The Iliad of Homer
Page: 232O'er all his limbs ambrosial odours shed,
And with celestial robes adorn the dead.
Those rites discharged, his sacred corse bequeath
To the soft arms of silent Sleep and Death.
They to his friends the immortal charge shall bear;
His friends a tomb and pyramid shall rear:
What honour mortals after death receive,
Those unavailing honours we may give!"
LYCIA." title="SLEEP AND DEATH CONVEYING THE BODY OF SARPEDON TO LYCIA." />
SLEEP AND DEATH CONVEYING THE BODY OF SARPEDON TO LYCIA.
Apollo bows, and from mount Ida's height,
Swift to the field precipitates his flight;
Thence from the war the breathless hero bore,
Veil'd in a cloud, to silver Simois' shore;
There bathed his honourable wounds, and dress'd
His manly members in the immortal vest;
And with perfumes of sweet ambrosial dews
Restores his freshness, and his form renews.
Then Sleep and Death, two twins of winged race,
Of matchless swiftness, but of silent pace,
Received Sarpedon, at the god's command,
And in a moment reach'd the Lycian land;
The corse amidst his weeping friends they laid,
Where endless honours wait the sacred shade.
Meanwhile Patroclus pours along the plains,
With foaming coursers, and with loosen'd reins.
Fierce on the Trojan and the Lycian crew,[pg 307]
Ah blind to fate! thy headlong fury flew
Against what fate and powerful Jove ordain,
Vain was thy friend's command, thy courage vain.
For he, the god, whose counsels uncontroll'd
Dismay the mighty, and confound the bold;
The god who gives, resumes, and orders all,
He urged thee on, and urged thee on to fall.
Who first, brave hero! by that arm was slain,
Who last beneath thy vengeance press'd the plain;
When heaven itself thy fatal fury led,
And call'd to fill the number of the dead?
Adrestus first; Autonous then succeeds;
Echeclus follows; next young Megas bleeds,
Epistor, Melanippus, bite the ground;
The slaughter, Elasus and Mulius crown'd:
Then sunk Pylartes to eternal night;
The rest, dispersing, trust their fates to flight.
Now Troy had stoop'd beneath his matchless power,
But flaming Phoebus kept the sacred tower
He tried the fourth; when, bursting from the cloud,
A more than mortal voice was heard aloud.
"Patroclus! cease; this heaven-defended wall
Defies thy lance; not fated yet to fall;
Thy friend, thy greater far, it shall withstand,
So spoke the god who darts celestial fires;
The Greek obeys him, and with awe retires.
While Hector, checking at the Scaean gates
His panting coursers, in his breast debates,
Or in the field his forces to employ,
Or draw the troops within the walls of Troy.
Thus while he thought, beside him Phoebus stood,
In Asius' shape, who reigned by Sangar's flood;
(Thy brother, Hecuba! from Dymas sprung,
A valiant warrior, haughty, bold, and young;)
Thus he accosts him. "What a shameful sight!
God! is it Hector that forbears the fight?
Were thine my vigour this successful spear
Should soon convince thee of so false a fear.
Turn thee, ah turn thee to the field of fame,