sudden he dropp’d.[13]
    They, conscious, soon, that sent from Jove he came,
  More ardent sprang to fight.  Then none of all
  Those numerous Chiefs could boast that he outstripp’d
  Tydides, urging forth beyond the foss 290
  His rapid steeds, and rushing to the war. 
  He, foremost far, a Trojan slew, the son
  Of Phradmon, Agelaeus; as he turn’d
  His steeds to flight, him turning with his spear
  Through back and bosom Diomede transpierced. 295
  And with loud clangor of his arms he fell. 
  Then, royal Agamemnon pass’d the trench
  And Menelaus; either Ajax, then,
  Clad with fresh prowess both; them follow’d, next,
  Idomeneus, with his heroic friend 300
  In battle dread as homicidal Mars,
  Meriones; Evaemon’s son renown’d
  Succeeded, bold Eurypylus; and ninth
  Teucer, wide-straining his impatient bow. 
  He under covert fought of the broad shield 305
  Of Telamonian Ajax; Ajax high
  Upraised his shield; the hero from beneath
  Took aim, and whom his arrow struck, he fell;
  Then close as to his mother’s side a child
  For safety creeps, Teucer to Ajax’ side 310
  Retired, and Ajax shielded him again. 
  Whom then slew Teucer first, illustrious Chief? 
  Orsilochus, and Ophelestes, first,
  And Ormenus he slew, then Daetor died,
  Chromius and Lycophontes brave in fight 315
  With Amopaon Polyaemon’s son,
  And Melanippus.  These, together heap’d,
  All fell by Teucer on the plain of Troy. 
  The Trojan ranks thinn’d by his mighty bow
  The King of armies Agamemnon saw 320
  Well-pleased, and him approaching, thus began. 
    Brave Telamonian Teucer, oh, my friend,
  Thus shoot, that light may visit once again
  The Danai, and Telamon rejoice! 
  Thee Telamon within his own abode 325
  Rear’d although spurious; mount him, in return,
  Although remote, on glory’s heights again. 
  I tell thee, and the effect shall follow sure,
  Let but the Thunderer and Minerva grant
  The pillage of fair Ilium to the Greeks,

Page 100

  And I will give to thy victorious hand,
  After my own, the noblest recompense,
  A tripod or a chariot with its steeds,
  Or some fair captive to partake thy bed. 
    To whom the generous Teucer thus replied. 335
  Atrides! glorious monarch! wherefore me
  Exhortest thou to battle? who myself
  Glow with sufficient ardor, and such strength
  As heaven affords me spare not to employ. 
  Since first we drove them back, with watchful eye 340
  Their warriors I have mark’d; eight shafts my bow
  Hath sent long-barb’d, and every shaft, well-aim’d. 
  The body of some Trojan youth robust
  Hath pierced, but still you ravening wolf escapes. 
    He said, and from the nerve another shaft 345
  Impatient sent at Hector; but it flew
  Devious, and brave Gorgythion struck instead. 
  Him beautiful Castianira, brought
  By Priam from AEsyma, nymph of form
  Celestial, to the King of Ilium bore. 350
  As in the garden, with the weight surcharged
  Of its own fruit, and drench’d by vernal rains
  The poppy falls oblique, so he his head
  Hung languid, by his helmet’s weight depress’d.[14]
  Then Teucer yet an arrow from the nerve 355
  Dispatch’d at Hector, with impatience fired
  To pierce him; but again his weapon err’d
  Turn’d by Apollo, and the bosom struck
  Of Archeptolemus, his rapid steeds
  To battle urging, Hector’s charioteer. 360
  He fell, his fiery coursers at the sound
  Recoil’d, and lifeless where he fell he lay. 
  Deep sorrow for his charioteer the mind
  O’erwhelm’d of Hector, yet he left the slain,
  And seeing his own brother nigh at hand, 365
  Cebriones, him summon’d to the reins,
  Who with alacrity that charge received. 
  Then Hector, leaping with a dreadful shout
  From his resplendent chariot, grasp’d a stone,
  And rush’d on Teucer, vengeance in his heart. 370
  Teucer had newly fitted to the nerve
  An arrow keen selected from the rest,
  And warlike Hector, while he stood the cord
  Retracting, smote him with that rugged rock
  Just where the key-bone interposed divides 375
  The neck and bosom, a most mortal part. 
  It snapp’d the bow-string, and with numbing force
  Struck dead his hand; low on his knees he dropp’d,
  And from his opening grasp let fall the bow. 
  Then not unmindful of a brother fallen 380
  Was Ajax, but, advancing rapid, stalk’d
  Around him, and his broad shield interposed,
  Till brave Alaster and Mecisteus, son
  Of Echius, friends of Teucer, from the earth
  Upraised and bore him groaning to the fleet. 385
  And now again fresh force Olympian Jove

Page 101

  Gave to the Trojans; right toward the foss
  They drove the Greeks, while Hector in the van
  Advanced, death menacing in every look. 
    As some fleet hound close-threatening flank or haunch 390
  Of boar or lion, oft as he his head
  Turns flying, marks him with a steadfast eye,
  So Hector chased the Grecians, slaying still
  The hindmost of the scatter’d multitude. 
  But when, at length, both piles and hollow foss 395
  They had surmounted, and no few had fallen
  By Trojan hands, within their fleet they stood
  Imprison’d, calling each to each, and prayer
  With lifted hands, loud offering to the Gods. 
  With Gorgon looks, meantime, and eyes of Mars, 400
  Hector impetuous his mane-tossing steeds
  From side to side before the rampart drove,
  When white-arm’d Juno pitying the Greeks,
  In accents wing’d her speech to Pallas turn’d. 
    Alas, Jove’s daughter! shall not we at least 405
  In this extremity of their distress
  Care for the Grecians by the fatal force
  Of this one Chief destroy’d?  I can endure
  The rage of Priameian Hector now
  No longer; such dire mischiefs he hath wrought. 410
    Whom answer’d thus Pallas, caerulean-eyed. 
  —­And Hector had himself long since his life
  Resign’d and rage together, by the Greeks
  Slain under Ilium’s walls, but Jove, my sire,
  Mad counsels executing and perverse, 415
  Me counterworks in all that I attempt,
  Nor aught remembers how I saved ofttimes
  His son enjoin’d full many a task severe
  By King Eurystheus; to the Gods he wept,
  And me Jove sent in haste to his relief. 420
  But had I then foreseen what now I know,
  When through the adamantine gates he pass’d
  To bind the dog of hell, by the deep floods
  Hemm’d in of Styx, he had return’d no more. 
  But Thetis wins him now; her will prevails, 425
  And mine he hates; for she hath kiss’d his knees
  And grasp’d his beard, and him in prayer implored
  That he would honor her heroic son
  Achilles, city-waster prince renown’d. 
  ’Tis well—­the day shall come when Jove again 430
  Shall call me darling, and his blue-eyed maid
  As heretofore;—­but thou thy steeds prepare,
  While I, my father’s mansion entering, arm
  For battle.  I would learn by trial sure,
  If Hector, Priam’s offspring famed in fight 435
  (Ourselves appearing in the walks of war)
  Will greet us gladly.  Doubtless at the fleet
  Some Trojan also, shall to dogs resign
  His flesh for food, and to the fowls of heaven. 
    So counsell’d Pallas, nor the daughter dread 440
  Of mighty Saturn, Juno, disapproved,
  But busily and with dispatch prepared
  The trappings of her coursers golden-rein’d. 

Page 102

  Meantime, Minerva progeny of Jove,
  On the adamantine floor of his abode 445
  Let fall profuse her variegated robe,
  Labor of her own hands.  She first put on
  The corslet of the cloud-assembler God,
  Then arm’d her for the field of wo, complete. 
  Mounting the fiery chariot, next she seized 450
  Her ponderous spear, huge, irresistible,
  With which Jove’s awful daughter levels ranks
  Of heroes against whom her anger burns. 
  Juno with lifted lash urged on the steeds. 
  At their approach, spontaneous roar’d the wide- 455
  Unfolding gates of heaven; the heavenly gates
  Kept by the watchful Hours, to whom the charge
  Of the Olympian summit appertains,
  And of the boundless ether, back to roll,
  And to replace the cloudy barrier dense. 460
  Spurr’d through the portal flew the rapid steeds: 
  Which when the Eternal Father from the heights
  Of Ida saw, kindling with instant ire
  To golden-pinion’d Iris thus he spake. 
    Haste, Iris, turn them thither whence they came; 465
  Me let them not encounter; honor small
  To them, to me, should from that strife accrue. 
  Tell them, and the effect shall sure ensue,
  That I will smite their steeds, and they shall halt
  Disabled; break their chariot, dash themselves 470
  Headlong, and ten whole years shall not efface
  The wounds by my avenging bolts impress’d. 
  So shall my blue-eyed daughter learn to dread
  A father’s anger; but for the offence
  Of Juno, I resent it less; for she 475
  Clashes[15] with all my counsels from of old. 
  He ended; Iris with a tempest’s speed
  From the Idaean summit soar’d at once
  To the Olympian; at the open gates
  Exterior of the mountain many-valed 480
  She stayed them, and her coming thus declared. 
    Whither, and for what cause?  What rage is this? 
  Ye may not aid the Grecians; Jove forbids;
  The son of Saturn threatens, if ye force
  His wrath by perseverance into act, 485
  That he will smite your steeds, and they shall halt
  Disabled; break your chariot, dash yourselves
  Headlong, and ten whole years shall not efface
  The wounds by his avenging bolts impress’d. 
  So shall his blue-eyed daughter learn to dread 490
  A father’s anger; but for the offence
  Of Juno, he resents it less; for she
  Clashes with all his counsels from of old. 
  But thou, Minerva, if thou dare indeed
  Lift thy vast spear against the breast of Jove, 495
  Incorrigible art and dead to shame. 
    So saying, the rapid Iris disappear’d,
  And thus her speech to Pallas Juno turn’d. 
    Ah Pallas, progeny of Jove! henceforth

Page 103

  No longer, in the cause of mortal men, 500
  Contend we against Jove.  Perish or live
  Grecians or Trojans as he wills; let him
  Dispose the order of his own concerns,
  And judge between them, as of right he may. 
    So saying, she turn’d the coursers; them the Hours 505
  Released, and to ambrosial mangers bound,
  Then thrust their chariot to the luminous wall. 
  They, mingling with the Gods, on golden thrones
  Dejected sat, and Jove from Ida borne
  Reach’d the Olympian heights, seat of the Gods. 510
  His steeds the glorious King of Ocean loosed,
  And thrust the chariot, with its veil o’erspread. 
  Into its station at the altar’s side. 
  Then sat the Thunderer on his throne of gold
  Himself, and the huge mountain shook.  Meantime 515
  Juno and Pallas, seated both apart,
  Spake not or question’d him.  Their mute reserve
  He noticed, conscious of the cause, and said. 
    Juno and Pallas, wherefore sit ye sad? 
  Not through fatigue by glorious fight incurr’d 520
  And slaughter of the Trojans whom ye hate. 
  Mark now the difference.  Not the Gods combined
  Should have constrain’d me back, till all my force,
  Superior as it is, had fail’d, and all
  My fortitude.  But ye, ere ye beheld 525
  The wonders of the field, trembling retired. 
  And ye did well—­Hear what had else befallen. 
  My bolts had found you both, and ye had reach’d,
  In your own chariot borne, the Olympian height,
  Seat of the blest Immortals, never more. 530
    He ended; Juno and Minerva heard
  Low murmuring deep disgust, and side by side
  Devising sat calamity to Troy. 
  Minerva, through displeasure against Jove,
  Nought utter’d, for her bosom boil’d with rage; 535
  But Juno check’d not hers, who thus replied. 
    What word hath pass’d thy lips, Jove most severe? 
  We know thy force resistless; yet our hearts
  Feel not the less when we behold the Greeks
  Exhausting all the sorrows of their lot. 540
  If thou command, we doubtless will abstain
  From battle, yet such counsel to the Greeks
  Suggesting still, as may in part effect
  Their safety, lest thy wrath consume them all. 
    Then answer, thus, cloud-gatherer Jove return’d. 545
  Look forth, imperial Juno, if thou wilt,
  To-morrow at the blush of earliest dawn,
  And thou shalt see Saturn’s almighty son
  The Argive host destroying far and wide. 
  For Hector’s fury shall admit no pause 550
  Till he have roused Achilles, in that day
  When at the ships, in perilous straits, the hosts
  Shall wage fierce battle for Patroclus slain. 
  Such is the voice of fate.  But, as

Page 104

for thee—­
  Withdraw thou to the confines of the abyss 555
  Where Saturn and Iaepetus retired,
  Exclusion sad endure from balmy airs
  And from the light of morn, hell-girt around,
  I will not call thee thence.  No.  Should thy rage
  Transport thee thither, there thou may’st abide, 560
  There sullen nurse thy disregarded spleen
  Obstinate as thou art, and void of shame. 
    He ended; to whom Juno nought replied. 
  And now the radiant Sun in Ocean sank,
  Drawing night after him o’er all the earth; 565
  Night, undesired by Troy, but to the Greeks
  Thrice welcome for its interposing gloom. 
    Then Hector on the river’s brink fast by
  The Grecian fleet, where space he found unstrew’d
  With carcases convened the Chiefs of Troy. 570
  They, there dismounting, listen’d to the words
  Of Hector Jove-beloved; he grasp’d a spear
  In length eleven cubits, bright its head
  Of brass, and color’d with a ring of gold. 
  He lean’d on it, and ardent thus began. 575
    Trojans, Dardanians, and allies of Troy! 
  I hoped, this evening (every ship consumed,
  And all the Grecians slain) to have return’d
  To wind-swept Ilium.  But the shades of night
  Have intervened, and to the night they owe, 580
  In chief, their whole fleet’s safety and their own. 
  Now, therefore, as the night enjoins, all take
  Needful refreshment.  Your high-mettled steeds
  Release, lay food before them, and in haste
  Drive hither from the city fatted sheep 585
  And oxen; bring ye from your houses bread,
  Make speedy purchase of heart-cheering wine,
  And gather fuel plenteous; that all night,
  E’en till Aurora, daughter of the morn
  Shall look abroad, we may with many fires 590
  Illume the skies; lest even in the night,
  Launching, they mount the billows and escape. 
  Beware that they depart not unannoy’d,
  But, as he leaps on board, give each a wound
  With shaft or spear, which he shall nurse at home. 595
  So shall the nations fear us, and shall vex
  With ruthless war Troy’s gallant sons no more. 
  Next, let the heralds, ministers of Jove,
  Loud notice issue that the boys well-grown,
  And ancients silver-hair’d on the high towers 600
  Built by the Gods, keep watch; on every hearth
  In Troy, let those of the inferior sex
  Make sprightly blaze, and place ye there a guard
  Sufficient, lest in absence of the troops
  An ambush enter, and surprise the town. 605
  Act thus, ye dauntless Trojans; the advice
  Is wholesome, and shall serve the present need,
  And so much for the night; ye shall be told
  The business of the morn when morn appears. 

Page 105

  It is my prayer to Jove and to all heaven 610
  (Not without hope) that I may hence expel
  These dogs, whom Ilium’s unpropitious fates
  Have wafted hither in their sable barks. 
  But we will also watch this night, ourselves,
  And, arming with the dawn, will at their ships 615
  Give them brisk onset.  Then shall it appear
  If Diomede the brave shall me compel
  Back to our walls, or I, his arms blood-stain’d,
  Torn from his breathless body, bear away. 
  To-morrow, if he dare but to abide 620
  My lance, he shall not want occasion meet
  For show of valor.  But much more I judge
  That the next rising sun shall see him slain
  With no few friends around him.  Would to heaven! 
  I were as sure to ’scape the blight of age 625
  And share their honors with the Gods above,
  As comes the morrow fraught with wo to Greece. 
    So Hector, whom his host with loud acclaim
  All praised.  Then each his sweating steeds released,
  And rein’d them safely at his chariot-side. 630
  And now from Troy provision large they brought,
  Oxen, and sheep, with store of wine and bread,
  And fuel much was gather’d. [16]Next the Gods
  With sacrifice they sought, and from the plain
  Upwafted by the winds the smoke aspired 635
  Savoury, but unacceptable to those
  Above; such hatred in their hearts they bore
  To Priam, to the people of the brave
  Spear-practised Priam, and to sacred Troy. 
    Big with great purposes and proud, they sat, 640
  Not disarray’d, but in fair form disposed
  Of even ranks, and watch’d their numerous fires,
  As when around the clear bright moon, the stars
  Shine in full splendor, and the winds are hush’d,
  The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland-heights 645
  Stand all apparent, not a vapor streaks
  The boundless blue, but ether open’d wide
  All glitters, and the shepherd’s heart is cheer’d;[17]
  So numerous seem’d those fires the bank between
  Of Xanthus, blazing, and the fleet of Greece, 650
  In prospect all of Troy; a thousand fires,
  Each watch’d by fifty warriors seated near. 
  The steeds beside the chariots stood, their corn
  Chewing, and waiting till the golden-throned
  Aurora should restore the light of day. 655




By advice of Nestor, Agamemnon sends Ulysses, Phoenix, and Ajax to the tent of Achilles with proposals of reconciliation.  They execute their commission, but without effect.  Phoenix remains with Achilles; Ulysses and Ajax return.


Page 106

So watch’d the Trojan host; but thoughts of flight,
Companions of chill fear, from heaven infused,
Possess’d the Grecians; every leader’s heart
Bled, pierced with anguish insupportable. 
As when two adverse winds blowing from Thrace, 5
Boreas and Zephyrus, the fishy Deep
Vex sudden, all around, the sable flood
High curl’d, flings forth the salt weed on the shore
Such tempest rent the mind of every Greek. 
Forth stalk’d Atrides with heart-riving wo 10
Transfixt; he bade his heralds call by name
Each Chief to council, but without the sound
Of proclamation; and that task himself
Among the foremost sedulous perform’d. 
The sad assembly sat; when weeping fast 15
As some deep[1] fountain pours its rapid stream
Down from the summit of a lofty rock,
King Agamemnon in the midst arose,
And, groaning, the Achaians thus address’d. 
Friends, counsellors and leaders of the Greeks! 20
In dire perplexity Saturnian Jove
Involves me, cruel; he assured me erst,
And solemnly, that I should not return
Till I had wasted wall-encircled Troy;
But now (ah fraudulent and foul reverse!) 25
Commands me back inglorious to the shores
Of distant Argos, with diminish’d troops. 
So stands the purpose of almighty Jove,
Who many a citadel hath laid in dust,
And shall hereafter, matchless in his power. 30
Haste therefore.  My advice is, that we all
Fly with our fleet into our native land,
For wide-built Ilium shall not yet be ours. 
He ceased, and all sat silent; long the sons
Of Greece, o’erwhelm’d with sorrow, silent sat, 35
When thus, at last, bold Diomede began. 
Atrides! foremost of the Chiefs I rise
To contravert thy purpose ill-conceived,
And with such freedom as the laws, O King! 
Of consultation and debate allow. 40
Hear patient.  Thou hast been thyself the first
Who e’er reproach’d me in the public ear
As one effeminate and slow to fight;
How truly, let both young and old decide. 
The son of wily Saturn hath to thee 45
Given, and refused; he placed thee high in power,
Gave thee to sway the sceptre o’er us all,
But courage gave thee not, his noblest gift.[2]
Art thou in truth persuaded that the Greeks
Are pusillanimous, as thou hast said? 50
If thy own fears impel thee to depart,
Go thou, the way is open; numerous ships,
Thy followers from Mycenae, line the shore. 
But we, the rest, depart not, ’till the spoil
Of Troy reward us.  Or if all incline 55
To seek again their native home, fly all;
Myself and Sthenelus will persevere
Till Ilium fall, for with the Gods we came. 
He ended; all the admiring sons of Greece

Page 107

With shouts the warlike Diomede extoll’d, 60
When thus equestrian Nestor next began. 
Tydides, thou art eminently brave
In fight, and all the princes of thy years
Excell’st in council.  None of all the Greeks
Shall find occasion just to blame thy speech 65
Or to gainsay; yet thou hast fallen short. 
What wonder?  Thou art young; and were myself
Thy father, thou should’st be my latest born. 
Yet when thy speech is to the Kings of Greece,
It is well-framed and prudent.  Now attend! 70
Myself will speak, who have more years to boast
Than thou hast seen, and will so closely scan
The matter, that Atrides, our supreme,
Himself shall have no cause to censure me
He is a wretch, insensible and dead 75
To all the charities of social life,
Whose pleasure is in civil broils alone.[3]
But Night is urgent, and with Night’s demands
Let all comply.  Prepare we now repast,
And let the guard be stationed at the trench 80
Without the wall; the youngest shall supply
That service; next, Atrides, thou begin
(For thou art here supreme) thy proper task. 
Banquet the elders; it shall not disgrace
Thy sovereignty, but shall become thee well. 85
Thy tents are fill’d with wine which day by day
Ships bring from Thrace; accommodation large
Hast thou, and numerous is thy menial train. 
Thy many guests assembled, thou shalt hear
Our counsel, and shalt choose the best; great need 90
Have all Achaia’s sons, now, of advice
Most prudent; for the foe, fast by the fleet
Hath kindled numerous fires, which who can see
Unmoved?  This night shall save us or destroy.[4]
He spake, whom all with full consent approved. 95
Forth rush’d the guard well-arm’d; first went the son
Of Nestor, Thrasymedes, valiant Chief;
Then, sons of Mars, Ascalaphus advanced,
And brave Iaelmenus; whom follow’d next
Deipyrus, Aphareus, Meriones, 100
And Lycomedes, Creon’s son renown’d. 
Seven were the leaders of the guard, and each
A hundred spearmen headed, young and bold. 
Between the wall and trench their seat they chose,
There kindled fires, and each his food prepared. 105
Atrides, then, to his pavilion led
The thronging Chiefs of Greece, and at his board
Regaled them; they with readiness and keen
Dispatch of hunger shared the savory feast,
And when nor thirst remain’d nor hunger more 110
Unsated, Nestor then, arising first,
Whose counsels had been ever wisest deem’d,
Warm for the public interest, thus began. 
Atrides! glorious sovereign!  King of men! 
Thou art my first and last, proem and close, 115
For thou art mighty, and to thee are given
From Jove the sceptre and the laws in charge,

Page 108

For the advancement of the general good. 
Hence, in peculiar, both to speak and hear
Become thy duty, and the best advice, 120
By whomsoever offer’d, to adopt
And to perform, for thou art judge alone. 
I will promulge the counsel which to me
Seems wisest; such, that other Grecian none
Shall give thee better; neither is it new, 125
But I have ever held it since the day
When, most illustrious! thou wast pleased to take
By force the maid Briseis from the tent
Of the enraged Achilles; not, in truth,
By my advice, who did dissuade thee much; 130
But thou, complying with thy princely wrath,
Hast shamed a Hero whom themselves the Gods
Delight to honor, and his prize detain’st. 
Yet even now contrive we, although late,
By lenient gifts liberal, and by speech 135
Conciliatory, to assuage his ire. 
Then answer’d Agamemnon, King of men. 
Old Chief! there is no falsehood in thy charge;
I have offended, and confess the wrong. 
The warrior is alone a host, whom Jove 140
Loves as he loves Achilles, for whose sake
He hath Achaia’s thousands thus subdued. 
But if the impulse of a wayward mind
Obeying, I have err’d, behold me, now,
Prepared to soothe him with atonement large 145
Of gifts inestimable, which by name
I will propound in presence of you all. 
Seven tripods, never sullied yet with fire;
Of gold ten talents; twenty cauldrons bright;
Twelve coursers, strong, victorious in the race; 150
No man possessing prizes such as mine
Which they have won for me, shall feel the want
Of acquisitions splendid or of gold. 
Seven virtuous female captives will I give
Expert in arts domestic, Lesbians all, 155
Whom, when himself took Lesbos, I received
My chosen portion, passing womankind
In perfect loveliness of face and form. 
These will I give, and will with these resign
Her whom I took, Briseis, with an oath 160
Most solemn, that unconscious as she was
Of my embraces, such I yield her his. 
All these I give him now; and if at length
The Gods vouchsafe to us to overturn
Priam’s great city, let him heap his ships 165
With gold and brass, entering and choosing first
When we shall share the spoil.  Let him beside
Choose twenty from among the maids of Troy,
Helen except, loveliest of all their sex. 
And if once more, the rich milk-flowing land 170
We reach of Argos, he shall there become
My son-in-law, and shall enjoy like state
With him whom I in all abundance rear,
My only son Orestes.  At my home
I have three daughters; let him thence conduct 175
To Phthia, her whom he shall most approve. 
Chrysothemis shall be his bride, or else

Page 109

Laodice; or if she please him more,
Iphianassa; and from him I ask
No dower;[5] myself will such a dower bestow 180
As never father on his child before. 
Seven fair well-peopled cities I will give
Cardamyle and Enope, and rich
In herbage, Hira; Pherae stately-built,
And for her depth of pasturage renown’d 185
Antheia; proud AEpeia’s lofty towers,
And Pedasus impurpled dark with vines. 
All these are maritime, and on the shore
They stand of Pylus, by a race possess’d
Most rich in flocks and herds, who tributes large, 190
And gifts presenting to his sceptred hand,
Shall hold him high in honor as a God. 
These will I give him if from wrath he cease. 
Let him be overcome.  Pluto alone
Is found implacable and deaf to prayer, 195
Whom therefore of all Gods men hate the most. 
My power is greater, and my years than his
More numerous, therefore let him yield to me. 
To him Gerenian Nestor thus replied. 
Atrides! glorious sovereign!  King of men! 200
No sordid gifts, or to be view’d with scorn,
Givest thou the Prince Achilles.  But away! 
Send chosen messengers, who shall the son
Of Peleus, instant, in his tent address. 
Myself will choose them, be it theirs to obey. 205
Let Phoenix lead, Jove loves him.  Be the next
Huge Ajax; and the wise Ulysses third. 
Of heralds, Odius and Eurybates
Shall them attend.  Bring water for our hands;
Give charge that every tongue abstain from speech 210
Portentous, and propitiate Jove by prayer. 
He spake, and all were pleased.  The heralds pour’d
Pure water on their hands;[6] attendant youths
The beakers crown’d, and wine from right to left
Distributed to all.  Libation made, 215
All drank, and in such measure as they chose,
Then hasted forth from Agamemnon’s tent. 
Gerenian Nestor at their side them oft
Instructed, each admonishing by looks
Significant, and motion of his eyes, 220
But most Ulysses, to omit no means
By which Achilles likeliest might be won. 
Along the margin of the sounding deep
They pass’d, to Neptune, compasser of earth,
Preferring vows ardent with numerous prayers, 225
That they might sway with ease the mighty mind
Of fierce AEacides.  And now they reach’d
The station where his Myrmidons abode. 
Him solacing they found his heart with notes
Struck from his silver-framed harmonious lyre; 230
Among the spoils he found it when he sack’d
Eetion’s city; with that lyre his cares
He sooth’d, and glorious heroes were his theme.[7]
Patroclus silent sat, and he alone,
Before him, on AEacides intent, 235
Expecting still when he should cease to sing. 

Page 110

The messengers advanced (Ulysses first)
Into his presence; at the sight, his harp
Still in his hand, Achilles from his seat
Started astonish’d; nor with less amaze 240
Patroclus also, seeing them, arose. 
Achilles seized their hands, and thus he spake.[8]
Hail friends! ye all are welcome.  Urgent cause
Hath doubtless brought you, whom I dearest hold
(Though angry still) of all Achaia’s host. 245
So saying, he introduced them, and on seats
Placed them with purple arras overspread,
Then thus bespake Patroclus standing nigh. 
Son of Menaetius! bring a beaker more
Capacious, and replenish it with wine 250
Diluted[9] less; then give to each his cup;
For dearer friends than these who now arrive
My roof beneath, or worthier, have I none. 
He ended, and Patroclus quick obey’d,
Whom much he loved.  Achilles, then, himself 255
Advancing near the fire an ample[10] tray,
Spread goats’ flesh on it, with the flesh of sheep
And of a fatted brawn; of each a chine. 
Automedon attending held them fast,
While with sharp steel Achilles from the bone 260
Sliced thin the meat, then pierced it with the spits. 
Meantime the godlike Menaetiades
Kindled fierce fire, and when the flame declined,
Raked wide the embers, laid the meat to roast,
And taking sacred salt from the hearth-side 265
Where it was treasured, shower’d it o’er the feast. 
When all was finish’d, and the board set forth,
Patroclus furnish’d it around with bread
In baskets, and Achilles served the guests. 
Beside the tent-wall, opposite, he sat 270
To the divine Ulysses; first he bade
Patroclus make oblation; he consign’d
The consecrated morsel to the fire,
And each, at once, his savoury mess assail’d. 
When neither edge of hunger now they felt 275
Nor thirsted longer, Ajax with a nod
Made sign to Phoenix, which Ulysses mark’d,
And charging high his cup, drank to his host. 
Health to Achilles! hospitable cheer
And well prepared, we want not at the board 280
Of royal Agamemnon, or at thine,
For both are nobly spread; but dainties now,
Or plenteous boards, are little our concern.[11]
Oh godlike Chief! tremendous ills we sit
Contemplating with fear, doubtful if life 285
Or death, with the destruction of our fleet,
Attend us, unless thou put on thy might. 
For lo! the haughty Trojans, with their friends
Call’d from afar, at the fleet-side encamp,
Fast by the wall, where they have kindled fires 290
Numerous, and threaten that no force of ours
Shall check their purposed inroad on the ships. 
Jove grants them favorable signs from heaven,
Bright lightnings; Hector glares revenge, with rage

Page 111

Infuriate, and by Jove assisted, heeds 295
Nor God nor man, but prays the morn to rise
That he may hew away our vessel-heads,
Burn all our fleet with fire, and at their sides
Slay the Achaians struggling in the smoke. 
Horrible are my fears lest these his threats 300
The Gods accomplish, and it be our doom
To perish here, from Argos far remote. 
Up, therefore! if thou canst, and now at last
The weary sons of all Achaia save
From Trojan violence.  Regret, but vain, 305
Shall else be thine hereafter, when no cure
Of such great ill, once suffer’d, can be found. 
Thou therefore, seasonably kind, devise
Means to preserve from such disast’rous fate
The Grecians.  Ah, my friend! when Peleus thee 310
From Phthia sent to Agamemnon’s aid,
On that same day he gave thee thus in charge. 
“Juno, my son, and Pallas, if they please,
Can make thee valiant; but thy own big heart
Thyself restrain.  Sweet manners win respect. 315
Cease from pernicious strife, and young and old
Throughout the host shall honor thee the more.” 
Such was thy father’s charge, which thou, it seems,
Remember’st not.  Yet even now thy wrath
Renounce; be reconciled; for princely gifts 320
Atrides gives thee if thy wrath subside. 
Hear, if thou wilt, and I will tell thee all,
How vast the gifts which Agamemnon made
By promise thine, this night within his tent. 
Seven tripods never sullied yet with fire; 325
Of gold ten talents; twenty cauldrons bright;
Twelve steeds strong-limb’d, victorious in the race;
No man possessing prizes such as those
Which they have won for him, shall feel the want
Of acquisitions splendid, or of gold. 330
Seven virtuous female captives he will give,
Expert in arts domestic, Lesbians all,
Whom when thou conquer’dst Lesbos, he received
His chosen portion, passing woman-kind
In perfect loveliness of face and form. 335
These will he give, and will with these resign
Her whom he took, Briseis, with an oath
Most solemn, that unconscious as she was
Of his embraces, such he yields her back. 
All these he gives thee now! and if at length 340
The Gods vouchsafe to us to overturn
Priam’s great city, thou shalt heap thy ships
With gold and brass, entering and choosing first,
When we shall share the spoil; and shalt beside
Choose twenty from among the maids of Troy, 345
Helen except, loveliest of all their sex. 
And if once more the rich milk-flowing land
We reach of Argos, thou shalt there become
His son-in-law, and shalt enjoy like state
With him, whom he in all abundance rears, 350
His only son Orestes.  In his house

Page 112

He hath three daughters; thou may’st home conduct
To Phthia, her whom thou shalt most approve. 
Chrysothemis shall be thy bride; or else
Laodice; or if she please thee more 355
Iphianassa; and from thee he asks
No dower; himself will such a dower bestow
As never father on his child before. 
Seven fair well-peopled cities will he give;
Cardamyle and Enope; and rich 360
In herbage, Hira; Pherae stately-built,
And for her depth of pasturage renown’d,
Antheia; proud AEpeia’s lofty towers,
And Pedasus impurpled dark with vines. 
All these are maritime, and on the shore 365
They stand of Pylus, by a race possess’d
Most rich in flocks and herds, who tribute large
And gifts presenting to thy sceptred hand,
Shall hold thee high in honor as a God. 
These will he give thee, if thy wrath subside. 370
But should’st thou rather in thine heart the more
Both Agamemnon and his gifts detest,
Yet oh compassionate the afflicted host
Prepared to adore thee.  Thou shalt win renown
Among the Grecians that shall never die. 375
Now strike at Hector.  He is here;—­himself
Provokes thee forth; madness is in his heart,
And in his rage he glories that our ships
Have hither brought no Grecian brave as he. 
Then thus Achilles matchless in the race. 380
Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d! 
I must with plainness speak my fixt resolve
Unalterable; lest I hear from each
The same long murmur’d melancholy tale. 
For I abhor the man, not more the gates 385
Of hell itself, whose words belie his heart. 
So shall not mine.  My judgment undisguised
Is this; that neither Agamemnon me
Nor all the Greeks shall move; for ceaseless toil
Wins here no thanks; one recompense awaits 390
The sedentary and the most alert,
The brave and base in equal honor stand,
And drones and heroes fall unwept alike. 
I after all my labors, who exposed
My life continual in the field, have earn’d 395
No very sumptuous prize.  As the poor bird
Gives to her unfledged brood a morsel gain’d
After long search, though wanting it herself,
So I have worn out many sleepless nights,
And waded deep through many a bloody day 400
In battle for their wives.[12] I have destroy’d
Twelve cities with my fleet, and twelve, save one,
On foot contending in the fields of Troy. 
From all these cities, precious spoils I took
Abundant, and to Agamemnon’s hand 405
Gave all the treasure.  He within his ships
Abode the while, and having all received,
Little distributed, and much retained;
He gave, however, to the Kings and Chiefs
A portion, and they keep it.  Me alone

Page 113

Of all the Grecian host he hath despoil’d;
My bride, my soul’s delight is in his hands,
And let him, couch’d with her, enjoy his fill
Of dalliance.  What sufficient cause, what need
Have the Achaians to contend with Troy? 415
Why hath Atrides gather’d such a host,
And led them hither?  Was’t not for the sake
Of beauteous Helen?  And of all mankind
Can none be found who love their proper wives
But the Atridae?  There is no good man 420
Who loves not, guards not, and with care provides
For his own wife, and, though in battle won,
I loved the fair Briseis at my heart. 
But having dispossess’d me of my prize
So foully, let him not essay me now, 425
For I am warn’d, and he shall not prevail. 
With thee and with thy peers let him advise,
Ulysses! how the fleet may likeliest ’scape
Yon hostile fires; full many an arduous task
He hath accomplished without aid of mine; 430
So hath he now this rampart and the trench
Which he hath digg’d around it, and with stakes
Planted contiguous—­puny barriers all
To hero-slaughtering Hector’s force opposed. 
While I the battle waged, present myself 435
Among the Achaians, Hector never fought
Far from his walls, but to the Scaean gate
Advancing and the beech-tree, there remain’d. 
Once, on that spot he met me, and my arm
Escaped with difficulty even there. 440
But, since I feel myself not now inclined
To fight with noble Hector, yielding first
To Jove due worship, and to all the Gods,
To-morrow will I launch, and give my ships
Their lading.  Look thou forth at early dawn, 445
And, if such spectacle delight thee aught,
Thou shalt behold me cleaving with my prows
The waves of Hellespont, and all my crews
Of lusty rowers active in their task. 
So shall I reach (if Ocean’s mighty God 450
Prosper my passage) Phthia the deep-soil’d
On the third day.  I have possessions there,
Which hither roaming in an evil hour
I left abundant.  I shall also hence
Convey much treasure, gold and burnish’d brass, 455
And glittering steel, and women passing fair
My portion of the spoils.  But he, your King,
The prize he gave, himself resumed,
And taunted at me.  Tell him my reply,
And tell it him aloud, that other Greeks 460
May indignation feel like me, if arm’d
Always in impudence, he seek to wrong
Them also.  Let him not henceforth presume,
Canine and hard in aspect though he be,
To look me in the face.  I will not share 465
His counsels, neither will I aid his works. 
Let it suffice him, that he wrong’d me once,
Deceived me once, henceforth his glozing arts

Page 114

Are lost on me.  But let him rot in peace
Crazed as he is, and by the stroke of Jove 470
Infatuate.  I detest his gifts, and him
So honor as the thing which most I scorn. 
And would he give me twenty times the worth
Of this his offer, all the treasured heaps
Which he possesses, or shall yet possess, 475
All that Orchomenos within her walls,
And all that opulent Egyptian Thebes
Receives, the city with a hundred gates,
Whence twenty thousand chariots rush to war,
And would he give me riches as the sands, 480
And as the dust of earth, no gifts from him
Should soothe me, till my soul were first avenged
For all the offensive license of his tongue. 
I will not wed the daughter of your Chief,
Of Agamemnon.  Could she vie in charms 485
With golden Venus, had she all the skill
Of blue-eyed Pallas, even so endow’d
She were no bride for me.  No.  He may choose
From the Achaians some superior Prince,
One more her equal.  Peleus, if the Gods 490
Preserve me, and I safe arrive at home,
Himself, ere long, shall mate me with a bride. 
In Hellas and in Phthia may be found
Fair damsels many, daughters of the Chiefs
Who guard our cities; I may choose of them, 495
And make the loveliest of them all my own. 
There, in my country, it hath ever been
My dearest purpose, wedded to a wife
Of rank convenient, to enjoy in peace
Such wealth as ancient Peleus hath acquired. 500
For life, in my account, surpasses far
In value all the treasures which report
Ascribed to populous Ilium, ere the Greeks
Arrived, and while the city yet had peace;
Those also which Apollo’s marble shrine 505
In rocky Pytho boasts.  Fat flocks and beeves
May be by force obtain’d, tripods and steeds
Are bought or won, but if the breath of man
Once overpass its bounds, no force arrests
Or may constrain the unbodied spirit back. 510
Me, as my silver-footed mother speaks
Thetis, a twofold consummation waits. 
If still with battle I encompass Troy,
I win immortal glory, but all hope
Renounce of my return.  If I return 515
To my beloved country, I renounce
The illustrious meed of glory, but obtain
Secure and long immunity from death. 
And truly I would recommend to all
To voyage homeward, for the fall as yet 520
Ye shall not see of Ilium’s lofty towers,
For that the Thunderer with uplifted arm
Protects her, and her courage hath revived. 
Bear ye mine answer back, as is the part
Of good ambassadors, that they may frame 525
Some likelier plan, by which both fleet and host
May be preserved; for, my resentment still
Burning, this project is but premature. 

Page 115

Let Phoenix stay with us, and sleep this night
Within my tent, that, if he so incline, 530
He may to-morrow in my fleet embark,
And hence attend me; but I leave him free. 
He ended; they astonish’d at his tone
(For vehement he spake) sat silent all,
Till Phoenix, aged warrior, at the last 535
Gush’d into tears (for dread his heart o’erwhelm’d
Lest the whole fleet should perish) and replied. 
If thou indeed have purposed to return,
Noble Achilles! and such wrath retain’st
That thou art altogether fixt to leave 540
The fleet a prey to desolating fires,
How then, my son! shall I at Troy abide
Forlorn of thee?  When Peleus, hoary Chief,
Sent thee to Agamemnon, yet a child,[13]
Unpractised in destructive fight, nor less 545
Of councils ignorant, the schools in which
Great minds are form’d, he bade me to the war
Attend thee forth, that I might teach thee all,
Both elocution and address in arms. 
Me therefore shalt thou not with my consent 550
Leave here, my son! no, not would Jove himself
Promise me, reaping smooth this silver beard,
To make me downy-cheek’d as in my youth;
Such as when erst from Hellas beauty-famed
I fled, escaping from my father’s wrath 555
Amyntor, son of Ormenus, who loved
A beauteous concubine, and for her sake
Despised his wife and persecuted me. 
My mother suppliant at my knees, with prayer
Perpetual importuned me to embrace 560
The damsel first, that she might loathe my sire. 
I did so; and my father soon possess’d
With hot suspicion of the fact, let loose
A storm of imprecation, in his rage
Invoking all the Furies to forbid 565
That ever son of mine should press his knees. 
Tartarian Jove[14] and dread Persephone
Fulfill’d his curses; with my pointed spear
I would have pierced his heart, but that my wrath
Some Deity assuaged, suggesting oft 570
What shame and obloquy I should incur,
Known as a parricide through all the land. 
At length, so treated, I resolved to dwell
No longer in his house.  My friends, indeed,
And all my kindred compass’d me around 575
With much entreaty, wooing me to stay;
Oxen and sheep they slaughter’d, many a plump
Well-fatted brawn extended in the flames,
And drank the old man’s vessels to the lees. 
Nine nights continual at my side they slept, 580
While others watch’d by turns, nor were the fires
Extinguish’d ever, one, beneath the porch
Of the barr’d hall, and one that from within
The vestibule illumed my chamber door. 
But when the tenth dark night at length arrived, 585
Sudden the chamber doors bursting I flew

Page 116

That moment forth, and unperceived alike
By guards and menial woman, leap’d the wall. 
Through spacious Hellas flying thence afar,
I came at length to Phthia the deep-soil’d, 590
Mother of flocks, and to the royal house
Of Peleus; Peleus with a willing heart
Receiving, loved me as a father loves
His only son, the son of his old age,
Inheritor of all his large demesnes. 595
He made me rich; placed under my control
A populous realm, and on the skirts I dwelt
Of Phthia, ruling the Dolopian race. 
Thee from my soul, thou semblance of the Gods,
I loved, and all illustrious as thou art, 600
Achilles! such I made thee.  For with me,
Me only, would’st thou forth to feast abroad,
Nor would’st thou taste thy food at home, ’till first
I placed thee on my knees, with my own hand
Thy viands carved and fed thee, and the wine 605
Held to thy lips; and many a time, in fits
Of infant frowardness, the purple juice
Rejecting thou hast deluged all my vest,
And fill’d my bosom.  Oh, I have endured
Much, and have also much perform’d for thee, 610
Thus purposing, that since the Gods vouchsaf’d
No son to me, thyself shouldst be my son,
Godlike Achilles! who shouldst screen perchance
From a foul fate my else unshelter’d age. 
Achilles! bid thy mighty spirit down. 615
Thou shouldst not be thus merciless; the Gods,
Although more honorable, and in power
And virtue thy superiors, are themselves
Yet placable; and if a mortal man
Offend them by transgression of their laws, 620
Libation, incense, sacrifice, and prayer,
In meekness offer’d turn their wrath away. 
Prayers are Jove’s daughters,[15] wrinkled,[16] lame, slant-eyed,
Which though far distant, yet with constant pace
Follow Offence.  Offence, robust of limb, 625
And treading firm the ground, outstrips them all,
And over all the earth before them runs
Hurtful to man.  They, following, heal the hurt. 
Received respectfully when they approach,
They help us, and our prayers hear in return. 630
But if we slight, and with obdurate heart
Resist them, to Saturnian Jove they cry
Against us, supplicating that Offence
May cleave to us for vengeance of the wrong. 
Thou, therefore, O Achilles! honor yield 635
To Jove’s own daughters, vanquished, as the brave
Have ofttimes been, by honor paid to thee. 
For came not Agamemnon as he comes
With gifts in hand, and promises of more
Hereafter; burn’d his anger still the same, 640
I would not move thee to renounce thy own,
And to assist us, howsoe’er distress’d. 
But now, not only are his present gifts
Most liberal, and his promises of more
Such also, but these Princes he hath sent

Page 117

Charged with entreaties, thine especial friends,
And chosen for that cause, from all the host. 
Slight not their embassy, nor put to shame
Their intercession.  We confess that once
Thy wrath was unreprovable and just. 650
Thus we have heard the heroes of old times
Applauded oft, whose anger, though intense,
Yet left them open to the gentle sway
Of reason and conciliatory gifts. 
I recollect an ancient history, 655
Which, since all here are friends, I will relate. 
The brave AEtolians and Curetes met
Beneath the walls of Calydon, and fought
With mutual slaughter; the AEtolian powers
In the defence of Calydon the fair, 660
And the Curetes bent to lay it waste: 
That strife Diana of the golden throne
Kindled between them, with resentment fired
That Oeneus had not in some fertile spot
The first fruits of his harvest set apart 665
To her; with hecatombs he entertained
All the Divinities of heaven beside,
And her alone, daughter of Jove supreme,
Or through forgetfulness, or some neglect,
Served not; omission careless and profane! 670
She, progeny of Jove, Goddess shaft-arm’d,
A savage boar bright-tusk’d in anger sent,
Which haunting Oeneus’ fields much havoc made. 
Trees numerous on the earth in heaps he cast
Uprooting them, with all their blossoms on. 675
But Meleager, Oeneus’ son, at length
Slew him, the hunters gathering and the hounds
Of numerous cities; for a boar so vast
Might not be vanquish’d by the power of few,
And many to their funeral piles he sent. 680
Then raised Diana clamorous dispute,
And contest hot between them, all alike,
Curetes and AEtolians fierce in arms
The boar’s head claiming, and his bristly hide. 
So long as warlike Meleager fought, 685
AEtolia prosper’d, nor with all their powers
Could the Curetes stand before the walls. 
But when resentment once had fired the heart
Of Meleager, which hath tumult oft
Excited in the breasts of wisest men, 690
(For his own mother had his wrath provoked
Althaea) thenceforth with his wedded wife
He dwelt, fair Cleopatra, close retired. 
She was Marpessa’s daughter, whom she bore
To Idas, bravest warrior in his day 695
Of all on earth.  He fear’d not ’gainst the King
Himself Apollo, for the lovely nymph
Marpessa’s sake, his spouse, to bend his bow. 
Her, therefore, Idas and Marpessa named
Thenceforth Alcyone, because the fate 700
Of sad Alcyone Marpessa shared,
And wept like her, by Phoebus forced away. 
Thus Meleager, tortured with the pangs
Of wrath indulged, with Cleopatra dwelt,

Page 118

Vex’d that his mother cursed him; for, with grief 705
Frantic, his mother importuned the Gods
To avenge her slaughter’d brothers[17] on his head. 
Oft would she smite the earth, while on her knees
Seated, she fill’d her bosom with her tears,
And call’d on Pluto and dread Proserpine 710
To slay her son; nor vain was that request,
But by implacable Erynnis heard
Roaming the shades of Erebus.  Ere long
The tumult and the deafening din of war
Roar’d at the gates, and all the batter’d towers 715
Resounded.  Then the elders of the town
Dispatch’d the high-priests of the Gods to plead
With Meleager for his instant aid,
With strong assurances of rich reward. 
Where Calydon afforded fattest soil 720
They bade him choose to his own use a farm
Of fifty measured acres, vineyard half,
And half of land commodious for the plow. 
Him Oeneus also, warrior grey with age,
Ascending to his chamber, and his doors 725
Smiting importunate, with earnest prayers
Assay’d to soften, kneeling to his son. 
Nor less his sisters woo’d him to relent,
Nor less his mother; but in vain; he grew
Still more obdurate.  His companions last, 730
The most esteem’d and dearest of his friends,
The same suit urged, yet he persisted still
Relentless, nor could even they prevail. 
But when the battle shook his chamber-doors
And the Curetes climbing the high towers 735
Had fired the spacious city, then with tears
The beauteous Cleopatra, and with prayers
Assail’d him; in his view she set the woes
Numberless of a city storm’d—­the men
Slaughter’d, the city burnt to dust, the chaste 740
Matrons with all their children dragg’d away. 
That dread recital roused him, and at length
Issuing, he put his radiant armor on. 
Thus Meleager, gratifying first
His own resentment from a fatal day 745
Saved the AEtolians, who the promised gift
Refused him, and his toils found no reward. 
But thou, my son, be wiser; follow thou
No demon who would tempt thee to a course
Like his; occasion more propitious far 750
Smiles on thee now, than if the fleet were fired. 
Come, while by gifts invited, and receive
From all the host, the honors of a God;
For shouldst thou, by no gifts induced, at last
Enter the bloody field, although thou chase 755
The Trojans hence, yet less shall be thy praise. 
Then thus Achilles, matchless in the race. 
Phoenix, my guide, wise, noble and revered! 
I covet no such glory! the renown
Ordain’d by Jove for me, is to resist 760
All importunity to quit my ships
While I have power to move, or breath to draw. 
Hear now, and mark me well.  Cease thou from

Page 119

Confound me not, pleading with sighs and sobs
In Agamemnon’s cause; O love not him, 765
Lest I renounce thee, who am now thy friend. 
Assist me rather, as thy duty bids,
Him to afflict, who hath afflicted me,
So shalt thou share my glory and my power. 
These shall report as they have heard, but here 770
Rest thou this night, and with the rising morn
We will decide, to stay or to depart. 
He ceased, and silent, by a nod enjoin’d
Patroclus to prepare an easy couch
For Phoenix, anxious to dismiss the rest 775
Incontinent; when Ajax, godlike son
Of Telamon, arising, thus began. 
Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d: 
Depart we now; for I perceive that end
Or fruit of all our reasonings shall be none. 780
It is expedient also that we bear
Our answer back (unwelcome as it is)
With all dispatch, for the assembled Greeks
Expect us.  Brave Achilles shuts a fire
Within his breast; the kindness of his friends, 785
And the respect peculiar by ourselves
Shown to him, on his heart work no effect. 
Inexorable man! others accept
Even for a brother slain, or for a son
Due compensation;[18] the delinquent dwells 790
Secure at home, and the receiver, soothed
And pacified, represses his revenge. 
But thou, resentful of the loss of one,
One virgin (such obduracy of heart
The Gods have given thee) can’st not be appeased 795
Yet we assign thee seven in her stead,
The most distinguish’d of their sex, and add
Large gifts beside.  Ah then, at last relent! 
Respect thy roof; we are thy guests; we come
Chosen from the multitude of all the Greeks, 800
Beyond them all ambitious of thy love. 
To whom Achilles, swiftest of the swift. 
My noble friend, offspring of Telamon! 
Thou seem’st sincere, and I believe thee such. 
But at the very mention of the name 805
Of Atreus’ son, who shamed me in the sight
Of all Achaia’s host, bearing me down
As I had been some vagrant at his door,
My bosom boils.  Return ye and report
Your answer.  I no thought will entertain 810
Of crimson war, till the illustrious son
Of warlike Priam, Hector, blood-embrued,
Shall in their tents the Myrmidons assail
Themselves, and fire my fleet.  At my own ship,
And at my own pavilion it may chance 815
That even Hector’s violence shall pause.[19]
He ended; they from massy goblets each
Libation pour’d, and to the fleet their course
Resumed direct, Ulysses at their head. 
Patroclus then his fellow-warriors bade, 820
And the attendant women spread a couch
For Phoenix; they the couch, obedient, spread
With fleeces, with rich arras, and with flax

Page 120

Of subtlest woof.  There hoary Phoenix lay
In expectation of the sacred dawn. 825
Meantime Achilles in the interior tent,
With beauteous Diomeda by himself
From Lesbos brought, daughter of Phorbas, lay. 
Patroclus opposite reposed, with whom
Slept charming Iphis; her, when he had won 830
The lofty towers of Scyros, the divine
Achilles took, and on his friend bestow’d. 
But when those Chiefs at Agamemnon’s tent
Arrived, the Greeks on every side arose
With golden cups welcoming their return. 835
All question’d them, but Agamemnon first. 
Oh worthy of Achaia’s highest praise,
And her chief ornament, Ulysses, speak! 
Will he defend the fleet? or his big heart
Indulging wrathful, doth he still refuse? 840
To whom renown’d Ulysses thus replied. 
Atrides, Agamemnon, King of men! 
He his resentment quenches not, nor will,
But burns with wrath the more, thee and thy gifts
Rejecting both.  He bids thee with the Greeks 845
Consult by what expedient thou may’st save
The fleet and people, threatening that himself
Will at the peep of day launch all his barks,
And counselling, beside, the general host
To voyage homeward, for that end as yet 850
Of Ilium wall’d to heaven, ye shall not find,
Since Jove the Thunderer with uplifted arm
Protects her, and her courage hath revived. 
Thus speaks the Chief, and Ajax is prepared,
With the attendant heralds to report 855
As I have said.  But Phoenix in the tent
Sleeps of Achilles, who his stay desired,
That on the morrow, if he so incline,
The hoary warrior may attend him hence
Home to his country, but he leaves him free. 860
He ended.  They astonish’d at his tone
(For vehement he spake) sat silent all. 
Long silent sat the afflicted sons of Greece,
When thus the mighty Diomede began. 
Atrides, Agamemnon, King of men! 865
Thy supplications to the valiant son
Of Peleus, and the offer of thy gifts
Innumerous, had been better far withheld. 
He is at all times haughty, and thy suit
Hath but increased his haughtiness of heart 870
Past bounds:  but let him stay or let him go
As he shall choose.  He will resume the fight
When his own mind shall prompt him, and the Gods
Shall urge him forth.  Now follow my advice. 
Ye have refresh’d your hearts with food and wine 875
Which are the strength of man; take now repose. 
And when the rosy-finger’d morning fair
Shall shine again, set forth without delay
The battle, horse and foot, before the fleet,
And where the foremost fight, fight also thou. 880
He ended; all the Kings applauded warm
His counsel, and the dauntless tone admired
Of Diomede.  Then, due libation made,
Each sought his tent, and took the gift of sleep.

Page 121

* * * * *

There is much in this book which is worthy of close attention.  The consummate genius, the varied and versatile power, the eloquence, truth, and nature displayed in it, will always be admired.  Perhaps there is no portion of the poem more remarkable for these attributes.—­FELTON.




Diomede and Ulysses enter the Trojan host by night, and slay Rhesus.


All night the leaders of the host of Greece
Lay sunk in soft repose, all, save the Chief,[1]
The son of Atreus; him from thought to thought
Roving solicitous, no sleep relieved. 
As when the spouse of beauteous Juno, darts 5
His frequent fires, designing heavy rain
Immense, or hail-storm, or field-whitening snow,
Or else wide-throated war calamitous,
So frequent were the groans by Atreus’ son
Heaved from his inmost heart, trembling with dread. 10
For cast he but his eye toward the plain
Of Ilium, there, astonish’d he beheld
The city fronted with bright fires, and heard
Pipes, and recorders, and the hum of war;
But when again the Grecian fleet he view’d, 15
And thought on his own people, then his hair
Uprooted elevating to the Gods,
He from his generous bosom groan’d again. 
At length he thus resolved; of all the Greeks
To seek Neleian Nestor first, with whom 20
He might, perchance, some plan for the defence
Of the afflicted Danai devise. 
Rising, he wrapp’d his tunic to his breast,
And to his royal feet unsullied bound
His sandals; o’er his shoulders, next, he threw 25
Of amplest size a lion’s tawny skin
That swept his footsteps, dappled o’er with blood,
Then took his spear.  Meantime, not less appall’d
Was Menelaus, on whose eyelids sleep
Sat not, lest the Achaians for his sake 30
O’er many waters borne, and now intent
On glorious deeds, should perish all at Troy. 
With a pard’s spotted hide his shoulders broad
He mantled over; to his head he raised
His brazen helmet, and with vigorous hand 35
Grasping his spear, forth issued to arouse
His brother, mighty sovereign of the host,
And by the Grecians like a God revered. 
He found him at his galley’s stern, his arms
Assuming radiant; welcome he arrived 40
To Agamemnon, whom he thus address’d. 

    Why arm’st thou, brother?  Wouldst thou urge abroad

Some trusty spy into the Trojan camp?[2]
I fear lest none so hardy shall be found
As to adventure, in the dead still night, 45
So far, alone; valiant indeed were he! 

Page 122

    To whom great Agamemnon thus replied. 

Heaven-favor’d Menelaus!  We have need,
Thou and myself, of some device well-framed,
Which both the Grecians and the fleet of Greece 50
May rescue, for the mind of Jove hath changed,
And Hector’s prayers alone now reach his ear. 
I never saw, nor by report have learn’d
From any man, that ever single chief
Such awful wonders in one day perform’d 55
As he with ease against the Greeks, although
Nor from a Goddess sprung nor from a God. 
Deeds he hath done, which, as I think, the Greeks
Shall deep and long lament, such numerous ills
Achaia’s host hath at his hands sustain’d. 60
But haste, begone, and at their several ships
Call Ajax and Idomeneus; I go
To exhort the noble Nestor to arise,
That he may visit, if he so incline,
The chosen band who watch, and his advice 65
Give them; for him most prompt they will obey,
Whose son, together with Meriones,
Friend of Idomeneus, controls them all,
Entrusted by ourselves with that command. 

    Him answer’d Menelaus bold in arms. 70

Explain thy purpose.  Wouldst thou that I wait
Thy coming, there, or thy commands to both
Given, that I incontinent return? 

    To whom the Sovereign of the host replied. 

There stay; lest striking into different paths 75
(For many passes intersect the camp)
We miss each other; summon them aloud
Where thou shalt come; enjoin them to arise;
Call each by his hereditary name,
Honoring all.  Beware of manners proud, 80
For we ourselves must labor, at our birth
By Jove ordain’d to suffering and to toil. 

    So saying, he his brother thence dismiss’d

Instructed duly, and himself, his steps
Turned to the tent of Nestor.  Him he found 85
Amid his sable galleys in his tent
Reposing soft, his armor at his side,
Shield, spears, bright helmet, and the broider’d belt
Which, when the Senior arm’d led forth his host
To fight, he wore; for he complied not yet 90
With the encroachments of enfeebling age. 
He raised his head, and on his elbow propp’d,
Questioning Agamemnon, thus began. 

    But who art thou, who thus alone, the camp

Roamest, amid the darkness of the night, 95
While other mortals sleep?  Comest thou abroad
Seeking some friend or soldier of the guard? 
Speak—­come not nearer mute.  What is thy wish? 

    To whom the son of Atreus, King of men. 

Oh Nestor, glory of the Grecian name, 100
Offspring of Neleus! thou in me shalt know
The son of Atreus, Agamemnon, doom’d
By Jove to toil, while life shall yet inform
These limbs, or I shall draw the vital air. 

Page 123

I wander thus, because that on my lids 105
Sweet sleep sits not, but war and the concerns
Of the Achaians occupy my soul. 
Terrible are the fears which I endure
For these my people; such as supersede
All thought; my bosom can no longer hold 110
My throbbing heart, and tremors shake my limbs. 
But if thy mind, more capable, project
Aught that may profit us (for thee it seems
Sleep also shuns) arise, and let us both
Visit the watch, lest, haply, overtoil’d 115
They yield to sleep, forgetful of their charge. 
The foe is posted near, and may intend
(None knows his purpose) an assault by night. 

    To him Gerenian Nestor thus replied. 

Illustrious Agamemnon, King of men! 120
Deep-planning Jove the imaginations proud
Of Hector will not ratify, nor all
His sanguine hopes effectuate; in his turn
He also (fierce Achilles once appeased)
Shall trouble feel, and haply, more than we. 125
But with all readiness I will arise
And follow thee, that we may also rouse
Yet others; Diomede the spear-renown’d,
Ulysses, the swift Ajax, and the son
Of Phyleus, valiant Meges.  It were well 130
Were others also visited and call’d,
The godlike Ajax, and Idomeneus,
Whose ships are at the camp’s extremest bounds. 
But though I love thy brother and revere,
And though I grieve e’en thee, yet speak I must, 135
And plainly censure him, that thus he sleeps
And leaves to thee the labor, who himself
Should range the host, soliciting the Chiefs
Of every band, as utmost need requires. 

    Him answer’d Agamemnon, King of men. 140

Old warrior, times there are, when I could wish
Myself thy censure of him, for in act
He is not seldom tardy and remiss. 
Yet is not sluggish indolence the cause,
No, nor stupidity, but he observes 145
Me much, expecting till I lead the way. 
But he was foremost now, far more alert
This night than I, and I have sent him forth
Already, those to call whom thou hast named. 
But let us hence, for at the guard I trust 150
To find them, since I gave them so in charge.[3]

    To whom the brave Gerenian Chief replied. 

