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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 275

Clamours on clamours tempest all the air,
They join, they throng, they thicken to the war.
But Phoebus warns him from high heaven to shun
The single fight with Thetis' godlike son;
More safe to combat in the mingled band,
Nor tempt too near the terrors of his hand.
He hears, obedient to the god of light,
And, plunged within the ranks, awaits the fight.
Then fierce Achilles, shouting to the skies,
On Troy's whole force with boundless fury flies.
First falls Iphytion, at his army's head;
Brave was the chief, and brave the host he led;
From great Otrynteus he derived his blood,
His mother was a Nais, of the flood;
Beneath the shades of Tmolus, crown'd with snow,
From Hyde's walls he ruled the lands below.
Fierce as he springs, the sword his head divides:
The parted visage falls on equal sides:
With loud-resounding arms he strikes the plain;
While thus Achilles glories o'er the slain:
"Lie there, Otryntides! the Trojan earth
Receives thee dead, though Gygae boast thy birth;
Those beauteous fields where Hyllus' waves are roll'd,
And plenteous Hermus swells with tides of gold,
Are thine no more."—The insulting hero said,
And left him sleeping in eternal shade.
The rolling wheels of Greece the body tore,
And dash'd their axles with no vulgar gore.
Demoleon next, Antenor's offspring, laid
Breathless in dust, the price of rashness paid.
The impatient steel with full-descending sway
Forced through his brazen helm its furious way,
Resistless drove the batter'd skull before,
And dash'd and mingled all the brains with gore.
This sees Hippodamas, and seized with fright,
Deserts his chariot for a swifter flight:
The lance arrests him: an ignoble wound
The panting Trojan rivets to the ground.
He groans away his soul: not louder roars,
At Neptune's shrine on Helice's high shores,
The victim bull; the rocks re-bellow round,
And ocean listens to the grateful sound.
Then fell on Polydore his vengeful rage,268
The youngest hope of Priam's stooping age:
(Whose feet for swiftness in the race surpass'd:)
[pg 371]
Of all his sons, the dearest, and the last.
To the forbidden field he takes his flight,
In the first folly of a youthful knight,
To vaunt his swiftness wheels around the plain,
But vaunts not long, with all his swiftness slain:
Struck where the crossing belts unite behind,
And golden rings the double back-plate join'd
Forth through the navel burst the thrilling steel;
And on his knees with piercing shrieks he fell;
The rushing entrails pour'd upon the ground
His hands collect; and darkness wraps him round.
When Hector view'd, all ghastly in his gore,
Thus sadly slain the unhappy Polydore,
A cloud of sorrow overcast his sight,
His soul no longer brook'd the distant fight:
Full in Achilles' dreadful front he came,
And shook his javelin like a waving flame.
The son of Peleus sees, with joy possess'd,
His heart high-bounding in his rising breast.
"And, lo! the man on whom black fates attend;
The man, that slew Achilles, is his friend!

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