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THE ILIAD OF HOMER

Rendered into English Prose for

the use of those who cannot

read the original

by Samuel Butler

 

BOOK I

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that

brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did

it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a

prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove

fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men,

and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was

the son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent

a pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son

of Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had

come to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had

brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the

sceptre of Apollo wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he

besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus,

who were their chiefs.

"Sons of Atreus," he cried, "and all other Achaeans, may the gods

who dwell in Olympus grant you to sack the city of Priam, and to

reach your homes in safety; but free my daughter, and accept a

ransom for her, in reverence to Apollo, son of Jove."

On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for

respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but

not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly

away. "Old man," said he, "let me not find you tarrying about our

ships, nor yet coming hereafter. Your sceptre of the god and your

wreath shall profit you nothing. I will not free her. She shall

grow old in my house at Argos far from her own home, busying

herself with her loom and visiting my couch; so go, and do not

provoke me or it shall be the worse for you."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Not a word he spoke, but went

by the shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo

whom lovely Leto had borne. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the

silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest

Tenedos with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have

ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones

in fat of bulls or goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows

avenge these my tears upon the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He came down

furious from the summits of Olympus, with his bow and his quiver

upon his shoulder, and the arrows rattled on his back with the

rage that trembled within him. He sat himself down away from the

ships with a face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death

as he shot his arrow in the midst of them. First he smote their

mules and their hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the

people themselves, and all day long the pyres of the dead were

burning.

For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon

the tenth day Achilles called them in assembly--moved thereto by

Juno, who saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had

compassion upon them. Then, when they were got together, he rose

and spoke among them.

"Son of Atreus," said he, "I deem that we should now turn roving

home if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by

war and pestilence at once. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or

some reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Jove) who can tell

us why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some

vow that we have broken, or hecatomb that we have not offered,

and whether he will accept the savour of lambs and goats without

blemish, so as to take away the plague from us."

With these words he sat down, and Calchas son of Thestor, wisest

of augurs, who knew things past present and to come, rose to

speak. He it was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to

Ilius, through the prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had

inspired him. With all sincerity and goodwill he addressed them

thus:--

"Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger

of King Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and

swear that you will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I

know that I shall offend one who rules the Argives with might, to

whom all the Achaeans are in subjection. A plain man cannot stand

against the anger of a king, who if he swallow his displeasure

now, will yet nurse revenge till he has wreaked it. Consider,

therefore, whether or no you will protect me."

And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in

upon you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray,

and whose oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships

shall lay his hand upon you, while I yet live to look upon the

face of the earth--no, not though you name Agamemnon himself, who

is by far the foremost of the Achaeans."

Thereon the seer spoke boldly. "The god," he said, "is angry

neither about vow nor hecatomb, but for his priest's sake, whom

Agamemnon has dishonoured, in that he would not free his daughter

nor take a ransom for her; therefore has he sent these evils upon

us, and will yet send others. He will not deliver the Danaans

from this pestilence till Agamemnon has restored the girl without

fee or ransom to her father, and has sent a holy hecatomb to

Chryse. Thus we may perhaps appease him."

With these words he sat down, and Agamemnon rose in anger. His

heart was black with rage, and his eyes flashed fire as he

scowled on Calchas and said, "Seer of evil, you never yet

prophesied smooth things concerning me, but have ever loved to

foretell that which was evil. You have brought me neither comfort

nor performance; and now you come seeing among Danaans, and

saying that Apollo has plagued us because I would not take a

ransom for this girl, the daughter of Chryses. I have set my

heart on keeping her in my own house, for I love her better even

than my own wife Clytemnestra, whose peer she is alike in form

and feature, in understanding and accomplishments. Still I will

give her up if I must, for I would have the people live, not die;

but you must find me a prize instead, or I alone among the

Argives shall be without one. This is not well; for you behold,

all of you, that my prize is to go elsewhither."

And Achilles answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, covetous beyond

all mankind, how shall the Achaeans find you another prize? We

have no common store from which to take one. Those we took from

the cities have been awarded; we cannot disallow the awards that

have been made already. Give this girl, therefore, to the god,

and if ever Jove grants us to sack the city of Troy we will

requite you three and fourfold."

Then Agamemnon said, "Achilles, valiant though you be, you shall

not thus outwit me. You shall not overreach and you shall not

persuade me. Are you to keep your own prize, while I sit tamely

under my loss and give up the girl at your bidding? Let the

Achaeans find me a prize in fair exchange to my liking, or I will

come and take your own, or that of Ajax or of Ulysses; and he to

whomsoever I may come shall rue my coming. But of this we will

take thought hereafter; for the present, let us draw a ship into

the sea, and find a crew for her expressly; let us put a hecatomb

on board, and let us send Chryseis also; further, let some chief

man among us be in command, either Ajax, or Idomeneus, or

yourself, son of Peleus, mighty warrior that you are, that we may

offer sacrifice and appease the the anger of the god."

Achilles scowled at him and answered, "You are steeped in

insolence and lust of gain. With what heart can any of the

Achaeans do your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting? I

came not warring here for any ill the Trojans had done me. I have

no quarrel with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my

horses, nor cut down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia;

for between me and them there is a great space, both mountain and

sounding sea. We have followed you, Sir Insolence! for your

pleasure, not ours--to gain satisfaction from the Trojans for

your shameless self and for Menelaus. You forget this, and

threaten to rob me of the prize for which I have toiled, and

which the sons of the Achaeans have given me. Never when the

Achaeans sack any rich city of the Trojans do I receive so good a

prize as you do, though it is my hands that do the better part of

the fighting. When the sharing comes, your share is far the

largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my ships, take what I

can get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting is done. Now,

therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much better for

me to return home with my ships, for I will not stay here

dishonoured to gather gold and substance for you."

And Agamemnon answered, "Fly if you will, I shall make you no

prayers to stay you. I have others here who will do me honour,

and above all Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so

hateful to me as you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill-

affected. What though you be brave? Was it not heaven that made

you so? Go home, then, with your ships and comrades to lord it

over the Myrmidons. I care neither for you nor for your anger;

and thus will I do: since Phoebus Apollo is taking Chryseis from

me, I shall send her with my ship and my followers, but I shall

come to your tent and take your own prize Briseis, that you may

learn how much stronger I am than you are, and that another may

fear to set himself up as equal or comparable with me."

The son of Peleus was furious, and his heart within his shaggy

breast was divided whether to draw his sword, push the others

aside, and kill the son of Atreus, or to restrain himself and

check his anger. While he was thus in two minds, and was drawing

his mighty sword from its scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven

(for Juno had sent her in the love she bore to them both), and

seized the son of Peleus by his yellow hair, visible to him

alone, for of the others no man could see her. Achilles turned in

amaze, and by the fire that flashed from her eyes at once knew

that she was Minerva. "Why are you here," said he, "daughter of

aegis-bearing Jove? To see the pride of Agamemnon, son of Atreus?

Let me tell you--and it shall surely be--he shall pay for this

insolence with his life."

And Minerva said, "I come from heaven, if you will hear me, to

bid you stay your anger. Juno has sent me, who cares for both of

you alike. Cease, then, this brawling, and do not draw your

sword; rail at him if you will, and your railing will not be

vain, for I tell you--and it shall surely be--that you shall

hereafter receive gifts three times as splendid by reason of this

present insult. Hold, therefore, and obey."

"Goddess," answered Achilles, "however angry a man may be, he

must do as you two command him. This will be best, for the gods

ever hear the prayers of him who has obeyed them."

He stayed his hand on the silver hilt of his sword, and thrust it

back into the scabbard as Minerva bade him. Then she went back to

Olympus among the other gods, and to the house of aegis-bearing

Jove.

But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus,

for he was still in a rage. "Wine-bibber," he cried, "with the

face of a dog and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out

with the host in fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade.

You shun this as you do death itself. You had rather go round and

rob his prizes from any man who contradicts you. You devour your

people, for you are king over a feeble folk; otherwise, son of

Atreus, henceforward you would insult no man. Therefore I say,

and swear it with a great oath--nay, by this my sceptre which

shalt sprout neither leaf nor shoot, nor bud anew from the day on

which it left its parent stem upon the mountains--for the axe

stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans

bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of heaven--so

surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall look

fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your

distress, when your men fall dying by the murderous hand of

Hector, you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your

heart with rage for the hour when you offered insult to the

bravest of the Achaeans."

With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on

the ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was

beginning fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then

uprose smooth-tongued Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians,

and the words fell from his lips sweeter than honey. Two

generations of men born and bred in Pylos had passed away under

his rule, and he was now reigning over the third. With all

sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Of a truth," he said, "a great sorrow has befallen the Achaean

land. Surely Priam with his sons would rejoice, and the Trojans

be glad at heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two,

who are so excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either

of you; therefore be guided by me. Moreover I have been the

familiar friend of men even greater than you are, and they did

not disregard my counsels. Never again can I behold such men as

Pirithous and Dryas shepherd of his people, or as Caeneus,

Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus son of Aegeus, peer of

the immortals. These were the mightiest men ever born upon this

earth: mightiest were they, and when they fought the fiercest

tribes of mountain savages they utterly overthrew them. I came

from distant Pylos, and went about among them, for they would

have me come, and I fought as it was in me to do. Not a man now

living could withstand them, but they heard my words, and were

persuaded by them. So be it also with yourselves, for this is the

more excellent way. Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong,

take not this girl away, for the sons of the Achaeans have

already given her to Achilles; and you, Achilles, strive not

further with the king, for no man who by the grace of Jove wields

a sceptre has like honour with Agamemnon. You are strong, and

have a goddess for your mother; but Agamemnon is stronger than

you, for he has more people under him. Son of Atreus, check your

anger, I implore you; end this quarrel with Achilles, who in the

day of battle is a tower of strength to the Achaeans."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, all that you have said is true, but

this fellow must needs become our lord and master: he must be

lord of all, king of all, and captain of all, and this shall

hardly be. Granted that the gods have made him a great warrior,

have they also given him the right to speak with railing?"

Achilles interrupted him. "I should be a mean coward," he cried,

"were I to give in to you in all things. Order other people

about, not me, for I shall obey no longer. Furthermore I say--and

lay my saying to your heart--I shall fight neither you nor any

man about this girl, for those that take were those also that

gave. But of all else that is at my ship you shall carry away

nothing by force. Try, that others may see; if you do, my spear

shall be reddened with your blood."

When they had quarrelled thus angrily, they rose, and broke up

the assembly at the ships of the Achaeans. The son of Peleus went

back to his tents and ships with the son of Menoetius and his

company, while Agamemnon drew a vessel into the water and chose a

crew of twenty oarsmen. He escorted Chryseis on board and sent

moreover a hecatomb for the god. And Ulysses went as captain.

These, then, went on board and sailed their ways over the sea.

But the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves; so they

purified themselves and cast their filth into the sea. Then they

offered hecatombs of bulls and goats without blemish on the

sea-shore, and the smoke with the savour of their sacrifice rose

curling up towards heaven.

Thus did they busy themselves throughout the host. But Agamemnon

did not forget the threat that he had made Achilles, and called

his trusty messengers and squires Talthybius and Eurybates. "Go,"

said he, "to the tent of Achilles, son of Peleus; take Briseis by

the hand and bring her hither; if he will not give her I shall

come with others and take her--which will press him harder."

He charged them straightly further and dismissed them, whereon

they went their way sorrowfully by the seaside, till they came to

the tents and ships of the Myrmidons. They found Achilles sitting

by his tent and his ships, and ill-pleased he was when he beheld

them. They stood fearfully and reverently before him, and never a

word did they speak, but he knew them and said, "Welcome,

heralds, messengers of gods and men; draw near; my quarrel is not

with you but with Agamemnon who has sent you for the girl

Briseis. Therefore, Patroclus, bring her and give her to them,

but let them be witnesses by the blessed gods, by mortal men, and

by the fierceness of Agamemnon's anger, that if ever again there

be need of me to save the people from ruin, they shall seek and

they shall not find. Agamemnon is mad with rage and knows not how

to look before and after that the Achaeans may fight by their

ships in safety."

Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him. He brought

Briseis from the tent and gave her over to the heralds, who took

her with them to the ships of the Achaeans--and the woman was

loth to go. Then Achilles went all alone by the side of the hoar

sea, weeping and looking out upon the boundless waste of waters.

He raised his hands in prayer to his immortal mother, "Mother,"

he cried, "you bore me doomed to live but for a little season;

surely Jove, who thunders from Olympus, might have made that

little glorious. It is not so. Agamemnon, son of Atreus, has done

me dishonour, and has robbed me of my prize by force."

As he spoke he wept aloud, and his mother heard him where she was

sitting in the depths of the sea hard by the old man her father.

Forthwith she rose as it were a grey mist out of the waves, sat

down before him as he stood weeping, caressed him with her hand,

and said, "My son, why are you weeping? What is it that grieves

you? Keep it not from me, but tell me, that we may know it

together."

Achilles drew a deep sigh and said, "You know it; why tell you

what you know well already? We went to Thebe the strong city of

Eetion, sacked it, and brought hither the spoil. The sons of the

Achaeans shared it duly among themselves, and chose lovely

Chryseis as the meed of Agamemnon; but Chryses, priest of Apollo,

came to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and

brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the

sceptre of Apollo, wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he

besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus who

were their chiefs.

"On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for

respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but

not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly

away. So he went back in anger, and Apollo, who loved him dearly,

heard his prayer. Then the god sent a deadly dart upon the

Argives, and the people died thick on one another, for the arrows

went everywhither among the wide host of the Achaeans. At last a

seer in the fulness of his knowledge declared to us the oracles

of Apollo, and I was myself first to say that we should appease

him. Whereon the son of Atreus rose in anger, and threatened that

which he has since done. The Achaeans are now taking the girl in

a ship to Chryse, and sending gifts of sacrifice to the god; but

the heralds have just taken from my tent the daughter of Briseus,

whom the Achaeans had awarded to myself.

"Help your brave son, therefore, if you are able. Go to Olympus,

and if you have ever done him service in word or deed, implore

the aid of Jove. Ofttimes in my father's house have I heard you

glory in that you alone of the immortals saved the son of Saturn

from ruin, when the others, with Juno, Neptune, and Pallas

Minerva would have put him in bonds. It was you, goddess, who

delivered him by calling to Olympus the hundred-handed monster

whom gods call Briareus, but men Aegaeon, for he is stronger even

than his father; when therefore he took his seat all-glorious

beside the son of Saturn, the other gods were afraid, and did not

bind him. Go, then, to him, remind him of all this, clasp his

knees, and bid him give succour to the Trojans. Let the Achaeans

be hemmed in at the sterns of their ships, and perish on the

sea-shore, that they may reap what joy they may of their king,

and that Agamemnon may rue his blindness in offering insult to

the foremost of the Achaeans."

Thetis wept and answered, "My son, woe is me that I should have

borne or suckled you. Would indeed that you had lived your span

free from all sorrow at your ships, for it is all too brief;

alas, that you should be at once short of life and long of sorrow

above your peers: woe, therefore, was the hour in which I bore

you; nevertheless I will go to the snowy heights of Olympus, and

tell this tale to Jove, if he will hear our prayer: meanwhile

stay where you are with your ships, nurse your anger against the

Achaeans, and hold aloof from fight. For Jove went yesterday to

Oceanus, to a feast among the Ethiopians, and the other gods went

with him. He will return to Olympus twelve days hence; I will

then go to his mansion paved with bronze and will beseech him;

nor do I doubt that I shall be able to persuade him."

On this she left him, still furious at the loss of her that had

been taken from him. Meanwhile Ulysses reached Chryse with the

hecatomb. When they had come inside the harbour they furled the

sails and laid them in the ship's hold; they slackened the

forestays, lowered the mast into its place, and rowed the ship to

the place where they would have her lie; there they cast out

their mooring-stones and made fast the hawsers. They then got out

upon the sea-shore and landed the hecatomb for Apollo; Chryseis

also left the ship, and Ulysses led her to the altar to deliver

her into the hands of her father. "Chryses," said he, "King

Agamemnon has sent me to bring you back your child, and to offer

sacrifice to Apollo on behalf of the Danaans, that we may

propitiate the god, who has now brought sorrow upon the Argives."

So saying he gave the girl over to her father, who received her

gladly, and they ranged the holy hecatomb all orderly round the

altar of the god. They washed their hands and took up the

barley-meal to sprinkle over the victims, while Chryses lifted up

his hands and prayed aloud on their behalf. "Hear me," he cried,

"O god of the silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla,

and rulest Tenedos with thy might. Even as thou didst hear me

aforetime when I prayed, and didst press hardly upon the

Achaeans, so hear me yet again, and stay this fearful pestilence

from the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. When they had done

praying and sprinkling the barley-meal, they drew back the heads

of the victims and killed and flayed them. They cut out the

thigh-bones, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, set some

pieces of raw meat on the top of them, and then Chryses laid them

on the wood fire and poured wine over them, while the young men

stood near him with five-pronged spits in their hands. When the

thigh-bones were burned and they had tasted the inward meats,

they cut the rest up small, put the pieces upon the spits,

roasted them till they were done, and drew them off: then, when

they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they ate

it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied.

As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, pages filled the

mixing-bowl with wine and water and handed it round, after giving

every man his drink-offering.

Thus all day long the young men worshipped the god with song,

hymning him and chaunting the joyous paean, and the god took

pleasure in their voices; but when the sun went down, and it came

on dark, they laid themselves down to sleep by the stern cables

of the ship, and when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn,

appeared they again set sail for the host of the Achaeans. Apollo

sent them a fair wind, so they raised their mast and hoisted

their white sails aloft. As the sail bellied with the wind the

ship flew through the deep blue water, and the foam hissed

against her bows as she sped onward. When they reached the

wide-stretching host of the Achaeans, they drew the vessel

ashore, high and dry upon the sands, set her strong props beneath

her, and went their ways to their own tents and ships.

But Achilles abode at his ships and nursed his anger. He went not

to the honourable assembly, and sallied not forth to fight, but

gnawed at his own heart, pining for battle and the war-cry.

Now after twelve days the immortal gods came back in a body to

Olympus, and Jove led the way. Thetis was not unmindful of the

charge her son had laid upon her, so she rose from under the sea

and went through great heaven with early morning to Olympus,

where she found the mighty son of Saturn sitting all alone upon

its topmost ridges. She sat herself down before him, and with her

left hand seized his knees, while with her right she caught him

under the chin, and besought him, saying:--

"Father Jove, if I ever did you service in word or deed among the

immortals, hear my prayer, and do honour to my son, whose life is

to be cut short so early. King Agamemnon has dishonoured him by

taking his prize and keeping her. Honour him then yourself,

Olympian lord of counsel, and grant victory to the Trojans, till

the Achaeans give my son his due and load him with riches in

requital."

Jove sat for a while silent, and without a word, but Thetis still

kept firm hold of his knees, and besought him a second time.

"Incline your head," said she, "and promise me surely, or else

deny me--for you have nothing to fear--that I may learn how

greatly you disdain me."

At this Jove was much troubled and answered, "I shall have

trouble if you set me quarrelling with Juno, for she will provoke

me with her taunting speeches; even now she is always railing at

me before the other gods and accusing me of giving aid to the

Trojans. Go back now, lest she should find out. I will consider

the matter, and will bring it about as you wish. See, I incline

my head that you may believe me. This is the most solemn promise

that I can give to any god. I never recall my word, or deceive,

or fail to do what I say, when I have nodded my head."

As he spoke the son of Saturn bowed his dark brows, and the

ambrosial locks swayed on his immortal head, till vast Olympus

reeled.

When the pair had thus laid their plans, they parted--Jove to his

house, while the goddess quitted the splendour of Olympus, and

plunged into the depths of the sea. The gods rose from their

seats, before the coming of their sire. Not one of them dared to

remain sitting, but all stood up as he came among them. There,

then, he took his seat. But Juno, when she saw him, knew that he

and the old merman's daughter, silver-footed Thetis, had been

hatching mischief, so she at once began to upbraid him.

"Trickster," she cried, "which of the gods have you been taking

into your counsels now? You are always settling matters in secret

behind my back, and have never yet told me, if you could help it,

one word of your intentions."

"Juno," replied the sire of gods and men, "you must not expect to

be informed of all my counsels. You are my wife, but you would

find it hard to understand them. When it is proper for you to

hear, there is no one, god or man, who will be told sooner, but

when I mean to keep a matter to myself, you must not pry nor ask

questions."

"Dread son of Saturn," answered Juno, "what are you talking

about? I? Pry and ask questions? Never. I let you have your own

way in everything. Still, I have a strong misgiving that the old

merman's daughter Thetis has been talking you over, for she was

with you and had hold of your knees this self-same morning. I

believe, therefore, that you have been promising her to give

glory to Achilles, and to kill much people at the ships of the

Achaeans."

"Wife," said Jove, "I can do nothing but you suspect me and find

it out. You will take nothing by it, for I shall only dislike you

the more, and it will go harder with you. Granted that it is as

you say; I mean to have it so; sit down and hold your tongue as I

bid you for if I once begin to lay my hands about you, though all

heaven were on your side it would profit you nothing."

On this Juno was frightened, so she curbed her stubborn will and

sat down in silence. But the heavenly beings were disquieted

throughout the house of Jove, till the cunning workman Vulcan

began to try and pacify his mother Juno. "It will be

intolerable," said he, "if you two fall to wrangling and setting

heaven in an uproar about a pack of mortals. If such ill counsels

are to prevail, we shall have no pleasure at our banquet. Let me

then advise my mother--and she must herself know that it will be

better--to make friends with my dear father Jove, lest he again

scold her and disturb our feast. If the Olympian Thunderer wants

to hurl us all from our seats, he can do so, for he is far the

strongest, so give him fair words, and he will then soon be in a

good humour with us."

As he spoke, he took a double cup of nectar, and placed it in his

mother's hand. "Cheer up, my dear mother," said he, "and make the

best of it. I love you dearly, and should be very sorry to see

you get a thrashing; however grieved I might be, I could not help,

for there is no standing against Jove. Once before when I was

trying to help you, he caught me by the foot and flung me from

the heavenly threshold. All day long from morn till eve, was I

falling, till at sunset I came to ground in the island of Lemnos,

and there I lay, with very little life left in me, till the

Sintians came and tended me."

Juno smiled at this, and as she smiled she took the cup from her

son's hands. Then Vulcan drew sweet nectar from the mixing-bowl,

and served it round among the gods, going from left to right; and

the blessed gods laughed out a loud applause as they saw him

bustling about the heavenly mansion.

Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun they

feasted, and every one had his full share, so that all were

satisfied. Apollo struck his lyre, and the Muses lifted up their

sweet voices, calling and answering one another. But when the

sun's glorious light had faded, they went home to bed, each in

his own abode, which lame Vulcan with his consummate skill had

fashioned for them. So Jove, the Olympian Lord of Thunder, hied

him to the bed in which he always slept; and when he had got on

to it he went to sleep, with Juno of the golden throne by his

side.

 

 

BOOK II

Now the other gods and the armed warriors on the plain slept

soundly, but Jove was wakeful, for he was thinking how to do

honour to Achilles, and destroyed much people at the ships of the

Achaeans. In the end he deemed it would be best to send a lying

dream to King Agamemnon; so he called one to him and said to it,

"Lying Dream, go to the ships of the Achaeans, into the tent of

Agamemnon, and say to him word for word as I now bid you. Tell

him to get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for he shall take

Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno

has brought them to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans."

The dream went when it had heard its message, and soon reached

the ships of the Achaeans. It sought Agamemnon son of Atreus and

found him in his tent, wrapped in a profound slumber. It hovered

over his head in the likeness of Nestor, son of Neleus, whom

Agamemnon honoured above all his councillors, and said:--

"You are sleeping, son of Atreus; one who has the welfare of his

host and so much other care upon his shoulders should dock his

sleep. Hear me at once, for I come as a messenger from Jove, who,

though he be not near, yet takes thought for you and pities you.

He bids you get the Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall

take Troy. There are no longer divided counsels among the gods;

Juno has brought them over to her own mind, and woe betides the

Trojans at the hands of Jove. Remember this, and when you wake

see that it does not escape you."

The dream then left him, and he thought of things that were,

surely not to be accomplished. He thought that on that same day

he was to take the city of Priam, but he little knew what was in

the mind of Jove, who had many another hard-fought fight in store

alike for Danaans and Trojans. Then presently he woke, with the

divine message still ringing in his ears; so he sat upright, and

put on his soft shirt so fair and new, and over this his heavy

cloak. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet, and slung his

silver-studded sword about his shoulders; then he took the

imperishable staff of his father, and sallied forth to the ships

of the Achaeans.

The goddess Dawn now wended her way to vast Olympus that she

might herald day to Jove and to the other immortals, and

Agamemnon sent the criers round to call the people in assembly;

so they called them and the people gathered thereon. But first he

summoned a meeting of the elders at the ship of Nestor king of

Pylos, and when they were assembled he laid a cunning counsel

before them.

"My friends," said he, "I have had a dream from heaven in the

dead of night, and its face and figure resembled none but

Nestor's. It hovered over my head and said, 'You are sleeping,

son of Atreus; one who has the welfare of his host and so much

other care upon his shoulders should dock his sleep. Hear me at

once, for I am a messenger from Jove, who, though he be not near,

yet takes thought for you and pities you. He bids you get the

Achaeans instantly under arms, for you shall take Troy. There are

no longer divided counsels among the gods; Juno has brought them

over to her own mind, and woe betides the Trojans at the hands of

Jove. Remember this.' The dream then vanished and I awoke. Let us

now, therefore, arm the sons of the Achaeans. But it will be well

that I should first sound them, and to this end I will tell them

to fly with their ships; but do you others go about among the

host and prevent their doing so."

He then sat down, and Nestor the prince of Pylos with all

sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "My friends," said

he, "princes and councillors of the Argives, if any other man of

the Achaeans had told us of this dream we should have declared it

false, and would have had nothing to do with it. But he who has

seen it is the foremost man among us; we must therefore set about

getting the people under arms."

With this he led the way from the assembly, and the other

sceptred kings rose with him in obedience to the word of

Agamemnon; but the people pressed forward to hear. They swarmed

like bees that sally from some hollow cave and flit in countless

throng among the spring flowers, bunched in knots and clusters;

even so did the mighty multitude pour from ships and tents to the

assembly, and range themselves upon the wide-watered shore, while

among them ran Wildfire Rumour, messenger of Jove, urging them

ever to the fore. Thus they gathered in a pell-mell of mad

confusion, and the earth groaned under the tramp of men as the

people sought their places. Nine heralds went crying about among

them to stay their tumult and bid them listen to the kings, till

at last they were got into their several places and ceased their

clamour. Then King Agamemnon rose, holding his sceptre. This was

the work of Vulcan, who gave it to Jove the son of Saturn. Jove

gave it to Mercury, slayer of Argus, guide and guardian. King

Mercury gave it to Pelops, the mighty charioteer, and Pelops to

Atreus, shepherd of his people. Atreus, when he died, left it to

Thyestes, rich in flocks, and Thyestes in his turn left it to be

borne by Agamemnon, that he might be lord of all Argos and of the

isles. Leaning, then, on his sceptre, he addressed the Argives.

"My friends," he said, "heroes, servants of Mars, the hand of

heaven has been laid heavily upon me. Cruel Jove gave me his

solemn promise that I should sack the city of Priam before

returning, but he has played me false, and is now bidding me go

ingloriously back to Argos with the loss of much people. Such is

the will of Jove, who has laid many a proud city in the dust, as

he will yet lay others, for his power is above all. It will be a

sorry tale hereafter that an Achaean host, at once so great and

valiant, battled in vain against men fewer in number than

themselves; but as yet the end is not in sight. Think that the

Achaeans and Trojans have sworn to a solemn covenant, and that

they have each been numbered--the Trojans by the roll of their

householders, and we by companies of ten; think further that each

of our companies desired to have a Trojan householder to pour out

their wine; we are so greatly more in number that full many a

company would have to go without its cup-bearer. But they have in

the town allies from other places, and it is these that hinder me

from being able to sack the rich city of Ilius. Nine of Jove's

years are gone; the timbers of our ships have rotted; their

tackling is sound no longer. Our wives and little ones at home

look anxiously for our coming, but the work that we came hither

to do has not been done. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say:

let us sail back to our own land, for we shall not take Troy."

With these words he moved the hearts of the multitude, so many of

them as knew not the cunning counsel of Agamemnon. They surged to

and fro like the waves of the Icarian Sea, when the east and

south winds break from heaven's clouds to lash them; or as when

the west wind sweeps over a field of corn and the ears bow

beneath the blast, even so were they swayed as they flew with

loud cries towards the ships, and the dust from under their feet

rose heavenward. They cheered each other on to draw the ships

into the sea; they cleared the channels in front of them; they

began taking away the stays from underneath them, and the welkin

rang with their glad cries, so eager were they to return.

Then surely the Argives would have returned after a fashion that

was not fated. But Juno said to Minerva, "Alas, daughter of

aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, shall the Argives fly home to

their own land over the broad sea, and leave Priam and the

Trojans the glory of still keeping Helen, for whose sake so many

of the Achaeans have died at Troy, far from their homes? Go about

at once among the host, and speak fairly to them, man by man,

that they draw not their ships into the sea."

Minerva was not slack to do her bidding. Down she darted from the

topmost summits of Olympus, and in a moment she was at the ships

of the Achaeans. There she found Ulysses, peer of Jove in

counsel, standing alone. He had not as yet laid a hand upon his

ship, for he was grieved and sorry; so she went close up to him

and said, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, are you going to fling

yourselves into your ships and be off home to your own land in

this way? Will you leave Priam and the Trojans the glory of still

keeping Helen, for whose sake so many of the Achaeans have died

at Troy, far from their homes? Go about at once among the host,

and speak fairly to them, man by man, that they draw not their

ships into the sea."

Ulysses knew the voice as that of the goddess: he flung his cloak

from him and set off to run. His servant Eurybates, a man of

Ithaca, who waited on him, took charge of the cloak, whereon

Ulysses went straight up to Agamemnon and received from him his

ancestral, imperishable staff. With this he went about among the

ships of the Achaeans.

Whenever he met a king or chieftain, he stood by him and spoke

him fairly. "Sir," said he, "this flight is cowardly and

unworthy. Stand to your post, and bid your people also keep their

places. You do not yet know the full mind of Agamemnon; he was

sounding us, and ere long will visit the Achaeans with his

displeasure. We were not all of us at the council to hear what he

then said; see to it lest he be angry and do us a mischief; for

the pride of kings is great, and the hand of Jove is with them."

But when he came across any common man who was making a noise, he

struck him with his staff and rebuked him, saying, "Sirrah, hold

your peace, and listen to better men than yourself. You are a

coward and no soldier; you are nobody either in fight or council;

we cannot all be kings; it is not well that there should be many

masters; one man must be supreme--one king to whom the son of

scheming Saturn has given the sceptre of sovereignty over you

all."

Thus masterfully did he go about among the host, and the people

hurried back to the council from their tents and ships with a

sound as the thunder of surf when it comes crashing down upon the

shore, and all the sea is in an uproar.

The rest now took their seats and kept to their own several

places, but Thersites still went on wagging his unbridled

tongue--a man of many words, and those unseemly; a monger of

sedition, a railer against all who were in authority, who cared

not what he said, so that he might set the Achaeans in a laugh.

He was the ugliest man of all those that came before

Troy--bandy-legged, lame of one foot, with his two shoulders

rounded and hunched over his chest. His head ran up to a point,

but there was little hair on the top of it. Achilles and Ulysses

hated him worst of all, for it was with them that he was most

wont to wrangle; now, however, with a shrill squeaky voice he

began heaping his abuse on Agamemnon. The Achaeans were angry and

disgusted, yet none the less he kept on brawling and bawling at

the son of Atreus.

"Agamemnon," he cried, "what ails you now, and what more do you

want? Your tents are filled with bronze and with fair women, for

whenever we take a town we give you the pick of them. Would you

have yet more gold, which some Trojan is to give you as a ransom

for his son, when I or another Achaean has taken him prisoner? or

is it some young girl to hide and lie with? It is not well that

you, the ruler of the Achaeans, should bring them into such

misery. Weakling cowards, women rather than men, let us sail

home, and leave this fellow here at Troy to stew in his own meeds

of honour, and discover whether we were of any service to him or

no. Achilles is a much better man than he is, and see how he has

treated him--robbing him of his prize and keeping it himself.

Achilles takes it meekly and shows no fight; if he did, son of

Atreus, you would never again insult him."

Thus railed Thersites, but Ulysses at once went up to him and

rebuked him sternly. "Check your glib tongue, Thersites," said

be, "and babble not a word further. Chide not with princes when

you have none to back you. There is no viler creature come before

Troy with the sons of Atreus. Drop this chatter about kings, and

neither revile them nor keep harping about going home. We do not

yet know how things are going to be, nor whether the Achaeans are

to return with good success or evil. How dare you gibe at

Agamemnon because the Danaans have awarded him so many prizes? I

tell you, therefore--and it shall surely be--that if I again

catch you talking such nonsense, I will either forfeit my own

head and be no more called father of Telemachus, or I will take

you, strip you stark naked, and whip you out of the assembly till

you go blubbering back to the ships."

On this he beat him with his staff about the back and shoulders

till he dropped and fell a-weeping. The golden sceptre raised a

bloody weal on his back, so he sat down frightened and in pain,

looking foolish as he wiped the tears from his eyes. The people

were sorry for him, yet they laughed heartily, and one would turn

to his neighbour saying, "Ulysses has done many a good thing ere

now in fight and council, but he never did the Argives a better

turn than when he stopped this fellow's mouth from prating

further. He will give the kings no more of his insolence."

Thus said the people. Then Ulysses rose, sceptre in hand, and

Minerva in the likeness of a herald bade the people be still,

that those who were far off might hear him and consider his

council. He therefore with all sincerity and goodwill addressed

them thus:--

 

"King Agamemnon, the Achaeans are for making you a by-word among

all mankind. They forget the promise they made you when they set

out from Argos, that you should not return till you had sacked

the town of Troy, and, like children or widowed women, they

murmur and would set off homeward. True it is that they have had

toil enough to be disheartened. A man chafes at having to stay

away from his wife even for a single month, when he is on

shipboard, at the mercy of wind and sea, but it is now nine long

years that we have been kept here; I cannot, therefore, blame the

Achaeans if they turn restive; still we shall be shamed if we go

home empty after so long a stay--therefore, my friends, be

patient yet a little longer that we may learn whether the

prophesyings of Calchas were false or true.

"All who have not since perished must remember as though it were

yesterday or the day before, how the ships of the Achaeans were

detained in Aulis when we were on our way hither to make war on

Priam and the Trojans. We were ranged round about a fountain

offering hecatombs to the gods upon their holy altars, and there

was a fine plane-tree from beneath which there welled a stream of

pure water. Then we saw a prodigy; for Jove sent a fearful

serpent out of the ground, with blood-red stains upon its back,

and it darted from under the altar on to the plane-tree. Now

there was a brood of young sparrows, quite small, upon the

topmost bough, peeping out from under the leaves, eight in all,

and their mother that hatched them made nine. The serpent ate the

poor cheeping things, while the old bird flew about lamenting her

little ones; but the serpent threw his coils about her and caught

her by the wing as she was screaming. Then, when he had eaten

both the sparrow and her young, the god who had sent him made him

become a sign; for the son of scheming Saturn turned him into

stone, and we stood there wondering at that which had come to

pass. Seeing, then, that such a fearful portent had broken in

upon our hecatombs, Calchas forthwith declared to us the oracles

of heaven. 'Why, Achaeans,' said he, 'are you thus speechless?

Jove has sent us this sign, long in coming, and long ere it be

fulfilled, though its fame shall last for ever. As the serpent

ate the eight fledglings and the sparrow that hatched them, which

makes nine, so shall we fight nine years at Troy, but in the

tenth shall take the town.' This was what he said, and now it is

all coming true. Stay here, therefore, all of you, till we take

the city of Priam."

On this the Argives raised a shout, till the ships rang again

with the uproar. Nestor, knight of Gerene, then addressed them.

"Shame on you," he cried, "to stay talking here like children,

when you should fight like men. Where are our covenants now, and

where the oaths that we have taken? Shall our counsels be flung

into the fire, with our drink-offerings and the right hands of

fellowship wherein we have put our trust? We waste our time in

words, and for all our talking here shall be no further forward.

Stand, therefore, son of Atreus, by your own steadfast purpose;

lead the Argives on to battle, and leave this handful of men to

rot, who scheme, and scheme in vain, to get back to Argos ere

they have learned whether Jove be true or a liar. For the mighty

son of Saturn surely promised that we should succeed, when we

Argives set sail to bring death and destruction upon the Trojans.

He showed us favourable signs by flashing his lightning on our

right hands; therefore let none make haste to go till he has

first lain with the wife of some Trojan, and avenged the toil and

sorrow that he has suffered for the sake of Helen. Nevertheless,

if any man is in such haste to be at home again, let him lay his

hand to his ship that he may meet his doom in the sight of all.

But, O king, consider and give ear to my counsel, for the word

that I say may not be neglected lightly. Divide your men,

Agamemnon, into their several tribes and clans, that clans and

tribes may stand by and help one another. If you do this, and if

the Achaeans obey you, you will find out who, both chiefs and

peoples, are brave, and who are cowards; for they will vie

against the other. Thus you shall also learn whether it is

through the counsel of heaven or the cowardice of man that you

shall fail to take the town."

And Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, you have again outdone the sons

of the Achaeans in counsel. Would, by Father Jove, Minerva, and

Apollo, that I had among them ten more such councillors, for the

city of King Priam would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we

should sack it. But the son of Saturn afflicts me with bootless

wranglings and strife. Achilles and I are quarrelling about this

girl, in which matter I was the first to offend; if we can be of

one mind again, the Trojans will not stave off destruction for a

day. Now, therefore, get your morning meal, that our hosts join

in fight. Whet well your spears; see well to the ordering of your

shields; give good feeds to your horses, and look your chariots

carefully over, that we may do battle the livelong day; for we

shall have no rest, not for a moment, till night falls to part

us. The bands that bear your shields shall be wet with the sweat

upon your shoulders, your hands shall weary upon your spears,

your horses shall steam in front of your chariots, and if I see

any man shirking the fight, or trying to keep out of it at the

ships, there shall be no help for him, but he shall be a prey to

dogs and vultures."

Thus he spoke, and the Achaeans roared applause. As when the

waves run high before the blast of the south wind and break on

some lofty headland, dashing against it and buffeting it without

ceasing, as the storms from every quarter drive them, even so did

the Achaeans rise and hurry in all directions to their ships.

There they lighted their fires at their tents and got dinner,

offering sacrifice every man to one or other of the gods, and

praying each one of them that he might live to come out of the

fight. Agamemnon, king of men, sacrificed a fat five-year-old

bull to the mighty son of Saturn, and invited the princes and

elders of his host. First he asked Nestor and King Idomeneus,

then the two Ajaxes and the son of Tydeus, and sixthly Ulysses,

peer of gods in counsel; but Menelaus came of his own accord, for

he knew how busy his brother then was. They stood round the bull

with the barley-meal in their hands, and Agamemnon prayed,

saying, "Jove, most glorious, supreme, that dwellest in heaven,

and ridest upon the storm-cloud, grant that the sun may not go

down, nor the night fall, till the palace of Priam is laid low,

and its gates are consumed with fire. Grant that my sword may

pierce the shirt of Hector about his heart, and that full many of

his comrades may bite the dust as they fall dying round him."

Thus he prayed, but the son of Saturn would not fulfil his

prayer. He accepted the sacrifice, yet none the less increased

their toil continually. When they had done praying and sprinkling

the barley-meal upon the victim, they drew back its head, killed

it, and then flayed it. They cut out the thigh-bones, wrapped

them round in two layers of fat, and set pieces of raw meat on

the top of them. These they burned upon the split logs of

firewood, but they spitted the inward meats, and held them in the

flames to cook. When the thigh-bones were burned, and they had

tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the

pieces upon spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew

them off; then, when they had finished their work and the feast

was ready, they ate it, and every man had his full share, so that

all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough to eat and

drink, Nestor, knight of Gerene, began to speak. "King

Agamemnon," said he, "let us not stay talking here, nor be slack

in the work that heaven has put into our hands. Let the heralds

summon the people to gather at their several ships; we will then

go about among the host, that we may begin fighting at once."

Thus did he speak, and Agamemnon heeded his words. He at once

sent the criers round to call the people in assembly. So they

called them, and the people gathered thereon. The chiefs about

the son of Atreus chose their men and marshalled them, while

Minerva went among them holding her priceless aegis that knows

neither age nor death. From it there waved a hundred tassels of

pure gold, all deftly woven, and each one of them worth a hundred

oxen. With this she darted furiously everywhere among the hosts

of the Achaeans, urging them forward, and putting courage into

the heart of each, so that he might fight and do battle without

ceasing. Thus war became sweeter in their eyes even than

returning home in their ships. As when some great forest fire is

raging upon a mountain top and its light is seen afar, even so as

they marched the gleam of their armour flashed up into the

firmament of heaven.

They were like great flocks of geese, or cranes, or swans on the

plain about the waters of Cayster, that wing their way hither and

thither, glorying in the pride of flight, and crying as they

settle till the fen is alive with their screaming. Even thus did

their tribes pour from ships and tents on to the plain of the

Scamander, and the ground rang as brass under the feet of men and

horses. They stood as thick upon the flower-bespangled field as

leaves that bloom in summer.

As countless swarms of flies buzz around a herdsman's homestead

in the time of spring when the pails are drenched with milk, even

so did the Achaeans swarm on to the plain to charge the Trojans

and destroy them.

The chiefs disposed their men this way and that before the fight

began, drafting them out as easily as goatherds draft their

flocks when they have got mixed while feeding; and among them

went King Agamemnon, with a head and face like Jove the lord of

thunder, a waist like Mars, and a chest like that of Neptune. As

some great bull that lords it over the herds upon the plain, even

so did Jove make the son of Atreus stand peerless among the

multitude of heroes.

And now, O Muses, dwellers in the mansions of Olympus, tell me--

for you are goddesses and are in all places so that you see all

things, while we know nothing but by report--who were the chiefs

and princes of the Danaans? As for the common soldiers, they were

so that I could not name every single one of them though I had

ten tongues, and though my voice failed not and my heart were of

bronze within me, unless you, O Olympian Muses, daughters of

aegis-bearing Jove, were to recount them to me. Nevertheless, I

will tell the captains of the ships and all the fleet together.

Peneleos, Leitus, Arcesilaus, Prothoenor, and Clonius were

captains of the Boeotians. These were they that dwelt in Hyria

and rocky Aulis, and who held Schoenus, Scolus, and the highlands

of Eteonus, with Thespeia, Graia, and the fair city of

Mycalessus. They also held Harma, Eilesium, and Erythrae; and

they had Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon; Ocalea and the strong fortress

of Medeon; Copae, Eutresis, and Thisbe the haunt of doves;

Coronea, and the pastures of Haliartus; Plataea and Glisas; the

fortress of Thebes the less; holy Onchestus with its famous grove

of Neptune; Arne rich in vineyards; Midea, sacred Nisa, and

Anthedon upon the sea. From these there came fifty ships, and in

each there were a hundred and twenty young men of the Boeotians.

Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, sons of Mars, led the people that dwelt

in Aspledon and Orchomenus the realm of Minyas. Astyoche a noble

maiden bore them in the house of Actor son of Azeus; for she had

gone with Mars secretly into an upper chamber, and he had lain

with her. With these there came thirty ships.

The Phoceans were led by Schedius and Epistrophus, sons of mighty

Iphitus the son of Naubolus. These were they that held

Cyparissus, rocky Pytho, holy Crisa, Daulis, and Panopeus; they

also that dwelt in Anemorea and Hyampolis, and about the waters

of the river Cephissus, and Lilaea by the springs of the

Cephissus; with their chieftains came forty ships, and they

marshalled the forces of the Phoceans, which were stationed next

to the Boeotians, on their left.

Ajax, the fleet son of Oileus, commanded the Locrians. He was not

so great, nor nearly so great, as Ajax the son of Telamon. He was

a little man, and his breastplate was made of linen, but in use

of the spear he excelled all the Hellenes and the Achaeans.

These dwelt in Cynus, Opous, Calliarus, Bessa, Scarphe, fair

Augeae, Tarphe, and Thronium about the river Boagrius. With him

there came forty ships of the Locrians who dwell beyond Euboea.

The fierce Abantes held Euboea with its cities, Chalcis, Eretria,

Histiaea rich in vines, Cerinthus upon the sea, and the

rock-perched town of Dium; with them were also the men of

Carystus and Styra; Elephenor of the race of Mars was in command

of these; he was son of Chalcodon, and chief over all the

Abantes. With him they came, fleet of foot and wearing their hair

long behind, brave warriors, who would ever strive to tear open

the corslets of their foes with their long ashen spears. Of these

there came fifty ships.

And they that held the strong city of Athens, the people of great

Erechtheus, who was born of the soil itself, but Jove's daughter,

Minerva, fostered him, and established him at Athens in her own

rich sanctuary. There, year by year, the Athenian youths worship

him with sacrifices of bulls and rams. These were commanded by

Menestheus, son of Peteos. No man living could equal him in the

marshalling of chariots and foot soldiers. Nestor could alone

rival him, for he was older. With him there came fifty ships.

Ajax brought twelve ships from Salamis, and stationed them

alongside those of the Athenians.

The men of Argos, again, and those who held the walls of Tiryns,

with Hermione, and Asine upon the gulf; Troezene, Eionae, and the

vineyard lands of Epidaurus; the Achaean youths, moreover, who

came from Aegina and Mases; these were led by Diomed of the loud

battle-cry, and Sthenelus son of famed Capaneus. With them in

command was Euryalus, son of king Mecisteus, son of Talaus; but

Diomed was chief over them all. With these there came eighty

ships.

Those who held the strong city of Mycenae, rich Corinth and

Cleonae; Orneae, Araethyrea, and Licyon, where Adrastus reigned

of old; Hyperesia, high Gonoessa, and Pellene; Aegium and all the

coast-land round about Helice; these sent a hundred ships under

the command of King Agamemnon, son of Atreus. His force was far

both finest and most numerous, and in their midst was the king

himself, all glorious in his armour of gleaming bronze--foremost

among the heroes, for he was the greatest king, and had most men

under him.

And those that dwelt in Lacedaemon, lying low among the hills,

Pharis, Sparta, with Messe the haunt of doves; Bryseae, Augeae,

Amyclae, and Helos upon the sea; Laas, moreover, and Oetylus;

these were led by Menelaus of the loud battle-cry, brother to

Agamemnon, and of them there were sixty ships, drawn up apart

from the others. Among them went Menelaus himself, strong in

zeal, urging his men to fight; for he longed to avenge the toil

and sorrow that he had suffered for the sake of Helen.

The men of Pylos and Arene, and Thryum where is the ford of the

river Alpheus; strong Aipy, Cyparisseis, and Amphigenea; Pteleum,

Helos, and Dorium, where the Muses met Thamyris, and stilled his

minstrelsy for ever. He was returning from Oechalia, where

Eurytus lived and reigned, and boasted that he would surpass even

the Muses, daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, if they should sing

against him; whereon they were angry, and maimed him. They robbed

him of his divine power of song, and thenceforth he could strike

the lyre no more. These were commanded by Nestor, knight of

Gerene, and with him there came ninety ships.

And those that held Arcadia, under the high mountain of Cyllene,

near the tomb of Aepytus, where the people fight hand to hand;

the men of Pheneus also, and Orchomenus rich in flocks; of

Rhipae, Stratie, and bleak Enispe; of Tegea and fair Mantinea; of

Stymphelus and Parrhasia; of these King Agapenor son of Ancaeus

was commander, and they had sixty ships. Many Arcadians, good

soldiers, came in each one of them, but Agamemnon found them the

ships in which to cross the sea, for they were not a people that

occupied their business upon the waters.

The men, moreover, of Buprasium and of Elis, so much of it as is

enclosed between Hyrmine, Myrsinus upon the sea-shore, the rock

Olene and Alesium. These had four leaders, and each of them had

ten ships, with many Epeans on board. Their captains were

Amphimachus and Thalpius--the one, son of Cteatus, and the other,

of Eurytus--both of the race of Actor. The two others were

Diores, son of Amarynces, and Polyxenus, son of King Agasthenes,

son of Augeas.

And those of Dulichium with the sacred Echinean islands, who

dwelt beyond the sea off Elis; these were led by Meges, peer of

Mars, and the son of valiant Phyleus, dear to Jove, who

quarrelled with his father, and went to settle in Dulichium. With

him there came forty ships.

Ulysses led the brave Cephallenians, who held Ithaca, Neritum

with its forests, Crocylea, rugged Aegilips, Samos and Zacynthus,

with the mainland also that was over against the islands. These

were led by Ulysses, peer of Jove in counsel, and with him there

came twelve ships.

Thoas, son of Andraemon, commanded the Aetolians, who dwelt in

Pleuron, Olenus, Pylene, Chalcis by the sea, and rocky Calydon,

for the great king Oeneus had now no sons living, and was himself

dead, as was also golden-haired Meleager, who had been set over

the Aetolians to be their king. And with Thoas there came forty

ships.

The famous spearsman Idomeneus led the Cretans, who held Cnossus,

and the well-walled city of Gortys; Lyctus also, Miletus and

Lycastus that lies upon the chalk; the populous towns of Phaestus

and Rhytium, with the other peoples that dwelt in the hundred

cities of Crete. All these were led by Idomeneus, and by

Meriones, peer of murderous Mars. And with these there came

eighty ships.

Tlepolemus, son of Hercules, a man both brave and large of

stature, brought nine ships of lordly warriors from Rhodes. These

dwelt in Rhodes which is divided among the three cities of

Lindus, Ielysus, and Cameirus, that lies upon the chalk. These

were commanded by Tlepolemus, son of Hercules by Astyochea, whom

he had carried off from Ephyra, on the river Selleis, after

sacking many cities of valiant warriors. When Tlepolemus grew up,

he killed his father's uncle Licymnius, who had been a famous

warrior in his time, but was then grown old. On this he built

himself a fleet, gathered a great following, and fled beyond the

sea, for he was menaced by the other sons and grandsons of

Hercules. After a voyage, during which he suffered great

hardship, he came to Rhodes, where the people divided into three

communities, according to their tribes, and were dearly loved by

Jove, the lord of gods and men; wherefore the son of Saturn

showered down great riches upon them.

And Nireus brought three ships from Syme--Nireus, who was the

handsomest man that came up under Ilius of all the Danaans after

the son of Peleus--but he was a man of no substance, and had but

a small following.

And those that held Nisyrus, Crapathus, and Casus, with Cos, the

city of Eurypylus, and the Calydnian islands, these were

commanded by Pheidippus and Antiphus, two sons of King Thessalus

the son of Hercules. And with them there came thirty ships.

Those again who held Pelasgic Argos, Alos, Alope, and Trachis;

and those of Phthia and Hellas the land of fair women, who were

called Myrmidons, Hellenes, and Achaeans; these had fifty ships,

over which Achilles was in command. But they now took no part in

the war, inasmuch as there was no one to marshal them; for

Achilles stayed by his ships, furious about the loss of the girl

Briseis, whom he had taken from Lyrnessus at his own great peril,

when he had sacked Lyrnessus and Thebe, and had overthrown Mynes

and Epistrophus, sons of king Evenor, son of Selepus. For her

sake Achilles was still grieving, but ere long he was again to

join them.

And those that held Phylace and the flowery meadows of Pyrasus,

sanctuary of Ceres; Iton, the mother of sheep; Antrum upon the

sea, and Pteleum that lies upon the grass lands. Of these brave

Protesilaus had been captain while he was yet alive, but he was

now lying under the earth. He had left a wife behind him in

Phylace to tear her cheeks in sorrow, and his house was only half

finished, for he was slain by a Dardanian warrior while leaping

foremost of the Achaeans upon the soil of Troy. Still, though his

people mourned their chieftain, they were not without a leader,

for Podarces, of the race of Mars, marshalled them; he was son of

Iphiclus, rich in sheep, who was the son of Phylacus, and he was

own brother to Protesilaus, only younger, Protesilaus being at

once the elder and the more valiant. So the people were not

without a leader, though they mourned him whom they had lost.

With him there came forty ships.

And those that held Pherae by the Boebean lake, with Boebe,

Glaphyrae, and the populous city of Iolcus, these with their

eleven ships were led by Eumelus, son of Admetus, whom Alcestis

bore to him, loveliest of the daughters of Pelias.

And those that held Methone and Thaumacia, with Meliboea and

rugged Olizon, these were led by the skilful archer Philoctetes,

and they had seven ships, each with fifty oarsmen all of them

good archers; but Philoctetes was lying in great pain in the

Island of Lemnos, where the sons of the Achaeans left him, for he

had been bitten by a poisonous water snake. There he lay sick and

sorry, and full soon did the Argives come to miss him. But his

people, though they felt his loss were not leaderless, for Medon,

the bastard son of Oileus by Rhene, set them in array.

