And next, brave fellow-warrior of the King
Of Crete, Meriones; when thus his speech
Achilles to the royal chief address’d.
Atrides! (for we know thy skill and force
Matchless! that none can hurl the spear as thou) 1100
This prize is thine, order it to thy ship;
And if it please thee, as I would it might,
Let brave Meriones the spear receive.
He said; nor Agamemnon not complied,
But to Meriones the brazen spear 1105
Presenting, to Talthybius gave in charge
The caldron, next, his own illustrious prize.
ARGUMENT OF THE TWENTY-FOURTH BOOK.
Priam, by command of Jupiter, and under conduct of Mercury, seeks Achilles in his tent, who admonished previously by Thetis, consents to accept ransom for the body of Hector. Hector is mourned, and the manner of his funeral, circumstantially described, concludes the poem.
The games all closed, the people went
Each to his ship; they, mindful of repast,
And to enjoy repose; but other thoughts
Achilles’ mind employ’d: he still deplored
With tears his loved Patroclus, nor the force 5
Felt of all-conquering sleep, but turn’d and turn’d
Restless from side to side, mourning the loss
Of such a friend, so manly, and so brave.
Their fellowship in toil; their hardships oft
Sustain’d in fight laborious, or o’ercome 10
With difficulty on the perilous deep—
Remembrance busily retracing themes
Like these, drew down his cheeks continual tears.
Now on his side he lay, now lay supine,
Now prone, then starting from his couch he roam’d 15
Forlorn the beach, nor did the rising morn
On seas and shores escape his watchful eye,
But joining to his chariot his swift steeds,
He fasten’d Hector to be dragg’d behind.
Around the tomb of Menoetiades 20
Him thrice he dragg’d; then rested in his tent,
Leaving him at his length stretch’d in the dust.
Meantime Apollo with compassion touch’d
Even of the lifeless Hector, from all taint
Saved him, and with the golden aegis broad 25
Covering, preserved him, although dragg’d, untorn.
While he, indulging thus his wrath, disgraced
Brave Hector, the immortals at that sight
With pity moved, exhorted Mercury
The watchful Argicide, to steal him thence. 30
That counsel pleased the rest, but neither pleased
Juno, nor Neptune, nor the blue-eyed maid.
They still, as at the first, held fast their hate
Of sacred Troy, detested Priam still,
And still his people, mindful of the crime