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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 114

His bulk supporting on the shatter'd shield:
Nor wanted heavenly aid: Apollo's might
Confirm'd his sinews, and restored to fight.
And now both heroes their broad falchions drew
In flaming circles round their heads they flew;
But then by heralds' voice the word was given.
The sacred ministers of earth and heaven:
Divine Talthybius, whom the Greeks employ.
And sage Idaeus on the part of Troy,
[pg 135]Illustration: <strong><a href=HECTOR AND AJAX SEPARATED BY THE HERALDS." title= "HECTOR AND AJAX SEPARATED BY THE HERALDS." />
HECTOR AND AJAX SEPARATED BY THE HERALDS.
"Forbear, my sons! your further force to prove,
Both dear to men, and both beloved of Jove.
To either host your matchless worth is known,
Each sounds your praise, and war is all your own.
But now the Night extends her awful shade;
The goddess parts you; be the night obey'd."184
To whom great Ajax his high soul express'd:
"O sage! to Hector be these words address'd.
Let him, who first provoked our chiefs to fight,
Let him demand the sanction of the night;
If first he ask'd it, I content obey,
And cease the strife when Hector shows the way."
"O first of Greeks! (his noble foe rejoin'd)
Whom heaven adorns, superior to thy kind,
With strength of body, and with worth of mind!
Now martial law commands us to forbear;
Hereafter we shall meet in glorious war,
Some future day shall lengthen out the strife,
And let the gods decide of death or life!
Since, then, the night extends her gloomy shade,
And heaven enjoins it, be the night obey'd.
Return, brave Ajax, to thy Grecian friends,
And joy the nations whom thy arm defends;
As I shall glad each chief, and Trojan wife,
Who wearies heaven with vows for Hector's life.
But let us, on this memorable day,
Exchange some gift: that Greece and Troy may say,
'Not hate, but glory, made these chiefs contend;
And each brave foe was in his soul a friend.'"
With that, a sword with stars of silver graced,
The baldric studded, and the sheath enchased,
He gave the Greek. The generous Greek bestow'd
A radiant belt that rich with purple glow'd.
Then with majestic grace they quit the plain;
This seeks the Grecian, that the Phrygian train.
The Trojan bands returning Hector wait,
And hail with joy the Champion of their state;
Escaped great Ajax, they survey him round,
Alive, unarm'd, and vigorous from his wound;
To Troy's high gates the godlike man they bear
Their present triumph, as their late despair.
But Ajax, glorying in his hardy deed,
The well-arm'd Greeks to Agamemnon lead.
A steer for sacrifice the king design'd,
[pg 136]
Of full five years, and of the nobler kind.
The victim falls; they strip the smoking hide,
The beast they quarter, and the joints divide;
Then spread the tables, the repast prepare,
Each takes his seat, and each receives his share.
The king himself (an honorary sign)
Before great Ajax placed the mighty chine.185
When now the rage of hunger was removed,

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