Those, again, of Tricca and the stony region of Ithome, and they

that held Oechalia, the city of Oechalian Eurytus, these were

commanded by the two sons of Aesculapius, skilled in the art of

healing, Podalirius and Machaon. And with them there came thirty

ships.

The men, moreover, of Ormenius, and by the fountain of Hypereia,

with those that held Asterius, and the white crests of Titanus,

these were led by Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon, and with them

there came forty ships.

Those that held Argissa and Gyrtone, Orthe, Elone, and the white

city of Oloosson, of these brave Polypoetes was leader. He was

son of Pirithous, who was son of Jove himself, for Hippodameia

bore him to Pirithous on the day when he took his revenge on the

shaggy mountain savages and drove them from Mt. Pelion to the

Aithices. But Polypoetes was not sole in command, for with him

was Leonteus, of the race of Mars, who was son of Coronus, the

son of Caeneus. And with these there came forty ships.

Guneus brought two and twenty ships from Cyphus, and he was

followed by the Enienes and the valiant Peraebi, who dwelt about

wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river

Titaresius, which sends its waters into the Peneus. They do not

mingle with the silver eddies of the Peneus, but flow on the top

of them like oil; for the Titaresius is a branch of dread Orcus

and of the river Styx.

Of the Magnetes, Prothous son of Tenthredon was commander. They

were they that dwelt about the river Peneus and Mt. Pelion.

Prothous, fleet of foot, was their leader, and with him there

came forty ships.

Such were the chiefs and princes of the Danaans. Who, then, O

Muse, was the foremost, whether man or horse, among those that

followed after the sons of Atreus?

Of the horses, those of the son of Pheres were by far the finest.

They were driven by Eumelus, and were as fleet as birds. They

were of the same age and colour, and perfectly matched in height.

Apollo, of the silver bow, had bred them in Perea--both of them

mares, and terrible as Mars in battle. Of the men, Ajax, son of

Telamon, was much the foremost so long as Achilles' anger lasted,

for Achilles excelled him greatly and he had also better horses;

but Achilles was now holding aloof at his ships by reason of his

quarrel with Agamemnon, and his people passed their time upon the

sea shore, throwing discs or aiming with spears at a mark, and in

archery. Their horses stood each by his own chariot, champing

lotus and wild celery. The chariots were housed under cover, but

their owners, for lack of leadership, wandered hither and thither

about the host and went not forth to fight.

Thus marched the host like a consuming fire, and the earth

groaned beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes

the land about Typhoeus among the Arimi, where they say Typhoeus

lies. Even so did the earth groan beneath them as they sped over

the plain.

And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Jove to tell the bad

news among the Trojans. They were gathered in assembly, old and

young, at Priam's gates, and Iris came close up to Priam,

speaking with the voice of Priam's son Polites, who, being fleet

of foot, was stationed as watchman for the Trojans on the tomb of

old Aesyetes, to look out for any sally of the Achaeans. In his

likeness Iris spoke, saying, "Old man, you talk idly, as in time

of peace, while war is at hand. I have been in many a battle, but

never yet saw such a host as is now advancing. They are crossing

the plain to attack the city as thick as leaves or as the sands

of the sea. Hector, I charge you above all others, do as I say.

There are many allies dispersed about the city of Priam from

distant places and speaking divers tongues. Therefore, let each

chief give orders to his own people, setting them severally in

array and leading them forth to battle."

Thus she spoke, but Hector knew that it was the goddess, and at

once broke up the assembly. The men flew to arms; all the gates

were opened, and the people thronged through them, horse and

foot, with the tramp as of a great multitude.

Now there is a high mound before the city, rising by itself upon

the plain. Men call it Batieia, but the gods know that it is the

tomb of lithe Myrine. Here the Trojans and their allies divided

their forces.

Priam's son, great Hector of the gleaming helmet, commanded the

Trojans, and with him were arrayed by far the greater number and

most valiant of those who were longing for the fray.

The Dardanians were led by brave Aeneas, whom Venus bore to

Anchises, when she, goddess though she was, had lain with him

upon the mountain slopes of Ida. He was not alone, for with him

were the two sons of Antenor, Archilochus and Acamas, both

skilled in all the arts of war.

They that dwelt in Telea under the lowest spurs of Mt. Ida, men

of substance, who drink the limpid waters of the Aesepus, and are

of Trojan blood--these were led by Pandarus son of Lycaon, whom

Apollo had taught to use the bow.

They that held Adresteia and the land of Apaesus, with Pityeia,

and the high mountain of Tereia--these were led by Adrestus and

Amphius, whose breastplate was of linen. These were the sons of

Merops of Percote, who excelled in all kinds of divination. He

told them not to take part in the war, but they gave him no heed,

for fate lured them to destruction.

They that dwelt about Percote and Practius, with Sestos, Abydos,

and Arisbe--these were led by Asius, son of Hyrtacus, a brave

commander--Asius, the son of Hyrtacus, whom his powerful dark bay

steeds, of the breed that comes from the river Selleis, had

brought from Arisbe.

Hippothous led the tribes of Pelasgian spearsmen, who dwelt in

fertile Larissa--Hippothous, and Pylaeus of the race of Mars, two

sons of the Pelasgian Lethus, son of Teutamus.

Acamas and the warrior Peirous commanded the Thracians and those

that came from beyond the mighty stream of the Hellespont.

Euphemus, son of Troezenus, the son of Ceos, was captain of the

Ciconian spearsmen.

Pyraechmes led the Paeonian archers from distant Amydon, by the

broad waters of the river Axius, the fairest that flow upon the

earth.

The Paphlagonians were commanded by stout-hearted Pylaemanes from

Enetae, where the mules run wild in herds. These were they that

held Cytorus and the country round Sesamus, with the cities by

the river Parthenius, Cromna, Aegialus, and lofty Erithini.

Odius and Epistrophus were captains over the Halizoni from

distant Alybe, where there are mines of silver.

Chromis, and Ennomus the augur, led the Mysians, but his skill in

augury availed not to save him from destruction, for he fell by

the hand of the fleet descendant of Aeacus in the river, where he

slew others also of the Trojans.

Phorcys, again, and noble Ascanius led the Phrygians from the far

country of Ascania, and both were eager for the fray.

Mesthles and Antiphus commanded the Meonians, sons of Talaemenes,

born to him of the Gygaean lake. These led the Meonians, who

dwelt under Mt. Tmolus.

Nastes led the Carians, men of a strange speech. These held

Miletus and the wooded mountain of Phthires, with the water of

the river Maeander and the lofty crests of Mt. Mycale. These were

commanded by Nastes and Amphimachus, the brave sons of Nomion. He

came into the fight with gold about him, like a girl; fool that

he was, his gold was of no avail to save him, for he fell in the

river by the hand of the fleet descendant of Aeacus, and Achilles

bore away his gold.

Sarpedon and Glaucus led the Lycians from their distant land, by

the eddying waters of the Xanthus.

 

 

BOOK III

When the companies were thus arrayed, each under its own captain,

the Trojans advanced as a flight of wild fowl or cranes that

scream overhead when rain and winter drive them over the flowing

waters of Oceanus to bring death and destruction on the Pygmies,

and they wrangle in the air as they fly; but the Achaeans marched

silently, in high heart, and minded to stand by one another.

As when the south wind spreads a curtain of mist upon the

mountain tops, bad for shepherds but better than night for

thieves, and a man can see no further than he can throw a stone,

even so rose the dust from under their feet as they made all

speed over the plain.

When they were close up with one another, Alexandrus came forward

as champion on the Trojan side. On his shoulders he bore the skin

of a panther, his bow, and his sword, and he brandished two

spears shod with bronze as a challenge to the bravest of the

Achaeans to meet him in single fight. Menelaus saw him thus

stride out before the ranks, and was glad as a hungry lion that

lights on the carcase of some goat or horned stag, and devours it

there and then, though dogs and youths set upon him. Even thus

was Menelaus glad when his eyes caught sight of Alexandrus, for

he deemed that now he should be revenged. He sprang, therefore,

from his chariot, clad in his suit of armour.

Alexandrus quailed as he saw Menelaus come forward, and shrank in

fear of his life under cover of his men. As one who starts back

affrighted, trembling and pale, when he comes suddenly upon a

serpent in some mountain glade, even so did Alexandrus plunge

into the throng of Trojan warriors, terror-stricken at the sight

of the son of Atreus.

Then Hector upbraided him. "Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris,

fair to see, but woman-mad, and false of tongue, would that you

had never been born, or that you had died unwed. Better so, than

live to be disgraced and looked askance at. Will not the Achaeans

mock at us and say that we have sent one to champion us who is

fair to see but who has neither wit nor courage? Did you not,

such as you are, get your following together and sail beyond the

seas? Did you not from your a far country carry off a lovely

woman wedded among a people of warriors--to bring sorrow upon

your father, your city, and your whole country, but joy to your

enemies, and hang-dog shamefacedness to yourself? And now can you

not dare face Menelaus and learn what manner of man he is whose

wife you have stolen? Where indeed would be your lyre and your

love-tricks, your comely locks and your fair favour, when you

were lying in the dust before him? The Trojans are a weak-kneed

people, or ere this you would have had a shirt of stones for the

wrongs you have done them."

And Alexandrus answered, "Hector, your rebuke is just. You are

hard as the axe which a shipwright wields at his work, and

cleaves the timber to his liking. As the axe in his hand, so keen

is the edge of your scorn. Still, taunt me not with the gifts

that golden Venus has given me; they are precious; let not a man

disdain them, for the gods give them where they are minded, and

none can have them for the asking. If you would have me do battle

with Menelaus, bid the Trojans and Achaeans take their seats,

while he and I fight in their midst for Helen and all her wealth.

Let him who shall be victorious and prove to be the better man

take the woman and all she has, to bear them to his home, but let

the rest swear to a solemn covenant of peace whereby you Trojans

shall stay here in Troy, while the others go home to Argos and

the land of the Achaeans."

When Hector heard this he was glad, and went about among the

Trojan ranks holding his spear by the middle to keep them back,

and they all sat down at his bidding: but the Achaeans still

aimed at him with stones and arrows, till Agamemnon shouted to

them saying, "Hold, Argives, shoot not, sons of the Achaeans;

Hector desires to speak."

They ceased taking aim and were still, whereon Hector spoke.

"Hear from my mouth," said he, "Trojans and Achaeans, the saying

of Alexandrus, through whom this quarrel has come about. He bids

the Trojans and Achaeans lay their armour upon the ground, while

he and Menelaus fight in the midst of you for Helen and all her

wealth. Let him who shall be victorious and prove to be the

better man take the woman and all she has, to bear them to his

own home, but let the rest swear to a solemn covenant of peace."

Thus he spoke, and they all held their peace, till Menelaus of

the loud battle-cry addressed them. "And now," he said, "hear me

too, for it is I who am the most aggrieved. I deem that the

parting of Achaeans and Trojans is at hand, as well it may be,

seeing how much have suffered for my quarrel with Alexandrus and

the wrong he did me. Let him who shall die, die, and let the

others fight no more. Bring, then, two lambs, a white ram and a

black ewe, for Earth and Sun, and we will bring a third for Jove.

Moreover, you shall bid Priam come, that he may swear to the

covenant himself; for his sons are high-handed and ill to trust,

and the oaths of Jove must not be transgressed or taken in vain.

Young men's minds are light as air, but when an old man comes he

looks before and after, deeming that which shall be fairest upon

both sides."

The Trojans and Achaeans were glad when they heard this, for they

thought that they should now have rest. They backed their

chariots toward the ranks, got out of them, and put off their

armour, laying it down upon the ground; and the hosts were near

to one another with a little space between them. Hector sent two

messengers to the city to bring the lambs and to bid Priam come,

while Agamemnon told Talthybius to fetch the other lamb from the

ships, and he did as Agamemnon had said.

Meanwhile Iris went to Helen in the form of her sister-in-law,

wife of the son of Antenor, for Helicaon, son of Antenor, had

married Laodice, the fairest of Priam's daughters. She found her

in her own room, working at a great web of purple linen, on which

she was embroidering the battles between Trojans and Achaeans,

that Mars had made them fight for her sake. Iris then came close

up to her and said, "Come hither, child, and see the strange

doings of the Trojans and Achaeans. Till now they have been

warring upon the plain, mad with lust of battle, but now they

have left off fighting, and are leaning upon their shields,

sitting still with their spears planted beside them. Alexandrus

and Menelaus are going to fight about yourself, and you are to be

the wife of him who is the victor."

Thus spoke the goddess, and Helen's heart yearned after her

former husband, her city, and her parents. She threw a white

mantle over her head, and hurried from her room, weeping as she

went, not alone, but attended by two of her handmaids, Aethrae,

daughter of Pittheus, and Clymene. And straightway they were at

the Scaean gates.

The two sages, Ucalegon and Antenor, elders of the people, were

seated by the Scaean gates, with Priam, Panthous, Thymoetes,

Lampus, Clytius, and Hiketaon of the race of Mars. These were too

old to fight, but they were fluent orators, and sat on the tower

like cicales that chirrup delicately from the boughs of some high

tree in a wood. When they saw Helen coming towards the tower,

they said softly to one another, "Small wonder that Trojans and

Achaeans should endure so much and so long, for the sake of a

woman so marvellously and divinely lovely. Still, fair though she

be, let them take her and go, or she will breed sorrow for us and

for our children after us."

But Priam bade her draw nigh. "My child," said he, "take your

seat in front of me that you may see your former husband, your

kinsmen and your friends. I lay no blame upon you, it is the

gods, not you who are to blame. It is they that have brought

about this terrible war with the Achaeans. Tell me, then, who is

yonder huge hero so great and goodly? I have seen men taller by a

head, but none so comely and so royal. Surely he must be a king."

"Sir," answered Helen, "father of my husband, dear and reverend

in my eyes, would that I had chosen death rather than to have

come here with your son, far from my bridal chamber, my friends,

my darling daughter, and all the companions of my girlhood. But

it was not to be, and my lot is one of tears and sorrow. As for

your question, the hero of whom you ask is Agamemnon, son of

Atreus, a good king and a brave soldier, brother-in-law as surely

as that he lives, to my abhorred and miserable self."

The old man marvelled at him and said, "Happy son of Atreus,

child of good fortune. I see that the Achaeans are subject to you

in great multitudes. When I was in Phrygia I saw much horsemen,

the people of Otreus and of Mygdon, who were camping upon the

banks of the river Sangarius; I was their ally, and with them

when the Amazons, peers of men, came up against them, but even

they were not so many as the Achaeans."

The old man next looked upon Ulysses; "Tell me," he said, "who is

that other, shorter by a head than Agamemnon, but broader across

the chest and shoulders? His armour is laid upon the ground, and

he stalks in front of the ranks as it were some great woolly ram

ordering his ewes."

And Helen answered, "He is Ulysses, a man of great craft, son of

Laertes. He was born in rugged Ithaca, and excels in all manner

of stratagems and subtle cunning."

On this Antenor said, "Madam, you have spoken truly. Ulysses once

came here as envoy about yourself, and Menelaus with him. I

received them in my own house, and therefore know both of them by

sight and conversation. When they stood up in presence of the

assembled Trojans, Menelaus was the broader shouldered, but when

both were seated Ulysses had the more royal presence. After a

time they delivered their message, and the speech of Menelaus ran

trippingly on the tongue; he did not say much, for he was a man

of few words, but he spoke very clearly and to the point, though

he was the younger man of the two; Ulysses, on the other hand,

when he rose to speak, was at first silent and kept his eyes

fixed upon the ground. There was no play nor graceful movement of

his sceptre; he kept it straight and stiff like a man unpractised

in oratory--one might have taken him for a mere churl or

simpleton; but when he raised his voice, and the words came

driving from his deep chest like winter snow before the wind,

then there was none to touch him, and no man thought further of

what he looked like."

Priam then caught sight of Ajax and asked, "Who is that great and

goodly warrior whose head and broad shoulders tower above the

rest of the Argives?"

"That," answered Helen, "is huge Ajax, bulwark of the Achaeans,

and on the other side of him, among the Cretans, stands Idomeneus

looking like a god, and with the captains of the Cretans round

him. Often did Menelaus receive him as a guest in our house when

he came visiting us from Crete. I see, moreover, many other

Achaeans whose names I could tell you, but there are two whom I

can nowhere find, Castor, breaker of horses, and Pollux the

mighty boxer; they are children of my mother, and own brothers to

myself. Either they have not left Lacedaemon, or else, though

they have brought their ships, they will not show themselves in

battle for the shame and disgrace that I have brought upon them."

She knew not that both these heroes were already lying under the

earth in their own land of Lacedaemon.

Meanwhile the heralds were bringing the holy oath-offerings

through the city--two lambs and a goatskin of wine, the gift of

earth; and Idaeus brought the mixing bowl and the cups of gold.

He went up to Priam and said, "Son of Laomedon, the princes of

the Trojans and Achaeans bid you come down on to the plain and

swear to a solemn covenant. Alexandrus and Menelaus are to fight

for Helen in single combat, that she and all her wealth may go

with him who is the victor. We are to swear to a solemn covenant

of peace whereby we others shall dwell here in Troy, while the

Achaeans return to Argos and the land of the Achaeans."

The old man trembled as he heard, but bade his followers yoke the

horses, and they made all haste to do so. He mounted the chariot,

gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor took his seat beside

him; they then drove through the Scaean gates on to the plain.

When they reached the ranks of the Trojans and Achaeans they left

the chariot, and with measured pace advanced into the space

between the hosts.

Agamemnon and Ulysses both rose to meet them. The attendants

brought on the oath-offerings and mixed the wine in the

mixing-bowls; they poured water over the hands of the chieftains,

and the son of Atreus drew the dagger that hung by his sword, and

cut wool from the lambs' heads; this the men-servants gave about

among the Trojan and Achaean princes, and the son of Atreus

lifted up his hands in prayer. "Father Jove," he cried, "that

rulest in Ida, most glorious in power, and thou oh Sun, that

seest and givest ear to all things, Earth and Rivers, and ye who

in the realms below chastise the soul of him that has broken his

oath, witness these rites and guard them, that they be not vain.

If Alexandrus kills Menelaus, let him keep Helen and all her

wealth, while we sail home with our ships; but if Menelaus kills

Alexandrus, let the Trojans give back Helen and all that she has;

let them moreover pay such fine to the Achaeans as shall be

agreed upon, in testimony among those that shall be born

hereafter. And if Priam and his sons refuse such fine when

Alexandrus has fallen, then will I stay here and fight on till I

have got satisfaction."

As he spoke he drew his knife across the throats of the victims,

and laid them down gasping and dying upon the ground, for the

knife had reft them of their strength. Then they poured wine from

the mixing-bowl into the cups, and prayed to the everlasting

gods, saying, Trojans and Achaeans among one another, "Jove, most

great and glorious, and ye other everlasting gods, grant that the

brains of them who shall first sin against their oaths--of them

and their children--may be shed upon the ground even as this

wine, and let their wives become the slaves of strangers."

Thus they prayed, but not as yet would Jove grant them their

prayer. Then Priam, descendant of Dardanus, spoke, saying, "Hear

me, Trojans and Achaeans, I will now go back to the wind-beaten

city of Ilius: I dare not with my own eyes witness this fight

between my son and Menelaus, for Jove and the other immortals

alone know which shall fall."

On this he laid the two lambs on his chariot and took his seat.

He gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor sat beside him;

the two then went back to Ilius. Hector and Ulysses measured the

ground, and cast lots from a helmet of bronze to see which should

take aim first. Meanwhile the two hosts lifted up their hands and

prayed saying, "Father Jove, that rulest from Ida, most glorious

in power, grant that he who first brought about this war between

us may die, and enter the house of Hades, while we others remain

at peace and abide by our oaths."

Great Hector now turned his head aside while he shook the helmet,

and the lot of Paris flew out first. The others took their

several stations, each by his horses and the place where his arms

were lying, while Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen, put on his

goodly armour. First he greaved his legs with greaves of good

make and fitted with ancle-clasps of silver; after this he donned

the cuirass of his brother Lycaon, and fitted it to his own body;

he hung his silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders,

and then his mighty shield. On his comely head he set his helmet,

well-wrought, with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly

above it, and he grasped a redoubtable spear that suited his

hands. In like fashion Menelaus also put on his armour.

When they had thus armed, each amid his own people, they strode

fierce of aspect into the open space, and both Trojans and

Achaeans were struck with awe as they beheld them. They stood

near one another on the measured ground, brandishing their

spears, and each furious against the other. Alexandrus aimed

first, and struck the round shield of the son of Atreus, but the

spear did not pierce it, for the shield turned its point.

Menelaus next took aim, praying to Father Jove as he did so.

"King Jove," he said, "grant me revenge on Alexandrus who has

wronged me; subdue him under my hand that in ages yet to come a

man may shrink from doing ill deeds in the house of his host."

He poised his spear as he spoke, and hurled it at the shield of

Alexandrus. Through shield and cuirass it went, and tore the

shirt by his flank, but Alexandrus swerved aside, and thus saved

his life. Then the son of Atreus drew his sword, and drove at the

projecting part of his helmet, but the sword fell shivered in

three or four pieces from his hand, and he cried, looking towards

Heaven, "Father Jove, of all gods thou art the most despiteful; I

made sure of my revenge, but the sword has broken in my hand, my

spear has been hurled in vain, and I have not killed him."

With this he flew at Alexandrus, caught him by the horsehair

plume of his helmet, and began dragging him towards the Achaeans.

The strap of the helmet that went under his chin was choking him,

and Menelaus would have dragged him off to his own great glory

had not Jove's daughter Venus been quick to mark and to break the

strap of oxhide, so that the empty helmet came away in his hand.

This he flung to his comrades among the Achaeans, and was again

springing upon Alexandrus to run him through with a spear, but

Venus snatched him up in a moment (as a god can do), hid him

under a cloud of darkness, and conveyed him to his own

bedchamber.

Then she went to call Helen, and found her on a high tower with

the Trojan women crowding round her. She took the form of an old

woman who used to dress wool for her when she was still in

Lacedaemon, and of whom she was very fond. Thus disguised she

plucked her by perfumed robe and said, "Come hither; Alexandrus

says you are to go to the house; he is on his bed in his own

room, radiant with beauty and dressed in gorgeous apparel. No one

would think he had just come from fighting, but rather that he

was going to a dance, or had done dancing and was sitting down."

With these words she moved the heart of Helen to anger. When she

marked the beautiful neck of the goddess, her lovely bosom, and

sparkling eyes, she marvelled at her and said, "Goddess, why do

you thus beguile me? Are you going to send me afield still

further to some man whom you have taken up in Phrygia or fair

Meonia? Menelaus has just vanquished Alexandrus, and is to take

my hateful self back with him. You are come here to betray me. Go

sit with Alexandrus yourself; henceforth be goddess no longer;

never let your feet carry you back to Olympus; worry about him

and look after him till he make you his wife, or, for the matter

of that, his slave--but me? I shall not go; I can garnish his bed

no longer; I should be a by-word among all the women of Troy.

Besides, I have trouble on my mind."

Venus was very angry, and said, "Bold hussy, do not provoke me;

if you do, I shall leave you to your fate and hate you as much as

I have loved you. I will stir up fierce hatred between Trojans

and Achaeans, and you shall come to a bad end."

At this Helen was frightened. She wrapped her mantle about her

and went in silence, following the goddess and unnoticed by the

Trojan women.

When they came to the house of Alexandrus the maid-servants set

about their work, but Helen went into her own room, and the

laughter-loving goddess took a seat and set it for her facing

Alexandrus. On this Helen, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, sat

down, and with eyes askance began to upbraid her husband.

"So you are come from the fight," said she; "would that you had

fallen rather by the hand of that brave man who was my husband.

You used to brag that you were a better man with hands and spear

than Menelaus. Go, then, and challenge him again--but I should

advise you not to do so, for if you are foolish enough to meet

him in single combat, you will soon fall by his spear."

And Paris answered, "Wife, do not vex me with your reproaches.

This time, with the help of Minerva, Menelaus has vanquished me;

another time I may myself be victor, for I too have gods that

will stand by me. Come, let us lie down together and make

friends. Never yet was I so passionately enamoured of you as at

this moment--not even when I first carried you off from

Lacedaemon and sailed away with you--not even when I had converse

with you upon the couch of love in the island of Cranae was I so

enthralled by desire of you as now." On this he led her towards

the bed, and his wife went with him.

Thus they laid themselves on the bed together; but the son of

Atreus strode among the throng, looking everywhere for

Alexandrus, and no man, neither of the Trojans nor of the allies,

could find him. If they had seen him they were in no mind to hide

him, for they all of them hated him as they did death itself.

Then Agamemnon, king of men, spoke, saying, "Hear me, Trojans,

Dardanians, and allies. The victory has been with Menelaus;

therefore give back Helen with all her wealth, and pay such fine

as shall be agreed upon, in testimony among them that shall be

born hereafter."

Thus spoke the son of Atreus, and the Achaeans shouted in

applause.

 

 

BOOK IV

Now the gods were sitting with Jove in council upon the golden

floor while Hebe went round pouring out nectar for them to drink,

and as they pledged one another in their cups of gold they looked

down upon the town of Troy. The son of Saturn then began to tease

Juno, talking at her so as to provoke her. "Menelaus," said he,

"has two good friends among the goddesses, Juno of Argos, and

Minerva of Alalcomene, but they only sit still and look on, while

Venus keeps ever by Alexandrus' side to defend him in any danger;

indeed she has just rescued him when he made sure that it was all

over with him--for the victory really did lie with Menelaus. We

must consider what we shall do about all this; shall we set them

fighting anew or make peace between them? If you will agree to

this last Menelaus can take back Helen and the city of Priam may

remain still inhabited."

Minerva and Juno muttered their discontent as they sat side by

side hatching mischief for the Trojans. Minerva scowled at her

father, for she was in a furious passion with him, and said

nothing, but Juno could not contain herself. "Dread son of

Saturn," said she, "what, pray, is the meaning of all this? Is my

trouble, then, to go for nothing, and the sweat that I have

sweated, to say nothing of my horses, while getting the people

together against Priam and his children? Do as you will, but we

other gods shall not all of us approve your counsel."

Jove was angry and answered, "My dear, what harm have Priam and

his sons done you that you are so hotly bent on sacking the city

of Ilius? Will nothing do for you but you must within their walls

and eat Priam raw, with his sons and all the other Trojans to

boot? Have it your own way then; for I would not have this matter

become a bone of contention between us. I say further, and lay my

saying to your heart, if ever I want to sack a city belonging to

friends of yours, you must not try to stop me; you will have to

let me do it, for I am giving in to you sorely against my will.

Of all inhabited cities under the sun and stars of heaven, there

was none that I so much respected as Ilius with Priam and his

whole people. Equitable feasts were never wanting about my altar,

nor the savour of burning fat, which is honour due to ourselves."

"My own three favourite cities," answered Juno, "are Argos,

Sparta, and Mycenae. Sack them whenever you may be displeased

with them. I shall not defend them and I shall not care. Even if

I did, and tried to stay you, I should take nothing by it, for

you are much stronger than I am, but I will not have my own work

wasted. I too am a god and of the same race with yourself. I am

Saturn's eldest daughter, and am honourable not on this ground

only, but also because I am your wife, and you are king over the

gods. Let it be a case, then, of give-and-take between us, and

the rest of the gods will follow our lead. Tell Minerva to go and

take part in the fight at once, and let her contrive that the

Trojans shall be the first to break their oaths and set upon the

Achaeans."

The sire of gods and men heeded her words, and said to Minerva,

"Go at once into the Trojan and Achaean hosts, and contrive that

the Trojans shall be the first to break their oaths and set upon

the Achaeans."

This was what Minerva was already eager to do, so down she darted

from the topmost summits of Olympus. She shot through the sky as

some brilliant meteor which the son of scheming Saturn has sent

as a sign to mariners or to some great army, and a fiery train of

light follows in its wake. The Trojans and Achaeans were struck

with awe as they beheld, and one would turn to his neighbour,

saying, "Either we shall again have war and din of combat, or

Jove the lord of battle will now make peace between us."

Thus did they converse. Then Minerva took the form of Laodocus,

son of Antenor, and went through the ranks of the Trojans to find

Pandarus, the redoubtable son of Lycaon. She found him standing

among the stalwart heroes who had followed him from the banks of

the Aesopus, so she went close up to him and said, "Brave son of

Lycaon, will you do as I tell you? If you dare send an arrow at

Menelaus you will win honour and thanks from all the Trojans, and

especially from prince Alexandrus--he would be the first to

requite you very handsomely if he could see Menelaus mount his

funeral pyre, slain by an arrow from your hand. Take your home

aim then, and pray to Lycian Apollo, the famous archer; vow that

when you get home to your strong city of Zelea you will offer a

hecatomb of firstling lambs in his honour."

His fool's heart was persuaded, and he took his bow from its

case. This bow was made from the horns of a wild ibex which he

had killed as it was bounding from a rock; he had stalked it, and

it had fallen as the arrow struck it to the heart. Its horns were

sixteen palms long, and a worker in horn had made them into a

bow, smoothing them well down, and giving them tips of gold. When

Pandarus had strung his bow he laid it carefully on the ground,

and his brave followers held their shields before him lest the

Achaeans should set upon him before he had shot Menelaus. Then he

opened the lid of his quiver and took out a winged arrow that had

not yet been shot, fraught with the pangs of death. He laid the

arrow on the string and prayed to Lycian Apollo, the famous

archer, vowing that when he got home to his strong city of Zelea

he would offer a hecatomb of firstling lambs in his honour. He

laid the notch of the arrow on the oxhide bowstring, and drew

both notch and string to his breast till the arrow-head was near

the bow; then when the bow was arched into a half-circle he let

fly, and the bow twanged, and the string sang as the arrow flew

gladly on over the heads of the throng.

But the blessed gods did not forget thee, O Menelaus, and Jove's

daughter, driver of the spoil, was the first to stand before thee

and ward off the piercing arrow. She turned it from his skin as a

mother whisks a fly from off her child when it is sleeping

sweetly; she guided it to the part where the golden buckles of

the belt that passed over his double cuirass were fastened, so

the arrow struck the belt that went tightly round him. It went

right through this and through the cuirass of cunning

workmanship; it also pierced the belt beneath it, which he wore

next his skin to keep out darts or arrows; it was this that

served him in the best stead, nevertheless the arrow went through

it and grazed the top of the skin, so that blood began flowing

from the wound.

As when some woman of Meonia or Caria strains purple dye on to a

piece of ivory that is to be the cheek-piece of a horse, and is

to be laid up in a treasure house--many a knight is fain to bear

it, but the king keeps it as an ornament of which both horse and

driver may be proud--even so, O Menelaus, were your shapely

thighs and your legs down to your fair ancles stained with blood.

When King Agamemnon saw the blood flowing from the wound he was

afraid, and so was brave Menelaus himself till he saw that the

barbs of the arrow and the thread that bound the arrow-head to

the shaft were still outside the wound. Then he took heart, but

Agamemnon heaved a deep sigh as he held Menelaus's hand in his

own, and his comrades made moan in concert. "Dear brother," he

cried, "I have been the death of you in pledging this covenant

and letting you come forward as our champion. The Trojans have

trampled on their oaths and have wounded you; nevertheless the

oath, the blood of lambs, the drink-offerings and the right hands

of fellowship in which we have put our trust shall not be vain.

If he that rules Olympus fulfil it not here and now, he will yet

fulfil it hereafter, and they shall pay dearly with their lives

and with their wives and children. The day will surely come when

mighty Ilius shall be laid low, with Priam and Priam's people,

when the son of Saturn from his high throne shall overshadow them

with his awful aegis in punishment of their present treachery.

This shall surely be; but how, Menelaus, shall I mourn you, if it

be your lot now to die? I should return to Argos as a by-word,

for the Achaeans will at once go home. We shall leave Priam and

the Trojans the glory of still keeping Helen, and the earth will

rot your bones as you lie here at Troy with your purpose not

fulfilled. Then shall some braggart Trojan leap upon your tomb

and say, 'Ever thus may Agamemnon wreak his vengeance; he brought

his army in vain; he is gone home to his own land with empty

ships, and has left Menelaus behind him.' Thus will one of them

say, and may the earth then swallow me."

But Menelaus reassured him and said, "Take heart, and do not

alarm the people; the arrow has not struck me in a mortal part,

for my outer belt of burnished metal first stayed it, and under

this my cuirass and the belt of mail which the bronze-smiths made

me."

And Agamemnon answered, "I trust, dear Menelaus, that it may be

even so, but the surgeon shall examine your wound and lay herbs

upon it to relieve your pain."

He then said to Talthybius, "Talthybius, tell Machaon, son to the

great physician, Aesculapius, to come and see Menelaus

immediately. Some Trojan or Lycian archer has wounded him with an

arrow to our dismay, and to his own great glory."

Talthybius did as he was told, and went about the host trying to

find Machaon. Presently he found standing amid the brave warriors

who had followed him from Tricca; thereon he went up to him and

said, "Son of Aesculapius, King Agamemnon says you are to come

and see Menelaus immediately. Some Trojan or Lycian archer has

wounded him with an arrow to our dismay and to his own great

glory."

Thus did he speak, and Machaon was moved to go. They passed

through the spreading host of the Achaeans and went on till they

came to the place where Menelaus had been wounded and was lying

with the chieftains gathered in a circle round him. Machaon

passed into the middle of the ring and at once drew the arrow

from the belt, bending its barbs back through the force with

which he pulled it out. He undid the burnished belt, and beneath

this the cuirass and the belt of mail which the bronze-smiths had

made; then, when he had seen the wound, he wiped away the blood

and applied some soothing drugs which Chiron had given to

Aesculapius out of the good will he bore him.

While they were thus busy about Menelaus, the Trojans came

forward against them, for they had put on their armour, and now

renewed the fight.

You would not have then found Agamemnon asleep nor cowardly and

unwilling to fight, but eager rather for the fray. He left his

chariot rich with bronze and his panting steeds in charge of

Eurymedon, son of Ptolemaeus the son of Peiraeus, and bade him

hold them in readiness against the time his limbs should weary of

going about and giving orders to so many, for he went among the

ranks on foot. When he saw men hasting to the front he stood by

them and cheered them on. "Argives," said he, "slacken not one

whit in your onset; father Jove will be no helper of liars; the

Trojans have been the first to break their oaths and to attack

us; therefore they shall be devoured of vultures; we shall take

their city and carry off their wives and children in our ships."

But he angrily rebuked those whom he saw shirking and disinclined

to fight. "Argives," he cried, "cowardly miserable creatures,

have you no shame to stand here like frightened fawns who, when

they can no longer scud over the plain, huddle together, but show

no fight? You are as dazed and spiritless as deer. Would you wait

till the Trojans reach the sterns of our ships as they lie on the

shore, to see whether the son of Saturn will hold his hand over

you to protect you?"

Thus did he go about giving his orders among the ranks. Passing

through the crowd, he came presently on the Cretans, arming round

Idomeneus, who was at their head, fierce as a wild boar, while

Meriones was bringing up the battalions that were in the rear.

Agamemnon was glad when he saw him, and spoke him fairly.

"Idomeneus," said he, "I treat you with greater distinction than

I do any others of the Achaeans, whether in war or in other

things, or at table. When the princes are mixing my choicest

wines in the mixing-bowls, they have each of them a fixed

allowance, but your cup is kept always full like my own, that you

may drink whenever you are minded. Go, therefore, into battle,

and show yourself the man you have been always proud to be."

Idomeneus answered, "I will be a trusty comrade, as I promised

you from the first I would be. Urge on the other Achaeans, that

we may join battle at once, for the Trojans have trampled upon

their covenants. Death and destruction shall be theirs, seeing

they have been the first to break their oaths and to attack us."

The son of Atreus went on, glad at heart, till he came upon the

two Ajaxes arming themselves amid a host of foot-soldiers. As

when a goat-herd from some high post watches a storm drive over

the deep before the west wind--black as pitch is the offing and a

mighty whirlwind draws towards him, so that he is afraid and

drives his flock into a cave--even thus did the ranks of stalwart

youths move in a dark mass to battle under the Ajaxes, horrid

with shield and spear. Glad was King Agamemnon when he saw them.

"No need," he cried, "to give orders to such leaders of the

Argives as you are, for of your own selves you spur your men on

to fight with might and main. Would, by father Jove, Minerva, and

Apollo that all were so minded as you are, for the city of Priam

would then soon fall beneath our hands, and we should sack it."

With this he left them and went onward to Nestor, the facile

speaker of the Pylians, who was marshalling his men and urging

them on, in company with Pelagon, Alastor, Chromius, Haemon, and

Bias shepherd of his people. He placed his knights with their

chariots and horses in the front rank, while the foot-soldiers,

brave men and many, whom he could trust, were in the rear. The

cowards he drove into the middle, that they might fight whether

they would or no. He gave his orders to the knights first,

bidding them hold their horses well in hand, so as to avoid

confusion. "Let no man," he said, "relying on his strength or

horsemanship, get before the others and engage singly with the

Trojans, nor yet let him lag behind or you will weaken your

attack; but let each when he meets an enemy's chariot throw his

spear from his own; this be much the best; this is how the men of

old took towns and strongholds; in this wise were they minded."

Thus did the old man charge them, for he had been in many a

fight, and King Agamemnon was glad. "I wish," he said to him,

"that your limbs were as supple and your strength as sure as your

judgment is; but age, the common enemy of mankind, has laid his

hand upon you; would that it had fallen upon some other, and that

you were still young."

And Nestor, knight of Gerene, answered, "Son of Atreus, I too

would gladly be the man I was when I slew mighty Ereuthalion; but

the gods will not give us everything at one and the same time. I

was then young, and now I am old; still I can go with my knights

and give them that counsel which old men have a right to give.

The wielding of the spear I leave to those who are younger and

stronger than myself."

Agamemnon went his way rejoicing, and presently found Menestheus,

son of Peteos, tarrying in his place, and with him were the

Athenians loud of tongue in battle. Near him also tarried cunning

Ulysses, with his sturdy Cephallenians round him; they had not

yet heard the battle-cry, for the ranks of Trojans and Achaeans

had only just begun to move, so they were standing still, waiting

for some other columns of the Achaeans to attack the Trojans and

begin the fighting. When he saw this Agamemnon rebuked them and

said, "Son of Peteos, and you other, steeped in cunning, heart of

guile, why stand you here cowering and waiting on others? You two

should be of all men foremost when there is hard fighting to be

done, for you are ever foremost to accept my invitation when we

councillors of the Achaeans are holding feast. You are glad

enough then to take your fill of roast meats and to drink wine as

long as you please, whereas now you would not care though you saw

ten columns of Achaeans engage the enemy in front of you."

Ulysses glared at him and answered, "Son of Atreus, what are you

talking about? How can you say that we are slack? When the

Achaeans are in full fight with the Trojans, you shall see, if

you care to do so, that the father of Telemachus will join battle

with the foremost of them. You are talking idly."

When Agamemnon saw that Ulysses was angry, he smiled pleasantly

at him and withdrew his words. "Ulysses," said he, "noble son of

Laertes, excellent in all good counsel, I have neither fault to

find nor orders to give you, for I know your heart is right, and

that you and I are of a mind. Enough; I will make you amends for

what I have said, and if any ill has now been spoken may the gods

bring it to nothing."

He then left them and went on to others. Presently he saw the son

of Tydeus, noble Diomed, standing by his chariot and horses, with

Sthenelus the son of Capaneus beside him; whereon he began to

upbraid him. "Son of Tydeus," he said, "why stand you cowering

here upon the brink of battle? Tydeus did not shrink thus, but

was ever ahead of his men when leading them on against the foe--

so, at least, say they that saw him in battle, for I never set

eyes upon him myself. They say that there was no man like him. He

came once to Mycenae, not as an enemy but as a guest, in company

with Polynices to recruit his forces, for they were levying war

against the strong city of Thebes, and prayed our people for a

body of picked men to help them. The men of Mycenae were willing

to let them have one, but Jove dissuaded them by showing them

unfavourable omens. Tydeus, therefore, and Polynices went their

way. When they had got as far the deep-meadowed and rush-grown

banks of the Aesopus, the Achaeans sent Tydeus as their envoy,

and he found the Cadmeans gathered in great numbers to a banquet

in the house of Eteocles. Stranger though he was, he knew no fear

on finding himself single-handed among so many, but challenged

them to contests of all kinds, and in each one of them was at

once victorious, so mightily did Minerva help him. The Cadmeans

were incensed at his success, and set a force of fifty youths

with two captains--the godlike hero Maeon, son of Haemon, and

Polyphontes, son of Autophonus--at their head, to lie in wait for

him on his return journey; but Tydeus slew every man of them,

save only Maeon, whom he let go in obedience to heaven's omens.

Such was Tydeus of Aetolia. His son can talk more glibly, but he

cannot fight as his father did."

Diomed made no answer, for he was shamed by the rebuke of

Agamemnon; but the son of Capaneus took up his words and said,

"Son of Atreus, tell no lies, for you can speak truth if you

will. We boast ourselves as even better men than our fathers; we

took seven-gated Thebes, though the wall was stronger and our men

were fewer in number, for we trusted in the omens of the gods and

in the help of Jove, whereas they perished through their own

sheer folly; hold not, then, our fathers in like honour with us."

Diomed looked sternly at him and said, "Hold your peace, my

friend, as I bid you. It is not amiss that Agamemnon should urge

the Achaeans forward, for the glory will be his if we take the

city, and his the shame if we are vanquished. Therefore let us

acquit ourselves with valour."

As he spoke he sprang from his chariot, and his armour rang so

fiercely about his body that even a brave man might well have

been scared to hear it.

As when some mighty wave that thunders on the beach when the west

wind has lashed it into fury--it has reared its head afar and now

comes crashing down on the shore; it bows its arching crest high

over the jagged rocks and spews its salt foam in all

directions--even so did the serried phalanxes of the Danaans

march steadfastly to battle. The chiefs gave orders each to his

own people, but the men said never a word; no man would think it,

for huge as the host was, it seemed as though there was not a

tongue among them, so silent were they in their obedience; and as

they marched the armour about their bodies glistened in the sun.

But the clamour of the Trojan ranks was as that of many thousand

ewes that stand waiting to be milked in the yards of some rich

flockmaster, and bleat incessantly in answer to the bleating of

their lambs; for they had not one speech nor language, but their

tongues were diverse, and they came from many different places.

These were inspired of Mars, but the others by Minerva--and with

them came Panic, Rout, and Strife whose fury never tires, sister

and friend of murderous Mars, who, from being at first but low in

stature, grows till she uprears her head to heaven, though her

feet are still on earth. She it was that went about among them

and flung down discord to the waxing of sorrow with even hand

between them.

When they were got together in one place shield clashed with

shield and spear with spear in the rage of battle. The bossed

shields beat one upon another, and there was a tramp as of a

great multitude--death-cry and shout of triumph of slain and

slayers, and the earth ran red with blood. As torrents swollen

with rain course madly down their deep channels till the angry

floods meet in some gorge, and the shepherd on the hillside hears

their roaring from afar--even such was the toil and uproar of the

hosts as they joined in battle.

First Antilochus slew an armed warrior of the Trojans, Echepolus,

son of Thalysius, fighting in the foremost ranks. He struck at

the projecting part of his helmet and drove the spear into his

brow; the point of bronze pierced the bone, and darkness veiled

his eyes; headlong as a tower he fell amid the press of the

fight, and as he dropped King Elephenor, son of Chalcodon and

captain of the proud Abantes began dragging him out of reach of

the darts that were falling around him, in haste to strip him of

his armour. But his purpose was not for long; Agenor saw him

haling the body away, and smote him in the side with his

bronze-shod spear--for as he stooped his side was left

unprotected by his shield--and thus he perished. Then the fight

between Trojans and Achaeans grew furious over his body, and they

flew upon each other like wolves, man and man crushing one upon

the other.

Forthwith Ajax, son of Telamon, slew the fair youth Simoeisius,

son of Anthemion, whom his mother bore by the banks of the

Simois, as she was coming down from Mt. Ida, where she had been

with her parents to see their flocks. Therefore he was named

Simoeisius, but he did not live to pay his parents for his

rearing, for he was cut off untimely by the spear of mighty Ajax,

who struck him in the breast by the right nipple as he was coming

on among the foremost fighters; the spear went right through his

shoulder, and he fell as a poplar that has grown straight and

tall in a meadow by some mere, and its top is thick with

branches. Then the wheelwright lays his axe to its roots that he

may fashion a felloe for the wheel of some goodly chariot, and it

lies seasoning by the waterside. In such wise did Ajax fell to

earth Simoeisius, son of Anthemion. Thereon Antiphus of the

gleaming corslet, son of Priam, hurled a spear at Ajax from amid

the crowd and missed him, but he hit Leucus, the brave comrade of

Ulysses, in the groin, as he was dragging the body of Simoeisius

over to the other side; so he fell upon the body and loosed his

hold upon it. Ulysses was furious when he saw Leucus slain, and

strode in full armour through the front ranks till he was quite

close; then he glared round about him and took aim, and the

Trojans fell back as he did so. His dart was not sped in vain,

for it struck Democoon, the bastard son of Priam, who had come to

him from Abydos, where he had charge of his father's mares.

Ulysses, infuriated by the death of his comrade, hit him with his

spear on one temple, and the bronze point came through on the

other side of his forehead. Thereon darkness veiled his eyes, and

his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the

ground. Hector, and they that were in front, then gave round

while the Argives raised a shout and drew off the dead, pressing

further forward as they did so. But Apollo looked down from

Pergamus and called aloud to the Trojans, for he was displeased.

"Trojans," he cried, "rush on the foe, and do not let yourselves

be thus beaten by the Argives. Their skins are not stone nor iron

that when hit them you do them no harm. Moreover, Achilles, the

son of lovely Thetis, is not fighting, but is nursing his anger

at the ships."

Thus spoke the mighty god, crying to them from the city, while

Jove's redoubtable daughter, the Trito-born, went about among the

host of the Achaeans, and urged them forward whenever she beheld

them slackening.

Then fate fell upon Diores, son of Amarynceus, for he was struck

by a jagged stone near the ancle of his right leg. He that hurled

it was Peirous, son of Imbrasus, captain of the Thracians, who

had come from Aenus; the bones and both the tendons were crushed

by the pitiless stone. He fell to the ground on his back, and in

his death throes stretched out his hands towards his comrades.

But Peirous, who had wounded him, sprang on him and thrust a

spear into his belly, so that his bowels came gushing out upon

the ground, and darkness veiled his eyes. As he was leaving the

body, Thoas of Aetolia struck him in the chest near the nipple,

and the point fixed itself in his lungs. Thoas came close up to

him, pulled the spear out of his chest, and then drawing his

sword, smote him in the middle of the belly so that he died; but

he did not strip him of his armour, for his Thracian comrades,

men who wear their hair in a tuft at the top of their heads,

stood round the body and kept him off with their long spears for

all his great stature and valour; so he was driven back. Thus the

two corpses lay stretched on earth near to one another, the one

captain of the Thracians and the other of the Epeans; and many

another fell round them.

And now no man would have made light of the fighting if he could

have gone about among it scatheless and unwounded, with Minerva

leading him by the hand, and protecting him from the storm of

spears and arrows. For many Trojans and Achaeans on that day lay

stretched side by side face downwards upon the earth.

 

 

BOOK V

Then Pallas Minerva put valour into the heart of Diomed, son of

Tydeus, that he might excel all the other Argives, and cover

himself with glory. She made a stream of fire flare from his

shield and helmet like the star that shines most brilliantly in

summer after its bath in the waters of Oceanus--even such a fire

did she kindle upon his head and shoulders as she bade him speed

into the thickest hurly-burly of the fight.

Now there was a certain rich and honourable man among the

Trojans, priest of Vulcan, and his name was Dares. He had two

sons, Phegeus and Idaeus, both of them skilled in all the arts of

war. These two came forward from the main body of Trojans, and

set upon Diomed, he being on foot, while they fought from their

chariot. When they were close up to one another, Phegeus took aim

first, but his spear went over Diomed's left shoulder without

hitting him. Diomed then threw, and his spear sped not in vain,

for it hit Phegeus on the breast near the nipple, and he fell

from his chariot. Idaeus did not dare to bestride his brother's

body, but sprang from the chariot and took to flight, or he would

have shared his brother's fate; whereon Vulcan saved him by

wrapping him in a cloud of darkness, that his old father might

not be utterly overwhelmed with grief; but the son of Tydeus

drove off with the horses, and bade his followers take them to

the ships. The Trojans were scared when they saw the two sons of

Dares, one of them in fright and the other lying dead by his

chariot. Minerva, therefore, took Mars by the hand and said,

"Mars, Mars, bane of men, bloodstained stormer of cities, may we

not now leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight it out, and see

to which of the two Jove will vouchsafe the victory? Let us go

away, and thus avoid his anger."

So saying, she drew Mars out of the battle, and set him down upon

the steep banks of the Scamander. Upon this the Danaans drove the

Trojans back, and each one of their chieftains killed his man.

First King Agamemnon flung mighty Odius, captain of the Halizoni,

from his chariot. The spear of Agamemnon caught him on the broad

of his back, just as he was turning in flight; it struck him

between the shoulders and went right through his chest, and his

armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.

Then Idomeneus killed Phaesus, son of Borus the Meonian, who had

come from Varne. Mighty Idomeneus speared him on the right

shoulder as he was mounting his chariot, and the darkness of

death enshrouded him as he fell heavily from the car.

The squires of Idomeneus spoiled him of his armour, while

Menelaus, son of Atreus, killed Scamandrius the son of Strophius,

a mighty huntsman and keen lover of the chase. Diana herself had

taught him how to kill every kind of wild creature that is bred

in mountain forests, but neither she nor his famed skill in

archery could now save him, for the spear of Menelaus struck him

in the back as he was flying; it struck him between the shoulders

and went right through his chest, so that he fell headlong and

his armour rang rattling round him.

Meriones then killed Phereclus the son of Tecton, who was the son

of Hermon, a man whose hand was skilled in all manner of cunning

workmanship, for Pallas Minerva had dearly loved him. He it was

that made the ships for Alexandrus, which were the beginning of

all mischief, and brought evil alike both on the Trojans and on

Alexandrus himself; for he heeded not the decrees of heaven.

Meriones overtook him as he was flying, and struck him on the

right buttock. The point of the spear went through the bone into

the bladder, and death came upon him as he cried aloud and fell

forward on his knees.

Meges, moreover, slew Pedaeus, son of Antenor, who, though he was

a bastard, had been brought up by Theano as one of her own

children, for the love she bore her husband. The son of Phyleus

got close up to him and drove a spear into the nape of his neck:

it went under his tongue all among his teeth, so he bit the cold

bronze, and fell dead in the dust.

And Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, killed Hypsenor, the son of noble

Dolopion, who had been made priest of the river Scamander, and

was honoured among the people as though he were a god. Eurypylus

gave him chase as he was flying before him, smote him with his

sword upon the arm, and lopped his strong hand from off it. The

bloody hand fell to the ground, and the shades of death, with

fate that no man can withstand, came over his eyes.

Thus furiously did the battle rage between them. As for the son

of Tydeus, you could not say whether he was more among the

Achaeans or the Trojans. He rushed across the plain like a winter

torrent that has burst its barrier in full flood; no dykes, no

walls of fruitful vineyards can embank it when it is swollen with

rain from heaven, but in a moment it comes tearing onward, and

lays many a field waste that many a strong man's hand has

reclaimed--even so were the dense phalanxes of the Trojans driven

in rout by the son of Tydeus, and many though they were, they

dared not abide his onslaught.

Now when the son of Lycaon saw him scouring the plain and driving

the Trojans pell-mell before him, he aimed an arrow and hit the

front part of his cuirass near the shoulder: the arrow went right

through the metal and pierced the flesh, so that the cuirass was

covered with blood. On this the son of Lycaon shouted in triumph,

"Knights Trojans, come on; the bravest of the Achaeans is

wounded, and he will not hold out much longer if King Apollo was

indeed with me when I sped from Lycia hither."

Thus did he vaunt; but his arrow had not killed Diomed, who

withdrew and made for the chariot and horses of Sthenelus, the

son of Capaneus. "Dear son of Capaneus," said he, "come down from

your chariot, and draw the arrow out of my shoulder."

Sthenelus sprang from his chariot, and drew the arrow from the

wound, whereon the blood came spouting out through the hole that

had been made in his shirt. Then Diomed prayed, saying, "Hear me,

daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, if ever you loved my

father well and stood by him in the thick of a fight, do the like

now by me; grant me to come within a spear's throw of that man

and kill him. He has been too quick for me and has wounded me;

and now he is boasting that I shall not see the light of the sun

much longer."

Thus he prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard him; she made his limbs

supple and quickened his hands and his feet. Then she went up

close to him and said, "Fear not, Diomed, to do battle with the

Trojans, for I have set in your heart the spirit of your knightly

father Tydeus. Moreover, I have withdrawn the veil from your

eyes, that you know gods and men apart. If, then, any other god

comes here and offers you battle, do not fight him; but should

Jove's daughter Venus come, strike her with your spear and wound

her."

