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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 252

That all shall know Achilles swells the tide."
"My son (coerulean Thetis made reply,
To fate submitting with a secret sigh,)
The host to succour, and thy friends to save,
Is worthy thee; the duty of the brave.
[pg 335]Illustration: <strong><a href=THETIS ORDERING THE NEREIDS TO DESCEND INTO THE SEA." title="THETIS ORDERING THE NEREIDS TO DESCEND INTO THE SEA." />
THETIS ORDERING THE NEREIDS TO DESCEND INTO THE SEA.
And now the Greeks from furious Hector's force,
Urge to broad Hellespont their headlong course;
Nor yet their chiefs Patroclus' body bore
Safe through the tempest to the tented shore.
The horse, the foot, with equal fury join'd,
Pour'd on the rear, and thunder'd close behind:
And like a flame through fields of ripen'd corn,
The rage of Hector o'er the ranks was borne.
Thrice the slain hero by the foot he drew;
Thrice to the skies the Trojan clamours flew:
As oft the Ajaces his assault sustain;
[pg 336]
But check'd, he turns; repuls'd, attacks again.
With fiercer shouts his lingering troops he fires,
Nor yields a step, nor from his post retires:
So watchful shepherds strive to force, in vain,
The hungry lion from a carcase slain.
Even yet Patroclus had he borne away,
And all the glories of the extended day,
Had not high Juno from the realms of air,
Secret, despatch'd her trusty messenger.
The various goddess of the showery bow,
Shot in a whirlwind to the shore below;
To great Achilles at his ships she came,
And thus began the many-colour'd dame:
"Rise, son of Peleus! rise, divinely brave!
Assist the combat, and Patroclus save:
For him the slaughter to the fleet they spread,
And fall by mutual wounds around the dead.
To drag him back to Troy the foe contends:
Nor with his death the rage of Hector ends:
A prey to dogs he dooms the corse to lie,
And marks the place to fix his head on high.
Rise, and prevent (if yet you think of fame)
Thy friend's disgrace, thy own eternal shame!"
"Who sends thee, goddess, from the ethereal skies?"
Achilles thus. And Iris thus replies:
"I come, Pelides! from the queen of Jove,
The immortal empress of the realms above;
Unknown to him who sits remote on high,
Unknown to all the synod of the sky."
"Thou comest in vain (he cries, with fury warm'd);

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