Him none will censure, or his will dispute,
Whom he shall waken and exhort to rise. 

    So saying, he bound his corselet to his breast, 155

His sandals fair to his unsullied feet,
And fastening by its clasps his purple cloak
Around him, double and of shaggy pile,
Seized, next, his sturdy spear headed with brass,
And issued first into the Grecian fleet. 160
There, Nestor, brave Gerenian, with a voice
Sonorous roused the godlike counsellor

Page 124

From sleep, Ulysses; the alarm came o’er
His startled ear, forth from his tent he sprang
Sudden, and of their coming, quick, inquired. 165

    Why roam ye thus the camp and fleet alone

In darkness? by what urgent need constrain’d? 

    To whom the hoary Pylian thus replied. 

Laertes’ noble son, for wiles renown’d! 
Resent it not, for dread is our distress. 170
Come, therefore, and assist us to convene
Yet others, qualified to judge if war
Be most expedient, or immediate flight. 

    He ended, and regaining, quick, his tent,

Ulysses slung his shield, then coming forth 175
Join’d them.  The son of Tydeus first they sought. 
Him sleeping arm’d before his tent they found,
Encompass’d by his friends also asleep;
His head each rested on his shield, and each
Had planted on its nether point[4] erect 180
His spear beside him; bright their polish’d heads,
As Jove’s own lightning glittered from afar. 
Himself, the Hero, slept.  A wild bull’s hide
Was spread beneath him, and on arras tinged
With splendid purple lay his head reclined. 185
Nestor, beside him standing, with his heel
Shook him, and, urgent, thus the Chief reproved. 

    Awake, Tydides! wherefore givest the night

Entire to balmy slumber?  Hast not heard
How on the rising ground beside the fleet 190
The Trojans sit, small interval between? 

    He ceased; then up sprang Diomede alarm’d

Instant, and in wing’d accents thus replied. 

    Old wakeful Chief! thy toils are never done. 

Are there not younger of the sons of Greece, 195
Who ranging in all parts the camp, might call
The Kings to council?  But no curb controls
Or can abate activity like thine. 

    To whom Gerenian Nestor in return. 

My friend! thou hast well spoken.  I have sons, 200
And they are well deserving; I have here
A numerous people also, one of whom
Might have sufficed to call the Kings of Greece. 
But such occasion presses now the host
As hath not oft occurr’d; the overthrow 205
Complete, or full deliverance of us all,
In balance hangs, poised on a razor’s edge. 
But haste, and if thy pity of my toils
Be such, since thou art younger, call, thyself,
Ajax the swift, and Meges to the guard. 210

    Then Diomede a lion’s tawny skin

Around him wrapp’d, dependent to his heels,
And, spear in hand, set forth.  The Hero call’d
Those two, and led them whither Nestor bade. 

    They, at the guard arrived, not sleeping found 215

The captains of the guard, but sitting all
In vigilant posture with their arms prepared. 
As dogs that, careful, watch the fold by night,

Page 125

Hearing some wild beast in the woods,[5] which hounds
And hunters with tumultuous clamor drive 220
Down from the mountain-top, all sleep forego;
So, sat not on their eyelids gentle sleep
That dreadful night, but constant to the plain
At every sound of Trojan feet they turn’d. 
The old Chief joyful at the sight, in terms 225
Of kind encouragement them thus address’d. 

    So watch, my children! and beware that sleep

Invade none here, lest all become a prey. 

    So saying, he traversed with quick pace the trench

By every Chief whom they had thither call’d 230
Attended, with whom Nestor’s noble son
Went, and Meriones, invited both
To join their consultation.  From the foss
Emerging, in a vacant space they sat,
Unstrew’d with bodies of the slain, the spot, 235
Whence furious Hector, after slaughter made
Of numerous Greeks, night falling, had return’d. 
There seated, mutual converse close they held,
And Nestor, brave Gerenian, thus began. 

    Oh friends! hath no Achaian here such trust 240

In his own prowess, as to venture forth
Among yon haughty Trojans?  He, perchance,
Might on the borders of their host surprise
Some wandering adversary, or might learn
Their consultations, whether they propose 245
Here to abide in prospect of the fleet,
Or, satiate with success against the Greeks
So signal, meditate retreat to Troy. 
These tidings gain’d, should he at last return
Secure, his recompense will be renown 250
Extensive as the heavens, and fair reward. 
From every leader of the fleet, his gift
Shall be a sable[6] ewe, and sucking lamb,
Rare acquisition! and at every board
And sumptuous banquet, he shall be a guest. 255

    He ceased, and all sat silent, when at length

The mighty son of Tydeus thus replied. 

    Me, Nestor, my courageous heart incites

To penetrate into the neighbor host
Of enemies; but went some other Chief 260
With me, far greater would my comfort prove,
And I should dare the more.  Two going forth,
One quicker sees than other, and suggests
Prudent advice; but he who single goes,
Mark whatsoe’er he may, the occasion less 265
Improves, and his expedients soon exhausts. 

    He ended, and no few willing arose

To go with Diomede.  Servants of Mars
Each Ajax willing stood; willing as they
Meriones; most willing Nestor’s son; 270
Willing the brother of the Chief of all,
Nor willing less Ulysses to explore
The host of Troy, for he possess’d a heart
Delighted ever with some bold exploit. 

    Then Agamemnon, King of men, began. 275

Page 126

Now Diomede, in whom my soul delights! 
Choose whom thou wilt for thy companion; choose
The fittest here; for numerous wish to go. 
Leave not through deference to another’s rank,
The more deserving, nor prefer a worse, 280
Respecting either pedigree or power. 

    Such speech he interposed, fearing his choice

Of Menelaus; then, renown’d in arms
The son of Tydeus, rising, spake again. 

    Since, then, ye bid me my own partner choose 285

Free from constraint, how can I overlook
Divine Ulysses, whose courageous heart
With such peculiar cheerfulness endures
Whatever toils, and whom Minerva loves? 
Let him attend me, and through fire itself 290
We shall return; for none is wise as he.[7]

    To him Ulysses, hardy Chief, replied. 

Tydides! neither praise me much, nor blame,
For these are Grecians in whose ears thou speak’st,
And know me well.  But let us hence! the night 295
Draws to a close; day comes apace; the stars
Are far advanced; two portions have elapsed
Of darkness, but the third is yet entire. 

    So they; then each his dreadful arms put on. 

To Diomede, who at the fleet had left 300
His own, the dauntless Thrasymedes gave
His shield and sword two-edged, and on his head
Placed, crestless, unadorn’d, his bull-skin casque. 
It was a stripling’s helmet, such as youths
Scarce yet confirm’d in lusty manhood, wear. 305
Meriones with quiver, bow and sword
Furnish’d Ulysses, and his brows enclosed
In his own casque of hide with many a thong
Well braced within;[8] guarded it was without
With boar’s teeth ivory-white inherent firm 310
On all sides, and with woolen head-piece lined. 
That helmet erst Autolycus[9] had brought
From Eleon, city of Amyntor son
Of Hormenus, where he the solid walls
Bored through, clandestine, of Amyntor’s house. 315
He on Amphidamas the prize bestow’d
In Scandia;[10] from Amphidamas it pass’d
To Molus as a hospitable pledge;
He gave it to Meriones his son,
And now it guarded shrewd Ulysses’ brows. 320
Both clad in arms terrific, forth they sped,
Leaving their fellow Chiefs, and as they went
A heron, by command of Pallas, flew
Close on the right beside them; darkling they
Discern’d him not, but heard his clanging plumes.[11] 325
Ulysses in the favorable sign
Exulted, and Minerva thus invoked.[12]

    Oh hear me, daughter of Jove AEgis-arm’d! 

My present helper in all straits, whose eye
Marks all my ways, oh with peculiar care 330
Now guard me, Pallas! grant that after toil
Successful, glorious, such as long shall fill
With grief the Trojans, we may safe return

Page 127

And with immortal honors to the fleet. 

    Valiant Tydides, next, his prayer preferr’d. 335

Hear also me, Jove’s offspring by the toils
Of war invincible! me follow now
As my heroic father erst to Thebes
Thou followedst, Tydeus; by the Greeks dispatch’d
Ambassador, he left the mail-clad host 340
Beside Asopus, and with terms of peace
Entrusted, enter’d Thebes; but by thine aid
Benevolent, and in thy strength, perform’d
Returning, deeds of terrible renown. 
Thus, now, protect me also!  In return 345
I vow an offering at thy shrine, a young
Broad-fronted heifer, to the yoke as yet
Untamed, whose horns I will incase with gold. 

    Such prayer they made, and Pallas heard well pleased. 

Their orisons ended to the daughter dread 350
Of mighty Jove, lion-like they advanced
Through shades of night, through carnage, arms and blood. 

    Nor Hector to his gallant host indulged

Sleep, but convened the leaders; leader none
Or senator of all his host he left 355
Unsummon’d, and his purpose thus promulged. 

    Where is the warrior who for rich reward,

Such as shall well suffice him, will the task
Adventurous, which I propose, perform? 
A chariot with two steeds of proudest height, 360
Surpassing all in the whole fleet of Greece
Shall be his portion, with immortal praise,
Who shall the well-appointed ships approach
Courageous, there to learn if yet a guard
As heretofore, keep them, or if subdued 365
Beneath us, the Achaians flight intend,
And worn with labor have no will to watch. 

    So Hector spake, but answer none return’d. 

There was a certain Trojan, Dolon named,[13]
Son of Eumedes herald of the Gods, 370
Rich both in gold and brass, but in his form
Unsightly; yet the man was swift of foot,
Sole brother of five sisters; he his speech
To Hector and the Trojans thus address’d. 

    My spirit, Hector, prompts me, and my mind 375

Endued with manly vigor, to approach
Yon gallant ships, that I may tidings hear. 
But come.  For my assurance, lifting high
Thy sceptre, swear to me, for my reward,
The horses and the brazen chariot bright 380
Which bear renown’d Achilles o’er the field. 
I will not prove a useless spy, nor fall
Below thy best opinion; pass I will
Their army through, ’till I shall reach the ship
Of Agamemnon, where the Chiefs, perchance, 385
Now sit consulting, or to fight, or fly.[14]

    Then raising high his sceptre, Hector sware

Know, Jove himself, Juno’s high-thundering spouse! 
That Trojan none shall in that chariot ride

Page 128

By those steeds drawn, save Dolon; on my oath 390
I make them thine; enjoy them evermore. 

    He said, and falsely sware, yet him assured. 

Then Dolon, instant, o’er his shoulder slung
His bow elastic, wrapp’d himself around
With a grey wolf-skin, to his head a casque 395
Adjusted, coated o’er with ferret’s felt,
And seizing his sharp javelin, from the host
Turn’d right toward the fleet, but was ordain’d
To disappoint his sender, and to bring
No tidings thence.  The throng of Trojan steeds 400
And warriors left, with brisker pace he moved,
When brave Ulysses his approach perceived,
And thus to Diomede his speech address’d. 

    Tydides! yonder man is from the host;

Either a spy he comes, or with intent 405
To spoil the dead.  First, freely let him pass
Few paces, then pursuing him with speed,
Seize on him suddenly; but should he prove
The nimbler of the three, with threatening spear
Enforce him from his camp toward the fleet, 410
Lest he elude us, and escape to Troy. 

    So they; then, turning from the road oblique,

Among the carcases each laid him down. 
Dolon, suspecting nought, ran swiftly by.
[15]But when such space was interposed as mules 415
Plow in a day (for mules the ox surpass
Through fallows deep drawing the ponderous plow)
Both ran toward him.  Dolon at the sound
Stood; for he hoped some Trojan friends at hand
From Hector sent to bid him back again. 420
But when within spear’s cast, or less they came,
Knowing them enemies he turn’d to flight
Incontinent, whom they as swift pursued. 
As two fleet hounds sharp fang’d, train’d to the chase,
Hang on the rear of flying hind or hare, 425
And drive her, never swerving from the track,
Through copses close; she screaming scuds before;
So Diomede and dread Ulysses him
Chased constant, intercepting his return. 
And now, fast-fleeting to the ships, he soon 430
Had reach’d the guard, but Pallas with new force
Inspired Tydides, lest a meaner Greek
Should boast that he had smitten Dolon first,
And Diomede win only second praise. 
He poised his lifted spear, and thus exclaim’d. 435

    Stand! or my spear shall stop thee.  Death impends

At every step; thou canst not ’scape me long. 

    He said, and threw his spear, but by design,

Err’d from the man.  The polish’d weapon swift
O’er-glancing his right shoulder, in the soil 440
Stood fixt, beyond him.  Terrified he stood,
Stammering, and sounding through his lips the clash
Of chattering teeth, with visage deadly wan. 
They panting rush’d on him, and both his hands
Seized fast; he wept, and suppliant them bespake.

Page 129


    Take me alive, and I will pay the price

Of my redemption.  I have gold at home,
Brass also, and bright steel, and when report
Of my captivity within your fleet
Shall reach my father, treasures he will give 450
Not to be told, for ransom of his son. 

    To whom Ulysses politic replied. 

Take courage; entertain no thought of death.[16]
But haste! this tell me, and disclose the truth. 
Why thus toward the ships comest thou alone 455
From yonder host, by night, while others sleep? 
To spoil some carcase? or from Hector sent
A spy of all that passes in the fleet? 
Or by thy curiosity impell’d? 

    Then Dolon, his limbs trembling, thus replied. 460

To my great detriment, and far beyond
My own design, Hector trepann’d me forth,
Who promised me the steeds of Peleus’ son
Illustrious, and his brazen chariot bright. 
He bade me, under night’s fast-flitting shades 465
Approach our enemies, a spy, to learn
If still as heretofore, ye station guards
For safety of your fleet, or if subdued
Completely, ye intend immediate flight,
And worn with labor, have no will to watch. 470

    To whom Ulysses, smiling, thus replied. 

Thou hadst, in truth, an appetite to gifts
Of no mean value, coveting the steeds
Of brave AEacides; but steeds are they
Of fiery sort, difficult to be ruled 475
By force of mortal man, Achilles’ self
Except, whom an immortal mother bore. 
But tell me yet again; use no disguise;
Where left’st thou, at thy coming forth, your Chief,
The valiant Hector? where hath he disposed 480
His armor battle-worn, and where his steeds? 
What other quarters of your host are watch’d? 
Where lodge the guard, and what intend ye next? 
Still to abide in prospect of the fleet? 
Or well-content that ye have thus reduced 485
Achaia’s host, will ye retire to Troy? 

    To whom this answer Dolon straight returned

Son of Eumedes.  With unfeigning truth
Simply and plainly will I utter all. 
Hector, with all the Senatorial Chiefs, 490
Beside the tomb of sacred Ilius sits
Consulting, from the noisy camp remote. 
But for the guards, Hero! concerning whom
Thou hast inquired, there is no certain watch
And regular appointed o’er the camp; 495
The native[17] Trojans (for they can no less)
Sit sleepless all, and each his next exhorts
To vigilance; but all our foreign aids,
Who neither wives nor children hazard here,
Trusting the Trojans for that service, sleep. 500

    To whom Ulysses, ever wise, replied. 

How sleep the strangers and allies?—­apart? 
Or with the Trojans mingled?—­I would

Page 130


    So spake Ulysses; to whom Dolon thus,

Son of Eumedes.  I will all unfold, 505
And all most truly.  By the sea are lodged
The Carians, the Paeonians arm’d with bows,
The Leleges, with the Pelasgian band,
And the Caucones.  On the skirts encamp
Of Thymbra, the Maeonians crested high, 510
The Phrygian horsemen, with the Lycian host,
And the bold troop of Mysia’s haughty sons. 
But wherefore these inquiries thus minute? 
For if ye wish to penetrate the host,
These who possess the borders of the camp 515
Farthest removed of all, are Thracian powers
Newly arrived; among them Rhesus sleeps,
Son of Eioneus, their Chief and King. 
His steeds I saw, the fairest by these eyes
Ever beheld, and loftiest; snow itself 520
They pass in whiteness, and in speed the winds,
With gold and silver all his chariot burns,
And he arrived in golden armor clad
Stupendous! little suited to the state
Of mortal man—­fit for a God to wear! 525
Now, either lead me to your gallant fleet,
Or where ye find me leave me straitly bound
Till ye return, and after trial made,
Shall know if I have spoken false or true. 

    But him brave Diomede with aspect stern 530

Answer’d.  Since, Dolon! thou art caught, although
Thy tidings have been good, hope not to live;
For should we now release thee and dismiss,
Thou wilt revisit yet again the fleet
A spy or open foe; but smitten once 535
By this death-dealing arm, thou shall return
To render mischief to the Greeks no more. 

    He ceased, and Dolon would have stretch’d his hand

Toward his beard, and pleaded hard for life,
But with his falchion, rising to the blow, 540
On the mid-neck he smote him, cutting sheer
Both tendons with a stroke so swift, that ere
His tongue had ceased, his head was in the dust.[18]
They took his helmet clothed with ferret’s felt,
Stripp’d off his wolf-skin, seized his bow and spear, 545
And brave Ulysses lifting in his hand
The trophy to Minerva, pray’d and said: 

    Hail Goddess; these are thine! for thee of all

Who in Olympus dwell, we will invoke
First to our aid.  Now also guide our steps, 550
Propitious, to the Thracian tents and steeds. 

    He ceased, and at arm’s-length the lifted spoils

Hung on a tamarisk; but mark’d the spot,
Plucking away with handful grasp the reeds
And spreading boughs, lest they should seek the prize 555
Themselves in vain, returning ere the night,
Swift traveller, should have fled before the dawn. 
Thence, o’er the bloody champain strew’d with arms
Proceeding, to the Thracian lines they came. 

Page 131

They, wearied, slept profound; beside them lay, 560
In triple order regular arranged,
Their radiant armor, and their steeds in pairs. 
Amid them Rhesus slept, and at his side
His coursers, to the outer chariot-ring
Fasten’d secure.  Ulysses saw him first, 565
And, seeing, mark’d him out to Diomede. 

    Behold the man, Tydides!  Lo! the steeds

By Dolon specified whom we have slain. 
Be quick.  Exert thy force.  Arm’d as thou art,
Sleep not.  Loose thou the steeds, or slaughter thou 570
The Thracians, and the steeds shall be my care. 

    He ceased; then blue-eyed Pallas with fresh force

Invigor’d Diomede.  From side to side
He slew; dread groans arose of dying men
Hewn with the sword, and the earth swam with blood. 575
As if he find a flock unguarded, sheep
Or goats, the lion rushes on his prey,
With such unsparing force Tydides smote
The men of Thrace, till he had slaughter’d twelve;
And whom Tydides with his falchion struck 580
Laertes’ son dragg’d by his feet abroad,
Forecasting that the steeds might pass with ease,
Nor start, as yet uncustom’d to the dead. 
But when the son of Tydeus found the King,
Him also panting forth his last, last, breath, 585
He added to the twelve; for at his head
An evil dream that night had stood, the form
Of Diomede, by Pallas’ art devised. 
Meantime, the bold Ulysses loosed the steeds,
Which, to each other rein’d, he drove abroad, 590
Smiting them with his bow (for of the scourge
He thought not in the chariot-seat secured)
And as he went, hiss’d, warning Diomede. 
But he, projecting still some hardier deed,
Stood doubtful, whether by the pole to draw 595
The chariot thence, laden with gorgeous arms,
Or whether heaving it on high, to bear
The burthen off, or whether yet to take
More Thracian lives; when him with various thoughts
Perplex’d, Minerva, drawing near, bespake. 600

    Son of bold Tydeus! think on thy return

To yonder fleet, lest thou depart constrain’d. 
Some other God may rouse the powers of Troy. 

    She ended, and he knew the voice divine. 

At once he mounted.  With his bow the steeds 605
Ulysses plyed, and to the ships they flew. 

    Nor look’d the bender of the silver bow,

Apollo, forth in vain, but at the sight
Of Pallas following Diomede incensed,
Descended to the field where numerous most 610
He saw the Trojans, and the Thracian Chief
And counsellor, Hippocooen aroused,[19]
Kinsman of Rhesus, and renown’d in arms. 
He, starting from his sleep, soon as he saw
The spot deserted where so lately lay 615
Those fiery coursers, and his warrior friends

Page 132

Gasping around him, sounded loud the name
Of his loved Rhesus.  Instant, at the voice,
Wild stir arose and clamorous uproar
Of fast-assembling Trojans.  Deeds they saw—­ 620
Terrible deeds, and marvellous perform’d,
But not their authors—­they had sought the ships. 

    Meantime arrived where they had slain the spy

Of Hector, there Ulysses, dear to Jove,
The coursers stay’d, and, leaping to the ground, 625
The son of Tydeus in Ulysses’ hands
The arms of Dolon placed foul with his blood,
Then vaulted light into his seat again. 
He lash’d the steeds, they, not unwilling, flew
To the deep-bellied barks, as to their home. 630
First Nestor heard the sound, and thus he said. 

    Friends!  Counsellors! and leaders of the Greeks! 

False shall I speak, or true?—­but speak I must. 
The echoing sound of hoofs alarms my ear. 
Oh, that Ulysses, and brave Diomede 635
This moment might arrive drawn into camp
By Trojan steeds!  But, ah, the dread I feel! 
Lest some disaster have for ever quell’d
In yon rude host those noblest of the Greeks. 

    He hath not ended, when themselves arrived, 640

Both quick dismounted; joy at their return
Fill’d every bosom; each with kind salute
Cordial, and right-hand welcome greeted them,
And first Gerenian Nestor thus inquired. 

    Oh Chief by all extoll’d, glory of Greece, 645

Ulysses! how have ye these steeds acquired? 
In yonder host? or met ye as ye went
Some God who gave them to you? for they show
A lustre dazzling as the beams of day. 
Old as I am, I mingle yet in fight 650
With Ilium’s sons—­lurk never in the fleet—­
Yet saw I at no time, or have remark’d
Steeds such as these; which therefore I believe
Perforce, that ye have gained by gift divine;
For cloud-assembler Jove, and azure-eyed 655
Minerva, Jove’s own daughter, love you both. 

    To whom Ulysses, thus, discreet, replied. 

Neleian Nestor, glory of the Greeks! 
A God, so willing, could have given us steeds
Superior, for their bounty knows no bounds. 660
But, venerable Chief! these which thou seest
Are Thracians new-arrived.  Their master lies
Slain by the valiant Diomede, with twelve
The noblest of his warriors at his side,
A thirteenth[20] also, at small distance hence 665
We slew, by Hector and the Chiefs of Troy
Sent to inspect the posture of our host. 

    He said; then, high in exultation, drove

The coursers o’er the trench, and with him pass’d
The glad Achaians; at the spacious tent 670
Of Diomede arrived, with even thongs
They tied them at the cribs where stood the steeds

Page 133

Of Tydeus’ son, with winnow’d wheat supplied. 
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.




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

Page 134

Of battle ceaseless into every breast. 
All deem’d, at once, war sweeter, than to seek
Their native country through the waves again. 15
Then with loud voice Atrides bade the Greeks
Gird on their armor, and himself his arms
Took radiant.  First around his legs he clasp’d
His shining greaves with silver studs secured,
Then bound his corselet to his bosom, gift 20
Of Cynyras long since;[1] for rumor loud
Had Cyprus reached of an Achaian host
Assembling, destined to the shores of Troy: 
Wherefore, to gratify the King of men,
He made the splendid ornament his own. 25
Ten rods of steel coerulean all around
Embraced it, twelve of gold, twenty of tin;
Six[2] spiry serpents their uplifted heads
Coerulean darted at the wearer’s throat,
Splendor diffusing as the various bow 30
Fix’d by Saturnian Jove in showery clouds,
A sign to mortal men.[3] He slung his sword
Athwart his shoulders; dazzling bright it shone
With gold emboss’d, and silver was the sheath
Suspended graceful in a belt of gold. 35
His massy shield o’ershadowing him whole,
High-wrought and beautiful, he next assumed. 
Ten circles bright of brass around its field
Extensive, circle within circle, ran;
The central boss was black, but hemm’d about 40
With twice ten bosses of resplendent tin. 
There, dreadful ornament! the visage dark
Of Gorgon scowl’d, border’d by Flight and Fear. 
The loop was silver, and a serpent form
Coerulean over all its surface twined, 45
Three heads erecting on one neck, the heads
Together wreath’d into a stately crown. 
His helmet quatre-crested,[4] and with studs
Fast riveted around he to his brows
Adjusted, whence tremendous waved his crest 50
Of mounted hair on high.  Two spears he seized
Ponderous, brass-pointed, and that flash’d to heaven. 
Sounds[5] like clear thunder, by the spouse of Jove
And by Minerva raised to extol the King
Of opulent Mycenae, roll’d around. 55
At once each bade his charioteer his steeds
Hold fast beside the margin of the trench
In orderly array; the foot all arm’d
Rush’d forward, and the clamor of the host
Rose infinite into the dawning skies. 60
First, at the trench, the embattled infantry[6]
Stood ranged; the chariots follow’d close behind;
Dire was the tumult by Saturnian Jove
Excited, and from ether down he shed
Blood-tinctured dews among them, for he meant 65
That day to send full many a warrior bold
To Pluto’s dreary realm, slain premature. 

    Opposite, on the rising-ground, appear’d

The Trojans; them majestic Hector led,
Noble Polydamas, AEneas raised

Page 135

To godlike honors in all Trojan hearts,
And Polybus, with whom Antenor’s sons
Agenor, and young Acamas advanced. 
Hector the splendid orb of his broad shield
Bore in the van, and as a comet now 75
Glares through the clouds portentous, and again,
Obscured by gloomy vapors, disappears,
So Hector, marshalling his host, in front
Now shone, now vanish’d in the distant rear. 
All-cased he flamed in brass, and on the sight 80
Flash’d as the lightnings of Jove AEgis-arm’d. 
As reapers, toiling opposite,[7] lay bare
Some rich man’s furrows, while the sever’d grain,
Barley or wheat, sinks as the sickle moves,
So Greeks and Trojans springing into fight 85
Slew mutual; foul retreat alike they scorn’d,
Alike in fierce hostility their heads
Both bore aloft, and rush’d like wolves to war. 
Discord, spectatress terrible, that sight
Beheld exulting; she, of all the Gods, 90
Alone was present; not a Power beside
There interfered, but each his bright abode
Quiescent occupied wherever built
Among the windings of the Olympian heights;
Yet blamed they all the storm-assembler King 95
Saturnian, for his purposed aid to Troy. 
The eternal father reck’d not; he, apart,
Seated in solitary pomp, enjoy’d
His glory, and from on high the towers survey’d
Of Ilium and the fleet of Greece, the flash 100
Of gleaming arms, the slayer and the slain. 

    While morning lasted, and the light of day

Increased, so long the weapons on both sides
Flew in thick vollies, and the people fell. 
But, what time his repast the woodman spreads 105
In some umbrageous vale, his sinewy arms
Wearied with hewing many a lofty tree,
And his wants satisfied, he feels at length
The pinch of appetite to pleasant food,[8]
Then was it, that encouraging aloud 110
Each other, in their native virtue strong,
The Grecians through the phalanx burst of Troy. 
Forth sprang the monarch first; he slew the Chief
Bianor, nor himself alone, but slew
Oileus also driver of his steeds. 115
Oileus, with a leap alighting, rush’d
On Agamemnon; he his fierce assault
Encountering, with a spear met full his front. 
Nor could his helmet’s ponderous brass sustain
That force, but both his helmet and his skull 120
It shatter’d, and his martial rage repress’d. 
The King of men, stripping their corselets, bared
Their shining breasts, and left them.  Isus, next,
And Antiphus he flew to slay, the sons
Of Priam both, and in one chariot borne, 125
This spurious, genuine that.  The bastard drove,
And Antiphus, a warrior high-renown’d,
Fought from the chariot; them Achilles erst

Page 136

Feeding their flocks on Ida had surprised
And bound with osiers, but for ransom loosed. 130
Of these, imperial Agamemnon, first,
Above the pap pierced Isus; next, he smote
Antiphus with his sword beside the ear,
And from his chariot cast him to the ground. 
Conscious of both, their glittering arms he stripp’d, 135
For he had seen them when from Ida’s heights
Achilles led them to the Grecian fleet. 
As with resistless fangs the lion breaks
The young in pieces of the nimble hind,
Entering her lair, and takes their feeble lives; 140
She, though at hand, can yield them no defence,
But through the thick wood, wing’d with terror, starts
Herself away, trembling at such a foe;
So them the Trojans had no power to save,
Themselves all driven before the host of Greece. 145
Next, on Pisandrus, and of dauntless heart
Hippolochus he rush’d; they were the sons
Of brave Antimachus, who with rich gifts
By Paris bought, inflexible withheld
From Menelaus still his lovely bride. 150
His sons, the monarch, in one chariot borne
Encounter’d; they (for they had lost the reins)
With trepidation and united force
Essay’d to check the steeds; astonishment
Seized both; Atrides with a lion’s rage 155
Came on, and from the chariot thus they sued. 

    Oh spare us! son of Atreus, and accept

Ransom immense.  Antimachus our sire
Is rich in various treasure, gold and brass,
And temper’d steel, and, hearing the report 160
That in Achaia’s fleet his sons survive,
He will requite thee with a glorious price. 

    So they, with tears and gentle terms the King

Accosted, but no gentle answer heard. 

    Are ye indeed the offspring of the Chief 165

Antimachus, who when my brother once
With godlike Laertiades your town
Enter’d ambassador, his death advised
In council, and to let him forth no more? 
Now rue ye both the baseness of your sire. 170

    He said, and from his chariot to the plain

Thrust down Pisandrus, piercing with keen lance
His bosom, and supine he smote the field. 
Down leap’d Hippolochus, whom on the ground
He slew, cut sheer his hands, and lopp’d his head, 175
And roll’d it like a mortar[9] through the ranks. 
He left the slain, and where he saw the field
With thickest battle cover’d, thither flew
By all the Grecians follow’d bright in arms. 
The scatter’d infantry constrained to fly, 180
Fell by the infantry; the charioteers,
While with loud hoofs their steeds the dusty soil
Excited, o’er the charioteers their wheels
Drove brazen-fellied, and the King of men
Incessant slaughtering, called his Argives[10] on. 185

Page 137

As when fierce flames some ancient forest seize,
From side to side in flakes the various wind
Rolls them, and to the roots devour’d, the trunks
Fall prostrate under fury of the fire,
So under Agamemnon fell the heads 190
Of flying Trojans.  Many a courser proud
The empty chariots through the paths of war
Whirl’d rattling, of their charioteers deprived;
They breathless press’d the plain, now fitter far
To feed the vultures than to cheer their wives. 195

    Conceal’d, meantime, by Jove, Hector escaped

The dust, darts, deaths, and tumult of the field;
And Agamemnon to the swift pursuit
Call’d loud the Grecians.  Through the middle plain
Beside the sepulchre of Ilus, son 200
Of Dardanus, and where the fig-tree stood,
The Trojans flew, panting to gain the town,
While Agamemnon pressing close the rear,
Shout after shout terrific sent abroad,
And his victorious hands reek’d, red with gore. 205
But at the beech-tree and the Scaean gate
Arrived, the Trojans halted, waiting there
The rearmost fugitives; they o’er the field
Came like a herd, which in the dead of night
A lion drives; all fly, but one is doom’d 210
To death inevitable; her with jaws
True to their hold he seizes, and her neck
Breaking, embowels her, and laps the blood;
So, Atreus’ royal son, the hindmost still
Slaying, and still pursuing, urged them on. 215
Many supine, and many prone, the field
Press’d, by the son of Atreus in their flight
Dismounted; for no weapon raged as his. 
But now, at last, when he should soon have reach’d
The lofty walls of Ilium, came the Sire 220
Of Gods and men descending from the skies,
And on the heights of Ida fountain-fed,
Sat arm’d with thunders.  Calling to his foot
Swift Iris golden-pinion’d, thus he spake. 

    Iris! away.  Thus speak in Hector’s ears. 225

While yet he shall the son of Atreus see
Fierce warring in the van, and mowing down
The Trojan ranks, so long let him abstain
From battle, leaving to his host the task
Of bloody contest furious with the Greeks. 230
But soon as Atreus’ son by spear or shaft
Wounded shall climb his chariot, with such force
I will endue Hector, that he shall slay
Till he have reach’d the ships, and till, the sun
Descending, sacred darkness cover all. 235

    He spake, nor rapid Iris disobey’d

Storm-wing’d ambassadress, but from the heights
Of Ida stoop’d to Ilium.  There she found
The son of royal Priam by the throng
Of chariots and of steeds compass’d about 240
She, standing at his side, him thus bespake. 

    Oh, son of Priam! as the Gods

Page 138


I bring thee counsel from the Sire of all. 
While yet thou shalt the son of Atreus see
Fierce warring in the van, and mowing down 245
The warrior ranks, so long he bids thee pause
From battle, leaving to thy host the task
Of bloody contest furious with the Greeks. 
But soon as Atreus’ son, by spear or shaft
Wounded, shall climb his chariot, Jove will then 250
Endue thee with such force, that thou shalt slay
Till thou have reach’d the ships, and till, the sun
Descending, sacred darkness cover all. 

    So saying, swift-pinion’d Iris disappear’d. 

Then Hector from his chariot at a leap 255
Came down all arm’d, and, shaking his bright spears,
Ranged every quarter, animating loud
The legions, and rekindling horrid war. 
Back roll’d the Trojan ranks, and faced the Greeks;
The Greeks their host to closer phalanx drew; 260
The battle was restored, van fronting van
They stood, and Agamemnon into fight
Sprang foremost, panting for superior fame. 

    Say now, ye Nine, who on Olympus dwell! 

What Trojan first, or what ally of Troy 265
Opposed the force of Agamemnon’s arm? 
Iphidamas, Antenor’s valiant son,
Of loftiest stature, who in fertile Thrace
Mother of flocks was nourish’d, Cisseus him
His grandsire, father of Theano praised 270
For loveliest features, in his own abode
Rear’d yet a child, and when at length he reach’d
The measure of his glorious manhood firm
Dismiss’d him not, but, to engage him more,
Gave him his daughter.  Wedded, he his bride 275
As soon deserted, and with galleys twelve
Following the rumor’d voyage of the Greeks,
The same course steer’d; but at Percope moor’d,
And marching thence, arrived on foot at Troy. 
He first opposed Atrides.  They approach’d. 280
The spear of Agamemnon wander’d wide;
But him Iphidamas on his broad belt
Beneath the corselet struck, and, bearing still
On his spear-beam, enforced it; but ere yet
He pierced the broider’d zone, his point, impress’d 285
Against the silver, turn’d, obtuse as lead. 
Then royal Agamemnon in his hand
The weapon grasping, with a lion’s rage
Home drew it to himself, and from his gripe
Wresting it, with his falchion keen his neck 290
Smote full, and stretch’d him lifeless at his foot. 
So slept Iphidamas among the slain;
Unhappy! from his virgin bride remote,
Associate with the men of Troy in arms
He fell, and left her beauties unenjoy’d. 295
He gave her much, gave her a hundred beeves,
And sheep and goats a thousand from his flocks
Promised, for numberless his meadows ranged;
But Agamemnon, son of Atreus, him
Slew and despoil’d, and through the Grecian

Page 139

host 300
Proceeded, laden with his gorgeous arms. 
Cooen that sight beheld, illustrious Chief,
Antenor’s eldest born, but with dim eyes
Through anguish for his brother’s fall.  Unseen
Of noble Agamemnon, at his side 305
He cautious stood, and with a spear his arm,
Where thickest flesh’d, below his elbow, pierced,
Till opposite the glittering point appear’d. 
A thrilling horror seized the King of men
So wounded; yet though wounded so, from fight 310
He ceased not, but on Cooen rush’d, his spear
Grasping, well-thriven growth[11] of many a wind. 
He by the foot drew off Iphidamas,
His brother, son of his own sire, aloud
Calling the Trojan leaders to his aid; 315
When him so occupied with his keen point
Atrides pierced his bossy shield beneath. 
Expiring on Iphidamas he fell
Prostrate, and Agamemnon lopp’d his head. 
Thus, under royal Agamemnon’s hand, 320
Antenor’s sons their destiny fulfill’d,
And to the house of Ades journey’d both. 
Through other ranks of warriors then he pass’d,
Now with his spear, now with his falchion arm’d,
And now with missile force of massy stones, 325
While yet his warm blood sallied from the wound. 
But when the wound grew dry, and the blood ceased,
Anguish intolerable undermined
Then all the might of Atreus’ royal son. 
As when a laboring woman’s arrowy throes 330
Seize her intense, by Juno’s daughters dread
The birth-presiding Ilithyae deep
Infixt, dispensers of those pangs severe;
So, anguish insupportable subdued
Then all the might of Atreus’ royal son. 335
Up-springing to his seat, instant he bade
His charioteer drive to the hollow barks,
Heart-sick himself with pain; yet, ere he went,
With voice loud-echoing hail’d the Danai. 

    Friends! counsellors and leaders of the Greeks! 340

Now drive, yourselves, the battle from your ships. 
For me the Gods permit not to employ
In fight with Ilium’s host the day entire. 

    He ended, and the charioteer his steeds

Lash’d to the ships; they not unwilling flew, 345
Bearing from battle the afflicted King
With foaming chests and bellies grey with dust. 
Soon Hector, noting his retreat, aloud
Call’d on the Trojans and allies of Troy. 

    Trojans and Lycians, and close-fighting sons 350

Of Dardanus! oh summon all your might;
Now, now be men!  Their bravest is withdrawn! 
Glory and honor from Saturnian Jove
On me attend; now full against the Greeks
Drive all your steeds, and win a deathless name. 355

    He spake—­and all drew courage from his word. 

As when his hounds bright-tooth’d some hunter

Page 140

Against the lion or the forest-boar,
So Priameian Hector cheer’d his host
Magnanimous against the sons of Greece, 360
Terrible as gore-tainted Mars.  Among
The foremost warriors, with success elate
He strode, and flung himself into the fight
Black as a storm which sudden from on high
Descending, furrows deep the gloomy flood. 365

    Then whom slew Priameian Hector first,

Whom last, by Jove, that day, with glory crown’d? 
Assaeus, Dolops, Orus, Agelaues,
Autonoues, Hipponoues, AEsymnus,
Opheltius and Opites first he slew, 370
All leaders of the Greeks, and, after these,
The people.  As when whirlwinds of the West
A storm encounter from the gloomy South,
The waves roll multitudinous, and the foam
Upswept by wandering gusts fills all the air, 375
So Hector swept the Grecians.  Then defeat
Past remedy and havoc had ensued,
Then had the routed Grecians, flying, sought
Their ships again, but that Ulysses[12] thus
Summon’d the brave Tydides to his aid. 380

    Whence comes it, Diomede, that we forget

Our wonted courage?  Hither, O my friend! 
And, fighting at my side, ward off the shame
That must be ours, should Hector seize the fleet. 

    To whom the valiant Diomede replied. 385

I will be firm; trust me thou shalt not find
Me shrinking; yet small fruit of our attempts
Shall follow, for the Thunderer, not to us,
But to the Trojan, gives the glorious day. 

    The Hero spake, and from his chariot cast 390

Thymbraeus to the ground pierced through the pap,
While by Ulysses’ hand his charioteer
Godlike Molion, fell.  The warfare thus
Of both for ever closed, them there they left,
And plunging deep into the warrior-throng 395
Troubled the multitude.  As when two boars
Turn desperate on the close-pursuing hounds,
So they, returning on the host of Troy,
Slew on all sides, and overtoil’d with flight
From Hector’s arm, the Greeks meantime respired. 400
Two warriors, next, their chariot and themselves
They took, plebeians brave, sons of the seer
Percosian Merops in prophetic skill
Surpassing all; he both his sons forbad
The mortal field, but disobedient they 405
Still sought it, for their destiny prevail’d. 
Spear-practised Diomede of life deprived
Both these, and stripp’d them of their glorious arms,
While by Ulysses’ hand Hippodamus
Died and Hypeirochus.  And now the son 410
Of Saturn, looking down from Ida, poised
The doubtful war, and mutual deaths they dealt. 
Tydides plunged his spear into the groin
Of the illustrious son of Paeon, bold
Agastrophus.  No steeds at his command

Page 141

Had he, infatuate! but his charioteer
His steeds detain’d remote, while through the van
Himself on foot rush’d madly till he fell. 
But Hector through the ranks darting his eye
Perceived, and with ear-piercing cries advanced 420
Against them, follow’d by the host of Troy. 
The son of Tydeus, shuddering, his approach
Discern’d, and instant to Ulysses spake.[13]

    Now comes the storm!  This way the mischief rolls! 

Stand and repulse the Trojan.  Now be firm. 425

    He said, and hurling his long-shadow’d beam

Smote Hector.  At his helmet’s crown he aim’d,
Nor err’d, but brass encountering brass, the point
Glanced wide, for he had cased his youthful brows
In triple brass, Apollo’s glorious gift. 430
Yet with rapidity at such a shock
Hector recoil’d into the multitude
Afar, where sinking to his knees, he lean’d
On his broad palm, and darkness veil’d his eyes. 
But while Tydides follow’d through the van 435
His stormy spear, which in the distant soil
Implanted stood, Hector his scatter’d sense
Recovering, to his chariot sprang again,
And, diving deep into his host, escaped. 
The noble son of Tydeus, spear in hand, 440
Rush’d after him, and as he went, exclaim’d. 

    Dog! thou hast now escaped; but, sure the stroke

Approach’d thee nigh, well-aim’d.  Once more thy prayers
Which ever to Apollo thou prefer’st
Entering the clash of battle, have prevail’d, 445
And he hath rescued thee.  But well beware
Our next encounter, for if also me
Some God befriend, thou diest.  Now will I seek
Another mark, and smite whom next I may. 

    He spake, and of his armor stripp’d the son 450

Spear-famed of Paeon.  Meantime Paris, mate
Of beauteous Helen, drew his bow against
Tydides; by a pillar of the tomb
Of Ilus, ancient senator revered,
Conceal’d he stood, and while the Hero loosed 455
His corselet from the breast of Paeon’s son
Renown’d, and of his helmet and his targe
Despoil’d him; Paris, arching quick his bow,
No devious shaft dismiss’d, but his right foot
Pierced through the sole, and fix’d it to the ground. 460
Transported from his ambush forth he leap’d
With a loud laugh, and, vaunting, thus exclaim’d: 

    Oh shaft well shot! it galls thee.  Would to heaven

That it had pierced thy heart, and thou hadst died! 
So had the Trojans respite from their toils 465
Enjoy’d, who, now, shudder at sight of thee
Like she-goats when the lion is at hand. 

    To whom, undaunted, Diomede replied. 

Archer shrew-tongued! spie-maiden! man of curls![14]
Shouldst thou in arms attempt me face to face, 470

Page 142

Thy bow and arrows should avail thee nought. 
Vain boaster! thou hast scratch’d my foot—­no more—­
And I regard it as I might the stroke
Of a weak woman or a simple child. 
The weapons of a dastard and a slave 475
Are ever such.  More terrible are mine,
And whom they pierce, though slightly pierced, he dies. 
His wife her cheeks rends inconsolable,
His babes are fatherless, his blood the glebe
Incarnadines, and where he bleeds and rots 480
More birds of prey than women haunt the place. 

    He ended, and Ulysses, drawing nigh,

Shelter’d Tydides; he behind the Chief
Of Ithaca sat drawing forth the shaft,
But pierced with agonizing pangs the while. 485
Then, climbing to his chariot-seat, he bade
Sthenelus hasten to the hollow ships,
Heart-sick with pain.  And now alone was seen
Spear-famed Ulysses; not an Argive more
Remain’d, so universal was the rout, 490
And groaning, to his own great heart he said. 

    Alas! what now awaits me?  If, appall’d

By multitudes, I fly, much detriment;
And if alone they intercept me here,
Still more; for Jove hath scatter’d all the host, 495
Yet why these doubts! for know I not of old
That only dastards fly, and that the voice
Of honor bids the famed in battle stand,
Bleed they themselves, or cause their foes to bleed? 

    While busied in such thought he stood, the ranks 500

Of Trojans fronted with broad shields, enclosed
The hero with a ring, hemming around
Their own destruction.  As when dogs, and swains
In prime of manhood, from all quarters rush
Around a boar, he from his thicket bolts, 505
The bright tusk whetting in his crooked jaws: 
They press him on all sides, and from beneath
Loud gnashings hear, yet firm, his threats defy;
Like them the Trojans on all sides assail’d
Ulysses dear to Jove.  First with his spear 510
He sprang impetuous on a valiant chief,
Whose shoulder with a downright point he pierced,
Deiopites; Thooen next he slew,
And Ennomus, and from his coursers’ backs
Alighting quick, Chersidamas; beneath 515
His bossy shield the gliding weapon pass’d
Right through his navel; on the plain he fell
Expiring, and with both hands clench’d the dust. 
Them slain he left, and Charops wounded next,
Brother of Socus, generous Chief, and son 520
Of Hippasus; brave Socus to the aid
Of Charops flew, and, godlike, thus began. 

    Illustrious chief, Ulysses! strong to toil

And rich in artifice!  Or boast to-day
Two sons of Hippasus, brave warriors both, 525
Of armor and of life bereft by thee,
Or to my vengeful spear resign thy own! 

Page 143

    So saying, Ulysses’ oval disk he smote. 

Through his bright disk the stormy weapon flew,
Transpierced his twisted mail, and from his side 530
Drove all the skin, but to his nobler parts
Found entrance none, by Pallas turn’d aslant.[15]
Ulysses, conscious of his life untouch’d,
Retired a step from Socus, and replied. 

    Ah hapless youth; thy fate is on the wing; 535

Me thou hast forced indeed to cease a while
From battle with the Trojans, but I speak
Thy death at hand; for vanquish’d by my spear,
This self-same day thou shalt to me resign
Thy fame, thy soul to Pluto steed-renown’d. 540

    He ceased; then Socus turn’d his back to fly,

But, as he turn’d, his shoulder-blades between
He pierced him, and the spear urged through his breast. 
On his resounding arms he fell, and thus
Godlike Ulysses gloried in his fall. 545

    Ah, Socus, son of Hippasus, a chief

Of fame equestrian! swifter far than thou
Death follow’d thee, and thou hast not escaped. 
Ill-fated youth! thy parents’ hands thine eyes
Shall never close, but birds of ravenous maw 550
Shall tear thee, flapping thee with frequent wing,
While me the noble Grecians shall entomb! 

    So saying, the valiant Socus’ spear he drew

From his own flesh, and through his bossy shield. 
The weapon drawn, forth sprang the blood, and left 555
His spirit faint.  Then Ilium’s dauntless sons,
Seeing Ulysses’ blood, exhorted glad
Each other, and, with force united, all
Press’d on him.  He, retiring, summon’d loud
His followers.  Thrice, loud as mortal may, 560
He call’d, and valiant Menelaus thrice
Hearing the voice, to Ajax thus remark’d. 

    Illustrious son of Telamon!  The voice

Of Laertiades comes o’er my ear
With such a sound, as if the hardy chief, 565
Abandon’d of his friends, were overpower’d
By numbers intercepting his retreat. 
Haste! force we quick a passage through the ranks. 
His worth demands our succor, for I fear
Lest sole conflicting with the host of Troy, 570
Brave as he is, he perish, to the loss
Unspeakable and long regret of Greece. 

    So saying, he went, and Ajax, godlike Chief,

Follow’d him.  At the voice arrived, they found
Ulysses Jove-beloved compass’d about 575
By Trojans, as the lynxes in the hills,
Adust for blood, compass an antler’d stag
Pierced by an archer; while his blood is warm
And his limbs pliable, from him he ’scapes;
But when the feather’d barb hath quell’d his force, 580
In some dark hollow of the mountain’s side,
The hungry troop devour him; chance, the while,
Conducts a lion thither, before whom

Page 144

All vanish, and the lion feeds alone;
So swarm’d the Trojan powers, numerous and bold, 585
Around Ulysses, who with wary skill
Heroic combated his evil day. 
But Ajax came, cover’d with his broad shield
That seem’d a tower, and at Ulysses’ side
Stood fast; then fled the Trojans wide-dispersed, 590
And Menelaus led him by the hand
Till his own chariot to his aid approach’d. 
But Ajax, springing on the Trojans, slew
Doryclus, from the loins of Priam sprung,
But spurious.  Pandocus he wounded next, 595
Then wounded Pyrasus, and after him
Pylartes and Lysander.  As a flood
Runs headlong from the mountains to the plain
After long showers from Jove; many a dry oak
And many a pine the torrent sweeps along, 600
And, turbid, shoots much soil into the sea,
So, glorious Ajax troubled wide the field,
Horse and man slaughtering, whereof Hector yet
Heard not; for on the left of all the war
He fought beside Scamander, where around 605
Huge Nestor, and Idomeneus the brave,
Most deaths were dealt, and loudest roar’d the fight. 
There Hector toil’d, feats wonderful of spear
And horsemanship achieving, and the lines
Of many a phalanx desolating wide. 610
Nor even then had the bold Greeks retired,
But that an arrow triple-barb’d, dispatch’d
By Paris, Helen’s mate, against the Chief
Machaon warring with distinguish’d force,
Pierced his right shoulder.  For his sake alarm’d, 615
The valor-breathing Grecians fear’d, lest he
In that disast’rous field should also fall.[16]
At once, Idomeneus of Crete approach’d
The noble Nestor, and him thus bespake. 

    Arise, Neleian Nestor!  Pride of Greece! 620

Ascend thy chariot, and Machaon placed
Beside thee, bear him, instant to the fleet. 
For one, so skill’d in medicine, and to free
The inherent barb, is worth a multitude. 

    He said, nor the Gerenian hero old 625

Aught hesitated, but into his seat
Ascended, and Machaon, son renown’d
Of AEsculapius, mounted at his side. 
He lash’d the steeds, they not unwilling sought
The hollow ships, long their familiar home. 630

    Cebriones, meantime, the charioteer

Of Hector, from his seat the Trojan ranks
Observing sore discomfited, began. 

    Here are we busied, Hector! on the skirts

Of roaring battle, and meantime I see 635
Our host confused, their horses and themselves
All mingled.  Telamonian Ajax there
Routs them; I know the hero by his shield. 
Haste, drive we thither, for the carnage most
Of horse and foot conflicting furious, there 640
Rages, and infinite the shouts arise. 

Page 145

    He said, and with shrill-sounding scourge the steeds

Smote ample-maned; they, at the sudden stroke
Through both hosts whirl’d the chariot, shields and men
Trampling; with blood the axle underneath 645
All redden’d, and the chariot-rings with drops
From the horse-hoofs, and from the fellied wheels. 
Full on the multitude he drove, on fire
To burst the phalanx, and confusion sent
Among the Greeks, for nought[17] he shunn’d the spear. 650
All quarters else with falchion or with lance,
Or with huge stones he ranged, but cautious shunn’d
The encounter of the Telamonian Chief. 

    But the eternal father throned on high

With fear fill’d Ajax; panic-fixt he stood, 655
His seven-fold shield behind his shoulder cast,
And hemm’d by numbers, with an eye askant,
Watchful retreated.  As a beast of prey
Retiring, turns and looks, so he his face
Turn’d oft, retiring slow, and step by step. 660
As when the watch-dogs and assembled swains
Have driven a tawny lion from the stalls,
Then, interdicting him his wish’d repast,
Watch all the night, he, famish’d, yet again
Comes furious on, but speeds not, kept aloof 665
By frequent spears from daring hands, but more
By flash of torches, which, though fierce, he dreads,
Till, at the dawn, sullen he stalks away;
So from before the Trojans Ajax stalk’d
Sullen, and with reluctance slow retired. 670
His brave heart trembling for the fleet of Greece. 
As when (the boys o’erpower’d) a sluggish ass,
On whose tough sides they have spent many a staff,
Enters the harvest, and the spiry ears
Crops persevering; with their rods the boys 675
Still ply him hard, but all their puny might
Scarce drives him forth when he hath browsed his fill,
So, there, the Trojans and their foreign aids
With glittering lances keen huge Ajax urged,
His broad shield’s centre smiting.[18] He, by turns, 680
With desperate force the Trojan phalanx dense
Facing, repulsed them, and by turns he fled,
But still forbad all inroad on the fleet. 
Trojans and Greeks between, alone, he stood
A bulwark.  Spears from daring hands dismiss’d 685
Some, piercing his broad shield, there planted stood,
While others, in the midway falling, spent
Their disappointed rage deep in the ground. 

    Eurypylus, Evaemon’s noble son,

Him seeing, thus, with weapons overwhelmed 690
Flew to his side, his glittering lance dismiss’d,
And Apisaon, son of Phausias, struck
Under the midriff; through his liver pass’d
The ruthless point, and, falling, he expired. 
Forth sprang Eurypylus to seize the spoil; 695
Whom soon as godlike Alexander saw
Despoiling Apisaon of his arms,

Page 146

Drawing incontinent his bow, he sent
A shaft to his right thigh; the brittle reed
Snapp’d, and the rankling barb stuck fast within. 700
Terrified at the stroke, the wounded Chief
To his own band retired, but, as he went,
With echoing voice call’d on the Danai—­

    Friends!  Counsellors, and leaders of the Greeks! 

Turn ye and stand, and from his dreadful lot 705
Save Ajax whelm’d with weapons; ’scape, I judge,
He cannot from the roaring fight, yet oh
Stand fast around him; if save ye may,
Your champion huge, the Telamonian Chief! 

    So spake the wounded warrior.  They at once 710

With sloping bucklers, and with spears erect,
To his relief approach’d.  Ajax with joy
The friendly phalanx join’d, then turn’d and stood. 

    Thus burn’d the embattled field as with the flames

Of a devouring fire.  Meantime afar 715
From all that tumult the Neleian mares
Bore Nestor, foaming as they ran, with whom
Machaon also rode, leader revered. 
Achilles mark’d him passing; for he stood
Exalted on his huge ship’s lofty stern, 720
Spectator of the toil severe, and flight
Deplorable of the defeated Greeks. 
He call’d his friend Patroclus.  He below
Within his tent the sudden summons heard
And sprang like Mars abroad, all unaware 725
That in that sound he heard the voice of fate. 
Him first Menoetius’ gallant son address’d. 

    What would Achilles?  Wherefore hath he call’d? 

To whom Achilles swiftest of the swift: 

    Brave Menoetiades! my soul’s delight! 730

Soon will the Grecians now my knees surround
Suppliant, by dread extremity constrain’d. 
But fly Patroclus, haste, oh dear to Jove! 
Inquire of Nestor, whom he hath convey’d
From battle, wounded?  Viewing him behind, 735
I most believed him AEsculapius’ son
Machaon, but the steeds so swiftly pass’d
My galley, that his face escaped my note.[19]

    He said, and prompt to gratify his friend,

Forth ran Patroclus through the camp of Greece. 740

    Now when Neleian Nestor to his tent

Had brought Machaon, they alighted both,
And the old hero’s friend Eurymedon
Released the coursers.  On the beach awhile
Their tunics sweat-imbued in the cool air 745
They ventilated, facing full the breeze,
Then on soft couches in the tent reposed. 
Meantime, their beverage Hecamede mix’d,
The old King’s bright-hair’d captive, whom he brought
From Tenedos, what time Achilles sack’d 750
The city, daughter of the noble Chief
Arsinoues, and selected from the rest
For Nestor, as the honorable meed
Of counsels always eminently wise. 

Page 147

She, first, before them placed a table bright, 755
With feet coerulean; thirst-provoking sauce
She brought them also in a brazen tray,
Garlic[20] and honey new, and sacred meal. 
Beside them, next, she placed a noble cup
Of labor exquisite, which from his home 760
The ancient King had brought with golden studs
Embellish’d; it presented to the grasp
Four ears; two golden turtles, perch’d on each,
Seem’d feeding, and two turtles[21] form’d the base. 
That cup once fill’d, all others must have toil’d 765
To move it from the board, but it was light
In Nestor’s hand; he lifted it with ease.[22]
The graceful virgin in that cup a draught
Mix’d for them, Pramnian wine and savory cheese
Of goat’s milk, grated with a brazen rasp, 770
Then sprinkled all with meal.  The draught prepared,
She gave it to their hand; they, drinking, slaked
Their fiery thirst, and with each other sat
Conversing friendly, when the godlike youth
By brave Achilles sent, stood at the door. 775

    Him seeing, Nestor from his splendid couch

Arose, and by the hand leading him in,
Entreated him to sit, but that request
Patroclus, on his part refusing, said,

    Oh venerable King! no seat is here 780

For me, nor may thy courtesy prevail. 
He is irascible, and to be fear’d
Who bade me ask what Chieftain thou hast brought
From battle, wounded; but untold I learn;
I see Machaon, and shall now report 785
As I have seen; oh ancient King revered! 
Thou know’st Achilles fiery, and propense
Blame to impute even where blame is none. 

    To whom the brave Gerenian thus replied. 

Why feels Achilles for the wounded Greeks 790
Such deep concern?  He little knows the height
To which our sorrows swell.  Our noblest lie
By spear or arrow wounded in the fleet. 
Diomede, warlike son of Tydeus, bleeds,
Gall’d by a shaft; Ulysses, glorious Chief, 795
And Agamemnon[23] suffer by the spear;
Eurypylus is shot into the thigh,
And here lies still another newly brought
By me from fight, pierced also by a shaft. 
What then?  How strong soe’er to give them aid, 800
Achilles feels no pity of the Greeks. 
Waits he till every vessel on the shore
Fired, in despite of the whole Argive host,
Be sunk in its own ashes, and ourselves
All perish, heaps on heaps?  For in my limbs 805
No longer lives the agility of my youth. 
Oh, for the vigor of those days again,
When Elis, for her cattle which we took,
Strove with us and Itymoneus I slew,
Brave offspring of Hypirochus; he dwelt 810
In Elis, and while I the pledges drove,
Stood for his herd, but fell among the first

Page 148

By a spear hurl’d from my victorious arm. 
Then fled the rustic multitude, and we
Drove off abundant booty from the plain, 815
Herds fifty of fat beeves, large flocks of goats
As many, with as many sheep and swine,
And full thrice fifty mares of brightest hue,
All breeders, many with their foals beneath. 
All these, by night returning safe, we drove 820
Into Neleian Pylus, and the heart
Rejoiced of Neleus, in a son so young
A warrior, yet enrich’d with such a prize. 
At early dawn the heralds summon’d loud
The citizens, to prove their just demands 825
On fruitful Elis, and the assembled Chiefs
Division made (for numerous were the debts
Which the Epeans, in the weak estate
Of the unpeopled Pylus, had incurr’d;
For Hercules, few years before, had sack’d[24] 830
Our city, and our mightiest slain.  Ourselves
The gallant sons of Neleus, were in all
Twelve youths, of whom myself alone survived;
The rest all perish’d; whence, presumptuous grown,
The brazen-mail’d Epeans wrong’d us oft). 835
A herd of beeves my father for himself
Selected, and a numerous flock beside,
Three hundred sheep, with shepherds for them all. 
For he a claimant was of large arrears
From sacred Elis.  Four unrivall’d steeds 840
With his own chariot to the games he sent,
That should contend for the appointed prize
A tripod; but Augeias, King of men,
Detain’d the steeds, and sent the charioteer
Defrauded home.  My father, therefore, fired 845
At such foul outrage both of deeds and words,
Took much, and to the Pylians gave the rest
For satisfaction of the claims of all. 
While thus we busied were in these concerns,
And in performance of religious rites 850
Throughout the city, came the Epeans arm’d,
Their whole vast multitude both horse and foot
On the third day; came also clad in brass
The two Molions, inexpert as yet
In feats of arms, and of a boyish age. 855
There is a city on a mountain’s head,
Fast by the banks of Alpheus, far remote,
The utmost town which sandy Pylus owns,
Named Thryoessa, and, with ardor fired
To lay it waste, that city they besieged. 860
Now when their host had traversed all the plain,
Minerva from Olympus flew by night
And bade us arm; nor were the Pylians slow
To assemble, but impatient for the fight. 
Me, then, my father suffer’d not to arm, 865
But hid my steeds, for he supposed me raw
As yet, and ignorant how war is waged. 
Yet, even thus, unvantaged and on foot,
Superior honors I that day acquired
To theirs who rode, for Pallas led me on 870
Herself to victory.  There is a stream

Page 149

Which at Arena falls into the sea,
Named Minueius; on that river’s bank
The Pylian horsemen waited day’s approach,
And thither all our foot came pouring down. 875
The flood divine of Alpheus thence we reach’d
At noon, all arm’d complete; there, hallow’d rites
We held to Jove omnipotent, and slew
A bull to sacred Alpheus, with a bull
To Neptune, and a heifer of the herd 880
To Pallas; then, all marshall’d as they were,
From van to rear our legions took repast,
And at the river’s side slept on their arms. 
Already the Epean host had round
Begirt the city, bent to lay it waste, 885
A task which cost them, first, both blood and toil,
For when the radiant sun on the green earth
Had risen, with prayer to Pallas and to Jove,
We gave them battle.  When the Pylian host
And the Epeans thus were close engaged, 890
I first a warrior slew, Mulius the brave,
And seized his coursers.  He the eldest-born
Of King Augeias’ daughters had espoused
The golden Agamede; not an herb
The spacious earth yields but she knew its powers, 895
Him, rushing on me, with my brazen lance
I smote, and in the dust he fell; I leap’d
Into his seat, and drove into the van. 
A panic seized the Epeans when they saw
The leader of their horse o’erthrown, a Chief 900
Surpassing all in fight.  Black as a cloud
With whirlwind fraught, I drove impetuous on,
Took fifty chariots, and at side of each
Lay two slain warriors, with their teeth the soil
Grinding, all vanquish’d by my single arm. 905
I had slain also the Molions, sons
Of Actor, but the Sovereign of the deep
Their own authentic Sire, in darkness dense
Involving both, convey’d them safe away. 
Then Jove a victory of prime renown 910
Gave to the Pylians; for we chased and slew
And gather’d spoil o’er all the champain spread
With scatter’d shields, till we our steeds had driven
To the Buprasian fields laden with corn,
To the Olenian rock, and to a town 915
In fair Colona situate, and named
Alesia.  There it was that Pallas turn’d
Our people homeward; there I left the last
Of all the slain, and he was slain by me. 
Then drove the Achaians from Buprasium home 920
Their coursers fleet, and Jove, of Gods above,
Received most praise, Nestor of men below. 

