The Iliad of Homer
Page: 236Springs to the front, and guards him from the foe.
Thus round her new-fallen young the heifer moves,
Fruit of her throes, and first-born of her loves;
And anxious (helpless as he lies, and bare)
Turns, and re-turns her, with a mother's care,
Opposed to each that near the carcase came,
His broad shield glimmers, and his lances flame.
The son of Panthus, skill'd the dart to send,
Eyes the dead hero, and insults the friend.
"This hand, Atrides, laid Patroclus low;
Warrior! desist, nor tempt an equal blow:
To me the spoils my prowess won, resign:
Depart with life, and leave the glory mine"
The Trojan thus: the Spartan monarch burn'd
With generous anguish, and in scorn return'd:[pg 313]
"Laugh'st thou not, Jove! from thy superior throne,
When mortals boast of prowess not their own?
Not thus the lion glories in his might,
Nor panther braves his spotted foe in fight,
Nor thus the boar (those terrors of the plain;)
Man only vaunts his force, and vaunts in vain.
But far the vainest of the boastful kind,
These sons of Panthus vent their haughty mind.
Yet 'twas but late, beneath my conquering steel
This boaster's brother, Hyperenor, fell;
Against our arm which rashly he defied,
Vain was his vigour, and as vain his pride.
These eyes beheld him on the dust expire,
No more to cheer his spouse, or glad his sire.
Presumptuous youth! like his shall be thy doom,
Go, wait thy brother to the Stygian gloom;
Or, while thou may'st, avoid the threaten'd fate;
Fools stay to feel it, and are wise too late."
Unmoved, Euphorbus thus: "That action known,
Come, for my brother's blood repay thy own.
His weeping father claims thy destined head,
And spouse, a widow in her bridal bed.
On these thy conquer'd spoils I shall bestow,
To soothe a consort's and a parent's woe.
No longer then defer the glorious strife,
Let heaven decide our fortune, fame, and life."
Swift as the word the missile lance he flings;
The well-aim'd weapon on the buckler rings,
But blunted by the brass, innoxious falls.
On Jove the father great Atrides calls,
Nor flies the javelin from his arm in vain,
It pierced his throat, and bent him to the plain;
Wide through the neck appears the grisly wound,
Prone sinks the warrior, and his arms resound.
The shining circlets of his golden hair,
Which even the Graces might be proud to wear,
Instarr'd with gems and gold, bestrow the shore,
With dust dishonour'd, and deform'd with gore.
As the young olive, in some sylvan scene,
Crown'd by fresh fountains with eternal green,
Lifts the gay head, in snowy flowerets fair,
And plays and dances to the gentle air;
When lo! a whirlwind from high heaven invades
The tender plant, and withers all its shades;
It lies uprooted from its genial bed,
A lovely ruin now defaced and dead:
Thus young, thus beautiful, Euphorbus lay,
While the fierce Spartan tore his arms away.
Proud of his deed, and glorious in the prize,