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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 86

Watchful he wheels, protects it every way,
As the grim lion stalks around his prey.
O'er the fall'n trunk his ample shield display'd,
He hides the hero with his mighty shade,
And threats aloud! the Greeks with longing eyes
Behold at distance, but forbear the prize.
Then fierce Tydides stoops; and from the fields
Heaved with vast force, a rocky fragment wields.
Not two strong men the enormous weight could raise,
Such men as live in these degenerate days:147
He swung it round; and, gathering strength to throw,
Discharged the ponderous ruin at the foe.
Where to the hip the inserted thigh unites,
Full on the bone the pointed marble lights;
Through both the tendons broke the rugged stone,
And stripp'd the skin, and crack'd the solid bone.
Sunk on his knees, and staggering with his pains,
His falling bulk his bended arm sustains;
Lost in a dizzy mist the warrior lies;
A sudden cloud comes swimming o'er his eyes.
There the brave chief, who mighty numbers sway'd,
Oppress'd had sunk to death's eternal shade,
But heavenly Venus, mindful of the love
She bore Anchises in the Idaean grove,
His danger views with anguish and despair,
And guards her offspring with a mother's care.
About her much-loved son her arms she throws,
Her arms whose whiteness match the falling snows.
Screen'd from the foe behind her shining veil,
The swords wave harmless, and the javelins fail;
Safe through the rushing horse, and feather'd flight
Of sounding shafts, she bears him from the fight.
Nor Sthenelus, with unassisting hands,
Remain'd unheedful of his lord's commands:
His panting steeds, removed from out the war,
He fix'd with straiten'd traces to the car,
Next, rushing to the Dardan spoil, detains
[pg 092]
The heavenly coursers with the flowing manes:
These in proud triumph to the fleet convey'd,
No longer now a Trojan lord obey'd.
That charge to bold Deipylus he gave,
(Whom most he loved, as brave men love the brave,)
Then mounting on his car, resumed the rein,
And follow'd where Tydides swept the plain.
Meanwhile (his conquest ravished from his eyes)
The raging chief in chase of Venus flies:
No goddess she, commission'd to the field,
Like Pallas dreadful with her sable shield,
Or fierce Bellona thundering at the wall,
While flames ascend, and mighty ruins fall;
He knew soft combats suit the tender dame,
New to the field, and still a foe to fame.
Through breaking ranks his furious course he bends,
And at the goddess his broad lance extends;
Through her bright veil the daring weapon drove,
The ambrosial veil which all the Graces wove;
Her snowy hand the razing steel profaned,
And the transparent skin with crimson stain'd,
From the clear vein a stream immortal flow'd,
Such stream as issues from a wounded god;148
Pure emanation! uncorrupted flood!
Unlike our gross, diseased, terrestrial blood:
(For not the bread of man their life sustains,
Nor wine's inflaming juice supplies their veins:)
With tender shrieks the goddess fill'd the place,
And dropp'd her offspring from her weak embrace.

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