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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 215

And thus inflamed him, pointing to the dead.
"Lo, Melanippus! lo, where Dolops lies;
And is it thus our royal kinsman dies?
O'ermatch'd he falls; to two at once a prey,
And lo! they bear the bloody arms away!
Come on—a distant war no longer wage,
But hand to hand thy country's foes engage:
Till Greece at once, and all her glory end;
Or Ilion from her towery height descend,
Heaved from the lowest stone; and bury all
In one sad sepulchre, one common fall."
Hector (this said) rush'd forward on the foes:
[pg 282]
With equal ardour Melanippus glows:
Then Ajax thus—"O Greeks! respect your fame,
Respect yourselves, and learn an honest shame:
Let mutual reverence mutual warmth inspire,
And catch from breast to breast the noble fire,
On valour's side the odds of combat lie;
The brave live glorious, or lamented die;
The wretch that trembles in the field of fame,
Meets death, and worse than death, eternal shame."
His generous sense he not in vain imparts;
It sunk, and rooted in the Grecian hearts:
They join, they throng, they thicken at his call,
And flank the navy with a brazen wall;
Shields touching shields, in order blaze above,
And stop the Trojans, though impell'd by Jove.
The fiery Spartan first, with loud applause.
Warms the bold son of Nestor in his cause.
"Is there (he said) in arms a youth like you,
So strong to fight, so active to pursue?
Why stand you distant, nor attempt a deed?
Lift the bold lance, and make some Trojan bleed."
He said; and backward to the lines retired;
Forth rush'd the youth with martial fury fired,
Beyond the foremost ranks; his lance he threw,
And round the black battalions cast his view.
The troops of Troy recede with sudden fear,
While the swift javelin hiss'd along in air.
Advancing Melanippus met the dart
With his bold breast, and felt it in his heart:
Thundering he falls; his falling arms resound,
And his broad buckler rings against the ground.
The victor leaps upon his prostrate prize:
Thus on a roe the well-breath'd beagle flies,
And rends his side, fresh-bleeding with the dart
The distant hunter sent into his heart.
Observing Hector to the rescue flew;
Bold as he was, Antilochus withdrew.
So when a savage, ranging o'er the plain,
Has torn the shepherd's dog, or shepherd's swain,
While conscious of the deed, he glares around,
And hears the gathering multitude resound,
Timely he flies the yet-untasted food,
And gains the friendly shelter of the wood:
So fears the youth; all Troy with shouts pursue,
While stones and darts in mingled tempest flew;
But enter'd in the Grecian ranks, he turns
His manly breast, and with new fury burns.
Now on the fleet the tides of Trojans drove,
Fierce to fulfil the stern decrees of Jove:
The sire of gods, confirming Thetis' prayer,
[pg 283]
The Grecian ardour quench'd in deep despair;
But lifts to glory Troy's prevailing bands,
Swells all their hearts, and strengthens all their hands.

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