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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 188

"Fellows in arms! your timely aid unite;
Lo, great Æneas rushes to the fight:
Sprung from a god, and more than mortal bold;
He fresh in youth, and I in arms grown old.
Else should this hand, this hour decide the strife,
The great dispute, of glory, or of life."
He spoke, and all, as with one soul, obey'd;
Their lifted bucklers cast a dreadful shade
Around the chief. Æneas too demands
Th' assisting forces of his native bands;
Paris, Deiphobus, Agenor, join;
(Co-aids and captains of the Trojan line;)
In order follow all th' embodied train,
Like Ida's flocks proceeding o'er the plain;
Before his fleecy care, erect and bold,
Stalks the proud ram, the father of the bold.
With joy the swain surveys them, as he leads
To the cool fountains, through the well-known meads:
So joys Æneas, as his native band
Moves on in rank, and stretches o'er the land.
Round dread Alcathous now the battle rose;
On every side the steely circle grows;
Now batter'd breast-plates and hack'd helmets ring,
And o'er their heads unheeded javelins sing.
Above the rest, two towering chiefs appear,
There great Idomeneus, Æneas here.
Like gods of war, dispensing fate, they stood,
[pg 244]
And burn'd to drench the ground with mutual blood.
The Trojan weapon whizz'd along in air;
The Cretan saw, and shunn'd the brazen spear:
Sent from an arm so strong, the missive wood
Stuck deep in earth, and quiver'd where it stood.
But OEnomas received the Cretan's stroke;
The forceful spear his hollow corslet broke,
It ripp'd his belly with a ghastly wound,
And roll'd the smoking entrails on the ground.
Stretch'd on the plain, he sobs away his breath,
And, furious, grasps the bloody dust in death.
The victor from his breast the weapon tears;
His spoils he could not, for the shower of spears.
Though now unfit an active war to wage,
Heavy with cumbrous arms, stiff with cold age,
His listless limbs unable for the course,
In standing fight he yet maintains his force;
Till faint with labour, and by foes repell'd,
His tired slow steps he drags from off the field.
Deiphobus beheld him as he pass'd,
And, fired with hate, a parting javelin cast:
The javelin err'd, but held its course along,
And pierced Ascalaphus, the brave and young:
The son of Mars fell gasping on the ground,
And gnash'd the dust, all bloody with his wound.
Nor knew the furious father of his fall;
High-throned amidst the great Olympian hall,
On golden clouds th' immortal synod sate;
Detain'd from bloody war by Jove and Fate.
Now, where in dust the breathless hero lay,
For slain Ascalaphus commenced the fray,
Deiphobus to seize his helmet flies,
And from his temples rends the glittering prize;
Valiant as Mars, Meriones drew near,
And on his loaded arm discharged his spear:
He drops the weight, disabled with the pain;
The hollow helmet rings against the plain.
Swift as a vulture leaping on his prey,
From his torn arm the Grecian rent away

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