The Iliad of Homer
Page: 234And breathing slaughter, pours amid the foes.
Thrice on the press like Mars himself he flew,
And thrice three heroes at each onset slew.
There ends thy glory! there the Fates untwine
The last, black remnant of so bright a line:
Apollo dreadful stops thy middle way;
Death calls, and heaven allows no longer day!
For lo! the god in dusky clouds enshrined,
Approaching dealt a staggering blow behind.
The weighty shock his neck and shoulders feel;
His eyes flash sparkles, his stunn'd senses reel
In giddy darkness; far to distance flung,
His bounding helmet on the champaign rung.
Achilles' plume is stain'd with dust and gore;
That plume which never stoop'd to earth before;
Long used, untouch'd, in fighting fields to shine,
And shade the temples of the mad divine.
Jove dooms it now on Hector's helm to nod;
Not long—for fate pursues him, and the god.
His spear in shivers falls; his ample shield
Drops from his arm: his baldric strows the field:
The corslet his astonish'd breast forsakes:
Loose is each joint; each nerve with horror shakes;
Stupid he stares, and all-assistless stands:
Such is the force of more than mortal hands!
A Dardan youth there was, well known to fame,
From Panthus sprung, Euphorbus was his name;
Famed for the manage of the foaming horse,
Skill'd in the dart, and matchless in the course:
Full twenty knights he tumbled from the car,
While yet he learn'd his rudiments of war.
His venturous spear first drew the hero's gore;
He struck, he wounded, but he durst no more.
Nor, though disarm'd, Patroclus' fury stood:
But swift withdrew the long-protended wood.[pg 310]
And turn'd him short, and herded in the crowd.
Thus, by an arm divine, and mortal spear,
Wounded, at once, Patroclus yields to fear,
Retires for succour to his social train,
And flies the fate, which heaven decreed, in vain.
Stern Hector, as the bleeding chief he views,
Breaks through the ranks, and his retreat pursues:
The lance arrests him with a mortal wound;
He falls, earth thunders, and his arms resound.
With him all Greece was sunk; that moment all
Her yet-surviving heroes seem'd to fall.
So, scorch'd with heat, along the desert score,
The roaming lion meets a bristly boar,
Fast by the spring; they both dispute the flood,
With flaming eyes, and jaws besmear'd with blood;
At length the sovereign savage wins the strife;
And the torn boar resigns his thirst and life.
Patroclus thus, so many chiefs o'erthrown,
So many lives effused, expires his own.
As dying now at Hector's feet he lies,
He sternly views him, and triumphant cries:
"Lie there, Patroclus! and with thee, the joy
Thy pride once promised, of subverting Troy;
The fancied scenes of Ilion wrapt in flames,
And thy soft pleasures served with captive dames.
Unthinking man! I fought those towers to free,
And guard that beauteous race from lords like thee:
But thou a prey to vultures shalt be made;
Thy own Achilles cannot lend thee aid;