When she had said this Minerva went away, and the son of Tydeus

again took his place among the foremost fighters, three times

more fierce even than he had been before. He was like a lion that

some mountain shepherd has wounded, but not killed, as he is

springing over the wall of a sheep-yard to attack the sheep. The

shepherd has roused the brute to fury but cannot defend his

flock, so he takes shelter under cover of the buildings, while

the sheep, panic-stricken on being deserted, are smothered in

heaps one on top of the other, and the angry lion leaps out over

the sheep-yard wall. Even thus did Diomed go furiously about

among the Trojans.

He killed Astynous, and Hypeiron shepherd of his people, the one

with a thrust of his spear, which struck him above the nipple,

the other with a sword-cut on the collar-bone, that severed his

shoulder from his neck and back. He let both of them lie, and

went in pursuit of Abas and Polyidus, sons of the old reader of

dreams Eurydamas: they never came back for him to read them any

more dreams, for mighty Diomed made an end of them. He then gave

chase to Xanthus and Thoon, the two sons of Phaenops, both of

them very dear to him, for he was now worn out with age, and

begat no more sons to inherit his possessions. But Diomed took

both their lives and left their father sorrowing bitterly, for he

nevermore saw them come home from battle alive, and his kinsmen

divided his wealth among themselves.

Then he came upon two sons of Priam, Echemmon and Chromius, as

they were both in one chariot. He sprang upon them as a lion

fastens on the neck of some cow or heifer when the herd is

feeding in a coppice. For all their vain struggles he flung them

both from their chariot and stripped the armour from their

bodies. Then he gave their horses to his comrades to take them

back to the ships.

When Aeneas saw him thus making havoc among the ranks, he went

through the fight amid the rain of spears to see if he could find

Pandarus. When he had found the brave son of Lycaon he said,

"Pandarus, where is now your bow, your winged arrows, and your

renown as an archer, in respect of which no man here can rival

you nor is there any in Lycia that can beat you? Lift then your

hands to Jove and send an arrow at this fellow who is going so

masterfully about, and has done such deadly work among the

Trojans. He has killed many a brave man--unless indeed he is some

god who is angry with the Trojans about their sacrifices, and and

has set his hand against them in his displeasure."

And the son of Lycaon answered, "Aeneas, I take him for none

other than the son of Tydeus. I know him by his shield, the visor

of his helmet, and by his horses. It is possible that he may be a

god, but if he is the man I say he is, he is not making all this

havoc without heaven's help, but has some god by his side who is

shrouded in a cloud of darkness, and who turned my arrow aside

when it had hit him. I have taken aim at him already and hit him

on the right shoulder; my arrow went through the breastpiece of

his cuirass; and I made sure I should send him hurrying to the

world below, but it seems that I have not killed him. There must

be a god who is angry with me. Moreover I have neither horse nor

chariot. In my father's stables there are eleven excellent

chariots, fresh from the builder, quite new, with cloths spread

over them; and by each of them there stand a pair of horses,

champing barley and rye; my old father Lycaon urged me again and

again when I was at home and on the point of starting, to take

chariots and horses with me that I might lead the Trojans in

battle, but I would not listen to him; it would have been much

better if I had done so, but I was thinking about the horses,

which had been used to eat their fill, and I was afraid that in

such a great gathering of men they might be ill-fed, so I left

them at home and came on foot to Ilius armed only with my bow and

arrows. These it seems, are of no use, for I have already hit two

chieftains, the sons of Atreus and of Tydeus, and though I drew

blood surely enough, I have only made them still more furious. I

did ill to take my bow down from its peg on the day I led my band

of Trojans to Ilius in Hector's service, and if ever I get home

again to set eyes on my native place, my wife, and the greatness

of my house, may some one cut my head off then and there if I do

not break the bow and set it on a hot fire--such pranks as it

plays me."

Aeneas answered, "Say no more. Things will not mend till we two

go against this man with chariot and horses and bring him to a

trial of arms. Mount my chariot, and note how cleverly the horses

of Tros can speed hither and thither over the plain in pursuit or

flight. If Jove again vouchsafes glory to the son of Tydeus they

will carry us safely back to the city. Take hold, then, of the

whip and reins while I stand upon the car to fight, or else do

you wait this man's onset while I look after the horses."

"Aeneas," replied the son of Lycaon, "take the reins and drive;

if we have to fly before the son of Tydeus the horses will go

better for their own driver. If they miss the sound of your voice

when they expect it they may be frightened, and refuse to take us

out of the fight. The son of Tydeus will then kill both of us and

take the horses. Therefore drive them yourself and I will be

ready for him with my spear."

They then mounted the chariot and drove full-speed towards the

son of Tydeus. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, saw them coming and

said to Diomed, "Diomed, son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, I

see two heroes speeding towards you, both of them men of might

the one a skilful archer, Pandarus son of Lycaon, the other,

Aeneas, whose sire is Anchises, while his mother is Venus. Mount

the chariot and let us retreat. Do not, I pray you, press so

furiously forward, or you may get killed."

Diomed looked angrily at him and answered: "Talk not of flight,

for I shall not listen to you: I am of a race that knows neither

flight nor fear, and my limbs are as yet unwearied. I am in no

mind to mount, but will go against them even as I am; Pallas

Minerva bids me be afraid of no man, and even though one of them

escape, their steeds shall not take both back again. I say

further, and lay my saying to your heart--if Minerva sees fit to

vouchsafe me the glory of killing both, stay your horses here and

make the reins fast to the rim of the chariot; then be sure you

spring Aeneas' horses and drive them from the Trojan to the

Achaean ranks. They are of the stock that great Jove gave to Tros

in payment for his son Ganymede, and are the finest that live and

move under the sun. King Anchises stole the blood by putting his

mares to them without Laomedon's knowledge, and they bore him six

foals. Four are still in his stables, but he gave the other two

to Aeneas. We shall win great glory if we can take them."

Thus did they converse, but the other two had now driven close up

to them, and the son of Lycaon spoke first. "Great and mighty

son," said he, "of noble Tydeus, my arrow failed to lay you low,

so I will now try with my spear."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it from him. It struck

the shield of the son of Tydeus; the bronze point pierced it and

passed on till it reached the breastplate. Thereon the son of

Lycaon shouted out and said, "You are hit clean through the

belly; you will not stand out for long, and the glory of the

fight is mine."

But Diomed all undismayed made answer, "You have missed, not hit,

and before you two see the end of this matter one or other of you

shall glut tough-shielded Mars with his blood."

With this he hurled his spear, and Minerva guided it on to

Pandarus's nose near the eye. It went crashing in among his white

teeth; the bronze point cut through the root of his tongue,

coming out under his chin, and his glistening armour rang

rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. The horses

started aside for fear, and he was reft of life and strength.

Aeneas sprang from his chariot armed with shield and spear,

fearing lest the Achaeans should carry off the body. He bestrode

it as a lion in the pride of strength, with shield and spear

before him and a cry of battle on his lips resolute to kill the

first that should dare face him. But the son of Tydeus caught up

a mighty stone, so huge and great that as men now are it would

take two to lift it; nevertheless he bore it aloft with ease

unaided, and with this he struck Aeneas on the groin where the

hip turns in the joint that is called the "cup-bone." The stone

crushed this joint, and broke both the sinews, while its jagged

edges tore away all the flesh. The hero fell on his knees, and

propped himself with his hand resting on the ground till the

darkness of night fell upon his eyes. And now Aeneas, king of

men, would have perished then and there, had not his mother,

Jove's daughter Venus, who had conceived him by Anchises when he

was herding cattle, been quick to mark, and thrown her two white

arms about the body of her dear son. She protected him by

covering him with a fold of her own fair garment, lest some

Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and kill him.

Thus, then, did she bear her dear son out of the fight. But the

son of Capaneus was not unmindful of the orders that Diomed had

given him. He made his own horses fast, away from the

hurly-burly, by binding the reins to the rim of the chariot. Then

he sprang upon Aeneas's horses and drove them from the Trojan to

the Achaean ranks. When he had so done he gave them over to his

chosen comrade Deipylus, whom he valued above all others as the

one who was most like-minded with himself, to take them on to the

ships. He then remounted his own chariot, seized the reins, and

drove with all speed in search of the son of Tydeus.

Now the son of Tydeus was in pursuit of the Cyprian goddess,

spear in hand, for he knew her to be feeble and not one of those

goddesses that can lord it among men in battle like Minerva or

Enyo the waster of cities, and when at last after a long chase he

caught her up, he flew at her and thrust his spear into the flesh

of her delicate hand. The point tore through the ambrosial robe

which the Graces had woven for her, and pierced the skin between

her wrist and the palm of her hand, so that the immortal blood,

or ichor, that flows in the veins of the blessed gods, came

pouring from the wound; for the gods do not eat bread nor drink

wine, hence they have no blood such as ours, and are immortal.

Venus screamed aloud, and let her son fall, but Phoebus Apollo

caught him in his arms, and hid him in a cloud of darkness, lest

some Danaan should drive a spear into his breast and kill him;

and Diomed shouted out as he left her, "Daughter of Jove, leave

war and battle alone, can you not be contented with beguiling

silly women? If you meddle with fighting you will get what will

make you shudder at the very name of war."

The goddess went dazed and discomfited away, and Iris, fleet as

the wind, drew her from the throng, in pain and with her fair

skin all besmirched. She found fierce Mars waiting on the left of

the battle, with his spear and his two fleet steeds resting on a

cloud; whereon she fell on her knees before her brother and

implored him to let her have his horses. "Dear brother," she

cried, "save me, and give me your horses to take me to Olympus

where the gods dwell. I am badly wounded by a mortal, the son of

Tydeus, who would now fight even with father Jove."

Thus she spoke, and Mars gave her his gold-bedizened steeds. She

mounted the chariot sick and sorry at heart, while Iris sat

beside her and took the reins in her hand. She lashed her horses

on and they flew forward nothing loth, till in a trice they were

at high Olympus, where the gods have their dwelling. There she

stayed them, unloosed them from the chariot, and gave them their

ambrosial forage; but Venus flung herself on to the lap of her

mother Dione, who threw her arms about her and caressed her,

saying, "Which of the heavenly beings has been treating you in

this way, as though you had been doing something wrong in the

face of day?"

And laughter-loving Venus answered, "Proud Diomed, the son of

Tydeus, wounded me because I was bearing my dear son Aeneas, whom

I love best of all mankind, out of the fight. The war is no

longer one between Trojans and Achaeans, for the Danaans have now

taken to fighting with the immortals."

"Bear it, my child," replied Dione, "and make the best of it. We

dwellers in Olympus have to put up with much at the hands of men,

and we lay much suffering on one another. Mars had to suffer when

Otus and Ephialtes, children of Aloeus, bound him in cruel bonds,

so that he lay thirteen months imprisoned in a vessel of bronze.

Mars would have then perished had not fair Eeriboea, stepmother

to the sons of Aloeus, told Mercury, who stole him away when he

was already well-nigh worn out by the severity of his bondage.

Juno, again, suffered when the mighty son of Amphitryon wounded

her on the right breast with a three-barbed arrow, and nothing

could assuage her pain. So, also, did huge Hades, when this same

man, the son of aegis-bearing Jove, hit him with an arrow even at

the gates of hell, and hurt him badly. Thereon Hades went to the

house of Jove on great Olympus, angry and full of pain; and the

arrow in his brawny shoulder caused him great anguish till Paeeon

healed him by spreading soothing herbs on the wound, for Hades

was not of mortal mould. Daring, head-strong, evildoer who recked

not of his sin in shooting the gods that dwell in Olympus. And

now Minerva has egged this son of Tydeus on against yourself,

fool that he is for not reflecting that no man who fights with

gods will live long or hear his children prattling about his

knees when he returns from battle. Let, then, the son of Tydeus

see that he does not have to fight with one who is stronger than

you are. Then shall his brave wife Aegialeia, daughter of

Adrestus, rouse her whole house from sleep, wailing for the loss

of her wedded lord, Diomed the bravest of the Achaeans."

So saying, she wiped the ichor from the wrist of her daughter

with both hands, whereon the pain left her, and her hand was

healed. But Minerva and Juno, who were looking on, began to taunt

Jove with their mocking talk, and Minerva was first to speak.

"Father Jove," said she, "do not be angry with me, but I think

the Cyprian must have been persuading some one of the Achaean

women to go with the Trojans of whom she is so very fond, and

while caressing one or other of them she must have torn her

delicate hand with the gold pin of the woman's brooch."

The sire of gods and men smiled, and called golden Venus to his

side. "My child," said he, "it has not been given you to be a

warrior. Attend, henceforth, to your own delightful matrimonial

duties, and leave all this fighting to Mars and to Minerva."

Thus did they converse. But Diomed sprang upon Aeneas, though he

knew him to be in the very arms of Apollo. Not one whit did he

fear the mighty god, so set was he on killing Aeneas and

stripping him of his armour. Thrice did he spring forward with

might and main to slay him, and thrice did Apollo beat back his

gleaming shield. When he was coming on for the fourth time, as

though he were a god, Apollo shouted to him with an awful voice

and said, "Take heed, son of Tydeus, and draw off; think not to

match yourself against gods, for men that walk the earth cannot

hold their own with the immortals."

The son of Tydeus then gave way for a little space, to avoid the

anger of the god, while Apollo took Aeneas out of the crowd and

set him in sacred Pergamus, where his temple stood. There, within

the mighty sanctuary, Latona and Diana healed him and made him

glorious to behold, while Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a

wraith in the likeness of Aeneas, and armed as he was. Round this

the Trojans and Achaeans hacked at the bucklers about one

another's breasts, hewing each other's round shields and light

hide-covered targets. Then Phoebus Apollo said to Mars, "Mars,

Mars, bane of men, blood-stained stormer of cities, can you not

go to this man, the son of Tydeus, who would now fight even with

father Jove, and draw him out of the battle? He first went up to

the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand near her wrist, and

afterwards sprang upon me too, as though he were a god."

He then took his seat on the top of Pergamus, while murderous

Mars went about among the ranks of the Trojans, cheering them on,

in the likeness of fleet Acamas chief of the Thracians. "Sons of

Priam," said he, "how long will you let your people be thus

slaughtered by the Achaeans? Would you wait till they are at the

walls of Troy? Aeneas the son of Anchises has fallen, he whom we

held in as high honour as Hector himself. Help me, then, to

rescue our brave comrade from the stress of the fight."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Then

Sarpedon rebuked Hector very sternly. "Hector," said he, "where

is your prowess now? You used to say that though you had neither

people nor allies you could hold the town alone with your

brothers and brothers-in-law. I see not one of them here; they

cower as hounds before a lion; it is we, your allies, who bear

the brunt of the battle. I have come from afar, even from Lycia

and the banks of the river Xanthus, where I have left my wife, my

infant son, and much wealth to tempt whoever is needy;

nevertheless, I head my Lycian soldiers and stand my ground

against any who would fight me though I have nothing here for the

Achaeans to plunder, while you look on, without even bidding your

men stand firm in defence of their wives. See that you fall not

into the hands of your foes as men caught in the meshes of a net,

and they sack your fair city forthwith. Keep this before your

mind night and day, and beseech the captains of your allies to

hold on without flinching, and thus put away their reproaches

from you."

So spoke Sarpedon, and Hector smarted under his words. He sprang

from his chariot clad in his suit of armour, and went about among

the host brandishing his two spears, exhorting the men to fight

and raising the terrible cry of battle. Then they rallied and

again faced the Achaeans, but the Argives stood compact and firm,

and were not driven back. As the breezes sport with the chaff

upon some goodly threshing-floor, when men are winnowing--while

yellow Ceres blows with the wind to sift the chaff from the

grain, and the chaff-heaps grow whiter and whiter--even so did

the Achaeans whiten in the dust which the horses' hoofs raised to

the firmament of heaven, as their drivers turned them back to

battle, and they bore down with might upon the foe. Fierce Mars,

to help the Trojans, covered them in a veil of darkness, and went

about everywhere among them, inasmuch as Phoebus Apollo had told

him that when he saw Pallas, Minerva leave the fray he was to put

courage into the hearts of the Trojans--for it was she who was

helping the Danaans. Then Apollo sent Aeneas forth from his rich

sanctuary, and filled his heart with valour, whereon he took his

place among his comrades, who were overjoyed at seeing him alive,

sound, and of a good courage; but they could not ask him how it

had all happened, for they were too busy with the turmoil raised

by Mars and by Strife, who raged insatiably in their midst.

The two Ajaxes, Ulysses and Diomed, cheered the Danaans on,

fearless of the fury and onset of the Trojans. They stood as

still as clouds which the son of Saturn has spread upon the

mountain tops when there is no air and fierce Boreas sleeps with

the other boisterous winds whose shrill blasts scatter the clouds

in all directions--even so did the Danaans stand firm and

unflinching against the Trojans. The son of Atreus went about

among them and exhorted them. "My friends," said he, "quit

yourselves like brave men, and shun dishonour in one another's

eyes amid the stress of battle. They that shun dishonour more

often live than get killed, but they that fly save neither life

nor name."

As he spoke he hurled his spear and hit one of those who were in

the front rank, the comrade of Aeneas, Deicoon son of Pergasus,

whom the Trojans held in no less honour than the sons of Priam,

for he was ever quick to place himself among the foremost. The

spear of King Agamemnon struck his shield and went right through

it, for the shield stayed it not. It drove through his belt into

the lower part of his belly, and his armour rang rattling round

him as he fell heavily to the ground.

Then Aeneas killed two champions of the Danaans, Crethon and

Orsilochus. Their father was a rich man who lived in the strong

city of Phere and was descended from the river Alpheus, whose

broad stream flows through the land of the Pylians. The river

begat Orsilochus, who ruled over much people and was father to

Diocles, who in his turn begat twin sons, Crethon and Orsilochus,

well skilled in all the arts of war. These, when they grew up,

went to Ilius with the Argive fleet in the cause of Menelaus and

Agamemnon sons of Atreus, and there they both of them fell. As

two lions whom their dam has reared in the depths of some

mountain forest to plunder homesteads and carry off sheep and

cattle till they get killed by the hand of man, so were these two

vanquished by Aeneas, and fell like high pine-trees to the

ground.

Brave Menelaus pitied them in their fall, and made his way to the

front, clad in gleaming bronze and brandishing his spear, for

Mars egged him on to do so with intent that he should be killed

by Aeneas; but Antilochus the son of Nestor saw him and sprang

forward, fearing that the king might come to harm and thus bring

all their labour to nothing; when, therefore Aeneas and Menelaus

were setting their hands and spears against one another eager to

do battle, Antilochus placed himself by the side of Menelaus.

Aeneas, bold though he was, drew back on seeing the two heroes

side by side in front of him, so they drew the bodies of Crethon

and Orsilochus to the ranks of the Achaeans and committed the two

poor fellows into the hands of their comrades. They then turned

back and fought in the front ranks.

They killed Pylaemenes peer of Mars, leader of the Paphlagonian

warriors. Menelaus struck him on the collar-bone as he was

standing on his chariot, while Antilochus hit his charioteer and

squire Mydon, the son of Atymnius, who was turning his horses in

flight. He hit him with a stone upon the elbow, and the reins,

enriched with white ivory, fell from his hands into the dust.

Antilochus rushed towards him and struck him on the temples with

his sword, whereon he fell head first from the chariot to the

ground. There he stood for a while with his head and shoulders

buried deep in the dust--for he had fallen on sandy soil till his

horses kicked him and laid him flat on the ground, as Antilochus

lashed them and drove them off to the host of the Achaeans.

But Hector marked them from across the ranks, and with a loud cry

rushed towards them, followed by the strong battalions of the

Trojans. Mars and dread Enyo led them on, she fraught with

ruthless turmoil of battle, while Mars wielded a monstrous spear,

and went about, now in front of Hector and now behind him.

Diomed shook with passion as he saw them. As a man crossing a

wide plain is dismayed to find himself on the brink of some great

river rolling swiftly to the sea--he sees its boiling waters and

starts back in fear--even so did the son of Tydeus give ground.

Then he said to his men, "My friends, how can we wonder that

Hector wields the spear so well? Some god is ever by his side to

protect him, and now Mars is with him in the likeness of mortal

man. Keep your faces therefore towards the Trojans, but give

ground backwards, for we dare not fight with gods."

As he spoke the Trojans drew close up, and Hector killed two men,

both in one chariot, Menesthes and Anchialus, heroes well versed

in war. Ajax son of Telamon pitied them in their fall; he came

close up and hurled his spear, hitting Amphius the son of

Selagus, a man of great wealth who lived in Paesus and owned much

corn-growing land, but his lot had led him to come to the aid of

Priam and his sons. Ajax struck him in the belt; the spear

pierced the lower part of his belly, and he fell heavily to the

ground. Then Ajax ran towards him to strip him of his armour, but

the Trojans rained spears upon him, many of which fell upon his

shield. He planted his heel upon the body and drew out his spear,

but the darts pressed so heavily upon him that he could not strip

the goodly armour from his shoulders. The Trojan chieftains,

moreover, many and valiant, came about him with their spears, so

that he dared not stay; great, brave and valiant though he was,

they drove him from them and he was beaten back.

Thus, then, did the battle rage between them. Presently the

strong hand of fate impelled Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules, a

man both brave and of great stature, to fight Sarpedon; so the

two, son and grandson of great Jove, drew near to one another,

and Tlepolemus spoke first. "Sarpedon," said he, "councillor of

the Lycians, why should you come skulking here you who are a man

of peace? They lie who call you son of aegis-bearing Jove, for

you are little like those who were of old his children. Far other

was Hercules, my own brave and lion-hearted father, who came here

for the horses of Laomedon, and though he had six ships only, and

few men to follow him, sacked the city of Ilius and made a

wilderness of her highways. You are a coward, and your people are

falling from you. For all your strength, and all your coming from

Lycia, you will be no help to the Trojans but will pass the gates

of Hades vanquished by my hand."

And Sarpedon, captain of the Lycians, answered, "Tlepolemus, your

father overthrew Ilius by reason of Laomedon's folly in refusing

payment to one who had served him well. He would not give your

father the horses which he had come so far to fetch. As for

yourself, you shall meet death by my spear. You shall yield glory

to myself, and your soul to Hades of the noble steeds."

Thus spoke Sarpedon, and Tlepolemus upraised his spear. They

threw at the same moment, and Sarpedon struck his foe in the

middle of his throat; the spear went right through, and the

darkness of death fell upon his eyes. Tlepolemus's spear struck

Sarpedon on the left thigh with such force that it tore through

the flesh and grazed the bone, but his father as yet warded off

destruction from him.

His comrades bore Sarpedon out of the fight, in great pain by the

weight of the spear that was dragging from his wound. They were

in such haste and stress as they bore him that no one thought of

drawing the spear from his thigh so as to let him walk uprightly.

Meanwhile the Achaeans carried off the body of Tlepolemus,

whereon Ulysses was moved to pity, and panted for the fray as he

beheld them. He doubted whether to pursue the son of Jove, or to

make slaughter of the Lycian rank and file; it was not decreed,

however, that he should slay the son of Jove; Minerva, therefore,

turned him against the main body of the Lycians. He killed

Coeranus, Alastor, Chromius, Alcandrus, Halius, Noemon, and

Prytanis, and would have slain yet more, had not great Hector

marked him, and sped to the front of the fight clad in his suit

of mail, filling the Danaans with terror. Sarpedon was glad when

he saw him coming, and besought him, saying, "Son of Priam, let

me not be here to fall into the hands of the Danaans. Help me,

and since I may not return home to gladden the hearts of my wife

and of my infant son, let me die within the walls of your city."

Hector made him no answer, but rushed onward to fall at once upon

the Achaeans and kill many among them. His comrades then bore

Sarpedon away and laid him beneath Jove's spreading oak tree.

Pelagon, his friend and comrade, drew the spear out of his thigh,

but Sarpedon fainted and a mist came over his eyes. Presently he

came to himself again, for the breath of the north wind as it

played upon him gave him new life, and brought him out of the

deep swoon into which he had fallen.

Meanwhile the Argives were neither driven towards their ships by

Mars and Hector, nor yet did they attack them; when they knew

that Mars was with the Trojans they retreated, but kept their

faces still turned towards the foe. Who, then, was first and who

last to be slain by Mars and Hector? They were valiant Teuthras,

and Orestes the renowned charioteer, Trechus the Aetolian

warrior, Oenomaus, Helenus the son of Oenops, and Oresbius of the

gleaming girdle, who was possessed of great wealth, and dwelt by

the Cephisian lake with the other Boeotians who lived near him,

owners of a fertile country.

Now when the goddess Juno saw the Argives thus falling, she said

to Minerva, "Alas, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable,

the promise we made Menelaus that he should not return till he

had sacked the city of Ilius will be of no effect if we let Mars

rage thus furiously. Let us go into the fray at once."

Minerva did not gainsay her. Thereon the august goddess, daughter

of great Saturn, began to harness her gold-bedizened steeds. Hebe

with all speed fitted on the eight-spoked wheels of bronze that

were on either side of the iron axle-tree. The felloes of the

wheels were of gold, imperishable, and over these there was a

tire of bronze, wondrous to behold. The naves of the wheels were

silver, turning round the axle upon either side. The car itself

was made with plaited bands of gold and silver, and it had a

double top-rail running all round it. From the body of the car

there went a pole of silver, on to the end of which she bound the

golden yoke, with the bands of gold that were to go under the

necks of the horses Then Juno put her steeds under the yoke,

eager for battle and the war-cry.

Meanwhile Minerva flung her richly embroidered vesture, made with

her own hands, on to her father's threshold, and donned the shirt

of Jove, arming herself for battle. She threw her tasselled aegis

about her shoulders, wreathed round with Rout as with a fringe,

and on it were Strife, and Strength, and Panic whose blood runs

cold; moreover there was the head of the dread monster Gorgon,

grim and awful to behold, portent of aegis-bearing Jove. On her

head she set her helmet of gold, with four plumes, and coming to

a peak both in front and behind--decked with the emblems of a

hundred cities; then she stepped into her flaming chariot and

grasped the spear, so stout and sturdy and strong, with which she

quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her. Juno lashed

the horses on, and the gates of heaven bellowed as they flew open

of their own accord--gates over which the Hours preside, in whose

hands are Heaven and Olympus, either to open the dense cloud that

hides them, or to close it. Through these the goddesses drove

their obedient steeds, and found the son of Saturn sitting all

alone on the topmost ridges of Olympus. There Juno stayed her

horses, and spoke to Jove the son of Saturn, lord of all. "Father

Jove," said she, "are you not angry with Mars for these high

doings? how great and goodly a host of the Achaeans he has

destroyed to my great grief, and without either right or reason,

while the Cyprian and Apollo are enjoying it all at their ease

and setting this unrighteous madman on to do further mischief. I

hope, Father Jove, that you will not be angry if I hit Mars hard,

and chase him out of the battle."

And Jove answered, "Set Minerva on to him, for she punishes him

more often than any one else does."

Juno did as he had said. She lashed her horses, and they flew

forward nothing loth midway betwixt earth and sky. As far as a

man can see when he looks out upon the sea from some high beacon,

so far can the loud-neighing horses of the gods spring at a

single bound. When they reached Troy and the place where its two

flowing streams Simois and Scamander meet, there Juno stayed them

and took them from the chariot. She hid them in a thick cloud,

and Simois made ambrosia spring up for them to eat; the two

goddesses then went on, flying like turtledoves in their

eagerness to help the Argives. When they came to the part where

the bravest and most in number were gathered about mighty Diomed,

fighting like lions or wild boars of great strength and

endurance, there Juno stood still and raised a shout like that of

brazen-voiced Stentor, whose cry was as loud as that of fifty men

together. "Argives," she cried; "shame on cowardly creatures,

brave in semblance only; as long as Achilles was fighting, if his

spear was so deadly that the Trojans dared not show themselves

outside the Dardanian gates, but now they sally far from the city

and fight even at your ships."

With these words she put heart and soul into them all, while

Minerva sprang to the side of the son of Tydeus, whom she found

near his chariot and horses, cooling the wound that Pandarus had

given him. For the sweat caused by the hand that bore the weight

of his shield irritated the hurt: his arm was weary with pain,

and he was lifting up the strap to wipe away the blood. The

goddess laid her hand on the yoke of his horses and said, "The

son of Tydeus is not such another as his father. Tydeus was a

little man, but he could fight, and rushed madly into the fray

even when I told him not to do so. When he went all unattended as

envoy to the city of Thebes among the Cadmeans, I bade him feast

in their houses and be at peace; but with that high spirit which

was ever present with him, he challenged the youth of the

Cadmeans, and at once beat them in all that he attempted, so

mightily did I help him. I stand by you too to protect you, and I

bid you be instant in fighting the Trojans; but either you are

tired out, or you are afraid and out of heart, and in that case I

say that you are no true son of Tydeus the son of Oeneus."

Diomed answered, "I know you, goddess, daughter of aegis-bearing

Jove, and will hide nothing from you. I am not afraid nor out of

heart, nor is there any slackness in me. I am only following your

own instructions; you told me not to fight any of the blessed

gods; but if Jove's daughter Venus came into battle I was to

wound her with my spear. Therefore I am retreating, and bidding

the other Argives gather in this place, for I know that Mars is

now lording it in the field."

"Diomed, son of Tydeus," replied Minerva, "man after my own

heart, fear neither Mars nor any other of the immortals, for I

will befriend you. Nay, drive straight at Mars, and smite him in

close combat; fear not this raging madman, villain incarnate,

first on one side and then on the other. But now he was holding

talk with Juno and myself, saying he would help the Argives and

attack the Trojans; nevertheless he is with the Trojans, and has

forgotten the Argives."

With this she caught hold of Sthenelus and lifted him off the

chariot on to the ground. In a second he was on the ground,

whereupon the goddess mounted the car and placed herself by the

side of Diomed. The oaken axle groaned aloud under the burden of

the awful goddess and the hero; Pallas Minerva took the whip and

reins, and drove straight at Mars. He was in the act of stripping

huge Periphas, son of Ochesius and bravest of the Aetolians.

Bloody Mars was stripping him of his armour, and Minerva donned

the helmet of Hades, that he might not see her; when, therefore,

he saw Diomed, he made straight for him and let Periphas lie

where he had fallen. As soon as they were at close quarters he

let fly with his bronze spear over the reins and yoke, thinking

to take Diomed's life, but Minerva caught the spear in her hand

and made it fly harmlessly over the chariot. Diomed then threw,

and Pallas Minerva drove the spear into the pit of Mars's stomach

where his under-girdle went round him. There Diomed wounded him,

tearing his fair flesh and then drawing his spear out again. Mars

roared as loudly as nine or ten thousand men in the thick of a

fight, and the Achaeans and Trojans were struck with panic, so

terrible was the cry he raised.

As a dark cloud in the sky when it comes on to blow after heat,

even so did Diomed son of Tydeus see Mars ascend into the broad

heavens. With all speed he reached high Olympus, home of the

gods, and in great pain sat down beside Jove the son of Saturn.

He showed Jove the immortal blood that was flowing from his

wound, and spoke piteously, saying, "Father Jove, are you not

angered by such doings? We gods are continually suffering in the

most cruel manner at one another's hands while helping mortals;

and we all owe you a grudge for having begotten that mad

termagant of a daughter, who is always committing outrage of some

kind. We other gods must all do as you bid us, but her you

neither scold nor punish; you encourage her because the pestilent

creature is your daughter. See how she has been inciting proud

Diomed to vent his rage on the immortal gods. First he went up to

the Cyprian and wounded her in the hand near her wrist, and then

he sprang upon me too as though he were a god. Had I not run for

it I must either have lain there for long enough in torments

among the ghastly corpes, or have been eaten alive with spears

till I had no more strength left in me."

Jove looked angrily at him and said, "Do not come whining here,

Sir Facing-both-ways. I hate you worst of all the gods in

Olympus, for you are ever fighting and making mischief. You have

the intolerable and stubborn spirit of your mother Juno: it is

all I can do to manage her, and it is her doing that you are now

in this plight: still, I cannot let you remain longer in such

great pain; you are my own offspring, and it was by me that your

mother conceived you; if, however, you had been the son of any

other god, you are so destructive that by this time you should

have been lying lower than the Titans."

He then bade Paeeon heal him, whereon Paeeon spread pain-killing

herbs upon his wound and cured him, for he was not of mortal

mould. As the juice of the fig-tree curdles milk, and thickens it

in a moment though it is liquid, even so instantly did Paeeon

cure fierce Mars. Then Hebe washed him, and clothed him in goodly

raiment, and he took his seat by his father Jove all glorious to

behold.

But Juno of Argos and Minerva of Alalcomene, now that they had

put a stop to the murderous doings of Mars, went back again to

the house of Jove.

 

 

BOOK VI

THE fight between Trojans and Achaeans was now left to rage as it

would, and the tide of war surged hither and thither over the

plain as they aimed their bronze-shod spears at one another

between the streams of Simois and Xanthus.

First, Ajax son of Telamon, tower of strength to the Achaeans,

broke a phalanx of the Trojans, and came to the assistance of his

comrades by killing Acamas son of Eussorus, the best man among

the Thracians, being both brave and of great stature. The spear

struck the projecting peak of his helmet: its bronze point then

went through his forehead into the brain, and darkness veiled his

eyes.

Then Diomed killed Axylus son of Teuthranus, a rich man who lived

in the strong city of Arisbe, and was beloved by all men; for he

had a house by the roadside, and entertained every one who

passed; howbeit not one of his guests stood before him to save

his life, and Diomed killed both him and his squire Calesius, who

was then his charioteer--so the pair passed beneath the earth.

Euryalus killed Dresus and Opheltius, and then went in pursuit of

Aesepus and Pedasus, whom the naiad nymph Abarbarea had borne to

noble Bucolion. Bucolion was eldest son to Laomedon, but he was a

bastard. While tending his sheep he had converse with the nymph,

and she conceived twin sons; these the son of Mecisteus now slew,

and he stripped the armour from their shoulders. Polypoetes then

killed Astyalus, Ulysses Pidytes of Percote, and Teucer Aretaon.

Ablerus fell by the spear of Nestor's son Antilochus, and

Agamemnon, king of men, killed Elatus who dwelt in Pedasus by the

banks of the river Satnioeis. Leitus killed Phylacus as he was

flying, and Eurypylus slew Melanthus.

Then Menelaus of the loud war-cry took Adrestus alive, for his

horses ran into a tamarisk bush, as they were flying wildly over

the plain, and broke the pole from the car; they went on towards

the city along with the others in full flight, but Adrestus

rolled out, and fell in the dust flat on his face by the wheel of

his chariot; Menelaus came up to him spear in hand, but Adrestus

caught him by the knees begging for his life. "Take me alive," he

cried, "son of Atreus, and you shall have a full ransom for me:

my father is rich and has much treasure of gold, bronze, and

wrought iron laid by in his house. From this store he will give

you a large ransom should he hear of my being alive and at the

ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did he plead, and Menelaus was for yielding and giving him

to a squire to take to the ships of the Achaeans, but Agamemnon

came running up to him and rebuked him. "My good Menelaus," said

he, "this is no time for giving quarter. Has, then, your house

fared so well at the hands of the Trojans? Let us not spare a

single one of them--not even the child unborn and in its mother's

womb; let not a man of them be left alive, but let all in Ilius

perish, unheeded and forgotten."

Thus did he speak, and his brother was persuaded by him, for his

words were just. Menelaus, therefore, thrust Adrestus from him,

whereon King Agamemnon struck him in the flank, and he fell: then

the son of Atreus planted his foot upon his breast to draw his

spear from the body.

Meanwhile Nestor shouted to the Argives, saying, "My friends,

Danaan warriors, servants of Mars, let no man lag that he may

spoil the dead, and bring back much booty to the ships. Let us

kill as many as we can; the bodies will lie upon the plain, and

you can despoil them later at your leisure."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. And now the

Trojans would have been routed and driven back into Ilius, had

not Priam's son Helenus, wisest of augurs, said to Hector and

Aeneas, "Hector and Aeneas, you two are the mainstays of the

Trojans and Lycians, for you are foremost at all times, alike in

fight and counsel; hold your ground here, and go about among the

host to rally them in front of the gates, or they will fling

themselves into the arms of their wives, to the great joy of our

foes. Then, when you have put heart into all our companies, we

will stand firm here and fight the Danaans however hard they

press us, for there is nothing else to be done. Meanwhile do you,

Hector, go to the city and tell our mother what is happening.

Tell her to bid the matrons gather at the temple of Minerva in

the acropolis; let her then take her key and open the doors of

the sacred building; there, upon the knees of Minerva, let her

lay the largest, fairest robe she has in her house--the one she

sets most store by; let her, moreover, promise to sacrifice

twelve yearling heifers that have never yet felt the goad, in the

temple of the goddess, if she will take pity on the town, with

the wives and little ones of the Trojans, and keep the son of

Tydeus from falling on the goodly city of Ilius; for he fights

with fury and fills men's souls with panic. I hold him mightiest

of them all; we did not fear even their great champion Achilles,

son of a goddess though he be, as we do this man: his rage is

beyond all bounds, and there is none can vie with him in prowess"

Hector did as his brother bade him. He sprang from his chariot,

and went about everywhere among the host, brandishing his spears,

urging the men on to fight, and raising the dread cry of battle.

Thereon they rallied and again faced the Achaeans, who gave

ground and ceased their murderous onset, for they deemed that

some one of the immortals had come down from starry heaven to

help the Trojans, so strangely had they rallied. And Hector

shouted to the Trojans, "Trojans and allies, be men, my friends,

and fight with might and main, while I go to Ilius and tell the

old men of our council and our wives to pray to the gods and vow

hecatombs in their honour."

With this he went his way, and the black rim of hide that went

round his shield beat against his neck and his ancles.

Then Glaucus son of Hippolochus, and the son of Tydeus went into

the open space between the hosts to fight in single combat. When

they were close up to one another Diomed of the loud war-cry was

the first to speak. "Who, my good sir," said he, "who are you

among men? I have never seen you in battle until now, but you are

daring beyond all others if you abide my onset. Woe to those

fathers whose sons face my might. If, however, you are one of the

immortals and have come down from heaven, I will not fight you;

for even valiant Lycurgus, son of Dryas, did not live long when

he took to fighting with the gods. He it was that drove the

nursing women who were in charge of frenzied Bacchus through the

land of Nysa, and they flung their thyrsi on the ground as

murderous Lycurgus beat them with his oxgoad. Bacchus himself

plunged terror-stricken into the sea, and Thetis took him to her

bosom to comfort him, for he was scared by the fury with which

the man reviled him. Thereon the gods who live at ease were angry

with Lycurgus and the son of Saturn struck him blind, nor did he

live much longer after he had become hateful to the immortals.

Therefore I will not fight with the blessed gods; but if you are

of them that eat the fruit of the ground, draw near and meet your

doom."

And the son of Hippolochus answered, son of Tydeus, why ask me of

my lineage? Men come and go as leaves year by year upon the

trees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when

spring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines. Even so is

it with the generations of mankind, the new spring up as the old

are passing away. If, then, you would learn my descent, it is one

that is well known to many. There is a city in the heart of

Argos, pasture land of horses, called Ephyra, where Sisyphus

lived, who was the craftiest of all mankind. He was the son of

Aeolus, and had a son named Glaucus, who was father to

Bellerophon, whom heaven endowed with the most surpassing

comeliness and beauty. But Proetus devised his ruin, and being

stronger than he, drove him from the land of the Argives, over

which Jove had made him ruler. For Antea, wife of Proetus, lusted

after him, and would have had him lie with her in secret; but

Bellerophon was an honourable man and would not, so she told lies

about him to Proteus. 'Proetus,' said she, 'kill Bellerophon or

die, for he would have had converse with me against my will.' The

king was angered, but shrank from killing Bellerophon, so he sent

him to Lycia with lying letters of introduction, written on a

folded tablet, and containing much ill against the bearer. He

bade Bellerophon show these letters to his father-in-law, to the

end that he might thus perish; Bellerophon therefore went to

Lycia, and the gods convoyed him safely.

"When he reached the river Xanthus, which is in Lycia, the king

received him with all goodwill, feasted him nine days, and killed

nine heifers in his honour, but when rosy-fingered morning

appeared upon the tenth day, he questioned him and desired to see

the letter from his son-in-law Proetus. When he had received the

wicked letter he first commanded Bellerophon to kill that savage

monster, the Chimaera, who was not a human being, but a goddess,

for she had the head of a lion and the tail of a serpent, while

her body was that of a goat, and she breathed forth flames of

fire; but Bellerophon slew her, for he was guided by signs from

heaven. He next fought the far-famed Solymi, and this, he said,

was the hardest of all his battles. Thirdly, he killed the

Amazons, women who were the peers of men, and as he was returning

thence the king devised yet another plan for his destruction; he

picked the bravest warriors in all Lycia, and placed them in

ambuscade, but not a man ever came back, for Bellerophon killed

every one of them. Then the king knew that he must be the valiant

offspring of a god, so he kept him in Lycia, gave him his

daughter in marriage, and made him of equal honour in the kingdom

with himself; and the Lycians gave him a piece of land, the best

in all the country, fair with vineyards and tilled fields, to

have and to hold.

"The king's daughter bore Bellerophon three children, Isander,

Hippolochus, and Laodameia. Jove, the lord of counsel, lay with

Laodameia, and she bore him noble Sarpedon; but when Bellerophon

came to be hated by all the gods, he wandered all desolate and

dismayed upon the Alean plain, gnawing at his own heart, and

shunning the path of man. Mars, insatiate of battle, killed his

son Isander while he was fighting the Solymi; his daughter was

killed by Diana of the golden reins, for she was angered with

her; but Hippolochus was father to myself, and when he sent me to

Troy he urged me again and again to fight ever among the foremost

and outvie my peers, so as not to shame the blood of my fathers

who were the noblest in Ephyra and in all Lycia. This, then, is

the descent I claim."

Thus did he speak, and the heart of Diomed was glad. He planted

his spear in the ground, and spoke to him with friendly words.

"Then," he said, "you are an old friend of my father's house.

Great Oeneus once entertained Bellerophon for twenty days, and

the two exchanged presents. Oeneus gave a belt rich with purple,

and Bellerophon a double cup, which I left at home when I set out

for Troy. I do not remember Tydeus, for he was taken from us

while I was yet a child, when the army of the Achaeans was cut to

pieces before Thebes. Henceforth, however, I must be your host in

middle Argos, and you mine in Lycia, if I should ever go there;

let us avoid one another's spears even during a general

engagement; there are many noble Trojans and allies whom I can

kill, if I overtake them and heaven delivers them into my hand;

so again with yourself, there are many Achaeans whose lives you

may take if you can; we two, then, will exchange armour, that all

present may know of the old ties that subsist between us."

With these words they sprang from their chariots, grasped one

another's hands, and plighted friendship. But the son of Saturn

made Glaucus take leave of his wits, for he exchanged golden

armour for bronze, the worth of a hundred head of cattle for the

worth of nine.

Now when Hector reached the Scaean gates and the oak tree, the

wives and daughters of the Trojans came running towards him to

ask after their sons, brothers, kinsmen, and husbands: he told

them to set about praying to the gods, and many were made

sorrowful as they heard him.

Presently he reached the splendid palace of King Priam, adorned

with colonnades of hewn stone. In it there were fifty

bedchambers--all of hewn stone--built near one another, where the

sons of Priam slept, each with his wedded wife. Opposite these,

on the other side the courtyard, there were twelve upper rooms

also of hewn stone for Priam's daughters, built near one another,

where his sons-in-law slept with their wives. When Hector got

there, his fond mother came up to him with Laodice the fairest of

her daughters. She took his hand within her own and said, "My

son, why have you left the battle to come hither? Are the

Achaeans, woe betide them, pressing you hard about the city that

you have thought fit to come and uplift your hands to Jove from

the citadel? Wait till I can bring you wine that you may make

offering to Jove and to the other immortals, and may then drink

and be refreshed. Wine gives a man fresh strength when he is

wearied, as you now are with fighting on behalf of your kinsmen."

And Hector answered, "Honoured mother, bring no wine, lest you

unman me and I forget my strength. I dare not make a

drink-offering to Jove with unwashed hands; one who is

bespattered with blood and filth may not pray to the son of

Saturn. Get the matrons together, and go with offerings to the

temple of Minerva driver of the spoil; there, upon the knees of

Minerva, lay the largest and fairest robe you have in your

house--the one you set most store by; promise, moreover, to

sacrifice twelve yearling heifers that have never yet felt the

goad, in the temple of the goddess if she will take pity on the

town, with the wives and little ones of the Trojans, and keep the

son of Tydeus from off the goodly city of Ilius, for he fights

with fury, and fills men's souls with panic. Go, then, to the

temple of Minerva, while I seek Paris and exhort him, if he will

hear my words. Would that the earth might open her jaws and

swallow him, for Jove bred him to be the bane of the Trojans, and

of Priam and Priam's sons. Could I but see him go down into the

house of Hades, my heart would forget its heaviness."

His mother went into the house and called her waiting-women who

gathered the matrons throughout the city. She then went down into

her fragrant store-room, where her embroidered robes were kept,

the work of Sidonian women, whom Alexandrus had brought over from

Sidon when he sailed the seas upon that voyage during which he

carried off Helen. Hecuba took out the largest robe, and the one

that was most beautifully enriched with embroidery, as an

offering to Minerva: it glittered like a star, and lay at the

very bottom of the chest. With this she went on her way and many

matrons with her.

When they reached the temple of Minerva, lovely Theano, daughter

of Cisseus and wife of Antenor, opened the doors, for the Trojans

had made her priestess of Minerva. The women lifted up their

hands to the goddess with a loud cry, and Theano took the robe to

lay it upon the knees of Minerva, praying the while to the

daughter of great Jove. "Holy Minerva," she cried, "protectress

of our city, mighty goddess, break the spear of Diomed and lay

him low before the Scaean gates. Do this, and we will sacrifice

twelve heifers that have never yet known the goad, in your

temple, if you will have pity upon the town, with the wives and

little ones of the Trojans." Thus she prayed, but Pallas Minerva

granted not her prayer.

While they were thus praying to the daughter of great Jove,

Hector went to the fair house of Alexandrus, which he had built

for him by the foremost builders in the land. They had built him

his house, storehouse, and courtyard near those of Priam and

Hector on the acropolis. Here Hector entered, with a spear eleven

cubits long in his hand; the bronze point gleamed in front of

him, and was fastened to the shaft of the spear by a ring of

gold. He found Alexandrus within the house, busied about his

armour, his shield and cuirass, and handling his curved bow;

there, too, sat Argive Helen with her women, setting them their

several tasks; and as Hector saw him he rebuked him with words of

scorn. "Sir," said he, "you do ill to nurse this rancour; the

people perish fighting round this our town; you would yourself

chide one whom you saw shirking his part in the combat. Up then,

or ere long the city will be in a blaze."

And Alexandrus answered, "Hector, your rebuke is just; listen

therefore, and believe me when I tell you that I am not here so

much through rancour or ill-will towards the Trojans, as from a

desire to indulge my grief. My wife was even now gently urging me

to battle, and I hold it better that I should go, for victory is

ever fickle. Wait, then, while I put on my armour, or go first

and I will follow. I shall be sure to overtake you."

Hector made no answer, but Helen tried to soothe him. "Brother,"

said she, "to my abhorred and sinful self, would that a whirlwind

had caught me up on the day my mother brought me forth, and had

borne me to some mountain or to the waves of the roaring sea that

should have swept me away ere this mischief had come about. But,

since the gods have devised these evils, would, at any rate, that

I had been wife to a better man--to one who could smart under

dishonour and men's evil speeches. This fellow was never yet to

be depended upon, nor never will be, and he will surely reap what

he has sown. Still, brother, come in and rest upon this seat, for

it is you who bear the brunt of that toil that has been caused by

my hateful self and by the sin of Alexandrus--both of whom Jove

has doomed to be a theme of song among those that shall be born

hereafter."

And Hector answered, "Bid me not be seated, Helen, for all the

goodwill you bear me. I cannot stay. I am in haste to help the

Trojans, who miss me greatly when I am not among them; but urge

your husband, and of his own self also let him make haste to

overtake me before I am out of the city. I must go home to see my

household, my wife and my little son, for I know not whether I

shall ever again return to them, or whether the gods will cause

me to fill by the hands of the Achaeans."

Then Hector left her, and forthwith was at his own house. He did

not find Andromache, for she was on the wall with her child and

one of her maids, weeping bitterly. Seeing, then, that she was

not within, he stood on the threshold of the women's rooms and

said, "Women, tell me, and tell me true, where did Andromache go

when she left the house? Was it to my sisters, or to my brothers'

wives? or is she at the temple of Minerva where the other women

are propitiating the awful goddess?"

His good housekeeper answered, "Hector, since you bid me tell you

truly, she did not go to your sisters nor to your brothers'

wives, nor yet to the temple of Minerva, where the other women

are propitiating the awful goddess, but she is on the high wall

of Ilius, for she had heard the Trojans were being hard pressed,

and that the Achaeans were in great force: she went to the wall

in frenzied haste, and the nurse went with her carrying the

child."

Hector hurried from the house when she had done speaking, and

went down the streets by the same way that he had come. When he

had gone through the city and had reached the Scaean gates

through which he would go out on to the plain, his wife came

running towards him, Andromache, daughter of great Eetion who

ruled in Thebe under the wooded slopes of Mt. Placus, and was

king of the Cilicians. His daughter had married Hector, and now

came to meet him with a nurse who carried his little child in her

bosom--a mere babe. Hector's darling son, and lovely as a star.

Hector had named him Scamandrius, but the people called him

Astyanax, for his father stood alone as chief guardian of Ilius.

Hector smiled as he looked upon the boy, but he did not speak,

and Andromache stood by him weeping and taking his hand in her

own. "Dear husband," said she, "your valour will bring you to

destruction; think on your infant son, and on my hapless self who

ere long shall be your widow--for the Achaeans will set upon you

in a body and kill you. It would be better for me, should I lose

you, to lie dead and buried, for I shall have nothing left to

comfort me when you are gone, save only sorrow. I have neither

father nor mother now. Achilles slew my father when he sacked

Thebe the goodly city of the Cilicians. He slew him, but did not

for very shame despoil him; when he had burned him in his

wondrous armour, he raised a barrow over his ashes and the

mountain nymphs, daughters of aegis-bearing Jove, planted a grove

of elms about his tomb. I had seven brothers in my father's

house, but on the same day they all went within the house of

Hades. Achilles killed them as they were with their sheep and

cattle. My mother--her who had been queen of all the land under

Mt. Placus--he brought hither with the spoil, and freed her for a

great sum, but the archer-queen Diana took her in the house of

your father. Nay--Hector--you who to me are father, mother,

brother, and dear husband--have mercy upon me; stay here upon

this wall; make not your child fatherless, and your wife a widow;

as for the host, place them near the fig-tree, where the city can

be best scaled, and the wall is weakest. Thrice have the bravest

of them come thither and assailed it, under the two Ajaxes,

Idomeneus, the sons of Atreus, and the brave son of Tydeus,

either of their own bidding, or because some soothsayer had told

them."

And Hector answered, "Wife, I too have thought upon all this, but

with what face should I look upon the Trojans, men or women, if I

shirked battle like a coward? I cannot do so: I know nothing save

to fight bravely in the forefront of the Trojan host and win

renown alike for my father and myself. Well do I know that the

day will surely come when mighty Ilius shall be destroyed with

Priam and Priam's people, but I grieve for none of these--not

even for Hecuba, nor King Priam, nor for my brothers many and

brave who may fall in the dust before their foes--for none of

these do I grieve as for yourself when the day shall come on

which some one of the Achaeans shall rob you for ever of your

freedom, and bear you weeping away. It may be that you will have

to ply the loom in Argos at the bidding of a mistress, or to

fetch water from the springs Messeis or Hypereia, treated

brutally by some cruel task-master; then will one say who sees

you weeping, 'She was wife to Hector, the bravest warrior among

the Trojans during the war before Ilius.' On this your tears will

break forth anew for him who would have put away the day of

captivity from you. May I lie dead under the barrow that is

heaped over my body ere I hear your cry as they carry you into

bondage."

He stretched his arms towards his child, but the boy cried and

nestled in his nurse's bosom, scared at the sight of his father's

armour, and at the horse-hair plume that nodded fiercely from his

helmet. His father and mother laughed to see him, but Hector took

the helmet from his head and laid it all gleaming upon the

ground. Then he took his darling child, kissed him, and dandled

him in his arms, praying over him the while to Jove and to all

the gods. "Jove," he cried, "grant that this my child may be even

as myself, chief among the Trojans; let him be not less excellent

in strength, and let him rule Ilius with his might. Then may one

say of him as he comes from battle, 'The son is far better than

the father.' May he bring back the blood-stained spoils of him

whom he has laid low, and let his mother's heart be glad.'"