    Such once was I. But brave Achilles shuts

His virtues close, an unimparted store;
Yet even he shall weep, when all the host, 925
His fellow-warriors once, shall be destroy’d. 
But recollect, young friend! the sage advice
Which when thou earnest from Phthia to the aid
Of Agamemnon, on that selfsame day
Menoetius gave thee.  We were present there,

Page 150

Ulysses and myself, both in the house,
And heard it all; for to the house we came
Of Peleus in our journey through the land
Of fertile Greece, gathering her states to war. 
We found thy noble sire Menoetius there, 935
Thee and Achilles; ancient Peleus stood
To Jove the Thunderer offering in his court
Thighs of an ox, and on the blazing rites
Libation pouring from a cup of gold. 
While ye on preparation of the feast 940
Attended both, Ulysses and myself
Stood in the vestibule; Achilles flew
Toward us, introduced us by the hand,
And, seating us, such liberal portion gave
To each, as hospitality requires. 945
Our thirst, at length, and hunger both sufficed,
I, foremost speaking, ask’d you to the wars,
And ye were eager both, but from your sires
Much admonition, ere ye went, received. 
Old Peleus charged Achilles to aspire 950
To highest praise, and always to excel. 
But thee, thy sire Menoetius thus advised. 
“My son!  Achilles boasts the nobler birth,
But thou art elder; he in strength excels
Thee far; thou, therefore, with discretion rule 955
His inexperience; thy advice impart
With gentleness; instruction wise suggest
Wisely, and thou shalt find him apt to learn.” 
So thee thy father taught, but, as it seems,
In vain.  Yet even now essay to move 960
Warlike Achilles; if the Gods so please,
Who knows but that thy reasons may prevail
To rouse his valiant heart? men rarely scorn
The earnest intercession of a friend. 
But if some prophecy alarm his fears, 965
And from his Goddess mother he have aught
Received, who may have learnt the same from Jove,
Thee let him send at least, and order forth
With thee the Myrmidons; a dawn of hope
Shall thence, it may be, on our host arise. 970
And let him send thee to the battle clad
In his own radiant armor; Troy, deceived
By such resemblance, shall abstain perchance
From conflict, and the weary Greeks enjoy
Short respite; it is all that war allows. 975
Fresh as ye are, ye, by your shouts alone,
May easily repulse an army spent
With labor from the camp and from the fleet. 

    Thus Nestor, and his mind bent to his words. 

Back to AEacides through all the camp 980
He ran; and when, still running, he arrived
Among Ulysses’ barks, where they had fix’d
The forum, where they minister’d the laws,
And had erected altars to the Gods,
There him Eurypylus, Evaemon’s son, 985
Illustrious met, deep-wounded in his thigh,
And halting-back from battle.  From his head
The sweat, and from his shoulders ran profuse,

Page 151

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.

Page 152




    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

Page 153

  As when the boar or lion fiery-eyed
  Turns short, the hunters and the hounds among,
  The close-embattled troop him firm oppose,
  And ply him fast with spears; he no dismay
  Conceives or terror in his noble heart, 55
  But by his courage falls; frequent he turns
  Attempting bold the ranks, and where he points
  Direct his onset, there the ranks retire;
  So, through the concourse on his rolling wheels
  Borne rapid, Hector animated loud 60
  His fellow-warriors to surpass the trench. 
  But not his own swift-footed steeds would dare
  That hazard; standing on the dangerous brink
  They neigh’d aloud, for by its breadth the foss
  Deterr’d them; neither was the effort slight 65
  To leap that gulf, nor easy the attempt
  To pass it through; steep were the banks profound
  On both sides, and with massy piles acute
  Thick-planted, interdicting all assault. 
  No courser to the rapid chariot braced 70
  Had enter’d there with ease; yet strong desires
  Possess’d the infantry of that emprize,
  And thus Polydamas the ear address’d
  Of dauntless Hector, standing at his side. 
    Hector, and ye the leaders of our host, 75
  Both Trojans and allies! rash the attempt
  I deem, and vain, to push our horses through,
  So dangerous is the pass; rough is the trench
  With pointed stakes, and the Achaian wall
  Meets us beyond.  No chariot may descend 80
  Or charioteer fight there; strait are the bounds,
  And incommodious, and his death were sure. 
  If Jove, high-thundering Ruler of the skies,
  Will succor Ilium, and nought less intend
  Than utter devastation of the Greeks, 85
  I am content; now perish all their host
  Inglorious, from their country far remote. 
  But should they turn, and should ourselves be driven
  Back from the fleet impeded and perplex’d
  In this deep foss, I judge that not a man, 90
  ’Scaping the rallied Grecians, should survive
  To bear the tidings of our fate to Troy. 
  Now, therefore, act we all as I advise. 
  Let every charioteer his coursers hold
  Fast-rein’d beside the foss, while we on foot, 95
  With order undisturb’d and arms in hand,
  Shall follow Hector.  If destruction borne
  On wings of destiny this day approach
  The Grecians, they will fly our first assault. 
    So spake Polydamas, whose safe advice 100
  Pleased Hector; from his chariot to the ground
  All arm’d he leap’d, nor would a Trojan there
  (When once they saw the Hero on his feet)
  Ride into battle, but unanimous
  Descending with a leap, all trod the plain. 105
  Each gave command that at the trench his

Page 154

  Should stand detain’d in orderly array;
  Then, suddenly, the parted host became
  Five bands, each following its appointed chief. 
  The bravest and most numerous, and whose hearts 110
  Wish’d most to burst the barrier and to wage
  The battle at the ships, with Hector march’d
  And with Polydamas, whom follow’d, third,
  Cebriones; for Hector had his steeds
  Consign’d and chariot to inferior care. 115
  Paris, Alcathoues, and Agenor led
  The second band, and, sons of Priam both,
  Deiphobus and Helenus, the third;
  With them was seen partner of their command;
  The Hero Asius; from Arisba came 120
  Asius Hyrtacides, to battle drawn
  From the Selleis banks by martial steeds
  Hair’d fiery-red and of the noblest size. 
  The fourth, Anchises’ mighty son controll’d,
  AEneas; under him Antenor’s sons, 125
  Archilochus and Acamas, advanced,
  Adept in all the practice of the field. 
  Last came the glorious powers in league with Troy
  Led by Sarpedon; he with Glaucus shared
  His high control, and with the warlike Chief 130
  Asteropaeus; for of all his host
  Them bravest he esteem’d, himself except
  Superior in heroic might to all. 
  And now (their shields adjusted each to each)
  With dauntless courage fired, right on they moved 135
  Against the Grecians; nor expected less
  Than that beside their sable ships, the host
  Should self-abandon’d fall an easy prey. 
    The Trojans, thus with their confederate powers,
  The counsel of the accomplish’d Prince pursued, 140
  Polydamas, one Chief alone except,
  Asius Hyrtacides.  He scorn’d to leave
  His charioteer and coursers at the trench,
  And drove toward the fleet.  Ah, madly brave! 
  His evil hour was come; he was ordain’d 145
  With horse and chariot and triumphant shout
  To enter wind-swept Ilium never more. 
  Deucalion’s offspring, first, into the shades
  Dismiss’d him; by Idomeneus he died. 
  Leftward he drove furious, along the road 150
  By which the steeds and chariots of the Greeks
  Return’d from battle; in that track he flew,
  Nor found the portals by the massy bar
  Secured, but open for reception safe
  Of fugitives, and to a guard consign’d. 155
  Thither he drove direct, and in his rear
  His band shrill-shouting follow’d, for they judged
  The Greeks no longer able to withstand
  Their foes, but sure to perish in the camp. 
  Vain hope! for in the gate two Chiefs they found 160
  Lapithae-born, courageous offspring each
  Of dauntless father; Polypoetes, this,
  Sprung from Pirithoeus; that, the warrior bold

Page 155

  Leonteus, terrible as gore-tainted Mars. 
  These two, defenders of the lofty gates, 165
  Stood firm before them.  As when two tall oaks
  On the high mountains day by day endure
  Rough wind and rain, by deep-descending roots
  Of hugest growth fast-founded in the soil;
  So they, sustain’d by conscious valor, saw, 170
  Unmoved, high towering Asius on his way,
  Nor fear’d him aught, nor shrank from his approach
  Right on toward the barrier, lifting high
  Their season’d bucklers and with clamor loud
  The band advanced, King Asius at their head, 175
  With whom Iaemenus, expert in arms,
  Orestes, Thoeon, Acamas the son
  Of Asius, and Oenomaeus, led them on. 
  Till now, the warlike pair, exhorting loud
  The Grecians to defend the fleet, had stood 180
  Within the gates; but soon as they perceived
  The Trojans swift advancing to the wall,
  And heard a cry from all the flying Greeks,
  Both sallying, before the gates they fought
  Like forest-boars, which hearing in the hills 185
  The crash of hounds and huntsmen nigh at hand,
  With start oblique lay many a sapling flat
  Short-broken by the root, nor cease to grind
  Their sounding tusks, till by the spear they die;
  So sounded on the breasts of those brave two 190
  The smitten brass; for resolute they fought,
  Embolden’d by their might who kept the wall,
  And trusting in their own; they, in defence
  Of camp and fleet and life, thick battery hurl’d
  Of stones precipitated from the towers; 195
  Frequent as snows they fell, which stormy winds,
  Driving the gloomy clouds, shake to the ground,
  Till all the fertile earth lies cover’d deep. 
  Such volley pour’d the Greeks, and such return’d
  The Trojans; casques of hide, arid and tough, 200
  And bossy shields rattled, by such a storm
  Assail’d of millstone masses from above. 
  Then Asius, son of Hyrtacus, a groan
  Indignant utter’d; on both thighs he smote
  With disappointment furious, and exclaim’d, 205
    Jupiter! even thou art false become,
  And altogether such.  Full sure I deem’d
  That not a Grecian hero should abide
  One moment force invincible as ours,
  And lo! as wasps ring-streaked,[1] or bees that build 210
  Their dwellings in the highway’s craggy side
  Leave not their hollow home, but fearless wait
  The hunter’s coming, in their brood’s defence,
  So these, although two only, from the gates
  Move not, nor will, till either seized or slain. 215
    So Asius spake, but speaking so, changed not
  The mind of Jove on Hector’s glory bent. 
  Others, as obstinate, at other gates
  Such deeds perform’d, that to enumerate

Page 156

  Were difficult, unless to power divine. 220
  For fierce the hail of stones from end to end
  Smote on the barrier; anguish fill’d the Greeks. 
  Yet, by necessity constrain’d, their ships
  They guarded still; nor less the Gods themselves,
  Patrons of Greece, all sorrow’d at the sight. 225
    At once the valiant Lapithae began
  Terrible conflict, and Pirithous’ son
  Brave Polypoetes through his helmet pierced
  Damasus; his resplendent point the brass
  Sufficed not to withstand; entering, it crush’d 230
  The bone within, and mingling all his brain
  With his own blood, his onset fierce repress’d. 
  Pylon and Ormenus he next subdued. 
  Meantime Leonteus, branch of Mars, his spear
  Hurl’d at Hippomachus, whom through his belt 235
  He pierced; then drawing forth his falchion keen,
  Through all the multitude he flew to smite
  Antiphates, and with a downright stroke
  Fell’d him.  Iaemenus and Menon next
  He slew, with brave Orestes, whom he heap’d, 240
  All three together, on the fertile glebe. 
    While them the Lapithae of their bright arms
  Despoil’d, Polydamas and Hector stood
  (With all the bravest youths and most resolved
  To burst the barrier and to fire the fleet) 245
  Beside the foss, pondering the event. 
  For, while they press’d to pass, they spied a bird
  Sublime in air, an eagle.  Right between
  Both hosts he soar’d (the Trojan on his left)
  A serpent bearing in his pounces clutch’d 250
  Enormous, dripping blood, but lively still
  And mindful of revenge; for from beneath
  The eagle’s breast, updarting fierce his head,
  Fast by the throat he struck him; anguish-sick
  The eagle cast him down into the space 255
  Between the hosts, and, clanging loud his plumes
  As the wind bore him, floated far away. 
  Shudder’d the Trojans viewing at their feet
  The spotted serpent ominous, and thus
  Polydamas to dauntless Hector spake. 260
    Ofttimes in council, Hector, thou art wont
  To censure me, although advising well;
  Nor ought the private citizen, I confess,
  Either in council or in war to indulge
  Loquacity, but ever to employ 265
  All his exertions in support of thine. 
  Yet hear my best opinion once again. 
  Proceed we not in our attempt against
  The Grecian fleet.  For if in truth the sign
  Respect the host of Troy ardent to pass, 270
  Then, as the eagle soar’d both hosts between,
  With Ilium’s on his left, and clutch’d a snake
  Enormous, dripping blood, but still alive,
  Which yet he dropp’d suddenly, ere he reach’d
  His eyry, or could give it to his young,

Page 157

  So we, although with mighty force we burst
  Both gates and barrier, and although the Greeks
  Should all retire, shall never yet the way
  Tread honorably back by which we came. 
  No.  Many a Trojan shall we leave behind 280
  Slain by the Grecians in their fleet’s defence. 
  An augur skill’d in omens would expound
  This omen thus, and faith would win from all. 
    To whom, dark-louring, Hector thus replied. 
  Polydamas!  I like not thy advice; 285
  Thou couldst have framed far better; but if this
  Be thy deliberate judgment, then the Gods
  Make thy deliberate judgment nothing worth,
  Who bidd’st me disregard the Thunderer’s[2] firm
  Assurance to myself announced, and make 290
  The wild inhabitants of air my guides,
  Which I alike despise, speed they their course
  With right-hand flight toward the ruddy East,
  Or leftward down into the shades of eve. 
  Consider we the will of Jove alone, 295
  Sovereign of heaven and earth.  Omens abound,
  But the best omen is our country’s cause.[3]
  Wherefore should fiery war thy soul alarm? 
  For were we slaughter’d, one and all, around
  The fleet of Greece, thou need’st not fear to die, 300
  Whose courage never will thy flight retard. 
  But if thou shrink thyself, or by smooth speech
  Seduce one other from a soldier’s part,
  Pierced by this spear incontinent thou diest. 
    So saying he led them, who with deafening roar 305
  Follow’d him.  Then, from the Idaean hills
  Jove hurl’d a storm which wafted right the dust
  Into the fleet; the spirits too he quell’d
  Of the Achaians, and the glory gave
  To Hector and his host; they, trusting firm 310
  In signs from Jove, and in their proper force,
  Assay’d the barrier; from the towers they tore
  The galleries, cast the battlements to ground,
  And the projecting buttresses adjoin’d
  To strengthen the vast work, with bars upheaved. 315
  All these, with expectation fierce to break
  The rampart, down they drew; nor yet the Greeks
  Gave back, but fencing close with shields the wall,
  Smote from behind them many a foe beneath. 
  Meantime from tower to tower the Ajaces moved 320
  Exhorting all; with mildness some, and some
  With harsh rebuke, whom they observed through fear
  Declining base the labors of the fight,
    Friends!  Argives! warriors of whatever rank! 
  Ye who excel, and ye of humbler note! 325
  And ye the last and least! (for such there are,
  All have not magnanimity alike)
  Now have we work for all, as all perceive. 
  Turn not, retreat not to your ships, appall’d

Page 158

  By sounding menaces, but press the foe; 330
  Exhort each other, and e’en now perchance
  Olympian Jove, by whom the lightnings burn,
  Shall grant us to repulse them, and to chase
  The routed Trojans to their gates again. 
    So they vociferating to the Greeks, 335
  Stirr’d them to battle.  As the feathery snows
  Fall frequent, on some wintry day, when Jove
  Hath risen to shed them on the race of man,
  And show his arrowy stores; he lulls the winds,
  Then shakes them down continual, covering thick 340
  Mountain tops, promontories, flowery meads,
  And cultured valleys rich; the ports and shores
  Receive it also of the hoary deep,
  But there the waves bound it, while all beside
  Lies whelm’d beneath Jove’s fast-descending shower, 345
  So thick, from side to side, by Trojans hurl’d
  Against the Greeks, and by the Greeks return’d
  The stony vollies flew; resounding loud
  Through all its length the battered rampart roar’d. 
  Nor yet had Hector and his host prevail’d 350
  To burst the gates, and break the massy bar,
  Had not all-seeing Jove Sarpedon moved
  His son, against the Greeks, furious as falls
  The lion on some horned herd of beeves. 
  At once his polish’d buckler he advanced 355
  With leafy brass o’erlaid; for with smooth brass
  The forger of that shield its oval disk
  Had plated, and with thickest hides throughout
  Had lined it, stitch’d with circling wires of gold. 
  That shield he bore before him; firmly grasp’d 360
  He shook two spears, and with determined strides
  March’d forward.  As the lion mountain-bred,
  After long fast, by impulse of his heart
  Undaunted urged, seeks resolute the flock
  Even in the shelter of their guarded home; 365
  He finds, perchance, the shepherds arm’d with spears,
  And all their dogs awake, yet can not leave
  Untried the fence, but either leaps it light,
  And entering tears the prey, or in the attempt
  Pierced by some dexterous peasant, bleeds himself; 370
  So high his courage to the assault impell’d
  Godlike Sarpedon, and him fired with hope
  To break the barrier; when to Glaucus thus,
  Son of Hippolochus, his speech he turn’d. 
    Why, Glaucus, is the seat of honor ours, 375
  Why drink we brimming cups, and feast in state? 
  Why gaze they all on us as we were Gods
  In Lycia, and why share we pleasant fields
  And spacious vineyards, where the Xanthus winds? 
  Distinguished thus in Lycia, we are call’d 380
  To firmness here, and to encounter bold
  The burning battle, that our fair report
  Among the Lycians may be blazon’d thus—­
  No dastards are the potentates who rule

Page 159

  The bright-arm’d Lycians; on the fatted flock 385
  They banquet, and they drink the richest wines;
  But they are also valiant, and the fight
  Wage dauntless in the vanward of us all. 
  Oh Glaucus, if escaping safe the death
  That threats us here, we also could escape 390
  Old age, and to ourselves secure a life
  Immortal, I would neither in the van
  Myself expose, nor would encourage thee
  To tempt the perils of the glorious field. 
  But since a thousand messengers of fate 395
  Pursue us close, and man is born to die—­
  E’en let us on; the prize of glory yield,
  If yield we must, or wrest it from the foe. 
    He said, nor cold refusal in return
  Received from Glaucus, but toward the wall 400
  Their numerous Lycian host both led direct. 
  Menestheus, son of Peteos, saw appall’d
  Their dread approach, for to his tower they bent;
  Their threatening march.  An eager look he cast,
  On the embodied Greeks, seeking some Chief 405
  Whose aid might turn the battle from his van: 
  He saw, where never sated with exploits
  Of war, each Ajax fought, near whom his eye
  Kenn’d Teucer also, newly from his tent;
  But vain his efforts were with loudest call 410
  To reach their ears, such was the deafening din
  Upsent to heaven, of shields and crested helms,
  And of the batter’d gates; for at each gate
  They thundering’ stood, and urged alike at each
  Their fierce attempt by force to burst the bars. 415
  To Ajax therefore he at once dispatch’d
  A herald, and Thoeotes thus enjoin’d. 
    My noble friend, Thoeotes! with all speed
  Call either Ajax; bid them hither both;
  Far better so; for havoc is at hand. 420
  The Lycian leaders, ever in assault
  Tempestuous, bend their force against this tower
  My station.  But if also there they find
  Laborious conflict pressing them severe,
  At least let Telamonian Ajax come, 425
  And Teucer with his death-dispensing bow. 
    He spake, nor was Thoeotes slow to hear;
  Beside the rampart of the mail-clad Greeks
  Rapid he flew, and, at their side arrived,
  To either Ajax, eager, thus began. 430
    Ye leaders of the well-appointed Greeks,
  The son of noble Peteos calls; he begs
  With instant suit, that ye would share his toils,
  However short your stay; the aid of both
  Will serve him best, for havoc threatens there 435
  The Lycian leaders, ever in assault
  Tempestuous, bend their force toward the tower
  His station.  But if also here ye find
  Laborious conflict pressing you severe,
  At least let Telamonian Ajax come, 440

Page 160

  And Teucer with his death-dispensing bow. 
    He spake, nor his request the towering son
  Of Telamon denied, but quick his speech
  To Ajax Oiliades address’d. 
    Ajax! abiding here, exhort ye both 445
  (Heroic Lycomedes and thyself)
  The Greeks to battle.  Thither I depart
  To aid our friends, which service once perform’d
  Duly, I will incontinent return. 
    So saying, the Telamonian Chief withdrew 450
  With whom went Teucer, son of the same sire,
  Pandion also, bearing Teucer’s bow. 
  Arriving at the turret given in charge
  To the bold Chief Menestheus, and the wall
  Entering, they found their friends all sharply tried. 455
  Black as a storm the senators renown’d
  And leaders of the Lycian host assail’d
  Buttress and tower, while opposite the Greeks
  Withstood them, and the battle-shout began. 
  First, Ajax, son of Telamon, a friend 460
  And fellow-warrior of Sarpedon slew,
  Epicles.  With a marble fragment huge
  That crown’d the battlement’s interior side,
  He smote him.  No man of our puny race,
  Although in prime of youth, had with both hands 465
  That weight sustain’d; but he the cumberous mass
  Uplifted high, and hurl’d it on his head. 
  It burst his helmet, and his batter’d skull
  Dash’d from all form.  He from the lofty tower
  Dropp’d downright, with a diver’s plunge, and died. 470
  But Teucer wounded Glaucus with a shaft
  Son of Hippolochus; he, climbing, bared
  His arm, which Teucer, marking, from the wall
  Transfix’d it, and his onset fierce repress’d;
  For with a backward leap Glaucus withdrew 475
  Sudden and silent, cautious lest the Greeks
  Seeing him wounded should insult his pain. 
  Grief seized, at sight of his retiring friend,
  Sarpedon, who forgat not yet the fight,
  But piercing with his lance Alcmaon, son 480
  Of Thestor, suddenly reversed the beam,
  Which following, Alcmaon to the earth
  Fell prone, with clangor of his brazen arms. 
  Sarpedon, then, strenuous with both hands
  Tugg’d, and down fell the battlement entire; 485
  The wall, dismantled at the summit, stood
  A ruin, and wide chasm was open’d through. 
  Then Ajax him and Teucer at one time
  Struck both; an arrow struck from Teucer’s bow
  The belt that cross’d his bosom, by which hung 490
  His ample shield; yet lest his son should fall
  Among the ships, Jove turn’d the death aside. 
  But Ajax, springing to his thrust, a spear
  Drove through his shield.  Sarpedon at the shock
  With backward step short interval recoil’d, 495
  But not retired, for in his bosom lived
  The hope of glory still, and, looking

Page 161

  On all his godlike Lycians, he exclaim’d,
    Oh Lycians! where is your heroic might? 
  Brave as I boast myself, I feel the task 500
  Arduous, through the breach made by myself
  To win a passage to the ships, alone. 
  Follow me all—­Most laborers, most dispatch.[4]
    So he; at whose sharp reprimand abash’d
  The embattled host to closer conflict moved, 505
  Obedient to their counsellor and King. 
  On the other side the Greeks within the wall
  Made firm the phalanx, seeing urgent need;
  Nor could the valiant Lycians through the breach
  Admittance to the Grecian fleet obtain, 510
  Nor since they first approach’d it, had the Greeks
  With all their efforts, thrust the Lycians back. 
  But as two claimants of one common field,
  Each with his rod of measurement in hand,
  Dispute the boundaries, litigating warm 515
  Their right in some small portion of the soil,
  So they, divided by the barrier, struck
  With hostile rage the bull-hide bucklers round,
  And the light targets on each other’s breast. 
  Then many a wound the ruthless weapons made. 520
  Pierced through the unarm’d back, if any turn’d,
  He died, and numerous even through the shield. 
  The battlements from end to end with blood
  Of Grecians and of Trojans on both sides
  Were sprinkled; yet no violence could move 525
  The stubborn Greeks, or turn their powers to flight. 
  So hung the war in balance, as the scales
  Held by some woman scrupulously just,
  A spinner; wool and weight she poises nice,
  Hard-earning slender pittance for her babes,[5] 530
  Such was the poise in which the battle hung
  Till Jove himself superior fame, at length,
  To Priameian Hector gave, who sprang
  First through the wall.  In lofty sounds that reach’d
  Their utmost ranks, he call’d on all his host. 535
    Now press them, now ye Trojans steed-renown’d
  Rush on! break through the Grecian rampart, hurl
  At once devouring flames into the fleet. 
  Such was his exhortation; they his voice
  All hearing, with close-order’d ranks direct 540
  Bore on the barrier, and up-swarming show’d
  On the high battlement their glittering spears. 
  But Hector seized a stone; of ample base
  But tapering to a point, before the gate
  It stood.  No two men, mightiest of a land 545
  (Such men as now are mighty) could with ease
  Have heaved it from the earth up to a wain;
  He swung it easily alone; so light
  The son of Saturn made it in his hand. 
  As in one hand with ease the shepherd bears 550
  A ram’s fleece home, nor toils beneath the weight,
  So Hector, right toward the planks of

Page 162

  Majestic folding-gates, close-jointed, firm
  And solid, bore the stone.  Two bars within
  Their corresponding force combined transvere 555
  To guard them, and one bolt secured the bars. 
  He stood fast by them, parting wide his feet
  For ’vantage sake, and smote them in the midst. 
  He burst both hinges; inward fell the rock
  Ponderous, and the portals roar’d; the bars 560
  Endured not, and the planks, riven by the force
  Of that huge mass, flew scatter’d on all sides. 
  In leap’d the godlike Hero at the breach,
  Gloomy as night in aspect, but in arms
  All-dazzling, and he grasp’d two quivering spears. 565
  Him entering with a leap the gates, no force
  Whate’er of opposition had repress’d,
  Save of the Gods alone.  Fire fill’d his eyes;
  Turning, he bade the multitude without
  Ascend the rampart; they his voice obey’d; 570
  Part climb’d the wall, part pour’d into the gate;
  The Grecians to their hollow galleys flew
  Scatter’d, and tumult infinite arose.[6]




Neptune engages on the part of the Grecians.  The battle proceeds.  Deiphobus advances to combat, but is repulsed by Meriones, who losing his spear, repairs to his tent for another.  Teucer slays Imbrius, and Hector Amphimachus.  Neptune, under the similitude of Thoas, exhorts Idomeneus.  Idomeneus having armed himself in his tent, and going forth to battle, meets Meriones.  After discourse held with each other, Idomeneus accommodates Meriones with a spear, and they proceed to battle.  Idomeneus slays Othryoneus, and Asius.  Deiphobus assails Idomeneus, but, his spear glancing over him, kills Hypsenor.  Idomeneus slays Alcathoues, son-in-law of Anchises.  Deiphobus and Idomeneus respectively summon their friends to their assistance, and a contest ensues for the body of Alcathoues.


[1]When Jove to Hector and his host had given Such entrance to the fleet, to all the woes And toils of unremitting battle there He them abandon’d, and his glorious eyes Averting, on the land look’d down remote 5 Of the horse-breeding Thracians, of the bold Close-fighting Mysian race, and where abide On milk sustain’d, and blest with length of days, The Hippemolgi,[2] justest of mankind.  No longer now on Troy his eyes he turn’d, 10 For expectation none within his breast Survived, that God or Goddess would the Greeks Approach with succor, or the Trojans more. 
  Nor Neptune, sovereign of the boundless Deep,
Look’d forth in vain; he on the summit sat 15 Of Samothracia forest-crown’d, the stir Admiring thence and tempest of the field;

Page 163

For thence appear’d all Ida, thence the towers Of lofty Ilium, and the fleet of Greece.  There sitting from the deeps uprisen, he mourn’d 20 The vanquished Grecians, and resentment fierce Conceived and wrath against all-ruling Jove.  Arising sudden, down the rugged steep With rapid strides he came; the mountains huge And forests under the immortal feet 25 Trembled of Ocean’s Sovereign as he strode.  Three strides he made, the fourth convey’d him home To AEgae.  At the bottom of the abyss, There stands magnificent his golden fane, A dazzling, incorruptible abode. 30 Arrived, he to his chariot join’d his steeds Swift, brazen-hoof’d, and maned with wavy gold; Himself attiring next in gold, he seized His golden scourge, and to his seat sublime Ascending, o’er the billows drove; the whales 35 Leaving their caverns, gambol’d on all sides Around him, not unconscious of their King; He swept the surge that tinged not as he pass’d His axle, and the sea parted for joy.  His bounding coursers to the Grecian fleet 40 Convey’d him swift.  There is a spacious cave Deep in the bottom of the flood, the rocks Of Imbrus rude and Tenedos between; There Neptune, Shaker of the Shores, his steeds Station’d secure; he loosed them from the yoke, 45 Gave them ambrosial food, and bound their feet With golden tethers not to be untied Or broken, that unwandering they might wait Their Lord’s return, then sought the Grecian host.  The Trojans, tempest-like or like a flame, 50 Now, following Priameian Hector, all Came furious on and shouting to the skies.  Their hope was to possess the fleet, and leave Not an Achaian of the host unslain.  But earth-encircler Neptune from the gulf 55 Emerging, in the form and with the voice Loud-toned of Calchas, roused the Argive ranks To battle—­and his exhortation first To either Ajax turn’d, themselves prepared. 
  Ye heroes Ajax! your accustomed force 60
Exert, oh! think not of disastrous flight, And ye shall save the people.  Nought I fear Fatal elsewhere, although Troy’s haughty sons Have pass’d the barrier with so fierce a throng Tumultuous; for the Grecians brazen-greaved 65 Will check them there.  Here only I expect And with much dread some dire event forebode, Where Hector, terrible as fire, and loud Vaunting his glorious origin from Jove, Leads on the Trojans.  Oh that from on high 70 Some God would form the purpose in your hearts To stand yourselves firmly, and to exhort The rest to stand! so should ye chase him hence All ardent as he is, and even although Olympian Jove himself his rage inspire. 75
  So Neptune spake, compasser of the earth,
And, with his sceptre smiting both, their hearts Fill’d with fresh fortitude; their limbs the touch Made agile, wing’d their feet and nerved

Page 164

their arms.  Then, swift as stoops a falcon from the point 80 Of some rude rock sublime, when he would chase A fowl of other wing along the meads, So started Neptune thence, and disappear’d.  Him, as he went, swift Oiliades First recognized, and, instant, thus his speech 85 To Ajax, son of Telamon, address’d. 
  Since, Ajax, some inhabitant of heaven
Exhorts us, in the prophet’s form to fight (For prophet none or augur we have seen; This was not Calchas; as he went I mark’d 90 His steps and knew him; Gods are known with ease) I feel my spirit in my bosom fired Afresh for battle; lightness in my limbs, In hands and feet a glow unfelt before. 
  To whom the son of Telamon replied. 95
I also with invigorated hands More firmly grasp my spear; my courage mounts, A buoyant animation in my feet Bears me along, and I am all on fire To cope with Priam’s furious son, alone. 100
  Thus they, with martial transport to their souls
Imparted by the God, conferr’d elate.  Meantime the King of Ocean roused the Greeks, Who in the rear, beside their gallant barks Some respite sought.  They, spent with arduous toil, 105 Felt not alone their weary limbs unapt To battle, but their hearts with grief oppress’d, Seeing the numerous multitude of Troy Within the mighty barrier; sad they view’d That sight, and bathed their cheeks with many a tear, 110 Despairing of escape.  But Ocean’s Lord Entering among them, soon the spirit stirr’d Of every valiant phalanx to the fight.  Teucer and Leitus, and famed in arms Peneleus, Thoas and Deipyrus, 115 Meriones, and his compeer renown’d, Antilochus; all these in accents wing’d With fierce alacrity the God address’d. 
  Oh shame, ye Grecians! vigorous as ye are
And in life’s prime, to your exertions most 120 I trusted for the safety of our ships.  If ye renounce the labors of the field, Then hath the day arisen of our defeat And final ruin by the powers of Troy.  Oh!  I behold a prodigy, a sight 125 Tremendous, deem’d impossible by me, The Trojans at our ships! the dastard race Fled once like fleetest hinds the destined prey Of lynxes, leopards, wolves; feeble and slight And of a nature indisposed to war 130 They rove uncertain; so the Trojans erst Stood not, nor to Achaian prowess dared The hindrance of a moment’s strife oppose.  But now, Troy left afar, even at our ships They give us battle, through our leader’s fault 135 And through the people’s negligence, who fill’d With fierce displeasure against him, prefer Death at their ships, to war in their defence.  But if the son of Atreus, our supreme, If Agamemnon, have indeed transgress’d 140 Past all excuse, dishonoring the swift Achilles, ye at least the fight decline

Page 165

Blame-worthy, and with no sufficient plea.  But heal we speedily the breach; brave minds Easily coalesce.  It is not well 145 That thus your fury slumbers, for the host Hath none illustrious as yourselves in arms.  I can excuse the timid if he shrink, But am incensed at you.  My friends, beware!  Your tardiness will prove ere long the cause 150 Of some worse evil.  Let the dread of shame Affect your hearts; oh tremble at the thought Of infamy!  Fierce conflict hath arisen; Loud shouting Hector combats at the ships Nobly, hath forced the gates and burst the bar. 155
  With such encouragement those Grecian chiefs
The King of Ocean roused.  Then, circled soon By many a phalanx either Ajax stood, Whose order Mars himself arriving there Had praised, or Pallas, patroness of arms. 160 For there the flower of all expected firm Bold Hector and his host; spear crowded spear, Shield, helmet, man, press’d helmet, man and shield;[3] The hairy crests of their resplendent casques Kiss’d close at every nod, so wedged they stood; 165 No spear was seen but in the manly grasp It quiver’d, and their every wish was war.  The powers of Ilium gave the first assault Embattled close; them Hector led himself[4] Right on, impetuous as a rolling rock 170 Destructive; torn by torrent waters off From its old lodgment on the mountain’s brow, It bounds, it shoots away; the crashing wood Falls under it; impediment or check None stays its fury, till the level found, 175 There, settling by degrees, it rolls no more; So after many a threat that he would pass Easily through the Grecian camp and fleet And slay to the sea-brink, when Hector once Had fallen on those firm ranks, standing, he bore 180 Vehement on them; but by many a spear Urged and bright falchion, soon, reeling, retired, And call’d vociferous on the host of Troy. 
  Trojans, and Lycians, and close-fighting sons
Of Dardanus, oh stand! not long the Greeks 185 Will me confront, although embodied close In solid phalanx; doubt it not; my spear Shall chase and scatter them, if Jove, in truth, High-thundering mate of Juno, bid me on. 
  So saying he roused the courage of them all 190
Foremost of whom advanced, of Priam’s race Deiphobus, ambitious of renown.  Tripping he came with shorten’d steps,[5] his feet Sheltering behind his buckler; but at him Aiming, Meriones his splendid lance 195 Dismiss’d, nor err’d; his bull-hide targe he struck But ineffectual; where the hollow wood Receives the inserted brass, the quivering beam Snapp’d; then, Deiphobus his shield afar Advanced before him, trembling at a spear 200 Hurl’d by Meriones.  He, moved alike With indignation for the victory lost And for his broken spear, into his band At first retired, but soon set forth again In prowess through the

Page 166

Achaian camp, to fetch 205 Its fellow-spear within his tent reserved. 
  The rest all fought, and dread the shouts arose
On all sides.  Telamonian Teucer, first, Slew valiant Imbrius, son of Mentor, rich In herds of sprightly steeds.  He ere the Greeks 210 Arrived at Ilium, in Pedaeus dwelt, And Priam’s spurious daughter had espoused Medesicasta.  But the barks well-oar’d Of Greece arriving, he return’d to Troy, Where he excell’d the noblest, and abode 215 With Priam, loved and honor’d as his own.  Him Teucer pierced beneath his ear, and pluck’d His weapon home; he fell as falls an ash Which on some mountain visible afar, Hewn from its bottom by the woodman’s axe, 220 With all its tender foliage meets the ground So Imbrius fell; loud rang his armor bright With ornamental brass, and Teucer flew To seize his arms, whom hasting to the spoil Hector with his resplendent spear assail’d; 225 He, marking opposite its rapid flight, Declined it narrowly and it pierced the breast, As he advanced to battle, of the son Of Cteatus of the Actorian race, Amphimachus; he, sounding, smote the plain, 230 And all his batter’d armor rang aloud.  Then Hector swift approaching, would have torn The well-forged helmet from the brows away Of brave Amphimachus; but Ajax hurl’d Right forth at Hector hasting to the spoil 235 His radiant spear; no wound the spear impress’d, For he was arm’d complete in burnish’d brass Terrific; but the solid boss it pierced Of Hector’s shield, and with enormous force So shock’d him, that retiring he resign’d 240 Both bodies,[6] which the Grecians dragg’d away.  Stichius and Menestheus, leaders both Of the Athenians, to the host of Greece Bore off Amphimachus, and, fierce in arms The Ajaces, Imbrius.  As two lions bear 245 Through thick entanglement of boughs and brakes A goat snatch’d newly from the peasants’ cogs, Upholding high their prey above the ground, So either Ajax terrible in fight, Upholding Imbrius high, his brazen arms 250 Tore off, and Oiliades his head From his smooth neck dissevering in revenge For slain Amphimachus, through all the host Sent it with swift rotation like a globe, Till in the dust at Hector’s feet it fell. 255
  Then anger fill’d the heart of Ocean’s King,
His grandson[7] slain in battle; forth he pass’d Through the Achaian camp and fleet, the Greeks Rousing, and meditating wo to Troy.  It chanced that brave Idomeneus return’d 260 That moment from a Cretan at the knee Wounded, and newly borne into his tent; His friends had borne him off, and when the Chief Had given him into skilful hands, he sought The field again, still coveting renown. 265 Him therefore, meeting him on his return, Neptune bespake, but with the borrow’d voice Of Thoas, offspring

Page 167

of Andraemon, King In Pleuro and in lofty Calydon, And honor’d by the AEtolians as a God. 270
  Oh counsellor of Crete! our threats denounced
Against the towers of Troy, where are they now? 
  To whom the leader of the Cretans, thus,
Idomeneus.  For aught that I perceive Thoas! no Grecian is this day in fault! 275 For we are all intelligent in arms, None yields by fear oppress’d, none lull’d by sloth From battle shrinks; but such the pleasure seems Of Jove himself, that we should perish here Inglorious, from our country far remote 280 But, Thoas! (for thine heart was ever firm In battle, and thyself art wont to rouse Whom thou observ’st remiss) now also fight As erst, and urge each leader of the host. 
  Him answered, then, the Sovereign of the Deep. 285
Return that Grecian never from the shores Of Troy, Idomeneus! but may the dogs Feast on him, who shall this day intermit Through wilful negligence his force in fight!  But haste, take arms and come; we must exert 290 All diligence, that, being only two, We yet may yield some service.  Union much Emboldens even the weakest, and our might Hath oft been proved on warriors of renown. 
  So Neptune spake, and, turning, sought again 295
The toilsome field.  Ere long, Idomeneus Arriving in his spacious tent, put on His radiant armor, and, two spears in hand, Set forth like lightning which Saturnian Jove From bright Olympus shakes into the air, 300 A sign to mortal men, dazzling all eyes; So beam’d the Hero’s armor as he ran.  But him not yet far distant from his tent Meriones, his fellow-warrior met, For he had left the fight, seeking a spear, 305 When thus the brave Idomeneus began. 
  Swift son of Molus! chosen companion dear! 
Wherefore, Meriones, hast thou the field Abandon’d?  Art thou wounded?  Bring’st thou home Some pointed mischief in thy flesh infixt? 310 Or comest thou sent to me, who of myself The still tent covet not, but feats of arms? 
  To whom Meriones discreet replied,
Chief leader of the Cretans, brazen-mail’d Idomeneus! if yet there be a spear 315 Left in thy tent, I seek one; for I broke The spear, even now, with which erewhile I fought, Smiting the shield of fierce Deiphobus. 
  Then answer thus the Cretan Chief return’d,
Valiant Idomeneus.  If spears thou need, 320 Within my tent, leaning against the wall, Stand twenty spears and one, forged all in Troy, Which from the slain I took; for distant fight Me suits not; therefore in my tent have I Both spears and bossy shields, with brazen casques 325 And corselets bright that smile against the sun. 
  Him answer’d, then, Meriones discreet. 
I also, at my tent and in my ship Have many Trojan spoils, but they are hence Far distant.  I not

Page 168

less myself than thou 330 Am ever mindful of a warrior’s part, And when the din of glorious arms is heard, Fight in the van.  If other Greeks my deeds Know not, at least I judge them known to thee. 
  To whom the leader of the host of Crete 335
Idomeneus.  I know thy valor well, Why speakest thus to me?  Choose we this day An ambush forth of all the bravest Greeks, (For in the ambush is distinguish’d best The courage; there the timorous and the bold 340 Plainly appear; the dastard changes hue And shifts from place to place, nor can he calm The fears that shake his trembling limbs, but sits Low-crouching on his hams, while in his breast Quick palpitates his death-foreboding heart, 345 And his teeth chatter; but the valiant man His posture shifts not; no excessive fears Feels he, but seated once in ambush, deems Time tedious till the bloody fight begin;) Even there, thy courage should no blame incur.[8] 350 For should’st thou, toiling in the fight, by spear Or falchion bleed, not on thy neck behind Would fall the weapon, or thy back annoy, But it would meet thy bowels or thy chest While thou didst rush into the clamorous van. 355 But haste—­we may not longer loiter here As children prating, lest some sharp rebuke Reward us.  Enter quick, and from within My tent provide thee with a noble spear. 
  Then, swift as Mars, Meriones produced 360
A brazen spear of those within the tent Reserved, and kindling with heroic fire Follow’d Idomeneus.  As gory Mars By Terror follow’d, his own dauntless son Who quells the boldest heart, to battle moves; 365 From Thrace against the Ephyri they arm, Or hardy Phlegyans, and by both invoked, Hear and grant victory to which they please; Such, bright in arms Meriones, and such Idomeneus advanced, when foremost thus 370 Meriones his fellow-chief bespake. 
  Son of Deucalion! where inclinest thou most
To enter into battle?  On the right Of all the host? or through the central ranks?  Or on the left? for nowhere I account 375 The Greeks so destitute of force as there. 
  Then answer thus Idomeneus return’d
Chief of the Cretans.  Others stand to guard The middle fleet; there either Ajax wars, And Teucer, noblest archer of the Greeks, 380 Nor less in stationary fight approved.  Bent as he is on battle, they will task And urge to proof sufficiently the force Of Priameian Hector; burn his rage How fierce soever, he shall find it hard, 385 With all his thirst of victory, to quell Their firm resistance, and to fire the fleet, Let not Saturnian Jove cast down from heaven Himself a flaming brand into the ships.  High towering Telamonian Ajax yields 390 To no mere mortal by the common gift Sustain’d of Ceres, and whose flesh the spear Can penetrate, or rocky fragment bruise;

Page 169

In standing fight Ajax would not retire Even before that breaker of the ranks 395 Achilles, although far less swift than he.  But turn we to the left, that we may learn At once, if glorious death, or life be ours. 
  Then, rapid as the God of war, his course
Meriones toward the left began, 400 As he enjoin’d.  Soon as the Trojans saw Idomeneus advancing like a flame, And his compeer Meriones in arms All-radiant clad, encouraging aloud From rank to rank each other, on they came 405 To the assault combined.  Then soon arose Sharp contest on the left of all the fleet.  As when shrill winds blow vehement, what time Dust deepest spreads the ways, by warring blasts Upborne a sable cloud stands in the air, 410 Such was the sudden conflict; equal rage To stain with gore the lance ruled every breast.  Horrent with quivering spears the fatal field Frown’d on all sides; the brazen flashes dread Of numerous helmets, corselets furbish’d bright, 415 And shields refulgent meeting, dull’d the eye, And turn’d it dark away.  Stranger indeed Were he to fear, who could that strife have view’d With heart elate, or spirit unperturb’d. 
  Two mighty sons of Saturn adverse parts 420
Took in that contest, purposing alike To many a valiant Chief sorrow and pain.  Jove, for the honor of Achilles, gave Success to Hector and the host of Troy, Not for complete destruction of the Greeks 425 At Ilium, but that glory might redound To Thetis thence, and to her dauntless son.  On the other side, the King of Ocean risen Secretly from the hoary Deep, the host Of Greece encouraged, whom he grieved to see 430 Vanquish’d by Trojans, and with anger fierce Against the Thunderer burn’d on their behalf.  Alike from one great origin divine Sprang they, but Jove was elder, and surpass’d In various knowledge; therefore when he roused 435 Their courage, Neptune traversed still the ranks Clandestine, and in human form disguised.  Thus, these Immortal Two, straining the cord Indissoluble of all-wasting war, Alternate measured with it either host, 440 And loosed the joints of many a warrior bold.  Then, loud exhorting (though himself with age Half grey) the Achaians, into battle sprang Idomeneus, and scatter’d, first, the foe, Slaying Othryoneus, who, by the lure 445 Of martial glory drawn, had left of late Cabesus.  He Priam’s fair daughter woo’d Cassandra, but no nuptial gift vouchsafed To offer, save a sounding promise proud To chase, himself, however resolute 450 The Grecian host, and to deliver Troy.  To him assenting, Priam, ancient King, Assured to him his wish, and in the faith Of that assurance confident, he fought.  But brave Idomeneus his splendid lance 455 Well-aim’d dismissing, struck the haughty Chief.  Pacing elate the field;

Page 170

his brazen mail Endured not; through his bowels pierced, with clang Of all his arms he fell, and thus with joy Immense exulting, spake Idomeneus. 460
  I give thee praise, Othryoneus! beyond
All mortal men, if truly thou perform Thy whole big promise to the Dardan king, Who promised thee his daughter.  Now, behold, We also promise:  doubt not the effect. 465 We give into thy arms the most admired Of Agamemnon’s daughters, whom ourselves Will hither bring from Argos, if thy force With ours uniting, thou wilt rase the walls Of populous Troy.  Come—­follow me; that here 470 Among the ships we may adjust the terms Of marriage, for we take not scanty dower. 
  So saying, the Hero dragg’d him by his heel
Through all the furious fight.  His death to avenge Asius on foot before his steeds advanced, 475 For them, where’er he moved, his charioteer Kept breathing ever on his neck behind.  With fierce desire the heart of Asius burn’d To smite Idomeneus, who with his lance Him reaching first, pierced him beneath the chin 480 Into his throat, and urged the weapon through.  He fell, as some green poplar falls, or oak, Or lofty pine, by naval artists hewn With new-edged axes on the mountain’s side.  So, his teeth grinding, and the bloody dust 485 Clenching, before his chariot and his steeds Extended, Asius lay.  His charioteer (All recollection lost) sat panic-stunn’d, Nor dared for safety turn his steeds to flight.  Him bold Antilochus right through the waist 490 Transpierced; his mail sufficed not, but the spear Implanted in his midmost bowels stood.  Down from his seat magnificent he fell Panting, and young Antilochus the steeds Drove captive thence into the host of Greece. 495 Then came Deiphobus by sorrow urged For Asius, and, small interval between, Hurl’d at Idomeneus his glittering lance; But he, foreseeing its approach, the point Eluded, cover’d whole by his round shield 500 Of hides and brass by double belt sustain’d, And it flew over him, but on his targe Glancing, elicited a tinkling sound.  Yet left it not in vain his vigorous grasp, But pierced the liver of Hypsenor, son 505 Of Hippasus; he fell incontinent, And measureless exulting in his fall Deiphobus with mighty voice exclaim’d. 
  Not unavenged lies Asius; though he seek
Hell’s iron portals, yet shall he rejoice, 510 For I have given him a conductor home. 
  So he, whose vaunt the Greeks indignant heard! 
But of them all to anger most he roused Antilochus, who yet his breathless friend[9] Left not, but hasting, fenced him with his shield, 515 And brave Alastor with Mecisteus son Of Echius, bore him to the hollow ships Deep-groaning both, for of their band was he.  Nor yet Idomeneus his warlike rage Remitted aught, but persevering strove

Page 171

520 Either to plunge some Trojan in the shades, Or fall himself, guarding the fleet of Greece.  Then slew he brave Alcathoues the son Of AEsyeta, and the son-in-law Of old Anchises, who to him had given 525 The eldest-born of all his daughters fair, Hippodamia; dearly loved was she By both her parents in her virgin state,[10] For that in beauty she surpass’d, in works Ingenious, and in faculties of mind 530 All her coevals; wherefore she was deem’d Well worthy of the noblest prince of Troy.  Him in that moment, Neptune by the arm Quell’d of Idomeneus, his radiant eyes Dimming, and fettering his proportion’d limbs. 535 All power of flight or to elude the stroke Forsook him, and while motionless he stood As stands a pillar tall or towering oak, The hero of the Cretans with a spear Transfix’d his middle chest.  He split the mail 540 Erewhile his bosom’s faithful guard; shrill rang The shiver’d brass; sounding he fell; the beam Implanted in his palpitating heart Shook to its topmost point, but, its force spent, At last, quiescent, stood.  Then loud exclaim’d 545 Idomeneus, exulting in his fall. 
  What thinks Deiphobus? seems it to thee
Vain boaster, that, three warriors slain for one, We yield thee just amends? else, stand thyself Against me; learn the valor of a Chief 550 The progeny of Jove; Jove first begat Crete’s guardian, Minos, from which Minos sprang Deucalion, and from famed Deucalion, I; I, sovereign of the numerous race of Crete’s Extensive isle, and whom my galleys brought 555 To these your shores at last, that I might prove Thy curse, thy father’s, and a curse to Troy. 
  He spake; Deiphobus uncertain stood
Whether, retreating, to engage the help Of some heroic Trojan, or himself 560 To make the dread experiment alone.  At length, as his discreeter course, he chose To seek AEneas; him he found afar Station’d, remotest of the host of Troy, For he resented evermore his worth 565 By Priam[11] recompensed with cold neglect.  Approaching him, in accents wing’d he said. 
  AEneas!  Trojan Chief!  If e’er thou lov’dst
Thy sister’s husband, duty calls thee now To prove it.  Haste—­defend with me the dead 570 Alcathoues, guardian of thy tender years, Slain by Idomeneus the spear-renown’d. 
  So saying, he roused his spirit, and on fire
To combat with the Cretan, forth he sprang.  But fear seized not Idomeneus as fear 575 May seize a nursling boy; resolved he stood As in the mountains, conscious of his force, The wild boar waits a coming multitude Of boisterous hunters to his lone retreat; Arching his bristly spine he stands, his eyes 580 Beam fire, and whetting his bright tusks, he burns To drive, not dogs alone, but men to flight; So stood

Page 172

the royal Cretan, and fled not, Expecting brave AEneas; yet his friends He summon’d, on Ascalaphus his eyes 585 Fastening, on Aphareus, Deipyrus, Meriones, and Antilochus, all bold In battle, and in accents wing’d exclaim’d. 
  Haste ye, my friends! to aid me, for I stand
Alone, nor undismay’d the coming wait 590 Of swift AEneas, nor less brave than swift, And who possesses fresh his flower of youth, Man’s prime advantage; were we match’d in years As in our spirits, either he should earn At once the meed of deathless fame, or I. 595
  He said; they all unanimous approach’d,
Sloping their shields, and stood.  On the other side His aids AEneas call’d, with eyes toward Paris, Deiphobus, Agenor, turn’d, His fellow-warriors bold; them follow’d all 600 Their people as the pastured flock the ram To water, by the shepherd seen with joy; Such joy AEneas felt, seeing, so soon, That numerous host attendant at his call.  Then, for Alcathoues, into contest close 605 Arm’d with long spears they rush’d; on every breast Dread rang the brazen corselet, each his foe Assailing opposite; but two, the rest Surpassing far, terrible both as Mars, AEneas and Idomeneus, alike 610 Panted to pierce each other with the spear.  AEneas, first, cast at Idomeneus, But, warn’d, he shunn’d the weapon, and it pass’d.  Quivering in the soil AEneas’ lance Stood, hurl’d in vain, though by a forceful arm. 615 Not so the Cretan; at his waist he pierced Oenomaues, his hollow corselet clave, And in his midmost bowels drench’d the spear; Down fell the Chief, and dying, clench’d the dust.  Instant, his massy spear the King of Crete 620 Pluck’d from the dead, but of his radiant arms Despoil’d him not, by numerous weapons urged; For now, time-worn, he could no longer make Brisk sally, spring to follow his own spear, Or shun another, or by swift retreat 625 Vanish from battle, but the evil day Warded in stationary fight alone.  At him retiring, therefore, step by step Deiphobus, who had with bitterest hate Long time pursued him, hurl’d his splendid lance, 630 But yet again erroneous, for he pierced Ascalaphus instead, offspring of Mars; Right through his shoulder flew the spear; he fell Incontinent, and dying, clench’d the dust.  But tidings none the brazen-throated Mars 635 Tempestuous yet received, that his own son In bloody fight had fallen, for on the heights Olympian over-arch’d with clouds of gold He sat, where sat the other Powers divine, Prisoners together of the will of Jove. 640 Meantime, for slain Ascalaphus arose Conflict severe; Deiphobus his casque Resplendent seized, but swift as fiery Mars Assailing him, Meriones his arm Pierced with a spear, and from his idle hand 645 Fallen, the casque sonorous

Page 173

struck the ground.  Again, as darts the vulture on his prey, Meriones assailing him, the lance Pluck’d from his arm, and to his band retired.  Then, casting his fraternal arms around 650 Deiphobus, him young Polites led From the hoarse battle to his rapid steeds And his bright chariot in the distant rear, Which bore him back to Troy, languid and loud- Groaning, and bleeding from his recent wound. 655 Still raged the war, and infinite arose The clamor.  Aphareus, Caletor’s son, Turning to face AEneas, in his throat Instant the hero’s pointed lance received.  With head reclined, and bearing to the ground 660 Buckler and helmet with him, in dark shades Of soul-divorcing death involved, he fell.  Antilochus, observing Thooen turn’d To flight, that moment pierced him; from his back He ripp’d the vein which through the trunk its course 665 Winds upward to the neck; that vein he ripp’d All forth; supine he fell, and with both hands Extended to his fellow-warriors, died.  Forth sprang Antilochus to strip his arms, But watch’d, meantime, the Trojans, who in crowds 670 Encircling him, his splendid buckler broad Smote oft, but none with ruthless point prevail’d Even to inscribe the skin of Nestor’s son, Whom Neptune, shaker of the shores, amid Innumerable darts kept still secure. 675 Yet never from his foes he shrank, but faced From side to side, nor idle slept his spear, But with rotation ceaseless turn’d and turn’d To every part, now levell’d at a foe Far-distant, at a foe, now, near at hand. 680 Nor he, thus occupied, unseen escaped By Asius’ offspring Adamas, who close Advancing, struck the centre of his shield.  But Neptune azure-hair’d so dear a life Denied to Adamas, and render’d vain 685 The weapon; part within his disk remain’d Like a seer’d stake, and part fell at his feet.  Then Adamas, for his own life alarm’d, Retired, but as he went, Meriones Him reaching with his lance, the shame between 690 And navel pierced him, where the stroke of Mars Proves painful most to miserable man.  There enter’d deep the weapon; down he fell, And in the dust lay panting as an ox Among the mountains pants by peasants held 695 In twisted bands, and dragg’d perforce along; So panted dying Adamas, but soon Ceased, for Meriones, approaching, pluck’d The weapon forth, and darkness veil’d his eyes.  Helenus, with his heavy Thracian blade 700 Smiting the temples of Deipyrus, Dash’d off his helmet; from his brows remote It fell, and wandering roll’d, till at his feet Some warrior found it, and secured; meantime The sightless shades of death him wrapp’d around. 705 Grief at that spectacle the bosom fill’d Of valiant Menelaus; high he shook His radiant spear, and threatening him, advanced On royal Helenus, who ready stood With his bow bent.  They met; impatient, one,

Page 174

710 To give his pointed lance its rapid course, And one, to start his arrow from the nerve.  The arrow of the son of Priam struck Atrides’ hollow corselet, but the reed Glanced wide.  As vetches or as swarthy beans 715 Leap from the van and fly athwart the floor, By sharp winds driven, and by the winnower’s force, So from the corselet of the glorious Greek Wide-wandering flew the bitter shaft away.  But Menelaus the left-hand transpierced 720 Of Helenus, and with the lance’s point Fasten’d it to his bow; shunning a stroke More fatal, Helenus into his band Retired, his arm dependent at his side, And trailing, as he went, the ashen beam; 725 There, bold Agenor from his hand the lance Drew forth, then folded it with softest wool Around, sling-wool, and borrow’d from the sling Which his attendant into battle bore.  Then sprang Pisander on the glorious Chief 730 The son of Atreus, but his evil fate Beckon’d him to his death in conflict fierce, Oh Menelaus, mighty Chief! with thee.  And now they met, small interval between.  Atrides hurl’d his weapon, and it err’d. 735 Pisander with his spear struck full the shield Of glorious Menelaus, but his force Resisted by the stubborn buckler broad Fail’d to transpierce it, and the weapon fell Snapp’d at the neck.  Yet, when he struck, the heart 740 Rebounded of Pisander, full of hope.  But Menelaus, drawing his bright blade, Sprang on him, while Pisander from behind His buckler drew a brazen battle-axe By its long haft of polish’d olive-wood, 745 And both Chiefs struck together.  He the crest That crown’d the shaggy casque of Atreus’ son Hew’d from its base, but Menelaus him In his swift onset smote full on the front Above his nose; sounded the shatter’d bone, 750 And his eyes both fell bloody at his feet.  Convolved with pain he lay; then, on his breast Atrides setting fast his heel, tore off His armor, and exulting thus began. 
  So shall ye leave at length the Grecian fleet, 755
Traitors, and never satisfied with war!  Nor want ye other guilt, dogs and profane!  But me have injured also, and defied The hot displeasure of high-thundering Jove The hospitable, who shall waste in time, 760 And level with the dust your lofty Troy.  I wrong’d not you, yet bore ye far away My youthful bride who welcomed you, and stole My treasures also, and ye now are bent To burn Achaia’s gallant fleet with fire 765 And slay her heroes; but your furious thirst Of battle shall hereafter meet a check.  Oh, Father Jove!  Thee wisest we account In heaven or earth, yet from thyself proceed All these calamities, who favor show’st 770 To this flagitious race the Trojans, strong In wickedness alone, and whose delight In war and bloodshed never can be cloy’d.  All pleasures breed satiety, sweet sleep, Soft dalliance, music, and the graceful

