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Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Page: 69

(ll. 191-196) And on the shield stood the fleet-footed horses of grim Ares made gold, and deadly Ares the spoil-winner himself. He held a spear in his hands and was urging on the footmen: he was red with blood as if he were slaying living men, and he stood in his chariot. Beside him stood Fear and Flight, eager to plunge amidst the fighting men.

(ll. 197-200) There, too, was the daughter of Zeus, Tritogeneia who drives the spoil 1803. She was like as if she would array a battle, with a spear in her hand, and a golden helmet, and the aegis about her shoulders. And she was going towards the awful strife.

(ll. 201-206) And there was the holy company of the deathless gods: and in the midst the son of Zeus and Leto played sweetly on a golden lyre. There also was the abode of the gods, pure Olympus, and their assembly, and infinite riches were spread around in the gathering, the Muses of Pieria were beginning a song like clear-voiced singers.

(ll. 207-215) And on the shield was a harbour with a safe haven from the irresistible sea, made of refined tin wrought in a circle, and it seemed to heave with waves. In the middle of it were many dolphins rushing this way and that, fishing: and they seemed to be swimming. Two dolphins of silver were spouting and devouring the mute fishes. And beneath them fishes of bronze were trembling. And on the shore sat a fisherman watching: in his hands he held a casting net for fish, and seemed as if about to cast it forth.

(ll. 216-237) There, too, was the son of rich-haired Danae, the horseman Perseus: his feet did not touch the shield and yet were not far from it—very marvellous to remark, since he was not supported anywhere; for so did the famous Lame One fashion him of gold with his hands. On his feet he had winged sandals, and his black-sheathed sword was slung across his shoulders by a cross-belt of bronze. He was flying swift as thought. The head of a dreadful monster, the Gorgon, covered the broad of his back, and a bag of silver—a marvel to see—contained it: and from the bag bright tassels of gold hung down. Upon the head of the hero lay the dread cap 1804 of Hades which had the awful gloom of night. Perseus himself, the son of Danae, was at full stretch, like one who hurries and shudders with horror. And after him rushed the Gorgons, unapproachable and unspeakable, longing to seize him: as they trod upon the pale adamant, the shield rang sharp and clear with a loud clanging. Two serpents hung down at their girdles with heads curved forward: their tongues were flickering, and their teeth gnashing with fury, and their eyes glaring fiercely. And upon the awful heads of the Gorgons great Fear was quaking.

(ll. 237-270) And beyond these there were men fighting in warlike harness, some defending their own town and parents from destruction, and others eager to sack it; many lay dead, but the greater number still strove and fought. The women on well-built towers of bronze were crying shrilly and tearing their cheeks like living beings—the work of famous Hephaestus. And the men who were elders and on whom age had laid hold were all together outside the gates, and were holding up their hands to the blessed gods, fearing for their own sons. But these again were engaged in battle: and behind them the dusky Fates, gnashing their white fangs, lowering, grim, bloody, and unapproachable, struggled for those who were falling, for they all were longing to drink dark blood. So soon as they caught a man overthrown or falling newly wounded, one of them would clasp her great claws about him, and his soul would go down to Hades to chilly Tartarus. And when they had satisfied their souls with human blood, they would cast that one behind them, and rush back again into the tumult and the fray. Clotho and Lachesis were over them and Atropos less tall than they, a goddess of no great frame, yet superior to the others and the eldest of them. And they all made a fierce fight over one poor wretch, glaring evilly at one another with furious eyes and fighting equally with claws and hands. By them stood Darkness of Death, mournful and fearful, pale, shrivelled, shrunk with hunger, swollen-kneed. Long nails tipped her hands, and she dribbled at the nose, and from her cheeks blood dripped down to the ground. She stood leering hideously, and much dust sodden with tears lay upon her shoulders.


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