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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 330

And raised his friend: the god before him goes:
He joins the mules, directs them with his hand,
And moves in silence through the hostile land.
[pg 449]
When now to Xanthus' yellow stream they drove,
(Xanthus, immortal progeny of Jove,)
The winged deity forsook their view,
And in a moment to Olympus flew.
Now shed Aurora round her saffron ray,
Sprang through the gates of light, and gave the day:
Charged with the mournful load, to Ilion go
The sage and king, majestically slow.
Cassandra first beholds, from Ilion's spire,
The sad procession of her hoary sire;
Then, as the pensive pomp advanced more near,
(Her breathless brother stretched upon the bier,)
A shower of tears o'erflows her beauteous eyes,
Alarming thus all Ilion with her cries:
"Turn here your steps, and here your eyes employ,
Ye wretched daughters, and ye sons of Troy!
If e'er ye rush'd in crowds, with vast delight,
To hail your hero glorious from the fight,
Now meet him dead, and let your sorrows flow;
Your common triumph, and your common woe."
In thronging crowds they issue to the plains;
Nor man nor woman in the walls remains;
In every face the self-same grief is shown;
And Troy sends forth one universal groan.
At Scaea's gates they meet the mourning wain,
Hang on the wheels, and grovel round the slain.
The wife and mother, frantic with despair,
Kiss his pale cheek, and rend their scatter'd hair:
Thus wildly wailing, at the gates they lay;
And there had sigh'd and sorrow'd out the day;
But godlike Priam from the chariot rose:
"Forbear (he cried) this violence of woes;
First to the palace let the car proceed,
Then pour your boundless sorrows o'er the dead."
The waves of people at his word divide,
Slow rolls the chariot through the following tide;
Even to the palace the sad pomp they wait:
They weep, and place him on the bed of state.
A melancholy choir attend around,
With plaintive sighs, and music's solemn sound:
Alternately they sing, alternate flow
The obedient tears, melodious in their woe.
While deeper sorrows groan from each full heart,
And nature speaks at every pause of art.
First to the corse the weeping consort flew;
Around his neck her milk-white arms she threw,
"And oh, my Hector! Oh, my lord! (she cries)
Snatch'd in thy bloom from these desiring eyes!
Thou to the dismal realms for ever gone!
And I abandon'd, desolate, alone!
[pg 450]
An only son, once comfort of our pains,
Sad product now of hapless love, remains!
Never to manly age that son shall rise,
Or with increasing graces glad my eyes:
For Ilion now (her great defender slain)
Shall sink a smoking ruin on the plain.
Who now protects her wives with guardian care?
Who saves her infants from the rage of war?
Now hostile fleets must waft those infants o'er
(Those wives must wait them) to a foreign shore:
Thou too, my son, to barbarous climes shall go,
The sad companion of thy mother's woe;

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