<<<
>>>

The Iliad of Homer

Page: 124

And eight bold heroes by their points lie dead:
But sure some god denies me to destroy
This fury of the field, this dog of Troy."
He said, and twang'd the string. The weapon flies
At Hector's breast, and sings along the skies:
He miss'd the mark; but pierced Gorgythio's heart,
And drench'd in royal blood the thirsty dart.
(Fair Castianira, nymph of form divine,
This offspring added to king Priam's line.)
As full-blown poppies, overcharged with rain,196
Decline the head, and drooping kiss the plain;
[pg 150]
So sinks the youth: his beauteous head, depress'd
Beneath his helmet, drops upon his breast.
Another shaft the raging archer drew,
That other shaft with erring fury flew,
(From Hector, Phoebus turn'd the flying wound,)
Yet fell not dry or guiltless to the ground:
Thy breast, brave Archeptolemus! it tore,
And dipp'd its feathers in no vulgar gore.
Headlong he falls: his sudden fall alarms
The steeds, that startle at his sounding arms.
Hector with grief his charioteer beheld
All pale and breathless on the sanguine field:
Then bids Cebriones direct the rein,
Quits his bright car, and issues on the plain.
Dreadful he shouts: from earth a stone he took,
And rush'd on Teucer with the lifted rock.
The youth already strain'd the forceful yew;
The shaft already to his shoulder drew;
The feather in his hand, just wing'd for flight,
Touch'd where the neck and hollow chest unite;
There, where the juncture knits the channel bone,
The furious chief discharged the craggy stone:
The bow-string burst beneath the ponderous blow,
And his numb'd hand dismiss'd his useless bow.
He fell: but Ajax his broad shield display'd,
And screen'd his brother with the mighty shade;
Till great Alaster, and Mecistheus, bore
The batter'd archer groaning to the shore.
Troy yet found grace before the Olympian sire,
He arm'd their hands, and fill'd their breasts with fire.
The Greeks repulsed, retreat behind their wall,
Or in the trench on heaps confusedly fall.
First of the foe, great Hector march'd along,
With terror clothed, and more than mortal strong.
As the bold hound, that gives the lion chase,
With beating bosom, and with eager pace,
Hangs on his haunch, or fastens on his heels,
Guards as he turns, and circles as he wheels;
Thus oft the Grecians turn'd, but still they flew;
Thus following, Hector still the hindmost slew.
When flying they had pass'd the trench profound,
And many a chief lay gasping on the ground;
Before the ships a desperate stand they made,
And fired the troops, and called the gods to aid.
Fierce on his rattling chariot Hector came:
His eyes like Gorgon shot a sanguine flame
That wither'd all their host: like Mars he stood:
Dire as the monster, dreadful as the god!
Their strong distress the wife of Jove survey'd;
Then pensive thus, to war's triumphant maid:
[pg 151]
"O daughter of that god, whose arm can wield
The avenging bolt, and shake the sable shield!
Now, in this moment of her last despair,

<<<
>>>