The Iliad of Homer
Page: 245Which pass'd the shield of Aretus the young:
It pierced his belt, emboss'd with curious art,
Then in the lower belly struck the dart.[pg 325]
As when a ponderous axe, descending full,
Cleaves the broad forehead of some brawny bull:249
Struck 'twixt the horns, he springs with many a bound,
Then tumbling rolls enormous on the ground:
Thus fell the youth; the air his soul received,
And the spear trembled as his entrails heaved.
Now at Automedon the Trojan foe
Discharged his lance; the meditated blow,
Stooping, he shunn'd; the javelin idly fled,
And hiss'd innoxious o'er the hero's head;
Deep rooted in the ground, the forceful spear
In long vibrations spent its fury there.
With clashing falchions now the chiefs had closed,
But each brave Ajax heard, and interposed;
Nor longer Hector with his Trojans stood,
But left their slain companion in his blood:
His arms Automedon divests, and cries,
"Accept, Patroclus, this mean sacrifice:
Thus have I soothed my griefs, and thus have paid,
Poor as it is, some offering to thy shade."
So looks the lion o'er a mangled boar,
All grim with rage, and horrible with gore;
High on the chariot at one bound he sprung,
And o'er his seat the bloody trophies hung.
And now Minerva from the realms of air
Descends impetuous, and renews the war;
For, pleased at length the Grecian arms to aid,
The lord of thunders sent the blue-eyed maid.
As when high Jove denouncing future woe,
O'er the dark clouds extends his purple bow,
(In sign of tempests from the troubled air,
Or from the rage of man, destructive war,)
The drooping cattle dread the impending skies,
And from his half-till'd field the labourer flies:
In such a form the goddess round her drew
A livid cloud, and to the battle flew.
Assuming Phoenix' shape on earth she falls,
And in his well-known voice to Sparta calls:
"And lies Achilles' friend, beloved by all,
A prey to dogs beneath the Trojan wall?
What shame 'o Greece for future times to tell,
To thee the greatest in whose cause he fell!"
"O chief, O father! (Atreus' son replies)
O full of days! by long experience wise!
What more desires my soul, than here unmoved
To guard the body of the man I loved?[pg 326]
Ah, would Minerva send me strength to rear
This wearied arm, and ward the storm of war!
But Hector, like the rage of fire, we dread,
And Jove's own glories blaze around his head!"
Pleased to be first of all the powers address'd,
She breathes new vigour in her hero's breast,
And fills with keen revenge, with fell despite,
Desire of blood, and rage, and lust of fight.
So burns the vengeful hornet (soul all o'er),
Repulsed in vain, and thirsty still of gore;
(Bold son of air and heat) on angry wings
Untamed, untired, he turns, attacks, and stings.
Fired with like ardour fierce Atrides flew,
And sent his soul with every lance he threw.
There stood a Trojan, not unknown to fame,