With this he laid the child again in the arms of his wife, who

took him to her own soft bosom, smiling through her tears. As her

husband watched her his heart yearned towards her and he caressed

her fondly, saying, "My own wife, do not take these things too

bitterly to heart. No one can hurry me down to Hades before my

time, but if a man's hour is come, be he brave or be he coward,

there is no escape for him when he has once been born. Go, then,

within the house, and busy yourself with your daily duties, your

loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants; for war is

man's matter, and mine above all others of them that have been

born in Ilius."

He took his plumed helmet from the ground, and his wife went back

again to her house, weeping bitterly and often looking back

towards him. When she reached her home she found her maidens

within, and bade them all join in her lament; so they mourned

Hector in his own house though he was yet alive, for they deemed

that they should never see him return safe from battle, and from

the furious hands of the Achaeans.

Paris did not remain long in his house. He donned his goodly

armour overlaid with bronze, and hasted through the city as fast

as his feet could take him. As a horse, stabled and fed, breaks

loose and gallops gloriously over the plain to the place where he

is wont to bathe in the fair-flowing river--he holds his head

high, and his mane streams upon his shoulders as he exults in his

strength and flies like the wind to the haunts and feeding ground

of the mares--even so went forth Paris from high Pergamus,

gleaming like sunlight in his armour, and he laughed aloud as he

sped swiftly on his way. Forthwith he came upon his brother

Hector, who was then turning away from the place where he had

held converse with his wife, and he was himself the first to

speak. "Sir," said he, "I fear that I have kept you waiting when

you are in haste, and have not come as quickly as you bade me."

"My good brother," answered Hector, "you fight bravely, and no

man with any justice can make light of your doings in battle. But

you are careless and wilfully remiss. It grieves me to the heart

to hear the ill that the Trojans speak about you, for they have

suffered much on your account. Let us be going, and we will make

things right hereafter, should Jove vouchsafe us to set the cup

of our deliverance before ever-living gods of heaven in our own

homes, when we have chased the Achaeans from Troy."

 

 

BOOK VII

WITH these words Hector passed through the gates, and his brother

Alexandrus with him, both eager for the fray. As when heaven

sends a breeze to sailors who have long looked for one in vain,

and have laboured at their oars till they are faint with toil,

even so welcome was the sight of these two heroes to the Trojans.

Thereon Alexandrus killed Menesthius the son of Areithous; he

lived in Arne, and was son of Areithous the Mace-man, and of

Phylomedusa. Hector threw a spear at Eioneus and struck him dead

with a wound in the neck under the bronze rim of his helmet.

Glaucus, moreover, son of Hippolochus, captain of the Lycians, in

hard hand-to-hand fight smote Iphinous son of Dexius on the

shoulder, as he was springing on to his chariot behind his fleet

mares; so he fell to earth from the car, and there was no life

left in him.

When, therefore, Minerva saw these men making havoc of the

Argives, she darted down to Ilius from the summits of Olympus,

and Apollo, who was looking on from Pergamus, went out to meet

her; for he wanted the Trojans to be victorious. The pair met by

the oak tree, and King Apollo son of Jove was first to speak.

"What would you have", said he, "daughter of great Jove, that

your proud spirit has sent you hither from Olympus? Have you no

pity upon the Trojans, and would you incline the scales of

victory in favour of the Danaans? Let me persuade you--for it

will be better thus--stay the combat for to-day, but let them

renew the fight hereafter till they compass the doom of Ilius,

since you goddesses have made up your minds to destroy the city."

And Minerva answered, "So be it, Far-Darter; it was in this mind

that I came down from Olympus to the Trojans and Achaeans. Tell

me, then, how do you propose to end this present fighting?"

Apollo, son of Jove, replied, "Let us incite great Hector to

challenge some one of the Danaans in single combat; on this the

Achaeans will be shamed into finding a man who will fight him."

Minerva assented, and Helenus son of Priam divined the counsel of

the gods; he therefore went up to Hector and said, "Hector son of

Priam, peer of gods in counsel, I am your brother, let me then

persuade you. Bid the other Trojans and Achaeans all of them take

their seats, and challenge the best man among the Achaeans to

meet you in single combat. I have heard the voice of the

ever-living gods, and the hour of your doom is not yet come."

Hector was glad when he heard this saying, and went in among the

Trojans, grasping his spear by the middle to hold them back, and

they all sat down. Agamemnon also bade the Achaeans be seated.

But Minerva and Apollo, in the likeness of vultures, perched on

father Jove's high oak tree, proud of their men; and the ranks

sat close ranged together, bristling with shield and helmet and

spear. As when the rising west wind furs the face of the sea and

the waters grow dark beneath it, so sat the companies of Trojans

and Achaeans upon the plain. And Hector spoke thus:--

"Hear me, Trojans and Achaeans, that I may speak even as I am

minded; Jove on his high throne has brought our oaths and

covenants to nothing, and foreshadows ill for both of us, till

you either take the towers of Troy, or are yourselves vanquished

at your ships. The princes of the Achaeans are here present in

the midst of you; let him, then, that will fight me stand forward

as your champion against Hector. Thus I say, and may Jove be

witness between us. If your champion slay me, let him strip me of

my armour and take it to your ships, but let him send my body

home that the Trojans and their wives may give me my dues of fire

when I am dead. In like manner, if Apollo vouchsafe me glory and

I slay your champion, I will strip him of his armour and take it

to the city of Ilius, where I will hang it in the temple of

Apollo, but I will give up his body, that the Achaeans may bury

him at their ships, and the build him a mound by the wide waters

of the Hellespont. Then will one say hereafter as he sails his

ship over the sea, 'This is the monument of one who died long

since a champion who was slain by mighty Hector.' Thus will one

say, and my fame shall not be lost."

Thus did he speak, but they all held their peace, ashamed to

decline the challenge, yet fearing to accept it, till at last

Menelaus rose and rebuked them, for he was angry. "Alas," he

cried, "vain braggarts, women forsooth not men, double-dyed

indeed will be the stain upon us if no man of the Danaans will

now face Hector. May you be turned every man of you into earth

and water as you sit spiritless and inglorious in your places. I

will myself go out against this man, but the upshot of the fight

will be from on high in the hands of the immortal gods."

With these words he put on his armour; and then, O Menelaus, your

life would have come to an end at the hands of hands of Hector,

for he was far better the man, had not the princes of the

Achaeans sprung upon you and checked you. King Agamemnon caught

him by the right hand and said, "Menelaus, you are mad; a truce

to this folly. Be patient in spite of passion, do not think of

fighting a man so much stronger than yourself as Hector son of

Priam, who is feared by many another as well as you. Even

Achilles, who is far more doughty than you are, shrank from

meeting him in battle. Sit down your own people, and the Achaeans

will send some other champion to fight Hector; fearless and fond

of battle though he be, I ween his knees will bend gladly under

him if he comes out alive from the hurly-burly of this fight."

With these words of reasonable counsel he persuaded his brother,

whereon his squires gladly stripped the armour from off his

shoulders. Then Nestor rose and spoke, "Of a truth," said he,

"the Achaean land is fallen upon evil times. The old knight

Peleus, counsellor and orator among the Myrmidons, loved when I

was in his house to question me concerning the race and lineage

of all the Argives. How would it not grieve him could he hear of

them as now quailing before Hector? Many a time would he lift his

hands in prayer that his soul might leave his body and go down

within the house of Hades. Would, by father Jove, Minerva, and

Apollo, that I were still young and strong as when the Pylians

and Arcadians were gathered in fight by the rapid river Celadon

under the walls of Pheia, and round about the waters of the river

Iardanus. The godlike hero Ereuthalion stood forward as their

champion, with the armour of King Areithous upon his shoulders--

Areithous whom men and women had surnamed 'the Mace-man,' because

he fought neither with bow nor spear, but broke the battalions of

the foe with his iron mace. Lycurgus killed him, not in fair

fight, but by entrapping him in a narrow way where his mace

served him in no stead; for Lycurgus was too quick for him and

speared him through the middle, so he fell to earth on his back.

Lycurgus then spoiled him of the armour which Mars had given him,

and bore it in battle thenceforward; but when he grew old and

stayed at home, he gave it to his faithful squire Ereuthalion,

who in this same armour challenged the foremost men among us. The

others quaked and quailed, but my high spirit bade me fight him

though none other would venture; I was the youngest man of them

all; but when I fought him Minerva vouchsafed me victory. He was

the biggest and strongest man that ever I killed, and covered

much ground as he lay sprawling upon the earth. Would that I were

still young and strong as I then was, for the son of Priam would

then soon find one who would face him. But you, foremost among

the whole host though you be, have none of you any stomach for

fighting Hector."

Thus did the old man rebuke them, and forthwith nine men started

to their feet. Foremost of all uprose King Agamemnon, and after

him brave Diomed the son of Tydeus. Next were the two Ajaxes, men

clothed in valour as with a garment, and then Idomeneus, and

Meriones his brother in arms. After these Eurypylus son of

Euaemon, Thoas the son of Andraemon, and Ulysses also rose. Then

Nestor knight of Gerene again spoke, saying: "Cast lots among you

to see who shall be chosen. If he come alive out of this fight he

will have done good service alike to his own soul and to the

Achaeans."

Thus he spoke, and when each of them had marked his lot, and had

thrown it into the helmet of Agamemnon son of Atreus, the people

lifted their hands in prayer, and thus would one of them say as

he looked into the vault of heaven, "Father Jove, grant that the

lot fall on Ajax, or on the son of Tydeus, or upon the king of

rich Mycene himself."

As they were speaking, Nestor knight of Gerene shook the helmet,

and from it there fell the very lot which they wanted--the lot of

Ajax. The herald bore it about and showed it to all the

chieftains of the Achaeans, going from left to right; but they

none of them owned it. When, however, in due course he reached

the man who had written upon it and had put it into the helmet,

brave Ajax held out his hand, and the herald gave him the lot.

When Ajax saw his mark he knew it and was glad; he threw it to

the ground and said, "My friends, the lot is mine, and I rejoice,

for I shall vanquish Hector. I will put on my armour; meanwhile,

pray to King Jove in silence among yourselves that the Trojans

may not hear you--or aloud if you will, for we fear no man. None

shall overcome me, neither by force nor cunning, for I was born

and bred in Salamis, and can hold my own in all things."

With this they fell praying to King Jove the son of Saturn, and

thus would one of them say as he looked into the vault of heaven,

"Father Jove that rulest from Ida, most glorious in power,

vouchsafe victory to Ajax, and let him win great glory: but if

you wish well to Hector also and would protect him, grant to each

of them equal fame and prowess."

Thus they prayed, and Ajax armed himself in his suit of gleaming

bronze. When he was in full array he sprang forward as monstrous

Mars when he takes part among men whom Jove has set fighting with

one another--even so did huge Ajax, bulwark of the Achaeans,

spring forward with a grim smile on his face as he brandished his

long spear and strode onward. The Argives were elated as they

beheld him, but the Trojans trembled in every limb, and the heart

even of Hector beat quickly, but he could not now retreat and

withdraw into the ranks behind him, for he had been the

challenger. Ajax came up bearing his shield in front of him like

a wall--a shield of bronze with seven folds of oxhide--the work

of Tychius, who lived in Hyle and was by far the best worker in

leather. He had made it with the hides of seven full-fed bulls,

and over these he had set an eighth layer of bronze. Holding this

shield before him, Ajax son of Telamon came close up to Hector,

and menaced him saying, "Hector, you shall now learn, man to man,

what kind of champions the Danaans have among them even besides

lion-hearted Achilles cleaver of the ranks of men. He now abides

at the ships in anger with Agamemnon shepherd of his people, but

there are many of us who are well able to face you; therefore

begin the fight."

And Hector answered, "Noble Ajax, son of Telamon, captain of the

host, treat me not as though I were some puny boy or woman that

cannot fight. I have been long used to the blood and butcheries

of battle. I am quick to turn my leathern shield either to right

or left, for this I deem the main thing in battle. I can charge

among the chariots and horsemen, and in hand to hand fighting can

delight the heart of Mars; howbeit I would not take such a man as

you are off his guard--but I will smite you openly if I can."

He poised his spear as he spoke, and hurled it from him. It

struck the sevenfold shield in its outermost layer--the eighth,

which was of bronze--and went through six of the layers but in

the seventh hide it stayed. Then Ajax threw in his turn, and

struck the round shield of the son of Priam. The terrible spear

went through his gleaming shield, and pressed onward through his

cuirass of cunning workmanship; it pierced the shirt against his

side, but he swerved and thus saved his life. They then each of

them drew out the spear from his shield, and fell on one another

like savage lions or wild boars of great strength and endurance:

the son of Priam struck the middle of Ajax's shield, but the

bronze did not break, and the point of his dart was turned. Ajax

then sprang forward and pierced the shield of Hector; the spear

went through it and staggered him as he was springing forward to

attack; it gashed his neck and the blood came pouring from the

wound, but even so Hector did not cease fighting; he gave ground,

and with his brawny hand seized a stone, rugged and huge, that

was lying upon the plain; with this he struck the shield of Ajax

on the boss that was in its middle, so that the bronze rang

again. But Ajax in turn caught up a far larger stone, swung it

aloft, and hurled it with prodigious force. This millstone of a

rock broke Hector's shield inwards and threw him down on his back

with the shield crushing him under it, but Apollo raised him at

once. Thereon they would have hacked at one another in close

combat with their swords, had not heralds, messengers of gods and

men, come forward, one from the Trojans and the other from the

Achaeans--Talthybius and Idaeus both of them honourable men;

these parted them with their staves, and the good herald Idaeus

said, "My sons, fight no longer, you are both of you valiant, and

both are dear to Jove; we know this; but night is now falling,

and the behests of night may not be well gainsaid."

Ajax son of Telamon answered, "Idaeus, bid Hector say so, for it

was he that challenged our princes. Let him speak first and I

will accept his saying."

Then Hector said, "Ajax, heaven has vouchsafed you stature and

strength, and judgement; and in wielding the spear you excel all

others of the Achaeans. Let us for this day cease fighting;

hereafter we will fight anew till heaven decide between us, and

give victory to one or to the other; night is now falling, and

the behests of night may not be well gainsaid. Gladden, then, the

hearts of the Achaeans at your ships, and more especially those

of your own followers and clansmen, while I, in the great city of

King Priam, bring comfort to the Trojans and their women, who vie

with one another in their prayers on my behalf. Let us, moreover,

exchange presents that it may be said among the Achaeans and

Trojans, 'They fought with might and main, but were reconciled

and parted in friendship.'"

On this he gave Ajax a silver-studded sword with its sheath and

leathern baldric, and in return Ajax gave him a girdle dyed with

purple. Thus they parted, the one going to the host of the

Achaeans, and the other to that of the Trojans, who rejoiced when

they saw their hero come to them safe and unharmed from the

strong hands of mighty Ajax. They led him, therefore, to the city

as one that had been saved beyond their hopes. On the other side

the Achaeans brought Ajax elated with victory to Agamemnon.

When they reached the quarters of the son of Atreus, Agamemnon

sacrificed for them a five-year-old bull in honour of Jove the

son of Saturn. They flayed the carcass, made it ready, and

divided it into joints; these they cut carefully up into smaller

pieces, putting them on the spits, roasting them sufficiently,

and then drawing them off. When they had done all this and had

prepared the feast, they ate it, and every man had his full and

equal share, so that all were satisfied, and King Agamemnon gave

Ajax some slices cut lengthways down the loin, as a mark of

special honour. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink,

old Nestor whose counsel was ever truest began to speak; with all

sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Son of Atreus, and other chieftains, inasmuch as many of the

Achaeans are now dead, whose blood Mars has shed by the banks of

the Scamander, and their souls have gone down to the house of

Hades, it will be well when morning comes that we should cease

fighting; we will then wheel our dead together with oxen and

mules and burn them not far from the ships, that when we sail

hence we may take the bones of our comrades home to their

children. Hard by the funeral pyre we will build a barrow that

shall be raised from the plain for all in common; near this let

us set about building a high wall, to shelter ourselves and our

ships, and let it have well-made gates that there may be a way

through them for our chariots. Close outside we will dig a deep

trench all round it to keep off both horse and foot, that the

Trojan chieftains may not bear hard upon us."

Thus he spoke, and the princess shouted in applause. Meanwhile

the Trojans held a council, angry and full of discord, on the

acropolis by the gates of King Priam's palace; and wise Antenor

spoke. "Hear me," he said, "Trojans, Dardanians, and allies, that

I may speak even as I am minded. Let us give up Argive Helen and

her wealth to the sons of Atreus, for we are now fighting in

violation of our solemn covenants, and shall not prosper till we

have done as I say."

He then sat down and Alexandrus husband of lovely Helen rose to

speak. "Antenor," said he, "your words are not to my liking; you

can find a better saying than this if you will; if, however, you

have spoken in good earnest, then indeed has heaven robbed you of

your reason. I will speak plainly, and hereby notify to the

Trojans that I will not give up the woman; but the wealth that I

brought home with her from Argos I will restore, and will add yet

further of my own."

On this, when Paris had spoken and taken his seat, Priam of the

race of Dardanus, peer of gods in council, rose and with all

sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus: "Hear me, Trojans,

Dardanians, and allies, that I may speak even as I am minded. Get

your suppers now as hitherto throughout the city, but keep your

watches and be wakeful. At daybreak let Idaeus go to the ships,

and tell Agamemnon and Menelaus sons of Atreus the saying of

Alexandrus through whom this quarrel has come about; and let him

also be instant with them that they now cease fighting till we

burn our dead; hereafter we will fight anew, till heaven decide

between us and give victory to one or to the other."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They took

supper in their companies and at daybreak Idaeus went his way to

the ships. He found the Danaans, servants of Mars, in council at

the stern of Agamemnon's ship, and took his place in the midst of

them. "Son of Atreus," he said, "and princes of the Achaean host,

Priam and the other noble Trojans have sent me to tell you the

saying of Alexandrus through whom this quarrel has come about, if

so be that you may find it acceptable. All the treasure he took

with him in his ships to Troy--would that he had sooner

perished--he will restore, and will add yet further of his own,

but he will not give up the wedded wife of Menelaus, though the

Trojans would have him do so. Priam bade me inquire further if

you will cease fighting till we burn our dead; hereafter we will

fight anew, till heaven decide between us and give victory to one

or to the other."

They all held their peace, but presently Diomed of the loud

war-cry spoke, saying, "Let there be no taking, neither treasure,

nor yet Helen, for even a child may see that the doom of the

Trojans is at hand."

The sons of the Achaeans shouted applause at the words that

Diomed had spoken, and thereon King Agamemnon said to Idaeus,

"Idaeus, you have heard the answer the Achaeans make you-and I

with them. But as concerning the dead, I give you leave to burn

them, for when men are once dead there should be no grudging them

the rites of fire. Let Jove the mighty husband of Juno be witness

to this covenant."

As he spoke he upheld his sceptre in the sight of all the gods,

and Idaeus went back to the strong city of Ilius. The Trojans and

Dardanians were gathered in council waiting his return; when he

came, he stood in their midst and delivered his message. As soon

as they heard it they set about their twofold labour, some to

gather the corpses, and others to bring in wood. The Argives on

their part also hastened from their ships, some to gather the

corpses, and others to bring in wood.

The sun was beginning to beat upon the fields, fresh risen into

the vault of heaven from the slow still currents of deep Oceanus,

when the two armies met. They could hardly recognise their dead,

but they washed the clotted gore from off them, shed tears over

them, and lifted them upon their waggons. Priam had forbidden the

Trojans to wail aloud, so they heaped their dead sadly and

silently upon the pyre, and having burned them went back to the

city of Ilius. The Achaeans in like manner heaped their dead

sadly and silently on the pyre, and having burned them went back

to their ships.

Now in the twilight when it was not yet dawn, chosen bands of the

Achaeans were gathered round the pyre and built one barrow that

was raised in common for all, and hard by this they built a high

wall to shelter themselves and their ships; they gave it strong

gates that there might be a way through them for their chariots,

and close outside it they dug a trench deep and wide, and they

planted it within with stakes.

Thus did the Achaeans toil, and the gods, seated by the side of

Jove the lord of lightning, marvelled at their great work; but

Neptune, lord of the earthquake, spoke, saying, "Father Jove,

what mortal in the whole world will again take the gods into his

counsel? See you not how the Achaeans have built a wall about

their ships and driven a trench all round it, without offering

hecatombs to the gods? The fame of this wall will reach as far as

dawn itself, and men will no longer think anything of the one

which Phoebus Apollo and myself built with so much labour for

Laomedon."

Jove was displeased and answered, "What, O shaker of the earth,

are you talking about? A god less powerful than yourself might be

alarmed at what they are doing, but your fame reaches as far as

dawn itself. Surely when the Achaeans have gone home with their

ships, you can shatter their wall and fling it into the sea; you

can cover the beach with sand again, and the great wall of the

Achaeans will then be utterly effaced."

Thus did they converse, and by sunset the work of the Achaeans

was completed; they then slaughtered oxen at their tents and got

their supper. Many ships had come with wine from Lemnos, sent by

Euneus the son of Jason, born to him by Hypsipyle. The son of

Jason freighted them with ten thousand measures of wine, which he

sent specially to the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus.

From this supply the Achaeans bought their wine, some with

bronze, some with iron, some with hides, some with whole heifers,

and some again with captives. They spread a goodly banquet and

feasted the whole night through, as also did the Trojans and

their allies in the city. But all the time Jove boded them ill

and roared with his portentous thunder. Pale fear got hold upon

them, and they spilled the wine from their cups on to the ground,

nor did any dare drink till he had made offerings to the most

mighty son of Saturn. Then they laid themselves down to rest and

enjoyed the boon of sleep.

 

 

BOOK VIII

NOW when Morning, clad in her robe of saffron, had begun to

suffuse light over the earth, Jove called the gods in council on

the topmost crest of serrated Olympus. Then he spoke and all the

other gods gave ear. "Hear me," said he, "gods and goddesses,

that I may speak even as I am minded. Let none of you neither

goddess nor god try to cross me, but obey me every one of you

that I may bring this matter to an end. If I see anyone acting

apart and helping either Trojans or Danaans, he shall be beaten

inordinately ere he come back again to Olympus; or I will hurl

him down into dark Tartarus far into the deepest pit under the

earth, where the gates are iron and the floor bronze, as far

beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth, that you may

learn how much the mightiest I am among you. Try me and find out

for yourselves. Hangs me a golden chain from heaven, and lay hold

of it all of you, gods and goddesses together--tug as you will,

you will not drag Jove the supreme counsellor from heaven to

earth; but were I to pull at it myself I should draw you up with

earth and sea into the bargain, then would I bind the chain about

some pinnacle of Olympus and leave you all dangling in the mid

firmament. So far am I above all others either of gods or men."

They were frightened and all of them of held their peace, for he

had spoken masterfully; but at last Minerva answered, "Father,

son of Saturn, king of kings, we all know that your might is not

to be gainsaid, but we are also sorry for the Danaan warriors,

who are perishing and coming to a bad end. We will, however,

since you so bid us, refrain from actual fighting, but we will

make serviceable suggestions to the Argives that they may not all

of them perish in your displeasure."

Jove smiled at her and answered, "Take heart, my child,

Trito-born; I am not really in earnest, and I wish to be kind to

you."

With this he yoked his fleet horses, with hoofs of bronze and

manes of glittering gold. He girded himself also with gold about

the body, seized his gold whip and took his seat in his chariot.

Thereon he lashed his horses and they flew forward nothing loth

midway twixt earth and starry heaven. After a while he reached

many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, and Gargarus, where

are his grove and fragrant altar. There the father of gods and

men stayed his horses, took them from the chariot, and hid them

in a thick cloud; then he took his seat all glorious upon the

topmost crests, looking down upon the city of Troy and the ships

of the Achaeans.

The Achaeans took their morning meal hastily at the ships, and

afterwards put on their armour. The Trojans on the other hand

likewise armed themselves throughout the city, fewer in numbers

but nevertheless eager perforce to do battle for their wives and

children. All the gates were flung wide open, and horse and foot

sallied forth with the tramp as of a great multitude.

When they were got together in one place, shield clashed with

shield, and spear with spear, in the conflict of mail-clad men.

Mighty was the din as the bossed shields pressed hard on one

another--death--cry and shout of triumph of slain and slayers,

and the earth ran red with blood.

Now so long as the day waxed and it was still morning their

weapons beat against one another, and the people fell, but when

the sun had reached mid-heaven, the sire of all balanced his

golden scales, and put two fates of death within them, one for

the Trojans and the other for the Achaeans. He took the balance

by the middle, and when he lifted it up the day of the Achaeans

sank; the death-fraught scale of the Achaeans settled down upon

the ground, while that of the Trojans rose heavenwards. Then he

thundered aloud from Ida, and sent the glare of his lightning

upon the Achaeans; when they saw this, pale fear fell upon them

and they were sore afraid.

Idomeneus dared not stay nor yet Agamemnon, nor did the two

Ajaxes, servants of Mars, hold their ground. Nestor knight of

Gerene alone stood firm, bulwark of the Achaeans, not of his own

will, but one of his horses was disabled. Alexandrus husband of

lovely Helen had hit it with an arrow just on the top of its head

where the mane begins to grow away from the skull, a very deadly

place. The horse bounded in his anguish as the arrow pierced his

brain, and his struggles threw others into confusion. The old man

instantly began cutting the traces with his sword, but Hector's

fleet horses bore down upon him through the rout with their bold

charioteer, even Hector himself, and the old man would have

perished there and then had not Diomed been quick to mark, and

with a loud cry called Ulysses to help him.

"Ulysses," he cried, "noble son of Laertes where are you flying

to, with your back turned like a coward? See that you are not

struck with a spear between the shoulders. Stay here and help me

to defend Nestor from this man's furious onset."

Ulysses would not give ear, but sped onward to the ships of the

Achaeans, and the son of Tydeus flinging himself alone into the

thick of the fight took his stand before the horses of the son of

Neleus. "Sir," said he, "these young warriors are pressing you

hard, your force is spent, and age is heavy upon you, your squire

is naught, and your horses are slow to move. Mount my chariot and

see what the horses of Tros can do--how cleverly they can scud

hither and thither over the plain either in flight or in pursuit.

I took them from the hero Aeneas. Let our squires attend to your

own steeds, but let us drive mine straight at the Trojans, that

Hector may learn how furiously I too can wield my spear."

Nestor knight of Gerene hearkened to his words. Thereon the

doughty squires, Sthenelus and kind-hearted Eurymedon, saw to

Nestor's horses, while the two both mounted Diomed's chariot.

Nestor took the reins in his hands and lashed the horses on; they

were soon close up with Hector, and the son of Tydeus aimed a

spear at him as he was charging full speed towards them. He

missed him, but struck his charioteer and squire Eniopeus son of

noble Thebaeus in the breast by the nipple while the reins were

in his hands, so that he died there and then, and the horses

swerved as he fell headlong from the chariot. Hector was greatly

grieved at the loss of his charioteer, but let him lie for all

his sorrow, while he went in quest of another driver; nor did his

steeds have to go long without one, for he presently found brave

Archeptolemus the son of Iphitus, and made him get up behind the

horses, giving the reins into his hand.

All had then been lost and no help for it, for they would have

been penned up in Ilius like sheep, had not the sire of gods and

men been quick to mark, and hurled a fiery flaming thunderbolt

which fell just in front of Diomed's horses with a flare of

burning brimstone. The horses were frightened and tried to back

beneath the car, while the reins dropped from Nestor's hands.

Then he was afraid and said to Diomed, "Son of Tydeus, turn your

horses in flight; see you not that the hand of Jove is against

you? To-day he vouchsafes victory to Hector; to-morrow, if it so

please him, he will again grant it to ourselves; no man, however

brave, may thwart the purpose of Jove, for he is far stronger

than any."

Diomed answered, "All that you have said is true; there is a

grief however which pierces me to the very heart, for Hector will

talk among the Trojans and say, 'The son of Tydeus fled before me

to the ships.' This is the vaunt he will make, and may earth then

swallow me."

"Son of Tydeus," replied Nestor, "what mean you? Though Hector

say that you are a coward the Trojans and Dardanians will not

believe him, nor yet the wives of the mighty warriors whom you

have laid low."

So saying he turned the horses back through the thick of the

battle, and with a cry that rent the air the Trojans and Hector

rained their darts after them. Hector shouted to him and said,

"Son of Tydeus, the Danaans have done you honour hitherto as

regards your place at table, the meals they give you, and the

filling of your cup with wine. Henceforth they will despise you,

for you are become no better than a woman. Be off, girl and

coward that you are, you shall not scale our walls through any

flinching upon my part; neither shall you carry off our wives in

your ships, for I shall kill you with my own hand."

The son of Tydeus was in two minds whether or no to turn his

horses round again and fight him. Thrice did he doubt, and thrice

did Jove thunder from the heights of Ida in token to the Trojans

that he would turn the battle in their favour. Hector then

shouted to them and said, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians,

lovers of close fighting, be men, my friends, and fight with

might and with main; I see that Jove is minded to vouchsafe

victory and great glory to myself, while he will deal destruction

upon the Danaans. Fools, for having thought of building this weak

and worthless wall. It shall not stay my fury; my horses will

spring lightly over their trench, and when I am at their ships

forget not to bring me fire that I may burn them, while I

slaughter the Argives who will be all dazed and bewildered by the

smoke."

Then he cried to his horses, "Xanthus and Podargus, and you

Aethon and goodly Lampus, pay me for your keep now and for all

the honey-sweet corn with which Andromache daughter of great

Eetion has fed you, and for she has mixed wine and water for you

to drink whenever you would, before doing so even for me who am

her own husband. Haste in pursuit, that we may take the shield of

Nestor, the fame of which ascends to heaven, for it is of solid

gold, arm-rods and all, and that we may strip from the shoulders

of Diomed. the cuirass which Vulcan made him. Could we take these

two things, the Achaeans would set sail in their ships this

self-same night."

Thus did he vaunt, but Queen Juno made high Olympus quake as she

shook with rage upon her throne. Then said she to the mighty god

of Neptune, "What now, wide ruling lord of the earthquake? Can

you find no compassion in your heart for the dying Danaans, who

bring you many a welcome offering to Helice and to Aegae? Wish

them well then. If all of us who are with the Danaans were to

drive the Trojans back and keep Jove from helping them, he would

have to sit there sulking alone on Ida."

King Neptune was greatly troubled and answered, "Juno, rash of

tongue, what are you talking about? We other gods must not set

ourselves against Jove, for he is far stronger than we are."

Thus did they converse; but the whole space enclosed by the

ditch, from the ships even to the wall, was filled with horses

and warriors, who were pent up there by Hector son of Priam, now

that the hand of Jove was with him. He would even have set fire

to the ships and burned them, had not Queen Juno put it into the

mind of Agamemnon, to bestir himself and to encourage the

Achaeans. To this end he went round the ships and tents carrying

a great purple cloak, and took his stand by the huge black hull

of Ulysses' ship, which was middlemost of all; it was from this

place that his voice would carry farthest, on the one hand

towards the tents of Ajax son of Telamon, and on the other

towards those of Achilles--for these two heroes, well assured of

their own strength, had valorously drawn up their ships at the

two ends of the line. From this spot then, with a voice that

could be heard afar, he shouted to the Danaans, saying, "Argives,

shame on you cowardly creatures, brave in semblance only; where

are now our vaunts that we should prove victorious--the vaunts we

made so vaingloriously in Lemnos, when we ate the flesh of horned

cattle and filled our mixing-bowls to the brim? You vowed that

you would each of you stand against a hundred or two hundred men,

and now you prove no match even for one--for Hector, who will be

ere long setting our ships in a blaze. Father Jove, did you ever

so ruin a great king and rob him so utterly of his greatness?

Yet, when to my sorrow I was coming hither, I never let my ship

pass your altars without offering the fat and thigh-bones of

heifers upon every one of them, so eager was I to sack the city

of Troy. Vouchsafe me then this prayer--suffer us to escape at

any rate with our lives, and let not the Achaeans be so utterly

vanquished by the Trojans."

Thus did he pray, and father Jove pitying his tears vouchsafed

him that his people should live, not die; forthwith he sent them

an eagle, most unfailingly portentous of all birds, with a young

fawn in its talons; the eagle dropped the fawn by the altar on

which the Achaeans sacrificed to Jove the lord of omens; when,

therefore, the people saw that the bird had come from Jove, they

sprang more fiercely upon the Trojans and fought more boldly.

There was no man of all the many Danaans who could then boast

that he had driven his horses over the trench and gone forth to

fight sooner than the son of Tydeus; long before any one else

could do so he slew an armed warrior of the Trojans, Agelaus the

son of Phradmon. He had turned his horses in flight, but the

spear struck him in the back midway between his shoulders and

went right through his chest, and his armour rang rattling round

him as he fell forward from his chariot.

After him came Agamemnon and Menelaus, sons of Atreus, the two

Ajaxes clothed in valour as with a garment, Idomeneus and his

companion in arms Meriones, peer of murderous Mars, and Eurypylus

the brave son of Euaemon. Ninth came Teucer with his bow, and

took his place under cover of the shield of Ajax son of Telamon.

When Ajax lifted his shield Teucer would peer round, and when he

had hit any one in the throng, the man would fall dead; then

Teucer would hie back to Ajax as a child to its mother, and again

duck down under his shield.

Which of the Trojans did brave Teucer first kill? Orsilochus, and

then Ormenus and Ophelestes, Daetor, Chromius, and godlike

Lycophontes, Amopaon son of Polyaemon, and Melanippus. these in

turn did he lay low upon the earth, and King Agamemnon was glad

when he saw him making havoc of the Trojans with his mighty bow.

He went up to him and said, "Teucer, man after my own heart, son

of Telamon, captain among the host, shoot on, and be at once the

saving of the Danaans and the glory of your father Telamon, who

brought you up and took care of you in his own house when you

were a child, bastard though you were. Cover him with glory

though he is far off; I will promise and I will assuredly

perform; if aegis-bearing Jove and Minerva grant me to sack the

city of Ilius, you shall have the next best meed of honour after

my own--a tripod, or two horses with their chariot, or a woman

who shall go up into your bed."

And Teucer answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, you need not urge

me; from the moment we began to drive them back to Ilius, I have

never ceased so far as in me lies to look out for men whom I can

shoot and kill; I have shot eight barbed shafts, and all of them

have been buried in the flesh of warlike youths, but this mad dog

I cannot hit."

As he spoke he aimed another arrow straight at Hector, for he was

bent on hitting him; nevertheless he missed him, and the arrow

hit Priam's brave son Gorgythion in the breast. His mother, fair

Castianeira, lovely as a goddess, had been married from Aesyme,

and now he bowed his head as a garden poppy in full bloom when it

is weighed down by showers in spring--even thus heavy bowed his

head beneath the weight of his helmet.

Again he aimed at Hector, for he was longing to hit him, and

again his arrow missed, for Apollo turned it aside; but he hit

Hector's brave charioteer Archeptolemus in the breast, by the

nipple, as he was driving furiously into the fight. The horses

swerved aside as he fell headlong from the chariot, and there was

no life left in him. Hector was greatly grieved at the loss of

his charioteer, but for all his sorrow he let him lie where he

fell, and bade his brother Cebriones, who was hard by, take the

reins. Cebriones did as he had said. Hector thereon with a loud

cry sprang from his chariot to the ground, and seizing a great

stone made straight for Teucer with intent kill him. Teucer had

just taken an arrow from his quiver and had laid it upon the

bow-string, but Hector struck him with the jagged stone as he was

taking aim and drawing the string to his shoulder; he hit him

just where the collar-bone divides the neck from the chest, a

very deadly place, and broke the sinew of his arm so that his

wrist was less, and the bow dropped from his hand as he fell

forward on his knees. Ajax saw that his brother had fallen, and

running towards him bestrode him and sheltered him with his

shield. Meanwhile his two trusty squires, Mecisteus son of

Echius, and Alastor, came up and bore him to the ships groaning

in his great pain.

Jove now again put heart into the Trojans, and they drove the

Achaeans to their deep trench with Hector in all his glory at

their head. As a hound grips a wild boar or lion in flank or

buttock when he gives him chase, and watches warily for his

wheeling, even so did Hector follow close upon the Achaeans, ever

killing the hindmost as they rushed panic-stricken onwards. When

they had fled through the set stakes and trench and many Achaeans

had been laid low at the hands of the Trojans, they halted at

their ships, calling upon one another and praying every man

instantly as they lifted up their hands to the gods; but Hector

wheeled his horses this way and that, his eyes glaring like those

of Gorgo or murderous Mars.

Juno when she saw them had pity upon them, and at once said to

Minerva, "Alas, child of aegis-bearing Jove, shall you and I take

no more thought for the dying Danaans, though it be the last time

we ever do so? See how they perish and come to a bad end before

the onset of but a single man. Hector the son of Priam rages with

intolerable fury, and has already done great mischief."

Minerva answered, "Would, indeed, this fellow might die in his

own land, and fall by the hands of the Achaeans; but my father

Jove is mad with spleen, ever foiling me, ever headstrong and

unjust. He forgets how often I saved his son when he was worn out

by the labours Eurystheus had laid on him. He would weep till his

cry came up to heaven, and then Jove would send me down to help

him; if I had had the sense to foresee all this, when Eurystheus

sent him to the house of Hades, to fetch the hell-hound from

Erebus, he would never have come back alive out of the deep

waters of the river Styx. And now Jove hates me, while he lets

Thetis have her way because she kissed his knees and took hold of

his beard, when she was begging him to do honour to Achilles. I

shall know what to do next time he begins calling me his

grey-eyed darling. Get our horses ready, while I go within the

house of aegis-bearing Jove and put on my armour; we shall then

find out whether Priam's son Hector will be glad to meet us in

the highways of battle, or whether the Trojans will glut hounds

and vultures with the fat of their flesh as they be dead by the

ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did she speak and white-armed Juno, daughter of great

Saturn, obeyed her words; she set about harnessing her

gold-bedizened steeds, while Minerva daughter of aegis-bearing

Jove flung her richly vesture, made with her own hands, on to the

threshold of her father, and donned the shirt of Jove, arming

herself for battle. Then she stepped into her flaming chariot,

and grasped the spear so stout and sturdy and strong with which

she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her. Juno

lashed her horses, and the gates of heaven bellowed as they flew

open of their own accord--gates over which the Hours preside, in

whose hands are heaven and Olympus, either to open the dense

cloud that hides them or to close it. Through these the goddesses

drove their obedient steeds.

But father Jove when he saw them from Ida was very angry, and

sent winged Iris with a message to them. "Go," said he, "fleet

Iris, turn them back, and see that they do not come near me, for

if we come to fighting there will be mischief. This is what I

say, and this is what I mean to do. I will lame their horses for

them; I will hurl them from their chariot, and will break it in

pieces. It will take them all ten years to heal the wounds my

lightning shall inflict upon them; my grey-eyed daughter will

then learn what quarrelling with her father means. I am less

surprised and angry with Juno, for whatever I say she always

contradicts me."

With this Iris went her way, fleet as the wind, from the heights

of Ida to the lofty summits of Olympus. She met the goddesses at

the outer gates of its many valleys and gave them her message.

"What," said she, "are you about? Are you mad? The son of Saturn

forbids going. This is what he says, and this is he means to do,

he will lame your horses for you, he will hurl you from your

chariot, and will break it in pieces. It will take you all ten

years to heal the wounds his lightning will inflict upon you,

that you may learn, grey-eyed goddess, what quarrelling with your

father means. He is less hurt and angry with Juno, for whatever

he says she always contradicts him but you, bold hussy, will you

really dare to raise your huge spear in defiance of Jove?"

With this she left them, and Juno said to Minerva, "Of a truth,

child of aegis-bearing Jove, I am not for fighting men's battles

further in defiance of Jove. Let them live or die as luck will

have it, and let Jove mete out his judgements upon the Trojans

and Danaans according to his own pleasure."

She turned her steeds; the Hours presently unyoked them, made

them fast to their ambrosial mangers, and leaned the chariot

against the end wall of the courtyard. The two goddesses then sat

down upon their golden thrones, amid the company of the other

gods; but they were very angry.

Presently father Jove drove his chariot to Olympus, and entered

the assembly of gods. The mighty lord of the earthquake unyoked

his horses for him, set the car upon its stand, and threw a cloth

over it. Jove then sat down upon his golden throne and Olympus

reeled beneath him. Minerva and Juno sat alone, apart from Jove,

and neither spoke nor asked him questions, but Jove knew what

they meant, and said, "Minerva and Juno, why are you so angry?

Are you fatigued with killing so many of your dear friends the

Trojans? Be this as it may, such is the might of my hands that

all the gods in Olympus cannot turn me; you were both of you

trembling all over ere ever you saw the fight and its terrible

doings. I tell you therefore-and it would have surely been--I

should have struck you with lighting, and your chariots would

never have brought you back again to Olympus."

Minerva and Juno groaned in spirit as they sat side by side and

brooded mischief for the Trojans. Minerva sat silent without a

word, for she was in a furious passion and bitterly incensed

against her father; but Juno could not contain herself and said,

"What, dread son of Saturn, are you talking about? We know how

great your power is, nevertheless we have compassion upon the

Danaan warriors who are perishing and coming to a bad end. We

will, however, since you so bid us, refrain from actual fighting,

but we will make serviceable suggestions to the Argives, that

they may not all of them perish in your displeasure."

And Jove answered, "To-morrow morning, Juno, if you choose to do

so, you will see the son of Saturn destroying large numbers of

the Argives, for fierce Hector shall not cease fighting till he

has roused the son of Peleus when they are fighting in dire

straits at their ships' sterns about the body of Patroclus. Like

it or no, this is how it is decreed; for aught I care, you may go

to the lowest depths beneath earth and sea, where Iapetus and

Saturn dwell in lone Tartarus with neither ray of light nor

breath of wind to cheer them. You may go on and on till you get

there, and I shall not care one whit for your displeasure; you

are the greatest vixen living."

Juno made him no answer. The sun's glorious orb now sank into

Oceanus and drew down night over the land. Sorry indeed were the

Trojans when light failed them, but welcome and thrice prayed for

did darkness fall upon the Achaeans.

Then Hector led the Trojans back from the ships, and held a

council on the open space near the river, where there was a spot

clear of corpses. They left their chariots and sat down on the

ground to hear the speech he made them. He grasped a spear eleven

cubits long, the bronze point of which gleamed in front of it,

while the ring round the spear-head was of gold. Spear in hand he

spoke. "Hear me," said he, "Trojans, Dardanians, and allies. I

deemed but now that I should destroy the ships and all the

Achaeans with them ere I went back to Ilius, but darkness came on

too soon. It was this alone that saved them and their ships upon

the seashore. Now, therefore, let us obey the behests of night,

and prepare our suppers. Take your horses out of their chariots

and give them their feeds of corn; then make speed to bring sheep

and cattle from the city; bring wine also and corn for your

horses and gather much wood, that from dark till dawn we may burn

watchfires whose flare may reach to heaven. For the Achaeans may

try to fly beyond the sea by night, and they must not embark

scatheless and unmolested; many a man among them must take a dart

with him to nurse at home, hit with spear or arrow as he is

leaping on board his ship, that others may fear to bring war and

weeping upon the Trojans. Moreover let the heralds tell it about

the city that the growing youths and grey-bearded men are to camp

upon its heaven-built walls. Let the women each of them light a

great fire in her house, and let watch be safely kept lest the

town be entered by surprise while the host is outside. See to it,

brave Trojans, as I have said, and let this suffice for the

moment; at daybreak I will instruct you further. I pray in hope

to Jove and to the gods that we may then drive those fate-sped

hounds from our land, for 'tis the fates that have borne them and

their ships hither. This night, therefore, let us keep watch, but

with early morning let us put on our armour and rouse fierce war

at the ships of the Achaeans; I shall then know whether brave

Diomed the son of Tydeus will drive me back from the ships to the

wall, or whether I shall myself slay him and carry off his

bloodstained spoils. To-morrow let him show his mettle, abide my

spear if he dare. I ween that at break of day, he shall be among

the first to fall and many another of his comrades round him.

Would that I were as sure of being immortal and never growing

old, and of being worshipped like Minerva and Apollo, as I am

that this day will bring evil to the Argives."

Thus spoke Hector and the Trojans shouted applause. They took

their sweating steeds from under the yoke, and made them fast

each by his own chariot. They made haste to bring sheep and

cattle from the city, they brought wine also and corn from their

houses and gathered much wood. They then offered unblemished

hecatombs to the immortals, and the wind carried the sweet savour

of sacrifice to heaven--but the blessed gods partook not thereof,

for they bitterly hated Ilius with Priam and Priam's people. Thus

high in hope they sat through the livelong night by the highways

of war, and many a watchfire did they kindle. As when the stars

shine clear, and the moon is bright--there is not a breath of

air, not a peak nor glade nor jutting headland but it stands out

in the ineffable radiance that breaks from the serene of heaven;

the stars can all of them be told and the heart of the shepherd

is glad--even thus shone the watchfires of the Trojans before

Ilius midway between the ships and the river Xanthus. A thousand

camp-fires gleamed upon the plain, and in the glow of each there

sat fifty men, while the horses, champing oats and corn beside

their chariots, waited till dawn should come.

 

 

BOOK IX

THUS did the Trojans watch. But Panic, comrade of blood-stained

Rout, had taken fast hold of the Achaeans, and their princes were

all of them in despair. As when the two winds that blow from

Thrace--the north and the northwest--spring up of a sudden and

rouse the fury of the main--in a moment the dark waves uprear

their heads and scatter their sea-wrack in all directions--even

thus troubled were the hearts of the Achaeans.

The son of Atreus in dismay bade the heralds call the people to a

council man by man, but not to cry the matter aloud; he made

haste also himself to call them, and they sat sorry at heart in

their assembly. Agamemnon shed tears as it were a running stream

or cataract on the side of some sheer cliff; and thus, with many

a heavy sigh he spoke to the Achaeans. "My friends," said he,

"princes and councillors Of the Argives, the hand of heaven has

been laid heavily upon me. Cruel Jove gave me his solemn promise

that I should sack the city of Troy before returning, but he has

played me false, and is now bidding me go ingloriously back to

Argos with the loss of much people. Such is the will of Jove, who

has laid many a proud city in the dust as he will yet lay others,

for his power is above all. Now, therefore, let us all do as I

say and sail back to our own country, for we shall not take

Troy."

Thus he spoke, and the sons of the Achaeans for a long while sat

sorrowful there, but they all held their peace, till at last

Diomed of the loud battle-cry made answer saying, "Son of Atreus,

I will chide your folly, as is my right in council. Be not then

aggrieved that I should do so. In the first place you attacked me

before all the Danaans and said that I was a coward and no

soldier. The Argives young and old know that you did so. But the

son of scheming Saturn endowed you by halves only. He gave you

honour as the chief ruler over us, but valour, which is the

highest both right and might he did not give you. Sir, think you

that the sons of the Achaeans are indeed as unwarlike and

cowardly as you say they are? If your own mind is set upon going

home--go--the way is open to you; the many ships that followed

you from Mycene stand ranged upon the seashore; but the rest of

us stay here till we have sacked Troy. Nay though these too

should turn homeward with their ships, Sthenelus and myself will

still fight on till we reach the goal of Ilius, for heaven was

with us when we came."

The sons of the Achaeans shouted applause at the words of Diomed,

and presently Nestor rose to speak. "Son of Tydeus," said he, "in

war your prowess is beyond question, and in council you excel all

who are of your own years; no one of the Achaeans can make light

of what you say nor gainsay it, but you have not yet come to the

end of the whole matter. You are still young--you might be the

youngest of my own children--still you have spoken wisely and

have counselled the chief of the Achaeans not without discretion;

nevertheless I am older than you and I will tell you everything;

therefore let no man, not even King Agamemnon, disregard my

saying, for he that foments civil discord is a clanless,

hearthless outlaw.

"Now, however, let us obey the behests of night and get our

suppers, but let the sentinels every man of them camp by the

trench that is without the wall. I am giving these instructions

to the young men; when they have been attended to, do you, son of

Atreus, give your orders, for you are the most royal among us

all. Prepare a feast for your councillors; it is right and

reasonable that you should do so; there is abundance of wine in

your tents, which the ships of the Achaeans bring from Thrace

daily. You have everything at your disposal wherewith to

entertain guests, and you have many subjects. When many are got

together, you can be guided by him whose counsel is wisest--and

sorely do we need shrewd and prudent counsel, for the foe has lit

his watchfires hard by our ships. Who can be other than dismayed?

This night will either be the ruin of our host, or save it."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. The

sentinels went out in their armour under command of Nestor's son

Thrasymedes, a captain of the host, and of the bold warriors

Ascalaphus and Ialmenus: there were also Meriones, Aphareus and

Deipyrus, and the son of Creion, noble Lycomedes. There were

seven captains of the sentinels, and with each there went a

hundred youths armed with long spears: they took their places

midway between the trench and the wall, and when they had done so

they lit their fires and got every man his supper.

The son of Atreus then bade many councillors of the Achaeans to

his quarters prepared a great feast in their honour. They laid

their hands on the good things that were before them, and as soon

as they had enough to eat and drink, old Nestor, whose counsel

was ever truest, was the first to lay his mind before them. He,

therefore, with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them thus.

"With yourself, most noble son of Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon,

will I both begin my speech and end it, for you are king over

much people. Jove, moreover, has vouchsafed you to wield the

sceptre and to uphold righteousness, that you may take thought

for your people under you; therefore it behooves you above all

others both to speak and to give ear, and to out the counsel of

another who shall have been minded to speak wisely. All turns on

you and on your commands, therefore I will say what I think will

be best. No man will be of a truer mind than that which has been

mine from the hour when you, sir, angered Achilles by taking the

girl Briseis from his tent against my judgment. I urged you not

to do so, but you yielded to your own pride, and dishonoured a

hero whom heaven itself had honoured--for you still hold the

prize that had been awarded to him. Now, however, let us think

how we may appease him, both with presents and fair speeches that

may conciliate him."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Sir, you have reproved my folly

justly. I was wrong. I own it. One whom heaven befriends is in

himself a host, and Jove has shown that he befriends this man by

destroying much people of the Achaeans. I was blinded with

passion and yielded to my worser mind; therefore I will make

amends, and will give him great gifts by way of atonement. I will

tell them in the presence of you all. I will give him seven

tripods that have never yet been on the fire, and ten talents of

gold. I will give him twenty iron cauldrons and twelve strong

horses that have won races and carried off prizes. Rich, indeed,

both in land and gold is he that has as many prizes as my horses

have won me. I will give him seven excellent workwomen, Lesbians,

whom I chose for myself when he took Lesbos--all of surpassing

beauty. I will give him these, and with them her whom I erewhile

took from him, the daughter of Briseus; and I swear a great oath

that I never went up into her couch, nor have been with her after

the manner of men and women.

"All these things will I give him now, and if hereafter the gods

vouchsafe me to sack the city of Priam, let him come when we

Achaeans are dividing the spoil, and load his ship with gold and

bronze to his liking; furthermore let him take twenty Trojan

women, the loveliest after Helen herself. Then, when we reach

Achaean Argos, wealthiest of all lands, he shall be my son-in-law

and I will show him like honour with my own dear son Orestes, who

is being nurtured in all abundance. I have three daughters,

Chrysothemis, Laodice, and lphianassa, let him take the one of

his choice, freely and without gifts of wooing, to the house of

Peleus; I will add such dower to boot as no man ever yet gave his

daughter, and will give him seven well established cities,

Cardamyle, Enope, and Hire, where there is grass; holy Pherae and

the rich meadows of Anthea; Aepea also, and the vine-clad slopes

of Pedasus, all near the sea, and on the borders of sandy Pylos.

The men that dwell there are rich in cattle and sheep; they will

honour him with gifts as though he were a god, and be obedient to

his comfortable ordinances. All this will I do if he will now

forgo his anger. Let him then yield; it is only Hades who is

utterly ruthless and unyielding--and hence he is of all gods the

one most hateful to mankind. Moreover I am older and more royal

than himself. Therefore, let him now obey me."

Then Nestor answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men,

Agamemnon. The gifts you offer are no small ones, let us then

send chosen messengers, who may go to the tent of Achilles son of

Peleus without delay. Let those go whom I shall name. Let

Phoenix, dear to Jove, lead the way; let Ajax and Ulysses follow,

and let the heralds Odius and Eurybates go with them. Now bring

water for our hands, and bid all keep silence while we pray to

Jove the son of Saturn, if so be that he may have mercy upon us."

Thus did he speak, and his saying pleased them well.

Men-servants poured water over the hands of the guests, while

pages filled the mixing-bowls with wine and water, and handed it

round after giving every man his drink-offering; then, when they

had made their offerings, and had drunk each as much as he was

minded, the envoys set out from the tent of Agamemnon son of

Atreus; and Nestor, looking first to one and then to another, but

most especially at Ulysses, was instant with them that they

should prevail with the noble son of Peleus.

