The Iliad of Homer
Page: 163He writhes his body, and extracts the dart.
The dart a tide of spouting gore pursued,
And gladden'd Troy with sight of hostile blood.
Now troops on troops the fainting chief invade,[pg 208]
Forced he recedes, and loudly calls for aid.
Thrice to its pitch his lofty voice he rears;
The well-known voice thrice Menelaus hears:
Who shares his labours, and defends his side:
"O friend! Ulysses' shouts invade my ear;
Distressed he seems, and no assistance near;
Strong as he is, yet one opposed to all,
Oppress'd by multitudes, the best may fall.
Greece robb'd of him must bid her host despair,
And feel a loss not ages can repair."
Then, where the cry directs, his course he bends;
Great Ajax, like the god of war, attends,
The prudent chief in sore distress they found,
With bands of furious Trojans compass'd round.223
As when some huntsman, with a flying spear,
From the blind thicket wounds a stately deer;
Down his cleft side, while fresh the blood distils,
He bounds aloft, and scuds from hills to hills,
Till life's warm vapour issuing through the wound,
Wild mountain-wolves the fainting beast surround:
Just as their jaws his prostrate limbs invade,
The lion rushes through the woodland shade,
The wolves, though hungry, scour dispersed away;
The lordly savage vindicates his prey.
Ulysses thus, unconquer'd by his pains,
A single warrior half a host sustains:
But soon as Ajax leaves his tower-like shield,
The scattered crowds fly frighted o'er the field;
Atrides' arm the sinking hero stays,
And, saved from numbers, to his car conveys.
Victorious Ajax plies the routed crew;
And first Doryclus, Priam's son, he slew,
On strong Pandocus next inflicts a wound,
And lays Lysander bleeding on the ground.
As when a torrent, swell'd with wintry rains,
Pours from the mountains o'er the deluged plains,
And pines and oaks, from their foundations torn,
A country's ruins! to the seas are borne:
Fierce Ajax thus o'erwhelms the yielding throng;
Men, steeds, and chariots, roll in heaps along.
But Hector, from this scene of slaughter far,
Raged on the left, and ruled the tide of war:[pg 209]
Loud groans proclaim his progress through the plain,
And deep Scamander swells with heaps of slain.
There Nestor and Idomeneus oppose
The warrior's fury; there the battle glows;
There fierce on foot, or from the chariot's height,
His sword deforms the beauteous ranks of fight.
The spouse of Helen, dealing darts around,
Had pierced Machaon with a distant wound:
In his right shoulder the broad shaft appear'd,
And trembling Greece for her physician fear'd.
To Nestor then Idomeneus begun:
"Glory of Greece, old Neleus' valiant son!
Ascend thy chariot, haste with speed away,
And great Machaon to the ships convey;
A wise physician skill'd our wounds to heal,
Is more than armies to the public weal."
Old Nestor mounts the seat; beside him rode
The wounded offspring of the healing god.
He lends the lash; the steeds with sounding feet