Page 175

dance, 775 Though sought with keener appetite by most Than bloody war; but Troy still covets blood. 
  So spake the royal Chief, and to his friends
Pisander’s gory spoils consigning, flew To mingle in the foremost fight again. 780 Him, next, Harpalion, offspring of the King Pylaemenes assail’d; to Troy he came Following his sire, but never thence return’d.  He, from small distance, smote the central boss Of Menelaus’ buckler with his lance, 785 But wanting power to pierce it, with an eye Of cautious circumspection, lest perchance Some spear should reach him, to his band retired.  But him retiring with a brazen shaft Meriones pursued; swift flew the dart 790 To his right buttock, slipp’d beneath the bone, His bladder grazed, and started through before.  There ended his retreat; sudden he sank And like a worm lay on the ground, his life Exhaling in his fellow-warrior’s arms, 795 And with his sable blood soaking the plain.  Around him flock’d his Paphlagonians bold, And in his chariot placed drove him to Troy, With whom his father went, mourning with tears A son, whose death he never saw avenged. 800
  Him slain with indignation Paris view’d,
For he, with numerous Paphlagonians more His guest had been; he, therefore, in the thirst Of vengeance, sent a brazen arrow forth.  There was a certain Greek, Euchenor, son 805 Of Polyides the soothsayer, rich And brave in fight, and who in Corinth dwelt He, knowing well his fate, yet sail’d to Troy For Polyides oft, his reverend sire, Had prophecied that he should either die 810 By some dire malady at home, or, slain By Trojan hands, amid the fleet of Greece.  He, therefore, shunning the reproach alike Of the Achaians, and that dire disease, Had join’d the Grecian host; him Paris pierced 815 The ear and jaw beneath; life at the stroke Left him, and darkness overspread his eyes. 
  So raged the battle like devouring fire. 
But Hector dear to Jove not yet had learn’d, Nor aught surmised the havoc of his host 820 Made on the left, where victory crown’d well-nigh The Grecians animated to the fight By Neptune seconding himself their arms.  He, where he first had started through the gate After dispersion of the shielded Greeks 825 Compact, still persevered.  The galleys there Of Ajax and Protesilaues stood Updrawn above the hoary Deep; the wall Was there of humblest structure, and the steeds And warriors there conflicted furious most. 830 The Epeans there and Iaeonians[12] robed- Prolix, the Phthians,[13] Locrians, and the bold Boetians check’d the terrible assault Of Hector, noble Chief, ardent as flame, Yet not repulsed him.  Chosen Athenians form’d 835 The van, by Peteos’ son, Menestheus, led, Whose high command undaunted Bias shared, Phidas

Page 176

and Stichius.  The Epean host Under Amphion, Dracius, Meges, fought.  Podarces brave in arms the Phthians ruled, 840 And Medon (Medon was by spurious birth Brother of Ajax Oiliades, And for his uncle’s death, whom he had slain, The brother of Oileus’ wife, abode In Phylace; but from Iphiclus sprang 845 Podarces;) these, all station’d in the front Of Phthias’ hardy sons, together strove With the Boeotians for the fleet’s defence.  Ajax the swift swerved never from the side Of Ajax son of Telamon a step, 850 But as in some deep fallow two black steers Labor combined, dragging the ponderous plow, The briny sweat around their rooted horns Oozes profuse; they, parted as they toil Along the furrow, by the yoke alone, 855 Cleave to its bottom sheer the stubborn glebe, So, side by side, they, persevering fought.[14] The son of Telamon a people led Numerous and bold, who, when his bulky limbs Fail’d overlabor’d, eased him of his shield. 860 Not so attended by his Locrians fought Oileus’ valiant son; pitch’d battle them Suited not, unprovided with bright casques Of hairy crest, with ashen spears, and shields Of ample orb; for, trusting in the bow 865 And twisted sling alone, they came to Troy, And broke with shafts and volley’d stones the ranks.  Thus occupying, clad in burnish’d arms, The van, these two with Hector and his host Conflicted, while the Locrians from behind 870 Vex’d them with shafts, secure; nor could the men Of Ilium stand, by such a shower confused.  Then, driven with dreadful havoc thence, the foe To wind-swept Ilium had again retired.  Had not Polydamas, at Hector’s side 875 Standing, the dauntless hero thus address’d. 
  Hector!  Thou ne’er canst listen to advice;
But think’st thou, that if heaven in feats of arms Give thee pre-eminence, thou must excel Therefore in council also all mankind? 880 No.  All-sufficiency is not for thee.  To one, superior force in arms is given, Skill to another in the graceful dance, Sweet song and powers of music to a third, And to a fourth loud-thundering Jove imparts 885 Wisdom, which profits many, and which saves Whole cities oft, though reverenced but by few.  Yet hear; I speak as wisest seems to me.  War, like a fiery circle, all around Environs thee; the Trojans, since they pass’d 890 The bulwark, either hold themselves aloof, Or, wide-dispersed among the galleys, cope With numbers far superior to their own.  Retiring, therefore, summon all our Chiefs To consultation on the sum of all, 895 Whether (should heaven so prosper us) to rush Impetuous on the gallant barks of Greece, Or to retreat secure; for much I dread Lest the Achaians punctually refund All yesterday’s arrear, since yonder Chief[15] 900 Insatiable with battle still

Page 177

abides Within the fleet, nor longer, as I judge, Will rest a mere spectator of the field. 
  So spake Polydamas, whose safe advice
Pleased Hector; from his chariot down he leap’d 905 All arm’d, and in wing’d accents thus replied. 
  Polydamas! here gather all the Chiefs;
I haste into the fight, and my commands Once issued there, incontinent return. 
  He ended, and conspicuous as the height 910
Of some snow-crested mountain, shouting ranged The Trojans and confederates of Troy.  They swift around Polydamas, brave son Of Panthus, at the voice of Hector, ran.  Himself with hasty strides the front, meantime, 915 Of battle roam’d, seeking from rank to rank Asius Hyrtacides, with Asius’ son Adamas, and Deiphobus, and the might Of Helenus, his royal brother bold.  Them neither altogether free from hurt 920 He found, nor living all.  Beneath the sterns Of the Achaian ships some slaughter’d lay By Grecian hands; some stricken by the spear Within the rampart sat, some by the sword.  But leftward of the woful field he found, 925 Ere long, bright Helen’s paramour his band Exhorting to the fight.  Hector approach’d, And him, in fierce displeasure, thus bespake. 
  Curst Paris, specious, fraudulent and lewd! 
Where is Deiphobus, and where the might 930 Of royal Helenus?  Where Adamas Offspring of Asius, and where Asius, son Of Hyrtacus, and where Othryoneus?  Now lofty Ilium from her topmost height Falls headlong, now is thy own ruin sure! 935
  To whom the godlike Paris thus replied. 
Since Hector! thou art pleased with no just cause To censure me, I may decline, perchance, Much more the battle on some future day, For I profess some courage, even I. 940 Witness our constant conflict with the Greeks Here, on this spot, since first led on by thee The host of Troy waged battle at the ships.  But those our friends of whom thou hast inquired Are slain, Deiphobus alone except 945 And royal Helenus, who in the hand Bear each a wound inflicted by the spear, And have retired; but Jove their life preserved.  Come now—­conduct us whither most thine heart Prompts thee, and thou shalt find us ardent all 950 To face like danger; what we can, we will, The best and most determined can no more. 
  So saying, the hero soothed his brother’s mind. 
Then moved they both toward the hottest war Together, where Polydamas the brave, 955 Phalces, Cebriones, Orthaeus fought, Palmys and Polyphoetes, godlike Chief, And Morys and Ascanius, gallant sons Both of Hippotion.  They at Troy arrived From fair Ascania the preceding morn, 960 In recompense for aid[16] by Priam lent Erewhile to Phrygia, and, by Jove impell’d, Now waged the furious battle side by side.  The march of these at once, was as

Page 178

the sound Of mighty winds from deep-hung thunder-clouds 965 Descending; clamorous the blast and wild With ocean mingles; many a billow, then, Upridged rides turbulent the sounding flood, Foam-crested billow after billow driven, So moved the host of Troy, rank after rank 970 Behind their Chiefs, all dazzling bright in arms.  Before them Priameian Hector strode Fierce as gore-tainted Mars, and his broad shield Advancing came, heavy with hides, and thick- Plated with brass; his helmet on his brows 975 Refulgent shook, and in its turn he tried The force of every phalanx, if perchance Behind his broad shield pacing he might shake Their steadfast order; but he bore not down The spirit of the firm Achaian host. 980 Then Ajax striding forth, him, first, defied. 
  Approach.  Why temptest thou the Greeks to fear? 
No babes are we in aught that appertains To arms, though humbled by the scourge of Jove.  Thou cherishest the foolish hope to burn 985 Our fleet with fire; but even we have hearts Prepared to guard it, and your populous Troy, By us dismantled and to pillage given, Shall perish sooner far.  Know this thyself Also; the hour is nigh when thou shalt ask 990 In prayer to Jove and all the Gods of heaven, That speed more rapid than the falcon’s flight May wing thy coursers, while, exciting dense The dusty plain, they whirl thee back to Troy. 
  While thus he spake, sublime on the right-hand 995
An eagle soar’d; confident in the sign The whole Achaian host with loud acclaim Hail’d it.  Then glorious Hector thus replied. 
  Brainless and big, what means this boast of thine,
Earth-cumberer Ajax?  Would I were the son 1000 As sure, for ever, of almighty Jove And Juno, and such honor might receive Henceforth as Pallas and Apollo share, As comes this day with universal wo Fraught for the Grecians, among whom thyself 1005 Shalt also perish if thou dare abide My massy spear, which shall thy pamper’d flesh Disfigure, and amid the barks of Greece Falling, thou shalt the vultures with thy bulk Enormous satiate, and the dogs of Troy. 1010
  He spake, and led his host; with clamor loud
They follow’d him, and all the distant rear Came shouting on.  On the other side the Greeks Re-echoed shout for shout, all undismay’d, And waiting firm the bravest of their foes. 1015 Upwent the double roar into the heights Ethereal, and among the beams of Jove.




Agamemnon and the other wounded Chiefs taking Nestor with them, visit the battle.  Juno having borrowed the Cestus of Venus, first engages the assistance of Sleep, then hastens to Ida to inveigle Jove.  She prevails.  Jove sleeps; and Neptune takes that opportunity to succor the Grecians.

Page 179


  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;[1]
  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

Page 180

  Alas! alas! the Achaians brazen-greaved
  All, like Achilles, have deserted me
  Resentful, and decline their fleet’s defence. 
    To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied. 
  Those threats are verified; nor Jove himself 60
  The Thunderer can disappoint them now;
  For our chief strength in which we trusted most
  That it should guard impregnably secure
  Our navy and ourselves, the wall hath fallen. 
  Hence all this conflict by our host sustain’d 65
  Among the ships; nor could thy keenest sight
  Inform thee where in the Achaian camp
  Confusion most prevails, such deaths are dealt
  Promiscuous, and the cry ascends to heaven. 
  But come—­consult we on the sum of all, 70
  If counsel yet may profit.  As for you,
  Ye shall have exhortation none from me
  To seek the fight; the wounded have excuse. 
    Whom Agamemnon answer’d, King of men. 
  Ah Nestor! if beneath our very sterns 75
  The battle rage, if neither trench nor wall
  Constructed with such labor, and supposed
  Of strength to guard impregnably secure
  Our navy and ourselves, avail us aught,
  It is because almighty Jove hath will’d 80
  That the Achaian host should perish here
  Inglorious, from their country far remote. 
  When he vouchsafed assistance to the Greeks,
  I knew it well; and now, not less I know
  That high as the immortal Gods he lifts 85
  Our foes to glory, and depresses us. 
  Haste therefore all, and act as I advise. 
  Our ships—­all those that nearest skirt the Deep,
  Launch we into the sacred flood, and moor
  With anchors safely, till o’ershadowing night 90
  (If night itself may save us) shall arrive. 
  Then may we launch the rest; for I no shame
  Account it, even by ’vantage of the night
  To fly destruction.  Wiser him I deem
  Who ’scapes his foe, than whom his foe enthralls. 95
    But him Ulysses, frowning stern, reproved. 
  What word, Atrides, now hath pass’d thy lips? 
  Counsellor of despair! thou should’st command
  (And would to heaven thou didst) a different host,
  Some dastard race, not ours; whom Jove ordains 100
  From youth to hoary age to weave the web
  Of toilsome warfare, till we perish all. 
  Wilt thou the spacious city thus renounce
  For which such numerous woes we have endured? 
  Hush! lest some other hear; it is a word 105
  Which no man qualified by years mature
  To speak discreetly, no man bearing rule
  O’er such a people as confess thy sway,
  Should suffer to contaminate his lips. 
  I from my soul condemn thee, and condemn 110
  Thy counsel, who persuad’st us in the heat
  Of battle terrible as this, to launch

Page 181

  Our fleet into the waves, that we may give
  Our too successful foes their full desire,
  And that our own prepondering scale 115
  May plunge us past all hope; for while they draw
  Their galleys down, the Grecians shall but ill
  Sustain the fight, seaward will cast their eyes
  And shun the battle, bent on flight alone. 
  Then, shall they rue thy counsel, King of men! 120
    To whom the imperial leader of the Greeks. 
  Thy sharp reproof, Ulysses, hath my soul
  Pierced deeply.  Yet I gave no such command
  That the Achaians should their galleys launch,
  Would they, or would they not.  No.  I desire 125
  That young or old, some other may advice
  More prudent give, and he shall please me well. 
    Then thus the gallant Diomede replied. 
  That man is near, and may ye but be found
  Tractable, our inquiry shall be short. 130
  Be patient each, nor chide me nor reproach
  Because I am of greener years than ye,
  For I am sprung from an illustrious Sire,
  From Tydeus, who beneath his hill of earth
  Lies now entomb’d at Thebes.  Three noble sons 135
  Were born to Portheus, who in Pleuro dwelt,
  And on the heights of Calydon; the first
  Agrius; the second Melas; and the third
  Brave Oeneus, father of my father, famed
  For virtuous qualities above the rest. 140
  Oeneus still dwelt at home; but wandering thence
  My father dwelt in Argos; so the will
  Of Jove appointed, and of all the Gods. 
  There he espoused the daughter of the King
  Adrastus, occupied a mansion rich 145
  In all abundance; many a field possess’d
  Of wheat, well-planted gardens, numerous flocks,
  And was expert in spearmanship esteem’d
  Past all the Grecians.  I esteem’d it right
  That ye should hear these things, for they are true. 150
  Ye will not, therefore, as I were obscure
  And of ignoble origin, reject
  What I shall well advise.  Expedience bids
  That, wounded as we are, we join the host. 
  We will preserve due distance from the range 155
  Of spears and arrows, lest already gall’d,
  We suffer worse; but we will others urge
  To combat, who have stood too long aloof,
  Attentive only to their own repose. 
    He spake, whom all approved, and forth they went, 160
  Imperial Agamemnon at their head. 
    Nor watch’d the glorious Shaker of the shores
  In vain, but like a man time-worn approach’d,
  And, seizing Agamemnon’s better hand,
  In accents wing’d the monarch thus address’d. 165
    Atrides! now exults the vengeful heart
  Of fierce Achilles, viewing at his ease
  The flight and slaughter of Achaia’s host;
  For he is mad, and let him perish such,

Page 182

  And may his portion from the Gods be shame! 170
  But as for thee, not yet the powers of heaven
  Thee hate implacable; the Chiefs of Troy
  Shall cover yet with cloudy dust the breadth
  Of all the plain, and backward from the camp
  To Ilium’s gates thyself shalt see them driven. 175
    He ceased, and shouting traversed swift the field. 
  Loud as nine thousand or ten thousand shout
  In furious battle mingled, Neptune sent
  His voice abroad, force irresistible
  Infusing into every Grecian heart, 180
  And thirst of battle not to be assuaged. 
    But Juno of the golden throne stood forth
  On the Olympian summit, viewing thence
  The field, where clear distinguishing the God
  Of ocean, her own brother, sole engaged 185
  Amid the glorious battle, glad was she. 
  Seeing Jove also on the topmost point
  Of spring-fed Ida seated, she conceived
  Hatred against him, and thenceforth began
  Deliberate how best she might deceive 190
  The Thunderer, and thus at last resolved;
  Attired with skill celestial to descend
  On Ida, with a hope to allure him first
  Won by her beauty to a fond embrace,
  Then closing fast in balmy sleep profound 195
  His eyes, to elude his vigilance, secure. 
  She sought her chamber; Vulcan her own son
  That chamber built.  He framed the solid doors,
  And to the posts fast closed them with a key
  Mysterious, which, herself except, in heaven 200
  None understood.  Entering she secured
  The splendid portal.  First, she laved all o’er
  Her beauteous body with ambrosial lymph,
  Then polish’d it with richest oil divine
  Of boundless fragrance;[2] oil that in the courts 205
  Eternal only shaken, through the skies
  Breathed odors, and through all the distant earth. 
  Her whole fair body with those sweets bedew’d,
  She passed the comb through her ambrosial hair,
  And braided her bright locks streaming profuse 210
  From her immortal brows; with golden studs
  She made her gorgeous mantle fast before,
  Ethereal texture, labor of the hands
  Of Pallas beautified with various art,
  And braced it with a zone fringed all around 215
  A hundred fold; her pendants triple-gemm’d
  Luminous, graceful, in her ears she hung,
  And covering all her glories with a veil
  Sun-bright, new-woven, bound to her fair feet
  Her sandals elegant.  Thus full attired, 220
  In all her ornaments, she issued forth,
  And beckoning Venus from the other powers
  Of heaven apart, the Goddess thus bespake. 
    Daughter beloved! shall I obtain my suit,
  Or wilt thou thwart me, angry that I aid 225

Page 183

  The Grecians, while thine aid is given to Troy? 
    To whom Jove’s daughter Venus thus replied. 
  What would majestic Juno, daughter dread
  Of Saturn, sire of Jove?  I feel a mind
  Disposed to gratify thee, if thou ask 230
  Things possible, and possible to me. 
    Then thus with wiles veiling her deep design
  Imperial Juno.  Give me those desires,
  That love-enkindling power by which thou sway’st
  Immortal hearts and mortal, all alike; 235
  For to the green earth’s utmost bounds I go,
  To visit there the parent of the Gods,
  Oceanus, and Tethys his espoused,
  Mother of all.  They kindly from the hands
  Of Rhea took, and with parental care 240
  Sustain’d and cherish’d me, what time from heaven
  The Thunderer hurled down Saturn, and beneath
  The earth fast bound him and the barren Deep. 
  Them go I now to visit, and their feuds
  Innumerable to compose; for long 245
  They have from conjugal embrace abstain’d
  Through mutual wrath, whom by persuasive speech
  Might I restore into each other’s arms,
  They would for ever love me and revere. 
    Her, foam-born Venus then, Goddess of smiles, 250
  Thus answer’d.  Thy request, who in the arms
  Of Jove reposest the omnipotent,
  Nor just it were nor seemly to refuse. 
    So saying, the cincture from her breast she loosed
  Embroider’d, various, her all-charming zone. 255
  It was an ambush of sweet snares, replete
  With love, desire, soft intercourse of hearts,
  And music of resistless whisper’d sounds
  That from the wisest steal their best resolves;
  She placed it in her hands and thus she said. 260
    Take this—­this girdle fraught with every charm. 
  Hide this within thy bosom, and return,
  Whate’er thy purpose, mistress of it all. 
    She spake; imperial Juno smiled, and still
  Smiling complacent, bosom’d safe the zone. 265
  Then Venus to her father’s court return’d,
  And Juno, starting from the Olympian height,
  O’erflew Pieria and the lovely plains
  Of broad Emathia; soaring thence she swept
  The snow-clad summits of the Thracian hills 270
  Steed-famed, nor printed, as she passed, the soil. 
  From Athos o’er the foaming billows borne
  She came to Lemnos, city and abode
  Of noble Thoas, and there meeting Sleep,
  Brother of Death, she press’d his hand, and said, 275
    Sleep, over all, both Gods and men, supreme! 
  If ever thou hast heard, hear also now
  My suit; I will be grateful evermore. 
  Seal for me fast the radiant eyes of Jove
  In the instant of his gratified desire. 280
  Thy recompense shall be a throne of gold,

Page 184

  Bright, incorruptible; my limping son,
  Vulcan, shall fashion it himself with art
  Laborious, and, beneath, shall place a stool[3]
  For thy fair feet, at the convivial board. 285
    Then answer thus the tranquil Sleep returned
  Great Saturn’s daughter, awe-inspiring Queen! 
  All other of the everlasting Gods
  I could with ease make slumber, even the streams
  Of Ocean, Sire of all.[4] Not so the King 290
  The son of Saturn:  him, unless himself
  Give me command, I dare not lull to rest,
  Or even approach him, taught as I have been
  Already in the school of thy commands
  That wisdom.  I forget not yet the day 295
  When, Troy laid waste, that valiant son[5] of his
  Sail’d homeward:  then my influence I diffused
  Soft o’er the sovereign intellect of Jove;
  While thou, against the Hero plotting harm,
  Didst rouse the billows with tempestuous blasts, 300
  And separating him from all his friend,
  Brought’st him to populous Cos.  Then Jove awoke,
  And, hurling in his wrath the Gods about,
  Sought chiefly me, whom far below all ken
  He had from heaven cast down into the Deep, 305
  But Night, resistless vanquisher of all,
  Both Gods and men, preserved me; for to her
  I fled for refuge.  So the Thunderer cool’d,
  Though sore displeased, and spared me through a fear
  To violate the peaceful sway of Night.[6] 310
  And thou wouldst now embroil me yet again! 
    To whom majestic Juno thus replied. 
  Ah, wherefore, Sleep! shouldst thou indulge a fear
  So groundless?  Chase it from thy mind afar. 
  Think’st thou the Thunderer as intent to serve 315
  The Trojans, and as jealous in their cause
  As erst for Hercules, his genuine son? 
  Come then, and I will bless thee with a bride;
  One of the younger Graces shall be thine,
  Pasithea, day by day still thy desire. 320
    She spake; Sleep heard delighted, and replied. 
  By the inviolable Stygian flood
  Swear to me; lay thy right hand on the glebe
  All-teeming, lay thy other on the face
  Of the flat sea, that all the Immortal Powers 325
  Who compass Saturn in the nether realms
  May witness, that thou givest me for a bride
  The younger Grace whom thou hast named, divine
  Pasithea, day by day still my desire. 
    He said, nor beauteous Juno not complied, 330
  But sware, by name invoking all the powers
  Titanian call’d who in the lowest gulf
  Dwell under Tartarus, omitting none. 
  Her oath with solemn ceremonial sworn,
  Together forth they went; Lemnos they left 335
  And Imbrus, city of Thrace, and in dark clouds
  Mantled, with gliding ease swam through

Page 185

the air
  To Ida’s mount with rilling waters vein’d,
  Parent of savage beasts; at Lectos[7] first
  They quitted Ocean, overpassing high 340
  The dry land, while beneath their feet the woods
  Their spiry summits waved.  There, unperceived
  By Jove, Sleep mounted Ida’s loftiest pine
  Of growth that pierced the sky, and hidden sat
  Secure by its expanded boughs, the bird 345
  Shrill-voiced resembling in the mountains seen,[8]
  Chalcis in heaven, on earth Cymindis named. 
    But Juno swift to Gargarus the top
  Of Ida, soar’d, and there Jove saw his spouse. 
  —­Saw her—­and in his breast the same love felt 350
  Rekindled vehement, which had of old
  Join’d them, when, by their parents unperceived,
  They stole aside, and snatch’d their first embrace. 
  Soon he accosted her, and thus inquired. 
    Juno! what region seeking hast thou left 355
  The Olympian summit, and hast here arrived
  With neither steed nor chariot in thy train? 
    To whom majestic Juno thus replied
  Dissembling.  To the green earth’s end I go,
  To visit there the parent of the Gods 360
  Oceanus, and Tethys his espoused,
  Mother of all.  They kindly from the hands
  Of Rhea took, and with parental care
  Sustain’d and cherish’d me;[9] to them I haste
  Their feuds innumerable to compose, 365
  Who disunited by intestine strife
  Long time, from conjugal embrace abstain. 
  My steeds, that lightly over dank and dry
  Shall bear me, at the rooted base I left
  Of Ida river-vein’d.  But for thy sake 370
  From the Olympian summit I arrive,
  Lest journeying remote to the abode
  Of Ocean, and with no consent of thine
  Entreated first, I should, perchance, offend. 
    To whom the cloud-assembler God replied. 375
  Juno! thy journey thither may be made
  Hereafter.  Let us turn to dalliance now. 
  For never Goddess pour’d, nor woman yet
  So full a tide of love into my breast;
  I never loved Ixion’s consort thus 380
  Who bore Pirithoues, wise as we in heaven;
  Nor sweet Acrisian Danaee, from whom
  Sprang Perseus, noblest of the race of man;
  Nor Phoenix’ daughter fair,[10] of whom were born
  Minos unmatch’d but by the powers above, 385
  And Rhadamanthus; nor yet Semele,
  Nor yet Alcmena, who in Thebes produced
  The valiant Hercules; and though my son
  By Semele were Bacchus, joy of man;
  Nor Ceres golden-hair’d, nor high-enthroned 390
  Latona in the skies, no—­nor thyself
  As now I love thee, and my soul perceive
  O’erwhelm’d with sweetness of intense desire. 
    Then thus majestic Juno her

Page 186

  Framed artful.  Oh unreasonable haste! 395
  What speaks the Thunderer?  If on Ida’s heights. 
  Where all is open and to view exposed
  Thou wilt that we embrace, what must betide,
  Should any of the everlasting Gods
  Observe us, and declare it to the rest? 400
  Never could I, arising, seek again,
  Thy mansion, so unseemly were the deed. 
  But if thy inclinations that way tend,
  Thou hast a chamber; it is Vulcan’s work,
  Our son’s; he framed and fitted to its posts 405
  The solid portal; thither let us his,
  And there repose, since such thy pleasure seems. 
    To whom the cloud-assembler Deity. 
  Fear thou not, Juno, lest the eye of man
  Or of a God discern us; at my word 410
  A golden cloud shall fold us so around,
  That not the Sun himself shall through that veil
  Discover aught, though keenest-eyed of all. 
    So spake the son of Saturn, and his spouse
  Fast lock’d within his arms.  Beneath them earth 415
  With sudden herbage teem’d; at once upsprang
  The crocus soft, the lotus bathed in dew,
  And the crisp hyacinth with clustering bells;
  Thick was their growth, and high above the ground
  Upbore them.  On that flowery couch they lay, 420
  Invested with a golden cloud that shed
  Bright dew-drops all around.[11] His heart at ease,
  There lay the Sire of all, by Sleep and Love
  Vanquish’d on lofty Gargarus, his spouse
  Constraining still with amorous embrace. 425
  Then, gentle Sleep to the Achaian camp
  Sped swift away, with tidings for the ear
  Of earth-encircler Neptune charged; him soon
  He found, and in wing’d accents thus began. 
    Now Neptune, yield the Greeks effectual aid, 430
  And, while the moment lasts of Jove’s repose,
  Make victory theirs; for him in slumbers soft
  I have involved, while Juno by deceit
  Prevailing, lured him with the bait of love. 
    He said, and swift departed to his task 435
  Among the nations; but his tidings urged
  Neptune with still more ardor to assist
  The Danai; he leap’d into the van
  Afar, and thus exhorted them aloud. 
    Oh Argives! yield we yet again the day 440
  To Priameian Hector?  Shall he seize
  Our ships, and make the glory all his own? 
  Such is his expectation, so he vaunts,
  For that Achilles leaves not yet his camp,
  Resentful; but of him small need, I judge, 445
  Should here be felt, could once the rest be roused
  To mutual aid.  Act, then, as I advise. 
  The best and broadest bucklers of the host,
  And brightest helmets put we on, and arm’d
  With longest spears, advance; myself will lead; 450

Page 187

  And trust me, furious though he be, the son
  Of Priam flies.  Ye then who feel your hearts
  Undaunted, but are arm’d with smaller shields,
  Them give to those who fear, and in exchange
  Their stronger shields and broader take yourselves. 455
    So he, whom, unreluctant, all obey’d. 
  Then, wounded as they were, themselves the Kings,
  Tydides, Agamemnon and Ulysses
  Marshall’d the warriors, and from rank to rank
  Made just exchange of arms, giving the best 460
  To the best warriors, to the worse, the worst. 
  And now in brazen armor all array’d
  Refulgent on they moved, by Neptune led
  With firm hand grasping his long-bladed sword
  Keen as Jove’s bolt; with him may none contend 465
  In dreadful fight; but fear chains every arm. 
    Opposite, Priameian Hector ranged
  His Trojans; then they stretch’d the bloody cord
  Of conflict tight, Neptune coerulean-hair’d,
  And Hector, pride of Ilium; one, the Greeks 470
  Supporting firm, and one, the powers of Troy;
  A sea-flood dash’d the galleys, and the hosts
  Join’d clamorous.  Not so the billows roar
  The shores among, when Boreas’ roughest blast
  Sweeps landward from the main the towering surge; 475
  Not so, devouring fire among the trees
  That clothe the mountain, when the sheeted flames
  Ascending wrap the forest in a blaze;
  Nor howl the winds through leafy boughs of oaks
  Upgrown aloft (though loudest there they rave) 480
  With sounds so awful as were heard of Greeks
  And Trojans shouting when the clash began. 
    At Ajax, first (for face to face they stood)
  Illustrious Hector threw a spear well-aim’d,
  But smote him where the belts that bore his shield 485
  And falchion cross’d each other on his breast. 
  The double guard preserved him unannoy’d. 
  Indignant that his spear had bootless flown,
  Yet fearing death at hand, the Trojan Chief
  Toward the phalanx of his friends retired. 490
  But, as he went, huge Ajax with a stone
  Of those which propp’d the ships (for numerous such
  Lay rolling at the feet of those who fought)
  Assail’d him.  Twirling like a top it pass’d
  The shield of Hector, near the neck his breast 495
  Struck full, then plough’d circuitous the dust. 
  As when Jove’s arm omnipotent an oak
  Prostrates uprooted on the plain, a fume
  Rises sulphureous from the riven trunk,
  And if, perchance, some traveller nigh at hand 500
  See it, he trembles at the bolt of Jove,
  So fell the might of Hector, to the earth
  Smitten at once.  Down dropp’d his idle spear,
  And with his helmet and his shield himself
  Also; loud thunder’d all his gorgeous arms. 505

Page 188

  Swift flew the Grecians shouting to the skies,
  And showering darts, to drag his body thence,
  But neither spear of theirs nor shaft could harm
  The fallen leader, with such instant aid
  His princely friends encircled him around, 510
  Sarpedon, Lycian Chief, Glaucus the brave,
  Polydamas, AEneas, and renown’d
  Agenor; neither tardy were the rest,
  But with round shields all shelter’d Hector fallen. 
  Him soon uplifted from the plain his friends 515
  Bore thence, till where his fiery coursers stood,
  And splendid chariot in the rear, they came,
  Then Troy-ward drove him groaning as he went. 
  Ere long arriving at the pleasant stream
  Of eddied Xanthus, progeny of Jove, 520
  They laid him on the bank, and on his face
  Pour’d water; he, reviving, upward gazed,
  And seated on his hams black blood disgorged
  Coagulate, but soon relapsing, fell
  Supine, his eyes with pitchy darkness veil’d, 525
  And all his powers still torpid by the blow. 
    Then, seeing Hector borne away, the Greeks
  Rush’d fiercer on, all mindful of the fight,
  And far before the rest, Ajax the swift,
  The Oilean Chief, with pointed spear 530
  On Satnius springing, pierced him.  Him a nymph
  A Naiad, bore to Enops, while his herd
  Feeding, on Satnio’s grassy verge he stray’d. 
  But Oiliades the spear-renown’d
  Approaching, pierced his flank; supine he fell, 535
  And fiery contest for the dead arose. 
  In vengeance of his fall, spear-shaking Chief
  The son of Panthus into fight advanced
  Polydamas, who Prothoeenor pierced
  Offspring of Areilocus, and urged 540
  Through his right shoulder sheer the stormy lance. 
  He, prostrate, clench’d the dust, and with loud voice
  Polydamas exulted at his fall. 
    Yon spear, methinks, hurl’d from the warlike hand
  Of Panthus’ noble son, flew not in vain, 545
  But some Greek hath it, purposing, I judge,
  To lean on it in his descent to hell. 
    So he, whose vaunt the Greeks indignant heard. 
  But most indignant, Ajax, offspring bold
  Of Telamon, to whom he nearest fell. 550
  He, quick, at the retiring conqueror cast
  His radiant spear; Polydamas the stroke
  Shunn’d, starting sideward; but Antenor’s son
  Archilochus the mortal dint received,
  Death-destined by the Gods; where neck and spine 555
  Unite, both tendons he dissever’d wide,
  And, ere his knees, his nostrils met the ground. 
    Then Ajax in his turn vaunting aloud
  Against renown’d Polydamas, exclaim’d. 
  Speak now the truth, Polydamas, and weigh 560
  My question well.  His life whom I

Page 189

have slain
  Makes it not compensation for the loss
  Of Prothoeenor’s life!  To me he seems
  Nor base himself; nor yet of base descent,
  But brother of Atenor steed-renown’d, 565
  Or else perchance his son; for in my eyes
  Antenor’s lineage he resembles most. 
    So he, well knowing him, and sorrow seized
  Each Trojan heart.  Then Acamas around
  His brother stalking, wounded with his spear 570
  Boeotian Promachus, who by the feet
  Dragg’d off the slain.  Acamas in his fall
  Aloud exulted with a boundless joy. 
    Vain-glorious Argives, archers inexpert! 
  War’s toil and trouble are not ours alone, 575
  But ye shall perish also; mark the man—­
  How sound he sleeps tamed by my conquering arm,
  Your fellow-warrior Promachus! the debt
  Of vengeance on my brother’s dear behalf
  Demanded quick discharge; well may the wish 580
  Of every dying warrior be to leave
  A brother living to avenge his fall. 
    He ended, whom the Greeks indignant heard,
  But chiefly brave Peneleus; swift he rush’d
  On Acamas; but from before the force 585
  Of King Peneleus Acamas retired,
  And, in his stead, Ilioneus he pierced,
  Offspring of Phorbas, rich in flocks; and blest
  By Mercury with such abundant wealth
  As other Trojan none, nor child to him 590
  His spouse had borne, Ilioneus except. 
  Him close beneath the brow to his eye-roots
  Piercing, he push’d the pupil from its seat,
  And through his eye and through his poll the spear
  Urged furious.  He down-sitting on the earth 595
  Both hands extended; but, his glittering blade
  Forth-drawn, Peneleus through his middle neck
  Enforced it; head and helmet to the ground
  He lopp’d together, with the lance infixt
  Still in his eye; then like a poppy’s head 600
  The crimson trophy lifting, in the ears
  He vaunted loud of Ilium’s host, and cried. 
    Go, Trojans! be my messengers!  Inform
  The parents of Ilioneus the brave
  That they may mourn their son through all their house, 605
  For so the wife of Alegenor’s son
  Boeotian Promachus must him bewail,
  Nor shall she welcome his return with smiles
  Of joy affectionate, when from the shores
  Of Troy the fleet shall bear us Grecians home. 610
    He said; fear whiten’d every Trojan cheek,
  And every Trojan eye with earnest look
  Inquired a refuge from impending fate. 
    Say now, ye Muses, blest inhabitants
  Of the Olympian realms! what Grecian first 615
  Fill’d his victorious hand with armor stript
  From slaughter’d Trojans, after Ocean’s God
  Had, interposing, changed the battle’s course? 

Page 190

    First, Telamonian Ajax Hyrtius slew,
  Undaunted leader of the Mysian band. 620
  Phalces and Mermerus their arms resign’d
  To young Antilochus; Hyppotion fell
  And Morys by Meriones; the shafts
  Right-aim’d of Teucer to the shades dismiss’d
  Prothoeus and Periphetes, and the prince 625
  Of Sparta, Menelaus, in his flank
  Pierced Hyperenor; on his entrails prey’d
  The hungry steel, and, through the gaping wound
  Expell’d, his spirit flew; night veil’d his eyes. 
  But Ajax Oiliades the swift 630
  Slew most; him none could equal in pursuit
  Of tremblers scatter’d by the frown of Jove.




Jove, awaking and seeing the Trojans routed, threatens Juno.  He sends Iris to admonish Neptune to relinquish the battle, and Apollo to restore health to Hector.  Apollo armed with the AEgis, puts to flight the Grecians; they are pursued home to their fleet, and Telamonian Ajax slays twelve Trojans bringing fire to burn it.


But when the flying Trojans had o’erpass’d
Both stakes and trench, and numerous slaughtered lay
By Grecian hands, the remnant halted all
Beside their chariots, pale, discomfited. 
Then was it that on Ida’s summit Jove 5
At Juno’s side awoke; starting, he stood
At once erect; Trojans and Greeks he saw,
These broken, those pursuing and led on
By Neptune; he beheld also remote
Encircled by his friends, and on the plain 10
Extended, Hector; there he panting lay,
Senseless, ejecting blood, bruised by a blow
From not the feeblest of the sons of Greece. 
Touch’d with compassion at that sight, the Sire
Of Gods and men, frowning terrific, fix’d 15
His eyes on Juno, and her thus bespake. 

    No place for doubt remains.  Oh, versed in wiles,

Juno! thy mischief-teeming mind perverse
Hath plotted this; thou hast contrived the hurt
Of Hector, and hast driven his host to flight. 20
I know not but thyself mayst chance to reap
The first-fruits of thy cunning, scourged[1] by me. 
Hast thou forgotten how I once aloft
Suspended thee, with anvils at thy feet,
And both thy wrists bound with a golden cord 25
Indissoluble?  In the clouds of heaven
I hung thee, while from the Olympian heights
The Gods look’d mournful on, but of them all
None could deliver thee, for whom I seized,
Hurl’d through the gates of heaven on earth he fell, 30
Half-breathless.  Neither so did I resign
My hot resentment of the hero’s wrongs
Immortal Hercules, whom thou by storms

Page 191

Call’d from the North, with mischievous intent
Hadst driven far distant o’er the barren Deep 35
To populous Cos.  Thence I deliver’d him,
And after numerous woes severe, he reach’d
The shores of fruitful Argos, saved by me. 
I thus remind thee now, that thou mayst cease
Henceforth from artifice, and mayst be taught 40
How little all the dalliance and the love
Which, stealing down from heaven, thou hast by fraud
Obtain’d from me, shall profit thee at last. 

    He ended, whom imperial Juno heard

Shuddering, and in wing’d accents thus replied. 45

    Be witness Earth, the boundless Heaven above,

And Styx beneath, whose stream the blessed Gods
Even tremble to adjure;[2] be witness too
Thy sacred life, and our connubial bed,
Which by a false oath I will never wrong, 50
That by no art induced or plot of mine
Neptune, the Shaker of the shores, inflicts
These harms on Hector and the Trojan host
Aiding the Grecians, but impell’d alone
By his own heart with pity moved at sight 55
Of the Achaians at the ships subdued. 
But even him, oh Sovereign of the storms! 
I am prepared to admonish that he quit
The battle, and retire where thou command’st. 

    So she; then smiled the Sire of Gods and men, 60

And in wing’d accents answer thus return’d.[3]

    Juno! wouldst thou on thy celestial throne

Assist my counsels, howso’er in heart
He differ now, Neptune should soon his will
Submissive bend to thy desires and mine. 65
But if sincerity be in thy words
And truth, repairing to the blest abodes
Send Iris hither, with the archer God
Apollo; that she, visiting the host
Of Greece, may bid the Sovereign of the Deep 70
Renounce the fight, and seek his proper home. 
Apollo’s part shall be to rouse again
Hector to battle, to inspire his soul
Afresh with courage, and all memory thence
To banish of the pangs which now he feels. 75
Apollo also shall again repulse
Achaia’s host, which with base panic fill’d,
Shall even to Achilles’ ships be driven. 
Achilles shall his valiant friend exhort
Patroclus forth; him under Ilium’s walls 80
Shall glorious Hector slay; but many a youth
Shall perish by Patroclus first, with whom,
My noble son Sarpedon.  Peleus’ son,
Resentful of Patroclus’ death, shall slay
Hector, and I will urge ceaseless, myself, 85
Thenceforth the routed Trojans back again,
Till by Minerva’s aid the Greeks shall take
Ilium’s proud city; till that day arrive
My wrath shall burn, nor will I one permit
Of all the Immortals to assist the Greeks, 90
But will perform Achilles’ whole desire. 

Page 192

Such was my promise to him at the first,
Ratified by a nod that self-same day
When Thetis clasp’d my knees, begging revenge
And glory for her city-spoiler son. 95

    He ended; nor his spouse white-arm’d refused

Obedience, but from the Idaean heights
Departing, to the Olympian summit soar’d. 
Swift as the traveller’s thought,[4] who, many a land
Traversed, deliberates on his future course 100
Uncertain, and his mind sends every way,
So swift updarted Juno to the skies. 
Arrived on the Olympian heights, she found
The Gods assembled; they, at once, their seats
At her approach forsaking, with full cups 105
Her coming hail’d; heedless of all beside,
She took the cup from blooming Themis’ hand,
For she first flew to welcome her, and thus
In accents wing’d of her return inquired. 

    Say, Juno, why this sudden re-ascent? 110

Thou seem’st dismay’d; hath Saturn’s son, thy spouse,
Driven thee affrighted to the skies again? 

    To whom the white-arm’d Goddess thus replied. 

Themis divine, ask not.  Full well thou know’st
How harshly temper’d is the mind of Jove, 115
And how untractable.  Resume thy seat;
The banquet calls thee; at our board preside,
Thou shalt be told, and all in heaven shall hear
What ills he threatens; such as shall not leave
All minds at ease, I judge, here or on earth, 120
However tranquil some and joyous now. 

    So spake the awful spouse of Jove, and sat. 

Then, all alike, the Gods displeasure felt
Throughout the courts of Jove, but she, her lips
Gracing with smiles from which her sable brows 125
Dissented,[5] thus indignant them address’d. 

    Alas! how vain against the Thunderer’s will

Our anger, and the hope to supersede
His purpose, by persuasion or by force! 
He solitary sits, all unconcern’d 130
At our resentment, and himself proclaims
Mightiest and most to be revered in heaven. 
Be patient, therefore, and let each endure
Such ills as Jove may send him.  Mars, I ween,
Already hath his share; the warrior God 135
Hath lost Ascalaphus, of all mankind
His most beloved, and whom he calls his own. 

    She spake, and with expanded palms his thighs

Smiling, thus, sorrowful, the God exclaim’d. 

    Inhabitants of the Olympian heights! 140

Oh bear with me, if to avenge my son
I seek Achaia’s fleet, although my doom
Be thunder-bolts from Jove, and with the dead
Outstretch’d to lie in carnage and in dust. 

    He spake, and bidding Horror and Dismay 145

Lead to the yoke his rapid steeds, put on
His all-refulgent armor.  Then had wrath

Page 193

More dreadful, some strange vengeance on the Gods
From Jove befallen, had not Minerva, touch’d
With timely fears for all, upstarting sprung 150
From where she sat, right through the vestibule. 
She snatch’d the helmet from his brows, the shield
From his broad shoulder, and the brazen spear
Forced from his grasp into its place restored. 
Then reprimanding Mars, she thus began. 155

    Frantic, delirious! thou art lost for ever! 

Is it in vain that thou hast ears to hear,
And hast thou neither shame nor reason left? 
How? hear’st thou not the Goddess? the report
Of white-arm’d Juno from Olympian Jove 160
Return’d this moment? or perfer’st thou rather,
Plagued with a thousand woes, and under force
Of sad necessity to seek again
Olympus, and at thy return to prove
Author of countless miseries to us all? 165
For He at once Grecians and Trojans both
Abandoning, will hither haste prepared
To tempest[6] us in heaven, whom he will seize,
The guilty and the guiltless, all alike. 
I bid thee, therefore, patient bear the death 170
Of thy Ascalaphus; braver than he
And abler have, ere now, in battle fallen,
And shall hereafter; arduous were the task
To rescue from the stroke of fate the race
Of mortal men, with all their progeny. 175

    So saying, Minerva on his throne replaced

The fiery Mars.  Then, summoning abroad
Apollo from within the hall of Jove,
With Iris, swift ambassadress of heaven,
Them in wing’d accents Juno thus bespake. 180

    Jove bids you hence with undelaying speed

To Ida; in his presence once arrived,
See that ye execute his whole command. 

    So saying, the awful Goddess to her throne

Return’d and sat.  They, cleaving swift the air, 185
Alighted soon on Ida fountain-fed,
Parent of savage kinds.  High on the point
Seated of Gargarus, and wrapt around
With fragrant clouds, they found Saturnian Jove
The Thunderer, and in his presence stood. 190
He, nought displeased that they his high command
Had with such readiness obey’d, his speech
To Iris, first, in accents wing’d address’d

    Swift Iris, haste—­to royal Neptune bear

My charge entire; falsify not the word. 195
Bid him, relinquishing the fight, withdraw
Either to heaven, or to the boundless Deep. 
But should he disobedient prove, and scorn
My message, let him, next, consider well
How he will bear, powerful as he is, 200
My coming.  Me I boast superior far
In force, and elder-born; yet deems he slight
The danger of comparison with me,
Who am the terror of all heaven beside. 

    He spake, nor storm-wing’d

Page 194

Iris disobey’d, 205

But down from the Idaean summit stoop’d
To sacred Ilium.  As when snow or hail
Flies drifted by the cloud-dispelling North,
So swiftly, wing’d with readiness of will,
She shot the gulf between, and standing soon 210
At glorious Neptune’s side, him thus address’d. 

    To thee, O Neptune azure-hair’d!  I come

With tidings charged from AEgis-bearing Jove. 
He bids thee cease from battle, and retire
Either to heaven, or to the boundless Deep. 215
But shouldst thou, disobedient, set at nought
His words, he threatens that himself will haste
To fight against thee; but he bids thee shun
That strife with one superior far to thee,
And elder-born; yet deem’st thou slight, he saith, 220
The danger of comparison with Him,
Although the terror of all heaven beside. 

    Her then the mighty Shaker of the shores

Answer’d indignant.  Great as is his power,
Yet he hath spoken proudly, threatening me 225
With force, high-born and glorious as himself. 
We are three brothers; Saturn is our sire,
And Rhea brought us forth; first, Jove she bore;
Me next; then, Pluto, Sovereign of the shades. 
By distribution tripart we received 230
Each his peculiar honors; me the lots
Made Ruler of the hoary floods, and there
I dwell for ever.  Pluto, for his part,
The regions took of darkness; and the heavens,
The clouds, and boundless aether, fell to Jove. 235
The Earth and the Olympian heights alike
Are common to the three.  My life and being
I hold not, therefore, at his will, whose best
And safest course, with all his boasted power,
Were to possess in peace his proper third. 240
Let him not seek to terrify with force
Me like a dastard; let him rather chide
His own-begotten; with big-sounding words
His sons and daughters govern, who perforce
Obey his voice, and shrink at his commands. 245

    To whom thus Iris tempest-wing’d replied,

Coerulean-tress’d Sovereign of the Deep! 
Shall I report to Jove, harsh as it is,
Thy speech, or wilt thou soften it?  The wise
Are flexible, and on the elder-born 250
Erynnis, with her vengeful sisters, waits.[7]

    Her answer’d then the Shaker of the shores. 

Prudent is thy advice, Iris divine! 
Discretion in a messenger is good
At all times.  But the cause that fires me thus, 255
And with resentment my whole heart and mind
Possesses, is the license that he claims
To vex with provocation rude of speech
Me his compeer, and by decree of Fate
Illustrious as himself; yet, though incensed, 260
And with just cause, I will not now persist. 
But hear—­for it is treasured in my heart

Page 195

The threat that my lips utter.  If he still
Resolve to spare proud Ilium in despite
Of me, of Pallas, Goddess of the spoils, 265
Of Juno, Mercury, and the King of fire,
And will not overturn her lofty towers,
Nor grant immortal glory to the Greeks,
Then tell him thus—­hostility shall burn,
And wrath between us never to be quench’d. 270

    So saying, the Shaker of the shores forsook

The Grecian host, and plunged into the deep,
Miss’d by Achaia’s heroes.  Then, the cloud-Assembler
God thus to Apollo spake. 

    Hence, my Apollo! to the Trojan Chief 275

Hector; for earth-encircler Neptune, awed
By fear of my displeasure imminent,
Hath sought the sacred Deep.  Else, all the Gods
Who compass Saturn in the nether realms,
Had even there our contest heard, I ween, 280
And heard it loudly.  But that he retreats
Although at first incensed, shunning my wrath,
Is salutary both for him and me,
Whose difference else had not been healed with ease. 
Take thou my shaggy AEgis, and with force 285
Smiting it, terrify the Chiefs of Greece. 
As for illustrious Hector, him I give
To thy peculiar care; fail not to rouse
His fiercest courage, till he push the Greeks
To Hellespont, and to their ships again; 290
Thenceforth to yield to their afflicted host
Some pause from toil, shall be my own concern. 

    He ended, nor Apollo disobey’d

His father’s voice; from the Idaean heights,
Swift as the swiftest of the fowls of air, 295
The dove-destroyer falcon, down he flew. 
The noble Hector, valiant Priam’s son
He found, not now extended on the plain,
But seated; newly, as from death, awaked,
And conscious of his friends; freely he breathed 300
Nor sweated more, by Jove himself revived. 
Apollo stood beside him, and began. 

    Say, Hector, Priam’s son! why sittest here

Feeble and spiritless, and from thy host
Apart? what new disaster hath befall’n? 305

    To whom with difficulty thus replied

The warlike Chief.—­But tell me who art Thou,
Divine inquirer! best of powers above! 
Know’st not that dauntless Ajax me his friends
Slaughtering at yonder ships, hath with a stone 310
Surceased from fight, smiting me on the breast? 
I thought to have beheld, this day, the dead
In Ades, every breath so seem’d my last. 

    Then answer thus the Archer-God return’d. 

Courage this moment! such a helper Jove 315
From Ida sends thee at thy side to war
Continual, Phoebus of the golden sword,
Whose guardian aid both thee and lofty Troy
Hath succor’d many a time.  Therefore arise! 
Instant bid drive thy numerous charioteers

Page 196

Their rapid steeds full on the Grecian fleet;
I, marching at their head, will smooth, myself,
The way before them, and will turn again
To flight the heroes of the host of Greece. 

    He said and with new strength the Chief inspired. 325

As some stall’d horse high pamper’d, snapping short
His cord, beats under foot the sounding soil,
Accustom’d in smooth-sliding streams to lave
Exulting; high he bears his head, his mane
Wantons around his shoulders; pleased, he eyes 330
His glossy sides, and borne on pliant knees
Soon finds the haunts where all his fellows graze;
So bounded Hector, and his agile joints
Plied lightly, quicken’d by the voice divine,
And gather’d fast his charioteers to battle. 335
But as when hounds and hunters through the woods
Rush in pursuit of stag or of wild goat,
He, in some cave with tangled boughs o’erhung,
Lies safe conceal’d, no destined prey of theirs,
Till by their clamors roused, a lion grim 340
Starts forth to meet them; then, the boldest fly;
Such hot pursuit the Danai, with swords
And spears of double edge long time maintain’d. 
But seeing Hector in his ranks again
Occupied, felt at once their courage fall’n. 345

    Then, Thoas them, Andraemon’s son, address’d,

Foremost of the AEtolians, at the spear
Skilful, in stationary combat bold,
And when the sons of Greece held in dispute
The prize of eloquence, excell’d by few. 350
Prudent advising them, he thus began. 

    Ye Gods! what prodigy do I behold? 

Hath Hector, ’scaping death, risen again? 
For him, with confident persuasion all
Believed by Telamonian Ajax slain. 355
But some Divinity hath interposed
To rescue and save Hector, who the joints
Hath stiffen’d of full many a valiant Greek,
As surely now he shall; for, not without
The Thunderer’s aid, he flames in front again. 360
But take ye all my counsel.  Send we back
The multitude into the fleet, and first
Let us, who boast ourselves bravest in fight,
Stand, that encountering him with lifted spears,
We may attempt to give his rage a check. 365
To thrust himself into a band like ours
Will, doubtless, even in Hector move a fear. 

    He ceased, with whose advice all, glad, complied. 

Then Ajax with Idomeneus of Crete,
Teucer, Meriones, and Meges fierce 370
As Mars in battle, summoning aloud
The noblest Greeks, in opposition firm
To Hector and his host their bands prepared,
While others all into the fleet retired. 
Troy’s crowded host[8] struck first.  With awful strides 375
Came Hector foremost; him Apollo led,
His shoulders wrapt in clouds, and, on his arm,

Page 197

The AEgis shagg’d terrific all around,
Tempestuous, dazzling-bright; it was a gift
To Jove from Vulcan, and design’d to appall, 380
And drive to flight the armies of the earth. 
Arm’d with that shield Apollo led them on. 
Firm stood the embodied Greeks; from either host
Shrill cries arose; the arrows from the nerve
Leap’d, and, by vigorous arms dismiss’d, the spears 385
Flew frequent; in the flesh some stood infixt
Of warlike youths, but many, ere they reach’d
The mark they coveted, unsated fell
Between the hosts, and rested in the soil. 
Long as the God unagitated held 390
The dreadful disk, so long the vollied darts
Made mutual slaughter, and the people fell;
But when he look’d the Grecian charioteers
Full in the face and shook it, raising high
Himself the shout of battle, then he quell’d 395
Their spirits, then he struck from every mind
At once all memory of their might in arms. 
As when two lions in the still, dark night
A herd of beeves scatter or numerous flock
Suddenly, in the absence of the guard, 400
So fled the heartless Greeks, for Phoebus sent
Terrors among them, but renown conferr’d
And triumph proud on Hector and his host. 
Then, in that foul disorder of the field,
Man singled man.  Arcesilaues died 405
By Hector’s arm, and Stichius; one, a Chief[9]
Of the Boeotians brazen-mail’d, and one,
Menestheus’ faithful follower to the fight. 
AEneas Medon and Iaesus slew. 
Medon was spurious offspring of divine 410
Oileus Ajax’ father, and abode
In Phylace; for he had slain a Chief
Brother of Eriopis the espoused
Of brave Oileus; but Iaesus led
A phalanx of Athenians, and the son 415
Of Sphelus, son of Bucolus was deem’d. 
Pierced by Polydamas Mecisteus fell,
Polites, in the van of battle, slew
Echion, and Agenor Clonius;
But Paris, while Deiochus to flight 420
Turn’d with the routed van, pierced him beneath
His shoulder-blade, and urged the weapon through. 

    While them the Trojans spoil’d, meantime the Greeks,

Entangled in the piles of the deep foss,
Fled every way, and through necessity 425
Repass’d the wall.  Then Hector with a voice
Of loud command bade every Trojan cease
From spoil, and rush impetuous on the fleet.
[10]And whom I find far lingering from the ships
Wherever, there he dies; no funeral fires 430
Brother on him, or sister, shall bestow,
But dogs shall rend him in the sight of Troy. 

    So saying, he lash’d the shoulders of his steeds,

And through the ranks vociferating, call’d
His Trojans on; they, clamorous as he, 435

Page 198

All lash’d their steeds, and menacing, advanced. 
Before them with his feet Apollo push’d
The banks into the foss, bridging the gulf
With pass commodious, both in length and breadth
A lance’s flight, for proof of vigor hurl’d. 440
There, phalanx after phalanx, they their host
Pour’d dense along, while Phoebus in the van
Display’d the awful aegis, and the wall
Levell’d with ease divine.  As, on the shore
Some wanton boy with sand builds plaything walls, 445
Then, sportive spreads them with his feet abroad,
So thou, shaft-arm’d Apollo! that huge work
Laborious of the Greeks didst turn with ease
To ruin, and themselves drovest all to flight. 
They, thus enforced into the fleet, again 450
Stood fast, with mutual exhortation each
His friend encouraging, and all the Gods
With lifted hands soliciting aloud. 
But, more than all, Gerenian Nestor pray’d
Fervent, Achaia’s guardian, and with arms 455
Outstretch’d toward the starry skies, exclaim’d. 

    Jove, Father! if in corn-clad Argos, one,

One Greek hath ever, burning at thy shrine
Fat thighs of sheep or oxen, ask’d from thee
A safe return, whom thou hast gracious heard, 460
Olympian King! and promised what he sought,
Now, in remembrance of it, give us help
In this disastrous day, nor thus permit
Their Trojan foes to tread the Grecians down! 

    So Nestor pray’d, and Jove thunder’d aloud 465

Responsive to the old Neleian’s prayer. 
But when that voice of AEgis-bearing Jove
The Trojans heard, more furious on the Greeks
They sprang, all mindful of the fight.  As when
A turgid billow of some spacious sea, 470
While the wind blow that heaves its highest, borne
Sheer o’er the vessel’s side, rolls into her,
With such loud roar the Trojans pass’d the wall;
In rush’d the steeds, and at the ships they waged
Fierce battle hand to hand, from chariots, these, 475
With spears of double edge, those, from the decks
Of many a sable bark, with naval poles
Long, ponderous, shod with steel; for every ship
Had such, for conflict maritime prepared. 

    While yet the battle raged only without 480

The wall, and from the ships apart, so long
Patroclus quiet in the tent and calm
Sat of Eurypylus, his generous friend
Consoling with sweet converse, and his wound
Sprinkling with drugs assuasive of his pains. 485
But soon as through the broken rampart borne
He saw the Trojans, and the clamor heard
And tumult of the flying Greeks, a voice
Of loud lament uttering, with open palms
His thighs he smote, and, sorrowful, exclaim’d. 490

    Eurypylus! although thy need be great,

No longer may I now sit at thy side,

Page 199

Such contest hath arisen; thy servant’s voice
Must soothe thee now, for I will to the tent
Haste of Achilles, and exhort him forth; 495
Who knows? if such the pleasure of the Gods,
I may prevail; friends rarely plead in vain. 

    So saying, he went.  Meantime the Greeks endured

The Trojan onset, firm, yet from the ships
Repulsed them not, though fewer than themselves, 500
Nor could the host of Troy, breaking the ranks
Of Greece, mix either with the camp or fleet;
But as the line divides the plank aright,
Stretch’d by some naval architect, whose hand
Minerva hath accomplish’d in his art, 505
So stretch’d on them the cord of battle lay. 
Others at other ships the conflict waged,
But Hector to the ship advanced direct
Of glorious Ajax; for one ship they strove;
Nor Hector, him dislodging thence, could fire 510
The fleet, nor Ajax from the fleet repulse
Hector, conducted thither by the Gods. 
Then, noble Ajax with a spear the breast
Pierced of Caletor, son of Clytius, arm’d
With fire to burn his bark; sounding he fell, 515
And from his loosen’d grasp down dropp’d the brand. 
But Hector seeing his own kinsman fallen
Beneath the sable bark, with mighty voice
Call’d on the hosts of Lycia and of Troy. 

    Trojans and Lycians, and close-fighting sons 520

Of Dardanus, within this narrow pass
Stand firm, retreat not, but redeem the son
Of Clytius, lest the Grecians of his arms
Despoil him slain in battle at the ships. 

    So saying, at Ajax his bright spear he cast 525

Him pierced he not, but Lycophron the son
Of Mastor, a Cytherian, who had left
Cytheras, fugitive for blood, and dwelt
With Ajax.  Him standing at Ajax’ side,
He pierced above his ear; down from the stern 530
Supine he fell, and in the dust expired. 
Then, shuddering, Ajax to his brother spake. 

