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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 93

Both struck, both wounded, but Sarpedon's slew:
Full in the boaster's neck the weapon stood,
Transfix'd his throat, and drank the vital blood;
The soul disdainful seeks the caves of night,
And his seal'd eyes for ever lose the light.
Yet not in vain, Tlepolemus, was thrown
Thy angry lance; which piercing to the bone
Sarpedon's thigh, had robb'd the chief of breath;
But Jove was present, and forbade the death.
Borne from the conflict by his Lycian throng,
The wounded hero dragg'd the lance along.
(His friends, each busied in his several part,
Through haste, or danger, had not drawn the dart.)
The Greeks with slain Tlepolemus retired;
Whose fall Ulysses view'd, with fury fired;
Doubtful if Jove's great son he should pursue,
Or pour his vengeance on the Lycian crew.
But heaven and fate the first design withstand,
Nor this great death must grace Ulysses' hand.
Minerva drives him on the Lycian train;
Alastor, Cronius, Halius, strew'd the plain,
Alcander, Prytanis, Noemon fell:154
And numbers more his sword had sent to hell,
[pg 102]
But Hector saw; and, furious at the sight,
Rush'd terrible amidst the ranks of fight.
With joy Sarpedon view'd the wish'd relief,
And, faint, lamenting, thus implored the chief:
"O suffer not the foe to bear away
My helpless corpse, an unassisted prey;
If I, unbless'd, must see my son no more,
My much-loved consort, and my native shore,
Yet let me die in Ilion's sacred wall;
Troy, in whose cause I fell, shall mourn my fall."
He said, nor Hector to the chief replies,
But shakes his plume, and fierce to combat flies;
Swift as a whirlwind, drives the scattering foes;
And dyes the ground with purple as he goes.
Beneath a beech, Jove's consecrated shade,
His mournful friends divine Sarpedon laid:
Brave Pelagon, his favourite chief, was nigh,
Who wrench'd the javelin from his sinewy thigh.
The fainting soul stood ready wing'd for flight,
And o'er his eye-balls swam the shades of night;
But Boreas rising fresh, with gentle breath,
Recall'd his spirit from the gates of death.
The generous Greeks recede with tardy pace,
Though Mars and Hector thunder in their face;
None turn their backs to mean ignoble flight,
Slow they retreat, and even retreating fight.
Who first, who last, by Mars' and Hector's hand,
Stretch'd in their blood, lay gasping on the sand?
Tenthras the great, Orestes the renown'd
For managed steeds, and Trechus press'd the ground;,
Next OEnomaus and OEnops' offspring died;
Oresbius last fell groaning at their side:
Oresbius, in his painted mitre gay,
In fat Boeotia held his wealthy sway,
Where lakes surround low Hyle's watery plain;
A prince and people studious of their gain.
The carnage Juno from the skies survey'd,
And touch'd with grief bespoke the blue-eyed maid:
"Oh, sight accursed! Shall faithless Troy prevail,
And shall our promise to our people fail?
How vain the word to Menelaus given
By Jove's great daughter and the queen of heaven,
Beneath his arms that Priam's towers should fall,

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