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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 121

Thus, turning, warn'd the intrepid Diomed:
"O chief! too daring in thy friend's defence
Retire advised, and urge the chariot hence.
This day, averse, the sovereign of the skies
Assists great Hector, and our palm denies.
Some other sun may see the happier hour,
When Greece shall conquer by his heavenly power.
'Tis not in man his fix'd decree to move:
The great will glory to submit to Jove."
"O reverend prince! (Tydides thus replies)
Thy years are awful, and thy words are wise.
But ah, what grief! should haughty Hector boast
I fled inglorious to the guarded coast.
[pg 146]
Before that dire disgrace shall blast my fame,
O'erwhelm me, earth; and hide a warrior's shame!"
To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied:194
"Gods! can thy courage fear the Phrygian's pride?
Hector may vaunt, but who shall heed the boast?
Not those who felt thy arm, the Dardan host,
Nor Troy, yet bleeding in her heroes lost;
Not even a Phrygian dame, who dreads the sword
That laid in dust her loved, lamented lord."
He said, and, hasty, o'er the gasping throng
Drives the swift steeds: the chariot smokes along;
The shouts of Trojans thicken in the wind;
The storm of hissing javelins pours behind.
Then with a voice that shakes the solid skies,
Pleased, Hector braves the warrior as he flies.
"Go, mighty hero! graced above the rest
In seats of council and the sumptuous feast:
Now hope no more those honours from thy train;
Go less than woman, in the form of man!
To scale our walls, to wrap our towers in flames,
To lead in exile the fair Phrygian dames,
Thy once proud hopes, presumptuous prince! are fled;
This arm shall reach thy heart, and stretch thee dead."
Now fears dissuade him, and now hopes invite.
To stop his coursers, and to stand the fight;
Thrice turn'd the chief, and thrice imperial Jove
On Ida's summits thunder'd from above.
Great Hector heard; he saw the flashing light,
(The sign of conquest,) and thus urged the fight:
"Hear, every Trojan, Lycian, Dardan band,
All famed in war, and dreadful hand to hand.
Be mindful of the wreaths your arms have won,
Your great forefathers' glories, and your own.
Heard ye the voice of Jove? Success and fame
Await on Troy, on Greece eternal shame.
In vain they skulk behind their boasted wall,
Weak bulwarks; destined by this arm to fall.
High o'er their slighted trench our steeds shall bound,
And pass victorious o'er the levell'd mound.
Soon as before yon hollow ships we stand,
Fight each with flames, and toss the blazing brand;
Till, their proud navy wrapt in smoke and fires,
All Greece, encompass'd, in one blaze expires."
Furious he said; then bending o'er the yoke,
Encouraged his proud steeds, while thus he spoke:
"Now, Xanthus, Æthon, Lampus, urge the chase,
And thou, Podargus! prove thy generous race;
[pg 147]
Be fleet, be fearless, this important day,
And all your master's well-spent care repay.
For this, high-fed, in plenteous stalls ye stand,

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