    Alas, my Teucer! we have lost our friend;

Mastorides is slain, whom we received
An inmate from Cytherae, and with love 535
And reverence even filial, entertain’d;
By Hector pierced, he dies.  Where are thy shafts
Death-wing’d, and bow, by gift from Phoebus thine? 

    He said, whom Teucer hearing, instant ran

With bow and well-stored quiver to his side, 540
Whence soon his arrows sought the Trojan host. 
He struck Pisenor’s son Clytus, the friend
And charioteer of brave Polydamas,
Offspring of Panthus, toiling with both hands
To rule his fiery steeds; for more to please 545
The Trojans and their Chief, where stormy most
He saw the battle, thither he had driven. 
But sudden mischief, valiant as he was,
Found him, and such as none could waft aside,

Page 200

For right into his neck the arrow plunged, 550
And down he fell; his startled coursers shook
Their trappings, and the empty chariot rang. 
That sound alarm’d Polydamas; he turn’d,
And flying to their heads, consign’d them o’er
To Protiaoen’s son, Astynoues, 555
Whom he enjoin’d to keep them in his view;
Then, turning, mingled with the van again. 
But Teucer still another shaft produced
Design’d for valiant Hector, whose exploits
(Had that shaft reach’d him) at the ships of Greece 560
Had ceased for ever.  But the eye of Jove,
Guardian of Hector’s life, slept not; he took
From Telamonian Teucer that renown,
And while he stood straining the twisted nerve
Against the Trojan, snapp’d it.  Devious flew 565
The steel-charged[11] arrow, and he dropp’d his bow. 
Then shuddering, to his brother thus he spake. 

    Ah! it is evident.  Some Power divine

Makes fruitless all our efforts, who hath struck
My bow out of my hand, and snapt the cord 570
With which I strung it new at dawn of day,
That it might bear the bound of many a shaft. 

    To whom the towering son of Telamon. 

Leave then thy bow, and let thine arrows rest,
Which, envious of the Greeks, some God confounds, 575
That thou may’st fight with spear and buckler arm’d,
And animate the rest.  Such be our deeds
That, should they conquer us, our foes may find
Our ships, at least a prize not lightly won. 

    So Ajax spake; then Teucer, in his tent 580

The bow replacing, slung his fourfold shield,
Settled on his illustrious brows his casque
With hair high-crested, waving, as he moved,
Terrible from above, took forth a spear
Tough-grain’d, acuminated sharp with brass, 585
And stood, incontinent, at Ajax’ side. 
Hector perceived the change, and of the cause
Conscious, with echoing voice call’d to his host. 

    Trojans and Lycians and close-fighting sons

Of Dardanus, oh now, my friends, be men; 590
Now, wheresoever through the fleet dispersed,
Call into mind the fury of your might! 
For I have seen, myself, Jove rendering vain
The arrows of their mightiest.  Man may know
With ease the hand of interposing Jove, 595
Both whom to glory he ordains, and whom
He weakens and aids not; so now he leaves
The Grecians, but propitious smiles on us. 
Therefore stand fast, and whosoever gall’d
By arrow or by spear, dies—­let him die; 600
It shall not shame him that he died to serve
His country,[12] but his children, wife and home,
With all his heritage, shall be secure,
Drive but the Grecians from the shores of Troy. 

    So saying, he animated each. 

Page 201

Meantime, 605

Ajax his fellow-warriors thus address’d. 

    Shame on you all!  Now, Grecians, either die,

Or save at once your galley and yourselves. 
Hope ye, that should your ships become the prize
Of warlike Hector, ye shall yet return 610
On foot?  Or hear ye not the Chief aloud
Summoning all his host, and publishing
His own heart’s wish to burn your fleet with fire? 
Not to a dance, believe me, but to fight
He calls them; therefore wiser course for us 615
Is none, than that we mingle hands with hands
In contest obstinate, and force with force. 
Better at once to perish, or at once
To rescue life, than to consume the time
Hour after hour in lingering conflict vain 620
Here at the ships, with an inferior foe. 

    He said, and by his words into all hearts

Fresh confidence infused.  Then Hector smote
Schedius, a Chief of the Phocensian powers
And son of Perimedes; Ajax slew, 625
Meantime, a Chief of Trojan infantry,
Laodamas, Antenor’s noble son
While by Polydamas, a leader bold
Of the Epeans, and Phylides’[13] friend,
Cyllenian Otus died.  Meges that sight 630
Viewing indignant on the conqueror sprang,
But, starting wide, Polydamas escaped,
Saved by Apollo, and his spear transpierced
The breast of Craesmus; on his sounding shield
Prostrate he fell, and Meges stripp’d his arms. 635
Him so employ’d Dolops assail’d, brave son
Of Lampus, best of men and bold in fight,
Offspring of King Laomedon; he stood
Full near, and through his middle buckler struck
The son of Phyleus, but his corselet thick 640
With plates of scaly brass his life secured. 
That corselet Phyleus on a time brought home
From Ephyre, where the Selleis winds,
And it was given him for his life’s defence
In furious battle by the King of men, 645
Euphetes.  Many a time had it preserved
Unharm’d the sire, and now it saved the son. 
Then Meges, rising, with his pointed lance
The bushy crest of Dolops’ helmet drove
Sheer from its base; new-tinged with purple bright 650
Entire it fell and mingled with the dust. 
While thus they strove, each hoping victory,
Came martial Menelaus to the aid
Of Meges; spear in hand apart he stood
By Dolops unperceived, through his back drove 655
And through his breast the spear, and far beyond. 
And down fell Dolops, forehead to the ground. 
At once both flew to strip his radiant arms,
Then, Hector summoning his kindred, call’d
Each to his aid, and Melanippus first, 660
Illustrious Hicetaon’s son, reproved. 
Ere yet the enemies of Troy arrived
He in Percote fed his wandering beeves;

Page 202

But when the Danai with all their fleet
Came thither, then returning, he outshone 665
The noblest Trojans, and at Priam’s side
Dwelling, was honor’d by him as a son. 
Him Hector reprimanding, stern began. 

    Are we thus slack?  Can Melanippus view

Unmoved a kinsman slain?  Seest not the Greeks 670
How busy there with Dolops and his arms? 
Come on.  It is no time for distant war,
But either our Achaian foes must bleed,
Or Ilium taken, from her topmost height
Must stoop, and all her citizens be slain. 675

    So saying he went, whose steps the godlike Chief

Attended; and the Telamonian, next,
Huge Ajax, animated thus the Greeks. 

    Oh friends, be men!  Deep treasure in your hearts

An honest shame, and, fighting bravely, fear 680
Each to incur the censure of the rest. 
Of men so minded more survive than die,
While dastards forfeit life and glory both. 

    So moved he them, themselves already bent

To chase the Trojans; yet his word they bore 685
Faithful in mind, and with a wall of brass
Fenced firm the fleet, while Jove impell’d the foe. 
Then Menelaus, brave in fight, approach’d
Antilochus, and thus his courage roused. 

    Antilochus! in all the host is none 690

Younger, or swifter, or of stronger limb
Than thou.  Make trial, therefore, of thy might,
Spring forth and prove it on some Chief of Troy. 

    He ended and retired, but him his praise

Effectual animated; from the van 695
Starting, he cast a wistful eye around
And hurl’d his glittering spear; back fell the ranks
Of Troy appall’d; nor vain his weapon flew,
But Melanippus pierced heroic son
Of Hicetaon, coming forth to fight, 700
Full in the bosom, and with dreadful sound
Of all his batter’d armor down he fell. 
Swift flew Antilochus as flies the hound
Some fawn to seize, which issuing from her lair
The hunter with his lance hath stricken dead, 705
So thee, O Melanippus! to despoil
Of thy bright arms valiant Antilochus
Sprang forth, but not unnoticed by the eye
Of noble Hector, who through all the war
Ran to encounter him; his dread approach 710
Antilochus, although expert in arms,
Stood not, but as some prowler of the wilds,
Conscious of injury that he hath done,
Slaying the watchful herdsman or his dog,
Escapes, ere yet the peasantry arise, 715
So fled the son of Nestor, after whom
The Trojans clamoring and Hector pour’d
Darts numberless; but at the front arrived
Of his own phalanx, there he turn’d and stood. 
Then, eager as voracious lions, rush’d 720

Page 203

The Trojans on the fleet of Greece, the mind
Of Jove accomplishing who them impell’d
Continual, calling all their courage forth,
While, every Grecian heart he tamed, and took
Their glory from them, strengthening Ilium’s host. 725
For Jove’s unalter’d purpose was to give
Success to Priameian Hector’s arms,[14]
That he might cast into the fleet of Greece
Devouring flames, and that no part might fail
Of Thetis’ ruthless prayer; that sight alone 730
He watch’d to see, one galley in a blaze,
Ordaining foul repulse, thenceforth, and flight
To Ilium’s host, but glory to the Greeks. 
Such was the cause for which, at first, he moved
To that assault Hector, himself prepared 735
And ardent for the task; nor less he raged
Than Mars while fighting, or than flames that seize
Some forest on the mountain-tops; the foam
Hung at his lips, beneath his awful front
His keen eyes glisten’d, and his helmet mark’d 740
The agitation wild with which he fought. 
For Jove omnipotent, himself, from heaven
Assisted Hector, and, although alone
With multitudes he strove, gave him to reach
The heights of glory, for that now his life 745
Waned fast, and, urged by Pallas on,[15] his hour
To die by Peleus’ mighty son approach’d. 
He then, wherever richest arms he saw
And thickest throng, the warrior-ranks essay’d
To break, but broke them not, though fierce resolved, 750
In even square compact so firm they stood. 
As some vast rock beside the hoary Deep
The stress endures of many a hollow wind,
And the huge billows tumbling at his base,
So stood the Danai, nor fled nor fear’d. 755
But he, all-fiery bright in arms, the host
Assail’d on every side, and on the van
Fell, as a wave by wintry blasts upheaved
Falls ponderous on the ship; white clings the foam
Around her, in her sail shrill howls the storm, 760
And every seaman trembles at the view
Of thousand deaths from which he scarce escapes,
Such anguish rent the bosom of the Greeks. 
But he, as leaps a famish’d lion fell
On beeves that graze some marshy meadow’s breadth, 765
A countless herd, tended by one unskill’d
To cope with savage beasts in their defence,
Beside the foremost kine or with the last
He paces heedless, but the lion, borne
Impetuous on the midmost, one devours 770
And scatters all the rest,[16] so fled the Greeks,
Terrified from above, before the arm
Of Hector, and before the frown of Jove. 
All fled, but of them all alone he slew
The Mycenaean Periphetes, son 775
Of Copreus custom’d messenger of King
Eurystheus to the might of Hercules. 
From such a sire inglorious had arisen
A son far worthier, with all virtue graced,

Page 204

Swift-footed, valiant, and by none excell’d 780
In wisdom of the Mycenaean name;
Yet all but served to ennoble Hector more. 
For Periphetes, with a backward step
Retiring, on his buckler’s border trod,
Which swept his heels; so check’d, he fell supine, 785
And dreadful rang the helmet on his brows. 
Him Hector quick noticing, to his side
Hasted, and, planting in his breast a spear,
Slew him before the phalanx of his friends. 
But they, although their fellow-warrior’s fate 790
They mourn’d, no succor interposed, or could,
Themselves by noble Hector sore appall’d. 

    And now behind the ships (all that updrawn

Above the shore, stood foremost of the fleet)
The Greeks retired; in rush’d a flood of foes; 795
Then, through necessity, the ships in front
Abandoning, amid the tents they stood
Compact, not disarray’d, for shame and fear
Fast held them, and vociferating each
Aloud, call’d ceaseless on the rest to stand. 800
But earnest more than all, guardian of all,
Gerenian Nestor in their parents’ name
Implored them, falling at the knees of each. 

    Oh friends! be men.  Now dearly prize your place

Each in the estimation of the rest. 805
Now call to memory your children, wives,
Possessions, parents; ye whose parents live,
And ye whose parents are not, all alike! 
By them as if here present, I entreat
That ye stand fast—­oh be not turn’d to flight! 810

    So saying he roused the courage of the Greeks;

Then, Pallas chased the cloud fall’n from above
On every eye; great light the plain illumed
On all sides, both toward the fleet, and where
The undiscriminating battle raged. 815
Then might be seen Hector and Hector’s host
Distinct, as well the rearmost who the fight
Shared not, as those who waged it at the ships. 

    To stand aloof where other Grecians stood

No longer now would satisfy the mind 820
Of Ajax, but from deck to deck with strides
Enormous marching, to and fro he swung
With iron studs emboss’d a battle-pole
Unwieldy, twenty and two cubits long. 
As one expert to spring from horse to horse, 825
From many steeds selecting four, toward
Some noble city drives them from the plain
Along the populous road; him many a youth
And many a maiden eyes, while still secure
From steed to steed he vaults; they rapid fly; 830
So Ajax o’er the decks of numerous ships
Stalk’d striding large, and sent his voice to heaven. 
Thus, ever clamoring, he bade the Greeks
Stand both for camp and fleet.  Nor could himself
Hector, contented, now, the battle wage 835
Lost in the multitude of Trojans more,

Page 205

But as the tawny eagle on full wing
Assails the feather’d nations, geese or cranes
Or swans lithe-neck’d grazing the river’s verge,
So Hector at a galley sable-prow’d 840
Darted; for, from behind, Jove urged him on
With mighty hand, and his host after him. 
And now again the battle at the ships
Grew furious; thou hadst deem’d them of a kind
By toil untameable, so fierce they strove, 845
And, striving, thus they fought.  The Grecians judged
Hope vain, and the whole host’s destruction sure;
But nought expected every Trojan less
Than to consume the fleet with fire, and leave
Achaia’s heroes lifeless on the field. 850
With such persuasions occupied, they fought. 

    Then Hector seized the stern of a brave bark

Well-built, sharp-keel’d, and of the swiftest sail,
Which had to Troy Protesilaeus brought,
But bore him never thence.  For that same ship 855
Contending, Greeks and Trojans hand to hand
Dealt slaughter mutual.  Javelins now no more
Might serve them, or the arrow-starting bow,
But close conflicting and of one mind all
With bill and battle-axe, with ponderous swords, 860
And with long lances double-edged they fought. 
Many a black-hilted falchion huge of haft
Fell to the ground, some from the grasp, and some
From shoulders of embattled warriors hewn,
And pools of blood soak’d all the sable glebe. 865
Hector that ship once grappled by the stern
Left not, but griping fast her upper edge
With both hands, to his Trojans call’d aloud. 

    Fire!  Bring me fire!  Stand fast and shout to heaven! 

Jove gives us now a day worth all the past; 870
The ships are ours which, in the Gods’ despite
Steer’d hither, such calamities to us
Have caused, for which our seniors most I blame
Who me withheld from battle at the fleet
And check’d the people; but if then the hand 875
Of Thunderer Jove our better judgment marr’d,
Himself now urges and commands us on. 

    He ceased; they still more violent assail’d

The Grecians.  Even Ajax could endure,
Whelm’d under weapons numberless, that storm 880
No longer, but expecting death retired
Down from the decks to an inferior stand,
Where still he watch’d, and if a Trojan bore
Fire thither, he repulsed him with his spear,
Roaring continual to the host of Greece. 885

    Friends!  Grecian heroes! ministers of Mars! 

Be men, my friends! now summon all your might! 
Think we that we have thousands at our backs
To succor us, or yet some stronger wall
To guard our warriors from the battle’s force? 890
Not so.  No tower’d city is at hand,
None that presents us with a safe retreat

Page 206

While others occupy our station here,
But from the shores of Argos far remote
Our camp is, where the Trojans arm’d complete 895
Swarm on the plain, and Ocean shuts us in. 
Our hands must therefore save us, not our heels

    He said, and furious with his spear again

Press’d them, and whatsoever Trojan came,
Obsequious to the will of Hector, arm’d 900
With fire to burn the fleet, on his spear’s point
Ajax receiving pierced him, till at length
Twelve in close fight fell by his single arm.




Achilles, at the suit of Patroclus, grants him his own armor, and permission to lead the Myrmidons to battle.  They, sallying, repulse the Trojans.  Patroclus slays Sarpedon, and Hector, when Apollo had first stripped off his armor and Euphorbus wounded him, slays Patroclus.


  Such contest for that gallant bark they waged. 
  Meantime Patroclus, standing at the side
  Of the illustrious Chief Achilles, wept
  Fast as a crystal fountain from the height
  Of some rude rock pours down its rapid[1] stream. 5
  Divine Achilles with compassion moved
  Mark’d him, and in wing’d accents thus began.[2]
    Who weeps Patroclus like an infant girl
  Who, running at her mother’s side, entreats
  To be uplifted in her arms?  She grasps 10
  Her mantle, checks her haste, and looking up
  With tearful eyes, pleads earnest to be borne;
  So fall, Patroclus! thy unceasing tears. 
  Bring’st thou to me or to my people aught
  Afflictive?  Hast thou mournful tidings learn’d 15
  Prom Phthia, trusted to thy ear alone? 
  Menoetius, son of Actor, as they say,
  Still lives; still lives his Myrmidons among
  Peleus AEacides; whom, were they dead,
  With cause sufficient we should both deplore. 20
  Or weep’st thou the Achaians at the ships
  Perishing, for their outrage done to me? 
  Speak.  Name thy trouble.  I would learn the cause
    To whom, deep-sorrowing, thou didst reply,
  Patroclus!  Oh Achilles, Peleus’ son! 25
  Noblest of all our host! bear with my grief,
  Since such distress hath on the Grecians fallen. 
  The bravest of their ships disabled lie,
  Some wounded from afar, some hand to hand. 
  Diomede, warlike son of Tydeus, bleeds, 30
  Gall’d by a shaft; Ulysses, glorious Chief,
  And Agamemnon suffer by the spear,
  And brave Eurypylus an arrow-point
  Bears in his thigh.  These all, are now the care
  Of healing hands.  Oh thou art pity-proof, 35
  Achilles! be my bosom ever free

Page 207

  From anger such as harbor finds in thine,
  Scorning all limits! whom, of men unborn,
  Hereafter wilt thou save, from whom avert
  Disgrace, if not from the Achaians now? 40
  Ah ruthless! neither Peleus thee begat,
  Nor Thetis bore, but rugged rocks sublime,
  And roaring billows blue gave birth to thee,
  Who bear’st a mind that knows not to relent,
  But, if some prophecy alarm thy fears, 45
  If from thy Goddess-mother thou have aught
  Received, and with authority of Jove,
  Me send at least, me quickly, and with me
  The Myrmidons.  A dawn of cheerful hope
  Shall thence, it may be, on the Greeks arise. 50
  Grant me thine armor also, that the foe
  Thyself supposing present, may abstain
  From battle, and the weary Greeks enjoy
  Short respite; it is all that war allows. 
  We, fresh and vigorous, by our shouts alone 55
  May easily repulse an army spent
  With labor from the camp, and from the fleet,
    Such suit he made, alas! all unforewarn’d
  That his own death should be the bitter fruit,
  And thus Achilles, sorrowful, replied. 60
    Patroclus, noble friend! what hast thou spoken? 
  Me neither prophesy that I have heard
  Holds in suspense, nor aught that I have learn’d
  From Thetis with authority of Jove! 
  Hence springs, and hence alone, my grief of heart; 65
  If one, in nought superior to myself
  Save in his office only, should by force
  Amerce me of my well-earn’d recompense—­
  How then?  There lies the grief that stings my soul. 
  The virgin chosen for me by the sons 70
  Of Greece, my just reward, by my own spear
  Obtain’d when I Eetion’s city took,
  Her, Agamemnon, leader of the host
  From my possession wrung, as I had been
  Some alien wretch, unhonor’d and unknown. 75
  But let it pass; anger is not a flame
  To feed for ever; I affirm’d, indeed,
  Mine inextinguishable till the shout
  Of battle should invade my proper barks;
  But thou put on my glorious arms, lead forth 80
  My valiant Myrmidons, since such a cloud,
  So dark, of dire hostility surrounds
  The fleet, and the Achaians, by the waves
  Hemm’d in, are prison’d now in narrow space. 
  Because the Trojans meet not in the field 85
  My dazzling helmet, therefore bolder grown
  All Ilium comes abroad; but had I found
  Kindness at royal Agamemnon’s hands,
  Soon had they fled, and with their bodies chok’d
  The streams, from whom ourselves now suffer siege 90
  For in the hands of Diomede his spear
  No longer rages rescuing from death
  The afflicted Danai, nor hear I more
  The voice of Agamemnon issuing harsh

Page 208

  From his detested throat, but all around 95
  The burst[3] of homicidal Hector’s cries,
  Calling his Trojans on; they loud insult
  The vanquish’d Greeks, and claim the field their own. 
  Go therefore, my Patroclus; furious fall
  On these assailants, even now preserve 100
  From fire the only hope of our return. 
  But hear the sum of all; mark well my word;
  So shalt thou glorify me in the eyes
  Of all the Danai, and they shall yield
  Briseis mine, with many a gift beside. 105
  The Trojans from the fleet expell’d, return. 
  Should Juno’s awful spouse give thee to win
  Victory, be content; seek not to press
  The Trojans without me, for thou shalt add
  Still more to the disgrace already mine.[4] 110
  Much less, by martial ardor urged, conduct
  Thy slaughtering legions to the walls of Troy,
  Lest some immortal power on her behalf
  Descend, for much the Archer of the skies
  Loves Ilium.  No—­the fleet once saved, lead back 115
  Thy band, and leave the battle to themselves. 
  For oh, by all the powers of heaven I would
  That not one Trojan might escape of all,
  Nor yet a Grecian, but that we, from death
  Ourselves escaping, might survive to spread 120
  Troy’s sacred bulwarks on the ground, alone. 
    Thus they conferr’d. [5]But Ajax overwhelm’d
  Meantime with darts, no longer could endure,
  Quell’d both by Jupiter and by the spears
  Of many a noble Trojan; hideous rang 125
  His batter’d helmet bright, stroke after stroke
  Sustaining on all sides, and his left arm
  That had so long shifted from side to side
  His restless shield, now fail’d; yet could not all
  Displace him with united force, or move. 130
  Quick pantings heaved his chest, copious the sweat
  Trickled from all his limbs, nor found he time,
  However short, to breathe again, so close
  Evil on evil heap’d hemm’d him around. 
    Olympian Muses! now declare, how first 135
  The fire was kindled in Achaia’s fleet? 
    Hector the ashen lance of Ajax smote
  With his broad falchion, at the nether end,
  And lopp’d it sheer.  The Telamonian Chief
  His mutilated beam brandish’d in vain, 140
  And the bright point shrill-sounding-fell remote. 
  Then Ajax in his noble mind perceived,
  Shuddering with awe, the interposing power
  Of heaven, and that, propitious to the arms
  Of Troy, the Thunderer had ordain’d to mar 145
  And frustrate all the counsels of the Greeks. 
  He left his stand; they fired the gallant bark;
  Through all her length the conflagration ran
  Incontinent, and wrapp’d her stern in flames. 

Page 209

  Achilles saw them, smote his thighs, and said, 150
    Patroclus, noble charioteer, arise! 
  I see the rapid run of hostile fires
  Already in the fleet—­lest all be lost,
  And our return impossible, arm, arm
  This moment; I will call, myself, the band. 155
    Then put Patroclus on his radiant arms. 
  Around his legs his polish’d greaves he clasp’d,
  With argent studs secured; the hauberk rich
  Star-spangled to his breast he bound of swift
  AEacides; he slung his brazen sword 160
  With silver bright emboss’d, and his broad shield
  Ponderous; on his noble head his casque
  He settled elegant, whose lofty crest
  Waved dreadful o’er his brows, and last he seized
  Well fitted to his gripe two sturdy spears. 165
  Of all Achilles’ arms his spear alone
  He took not; that huge beam, of bulk and length
  Enormous, none, AEacides except,
  In all Achaia’s host had power to wield. 
  It was that Pelian ash which from the top 170
  Of Pelion hewn that it might prove the death
  Of heroes, Chiron had to Peleus given. 
  He bade Automedon his coursers bind
  Speedily to the yoke, for him he loved
  Next to Achilles most, as worthiest found 175
  Of trust, what time the battle loudest roar’d. 
  Then led Automedon the fiery steeds
  Swift as wing’d tempests to the chariot-yoke,
  Xanthus and Balius.  Them the harpy bore
  Podarge, while in meadows green she fed 180
  On Ocean’s side, to Zephyrus the wind. 
  To these he added, at their side, a third,
  The noble Pedasus; him Peleus’ son,
  Eetion’s city taken, thence had brought,
  Though mortal, yet a match for steeds divine. 185
  Meantime from every tent Achilles call’d
  And arm’d his Myrmidons.  As wolves that gorge
  The prey yet panting, terrible in force,
  When on the mountains wild they have devour’d
  An antler’d stag new-slain, with bloody jaws 190
  Troop all at once to some clear fountain, there
  To lap with slender tongues the brimming wave;
  No fears have they, but at their ease eject
  From full maws flatulent the clotted gore;
  Such seem’d the Myrmidon heroic Chiefs 195
  Assembling fast around the valiant friend
  Of swift AEacides.  Amid them stood
  Warlike Achilles, the well-shielded ranks
  Exhorting, and the steeds, to glorious war. 
    The galleys by Achilles dear to Jove 200
  Commanded, when to Ilium’s coast he steer’d,
  Were fifty; fifty rowers sat in each,
  And five, in whom he trusted, o’er the rest
  He captains named, but ruled, himself, supreme. 
  One band Menestheus swift in battle led, 205

Page 210

  Offspring of Sperchius heaven-descended stream. 
  Him Polydora, Peleus’ daughter, bore
  To ever-flowing Sperchius, compress’d,
  Although a mortal woman, by a God. 
  But his reputed father was the son 210
  Of Perieres, Borus, who with dower
  Enrich’d, and made her openly his bride. 
  Warlike Eudorus led the second band. 
  Him Polymela, graceful in the dance,
  And daughter beautiful of Phylas, bore, 215
  A mother unsuspected of a child. 
  Her worshiping the golden-shafted Queen
  Diana, in full choir, with song and dance,
  The valiant Argicide[6] beheld and loved. 
  Ascending with her to an upper room, 220
  All-bounteous Mercury[7] clandestine there
  Embraced her, who a noble son produced
  Eudorus, swift to run, and bold in fight. 
  No sooner Ilithya, arbitress
  Of pangs puerperal, had given him birth, 225
  And he beheld the beaming sun, than her
  Echechleus, Actor’s mighty son, enrich’d
  With countless dower, and led her to his home;
  While ancient Phylas, cherishing her boy
  With fond affection, reared him as his own. 230
  The third brave troop warlike Pisander led,
  Offspring of Maimalus; he far excell’d
  In spear-fight every Myrmidon, the friend
  Of Peleus’ dauntless son alone except. 
  The hoary Phoenix of equestrian fame 235
  The fourth band led to battle, and the fifth
  Laerceus’ offspring, bold Alcimedon. 
  Thus, all his bands beneath their proper Chiefs
  Marshall’d, Achilles gave them strict command—­
    Myrmidons! all that vengeance now inflict, 240
  Which in this fleet ye ceased not to denounce
  Against the Trojans while my wrath endured. 
  Me censuring, ye have proclaim’d me oft
  Obdurate.  Oh Achilles! ye have said,
  Thee not with milk thy mother but with bile 245
  Suckled, who hold’st thy people here in camp
  Thus long imprison’d.  Unrelenting Chief! 
  Even let us hence in our sea-skimming barks
  To Phthia, since thou can’st not be appeased—­
  Thus in full council have ye spoken oft. 250
  Now, therefore, since a day of glorious toil
  At last appears, such as ye have desired,
  There lies the field—­go—­give your courage proof. 
    So them he roused, and they, their leader’s voice
  Hearing elate, to closest order drew. 255
  As when an architect some palace wall
  With shapely stones upbuilds, cementing close
  A barrier against all the winds of heaven,
  So wedged, the helmets and boss’d bucklers stood;
  Shield, helmet, man, press’d helmet, man, and shield, 260
  And every bright-arm’d warrior’s bushy crest
  Its fellow swept, so dense was their array. 

Page 211

  In front of all, two Chiefs their station took,
  Patroclus and Automedon; one mind
  In both prevail’d, to combat in the van 265
  Of all the Myrmidons.  Achilles, then,
  Retiring to his tent, displaced the lid
  Of a capacious chest magnificent
  By silver-footed Thetis stow’d on board
  His bark, and fill’d with tunics, mantles warm, 270
  And gorgeous arras; there he also kept
  Secure a goblet exquisitely wrought,
  Which never lip touched save his own, and whence
  He offer’d only to the Sire of all. 
  That cup producing from the chest, he first 275
  With sulphur fumed it, then with water rinsed
  Pellucid of the running stream, and, last
  (His hands clean laved) he charged it high with wine. 
  And now, advancing to his middle court,
  He pour’d libation, and with eyes to heaven 280
  Uplifted pray’d,[8] of Jove not unobserved. 
    Pelasgian, Dodonaean Jove supreme,
  Dwelling remote, who on Dodona’s heights
  Snow-clad reign’st Sovereign, by thy seers around
  Compass’d the Selli, prophets vow-constrain’d 285
  To unwash’d feet and slumbers on the ground! 
  Plain I behold my former prayer perform’d,
  Myself exalted, and the Greeks abased. 
  Now also grant me, Jove, this my desire! 
  Here, in my fleet, I shall myself abide, 290
  But lo! with all these Myrmidons I send
  My friend to battle.  Thunder-rolling Jove,
  Send glory with him, make his courage firm! 
  That even Hector may himself be taught,
  If my companion have a valiant heart 295
  When he goes forth alone, or only then
  The noble frenzy feels that Mars inspires
  When I rush also to the glorious field. 
  But when he shall have driven the battle-shout
  Once from the fleet, grant him with all his arms, 300
  None lost, himself unhurt, and my whole band
  Of dauntless warriors with him, safe return! 
    Such prayer Achilles offer’d, and his suit
  Jove hearing, part confirm’d, and part refused;
  To chase the dreadful battle from the fleet 305
  He gave him, but vouchsafed him no return. 
  Prayer and libation thus perform’d to Jove
  The Sire of all, Achilles to his tent
  Return’d, replaced the goblet in his chest,
  And anxious still that conflict to behold 310
  Between the hosts, stood forth before his tent. 
    Then rush’d the bands by brave Patroclus led,
  Full on the Trojan host.  As wasps forsake
  Their home by the way-side, provoked by boys
  Disturbing inconsiderate their abode, 315
  Not without nuisance sore to all who pass,
  For if, thenceforth, some traveller unaware
  Annoy them, issuing one and all they swarm

Page 212

  Around him, fearless in their broods’ defence,
  So issued from their fleet the Myrmidons 320
  Undaunted; clamor infinite arose,
  And thus Patroclus loud his host address’d. 
    Oh Myrmidons, attendants in the field
  On Peleus’ son, now be ye men, my friends! 
  Call now to mind the fury of your might; 325
  That we, close-fighting servants of the Chief
  Most excellent in all the camp of Greece,
  May glory gain for him, and that the wide-
  Commanding Agamemnon, Atreus’ son,
  May learn his fault, that he dishonor’d foul 330
  The prince in whom Achaia glories most. 
    So saying he fired their hearts, and on the van
  Of Troy at once they fell; loud shouted all
  The joyful Grecians, and the navy rang. 
  Then, soon as Ilium’s host the valiant son 335
  Saw of Menoetius and his charioteer
  In dazzling armor clad, all courage lost,
  Their closest ranks gave way, believing sure
  That, wrath renounced, and terms of friendship chosen,
  Achilles’ self was there; thus thinking, each 340
  Look’d every way for refuge from his fate. 
    Patroclus first, where thickest throng he saw
  Gather’d tumultuous around the bark
  Of brave Protesilaues, hurl’d direct
  At the whole multitude his glittering spear. 345
  He smote Pyraechmes; he his horsemen band
  Poeonian led from Amydon, and from
  Broad-flowing Axius.  In his shoulder stood
  The spear, and with loud groans supine he fell. 
  At once fled all his followers, on all sides 350
  With consternation fill’d, seeing their Chief
  And their best warrior, by Patroclus slain. 
  Forth from the fleet he drove them, quench’d the flames,
  And rescued half the ship.  Then scatter’d fled
  With infinite uproar the host of Troy, 355
  While from between their ships the Danai
  Pour’d after them, and hideous rout ensued. 
  As when the king of lightnings, Jove, dispels
  From some huge eminence a gloomy cloud,
  The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland heights 360
  Shine all, illumined from the boundless heaven,
  So when the Danai those hostile fires
  Had from their fleet expell’d, awhile they breathed,
  Yet found short respite, for the battle yet
  Ceased not, nor fled the Trojans in all parts 365
  Alike, but still resisted, from the ships
  Retiring through necessity alone. 
  Then, in that scatter’d warfare, every Chief
  Slew one.  While Areilochus his back
  Turn’d on Patroclus, sudden with a lance 370
  His thigh he pierced, and urged the weapon through,
  Shivering the bone; he headlong smote the ground. 
  The hero Menelaus, where he saw
  The breast of Thoas by his slanting shield

Page 213

  Unguarded, struck and stretch’d him at his feet. 375
  Phylides,[9] meeting with preventive spear
  The furious onset of Amphiclus, gash’d
  His leg below the knee, where brawny most
  The muscles swell in man; disparted wide
  The tendons shrank, and darkness veil’d his eyes. 380
  The two Nestoridae slew each a Chief. 
  Of these, Antilochus Atymnius pierced
  Right through his flank, and at his feet he fell. 
  With fierce resentment fired Maris beheld
  His brother’s fall, and guarding, spear in hand, 385
  The slain, impetuous on the conqueror flew;
  But godlike Thrasymedes[10] wounded first
  Maris, ere he Antilochus; he pierced
  His upper arm, and with the lance’s point
  Rent off and stript the muscles to the bone. 390
  Sounding he fell, and darkness veil’d his eyes. 
  They thus, two brothers by two brothers slain,
  Went down to Erebus, associates both
  Of brave Sarpedon, and spear-practised sons
  Of Amisodarus; of him who fed 395
  Chimaera,[11] monster, by whom many died. 
  Ajax the swift on Cleobulus sprang,
  Whom while he toil’d entangled in the crowd,
  He seized alive, but smote him where he stood
  With his huge-hafted sword full on the neck; 400
  The blood warm’d all his blade, and ruthless fate
  Benighted dark the dying warrior’s eyes. 
  Peneleus into close contention rush’d
  And Lycon.  Each had hurl’d his glittering spear,
  But each in vain, and now with swords they met. 405
  He smote Peneleus on the crested casque,
  But snapp’d his falchion; him Peneleus smote
  Beneath his ear; the whole blade entering sank
  Into his neck, and Lycon with his head
  Depending by the skin alone, expired. 410
  Meriones o’ertaking Acamas
  Ere yet he could ascend his chariot, thrust
  A lance into his shoulder; down he fell
  In dreary death’s eternal darkness whelm’d. 
  Idomeneus his ruthless spear enforced 415
  Into the mouth of Erymas.  The point
  Stay’d not, but gliding close beneath the brain,
  Transpierced his spine,[12] and started forth beyond. 
  It wrench’d his teeth, and fill’d his eyes with blood;
  Blood also blowing through his open mouth 420
  And nostrils, to the realms of death he pass’d. 
  Thus slew these Grecian leaders, each, a foe. 
    Sudden as hungry wolves the kids purloin
  Or lambs, which haply some unheeding swain
  Hath left to roam at large the mountains wild; 425
  They, seeing, snatch them from beside the dams,
  And rend incontinent the feeble prey,
  So swift the Danai the host assail’d
  Of Ilium; they, into tumultuous flight
  Together driven, all hope, all courage

Page 214

lost. 430
    Huge Ajax ceaseless sought his spear to cast
  At Hector brazen-mail’d, who, not untaught
  The warrior’s art, with bull-hide buckler stood
  Sheltering his ample shoulders, while he mark’d
  The hiss of flying shafts and crash of spears. 435
  Full sure he saw the shifting course of war
  Now turn’d, but scorning flight, bent all his thoughts
  To rescue yet the remnant of his friends. 
    As when the Thunderer spreads a sable storm
  O’er ether, late serene, the cloud that wrapp’d 440
  Olympus’ head escapes into the skies,
  So fled the Trojans from the fleet of Greece
  Clamoring in their flight, nor pass’d the trench
  In fair array; the coursers fleet indeed
  Of Hector, him bore safe with all his arms 445
  Right through, but in the foss entangled foul
  He left his host, and struggling to escape. 
  Then many a chariot-whirling steed, the pole
  Broken at its extremity, forsook
  His driver, while Patroclus with the shout 450
  Of battle calling his Achaians on,
  Destruction purposed to the powers of Troy. 
  They, once dispersed, with clamor and with flight
  Fill’d all the ways, the dust beneath the clouds
  Hung like a tempest, and the steeds firm-hoof’d 455
  Whirl’d off at stretch the chariots to the town. 
  He, wheresoe’er most troubled he perceived
  The routed host, loud-threatening thither drove,
  While under his own axle many a Chief
  Fell prone, and the o’ertumbled chariots rang. 460
  Right o’er the hollow foss the coursers leap’d
  Immortal, by the Gods to Peleus given,
  Impatient for the plain, nor less desire
  Felt he who drove to smite the Trojan Chief,
  But him his fiery steeds caught swift away. 465
    As when a tempest from autumnal skies
  Floats all the fields, what time Jove heaviest pours
  Impetuous rain, token of wrath divine
  Against perverters of the laws by force,
  Who drive forth justice, reckless of the Gods; 470
  The rivers and the torrents, where they dwell,
  Sweep many a green declivity away,
  And plunge at length, groaning, into the Deep
  From the hills headlong, leaving where they pass’d
  No traces of the pleasant works of man, 475
  So, in their flight, loud groan’d the steeds of Troy. 
  And now, their foremost intercepted all,
  Patroclus back again toward the fleet
  Drove them precipitate, nor the ascent
  Permitted them to Troy for which they strove, 480
  But in the midway space between the ships
  The river and the lofty Trojan wall
  Pursued them ardent, slaughtering whom he reached,
  And vengeance took for many a Grecian slain. 
  First then, with glittering spear the

Page 215

breast he pierced 485
  Of Pronoeus, undefended by his shield,
  And stretch’d him dead; loud rang his batter’d arms. 
  The son of Enops, Thestor next he smote. 
  He on his chariot-seat magnificent
  Low-cowering sat, a fear-distracted form, 490
  And from his palsied grasp the reins had fallen. 
  Then came Patroclus nigh, and through his cheek
  His teeth transpiercing, drew him by his lance
  Sheer o’er the chariot front.  As when a man
  On some projecting rock seated, with line 495
  And splendid hook draws forth a sea-fish huge,
  So him wide-gaping from his seat he drew
  At his spear-point, then shook him to the ground
  Prone on his face, where gasping he expired. 
  At Eryalus, next, advancing swift 500
  He hurl’d a rock; full on the middle front
  He smote him, and within the ponderous casque
  His whole head open’d into equal halves. 
  With deadliest night surrounded, prone he fell. 
  Epaltes, Erymas, Amphoterus, 505
  Echius, Tlepolemus Damastor’s son,
  Evippus, Ipheus, Pyres, Polymelus,
  All these he on the champain, corse on corse
  Promiscuous flung.  Sarpedon, when he saw
  Such havoc made of his uncinctured[13] friends 510
  By Menoetiades, with sharp rebuke
  His band of godlike Lycians loud address’d. 
    Shame on you, Lycians! whither would ye fly? 
  Now are ye swift indeed!  I will oppose
  Myself this conqueror, that I may learn 515
  Who thus afflicts the Trojan host, of life
  Bereaving numerous of their warriors bold. 
    He said, and with his arms leap’d to the ground. 
  On the other side, Patroclus at that sight
  Sprang from his chariot.  As two vultures clash 520
  Bow-beak’d, crook-talon’d, on some lofty rock
  Clamoring both, so they together rush’d
  With clamors loud; whom when the son observed
  Of wily Saturn, with compassion moved
  His sister and his spouse he thus bespake. 525
    Alas, he falls! my most beloved of men
  Sarpedon, vanquished by Patroclus, falls! 
  So will the Fates.  Yet, doubtful, much I muse
  Whether to place him, snatch’d from furious fight
  In Lycia’s wealthy realm, or to permit 530
  His death by valiant Menoetiades. 
    To whom his awful spouse, displeased, replied. 
  How speaks the terrible Saturnian Jove! 
  Wouldst thou again from pangs of death exempt
  A mortal man, destined long since to die? 535
  Do it.  But small thy praise shall be in heaven,
  Mark thou my words, and in thy inmost breast
  Treasure them.  If thou send Sarpedon safe
  To his own home, how many Gods their sons
  May also send from battle?  Weigh

Page 216

it well. 540
  For under yon great city fight no few
  Sprung from Immortals whom thou shalt provoke. 
  But if thou love him, and thine heart his lot
  Commiserate, leave him by the hands to fall
  Of Menoetiades in conflict dire; 545
  But give command to Death and gentle Sleep
  That him of life bereft at once they bear
  To Lycia’s ample realm,[14] where, with due rites
  Funereal, his next kindred and his friends
  Shall honor him, a pillar and a tomb 550
  (The dead man’s portion) rearing to his name. 
    She said, from whom the Sire of Gods and men
  Dissented not, but on the earth distill’d
  A sanguine shower in honor of a son
  Dear to him, whom Patroclus on the field 555
  Of fruitful Troy should slay, far from his home. 
    Opposite now, small interval between,
  Those heroes stood.  Patroclus at his waist
  Pierced Thrasymelus the illustrious friend
  Of King Sarpedon, and his charioteer. 560
  Spear’d through the lower bowels, dead he fell. 
  Then hurl’d Sarpedon in his turn a lance,
  But miss’d Patroclus and the shoulder pierced
  Of Pedasus the horse; he groaning heaved
  His spirit forth, and fallen on the field 565
  In long loud moanings sorrowful expired. 
  Wide started the immortal pair; the yoke
  Creak’d, and entanglement of reins ensued
  To both, their fellow slaughter’d at their side. 
  That mischief soon Automedon redress’d. 570
  He rose, and from beside his sturdy thigh
  Drawing his falchion, with effectual stroke
  Cut loose the side-horse; then the pair reduced
  To order, in their traces stood composed,
  And the two heroes fierce engaged again. 575
    Again his radiant spear Sarpedon hurl’d,
  But miss’d Patroclus; the innocuous point,
  O’erflying his left shoulder, pass’d beyond. 
  Then with bright lance Patroclus in his turn
  Assail’d Sarpedon, nor with erring course 580
  The weapon sped or vain, but pierced profound
  His chest, enclosure of the guarded heart. 
  As falls an oak, poplar, or lofty pine
  With new-edged axes on the mountains hewn
  Right through, for structure of some gallant bark, 585
  So fell Sarpedon stretch’d his steeds before
  And gnash’d his teeth and clutch’d the bloody dust,
  And as a lion slays a tawny bull
  Leader magnanimous of all the herd;
  Beneath the lion’s jaws groaning he dies; 590
  So, leader of the shielded Lycians groan’d
  Indignant, by Patroclus slain, the bold
  Sarpedon, and his friend thus, sad, bespake. 
    Glaucus, my friend, among these warring Chiefs
  Thyself a Chief illustrious! thou hast need 595

Page 217

  Of all thy valor now; now strenuous fight,
  And, if thou bear within thee a brave mind,
  Now make the war’s calamities thy joy. 
  First, marching through the host of Lycia, rouse
  Our Chiefs to combat for Sarpedon slain, 600
  Then haste, thyself, to battle for thy friend. 
  For shame and foul dishonor which no time
  Shall e’er obliterate, I must prove to thee,
  Should the Achaians of my glorious arms
  Despoil me in full prospect[15] of the fleet. 605
  Fight, therefore, thou, and others urge to fight. 
    He said, and cover’d by the night of death,
  Nor look’d nor breath’d again; for on his chest
  Implanting firm his heel, Patroclus drew
  The spear enfolded with his vitals forth, 610
  Weapon and life at once.  Meantime his steeds
  Snorted, by Myrmidons detain’d, and, loosed
  From their own master’s chariot, foam’d to fly. 
  Terrible was the grief by Glaucus felt,
  Hearing that charge, and troubled was his heart 615
  That all power fail’d him to protect the dead. 
  Compressing his own arm he stood, with pain
  Extreme tormented which the shaft had caused
  Of Teucer, who while Glaucus climb’d the wall,
  Had pierced him from it, in the fleet’s defence. 620
  Then, thus, to Phoebus, King shaft-arm’d, he pray’d. 
    Hear now, O King!  For whether in the land
  Of wealthy Lycia dwelling, or in Troy,
  Thou hear’st in every place alike the prayer
  Of the afflicted heart, and such is mine; 625
  Behold my wound; it fills my useless hand
  With anguish, neither can my blood be stay’d,
  And all my shoulder suffers.  I can grasp
  A spear, or rush to conflict with the Greeks
  No longer now; and we have also lost 630
  Our noblest Chief, Sarpedon, son of Jove,
  Who guards not his own son.  But thou, O King! 
  Heal me, assuage my anguish, give me strength,
  That I may animate the Lycian host
  To fight, and may, myself, defend the dead! 635
    Such prayer he offer’d, whom Apollo heard;
  He eased at once his pain, the sable blood
  Staunch’d, and his soul with vigor new inspired. 
  Then Glaucus in his heart that prayer perceived
  Granted, and joyful for the sudden aid 640
  Vouchsafed to him by Phoebus, first the lines
  Of Lycia ranged, summoning every Chief
  To fight for slain Sarpedon; striding next
  With eager haste into the ranks of Troy,
  Renown’d Agenor and the son he call’d 645
  Of Panthus, brave Polydamas, with whom
  AEneas also, and approaching last
  To Hector brazen-mail’d him thus bespake. 
    Now, Hector! now, thou hast indeed resign’d
  All care of thy allies, who, for thy sake, 650

Page 218

  Lost both to friends and country, on these plains
  Perish, unaided and unmiss’d by thee. 
  Sarpedon breathless lies, who led to fight
  Our shielded bands, and from whose just control
  And courage Lycia drew her chief defence. 655
  Him brazen Mars hath by the spear subdued
  Of Menoetiades.  But stand ye firm! 
  Let indignation fire you, O my friends! 
  Lest, stripping him of his resplendent arms,
  The Myrmidons with foul dishonor shame 660
  His body, through resentment of the deaths
  Of numerous Grecians slain by spears of ours. 
    He ceased; then sorrow every Trojan heart
  Seized insupportable and that disdain’d
  All bounds, for that, although a stranger born, 665
  Sarpedon ever had a bulwark proved
  To Troy, the leader of a numerous host,
  And of that host by none in fight excell’d. 
  Right on toward the Danai they moved
  Ardent for battle all, and at their head 670
  Enraged for slain Sarpedon, Hector came. 
  Meantime, stout-hearted[16] Chief, Patroclus roused
  The Grecians, and exhorting first (themselves
  Already prompt) the Ajaces, thus began. 
    Heroic pair! now make it all your joy 675
  To chase the Trojan host, and such to prove
  As erst, or even bolder, if ye may. 
  The Chief lies breathless who ascended first
  Our wall, Sarpedon.  Let us bear him hence,
  Strip and dishonor him, and in the blood 680
  Of his protectors drench the ruthless spear. 
    So Menoetiades his warriors urged,
  Themselves courageous.  Then the Lycian host
  And Trojan here, and there the Myrmidons
  With all the host of Greece, closing the ranks 685
  Rush’d into furious contest for the dead,
  Shouting tremendous; clang’d their brazen arms,
  And Jove with Night’s pernicious shades[17] o’erhung
  The bloody field, so to enhance the more
  Their toilsome strife for his own son.  First then 690
  The Trojans from their place and order shock’d
  The bright-eyed Grecians, slaying not the least
  Nor worst among the Myrmidons, the brave
  Epigeus from renown’d Agacles sprung. 
  He, erst, in populous Budeum ruled, 695
  But for a valiant kinsman of his own
  Whom there he slew, had thence to Peleus fled
  And to his silver-footed spouse divine,
  Who with Achilles, phalanx-breaker Chief,
  Sent him to fight beneath the walls of Troy. 700
  Him seizing fast the body, with a stone
  Illustrious Hector smote full on the front,
  And his whole skull within the ponderous casque
  Split sheer; he prostrate on the body fell
  In shades of soul-divorcing death involved. 705
  Patroclus, grieving for his slaughter’d

Page 219

  Rush’d through the foremost warriors.  As the hawk
  Swift-wing’d before him starlings drives or daws,
  So thou, Patroclus, of equestrian fame! 
  Full on the Lycian ranks and Trojan drov’st, 710
  Resentful of thy fellow-warrior’s fall. 
  At Sthenelaues a huge stone he cast,
  Son of Ithaemenes, whom on the neck
  He smote and burst the tendons; then the van
  Of Ilium’s host, with Hector, all retired. 715
  Far as the slender javelin cuts the air
  Hurl’d with collected force, or in the games,
  Or even in battle at a desperate foe,
  So far the Greeks repulsed the host of Troy. 
  Then Glaucus first, Chief of the shielded bands 720
  Of Lycia, slew Bathycles, valiant son
  Of Calchon; Hellas was his home, and far
  He pass’d in riches all the Myrmidons. 
  Him chasing Glaucus whom he now attain’d,
  The Lycian, turning sudden, with his lance 725
  Pierced through the breast, and, sounding, down he fell
  Grief fill’d Achaia’s sons for such a Chief
  So slain, but joy the Trojans; thick they throng’d
  The conqueror around, nor yet the Greeks
  Forgat their force, but resolute advanced. 730
  Then, by Meriones a Trojan died
  Of noble rank, Laogonus, the son
  Undaunted of Onetor great in Troy,
  Priest of Idaean Jove.  The ear and jaw
  Between, he pierced him with a mortal force; 735
  Swift flew the life, and darkness veil’d his eyes. 
  AEneas, in return, his brazen spear
  Hurl’d at Meriones with ardent hope
  To pierce him, while, with nimble[18] steps and short
  Behind his buckler made, he paced the field; 740
  But, warn’d of its approach, Meriones
  Bow’d low his head, shunning it, and the spear
  Behind him pierced the soil; there quivering stood
  The weapon, vain, though from a vigorous arm,
  Till spent by slow degrees its fury slept. 745
         * * * * *
         * * * * [19]
  Indignant then AEneas thus exclaim’d. 
    Meriones!  I sent thee such a spear
  As reaching thee, should have for ever marr’d 750
  Thy step, accomplish’d dancer as thou art. 
    To whom Meriones spear-famed replied. 
  AEneas! thou wilt find the labor hard
  How great soe’er thy might, to quell the force
  Of all opposers.  Thou art also doom’d 755
  Thyself to die; and may but spear of mine
  Well-aim’d once strike thee full, what strength soe’er
  Or magnanimity be thine to boast,
  Thy glory in that moment thou resign’st
  To me, thy soul to Pluto steed-renown’d. 760
    He said, but him Patroclus sharp reproved. 
  Why speaks Meriones, although in fight

Page 220

  Approved, thus proudly?  Nay, my gallant friend! 
  The Trojans will not for reproach of ours
  Renounce the body.  Blood must first be spilt. 765
  Tongues in debate, but hands in war decide;
  Deeds therefore now, not wordy vaunts, we need. 
    So saying he led the way, whom follow’d close
  Godlike Meriones.  As from the depth
  Of some lone wood that clothes the mountain’s side 770
  The fellers at their toil are heard remote,
  So, from the face of Ilium’s ample plain
  Reverberated, was the din of brass
  And of tough targets heard by falchions huge
  Hard-smitten, and by spears of double-edge. 775
  None then, no, not the quickest to discern,
  Had known divine Sarpedon, from his head
  To his foot-sole with mingled blood and dust
  Polluted, and o’erwhelm’d with weapons.  They
  Around the body swarm’d.  As hovel-flies 780
  In spring-time buzz around the brimming pails
  With milk bedew’d, so they around the dead. 
  Nor Jove averted once his glorious eyes
  From that dread contest, but with watchful note
  Marked all, the future death in battle deep 785
  Pondering of Patroclus, whether him
  Hector should even now slay on divine
  Sarpedon, and despoil him of his arms,
  Or he should still that arduous strife prolong. 
  This counsel gain’d as eligible most 790
  At length his preference:  that the valiant friend
  Of Peleus’ son should yet again compel
  The Trojan host with Hector brazen-mail’d
  To Ilium, slaughtering numerous by the way. 
  First then, with fears unmanly he possess’d 795
  The heart of Hector; mounting to his seat
  He turn’d to flight himself, and bade his host
  Fly also; for he knew Jove’s purpose[20] changed. 
  Thenceforth, no longer even Lycia’s host
  Endured, but all fled scatter’d, seeing pierced 800
  Their sovereign through his heart, and heap’d with dead;
  For numerous, while Saturnian Jove the fight
  Held in suspense, had on his body fallen. 
  At once the Grecians of his dazzling arms
  Despoil’d Sarpedon, which the Myrmidons 805
  By order of Menoetius’ valiant son
  Bore thence into the fleet.  Meantime his will
  The Thunderer to Apollo thus express’d. 
    Phoebus, my son, delay not; from beneath
  Yon hill of weapons drawn cleanse from his blood 810
  Sarpedon’s corse; then, bearing him remote,
  Lave him in waters of the running stream,
  With oils divine anoint, and in attire
  Immortal clothe him.  Last, to Death and Sleep,
  Swift bearers both, twin-born, deliver him; 815
  For hence to Lycia’s opulent abodes
  They shall transport him quickly, where, with rites
  Funereal, his next kindred and his friends

Page 221

  Shall honor him, a pillar and a tomb
  (The dead man’s portion) rearing to his name. 820
    He ceased; nor was Apollo slow to hear
  His father’s will, but, from the Idaean heights
  Descending swift into the dreadful field,
  Godlike Sarpedon’s body from beneath
  The hill of weapons drew, which, borne remote, 825
  He laved in waters of the running stream,
  With oils ambrosial bathed, and clothed in robes
  Immortal.  Then to Death and gentle Sleep,
  Swift-bearers both, twin-born, he gave the charge,
  Who placed it soon in Lycia’s wealthy realm. 830
    Meantime Patroclus, calling to his steeds,
  And to Automedon, the Trojans chased
  And Lycians, on his own destruction bent
  Infatuate; heedless of his charge received
  From Peleus’ son, which, well perform’d, had saved 835
  The hero from his miserable doom. 
  But Jove’s high purpose evermore prevails
  Against the thoughts of man; he turns to flight
  The bravest, and the victory takes with ease
  E’en from the Chief whom he impels himself 840
  To battle, as he now this Chief impell’d. 
  Who, then, Patroclus! first, who last by thee
  Fell slain, what time thyself was call’d to die? 
  Adrastus first, then Perimus he slew,
  Offspring of Megas, then Autonoues, 845
  Echechlus, Melanippus, and Epistor,
  Pylartes, Mulius, Elasus.  All these
  He slew, and from the field chased all beside. 
  Then, doubtless, had Achaia’s sons prevail’d
  To take proud-gated Troy, such havoc made 850
  He with his spear, but that the son of Jove
  Apollo, on a tower’s conspicuous height
  Station’d, devoted him for Ilium’s sake. 
  Thrice on a buttress of the lofty wall
  Patroclus mounted, and him thrice the God 855
  With hands immortal his resplendent shield
  Smiting, struck down again; but when he rush’d
  A fourth time, demon-like, to the assault,
  The King of radiant shafts him, stern, rebuked. 
    Patroclus, warrior of renown, retire! 860
  The fates ordain not that imperial Troy
  Stoop to thy spear, nor to the spear itself
  Of Peleus’ son, though mightier far than thou. 
    He said, and Menoetiades the wrath
  Of shaft-arm’d Phoebus shunning, far retired. 865
  But in the Scaean gate Hector his steeds
  Detain’d, uncertain whether thence to drive
  Amid the warring multitude again,
  Or, loud commandment issuing, to collect
  His host within the walls.  Him musing long 870
  Apollo, clad in semblance of a Chief
  Youthful and valiant, join’d.  Asius he seem’d
  Equestrian Hector’s uncle, brother born
  Of Hecuba the queen, and Dymas’ son,
  Who on the Sangar’s banks in Phrygia

Page 222

dwelt. 875
  Apollo, so disguised, him thus bespake. 
    Why, Hector, hast thou left the fight? this sloth
  Not well befits thee.  Oh that I as far
  Thee pass’d in force as thou transcendest me,
  Then, not unpunish’d long, should’st thou retire; 880
  But haste, and with thy coursers solid-hoof’d
  Seek out Patroclus, him perchance to slay,
  Should Phoebus have decreed that glory thine. 
    So saying, Apollo join’d the host again. 
  Then noble Hector bade his charioteer 885
  Valiant Cebriones his coursers lash
  Back into battle, while the God himself
  Entering the multitude confounded sore
  The Argives, victory conferring proud
  And glory on Hector and the host of Troy. 890
  But Hector, leaving all beside unslain,
  Furious impell’d his coursers solid-hoof’d
  Against Patroclus; on the other side
  Patroclus from his chariot to the ground
  Leap’d ardent; in his left a spear he bore, 895
  And in his right a marble fragment rough,
  Large as his grasp.  With full collected might
  He hurl’d it; neither was the weapon slow
  To whom he had mark’d, or sent in vain. 
  He smote the charioteer of Hector, bold 900
  Cebriones, King Priam’s spurious son,
  Full on the forehead, while he sway’d the reins. 
  The bone that force withstood not, but the rock
  With ragged points beset dash’d both his brows
  In pieces, and his eyes fell at his feet. 905
  He diver-like, from his exalted stand
  Behind the steeds pitch’d headlong, and expired;
  O’er whom, Patroclus of equestrian fame! 
  Thou didst exult with taunting speech severe. 
    Ye Gods, with what agility he dives! 910
  Ah! it were well if in the fishy deep
  This man were occupied; he might no few
  With oysters satisfy, although the waves
  Were churlish, plunging headlong from his bark
  As easily as from his chariot here. 915
  So then—­in Troy, it seems, are divers too! 
    So saying, on bold Cebriones he sprang
  With all a lion’s force, who, while the folds
  He ravages, is wounded in the breast,
  And, victim of his own fierce courage, dies. 920
  So didst thou spring, Patroclus! to despoil
  Cebriones, and Hector opposite
  Leap’d also to the ground.  Then contest such
  For dead Cebriones those two between
  Arose, as in the lofty mountain-tops 925
  Two lions wage, contending for a deer
  New-slain, both hunger-pinch’d and haughty both. 
  So for Cebriones, alike in arms
  Expert, brave Hector and Patroclus strove
  To pierce each other with the ruthless spear. 930
  First, Hector seized his head, nor loosed

Page 223

his hold,
  Patroclus, next, his feet, while all beside
  Of either host in furious battle join’d. 
    As when the East wind and the South contend
  To shake some deep wood on the mountain’s side, 935
  Or beech, or ash, or rugged cornel old. 
  With stormy violence the mingled boughs
  Smite and snap short each other, crashing loud;
  So, Trojans and Achaians, mingling, slew
  Mutual, while neither felt a wish to fly. 940
  Around Cebriones stood many a spear,
  And many a shaft sent smartly from the nerve
  Implanted deep, and many a stone of grasp
  Enormous sounded on their batter’d shields
  Who fought to gain him.  He, in eddies lost 945
  Of sable dust, with his huge trunk huge space
  O’erspread, nor steeds nor chariots heeded more. 
    While yet the sun ascending climb’d the heavens,
  Their darts flew equal, and the people fell;
  But when he westward journey’d, by a change 950
  Surpassing hope the Grecians then prevail’d. 
  They drew Cebriones the hero forth
  From all those weapons, and his armor stripp’d
  At leisure, distant from the battle’s roar. 
  Then sprang Patroclus on the Trojan host; 955
  Thrice, like another Mars, he sprang with shouts
  Tremendous, and nine warriors thrice he slew. 
  But when the fourth time, demon-like, he rush’d
  Against them, then, oh then, too manifest
  The consummation of thy days approach’d 960
  Patroclus! whom Apollo, terror-clad
  Met then in battle.  He the coming God
  Through all that multitude knew not, such gloom
  Impenetrable him involved around. 
  Behind him close he stood, and with his palms 965
  Expanded on the spine and shoulders broad
  Smote him; his eyes swam dizzy at the stroke. 
  Then Phoebus from his head his helmet dash’d
  To earth; sonorous at the feet it roll’d
  Of many a prancing steed, and all the crest 970
  Defilement gather’d gross of dust and blood,
  Then first; till then, impossible; for how
  Should dust the tresses of that helmet shame
  With which Achilles fighting fenced his head
  Illustrious, and his graceful brows divine? 975
  But Jove now made it Hector’s; he awhile
  Bore it, himself to swift perdition doom’d
  His spear brass-mounted, ponderous, huge and long,
  Fell shiver’d from his grasp.  His shield that swept
  His ancle, with its belt dropp’d from his arm, 980
  And Phoebus loosed the corselet from his breast. 
  Confusion seized his brain; his noble limbs
  Quaked under him, and panic-stunn’d he stood. 
  Then came a Dardan Chief, who from behind
  Enforced a pointed lance into his back 985
  Between the shoulders; Panthus’

Page 224

son was he,
  Euphorbus, famous for equestrian skill,
  For spearmanship, and in the rapid race
  Past all of equal age.  He twenty men
  (Although a learner yet of martial feats, 990
  And by his steeds then first to battle borne)
  Dismounted.  He, Patroclus, mighty Chief! 
  First threw a lance at thee, which yet life
  Quell’d not; then snatching hasty from the wound
  His ashen beam, he ran into the crowd, 995
  Nor dared confront in fight even the unarm’d
  Patroclus.  But Patroclus, by the lance,
  And by the stroke of an immortal hand
  Subdued, fell back toward his ranks again. 
  Then, soon as Hector the retreat perceived 1000
  Of brave Patroclus wounded, issuing forth
  From his own phalanx, he approach’d and drove
  A spear right through his body at the waist. 
  Sounding he fell.  Loud groan’d Achaia’s host. 
  As when the lion and the sturdy boar 1005
  Contend in battle on the mountain-tops
  For some scant rivulet, thirst-parch’d alike,
  Ere long the lion quells the panting boar;
  So Priameian Hector, spear in hand,
  Slew Menoetiades the valiant slayer 1010
  Of multitudes, and thus in accents wing’d,
  With fierce delight exulted in his fall. 
    It was thy thought, Patroclus, to have laid
  Our city waste, and to have wafted hence
  Our wives and daughters to thy native land, 1015
  Their day of liberty for ever set. 
  Fool! for their sakes the feet of Hector’s steeds
  Fly into battle, and myself excel,
  For their sakes, all our bravest of the spear,
  That I may turn from them that evil hour 1020
  Necessitous.  But thou art vulture’s food,
  Unhappy youth! all valiant as he is,
  Achilles hath no succor given to thee,
  Who when he sent the forth whither himself
  Would not, thus doubtless gave thee oft in charge:  1025
  Ah, well beware, Patroclus, glorious Chief! 
  That thou revisit not these ships again,
  Till first on hero-slaughterer Hector’s breast
  Thou cleave his bloody corselet.  So he spake,
  And with vain words thee credulous beguiled. 1030
    To whom Patroclus, mighty Chief, with breath
  Drawn faintly, and dying, thou didst thus reply. 
  Now, Hector, boast! now glory! for the son
  Of Saturn and Apollo, me with ease
  Vanquishing, whom they had themselves disarm’d, 1035
  Have made the victory thine; else, twenty such
  As thou, had fallen by my victorious spear. 
  Me Phoebus and my ruthless fate combined
  To slay; these foremost; but of mortal men
  Euphorbus, and thy praise is only third. 1040
  I tell thee also, and within thy heart
  Repose it deep—­thou shalt not

Page 225

long survive;
  But, even now, fate, and a violent death
  Attend thee by Achilles’ hands ordain’d
  To perish, by AEacides the brave.[21] 1045
    So saying, the shades of death him wrapp’d around. 
  Down into Ades from his limbs dismiss’d,
  His spirit fled sorrowful, of youth’s prime
  And vigorous manhood suddenly bereft
  Then, him though dead, Hector again bespake. 1050
    Patroclus! these prophetic strains of death
  At hand, and fate, why hast thou sung to me? 
  May not the son of Thetis azure-hair’d,
  Achilles, perish first by spear of mine? 
    He said; then pressing with his heel the trunk 1055
  Supine, and backward thursting it, he drew
  His glittering weapon from the wound, nor stay’d,
  But lance in hand, the godlike charioteer
  Pursued of swift AEacides, on fire
  To smite Automedon; but him the steeds 1060
  Immortal, rapid, by the Gods conferr’d
  (A glorious gift) on Peleus, snatch’d away.