They went their way by the shore of the sounding sea, and prayed

earnestly to earth-encircling Neptune that the high spirit of the

son of Aeacus might incline favourably towards them. When they

reached the ships and tents of the Myrmidons, they found Achilles

playing on a lyre, fair, of cunning workmanship, and its

cross-bar was of silver. It was part of the spoils which he had

taken when he sacked the city of Eetion, and he was now diverting

himself with it and singing the feats of heroes. He was alone

with Patroclus, who sat opposite to him and said nothing, waiting

till he should cease singing. Ulysses and Ajax now came in--

Ulysses leading the way--and stood before him. Achilles sprang

from his seat with the lyre still in his hand, and Patroclus,

when he saw the strangers, rose also. Achilles then greeted them

saying, "All hail and welcome--you must come upon some great

matter, you, who for all my anger are still dearest to me of the

Achaeans."

With this he led them forward, and bade them sit on seats covered

with purple rugs; then he said to Patroclus who was close by him,

"Son of Menoetius, set a larger bowl upon the table, mix less

water with the wine, and give every man his cup, for these are

very dear friends, who are now under my roof."

Patroclus did as his comrade bade him; he set the chopping-block

in front of the fire, and on it he laid the loin of a sheep, the

loin also of a goat, and the chine of a fat hog. Automedon held

the meat while Achilles chopped it; he then sliced the pieces and

put them on spits while the son of Menoetius made the fire burn

high. When the flame had died down, he spread the embers, laid

the spits on top of them, lifting them up and setting them upon

the spit-racks; and he sprinkled them with salt. When the meat

was roasted, he set it on platters, and handed bread round the

table in fair baskets, while Achilles dealt them their portions.

Then Achilles took his seat facing Ulysses against the opposite

wall, and bade his comrade Patroclus offer sacrifice to the gods;

so he cast the offerings into the fire, and they laid their hands

upon the good things that were before them. As soon as they had

had enough to eat and drink, Ajax made a sign to Phoenix, and

when he saw this, Ulysses filled his cup with wine and pledged

Achilles.

"Hail," said he, "Achilles, we have had no scant of good cheer,

neither in the tent of Agamemnon, nor yet here; there has been

plenty to eat and drink, but our thought turns upon no such

matter. Sir, we are in the face of great disaster, and without

your help know not whether we shall save our fleet or lose it.

The Trojans and their allies have camped hard by our ships and by

the wall; they have lit watchfires throughout their host and deem

that nothing can now prevent them from falling on our fleet.

Jove, moreover, has sent his lightnings on their right; Hector,

in all his glory, rages like a maniac; confident that Jove is

with him he fears neither god nor man, but is gone raving mad,

and prays for the approach of day. He vows that he will hew the

high sterns of our ships in pieces, set fire to their hulls, and

make havoc of the Achaeans while they are dazed and smothered in

smoke; I much fear that heaven will make good his boasting, and

it will prove our lot to perish at Troy far from our home in

Argos. Up, then, and late though it be, save the sons of the

Achaeans who faint before the fury of the Trojans. You will

repent bitterly hereafter if you do not, for when the harm is

done there will be no curing it; consider ere it be too late, and

save the Danaans from destruction.

"My good friend, when your father Peleus sent you from Phthia to

Agamemnon, did he not charge you saying, 'Son, Minerva and Juno

will make you strong if they choose, but check your high temper,

for the better part is in goodwill. Eschew vain quarrelling, and

the Achaeans old and young will respect you more for doing so.'

These were his words, but you have forgotten them. Even now,

however, be appeased, and put away your anger from you. Agamemnon

will make you great amends if you will forgive him; listen, and I

will tell you what he has said in his tent that he will give you.

He will give you seven tripods that have never yet been on the

fire, and ten talents of gold; twenty iron cauldrons, and twelve

strong horses that have won races and carried off prizes. Rich

indeed both in land and gold is he who has as many prizes as

these horses have won for Agamemnon. Moreover he will give you

seven excellent workwomen, Lesbians, whom he chose for himself,

when you took Lesbos--all of surpassing beauty. He will give you

these, and with them her whom he erewhile took from you, the

daughter of Briseus, and he will swear a great oath, he has never

gone up into her couch nor been with her after the manner of men

and women. All these things will he give you now down, and if

hereafter the gods vouchsafe him to sack the city of Priam, you

can come when we Achaeans are dividing the spoil, and load your

ship with gold and bronze to your liking. You can take twenty

Trojan women, the loveliest after Helen herself. Then, when we

reach Achaean Argos, wealthiest of all lands, you shall be his

son-in-law, and he will show you like honour with his own dear

son Orestes, who is being nurtured in all abundance. Agamemnon

has three daughters, Chrysothemis, Laodice, and Iphianassa; you

may take the one of your choice, freely and without gifts of

wooing, to the house of Peleus; he will add such dower to boot as

no man ever yet gave his daughter, and will give you seven

well-established cities, Cardamyle, Enope, and Hire where there

is grass; holy Pheras and the rich meadows of Anthea; Aepea also,

and the vine-clad slopes of Pedasus, all near the sea, and on the

borders of sandy Pylos. The men that dwell there are rich in

cattle and sheep; they will honour you with gifts as though were

a god, and be obedient to your comfortable ordinances. All this

will he do if you will now forgo your anger. Moreover, though you

hate both him and his gifts with all your heart, yet pity the

rest of the Achaeans who are being harassed in all their host;

they will honour you as a god, and you will earn great glory at

their hands. You might even kill Hector; he will come within your

reach, for he is infatuated, and declares that not a Danaan whom

the ships have brought can hold his own against him."

Achilles answered, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, I should give

you formal notice plainly and in all fixity of purpose that there

be no more of this cajoling, from whatsoever quarter it may come.

Him do I hate even as the gates of hell who says one thing while

he hides another in his heart; therefore I will say what I mean.

I will be appeased neither by Agamemnon son of Atreus nor by any

other of the Danaans, for I see that I have no thanks for all my

fighting. He that fights fares no better than he that does not;

coward and hero are held in equal honour, and death deals like

measure to him who works and him who is idle. I have taken

nothing by all my hardships--with my life ever in my hand; as a

bird when she has found a morsel takes it to her nestlings, and

herself fares hardly, even so many a long night have I been

wakeful, and many a bloody battle have I waged by day against

those who were fighting for their women. With my ships I have

taken twelve cities, and eleven round about Troy have I stormed

with my men by land; I took great store of wealth from every one

of them, but I gave all up to Agamemnon son of Atreus. He stayed

where he was by his ships, yet of what came to him he gave

little, and kept much himself.

"Nevertheless he did distribute some meeds of honour among the

chieftains and kings, and these have them still; from me alone of

the Achaeans did he take the woman in whom I delighted--let him

keep her and sleep with her. Why, pray, must the Argives needs

fight the Trojans? What made the son of Atreus gather the host

and bring them? Was it not for the sake of Helen? Are the sons of

Atreus the only men in the world who love their wives? Any man of

common right feeling will love and cherish her who is his own, as

I this woman, with my whole heart, though she was but a fruitling

of my spear. Agamemnon has taken her from me; he has played me

false; I know him; let him tempt me no further, for he shall not

move me. Let him look to you, Ulysses, and to the other princes

to save his ships from burning. He has done much without me

already. He has built a wall; he has dug a trench deep and wide

all round it, and he has planted it within with stakes; but even

so he stays not the murderous might of Hector. So long as I

fought the Achaeans Hector suffered not the battle range far from

the city walls; he would come to the Scaean gates and to the oak

tree, but no further. Once he stayed to meet me and hardly did he

escape my onset: now, however, since I am in no mood to fight

him, I will to-morrow offer sacrifice to Jove and to all the

gods; I will draw my ships into the water and then victual them

duly; to-morrow morning, if you care to look, you will see my

ships on the Hellespont, and my men rowing out to sea with might

and main. If great Neptune vouchsafes me a fair passage, in three

days I shall be in Phthia. I have much there that I left behind

me when I came here to my sorrow, and I shall bring back still

further store of gold, of red copper, of fair women, and of iron,

my share of the spoils that we have taken; but one prize, he who

gave has insolently taken away. Tell him all as I now bid you,

and tell him in public that the Achaeans may hate him and beware

of him should he think that he can yet dupe others for his

effrontery never fails him.

"As for me, hound that he is, he dares not look me in the face.

I will take no counsel with him, and will undertake nothing in

common with him. He has wronged me and deceived me enough, he

shall not cozen me further; let him go his own way, for Jove has

robbed him of his reason. I loathe his presents, and for himself

care not one straw. He may offer me ten or even twenty times what

he has now done, nay--not though it be all that he has in the

world, both now or ever shall have; he may promise me the wealth

of Orchomenus or of Egyptian Thebes, which is the richest city in

the whole world, for it has a hundred gates through each of which

two hundred men may drive at once with their chariots and horses;

he may offer me gifts as the sands of the sea or the dust of the

plain in multitude, but even so he shall not move me till I have

been revenged in full for the bitter wrong he has done me. I will

not marry his daughter; she may be fair as Venus, and skilful as

Minerva, but I will have none of her: let another take her, who

may be a good match for her and who rules a larger kingdom. If

the gods spare me to return home, Peleus will find me a wife;

there are Achaean women in Hellas and Phthia, daughters of kings

that have cities under them; of these I can take whom I will and

marry her. Many a time was I minded when at home in Phthia to woo

and wed a woman who would make me a suitable wife, and to enjoy

the riches of my old father Peleus. My life is more to me than

all the wealth of Ilius while it was yet at peace before the

Achaeans went there, or than all the treasure that lies on the

stone floor of Apollo's temple beneath the cliffs of Pytho.

Cattle and sheep are to be had for harrying, and a man buy both

tripods and horses if he wants them, but when his life has once

left him it can neither be bought nor harried back again.

"My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may

meet my end. If I stay here and fight, I shall not return alive

but my name will live for ever: whereas if I go home my name will

die, but it will be long ere death shall take me. To the rest of

you, then, I say, 'Go home, for you will not take Ilius.' Jove

has held his hand over her to protect her, and her people have

taken heart. Go, therefore, as in duty bound, and tell the

princes of the Achaeans the message that I have sent them; tell

them to find some other plan for the saving of their ships and

people, for so long as my displeasure lasts the one that they

have now hit upon may not be. As for Phoenix, let him sleep here

that he may sail with me in the morning if he so will. But I

will not take him by force."

They all held their peace, dismayed at the sternness with which

he had denied them, till presently the old knight Phoenix in his

great fear for the ships of the Achaeans, burst into tears and

said, "Noble Achilles, if you are now minded to return, and in

the fierceness of your anger will do nothing to save the ships

from burning, how, my son, can I remain here without you? Your

father Peleus bade me go with you when he sent you as a mere lad

from Phthia to Agamemnon. You knew nothing neither of war nor of

the arts whereby men make their mark in council, and he sent me

with you to train you in all excellence of speech and action.

Therefore, my son, I will not stay here without you--no, not

though heaven itself vouchsafe to strip my years from off me, and

make me young as I was when I first left Hellas the land of fair

women. I was then flying the anger of father Amyntor, son of

Ormenus, who was furious with me in the matter of his concubine,

of whom he was enamoured to the wronging of his wife my mother.

My mother, therefore, prayed me without ceasing to lie with the

woman myself, that so she hate my father, and in the course of

time I yielded. But my father soon came to know, and cursed me

bitterly, calling the dread Erinyes to witness. He prayed that no

son of mine might ever sit upon knees--and the gods, Jove of the

world below and awful Proserpine, fulfilled his curse. I took

counsel to kill him, but some god stayed my rashness and bade me

think on men's evil tongues and how I should be branded as the

murderer of my father; nevertheless I could not bear to stay in

my father's house with him so bitter a against me. My cousins and

clansmen came about me, and pressed me sorely to remain; many a

sheep and many an ox did they slaughter, and many a fat hog did

they set down to roast before the fire; many a jar, too, did they

broach of my father's wine. Nine whole nights did they set a

guard over me taking it in turns to watch, and they kept a fire

always burning, both in the cloister of the outer court and in

the inner court at the doors of the room wherein I lay; but when

the darkness of the tenth night came, I broke through the closed

doors of my room, and climbed the wall of the outer court after

passing quickly and unperceived through the men on guard and the

women servants. I then fled through Hellas till I came to fertile

Phthia, mother of sheep, and to King Peleus, who made me welcome

and treated me as a father treats an only son who will be heir to

all his wealth. He made me rich and set me over much people,

establishing me on the borders of Phthia where I was chief ruler

over the Dolopians.

"It was I, Achilles, who had the making of you; I loved you with

all my heart: for you would eat neither at home nor when you had

gone out elsewhere, till I had first set you upon my knees, cut

up the dainty morsel that you were to eat, and held the wine-cup

to your lips. Many a time have you slobbered your wine in baby

helplessness over my shirt; I had infinite trouble with you, but

I knew that heaven had vouchsafed me no offspring of my own, and

I made a son of you, Achilles, that in my hour of need you might

protect me. Now, therefore, I say battle with your pride and beat

it; cherish not your anger for ever; the might and majesty of

heaven are more than ours, but even heaven may be appeased; and

if a man has sinned he prays the gods, and reconciles them to

himself by his piteous cries and by frankincense, with

drink-offerings and the savour of burnt sacrifice. For prayers

are as daughters to great Jove; halt, wrinkled, with eyes

askance, they follow in the footsteps of sin, who, being fierce

and fleet of foot, leaves them far behind him, and ever baneful

to mankind outstrips them even to the ends of the world; but

nevertheless the prayers come hobbling and healing after. If a

man has pity upon these daughters of Jove when they draw near

him, they will bless him and hear him too when he is praying; but

if he deny them and will not listen to them, they go to Jove the

son of Saturn and pray that he may presently fall into sin--to

his ruing bitterly hereafter. Therefore, Achilles, give these

daughters of Jove due reverence, and bow before them as all good

men will bow. Were not the son of Atreus offering you gifts and

promising others later--if he were still furious and implacable--

I am not he that would bid you throw off your anger and help the

Achaeans, no matter how great their need; but he is giving much

now, and more hereafter; he has sent his captains to urge his

suit, and has chosen those who of all the Argives are most

acceptable to you; make not then their words and their coming to

be of none effect. Your anger has been righteous so far. We have

heard in song how heroes of old time quarrelled when they were

roused to fury, but still they could be won by gifts, and fair

words could soothe them.

"I have an old story in my mind--a very old one--but you are all

friends and I will tell it. The Curetes and the Aetolians were

fighting and killing one another round Calydon--the Aetolians

defending the city and the Curetes trying to destroy it. For

Diana of the golden throne was angry and did them hurt because

Oeneus had not offered her his harvest first-fruits. The other

gods had all been feasted with hecatombs, but to the daughter of

great Jove alone he had made no sacrifice. He had forgotten her,

or somehow or other it had escaped him, and this was a grievous

sin. Thereon the archer goddess in her displeasure sent a

prodigious creature against him--a savage wild boar with great

white tusks that did much harm to his orchard lands, uprooting

apple-trees in full bloom and throwing them to the ground. But

Meleager son of Oeneus got huntsmen and hounds from many cities

and killed it--for it was so monstrous that not a few were

needed, and many a man did it stretch upon his funeral pyre. On

this the goddess set the Curetes and the Aetolians fighting

furiously about the head and skin of the boar.

"So long as Meleager was in the field things went badly with the

Curetes, and for all their numbers they could not hold their

ground under the city walls; but in the course of time Meleager

was angered as even a wise man will sometimes be. He was incensed

with his mother Althaea, and therefore stayed at home with his

wedded wife fair Cleopatra, who was daughter of Marpessa daughter

of Euenus, and of Ides the man then living. He it was who took

his bow and faced King Apollo himself for fair Marpessa's sake;

her father and mother then named her Alcyone, because her mother

had mourned with the plaintive strains of the halcyon-bird when

Phoebus Apollo had carried her off. Meleager, then, stayed at

home with Cleopatra, nursing the anger which he felt by reason of

his mother's curses. His mother, grieving for the death of her

brother, prayed the gods, and beat the earth with her hands,

calling upon Hades and on awful Proserpine; she went down upon

her knees and her bosom was wet with tears as she prayed that

they would kill her son--and Erinys that walks in darkness and

knows no ruth heard her from Erebus.

"Then was heard the din of battle about the gates of Calydon, and

the dull thump of the battering against their walls. Thereon the

elders of the Aetolians besought Meleager; they sent the chiefest

of their priests, and begged him to come out and help them,

promising him a great reward. They bade him choose fifty

plough-gates, the most fertile in the plain of Calydon, the

one-half vineyard and the other open plough-land. The old warrior

Oeneus implored him, standing at the threshold of his room and

beating the doors in supplication. His sisters and his mother

herself besought him sore, but he the more refused them; those of

his comrades who were nearest and dearest to him also prayed him,

but they could not move him till the foe was battering at the

very doors of his chamber, and the Curetes had scaled the walls

and were setting fire to the city. Then at last his sorrowing

wife detailed the horrors that befall those whose city is taken;

she reminded him how the men are slain, and the city is given

over to the flames, while the women and children are carried into

captivity; when he heard all this, his heart was touched, and he

donned his armour to go forth. Thus of his own inward motion he

saved the city of the Aetolians; but they now gave him nothing of

those rich rewards that they had offered earlier, and though he

saved the city he took nothing by it. Be not then, my son, thus

minded; let not heaven lure you into any such course. When the

ships are burning it will be a harder matter to save them. Take

the gifts, and go, for the Achaeans will then honour you as a

god; whereas if you fight without taking them, you may beat the

battle back, but you will not be held in like honour."

And Achilles answered, "Phoenix, old friend and father, I have no

need of such honour. I have honour from Jove himself, which will

abide with me at my ships while I have breath in my body, and my

limbs are strong. I say further--and lay my saying to your

heart--vex me no more with this weeping and lamentation, all in

the cause of the son of Atreus. Love him so well, and you may

lose the love I bear you. You ought to help me rather in

troubling those that trouble me; be king as much as I am, and

share like honour with myself; the others shall take my answer;

stay here yourself and sleep comfortably in your bed; at daybreak

we will consider whether to remain or go."

On this she nodded quietly to Patroclus as a sign that he was to

prepare a bed for Phoenix, and that the others should take their

leave. Ajax son of Telamon then said, "Ulysses, noble son of

Laertes, let us be gone, for I see that our journey is vain. We

must now take our answer, unwelcome though it be, to the Danaans

who are waiting to receive it. Achilles is savage and

remorseless; he is cruel, and cares nothing for the love his

comrades lavished upon him more than on all the others. He is

implacable--and yet if a man's brother or son has been slain he

will accept a fine by way of amends from him that killed him, and

the wrong-doer having paid in full remains in peace among his own

people; but as for you, Achilles, the gods have put a wicked

unforgiving spirit in your heart, and this, all about one single

girl, whereas we now offer you the seven best we have, and much

else into the bargain. Be then of a more gracious mind, respect

the hospitality of your own roof. We are with you as messengers

from the host of the Danaans, and would fain he held nearest and

dearest to yourself of all the Achaeans."

"Ajax," replied Achilles, "noble son of Telamon, you have spoken

much to my liking, but my blood boils when I think it all over,

and remember how the son of Atreus treated me with contumely as

though I were some vile tramp, and that too in the presence of

the Argives. Go, then, and deliver your message; say that I will

have no concern with fighting till Hector, son of noble Priam,

reaches the tents of the Myrmidons in his murderous course, and

flings fire upon their ships. For all his lust of battle, I take

it he will be held in check when he is at my own tent and ship."

On this they took every man his double cup, made their

drink-offerings, and went back to the ships, Ulysses leading the

way. But Patroclus told his men and the maid-servants to make

ready a comfortable bed for Phoenix; they therefore did so with

sheepskins, a rug, and a sheet of fine linen. The old man then

laid himself down and waited till morning came. But Achilles

slept in an inner room, and beside him the daughter of Phorbas

lovely Diomede, whom he had carried off from Lesbos. Patroclus

lay on the other side of the room, and with him fair Iphis whom

Achilles had given him when he took Scyros the city of Enyeus.

When the envoys reached the tents of the son of Atreus, the

Achaeans rose, pledged them in cups of gold, and began to

question them. King Agamemnon was the first to do so. "Tell me,

Ulysses," said he, "will he save the ships from burning, or did

be refuse, and is he still furious?"

Ulysses answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men,

Agamemnon, Achilles will not be calmed, but is more fiercely

angry than ever, and spurns both you and your gifts. He bids you

take counsel with the Achaeans to save the ships and host as you

best may; as for himself, he said that at daybreak he should draw

his ships into the water. He said further that he should advise

every one to sail home likewise, for that you will not reach the

goal of Ilius. 'Jove,' he said, 'has laid his hand over the city

to protect it, and the people have taken heart.' This is what he

said, and the others who were with me can tell you the same

story--Ajax and the two heralds, men, both of them, who may be

trusted. The old man Phoenix stayed where he was to sleep, for so

Achilles would have it, that he might go home with him in the

morning if he so would; but he will not take him by force."

They all held their peace, sitting for a long time silent and

dejected, by reason of the sternness with which Achilles had

refused them, till presently Diomed said, "Most noble son of

Atreus, king of men, Agamemnon, you ought not to have sued the

son of Peleus nor offered him gifts. He is proud enough as it is,

and you have encouraged him in his pride still further. Let him

stay or go as he will. He will fight later when he is in the

humour, and heaven puts it in his mind to do so. Now, therefore,

let us all do as I say; we have eaten and drunk our fill, let us

then take our rest, for in rest there is both strength and stay.

But when fair rosy-fingered morn appears, forthwith bring out

your host and your horsemen in front of the ships, urging them

on, and yourself fighting among the foremost."

Thus he spoke, and the other chieftains approved his words. They

then made their drink-offerings and went every man to his own

tent, where they laid down to rest and enjoyed the boon of sleep.

 

 

BOOK X

NOW the other princes of the Achaeans slept soundly the whole

night through, but Agamemnon son of Atreus was troubled, so that

he could get no rest. As when fair Juno's lord flashes his

lightning in token of great rain or hail or snow when the

snow-flakes whiten the ground, or again as a sign that he will

open the wide jaws of hungry war, even so did Agamemnon heave

many a heavy sigh, for his soul trembled within him. When he

looked upon the plain of Troy he marvelled at the many watchfires

burning in front of Ilius, and at the sound of pipes and flutes

and of the hum of men, but when presently he turned towards the

ships and hosts of the Achaeans, he tore his hair by handfuls

before Jove on high, and groaned aloud for the very disquietness

of his soul. In the end he deemed it best to go at once to Nestor

son of Neleus, and see if between them they could find any way of

the Achaeans from destruction. He therefore rose, put on his

shirt, bound his sandals about his comely feet, flung the skin of

a huge tawny lion over his shoulders--a skin that reached his

feet--and took his spear in his hand.

Neither could Menelaus sleep, for he, too, boded ill for the

Argives who for his sake had sailed from far over the seas to

fight the Trojans. He covered his broad back with the skin of a

spotted panther, put a casque of bronze upon his head, and took

his spear in his brawny hand. Then he went to rouse his brother,

who was by far the most powerful of the Achaeans, and was

honoured by the people as though he were a god. He found him by

the stern of his ship already putting his goodly array about his

shoulders, and right glad was he that his brother had come.

Menelaus spoke first. "Why," said he, "my dear brother, are you

thus arming? Are you going to send any of our comrades to exploit

the Trojans? I greatly fear that no one will do you this service,

and spy upon the enemy alone in the dead of night. It will be a

deed of great daring."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Menelaus, we both of us need shrewd

counsel to save the Argives and our ships, for Jove has changed

his mind, and inclines towards Hector's sacrifices rather than

ours. I never saw nor heard tell of any man as having wrought

such ruin in one day as Hector has now wrought against the sons

of the Achaeans--and that too of his own unaided self, for he is

son neither to god nor goddess. The Argives will rue it long and

deeply. Run, therefore, with all speed by the line of the ships,

and call Ajax and Idomeneus. Meanwhile I will go to Nestor, and

bid him rise and go about among the companies of our sentinels to

give them their instructions; they will listen to him sooner than

to any man, for his own son, and Meriones brother in arms to

Idomeneus, are captains over them. It was to them more

particularly that we gave this charge."

Menelaus replied, "How do I take your meaning? Am I to stay with

them and wait your coming, or shall I return here as soon as I

have given your orders?" "Wait," answered King Agamemnon, "for

there are so many paths about the camp that we might miss one

another. Call every man on your way, and bid him be stirring;

name him by his lineage and by his father's name, give each all

titular observance, and stand not too much upon your own dignity;

we must take our full share of toil, for at our birth Jove laid

this heavy burden upon us."

With these instructions he sent his brother on his way, and went

on to Nestor shepherd of his people. He found him sleeping in his

tent hard by his own ship; his goodly armour lay beside him--his

shield, his two spears and his helmet; beside him also lay the

gleaming girdle with which the old man girded himself when he

armed to lead his people into battle--for his age stayed him not.

He raised himself on his elbow and looked up at Agamemnon. "Who

is it," said he, "that goes thus about the host and the ships

alone and in the dead of night, when men are sleeping? Are you

looking for one of your mules or for some comrade? Do not stand

there and say nothing, but speak. What is your business?"

And Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, son of Neleus, honour to the

Achaean name, it is I, Agamemnon son of Atreus, on whom Jove has

laid labour and sorrow so long as there is breath in my body and

my limbs carry me. I am thus abroad because sleep sits not upon

my eyelids, but my heart is big with war and with the jeopardy of

the Achaeans. I am in great fear for the Danaans. I am at sea,

and without sure counsel; my heart beats as though it would leap

out of my body, and my limbs fail me. If then you can do

anything--for you too cannot sleep--let us go the round of the

watch, and see whether they are drowsy with toil and sleeping to

the neglect of their duty. The enemy is encamped hard and we know

not but he may attack us by night."

Nestor replied, "Most noble son of Atreus, king of men,

Agamemnon, Jove will not do all for Hector that Hector thinks he

will; he will have troubles yet in plenty if Achilles will lay

aside his anger. I will go with you, and we will rouse others,

either the son of Tydeus, or Ulysses, or fleet Ajax and the

valiant son of Phyleus. Some one had also better go and call Ajax

and King Idomeneus, for their ships are not near at hand but the

farthest of all. I cannot however refrain from blaming Menelaus,

much as I love him and respect him--and I will say so plainly,

even at the risk of offending you--for sleeping and leaving all

this trouble to yourself. He ought to be going about imploring

aid from all the princes of the Achaeans, for we are in extreme

danger."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, you may sometimes blame him justly,

for he is often remiss and unwilling to exert himself--not

indeed from sloth, nor yet heedlessness, but because he looks to

me and expects me to take the lead. On this occasion, however, he

was awake before I was, and came to me of his own accord. I have

already sent him to call the very men whom you have named. And

now let us be going. We shall find them with the watch outside

the gates, for it was there I said that we would meet them."

"In that case," answered Nestor, "the Argives will not blame him

nor disobey his orders when he urges them to fight or gives them

instructions."

With this he put on his shirt, and bound his sandals about his

comely feet. He buckled on his purple coat, of two thicknesses,

large, and of a rough shaggy texture, grasped his redoubtable

bronze-shod spear, and wended his way along the line of the

Achaean ships. First he called loudly to Ulysses peer of gods in

counsel and woke him, for he was soon roused by the sound of the

battle-cry. He came outside his tent and said, "Why do you go

thus alone about the host, and along the line of the ships in the

stillness of the night? What is it that you find so urgent?" And

Nestor knight of Gerene answered, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes,

take it not amiss, for the Achaeans are in great straits. Come

with me and let us wake some other, who may advise well with us

whether we shall fight or fly."

On this Ulysses went at once into his tent, put his shield about

his shoulders and came out with them. First they went to Diomed

son of Tydeus, and found him outside his tent clad in his armour

with his comrades sleeping round him and using their shields as

pillows; as for their spears, they stood upright on the spikes of

their butts that were driven into the ground, and the burnished

bronze flashed afar like the lightning of father Jove. The hero

was sleeping upon the skin of an ox, with a piece of fine carpet

under his head; Nestor went up to him and stirred him with his

heel to rouse him, upbraiding him and urging him to bestir

himself. "Wake up," he exclaimed, "son of Tydeus. How can you

sleep on in this way? Can you not see that the Trojans are

encamped on the brow of the plain hard by our ships, with but a

little space between us and them?"

On these words Diomed leaped up instantly and said, "Old man,

your heart is of iron; you rest not one moment from your labours.

Are there no younger men among the Achaeans who could go about to

rouse the princes? There is no tiring you."

And Nestor knight of Gerene made answer, "My son, all that you

have said is true. I have good sons, and also much people who

might call the chieftains, but the Achaeans are in the gravest

danger; life and death are balanced as it were on the edge of a

razor. Go then, for you are younger than I, and of your courtesy

rouse Ajax and the fleet son of Phyleus."

Diomed threw the skin of a great tawny lion about his shoulders--

a skin that reached his feet--and grasped his spear. When he had

roused the heroes, he brought them back with him; they then went

the round of those who were on guard, and found the captains not

sleeping at their posts but wakeful and sitting with their arms

about them. As sheep dogs that watch their flocks when they are

yarded, and hear a wild beast coming through the mountain forest

towards them--forthwith there is a hue and cry of dogs and men,

and slumber is broken--even so was sleep chased from the eyes of

the Achaeans as they kept the watches of the wicked night, for

they turned constantly towards the plain whenever they heard any

stir among the Trojans. The old man was glad bade them be of good

cheer. "Watch on, my children," said he, "and let not sleep get

hold upon you, lest our enemies triumph over us."

With this he passed the trench, and with him the other chiefs of

the Achaeans who had been called to the council. Meriones and the

brave son of Nestor went also, for the princes bade them. When

they were beyond the trench that was dug round the wall they held

their meeting on the open ground where there was a space clear of

corpses, for it was here that when night fell Hector had turned

back from his onslaught on the Argives. They sat down, therefore,

and held debate with one another.

Nestor spoke first. "My friends," said he, "is there any man bold

enough to venture the Trojans, and cut off some straggler, or us

news of what the enemy mean to do whether they will stay here by

the ships away from the city, or whether, now that they have

worsted the Achaeans, they will retire within their walls. If he

could learn all this and come back safely here, his fame would be

high as heaven in the mouths of all men, and he would be rewarded

richly; for the chiefs from all our ships would each of them give

him a black ewe with her lamb--which is a present of surpassing

value--and he would be asked as a guest to all feasts and

clan-gatherings."

They all held their peace, but Diomed of the loud war-cry spoke

saying, "Nestor, gladly will I visit the host of the Trojans over

against us, but if another will go with me I shall do so in

greater confidence and comfort. When two men are together, one of

them may see some opportunity which the other has not caught

sight of; if a man is alone he is less full of resource, and his

wit is weaker."

On this several offered to go with Diomed. The two Ajaxes,

servants of Mars, Meriones, and the son of Nestor all wanted to

go, so did Menelaus son of Atreus; Ulysses also wished to go

among the host of the Trojans, for he was ever full of daring,

and thereon Agamemnon king of men spoke thus: "Diomed," said he,

"son of Tydeus, man after my own heart, choose your comrade for

yourself--take the best man of those that have offered, for many

would now go with you. Do not through delicacy reject the better

man, and take the worst out of respect for his lineage, because

he is of more royal blood."

He said this because he feared for Menelaus. Diomed answered, "If

you bid me take the man of my own choice, how in that case can I

fail to think of Ulysses, than whom there is no man more eager to

face all kinds of danger--and Pallas Minerva loves him well? If

he were to go with me we should pass safely through fire itself,

for he is quick to see and understand."

"Son of Tydeus," replied Ulysses, "say neither good nor ill about

me, for you are among Argives who know me well. Let us be going,

for the night wanes and dawn is at hand. The stars have gone

forward, two-thirds of the night are already spent, and the third

is alone left us."

They then put on their armour. Brave Thrasymedes provided the son

of Tydeus with a sword and a shield (for he had left his own at

his ship) and on his head he set a helmet of bull's hide without

either peak or crest; it is called a skull-cap and is a common

headgear. Meriones found a bow and quiver for Ulysses, and on his

head he set a leathern helmet that was lined with a strong

plaiting of leathern thongs, while on the outside it was thickly

studded with boar's teeth, well and skilfully set into it; next

the head there was an inner lining of felt. This helmet had been

stolen by Autolycus out of Eleon when he broke into the house of

Amyntor son of Ormenus. He gave it to Amphidamas of Cythera to

take to Scandea, and Amphidamas gave it as a guest-gift to Molus,

who gave it to his son Meriones; and now it was set upon the head

of Ulysses.

When the pair had armed, they set out, and left the other

chieftains behind them. Pallas Minerva sent them a heron by the

wayside upon their right hands; they could not see it for the

darkness, but they heard its cry. Ulysses was glad when he heard

it and prayed to Minerva: "Hear me," he cried, "daughter of

aegis-bearing Jove, you who spy out all my ways and who are with

me in all my hardships; befriend me in this mine hour, and grant

that we may return to the ships covered with glory after having

achieved some mighty exploit that shall bring sorrow to the

Trojans."

Then Diomed of the loud war-cry also prayed: "Hear me too," said

he, "daughter of Jove, unweariable; be with me even as you were

with my noble father Tydeus when he went to Thebes as envoy sent

by the Achaeans. He left the Achaeans by the banks of the river

Aesopus, and went to the city bearing a message of peace to the

Cadmeians; on his return thence, with your help, goddess, he did

great deeds of daring, for you were his ready helper. Even so

guide me and guard me now, and in return I will offer you in

sacrifice a broad-browed heifer of a year old, unbroken, and

never yet brought by man under the yoke. I will gild her horns

and will offer her up to you in sacrifice."

Thus they prayed, and Pallas Minerva heard their prayer. When

they had done praying to the daughter of great Jove, they went

their way like two lions prowling by night amid the armour and

blood-stained bodies of them that had fallen.

Neither again did Hector let the Trojans sleep; for he too called

the princes and councillors of the Trojans that he might set his

counsel before them. "Is there one," said he, "who for a great

reward will do me the service of which I will tell you? He shall

be well paid if he will. I will give him a chariot and a couple

of horses, the fleetest that can be found at the ships of the

Achaeans, if he will dare this thing; and he will win infinite

honour to boot; he must go to the ships and find out whether they

are still guarded as heretofore, or whether now that we have

beaten them the Achaeans design to fly, and through sheer

exhaustion are neglecting to keep their watches."

They all held their peace; but there was among the Trojans a

certain man named Dolon, son of Eumedes, the famous herald--a man

rich in gold and bronze. He was ill-favoured, but a good runner,

and was an only son among five sisters. He it was that now

addressed the Trojans. "I, Hector," said he, "Will to the ships

and will exploit them. But first hold up your sceptre and swear

that you will give me the chariot, bedight with bronze, and the

horses that now carry the noble son of Peleus. I will make you a

good scout, and will not fail you. I will go through the host

from one end to the other till I come to the ship of Agamemnon,

where I take it the princes of the Achaeans are now consulting

whether they shall fight or fly."

When he had done speaking Hector held up his sceptre, and swore

him his oath saying, "May Jove the thundering husband of Juno

bear witness that no other Trojan but yourself shall mount those

steeds, and that you shall have your will with them for ever."

The oath he swore was bootless, but it made Dolon more keen on

going. He hung his bow over his shoulder, and as an overall he

wore the skin of a grey wolf, while on his head he set a cap of

ferret skin. Then he took a pointed javelin, and left the camp

for the ships, but he was not to return with any news for Hector.

When he had left the horses and the troops behind him, he made

all speed on his way, but Ulysses perceived his coming and said

to Diomed, "Diomed, here is some one from the camp; I am not sure

whether he is a spy, or whether it is some thief who would

plunder the bodies of the dead; let him get a little past us, we

can then spring upon him and take him. If, however, he is too

quick for us, go after him with your spear and hem him in towards

the ships away from the Trojan camp, to prevent his getting back

to the town."

With this they turned out of their way and lay down among the

corpses. Dolon suspected nothing and soon passed them, but when

he had got about as far as the distance by which a mule-plowed

furrow exceeds one that has been ploughed by oxen (for mules can

plow fallow land quicker than oxen) they ran after him, and when

he heard their footsteps he stood still, for he made sure they

were friends from the Trojan camp come by Hector's orders to bid

him return; when, however, they were only a spear's cast, or less

away form him, he saw that they were enemies as fast as his legs

could take him. The others gave chase at once, and as a couple of

well-trained hounds press forward after a doe or hare that runs

screaming in front of them, even so did the son of Tydeus and

Ulysses pursue Dolon and cut him off from his own people. But

when he had fled so far towards the ships that he would soon have

fallen in with the outposts, Minerva infused fresh strength into

the son of Tydeus for fear some other of the Achaeans might have

the glory of being first to hit him, and he might himself be only

second; he therefore sprang forward with his spear and said,

"Stand, or I shall throw my spear, and in that case I shall soon

make an end of you."

He threw as he spoke, but missed his aim on purpose. The dart

flew over the man's right shoulder, and then stuck in the ground.

He stood stock still, trembling and in great fear; his teeth

chattered, and he turned pale with fear. The two came breathless

up to him and seized his hands, whereon he began to weep and

said, "Take me alive; I will ransom myself; we have great store

of gold, bronze, and wrought iron, and from this my father will

satisfy you with a very large ransom, should he hear of my being

alive at the ships of the Achaeans."

"Fear not," replied Ulysses, "let no thought of death be in your

mind; but tell me, and tell me true, why are you thus going about

alone in the dead of night away from your camp and towards the

ships, while other men are sleeping? Is it to plunder the bodies

of the slain, or did Hector send you to spy out what was going on

at the ships? Or did you come here of your own mere notion?"

Dolon answered, his limbs trembling beneath him: "Hector, with

his vain flattering promises, lured me from my better judgement.

He said he would give me the horses of the noble son of Peleus

and his bronze-bedizened chariot; he bade me go through the

darkness of the flying night, get close to the enemy, and find

out whether the ships are still guarded as heretofore, or

whether, now that we have beaten them, the Achaeans design to

fly, and through sheer exhaustion are neglecting to keep their

watches."

Ulysses smiled at him and answered, "You had indeed set your

heart upon a great reward, but the horses of the descendant of

Aeacus are hardly to be kept in hand or driven by any other

mortal man than Achilles himself, whose mother was an immortal.

But tell me, and tell me true, where did you leave Hector when

you started? Where lies his armour and his horses? How, too, are

the watches and sleeping-ground of the Trojans ordered? What are

their plans? Will they stay here by the ships and away from the

city, or now that they have worsted the Achaeans, will they

retire within their walls?"

And Dolon answered, "I will tell you truly all. Hector and the

other councillors are now holding conference by the monument of

great Ilus, away from the general tumult; as for the guards about

which you ask me, there is no chosen watch to keep guard over the

host. The Trojans have their watchfires, for they are bound to

have them; they, therefore, are awake and keep each other to

their duty as sentinels; but the allies who have come from other

places are asleep and leave it to the Trojans to keep guard, for

their wives and children are not here."

Ulysses then said, "Now tell me; are they sleeping among the

Trojan troops, or do they lie apart? Explain this that I may

understand it."

"I will tell you truly all," replied Dolon. "To the seaward lie

the Carians, the Paeonian bowmen, the Leleges, the Cauconians,

and the noble Pelasgi. The Lysians and proud Mysians, with the

Phrygians and Meonians, have their place on the side towards

Thymbra; but why ask about an this? If you want to find your way

into the host of the Trojans, there are the Thracians, who have

lately come here and lie apart from the others at the far end of

the camp; and they have Rhesus son of Eioneus for their king. His

horses are the finest and strongest that I have ever seen, they

are whiter than snow and fleeter than any wind that blows. His

chariot is bedight with silver and gold, and he has brought his

marvellous golden armour, of the rarest workmanship--too splendid

for any mortal man to carry, and meet only for the gods. Now,

therefore, take me to the ships or bind me securely here, until

you come back and have proved my words whether they be false or

true."

Diomed looked sternly at him and answered, "Think not, Dolon, for

all the good information you have given us, that you shall escape

now you are in our hands, for if we ransom you or let you go, you

will come some second time to the ships of the Achaeans either as

a spy or as an open enemy, but if I kill you and an end of you,

you will give no more trouble."

On this Dolon would have caught him by the beard to beseech him

further, but Diomed struck him in the middle of his neck with his

sword and cut through both sinews so that his head fell rolling

in the dust while he was yet speaking. They took the ferret-skin

cap from his head, and also the wolf-skin, the bow, and his long

spear. Ulysses hung them up aloft in honour of Minerva the

goddess of plunder, and prayed saying, "Accept these, goddess,

for we give them to you in preference to all the gods in Olympus:

therefore speed us still further towards the horses and

sleeping-ground of the Thracians."

With these words he took the spoils and set them upon a tamarisk

tree, and they marked the place by pulling up reeds and gathering

boughs of tamarisk that they might not miss it as they came back

through the' flying hours of darkness. The two then went onwards

amid the fallen armour and the blood, and came presently to the

company of Thracian soldiers, who were sleeping, tired out with

their day's toil; their goodly armour was lying on the ground

beside them all orderly in three rows, and each man had his yoke

of horses beside him. Rhesus was sleeping in the middle, and hard

by him his horses were made fast to the topmost rim of his

chariot. Ulysses from some way off saw him and said, "This,

Diomed, is the man, and these are the horses about which Dolon

whom we killed told us. Do your very utmost; dally not about your

armour, but loose the horses at once--or else kill the men

yourself, while I see to the horses."

Thereon Minerva put courage into the heart of Diomed, and he

smote them right and left. They made a hideous groaning as they

were being hacked about, and the earth was red with their blood.

As a lion springs furiously upon a flock of sheep or goats when

he finds without their shepherd, so did the son of Tydeus set

upon the Thracian soldiers till he had killed twelve. As he

killed them Ulysses came and drew them aside by their feet one by

one, that the horses might go forward freely without being

frightened as they passed over the dead bodies, for they were not

yet used to them. When the son of Tydeus came to the king, he

killed him too (which made thirteen), as he was breathing hard,

for by the counsel of Minerva an evil dream, the seed of Oeneus,

hovered that night over his head. Meanwhile Ulysses untied the

horses, made them fast one to another and drove them off,

striking them with his bow, for he had forgotten to take the whip

from the chariot. Then he whistled as a sign to Diomed.

But Diomed stayed where he was, thinking what other daring deed

he might accomplish. He was doubting whether to take the chariot

in which the king's armour was lying, and draw it out by the

pole, or to lift the armour out and carry it off; or whether

again, he should not kill some more Thracians. While he was thus

hesitating Minerva came up to him and said, "Get back, Diomed, to

the ships or you may be driven thither, should some other god

rouse the Trojans."

Diomed knew that it was the goddess, and at once sprang upon the

horses. Ulysses beat them with his bow and they flew onward to

the ships of the Achaeans.

But Apollo kept no blind look-out when he saw Minerva with the

son of Tydeus. He was angry with her, and coming to the host of

the Trojans he roused Hippocoon, a counsellor of the Thracians

and a noble kinsman of Rhesus. He started up out of his sleep and

saw that the horses were no longer in their place, and that the

men were gasping in their death-agony; on this he groaned aloud,

and called upon his friend by name. Then the whole Trojan camp

was in an uproar as the people kept hurrying together, and they

marvelled at the deeds of the heroes who had now got away towards

the ships.

When they reached the place where they had killed Hector's scout,

Ulysses stayed his horses, and the son of Tydeus, leaping to the

ground, placed the blood-stained spoils in the hands of Ulysses

and remounted: then he lashed the horses onwards, and they flew

forward nothing loth towards the ships as though of their own

free will. Nestor was first to hear the tramp of their feet. "My

friends," said he, "princes and counsellors of the Argives, shall

I guess right or wrong?--but I must say what I think: there is a

sound in my ears as of the tramp of horses. I hope it may Diomed

and Ulysses driving in horses from the Trojans, but I much fear

that the bravest of the Argives may have come to some harm at

their hands."

He had hardly done speaking when the two men came in and

dismounted, whereon the others shook hands right gladly with them

and congratulated them. Nestor knight of Gerene was first to

question them. "Tell me," said he, "renowned Ulysses, how did you

two come by these horses? Did you steal in among the Trojan

forces, or did some god meet you and give them to you? They are

like sunbeams. I am well conversant with the Trojans, for old

warrior though I am I never hold back by the ships, but I never

yet saw or heard of such horses as these are. Surely some god

must have met you and given them to you, for you are both of you

dear to Jove, and to Jove's daughter Minerva."

And Ulysses answered, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour to the

Achaean name, heaven, if it so will, can give us even better

horses than these, for the gods are far mightier than we are.

These horses, however, about which you ask me, are freshly come

from Thrace. Diomed killed their king with the twelve bravest of

his companions. Hard by the ships we took a thirteenth man--a

scout whom Hector and the other Trojans had sent as a spy upon

our ships."

He laughed as he spoke and drove the horses over the ditch, while

the other Achaeans followed him gladly. When they reached the

strongly built quarters of the son of Tydeus, they tied the

horses with thongs of leather to the manger, where the steeds of

Diomed stood eating their sweet corn, but Ulysses hung the

blood-stained spoils of Dolon at the stern of his ship, that they

might prepare a sacred offering to Minerva. As for themselves,

they went into the sea and washed the sweat from their bodies,

and from their necks and thighs. When the sea-water had taken all

the sweat from off them, and had refreshed them, they went into

the baths and washed themselves. After they had so done and had

anointed themselves with oil, they sat down to table, and drawing

from a full mixing-bowl, made a drink-offering of wine to

Minerva.

 

 

BOOK XI

AND now as Dawn rose from her couch beside Tithonus, harbinger of

light alike to mortals and immortals, Jove sent fierce Discord

with the ensign of war in her hands to the ships of the Achaeans.

She took her stand by the huge black hull of Ulysses' ship which

was middlemost of all, so that her voice might carry farthest on

either side, on the one hand towards the tents of Ajax son of

Telamon, and on the other towards those of Achilles--for these

two heroes, well-assured of their own strength, had valorously

drawn up their ships at the two ends of the line. There she took

her stand, and raised a cry both loud and shrill that filled the

Achaeans with courage, giving them heart to fight resolutely and

with all their might, so that they had rather stay there and do

battle than go home in their ships.

The son of Atreus shouted aloud and bade the Argives gird

themselves for battle while he put on his armour. First he girded

his goodly greaves about his legs, making them fast with ankle-

clasps of silver; and about his chest he set the breastplate

which Cinyras had once given him as a guest-gift. It had been

noised abroad as far as Cyprus that the Achaeans were about to

sail for Troy, and therefore he gave it to the king. It had ten

courses of dark cyanus, twelve of gold, and ten of tin. There

were serpents of cyanus that reared themselves up towards the

neck, three upon either side, like the rainbows which the son of

Saturn has set in heaven as a sign to mortal men. About his

shoulders he threw his sword, studded with bosses of gold; and

the scabbard was of silver with a chain of gold wherewith to hang

it. He took moreover the richly-dight shield that covered his

body when he was in battle--fair to see, with ten circles of

bronze running all round it. On the body of the shield there were

twenty bosses of white tin, with another of dark cyanus in the

middle: this last was made to show a Gorgon's head, fierce and

grim, with Rout and Panic on either side. The band for the arm to

go through was of silver, on which there was a writhing snake of

cyanus with three heads that sprang from a single neck, and went

in and out among one another. On his head Agamemnon set a helmet,

with a peak before and behind, and four plumes of horse-hair that

nodded menacingly above it; then he grasped two redoubtable

bronze-shod spears, and the gleam of his armour shot from him as

a flame into the firmament, while Juno and Minerva thundered in

honour of the king of rich Mycene.

Every man now left his horses in charge of his charioteer to hold

them in readiness by the trench, while he went into battle on

foot clad in full armour, and a mighty uproar rose on high into

the dawning. The chiefs were armed and at the trench before the

horses got there, but these came up presently. The son of Saturn

sent a portent of evil sound about their host, and the dew fell

red with blood, for he was about to send many a brave man

hurrying down to Hades.

The Trojans, on the other side upon the rising slope of the

plain, were gathered round great Hector, noble Polydamas, Aeneas

who was honoured by the Trojans like an immortal, and the three

sons of Antenor, Polybus, Agenor, and young Acamas beauteous as a

god. Hector's round shield showed in the front rank, and as some

baneful star that shines for a moment through a rent in the

clouds and is again hidden beneath them; even so was Hector now

seen in the front ranks and now again in the hindermost, and his

bronze armour gleamed like the lightning of aegis-bearing Jove.

And now as a band of reapers mow swathes of wheat or barley upon

a rich man's land, and the sheaves fall thick before them, even

so did the Trojans and Achaeans fall upon one another; they were

in no mood for yielding but fought like wolves, and neither side

got the better of the other. Discord was glad as she beheld them,

for she was the only god that went among them; the others were

not there, but stayed quietly each in his own home among the

dells and valleys of Olympus. All of them blamed the son of

Saturn for wanting to give victory to the Trojans, but father

Jove heeded them not: he held aloof from all, and sat apart in

his all-glorious majesty, looking down upon the city of the

Trojans, the ships of the Achaeans, the gleam of bronze, and

alike upon the slayers and on the slain.

Now so long as the day waxed and it was still morning, their

darts rained thick on one another and the people perished, but as

the hour drew nigh when a woodman working in some mountain forest

will get his midday meal--for he has felled till his hands are

weary; he is tired out, and must now have food--then the Danaans

with a cry that rang through all their ranks, broke the

battalions of the enemy. Agamemnon led them on, and slew first

Bienor, a leader of his people, and afterwards his comrade and

charioteer Oileus, who sprang from his chariot and was coming

full towards him; but Agamemnon struck him on the forehead with

his spear; his bronze visor was of no avail against the weapon,

which pierced both bronze and bone, so that his brains were

battered in and he was killed in full fight.

Agamemnon stripped their shirts from off them and left them with

their breasts all bare to lie where they had fallen. He then went

on to kill Isus and Antiphus two sons of Priam, the one a

bastard, the other born in wedlock; they were in the same

chariot--the bastard driving, while noble Antiphus fought beside

him. Achilles had once taken both of them prisoners in the glades

of Ida, and had bound them with fresh withes as they were

shepherding, but he had taken a ransom for them; now, however,

Agamemnon son of Atreus smote Isus in the chest above the nipple

with his spear, while he struck Antiphus hard by the ear and

threw him from his chariot. Forthwith he stripped their goodly

armour from off them and recognized them, for he had already seen

them at ships when Achilles brought them in from Ida. As a lion

fastens on the fawns of a hind and crushes them in his great

jaws, robbing them of their tender life while he on his way back

to his lair--the hind can do nothing for them even though she be

close by, for she is in an agony of fear, and flies through the

thick forest, sweating, and at her utmost speed before the mighty

monster--so, no man of the Trojans could help Isus and Antiphus,

for they were themselves flying panic before the Argives.

Then King Agamemnon took the two sons of Antimachus, Pisander and

brave Hippolochus. It was Antimachus who had been foremost in

preventing Helen's being restored to Menelaus, for he was largely

bribed by Alexandrus; and now Agamemnon took his two sons, both

in the same chariot, trying to bring their horses to a stand--for

they had lost hold of the reins and the horses were mad with

fear. The son of Atreus sprang upon them like a lion, and the

pair besought him from their chariot. "Take us alive," they

cried, "son of Atreus, and you shall receive a great ransom for

us. Our father Antimachus has great store of gold, bronze, and

wrought iron, and from this he will satisfy you with a very large

ransom should he hear of our being alive at the ships of the

Achaeans."

With such piteous words and tears did they beseech the king, but

they heard no pitiful answer in return. "If," said Agamemnon,

"you are sons of Antimachus, who once at a council of Trojans

proposed that Menelaus and Ulysses, who had come to you as

envoys, should be killed and not suffered to return, you shall

now pay for the foul iniquity of your father."

As he spoke he felled Pisander from his chariot to the earth,

smiting him on the chest with his spear, so that he lay face

uppermost upon the ground. Hippolochus fled, but him too did

Agamemnon smite; he cut off his hands and his head--which he sent

rolling in among the crowd as though it were a ball. There he let

them both lie, and wherever the ranks were thickest thither he

flew, while the other Achaeans followed. Foot soldiers drove the

foot soldiers of the foe in rout before them, and slew them;

horsemen did the like by horsemen, and the thundering tramp of

the horses raised a cloud of dust from off the plain. King

Agamemnon followed after, ever slaying them and cheering on the

Achaeans. As when some mighty forest is all ablaze--the eddying

gusts whirl fire in all directions till the thickets shrivel and

are consumed before the blast of the flame--even so fell the

heads of the flying Trojans before Agamemnon son of Atreus, and

many a noble pair of steeds drew an empty chariot along the

highways of war, for lack of drivers who were lying on the plain,

more useful now to vultures than to their wives.

Jove drew Hector away from the darts and dust, with the carnage

and din of battle; but the son of Atreus sped onwards, calling

out lustily to the Danaans. They flew on by the tomb of old Ilus,

son of Dardanus, in the middle of the plain, and past the place

of the wild fig-tree making always for the city--the son of

Atreus still shouting, and with hands all bedrabbled in gore; but

when they had reached the Scaean gates and the oak tree, there

they halted and waited for the others to come up. Meanwhile the

Trojans kept on flying over the middle of the plain like a herd

of cows maddened with fright when a lion has attacked them in the

dead of night--he springs on one of them, seizes her neck in the

grip of his strong teeth and then laps up her blood and gorges

himself upon her entrails--even so did King Agamemnon son of

Atreus pursue the foe, ever slaughtering the hindmost as they

fled pell-mell before him. Many a man was flung headlong from his

chariot by the hand of the son of Atreus, for he wielded his

spear with fury.

