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.
ARGUMENT OF THE TWENTY-FIRST BOOK.
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.
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, 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