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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 193

Achilles, great Achilles, yet remains
On yonder decks, and yet o'erlooks the plains!"
The counsel pleased; and Hector, with a bound,
Leap'd from his chariot on the trembling ground;
Swift as he leap'd his clanging arms resound.
"To guard this post (he cried) thy art employ,
And here detain the scatter'd youth of Troy;
Where yonder heroes faint, I bend my way,
And hasten back to end the doubtful day."
This said, the towering chief prepares to go,
Shakes his white plumes that to the breezes flow,
And seems a moving mountain topp'd with snow.
Through all his host, inspiring force, he flies,
And bids anew the martial thunder rise.
To Panthus' son, at Hector's high command
Haste the bold leaders of the Trojan band:
But round the battlements, and round the plain,
For many a chief he look'd, but look'd in vain;
Deiphobus, nor Helenus the seer,
Nor Asius' son, nor Asius' self appear:
For these were pierced with many a ghastly wound,
Some cold in death, some groaning on the ground;
Some low in dust, (a mournful object) lay;
High on the wall some breathed their souls away.
Far on the left, amid the throng he found
(Cheering the troops, and dealing deaths around)
The graceful Paris; whom, with fury moved,
Opprobrious thus, th' impatient chief reproved:
"Ill-fated Paris! slave to womankind,
As smooth of face as fraudulent of mind!
Where is Deiphobus, where Asius gone?
The godlike father, and th' intrepid son?
The force of Helenus, dispensing fate;
And great Othryoneus, so fear'd of late?
Black fate hang's o'er thee from th' avenging gods,
Imperial Troy from her foundations nods;
Whelm'd in thy country's ruin shalt thou fall,
And one devouring vengeance swallow all."
When Paris thus: "My brother and my friend,
Thy warm impatience makes thy tongue offend,
In other battles I deserved thy blame,
Though then not deedless, nor unknown to fame:
But since yon rampart by thy arms lay low,
I scatter'd slaughter from my fatal bow.
The chiefs you seek on yonder shore lie slain;
Of all those heroes, two alone remain;
Deiphobus, and Helenus the seer,
Each now disabled by a hostile spear.
[pg 251]
Go then, successful, where thy soul inspires:
This heart and hand shall second all thy fires:
What with this arm I can, prepare to know,
Till death for death be paid, and blow for blow.
But 'tis not ours, with forces not our own
To combat: strength is of the gods alone."
These words the hero's angry mind assuage:
Then fierce they mingle where the thickest rage.
Around Polydamas, distain'd with blood,
Cebrion, Phalces, stern Orthaeus stood,
Palmus, with Polypoetes the divine,
And two bold brothers of Hippotion's line
(Who reach'd fair Ilion, from Ascania far,
The former day; the next engaged in war).
As when from gloomy clouds a whirlwind springs,
That bears Jove's thunder on its dreadful wings,
Wide o'er the blasted fields the tempest sweeps;
Then, gather'd, settles on the hoary deeps;
The afflicted deeps tumultuous mix and roar;

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