The Iliad of Homer
Page: 209Then Greece shall breathe from toils." The godhead said;
His will divine the son of Jove obey'd.
Not half so swift the sailing falcon flies,
That drives a turtle through the liquid skies,
As Phoebus, shooting from the Idaean brow,
Glides down the mountain to the plain below.
There Hector seated by the stream he sees,
His sense returning with the coming breeze;[pg 274]
Again his pulses beat, his spirits rise;
Again his loved companions meet his eyes;
Jove thinking of his pains, they pass'd away,
To whom the god who gives the golden day:
"Why sits great Hector from the field so far?
What grief, what wound, withholds thee from the war?"
The fainting hero, as the vision bright
Stood shining o'er him, half unseal'd his sight:
"What blest immortal, with commanding breath,
Thus wakens Hector from the sleep of death?
Has fame not told, how, while my trusty sword
Bathed Greece in slaughter, and her battle gored,
The mighty Ajax with a deadly blow
Had almost sunk me to the shades below?
Even yet, methinks, the gliding ghosts I spy,
And hell's black horrors swim before my eye."
To him Apollo: "Be no more dismay'd;
See, and be strong! the Thunderer sends thee aid.
Behold! thy Phoebus shall his arms employ,
Phoebus, propitious still to thee and Troy.
Inspire thy warriors then with manly force,
And to the ships impel thy rapid horse:
Even I will make thy fiery coursers way,
And drive the Grecians headlong to the sea."
Thus to bold Hector spoke the son of Jove,
And breathed immortal ardour from above.
As when the pamper'd steed, with reins unbound,
Breaks from his stall, and pours along the ground;
With ample strokes he rushes to the flood,
To bathe his sides, and cool his fiery blood;
His head, now freed, he tosses to the skies;
His mane dishevell'd o'er his shoulders flies:
He snuffs the females in the well-known plain,
And springs, exulting, to his fields again:
Urged by the voice divine, thus Hector flew,
Full of the god; and all his hosts pursue.
As when the force of men and dogs combined
Invade the mountain goat, or branching hind;
Far from the hunter's rage secure they lie
Close in the rock, (not fated yet to die)
When lo! a lion shoots across the way!
They fly: at once the chasers and the prey.
So Greece, that late in conquering troops pursued,
And mark'd their progress through the ranks in blood,
Soon as they see the furious chief appear,
Forget to vanquish, and consent to fear.
Thoas with grief observed his dreadful course,
Thoas, the bravest of the Ætolian force;
Skill'd to direct the javelin's distant flight,
And bold to combat in the standing fight,[pg 275]
Not more in councils famed for solid sense,
Than winning words and heavenly eloquence.
"Gods! what portent (he cried) these eyes invades?
Lo! Hector rises from the Stygian shades!
We saw him, late, by thundering Ajax kill'd:
What god restores him to the frighted field;