The Iliad of Homer
Page: 214His own brave friends shall glory in his fate;
His wife live honour'd, all his race succeed,
And late posterity enjoy the deed!"
This roused the soul in every Trojan breast:
The godlike Ajax next his Greeks address'd:
"How long, ye warriors of the Argive race,
(To generous Argos what a dire disgrace!)
How long on these cursed confines will ye lie,
Yet undetermined, or to live or die?
What hopes remain, what methods to retire,
If once your vessels catch the Trojan fire?
Make how the flames approach, how near they fall,
Not to the dance that dreadful voice invites,
It calls to death, and all the rage of fights.
'Tis now no time for wisdom or debates;
To your own hands are trusted all your fates;
And better far in one decisive strife,
One day should end our labour or our life,
Than keep this hard-got inch of barren sands,
Still press'd, and press'd by such inglorious hands."
The listening Grecians feel their leader's flame,
And every kindling bosom pants for fame.
Then mutual slaughters spread on either side;
By Hector here the Phocian Schedius died;
There, pierced by Ajax, sunk Laodamas,
Chief of the foot, of old Antenor's race.
Polydamas laid Otus on the sand,[pg 281]
The fierce commander of the Epeian band.
His lance bold Meges at the victor threw;
The victor, stooping, from the death withdrew;
(That valued life, O Phoebus! was thy care)
But Croesmus' bosom took the flying spear:
His corpse fell bleeding on the slippery shore;
His radiant arms triumphant Meges bore.
Dolops, the son of Lampus, rushes on,
Sprung from the race of old Laomedon,
And famed for prowess in a well-fought field,
He pierced the centre of his sounding shield:
But Meges, Phyleus' ample breastplate wore,
(Well-known in fight on Selle's winding shore;
For king Euphetes gave the golden mail,
Compact, and firm with many a jointed scale)
Which oft, in cities storm'd, and battles won,
Had saved the father, and now saves the son.
Full at the Trojan's head he urged his lance,
Where the high plumes above the helmet dance,
New ting'd with Tyrian dye: in dust below,
Shorn from the crest, the purple honours glow.
Meantime their fight the Spartan king survey'd,
And stood by Meges' side a sudden aid.
Through Dolops' shoulder urged his forceful dart,
Which held its passage through the panting heart,
And issued at his breast. With thundering sound
The warrior falls, extended on the ground.
In rush the conquering Greeks to spoil the slain:
But Hector's voice excites his kindred train;
The hero most, from Hicetaon sprung,
Fierce Melanippus, gallant, brave, and young.
He (ere to Troy the Grecians cross'd the main)
Fed his large oxen on Percote's plain;
But when oppress'd, his country claim'd his care,
Return'd to Ilion, and excell'd in war;
For this, in Priam's court, he held his place,
Beloved no less than Priam's royal race.
Him Hector singled, as his troops he led,