But, even now, fate, and a violent death
Attend thee by Achilles’ hands ordain’d
To perish, by AEacides the brave. 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.
ARGUMENT OF THE SEVENTEENTH BOOK.
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.
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