The Iliad of Homer
Page: 276No more shall Hector's and Pelides' spear
Turn from each other in the walks of war."—
Then with revengeful eyes he scann'd him o'er:
"Come, and receive thy fate!" He spake no more.
Hector, undaunted, thus: "Such words employ
To one that dreads thee, some unwarlike boy:
Such we could give, defying and defied,
Mean intercourse of obloquy and pride!
I know thy force to mine superior far;
But heaven alone confers success in war:
Mean as I am, the gods may guide my dart,
And give it entrance in a braver heart."
Then parts the lance: but Pallas' heavenly breath
Far from Achilles wafts the winged death:
The bidden dart again to Hector flies,
And at the feet of its great master lies.
Achilles closes with his hated foe,
His heart and eyes with flaming fury glow:
But present to his aid, Apollo shrouds
The favour'd hero in a veil of clouds.
Thrice struck Pelides with indignant heart,
Thrice in impassive air he plunged the dart;
The spear a fourth time buried in the cloud.
He foams with fury, and exclaims aloud:
"Wretch! thou hast 'scaped again; once more thy flight
Has saved thee, and the partial god of light.
But long thou shalt not thy just fate withstand,
If any power assist Achilles' hand.
Fly then inglorious! but thy flight this day[pg 372]
Whole hecatombs of Trojan ghosts shall pay."
With that, he gluts his rage on numbers slain:
Then Dryops tumbled to the ensanguined plain,
Pierced through the neck: he left him panting there,
And stopp'd Demuchus, great Philetor's heir.
Gigantic chief! deep gash'd the enormous blade,
And for the soul an ample passage made.
Laoganus and Dardanus expire,
The valiant sons of an unhappy sire;
Both in one instant from the chariot hurl'd,
Sunk in one instant to the nether world:
This difference only their sad fates afford
That one the spear destroy'd, and one the sword.
Nor less unpitied, young Alastor bleeds;
In vain his youth, in vain his beauty pleads;
In vain he begs thee, with a suppliant's moan,
To spare a form, an age so like thy own!
Unhappy boy! no prayer, no moving art,
E'er bent that fierce, inexorable heart!
While yet he trembled at his knees, and cried,
The ruthless falchion oped his tender side;
The panting liver pours a flood of gore
That drowns his bosom till he pants no more.
Through Mulius' head then drove the impetuous spear:
The warrior falls, transfix'd from ear to ear.
Thy life, Echeclus! next the sword bereaves,
Deep though the front the ponderous falchion cleaves;
Warm'd in the brain the smoking weapon lies,
The purple death comes floating o'er his eyes.
Then brave Deucalion died: the dart was flung
Where the knit nerves the pliant elbow strung;
He dropp'd his arm, an unassisting weight,
And stood all impotent, expecting fate:
Full on his neck the falling falchion sped,
From his broad shoulders hew'd his crested head:
Forth from the bone the spinal marrow flies,