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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 186

And such the contract of the Phrygian king!
Our offers now, illustrious prince! receive;
For such an aid what will not Argos give?
To conquer Troy, with ours thy forces join,
And count Atrides' fairest daughter thine.
Meantime, on further methods to advise,
Come, follow to the fleet thy new allies;
There hear what Greece has on her part to say."
He spoke, and dragg'd the gory corse away.
This Asius view'd, unable to contain,
Before his chariot warring on the plain:
[pg 241]
(His crowded coursers, to his squire consign'd,
Impatient panted on his neck behind:)
To vengeance rising with a sudden spring,
He hoped the conquest of the Cretan king.
The wary Cretan, as his foe drew near,
Full on his throat discharged the forceful spear:
Beneath the chin the point was seen to glide,
And glitter'd, extant at the further side.
As when the mountain-oak, or poplar tall,
Or pine, fit mast for some great admiral,
Groans to the oft-heaved axe, with many a wound,
Then spreads a length of ruin o'er the ground:
So sunk proud Asius in that dreadful day,
And stretch'd before his much-loved coursers lay.
He grinds the dust distain'd with streaming gore,
And, fierce in death, lies foaming on the shore.
Deprived of motion, stiff with stupid fear,
Stands all aghast his trembling charioteer,
Nor shuns the foe, nor turns the steeds away,
But falls transfix'd, an unresisting prey:
Pierced by Antilochus, he pants beneath
The stately car, and labours out his breath.
Thus Asius' steeds (their mighty master gone)
Remain the prize of Nestor's youthful son.
Stabb'd at the sight, Deiphobus drew nigh,
And made, with force, the vengeful weapon fly.
The Cretan saw; and, stooping, caused to glance
From his slope shield the disappointed lance.
Beneath the spacious targe, (a blazing round,
Thick with bull-hides and brazen orbits bound,
On his raised arm by two strong braces stay'd,)
He lay collected in defensive shade.
O'er his safe head the javelin idly sung,
And on the tinkling verge more faintly rung.
Even then the spear the vigorous arm confess'd,
And pierced, obliquely, king Hypsenor's breast:
Warm'd in his liver, to the ground it bore
The chief, his people's guardian now no more!
"Not unattended (the proud Trojan cries)
Nor unrevenged, lamented Asius lies:
For thee, through hell's black portals stand display'd,
This mate shall joy thy melancholy shade."
Heart-piercing anguish, at the haughty boast,
Touch'd every Greek, but Nestor's son the most.
Grieved as he was, his pious arms attend,
And his broad buckler shields his slaughter'd friend:
Till sad Mecistheus and Alastor bore
His honour'd body to the tented shore.
Nor yet from fight Idomeneus withdraws;
Resolved to perish in his country's cause,
[pg 242]
Or find some foe, whom heaven and he shall doom
To wail his fate in death's eternal gloom.
He sees Alcathous in the front aspire:
Great Æsyetes was the hero's sire;
His spouse Hippodame, divinely fair,
Anchises' eldest hope, and darling care:
Who charm'd her parents' and her husband's heart

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