The Iliad of Homer
Page: 167When Elis' monarch, at the public course,
Detain'd his chariot, and victorious horse.)
The rest the people shared; myself survey'd
The just partition, and due victims paid.
Three days were past, when Elis rose to war,
With many a courser, and with many a car;
The sons of Actor at their army's head
(Young as they were) the vengeful squadrons led.
High on the rock fair Thryoessa stands,
Our utmost frontier on the Pylian lands:
Not far the streams of famed Alphaeus flow:
The stream they pass'd, and pitch'd their tents below.
Pallas, descending in the shades of night,
Alarms the Pylians and commands the fight.
Each burns for fame, and swells with martial pride,
Myself the foremost; but my sire denied;
Fear'd for my youth, exposed to stern alarms;
And stopp'd my chariot, and detain'd my arms.
My sire denied in vain: on foot I fled
Amidst our chariots; for the goddess led.
"Along fair Arene's delightful plain
Soft Minyas rolls his waters to the main:
There, horse and foot, the Pylian troops unite,
And sheathed in arms, expect the dawning light.
Thence, ere the sun advanced his noon-day flame,
To great Alphaeus' sacred source we came.
There first to Jove our solemn rites were paid;
An untamed heifer pleased the blue-eyed maid;
A bull, Alphaeus; and a bull was slain
To the blue monarch of the watery main.
In arms we slept, beside the winding flood,
While round the town the fierce Epeians stood.
Soon as the sun, with all-revealing ray,
Flamed in the front of Heaven, and gave the day.[pg 214]
Bright scenes of arms, and works of war appear;
The nations meet; there Pylos, Elis here.
The first who fell, beneath my javelin bled;
King Augias' son, and spouse of Agamede:
(She that all simples' healing virtues knew,
And every herb that drinks the morning dew:)
I seized his car, the van of battle led;
The Epeians saw, they trembled, and they fled.
The foe dispersed, their bravest warrior kill'd,
Fierce as the whirlwind now I swept the field:
Full fifty captive chariots graced my train;
Two chiefs from each fell breathless to the plain.
Then Actor's sons had died, but Neptune shrouds
The youthful heroes in a veil of clouds.
O'er heapy shields, and o'er the prostrate throng,
Collecting spoils, and slaughtering all along,
Through wide Buprasian fields we forced the foes,
Where o'er the vales the Olenian rocks arose;
Till Pallas stopp'd us where Alisium flows.
Even there the hindmost of the rear I slay,
And the same arm that led concludes the day;
Then back to Pyle triumphant take my way.
There to high Jove were public thanks assign'd,
As first of gods; to Nestor, of mankind.
Such then I was, impell'd by youthful blood;
So proved my valour for my country's good.
"Achilles with unactive fury glows,
And gives to passion what to Greece he owes.
How shall he grieve, when to the eternal shade
Her hosts shall sink, nor his the power to aid!