The Iliad of Homer
Page: 251Reveal the cause, and trust a parent's care."
He, deeply groaning—"To this cureless grief,
Not even the Thunderer's favour brings relief.
Patroclus—Ah!—say, goddess, can I boast
A pleasure now? revenge itself is lost;
Patroclus, loved of all my martial train,
Beyond mankind, beyond myself is slain!
Lost are those arms the gods themselves bestow'd
Cursed be that day, when all the powers above
Thy charms submitted to a mortal love:
O hadst thou still, a sister of the main,
Pursued the pleasures of the watery reign:
And happier Peleus, less ambitious, led
A mortal beauty to his equal bed!
Ere the sad fruit of thy unhappy womb
Had caused such sorrows past, and woes to come.
For soon, alas! that wretched offspring slain,
New woes, new sorrows, shall create again.[pg 334]
'Tis not in fate the alternate now to give;
Let me revenge it on proud Hector's heart,
Let his last spirit smoke upon my dart;
On these conditions will I breathe: till then,
I blush to walk among the race of men."
A flood of tears, at this, the goddess shed:
"Ah then, I see thee dying, see thee dead!
And let me fall! (Achilles made reply)
Far lies Patroclus from his native plain!
He fell, and falling, wish'd my aid in vain.
Ah then, since from this miserable day
I cast all hope of my return away;
Since, unrevenged, a hundred ghosts demand
Since here, for brutal courage far renown'd,
I live an idle burden to the ground,
(Others in council famed for nobler skill,
More useful to preserve, than I to kill,)
Let me—But oh! ye gracious powers above!
Wrath and revenge from men and gods remove:
Far, far too dear to every mortal breast,
Sweet to the soul, as honey to the taste:
Gathering like vapours of a noxious kind
From fiery blood, and darkening all the mind.
Me Agamemnon urged to deadly hate;
'Tis past—I quell it; I resign to fate.
Yes—I will meet the murderer of my friend;
Or (if the gods ordain it) meet my end.
The stroke of fate the strongest cannot shun:
The great Alcides, Jove's unequall'd son,
To Juno's hate, at length resign'd his breath,
And sunk the victim of all-conquering death.
So shall Achilles fall! stretch'd pale and dead,
No more the Grecian hope, or Trojan dread!
Let me, this instant, rush into the fields,
And reap what glory life's short harvest yields.
Shall I not force some widow'd dame to tear
With frantic hands her long dishevell'd hair?
Shall I not force her breast to heave with sighs,
And the soft tears to trickle from her eyes?
Yes, I shall give the fair those mournful charms—
In vain you hold me—Hence! my arms! my arms!—
Soon shall the sanguine torrent spread so wide,