The Iliad of Homer
Page: 85Their fierce approach bold Sthenelus espied,
Who thus, alarm'd, to great Tydides cried:
"O friend! two chiefs of force immense I see,
Dreadful they come, and bend their rage on thee:
Lo the brave heir of old Lycaon's line,
And great Æneas, sprung from race divine!
Enough is given to fame. Ascend thy car!
And save a life, the bulwark of our war."
At this the hero cast a gloomy look,
Fix'd on the chief with scorn; and thus he spoke:
"Me dost thou bid to shun the coming fight?
Me wouldst thou move to base, inglorious flight?
Know, 'tis not honest in my soul to fear,
Nor was Tydides born to tremble here.
I hate the cumbrous chariot's slow advance,
And the long distance of the flying lance;
But while my nerves are strong, my force entire,
Thus front the foe, and emulate my sire.
Nor shall yon steeds, that fierce to fight convey
Those threatening heroes, bear them both away;
One chief at least beneath this arm shall die;
So Pallas tells me, and forbids to fly.
But if she dooms, and if no god withstand,
That both shall fall by one victorious hand,
Then heed my words: my horses here detain,
Fix'd to the chariot by the straiten'd rein;
Swift to Æneas' empty seat proceed,
And seize the coursers of ethereal breed;
The race of those, which once the thundering god146
For ravish'd Ganymede on Tros bestow'd,
The best that e'er on earth's broad surface run,
Beneath the rising or the setting sun.
Hence great Anchises stole a breed unknown,
By mortal mares, from fierce Laomedon:
Four of this race his ample stalls contain,
And two transport Æneas o'er the plain.
These, were the rich immortal prize our own,
Through the wide world should make our glory known."
Thus while they spoke, the foe came furious on,
And stern Lycaon's warlike race begun:
"Prince, thou art met. Though late in vain assail'd,
The spear may enter where the arrow fail'd."
He said, then shook the ponderous lance, and flung;
On his broad shield the sounding weapon rung,
Pierced the tough orb, and in his cuirass hung,
"He bleeds! the pride of Greece! (the boaster cries,)
Our triumph now, the mighty warrior lies!"
"Mistaken vaunter! (Diomed replied;)
Thy dart has erred, and now my spear be tried;
Ye 'scape not both; one, headlong from his car,
With hostile blood shall glut the god of war."
He spoke, and rising hurl'd his forceful dart,[pg 091]
Which, driven by Pallas, pierced a vital part;
Full in his face it enter'd, and betwixt
The nose and eye-ball the proud Lycian fix'd;
Crash'd all his jaws, and cleft the tongue within,
Till the bright point look'd out beneath the chin.
Headlong he falls, his helmet knocks the ground:
Earth groans beneath him, and his arms resound;
The starting coursers tremble with affright;
The soul indignant seeks the realms of night.
To guard his slaughter'd friend, Æneas flies,
His spear extending where the carcase lies;