The Iliad of Homer
Page: 156Pierced the black phalanx, and let in the light.
Great Agamemnon then the slaughter led,
And slew Bienor at his people's head:
Whose squire Oileus, with a sudden spring,
Leap'd from the chariot to revenge his king;
But in his front he felt the fatal wound,[pg 199]
Which pierced his brain, and stretch'd him on the ground.
Atrides spoil'd, and left them on the plain:
Vain was their youth, their glittering armour vain:
Now soil'd with dust, and naked to the sky,
Their snowy limbs and beauteous bodies lie.
Two sons of Priam next to battle move,
The product, one of marriage, one of love:222
In the same car the brother-warriors ride;
This took the charge to combat, that to guide:
Far other task, than when they wont to keep,
On Ida's tops, their father's fleecy sheep.
These on the mountains once Achilles found,
And captive led, with pliant osiers bound;
Then to their sire for ample sums restored;
But now to perish by Atrides' sword:
Pierced in the breast the base-born Isus bleeds:
Cleft through the head his brother's fate succeeds,
Swift to the spoil the hasty victor falls,
And, stript, their features to his mind recalls.
The Trojans see the youths untimely die,
But helpless tremble for themselves, and fly.
So when a lion ranging o'er the lawns.
Finds, on some grassy lair, the couching fawns,
Their bones he cracks, their reeking vitals draws,
And grinds the quivering flesh with bloody jaws;
The frighted hind beholds, and dares not stay,
But swift through rustling thickets bursts her way;
All drown'd in sweat, the panting mother flies,
And the big tears roll trickling from her eyes.
Amidst the tumult of the routed train,
The sons of false Antimachus were slain;
He who for bribes his faithless counsels sold,
Atrides mark'd, as these their safety sought,
And slew the children for the father's fault;
Their headstrong horse unable to restrain,
They shook with fear, and dropp'd the silken rein;
Then in the chariot on their knees they fall,
And thus with lifted hands for mercy call:
"O spare our youth, and for the life we owe,
Antimachus shall copious gifts bestow:
Soon as he hears, that, not in battle slain,
The Grecian ships his captive sons detain,
Large heaps of brass in ransom shall be told,
And steel well-tempered, and persuasive gold."
These words, attended with the flood of tears,
The youths address'd to unrelenting ears:[pg 200]
The vengeful monarch gave this stern reply:
"If from Antimachus ye spring, ye die;
The daring wretch who once in council stood
To shed Ulysses' and my brother's blood,
For proffer'd peace! and sues his seed for grace?
No, die, and pay the forfeit of your race."
This said, Pisander from the car he cast,
And pierced his breast: supine he breathed his last.
His brother leap'd to earth; but, as he lay,
The trenchant falchion lopp'd his hands away;
His sever'd head was toss'd among the throng,