Sharp contest ensues around the body of Patroclus.  Hector puts on the armor of Achilles.  Menelaus, having dispatched Antilochus to Achilles with news of the death of Patroclus, returns to the battle, and, together with Meriones, bears Patroclus off the field, while the Ajaces cover their retreat.


  Nor Menelaus, Atreus’ valiant son,
  Knew not how Menoetiades had fallen
  By Trojan hands in battle; forth he rush’d
  All bright in burnish’d armor through his van,
  And as some heifer with maternal fears 5
  Now first acquainted, compasses around
  Her young one murmuring, with tender moan,
  So moved the hero of the amber locks
  Around Patroclus, before whom his spear
  Advancing and broad shield, he death denounced 10
  On all opposers; neither stood the son
  Spear-famed of Panthus inattentive long
  To slain Patroclus, but approach’d the dead,
  And warlike Menelaus thus bespake. 
    Prince!  Menelaus!  Atreus’ mighty son! 15
  Yield.  Leave the body and these gory spoils;
  For of the Trojans or allies of Troy
  None sooner made Patroclus bleed than I.
  Seek not to rob me, therefore, of my praise
  Among the Trojans, lest my spear assail 20
  Thee also, and thou perish premature.[1]
    To whom, indignant, Atreus’ son replied. 
  Self-praise, the Gods do know, is little worth. 
  But neither lion may in pride compare
  Nor panther, nor the savage boar whose heart’s 25
  High temper flashes in his eyes, with these
  The spear accomplish’d youths of

Page 226

Panthus’ house. 
  Yet Hyperenor of equestrian fame
  Lived not his lusty manhood to enjoy,
  Who scoffingly defied my force in arms, 30
  And call’d me most contemptible in fight
  Of all the Danai.  But him, I ween,
  His feet bore never hence to cheer at home
  His wife and parents with his glad return. 
  So also shall thy courage fierce be tamed, 35
  If thou oppose me.  I command thee, go—­
  Mix with the multitude; withstand not me,
  Lest evil overtake thee!  To be taught
  By sufferings only, is the part of fools. 
    He said, but him sway’d not, who thus replied. 40
  Now, even now, Atrides! thou shalt rue
  My brother’s blood which thou hast shed, and mak’st
  His death thy boast.  Thou hast his blooming bride
  Widow’d, and thou hast fill’d his parents’ hearts
  With anguish of unutterable wo; 45
  But bearing hence thy armor and thy head
  To Troy, and casting them at Panthus’ feet,
  And at the feet of Phrontis, his espoused,
  I shall console the miserable pair. 
  Nor will I leave that service unessay’d 50
  Longer, nor will I fail through want of force,
  Of courage, or of terrible address. 
    He ceased, and smote his shield, nor pierced the disk,
  But bent his point against the stubborn brass. 
  Then Menelaus, prayer preferring first 55
  To Jove,[2] assail’d Euphorbus in his turn,
  Whom pacing backward in the throat he struck,
  And both hands and his full force the spear
  Impelled, urged it through his neck behind. 
  Sounding he fell; loud rang his batter’d arms. 60
  His locks, which even the Graces might have own’d,
  Blood-sullied, and his ringlets wound about
  With twine of gold and silver, swept the dust. 
  As the luxuriant olive by a swain
  Rear’d in some solitude where rills abound, 65
  Puts forth her buds, and fann’d by genial airs
  On all sides, hangs her boughs with whitest flowers,
  But by a sudden whirlwind from its trench
  Uptorn, it lies extended on the field;
  Such, Panthus’ warlike son Euphorbus seem’d, 70
  By Menelaus, son of Atreus, slain
  Suddenly, and of all his arms despoil’d. 
  But as the lion on the mountains bred,
  Glorious in strength, when he hath seized the best
  And fairest of the herd, with savage fangs 75
  First breaks her neck, then laps the bloody paunch
  Torn wide; meantime, around him, but remote,
  Dogs stand and swains clamoring, yet by fear
  Repress’d, annoy him not nor dare approach;
  So there all wanted courage to oppose 80
  The force of Menelaus, glorious Chief. 
  Then, easily had Menelaus borne
  The armor of the son of Panthus thence,

Page 227

  But that Apollo the illustrious prize
  Denied him, who in semblance of the Chief 85
  Of the Ciconians, Mentes, prompted forth
  Against him Hector terrible as Mars,
  Whose spirit thus in accents wing’d he roused. 
    Hector! the chase is vain; here thou pursuest
  The horses of AEacides the brave, 90
  Which thou shalt never win, for they are steeds
  Of fiery nature, such as ill endure
  To draw or carry mortal man, himself
  Except, whom an immortal mother bore. 
  Meantime, bold Menelaus, in defence 95
  Of dead Patroclus, hath a Trojan slain
  Of highest note, Euphorbus, Panthus’ son,
  And hath his might in arms for ever quell’d. 
    So spake the God and to the fight return’d. 
  But grief intolerable at that word 100
  Seized Hector; darting through the ranks his eye,
  He knew at once who stripp’d Euphorbus’ arms,
  And him knew also lying on the field,
  And from his wide wound bleeding copious still. 
  Then dazzling bright in arms, through all the van 105
  He flew, shrill-shouting, fierce as Vulcan’s fire
  Unquenchable; nor were his shouts unheard
  By Atreus’ son, who with his noble mind
  Conferring sad, thus to himself began. 
    Alas! if I forsake these gorgeous spoils, 110
  And leave Patroclus for my glory slain,
  I fear lest the Achaians at that sight
  Incensed, reproach me; and if, urged by shame,
  I fight with Hector and his host, alone,
  Lest, hemm’d around by multitudes, I fall; 115
  For Hector, by his whole embattled force
  Attended, comes.  But whither tend my thoughts? 
  No man may combat with another fenced
  By power divine and whom the Gods exalt,
  But he must draw down wo on his own head. 120
  Me, therefore, none of all Achaia’s host
  Will blame indignant, seeing my retreat
  From Hector, whom themselves the Gods assist. 
  But might the battle-shout of Ajax once
  Reach me, with force united we would strive, 125
  Even in opposition to a God,
  To rescue for Achilles’ sake, his friend. 
  Task arduous! but less arduous than this. 
    While he thus meditated, swift advanced
  The Trojan ranks, with Hector at their head. 130
  He then, retiring slow, and turning oft,
  Forsook the body.  As by dogs and swains
  With clamors loud and spears driven from the stalls
  A bearded lion goes, his noble heart
  Abhors retreat, and slow he quits the prey; 135
  So Menelaus with slow steps forsook
  Patroclus, and arrived in front, at length,
  Of his own phalanx, stood, with sharpen’d eyes
  Seeking vast Ajax, son of Telamon. 
  Him leftward, soon, of all the field he

Page 228

mark’d 140
  Encouraging aloud his band, whose hearts
  With terrors irresistible himself
  Phoebus had fill’d.  He ran, and at his side
  Standing, incontinent him thus bespake. 
    My gallant Ajax, haste—­come quickly—­strive 145
  With me to rescue for Achilles’ sake
  His friend, though bare, for Hector hath his arms. 
    He said, and by his words the noble mind
  Of Ajax roused; issuing through the van
  He went, and Menelaus at his side. 150
  Hector the body of Patroclus dragg’d,
  Stript of his arms, with falchion keen erelong
  Purposing to strike off his head, and cast
  His trunk, drawn distant, to the dogs of Troy. 
  But Ajax, with broad shield tower-like, approach’d. 155
  Then Hector, to his bands retreating, sprang
  Into his chariot, and to others gave
  The splendid arms in charge, who into Troy
  Should bear the destined trophy of his praise,
  But Ajax with his broad shield guarding stood 160
  Slain Menoetiades, as for his whelps
  The lion stands; him through some forest drear
  Leading his little ones, the hunters meet;
  Fire glimmers in his looks, and down he draws
  His whole brow into frowns, covering his eyes; 165
  So, guarding slain Patroclus, Ajax lour’d. 
  On the other side, with tender grief oppress’d
  Unspeakable, brave Menelaus stood. 
  But Glaucus, leader of the Lycian band,
  Son of Hippolochus, in bitter terms 170
  Indignant, reprimanded Hector thus,
    Ah, Hector, Chieftain of excelling form,
  But all unfurnish’d with a warrior’s heart! 
  Unwarranted I deem thy great renown
  Who art to flight addicted.  Think, henceforth, 175
  How ye shall save city and citadel
  Thou and thy people born in Troy, alone. 
  No Lycian shall, at least, in your defence
  Fight with the Grecians, for our ceaseless toil
  In arms, hath ever been a thankless task. 180
  Inglorious Chief! how wilt thou save a worse
  From warring crowds, who hast Sarpedon left
  Thy guest, thy friend, to be a spoil, a prey
  To yonder Argives?  While he lived he much
  Thee and thy city profited, whom dead 185
  Thou fear’st to rescue even from the dogs. 
  Now, therefore, may but my advice prevail,
  Back to your country, Lycians! so, at once,
  Shall remediless ruin fall on Troy. 
  For had the Trojans now a daring heart 190
  Intrepid, such as in the breast resides
  Of laborers in their country’s dear behalf,
  We soon should drag Patroclus into Troy;
  And were his body, from the battle drawn,
  In Priam’s royal city once secured, 195
  As soon, the Argives would in ransom give

Page 229

  Sarpedon’s body with his splendid arms
  To be conducted safe into the town. 
  For when Patroclus fell, the friend was slain
  Of such a Chief as is not in the fleet 200
  For valor, and his bands are dauntless all. 
  But thou, at the first glimpse of Ajax’ eye
  Confounded, hast not dared in arms to face
  That warrior bold, superior far to thee. 
    To whom brave Hector, frowning stern, replied, 205
  Why, Glaucus! should a Chief like thee his tongue
  Presume to employ thus haughtily?  My friend! 
  I thee accounted wisest, once, of all
  Who dwell in fruitful Lycia, but thy speech
  Now utter’d altogether merits blame, 210
  In which thou tell’st me that I fear to stand
  Against vast Ajax.  Know that I from fight
  Shrink not, nor yet from sound of prancing steeds;
  But Jove’s high purpose evermore prevails
  Against the thoughts of man; he turns to flight 215
  The bravest, and the victory takes with ease
  Even from those whom once he favor’d most. 
  But hither, friend! stand with me; mark my deed;
  Prove me, if I be found, as thou hast said,
  An idler all the day, or if by force 220
  I not compel some Grecian to renounce
  Patroclus, even the boldest of them all. 
    He ceased, and to his host exclaim’d aloud. 
  Trojans, and Lycians, and close-fighting sons
  Of Dardanus, oh be ye men, my friends! 225
  Now summon all your fortitude, while I
  Put on the armor of Achilles, won
  From the renown’d Patroclus slain by me. 
    So saying, illustrious Hector from the clash
  Of spears withdrew, and with his swiftest pace 230
  Departing, overtook, not far remote,
  The bearers of Achilles’ arms to Troy. 
  Apart from all the horrors of the field
  Standing, he changed his armor; gave his own
  To be by them to sacred Ilium borne, 235
  And the immortal arms of Peleus’ son
  Achilles, by the ever-living Gods
  To Peleues given, put on.  Those arms the Sire,
  Now old himself, had on his son conferr’d
  But in those arms his son grew never old. 240
    Him, therefore, soon as cloud-assembler Jove
  Saw glittering in divine Achilles’ arms,
  Contemplative he shook his brows, and said,
    Ah hapless Chief! thy death, although at hand,
  Nought troubles thee.  Thou wear’st his heavenly 245
  Who all excels, terror of Ilium’s host. 
  His friend, though bold yet gentle, thou hast slain
  And hast the brows and bosom of the dead
  Unseemly bared:  yet, bright success awhile
  I give thee; so compensating thy lot, 250
  From whom Andromache shall ne’er receive
  Those glorious arms, for thou shalt ne’er

Page 230

    So spake the Thunderer, and his sable brows
  Shaking, confirm’d the word.  But Hector found
  The armor apt; the God of war his soul 255
  With fury fill’d, he felt his limbs afresh
  Invigorated, and with loudest shouts
  Return’d to his illustrious allies. 
  To them he seem’d, clad in those radiant arms,
  Himself Achilles; rank by rank he pass’d 260
  Through all the host, exhorting every Chief,
  Asteropaeus, Mesthles, Phorcys, Medon,
  Thersilochus, Deisenor, augur Ennomus,
  Chromius, Hippothoues; all these he roused
  To battle, and in accents wing’d began. 265
    Hear me, ye myriads, neighbors and allies! 
  For not through fond desire to fill the plain
  With multitudes, have I convened you here
  Each from his city, but that well-inclined
  To Ilium, ye might help to guard our wives 270
  And little ones against the host of Greece. 
  Therefore it is that forage large and gifts
  Providing for you, I exhaust the stores
  Of Troy, and drain our people for your sake. 
  Turn then direct against them, and his life 275
  Save each, or lose; it is the course of war. 
  Him who shall drag, though dead, Patroclus home
  Into the host of Troy, and shall repulse
  Ajax, I will reward with half the spoils
  And half shall be my own; glory and praise 280
  Shall also be his meed, equal to mine. 
    He ended; they compact with lifted spears
  Bore on the Danai, conceiving each
  Warm expectation in his heart to wrest
  From Ajax son of Telamon, the dead. 285
  Vain hope! he many a lifeless Trojan heap’d
  On slain Patroclus, but at length his speech
  To warlike Menelaus thus address’d. 
    Ah, Menelaus, valiant friend!  I hope
  No longer, now, that even we shall ’scape 290
  Ourselves from fight; nor fear I so the loss
  Of dead Patroclus, who shall soon the dogs
  Of Ilium, and the fowls sate with his flesh,
  As for my life I tremble and for thine,
  That cloud of battle, Hector, such a gloom 295
  Sheds all around; death manifest impends. 
  Haste—­call our best, if even they can hear. 
    He spake, nor Menelaus not complied,
  But call’d aloud on all the Chiefs of Greece. 
    Friends, senators, and leaders of the powers 300
  Of Argos! who with Agamemnon drink
  And Menelaus at the public feast,
  Each bearing rule o’er many, by the will
  Of Jove advanced to honor and renown! 
  The task were difficult to single out 305
  Chief after Chief by name amid the blaze
  Of such contention; but oh, come yourselves
  Indignant forth, nor let the dogs of Troy
  Patroclus rend, and gambol with his bones! 

Page 231

    He ceased, whom Oiliades the swift 310
  Hearing incontinent, of all the Chiefs
  Ran foremost, after whom Idomeneus
  Approach’d, and dread as homicidal Mars
  Meriones.  But never mind of man
  Could even in silent recollection name 315
  The whole vast multitude who, following these
  Renew’d the battle on the part of Greece. 
  The Trojans first, with Hector at their head,
  Wedged in close phalanx, rush’d to the assault
    As when within some rapid river’s mouth 320
  The billows and stream clash, on either shore[3]
  Loud sounds the roar[3] of waves ejected wide,
  Such seem’d the clamors of the Trojan host. 
  But the Achaians, one in heart, around
  Patroclus stood, bulwark’d with shields of brass 325
  And over all their glittering helmets Jove
  Darkness diffused, for he had loved Patroclus
  While yet he lived friend of AEacides,
  And now, abhorring that the dogs of Troy
  Should eat him, urged the Greeks to his defence, 330
  The host of Troy first shook the Grecian host;
  The body left, they fled; yet of them all,
  The Trojan powers, determined as they were,
  Slew none, but dragg’d the body.  Neither stood
  The Greeks long time aloof, soon as repulsed 335
  Again led on by Ajax, who in form
  And in exploits all others far excell’d. 
  Peerless AEacides alone except. 
  Right through the foremost combatants he rush’d,
  In force resembling most some savage boar 340
  That in the mountains bursting through the brakes,
  The swains disperses and their hounds with ease;
  Like him, illustrious Ajax, mighty son
  Of Telamon, at his assault dispersed
  With ease the close imbattled ranks who fought 345
  Around Patroclus’ body, strong in hope
  To achieve it, and to make the glory theirs. 
  Hippothoues, a youth of high renown,
  Son of Pelasgian Lethus, by a noose
  Around his ancle cast dragg’d through the fight 350
  Patroclus, so to gratify the host
  Of Ilium and their Chief; but evil him
  Reached suddenly, by none of all his friends
  (Though numerous wish’d to save him) turn’d aside. 
  For swift advancing on him through the crowd 355
  The son of Telamon pierced, spear in hand,
  His helmet brazen-cheek’d; the crested casque,
  So smitten, open’d wide, for huge the hand
  And ponderous was the spear that gave the blow
  And all around its neck, mingled with blood 360
  Gush’d forth the brain.  There, lifeless, down he sank,
  Let fall the hero’s foot, and fell himself
  Prone on the dead, never to see again? 
  Deep-soil’d Larissa, never to require
  Their kind solicitudes who gave him birth, 365

Page 232

  In bloom of life by dauntless Ajax slain. 
  Then Hector hurl’d at Ajax his bright spear,
  But he, forewarn’d of its approach, escaped
  Narrowly, and it pierced Schedius instead,
  Brave son of Iphitus; he, noblest Chief 370
  Of the Phocensians, over many reign’d,
  Dwelling in Panopeus the far-renown’d. 
  Entering beneath the clavicle[4] the point
  Right through his shoulder’s summit pass’d behind,
  And on his loud-resounding arms he fell. 375
  But Ajax at his waist wounded the son
  Of Phoenops, valiant Phorcys, while he stood
  Guarding Hippothoeus; through his hollow mail
  Enforced the weapon drank his inmost life,
  And in his palm, supine, he clench’d the dust. 380
  Then, Hector with the foremost Chiefs of Troy
  Fell back; the Argives sent a shout to heaven,
  And dragging Phorcys and Hippothoeus thence
  Stripp’d both.  In that bright moment Ilium’s host
  Fear-quell’d before Achaia’s warlike sons 385
  Had Troy re-enter’d, and the host of Greece
  By matchless might and fortitude their own
  Had snatch’d a victory from the grasp of fate,
  But that, himself, the King of radiant shafts
  AEneas roused; Epytis’ son he seem’d 390
  Periphas, ancient in the service grown
  Of old Anchises whom he dearly loved;
  His form assumed, Apollo thus began. 
    How could ye save, AEneas, were the Gods
  Your enemies, the towers of lofty Troy? 395
  As I have others seen, warriors who would,
  Men fill’d with might and valor, firm themselves
  And Chiefs of multitudes disdaining fear. 
  But Jove to us the victory far more
  Than to the Grecians wills; therefore the fault 400
  Is yours, who tremble and refuse the fight. 
    He ended, whom AEneas marking, knew
  At once the glorious Archer of the skies,
  And thus to distant Hector call’d aloud. 
    Oh, Hector, and ye other Chiefs of Troy 405
  And of her brave confederates!  Shame it were
  Should we re-enter Ilium, driven to flight
  By dastard fear before the host of Greece. 
  A God assured me even now, that Jove,
  Supreme in battle, gives his aid to Troy. 410
  Rush, therefore, on the Danai direct,
  Nor let them, safe at least and unannoy’d,
  Bear hence Patroclus’ body to the fleet. 
    He spake, and starting far into the van
  Stood foremost forth; they, wheeling, faced the Greeks. 415
  Then, spear in hand, AEneas smote the friend
  Of Lycomedes, brave Leocritus,
  Son of Arisbas.  Lycomedes saw
  Compassionate his death, and drawing nigh
  First stood, then hurling his resplendent lance, 420
  Right through the liver Apisaon pierced
  Offspring of Hippasus, his chest beneath,

Page 233

  And, lifeless, instant, on the field he fell. 
  He from Paeonia the deep soil’d to Troy
  Came forth, Asteropaeus sole except, 425
  Bravest of all Paeonia’s band in arms. 
  Asteropaeus saw, and to the van
  Sprang forth for furious combat well prepared,
  But room for fight found none, so thick a fence
  Of shields and ported spears fronted secure 430
  The phalanx guarding Menoetiades. 
  For Ajax ranging all the ranks, aloud
  Admonish’d them that no man yielding ground
  Should leave Patroclus, or advance before
  The rest, but all alike fight and stand fast. 435
  Such order gave huge Ajax; purple gore
  Drench’d all the ground; in slaughter’d heaps they fell
  Trojans and Trojan aids of dauntless hearts
  And Grecians; for not even they the fight
  Waged bloodless, though with far less cost of blood, 440
  Each mindful to avert his fellow’s fate. 
    Thus burn’d the battle; neither hadst thou deem’d
  The sun himself in heaven unquench’d, or moon,
  Beneath a cope so dense of darkness strove
  Unceasing all the most renown’d in arms 445
  For Menoetiades.  Meantime the war,
  Wherever else, the bright-arm’d Grecians waged
  And Trojans under skies serene.  The sun
  On them his radiance darted; not a cloud,
  From mountain or from vale rising, allay’d 450
  His fervor; there at distance due they fought
  And paused by turns, and shunn’d the cruel dart. 
  But in the middle field not war alone
  They suffer’d, but night also; ruthless raged
  The iron storm, and all the mightiest bled. 455
  Two glorious Chiefs, the while, Antilochus
  And Thrasymedes, had no tidings heard
  Of brave Patroclus slain, but deem’d him still
  Living, and troubling still the host of Troy;
  For watchful[5] only to prevent the flight 460
  Or slaughter of their fellow-warriors, they
  Maintain’d a distant station, so enjoin’d
  By Nestor when he sent them to the field. 
  But fiery conflict arduous employ’d
  The rest all day continual; knees and legs, 465
  Feet, hands, and eyes of those who fought to guard
  The valiant friend of swift AEacides
  Sweat gather’d foul and dust.  As when a man
  A huge ox-hide drunken with slippery lard
  Gives to be stretch’d, his servants all around 470
  Disposed, just intervals between, the task
  Ply strenuous, and while many straining hard
  Extend it equal on all sides, it sweats
  The moisture out, and drinks the unction in,[6]
  So they, in narrow space struggling, the dead 475
  Dragg’d every way, warm hope conceiving, these
  To drag him thence to Troy, those, to the ships. 
  Wild tumult raged around him; neither

Page 234

  Gatherer of hosts to battle, nor herself
  Pallas, however angry, had beheld 480
  That conflict with disdain, Jove to such length
  Protracted on that day the bloody toil
  Of steeds and men for Menoetiades. 
  Nor knew divine Achilles or had aught
  Heard of Patroclus slain, for from the ships 485
  Remote they fought, beneath the walls of Troy. 
  He, therefore, fear’d not for his death, but hope
  Indulged much rather, that, the battle push’d
  To Ilium’s gates, he should return alive. 
  For that his friend, unaided by himself 490
  Or ever aided, should prevail to lay
  Troy waste, he nought supposed; by Thetis warn’d
  In secret conference oft, he better knew
  Jove’s purpose; yet not even she had borne
  Those dreadful tidings to his ear, the loss 495
  Immeasurable of his dearest friend. 
    They all around the dead fought spear in hand
  With mutual slaughter ceaseless, and amid
  Achaia’s host thus spake a Chief mail-arm’d. 
    Shame were it, Grecians! should we seek by flight 500
  Our galleys now; yawn earth our feet beneath
  And here ingulf us rather!  Better far
  Than to permit the steed-famed host of Troy
  To drag Patroclus hence into the town,
  And make the glory of this conflict theirs. 505
    Thus also of the dauntless Trojans spake
  A certain warrior.  Oh, my friends! although
  The Fates ordain us, one and all, to die
  Around this body, stand! quit not the field. 
    So spake the warrior prompting into act 510
  The courage of his friends, and such they strove
  On both sides; high into the vault of heaven
  The iron din pass’d through the desart air. 
  Meantime the horses of AEacides
  From fight withdrawn, soon as they understood 515
  Their charioteer fallen in the dust beneath
  The arm of homicidal Hector, wept. 
  Them oft with hasty lash Diores’ son
  Automedon impatient smote, full oft
  He stroked them gently, and as oft he chode;[7] 520
  Yet neither to the fleet ranged on the shore
  Of spacious Hellespont would they return,
  Nor with the Grecians seek the fight, but stood
  As a sepulchral pillar stands, unmoved
  Between their traces;[8] to the earth they hung 525
  Their heads, with plenteous tears their driver mourn’d,
  And mingled their dishevell’d manes with dust. 
  Jove saw their grief with pity, and his brows
  Shaking, within himself thus, pensive, said. 
    Ah hapless pair!  Wherefore by gift divine 530
  Were ye to Peleus given, a mortal king,
  Yourselves immortal and from age exempt? 
  Was it that ye might share in human woes? 
  For, of all things that breathe or creep

Page 235

the earth,
  No creature lives so mere a wretch as man. 535
  Yet shall not Priameian Hector ride
  Triumphant, drawn by you.  Myself forbid. 
  Suffice it that he boasts vain-gloriously
  Those arms his own.  Your spirit and your limbs
  I will invigorate, that ye may bear 540
  Safe hence Automedon into the fleet. 
  For I ordain the Trojans still to spread
  Carnage around victorious, till they reach
  The gallant barks, and till the sun at length
  Descending, sacred darkness cover all. 545
    He said, and with new might the steeds inspired. 
  They, shaking from their hair profuse the dust,
  Between the van of either army whirl’d
  The rapid chariot.  Fighting as he pass’d,
  Though fill’d with sorrow for his slaughter’d friend, 550
  Automedon high-mounted swept the field
  Impetuous as a vulture scattering geese;
  Now would he vanish, and now, turn’d again,
  Chase through a multitude his trembling foe;
  But whomsoe’er he follow’d, none he slew, 555
  Nor was the task possible to a Chief
  Sole in the sacred chariot, both to aim
  The spear aright and guide the fiery steeds. 
  At length Alcimedon, his friend in arms,
  Son of Laerceus son of AEmon, him 560
  Observing, from behind the chariot hail’d
  The flying warrior, whom he thus bespake. 
    What power, Automedon! hath ta’en away
  Thy better judgment, and thy breast inspired
  With this vain purpose to assail alone 565
  The Trojan van?  Thy partner in the fight
  Is slain, and Hector on his shoulders bears,
  Elate, the armor of AEacides. 
    Then, answer thus Automedon return’d,
  Son of Diores.  Who of all our host 570
  Was ever skill’d, Alcimedon! as thou
  To rule the fire of these immortal steeds,
  Save only while he lived, peer of the Gods
  In that great art, Patroclus, now no more? 
  Thou, therefore, the resplendent reins receive 575
  And scourge, while I, dismounting, wage the fight. 
    He ceased; Alcimedon without delay
  The battle-chariot mounting, seized at once
  The lash and reins, and from his seat down leap’d
  Automedon.  Them noble Hector mark’d, 580
  And to AEneas at his side began. 
    Illustrious Chief of Trojans brazen-mail’d
  AEneas!  I have noticed yonder steeds
  Of swift Achilles rushing into fight
  Conspicuous, but under sway of hands 585
  Unskilful; whence arises a fair hope
  That we might seize them, wert thou so inclined;
  For never would those two dare to oppose
  In battle an assault dreadful as ours. 
    He ended, nor the valiant son refused 590

Page 236

  Of old Anchises, but with targets firm
  Of season’d hide brass-plated thrown athwart
  Their shoulders, both advanced direct, with whom
  Of godlike form Aretus also went
  And Chromius.  Ardent hope they all conceived 595
  To slay those Chiefs, and from the field to drive
  Achilles’ lofty steeds.  Vain hope! for them
  No bloodless strife awaited with the force
  Of brave Automedon; he, prayer to Jove
  First offering, felt his angry soul with might 600
  Heroic fill’d, and thus his faithful friend
  Alcimedon, incontinent, address’d. 
    Alcimedon! hold not the steeds remote
  But breathing on my back; for I expect
  That never Priameian Hector’s rage 605
  Shall limit know, or pause, till, slaying us,
  He shall himself the coursers ample-maned
  Mount of Achilles, and to flight compel
  The Argive host, or perish in the van. 
    So saying, he call’d aloud on Menelaus 610
  With either Ajax.  Oh, illustrious Chiefs
  Of Argos, Menelaus, and ye bold
  Ajaces![9] leaving all your best to cope
  With Ilium’s powers and to protect the dead,
  From friends still living ward the bitter day. 615
  For hither borne, two Chiefs, bravest of all
  The Trojans, Hector and AEneas rush
  Right through the battle.  The events of war
  Heaven orders; therefore even I will give
  My spear its flight, and Jove dispose the rest! 620
    He said, and brandishing his massy spear
  Dismiss’d it at Aretus; full he smote
  His ample shield, nor stay’d the pointed brass,
  But penetrating sheer the disk, his belt
  Pierced also, and stood planted in his waist. 625
  As when some vigorous youth with sharpen’d axe
  A pastured bullock smites behind the horns
  And hews the muscle through; he, at the stroke
  Springs forth and falls, so sprang Aretus forth,
  Then fell supine, and in his bowels stood 630
  The keen-edged lance still quivering till he died. 
  Then Hector, in return, his radiant spear
  Hurl’d at Automedon, who of its flight
  Forewarn’d his body bowing prone, the stroke
  Eluded, and the spear piercing the soil 635
  Behind him, shook to its superior end,
  Till, spent by slow degrees, its fury slept. 
  And now, with hand to hilt, for closer war
  Both stood prepared, when through the multitude
  Advancing at their fellow-warrior’s call, 640
  The Ajaces suddenly their combat fierce
  Prevented.  Awed at once by their approach
  Hector retired, with whom AEneas went
  Also and godlike Chromius, leaving there
  Aretus with his vitals torn, whose arms, 645
  Fierce as the God of war Automedon
  Stripp’d off, and thus exulted o’er

Page 237

the slain. 
    My soul some portion of her grief resigns
  Consoled, although by slaughter of a worse,
  For loss of valiant Menoetiades. 650
    So saying, within his chariot he disposed
  The gory spoils, then mounted it himself
  With hands and feet purpled, as from a bull
  His bloody prey, some lion newly-gorged. 
    And now around Patroclus raged again 655
  Dread strife deplorable! for from the skies
  Descending at the Thunderer’s command
  Whose purpose now was to assist the Greeks,
  Pallas enhanced the fury of the fight. 
  As when from heaven, in view of mortals, Jove 660
  Exhibits bright his bow, a sign ordain’d
  Of war, or numbing frost which all the works
  Suspends of man and saddens all the flocks;
  So she, all mantled with a radiant cloud
  Entering Achaia’s host, fired every breast. 665
  But meeting Menelaus first, brave son
  Of Atreus, in the form and with the voice
  Robust of Phoenix, him she thus bespake. 
    Shame, Menelaus, shall to thee redound
  For ever, and reproach, should dogs devour 670
  The faithful friend of Peleus’ noble son
  Under Troy’s battlements; but stand, thyself,
  Undaunted, and encourage all the host. 
    To whom the son of Atreus bold in arms. 
  Ah, Phoenix, friend revered, ancient and sage! 675
  Would Pallas give me might and from the dint
  Shield me of dart and spear, with willing mind
  I would defend Patroclus, for his death
  Hath touch’d me deep.  But Hector with the rage
  Burns of consuming fire, nor to his spear 680
  Gives pause, for him Jove leads to victory. 
    He ceased, whom Pallas, Goddess azure-eyed
  Hearing, rejoiced that of the heavenly powers
  He had invoked her foremost to his aid. 
  His shoulders with new might, and limbs she fill’d, 685
  And persevering boldness to his breast
  Imparted, such as prompts the fly, which oft
  From flesh of man repulsed, her purpose yet
  To bite holds fast, resolved on human blood. 
  His stormy bosom with such courage fill’d 690
  By Pallas, to Patroclus he approach’d
  And hurl’d, incontinent, his glittering spear. 
  There was a Trojan Chief, Podes by name,
  Son of Eetion, valorous and rich;
  Of all Troy’s citizens him Hector most 695
  Respected, in convivial pleasures sweet
  His chosen companion.  As he sprang to flight,
  The hero of the golden locks his belt
  Struck with full force and sent the weapon through. 
  Sounding he fell, and from the Trojan ranks 700
  Atrides dragg’d the body to his own. 
  Then drew Apollo near to Hector’s side,
  And in the form of Phoenops, Asius’

Page 238

  Of all the foreign guests at Hector’s board
  His favorite most, the hero thus address’d. 705
    What Chief of all the Grecians shall henceforth
  Fear Hector, who from Menelaus shrinks
  Once deem’d effeminate, but dragging now
  The body of thy valiant friend approved
  Whom he hath slain, Podes, Eetion’s son? 710
    He spake, and at his words grief like a cloud
  Involved the mind of Hector dark around;
  Right through the foremost combatants he rush’d
  All clad in dazzling brass.  Then, lifting high
  His tassel’d AEgis radiant, Jove with storms 715
  Enveloped Ida; flash’d his lightnings, roar’d
  His thunders, and the mountain shook throughout. 
  Troy’s host he prosper’d, and the Greeks dispersed. 
    First fled Peneleus, the Boeotian Chief,
  Whom facing firm the foe Polydamas 720
  Struck on his shoulder’s summit with a lance
  Hurl’d nigh at hand, which slight inscribed the bone.
  [10]Leitus also, son of the renown’d
  Alectryon, pierced by Hector in the wrist,
  Disabled left the fight; trembling he fled 725
  And peering narrowly around, nor hoped
  To lift a spear against the Trojans more. 
  Hector, pursuing Leitus, the point
  Encounter’d of the brave Idomeneus
  Full on his chest; but in his mail the lance 730
  Snapp’d, and the Trojans shouted to the skies. 
  He, in his turn, cast at Deucalion’s son
  Idomeneus, who in that moment gain’d[11]
  A chariot-seat; but him the erring spear
  Attain’d not, piercing Coeranus instead 735
  The friend and follower of Meriones
  From wealthy Lyctus, and his charioteer. 
  For when he left, that day, the gallant barks
  Idomeneus had sought the field on foot,
  And triumph proud, full sure, to Ilium’s host 740
  Had yielded now, but that with rapid haste
  Coeranus drove to his relief, from him
  The fate averting which himself incurr’d
  Victim of Hector’s homicidal arm. 
  Him Hector smiting between ear and jaw 745
  Push’d from their sockets with the lance’s point
  His firm-set teeth, and sever’d sheer his tongue. 
  Dismounted down he fell, and from his hand
  Let slide the flowing reins, which, to the earth
  Stooping, Meriones in haste resumed, 750
  And briefly thus Idomeneus address’d. 
    Now drive, and cease not, to the fleet of Greece! 
  Thyself see’st victory no longer ours. 
    He said; Idomeneus whom, now, dismay
  Seized also, with his lash plying severe 755
  The coursers ample-maned, flew to the fleet. 
  Nor Ajax, dauntless hero, not perceived,
  Nor Menelaus, by the sway of Jove
  The victory inclining fast to Troy,

Page 239

  And thus the Telamonian Chief began. 760
    Ah! who can be so blind as not to see
  The eternal Father, now, with his own hand
  Awarding glory to the Trojan host,
  Whose every spear flies, instant, to the mark
  Sent forth by brave or base?  Jove guides them all, 765
  While, ineffectual, ours fall to the ground. 
  But haste, devise we of ourselves the means
  How likeliest we may bear Patroclus hence,
  And gladden, safe returning, all our friends,
  Who, hither looking anxious, hope have none 770
  That we shall longer check the unconquer’d force
  Of hero-slaughtering Hector, but expect
  [12]To see him soon amid the fleet of Greece. 
  Oh for some Grecian now to carry swift
  The tidings to Achilles’ ear, untaught, 775
  As I conjecture, yet the doleful news
  Of his Patroclus slain! but no such Greek
  May I discern, such universal gloom
  Both men and steeds envelops all around. 
  Father of heaven and earth! deliver thou 780
  Achaia’s host from darkness; clear the skies;
  Give day; and (since thy sovereign will is such)
  Destruction with it—­but oh give us day![13]
    He spake, whose tears Jove saw with pity moved,
  And chased the untimely shades; bright beam’d the sun 785
  And the whole battle was display’d.  Then spake
  The hero thus to Atreus’ mighty son. 
    Now noble Menelaus! looking forth,
  See if Antilochus be yet alive,
  Brave son of Nestor, whom exhort to fly 790
  With tidings to Achilles, of the friend
  Whom most he loved, of his Patroclus slain. 
    He ceased, nor Menelaus, dauntless Chief,
  That task refused, but went; yet neither swift
  Nor willing.  As a lion leaves the stalls 795
  Wearied himself with harassing the guard,
  Who, interdicting him his purposed prey,
  Watch all the night; he famish’d, yet again
  Comes furious on, but speeds not, kept aloof
  By spears from daring hands dismissed, but more 800
  By flash of torches which, though fierce, he dreads,
  Till at the dawn, sullen he stalks away;
  So from Patroclus Menelaus went
  Heroic Chief! reluctant; for he fear’d
  Lest the Achaians should resign the dead, 805
  Through consternation, to the host of Troy. 
  Departing, therefore, he admonish’d oft
  Meriones and the Ajaces, thus. 
    Ye two brave leaders of the Argive host,
  And thou, Meriones! now recollect 810
  The gentle manners of Patroclus fallen
  Hapless in battle, who by carriage mild
  Well understood, while yet he lived, to engage
  All hearts, through prisoner now of death and fate. 
    So saying, the hero amber-hair’d his steps 815

Page 240

  Turn’d thence, the field exploring with an eye
  Sharp as the eagle’s, of all fowls beneath
  The azure heavens for keenest sight renown’d,
  Whom, though he soar sublime, the leveret
  By broadest leaves conceal’d ’scapes not, but swift 820
  Descending, even her he makes his prey;
  So, noble Menelaus! were thine eyes
  Turn’d into every quarter of the host
  In search of Nestor’s son, if still he lived. 
  Him, soon, encouraging his band to fight, 825
  He noticed on the left of all the field,
  And sudden standing at his side, began. 
    Antilochus! oh hear me, noble friend! 
  And thou shalt learn tidings of such a deed
  As best had never been.  Thou know’st, I judge, 830
  And hast already seen, how Jove exalts
  To victory the Trojan host, and rolls
  Distress on ours; but ah!  Patroclus lies,
  Our chief Achaian, slain, whose loss the Greeks
  Fills with regret.  Haste, therefore, to the fleet, 835
  Inform Achilles; bid him haste to save,
  If save he can, the body of his friend;
  He can no more, for Hector hath his arms. 
    He ceased.  Antilochus with horror heard
  Those tidings; mute long time he stood, his eyes 840
  Swam tearful, and his voice, sonorous erst,
  Found utterance none.  Yet even so distress’d,
  He not the more neglected the command
  Of Menelaus.  Setting forth to run,
  He gave his armor to his noble friend 845
  Laodocus, who thither turn’d his steeds,
  And weeping as he went, on rapid feet
  Sped to Achilles with that tale of wo. 
    Nor could the noble Menelaus stay
  To give the weary Pylian band, bereft 850
  Of their beloved Antilochus, his aid,
  But leaving them to Thrasymedes’ care,
  He flew to Menoetiades again,
  And the Ajaces, thus, instant bespake. 
    He goes.  I have dispatch’d him to the fleet 855
  To seek Achilles; but his coming naught
  Expect I now, although with rage he burn
  Against illustrious Hector; for what fight
  Can he, unarm’d, against the Trojans wage? 
  Deliberating, therefore, frame we means 860
  How best to save Patroclus, and to ’scape
  Ourselves unslain from this disastrous field. 
    Whom answer’d the vast son of Telamon. 
  Most noble Menelaus! good is all
  Which thou hast spoken.  Lift ye from the earth 865
  Thou and Meriones, at once, and bear
  The dead Patroclus from the bloody field. 
  To cope meantime with Hector and his host
  Shall be our task, who, one in name, nor less
  In spirit one, already have the brunt 870
  Of much sharp conflict, side by side, sustain’d. 
    He ended; they enfolding in their arms
  The dead, upbore him high above the ground

Page 241

  With force united; after whom the host
  Of Troy, seeing the body borne away, 875
  Shouted, and with impetuous onset all
  Follow’d them.  As the hounds, urged from behind
  By youthful hunters, on the wounded boar
  Make fierce assault; awhile at utmost speed
  They stretch toward him hungering, for the prey, 880
  But oft as, turning sudden, the stout brawn
  Faces them, scatter’d on all sides escape;
  The Trojans so, thick thronging in the rear,
  Ceaseless with falchions and spears double-edged
  Annoy’d them sore, but oft as in retreat 885
  The dauntless heroes, the Ajaces turn’d
  To face them, deadly wan grew every cheek,
  And not a Trojan dared with onset rude
  Molest them more in conflict for the dead. 
    Thus they, laborious, forth from battle bore 890
  Patroclus to the fleet, tempestuous war
  Their steps attending, rapid as the flames
  Which, kindled suddenly, some city waste;
  Consumed amid the blaze house after house
  Sinks, and the wind, meantime, roars through the fire; 895
  So them a deafening tumult as they went
  Pursued, of horses and of men spear-arm’d. 
  And as two mules with strength for toil endued,
  Draw through rough ways down from the distant hills
  Huge timber, beam or mast; sweating they go, 900
  And overlabor’d to faint weariness;
  So they the body bore, while, turning oft,
  The Ajaces check’d the Trojans.  As a mound
  Planted with trees and stretch’d athwart the mead
  Repels an overflow; the torrents loud 905
  Baffling, it sends them far away to float
  The level land, nor can they with the force
  Of all their waters burst a passage through;
  So the Ajaces, constant, in the rear
  Repress’d the Trojans; but the Trojans them 910
  Attended still, of whom AEneas most
  Troubled them, and the glorious Chief of Troy. 
  They as a cloud of starlings or of daws
  Fly screaming shrill, warn’d timely of the kite
  Or hawk, devourers of the smaller kinds, 915
  So they shrill-clamoring toward the fleet,
  Hasted before AEneas and the might
  Of Hector, nor the battle heeded more. 
  Much radiant armor round about the foss
  Fell of the flying Grecians, or within 920
  Lay scatter’d, and no pause of war they found.




Achilles, by command of Juno, shows himself to the Trojans, who fly at his appearance; Vulcan, at the insistence of Thetis, forges for him a suit of armor.


Page 242

Thus burn’d the battle like devouring fire. 
Meantime, Antilochus with rapid steps
Came to Achilles.  Him he found before
His lofty barks, occupied, as he stood,
With boding fears of all that had befall’n. 5
He groan’d, and to his noble self he said. 
Ah! wo is me—­why falls Achaia’s host,
With such disorder foul, back on the fleet? 
I tremble lest the Gods my anxious thoughts
Accomplish and my mother’s words, who erst 10
Hath warn’d me, that the bravest and the best
Of all my Myrmidons, while yet I live,
Slain under Troy, must view the sun no more. 
Brave Menoetiades is, doubtless, slain. 
Unhappy friend!  I bade thee oft, our barks 15
Deliver’d once from hostile fires, not seek
To cope in arms with Hector, but return. 
While musing thus he stood, the son approach’d
Of noble Nestor, and with tears his cheeks
Bedewing copious, his sad message told. 20
Oh son of warlike Peleus! thou shalt hear
Tidings of deeds which best had never been. 
Patroclus is no more.  The Grecians fight
For his bare corse, and Hector hath his arms.[1]
Then clouds of sorrow fell on Peleus’ son, 25
And, grasping with both hands the ashes, down
He pour’d them on his head, his graceful brows
Dishonoring, and thick the sooty shower
Descending settled on his fragrant vest. 
Then, stretch’d in ashes, at the vast extent 30
Of his whole length he lay, disordering wild
With his own hands, and rending off his hair. 
The maidens, captived by himself in war
And by Patroclus, shrieking from the tent
Ran forth, and hemm’d the glorious Chief around.[2] 35
All smote their bosoms, and all, fainting, fell. 
On the other side, Antilochus the hands
Held of Achilles, mourning and deep groans
Uttering from his noble heart, through fear
Lest Peleus’ son should perish self-destroy’d. 40
Loud groan’d the hero, whose loud groans within
The gulfs of ocean, where she sat beside
Her ancient sire, his Goddess-mother heard,
And hearing shriek’d; around her at the voice
Assembled all the Nereids of the deep 45
Cymodoce, Thalia, Glauca came,
Nisaea, Spio, Thoa, and with eyes
Protuberant beauteous Halia; came with these
Cymothoee, and Actaea, and the nymph
Of marshes, Limnorea, nor delay’d 50
Agave, nor Amphithoee the swift,
Iaera, Doto, Melita, nor thence
Was absent Proto or Dynamene,
Callianira, Doris, Panope,
Pherusa or Amphinome, or fair 55
Dexamene, or Galatea praised
For matchless form divine; Nemertes pure
Came also, with Apseudes crystal-bright,
Callianassa, Maera, Clymene,
Janeira and Janassa, sister pair, 60

Page 243

And Orithya and with azure locks
Luxuriant, Amathea; nor alone
Came these, but every ocean-nymph beside,
The silver cave was fill’d; each smote her breast,
And Thetis, loud lamenting, thus began. 65
Ye sister Nereids, hear! that ye may all
From my own lips my boundless sorrow learn. 
Ah me forlorn! ah me, parent in vain
Of an illustrious birth! who, having borne
A noble son magnanimous, the chief 70
Of heroes, saw him like a thriving plant
Shoot vigorous under my maternal care,
And sent him early in his gallant fleet
Embark’d, to combat with the sons of Troy. 
But him from fight return’d I shall receive 75
Beneath the roof of Peleus, never more;
And while he lives, and on the sun his eyes
Opens, he mourns, nor, going, can I aught
Assist him; yet I go, that I may see
My darling son, and from his lips be taught 80
What grief hath now befallen him, who close
Abiding in his tent shares not the war. 
So saying she left the cave, whom all her nymphs
Attended weeping, and where’er they pass’d
The breaking billows open’d wide a way. 85
At fruitful Troy arrived, in order fair
They climb’d the beach, where by his numerous barks
Encompass’d, swift Achilles sighing lay. 
Then, drawing nigh to her afflicted son,
The Goddess-mother press’d between her palms 90
His temples, and in accents wing’d inquired. 
Why weeps my son? what sorrow wrings thy soul? 
Speak, hide it not.  Jove hath fulfill’d the prayer
Which erst with lifted hands thou didst prefer,
That all Achaia’s host, wanting thy aid, 95
Might be compell’d into the fleet, and foul
Disgrace incur, there prison’d for thy sake. 
To whom Achilles, groaning deep, replied. 
My mother! it is true; Olympian Jove
That prayer fulfils; but thence, what joy to me, 100
Patroclus slain? the friend of all my friends
Whom most I loved, dear to me as my life—­
Him I have lost.  Slain and despoil’d he lies
By Hector of his glorious armor bright,
The wonder of all eyes, a matchless gift 105
Given by the Gods to Peleus on that day
When thee they doom’d into a mortal’s arms. 
Oh that with these thy deathless ocean-nymphs
Dwelling content, thou hadst my father left
To espouse a mortal bride, so hadst thou ’scaped 110
Pangs numberless which thou must now endure
For thy son’s death, whom thou shalt never meet
From Troy return’d, in Peleus’ mansion more! 
For life I covet not, nor longer wish
To mix with human kind, unless my spear 115
May find out Hector, and atonement take
By slaying him, for my Patroclus slain. 
To whom, with streaming tears, Thetis replied. 
Swift comes thy destiny as thou hast said,

Page 244

For after Hector’s death thine next ensues. 120
Then answer, thus, indignant he return’d. 
Death, seize me now! since when my friend was slain,
My doom was, not to succor him.  He died
From home remote, and wanting me to save him. 
Now, therefore, since I neither visit more 125
My native land, nor, present here, have aught
Avail’d Patroclus or my many friends
Whom noble Hector hath in battle slain,
But here I sit unprofitable grown,
Earth’s burden, though of such heroic note, 130
If not in council foremost (for I yield
That prize to others) yet in feats of arms,
Such as none other in Achaia’s host,
May fierce contention from among the Gods
Perish, and from among the human race, 135
With wrath, which sets the wisest hearts on fire;
Sweeter than dropping honey to the taste,
But in the bosom of mankind, a smoke![3]
Such was my wrath which Agamemnon roused,
The king of men.  But since the past is fled 140
Irrevocable, howsoe’er distress’d,
Renounce we now vain musings on the past,
Content through sad necessity.  I go
In quest of noble Hector, who hath slain
My loved Patroclus, and such death will take 145
As Jove ordains me and the Powers of Heaven
At their own season, send it when they may. 
For neither might the force of Hercules,
Although high-favored of Saturnian Jove,
From death escape, but Fate and the revenge 150
Restless of Juno vanquish’d even Him. 
I also, if a destiny like his
Await me, shall, like him, find rest in death;
But glory calls me now; now will I make
Some Trojan wife or Dardan with both hands 155
Wipe her soft cheeks, and utter many a groan. 
Long time have I been absent from the field,
And they shall know it.  Love me as thou may’st,
Yet thwart me not, for I am fixt to go. 
Whom Thetis answer’d, Goddess of the Deep. 160
Thou hast well said, my son! it is no blame
To save from threaten’d death our suffering friends. 
But thy magnificent and dazzling arms
Are now in Trojan hands; them Hector wears
Exulting, but ordain’d not long to exult, 165
So habited; his death is also nigh. 
But thou with yonder warring multitudes
Mix not till thou behold me here again;
For with the rising sun I will return
To-morrow, and will bring thee glorious arms, 170
By Vulcan forged himself, the King of fire.[4]
She said, and turning from her son aside,
The sisterhood of Ocean thus address’d. 
Plunge ye again into the briny Deep,
And to the hoary Sovereign of the floods 175
Report as ye have heard.  I to the heights
Olympian haste, that I may there obtain
From Vulcan, glorious artist of the skies,

Page 245

Arms of excelling beauty for my son. 
She said; they plunged into the waves again, 180
And silver-footed Thetis, to the heights
Olympian soaring swiftly to obtain
Arms for renown’d Achilles, disappear’d. 
Meantime, with infinite uproar the Greeks
From Hector’s hero-slaying arm had fled 185
Home to their galleys station’d on the banks
Of Hellespont.  Nor yet Achaia’s sons
Had borne the body of Patroclus clear
From flight of darts away, but still again
The multitude of warriors and of steeds 190
Came on, by Priameian Hector led
Rapid as fire.  Thrice noble Hector seized
His ancles from behind, ardent to drag
Patroclus, calling to his host the while;
But thrice, the two Ajaces, clothed with might, 195
Shock’d and repulsed him reeling.  He with force
Fill’d indefatigable, through his ranks
Issuing, by turns assail’d them, and by turns
Stood clamoring, yet not a step retired;
But as the hinds deter not from his prey 200
A tawny lion by keen hunger urged,
So would not both Ajaces, warriors bold,
Intimidate and from the body drive
Hector; and he had dragg’d him thence and won
Immortal glory, but that Iris, sent 205
Unseen by Jove and by the powers of heaven,
From Juno, to Achilles brought command
That he should show himself.  Full near she drew,
And in wing’d accents thus the Chief address’d. 
Hero! most terrible of men, arise! 210
protect Patroclus, for whose sake the war
Stands at the fleet of Greece.  Mutual prevails
The slaughter, these the dead defending, those
Resolute hence to drag him to the gates
Of wind-swept Ilium.  But beyond them all 215
Illustrious Hector, obstinate is bent
To win him, purposing to lop his head,
And to exhibit it impaled on high. 
Thou then arise, nor longer on the ground
Lie stretch’d inactive; let the thought with shame 220
Touch thee, of thy Patroclus made the sport
Of Trojan dogs, whose corse, if it return
Dishonored home, brings with it thy reproach. 
To whom Achilles matchless in the race. 
Iris divine! of all the Gods, who sent thee? 225
Then, thus, the swift ambassadress of heaven. 
By Juno sent I come, consort of Jove. 
Nor knows Saturnian Jove high-throned, himself,
My flight, nor any of the Immortal Powers,
Tenants of the Olympian heights snow-crown’d. 230
Her answer’d then Pelides, glorious Chief. 
How shall I seek the fight? they have my arms. 
My mother charged me also to abstain
From battle, till she bring me armor new
Which she hath promised me from Vulcan’s hand. 235
Meantime, whose armor else might serve my need
I know not, save perhaps alone the shield

Page 246

Of Telamonian Ajax, whom I deem
Himself now busied in the stormy van,
Slaying the Trojans in my friend’s defence. 240
To whom the swift-wing’d messenger of heaven,
Full well we know thine armor Hector’s prize
Yet, issuing to the margin of the foss,
Show thyself only.  Panic-seized, perchance,
The Trojans shall from fight desist, and yield 245
To the o’ertoil’d though dauntless sons of Greece
Short respite; it is all that war allows. 
So saying, the storm-wing’d Iris disappear’d. 
Then rose at once Achilles dear to Jove,
Athwart whose shoulders broad Minerva cast 250
Her AEgis fringed terrific, and his brows
Encircled with a golden cloud that shot
Fires insupportable to sight abroad. 
As when some island, situate afar
On the wide waves, invested all the day 255
By cruel foes from their own city pour’d,
Upsends a smoke to heaven, and torches shows
On all her turrets at the close of eve
Which flash against the clouds, kindled in hope
Of aid from neighbor maritime allies, 260
So from Achilles’ head light flash’d to heaven. 
Issuing through the wall, beside the foss
He stood, but mix’d not with Achaia’s host,
Obedient to his mother’s wise command. 
He stood and shouted; Pallas also raised 265
A dreadful shout and tumult infinite
Excited throughout all the host of Troy. 
Clear as the trumpet’s note when it proclaims
A numerous host approaching to invest
Some city close around, so clear the voice 270
Rang of AEacides, and tumult-toss’d
Was every soul that heard the brazen tone. 
With swift recoil the long-maned coursers thrust
The chariots back, all boding wo at hand,
And every charioteer astonish’d saw 275
Fires that fail’d not, illumining the brows
Of Peleus’ son, by Pallas kindled there. 
Thrice o’er the trench Achilles sent his voice
Sonorous, and confusion at the sound
Thrice seized the Trojans, and their famed allies. 280
Twelve in that moment of their noblest died
By their own spears and chariots, and with joy
The Grecians from beneath a hill of darts
Dragging Patroclus, placed him on his bier. 
Around him throng’d his fellow-warriors bold, 285
All weeping, after whom Achilles went
Fast-weeping also at the doleful sight
Of his true friend on his funereal bed
Extended, gash’d with many a mortal wound,
Whom he had sent into the fight with steeds 290
And chariot, but received him thence no more. 
And now majestic Juno sent the sun,
Unwearied minister of light, although
Reluctant, down into the Ocean stream.[5]
So the sun sank, and the Achaians ceased 295
From the all-wasting labors of the war. 

