The Iliad of Homer
Page: 182The glittering javelin pierced the tough bull-hide;
But pierced not through: unfaithful to his hand,
The point broke short, and sparkled in the sand.
The Trojan warrior, touch'd with timely fear,
On the raised orb to distance bore the spear.
The Greek, retreating, mourn'd his frustrate blow,
And cursed the treacherous lance that spared a foe;
Then to the ships with surly speed he went,
To seek a surer javelin in his tent.
Meanwhile with rising rage the battle glows,
The tumult thickens, and the clamour grows.
By Teucer's arm the warlike Imbrius bleeds,
The son of Mentor, rich in generous steeds.
Ere yet to Troy the sons of Greece were led,
In fair Pedaeus' verdant pastures bred,
The youth had dwelt, remote from war's alarms,
And blest in bright Medesicaste's arms:
(This nymph, the fruit of Priam's ravish'd joy,[pg 236]
Allied the warrior to the house of Troy:)
To Troy, when glory call'd his arms, he came,
And match'd the bravest of her chiefs in fame:
With Priam's sons, a guardian of the throne,
He lived, beloved and honour'd as his own.
Him Teucer pierced between the throat and ear:
He groans beneath the Telamonian spear.
As from some far-seen mountain's airy crown,
Subdued by steel, a tall ash tumbles down,
And soils its verdant tresses on the ground;
So falls the youth; his arms the fall resound.
Then Teucer rushing to despoil the dead,
From Hector's hand a shining javelin fled:
He saw, and shunn'd the death; the forceful dart
Sung on, and pierced Amphimachus's heart,
Cteatus' son, of Neptune's forceful line;
Vain was his courage, and his race divine!
Prostrate he falls; his clanging arms resound,
And his broad buckler thunders on the ground.
To seize his beamy helm the victor flies,
And just had fastened on the dazzling prize,
When Ajax' manly arm a javelin flung;
Full on the shield's round boss the weapon rung;
He felt the shock, nor more was doom'd to feel,
Secure in mail, and sheath'd in shining steel.
Repulsed he yields; the victor Greeks obtain
The spoils contested, and bear off the slain.
Between the leaders of the Athenian line,
(Stichius the brave, Menestheus the divine,)
Deplored Amphimachus, sad object! lies;
Imbrius remains the fierce Ajaces' prize.
As two grim lions bear across the lawn,
Snatch'd from devouring hounds, a slaughter'd fawn.
In their fell jaws high-lifting through the wood,
And sprinkling all the shrubs with drops of blood;
So these, the chief: great Ajax from the dead
Strips his bright arms; Oileus lops his head:
Toss'd like a ball, and whirl'd in air away,
At Hector's feet the gory visage lay.
The god of ocean, fired with stern disdain,
And pierced with sorrow for his grandson slain,
Inspires the Grecian hearts, confirms their hands,
And breathes destruction on the Trojan bands.
Swift as a whirlwind rushing to the fleet,
He finds the lance-famed Idomen of Crete,
His pensive brow the generous care express'd
With which a wounded soldier touch'd his breast,