The Iliad of Homer
Page: 82Down sunk the priest: the purple hand of death
Closed his dim eye, and fate suppress'd his breath.
Thus toil'd the chiefs, in different parts engaged.
In every quarter fierce Tydides raged;
Amid the Greek, amid the Trojan train,
Rapt through the ranks he thunders o'er the plain;
Now here, now there, he darts from place to place,
Pours on the rear, or lightens in their face.
Thus from high hills the torrents swift and strong[pg 086]
Deluge whole fields, and sweep the trees along,
Through ruin'd moles the rushing wave resounds,
O'erwhelm's the bridge, and bursts the lofty bounds;
The yellow harvests of the ripen'd year,
And flatted vineyards, one sad waste appear!144
While Jove descends in sluicy sheets of rain,
And all the labours of mankind are vain.
So raged Tydides, boundless in his ire,
Drove armies back, and made all Troy retire.
With grief the leader of the Lycian band
Saw the wide waste of his destructive hand:
His bended bow against the chief he drew;
Swift to the mark the thirsty arrow flew,
Whose forky point the hollow breastplate tore,
Deep in his shoulder pierced, and drank the gore:
The rushing stream his brazen armour dyed,
While the proud archer thus exulting cried:
"Hither, ye Trojans, hither drive your steeds!
Lo! by our hand the bravest Grecian bleeds,
Not long the deathful dart he can sustain;
Or Phoebus urged me to these fields in vain."
So spoke he, boastful: but the winged dart
Stopp'd short of life, and mock'd the shooter's art.
The wounded chief, behind his car retired,
The helping hand of Sthenelus required;
Swift from his seat he leap'd upon the ground,
And tugg'd the weapon from the gushing wound;
When thus the king his guardian power address'd,
The purple current wandering o'er his vest:
"O progeny of Jove! unconquer'd maid!
If e'er my godlike sire deserved thy aid,
If e'er I felt thee in the fighting field;
Now, goddess, now, thy sacred succour yield.
O give my lance to reach the Trojan knight,
Whose arrow wounds the chief thou guard'st in fight;
And lay the boaster grovelling on the shore,
That vaunts these eyes shall view the light no more."
Thus pray'd Tydides, and Minerva heard,
His nerves confirm'd, his languid spirits cheer'd;
He feels each limb with wonted vigour light;
His beating bosom claim'd the promised fight.
"Be bold, (she cried), in every combat shine,
War be thy province, thy protection mine;
Rush to the fight, and every foe control;
Wake each paternal virtue in thy soul:[pg 087]
Strength swells thy boiling breast, infused by me,
And all thy godlike father breathes in thee;
Yet more, from mortal mists I purge thy eyes,145
And set to view the warring deities.
These see thou shun, through all the embattled plain;
Nor rashly strive where human force is vain.
If Venus mingle in the martial band,
Her shalt thou wound: so Pallas gives command."
With that, the blue-eyed virgin wing'd her flight;
The hero rush'd impetuous to the fight;