The Iliad of Homer
Page: 174Spread their cold poison through our soldiers' breasts,
My javelin can revenge so base a part,
And free the soul that quivers in thy heart."
Furious he spoke, and, rushing to the wall,
Calls on his host; his host obey the call;
With ardour follow where their leader flies:
Redoubling clamours thunder in the skies.[pg 224]
Jove breathes a whirlwind from the hills of Ide,
And drifts of dust the clouded navy hide;
He fills the Greeks with terror and dismay,
And gives great Hector the predestined day.
Strong in themselves, but stronger in his aid,
Close to the works their rigid siege they laid.
In vain the mounds and massy beams defend,
While these they undermine, and those they rend;
Upheaved the piles that prop the solid wall;
And heaps on heaps the smoky ruins fall.
Greece on her ramparts stands the fierce alarms;
The crowded bulwarks blaze with waving arms,
Shield touching shield, a long refulgent row;
Whence hissing darts, incessant, rain below.
The bold Ajaces fly from tower to tower,
And rouse, with flame divine, the Grecian power.
The generous impulse every Greek obeys;
Threats urge the fearful; and the valiant, praise.
"Fellows in arms! whose deeds are known to fame,
And you, whose ardour hopes an equal name!
Since not alike endued with force or art;
Behold a day when each may act his part!
A day to fire the brave, and warm the cold,
To gain new glories, or augment the old.
Urge those who stand, and those who faint, excite;
Drown Hector's vaunts in loud exhorts of fight;
Conquest, not safety, fill the thoughts of all;
Seek not your fleet, but sally from the wall;
So Jove once more may drive their routed train,
And Troy lie trembling in her walls again."
Their ardour kindles all the Grecian powers;
And now the stones descend in heavier showers.
As when high Jove his sharp artillery forms,
And opes his cloudy magazine of storms;
In winter's bleak un comfortable reign,
A snowy inundation hides the plain;
He stills the winds, and bids the skies to sleep;
Then pours the silent tempest thick and deep;
And first the mountain-tops are cover'd o'er,
Then the green fields, and then the sandy shore;
Bent with the weight, the nodding woods are seen,
And one bright waste hides all the works of men:
The circling seas, alone absorbing all,
Drink the dissolving fleeces as they fall:
So from each side increased the stony rain,
And the white ruin rises o'er the plain.
Thus godlike Hector and his troops contend
To force the ramparts, and the gates to rend:
Nor Troy could conquer, nor the Greeks would yield,
Till great Sarpedon tower'd amid the field;[pg 225]
For mighty Jove inspired with martial flame
His matchless son, and urged him on to fame.
In arms he shines, conspicuous from afar,
And bears aloft his ample shield in air;
Within whose orb the thick bull-hides were roll'd,
Ponderous with brass, and bound with ductile gold: