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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 235

Though much at parting that great chief might say,
And much enjoin thee, this important day.
'Return not, my brave friend (perhaps he said),
Without the bloody arms of Hector dead.'
He spoke, Patroclus march'd, and thus he sped."
Supine, and wildly gazing on the skies,
With faint, expiring breath, the chief replies:
"Vain boaster! cease, and know the powers divine!
Jove's and Apollo's is this deed, not thine;
To heaven is owed whate'er your own you call,
And heaven itself disarm'd me ere my fall.
Had twenty mortals, each thy match in might,
Opposed me fairly, they had sunk in fight:
By fate and Phoebus was I first o'erthrown,
Euphorbus next; the third mean part thy own.
But thou, imperious! hear my latest breath;
The gods inspire it, and it sounds thy death:
Insulting man, thou shalt be soon as I;
Black fate o'erhangs thee, and thy hour draws nigh;
Even now on life's last verge I see thee stand,
I see thee fall, and by Achilles' hand."
[pg 311]Illustration: ÆSCULAPIUS.
ÆSCULAPIUS.

[pg 312]

BOOK XVII.

ARGUMENT.

THE SEVENTH BATTLE, FOR THE BODY OF PATROCLUS.—THE ACTS OF MENELAUS.

Menelaus, upon the death of Patroclus, defends his body from the enemy: Euphorbus, who attempts it, is slain. Hector advancing, Menelaus retires; but soon returns with Ajax, and drives him off. This, Glaucus objects to Hector as a flight, who thereupon puts on the armour he had won from Patroclus, and renews the battle. The Greeks give way, till Ajax rallies them: Aeneas sustains the Trojans. Aeneas and Hector Attempt the chariot of Achilles, which is borne off by Automedon. The horses of Achilles deplore the loss of Patroclus: Jupiter covers his body with a thick darkness: the noble prayer of Ajax on that occasion. Menelaus sends Antilochus to Achilles, with the news of Patroclus' death: then returns to the fight, where, though attacked with the utmost fury, he and Meriones, assisted by the Ajaces, bear off the body to the ships.

The time is the evening of the eight-and-twentieth day. The scene lies in the fields before Troy.

On the cold earth divine Patroclus spread,
Lies pierced with wounds among the vulgar dead.
Great Menelaus, touch'd with generous woe,

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