Page 247

On the other side, the Trojans, from the fight
Retiring, loosed their steeds, but ere they took
Thought of refreshment, in full council met. 
It was a council at which no man sat, 300
Or dared; all stood; such terror had on all
Fallen, for that Achilles had appear’d,
After long pause from battle’s arduous toil. 
First rose Polydamas the prudent son
Of Panthus, above all the Trojans skill’d 305
Both in futurity and in the past. 
He was the friend of Hector, and one night
Gave birth to both.  In council one excell’d
And one still more in feats of high renown. 
Thus then, admonishing them, he began. 310
My friends! weigh well the occasion.  Back to Troy
By my advice, nor wait the sacred morn
Here, on the plain, from Ilium’s walls remote
So long as yet the anger of this Chief
’Gainst noble Agamemnon burn’d, so long 315
We found the Greeks less formidable foes,
And I rejoiced, myself, spending the night
Beside their oary barks, for that I hoped
To seize them; but I now tremble at thought
Of Peleus’ rapid son again in arms. 320
A spirit proud as his will scorn to fight
Here, on the plain, where Greeks and Trojans take
Their common share of danger and of toil,
And will at once strike at your citadel,
Impatient till he make your wives his prey. 325
Haste—­let us home—­else thus shall it befall;
Night’s balmy influence in his tent detains
Achilles now, but rushing arm’d abroad
To-morrow, should he find us lingering here,
None shall mistake him then; happy the man 330
Who soonest, then, shall ’scape to sacred Troy! 
Then, dogs shall make and vultures on our flesh
Plenteous repast.  Oh spare mine ears the tale! 
But if, though troubled, ye can yet receive
My counsel, thus assembled we will keep 335
Strict guard to-night; meantime, her gates and towers
With all their mass of solid timbers, smooth
And cramp’d with bolts of steel, will keep the town. 
But early on the morrow we will stand
All arm’d on Ilium’s towers.  Then, if he choose, 340
His galleys left, to compass Troy about,
He shall be task’d enough; his lofty steeds
Shall have their fill of coursing to and fro
Beneath, and gladly shall to camp return. 
But waste the town he shall not, nor attempt 345
With all the utmost valor that he boasts
To force a pass; dogs shall devour him first. 
To whom brave Hector louring, and in wrath. 
Polydamas, I like not thy advice
Who bidd’st us in our city skulk, again 350
Imprison’d there.  Are ye not yet content? 
Wish ye for durance still in your own towers? 
Time was, when in all regions under heaven
Men praised the wealth of Priam’s city stored

Page 248

With gold and brass; but all our houses now 355
Stand emptied of their hidden treasures rare. 
Jove in his wrath hath scatter’d them; our wealth
Is marketed, and Phrygia hath a part
Purchased, and part Maeonia’s lovely land. 
But since the son of wily Saturn old 360
Hath given me glory now, and to inclose
The Grecians in their fleet hemm’d by the sea,
Fool! taint not with such talk the public mind. 
For not a Trojan here will thy advice
Follow, or shall; it hath not my consent. 365
But thus I counsel.  Let us, band by band,
Throughout the host take supper, and let each,
Guarded against nocturnal danger, watch. 
And if a Trojan here be rack’d in mind
Lest his possessions perish, let him cast 370
His golden heaps into the public maw,[6]
Far better so consumed than by the Greeks. 
Then, with the morrow’s dawn, all fair array’d
In battle, we will give them at their fleet
Sharp onset, and if Peleus’ noble son 375
Have risen indeed to conflict for the ships,
The worse for him.  I shall not for his sake
Avoid the deep-toned battle, but will firm
Oppose his utmost.  Either he shall gain
Or I, great glory.  Mars his favors deals 380
Impartial, and the slayer oft is slain. 
So counsell’d Hector, whom with shouts of praise
The Trojans answer’d:—­fools, and by the power
Of Pallas of all sober thought bereft! 
For all applauded Hector, who had given 385
Advice pernicious, and Polydamas,
Whose counsel was discreet and wholesome none. 
So then they took repast.  But all night long
The Grecians o’er Patroclus wept aloud,
While, standing in the midst, Pelides led 390
The lamentation, heaving many a groan,
And on the bosom of his breathless friend
Imposing, sad, his homicidal hands. 
As the grim lion, from whose gloomy lair
Among thick trees the hunter hath his whelps 395
Purloin’d, too late returning mourns his loss,
Then, up and down, the length of many a vale
Courses, exploring fierce the robber’s foot,
Incensed as he, and with a sigh deep-drawn
Thus to his Myrmidons Achilles spake. 400
How vain, alas! my word spoken that day
At random, when to soothe the hero’s fears
Menoetius, then our guest, I promised him
His noble son at Opoeis again,
Living and laden with the spoils of Troy! 405
But Jove performs not all the thoughts of man,
For we were both destined to tinge the soil
Of Ilium with our blood, nor I shall see,
Myself, my father in his mansion more
Or Thetis, but must find my burial here. 410
Yet, my Patroclus! since the earth expects
Me next, I will not thy funereal rites

Page 249

Finish, till I shall bring both head and arms
Of that bold Chief who slew thee, to my tent. 
I also will smite off, before thy pile, 415
The heads of twelve illustrious sons of Troy,
Resentful of thy death.  Meantime, among
My lofty galleys thou shalt lie, with tears
Mourn’d day and night by Trojan captives fair
And Dardan compassing thy bier around, 420
Whom we, at price of labor hard, ourselves
With massy spears toiling in battle took
From many an opulent city, now no more. 
So saying, he bade his train surround with fire
A tripod huge, that they might quickly cleanse 425
Patroclus from all stain of clotted gore. 
They on the blazing hearth a tripod placed
Capacious, fill’d with water its wide womb,
And thrust dry wood beneath, till, fierce, the flames
Embraced it round, and warm’d the flood within. 430
Soon as the water in the singing brass
Simmer’d, they bathed him, and with limpid oil
Anointed; filling, next, his ruddy wounds
With unguent mellow’d by nine circling years,
They stretch’d him on his bed, then cover’d him 435
From head to feet with linen texture light,
And with a wide unsullied mantle, last.[7]
All night the Myrmidons around the swift
Achilles stood, deploring loud his friend,
And Jove his spouse and sister thus bespake. 440
So then, Imperial Juno! not in vain
Thou hast the swift Achilles sought to rouse
Again to battle; the Achaians, sure,
Are thy own children, thou hast borne them all. 
To whom the awful Goddess ample-eyed. 445
What word hath pass’d thy lips, Jove, most severe? 
A man, though mortal merely, and to me
Inferior in device, might have achieved
That labor easily.  Can I who boast
Myself the chief of Goddesses, and such 450
Not by birth only, but as thine espoused,
Who art thyself sovereign of all the Gods,
Can I with anger burn against the house
Of Priam, and want means of just revenge? 
Thus they in heaven their mutual conference 455
Meantime, the silver-footed Thetis reach’d
The starr’d abode eternal, brazen wall’d
Of Vulcan, by the builder lame himself
Uprear’d, a wonder even in eyes divine. 
She found him sweating, at his bellows huge 460
Toiling industrious; tripods bright he form’d
Twenty at once, his palace-wall to grace
Ranged in harmonious order.  Under each
Two golden wheels he set, on which (a sight
Marvellous!) into council they should roll 465
Self-moved, and to his house, self-moved, return. 
Thus far the work was finish’d, but not yet
Their ears of exquisite design affixt,
For them he stood fashioning, and prepared
The rivets.  While he thus his matchless skill 470

Page 250

Employ’d laborious, to his palace-gate
The silver-footed Thetis now advanced,
Whom Charis, Vulcan’s well-attired spouse,
Beholding from the palace portal, flew
To seize the Goddess’ hand, and thus inquired. 475
Why, Thetis! worthy of all reverence
And of all love, comest thou to our abode,
Unfrequent here?  But enter, and accept
Such welcome as to such a guest is due. 
So saying, she introduced and to a seat 480
Led her with argent studs border’d around
And foot-stool’d sumptuously;[8] then, calling forth
Her spouse, the glorious artist, thus she said. 
Haste, Vulcan!  Thetis wants thee; linger not. 
To whom the artist of the skies replied. 485
A Goddess then, whom with much cause I love
And venerate is here, who when I fell
Saved me, what time my shameless mother sought
To cast me, because lame, out of all sight;
Then had I been indeed forlorn, had not 490
Eurynome the daughter of the Deep
And Thetis in their laps received me fallen. 
Nine years with them residing, for their use
I form’d nice trinkets, clasps, rings, pipes, and chains,
While loud around our hollow cavern roar’d 495
The surge of the vast deep, nor God nor man,
Save Thetis and Eurynome, my life’s
Preservers, knew where I was kept conceal’d. 
Since, therefore, she is come, I cannot less
Than recompense to Thetis amber-hair’d 500
With readiness the boon of life preserved. 
Haste, then, and hospitably spread the board
For her regale, while with my best dispatch
I lay my bellows and my tools aside. 
He spake, and vast in bulk and hot with toil 505
Rose limping from beside his anvil-stock
Upborne, with pain on legs tortuous and weak. 
First, from the forge dislodged he thrust apart
His bellows, and his tools collecting all
Bestow’d them, careful, in a silver chest, 510
Then all around with a wet sponge he wiped
His visage, and his arms and brawny neck
Purified, and his shaggy breast from smutch;
Last, putting on his vest, he took in hand
His sturdy staff, and shuffled through the door. 515
Beside the King of fire two golden forms
Majestic moved, that served him in the place
Of handmaids; young they seem’d, and seem’d alive,
Nor want they intellect, or speech, or force,
Or prompt dexterity by the Gods inspired. 520
These his supporters were, and at his side
Attendant diligent, while he, with gait
Uncouth, approaching Thetis where she sat
On a bright throne, seized fast her hand and said,
Why, Thetis! worthy as thou art of love 525
And of all reverence, hast thou arrived,
Unfrequent here?  Speak—­tell me thy desire,
Nor doubt my services, if thou demand

Page 251

Things possible, and possible to me. 
Then Thetis, weeping plenteously, replied. 530
Oh Vulcan!  Is there on Olympius’ heights
A Goddess with such load of sorrow press’d
As, in peculiar, Jove assigns to me? 
Me only, of all ocean-nymphs, he made
Spouse to a man, Peleus AEacides, 535
Whose bed, although reluctant and perforce,
I yet endured to share.  He now, the prey
Of cheerless age, decrepid lies, and Jove
Still other woes heaps on my wretched head. 
He gave me to bring forth, gave me to rear 540
A son illustrious, valiant, and the chief
Of heroes; he, like a luxuriant plant
Upran[9] to manhood, while his lusty growth
I nourish’d as the husbandman his vine
Set in a fruitful field, and being grown 545
I sent him early in his gallant fleet
Embark’d, to combat with the sons of Troy;
But him from fight return’d I shall receive,
Beneath the roof of Peleus, never more,
And while he lives and on the sun his eyes 550
Opens, affliction is his certain doom,
Nor aid resides or remedy in me. 
The virgin, his own portion of the spoils,
Allotted to him by the Grecians—­her
Atrides, King of men, resumed, and grief 555
Devour’d Achilles’ spirit for her sake. 
Meantime, the Trojans shutting close within
Their camp the Grecians, have forbidden them
All egress, and the senators of Greece
Have sought with splendid gifts to soothe my son. 560
He, indisposed to rescue them himself
From ruin, sent, instead, Patroclus forth,
Clad in his own resplendent armor, Chief
Of the whole host of Myrmidons.  Before
The Scaean gate from morn to eve they fought, 565
And on that self-same day had Ilium fallen,
But that Apollo, to advance the fame
Of Hector, slew Menoetius’ noble son
Full-flush’d with victory.  Therefore at thy knees
Suppliant I fall, imploring from thine art 570
A shield and helmet, greaves of shapely form
With clasps secured, and corselet for my son. 
For those, once his, his faithful friend hath lost,
Slain by the Trojans, and Achilles lies,
Himself, extended mournful on the ground. 575
Her answer’d then the artist of the skies. 
Courage!  Perplex not with these cares thy soul. 
I would that when his fatal hour shall come,
I could as sure secrete him from the stroke
Of destiny, as he shall soon have arms 580
Illustrious, such as each particular man
Of thousands, seeing them, shall wish his own. 
He said, and to his bellows quick repair’d,
Which turning to the fire he bade them heave. 
Full twenty bellows working all at once 595
Breathed on the furnace, blowing easy and free
The managed winds, now forcible, as best

Page 252

Suited dispatch, now gentle, if the will
Of Vulcan and his labor so required. 
Impenetrable brass, tin, silver, gold, 590
He cast into the forge, then, settling firm
His ponderous anvil on the block, one hand
With his huge hammer fill’d, one with the tongs.
[10]He fashion’d first a shield massy and broad
Of labor exquisite, for which he form’d 595
A triple border beauteous, dazzling bright,
And loop’d it with a silver brace behind. 
The shield itself with five strong folds he forged,
And with devices multiform the disk
Capacious charged, toiling with skill divine. 600
There he described the earth, the heaven, the sea,
The sun that rests not, and the moon full-orb’d. 
There also, all the stars which round about
As with a radiant frontlet bind the skies,
The Pleiads and the Hyads, and the might 605
Of huge Orion, with him Ursa call’d,
Known also by his popular name, the Wain,
That spins around the pole looking toward
Orion, only star of these denied
To slake his beams in ocean’s briny baths. 610
Two splendid cities also there he form’d
Such as men build.  In one were to be seen
Rites matrimonial solemnized with pomp
Of sumptuous banquets; from their chambers forth
Leading the brides they usher’d them along 615
With torches through the streets, and sweet was heard
The voice around of Hymenaeal song. 
Here striplings danced in circles to the sound
Of pipe and harp, while in the portals stood
Women, admiring, all, the gallant show. 620
Elsewhere was to be seen in council met
The close-throng’d multitude.  There strife arose. 
Two citizens contended for a mulct
The price of blood.  This man affirm’d the fine
All paid,[11] haranguing vehement the crowd, 625
That man denied that he had aught received,
And to the judges each made his appeal
Eager for their award.  Meantime the people,
As favor sway’d them, clamor’d loud for each. 
The heralds quell’d the tumult; reverend sat 630
On polish’d stones the elders in a ring,
Each with a herald’s sceptre in his hand,
Which holding they arose, and all in turn
Gave sentence.  In the midst two talents lay
Of gold, his destined recompense whose voice 635
Decisive should pronounce the best award. 
The other city by two glittering hosts
Invested stood, and a dispute arose
Between the hosts, whether to burn the town
And lay all waste, or to divide the spoil. 640
Meantime, the citizens, still undismay’d,
Surrender’d not the town, but taking arms
Secretly, set the ambush in array,
And on the walls their wives and children kept
Vigilant guard, with all the ancient men. 645

Page 253

They sallied; at their head Pallas and Mars
Both golden and in golden vests attired
Advanced, proportion each showing divine,
Large, prominent, and such as Gods beseem’d. 
Not such the people, but of humbler size. 650
Arriving at the spot for ambush chosen,
A river’s side, where cattle of each kind
Drank, down they sat, all arm’d in dazzling brass. 
Apart from all the rest sat also down
Two spies, both looking for the flocks and herds. 655
Soon they appear’d, and at their side were seen
Two shepherd swains, each playing on his pipe
Careless, and of the danger nought apprized,
Swift ran the spies, perceiving their approach,
And intercepting suddenly the herds 660
And flocks of silver fleece, slew also those
Who fed them.  The besiegers, at that time
In council, by the sound alarm’d, their steeds
Mounted, and hasted, instant, to the place;
Then, standing on the river’s brink they fought 665
And push’d each other with the brazen lance. 
There Discord raged, there Tumult, and the force
Of ruthless Destiny; she now a Chief
Seized newly wounded, and now captive held
Another yet unhurt, and now a third 670
Dragg’d breathless through the battle by his feet
And all her garb was dappled thick with blood
Like living men they traversed and they strove,
And dragg’d by turns the bodies of the slain. 
He also graved on it a fallow field 675
Rich, spacious, and well-till’d.  Plowers not few,
There driving to and fro their sturdy teams,
Labor’d the land; and oft as in their course
They came to the field’s bourn, so oft a man
Met them, who in their hands a goblet placed 680
Charged with delicious wine.  They, turning, wrought
Each his own furrow, and impatient seem’d
To reach the border of the tilth, which black
Appear’d behind them as a glebe new-turn’d,
Though golden.  Sight to be admired by all! 685
There too he form’d the likeness of a field
Crowded with corn, in which the reapers toil’d
Each with a sharp-tooth’d sickle in his hand. 
Along the furrow here, the harvest fell
In frequent handfuls, there, they bound the sheaves. 690
Three binders of the sheaves their sultry task
All plied industrious, and behind them boys
Attended, filling with the corn their arms
And offering still their bundles to be bound. 
Amid them, staff in hand, the master stood 695
Silent exulting, while beneath an oak
Apart, his heralds busily prepared
The banquet, dressing a well-thriven ox
New slain, and the attendant maidens mix’d
Large supper for the hinds of whitest flour. 700
There also, laden with its fruit he form’d
A vineyard all of gold; purple he made

Page 254

The clusters, and the vines supported stood
By poles of silver set in even rows. 
The trench he color’d sable, and around 705
Fenced it with tin.  One only path it show’d
By which the gatherers when they stripp’d the vines
Pass’d and repass’d.  There, youths and maidens blithe
In frails of wicker bore the luscious fruit,
While, in the midst, a boy on his shrill harp 710
Harmonious play’d, still as he struck the chord
Carolling to it with a slender voice. 
They smote the ground together, and with song
And sprightly reed came dancing on behind.[12]
There too a herd he fashion’d of tall beeves 715
Part gold, part tin.  They, lowing, from the stalls
Rush’d forth to pasture by a river-side
Rapid, sonorous, fringed with whispering reeds. 
Four golden herdsmen drove the kine a-field
By nine swift dogs attended.  Dreadful sprang 720
Two lions forth, and of the foremost herd
Seized fast a bull.  Him bellowing they dragg’d,
While dogs and peasants all flew to his aid. 
The lions tore the hide of the huge prey
And lapp’d his entrails and his blood.  Meantime 725
The herdsmen, troubling them in vain, their hounds
Encouraged; but no tooth for lions’ flesh
Found they, and therefore stood aside and bark’d. 
There also, the illustrious smith divine
Amidst a pleasant grove a pasture form’d 730
Spacious, and sprinkled o’er with silver sheep
Numerous, and stalls and huts and shepherds’ tents. 
To these the glorious artist added next,
With various skill delineated exact,
A labyrinth for the dance, such as of old 735
In Crete’s broad island Daedalus composed
For bright-hair’d Ariadne.[13] There the youths
And youth-alluring maidens, hand in hand,
Danced jocund, every maiden neat-attired
In finest linen, and the youths in vests 740
Well-woven, glossy as the glaze of oil. 
These all wore garlands, and bright falchions, those,
Of burnish’d gold in silver trappings hung:—­[14]
They with well-tutor’d step, now nimbly ran
The circle, swift, as when, before his wheel 745
Seated, the potter twirls it with both hands
For trial of its speed,[15] now, crossing quick
They pass’d at once into each other’s place. 
On either side spectators numerous stood
Delighted, and two tumblers roll’d themselves 750
Between the dancers, singing as they roll’d. 
Last, with the might of ocean’s boundless flood
He fill’d the border of the wondrous shield. 
When thus the massy shield magnificent
He had accomplish’d, for the hero next 755
He forged, more ardent than the blaze of fire,
A corselet; then, a ponderous helmet bright
Well fitted to his brows, crested with gold,

Page 255

And with laborious art divine adorn’d. 
He also made him greaves of molten tin. 760
The armor finish’d, bearing in his hand
The whole, he set it down at Thetis’ feet. 
She, like a falcon from the snowy top
Stoop’d of Olympus, bearing to the earth
The dazzling wonder, fresh from Vulcan’s hand. 765




Achilles is reconciled to Agamemnon, and clothed in new armor forged by Vulcan, leads out the Myrmidons to battle.


  Now rose the morn in saffron vest attired
  From ocean, with new day for Gods and men,
  When Thetis at the fleet of Greece arrived,
  Bearing that gift divine.  She found her son
  All tears, and close enfolding in his arms 5
  Patroclus, while his Myrmidons around
  Wept also;[1] she amid them, graceful, stood,
  And seizing fast his hand, him thus bespake. 
    Although our loss be great, yet, oh my son! 
  Leave we Patroclus lying on the bier 10
  To which the Gods ordain’d him from the first. 
  Receive from Vulcan’s hands these glorious arms,
  Such as no mortal shoulders ever bore. 
    So saying, she placed the armor on the ground
  Before him, and the whole bright treasure rang. 15
  A tremor shook the Myrmidons; none dared
  Look on it, but all fled.  Not so himself. 
  In him fresh vengeance kindled at the view,
  And, while he gazed, a splendor as of fire
  Flash’d from his eyes.  Delighted, in his hand 20
  He held the glorious bounty of the God,
  And, wondering at those strokes of art divine,
  His eager speech thus to his mother turn’d.[2]
    The God, my mother! hath bestow’d in truth
  Such armor on me as demanded skill 25
  Like his, surpassing far all power of man. 
  Now, therefore, I will arm.  But anxious fears
  Trouble me, lest intrusive flies, meantime,
  Breed worms within the spear-inflicted wounds
  Of Menoetiades, and fill with taint 30
  Of putrefaction his whole breathless form.[3]
    But him the silver-footed Goddess fair
  Thus answer’d.  Oh, my son! chase from thy mind
  All such concern.  I will, myself, essay
  To drive the noisome swarms which on the slain 35
  In battle feed voracious.  Should he lie
  The year complete, his flesh shall yet be found
  Untainted, and, it may be, fragrant too. 
  But thou the heroes of Achaia’s host
  Convening, in their ears thy wrath renounce 40
  Against the King of men, then, instant, arm
  For battle, and put on thy glorious might. 
    So saying, the Goddess raised

Page 256

his courage high. 
  Then, through the nostrils of the dead she pour’d
  Ambrosia, and the ruddy juice divine 45
  Of nectar, antidotes against decay. 
    And now forth went Achilles by the side
  Of ocean, calling with a dreadful shout
  To council all the heroes of the host.[4]
  Then, even they who in the fleet before 50
  Constant abode, helmsmen and those who held
  In stewardship the food and public stores,
  All flock’d to council, for that now at length
  After long abstinence from dread exploits
  Of war, Achilles had once more appear’d. 55
  Two went together, halting on the spear,
  (For still they felt the anguish of their wounds)
  Noble Ulysses and brave Diomede,
  And took an early seat; whom follow’d last
  The King of men, by Cooen in the field 60
  Of furious battle wounded with a lance. 
  The Grecians all assembled, in the midst
  Upstood the swift Achilles, and began. 
    Atrides! we had doubtless better sped
  Both thou and I, thus doing, when at first 65
  With cruel rage we burn’d, a girl the cause. 
  I would that Dian’s shaft had in the fleet
  Slain her that self-same day when I destroy’d
  Lyrnessus, and by conquest made her mine! 
  Then had not many a Grecian, lifeless now, 70
  Clench’d with his teeth the ground, victim, alas! 
  Of my revenge; whence triumph hath accrued
  To Hector and his host, while ours have cause
  For long remembrance of our mutual strife. 
  But evils past let pass, yielding perforce 75
  To sad necessity.  My wrath shall cease
  Now; I resign it; it hath burn’d too long. 
  Thou therefore summon forth the host to fight,
  That I may learn meeting them in the field,
  If still the Trojans purpose at our fleet 80
  To watch us this night also.  But I judge
  That driven by my spear to rapid flight,
  They shall escape with weary limbs[5] at least. 
    He ended, and the Grecians brazen-greaved
  Rejoiced that Peleus’ mighty son had cast 85
  His wrath aside.  Then not into the midst
  Proceeding, but at his own seat, upstood
  King Agamemnon, and them thus bespake. 
    Friends!  Grecian heroes!  Ministers of Mars! 
  Arise who may to speak, he claims your ear; 90
  All interruption wrongs him, and distracts,
  Howe’er expert the speaker.  Who can hear
  Amid the roar of tumult, or who speak? 
  The clearest voice, best utterance, both are vain
  I shall address Achilles.  Hear my speech 95
  Ye Argives, and with understanding mark. 
  I hear not now the voice of your reproach[6]
  First; ye have oft condemn’d me.  Yet the blame

Page 257

  Rests not with me; Jove, Destiny, and she
  Who roams the shades, Erynnis, caused the offence. 100
  She fill’d my soul with fury on that day
  In council, when I seized Achilles’ prize. 
  For what could I?  All things obey the Gods. 
  Ate, pernicious Power, daughter of Jove,
  By whom all suffer, challenges from all 105
  Reverence and fear.  Delicate are her feet
  Which scorn the ground, and over human heads
  She glides, injurious to the race of man,
  Of two who strive, at least entangling one. 
  She injured, on a day, dread Jove himself 110
  Most excellent of all in earth or heaven,
  When Juno, although female, him deceived,
  What time Alcmena should have brought to light
  In bulwark’d Thebes the force of Hercules. 
  Then Jove, among the gods glorying, spake. 115
    Hear all! both Gods and Goddesses, attend! 
  That I may make my purpose known.  This day
  Birth-pang-dispensing Ilithya brings
  An hero forth to light, who, sprung from those
  That sprang from me, his empire shall extend 120
  Over all kingdoms bordering on his own. 
    To whom, designing fraud, Juno replied. 
  Thou wilt be found false, and this word of thine
  Shall want performance.  But Olympian Jove! 
  Swear now the inviolable oath, that he 125
  Who shall, this day, fall from between the feet
  Of woman, drawing his descent from thee,
  Shall rule all kingdoms bordering on his own. 
    She said, and Jove, suspecting nought her wiles,
  The great oath swore, to his own grief and wrong. 130
  At once from the Olympian summit flew
  Juno, and to Achaian Argos borne,
  There sought the noble wife[7] of Sthenelus,
  Offspring of Perseus.  Pregnant with a son
  Six months, she now the seventh saw at hand, 135
  But him the Goddess premature produced,
  And check’d Alcmena’s pangs already due. 
  Then joyful to have so prevail’d, she bore
  Herself the tidings to Saturnian Jove. 
    Lord of the candent lightnings!  Sire of all! 140
  I bring thee tidings.  The great prince, ordain’d
  To rule the Argive race, this day is born,
  Eurystheus, son of Sthenelus, the son
  Of Perseus; therefore he derives from thee,
  Nor shall the throne of Argos shame his birth. 145
    She spake; then anguish stung the heart of Jove
  Deeply, and seizing by her glossy locks
  The Goddess Ate, in his wrath he swore
  That never to the starry skies again
  And the Olympian heights he would permit 150
  The universal mischief to return. 
  Then, whirling her around, he cast her down
  To earth.  She, mingling with all works of men,
  Caused many a pang to Jove, who saw his

Page 258

  Laborious tasks servile, and of his birth 155
  Unworthy, at Eurystheus’ will enjoin’d. 
    So when the hero Hector at our ships
  Slew us, I then regretted my offence
  Which Ate first impell’d me to commit. 
  But since, infatuated by the Gods 160
  I err’d, behold me ready to appease
  With gifts of price immense whom I have wrong’d. 
  Thou, then, arise to battle, and the host
  Rouse also.  Not a promise yesternight
  Was made thee by Ulysses in thy tent 165
  On my behalf, but shall be well perform’d. 
  Or if it please thee, though impatient, wait
  Short season, and my train shall bring the gifts
  Even now; that thou may’st understand and know
  That my peace-offerings are indeed sincere. 170
    To whom Achilles, swiftest of the swift. 
  Atrides!  Agamemnon! passing all
  In glory!  King of men! recompense just
  By gifts to make me, or to make me none,
  That rests with thee.  But let us to the fight 175
  Incontinent.  It is no time to play
  The game of rhetoric, and to waste the hours
  In speeches.  Much remains yet unperform’d. 
  Achilles must go forth.  He must be seen
  Once more in front of battle, wasting wide 180
  With brazen spear, the crowded ranks of Troy. 
  Mark him—­and as he fights, fight also ye. 
    To whom Ulysses ever-wise replied. 
  Nay—­urge not, valiant as thou art thyself,
  Achaia’s sons up to the battlements 185
  Of Ilium, by repast yet unrefresh’d,
  Godlike Achilles!—­For when phalanx once
  Shall clash with phalanx, and the Gods with rage
  Both hosts inspire, the contest shall not then
  Prove short.  Bid rather the Achaians take 190
  Both food and wine, for they are strength and might. 
  To stand all day till sunset to a foe
  Opposed in battle, fasting, were a task
  Might foil the best; for though his will be prompt
  To combat, yet the power must by degrees 195
  Forsake him; thirst and hunger he must feel,
  And his limbs failing him at every step. 
  But he who hath his vigor to the full
  Fed with due nourishment, although he fight
  All day, yet feels his courage unimpair’d, 200
  Nor weariness perceives till all retire. 
  Come then—­dismiss the people with command
  That each prepare replenishment.  Meantime
  Let Agamemnon, King of men, his gifts
  In presence here of the assembled Greeks 205
  Produce, that all may view them, and that thou
  May’st feel thine own heart gladden’d at the sight. 
  Let the King also, standing in the midst,
  Swear to thee, that he renders back the maid
  A virgin still, and strange to his embrace,

Page 259

  And let thy own composure prove, the while,
  That thou art satisfied.  Last, let him spread
  A princely banquet for thee in his tent,
  That thou may’st want no part of just amends. 
  Thou too, Atrides, shalt hereafter prove 215
  More just to others; for himself, a King,
  Stoops not too low, soothing whom he hath wrong’d. 
    Him Agamemnon answer’d, King of men. 
  Thou hast arranged wisely the whole concern,
  O Laeertiades, and I have heard 220
  Thy speech, both words and method with delight. 
  Willing I am, yea more, I wish to swear
  As thou hast said, for by the Gods I can
  Most truly.  Let Achilles, though of pause
  Impatient, suffer yet a short delay 225
  With all assembled here, till from my tent
  The gifts arrive, and oaths of peace be sworn. 
  To thee I give it in peculiar charge
  That choosing forth the most illustrious youths
  Of all Achaia, thou produce the gifts 230
  from my own ship, all those which yesternight
  We promised, nor the women leave behind. 
  And let Talthybius throughout all the camp
  Of the Achaians, instant, seek a boar
  For sacrifice to Jove and to the Sun. 235
    Then thus Achilles matchless in the race. 
  Atrides! most illustrious!  King of men! 
  Expedience bids us to these cares attend
  Hereafter, when some pause, perchance, of fight
  Shall happen, and the martial rage which fires 240
  My bosom now, shall somewhat less be felt. 
  Our friends by Priameian Hector slain,
  Now strew the field mangled, for him hath Jove
  Exalted high, and given him great renown. 
  But haste, now take refreshment; though, in truth 245
  Might I direct, the host should by all means
  Unfed to battle, and at set of sun
  All sup together, this affront revenged. 
  But as for me, no drop shall pass my lips
  Or morsel, whose companion lies with feet 250
  Turn’d to the vestibule, pierced by the spear,
  And compass’d by my weeping train around. 
  No want of food feel I. My wishes call
  For carnage, blood, and agonies and groans. 
    But him, excelling in all wisdom, thus 255
  Ulysses answer’d.  Oh Achilles! son
  Of Peleus! bravest far of all our host! 
  Me, in no scanty measure, thou excell’st
  Wielding the spear, and thee in prudence, I
  Not less.  For I am elder, and have learn’d 260
  What thou hast yet to learn.  Bid then thine heart
  Endure with patience to be taught by me. 
  Men, satiate soon with battle, loathe the field
  On which the most abundant harvest falls,
  Reap’d by the sword; and when the hand of Jove 265

Page 260

  Dispenser of the great events of war,
  Turns once the scale, then, farewell every hope
  Of more than scanty gleanings.  Shall the Greeks
  Abstain from sustenance for all who die? 
  That were indeed severe, since day by day 270
  No few expire, and respite could be none. 
  The dead, die whoso may, should be inhumed. 
  This, duty bids, but bids us also deem
  One day sufficient for our sighs and tears. 
  Ourselves, all we who still survive the war, 275
  Have need of sustenance, that we may bear
  The lengthen’d conflict with recruited might,
  Case in enduring brass.—­Ye all have heard
  Your call to battle; let none lingering stand
  In expectation of a farther call, 280
  Which if it sound, shall thunder prove to him
  Who lurks among the ships.  No.  Rush we all
  Together forth, for contest sharp prepared,
  And persevering with the host of Troy. 
    So saying, the sons of Nestor, glorious Chief, 285
  He chose, with Meges Phyleus’ noble son,
  Thoas, Meriones, and Melanippus
  And Lycomedes.  These, together, sought
  The tent of Agamemnon, King of men. 
  They ask’d, and they received.  Soon they produced 290
  The seven promised tripods from the tent,
  Twice ten bright caldrons, twelve high-mettled steeds,
  Seven lovely captives skill’d alike in arts
  Domestic, of unblemish’d beauty rare,
  And last, Briseis with the blooming cheeks. 295
  Before them went Ulysses, bearing weigh’d
  Ten golden talents, whom the chosen Greeks
  Attended laden with the remnant gifts. 
  Full in the midst they placed them.  Then arose
  King Agamemnon, and Talthybius 300
  The herald, clear in utterance as a God,
  Beside him stood, holding the victim boar. 
  Atrides, drawing forth his dagger bright,
  Appendant ever to his sword’s huge sheath,
  Sever’d the bristly forelock of the boar, 305
  A previous offering.  Next, with lifted hands
  To Jove he pray’d, while, all around, the Greeks
  Sat listening silent to the Sovereign’s voice. 
  He look’d to the wide heaven, and thus he pray’d. 
    First, Jove be witness! of all Powers above 310
  Best and supreme; Earth next, and next the Sun! 
  And last, who under Earth the guilt avenge
  Of oaths sworn falsely, let the Furies hear! 
  For no respect of amorous desire
  Or other purpose, have I laid mine hand 315
  On fair Briseis, but within my tent
  Untouch’d, immaculate she hath remain’d. 
  And if I falsely swear, then may the Gods
  The many woes with which they mark the crime
  Of men forsworn, pour also down on me! 320
    So saying, he pierced the

Page 261

victim in his throat
  And, whirling him around, Talthybius, next,
  Cast him into the ocean, fishes’ food.[8]
  Then, in the centre of Achaia’s sons
  Uprose Achilles, and thus spake again. 325
    Jove!  Father! dire calamities, effects
  Of thy appointment, fall on human-kind. 
  Never had Agamemnon in my breast
  Such anger kindled, never had he seized,
  Blinded by wrath, and torn my prize away, 330
  But that the slaughter of our numerous friends
  Which thence ensued, thou hadst, thyself, ordained. 
  Now go, ye Grecians, eat, and then to battle. 
    So saying, Achilles suddenly dissolved
  The hasty council, and all flew dispersed 335
  To their own ships.  Then took the Myrmidons
  Those splendid gifts which in the tent they lodged
  Of swift Achilles, and the damsels led
  Each to a seat, while others of his train
  Drove forth the steeds to pasture with his herd. 340
  But when Briseis, bright as Venus, saw
  Patroclus lying mangled by the spear,
  Enfolding him around, she shriek’d and tore
  Her bosom, her smooth neck and beauteous cheeks. 
  Then thus, divinely fair, with tears she said. 345
    Ah, my Patroclus! dearest friend of all
  To hapless me, departing from this tent
  I left thee living, and now, generous Chief! 
  Restored to it again, here find thee dead. 
  How rapid in succession are my woes! 350
  I saw, myself, the valiant prince to whom
  My parents had betroth’d me, slain before
  Our city walls; and my three brothers, sons
  Of my own mother, whom with long regret
  I mourn, fell also in that dreadful field. 355
  But when the swift Achilles slew the prince
  Design’d my spouse, and the fair city sack’d
  Of noble Mynes, thou by every art
  Of tender friendship didst forbid my tears,
  Promising oft that thou would’st make me bride 360
  Of Peleus’ godlike son, that thy own ship
  Should waft me hence to Phthia, and that thyself
  Would’st furnish forth among the Myrmidons
  Our nuptial feast.  Therefore thy death I mourn
  Ceaseless, for thou wast ever kind to me. 365
    She spake, and all her fellow-captives heaved
  Responsive sighs, deploring each, in show,
  The dead Patroclus, but, in truth, herself.[9]
  Then the Achaian Chiefs gather’d around
  Achilles, wooing him to eat, but he 370
  Groan’d and still resolute, their suit refused—­
    If I have here a friend on whom by prayers
  I may prevail, I pray that ye desist,
  Nor longer press me, mourner as I am,
  To eat or drink, for till the sun go down 375
  I am inflexible, and will abstain. 
    So saying, the other princes

Page 262

he dismiss’d
  Impatient, but the sons of Atreus both,
  Ulysses, Nestor and Idomeneus,
  With Phoenix, hoary warrior, in his tent 380
  Abiding still, with cheerful converse kind
  Essay’d to soothe him, whose afflicted soul
  All soothing scorn’d till he should once again
  Rush on the ravening edge of bloody war. 
  Then, mindful of his friend, groaning he said 385
    Time was, unhappiest, dearest of my friends! 
  When even thou, with diligent dispatch,
  Thyself, hast spread a table in my tent,
  The hour of battle drawing nigh between
  The Greeks and warlike Trojans.  But there lies 390
  Thy body now, gored by the ruthless steel,
  And for thy sake I neither eat nor drink,
  Though dearth be none, conscious that other wo
  Surpassing this I can have none to fear. 
  No, not if tidings of my father’s death 395
  Should reach me, who, this moment, weeps, perhaps,
  In Phthia tears of tenderest regret
  For such a son; while I, remote from home
  Fight for detested Helen under Troy. 
  Nor even were he dead, whom, if he live, 400
  I rear in Scyros, my own darling son,
  My Neoptolemus of form divine.[10]
  For still this hope I cherish’d in my breast
  Till now, that, of us two, myself alone
  Should fall at Ilium, and that thou, restored 405
  To Phthia, should’st have wafted o’er the waves
  My son from Scyros to his native home,
  That thou might’st show him all his heritage,
  My train of menials, and my fair abode. 
  For either dead already I account 410
  Peleus, or doubt not that his residue
  Of miserable life shall soon be spent,
  Through stress of age and expectation sad
  That tidings of my death shall, next, arrive. 
    So spake Achilles weeping, around whom 415
  The Chiefs all sigh’d, each with remembrance pain’d
  Of some loved object left at home.  Meantime
  Jove, with compassion moved, their sorrow saw,
  And in wing’d accents thus to Pallas spake. 
    Daughter! thou hast abandon’d, as it seems, 420
  Yon virtuous Chief for ever; shall no care
  Thy mind engage of brave Achilles more? 
  Before his gallant fleet mourning he sits
  His friend, disconsolate; the other Greeks
  Sat and are satisfied; he only fasts. 425
  Go then—­instil nectar into his breast,
  And sweets ambrosial, that he hunger not. 
    So saying, he urged Minerva prompt before. 
  In form a shrill-voiced Harpy of long wing
  Through ether down she darted, while the Greeks 430
  In all their camp for instant battle arm’d. 
  Ambrosial sweets and nectar she instill’d
  Into his breast, lest he should suffer

Page 263

  Of strength through abstinence, then soar’d again
  To her great Sire’s unperishing abode. 435
  And now the Grecians from their gallant fleet
  All pour’d themselves abroad.  As when thick snow
  From Jove descends, driven by impetuous gusts
  Of the cloud-scattering North, so frequent shone
  Issuing from the fleet the dazzling casques, 440
  Boss’d bucklers, hauberks strong, and ashen spears. 
  Upwent the flash to heaven; wide all around
  The champain laugh’d with beamy brass illumed,
  And tramplings of the warriors on all sides
  Resounded, amidst whom Achilles arm’d. 445
  He gnash’d his teeth, fire glimmer’d in his eyes,
  Anguish intolerable wrung his heart
  And fury against Troy, while he put on
  His glorious arms, the labor of a God. 
  First, to his legs his polish’d greaves he clasp’d 450
  Studded with silver, then his corselet bright
  Braced to his bosom, his huge sword of brass
  Athwart his shoulder slung, and his broad shield
  Uplifted last, luminous as the moon. 
  Such as to mariners a fire appears, 455
  Kindled by shepherds on the distant top
  Of some lone hill; they, driven by stormy winds,
  Reluctant roam far off the fishy deep,
  Such from Achilles’ burning shield divine
  A lustre struck the skies; his ponderous helm 460
  He lifted to his brows; starlike it shone,
  And shook its curling crest of bushy gold,
  By Vulcan taught to wave profuse around. 
  So clad, godlike Achilles trial made
  If his arms fitted him, and gave free scope 465
  To his proportion’d limbs; buoyant they proved
  As wings, and high upbore his airy tread. 
  He drew his father’s spear forth from his case,
  Heavy and huge and long.  That spear, of all
  Achaia’s sons, none else had power to wield; 470
  Achilles only could the Pelian spear
  Brandish, by Chiron for his father hewn
  From Pelion’s top for slaughter of the brave. 
  His coursers, then, Automedon prepared
  And Alcimus, adjusting diligent 475
  The fair caparisons; they thrust the bits
  Into their mouths, and to the chariot seat
  Extended and made fast the reins behind. 
  The splendid scourge commodious to the grasp
  Seizing, at once Automedon upsprang 480
  Into his place; behind him, arm’d complete
  Achilles mounted, as the orient sun
  All dazzling, and with awful tone his speech
  Directed to the coursers of his Sire. 
    Xanthus, and Balius of Podarges’ blood 485
  Illustrious! see ye that, the battle done,
  Ye bring whom now ye bear back to the host
  Of the Achaians in far other sort,
  Nor leave him, as ye left Patroclus, dead.[11]

Page 264

  Him then his steed unconquer’d in the race, 490
  Xanthus answer’d from beneath his yoke,
  But, hanging low his head, and with his mane
  Dishevell’d all, and streaming to the ground. 
  Him Juno vocal made, Goddess white-arm’d. 
    And doubtless so we will.  This day at least 495
  We bear thee safe from battle, stormy Chief! 
  But thee the hour of thy destruction swift
  Approaches, hasten’d by no fault of ours,
  But by the force of fate and power divine. 
  For not through sloth or tardiness on us 500
  Aught chargeable, have Ilium’s sons thine arms
  Stript from Patroclus’ shoulders, but a God
  Matchless in battle, offspring of bright-hair’d
  Latona, him contending in the van
  Slew, for the glory of the Chief of Troy. 505
  We, Zephyrus himself, though by report
  Swiftest of all the winds of heaven, in speed
  Could equal, but the Fates thee also doom
  By human hands to fall, and hands divine. 
    The interposing Furies at that word 510
  Suppress’d his utterance,[12] and indignant, thus,
  Achilles, swiftest of the swift, replied. 
    Why, Xanthus, propheciest thou my death? 
  It ill beseems thee.  I already know
  That from my parents far remote my doom 515
  Appoints me here to die; yet not the more
  Cease I from feats if arms, till Ilium’s host
  Shall have received, at length, their fill of war. 
    He said, and with a shout drove forth to battle.




By permission of Jupiter the Gods descend into the battle, and range themselves on either side respectively.  Neptune rescues AEneas from death by the hand of Achilles, from whom Apollo, soon after, rescues Hector.  Achilles slays many Trojans.


The Grecians, thus, before their lofty ships
Stood arm’d around Achilles, glorious Chief
Insatiable with war, and opposite
The Trojans on the rising-ground appear’d.[1]
Meantime, Jove order’d Themis, from the head 5
Of the deep-fork’d Olympian to convene
The Gods in council.  She to every part
Proceeding, bade them to the courts of Jove.[2]
Nor of the Floods was any absent thence
Oceanus except, or of the Nymphs 10
Who haunt the pleasant groves, or dwell beside
Stream-feeding fountains, or in meadows green. 
Within the courts of cloud-assembler Jove
Arrived, on pillar’d thrones radiant they sat,
With ingenuity divine contrived 15
By Vulcan for the mighty Sire of all. 
Thus they within the Thunderer’s palace sat
Assembled; nor was Neptune slow to hear

Page 265

The voice of Themis, but (the billows left)
Came also; in the midst his seat he took, 20
And ask’d, incontinent, the mind of Jove.[3]

    King of the lightnings! wherefore hast thou call’d

The Gods to council?  Hast thou aught at heart
Important to the hosts of Greece and Troy? 
For on the battle’s fiery edge they stand. 25

    To whom replied Jove, Sovereign of the storms,

Thou know’st my council, Shaker of the shores! 
And wherefore ye are call’d.  Although ordain’d
So soon to die, they interest me still. 
Myself, here seated on Olympus’ top, 30
With contemplation will my mind indulge
Of yon great spectacle; but ye, the rest,
Descend into the field, Trojan or Greek
Each to assist, as each shall most incline. 
For should Achilles in the field no foe 35
Find save the Trojans, quickly should they fly
Before the rapid force of Peleus’ son. 
They trembled ever at his look, and since
Such fury for his friend hath fired his heart,
I fear lest he anticipate the will 40
Of Fate, and Ilium perish premature. 

    So spake the son of Saturn kindling war

Inevitable, and the Gods to fight
’Gan move with minds discordant.  Juno sought
And Pallas, with the earth-encircling Power 45
Neptune, the Grecian fleet, with whom were join’d
Mercury, teacher of all useful arts,
And Vulcan, rolling on all sides his eyes
Tremendous, but on disproportion’d legs,
Not without labor hard, halting uncouth. 50
Mars, warrior-God, on Ilium’s part appear’d
With Phoebus never-shorn, Dian shaft-arm’d,
Xanthus, Latona, and the Queen of smiles,
Venus.  So long as the immortal Gods
Mixed not with either host, Achaia’s sons 55
Exulted, seeing, after tedious pause,
Achilles in the field, and terror shook
The knees of every Trojan, at the sight
Of swift Achilles like another Mars
Panting for blood, and bright in arms again. 60
But when the Olympian Powers had enter’d once
The multitude, then Discord, at whose voice
The million maddens, vehement arose;
Then, Pallas at the trench without the wall
By turns stood shouting, and by turns a shout 65
Sent terrible along the sounding shore,
While, gloomy as a tempest, opposite,
Mars from the lofty citadel of Troy
Now yell’d aloud, now running o’er the hill
Callicolone, on the Simois’ side. 70

    Thus the Immortals, ever-blest, impell’d

Both hosts to battle, and dire inroad caused
Of strife among them.  Sudden from on high
The Sire of Gods and men thunder’d; meantime,
Neptune the earth and the high mountains shook; 75
Through all her base and to her topmost peak

Page 266

Ida spring-fed the agitation felt
Reeling, all Ilium and the fleet of Greece. 
Upstarted from his throne, appall’d, the King
Of Erebus, and with a cry his fears 80
Through hell proclaim’d, lest Neptune, o’er his head
Shattering the vaulted earth, should wide disclose
To mortal and immortal eyes his realm
Terrible, squalid, to the Gods themselves
A dreaded spectacle; with such a sound 85
The Powers eternal into battle rush’d.[4]
Opposed to Neptune, King of the vast Deep,
Apollo stood with his wing’d arrows arm’d;
Pallas to Mars; Diana shaft-expert,
Sister of Phoebus, in her golden bow 90
Rejoicing, with whose shouts the forests ring
To Juno; Mercury, for useful arts
Famed, to Latona; and to Vulcan’s force
The eddied River broad by mortal men
Scamander call’d, but Xanthus by the Gods. 95

    So Gods encounter’d Gods.  But most desire

Achilles felt, breaking the ranks, to rush
On Priameian Hector, with whose blood
Chiefly his fury prompted him to sate
The indefatigable God of war. 100
But, the encourager of Ilium’s host
Apollo, urged AEneas to assail
The son of Peleus, with heroic might
Inspiring his bold heart.  He feign’d the voice
Of Priam’s son Lycaon, and his form 105
Assuming, thus the Trojan Chief address’d. 

    AEneas!  Trojan leader! where are now

Thy vaunts, which, banqueting erewhile among
Our princes, o’er thy brimming cups thou mad’st,
That thou would’st fight, thyself, with Peleus’ son? 110

    To whom AEneas answer thus returned. 

Offspring of Priam! why enjoin’st thou me
Not so inclined, that arduous task, to cope
With the unmatch’d Achilles?  I have proved
His force already, when he chased me down 115
From Ida with his spear, what time he made
Seizure of all our cattle, and destroy’d
Pedasus and Lyrnessus; but I ’scaped
Unslain, by Jove himself empower’d to fly,
Else had I fallen by Achilles’ hand, 120
And by the hand of Pallas, who his steps
Conducted, and exhorted him to slay
Us and the Leleges.[5] Vain, therefore, proves
All mortal force to Peleus’ son opposed;
For one, at least, of the Immortals stands 125
Ever beside him, guardian of his life,
And, of himself, he hath an arm that sends
His rapid spear unerring to the mark. 
Yet, would the Gods more equal sway the scales
Of battle, not with ease should he subdue 130
Me, though he boast a panoply of brass. 

    Him, then, Apollo answer’d, son of Jove. 

Hero! prefer to the immortal Gods
Thy Prayer, for thee men rumor Venus’ son
Daughter of Jove; and Peleus’ son his birth

Page 267

Drew from a Goddess of inferior note. 
Thy mother is from Jove; the offspring, his,
Less noble of the hoary Ocean old. 
Go, therefore, and thy conquering spear uplift
Against him, nor let aught his sounding words 140
Appal thee, or his threats turn thee away. 

    So saying, with martial force the Chief he fill’d,

Who through the foremost combatants advanced
Radiant in arms.  Nor pass’d Anchises’ son
Unseen of Juno, through the crowded ranks 145
Seeking Achilles, but the Powers of heaven
Convened by her command, she thus address’d. 

    Neptune, and thou, Minerva! with mature

Deliberation, ponder the event. 
Yon Chief, AEneas, dazzling bright in arms; 150
Goes to withstand Achilles, and he goes
Sent by Apollo; in despite of whom
Be it our task to give him quick repulse,
Or, of ourselves, let some propitious Power
Strengthen Achilles with a mind exempt 155
From terror, and with force invincible. 
So shall he know that of the Gods above
The mightiest are his friends, with whom compared
The favorers of Ilium in time past,
Who stood her guardians in the bloody strife, 160
Are empty boasters all, and nothing worth. 
For therefore came we down, that we may share
This fight, and that Achilles suffer nought
Fatal to-day, though suffer all he must
Hereafter, with his thread of life entwined 165
By Destiny, the day when he was born. 
But should Achilles unapprized remain
Of such advantage by a voice divine,
When he shall meet some Deity in the field,
Fear then will seize him, for celestial forms 170
Unveil’d are terrible to mortal eyes. 

    To whom replied the Shaker of the shores. 

Juno! thy hot impatience needs control;
It ill befits thee.  No desire I feel
To force into contention with ourselves 175
Gods, our inferiors.  No.  Let us, retired
To yonder hill, distant from all resort,
There sit, while these the battle wage alone. 
But if Apollo, or if Mars the fight
Entering, begin, themselves, to interfere 180
Against Achilles, then will we at once
To battle also; and, I much misdeem,
Or glad they shall be soon to mix again
Among the Gods on the Olympian heights,
By strong coercion of our arms subdued. 185

    So saying, the God of Ocean azure-hair’d

Moved foremost to the lofty mound earth-built
Of noble Hercules, by Pallas raised
And by the Trojans for his safe escape,
What time the monster of the deep pursued 190
The hero from the sea-bank o’er the plain. 
There Neptune sat, and his confederate Gods,
Their shoulders with impenetrable clouds

Page 268

O’ermantled, while the city-spoiler Mars
Sat with Apollo opposite on the hill 195
Callicolone, with their aids divine. 
So, Gods to Gods in opposite aspect
Sat ruminating, and alike the work
All fearing to begin of arduous war,
While from his seat sublime Jove urged them on. 200
The champain all was fill’d, and with the blaze
Illumined wide of men and steeds brass-arm’d,
And the incumber’d earth jarr’d under foot
Of the encountering hosts.  Then, two, the rest
Surpassing far, into the midst advanced 205
Impatient for the fight, Anchises’ son
AEneas and Achilles, glorious Chief! 
AEneas first, under his ponderous casque
Nodding and menacing, advanced; before
His breast he held the well-conducted orb 210
Of his broad shield, and shook his brazen spear. 
On the other side, Achilles to the fight
Flew like a ravening lion, on whose death
Resolved, the peasants from all quarters meet;
He, viewing with disdain the foremost, stalks 215
Right on, but smitten by some dauntless youth
Writhes himself, and discloses his huge fangs
Hung with white foam; then, growling for revenge,
Lashes himself to battle with his tail,
Till with a burning eye and a bold heart 220
He springs to slaughter, or himself is slain;
So, by his valor and his noble mind
Impell’d, renown’d Achilles moved toward
AEneas, and, small interval between,
Thus spake the hero matchless in the race. 225

    Why stand’st thou here, AEneas! thy own band

Left at such distance?  Is it that thine heart
Glows with ambition to contend with me
In hope of Priam’s honors, and to fill
His throne hereafter in Troy steed-renown’d? 230
But shouldst thou slay me, not for that exploit
Would Priam such large recompense bestow,
For he hath sons, and hath, beside, a mind
And disposition not so lightly changed. 
Or have the Trojans of their richest soil 235
For vineyard apt or plow assign’d thee part
If thou shalt slay me?  Difficult, I hope,
At least, thou shalt experience that emprize. 
For, as I think, I have already chased
Thee with my spear.  Forgettest thou the day 240
When, finding thee alone, I drove thee down
Headlong from Ida, and, thy cattle left
Afar, thou didst not dare in all thy flight
Turn once, till at Lyrnessus safe arrived,
Which city by Jove’s aid and by the aid 245
Of Pallas I destroy’d, and captive led
Their women?  Thee, indeed, the Gods preserved
But they shall not preserve thee, as thou dream’st
Now also.  Back into thy host again;
Hence, I command thee, nor oppose in fight 250
My force, lest evil find thee.  To be taught

Page 269

By suffering only is the part of fools. 

    To whom AEneas answer thus return’d. 

Pelides! hope not, as I were a boy,
With words to scare me.  I have also taunts 255
At my command, and could be sharp as thou. 
By such reports as from the lips of men
We oft have heard, each other’s birth we know
And parents; but my parents to behold
Was ne’er thy lot, nor have I thine beheld. 260
Thee men proclaim from noble Peleus sprung
And Thetis, bright hair’d Goddess of the Deep;
I boast myself of lovely Venus born
To brave Anchises; and his son this day
In battle slain thy sire shall mourn, or mine; 265
For I expect not that we shall depart
Like children, satisfied with words alone. 
But if it please thee more at large to learn
My lineage (thousands can attest it true)
Know this.  Jove, Sovereign of the storms, begat 270
Dardanus, and ere yet the sacred walls
Of Ilium rose, the glory of this plain,
He built Dardania; for at Ida’s foot
Dwelt our progenitors in ancient days. 
Dardanus was the father of a son, 275
King Ericthonius, wealthiest of mankind. 
Three thousand mares of his the marish grazed,
Each suckling with delight her tender foal. 
Boreas, enamor’d of no few of these,
The pasture sought, and cover’d them in form 280
Of a steed azure-maned.  They, pregnant thence,
Twelve foals produced, and all so light of foot,
That when they wanton’d in the fruitful field
They swept, and snapp’d it not, the golden ear;
And when they wanton’d on the boundless deep, 285
They skimm’d the green wave’s frothy ridge, secure. 
From Ericthonius sprang Tros, King of Troy,
And Tros was father of three famous sons,
Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymede
Loveliest of human kind, whom for his charms 290
The Gods caught up to heaven, there to abide
With the immortals, cup-bearer of Jove. 
Ilus begat Laomedon, and he
Five sons, Tithonus, Priam, Clytius,
Lampus, and Hicetaon, branch of Mars. 295
Assaracus a son begat, by name
Capys, and Capys in due time his son
Warlike Anchises, and Anchises me. 
But Priam is the noble Hector’s sire.[6]
Such is my lineage, and such blood I boast; 300
But valor is from Jove; he, as he wills,
Increases or reduces it in man,
For he is lord of all.  Therefore enough—­
Too long like children we have stood, the time
Consuming here, while battle roars around. 305
Reproach is cheap.  Easily might we cast
Gibes at each other, till a ship that asks
A hundred oars should sink beneath the load. 
The tongue of man is voluble, hath words
For every theme, nor wants wide field and long, 310
And as he speaks so shall he hear again. 

Page 270

But we—­why should we wrangle, and with taunts
Assail each other, as the practice is
Of women, who with heart-devouring strife
On fire, start forth into the public way 315
To mock each other, uttering, as may chance,
Much truth, much falsehood, as their anger bids? 
The ardor of my courage will not slack
For all thy speeches; we must combat first;
Now, therefore, without more delay, begin, 320
That we may taste each other’s force in arms.[7]

    So spake AEneas, and his brazen lance

Hurl’d with full force against the dreadful shield. 
Loud roar’d its ample concave at the blow. 
Not unalarm’d, Pelides his broad disk 325
Thrust farther from him, deeming that the force
Of such an arm should pierce his guard with ease. 
Vain fear! he recollected not that arms
Glorious as his, gifts of the immortal Gods,
Yield not so quickly to the force of man. 330
The stormy spear by brave AEneas sent,
No passage found; the golden plate divine
Repress’d its vehemence; two folds it pierced,
But three were still behind, for with five folds
Vulcan had fortified it; two were brass; 335
The two interior, tin; the midmost, gold;
And at the golden one the weapon stood.[8]
Achilles next, hurl’d his long shadow’d spear,
And struck AEneas on the utmost verge
Of his broad shield, where thinnest lay the brass, 340
And thinnest the ox-hide.  The Pelian ash
Started right through the buckler, and it rang. 
AEneas crouch’d terrified, and his shield
Thrust farther from him; but the rapid beam
Bursting both borders of the ample disk, 345
Glanced o’er his back, and plunged into the soil. 
He ’scaped it, and he stood; but, as he stood,
With horror infinite the weapon saw
Planted so near him.  Then, Achilles drew
His falchion keen, and with a deafening shout 350
Sprang on him; but AEneas seized a stone
Heavy and huge, a weight to overcharge
Two men (such men as are accounted strong
Now) but he wielded it with ease, alone. 
Then had AEneas, as Achilles came 355
Impetuous on, smitten, although in vain,
His helmet or his shield, and Peleus’ son
Had with his falchion him stretch’d at his feet,
But that the God of Ocean quick perceived
His peril, and the Immortals thus bespake. 360

    I pity brave AEneas, who shall soon,

Slain by Achilles, see the realms below,
By smooth suggestions of Apollo lured
To danger, such as he can ne’er avert. 
But wherefore should the Chief, guiltless himself, 365
Die for the fault of others? at no time
His gifts have fail’d, grateful to all in heaven. 
Come, therefore, and let us from death ourselves

Page 271

Rescue him, lest if by Achilles’ arm
This hero perish, Jove himself be wroth; 370
For he is destined to survive, lest all
The house of Dardanus (whom Jove beyond
All others loved, his sons of woman born)
Fail with AEneas, and be found no more. 
Saturnian Jove hath hated now long time 375
The family of Priam, and henceforth
AEneas and his son, and his sons’ sons,
Shall sway the sceptre o’er the race of Troy. 

    To whom, majestic thus the spouse of Jove. 

Neptune! deliberate thyself, and choose 380
Whether to save AEneas, or to leave
The hero victim of Achilles’ ire. 
For Pallas and myself ofttimes have sworn
In full assembly of the Gods, to aid
Troy never, never to avert the day 385
Of her distress, not even when the flames
Kindled by the heroic sons of Greece,
Shall climb with fury to her topmost towers. 

    She spake; then Neptune, instant, through the throng

Of battle flying, and the clash of spears, 390
Came where Achilles and AEneas fought. 
At once with shadows dim he blurr’d the sight
Of Peleus’ son, and from the shield, himself,
Of brave AEneas the bright-pointed ash
Retracting, placed it at Achilles’ feet. 395
Then, lifting high AEneas from the ground,
He heaved him far remote; o’er many a rank
Of heroes and of bounding steeds he flew,
Launch’d into air from the expanded palm
Of Neptune, and alighted in the rear 400
Of all the battle where the Caucons stood. 
Neptune approach’d him there, and at his side
Standing, in accents wing’d, him thus bespake. 

    What God, AEneas! tempted thee to cope

Thus inconsiderately with the son 405
Of Peleus, both more excellent in fight
Than thou, and more the favorite of the skies? 
From him retire hereafter, or expect
A premature descent into the shades. 
But when Achilles shall have once fulfill’d 410
His destiny, in battle slain, then fight
Fearless, for thou canst fall by none beside. 

    So saying, he left the well-admonish’d Chief,

And from Achilles’ eyes scatter’d the gloom
Shed o’er them by himself.  The hero saw 415
Clearly, and with his noble heart incensed
By disappointment, thus conferring, said. 

    Gods!  I behold a prodigy.  My spear

Lies at my foot, and he at whom I cast
The weapon with such deadly force, is gone! 420
AEneas therefore, as it seems, himself
Interests the immortal Gods, although
I deem’d his boast of their protection vain. 
I reck not.  Let him go.  So gladly ’scaped
From slaughter now, he shall not soon again 425
Feel an ambition to contend with me. 

