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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 274

And even her crumbling ruins are no more."
The king of ocean to the fight descends,
Through all the whistling darts his course he bends,
Swift interposed between the warrior flies,
And casts thick darkness o'er Achilles' eyes.267
From great ├ćneas' shield the spear he drew,
And at his master's feet the weapon threw.
That done, with force divine he snatch'd on high
The Dardan prince, and bore him through the sky,
Smooth-gliding without step, above the heads
Of warring heroes, and of bounding steeds:
[pg 369]
Till at the battle's utmost verge they light,
Where the slow Caucans close the rear of fight.
The godhead there (his heavenly form confess'd)
With words like these the panting chief address'd:
"What power, O prince! with force inferior far,
Urged thee to meet Achilles' arm in war?
Henceforth beware, nor antedate thy doom,
Defrauding fate of all thy fame to come.
But when the day decreed (for come it must)
Shall lay this dreadful hero in the dust,
Let then the furies of that arm be known,
Secure no Grecian force transcends thy own."
With that, he left him wondering as he lay,
Then from Achilles chased the mist away:
Sudden, returning with a stream of light,
The scene of war came rushing on his sight.
Then thus, amazed; "What wonders strike my mind!
My spear, that parted on the wings of wind,
Laid here before me! and the Dardan lord,
That fell this instant, vanish'd from my sword!
I thought alone with mortals to contend,
But powers celestial sure this foe defend.
Great as he is, our arms he scarce will try,
Content for once, with all his gods, to fly.
Now then let others bleed." This said, aloud
He vents his fury and inflames the crowd:
"O Greeks! (he cries, and every rank alarms)
Join battle, man to man, and arms to arms!
'Tis not in me, though favour'd by the sky,
To mow whole troops, and make whole armies fly:
No god can singly such a host engage,
Not Mars himself, nor great Minerva's rage.
But whatsoe'er Achilles can inspire,
Whate'er of active force, or acting fire;
Whate'er this heart can prompt, or hand obey;
All, all Achilles, Greeks! is yours to-day.
Through yon wide host this arm shall scatter fear,
And thin the squadrons with my single spear."
He said: nor less elate with martial joy,
The godlike Hector warm'd the troops of Troy:
"Trojans, to war! Think, Hector leads you on;
Nor dread the vaunts of Peleus' haughty son.
Deeds must decide our fate. E'en these with words
Insult the brave, who tremble at their swords:
The weakest atheist-wretch all heaven defies,
But shrinks and shudders when the thunder flies.
Nor from yon boaster shall your chief retire,
Not though his heart were steel, his hands were fire;
That fire, that steel, your Hector should withstand,
And brave that vengeful heart, that dreadful hand."
[pg 370]
Thus (breathing rage through all) the hero said;
A wood of lances rises round his head,

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