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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 210

And not content that half of Greece lie slain,
Pours new destruction on her sons again?
He comes not, Jove! without thy powerful will;
Lo! still he lives, pursues, and conquers still!
Yet hear my counsel, and his worst withstand:
The Greeks' main body to the fleet command;
But let the few whom brisker spirits warm,
Stand the first onset, and provoke the storm.
Thus point your arms; and when such foes appear,
Fierce as he is, let Hector learn to fear."
The warrior spoke; the listening Greeks obey,
Thickening their ranks, and form a deep array.
Each Ajax, Teucer, Merion gave command,
The valiant leader of the Cretan band;
And Mars-like Meges: these the chiefs excite,
Approach the foe, and meet the coming fight.
Behind, unnumber'd multitudes attend,
To flank the navy, and the shores defend.
Full on the front the pressing Trojans bear,
And Hector first came towering to the war.
Phoebus himself the rushing battle led;
A veil of clouds involved his radiant head:
High held before him, Jove's enormous shield
Portentous shone, and shaded all the field;
Vulcan to Jove the immortal gift consign'd,
To scatter hosts and terrify mankind,
The Greeks expect the shock, the clamours rise
From different parts, and mingle in the skies.
Dire was the hiss of darts, by heroes flung,
And arrows leaping from the bow-string sung;
These drink the life of generous warriors slain:
Those guiltless fall, and thirst for blood in vain.
As long as Phoebus bore unmoved the shield,
Sat doubtful conquest hovering o'er the field;
But when aloft he shakes it in the skies,
Shouts in their ears, and lightens in their eyes,
Deep horror seizes every Grecian breast,
Their force is humbled, and their fear confess'd.
So flies a herd of oxen, scatter'd wide,
No swain to guard them, and no day to guide,
When two fell lions from the mountain come,
And spread the carnage through the shady gloom.
Impending Phoebus pours around them fear,
And Troy and Hector thunder in the rear.
[pg 276]
Heaps fall on heaps: the slaughter Hector leads,
First great Arcesilas, then Stichius bleeds;
One to the bold Boeotians ever dear,
And one Menestheus' friend and famed compeer.
Medon and Iasus, ├ćneas sped;
This sprang from Phelus, and the Athenians led;
But hapless Medon from Oileus came;
Him Ajax honour'd with a brother's name,
Though born of lawless love: from home expell'd,
A banish'd man, in Phylace he dwell'd,
Press'd by the vengeance of an angry wife;
Troy ends at last his labours and his life.
Mecystes next Polydamas o'erthrew;
And thee, brave Clonius, great Agenor slew.
By Paris, Deiochus inglorious dies,
Pierced through the shoulder as he basely flies.
Polites' arm laid Echius on the plain;
Stretch'd on one heap, the victors spoil the slain.
The Greeks dismay'd, confused, disperse or fall,
Some seek the trench, some skulk behind the wall.
While these fly trembling, others pant for breath,
And o'er the slaughter stalks gigantic death.
On rush'd bold Hector, gloomy as the night;

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