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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 216

On Ida's top he waits with longing eyes,
To view the navy blazing to the skies;
Then, nor till then, the scale of war shall turn,
The Trojans fly, and conquer'd Ilion burn.
These fates revolved in his almighty mind,
He raises Hector to the work design'd,
Bids him with more than mortal fury glow,
And drives him, like a lightning, on the foe.
So Mars, when human crimes for vengeance call,
Shakes his huge javelin, and whole armies fall.
Not with more rage a conflagration rolls,
Wraps the vast mountains, and involves the poles.
He foams with wrath; beneath his gloomy brow
Like fiery meteors his red eye-balls glow:
The radiant helmet on his temple burns,
Waves when he nods, and lightens as he turns:
For Jove his splendour round the chief had thrown,
And cast the blaze of both the hosts on one.
Unhappy glories! for his fate was near,
Due to stern Pallas, and Pelides' spear:
Yet Jove deferr'd the death he was to pay,
And gave what fate allow'd, the honours of a day!
Now all on fire for fame, his breast, his eyes
Burn at each foe, and single every prize;
Still at the closest ranks, the thickest fight,
He points his ardour, and exerts his might.
The Grecian phalanx, moveless as a tower,
On all sides batter'd, yet resists his power:
So some tall rock o'erhangs the hoary main,241
By winds assail'd, by billows beat in vain,
Unmoved it hears, above, the tempest blow,
And sees the watery mountains break below.
Girt in surrounding flames, he seems to fall
Like fire from Jove, and bursts upon them all:
Bursts as a wave that from the cloud impends,
And, swell'd with tempests, on the ship descends;
White are the decks with foam; the winds aloud
Howl o'er the masts, and sing through every shroud:
Pale, trembling, tired, the sailors freeze with fears;
And instant death on every wave appears.
So pale the Greeks the eyes of Hector meet,
The chief so thunders, and so shakes the fleet.
[pg 284]
As when a lion, rushing from his den,
Amidst the plain of some wide-water'd fen,
(Where numerous oxen, as at ease they feed,
At large expatiate o'er the ranker mead)
Leaps on the herds before the herdsman's eyes;
The trembling herdsman far to distance flies;
Some lordly bull (the rest dispersed and fled)
He singles out; arrests, and lays him dead.
Thus from the rage of Jove-like Hector flew
All Greece in heaps; but one he seized, and slew:
Mycenian Periphes, a mighty name,
In wisdom great, in arms well known to fame;
The minister of stern Eurystheus' ire
Against Alcides, Copreus was his sire:
The son redeem'd the honours of the race,
A son as generous as the sire was base;
O'er all his country's youth conspicuous far
In every virtue, or of peace or war:
But doom'd to Hector's stronger force to yield!
Against the margin of his ample shield
He struck his hasty foot: his heels up-sprung;

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