The Iliad of Homer
Page: 176To share the danger, and repel the foe."
Swift, at the word, the herald speeds along
The lofty ramparts, through the martial throng,
And finds the heroes bathed in sweat and gore,
Opposed in combat on the dusty shore.
"Ye valiant leaders of our warlike bands!
Your aid (said Thoos) Peteus' son demands;
Your strength, united, best may help to bear
The bloody labours of the doubtful war:
Thither the Lycian princes bend their course,
The best and bravest of the hostile force.
But if too fiercely, here, the foes contend,
At least, let Telamon those towers defend,
And Teucer haste with his unerring bow
To share the danger, and repel the foe."
Straight to the fort great Ajax turn'd his care,
And thus bespoke his brothers of the war:
"Now, valiant Lycomede! exert your might,
And, brave Oileus, prove your force in fight;
To you I trust the fortune of the field,
Till by this arm the foe shall be repell'd:
That done, expect me to complete the day[pg 227]
Then with his sevenfold shield he strode away.
With equal steps bold Teucer press'd the shore,
Whose fatal bow the strong Pandion bore.
High on the walls appear'd the Lycian powers,
Like some black tempest gathering round the towers:
The Greeks, oppress'd, their utmost force unite,
Prepared to labour in the unequal fight:
The war renews, mix'd shouts and groans arise;
Tumultuous clamour mounts, and thickens in the skies.
Fierce Ajax first the advancing host invades,
And sends the brave Epicles to the shades,
Sarpedon's friend. Across the warrior's way,
Rent from the walls, a rocky fragment lay;
In modern ages not the strongest swain
Could heave the unwieldy burden from the plain:
He poised, and swung it round; then toss'd on high,
It flew with force, and labour'd up the sky;
Full on the Lycian's helmet thundering down,
The ponderous ruin crush'd his batter'd crown.
As skilful divers from some airy steep
Headlong descend, and shoot into the deep,
So falls Epicles; then in groans expires,
And murmuring to the shades the soul retires.
While to the ramparts daring Glaucus drew,
From Teucer's hand a winged arrow flew;
The bearded shaft the destined passage found,
And on his naked arm inflicts a wound.
The chief, who fear'd some foe's insulting boast
Might stop the progress of his warlike host,
Conceal'd the wound, and, leaping from his height
Retired reluctant from the unfinish'd fight.
Divine Sarpedon with regret beheld
Disabled Glaucus slowly quit the field;
His beating breast with generous ardour glows,
He springs to fight, and flies upon the foes.
Alcmaon first was doom'd his force to feel;
Deep in his breast he plunged the pointed steel;
Then from the yawning wound with fury tore
The spear, pursued by gushing streams of gore:
Down sinks the warrior with a thundering sound,
His brazen armour rings against the ground.
Swift to the battlement the victor flies,
Tugs with full force, and every nerve applies:
It shakes; the ponderous stones disjointed yield;