But when he was just about to reach the high wall and the city,

the father of gods and men came down from heaven and took his

seat, thunderbolt in hand, upon the crest of many-fountained Ida.

He then told Iris of the golden wings to carry a message for him.

"Go," said he, "fleet Iris, and speak thus to Hector--say that so

long as he sees Agamemnon heading his men and making havoc of the

Trojan ranks, he is to keep aloof and bid the others bear the

brunt of the battle, but when Agamemnon is wounded either by

spear or arrow, and takes to his chariot, then will I vouchsafe

him strength to slay till he reach the ships and night falls at

the going down of the sun."

Iris hearkened and obeyed. Down she went to strong Ilius from the

crests of Ida, and found Hector son of Priam standing by his

chariot and horses. Then she said, "Hector son of Priam, peer of

gods in counsel, father Jove has sent me to bear you this

message--so long as you see Agamemnon heading his men and making

havoc of the Trojan ranks, you are to keep aloof and bid the

others bear the brunt of the battle, but when Agamemnon is

wounded either by spear or arrow, and takes to his chariot, then

will Jove vouchsafe you strength to slay till you reach the

ships, and till night falls at the going down of the sun."

When she had thus spoken Iris left him, and Hector sprang full

armed from his chariot to the ground, brandishing his spear as he

went about everywhere among the host, cheering his men on to

fight, and stirring the dread strife of battle. The Trojans then

wheeled round, and again met the Achaeans, while the Argives on

their part strengthened their battalions. The battle was now in

array and they stood face to face with one another, Agamemnon

ever pressing forward in his eagerness to be ahead of all others.

Tell me now ye Muses that dwell in the mansions of Olympus, who,

whether of the Trojans or of their allies, was first to face

Agamemnon? It was Iphidamas son of Antenor, a man both brave and

of great stature, who was brought up in fertile Thrace, the

mother of sheep. Cisses, his mother's father, brought him up in

his own house when he was a child--Cisses, father to fair Theano.

When he reached manhood, Cisses would have kept him there, and

was for giving him his daughter in marriage, but as soon as he

had married he set out to fight the Achaeans with twelve ships

that followed him: these he had left at Percote and had come on

by land to Ilius. He it was that now met Agamemnon son of Atreus.

When they were close up with one another, the son of Atreus

missed his aim, and Iphidamas hit him on the girdle below the

cuirass and then flung himself upon him, trusting to his strength

of arm; the girdle, however, was not pierced, nor nearly so, for

the point of the spear struck against the silver and was turned

aside as though it had been lead: King Agamemnon caught it from

his hand, and drew it towards him with the fury of a lion; he

then drew his sword, and killed Iphidamas by striking him on the

neck. So there the poor fellow lay, sleeping a sleep as it were

of bronze, killed in the defence of his fellow-citizens, far from

his wedded wife, of whom he had had no joy though he had given

much for her: he had given a hundred-head of cattle down, and had

promised later on to give a thousand sheep and goats mixed, from

the countless flocks of which he was possessed. Agamemnon son of

Atreus then despoiled him, and carried off his armour into the

host of the Achaeans.

When noble Coon, Antenor's eldest son, saw this, sore indeed were

his eyes at the sight of his fallen brother. Unseen by Agamemnon

he got beside him, spear in hand, and wounded him in the middle

of his arm below the elbow, the point of the spear going right

through the arm. Agamemnon was convulsed with pain, but still not

even for this did he leave off struggling and fighting, but

grasped his spear that flew as fleet as the wind, and sprang upon

Coon who was trying to drag off the body of his brother--his

father's son--by the foot, and was crying for help to all the

bravest of his comrades; but Agamemnon struck him with a

bronze-shod spear and killed him as he was dragging the dead body

through the press of men under cover of his shield: he then cut

off his head, standing over the body of Iphidamas. Thus did the

sons of Antenor meet their fate at the hands of the son of

Atreus, and go down into the house of Hades.

As long as the blood still welled warm from his wound Agamemnon

went about attacking the ranks of the enemy with spear and sword

and with great handfuls of stone, but when the blood had ceased

to flow and the wound grew dry, the pain became great. As the

sharp pangs which the Eilithuiae, goddesses of childbirth,

daughters of Juno and dispensers of cruel pain, send upon a woman

when she is in labour--even so sharp were the pangs of the son of

Atreus. He sprang on to his chariot, and bade his charioteer

drive to the ships, for he was in great agony. With a loud clear

voice he shouted to the Danaans, "My friends, princes and

counsellors of the Argives, defend the ships yourselves, for Jove

has not suffered me to fight the whole day through against the

Trojans."

With this the charioteer turned his horses towards the ships, and

they flew forward nothing loth. Their chests were white with foam

and their bellies with dust, as they drew the wounded king out of

the battle.

When Hector saw Agamemnon quit the field, he shouted to the

Trojans and Lycians saying, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanian

warriors, be men, my friends, and acquit yourselves in battle

bravely; their best man has left them, and Jove has vouchsafed me

a great triumph; charge the foe with your chariots that you may

win still greater glory."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and as a

huntsman hounds his dogs on against a lion or wild boar, even so

did Hector, peer of Mars, hound the proud Trojans on against the

Achaeans. Full of hope he plunged in among the foremost, and fell

on the fight like some fierce tempest that swoops down upon the

sea, and lashes its deep blue waters into fury.

What, then is the full tale of those whom Hector son of Priam

killed in the hour of triumph which Jove then vouchsafed him?

First Asaeus, Autonous, and Opites; Dolops son of Clytius,

Opheltius and Agelaus; Aesymnus, Orus and Hipponous steadfast in

battle; these chieftains of the Achaeans did Hector slay, and

then he fell upon the rank and file. As when the west wind

hustles the clouds of the white south and beats them down with

the fierceness of its fury--the waves of the sea roll high, and

the spray is flung aloft in the rage of the wandering wind--even

so thick were the heads of them that fell by the hand of Hector.

All had then been lost and no help for it, and the Achaeans would

have fled pell-mell to their ships, had not Ulysses cried out to

Diomed, "Son of Tydeus, what has happened to us that we thus

forget our prowess? Come, my good fellow, stand by my side and

help me, we shall be shamed for ever if Hector takes the ships."

And Diomed answered, "Come what may, I will stand firm; but we

shall have scant joy of it, for Jove is minded to give victory to

the Trojans rather than to us."

With these words he struck Thymbraeus from his chariot to the

ground, smiting him in the left breast with his spear, while

Ulysses killed Molion who was his squire. These they let lie, now

that they had stopped their fighting; the two heroes then went on

playing havoc with the foe, like two wild boars that turn in fury

and rend the hounds that hunt them. Thus did they turn upon the

Trojans and slay them, and the Achaeans were thankful to have

breathing time in their flight from Hector.

They then took two princes with their chariot, the two sons of

Merops of Percote, who excelled all others in the arts of

divination. He had forbidden his sons to go to the war, but they

would not obey him, for fate lured them to their fall. Diomed son

of Tydeus slew them both and stripped them of their armour, while

Ulysses killed Hippodamus and Hypeirochus.

And now the son of Saturn as he looked down from Ida ordained

that neither side should have the advantage, and they kept on

killing one another. The son of Tydeus speared Agastrophus son of

Paeon in the hip-joint with his spear. His chariot was not at

hand for him to fly with, so blindly confident had he been. His

squire was in charge of it at some distance and he was fighting

on foot among the foremost until he lost his life. Hector soon

marked the havoc Diomed and Ulysses were making, and bore down

upon them with a loud cry, followed by the Trojan ranks; brave

Diomed was dismayed when he saw them, and said to Ulysses who was

beside him, "Great Hector is bearing down upon us and we shall be

undone; let us stand firm and wait his onset."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it, nor did he miss

his mark. He had aimed at Hector's head near the top of his

helmet, but bronze was turned by bronze, and Hector was

untouched, for the spear was stayed by the visored helm made with

three plates of metal, which Phoebus Apollo had given him. Hector

sprang back with a great bound under cover of the ranks; he fell

on his knees and propped himself with his brawny hand leaning on

the ground, for darkness had fallen on his eyes. The son of

Tydeus having thrown his spear dashed in among the foremost

fighters, to the place where he had seen it strike the ground;

meanwhile Hector recovered himself and springing back into his

chariot mingled with the crowd, by which means he saved his life.

But Diomed made at him with his spear and said, "Dog, you have

again got away though death was close on your heels. Phoebus

Apollo, to whom I ween you pray ere you go into battle, has again

saved you, nevertheless I will meet you and make an end of you

hereafter, if there is any god who will stand by me too and be my

helper. For the present I must pursue those I can lay hands on."

As he spoke he began stripping the spoils from the son of Paeon,

but Alexandrus husband of lovely Helen aimed an arrow at him,

leaning against a pillar of the monument which men had raised to

Ilus son of Dardanus, a ruler in days of old. Diomed had taken

the cuirass from off the breast of Agastrophus, his heavy helmet

also, and the shield from off his shoulders, when Paris drew his

bow and let fly an arrow that sped not from his hand in vain, but

pierced the flat of Diomed's right foot, going right through it

and fixing itself in the ground. Thereon Paris with a hearty

laugh sprang forward from his hiding-place, and taunted him

saying, "You are wounded--my arrow has not been shot in vain;

would that it had hit you in the belly and killed you, for thus

the Trojans, who fear you as goats fear a lion, would have had a

truce from evil."

Diomed all undaunted answered, "Archer, you who without your bow

are nothing, slanderer and seducer, if you were to be tried in

single combat fighting in full armour, your bow and your arrows

would serve you in little stead. Vain is your boast in that you

have scratched the sole of my foot. I care no more than if a girl

or some silly boy had hit me. A worthless coward can inflict but

a light wound; when I wound a man though I but graze his skin it

is another matter, for my weapon will lay him low. His wife will

tear her cheeks for grief and his children will be fatherless:

there will he rot, reddening the earth with his blood, and

vultures, not women, will gather round him."

Thus he spoke, but Ulysses came up and stood over him. Under this

cover he sat down to draw the arrow from his foot, and sharp was

the pain he suffered as he did so. Then he sprang on to his

chariot and bade the charioteer drive him to the ships, for he

was sick at heart.

Ulysses was now alone; not one of the Argives stood by him, for

they were all panic-stricken. "Alas," said he to himself in his

dismay, "what will become of me? It is ill if I turn and fly

before these odds, but it will be worse if I am left alone and

taken prisoner, for the son of Saturn has struck the rest of the

Danaans with panic. But why talk to myself in this way? Well do I

know that though cowards quit the field, a hero, whether he wound

or be wounded, must stand firm and hold his own."

While he was thus in two minds, the ranks of the Trojans advanced

and hemmed him in, and bitterly did they come to rue it. As

hounds and lusty youths set upon a wild boar that sallies from

his lair whetting his white tusks--they attack him from every

side and can hear the gnashing of his jaws, but for all his

fierceness they still hold their ground--even so furiously did

the Trojans attack Ulysses. First he sprang spear in hand upon

Deiopites and wounded him on the shoulder with a downward blow;

then he killed Thoon and Ennomus. After these he struck

Chersidamas in the loins under his shield as he had just sprung

down from his chariot; so he fell in the dust and clutched the

earth in the hollow of his hand. These he let lie, and went on to

wound Charops son of Hippasus own brother to noble Socus. Socus,

hero that he was, made all speed to help him, and when he was

close to Ulysses he said, "Far-famed Ulysses, insatiable of craft

and toil, this day you shall either boast of having killed both

the sons of Hippasus and stripped them of their armour, or you

shall fall before my spear."

With these words he struck the shield of Ulysses. The spear went

through the shield and passed on through his richly wrought

cuirass, tearing the flesh from his side, but Pallas Minerva did

not suffer it to pierce the entrails of the hero. Ulysses knew

that his hour was not yet come, but he gave ground and said to

Socus, "Wretch, you shall now surely die. You have stayed me from

fighting further with the Trojans, but you shall now fall by my

spear, yielding glory to myself, and your soul to Hades of the

noble steeds."

Socus had turned in flight, but as he did so, the spear struck

him in the back midway between the shoulders, and went right

through his chest. He fell heavily to the ground and Ulysses

vaunted over him saying, "O Socus, son of Hippasus tamer of

horses, death has been too quick for you and you have not escaped

him: poor wretch, not even in death shall your father and mother

close your eyes, but the ravening vultures shall enshroud you

with the flapping of their dark wings and devour you. Whereas

even though I fall the Achaeans will give me my due rites of

burial."

So saying he drew Socus's heavy spear out of his flesh and from

his shield, and the blood welled forth when the spear was

withdrawn so that he was much dismayed. When the Trojans saw that

Ulysses was bleeding they raised a great shout and came on in a

body towards him; he therefore gave ground, and called his

comrades to come and help him. Thrice did he cry as loudly as man

can cry, and thrice did brave Menelaus hear him; he turned,

therefore, to Ajax who was close beside him and said, "Ajax,

noble son of Telamon, captain of your people, the cry of Ulysses

rings in my ears, as though the Trojans had cut him off and were

worsting him while he is single-handed. Let us make our way

through the throng; it will be well that we defend him; I fear he

may come to harm for all his valour if he be left without

support, and the Danaans would miss him sorely."

He led the way and mighty Ajax went with him. The Trojans had

gathered round Ulysses like ravenous mountain jackals round the

carcase of some horned stag that has been hit with an arrow--the

stag has fled at full speed so long as his blood was warm and his

strength has lasted, but when the arrow has overcome him, the

savage jackals devour him in the shady glades of the forest. Then

heaven sends a fierce lion thither, whereon the jackals fly in

terror and the lion robs them of their prey--even so did Trojans

many and brave gather round crafty Ulysses, but the hero stood at

bay and kept them off with his spear. Ajax then came up with his

shield before him like a wall, and stood hard by, whereon the

Trojans fled in all directions. Menelaus took Ulysses by the

hand, and led him out of the press while his squire brought up

his chariot, but Ajax rushed furiously on the Trojans and killed

Doryclus, a bastard son of Priam; then he wounded Pandocus,

Lysandrus, Pyrasus, and Pylartes; as some swollen torrent comes

rushing in full flood from the mountains on to the plain, big

with the rain of heaven--many a dry oak and many a pine does it

engulf, and much mud does it bring down and cast into the sea--

even so did brave Ajax chase the foe furiously over the plain,

slaying both men and horses.

Hector did not yet know what Ajax was doing, for he was fighting

on the extreme left of the battle by the banks of the river

Scamander, where the carnage was thickest and the war-cry loudest

round Nestor and brave Idomeneus. Among these Hector was making

great slaughter with his spear and furious driving, and was

destroying the ranks that were opposed to him; still the Achaeans

would have given no ground, had not Alexandrus husband of lovely

Helen stayed the prowess of Machaon, shepherd of his people, by

wounding him in the right shoulder with a triple-barbed arrow.

The Achaeans were in great fear that as the fight had turned

against them the Trojans might take him prisoner, and Idomeneus

said to Nestor, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour to the Achaean

name, mount your chariot at once; take Machaon with you and drive

your horses to the ships as fast as you can. A physician is worth

more than several other men put together, for he can cut out

arrows and spread healing herbs."

Nestor knight of Gerene did as Idomeneus had counselled; he at

once mounted his chariot, and Machaon son of the famed physician

Aesculapius, went with him. He lashed his horses and they flew

onward nothing loth towards the ships, as though of their own

free will.

Then Cebriones seeing the Trojans in confusion said to Hector

from his place beside him, "Hector, here are we two fighting on

the extreme wing of the battle, while the other Trojans are in

pell-mell rout, they and their horses. Ajax son of Telamon is

driving them before him; I know him by the breadth of his shield:

let us turn our chariot and horses thither, where horse and foot

are fighting most desperately, and where the cry of battle is

loudest."

With this he lashed his goodly steeds, and when they felt the

whip they drew the chariot full speed among the Achaeans and

Trojans, over the bodies and shields of those that had fallen:

the axle was bespattered with blood, and the rail round the car

was covered with splashes both from the horses' hoofs and from

the tyres of the wheels. Hector tore his way through and flung

himself into the thick of the fight, and his presence threw the

Danaans into confusion, for his spear was not long idle;

nevertheless though he went among the ranks with sword and spear,

and throwing great stones, he avoided Ajax son of Telamon, for

Jove would have been angry with him if he had fought a better man

than himself.

Then father Jove from his high throne struck fear into the heart

of Ajax, so that he stood there dazed and threw his shield behind

him--looking fearfully at the throng of his foes as though he

were some wild beast, and turning hither and thither but

crouching slowly backwards. As peasants with their hounds chase a

lion from their stockyard, and watch by night to prevent his

carrying off the pick of their herd--he makes his greedy spring,

but in vain, for the darts from many a strong hand fall thick

around him, with burning brands that scare him for all his fury,

and when morning comes he slinks foiled and angry away--even so

did Ajax, sorely against his will, retreat angrily before the

Trojans, fearing for the ships of the Achaeans. Or as some lazy

ass that has had many a cudgel broken about his back, when he

into a field begins eating the corn--boys beat him but he is too

many for them, and though they lay about with their sticks they

cannot hurt him; still when he has had his fill they at last

drive him from the field--even so did the Trojans and their

allies pursue great Ajax, ever smiting the middle of his shield

with their darts. Now and again he would turn and show fight,

keeping back the battalions of the Trojans, and then he would

again retreat; but he prevented any of them from making his way

to the ships. Single-handed he stood midway between the Trojans

and Achaeans: the spears that sped from their hands stuck some of

them in his mighty shield, while many, though thirsting for his

blood, fell to the ground ere they could reach him to the

wounding of his fair flesh.

Now when Eurypylus the brave son of Euaemon saw that Ajax was

being overpowered by the rain of arrows, he went up to him and

hurled his spear. He struck Apisaon son of Phausius in the liver

below the midriff, and laid him low. Eurypylus sprang upon him,

and stripped the armour from his shoulders; but when Alexandrus

saw him, he aimed an arrow at him which struck him in the right

thigh; the arrow broke, but the point that was left in the wound

dragged on the thigh; he drew back, therefore, under cover of his

comrades to save his life, shouting as he did so to the Danaans,

"My friends, princes and counsellors of the Argives, rally to the

defence of Ajax who is being overpowered, and I doubt whether he

will come out of the fight alive. Hither, then, to the rescue of

great Ajax son of Telamon."

Even so did he cry when he was wounded; thereon the others came

near, and gathered round him, holding their shields upwards from

their shoulders so as to give him cover. Ajax then made towards

them, and turned round to stand at bay as soon as he had reached

his men.

Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the

mares of Neleus, all in a lather with sweat, were bearing Nestor

out of the fight, and with him Machaon shepherd of his people.

Achilles saw and took note, for he was standing on the stern of

his ship watching the hard stress and struggle of the fight. He

called from the ship to his comrade Patroclus, who heard him in

the tent and came out looking like Mars himself--here indeed was

the beginning of the ill that presently befell him. "Why," said

he, "Achilles, do you call me? What do you want with me?" And

Achilles answered, "Noble son of Menoetius, man after my own

heart, I take it that I shall now have the Achaeans praying at my

knees, for they are in great straits; go, Patroclus, and ask

Nestor who it is that he is bearing away wounded from the field;

from his back I should say it was Machaon son of Aesculapius, but

I could not see his face for the horses went by me at full

speed."

Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him, and set off

running by the ships and tents of the Achaeans.

When Nestor and Machaon had reached the tents of the son of

Neleus, they dismounted, and an esquire, Eurymedon, took the

horses from the chariot. The pair then stood in the breeze by the

seaside to dry the sweat from their shirts, and when they had so

done they came inside and took their seats. Fair Hecamede, whom

Nestor had had awarded to him from Tenedos when Achilles took it,

mixed them a mess; she was daughter of wise Arsinous, and the

Achaeans had given her to Nestor because he excelled all of them

in counsel. First she set for them a fair and well-made table

that had feet of cyanus; on it there was a vessel of bronze and

an onion to give relish to the drink, with honey and cakes of

barley-meal. There was also a cup of rare workmanship which the

old man had brought with him from home, studded with bosses of

gold; it had four handles, on each of which there were two golden

doves feeding, and it had two feet to stand on. Any one else

would hardly have been able to lift it from the table when it was

full, but Nestor could do so quite easily. In this the woman, as

fair as a goddess, mixed them a mess with Pramnian wine; she

grated goat's milk cheese into it with a bronze grater, threw in

a handful of white barley-meal, and having thus prepared the mess

she bade them drink it. When they had done so and had thus

quenched their thirst, they fell talking with one another, and at

this moment Patroclus appeared at the door.

When the old man saw him he sprang from his seat, seized his

hand, led him into the tent, and bade him take his place among

them; but Patroclus stood where he was and said, "Noble sir, I

may not stay, you cannot persuade me to come in; he that sent me

is not one to be trifled with, and he bade me ask who the wounded

man was whom you were bearing away from the field. I can now see

for myself that he is Machaon, shepherd of his people. I must go

back and tell Achilles. You, sir, know what a terrible man he is,

and how ready to blame even where no blame should lie."

And Nestor answered, "Why should Achilles care to know how many

of the Achaeans may be wounded? He recks not of the dismay that

reigns in our host; our most valiant chieftains lie disabled,

brave Diomed, son of Tydeus, is wounded; so are Ulysses and

Agamemnon; Eurypylus has been hit with an arrow in the thigh, and

I have just been bringing this man from the field--he too wounded

with an arrow. Nevertheless, Achilles, so valiant though he be,

cares not and knows no ruth. Will he wait till the ships, do what

we may, are in a blaze, and we perish one upon the other? As for

me, I have no strength nor stay in me any longer; would that I

were still young and strong as in the days when there was a fight

between us and the men of Elis about some cattle-raiding. I then

killed Itymoneus, the valiant son of Hypeirochus, a dweller in

Elis, as I was driving in the spoil; he was hit by a dart thrown

by my hand while fighting in the front rank in defence of his

cows, so he fell and the country people around him were in great

fear. We drove off a vast quantity of booty from the plain, fifty

herds of cattle and as many flocks of sheep; fifty droves also of

pigs, and as many wide-spreading flocks of goats. Of horses,

moreover, we seized a hundred and fifty, all of them mares, and

many had foals running with them. All these did we drive by night

to Pylus, the city of Neleus, taking them within the city; and

the heart of Neleus was glad in that I had taken so much, though

it was the first time I had ever been in the field. At daybreak

the heralds went round crying that all in Elis to whom there was

a debt owing should come; and the leading Pylians assembled to

divide the spoils. There were many to whom the Epeans owed

chattels, for we men of Pylus were few and had been oppressed

with wrong; in former years Hercules had come, and had laid his

hand heavy upon us, so that all our best men had perished. Neleus

had had twelve sons, but I alone was left; the others had all

been killed. The Epeans presuming upon all this had looked down

upon us and had done us much evil. My father chose a herd of

cattle and a great flock of sheep--three hundred in all--and he

took their shepherds with him, for there was a great debt due to

him in Elis, to wit four horses, winners of prizes. They and

their chariots with them had gone to the games and were to run

for a tripod, but King Augeas took them, and sent back their

driver grieving for the loss of his horses. Neleus was angered by

what he had both said and done, and took great value in return,

but he divided the rest, that no man might have less than his

full share.

"Thus did we order all things, and offer sacrifices to the gods

throughout the city; but three days afterwards the Epeans came in

a body, many in number, they and their chariots, in full array,

and with them the two Moliones in their armour, though they were

still lads and unused to fighting. Now there is a certain town,

Thryoessa, perched upon a rock on the river Alpheus, the border

city Pylus. This they would destroy, and pitched their camp about

it, but when they had crossed their whole plain, Minerva darted

down by night from Olympus and bade us set ourselves in array;

and she found willing soldiers in Pylos, for the men meant

fighting. Neleus would not let me arm, and hid my horses, for he

said that as yet I could know nothing about war; nevertheless

Minerva so ordered the fight that, all on foot as I was, I fought

among our mounted forces and vied with the foremost of them.

There is a river Minyeius that falls into the sea near Arene, and

there they that were mounted (and I with them) waited till

morning, when the companies of foot soldiers came up with us in

force. Thence in full panoply and equipment we came towards noon

to the sacred waters of the Alpheus, and there we offered victims

to almighty Jove, with a bull to Alpheus, another to Neptune, and

a herd-heifer to Minerva. After this we took supper in our

companies, and laid us down to rest each in his armour by the

river.

"The Epeans were beleaguering the city and were determined to

take it, but ere this might be there was a desperate fight in

store for them. When the sun's rays began to fall upon the earth

we joined battle, praying to Jove and to Minerva, and when the

fight had begun, I was the first to kill my man and take his

horses--to wit the warrior Mulius. He was son-in-law to Augeas,

having married his eldest daughter, golden-haired Agamede, who

knew the virtues of every herb which grows upon the face of the

earth. I speared him as he was coming towards me, and when he

fell headlong in the dust, I sprang upon his chariot and took my

place in the front ranks. The Epeans fled in all directions when

they saw the captain of their horsemen (the best man they had)

laid low, and I swept down on them like a whirlwind, taking fifty

chariots--and in each of them two men bit the dust, slain by my

spear. I should have even killed the two Moliones, sons of Actor,

unless their real father, Neptune lord of the earthquake, had

hidden them in a thick mist and borne them out of the fight.

Thereon Jove vouchsafed the Pylians a great victory, for we

chased them far over the plain, killing the men and bringing in

their armour, till we had brought our horses to Buprasium, rich

in wheat, and to the Olenian rock, with the hill that is called

Alision, at which point Minerva turned the people back. There I

slew the last man and left him; then the Achaeans drove their

horses back from Buprasium to Pylos and gave thanks to Jove among

the gods, and among mortal men to Nestor.

"Such was I among my peers, as surely as ever was, but Achilles

is for keeping all his valour for himself; bitterly will he rue

it hereafter when the host is being cut to pieces. My good

friend, did not Menoetius charge you thus, on the day when he

sent you from Phthia to Agamemnon? Ulysses and I were in the

house, inside, and heard all that he said to you; for we came to

the fair house of Peleus while beating up recruits throughout all

Achaea, and when we got there we found Menoetius and yourself,

and Achilles with you. The old knight Peleus was in the outer

court, roasting the fat thigh-bones of a heifer to Jove the lord

of thunder; and he held a gold chalice in his hand from which he

poured drink-offerings of wine over the burning sacrifice. You

two were busy cutting up the heifer, and at that moment we stood

at the gates, whereon Achilles sprang to his feet, led us by the

hand into the house, placed us at table, and set before us such

hospitable entertainment as guests expect. When we had satisfied

ourselves with meat and drink, I said my say and urged both of

you to join us. You were ready enough to do so, and the two old

men charged you much and straitly. Old Peleus bade his son

Achilles fight ever among the foremost and outvie his peers,

while Menoetius the son of Actor spoke thus to you: 'My son,'

said he, 'Achilles is of nobler birth than you are, but you are

older than he, though he is far the better man of the two.

Counsel him wisely, guide him in the right way, and he will

follow you to his own profit.' Thus did your father charge you,

but you have forgotten; nevertheless, even now, say all this to

Achilles if he will listen to you. Who knows but with heaven's

help you may talk him over, for it is good to take a friend's

advice. If, however, he is fearful about some oracle, or if his

mother has told him something from Jove, then let him send you,

and let the rest of the Myrmidons follow with you, if perchance

you may bring light and saving to the Danaans. And let him send

you into battle clad in his own armour, that the Trojans may

mistake you for him and leave off fighting; the sons of the

Achaeans may thus have time to get their breath, for they are

hard pressed and there is little breathing time in battle. You,

who are fresh, might easily drive a tired enemy back to his walls

and away from the tents and ships."

With these words he moved the heart of Patroclus, who set off

running by the line of the ships to Achilles, descendant of

Aeacus. When he had got as far as the ships of Ulysses, where was

their place of assembly and court of justice, with their altars

dedicated to the gods, Eurypylus son of Euaemon, met him, wounded

in the thigh with an arrow, and limping out of the fight. Sweat

rained from his head and shoulders, and black blood welled from

his cruel wound, but his mind did not wander. The son of

Menoetius when he saw him had compassion upon him and spoke

piteously saying, "O unhappy princes and counsellors of the

Danaans, are you then doomed to feed the hounds of Troy with your

fat, far from your friends and your native land? Say, noble

Eurypylus, will the Achaeans be able to hold great Hector in

check, or will they fall now before his spear?"

Wounded Eurypylus made answer, "Noble Patroclus, there is no hope

left for the Achaeans but they will perish at their ships. All

they that were princes among us are lying struck down and wounded

at the hands of the Trojans, who are waxing stronger and

stronger. But save me and take me to your ship; cut out the arrow

from my thigh; wash the black blood from off it with warm water,

and lay upon it those gracious herbs which, so they say, have

been shown you by Achilles, who was himself shown them by Chiron,

most righteous of all the centaurs. For of the physicians

Podalirius and Machaon, I hear that the one is lying wounded in

his tent and is himself in need of healing, while the other is

fighting the Trojans upon the plain."

"Hero Eurypylus," replied the brave son of Menoetius, "how may

these things be? What can I do? I am on my way to bear a message

to noble Achilles from Nestor of Gerene, bulwark of the Achaeans,

but even so I will not be unmindful of your distress."

With this he clasped him round the middle and led him into the

tent, and a servant, when he saw him, spread bullock-skins on the

ground for him to lie on. He laid him at full length and cut out

the sharp arrow from his thigh; he washed the black blood from

the wound with warm water; he then crushed a bitter herb, rubbing

it between his hands, and spread it upon the wound; this was a

virtuous herb which killed all pain; so the wound presently dried

and the blood left off flowing.

 

 

BOOK XII

SO THE son of Menoetius was attending to the hurt of Eurypylus

within the tent, but the Argives and Trojans still fought

desperately, nor were the trench and the high wall above it, to

keep the Trojans in check longer. They had built it to protect

their ships, and had dug the trench all round it that it might

safeguard both the ships and the rich spoils which they had

taken, but they had not offered hecatombs to the gods. It had

been built without the consent of the immortals, and therefore it

did not last. So long as Hector lived and Achilles nursed his

anger, and so long as the city of Priam remained untaken, the

great wall of the Achaeans stood firm; but when the bravest of

the Trojans were no more, and many also of the Argives, though

some were yet left alive--when, moreover, the city was sacked in

the tenth year, and the Argives had gone back with their ships to

their own country--then Neptune and Apollo took counsel to

destroy the wall, and they turned on to it the streams of all the

rivers from Mount Ida into the sea, Rhesus, Heptaporus, Caresus,

Rhodius, Grenicus, Aesopus, and goodly Scamander, with Simois,

where many a shield and helm had fallen, and many a hero of the

race of demigods had bitten the dust. Phoebus Apollo turned the

mouths of all these rivers together and made them flow for nine

days against the wall, while Jove rained the whole time that he

might wash it sooner into the sea. Neptune himself, trident in

hand, surveyed the work and threw into the sea all the

foundations of beams and stones which the Achaeans had laid with

so much toil; he made all level by the mighty stream of the

Hellespont, and then when he had swept the wall away he spread a

great beach of sand over the place where it had been. This done

he turned the rivers back into their old courses.

This was what Neptune and Apollo were to do in after time; but as

yet battle and turmoil were still raging round the wall till its

timbers rang under the blows that rained upon them. The Argives,

cowed by the scourge of Jove, were hemmed in at their ships in

fear of Hector the mighty minister of Rout, who as heretofore

fought with the force and fury of a whirlwind. As a lion or wild

boar turns fiercely on the dogs and men that attack him, while

these form solid wall and shower their javelins as they face

him--his courage is all undaunted, but his high spirit will be

the death of him; many a time does he charge at his pursuers to

scatter them, and they fall back as often as he does so--even so

did Hector go about among the host exhorting his men, and

cheering them on to cross the trench.

But the horses dared not do so, and stood neighing upon its

brink, for the width frightened them. They could neither jump it

nor cross it, for it had overhanging banks all round upon either

side, above which there were the sharp stakes that the sons of

the Achaeans had planted so close and strong as a defence against

all who would assail it; a horse, therefore, could not get into

it and draw his chariot after him, but those who were on foot

kept trying their very utmost. Then Polydamas went up to Hector

and said, "Hector, and you other captains of the Trojans and

allies, it is madness for us to try and drive our horses across

the trench; it will be very hard to cross, for it is full of

sharp stakes, and beyond these there is the wall. Our horses

therefore cannot get down into it, and would be of no use if they

did; moreover it is a narrow place and we should come to harm.

If, indeed, great Jove is minded to help the Trojans, and in his

anger will utterly destroy the Achaeans, I would myself gladly

see them perish now and here far from Argos; but if they should

rally and we are driven back from the ships pell-mell into the

trench there will be not so much as a man get back to the city to

tell the tale. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let our

squires hold our horses by the trench, but let us follow Hector

in a body on foot, clad in full armour, and if the day of their

doom is at hand the Achaeans will not be able to withstand us."

Thus spoke Polydamas and his saying pleased Hector, who sprang in

full armour to the ground, and all the other Trojans, when they

saw him do so, also left their chariots. Each man then gave his

horses over to his charioteer in charge to hold them ready for

him at the trench. Then they formed themselves into companies,

made themselves ready, and in five bodies followed their leaders.

Those that went with Hector and Polydamas were the bravest and

most in number, and the most determined to break through the wall

and fight at the ships. Cebriones was also joined with them as

third in command, for Hector had left his chariot in charge of a

less valiant soldier. The next company was led by Paris,

Alcathous, and Agenor; the third by Helenus and Deiphobus, two

sons of Priam, and with them was the hero Asius--Asius, the son

of Hyrtacus, whose great black horses of the breed that comes

from the river Selleis had brought him from Arisbe. Aeneas, the

valiant son of Anchises, led the fourth; he and the two sons of

Antenor, Archelochus and Acamas, men well versed in all the arts

of war. Sarpedon was captain over the allies, and took with him

Glaucus and Asteropaeus whom he deemed most valiant after

himself--for he was far the best man of them all. These helped to

array one another in their ox-hide shields, and then charged

straight at the Danaans, for they felt sure that they would not

hold out longer and that they should themselves now fall upon the

ships.

The rest of the Trojans and their allies now followed the counsel

of Polydamas but Asius, son of Hyrtacus, would not leave his

horses and his esquire behind him; in his foolhardiness he took

them on with him towards the ships, nor did he fail to come by

his end in consequence. Nevermore was he to return to wind-beaten

Ilius, exulting in his chariot and his horses; ere he could do

so, death of ill-omened name had overshadowed him and he had

fallen by the spear of Idomeneus the noble son of Deucalion. He

had driven towards the left wing of the ships, by which way the

Achaeans used to return with their chariots and horses from the

plain. Hither he drove and found the gates with their doors

opened wide, and the great bar down--for the gatemen kept them

open so as to let those of their comrades enter who might be

flying towards the ships. Hither of set purpose did he direct his

horses, and his men followed him with a loud cry, for they felt

sure that the Achaeans would not hold out longer, and that they

should now fall upon the ships. Little did they know that at the

gates they should find two of the bravest chieftains, proud sons

of the fighting Lapithae--the one, Polypoetes, mighty son of

Pirithous, and the other Leonteus, peer of murderous Mars. These

stood before the gates like two high oak trees upon the

mountains, that tower from their wide-spreading roots, and year

after year battle with wind and rain--even so did these two men

await the onset of great Asius confidently and without flinching.

The Trojans led by him and by Iamenus, Orestes, Adamas the son of

Asius, Thoon and Oenomaus, raised a loud cry of battle and made

straight for the wall, holding their shields of dry ox-hide above

their heads; for a while the two defenders remained inside and

cheered the Achaeans on to stand firm in the defence of their

ships; when, however, they saw that the Trojans were attacking

the wall, while the Danaans were crying out for help and being

routed, they rushed outside and fought in front of the gates like

two wild boars upon the mountains that abide the attack of men

and dogs, and charging on either side break down the wood all

round them tearing it up by the roots, and one can hear the

clattering of their tusks, till some one hits them and makes an

end of them--even so did the gleaming bronze rattle about their

breasts, as the weapons fell upon them; for they fought with

great fury, trusting to their own prowess and to those who were

on the wall above them. These threw great stones at their

assailants in defence of themselves their tents and their ships.

The stones fell thick as the flakes of snow which some fierce

blast drives from the dark clouds and showers down in sheets upon

the earth--even so fell the weapons from the hands alike of

Trojans and Achaeans. Helmet and shield rang out as the great

stones rained upon them, and Asius, the son of Hyrtacus, in his

dismay cried aloud and smote his two thighs. "Father Jove," he

cried, "of a truth you too are altogether given to lying. I made

sure the Argive heroes could not withstand us, whereas like

slim-waisted wasps, or bees that have their nests in the rocks by

the wayside--they leave not the holes wherein they have built

undefended, but fight for their little ones against all who would

take them--even so these men, though they be but two, will not be

driven from the gates, but stand firm either to slay or be

slain."

He spoke, but moved not the mind of Jove, whose counsel it then

was to give glory to Hector. Meanwhile the rest of the Trojans

were fighting about the other gates; I, however, am no god to be

able to tell about all these things, for the battle raged

everywhere about the stone wall as it were a fiery furnace. The

Argives, discomfited though they were, were forced to defend

their ships, and all the gods who were defending the Achaeans

were vexed in spirit; but the Lapithae kept on fighting with

might and main.

Thereon Polypoetes, mighty son of Pirithous, hit Damasus with a

spear upon his cheek-pierced helmet. The helmet did not protect

him, for the point of the spear went through it, and broke the

bone, so that the brain inside was scattered about, and he died

fighting. He then slew Pylon and Ormenus. Leonteus, of the race

of Mars, killed Hippomachus the son of Antimachus by striking him

with his spear upon the girdle. He then drew his sword and sprang

first upon Antiphates whom he killed in combat, and who fell face

upwards on the earth. After him he killed Menon, Iamenus, and

Orestes, and laid them low one after the other.

While they were busy stripping the armour from these heroes, the

youths who were led on by Polydamas and Hector (and these were

the greater part and the most valiant of those that were trying

to break through the wall and fire the ships) were still standing

by the trench, uncertain what they should do; for they had seen a

sign from heaven when they had essayed to cross it--a soaring

eagle that flew skirting the left wing of their host, with a

monstrous blood-red snake in its talons still alive and

struggling to escape. The snake was still bent on revenge,

wriggling and twisting itself backwards till it struck the bird

that held it, on the neck and breast; whereon the bird being in

pain, let it fall, dropping it into the middle of the host, and

then flew down the wind with a sharp cry. The Trojans were struck

with terror when they saw the snake, portent of aegis-bearing

Jove, writhing in the midst of them, and Polydamas went up to

Hector and said, "Hector, at our councils of war you are ever

given to rebuke me, even when I speak wisely, as though it were

not well, forsooth, that one of the people should cross your will

either in the field or at the council board; you would have them

support you always: nevertheless I will say what I think will be

best; let us not now go on to fight the Danaans at their ships,

for I know what will happen if this soaring eagle which skirted

the left wing of our host with a monstrous blood-red snake in its

talons (the snake being still alive) was really sent as an omen

to the Trojans on their essaying to cross the trench. The eagle

let go her hold; she did not succeed in taking it home to her

little ones, and so will it be--with ourselves; even though by a

mighty effort we break through the gates and wall of the

Achaeans, and they give way before us, still we shall not return

in good order by the way we came, but shall leave many a man

behind us whom the Achaeans will do to death in defence of their

ships. Thus would any seer who was expert in these matters, and

was trusted by the people, read the portent."

Hector looked fiercely at him and said, "Polydamas, I like not of

your reading. You can find a better saying than this if you will.

If, however, you have spoken in good earnest, then indeed has

heaven robbed you of your reason. You would have me pay no heed

to the counsels of Jove, nor to the promises he made me--and he

bowed his head in confirmation; you bid me be ruled rather by the

flight of wild-fowl. What care I whether they fly towards dawn or

dark, and whether they be on my right hand or on my left? Let us

put our trust rather in the counsel of great Jove, king of

mortals and immortals. There is one omen, and one only--that a

man should fight for his country. Why are you so fearful? Though

we be all of us slain at the ships of the Argives you are not

likely to be killed yourself, for you are not steadfast nor

courageous. If you will not fight, or would talk others over from

doing so, you shall fall forthwith before my spear."

With these words he led the way, and the others followed after

with a cry that rent the air. Then Jove the lord of thunder sent

the blast of a mighty wind from the mountains of Ida, that bore

the dust down towards the ships; he thus lulled the Achaeans into

security, and gave victory to Hector and to the Trojans, who,

trusting to their own might and to the signs he had shown them,

essayed to break through the great wall of the Achaeans. They

tore down the breastworks from the walls, and overthrew the

battlements; they upheaved the buttresses, which the Achaeans had

set in front of the wall in order to support it; when they had

pulled these down they made sure of breaking through the wall,

but the Danaans still showed no sign of giving ground; they still

fenced the battlements with their shields of ox-hide, and hurled

their missiles down upon the foe as soon as any came below the

wall.

The two Ajaxes went about everywhere on the walls cheering on the

Achaeans, giving fair words to some while they spoke sharply to

any one whom they saw to be remiss. "My friends," they cried,

"Argives one and all--good bad and indifferent, for there was

never fight yet, in which all were of equal prowess--there is now

work enough, as you very well know, for all of you. See that you

none of you turn in flight towards the ships, daunted by the

shouting of the foe, but press forward and keep one another in

heart, if it may so be that Olympian Jove the lord of lightning

will vouchsafe us to repel our foes, and drive them back towards

the city."

Thus did the two go about shouting and cheering the Achaeans on.

As the flakes that fall thick upon a winter's day, when Jove is

minded to snow and to display these his arrows to mankind--he

lulls the wind to rest, and snows hour after hour till he has

buried the tops of the high mountains, the headlands that jut

into the sea, the grassy plains, and the tilled fields of men;

the snow lies deep upon the forelands, and havens of the grey

sea, but the waves as they come rolling in stay it that it can

come no further, though all else is wrapped as with a mantle, so

heavy are the heavens with snow--even thus thickly did the stones

fall on one side and on the other, some thrown at the Trojans,

and some by the Trojans at the Achaeans; and the whole wall was

in an uproar.

Still the Trojans and brave Hector would not yet have broken down

the gates and the great bar, had not Jove turned his son Sarpedon

against the Argives as a lion against a herd of horned cattle.

Before him he held his shield of hammered bronze, that the smith

had beaten so fair and round, and had lined with ox hides which

he had made fast with rivets of gold all round the shield; this

he held in front of him, and brandishing his two spears came on

like some lion of the wilderness, who has been long famished for

want of meat and will dare break even into a well-fenced

homestead to try and get at the sheep. He may find the shepherds

keeping watch over their flocks with dogs and spears, but he is

in no mind to be driven from the fold till he has had a try for

it; he will either spring on a sheep and carry it off, or be hit

by a spear from some strong hand--even so was Sarpedon fain to

attack the wall and break down its battlements. Then he said to

Glaucus son of Hippolochus, "Glaucus, why in Lycia do we receive

especial honour as regards our place at table? Why are the

choicest portions served us and our cups kept brimming, and why

do men look up to us as though we were gods? Moreover we hold a

large estate by the banks of the river Xanthus, fair with orchard

lawns and wheat-growing land; it becomes us, therefore, to take

our stand at the head of all the Lycians and bear the brunt of

the fight, that one may say to another, 'Our princes in Lycia eat

the fat of the land and drink best of wine, but they are fine

fellows; they fight well and are ever at the front in battle.' My

good friend, if, when we were once out of this fight, we could

escape old age and death thenceforward and forever, I should

neither press forward myself nor bid you do so, but death in ten

thousand shapes hangs ever over our heads, and no man can elude

him; therefore let us go forward and either win glory for

ourselves, or yield it to another."

Glaucus heeded his saying, and the pair forthwith led on the host

of Lycians. Menestheus son of Peteos was dismayed when he saw

them, for it was against his part of the wall that they came--

bringing destruction with them; he looked along the wall for some

chieftain to support his comrades and saw the two Ajaxes, men

ever eager for the fray, and Teucer, who had just come from his

tent, standing near them; but he could not make his voice heard

by shouting to them, so great an uproar was there from crashing

shields and helmets and the battering of gates with a din which

reached the skies. For all the gates had been closed, and the

Trojans were hammering at them to try and break their way through

them. Menestheus, therefore, sent Thootes with a message to Ajax.

"Run, good Thootes," he said, "and call Ajax, or better still bid

both come, for it will be all over with us here directly; the

leaders of the Lycians are upon us, men who have ever fought

desperately heretofore. But if they have too much on their hands

to let them come, at any rate let Ajax son of Telamon do so, and

let Teucer, the famous bowman, come with him."

The messenger did as he was told, and set off running along the

wall of the Achaeans. When he reached the Ajaxes he said to them,

"Sirs, princes of the Argives, the son of noble Peteos bids you

come to him for a while and help him. You had better both come if

you can, or it will be all over with him directly; the leaders of

the Lycians are upon him, men who have ever fought desperately

heretofore; if you have too much on your hands to let both come,

at any rate let Ajax, son of Telamon, do so, and let Teucer, the

famous bowman, come with him."

Great Ajax son of Telamon heeded the message, and at once spoke

to the son of Oileus. "Ajax," said he, "do you two, yourself and

brave Lycomedes, stay here and keep the Danaans in heart to fight

their hardest. I will go over yonder, and bear my part in the

fray, but I will come back here at once as soon as I have given

them the help they need."

With this, Ajax son of Telamon set off, and Teucer, his brother

by the same father, went also, with Pandion to carry Teucer's

bow. They went along inside the wall, and when they came to the

tower where Menestheus was (and hard pressed indeed did they find

him) the brave captains and leaders of the Lycians were storming

the battlements as it were a thick dark cloud, fighting in close

quarters, and raising the battle-cry aloud.

First, Ajax son of Telamon killed brave Epicles, a comrade of

Sarpedon, hitting him with a jagged stone that lay by the

battlements at the very top of the wall. As men now are, even one

who is in the bloom of youth could hardly lift it with his two

hands, but Ajax raised it high aloft and flung it down, smashing

Epicles' four-crested helmet so that the bones of his head were

crushed to pieces, and he fell from the high wall as though he

were diving, with no more life left in him. Then Teucer wounded

Glaucus the brave son of Hippolochus as he was coming on to

attack the wall. He saw his shoulder bare and aimed an arrow at

it, which made Glaucus leave off fighting. Thereon he sprang

covertly down for fear some of the Achaeans might see that he was

wounded and taunt him. Sarpedon was stung with grief when he saw

Glaucus leave him, still he did not leave off fighting, but aimed

his spear at Alcmaon the son of Thestor and hit him. He drew his

spear back again and Alcmaon came down headlong after it with his

bronzed armour rattling round him. Then Sarpedon seized the

battlement in his strong hands, and tugged at it till it all gave

way together, and a breach was made through which many might

pass.

Ajax and Teucer then both of them attacked him. Teucer hit him

with an arrow on the band that bore the shield which covered his

body, but Jove saved his son from destruction that he might not

fall by the ships' sterns. Meanwhile Ajax sprang on him and

pierced his shield, but the spear did not go clean through,

though it hustled him back that he could come on no further. He

therefore retired a little space from the battlement, yet without

losing all his ground, for he still thought to cover himself with

glory. Then he turned round and shouted to the brave Lycians

saying, "Lycians, why do you thus fail me? For all my prowess I

cannot break through the wall and open a way to the ships

single-handed. Come close on behind me, for the more there are of

us the better."

The Lycians, shamed by his rebuke, pressed closer round him who

was their counsellor and their king. The Argives on their part

got their men in fighting order within the wall, and there was a

deadly struggle between them. The Lycians could not break through

the wall and force their way to the ships, nor could the Danaans

drive the Lycians from the wall now that they had once reached

it. As two men, measuring-rods in hand, quarrel about their

boundaries in a field that they own in common, and stickle for

their rights though they be but in a mere strip, even so did the

battlements now serve as a bone of contention, and they beat one

another's round shields for their possession. Many a man's body

was wounded with the pitiless bronze, as he turned round and

bared his back to the foe, and many were struck clean through

their shields; the wall and battlements were everywhere deluged

with the blood alike of Trojans and of Achaeans. But even so the

Trojans could not rout the Achaeans, who still held on; and as

some honest hard-working woman weighs wool in her balance and

sees that the scales be true, for she would gain some pitiful

earnings for her little ones, even so was the fight balanced

evenly between them till the time came when Jove gave the greater

glory to Hector son of Priam, who was first to spring towards the

wall of the Achaeans. When he had done so, he cried aloud to the

Trojans, "Up, Trojans, break the wall of the Argives, and fling

fire upon their ships."

Thus did he hound them on, and in one body they rushed straight

at the wall as he had bidden them, and scaled the battlements

with sharp spears in their hands. Hector laid hold of a stone

that lay just outside the gates and was thick at one end but

pointed at the other; two of the best men in a town, as men now

are, could hardly raise it from the ground and put it on to a

waggon, but Hector lifted it quite easily by himself, for the son

of scheming Saturn made it light for him. As a shepherd picks up

a ram's fleece with one hand and finds it no burden, so easily

did Hector lift the great stone and drive it right at the doors

that closed the gates so strong and so firmly set. These doors

were double and high, and were kept closed by two cross-bars to

which there was but one key. When he had got close up to them,

Hector strode towards them that his blow might gain in force and

struck them in the middle, leaning his whole weight against them.

He broke both hinges, and the stone fell inside by reason of its

great weight. The portals re-echoed with the sound, the bars held

no longer, and the doors flew open, one one way, and the other

the other, through the force of the blow. Then brave Hector

leaped inside with a face as dark as that of flying night. The

gleaming bronze flashed fiercely about his body and he had two

spears in his hand. None but a god could have withstood him as he

flung himself into the gateway, and his eyes glared like fire.

Then he turned round towards the Trojans and called on them to

scale the wall, and they did as he bade them--some of them at

once climbing over the wall, while others passed through the

gates. The Danaans then fled panic-stricken towards their ships,

and all was uproar and confusion.

 

 

BOOK XIII

NOW when Jove had thus brought Hector and the Trojans to the

ships, he left them to their never-ending toil, and turned his

keen eyes away, looking elsewhither towards the horse-breeders of

Thrace, the Mysians, fighters at close quarters, the noble

Hippemolgi, who live on milk, and the Abians, justest of mankind.

He no longer turned so much as a glance towards Troy, for he did

not think that any of the immortals would go and help either

Trojans or Danaans.

But King Neptune had kept no blind look-out; he had been looking

admiringly on the battle from his seat on the topmost crests of

wooded Samothrace, whence he could see all Ida, with the city of

Priam and the ships of the Achaeans. He had come from under the

sea and taken his place here, for he pitied the Achaeans who were

being overcome by the Trojans; and he was furiously angry with

Jove.

Presently he came down from his post on the mountain top, and as

he strode swiftly onwards the high hills and the forest quaked

beneath the tread of his immortal feet. Three strides he took,

and with the fourth he reached his goal--Aegae, where is his

glittering golden palace, imperishable, in the depths of the sea.

When he got there, he yoked his fleet brazen-footed steeds with

their manes of gold all flying in the wind; he clothed himself in

raiment of gold, grasped his gold whip, and took his stand upon

his chariot. As he went his way over the waves the sea-monsters

left their lairs, for they knew their lord, and came gambolling

round him from every quarter of the deep, while the sea in her

gladness opened a path before his chariot. So lightly did the

horses fly that the bronze axle of the car was not even wet

beneath it; and thus his bounding steeds took him to the ships of

the Achaeans.

Now there is a certain huge cavern in the depths of the sea

midway between Tenedos and rocky Imbrus; here Neptune lord of the

earthquake stayed his horses, unyoked them, and set before them

their ambrosial forage. He hobbled their feet with hobbles of

gold which none could either unloose or break, so that they might

stay there in that place until their lord should return. This

done he went his way to the host of the Achaeans.

Now the Trojans followed Hector son of Priam in close array like

a storm-cloud or flame of fire, fighting with might and main and

raising the cry battle; for they deemed that they should take the

ships of the Achaeans and kill all their chiefest heroes then and

there. Meanwhile earth-encircling Neptune lord of the earthquake

cheered on the Argives, for he had come up out of the sea and had

assumed the form and voice of Calchas.

First he spoke to the two Ajaxes, who were doing their best

already, and said, "Ajaxes, you two can be the saving of the

Achaeans if you will put out all your strength and not let

yourselves be daunted. I am not afraid that the Trojans, who have

got over the wall in force, will be victorious in any other part,

for the Achaeans can hold all of them in check, but I much fear

that some evil will befall us here where furious Hector, who

boasts himself the son of great Jove himself, is leading them on

like a pillar of flame. May some god, then, put it into your

hearts to make a firm stand here, and to incite others to do the

like. In this case you will drive him from the ships even though

he be inspired by Jove himself."

