The Iliad of Homer
Page: 279He kiss'd his feet, extended on the ground:
And while, above, the spear suspended stood,
Longing to dip its thirsty point in blood,
One hand embraced them close, one stopp'd the dart,
While thus these melting words attempt his heart:
"Thy well-known captive, great Achilles! see,
Once more Lycaon trembles at thy knee.
Some pity to a suppliant's name afford,
Who shared the gifts of Ceres at thy board;
Whom late thy conquering arm to Lemnos bore,
Far from his father, friends, and native shore;
A hundred oxen were his price that day,
Now sums immense thy mercy shall repay.
Scarce respited from woes I yet appear,
And scarce twelve morning suns have seen me here;
Lo! Jove again submits me to thy hands,
Again, her victim cruel Fate demands!
I sprang from Priam, and Laothoe fair,
(Old Altes' daughter, and Lelegia's heir;
Who held in Pedasus his famed abode,
And ruled the fields where silver Satnio flow'd,)
Two sons (alas! unhappy sons) she bore;
For ah! one spear shall drink each brother's gore,
And I succeed to slaughter'd Polydore.
How from that arm of terror shall I fly?
Some demon urges! 'tis my doom to die!
If ever yet soft pity touch'd thy mind,
Ah! think not me too much of Hector's kind!
Not the same mother gave thy suppliant breath,
With his, who wrought thy loved Patroclus' death."
These words, attended with a shower of tears,
The youth address'd to unrelenting ears:
"Talk not of life, or ransom (he replies):
Patroclus dead, whoever meets me, dies:[pg 377]
In vain a single Trojan sues for grace;
But least, the sons of Priam's hateful race.
Die then, my friend! what boots it to deplore?
The great, the good Patroclus is no more!
He, far thy better, was foredoom'd to die,
And thou, dost thou bewail mortality?
Seest thou not me, whom nature's gifts adorn,
Sprung from a hero, from a goddess born?
The day shall come (which nothing can avert)
When by the spear, the arrow, or the dart,
By night, or day, by force, or by design,
Impending death and certain fate are mine!
Die then,"—He said; and as the word he spoke,
The fainting stripling sank before the stroke:
His hand forgot its grasp, and left the spear,
While all his trembling frame confess'd his fear:
Sudden, Achilles his broad sword display'd,
And buried in his neck the reeking blade.
Prone fell the youth; and panting on the land,
The gushing purple dyed the thirsty sand.
The victor to the stream the carcase gave,
And thus insults him, floating on the wave:
"Lie there, Lycaon! let the fish surround
Thy bloated corpse, and suck thy gory wound:
There no sad mother shall thy funerals weep,
But swift Scamander roll thee to the deep,
Whose every wave some watery monster brings,
To feast unpunish'd on the fat of kings.
So perish Troy, and all the Trojan line!
Such ruin theirs, and such compassion mine.
What boots ye now Scamander's worshipp'd stream,