The Iliad of Homer
Page: 281But Jove he dreads, nor wars against his son.
Even Achelous might contend in vain,
And all the roaring billows of the main.[pg 379]
The eternal ocean, from whose fountains flow
The seas, the rivers, and the springs below,
The thundering voice of Jove abhors to hear,
And in his deep abysses shakes with fear."
He said: then from the bank his javelin tore,
And left the breathless warrior in his gore.
The floating tides the bloody carcase lave,
And beat against it, wave succeeding wave;
Till, roll'd between the banks, it lies the food
Of curling eels, and fishes of the flood.
All scatter'd round the stream (their mightiest slain)
The amazed Paeonians scour along the plain;
He vents his fury on the flying crew,
Thrasius, Astyplus, and Mnesus slew;
Mydon, Thersilochus, with Ænius, fell;
And numbers more his lance had plunged to hell,
But from the bottom of his gulfs profound
Scamander spoke; the shores return'd the sound.
"O first of mortals! (for the gods are thine)
In valour matchless, and in force divine!
If Jove have given thee every Trojan head,
'Tis not on me thy rage should heap the dead.
See! my choked streams no more their course can keep,
Nor roll their wonted tribute to the deep.
Turn then, impetuous! from our injured flood;
Content, thy slaughters could amaze a god."
In human form, confess'd before his eyes,
The river thus; and thus the chief replies:
"O sacred stream! thy word we shall obey;
But not till Troy the destined vengeance pay,
Not till within her towers the perjured train
Shall pant, and tremble at our arms again;
Not till proud Hector, guardian of her wall,
Or stain this lance, or see Achilles fall."
He said; and drove with fury on the foe.
Then to the godhead of the silver bow
The yellow flood began: "O son of Jove!
Was not the mandate of the sire above
Full and express, that Phoebus should employ
His sacred arrows in defence of Troy,
And make her conquer, till Hyperion's fall
In awful darkness hide the face of all?"
He spoke in vain—The chief without dismay
Ploughs through the boiling surge his desperate way.
Then rising in his rage above the shores,
From all his deep the bellowing river roars,
Huge heaps of slain disgorges on the coast,
And round the banks the ghastly dead are toss'd.
While all before, the billows ranged on high,
(A watery bulwark,) screen the bands who fly.
Now bursting on his head with thundering sound,[pg 380]
The falling deluge whelms the hero round:
His loaded shield bends to the rushing tide;
His feet, upborne, scarce the strong flood divide,
Sliddering, and staggering. On the border stood
A spreading elm, that overhung the flood;
He seized a bending bough, his steps to stay;
The plant uprooted to his weight gave way.270
Heaving the bank, and undermining all;
Loud flash the waters to the rushing fall
Of the thick foliage. The large trunk display'd