As he spoke the earth-encircling lord of the earthquake struck

both of them with his sceptre and filled their hearts with

daring. He made their legs light and active, as also their hands

and their feet. Then, as the soaring falcon poises on the wing

high above some sheer rock, and presently swoops down to chase

some bird over the plain, even so did Neptune lord of the

earthquake wing his flight into the air and leave them. Of the

two, swift Ajax son of Oileus was the first to know who it was

that had been speaking with them, and said to Ajax son of

Telamon, "Ajax, this is one of the gods that dwell on Olympus,

who in the likeness of the prophet is bidding us fight hard by

our ships. It was not Calchas the seer and diviner of omens; I

knew him at once by his feet and knees as he turned away, for the

gods are soon recognised. Moreover I feel the lust of battle burn

more fiercely within me, while my hands and my feet under me are

more eager for the fray."

And Ajax son of Telamon answered, "I too feel my hands grasp my

spear more firmly; my strength is greater, and my feet more

nimble; I long, moreover, to meet furious Hector son of Priam,

even in single combat."

Thus did they converse, exulting in the hunger after battle with

which the god had filled them. Meanwhile the earth-encircler

roused the Achaeans, who were resting in the rear by the ships

overcome at once by hard fighting and by grief at seeing that the

Trojans had got over the wall in force. Tears began falling from

their eyes as they beheld them, for they made sure that they

should not escape destruction; but the lord of the earthquake

passed lightly about among them and urged their battalions to the

front.

First he went up to Teucer and Leitus, the hero Peneleos, and

Thoas and Deipyrus; Meriones also and Antilochus, valiant

warriors; all did he exhort. "Shame on you young Argives," he

cried, "it was on your prowess I relied for the saving of our

ships; if you fight not with might and main, this very day will

see us overcome by the Trojans. Of a truth my eyes behold a great

and terrible portent which I had never thought to see--the

Trojans at our ships--they, who were heretofore like

panic-stricken hinds, the prey of jackals and wolves in a forest,

with no strength but in flight for they cannot defend themselves.

Hitherto the Trojans dared not for one moment face the attack of

the Achaeans, but now they have sallied far from their city and

are fighting at our very ships through the cowardice of our

leader and the disaffection of the people themselves, who in

their discontent care not to fight in defence of the ships but

are being slaughtered near them. True, King Agamemnon son of

Atreus is the cause of our disaster by having insulted the son of

Peleus, still this is no reason why we should leave off fighting.

Let us be quick to heal, for the hearts of the brave heal

quickly. You do ill to be thus remiss, you, who are the finest

soldiers in our whole army. I blame no man for keeping out of

battle if he is a weakling, but I am indignant with such men as

you are. My good friends, matters will soon become even worse

through this slackness; think, each one of you, of his own honour

and credit, for the hazard of the fight is extreme. Great Hector

is now fighting at our ships; he has broken through the gates and

the strong bolt that held them."

Thus did the earth-encircler address the Achaeans and urge them

on. Thereon round the two Ajaxes there gathered strong bands of

men, of whom not even Mars nor Minerva, marshaller of hosts could

make light if they went among them, for they were the picked men

of all those who were now awaiting the onset of Hector and the

Trojans. They made a living fence, spear to spear, shield to

shield, buckler to buckler, helmet to helmet, and man to man. The

horse-hair crests on their gleaming helmets touched one another

as they nodded forward, so closely serried were they; the spears

they brandished in their strong hands were interlaced, and their

hearts were set on battle.

The Trojans advanced in a dense body, with Hector at their head

pressing right on as a rock that comes thundering down the side

of some mountain from whose brow the winter torrents have torn

it; the foundations of the dull thing have been loosened by

floods of rain, and as it bounds headlong on its way it sets the

whole forest in an uproar; it swerves neither to right nor left

till it reaches level ground, but then for all its fury it can go

no further--even so easily did Hector for a while seem as though

he would career through the tents and ships of the Achaeans till

he had reached the sea in his murderous course; but the closely

serried battalions stayed him when he reached them, for the sons

of the Achaeans thrust at him with swords and spears pointed at

both ends, and drove him from them so that he staggered and gave

ground; thereon he shouted to the Trojans, "Trojans, Lycians, and

Dardanians, fighters in close combat, stand firm: the Achaeans

have set themselves as a wall against me, but they will not check

me for long; they will give ground before me if the mightiest of

the gods, the thundering spouse of Juno, has indeed inspired my

onset."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Deiphobus

son of Priam went about among them intent on deeds of daring with

his round shield before him, under cover of which he strode

quickly forward. Meriones took aim at him with a spear, nor did

he fail to hit the broad orb of ox-hide; but he was far from

piercing it for the spear broke in two pieces long ere he could

do so; moreover Deiphobus had seen it coming and had held his

shield well away from him. Meriones drew back under cover of his

comrades, angry alike at having failed to vanquish Deiphobus, and

having broken his spear. He turned therefore towards the ships

and tents to fetch a spear which he had left behind in his tent.

The others continued fighting, and the cry of battle rose up into

the heavens. Teucer son of Telamon was the first to kill his man,

to wit, the warrior Imbrius, son of Mentor, rich in horses.

Until the Achaeans came he had lived in Pedaeum, and had married

Medesicaste, a bastard daughter of Priam; but on the arrival of

the Danaan fleet he had gone back to Ilius, and was a great man

among the Trojans, dwelling near Priam himself, who gave him like

honour with his own sons. The son of Telamon now struck him under

the ear with a spear which he then drew back again, and Imbrius

fell headlong as an ash-tree when it is felled on the crest of

some high mountain beacon, and its delicate green foliage comes

toppling down to the ground. Thus did he fall with his

bronze-dight armour ringing harshly round him, and Teucer sprang

forward with intent to strip him of his armour; but as he was

doing so, Hector took aim at him with a spear. Teucer saw the

spear coming and swerved aside, whereon it hit Amphimachus, son

of Cteatus son of Actor, in the chest as he was coming into

battle, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily

to the ground. Hector sprang forward to take Amphimachus's helmet

from off his temples, and in a moment Ajax threw a spear at him,

but did not wound him, for he was encased all over in his

terrible armour; nevertheless the spear struck the boss of his

shield with such force as to drive him back from the two corpses,

which the Achaeans then drew off. Stichius and Menestheus,

captains of the Athenians, bore away Amphimachus to the host of

the Achaeans, while the two brave and impetuous Ajaxes did the

like by Imbrius. As two lions snatch a goat from the hounds that

have it in their fangs, and bear it through thick brushwood high

above the ground in their jaws, thus did the Ajaxes bear aloft

the body of Imbrius, and strip it of its armour. Then the son of

Oileus severed the head from the neck in revenge for the death of

Amphimachus, and sent it whirling over the crowd as though it had

been a ball, till it fell in the dust at Hector's feet.

Neptune was exceedingly angry that his grandson Amphimachus

should have fallen; he therefore went to the tents and ships of

the Achaeans to urge the Danaans still further, and to devise

evil for the Trojans. Idomeneus met him, as he was taking leave

of a comrade, who had just come to him from the fight, wounded in

the knee. His fellow-soldiers bore him off the field, and

Idomeneus having given orders to the physicians went on to his

tent, for he was still thirsting for battle. Neptune spoke in the

likeness and with the voice of Thoas son of Andraemon who ruled

the Aetolians of all Pleuron and high Calydon, and was honoured

among his people as though he were a god. "Idomeneus," said he,

"lawgiver to the Cretans, what has now become of the threats with

which the sons of the Achaeans used to threaten the Trojans?"

And Idomeneus chief among the Cretans answered, "Thoas, no one,

so far as I know, is in fault, for we can all fight. None are

held back neither by fear nor slackness, but it seems to be the

will of almighty Jove that the Achaeans should perish

ingloriously here far from Argos: you, Thoas, have been always

staunch, and you keep others in heart if you see any fail in

duty; be not then remiss now, but exhort all to do their utmost."

To this Neptune lord of the earthquake made answer, "Idomeneus,

may he never return from Troy, but remain here for dogs to batten

upon, who is this day wilfully slack in fighting. Get your armour

and go, we must make all haste together if we may be of any use,

though we are only two. Even cowards gain courage from

companionship, and we two can hold our own with the bravest."

Therewith the god went back into the thick of the fight, and

Idomeneus when he had reached his tent donned his armour, grasped

his two spears, and sallied forth. As the lightning which the son

of Saturn brandishes from bright Olympus when he would show a

sign to mortals, and its gleam flashes far and wide--even so did

his armour gleam about him as he ran. Meriones his sturdy squire

met him while he was still near his tent (for he was going to

fetch his spear) and Idomeneus said:

"Meriones, fleet son of Molus, best of comrades, why have you

left the field? Are you wounded, and is the point of the weapon

hurting you? or have you been sent to fetch me? I want no

fetching; I had far rather fight than stay in my tent."

"Idomeneus," answered Meriones, "I come for a spear, if I can

find one in my tent; I have broken the one I had, in throwing it

at the shield of Deiphobus."

And Idomeneus captain of the Cretans answered, "You will find one

spear, or twenty if you so please, standing up against the end

wall of my tent. I have taken them from Trojans whom I have

killed, for I am not one to keep my enemy at arm's length;

therefore I have spears, bossed shields, helmets, and burnished

corslets."

Then Meriones said, "I too in my tent and at my ship have spoils

taken from the Trojans, but they are not at hand. I have been at

all times valorous, and wherever there has been hard fighting

have held my own among the foremost. There may be those among the

Achaeans who do not know how I fight, but you know it well enough

yourself."

Idomeneus answered, "I know you for a brave man: you need not

tell me. If the best men at the ships were being chosen to go on

an ambush--and there is nothing like this for showing what a man

is made of; it comes out then who is cowardly and who brave; the

coward will change colour at every touch and turn; he is full of

fears, and keeps shifting his weight first on one knee and then

on the other; his heart beats fast as he thinks of death, and one

can hear the chattering of his teeth; whereas the brave man will

not change colour nor be frightened on finding himself in ambush,

but is all the time longing to go into action--if the best men

were being chosen for such a service, no one could make light of

your courage nor feats of arms. If you were struck by a dart or

smitten in close combat, it would not be from behind, in your

neck nor back, but the weapon would hit you in the chest or belly

as you were pressing forward to a place in the front ranks. But

let us no longer stay here talking like children, lest we be ill

spoken of; go, fetch your spear from the tent at once."

On this Meriones, peer of Mars, went to the tent and got himself

a spear of bronze. He then followed after Idomeneus, big with

great deeds of valour. As when baneful Mars sallies forth to

battle, and his son Panic so strong and dauntless goes with him,

to strike terror even into the heart of a hero--the pair have

gone from Thrace to arm themselves among the Ephyri or the brave

Phlegyans, but they will not listen to both the contending hosts,

and will give victory to one side or to the other--even so did

Meriones and Idomeneus, captains of men, go out to battle clad in

their bronze armour. Meriones was first to speak. "Son of

Deucalion," said he, "where would you have us begin fighting? On

the right wing of the host, in the centre, or on the left wing,

where I take it the Achaeans will be weakest?"

Idomeneus answered, "There are others to defend the centre--the

two Ajaxes and Teucer, who is the finest archer of all the

Achaeans, and is good also in a hand-to-hand fight. These will

give Hector son of Priam enough to do; fight as he may, he will

find it hard to vanquish their indomitable fury, and fire the

ships, unless the son of Saturn fling a firebrand upon them with

his own hand. Great Ajax son of Telamon will yield to no man who

is in mortal mould and eats the grain of Ceres, if bronze and

great stones can overthrow him. He would not yield even to

Achilles in hand-to-hand fight, and in fleetness of foot there is

none to beat him; let us turn therefore towards the left wing,

that we may know forthwith whether we are to give glory to some

other, or he to us."

Meriones, peer of fleet Mars, then led the way till they came to

the part of the host which Idomeneus had named.

Now when the Trojans saw Idomeneus coming on like a flame of

fire, him and his squire clad in their richly wrought armour,

they shouted and made towards him all in a body, and a furious

hand-to-hand fight raged under the ships' sterns. Fierce as the

shrill winds that whistle upon a day when dust lies deep on the

roads, and the gusts raise it into a thick cloud--even such was

the fury of the combat, and might and main did they hack at each

other with spear and sword throughout the host. The field

bristled with the long and deadly spears which they bore.

Dazzling was the sheen of their gleaming helmets, their

fresh-burnished breastplates, and glittering shields as they

joined battle with one another. Iron indeed must be his courage

who could take pleasure in the sight of such a turmoil, and look

on it without being dismayed.

Thus did the two mighty sons of Saturn devise evil for mortal

heroes. Jove was minded to give victory to the Trojans and to

Hector, so as to do honour to fleet Achilles, nevertheless he did

not mean to utterly overthrow the Achaean host before Ilius, and

only wanted to glorify Thetis and her valiant son. Neptune on the

other hand went about among the Argives to incite them, having

come up from the grey sea in secret, for he was grieved at seeing

them vanquished by the Trojans, and was furiously angry with

Jove. Both were of the same race and country, but Jove was elder

born and knew more, therefore Neptune feared to defend the

Argives openly, but in the likeness of man, he kept on

encouraging them throughout their host. Thus, then, did these two

devise a knot of war and battle, that none could unloose or

break, and set both sides tugging at it, to the failing of men's

knees beneath them.

And now Idomeneus, though his hair was already flecked with grey,

called loud on the Danaans and spread panic among the Trojans as

he leaped in among them. He slew Othryoneus from Cabesus, a

sojourner, who had but lately come to take part in the war. He

sought Cassandra, the fairest of Priam's daughters, in marriage,

but offered no gifts of wooing, for he promised a great thing, to

wit, that he would drive the sons of the Achaeans willy nilly

from Troy; old King Priam had given his consent and promised her

to him, whereon he fought on the strength of the promises thus

made to him. Idomeneus aimed a spear, and hit him as he came

striding on. His cuirass of bronze did not protect him, and the

spear stuck in his belly, so that he fell heavily to the ground.

Then Idomeneus vaunted over him saying, "Othryoneus, there is no

one in the world whom I shall admire more than I do you, if you

indeed perform what you have promised Priam son of Dardanus in

return for his daughter. We too will make you an offer; we will

give you the loveliest daughter of the son of Atreus, and will

bring her from Argos for you to marry, if you will sack the

goodly city of Ilius in company with ourselves; so come along

with me, that we may make a covenant at the ships about the

marriage, and we will not be hard upon you about gifts of

wooing."

With this Idomeneus began dragging him by the foot through the

thick of the fight, but Asius came up to protect the body, on

foot, in front of his horses which his esquire drove so close

behind him that he could feel their breath upon his shoulder. He

was longing to strike down Idomeneus, but ere he could do so

Idomeneus smote him with his spear in the throat under the chin,

and the bronze point went clean through it. He fell as an oak, or

poplar, or pine which shipwrights have felled for ship's timber

upon the mountains with whetted axes--even thus did he lie full

length in front of his chariot and horses, grinding his teeth and

clutching at the bloodstained dust. His charioteer was struck

with panic and did not dare turn his horses round and escape:

thereupon Antilochus hit him in the middle of his body with a

spear; his cuirass of bronze did not protect him, and the spear

stuck in his belly. He fell gasping from his chariot and

Antilochus, great Nestor's son, drove his horses from the Trojans

to the Achaeans.

Deiphobus then came close up to Idomeneus to avenge Asius, and

took aim at him with a spear, but Idomeneus was on the look-out

and avoided it, for he was covered by the round shield he always

bore--a shield of oxhide and bronze with two arm-rods on the

inside. He crouched under cover of this, and the spear flew over

him, but the shield rang out as the spear grazed it, and the

weapon sped not in vain from the strong hand of Deiphobus, for it

struck Hypsenor son of Hippasus, shepherd of his people, in the

liver under the midriff, and his limbs failed beneath him.

Deiphobus vaunted over him and cried with a loud voice saying,

"Of a truth Asius has not fallen unavenged; he will be glad even

while passing into the house of Hades, strong warden of the gate,

that I have sent some one to escort him."

Thus did he vaunt, and the Argives were stung by his saying.

Noble Antilochus was more angry than any one, but grief did not

make him forget his friend and comrade. He ran up to him,

bestrode him, and covered him with his shield; then two of his

staunch comrades, Mecisteus son of Echius, and Alastor, stooped

down, and bore him away groaning heavily to the ships. But

Idomeneus ceased not his fury. He kept on striving continually

either to enshroud some Trojan in the darkness of death, or

himself to fall while warding off the evil day from the Achaeans.

Then fell Alcathous son of noble Aesyetes; he was son-in-law to

Anchises, having married his eldest daughter Hippodameia, who was

the darling of her father and mother, and excelled all her

generation in beauty, accomplishments, and understanding,

wherefore the bravest man in all Troy had taken her to wife--him

did Neptune lay low by the hand of Idomeneus, blinding his bright

eyes and binding his strong limbs in fetters so that he could

neither go back nor to one side, but stood stock still like

pillar or lofty tree when Idomeneus struck him with a spear in

the middle of his chest. The coat of mail that had hitherto

protected his body was now broken, and rang harshly as the spear

tore through it. He fell heavily to the ground, and the spear

stuck in his heart, which still beat, and made the butt-end of

the spear quiver till dread Mars put an end to his life.

Idomeneus vaunted over him and cried with a loud voice saying,

"Deiphobus, since you are in a mood to vaunt, shall we cry quits

now that we have killed three men to your one? Nay, sir, stand in

fight with me yourself, that you may learn what manner of

Jove-begotten man am I that have come hither. Jove first begot

Minos, chief ruler in Crete, and Minos in his turn begot a son,

noble Deucalion. Deucalion begot me to be a ruler over many men

in Crete, and my ships have now brought me hither, to be the bane

of yourself, your father, and the Trojans."

Thus did he speak, and Deiphobus was in two minds, whether to go

back and fetch some other Trojan to help him, or to take up the

challenge single-handed. In the end, he deemed it best to go and

fetch Aeneas, whom he found standing in the rear, for he had long

been aggrieved with Priam because in spite of his brave deeds he

did not give him his due share of honour. Deiphobus went up to

him and said, "Aeneas, prince among the Trojans, if you know any

ties of kinship, help me now to defend the body of your sister's

husband; come with me to the rescue of Alcathous, who being

husband to your sister brought you up when you were a child in

his house, and now Idomeneus has slain him."

With these words he moved the heart of Aeneas, and he went in

pursuit of Idomeneus, big with great deeds of valour; but

Idomeneus was not to be thus daunted as though he were a mere

child; he held his ground as a wild boar at bay upon the

mountains, who abides the coming of a great crowd of men in some

lonely place--the bristles stand upright on his back, his eyes

flash fire, and he whets his tusks in his eagerness to defend

himself against hounds and men--even so did famed Idomeneus hold

his ground and budge not at the coming of Aeneas. He cried aloud

to his comrades looking towards Ascalaphus, Aphareus, Deipyrus,

Meriones, and Antilochus, all of them brave soldiers--"Hither my

friends," he cried, "and leave me not single-handed--I go in

great fear by fleet Aeneas, who is coming against me, and is a

redoubtable dispenser of death battle. Moreover he is in the

flower of youth when a man's strength is greatest; if I was of

the same age as he is and in my present mind, either he or I

should soon bear away the prize of victory."

On this, all of them as one man stood near him, shield on

shoulder. Aeneas on the other side called to his comrades,

looking towards Deiphobus, Paris, and Agenor, who were leaders of

the Trojans along with himself, and the people followed them as

sheep follow the ram when they go down to drink after they have

been feeding, and the heart of the shepherd is glad--even so was

the heart of Aeneas gladdened when he saw his people follow him.

Then they fought furiously in close combat about the body of

Alcathous, wielding their long spears; and the bronze armour

about their bodies rang fearfully as they took aim at one another

in the press of the fight, while the two heroes Aeneas and

Idomeneus, peers of Mars, outvied everyone in their desire to

hack at each other with sword and spear. Aeneas took aim first,

but Idomeneus was on the lookout and avoided the spear, so that

it sped from Aeneas' strong hand in vain, and fell quivering in

the ground. Idomeneus meanwhile smote Oenomaus in the middle of

his belly, and broke the plate of his corslet, whereon his bowels

came gushing out and he clutched the earth in the palms of his

hands as he fell sprawling in the dust. Idomeneus drew his spear

out of the body, but could not strip him of the rest of his

armour for the rain of darts that were showered upon him:

moreover his strength was now beginning to fail him so that he

could no longer charge, and could neither spring forward to

recover his own weapon nor swerve aside to avoid one that was

aimed at him; therefore, though he still defended himself in

hand-to-hand fight, his heavy feet could not bear him swiftly out

of the battle. Deiphobus aimed a spear at him as he was

retreating slowly from the field, for his bitterness against him

was as fierce as ever, but again he missed him, and hit

Ascalaphus, the son of Mars; the spear went through his shoulder,

and he clutched the earth in the palms of his hands as he fell

sprawling in the dust.

Grim Mars of awful voice did not yet know that his son had

fallen, for he was sitting on the summits of Olympus under the

golden clouds, by command of Jove, where the other gods were also

sitting, forbidden to take part in the battle. Meanwhile men

fought furiously about the body. Deiphobus tore the helmet from

off his head, but Meriones sprang upon him, and struck him on the

arm with a spear so that the visored helmet fell from his hand

and came ringing down upon the ground. Thereon Meriones sprang

upon him like a vulture, drew the spear from his shoulder, and

fell back under cover of his men. Then Polites, own brother of

Deiphobus passed his arms around his waist, and bore him away

from the battle till he got to his horses that were standing in

the rear of the fight with the chariot and their driver. These

took him towards the city groaning and in great pain, with the

blood flowing from his arm.

The others still fought on, and the battle-cry rose to heaven

without ceasing. Aeneas sprang on Aphareus son of Caletor, and

struck him with a spear in his throat which was turned towards

him; his head fell on one side, his helmet and shield came down

along with him, and death, life's foe, was shed around him.

Antilochus spied his chance, flew forward towards Thoon, and

wounded him as he was turning round. He laid open the vein that

runs all the way up the back to the neck; he cut this vein clean

away throughout its whole course, and Thoon fell in the dust face

upwards, stretching out his hands imploringly towards his

comrades. Antilochus sprang upon him and stripped the armour from

his shoulders, glaring round him fearfully as he did so. The

Trojans came about him on every side and struck his broad and

gleaming shield, but could not wound his body, for Neptune stood

guard over the son of Nestor, though the darts fell thickly round

him. He was never clear of the foe, but was always in the thick

of the fight; his spear was never idle; he poised and aimed it in

every direction, so eager was he to hit someone from a distance

or to fight him hand to hand.

As he was thus aiming among the crowd, he was seen by Adamas, son

of Asius, who rushed towards him and struck him with a spear in

the middle of his shield, but Neptune made its point without

effect, for he grudged him the life of Antilochus. One half,

therefore, of the spear stuck fast like a charred stake in

Antilochus's shield, while the other lay on the ground. Adamas

then sought shelter under cover of his men, but Meriones followed

after and hit him with a spear midway between the private parts

and the navel, where a wound is particualrly painful to wretched

mortals. There did Meriones transfix him, and he writhed

convulsively about the spear as some bull whom mountain herdsmen

have bound with ropes of withes and are taking away perforce.

Even so did he move convulsively for a while, but not for very

long, till Meriones came up and drew the spear out of his body,

and his eyes were veiled in darkness.

Helenus then struck Deipyrus with a great Thracian sword, hitting

him on the temple in close combat and tearing the helmet from his

head; the helmet fell to the ground, and one of those who were

fighting on the Achaean side took charge of it as it rolled at

his feet, but the eyes of Deipyrus were closed in the darkness of

death.

On this Menelaus was grieved, and made menacingly towards

Helenus, brandishing his spear; but Helenus drew his bow, and the

two attacked one another at one and the same moment, the one with

his spear, and the other with his bow and arrow. The son of Priam

hit the breastplate of Menelaus's corslet, but the arrow glanced

from off it. As black beans or pulse come pattering down on to a

threshing-floor from the broad winnowing-shovel, blown by shrill

winds and shaken by the shovel--even so did the arrow glance off

and recoil from the shield of Menelaus, who in his turn wounded

the hand with which Helenus carried his bow; the spear went right

through his hand and stuck in the bow itself, so that to his life

he retreated under cover of his men, with his hand dragging by

his side--for the spear weighed it down till Agenor drew it out

and bound the hand carefully up in a woollen sling which his

esquire had with him.

Pisander then made straight at Menelaus--his evil destiny luring

him on to his doom, for he was to fall in fight with you, O

Menelaus. When the two were hard by one another the spear of the

son of Atreus turned aside and he missed his aim; Pisander then

struck the shield of brave Menelaus but could not pierce it, for

the shield stayed the spear and broke the shaft; nevertheless he

was glad and made sure of victory; forthwith, however, the son of

Atreus drew his sword and sprang upon him. Pisander then seized

the bronze battle-axe, with its long and polished handle of olive

wood that hung by his side under his shield, and the two made at

one another. Pisander struck the peak of Menelaus's crested

helmet just under the crest itself, and Menelaus hit Pisander as

he was coming towards him, on the forehead, just at the rise of

his nose; the bones cracked and his two gore-bedrabbled eyes fell

by his feet in the dust. He fell backwards to the ground, and

Menelaus set his heel upon him, stripped him of his armour, and

vaunted over him saying, "Even thus shall you Trojans leave the

ships of the Achaeans, proud and insatiate of battle though you

be, nor shall you lack any of the disgrace and shame which you

have heaped upon myself. Cowardly she-wolves that you are, you

feared not the anger of dread Jove, avenger of violated

hospitality, who will one day destroy your city; you stole my

wedded wife and wickedly carried off much treasure when you were

her guest, and now you would fling fire upon our ships, and kill

our heroes. A day will come when, rage as you may, you shall be

stayed. O father Jove, you, who they say art above all, both gods

and men, in wisdom, and from whom all things that befall us do

proceed, how can you thus favour the Trojans--men so proud and

overweening, that they are never tired of fighting? All things

pall after a while--sleep, love, sweet song, and stately dance--

still these are things of which a man would surely have his fill

rather than of battle, whereas it is of battle that the Trojans

are insatiate."

So saying Menelaus stripped the blood-stained armour from the

body of Pisander, and handed it over to his men; then he again

ranged himself among those who were in the front of the fight.

Harpalion son of King Pylaemenes then sprang upon him; he had

come to fight at Troy along with his father, but he did not go

home again. He struck the middle of Menelaus's shield with his

spear but could not pierce it, and to save his life drew back

under cover of his men, looking round him on every side lest he

should be wounded. But Meriones aimed a bronze-tipped arrow at

him as he was leaving the field, and hit him on the right

buttock; the arrow pierced the bone through and through, and

penetrated the bladder, so he sat down where he was and breathed

his last in the arms of his comrades, stretched like a worm upon

the ground and watering the earth with the blood that flowed from

his wound. The brave Paphlagonians tended him with all due care;

they raised him into his chariot, and bore him sadly off to the

city of Troy; his father went also with him weeping bitterly, but

there was no ransom that could bring his dead son to life again.

Paris was deeply grieved by the death of Harpalion, who was his

host when he went among the Paphlagonians; he aimed an arrow,

therefore, in order to avenge him. Now there was a certain man

named Euchenor, son of Polyidus the prophet, a brave man and

wealthy, whose home was in Corinth. This Euchenor had set sail

for Troy well knowing that it would be the death of him, for his

good old father Polyidus had often told him that he must either

stay at home and die of a terrible disease, or go with the

Achaeans and perish at the hands of the Trojans; he chose,

therefore, to avoid incurring the heavy fine the Achaeans would

have laid upon him, and at the same time to escape the pain and

suffering of disease. Paris now smote him on the jaw under his

ear, whereon the life went out of him and he was enshrouded in

the darkness of death.

Thus then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. But Hector

had not yet heard, and did not know that the Argives were making

havoc of his men on the left wing of the battle, where the

Achaeans ere long would have triumphed over them, so vigorously

did Neptune cheer them on and help them. He therefore held on at

the point where he had first forced his way through the gates and

the wall, after breaking through the serried ranks of Danaan

warriors. It was here that the ships of Ajax and Protesilaus were

drawn up by the sea-shore; here the wall was at its lowest, and

the fight both of man and horse raged most fiercely. The

Boeotians and the Ionians with their long tunics, the Locrians,

the men of Phthia, and the famous force of the Epeans could

hardly stay Hector as he rushed on towards the ships, nor could

they drive him from them, for he was as a wall of fire. The

chosen men of the Athenians were in the van, led by Menestheus

son of Peteos, with whom were also Pheidas, Stichius, and

stalwart Bias; Meges son of Phyleus, Amphion, and Dracius

commanded the Epeans, while Medon and staunch Podarces led the

men of Phthia. Of these, Medon was bastard son to Oileus and

brother of Ajax, but he lived in Phylace away from his own

country, for he had killed the brother of his stepmother Eriopis,

the wife of Oileus; the other, Podarces, was the son of Iphiclus,

son of Phylacus. These two stood in the van of the Phthians, and

defended the ships along with the Boeotians.

Ajax son of Oileus, never for a moment left the side of Ajax, son

of Telamon, but as two swart oxen both strain their utmost at the

plough which they are drawing in a fallow field, and the sweat

steams upwards from about the roots of their horns--nothing but

the yoke divides them as they break up the ground till they reach

the end of the field--even so did the two Ajaxes stand shoulder

to shoulder by one another. Many and brave comrades followed the

son of Telamon, to relieve him of his shield when he was overcome

with sweat and toil, but the Locrians did not follow so close

after the son of Oileus, for they could not hold their own in a

hand-to-hand fight. They had no bronze helmets with plumes of

horse-hair, neither had they shields nor ashen spears, but they

had come to Troy armed with bows, and with slings of twisted wool

from which they showered their missiles to break the ranks of the

Trojans. The others, therefore, with their heavy armour bore the

brunt of the fight with the Trojans and with Hector, while the

Locrians shot from behind, under their cover; and thus the

Trojans began to lose heart, for the arrows threw them into

confusion.

The Trojans would now have been driven in sorry plight from the

ships and tents back to windy Ilius, had not Polydamas presently

said to Hector, "Hector, there is no persuading you to take

advice. Because heaven has so richly endowed you with the arts of

war, you think that you must therefore excel others in counsel;

but you cannot thus claim preeminence in all things. Heaven has

made one man an excellent soldier; of another it has made a

dancer or a singer and player on the lyre; while yet in another

Jove has implanted a wise understanding of which men reap fruit

to the saving of many, and he himself knows more about it than

any one; therefore I will say what I think will be best. The

fight has hemmed you in as with a circle of fire, and even now

that the Trojans are within the wall some of them stand aloof in

full armour, while others are fighting scattered and outnumbered

near the ships. Draw back, therefore, and call your chieftains

round you, that we may advise together whether to fall now upon

the ships in the hope that heaven may vouchsafe us victory, or to

beat a retreat while we can yet safely do so. I greatly fear that

the Achaeans will pay us their debt of yesterday in full, for

there is one abiding at their ships who is never weary of battle,

and who will not hold aloof much longer."

Thus spoke Polydamas, and his words pleased Hector well. He

sprang in full armour from his chariot and said, "Polydamas,

gather the chieftains here; I will go yonder into the fight, but

will return at once when I have given them their orders."

He then sped onward, towering like a snowy mountain, and with a

loud cry flew through the ranks of the Trojans and their allies.

When they heard his voice they all hastened to gather round

Polydamas, the excellent son of Panthous, but Hector kept on

among the foremost, looking everywhere to find Deiphobus and

prince Helenus, Adamas son of Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus;

living, indeed, and scatheless he could no longer find them, for

the two last were lying by the sterns of the Achaean ships, slain

by the Argives, while the others had been also stricken and

wounded by them; but upon the left wing of the dread battle he

found Alexandrus, husband of lovely Helen, cheering his men and

urging them on to fight. He went up to him and upbraided him.

"Paris," said he, "evil-hearted Paris, fair to see but woman-mad

and false of tongue, where are Deiphobus and King Helenus? Where

are Adamas son of Asius, and Asius son of Hyrtacus? Where too is

Othryoneus? Ilius is undone and will now surely fall!"

Alexandrus answered, "Hector, why find fault when there is no one

to find fault with? I should hold aloof from battle on any day

rather than this, for my mother bore me with nothing of the

coward about me. From the moment when you set our men fighting

about the ships we have been staying here and doing battle with

the Danaans. Our comrades about whom you ask me are dead;

Deiphobus and King Helenus alone have left the field, wounded

both of them in the hand, but the son of Saturn saved them alive.

Now, therefore, lead on where you would have us go, and we will

follow with right goodwill; you shall not find us fail you in so

far as our strength holds out, but no man can do more than in him

lies, no matter how willing he may be."

With these words he satisfied his brother, and the two went

towards the part of the battle where the fight was thickest,

about Cebriones, brave Polydamas, Phalces, Orthaeus, godlike

Polyphetes, Palmys, Ascanius, and Morys son of Hippotion, who had

come from fertile Ascania on the preceding day to relieve other

troops. Then Jove urged them on to fight. They flew forth like

the blasts of some fierce wind that strike earth in the van of a

thunderstorm--they buffet the salt sea into an uproar; many and

mighty are the great waves that come crashing in one after the

other upon the shore with their arching heads all crested with

foam--even so did rank behind rank of Trojans arrayed in gleaming

armour follow their leaders onward. The way was led by Hector son

of Priam, peer of murderous Mars, with his round shield before

him--his shield of ox-hides covered with plates of bronze--and

his gleaming helmet upon his temples. He kept stepping forward

under cover of his shield in every direction, making trial of the

ranks to see if they would give way before him, but he could not

daunt the courage of the Achaeans. Ajax was the first to stride

out and challenge him. "Sir," he cried, "draw near; why do you

think thus vainly to dismay the Argives? We Achaeans are

excellent soldiers, but the scourge of Jove has fallen heavily

upon us. Your heart, forsooth, is set on destroying our ships,

but we too have hands that can keep you at bay, and your own fair

town shall be sooner taken and sacked by ourselves. The time is

near when you shall pray Jove and all the gods in your flight,

that your steeds may be swifter than hawks as they raise the dust

on the plain and bear you back to your city."

As he was thus speaking a bird flew by upon his right hand, and

the host of the Achaeans shouted, for they took heart at the

omen. But Hector answered, "Ajax, braggart and false of tongue,

would that I were as sure of being son for evermore to

aegis-bearing Jove, with Queen Juno for my mother, and of being

held in like honour with Minerva and Apollo, as I am that this

day is big with the destruction of the Achaeans; and you shall

fall among them if you dare abide my spear; it shall rend your

fair body and bid you glut our hounds and birds of prey with your

fat and your flesh, as you fall by the ships of the Achaeans."

With these words he led the way and the others followed after

with a cry that rent the air, while the host shouted behind them.

The Argives on their part raised a shout likewise, nor did they

forget their prowess, but stood firm against the onslaught of the

Trojan chieftains, and the cry from both the hosts rose up to

heaven and to the brightness of Jove's presence.

 

 

BOOK XIV

NESTOR was sitting over his wine, but the cry of battle did not

escape him, and he said to the son of Aesculapius, "What, noble

Machaon, is the meaning of all this? The shouts of men fighting

by our ships grow stronger and stronger; stay here, therefore,

and sit over your wine, while fair Hecamede heats you a bath and

washes the clotted blood from off you. I will go at once to the

look-out station and see what it is all about."

As he spoke he took up the shield of his son Thrasymedes that was

lying in his tent, all gleaming with bronze, for Thrasymedes had

taken his father's shield; he grasped his redoubtable bronze-shod

spear, and as soon as he was outside saw the disastrous rout of

the Achaeans who, now that their wall was overthrown, were flying

pell-mell before the Trojans. As when there is a heavy swell upon

the sea, but the waves are dumb--they keep their eyes on the

watch for the quarter whence the fierce winds may spring upon

them, but they stay where they are and set neither this way nor

that, till some particular wind sweeps down from heaven to

determine them--even so did the old man ponder whether to make

for the crowd of Danaans, or go in search of Agamemnon. In the

end he deemed it best to go to the son of Atreus; but meanwhile

the hosts were fighting and killing one another, and the hard

bronze rattled on their bodies, as they thrust at one another

with their swords and spears.

The wounded kings, the son of Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon son

of Atreus, fell in Nestor as they were coming up from their

ships--for theirs were drawn up some way from where the fighting

was going on, being on the shore itself inasmuch as they had been

beached first, while the wall had been built behind the

hindermost. The stretch of the shore, wide though it was, did not

afford room for all the ships, and the host was cramped for

space, therefore they had placed the ships in rows one behind the

other, and had filled the whole opening of the bay between the

two points that formed it. The kings, leaning on their spears,

were coming out to survey the fight, being in great anxiety, and

when old Nestor met them they were filled with dismay. Then King

Agamemnon said to him, "Nestor son of Neleus, honour to the

Achaean name, why have you left the battle to come hither? I fear

that what dread Hector said will come true, when he vaunted among

the Trojans saying that he would not return to Ilius till he had

fired our ships and killed us; this is what he said, and now it

is all coming true. Alas! others of the Achaeans, like Achilles,

are in anger with me that they refuse to fight by the sterns of

our ships."

Then Nestor knight of Gerene, answered, "It is indeed as you say;

it is all coming true at this moment, and even Jove who thunders

from on high cannot prevent it. Fallen is the wall on which we

relied as an impregnable bulwark both for us and our fleet. The

Trojans are fighting stubbornly and without ceasing at the ships;

look where you may you cannot see from what quarter the rout of

the Achaeans is coming; they are being killed in a confused mass

and the battle-cry ascends to heaven; let us think, if counsel

can be of any use, what we had better do; but I do not advise our

going into battle ourselves, for a man cannot fight when he is

wounded."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Nestor, if the Trojans are indeed

fighting at the rear of our ships, and neither the wall nor the

trench has served us--over which the Danaans toiled so hard, and

which they deemed would be an impregnable bulwark both for us and

our fleet--I see it must be the will of Jove that the Achaeans

should perish ingloriously here, far from Argos. I knew when Jove

was willing to defend us, and I know now that he is raising the

Trojans to like honour with the gods, while us, on the other

hand, he bas bound hand and foot. Now, therefore, let us all do

as I say; let us bring down the ships that are on the beach and

draw them into the water; let us make them fast to their

mooring-stones a little way out, against the fall of night--if

even by night the Trojans will desist from fighting; we may then

draw down the rest of the fleet. There is nothing wrong in flying

ruin even by night. It is better for a man that he should fly and

be saved than be caught and killed."

Ulysses looked fiercely at him and said, "Son of Atreus, what are

you talking about? Wretch, you should have commanded some other

and baser army, and not been ruler over us to whom Jove has

allotted a life of hard fighting from youth to old age, till we

every one of us perish. Is it thus that you would quit the city

of Troy, to win which we have suffered so much hardship? Hold

your peace, lest some other of the Achaeans hear you say what no

man who knows how to give good counsel, no king over so great a

host as that of the Argives should ever have let fall from his

lips. I despise your judgement utterly for what you have been

saying. Would you, then, have us draw down our ships into the

water while the battle is raging, and thus play further into the

hands of the conquering Trojans? It would be ruin; the Achaeans

will not go on fighting when they see the ships being drawn into

the water, but will cease attacking and keep turning their eyes

towards them; your counsel, therefore, sir captain, would be our

destruction."

Agamemnon answered, "Ulysses, your rebuke has stung me to the

heart. I am not, however, ordering the Achaeans to draw their

ships into the sea whether they will or no. Someone, it may be,

old or young, can offer us better counsel which I shall rejoice

to hear."

Then said Diomed, "Such an one is at hand; he is not far to seek,

if you will listen to me and not resent my speaking though I am

younger than any of you. I am by lineage son to a noble sire,

Tydeus, who lies buried at Thebes. For Portheus had three noble

sons, two of whom, Agrius and Melas, abode in Pleuron and rocky

Calydon. The third was the knight Oeneus, my father's father, and

he was the most valiant of them all. Oeneus remained in his own

country, but my father (as Jove and the other gods ordained it)

migrated to Argos. He married into the family of Adrastus, and

his house was one of great abundance, for he had large estates of

rich corn-growing land, with much orchard ground as well, and he

had many sheep; moreover he excelled all the Argives in the use

of the spear. You must yourselves have heard whether these things

are true or no; therefore when I say well despise not my words as

though I were a coward or of ignoble birth. I say, then, let us

go to the fight as we needs must, wounded though we be. When

there, we may keep out of the battle and beyond the range of the

spears lest we get fresh wounds in addition to what we have

already, but we can spur on others, who have been indulging their

spleen and holding aloof from battle hitherto."

Thus did he speak; whereon they did even as he had said and set

out, King Agamemnon leading the way.

Meanwhile Neptune had kept no blind look-out, and came up to them

in the semblance of an old man. He took Agamemnon's right hand in

his own and said, "Son of Atreus, I take it Achilles is glad now

that he sees the Achaeans routed and slain, for he is utterly

without remorse--may he come to a bad end and heaven confound

him. As for yourself, the blessed gods are not yet so bitterly

angry with you but that the princes and counsellors of the

Trojans shall again raise the dust upon the plain, and you shall

see them flying from the ships and tents towards their city."

With this he raised a mighty cry of battle, and sped forward to

the plain. The voice that came from his deep chest was as that of

nine or ten thousand men when they are shouting in the thick of a

fight, and it put fresh courage into the hearts of the Achaeans

to wage war and do battle without ceasing.

Juno of the golden throne looked down as she stood upon a peak of

Olympus and her heart was gladdened at the sight of him who was

at once her brother and her brother-in-law, hurrying hither and

thither amid the fighting. Then she turned her eyes to Jove as he

sat on the topmost crests of many-fountained Ida, and loathed

him. She set herself to think how she might hoodwink him, and in

the end she deemed that it would be best for her to go to Ida and

array herself in rich attire, in the hope that Jove might become

enamoured of her, and wish to embrace her. While he was thus

engaged a sweet and careless sleep might be made to steal over

his eyes and senses.

She went, therefore, to the room which her son Vulcan had made

her, and the doors of which he had cunningly fastened by means of

a secret key so that no other god could open them. Here she

entered and closed the doors behind her. She cleansed all the

dirt from her fair body with ambrosia, then she anointed herself

with olive oil, ambrosial, very soft, and scented specially for

herself--if it were so much as shaken in the bronze-floored house

of Jove, the scent pervaded the universe of heaven and earth.

With this she anointed her delicate skin, and then she plaited

the fair ambrosial locks that flowed in a stream of golden

tresses from her immortal head. She put on the wondrous robe

which Minerva had worked for her with consummate art, and had

embroidered with manifold devices; she fastened it about her

bosom with golden clasps, and she girded herself with a girdle

that had a hundred tassels: then she fastened her earrings, three

brilliant pendants that glistened most beautifully, through the

pierced lobes of her ears, and threw a lovely new veil over her

head. She bound her sandals on to her feet, and when she had

arrayed herself perfectly to her satisfaction, she left her room

and called Venus to come aside and speak to her. "My dear child,"

said she, "will you do what I am going to ask of you, or will

refuse me because you are angry at my being on the Danaan side,

while you are on the Trojan?"

Jove's daughter Venus answered, "Juno, august queen of goddesses,

daughter of mighty Saturn, say what you want, and I will do it

for you at once, if I can, and if it can be done at all."

Then Juno told her a lying tale and said, "I want you to endow me

with some of those fascinating charms, the spells of which bring

all things mortal and immortal to your feet. I am going to the

world's end to visit Oceanus (from whom all we gods proceed) and

mother Tethys: they received me in their house, took care of me,

and brought me up, having taken me over from Rhaea when Jove

imprisoned great Saturn in the depths that are under earth and

sea. I must go and see them that I may make peace between them;

they have been quarrelling, and are so angry that they have not

slept with one another this long while; if I can bring them round

and restore them to one another's embraces, they will be grateful

to me and love me for ever afterwards."

Thereon laughter-loving Venus said, "I cannot and must not refuse

you, for you sleep in the arms of Jove who is our king."

As she spoke she loosed from her bosom the curiously embroidered

girdle into which all her charms had been wrought--love, desire,

and that sweet flattery which steals the judgement even of the

most prudent. She gave the girdle to Juno and said, "Take this

girdle wherein all my charms reside and lay it in your bosom. If

you will wear it I promise you that your errand, be it what it

may, will not be bootless."

When she heard this Juno smiled, and still smiling she laid the

girdle in her bosom.

Venus now went back into the house of Jove, while Juno darted

down from the summits of Olympus. She passed over Pieria and fair

Emathia, and went on and on till she came to the snowy ranges of

the Thracian horsemen, over whose topmost crests she sped without

ever setting foot to ground. When she came to Athos she went on

over the, waves of the sea till she reached Lemnos, the city of

noble Thoas. There she met Sleep, own brother to Death, and

caught him by the hand, saying, "Sleep, you who lord it alike

over mortals and immortals, if you ever did me a service in times

past, do one for me now, and I shall be grateful to you ever

after. Close Jove's keen eyes for me in slumber while I hold him

clasped in my embrace, and I will give you a beautiful golden

seat, that can never fall to pieces; my clubfooted son Vulcan

shall make it for you, and he shall give it a footstool for you

to rest your fair feet upon when you are at table."

Then Sleep answered, "Juno, great queen of goddesses, daughter of

mighty Saturn, I would lull any other of the gods to sleep

without compunction, not even excepting the waters of Oceanus

from whom all of them proceed, but I dare not go near Jove, nor

send him to sleep unless he bids me. I have had one lesson

already through doing what you asked me, on the day when Jove's

mighty son Hercules set sail from Ilius after having sacked the

city of the Trojans. At your bidding I suffused my sweet self

over the mind of aegis-bearing Jove, and laid him to rest;

meanwhile you hatched a plot against Hercules, and set the blasts

of the angry winds beating upon the sea, till you took him to the

goodly city of Cos, away from all his friends. Jove was furious

when he awoke, and began hurling the gods about all over the

house; he was looking more particularly for myself, and would

have flung me down through space into the sea where I should

never have been heard of any more, had not Night who cows both

men and gods protected me. I fled to her and Jove left off

looking for me in spite of his being so angry, for he did not

dare do anything to displease Night. And now you are again asking

me to do something on which I cannot venture."

And Juno said, "Sleep, why do you take such notions as those into

your head? Do you think Jove will be as anxious to help the

Trojans, as he was about his own son? Come, I will marry you to

one of the youngest of the Graces, and she shall be your own--

Pasithea, whom you have always wanted to marry."

Sleep was pleased when he heard this, and answered, "Then swear

it to me by the dread waters of the river Styx; lay one hand on

the bounteous earth, and the other on the sheen of the sea, so

that all the gods who dwell down below with Saturn may be our

witnesses, and see that you really do give me one of the youngest

of the Graces--Pasithea, whom I have always wanted to marry."

Juno did as he had said. She swore, and invoked all the gods of

the nether world, who are called Titans, to witness. When she had

completed her oath, the two enshrouded themselves in a thick mist

and sped lightly forward, leaving Lemnos and Imbrus behind them.

Presently they reached many-fountained Ida, mother of wild

beasts, and Lectum where they left the sea to go on by land, and

the tops of the trees of the forest soughed under the going of

their feet. Here Sleep halted, and ere Jove caught sight of him

he climbed a lofty pine-tree--the tallest that reared its head

towards heaven on all Ida. He hid himself behind the branches and

sat there in the semblance of the sweet-singing bird that haunts

the mountains and is called Chalcis by the gods, but men call it

Cymindis. Juno then went to Gargarus, the topmost peak of Ida,

and Jove, driver of the clouds, set eyes upon her. As soon as he

did so he became inflamed with the same passionate desire for her

that he had felt when they had first enjoyed each other's

embraces, and slept with one another without their dear parents

knowing anything about it. He went up to her and said, "What do

you want that you have come hither from Olympus--and that too

with neither chariot nor horses to convey you?"

Then Juno told him a lying tale and said, "I am going to the

world's end, to visit Oceanus, from whom all we gods proceed, and

mother Tethys; they received me into their house, took care of

me, and brought me up. I must go and see them that I may make

peace between them: they have been quarrelling, and are so angry

that they have not slept with one another this long time. The

horses that will take me over land and sea are stationed on the

lowermost spurs of many-fountained Ida, and I have come here from

Olympus on purpose to consult you. I was afraid you might be

angry with me later on, if I went to the house of Oceanus without

letting you know."

And Jove said, "Juno, you can choose some other time for paying

your visit to Oceanus--for the present let us devote ourselves to

love and to the enjoyment of one another. Never yet have I been

so overpowered by passion neither for goddess nor mortal woman as

I am at this moment for yourself--not even when I was in love

with the wife of Ixion who bore me Pirithous, peer of gods in

counsel, nor yet with Danae the daintily-ancled daughter of

Acrisius, who bore me the famed hero Perseus. Then there was the

daughter of Phoenix, who bore me Minos and Rhadamanthus: there

was Semele, and Alcmena in Thebes by whom I begot my lion-hearted

son Hercules, while Semele became mother to Bacchus the comforter

of mankind. There was queen Ceres again, and lovely Leto, and

yourself--but with none of these was I ever so much enamoured as

I now am with you."

Juno again answered him with a lying tale. "Most dread son of

Saturn," she exclaimed, "what are you talking about? Would you

have us enjoy one another here on the top of Mount Ida, where

everything can be seen? What if one of the ever-living gods

should see us sleeping together, and tell the others? It would be

such a scandal that when I had risen from your embraces I could

never show myself inside your house again; but if you are so

minded, there is a room which your son Vulcan has made me, and he

has given it good strong doors; if you would so have it, let us

go thither and lie down."

And Jove answered, "Juno, you need not be afraid that either god

or man will see you, for I will enshroud both of us in such a

dense golden cloud, that the very sun for all his bright piercing

beams shall not see through it."

With this the son of Saturn caught his wife in his embrace;

whereon the earth sprouted them a cushion of young grass, with

dew-bespangled lotus, crocus, and hyacinth, so soft and thick

that it raised them well above the ground. Here they laid

themselves down and overhead they were covered by a fair cloud of

gold, from which there fell glittering dew-drops.

Thus, then, did the sire of all things repose peacefully on the

crest of Ida, overcome at once by sleep and love, and he held his

spouse in his arms. Meanwhile Sleep made off to the ships of the

Achaeans, to tell earth-encircling Neptune, lord of the

earthquake. When he had found him he said, "Now, Neptune, you can

help the Danaans with a will, and give them victory though it be

only for a short time while Jove is still sleeping. I have sent

him into a sweet slumber, and Juno has beguiled him into going to

bed with her."

Sleep now departed and went his ways to and fro among mankind,

leaving Neptune more eager than ever to help the Danaans. He

darted forward among the first ranks and shouted saying,

"Argives, shall we let Hector son of Priam have the triumph of

taking our ships and covering himself with glory? This is what he

says that he shall now do, seeing that Achilles is still in

dudgeon at his ship; we shall get on very well without him if we

keep each other in heart and stand by one another. Now,

therefore, let us all do as I say. Let us each take the best and

largest shield we can lay hold of, put on our helmets, and sally

forth with our longest spears in our hands; I will lead you on,

and Hector son of Priam, rage as he may, will not dare to hold

out against us. If any good staunch soldier has only a small

shield, let him hand it over to a worse man, and take a larger

one for himself."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. The son of

Tydeus, Ulysses, and Agamemnon, wounded though they were, set the

others in array, and went about everywhere effecting the

exchanges of armour; the most valiant took the best armour, and

gave the worse to the worse man. When they had donned their

bronze armour they marched on with Neptune at their head. In his

strong hand he grasped his terrible sword, keen of edge and

flashing like lightning; woe to him who comes across it in the

day of battle; all men quake for fear and keep away from it.

Hector on the other side set the Trojans in array. Thereon

Neptune and Hector waged fierce war on one another--Hector on the

Trojan and Neptune on the Argive side. Mighty was the uproar as

the two forces met; the sea came rolling in towards the ships and

tents of the Achaeans, but waves do not thunder on the shore more

loudly when driven before the blast of Boreas, nor do the flames

of a forest fire roar more fiercely when it is well alight upon

the mountains, nor does the wind bellow with ruder music as it

tears on through the tops of when it is blowing its hardest, than

the terrible shout which the Trojans and Achaeans raised as they

sprang upon one another.

Hector first aimed his spear at Ajax, who was turned full towards

him, nor did he miss his aim. The spear struck him where two

bands passed over his chest--the band of his shield and that of

his silver-studded sword--and these protected his body. Hector

was angry that his spear should have been hurled in vain, and

withdrew under cover of his men. As he was thus retreating, Ajax

son of Telamon, struck him with a stone, of which there were many

lying about under the men's feet as they fought--brought there to

give support to the ships' sides as they lay on the shore. Ajax

caught up one of them and struck Hector above the rim of his

shield close to his neck; the blow made him spin round like a top

and reel in all directions. As an oak falls headlong when

uprooted by the lightning flash of father Jove, and there is a

terrible smell of brimstone--no man can help being dismayed if he

is standing near it, for a thunderbolt is a very awful thing--

even so did Hector fall to earth and bite the dust. His spear

fell from his hand, but his shield and helmet were made fast

about his body, and his bronze armour rang about him.

