The Iliad of Homer
Page: 321Content—By the same hand let me expire!
Add to the slaughter'd son the wretched sire!
One cold embrace at least may be allow'd,
And my last tears flow mingled with his blood!"
From forth his open'd stores, this said, he drew
Twelve costly carpets of refulgent hue,
As many vests, as many mantles told,
And twelve fair veils, and garments stiff with gold,
Two tripods next, and twice two chargers shine,
With ten pure talents from the richest mine;
And last a large well-labour'd bowl had place,
(The pledge of treaties once with friendly Thrace:)
Seem'd all too mean the stores he could employ,
For one last look to buy him back to Troy!
Lo! the sad father, frantic with his pain,
Around him furious drives his menial train:
In vain each slave with duteous care attends,
Each office hurts him, and each face offends.
"What make ye here, officious crowds! (he cries).
Hence! nor obtrude your anguish on my eyes.
Have ye no griefs at home, to fix ye there:
Am I the only object of despair?
Am I become my people's common show,
Set up by Jove your spectacle of woe?
No, you must feel him too; yourselves must fall;
The same stern god to ruin gives you all:
Nor is great Hector lost by me alone;
Your sole defence, your guardian power is gone!
I see your blood the fields of Phrygia drown,
I see the ruins of your smoking town!
O send me, gods! ere that sad day shall come,
A willing ghost to Pluto's dreary dome!"
He said, and feebly drives his friends away:
The sorrowing friends his frantic rage obey.[pg 437]
Next on his sons his erring fury falls,
Polites, Paris, Agathon, he calls;
His threats Deiphobus and Dius hear,
Hippothous, Pammon, Helenes the seer,
And generous Antiphon: for yet these nine
Survived, sad relics of his numerous line.
"Inglorious sons of an unhappy sire!
Why did not all in Hector's cause expire?
Wretch that I am! my bravest offspring slain.
You, the disgrace of Priam's house, remain!
Mestor the brave, renown'd in ranks of war,
And last great Hector, more than man divine,
For sure he seem'd not of terrestrial line!
All those relentless Mars untimely slew,
And left me these, a soft and servile crew,
Whose days the feast and wanton dance employ,
Gluttons and flatterers, the contempt of Troy!
Why teach ye not my rapid wheels to run,
And speed my journey to redeem my son?"
The sons their father's wretched age revere,
Forgive his anger, and produce the car.
High on the seat the cabinet they bind:
The new-made car with solid beauty shined;
Box was the yoke, emboss'd with costly pains,
And hung with ringlets to receive the reins;
Nine cubits long, the traces swept the ground:
These to the chariot's polish'd pole they bound.
Then fix'd a ring the running reins to guide,
And close beneath the gather'd ends were tied.