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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 98

Thy breast, thy counsels, thy distinguish'd care:
So boundless she, and thou so partial grown,
Well may we deem the wondrous birth thy own.
Now frantic Diomed, at her command,
Against the immortals lifts his raging hand:
The heavenly Venus first his fury found,
Me next encountering, me he dared to wound;
Vanquish'd I fled; even I, the god of fight,
From mortal madness scarce was saved by flight.
Else hadst thou seen me sink on yonder plain,
Heap'd round, and heaving under loads of slain!
Or pierced with Grecian darts, for ages lie,
Condemn'd to pain, though fated not to die."
Him thus upbraiding, with a wrathful look
The lord of thunders view'd, and stern bespoke:
"To me, perfidious! this lamenting strain?
Of lawless force shall lawless Mars complain?
Of all the gods who tread the spangled skies,
Thou most unjust, most odious in our eyes!
[pg 108]Illustration: JUNO.
JUNO.

[pg 109]

BOOK VI.

ARGUMENT.

THE EPISODES OF GLAUCUS AND DIOMED, AND OF HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE.

The gods having left the field, the Grecians prevail. Helenus, the chief augur of Troy, commands Hector to return to the city, in order to appoint a solemn procession of the queen and the Trojan matrons to the temple of Minerva, to entreat her to remove Diomed from the fight. The battle relaxing during the absence of Hector, Glaucus and Diomed have an interview between the two armies; where, coming to the knowledge, of the friendship and hospitality passed between their ancestors, they make exchange of their arms. Hector, having performed the orders of Helenus, prevails upon Paris to return to the battle, and, taking a tender leave of his wife Andromache, hastens again to the field.

The scene is first in the field of battle, between the rivers Simois and Scamander, and then changes to Troy.

Now heaven forsakes the fight: the immortals yield
To human force and human skill the field:
Dark showers of javelins fly from foes to foes;
Now here, now there, the tide of combat flows;
While Troy's famed streams, that bound the deathful plain
On either side, run purple to the main.
Great Ajax first to conquest led the way,
Broke the thick ranks, and turn'd the doubtful day.
The Thracian Acamas his falchion found,
And hew'd the enormous giant to the ground;
His thundering arm a deadly stroke impress'd
Where the black horse-hair nodded o'er his crest;
Fix'd in his front the brazen weapon lies,
And seals in endless shades his swimming eyes.
Next Teuthras' son distain'd the sands with blood,
Axylus, hospitable, rich, and good:
In fair Arisbe's walls (his native place)161
He held his seat! a friend to human race.
Fast by the road, his ever-open door
Obliged the wealthy, and relieved the poor.
To stern Tydides now he falls a prey,
No friend to guard him in the dreadful day!
[pg 110]
Breathless the good man fell, and by his side
His faithful servant, old Calesius died.
By great Euryalus was Dresus slain,
And next he laid Opheltius on the plain.
Two twins were near, bold, beautiful, and young,
From a fair naiad and Bucolion sprung:
(Laomedon's white flocks Bucolion fed,
That monarch's first-born by a foreign bed;
In secret woods he won the naiad's grace,
And two fair infants crown'd his strong embrace:)
Here dead they lay in all their youthful charms;
The ruthless victor stripp'd their shining arms.
Astyalus by Polypoetes fell;
Ulysses' spear Pidytes sent to hell;
By Teucer's shaft brave Aretaon bled,
And Nestor's son laid stern Ablerus dead;
Great Agamemnon, leader of the brave,
The mortal wound of rich Elatus gave,
Who held in Pedasus his proud abode,162
And till'd the banks where silver Satnio flow'd.
Melanthius by Eurypylus was slain;
And Phylacus from Leitus flies in vain.
Unbless'd Adrastus next at mercy lies
Beneath the Spartan spear, a living prize.
Scared with the din and tumult of the fight,
His headlong steeds, precipitate in flight,
Rush'd on a tamarisk's strong trunk, and broke
The shatter'd chariot from the crooked yoke;
Wide o'er the field, resistless as the wind,
For Troy they fly, and leave their lord behind.
Prone on his face he sinks beside the wheel:
Atrides o'er him shakes his vengeful steel;
The fallen chief in suppliant posture press'd
The victor's knees, and thus his prayer address'd:
"O spare my youth, and for the life I owe
Large gifts of price my father shall bestow.
When fame shall tell, that, not in battle slain,
Thy hollow ships his captive son detain:
Rich heaps of brass shall in thy tent be told,163
And steel well-temper'd, and persuasive gold."
He said: compassion touch'd the hero's heart
He stood, suspended with the lifted dart:
As pity pleaded for his vanquish'd prize,
[pg 111]
Stern Agamemnon swift to vengeance flies,
And, furious, thus: "Oh impotent of mind!164

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