Page 272

Now will I rouse the Danai, and prove
The force in fight of many a Trojan more. 

    He said, and sprang to battle with loud voice,

Calling the Grecians after him.—­Ye sons 430
Of the Achaians! stand not now aloof,
My noble friends! but foot to foot let each
Fall on courageous, and desire the fight. 
The task were difficult for me alone,
Brave as I boast myself, to chase a foe 435
So numerous, and to combat with them all. 
Not Mars himself, immortal though he be,
Nor Pallas, could with all the ranks contend
Of this vast multitude, and drive the whole. 
With hands, with feet, with spirit and with might, 440
All that I can I will; right through I go,
And not a Trojan who shall chance within
Spear’s reach of me, shall, as I judge, rejoice. 

    Thus he the Greeks exhorted.  Opposite,

Meantime, illustrious Hector to his host 445
Vociferated, his design to oppose
Achilles publishing in every ear. 

    Fear not, ye valiant men of Troy! fear not

The son of Peleus.  In a war of words
I could, myself, cope even with the Gods; 450
But not with spears; there they excel us all. 
Nor shall Achilles full performance give
To all his vaunts, but, if he some fulfil,
Shall others leave mutilate in the midst. 
I will encounter him, though his hands be fire, 455
Though fire his hands, and his heart hammer’d steel. 

    So spake he them exhorting.  At his word

Uprose the Trojan spears, thick intermixt
The battle join’d, and clamor loud began. 
Then thus, approaching Hector, Phoebus spake. 460

    Henceforth, advance not Hector! in the front

Seeking Achilles, but retired within
The stormy multitude his coming wait,
Lest his spear reach thee, or his glittering sword. 

    He said, and Hector far into his host 465

Withdrew, admonish’d by the voice divine. 
Then, shouting terrible, and clothed with might,
Achilles sprang to battle.  First, he slew
The valiant Chief Iphition, whom a band
Numerous obey’d.  Otrynteus was his sire. 470
Him to Otrynteus, city-waster Chief,
A Naiad under snowy Tmolus bore
In fruitful Hyda.[9] Right into his front
As he advanced, Achilles drove his spear,
And rived his skull; with thundering sound he fell, 475
And thus the conqueror gloried in his fall. 

    Ah Otryntides! thou art slain.  Here lies

The terrible in arms, who born beside
The broad Gygaean lake, where Hyllus flows
And Hermus, call’d the fertile soil his own. 480

    Thus gloried he.  Meantime the shades of death

Cover’d Iphition, and Achaian wheels
And horses ground his body in the van. 

Page 273

Demoleon next, Antenor’s son, a brave
Defender of the walls of Troy, he slew. 485
Into his temples through his brazen casque
He thrust the Pelian ash, nor could the brass
Such force resist, but the huge weapon drove
The shatter’d bone into his inmost brain,
And his fierce onset at a stroke repress’d. 490
Hippodamas his weapon next received
Within his spine, while with a leap he left
His steeds and fled.  He, panting forth his life,
Moan’d like a bull, by consecrated youths
Dragg’d round the Heliconian King,[10] who views 495
That victim with delight.  So, with loud moans
The noble warrior sigh’d his soul away. 
Then, spear in hand, against the godlike son
Of Priam, Polydorus, he advanced. 
Not yet his father had to him indulged 500
A warrior’s place, for that of all his sons
He was the youngest-born, his hoary sire’s
Chief darling, and in speed surpass’d them all. 
Then also, in the vanity of youth,
For show of nimbleness, he started oft 505
Into the vanward, till at last he fell. 
Him gliding swiftly by, swifter than he
Achilles with a javelin reach’d; he struck
His belt behind him, where the golden clasps
Met, and the double hauberk interposed. 510
The point transpierced his bowels, and sprang through
His navel; screaming, on his knees he fell,
Death-shadows dimm’d his eyes, and with both hands,
Stooping, he press’d his gather’d bowels back. 
But noble Hector, soon as he beheld 515
His brother Polydorus to the earth
Inclined, and with his bowels in his hands,
Sightless well-nigh with anguish could endure
No longer to remain aloof; flame-like
He burst abroad,[11] and shaking his sharp spear, 520
Advanced to meet Achilles, whose approach
Seeing, Achilles bounded with delight,
And thus, exulting, to himself he said. 

    Ah! he approaches, who hath stung my soul

Deepest, the slayer of whom most I loved! 525
Behold, we meet!  Caution is at an end,
And timid skulking in the walks of war. 

    He ceased, and with a brow knit into frowns,

Call’d to illustrious Hector.  Haste, approach,
That I may quick dispatch thee to the shades. 530

    Whom answer’d warlike Hector, nought appall’d. 

Pelides! hope not, as I were a boy,
With words to scare me.  I have also taunts
At my command, and can be sharp as thou. 
I know thee valiant, and myself I know 535
Inferior far; yet, whether thou shalt slay
Me, or, inferior as I am, be slain
By me, is at the pleasure of the Gods,
For I wield also not a pointless beam. 

    He said, and, brandishing it, hurl’d his spear, 540

Page 274

Which Pallas, breathing softly, wafted back
From the renown’d Achilles, and it fell
Successless at illustrious Hector’s feet. 
Then, all on fire to slay him, with a shout
That rent the air Achilles rapid flew 545
Toward him; but him wrapt in clouds opaque
Apollo caught with ease divine away. 
Thrice, swift Achilles sprang to the assault
Impetuous, thrice the pitchy cloud he smote,
And at his fourth assault, godlike in act, 550
And terrible in utterance, thus exclaim’d. 

    Dog! thou art safe, and hast escaped again;

But narrowly, and by the aid once more
Of Phoebus, without previous suit to whom
Thou venturest never where the javelin sings. 555
But when we next encounter, then expect,
If one of all in heaven aid also me,
To close thy proud career.  Meantime I seek
Some other, and assail e’en whom I may. 

    So saying, he pierced the neck of Dryops through, 560

And at his feet he fell.  Him there he left,
And turning on a valiant warrior huge,
Philetor’s son, Demuchus, in the knee
Pierced, and detain’d him by the planted spear,
Till with his sword he smote him, and he died. 565
Laogonus and Dardanus he next
Assaulted, sons of Bias; to the ground
Dismounting both, one with his spear he slew,
The other with his falchion at a blow. 
Tros too, Alastor’s son—­he suppliant clasp’d 570
Achilles’ knees, and for his pity sued,
Pleading equality of years, in hope
That he would spare, and send him thence alive. 
Ah dreamer! ignorant how much in vain
That suit he urged; for not of milky mind, 575
Or placable in temper was the Chief
To whom he sued, but fiery.  With both hands
His knees he clasp’d importunate, and he
Fast by the liver gash’d him with his sword. 
His liver falling forth, with sable blood 580
His bosom fill’d, and darkness veil’d his eyes. 
Then, drawing close to Mulius, in his ear
He set the pointed brass, and at a thrust
Sent it, next moment, through his ear beyond. 
Then, through the forehead of Agenor’s son 585
Echechlus, his huge-hafted blade he drove,
And death and fate forever veil’d his eyes. 
Next, where the tendons of the elbow meet,
Striking Deucalion, through his wrist he urged
The brazen point; he all defenceless stood, 590
Expecting death; down came Achilles’ blade
Full on his neck; away went head and casque
Together; from his spine the marrow sprang,
And at his length outstretch’d he press’d the plain. 
From him to Rhigmus, Pireus’ noble son, 595
He flew, a warrior from the fields of Thrace. 
Him through the loins he pierced, and with the beam
Fixt in his bowels, to the earth he fell;

Page 275

Then piercing, as he turn’d to flight, the spine
Of Areithoeus his charioteer, 600
He thrust him from his seat; wild with dismay
Back flew the fiery coursers at his fall. 
As a devouring fire within the glens
Of some dry mountain ravages the trees,
While, blown around, the flames roll to all sides, 605
So, on all sides, terrible as a God,
Achilles drove the death-devoted host
Of Ilium, and the champain ran with blood. 
As when the peasant his yoked steers employs
To tread his barley, the broad-fronted pair 610
With ponderous hoofs trample it out with ease,
So, by magnanimous Achilles driven,
His coursers solid-hoof’d stamp’d as they ran
The shields, at once, and bodies of the slain;
Blood spatter’d all his axle, and with blood 615
From the horse-hoofs and from the fellied wheels
His chariot redden’d, while himself, athirst
For glory, his unconquerable hands
Defiled with mingled carnage, sweat, and dust.




Achilles having separated the Trojans, and driven one part of them to the city and the other into the Scamander, takes twelve young men alive, his intended victims to the manes of Patroclus.  The river overflowing his banks with purpose to overwhelm him, is opposed by Vulcan, and gladly relinquishes the attempt.  The battle of the gods ensues.  Apollo, in the form of Agenor, decoys Achilles from the town, which in the mean time the Trojans enter and shut the gates against him.


[1]But when they came, at length, where Xanthus winds His stream vortiginous from Jove derived, There, separating Ilium’s host, he drove Part o’er the plain to Troy in the same road By which the Grecians had so lately fled 5 The fury of illustrious Hector’s arm.  That way they fled pouring themselves along Flood-like, and Juno, to retard them, threw Darkness as night before them.  Other part, Push’d down the sides of Xanthus, headlong plunged 10 With dashing sound into his dizzy stream, And all his banks re-echoed loud the roar.  They, struggling, shriek’d in silver eddies whirl’d.  As when, by violence of fire expell’d, Locusts uplifted on the wing escape 15 To some broad river, swift the sudden blaze Pursues them, they, astonish’d, strew the flood,[2] So, by Achilles driven, a mingled throng Of horses and of warriors overspread Xanthus, and glutted all his sounding course 20 He, chief of heroes, leaving on the bank His spear against a tamarisk reclined, Plunged like a God, with falchion arm’d alone But fill’d with thoughts of havoc.  On all sides Down came his edge; groans follow’d dread to hear 25

Page 276

Of warriors smitten by the sword, and all The waters as they ran redden’d with blood.  As smaller fishes, flying the pursuit Of some huge dolphin, terrified, the creeks And secret hollows of a haven fill, 30 For none of all that he can seize he spares, So lurk’d the trembling Trojans in the caves Of Xanthus’ awful flood.  But he (his hands Wearied at length with slaughter) from the rest Twelve youths selected whom to death he doom’d, 35 In vengeance for his loved Patroclus slain.  Them stupified with dread like fawns he drove Forth from the river, manacling their hands Behind them fast with their own tunic-strings, And gave them to his warrior train in charge. 40 Then, ardent still for blood, rushing again Toward the stream, Dardanian Priam’s son He met, Lycaon, as he climb’d the bank.  Him erst by night, in his own father’s field Finding him, he had led captive away. 45 Lycaon was employ’d cutting green shoots Of the wild-fig for chariot-rings, when lo!  Terrible, unforeseen, Achilles came.  He seized and sent him in a ship afar To Lemnos; there the son of Jason paid 50 His price, and, at great cost, Eetion The guest of Jason, thence redeeming him, Sent him to fair Arisba;[3] but he ’scaped Thence also and regain’d his father’s house.  Eleven days, at his return, he gave 55 To recreation joyous with his friends, And on the twelfth his fate cast him again Into Achilles’ hands, who to the shades Now doom’d him, howsoever loth to go.  Soon as Achilles swiftest of the swift 60 Him naked saw (for neither spear had he Nor shield nor helmet, but, when he emerged, Weary and faint had cast them all away) Indignant to his mighty self he said. 
  Gods!  I behold a miracle!  Ere long 65
The valiant Trojans whom my self have slain Shall rise from Erebus, for he is here, The self-same warrior whom I lately sold At Lemnos, free, and in the field again.  The hoary deep is prison strong enough 70 For most, but not for him.  Now shall he taste The point of this my spear, that I may learn By sure experience, whether hell itself That holds the strongest fast, can him detain, Or whether he shall thence also escape. 75
  While musing thus he stood, stunn’d with dismay
The youth approach’d, eager to clasp his knees, For vehement he felt the dread of death Working within him; with his Pelian ash Uplifted high noble Achilles stood 80 Ardent to smite him; he with body bent Ran under it, and to his knees adhered; The weapon, missing him, implanted stood Close at his back, when, seizing with one hand Achilles’ knees, he with the other grasp’d 85 The dreadful beam, resolute through despair, And in wing’d accents suppliant thus began. 
  Oh spare me! pity me!  Behold I

Page 277

Thy knees, Achilles!  Ah, illustrious Chief!  Reject not with disdain a suppliant’s prayer. 90 I am thy guest also, who at thy own board Have eaten bread, and did partake the gift Of Ceres with thee on the very day When thou didst send me in yon field surprised For sale to sacred Lemnos, far remote, 95 And for my price receiv’dst a hundred beeves.  Loose me, and I will yield thee now that sum Thrice told.  Alas! this morn is but the twelfth Since, after numerous hardships, I arrived Once more in Troy, and now my ruthless lot 100 Hath given me into thy hands again.  Jove cannot less than hate me, who hath twice Made me thy prisoner, and my doom was death, Death in my prime, the day when I was born Son of Laothoee from Alta sprung, 105 From Alta, whom the Leleges obey On Satnio’s banks in lofty Pedasus.  His daughter to his other numerous wives King Priam added, and two sons she bore Only to be deprived by thee of both. 110 My brother hath already died, in front Of Ilium’s infantry, by thy bright spear, The godlike Polydorus; and like doom Shall now be mine, for I despair to escape Thine hands, to which the Gods yield me again. 115 But hear and mark me well.  My birth was not From the same womb as Hector’s, who hath slain Thy valiant friend for clemency renown’d. 
  Such supplication the illustrious son
Of Priam made, but answer harsh received. 120
  Fool! speak’st of ransom?  Name it not to me. 
For till my friend his miserable fate Accomplish’d, I was somewhat given to spare, And numerous, whom I seized alive, I sold.  But now, of all the Trojans whom the Gods 125 Deliver to me, none shall death escape, ’Specially of the house of Priam, none.  Die therefore, even thou, my friend!  What mean Thy tears unreasonably shed and vain?  Died not Patroclus. braver far than thou? 130 And look on me—­see’st not to what a height My stature towers, and what a bulk I boast?  A King begat me, and a Goddess bore.  What then!  A death by violence awaits Me also, and at morn, or eve, or noon, 135 I perish, whensoe’er the destined spear Shall reach me, or the arrow from the nerve. 
  He ceased, and where the suppliant kneel’d, he died. 
Quitting the spear, with both hands spread abroad He sat, but swift Achilles with his sword 140 ’Twixt neck and key-bone smote him, and his blade Of double edge sank all into the wound.  He prone extended on the champain lay Bedewing with his sable blood the glebe, Till, by the foot, Achilles cast him far 145 Into the stream, and, as he floated down, Thus in wing’d accents, glorying, exclaim’d. 
  Lie there, and feed the fishes, which shall lick
Thy blood secure.  Thy mother ne’er shall place Thee on thy bier, nor on thy body weep,

Page 278

150 But swift Scamander on his giddy tide Shall bear thee to the bosom of the sea.  There, many a fish shall through the crystal flood Ascending to the rippled surface, find Lycaon’s pamper’d flesh delicious fare. 155 Die Trojans! till we reach your city, you Fleeing, and slaughtering, I. This pleasant stream Of dimpling silver which ye worship oft With victim bulls, and sate with living steeds[4] His rapid whirlpools, shall avail you nought, 160 But ye shall die, die terribly, till all Shall have requited me with just amends For my Patroclus, and for other Greeks Slain at the ships while I declined the war. 
  He ended, at those words still more incensed 165
Scamander means devised, thenceforth to check Achilles, and avert the doom of Troy.  Meantime the son of Peleus, his huge spear Grasping, assail’d Asteropaeus son Of Pelegon, on fire to take his life. 170 Fair Periboea, daughter eldest-born Of Acessamenus, his father bore To broad-stream’d Axius, who had clasp’d the nymph In his embrace.  On him Achilles sprang.  He newly risen from the river, stood 175 Arm’d with two lances opposite, for him Xanthus embolden’d, at the deaths incensed Of many a youth, whom, mercy none vouchsafed, Achilles had in all his current slain.  And now small distance interposed, they faced 180 Each other, when Achilles thus began. 
  Who art and whence, who dar’st encounter me? 
Hapless the sires whose sons my force defy. 
  To whom the noble son of Pelegon. 
Pelides, mighty Chief?  Why hast thou ask’d 185 My derivation?  From the land I come Of mellow-soil’d Poeonia far remote, Chief leader of Poenia’s host spear-arm’d; This day hath also the eleventh risen Since I at Troy arrived.  For my descent, 190 It is from Axius river wide-diffused, From Axius, fairest stream that waters earth, Sire of bold Pelegon whom men report My sire.  Let this suffice.  Now fight, Achilles! 
  So spake he threatening, and Achilles raised 195
Dauntless the Pelian ash.  At once two spears The hero bold, Asteropaeus threw, With both hands apt for battle.  One his shield Struck but pierced not, impeded by the gold, Gift of a God; the other as it flew 200 Grazed at his right elbow; sprang the sable blood; But, overflying him, the spear in earth Stood planted deep, still hungering for the prey.  Then, full at the Poeonian Peleus’ son Hurl’d forth his weapon with unsparing force 205 But vain; he struck the sloping river bank, And mid-length deep stood plunged the ashen beam.  Then, with his falchion drawn, Achilles flew To smite him; he in vain, meantime, essay’d To pluck the rooted spear forth from the bank; 210 Thrice with full force he shook the beam, and thrice, Although reluctant, left it; at his fourth Last effort, bending it he sought to

Page 279

break The ashen spear-beam of AEacides, But perish’d by his keen-edged falchion first; 215 For on the belly at his navel’s side He smote him; to the ground effused fell all His bowels, death’s dim shadows veil’d his eyes.  Achilles ardent on his bosom fix’d His foot, despoil’d him, and exulting cried. 220
  Lie there; though River-sprung, thou find’st it hard
To cope with sons of Jove omnipotent.  Thou said’st, a mighty River is my sire—­ But my descent from mightier Jove I boast; My father, whom the Myrmidons obey, 225 Is son of AEacus, and he of Jove.  As Jove all streams excels that seek the sea, So, Jove’s descendants nobler are than theirs.  Behold a River at thy side—­let him Afford thee, if he can, some succor—­No—­ 230 He may not fight against Saturnian Jove.  Therefore, not kingly Acheloius, Nor yet the strength of Ocean’s vast profound, Although from him all rivers and all seas, All fountains and all wells proceed, may boast 235 Comparison with Jove, but even he Astonish’d trembles at his fiery bolt, And his dread thunders rattling in the sky.  He said, and drawing from the bank his spear[5] Asteropaeus left stretch’d on the sands, 240 Where, while the clear wave dash’d him, eels his flanks And ravening fishes numerous nibbled bare.  The horsed Poeonians next he fierce assail’d, Who seeing their brave Chief slain by the sword And forceful arm of Peleus’ son, beside 245 The eddy-whirling stream fled all dispersed.  Thersilochus and Mydon then he slew, Thrasius, Astypylus and Ophelestes, AEnius and Mnesus; nor had these sufficed Achilles, but Poeonians more had fallen, 250 Had not the angry River from within His circling gulfs in semblance, of a man Call’d to him, interrupting thus his rage. 
  Oh both in courage and injurious deeds
Unmatch’d, Achilles! whom themselves the Gods 255 Cease not to aid, if Saturn’s son have doom’d All Ilium’s race to perish by thine arm, Expel them, first, from me, ere thou achieve That dread exploit; for, cumber’d as I am With bodies, I can pour my pleasant stream 260 No longer down into the sacred deep; All vanish where thou comest.  But oh desist Dread Chief!  Amazement fills me at thy deeds. 
  To whom Achilles, matchless in the race. 
River divine! hereafter be it so. 265 But not from slaughter of this faithless host I cease, till I shall shut them fast in Troy And trial make of Hector, if his arm In single fight shall strongest prove, or mine
  He said, and like a God, furious, again 270
Assail’d the Trojans; then the circling flood To Phoebus thus his loud complaint address’d. 
  Ah son of Jove, God of the silver bow! 
The mandate of the son of Saturn ill Hast thou perform’d, who, earnest, bade thee aid 275 The Trojans, till (the sun sunk in the

Page 280

West) Night’s shadow dim should veil the fruitful field. 
  He ended, and Achilles spear-renown’d
Plunged from the bank into the middle stream.  Then, turbulent, the River all his tide 280 Stirr’d from the bottom, landward heaving off The numerous bodies that his current chok’d Slain by Achilles; them, as with the roar Of bulls, he cast aground, but deep within His oozy gulfs the living safe conceal’d. 285 Terrible all around Achilles stood The curling wave, then, falling on his shield Dash’d him, nor found his footsteps where to rest.  An elm of massy trunk he seized and branch Luxuriant, but it fell torn from the root 290 And drew the whole bank after it; immersed It damm’d the current with its ample boughs, And join’d as with a bridge the distant shores, Upsprang Achilles from the gulf and turn’d His feet, now wing’d for flight, into the plain 295 Astonish’d; but the God, not so appeased, Arose against him with a darker curl,[6] That he might quell him and deliver Troy.  Back flew Achilles with a bound, the length Of a spear’s cast, for such a spring he own’d 300 As bears the black-plumed eagle on her prey Strongest and swiftest of the fowls of air.  Like her he sprang, and dreadful on his chest Clang’d his bright armor.  Then, with course oblique He fled his fierce pursuer, but the flood, 305 Fly where he might, came thundering in his rear.  As when the peasant with his spade a rill Conducts from some pure fountain through his grove Or garden, clearing the obstructed course, The pebbles, as it runs, all ring beneath, 310 And, as the slope still deepens, swifter still It runs, and, murmuring, outstrips the guide, So him, though swift, the river always reach’d Still swifter; who can cope with power divine?  Oft as the noble Chief, turning, essay’d 315 Resistance, and to learn if all the Gods Alike rush’d after him, so oft the flood, Jove’s offspring, laved his shoulders.  Upward then He sprang distress’d, but with a sidelong sweep Assailing him, and from beneath his steps 320 Wasting the soil, the Stream his force subdued.  Then looking to the skies, aloud he mourn’d. 
  Eternal Sire! forsaken by the Gods
I sink, none deigns to save me from the flood, From which once saved, I would no death decline. 325 Yet blame I none of all the Powers of heaven As Thetis; she with falsehood sooth’d my soul, She promised me a death by Phoebus’ shafts Swift-wing’d, beneath the battlements of Troy.  I would that Hector, noblest of his race, 330 Had slain me, I had then bravely expired And a brave man had stripp’d me of my arms.  But fate now dooms me to a death abhorr’d Whelm’d in deep waters, like a swine-herd’s boy Drown’d in wet weather while he fords a brook. 335
  So spake Achilles; then, in human form,
Minerva stood and Neptune at his side; Each seized

Page 281

his hand confirming him, and thus The mighty Shaker of the shores began. 
  Achilles! moderate thy dismay, fear nought. 340
In us behold, in Pallas and in me, Effectual aids, and with consent of Jove; For to be vanquish’d by a River’s force Is not thy doom.  This foe shall soon be quell’d; Thine eyes shall see it.  Let our counsel rule 345 Thy deed, and all is well.  Cease not from war Till fast within proud Ilium’s walls her host Again be prison’d, all who shall escape; Then (Hector slain) to the Achaian fleet Return; we make the glorious victory thine. 350
  So they, and both departing sought the skies. 
Then, animated by the voice divine, He moved toward the plain now all o’erspread By the vast flood on which the bodies swam And shields of many a youth in battle slain. 355 He leap’d, he waded, and the current stemm’d Right onward, by the flood in vain opposed, With such might Pallas fill’d him.  Nor his rage Scamander aught repress’d, but still the more Incensed against Achilles, curl’d aloft 360 His waters, and on Simois call’d aloud. 
  Brother! oh let us with united force
Check, if we may, this warrior; he shall else Soon lay the lofty towers of Priam low, Whose host appall’d, defend them now no more. 365 Haste—­succor me—­thy channel fill with streams From all thy fountains; call thy torrents down; Lift high the waters; mingle trees and stones With uproar wild, that we may quell the force Of this dread Chief triumphant now, and fill’d 370 With projects that might more beseem a God.  But vain shall be his strength, his beauty nought Shall profit him or his resplendent arms, For I will bury them in slime and ooze, And I will overwhelm himself with soil, 375 Sands heaping o’er him and around him sands Infinite, that no Greek shall find his bones For ever, in my bottom deep immersed.  There shall his tomb be piled, nor other earth, At his last rites, his friends shall need for him. 380
  He said, and lifting high his angry tide
Vortiginous, against Achilles hurl’d, Roaring, the foam, the bodies, and the blood; Then all his sable waves divine again Accumulating, bore him swift along. 385 Shriek’d Juno at that sight, terrified lest Achilles in the whirling deluge sunk Should perish, and to Vulcan quick exclaim’d. 
  Vulcan, my son, arise; for we account
Xanthus well able to contend with thee. 390 Give instant succor; show forth all thy fires.  Myself will haste to call the rapid South And Zephyrus, that tempests from the sea Blowing, thou may’st both arms and dead consume With hideous conflagration.  Burn along 395 The banks of Xanthus, fire his trees and him Seize also.  Let him by no specious guile Of flattery soothe thee, or by threats appall, Nor slack thy furious fires ’till

Page 282

with a shout I give command, then bid them cease to blaze. 400
  She spake, and Vulcan at her word his fires
Shot dreadful forth; first, kindling on the field, He burn’d the bodies strew’d numerous around Slain by Achilles; arid grew the earth And the flood ceased.  As when a sprightly breeze 405 Autumnal blowing from the North, at once Dries the new-water’d garden,[7] gladdening him Who tills the soil, so was the champain dried; The dead consumed, against the River, next, He turn’d the fierceness of his glittering fires. 410 Willows and tamarisks and elms he burn’d, Burn’d lotus, rushes, reeds; all plants and herbs That clothed profuse the margin of his flood.  His eels and fishes, whether wont to dwell In gulfs beneath, or tumble in the stream, 415 All languish’d while the artist of the skies Breath’d on them; even Xanthus lost, himself, All force, and, suppliant, Vulcan thus address’d. 
  Oh Vulcan! none in heaven itself may cope
With thee.  I yield to thy consuming fires. 420 Cease, cease.  I reck not if Achilles drive Her citizens, this moment, forth from Troy, For what are war and war’s concerns to me? 
  So spake he scorch’d, and all his waters boil’d. 
As some huge caldron hisses urged by force 425 Of circling fires and fill’d with melted lard, The unctuous fluid overbubbling[8] streams On all sides, while the dry wood flames beneath, So Xanthus bubbled and his pleasant flood Hiss’d in the fire, nor could he longer flow 430 But check’d his current, with hot steams annoy’d By Vulcan raised.  His supplication, then, Importunate to Juno thus he turn’d. 
  Ah Juno! why assails thy son my streams,
Hostile to me alone?  Of all who aid 435 The Trojans I am surely least to blame, Yet even I desist if thou command; And let thy son cease also; for I swear That never will I from the Trojans turn Their evil day, not even when the host 440 Of Greece shall set all Ilium in a blaze. 
  He said, and by his oath pacified, thus
The white-arm’d Deity to Vulcan spake. 
  Peace, glorious son! we may not in behalf
Of mortal man thus longer vex a God. 445
  Then Vulcan his tremendous fires repress’d,
And down into his gulfy channel rush’d The refluent flood; for when the force was once Subdued of Xanthus, Juno interposed, Although incensed, herself to quell the strife. 450
  But contest vehement the other Gods
Now waged, each breathing discord; loud they rush’d And fierce to battle, while the boundless earth Quaked under them, and, all around, the heavens Sang them together with a trumpet’s voice. 455 Jove listening, on the Olympian summit sat Well-pleased, and, in his heart laughing for joy, Beheld the Powers of heaven in battle join’d.  Not long aloof they stood.  Shield-piercer Mars,

Page 283

His brazen spear grasp’d, and began the fight 460 Rushing on Pallas, whom he thus reproach’d. 
  Wasp! front of impudence, and past all bounds
Audacious!  Why impellest thou the Gods To fight?  Thy own proud spirit is the cause.  Remember’st not, how, urged by thee, the son 465 Of Tydeus, Diomede, myself assail’d, When thou, the radiant spear with thy own hand Guiding, didst rend my body?  Now, I ween, The hour is come in which I shall exact Vengeance for all thy malice shown to me. 470
  So saying, her shield he smote tassell’d around
Terrific, proof against the bolts of Jove; That shield gore-tainted Mars with fury smote.  But she, retiring, with strong grasp upheaved A rugged stone, black, ponderous, from the plain, 475 A land-mark fixt by men of ancient times, Which hurling at the neck of stormy Mars She smote him.  Down he fell.  Seven acres, stretch’d, He overspread, his ringlets in the dust Polluted lay, and dreadful rang his arms. 480 The Goddess laugh’d, and thus in accents wing’d With exultation, as he lay, exclaim’d. 
  Fool!  Art thou still to learn how far my force
Surpasses thine, and darest thou cope with me?  Now feel the furies of thy mother’s ire 485 Who hates thee for thy treachery to the Greeks, And for thy succor given to faithless Troy. 
  She said, and turn’d from Mars her glorious eyes. 
But him deep-groaning and his torpid powers Recovering slow, Venus conducted thence 490 Daughter of Jove, whom soon as Juno mark’d, In accents wing’d to Pallas thus she spake. 
  Daughter invincible of glorious Jove! 
Haste—­follow her—­Ah shameless! how she leads Gore-tainted Mars through all the host of heaven. 495
  So she, whom Pallas with delight obey’d;
To Venus swift she flew, and on the breast With such force smote her that of sense bereft The fainting Goddess fell.  There Venus lay And Mars extended on the fruitful glebe, 500 And Pallas thus in accents wing’d exclaim’d. 
  I would that all who on the part of Troy
Oppose in fight Achaia’s valiant sons, Were firm and bold as Venus in defence Of Mars, for whom she dared my power defy! 505 So had dissension (Ilium overthrown And desolated) ceased long since in heaven. 
  So Pallas, and approving Juno smiled. 
Then the imperial Shaker of the shores Thus to Apollo.  Phoebus! wherefore stand 510 We thus aloof?  Since others have begun, Begin we also; shame it were to both Should we, no combat waged, ascend again Olympus and the brass-built hall of Jove.  Begin, for thou art younger; me, whose years 515 Alike and knowledge thine surpass so far, It suits not.  Oh stupidity! how gross Art thou and senseless!  Are no traces left In thy remembrance of our numerous wrongs Sustain’d at Ilium, when, of all the Gods

Page 284

520 Ourselves alone, by Jove’s commandment, served For stipulated hire, a year complete, Our task-master the proud Laomedon?  Myself a bulwark’d town, spacious, secure Against assault, and beautiful as strong 525 Built for the Trojans, and thine office was To feed for King Laomedon his herds Among the groves of Ida many-valed.  But when the gladsome hours the season brought Of payment, then the unjust King of Troy 530 Dismiss’d us of our whole reward amerced By violence, and added threats beside.  Thee into distant isles, bound hand and foot, To sell he threatened, and to amputate The ears of both; we, therefore, hasted thence 535 Resenting deep our promised hire withheld.  Aid’st thou for this the Trojans?  Canst thou less Than seek, with us, to exterminate the whole Perfidious race, wives, children, husbands, all? 
  To whom the King of radiant shafts Apollo. 540
Me, Neptune, thou wouldst deem, thyself, unwise Contending for the sake of mortal men With thee; a wretched race, who like the leaves Now flourish rank, by fruits of earth sustain’d, Now sapless fall.  Here, therefore, us between 545 Let all strife cease, far better left to them. 
  He said, and turn’d away, fearing to lift
His hand against the brother of his sire.  But him Diana of the woods with sharp Rebuke, his huntress sister, thus reproved. 550
  Fly’st thou, Apollo! and to Neptune yield’st
An unearn’d victory, the prize of fame Resigning patient and with no dispute?  Fool! wherefore bearest thou the bow in vain?  Ah, let me never in my father’s courts 555 Hear thee among the immortals vaunting more That thou wouldst Neptune’s self confront in arms. 
  So she, to whom Apollo nought replied.[9]
But thus the consort of the Thunderer, fired With wrath, reproved the Archeress of heaven. 560
  How hast thou dared, impudent, to oppose
My will?  Bow-practised as thou art, the task To match my force were difficult to thee.  Is it, because by ordinance of Jove Thou art a lioness to womankind, 565 Killing them at thy pleasure?  Ah beware—­ Far easier is it, on the mountain-heights To slay wild beasts and chase the roving hind, Than to conflict with mightier than ourselves.  But, if thou wish a lesson on that theme, 570 Approach—­thou shalt be taught with good effect How far my force in combat passes thine. 
  She said, and with her left hand seizing both
Diana’s wrists, snatch’d suddenly the bow Suspended on her shoulder with the right, 575 And, smiling, smote her with it on the ears.  She, writhing oft and struggling, to the ground Shook forth her rapid shafts, then, weeping, fled As to her cavern in some hollow rock The dove, not destined to his talons, flies 580 The hawk’s pursuit, and left her arms behind. 

Page 285

  Then, messenger of heaven, the Argicide
Address’d Latona.  Combat none with thee, Latona, will I wage.  Unsafe it were To cope in battle with a spouse of Jove. 585 Go, therefore, loudly as thou wilt, proclaim To all the Gods that thou hast vanquish’d me. 
  Collecting, then, the bow and arrows fallen
In wild disorder on the dusty plain, Latona with the sacred charge withdrew 590 Following her daughter; she, in the abode Brass-built arriving of Olympian Jove, Sat on his knees, weeping till all her robe Ambrosial shook.  The mighty Father smiled, And to his bosom straining her, inquired. 595
  Daughter beloved! who, which of all the Gods
Hath raised his hand, presumptuous, against thee, As if convicted of some open wrong? 
  To whom the clear-voiced Huntress crescent-crown’d. 
My Father!  Juno, thy own consort fair 600 My sorrow caused, from whom dispute and strife Perpetual, threaten the immortal Powers. 
  Thus they in heaven mutual conferr’d.  Meantime
Apollo into sacred Troy return’d Mindful to guard her bulwarks, lest the Greeks 605 Too soon for Fate should desolate the town.  The other Gods, some angry, some elate With victory, the Olympian heights regain’d, And sat beside the Thunderer.  But the son Of Peleus—­He both Trojans slew and steeds. 610 As when in volumes slow smoke climbs the skies From some great city which the Gods have fired Vindictive, sorrow thence to many ensues With mischief, and to all labor severe, So caused Achilles labor on that day, 615 Severe, and mischief to the men of Troy. 
  But ancient Priam from a sacred tower
Stood looking forth, whence soon he noticed vast Achilles, before whom the Trojans fled All courage lost.  Descending from the tower 620 With mournful cries and hasting to the wall He thus enjoin’d the keepers of the gates. 
  Hold wide the portals till the flying host
Re-enter, for himself is nigh, himself Achilles drives them home.  Now, wo to Troy! 625 But soon as safe within the walls received They breathe again, shut fast the ponderous gates At once, lest that destroyer also pass. 
  He said; they, shooting back the bars, threw wide
The gates and saved the people, whom to aid 630 Apollo also sprang into the field, They, parch’d with drought and whiten’d all with dust, Flew right toward the town, while, spear in hand, Achilles press’d them, vengeance in his heart And all on fire for glory.  Then, full sure, 635 Ilium, the city of lofty gates, had fallen Won by the Grecians, had not Phoebus roused Antenor’s valiant son, the noble Chief Agenor; him with dauntless might he fill’d, And shielding him against the stroke of fate 640 Beside him stood himself, by the broad beech Cover’d and wrapt in clouds.  Agenor then, Seeing the city-waster hero nigh Achilles,

Page 286

stood, but standing, felt his mind Troubled with doubts; he groan’d, and thus he mused. 645
  [10]Alas! if following the tumultuous flight
Of these, I shun Achilles, swifter far He soon will lop my ignominious head.  But if, these leaving to be thus dispersed Before him, from the city-wall I fly 650 Across the plain of Troy into the groves Of Ida, and in Ida’s thickets lurk, I may, at evening, to the town return Bathed and refresh’d.  But whither tend my thoughts?  Should he my flight into the plain observe 655 And swift pursuing seize me, then, farewell All hope to scape a miserable death, For he hath strength passing the strength of man.  How then—­shall I withstand him here before The city?  He hath also flesh to steel 660 Pervious, within it but a single life, And men report him mortal, howsoe’er Saturnian Jove lift him to glory now. 
  So saying, he turn’d and stood, his dauntless heart
Beating for battle.  As the pard springs forth 665 To meet the hunter from her gloomy lair, Nor, hearing loud the hounds, fears or retires, But whether from afar or nigh at hand He pierce her first, although transfixt, the fight Still tries, and combats desperate till she fall, 670 So, brave Antenor’s son fled not, or shrank, Till he had proved Achilles, but his breast O’ershadowing with his buckler and his spear Aiming well-poised against him, loud exclaim’d. 
  Renown’d Achilles!  Thou art high in hope 675
Doubtless, that thou shalt this day overthrow The city of the glorious sons of Troy.  Fool! ye must labor yet ere she be won, For numerous are her citizens and bold, And we will guard her for our parents’ sake 680 Our wives and little ones.  But here thou diest Terrible Chief and dauntless as thou art. 
  He said, and with full force hurling his lance
Smote, and err’d not, his greave beneath his knee The glittering tin, forged newly, at the stroke 685 Tremendous rang, but quick recoil’d and vain The weapon, weak against that guard divine.  Then sprang Achilles in his turn to assail Godlike Agenor, but Apollo took That glory from him, snatching wrapt in clouds 690 Agenor thence, whom calm he sent away. 
  Then Phoebus from pursuit of Ilium’s host
By art averted Peleus’ son; the form Assuming of Agenor, swift he fled Before him, and Achilles swift pursued. 695 While him Apollo thus lured to the chase Wide o’er the fruitful plain, inclining still Toward Scamander’s dizzy stream his course Nor flying far before, but with false hope Always beguiling him, the scatter’d host 700 Meantime, in joyful throngs, regain’d the town.  They fill’d and shut it fast, nor dared to wait Each other in the field, or to inquire Who lived and who had fallen, but all, whom flight Had rescued, like a flood pour’d into Troy. 705

* * * * *

Page 287

The Trojans being now within the city, excepting Hector, the field is cleared for the most important and decisive action in the poem; that is, the battle between Achilles and Hector, and the death of the latter.  This part of the story is managed with singular skill.  It seems as if the poet, feeling the importance of the catastrophe, wished to withdraw from view the personages of less consequence, and to concentrate our attention upon those two alone.  The poetic action and description are narrowed in extent, but deepened in interest.  The fate of Troy is impending; the irreversible decree of Jupiter is about to be executed; the heroes, whose bravery is to be the instrument of bringing about this consummation, are left together on the plain.—­FELTON.




Achilles slays Hector.


  Thus they, throughout all Troy, like hunted fawns
  Dispersed, their trickling limbs at leisure cool’d,
  And, drinking, slaked their fiery thirst, reclined
  Against the battlements.  Meantime, the Greeks
  Sloping their shields, approach’d the walls of Troy, 5
  And Hector, by his adverse fate ensnared,
  Still stood exposed before the Scaean gate. 
  Then spake Apollo thus to Peleus’ son. 
    Wherefore, thyself mortal, pursuest thou me
  Immortal? oh Achilles! blind with rage, 10
  Thou know’st not yet, that thou pursuest a God. 
  Unmindful of thy proper task, to press
  The flying Trojans, thou hast hither turn’d
  Devious, and they are all now safe in Troy;
  Yet hope me not to slay; I cannot die. 15
    To whom Achilles swiftest of the swift,
  Indignant.  Oh, of all the Powers above
  To me most adverse, Archer of the skies! 
  Thou hast beguiled me, leading me away
  From Ilium far, whence intercepted, else, 20
  No few had at this moment gnaw’d the glebe. 
  Thou hast defrauded me of great renown,
  And, safe thyself, hast rescued them with ease. 
  Ah—­had I power, I would requite thee well. 
    So saying, incensed he turned toward the town 25
  His rapid course, like some victorious steed
  That whirls, at stretch, a chariot to the goal. 
  Such seem’d Achilles, coursing light the field. 
    Him, first, the ancient King of Troy perceived
  Scouring the plain, resplendent as the star 30
  Autumnal, of all stars in dead of night
  Conspicous most, and named Orion’s dog;
  Brightest it shines, but ominous, and dire
  Disease portends to miserable man;[1]
  So beam’d Achilles’ armor as he flew. 35
  Loud wail’d the hoary King; with lifted hands

Page 288

  His head he smote, and, uttering doleful cries
  Of supplication, sued to his own son. 
  He, fixt before the gate, desirous stood
  Of combat with Achilles, when his sire 40
  With arms outstretch’d toward him, thus began. 
    My Hector! wait not, oh my son! the approach
  Of this dread Chief, alone, lest premature
  Thou die, this moment by Achilles slain,
  For he is strongest far.  Oh that the Gods 45
  Him loved as I! then, soon should vultures rend
  And dogs his carcase, and my grief should cease. 
  He hath unchilded me of many a son,
  All valiant youths, whom he hath slain or sold
  To distant isles, and even now, I miss 50
  Two sons, whom since the shutting of the gates
  I find not, Polydorus and Lycaon,
  My children by Laothoee the fair. 
  If they survive prisoners in yonder camp,
  I will redeem them with gold and brass 55
  By noble Eltes to his daughter given,
  Large store, and still reserved.  But should they both,
  Already slain, have journey’d to the shades,
  We, then, from whom they sprang have cause to mourn
  And mourn them long, but shorter shall the grief 60
  Of Ilium prove, if thou escape and live. 
  Come then, my son! enter the city-gate
  That thou may’st save us all, nor in thy bloom
  Of life cut off, enhance Achilles’ fame. 
  Commiserate also thy unhappy sire 65
  Ere yet distracted, whom Saturnian Jove
  Ordains to a sad death, and ere I die
  To woes innumerable; to behold
  Sons slaughter’d, daughters ravish’d, torn and stripp’d
  The matrimonial chamber, infants dash’d 70
  Against the ground in dire hostility,[2]
  And matrons dragg’d by ruthless Grecian hands. 
  Me, haply, last of all, dogs shall devour
  In my own vestibule, when once the spear
  Or falchion of some Greek hath laid me low. 75
  The very dogs fed at my table-side,
  My portal-guards, drinking their master’s blood
  To drunkenness, shall wallow in my courts. 
  Fair falls the warlike youth in battle slain,
  And when he lies torn by the pointed steel, 80
  His death becomes him well; he is secure,
  Though dead, from shame, whatever next befalls: 
  But when the silver locks and silver beard
  Of an old man slain by the sword, from dogs
  Receive dishonor, of all ills that wait 85
  On miserable man, that sure is worst. 
    So spake the ancient King, and his grey hairs
  Pluck’d with both hands, but Hector firm endured. 
  On the other side all tears his mother stood,
  And lamentation; with one hand she bared, 90
  And with the other hand produced her breast,
  Then in wing’d accents, weeping,

Page 289

him bespake. 
    My Hector! reverence this, and pity me
  If ever, drawing forth this breast, thy griefs
  Of infancy I soothed, oh now, my son! 95
  Acknowledge it, and from within the walls
  Repulse this enemy; stand not abroad
  To cope with him, for he is savage-fierce,
  And should he slay thee, neither shall myself
  Who bore thee, nor thy noble spouse weep o’er 100
  Thy body, but, where we can never come,
  Dogs shall devour it in the fleet of Greece. 
    So they with prayers importuned, and with tears
  Their son, but him sway’d not; unmoved he stood,
  Expecting vast Achilles now at hand. 105
  As some fell serpent in his cave expects
  The traveller’s approach, batten’d with herbs
  Of baneful juice to fury,[3] forth he looks
  Hideous, and lies coil’d all around his den,
  So Hector, fill’d with confidence untamed, 110
  Fled not, but placing his bright shield against
  A buttress, with his noble heart conferr’d.
    [4]Alas for me! should I repass the gate,
  Polydamas would be the first to heap
  Reproaches on me, for he bade me lead 115
  The Trojans back this last calamitous night
  In which Achilles rose to arms again. 
  But I refused, although to have complied,
  Had proved more profitable far; since then
  By rash resolves of mine I have destroy’d 120
  The people, how can I escape the blame
  Of all in Troy?  The meanest there will say—­
  By his self-will he hath destroy’d us all. 
  So shall they speak, and then shall I regret
  That I return’d ere I had slain in fight 125
  Achilles, or that, by Achilles slain,
  I died not nobly in defence of Troy. 
  But shall I thus?  Lay down my bossy shield,
  Put off my helmet, and my spear recline
  Against the city wall, then go myself 130
  To meet the brave Achilles, and at once
  Promise him Helen, for whose sake we strive
  With all the wealth that Paris in his fleet
  Brought home, to be restored to Atreus’ sons,
  And to distribute to the Greeks at large 135
  All hidden treasures of the town, an oath
  Taking beside from every senator,
  That he will nought conceal, but will produce
  And share in just equality what stores
  Soever our fair city still includes? 140
  Ah airy speculations, questions vain! 
  I may not sue to him:  compassion none
  Will he vouchsafe me, or my suit respect. 
  But, seeing me unarm’d, will sate at once
  His rage, and womanlike I shall be slain. 145
  It is no time from oak or hollow rock
  With him to parley, as a nymph and swain,
  A nymph and swain[5] soft parley mutual

Page 290

  But rather to engage in combat fierce
  Incontinent; so shall we soonest learn 150
  Whom Jove will make victorious, him or me. 
    Thus pondering he stood; meantime approach’d
  Achilles, terrible as fiery Mars,
  Crest-tossing God, and brandish’d as he came
  O’er his right shoulder high the Pelian spear. 155
  Like lightning, or like flame, or like the sun
  Ascending, beam’d his armor.  At that sight
  Trembled the Trojan Chief, nor dared expect
  His nearer step, but flying left the gates
  Far distant, and Achilles swift pursued. 160
  As in the mountains, fleetest fowl of air,
  The hawk darts eager at the dove; she scuds
  Aslant, he screaming, springs and springs again
  To seize her, all impatient for the prey,
  So flew Achilles constant to the track 165
  Of Hector, who with dreadful haste beneath
  The Trojan bulwarks plied his agile limbs. 
  Passing the prospect-mount where high in air
  The wild-fig waved,[6] they rush’d along the road,
  Declining never from the wall of Troy. 170
  And now they reach’d the running rivulets clear,
  Where from Scamander’s dizzy flood arise
  Two fountains,[7] tepid one, from which a smoke
  Issues voluminous as from a fire,
  The other, even in summer heats, like hail 175
  For cold, or snow, or crystal-stream frost-bound. 
  Beside them may be seen the broad canals
  Of marble scoop’d, in which the wives of Troy
  And all her daughters fair were wont to lave
  Their costly raiment,[8] while the land had rest, 180
  And ere the warlike sons of Greece arrived. 
  By these they ran, one fleeing, one in chase. 
  Valiant was he who fled, but valiant far
  Beyond him he who urged the swift pursuit;
  Nor ran they for a vulgar prize, a beast 185
  For sacrifice, or for the hide of such,
  The swift foot-racer’s customary meed,
  But for the noble Hector’s life they ran. 
  As when two steeds, oft conquerors, trim the goal
  For some illustrious prize, a tripod bright 190
  Or beauteous virgin, at a funeral game,
  So they with nimble feet the city thrice
  Of Priam compass’d.  All the Gods look’d on,
  And thus the Sire of Gods and men began. 
    Ah—­I behold a warrior dear to me 195
  Around the walls of Ilium driven, and grieve
  For Hector, who the thighs of fatted bulls
  On yonder heights of Ida many-valed
  Burn’d oft to me, and in the heights of Troy:[9]
  But him Achilles, glorious Chief, around 200
  The city walls of Priam now pursues. 
  Consider this, ye Gods! weigh the event. 
  Shall we from death save Hector? or, at length,
  Leave him, although in battle high renown’d,

Page 291

  To perish by the might of Peleus’ son? 205
    Whom answer’d thus Pallas cerulean-eyed. 
  Dread Sovereign of the storms! what hast thou said? 
  Wouldst thou deliver from the stroke of fate
  A mortal man death-destined from of old? 
  Do it; but small thy praise shall be in heaven. 210
    Then answer thus, cloud-gatherer Jove return’d. 
  Fear not, Tritonia, daughter dear! that word
  Spake not my purpose; me thou shalt perceive
  Always to thee indulgent.  What thou wilt
  That execute, and use thou no delay. 215
    So roused he Pallas of herself prepared,
  And from the heights Olympian down she flew. 
  With unremitting speed Achilles still
  Urged Hector.  As among the mountain-height
  The hound pursues, roused newly from her lair 220
  The flying fawn through many a vale and grove;
  And though she trembling skulk the shrubs beneath,
  Tracks her continual, till he find the prey,
  So ‘scaped not Hector Peleus’ rapid son. 
  Oft as toward the Dardan gates he sprang 225
  Direct, and to the bulwarks firm of Troy,
  Hoping some aid by volleys from the wall,
  So oft, outstripping him, Achilles thence
  Enforced him to the field, who, as he might,
  Still ever stretch’d toward the walls again. 230
  As, in a dream,[10] pursuit hesitates oft,
  This hath no power to fly, that to pursue,
  So these—­one fled, and one pursued in vain. 
  How, then, had Hector his impending fate
  Eluded, had not Phoebus, at his last, 235
  Last effort meeting him, his strength restored,
  And wing’d for flight his agile limbs anew? 
  The son of Peleus, as he ran, his brows
  Shaking, forbad the people to dismiss
  A dart at Hector, lest a meaner hand 240
  Piercing him, should usurp the foremost praise. 
  But when the fourth time to those rivulets. 
  They came, then lifting high his golden scales,
  Two lots the everlasting Father placed
  Within them, for Achilles one, and one 245
  For Hector, balancing the doom of both. 
  Grasping it in the midst, he raised the beam. 
  Down went the fatal day of Hector, down
  To Ades, and Apollo left his side. 
  Then blue-eyed Pallas hasting to the son 250
  Of Peleus, in wing’d accents him address’d. 
    Now, dear to Jove, Achilles famed in arms! 
  I hope that, fierce in combat though he be,
  We shall, at last, slay Hector, and return
  Crown’d with great glory to the fleet of Greece. 255
  No fear of his deliverance now remains,
  Not even should the King of radiant shafts,
  Apollo, toil in supplication, roll’d
  And roll’d again[11] before the Thunderer’s feet. 
  But stand, recover breath; myself, the

Page 292

while, 260
  Shall urge him to oppose thee face to face. 
    So Pallas spake, whom joyful he obey’d,
  And on his spear brass-pointed lean’d.  But she,
  (Achilles left) to noble Hector pass’d,
  And in the form, and with the voice loud-toned 265
  Approaching of Deiphobus, his ear
  In accents, as of pity, thus address’d. 
    Ah brother! thou art overtask’d, around
  The walls of Troy by swift Achilles driven;
  But stand, that we may chase him in his turn.[12] 270
    To whom crest-tossing Hector huge replied. 
  Deiphobus! of all my father’s sons
  Brought forth by Hecuba, I ever loved
  Thee most, but more than ever love thee now,
  Who hast not fear’d, seeing me, for my sake 275
  To quit the town, where others rest content. 
    To whom the Goddess, thus, cerulean-eyed. 
  Brother! our parents with much earnest suit
  Clasping my knees, and all my friends implored me
  To stay in Troy, (such fear hath seized on all) 280
  But grief for thee prey’d on my inmost soul. 
  Come—­fight we bravely—­spare we now our spears
  No longer; now for proof if Peleus’ son
  Slaying us both, shall bear into the fleet
  Our arms gore-stain’d, or perish slain by thee. 285
    So saying, the wily Goddess led the way. 
  They soon, approaching each the other, stood
  Opposite, and huge Hector thus began. 
    Pelides!  I will fly thee now no more. 
  Thrice I have compass’d Priam’s spacious walls 290
  A fugitive, and have not dared abide
  Thy onset, but my heart now bids me stand
  Dauntless, and I will slay, or will be slain. 
  But come.  We will attest the Gods; for they
  Are fittest both to witness and to guard 295
  Our covenant.  If Jove to me vouchsafe
  The hard-earn’d victory, and to take thy life,
  I will not with dishonor foul insult
  Thy body, but, thine armor stripp’d, will give
  Thee to thy friends, as thou shalt me to mine. 300
    To whom Achilles, lowering dark, replied. 
  Hector! my bitterest foe! speak not to me
  Of covenants! as concord can be none
  Lions and men between, nor wolves and lambs
  Can be unanimous, but hate perforce 305
  Each other by a law not to be changed,
  So cannot amity subsist between
  Thee and myself; nor league make I with thee
  Or compact, till thy blood in battle shed
  Or mine, shall gratify the fiery Mars. 310
  Rouse all thy virtue; thou hast utmost need
  Of valor now, and of address in arms. 
  Escape me more thou canst not; Pallas’ hand
  By mine subdues thee; now will I avenge
  At once the agonies of every Greek 315
  In thy unsparing fury slain by thee. 

Page 293

    He said, and, brandishing the Pelian ash,
  Dismiss’d it; but illustrious Hector warn’d,
  Crouched low, and, overflying him, it pierced
  The soil beyond, whence Pallas plucking it 320
  Unseen, restored it to Achilles’ hand,
  And Hector to his godlike foe replied. 
    Godlike Achilles! thou hast err’d, nor know’st
  At all my doom from Jove, as thou pretend’st,
  But seek’st, by subtlety and wind of words, 325
  All empty sounds, to rob me of my might. 
  Yet stand I firm.  Think not to pierce my back. 
  Behold my bosom! if the Gods permit,
  Meet me advancing, and transpierce me there. 
  Meantime avoid my glittering spear, but oh 330
  May’st thou receive it all! since lighter far
  To Ilium should the toils of battle prove,
  Wert thou once slain, the fiercest of her foes. 
    He said, and hurling his long spear with aim
  Unerring, smote the centre of the shield 335
  Of Peleus’ son, but his spear glanced away. 
  He, angry to have sent it forth in vain,
  (For he had other none) with eyes downcast
  Stood motionless awhile, then with loud voice
  Sought from Deiphobus, white-shielded Chief, 340
  A second; but Deiphobus was gone. 
  Then Hector understood his doom, and said. 
    Ah, it is plain; this is mine hour to die. 
  I thought Deiphobus at hand, but me
  Pallas beguiled, and he is still in Troy. 345
  A bitter death threatens me, it is nigh,
  And there is no escape; Jove, and Jove’s son
  Apollo, from the first, although awhile
  My prompt deliverers, chose this lot for me,
  And now it finds me.  But I will not fall 350
  Inglorious; I will act some great exploit
  That shall be celebrated ages hence. 
    So saying, his keen falchion from his side
  He drew, well-temper’d, ponderous, and rush’d
  At once to combat.  As the eagle darts 355
  Right downward through a sullen cloud to seize
  Weak lamb or timorous hare, so brandishing
  His splendid falchion, Hector rush’d to fight. 
  Achilles, opposite, with fellest ire
  Full-fraught came on; his shield with various art 360
  Celestial form’d, o’erspread his ample chest,
  And on his radiant casque terrific waved
  The bushy gold of his resplendent crest,
  By Vulcan spun, and pour’d profuse around. 
  Bright as, among the stars, the star of all 365
  Most radiant, Hesperus, at midnight moves,
  So, in the right hand of Achilles beam’d
  His brandish’d spear, while, meditating wo
  To Hector, he explored his noble form,
  Seeking where he was vulnerable most. 370
  But every part, his dazzling armor torn
  From brave Patroclus’ body, well

Page 294

  Save where the circling key-bone from the neck
  Disjoins the shoulder; there his throat appear’d,
  Whence injured life with swiftest flight escapes; 375
  Achilles, plunging in that part his spear,
  Impell’d it through the yielding flesh beyond. 
  The ashen beam his power of utterance left
  Still unimpair’d, but in the dust he fell,
  And the exulting conqueror exclaim’d. 380
    But Hector! thou hadst once far other hopes,
  And, stripping slain Patroclus, thought’st thee safe,
  Nor caredst for absent me.  Fond dream and vain! 
  I was not distant far; in yonder fleet
  He left one able to avenge his death, 385
  And he hath slain thee.  Thee the dogs shall rend
  Dishonorably, and the fowls of air,
  But all Achaia’s host shall him entomb. 
    To whom the Trojan Chief languid replied. 
  By thy own life, by theirs who gave thee birth, 390
  And by thy knees,[13] oh let not Grecian dogs
  Rend and devour me, but in gold accept
  And brass a ransom at my father’s hands,
  And at my mother’s an illustrious price;
  Send home my body, grant me burial rites 395
  Among the daughters and the sons of Troy. 
    To whom with aspect stern Achilles thus. 
  Dog! neither knees nor parents name to me. 
  I would my fierceness of revenge were such,
  That I could carve and eat thee, to whose arms 400
  Such griefs I owe; so true it is and sure,
  That none shall save thy carcase from the dogs. 
  No, trust me, would thy parents bring me weigh’d
  Ten—­twenty ransoms, and engage on oath
  To add still more; would thy Dardanian Sire 405
  Priam, redeem thee with thy weight in gold,
  Not even at that price would I consent
  That she who bare should place thee on thy bier
  With lamentation; dogs and ravening fowls
  Shall rend thy body while a scrap remains. 410
    Then, dying, warlike Hector thus replied. 
  Full well I knew before, how suit of mine
  Should speed preferr’d to thee.  Thy heart is steel. 
  But oh, while yet thou livest, think, lest the Gods
  Requite thee on that day, when pierced thyself 415
  By Paris and Apollo, thou shalt fall,
  Brave as thou art, before the Scaean gate. 
    He ceased, and death involved him dark around. 
  His spirit, from his limbs dismiss’d, the house
  Of Ades sought, mourning in her descent 420
  Youth’s prime and vigor lost, disastrous doom! 
  But him though dead, Achilles thus bespake. 
    Die thou.  My death shall find me at what hour
  Jove gives commandment, and the Gods above. 
    He spake, and from the dead drawing away 425
  His brazen spear, placed it apart, then

Page 295

  His arms gore-stain’d.  Meantime the other sons
  Of the Achaians, gathering fast around,
  The bulk admired, and the proportion just
  Of Hector; neither stood a Grecian there 430
  Who pierced him not, and thus the soldier spake. 
    Ye Gods! how far more patient of the touch
  Is Hector now, than when he fired the fleet! 
    Thus would they speak, then give him each a stab. 
  And now, the body stripp’d, their noble Chief 435
  The swift Achilles standing in the midst,
  The Grecians in wing’d accents thus address’d. 
    Friends, Chiefs and Senators of Argos’ host! 
  Since, by the will of heaven, this man is slain
  Who harm’d us more than all our foes beside, 440
  Essay we next the city, so to learn
  The Trojan purpose, whether (Hector slain)
  They will forsake the citadel, or still
  Defend it, even though of him deprived. 
  But wherefore speak I thus? still undeplored, 445
  Unburied in my fleet Patroclus lies;
  Him never, while alive myself, I mix
  With living men and move, will I forget. 
  In Ades, haply, they forget the dead,
  Yet will not I Patroclus, even there. 450
  Now chanting paeans, ye Achaian youths! 
  Return we to the fleet with this our prize;
  We have achieved great glory,[14] we have slain
  Illustrious Hector, him whom Ilium praised
  In all her gates, and as a God revered. 455
    He said; then purposing dishonor foul
  To noble Hector, both his feet he bored
  From heel to ancle, and, inserting thongs,
  Them tied behind his chariot, but his head
  Left unsustain’d to trail along the ground. 460
  Ascending next, the armor at his side
  He placed, then lash’d the steeds; they willing flew
  Thick dust around the body dragg’d arose,
  His sable locks all swept the plain, and all
  His head, so graceful once, now track’d the dust, 465
  For Jove had given it into hostile hands
  That they might shame it in his native soil.[15]
  Thus, whelm’d in dust, it went.  The mother Queen
  Her son beholding, pluck’d her hair away,
  Cast far aside her lucid veil, and fill’d 470
  With shrieks the a