The Iliad of Homer
Page: 239And hear the thunder of the sounding steeds.
But Jove's high will is ever uncontroll'd,
The strong he withers, and confounds the bold;
Now crowns with fame the mighty man, and now
Strikes the fresh garland from the victor's brow!
Come, through yon squadrons let us hew the way,
And thou be witness, if I fear to-day;
If yet a Greek the sight of Hector dread,
Or yet their hero dare defend the dead."
Then turning to the martial hosts, he cries:
"Ye Trojans, Dardans, Lycians, and allies!
Be men, my friends, in action as in name,
And yet be mindful of your ancient fame.
Torn from his friend, by right of conquest mine."
He strode along the field, as thus he said:
(The sable plumage nodded o'er his head:)
Swift through the spacious plain he sent a look;
One instant saw, one instant overtook
The distant band, that on the sandy shore
The radiant spoils to sacred Ilion bore.
There his own mail unbraced the field bestrow'd;[pg 317]
His train to Troy convey'd the massy load.
Now blazing in the immortal arms he stands;
The work and present of celestial hands;
As first to Peleus by the court of heaven:
His father's arms not long Achilles wears,
Forbid by fate to reach his father's years.
Him, proud in triumph, glittering from afar,
The god whose thunder rends the troubled air
Beheld with pity; as apart he sat,
And, conscious, look'd through all the scene of fate.
He shook the sacred honours of his head;
Olympus trembled, and the godhead said;
"Ah, wretched man! unmindful of thy end!
A moment's glory; and what fates attend!
In heavenly panoply divinely bright
Thou stand'st, and armies tremble at thy sight,
As at Achilles' self! beneath thy dart
Lies slain the great Achilles' dearer part.
Thou from the mighty dead those arms hast torn,
Which once the greatest of mankind had worn.
Yet live! I give thee one illustrious day,
A blaze of glory ere thou fad'st away.
For ah! no more Andromache shall come
With joyful tears to welcome Hector home;
No more officious, with endearing charms,
From thy tired limbs unbrace Pelides' arms!"
Then with his sable brow he gave the nod
That seals his word; the sanction of the god.
The stubborn arms (by Jove's command disposed)
Conform'd spontaneous, and around him closed:
Fill'd with the god, enlarged his members grew,
Through all his veins a sudden vigour flew,
The blood in brisker tides began to roll,
And Mars himself came rushing on his soul.
Exhorting loud through all the field he strode,
And look'd, and moved, Achilles, or a god.
Now Mesthles, Glaucus, Medon, he inspires,
Now Phorcys, Chromius, and Hippothous fires;
The great Thersilochus like fury found,
Asteropaeus kindled at the sound,
And Ennomus, in augury renown'd.
"Hear, all ye hosts, and hear, unnumber'd bands
Of neighbouring nations, or of distant lands!
'Twas not for state we summon'd you so far,