The Iliad of Homer
Page: 271Full soon, I doubt not, shall the conflict end;
And these, in ruin and confusion hurl'd,
Yield to our conquering arms the lower world."
Thus having said, the tyrant of the sea,
Coerulean Neptune, rose, and led the way.
Advanced upon the field there stood a mound
Of earth congested, wall'd, and trench'd around;
In elder times to guard Alcides made,
(The work of Trojans, with Minerva's aid,)
What time a vengeful monster of the main
Swept the wide shore, and drove him to the plain.
Here Neptune and the gods of Greece repair,
With clouds encompass'd, and a veil of air:
The adverse powers, around Apollo laid,
Crown the fair hills that silver Simois shade.
In circle close each heavenly party sat,
Intent to form the future scheme of fate;
But mix not yet in fight, though Jove on high
Gives the loud signal, and the heavens reply.
Meanwhile the rushing armies hide the ground;
The trampled centre yields a hollow sound:
Steeds cased in mail, and chiefs in armour bright,
The gleaming champaign glows with brazen light.
Amid both hosts (a dreadful space) appear,
There great Achilles; bold Æneas, here.[pg 365]
With towering strides Aeneas first advanced;
The nodding plumage on his helmet danced:
Spread o'er his breast the fencing shield he bore,
And, so he moved, his javelin flamed before.
Not so Pelides; furious to engage,
He rush'd impetuous. Such the lion's rage,
Who viewing first his foes with scornful eyes,
Though all in arms the peopled city rise,
Stalks careless on, with unregarding pride;
Till at the length, by some brave youth defied,
To his bold spear the savage turns alone,
He murmurs fury with a hollow groan;
He grins, he foams, he rolls his eyes around
Lash'd by his tail his heaving sides resound;
He calls up all his rage; he grinds his teeth,
Resolved on vengeance, or resolved on death.
So fierce Achilles on Æneas flies;
So stands Æneas, and his force defies.
Ere yet the stern encounter join'd, begun
The seed of Thetis thus to Venus' son:
"Why comes Æneas through the ranks so far?
Seeks he to meet Achilles' arm in war,
In hope the realms of Priam to enjoy,
And prove his merits to the throne of Troy?
Grant that beneath thy lance Achilles dies,
The partial monarch may refuse the prize;
Sons he has many; those thy pride may quell:
And 'tis his fault to love those sons too well,
Or, in reward of thy victorious hand,
Has Troy proposed some spacious tract of land
An ample forest, or a fair domain,
Of hills for vines, and arable for grain?
Even this, perhaps, will hardly prove thy lot.
But can Achilles be so soon forgot?
Once (as I think) you saw this brandish'd spear
And then the great Æneas seem'd to fear:
With hearty haste from Ida's mount he fled,
Nor, till he reach'd Lyrnessus, turn'd his head.
Her lofty walls not long our progress stay'd;
Those, Pallas, Jove, and we, in ruins laid: