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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 168

0 friend! my memory recalls the day,
When, gathering aids along the Grecian sea,
I, and Ulysses, touch'd at Phthia's port,
And entered Peleus' hospitable court.
A bull to Jove he slew in sacrifice,
And pour'd libations on the flaming thighs.
Thyself, Achilles, and thy reverend sire
Menoetius, turn'd the fragments on the fire.
Achilles sees us, to the feast invites;
Social we sit, and share the genial rites.
We then explained the cause on which we came,
Urged you to arms, and found you fierce for fame.
Your ancient fathers generous precepts gave;
Peleus said only this:—'My son! be brave.'
Menoetius thus: 'Though great Achilles shine
In strength superior, and of race divine,
Yet cooler thoughts thy elder years attend;
Let thy just counsels aid, and rule thy friend.'
Thus spoke your father at Thessalia's court:
Words now forgot, though now of vast import.
[pg 215]
Ah! try the utmost that a friend can say:
Such gentle force the fiercest minds obey;
Some favouring god Achilles' heart may move;
Though deaf to glory, he may yield to love.
If some dire oracle his breast alarm,
If aught from Heaven withhold his saving arm,
Some beam of comfort yet on Greece may shine,
If thou but lead the Myrmidonian line;
Clad in Achilles' arms, if thou appear,
Proud Troy may tremble, and desist from war;
Press'd by fresh forces, her o'er-labour'd train
Shall seek their walls, and Greece respire again."
This touch'd his generous heart, and from the tent
Along the shore with hasty strides he went;
Soon as he came, where, on the crowded strand,
The public mart and courts of justice stand,
Where the tall fleet of great Ulysses lies,
And altars to the guardian gods arise;
There, sad, he met the brave Euaemon's son,
Large painful drops from all his members run;
An arrow's head yet rooted in his wound,
The sable blood in circles mark'd the ground.
As faintly reeling he confess'd the smart,
Weak was his pace, but dauntless was his heart.
Divine compassion touch'd Patroclus' breast,
Who, sighing, thus his bleeding friend address'd:
"Ah, hapless leaders of the Grecian host!
Thus must ye perish on a barbarous coast?
Is this your fate, to glut the dogs with gore,
Far from your friends, and from your native shore?
Say, great Eurypylus! shall Greece yet stand?
Resists she yet the raging Hector's hand?
Or are her heroes doom'd to die with shame,
And this the period of our wars and fame?"
Eurypylus replies: "No more, my friend;
Greece is no more! this day her glories end;
Even to the ships victorious Troy pursues,
Her force increasing as her toil renews.
Those chiefs, that used her utmost rage to meet,
Lie pierced with wounds, and bleeding in the fleet.
But, thou, Patroclus! act a friendly part,
Lead to my ships, and draw this deadly dart;
With lukewarm water wash the gore away;
With healing balms the raging smart allay,
Such as sage Chiron, sire of pharmacy,

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