The Iliad of Homer
Page: 222Emblazed with studs of gold his falchion shone
In the rich belt, as in a starry zone:
Achilles' shield his ample shoulders spread,
Achilles' helmet nodded o'er his head:
Adorn'd in all his terrible array,
He flash'd around intolerable day.
Alone untouch'd, Pelides' javelin stands,
Not to be poised but by Pelides' hands:
From Pelion's shady brow the plant entire
Old Chiron rent, and shaped it for his sire;
Whose son's great arm alone the weapon wields,
The death of heroes, and the dread of fields.
The brave Automedon (an honour'd name,
The second to his lord in love and fame,
In peace his friend, and partner of the war)
The winged coursers harness'd to the car;
Xanthus and Balius, of immortal breed,
Sprung from the wind, and like the wind in speed.
Whom the wing'd harpy, swift Podarge, bore,
By Zephyr pregnant on the breezy shore:
Swift Pedasus was added to their side,
(Once great Aetion's, now Achilles' pride)
Who, like in strength, in swiftness, and in grace,
A mortal courser match'd the immortal race.
Achilles speeds from tent to tent, and warms
His hardy Myrmidons to blood and arms.[pg 293]
All breathing death, around the chief they stand,
A grim, terrific, formidable band:
Grim as voracious wolves, that seek the springs244
When scalding thirst their burning bowels wrings;
When some tall stag, fresh-slaughtered in the wood,
Has drench'd their wide insatiate throats with blood,
To the black fount they rush, a hideous throng,
With paunch distended, and with lolling tongue,
Fire fills their eye, their black jaws belch the gore,
And gorged with slaughter still they thirst for more.
Like furious, rush'd the Myrmidonian crew,
Such their dread strength, and such their deathful view.
High in the midst the great Achilles stands,
Directs their order, and the war commands.
He, loved of Jove, had launch'd for Ilion's shores
Full fifty vessels, mann'd with fifty oars:
Five chosen leaders the fierce bands obey,
Himself supreme in valour, as in sway.
First march'd Menestheus, of celestial birth,
Derived from thee, whose waters wash the earth,
Divine Sperchius! Jove-descended flood!
A mortal mother mixing with a god.
Such was Menestheus, but miscall'd by fame
The son of Borus, that espoused the dame.
Eudorus next; whom Polymele the gay,
Famed in the graceful dance, produced to-day.
Her, sly Cellenius loved: on her would gaze,
As with swift step she form'd the running maze:
To her high chamber from Diana's quire,
The god pursued her, urged, and crown'd his fire.
The son confess'd his father's heavenly race,
And heir'd his mother's swiftness in the chase.
Strong Echecleus, bless'd in all those charms
That pleased a god, succeeded to her arms;
Not conscious of those loves, long hid from fame,
With gifts of price he sought and won the dame;
Her secret offspring to her sire she bare;
Her sire caress'd him with a parent's care.
Pisander follow'd; matchless in his art
To wing the spear, or aim the distant dart;
No hand so sure of all the Emathian line,