The Iliad of Homer
Page: 111Greece in our cause shall arm some powerful hand.
The mightiest warrior of the Achaian name,
Though bold and burning with desire of fame,
Content the doubtful honour might forego,
So great the danger, and so brave the foe."
He said, and turn'd his brother's vengeful mind;
He stoop'd to reason, and his rage resign'd,
No longer bent to rush on certain harms;
His joyful friends unbrace his azure arms.
He from whose lips divine persuasion flows,
Grave Nestor, then, in graceful act arose;
Thus to the kings he spoke: "What grief, what shame
Attend on Greece, and all the Grecian name!
How shall, alas! her hoary heroes mourn
Their sons degenerate, and their race a scorn!
What tears shall down thy silvery beard be roll'd,
O Peleus, old in arms, in wisdom old!
Once with what joy the generous prince would hear
Of every chief who fought this glorious war,
Participate their fame, and pleased inquire
Each name, each action, and each hero's sire!
Gods! should he see our warriors trembling stand,
And trembling all before one hostile hand;
How would he lift his aged arms on high,
Lament inglorious Greece, and beg to die!
Oh! would to all the immortal powers above,
Minerva, Phoebus, and almighty Jove!
Years might again roll back, my youth renew,
And give this arm the spring which once it knew
When fierce in war, where Jardan's waters fall,
I led my troops to Phea's trembling wall,
And with the Arcadian spears my prowess tried,[pg 131]
Where Celadon rolls down his rapid tide.179
There Ereuthalion braved us in the field,
Proud Areithous' dreadful arms to wield;
Great Areithous, known from shore to shore
By the huge, knotted, iron mace he bore;
No lance he shook, nor bent the twanging bow,
But broke, with this, the battle of the foe.
Him not by manly force Lycurgus slew,
Whose guileful javelin from the thicket flew,
Deep in a winding way his breast assailed,
Nor aught the warrior's thundering mace avail'd.
Supine he fell: those arms which Mars before
Had given the vanquish'd, now the victor bore:
But when old age had dimm'd Lycurgus' eyes,
To Ereuthalion he consign'd the prize.
Furious with this he crush'd our levell'd bands,
And dared the trial of the strongest hands;
Nor could the strongest hands his fury stay:
All saw, and fear'd, his huge tempestuous sway
Till I, the youngest of the host, appear'd,
And, youngest, met whom all our army fear'd.
I fought the chief: my arms Minerva crown'd:
Prone fell the giant o'er a length of ground.
What then I was, O were your Nestor now!
Not Hector's self should want an equal foe.
But, warriors, you that youthful vigour boast,
The flower of Greece, the examples of our host,
Sprung from such fathers, who such numbers sway,
Can you stand trembling, and desert the day?"
His warm reproofs the listening kings inflame;
And nine, the noblest of the Grecian name,
Up-started fierce: but far before the rest