The sons of the Achaeans came running with a loud cry towards

him, hoping to drag him away, and they showered their darts on

the Trojans, but none of them could wound him before he was

surrounded and covered by the princes Polydamas, Aeneas, Agenor,

Sarpedon captain of the Lycians, and noble Glaucus. Of the

others, too, there was not one who was unmindful of him, and they

held their round shields over him to cover him. His comrades then

lifted him off the ground and bore him away from the battle to

the place where his horses stood waiting for him at the rear of

the fight with their driver and the chariot; these then took him

towards the city groaning and in great pain. When they reached

the ford of the fair stream of Xanthus, begotten of Immortal

Jove, they took him from off his chariot and laid him down on the

ground; they poured water over him, and as they did so he

breathed again and opened his eyes. Then kneeling on his knees he

vomited blood, but soon fell back on to the ground, and his eyes

were again closed in darkness for he was still stunned by the

blow.

When the Argives saw Hector leaving the field, they took heart

and set upon the Trojans yet more furiously. Ajax fleet son of

Oileus began by springing on Satnius son of Enops, and wounding

him with his spear: a fair naiad nymph had borne him to Enops as

he was herding cattle by the banks of the river Satnioeis. The

son of Oileus came up to him and struck him in the flank so that

he fell, and a fierce fight between Trojans and Danaans raged

round his body. Polydamas son of Panthous drew near to avenge

him, and wounded Prothoenor son of Areilycus on the right

shoulder; the terrible spear went right through his shoulder, and

he clutched the earth as he fell in the dust. Polydamas vaunted

loudly over him saying, "Again I take it that the spear has not

sped in vain from the strong hand of the son of Panthous; an

Argive has caught it in his body, and it will serve him for a

staff as he goes down into the house of Hades."

The Argives were maddened by this boasting. Ajax son of Telamon

was more angry than any, for the man had fallen close beside him;

so he aimed at Polydamas as he was retreating, but Polydamas

saved himself by swerving aside and the spear struck Archelochus

son of Antenor, for heaven counselled his destruction; it struck

him where the head springs from the neck at the top joint of the

spine, and severed both the tendons at the back of the head. His

head, mouth, and nostrils reached the ground long before his legs

and knees could do so, and Ajax shouted to Polydamas saying,

"Think, Polydamas, and tell me truly whether this man is not as

well worth killing as Prothoenor was: he seems rich, and of rich

family, a brother, it may be, or son of the knight Antenor, for

he is very like him."

But he knew well who it was, and the Trojans were greatly

angered. Acamas then bestrode his brother's body and wounded

Promachus the Boeotian with his spear, for he was trying to drag

his brother's body away. Acamas vaunted loudly over him saying,

"Argive archers, braggarts that you are, toil and suffering shall

not be for us only, but some of you too shall fall here as well

as ourselves. See how Promachus now sleeps, vanquished by my

spear; payment for my brother's blood has not been long delayed;

a man, therefore, may well be thankful if he leaves a kinsman in

his house behind him to avenge his fall."

His taunts infuriated the Argives, and Peneleos was more enraged

than any of them. He sprang towards Acamas, but Acamas did not

stand his ground, and he killed Ilioneus son of the rich

flock-master Phorbas, whom Mercury had favoured and endowed with

greater wealth than any other of the Trojans. Ilioneus was his

only son, and Peneleos now wounded him in the eye under his

eyebrows, tearing the eye-ball from its socket: the spear went

right through the eye into the nape of the neck, and he fell,

stretching out both hands before him. Peneleos then drew his

sword and smote him on the neck, so that both head and helmet

came tumbling down to the ground with the spear still sticking in

the eye; he then held up the head, as though it had been a

poppy-head, and showed it to the Trojans, vaunting over them as

he did so. "Trojans," he cried, "bid the father and mother of

noble Ilioneus make moan for him in their house, for the wife

also of Promachus son of Alegenor will never be gladdened by the

coming of her dear husband--when we Argives return with our ships

from Troy."

As he spoke fear fell upon them, and every man looked round about

to see whither he might fly for safety.

Tell me now, O Muses that dwell on Olympus, who was the first of

the Argives to bear away blood-stained spoils after Neptune lord

of the earthquake had turned the fortune of war. Ajax son of

Telamon was first to wound Hyrtius son of Gyrtius, captain of the

staunch Mysians. Antilochus killed Phalces and Mermerus, while

Meriones slew Morys and Hippotion, Teucer also killed Prothoon

and Periphetes. The son of Atreus then wounded Hyperenor shepherd

of his people, in the flank, and the bronze point made his

entrails gush out as it tore in among them; on this his life came

hurrying out of him at the place where he had been wounded, and

his eyes were closed in darkness. Ajax son of Oileus killed more

than any other, for there was no man so fleet as he to pursue

flying foes when Jove had spread panic among them.

 

 

BOOK XV

BUT when their flight had taken them past the trench and the set

stakes, and many had fallen by the hands of the Danaans, the

Trojans made a halt on reaching their chariots, routed and pale

with fear. Jove now woke on the crests of Ida, where he was lying

with golden-throned Juno by his side, and starting to his feet he

saw the Trojans and Achaeans, the one thrown into confusion, and

the others driving them pell-mell before them with King Neptune

in their midst. He saw Hector lying on the ground with his

comrades gathered round him, gasping for breath, wandering in

mind and vomiting blood, for it was not the feeblest of the

Achaeans who struck him.

The sire of gods and men had pity on him, and looked fiercely on

Juno. "I see, Juno," said he, "you mischief-making trickster,

that your cunning has stayed Hector from fighting and has caused

the rout of his host. I am in half a mind to thrash you, in which

case you will be the first to reap the fruits of your scurvy

knavery. Do you not remember how once upon a time I had you

hanged? I fastened two anvils on to your feet, and bound your

hands in a chain of gold which none might break, and you hung in

mid-air among the clouds. All the gods in Olympus were in a fury,

but they could not reach you to set you free; when I caught any

one of them I gripped him and hurled him from the heavenly

threshold till he came fainting down to earth; yet even this did

not relieve my mind from the incessant anxiety which I felt about

noble Hercules whom you and Boreas had spitefully conveyed beyond

the seas to Cos, after suborning the tempests; but I rescued him,

and notwithstanding all his mighty labours I brought him back

again to Argos. I would remind you of this that you may learn to

leave off being so deceitful, and discover how much you are

likely to gain by the embraces out of which you have come here to

trick me."

Juno trembled as he spoke, and said, "May heaven above and earth

below be my witnesses, with the waters of the river Styx--and

this is the most solemn oath that a blessed god can take--nay, I

swear also by your own almighty head and by our bridal bed--

things over which I could never possibly perjure myself--that

Neptune is not punishing Hector and the Trojans and helping the

Achaeans through any doing of mine; it is all of his own mere

motion because he was sorry to see the Achaeans hard pressed at

their ships: if I were advising him, I should tell him to do as

you bid him."

The sire of gods and men smiled and answered, "If you, Juno, were

always to support me when we sit in council of the gods, Neptune,

like it or no, would soon come round to your and my way of

thinking. If, then, you are speaking the truth and mean what you

say, go among the rank and file of the gods, and tell Iris and

Apollo lord of the bow, that I want them--Iris, that she may go

to the Achaean host and tell Neptune to leave off fighting and go

home, and Apollo, that he may send Hector again into battle and

give him fresh strength; he will thus forget his present

sufferings, and drive the Achaeans back in confusion till they

fall among the ships of Achilles son of Peleus. Achilles will

then send his comrade Patroclus into battle, and Hector will kill

him in front of Ilius after he has slain many warriors, and among

them my own noble son Sarpedon. Achilles will kill Hector to

avenge Patroclus, and from that time I will bring it about that

the Achaeans shall persistently drive the Trojans back till they

fulfil the counsels of Minerva and take Ilius. But I will not

stay my anger, nor permit any god to help the Danaans till I have

accomplished the desire of the son of Peleus, according to the

promise I made by bowing my head on the day when Thetis touched

my knees and besought me to give him honour."

Juno heeded his words and went from the heights of Ida to great

Olympus. Swift as the thought of one whose fancy carries him over

vast continents, and he says to himself, "Now I will be here, or

there," and he would have all manner of things--even so swiftly

did Juno wing her way till she came to high Olympus and went in

among the gods who were gathered in the house of Jove. When they

saw her they all of them came up to her, and held out their cups

to her by way of greeting. She let the others be, but took the

cup offered her by lovely Themis, who was first to come running

up to her. "Juno," said she, "why are you here? And you seem

troubled--has your husband the son of Saturn been frightening

you?"

And Juno answered, "Themis, do not ask me about it. You know what

a proud and cruel disposition my husband has. Lead the gods to

table, where you and all the immortals can hear the wicked

designs which he has avowed. Many a one, mortal and immortal,

will be angered by them, however peaceably he may be feasting

now."

On this Juno sat down, and the gods were troubled throughout the

house of Jove. Laughter sat on her lips but her brow was furrowed

with care, and she spoke up in a rage. "Fools that we are," she

cried, "to be thus madly angry with Jove; we keep on wanting to

go up to him and stay him by force or by persuasion, but he sits

aloof and cares for nobody, for he knows that he is much stronger

than any other of the immortals. Make the best, therefore, of

whatever ills he may choose to send each one of you; Mars, I take

it, has had a taste of them already, for his son Ascalaphus has

fallen in battle--the man whom of all others he loved most dearly

and whose father he owns himself to be."

When he heard this Mars smote his two sturdy thighs with the flat

of his hands, and said in anger, "Do not blame me, you gods that

dwell in heaven, if I go to the ships of the Achaeans and avenge

the death of my son, even though it end in my being struck by

Jove's lightning and lying in blood and dust among the corpses."

As he spoke he gave orders to yoke his horses Panic and Rout,

while he put on his armour. On this, Jove would have been roused

to still more fierce and implacable enmity against the other

immortals, had not Minerva, alarmed for the safety of the gods,

sprung from her seat and hurried outside. She tore the helmet

from his head and the shield from his shoulders, and she took the

bronze spear from his strong hand and set it on one side; then

she said to Mars, "Madman, you are undone; you have ears that

hear not, or you have lost all judgement and understanding; have

you not heard what Juno has said on coming straight from the

presence of Olympian Jove? Do you wish to go through all kinds of

suffering before you are brought back sick and sorry to Olympus,

after having caused infinite mischief to all us others? Jove

would instantly leave the Trojans and Achaeans to themselves; he

would come to Olympus to punish us, and would grip us up one

after another, guilty or not guilty. Therefore lay aside your

anger for the death of your son; better men than he have either

been killed already or will fall hereafter, and one cannot

protect every one's whole family."

With these words she took Mars back to his seat. Meanwhile Juno

called Apollo outside, with Iris the messenger of the gods.

"Jove," she said to them, "desires you to go to him at once on

Mt. Ida; when you have seen him you are to do as he may then bid

you."

Thereon Juno left them and resumed her seat inside, while Iris

and Apollo made all haste on their way. When they reached

many-fountained Ida, mother of wild beasts, they found Jove

seated on topmost Gargarus with a fragrant cloud encircling his

head as with a diadem. They stood before his presence, and he was

pleased with them for having been so quick in obeying the orders

his wife had given them.

He spoke to Iris first. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, tell King

Neptune what I now bid you--and tell him true. Bid him leave off

fighting, and either join the company of the gods, or go down

into the sea. If he takes no heed and disobeys me, let him

consider well whether he is strong enough to hold his own against

me if I attack him. I am older and much stronger than he is; yet

he is not afraid to set himself up as on a level with myself, of

whom all the other gods stand in awe."

Iris, fleet as the wind, obeyed him, and as the cold hail or

snowflakes that fly from out the clouds before the blast of

Boreas, even so did she wing her way till she came close up to

the great shaker of the earth. Then she said, "I have come, O

dark-haired king that holds the world in his embrace, to bring

you a message from Jove. He bids you leave off fighting, and

either join the company of the gods or go down into the sea; if,

however, you take no heed and disobey him, he says he will come

down here and fight you. He would have you keep out of his reach,

for he is older and much stronger than you are, and yet you are

not afraid to set yourself up as on a level with himself, of whom

all the other gods stand in awe."

Neptune was very angry and said, "Great heavens! strong as Jove

may be, he has said more than he can do if he has threatened

violence against me, who am of like honour with himself. We were

three brothers whom Rhea bore to Saturn--Jove, myself, and Hades

who rules the world below. Heaven and earth were divided into

three parts, and each of us was to have an equal share. When we

cast lots, it fell to me to have my dwelling in the sea for

evermore; Hades took the darkness of the realms under the earth,

while air and sky and clouds were the portion that fell to Jove;

but earth and great Olympus are the common property of all.

Therefore I will not walk as Jove would have me. For all his

strength, let him keep to his own third share and be contented

without threatening to lay hands upon me as though I were nobody.

Let him keep his bragging talk for his own sons and daughters,

who must perforce obey him."

Iris fleet as the wind then answered, "Am I really, Neptune, to

take this daring and unyielding message to Jove, or will you

reconsider your answer? Sensible people are open to argument, and

you know that the Erinyes always range themselves on the side of

the older person."

Neptune answered, "Goddess Iris, your words have been spoken in

season. It is well when a messenger shows so much discretion.

Nevertheless it cuts me to the very heart that any one should

rebuke so angrily another who is his own peer, and of like empire

with himself. Now, however, I will give way in spite of my

displeasure; furthermore let me tell you, and I mean what I say--

if contrary to the desire of myself, Minerva driver of the spoil,

Juno, Mercury, and King Vulcan, Jove spares steep Ilius, and will

not let the Achaeans have the great triumph of sacking it, let

him understand that he will incur our implacable resentment."

Neptune now left the field to go down under the sea, and sorely

did the Achaeans miss him. Then Jove said to Apollo, "Go, dear

Phoebus, to Hector, for Neptune who holds the earth in his

embrace has now gone down under the sea to avoid the severity of

my displeasure. Had he not done so those gods who are below with

Saturn would have come to hear of the fight between us. It is

better for both of us that he should have curbed his anger and

kept out of my reach, for I should have had much trouble with

him. Take, then, your tasselled aegis, and shake it furiously, so

as to set the Achaean heroes in a panic; take, moreover, brave

Hector, O Far-Darter, into your own care, and rouse him to deeds

of daring, till the Achaeans are sent flying back to their ships

and to the Hellespont. From that point I will think it well over,

how the Achaeans may have a respite from their troubles."

Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and left the crests of Ida,

flying like a falcon, bane of doves and swiftest of all birds. He

found Hector no longer lying upon the ground, but sitting up, for

he had just come to himself again. He knew those who were about

him, and the sweat and hard breathing had left him from the

moment when the will of aegis-bearing Jove had revived him.

Apollo stood beside him and said, "Hector son of Priam, why are

you so faint, and why are you here away from the others? Has any

mishap befallen you?"

Hector in a weak voice answered, "And which, kind sir, of the

gods are you, who now ask me thus? Do you not know that Ajax

struck me on the chest with a stone as I was killing his comrades

at the ships of the Achaeans, and compelled me to leave off

fighting? I made sure that this very day I should breathe my last

and go down into the house of Hades."

Then King Apollo said to him, "Take heart; the son of Saturn has

sent you a mighty helper from Ida to stand by you and defend you,

even me, Phoebus Apollo of the golden sword, who have been

guardian hitherto not only of yourself but of your city. Now,

therefore, order your horsemen to drive their chariots to the

ships in great multitudes. I will go before your horses to smooth

the way for them, and will turn the Achaeans in flight."

As he spoke he infused great strength into the shepherd of his

people. And as a horse, stabled and full-fed, breaks loose and

gallops gloriously over the plain to the place where he is wont

to take his bath in the river--he tosses his head, and his mane

streams over his shoulders as in all the pride of his strength he

flies full speed to the pastures where the mares are feeding--

even so Hector, when he heard what the god said, urged his

horsemen on, and sped forward as fast as his limbs could take

him. As country peasants set their hounds on to a homed stag or

wild goat--he has taken shelter under rock or thicket, and they

cannot find him, but, lo, a bearded lion whom their shouts have

roused stands in their path, and they are in no further humour

for the chase--even so the Achaeans were still charging on in a

body, using their swords and spears pointed at both ends, but

when they saw Hector going about among his men they were afraid,

and their hearts fell down into their feet.

Then spoke Thoas son of Andraemon, leader of the Aetolians, a man

who could throw a good throw, and who was staunch also in close

fight, while few could surpass him in debate when opinions were

divided. He then with all sincerity and goodwill addressed them

thus: "What, in heaven's name, do I now see? Is it not Hector

come to life again? Every one made sure he had been killed by

Ajax son of Telamon, but it seems that one of the gods has again

rescued him. He has killed many of us Danaans already, and I take

it will yet do so, for the hand of Jove must be with him or he

would never dare show himself so masterful in the forefront of

the battle. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let us order

the main body of our forces to fall back upon the ships, but let

those of us who profess to be the flower of the army stand firm,

and see whether we cannot hold Hector back at the point of our

spears as soon as he comes near us; I conceive that he will then

think better of it before he tries to charge into the press of

the Danaans."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. Those who

were about Ajax and King Idomeneus, the followers moreover of

Teucer, Meriones, and Meges peer of Mars called all their best

men about them and sustained the fight against Hector and the

Trojans, but the main body fell back upon the ships of the

Achaeans.

The Trojans pressed forward in a dense body, with Hector striding

on at their head. Before him went Phoebus Apollo shrouded in

cloud about his shoulders. He bore aloft the terrible aegis with

its shaggy fringe, which Vulcan the smith had given Jove to

strike terror into the hearts of men. With this in his hand he

led on the Trojans.

The Argives held together and stood their ground. The cry of

battle rose high from either side, and the arrows flew from the

bowstrings. Many a spear sped from strong hands and fastened in

the bodies of many a valiant warrior, while others fell to earth

midway, before they could taste of man's fair flesh and glut

themselves with blood. So long as Phoebus Apollo held his aegis

quietly and without shaking it, the weapons on either side took

effect and the people fell, but when he shook it straight in the

face of the Danaans and raised his mighty battle-cry their hearts

fainted within them and they forgot their former prowess. As when

two wild beasts spring in the dead of night on a herd of cattle

or a large flock of sheep when the herdsman is not there--even so

were the Danaans struck helpless, for Apollo filled them with

panic and gave victory to Hector and the Trojans.

The fight then became more scattered and they killed one another

where they best could. Hector killed Stichius and Arcesilaus, the

one, leader of the Boeotians, and the other, friend and comrade

of Menestheus. Aeneas killed Medon and Iasus. The first was

bastard son to Oileus, and brother to Ajax, but he lived in

Phylace away from his own country, for he had killed a man, a

kinsman of his stepmother Eriopis whom Oileus had married. Iasus

had become a leader of the Athenians, and was son of Sphelus the

son of Boucolos. Polydamas killed Mecisteus, and Polites Echius,

in the front of the battle, while Agenor slew Clonius. Paris

struck Deiochus from behind in the lower part of the shoulder, as

he was flying among the foremost, and the point of the spear went

clean through him.

While they were spoiling these heroes of their armour, the

Achaeans were flying pell-mell to the trench and the set stakes,

and were forced back within their wall. Hector then cried out to

the Trojans, "Forward to the ships, and let the spoils be. If I

see any man keeping back on the other side the wall away from the

ships I will have him killed: his kinsmen and kinswomen shall not

give him his dues of fire, but dogs shall tear him in pieces in

front of our city."

As he spoke he laid his whip about his horses' shoulders and

called to the Trojans throughout their ranks; the Trojans shouted

with a cry that rent the air, and kept their horses neck and neck

with his own. Phoebus Apollo went before, and kicked down the

banks of the deep trench into its middle so as to make a great

broad bridge, as broad as the throw of a spear when a man is

trying his strength. The Trojan battalions poured over the

bridge, and Apollo with his redoubtable aegis led the way. He

kicked down the wall of the Achaeans as easily as a child who

playing on the sea-shore has built a house of sand and then kicks

it down again and destroys it--even so did you, O Apollo, shed

toil and trouble upon the Argives, filling them with panic and

confusion.

Thus then were the Achaeans hemmed in at their ships, calling out

to one another and raising their hands with loud cries every man

to heaven. Nestor of Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans,

lifted up his hands to the starry firmament of heaven, and prayed

more fervently than any of them. "Father Jove," said he, "if ever

any one in wheat-growing Argos burned you fat thigh-bones of

sheep or heifer and prayed that he might return safely home,

whereon you bowed your head to him in assent, bear it in mind

now, and suffer not the Trojans to triumph thus over the

Achaeans."

All-counselling Jove thundered loudly in answer to the prayer of

the aged son of Neleus. When they heard Jove thunder they flung

themselves yet more fiercely on the Achaeans. As a wave breaking

over the bulwarks of a ship when the sea runs high before a

gale--for it is the force of the wind that makes the waves so

great--even so did the Trojans spring over the wall with a

shout, and drive their chariots onwards. The two sides fought

with their double-pointed spears in hand-to-hand encounter-the

Trojans from their chariots, and the Achaeans climbing up into

their ships and wielding the long pikes that were lying on the

decks ready for use in a sea-fight, jointed and shod with bronze.

Now Patroclus, so long as the Achaeans and Trojans were fighting

about the wall, but were not yet within it and at the ships,

remained sitting in the tent of good Eurypylus, entertaining him

with his conversation and spreading herbs over his wound to ease

his pain. When, however, he saw the Trojans swarming through the

breach in the wall, while the Achaeans were clamouring and struck

with panic, he cried aloud, and smote his two thighs with the

flat of his hands. "Eurypylus," said he in his dismay, "I know

you want me badly, but I cannot stay with you any longer, for

there is hard fighting going on; a servant shall take care of you

now, for I must make all speed to Achilles, and induce him to

fight if I can; who knows but with heaven's help I may persuade

him. A man does well to listen to the advice of a friend."

When he had thus spoken he went his way. The Achaeans stood firm

and resisted the attack of the Trojans, yet though these were

fewer in number, they could not drive them back from the ships,

neither could the Trojans break the Achaean ranks and make their

way in among the tents and ships. As a carpenter's line gives a

true edge to a piece of ship's timber, in the hand of some

skilled workman whom Minerva has instructed in all kinds of

useful arts--even so level was the issue of the fight between the

two sides, as they fought some round one and some round another.

Hector made straight for Ajax, and the two fought fiercely about

the same ship. Hector could not force Ajax back and fire the

ship, nor yet could Ajax drive Hector from the spot to which

heaven had brought him.

Then Ajax struck Caletor son of Clytius in the chest with a spear

as he was bringing fire towards the ship. He fell heavily to the

ground and the torch dropped from his hand. When Hector saw his

cousin fallen in front of the ship he shouted to the Trojans and

Lycians saying, "Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians good in close

fight, bate not a jot, but rescue the son of Clytius lest the

Achaeans strip him of his armour now that he has fallen."

He then aimed a spear at Ajax, and missed him, but he hit

Lycophron a follower of Ajax, who came from Cythera, but was

living with Ajax inasmuch as he had killed a man among the

Cythereans. Hector's spear struck him on the head below the ear,

and he fell headlong from the ship's prow on to the ground with

no life left in him. Ajax shook with rage and said to his

brother, "Teucer, my good fellow, our trusty comrade the son of

Mastor has fallen, he came to live with us from Cythera and whom

we honoured as much as our own parents. Hector has just killed

him; fetch your deadly arrows at once and the bow which Phoebus

Apollo gave you."

Teucer heard him and hastened towards him with his bow and quiver

in his hands. Forthwith he showered his arrows on the Trojans,

and hit Cleitus the son of Pisenor, comrade of Polydamas the

noble son of Panthous, with the reins in his hands as he was

attending to his horses; he was in the middle of the very

thickest part of the fight, doing good service to Hector and the

Trojans, but evil had now come upon him, and not one of those who

were fain to do so could avert it, for the arrow struck him on

the back of the neck. He fell from his chariot and his horses

shook the empty car as they swerved aside. King Polydamas saw

what had happened, and was the first to come up to the horses; he

gave them in charge to Astynous son of Protiaon, and ordered him

to look on, and to keep the horses near at hand. He then went

back and took his place in the front ranks.

Teucer then aimed another arrow at Hector, and there would have

been no more fighting at the ships if he had hit him and killed

him then and there: Jove, however, who kept watch over Hector,

had his eyes on Teucer, and deprived him of his triumph, by

breaking his bowstring for him just as he was drawing it and

about to take his aim; on this the arrow went astray and the bow

fell from his hands. Teucer shook with anger and said to his

brother, "Alas, see how heaven thwarts us in all we do; it has

broken my bowstring and snatched the bow from my hand, though I

strung it this selfsame morning that it might serve me for many

an arrow."

Ajax son of Telamon answered, "My good fellow, let your bow and

your arrows be, for Jove has made them useless in order to spite

the Danaans. Take your spear, lay your shield upon your shoulder,

and both fight the Trojans yourself and urge others to do so.

They may be successful for the moment but if we fight as we ought

they will find it a hard matter to take the ships."

Teucer then took his bow and put it by in his tent. He hung a

shield four hides thick about his shoulders, and on his comely

head he set his helmet well wrought with a crest of horse-hair

that nodded menacingly above it; he grasped his redoubtable

bronze-shod spear, and forthwith he was by the side of Ajax.

When Hector saw that Teucer's bow was of no more use to him, he

shouted out to the Trojans and Lycians, "Trojans, Lycians, and

Dardanians good in close fight, be men, my friends, and show your

mettle here at the ships, for I see the weapon of one of their

chieftains made useless by the hand of Jove. It is easy to see

when Jove is helping people and means to help them still further,

or again when he is bringing them down and will do nothing for

them; he is now on our side, and is going against the Argives.

Therefore swarm round the ships and fight. If any of you is

struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies

with honour who dies fighting for his country; and he will leave

his wife and children safe behind him, with his house and

allotment unplundered if only the Achaeans can be driven back to

their own land, they and their ships."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Ajax on the

other side exhorted his comrades saying, "Shame on you Argives,

we are now utterly undone, unless we can save ourselves by

driving the enemy from our ships. Do you think, if Hector takes

them, that you will be able to get home by land? Can you not hear

him cheering on his whole host to fire our fleet, and bidding

them remember that they are not at a dance but in battle? Our

only course is to fight them with might and main; we had better

chance it, life or death, once for all, than fight long and

without issue hemmed in at our ships by worse men than

ourselves."

With these words he put life and soul into them all. Hector then

killed Schedius son of Perimedes, leader of the Phoceans, and

Ajax killed Laodamas captain of foot soldiers and son to Antenor.

Polydamas killed Otus of Cyllene a comrade of the son of Phyleus

and chief of the proud Epeans. When Meges saw this he sprang upon

him, but Polydamas crouched down, and he missed him, for Apollo

would not suffer the son of Panthous to fall in battle; but the

spear hit Croesmus in the middle of his chest, whereon he fell

heavily to the ground, and Meges stripped him of his armour. At

that moment the valiant soldier Dolops son of Lampus sprang upon

Lampus was son of Laomedon and for his valour, while his son

Dolops was versed in all the ways of war. He then struck the

middle of the son of Phyleus' shield with his spear, setting on

him at close quarters, but his good corslet made with plates of

metal saved him; Phyleus had brought it from Ephyra and the river

Selleis, where his host, King Euphetes, had given it him to wear

in battle and protect him. It now served to save the life of his

son. Then Meges struck the topmost crest of Dolops's bronze

helmet with his spear and tore away its plume of horse-hair, so

that all newly dyed with scarlet as it was it tumbled down into

the dust. While he was still fighting and confident of victory,

Menelaus came up to help Meges, and got by the side of Dolops

unperceived; he then speared him in the shoulder, from behind,

and the point, driven so furiously, went through into his chest,

whereon he fell headlong. The two then made towards him to strip

him of his armour, but Hector called on all his brothers for

help, and he especially upbraided brave Melanippus son of

Hiketaon, who erewhile used to pasture his herds of cattle in

Percote before the war broke out; but when the ships of the

Danaans came, he went back to Ilius, where he was eminent among

the Trojans, and lived near Priam who treated him as one of his

own sons. Hector now rebuked him and said, "Why, Melanippus, are

we thus remiss? do you take no note of the death of your kinsman,

and do you not see how they are trying to take Dolops's armour?

Follow me; there must be no fighting the Argives from a distance

now, but we must do so in close combat till either we kill them

or they take the high wall of Ilius and slay her people."

He led on as he spoke, and the hero Melanippus followed after.

Meanwhile Ajax son of Telamon was cheering on the Argives. "My

friends," he cried, "be men, and fear dishonour; quit yourselves

in battle so as to win respect from one another. Men who respect

each other's good opinion are less likely to be killed than those

who do not, but in flight there is neither gain nor glory."

Thus did he exhort men who were already bent upon driving back

the Trojans. They laid his words to heart and hedged the ships as

with a wall of bronze, while Jove urged on the Trojans. Menelaus

of the loud battle-cry urged Antilochus on. "Antilochus," said

he, "you are young and there is none of the Achaeans more fleet

of foot or more valiant than you are. See if you cannot spring

upon some Trojan and kill him."

He hurried away when he had thus spurred Antilochus, who at once

darted out from the front ranks and aimed a spear, after looking

carefully round him. The Trojans fell back as he threw, and the

dart did not speed from his hand without effect, for it struck

Melanippus the proud son of Hiketaon in the breast by the nipple

as he was coming forward, and his armour rang rattling round him

as he fell heavily to the ground. Antilochus sprang upon him as a

dog springs on a fawn which a hunter has hit as it was breaking

away from its covert, and killed it. Even so, O Melanippus, did

stalwart Antilochus spring upon you to strip you of your armour;

but noble Hector marked him, and came running up to him through

the thick of the battle. Antilochus, brave soldier though he was,

would not stay to face him, but fled like some savage creature

which knows it has done wrong, and flies, when it has killed a

dog or a man who is herding his cattle, before a body of men can

be gathered to attack it. Even so did the son of Nestor fly, and

the Trojans and Hector with a cry that rent the air showered

their weapons after him; nor did he turn round and stay his

flight till he had reached his comrades.

The Trojans, fierce as lions, were still rushing on towards the

ships in fulfilment of the behests of Jove who kept spurring them

on to new deeds of daring, while he deadened the courage of the

Argives and defeated them by encouraging the Trojans. For he

meant giving glory to Hector son of Priam, and letting him throw

fire upon the ships, till he had fulfilled the unrighteous prayer

that Thetis had made him; Jove, therefore, bided his time till he

should see the glare of a blazing ship. From that hour he was

about so to order that the Trojans should be driven back from the

ships and to vouchsafe glory to the Achaeans. With this purpose

he inspired Hector son of Priam, who was cager enough already, to

assail the ships. His fury was as that of Mars, or as when a fire

is raging in the glades of some dense forest upon the mountains;

he foamed at the mouth, his eyes glared under his terrible

eye-brows, and his helmet quivered on his temples by reason of

the fury with which he fought. Jove from heaven was with him, and

though he was but one against many, vouchsafed him victory and

glory; for he was doomed to an early death, and already Pallas

Minerva was hurrying on the hour of his destruction at the hands

of the son of Peleus. Now, however, he kept trying to break the

ranks of the enemy wherever he could see them thickest, and in

the goodliest armour; but do what he might he could not break

through them, for they stood as a tower foursquare, or as some

high cliff rising from the grey sea that braves the anger of the

gale, and of the waves that thunder up against it. He fell upon

them like flames of fire from every quarter. As when a wave,

raised mountain high by wind and storm, breaks over a ship and

covers it deep in foam, the fierce winds roar against the mast,

the hearts of the sailors fail them for fear, and they are saved

but by a very little from destruction--even so were the hearts of

the Achaeans fainting within them. Or as a savage lion attacking

a herd of cows while they are feeding by thousands in the

low-lying meadows by some wide-watered shore--the herdsman is at

his wit's end how to protect his herd and keeps going about now

in the van and now in the rear of his cattle, while the lion

springs into the thick of them and fastens on a cow so that they

all tremble for fear--even so were the Achaeans utterly

panic-stricken by Hector and father Jove. Nevertheless Hector

only killed Periphetes of Mycenae; he was son of Copreus who was

wont to take the orders of King Eurystheus to mighty Hercules,

but the son was a far better man than the father in every way; he

was fleet of foot, a valiant warrior, and in understanding ranked

among the foremost men of Mycenae. He it was who then afforded

Hector a triumph, for as he was turning back he stumbled against

the rim of his shield which reached his feet, and served to keep

the javelins off him. He tripped against this and fell face

upward, his helmet ringing loudly about his head as he did so.

Hector saw him fall and ran up to him; he then thrust a spear

into his chest, and killed him close to his own comrades. These,

for all their sorrow, could not help him for they were themselves

terribly afraid of Hector.

They had now reached the ships and the prows of those that had

been drawn up first were on every side of them, but the Trojans

came pouring after them. The Argives were driven back from the

first row of ships, but they made a stand by their tents without

being broken up and scattered; shame and fear restrained them.

They kept shouting incessantly to one another, and Nestor of

Gerene, tower of strength to the Achaeans, was loudest in

imploring every man by his parents, and beseeching him to stand

firm.

"Be men, my friends," he cried, "and respect one another's good

opinion. Think, all of you, on your children, your wives, your

property, and your parents whether these be alive or dead. On

their behalf though they are not here, I implore you to stand

firm, and not to turn in flight."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all. Minerva

lifted the thick veil of darkness from their eyes, and much light

fell upon them, alike on the side of the ships and on that where

the fight was raging. They could see Hector and all his men, both

those in the rear who were taking no part in the battle, and

those who were fighting by the ships.

Ajax could not bring himself to retreat along with the rest, but

strode from deck to deck with a great sea-pike in his hands

twelve cubits long and jointed with rings. As a man skilled in

feats of horsemanship couples four horses together and comes

tearing full speed along the public way from the country into

some large town--many both men and women marvel as they see him

for he keeps all the time changing his horse, springing from one

to another without ever missing his feet while the horses are at

a gallop--even so did Ajax go striding from one ship's deck to

another, and his voice went up into the heavens. He kept on

shouting his orders to the Danaans and exhorting them to defend

their ships and tents; neither did Hector remain within the main

body of the Trojan warriors, but as a dun eagle swoops down upon

a flock of wild-fowl feeding near a river-geese, it may be, or

cranes, or long-necked swans--even so did Hector make straight

for a dark-prowed ship, rushing right towards it; for Jove with

his mighty hand impelled him forward, and roused his people to

follow him.

And now the battle again raged furiously at the ships. You would

have thought the men were coming on fresh and unwearied, so

fiercely did they fight; and this was the mind in which they

were--the Achaeans did not believe they should escape destruction

but thought themselves doomed, while there was not a Trojan but

his heart beat high with the hope of firing the ships and putting

the Achaean heroes to the sword.

Thus were the two sides minded. Then Hector seized the stern of

the good ship that had brought Protesilaus to Troy, but never

bore him back to his native land. Round this ship there raged a

close hand-to-hand fight between Danaans and Trojans. They did

not fight at a distance with bows and javelins, but with one mind

hacked at one another in close combat with their mighty swords

and spears pointed at both ends; they fought moreover with keen

battle-axes and with hatchets. Many a good stout blade hilted and

scabbarded with iron, fell from hand or shoulder as they fought,

and the earth ran red with blood. Hector, when he had seized the

ship, would not loose his hold but held on to its curved stern

and shouted to the Trojans, "Bring fire, and raise the battle-cry

all of you with a single voice. Now has Jove vouchsafed us a day

that will pay us for all the rest; this day we shall take the

ships which came hither against heaven's will, and which have

caused us such infinite suffering through the cowardice of our

councillors, who when I would have done battle at the ships held

me back and forbade the host to follow me; if Jove did then

indeed warp our judgements, himself now commands me and cheers me

on."

As he spoke thus the Trojans sprang yet more fiercely on the

Achaeans, and Ajax no longer held his ground, for he was overcome

by the darts that were flung at him, and made sure that he was

doomed. Therefore he left the raised deck at the stern, and

stepped back on to the seven-foot bench of the oarsmen. Here he

stood on the look-out, and with his spear held back Trojan whom

he saw bringing fire to the ships. All the time he kept on

shouting at the top of his voice and exhorting the Danaans. "My

friends," he cried, "Danaan heroes, servants of Mars, be men my

friends, and fight with might and with main. Can we hope to find

helpers hereafter, or a wall to shield us more surely than the

one we have? There is no strong city within reach, whence we may

draw fresh forces to turn the scales in our favour. We are on the

plain of the armed Trojans with the sea behind us, and far from

our own country. Our salvation, therefore, is in the might of our

hands and in hard fighting."

As he spoke he wielded his spear with still greater fury, and

when any Trojan made towards the ships with fire at Hector's

bidding, he would be on the look-out for him, and drive at him

with his long spear. Twelve men did he thus kill in hand-to-hand

fight before the ships.

 

 

BOOK XVI

THUS did they fight about the ship of Protesilaus. Then Patroclus

drew near to Achilles with tears welling from his eyes, as from

some spring whose crystal stream falls over the ledges of a high

precipice. When Achilles saw him thus weeping he was sorry for

him and said, "Why, Patroclus, do you stand there weeping like

some silly child that comes running to her mother, and begs to be

taken up and carried--she catches hold of her mother's dress to

stay her though she is in a hurry, and looks tearfully up until

her mother carries her--even such tears, Patroclus, are you now

shedding. Have you anything to say to the Myrmidons or to myself?

or have you had news from Phthia which you alone know? They tell

me Menoetius son of Actor is still alive, as also Peleus son of

Aeacus, among the Myrmidons--men whose loss we two should

bitterly deplore; or are you grieving about the Argives and the

way in which they are being killed at the ships, through their

own high-handed doings? Do not hide anything from me but tell me

that both of us may know about it."

Then, O knight Patroclus, with a deep sigh you answered,

"Achilles, son of Peleus, foremost champion of the Achaeans, do

not be angry, but I weep for the disaster that has now befallen

the Argives. All those who have been their champions so far are

lying at the ships, wounded by sword or spear. Brave Diomed son

of Tydeus has been hit with a spear, while famed Ulysses and

Agamemnon have received sword-wounds; Eurypylus again has been

struck with an arrow in the thigh; skilled apothecaries are

attending to these heroes, and healing them of their wounds; are

you still, O Achilles, so inexorable? May it never be my lot to

nurse such a passion as you have done, to the baning of your own

good name. Who in future story will speak well of you unless you

now save the Argives from ruin? You know no pity; knight Peleus

was not your father nor Thetis your mother, but the grey sea bore

you and the sheer cliffs begot you, so cruel and remorseless are

you. If however you are kept back through knowledge of some

oracle, or if your mother Thetis has told you something from the

mouth of Jove, at least send me and the Myrmidons with me, if I

may bring deliverance to the Danaans. Let me moreover wear your

armour; the Trojans may thus mistake me for you and quit the

field, so that the hard-pressed sons of the Achaeans may have

breathing time--which while they are fighting may hardly be. We

who are fresh might soon drive tired men back from our ships and

tents to their own city."

He knew not what he was asking, nor that he was suing for his own

destruction. Achilles was deeply moved and answered, "What, noble

Patroclus, are you saying? I know no prophesyings which I am

heeding, nor has my mother told me anything from the mouth of

Jove, but I am cut to the very heart that one of my own rank

should dare to rob me because he is more powerful than I am.

This, after all that I have gone through, is more than I can

endure. The girl whom the sons of the Achaeans chose for me, whom

I won as the fruit of my spear on having sacked a city--her has

King Agamemnon taken from me as though I were some common

vagrant. Still, let bygones be bygones: no man may keep his anger

for ever; I said I would not relent till battle and the cry of

war had reached my own ships; nevertheless, now gird my armour

about your shoulders, and lead the Myrmidons to battle, for the

dark cloud of Trojans has burst furiously over our fleet; the

Argives are driven back on to the beach, cooped within a narrow

space, and the whole people of Troy has taken heart to sally out

against them, because they see not the visor of my helmet

gleaming near them. Had they seen this, there would not have been

a creek nor grip that had not been filled with their dead as they

fled back again. And so it would have been, if only King

Agamemnon had dealt fairly by me. As it is the Trojans have beset

our host. Diomed son of Tydeus no longer wields his spear to

defend the Danaans, neither have I heard the voice of the son of

Atreus coming from his hated head, whereas that of murderous

Hector rings in my cars as he gives orders to the Trojans, who

triumph over the Achaeans and fill the whole plain with their cry

of battle. But even so, Patroclus, fall upon them and save the

fleet, lest the Trojans fire it and prevent us from being able to

return. Do, however, as I now bid you, that you may win me great

honour from all the Danaans, and that they may restore the girl

to me again and give me rich gifts into the bargain. When you

have driven the Trojans from the ships, come back again. Though

Juno's thundering husband should put triumph within your reach,

do not fight the Trojans further in my absence, or you will rob

me of glory that should be mine. And do not for lust of battle go

on killing the Trojans nor lead the Achaeans on to Ilius, lest

one of the ever-living gods from Olympus attack you--for Phoebus

Apollo loves them well: return when you have freed the ships from

peril, and let others wage war upon the plain. Would, by father

Jove, Minerva, and Apollo, that not a single man of all the

Trojans might be left alive, nor yet of the Argives, but that we

two might be alone left to tear aside the mantle that veils the

brow of Troy."

Thus did they converse. But Ajax could no longer hold his ground

for the shower of darts that rained upon him; the will of Jove

and the javelins of the Trojans were too much for him; the helmet

that gleamed about his temples rang with the continuous clatter

of the missiles that kept pouring on to it and on to the

cheek-pieces that protected his face. Moreover his left shoulder

was tired with having held his shield so long, yet for all this,

let fly at him as they would, they could not make him give

ground. He could hardly draw his breath, the sweat rained from

every pore of his body, he had not a moment's respite, and on all

sides he was beset by danger upon danger.

And now, tell me, O Muses that hold your mansions on Olympus, how

fire was thrown upon the ships of the Achaeans. Hector came close

up and let drive with his great sword at the ashen spear of Ajax.

He cut it clean in two just behind where the point was fastened

on to the shaft of the spear. Ajax, therefore, had now nothing

but a headless spear, while the bronze point flew some way off

and came ringing down on to the ground. Ajax knew the hand of

heaven in this, and was dismayed at seeing that Jove had now left

him utterly defenceless and was willing victory for the Trojans.

Therefore he drew back, and the Trojans flung fire upon the ship

which was at once wrapped in flame.

The fire was now flaring about the ship's stern, whereon Achilles

smote his two thighs and said to Patroclus, "Up, noble knight,

for I see the glare of hostile fire at our fleet; up, lest they

destroy our ships, and there be no way by which we may retreat.

Gird on your armour at once while I call our people together."

As he spoke Patroclus put on his armour. First he greaved his

legs with greaves of good make, and fitted with ancle-clasps of

silver; after this he donned the cuirass of the son of Aeacus,

richly inlaid and studded. He hung his silver-studded sword of

bronze about his shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his

comely head he set his helmet, well wrought, with a crest of

horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it. He grasped two

redoubtable spears that suited his hands, but he did not take the

spear of noble Achilles, so stout and strong, for none other of

the Achaeans could wield it, though Achilles could do so easily.

This was the ashen spear from Mount Pelion, which Chiron had cut

upon a mountain top and had given to Peleus, wherewith to deal

out death among heroes. He bade Automedon yoke his horses with

all speed, for he was the man whom he held in honour next after

Achilles, and on whose support in battle he could rely most

firmly. Automedon therefore yoked the fleet horses Xanthus and

Balius, steeds that could fly like the wind: these were they whom

the harpy Podarge bore to the west wind, as she was grazing in a

meadow by the waters of the river Oceanus. In the side traces he

set the noble horse Pedasus, whom Achilles had brought away with

him when he sacked the city of Eetion, and who, mortal steed

though he was, could take his place along with those that were

immortal.

Meanwhile Achilles went about everywhere among the tents, and

bade his Myrmidons put on their armour. Even as fierce ravening

wolves that are feasting upon a homed stag which they have killed

upon the mountains, and their jaws are red with blood--they go in

a pack to lap water from the clear spring with their long thin

tongues; and they reek of blood and slaughter; they know not what

fear is, for it is hunger drives them--even so did the leaders

and counsellors of the Myrmidons gather round the good squire of

the fleet descendant of Aeacus, and among them stood Achilles

himself cheering on both men and horses.

Fifty ships had noble Achilles brought to Troy, and in each there

was a crew of fifty oarsmen. Over these he set five captains whom

he could trust, while he was himself commander over them all.

Menesthius of the gleaming corslet, son to the river Spercheius

that streams from heaven, was captain of the first company. Fair

Polydora daughter of Peleus bore him to ever-flowing

Spercheius--a woman mated with a god--but he was called son of

Borus son of Perieres, with whom his mother was living as his

wedded wife, and who gave great wealth to gain her. The second

company was led by noble Eudorus, son to an unwedded woman.

Polymele, daughter of Phylas the graceful dancer, bore him; the

mighty slayer of Argos was enamoured of her as he saw her among

the singing women at a dance held in honour of Diana the rushing

huntress of the golden arrows; he therefore--Mercury, giver of

all good--went with her into an upper chamber, and lay with her

in secret, whereon she bore him a noble son Eudorus, singularly

fleet of foot and in fight valiant. When Ilithuia goddess of the

pains of child-birth brought him to the light of day, and he saw

the face of the sun, mighty Echecles son of Actor took the mother

to wife, and gave great wealth to gain her, but her father Phylas

brought the child up, and took care of him, doting as fondly upon

him as though he were his own son. The third company was led by

Pisander son of Maemalus, the finest spearman among all the

Myrmidons next to Achilles' own comrade Patroclus. The old knight

Phoenix was captain of the fourth company, and Alcimedon, noble

son of Laerceus of the fifth.

When Achilles had chosen his men and had stationed them all with

their captains, he charged them straitly saying, "Myrmidons,

remember your threats against the Trojans while you were at the

ships in the time of my anger, and you were all complaining of

me. 'Cruel son of Peleus,' you would say, 'your mother must have

suckled you on gall, so ruthless are you. You keep us here at the

ships against our will; if you are so relentless it were better

we went home over the sea.' Often have you gathered and thus

chided with me. The hour is now come for those high feats of arms

that you have so long been pining for, therefore keep high hearts

each one of you to do battle with the Trojans."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they

serried their companies yet more closely when they heard the of

their king. As the stones which a builder sets in the wall of

some high house which is to give shelter from the winds--even so

closely were the helmets and bossed shields set against one

another. Shield pressed on shield, helm on helm, and man on man;

so close were they that the horse-hair plumes on the gleaming

ridges of their helmets touched each other as they bent their

heads.

In front of them all two men put on their armour--Patroclus and

Automedon--two men, with but one mind to lead the Myrmidons. Then

Achilles went inside his tent and opened the lid of the strong

chest which silver-footed Thetis had given him to take on board

ship, and which she had filled with shirts, cloaks to keep out

the cold, and good thick rugs. In this chest he had a cup of rare

workmanship, from which no man but himself might drink, nor would

he make offering from it to any other god save only to father

Jove. He took the cup from the chest and cleansed it with

sulphur; this done he rinsed it clean water, and after he had

washed his hands he drew wine. Then he stood in the middle of the

court and prayed, looking towards heaven, and making his

drink-offering of wine; nor was he unseen of Jove whose joy is in

thunder. "King Jove," he cried, "lord of Dodona, god of the

Pelasgi, who dwellest afar, you who hold wintry Dodona in your

sway, where your prophets the Selli dwell around you with their

feet unwashed and their couches made upon the ground--if you

heard me when I prayed to you aforetime, and did me honour while

you sent disaster on the Achaeans, vouchsafe me now the

fulfilment of yet this further prayer. I shall stay here where my

ships are lying, but I shall send my comrade into battle at the

head of many Myrmidons. Grant, O all-seeing Jove, that victory

may go with him; put your courage into his heart that Hector may

learn whether my squire is man enough to fight alone, or whether

his might is only then so indomitable when I myself enter the

turmoil of war. Afterwards when he has chased the fight and the

cry of battle from the ships, grant that he may return unharmed,

with his armour and his comrades, fighters in close combat."

Thus did he pray, and all-counselling Jove heard his prayer.

Part of it he did indeed vouchsafe him--but not the whole. He

granted that Patroclus should thrust back war and battle from the

ships, but refused to let him come safely out of the fight.

When he had made his drink-offering and had thus prayed, Achilles

went inside his tent and put back the cup into his chest.

Then he again came out, for he still loved to look upon the

fierce fight that raged between the Trojans and Achaeans.

Meanwhile the armed band that was about Patroclus marched on till

they sprang high in hope upon the Trojans. They came swarming out

like wasps whose nests are by the roadside, and whom silly

children love to tease, whereon any one who happens to be passing

may get stung--or again, if a wayfarer going along the road vexes

them by accident, every wasp will come flying out in a fury to

defend his little ones--even with such rage and courage did the

Myrmidons swarm from their ships, and their cry of battle rose

heavenwards. Patroclus called out to his men at the top of his

voice, "Myrmidons, followers of Achilles son of Peleus, be men my

friends, fight with might and with main, that we may win glory

for the son of Peleus, who is far the foremost man at the ships

of the Argives--he, and his close fighting followers. The son of

Atreus King Agamemnon will thus learn his folly in showing no

respect to the bravest of the Achaeans."

With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they

fell in a body upon the Trojans. The ships rang again with the

cry which the Achaeans raised, and when the Trojans saw the brave

son of Menoetius and his squire all gleaming in their armour,

they were daunted and their battalions were thrown into

confusion, for they thought the fleet son of Peleus must now have

put aside his anger, and have been reconciled to Agamemnon; every

one, therefore, looked round about to see whither he might fly

for safety.

Patroclus first aimed a spear into the middle of the press where

men were packed most closely, by the stern of the ship of

Protesilaus. He hit Pyraechmes who had led his Paeonian horsemen

from the Amydon and the broad waters of the river Axius; the

spear struck him on the right shoulder, and with a groan he fell

backwards in the dust; on this his men were thrown into

confusion, for by killing their leader, who was the finest

soldier among them, Patroclus struck panic into them all. He thus

drove them from the ship and quenched the fire that was then

blazing--leaving the half-burnt ship to lie where it was. The

Trojans were now driven back with a shout that rent the skies,

while the Danaans poured after them from their ships, shouting

also without ceasing. As when Jove, gatherer of the

thunder-cloud, spreads a dense canopy on the top of some lofty

mountain, and all the peaks, the jutting headlands, and forest

glades show out in the great light that flashes from the bursting

heavens, even so when the Danaans had now driven back the fire

from their ships, they took breath for a little while; but the

fury of the fight was not yet over, for the Trojans were not

driven back in utter rout, but still gave battle, and were ousted

from their ground only by sheer fighting.

The fight then became more scattered, and the chieftains killed

one another when and how they could. The valiant son of Menoetius

first drove his spear into the thigh of Areilycus just as he was

turning round; the point went clean through, and broke the bone

so that he fell forward. Meanwhile Menelaus struck Thoas in the

chest, where it was exposed near the rim of his shield, and he

fell dead. The son of Phyleus saw Amphiclus about to attack him,

and ere he could do so took aim at the upper part of his thigh,

where the muscles are thicker than in any other part; the spear

tore through all the sinews of the leg, and his eyes were closed

in darkness. Of the sons of Nestor one, Antilochus, speared

Atymnius, driving the point of the spear through his throat, and

down he fell. Maris then sprang on Antilochus in hand-to-hand

fight to avenge his brother, and bestrode the body spear in hand;

but valiant Thrasymedes was too quick for him, and in a moment

had struck him in the shoulder ere he could deal his blow; his

aim was true, and the spear severed all the muscles at the root

of his arm, and tore them right down to the bone, so he fell

heavily to the ground and his eyes were closed in darkness. Thus

did these two noble comrades of Sarpedon go down to Erebus slain

by the two sons of Nestor; they were the warrior sons of

Amisodorus, who had reared the invincible Chimaera, to the bane

of many. Ajax son of Oileus sprang on Cleobulus and took him

alive as he was entangled in the crush; but he killed him then

and there by a sword-blow on the neck. The sword reeked with his

blood, while dark death and the strong hand of fate gripped him

and closed his eyes.

Peneleos and Lycon now met in close fight, for they had missed

each other with their spears. They had both thrown without

effect, so now they drew their swords. Lycon struck the plumed

crest of Peneleos' helmet but his sword broke at the hilt, while

Peneleos smote Lycon on the neck under the ear. The blade sank so

deep that the head was held on by nothing but the skin, and there

was no more life left in him. Meriones gave chase to Acamas on

foot and caught him up just as he was about to mount his chariot;

he drove a spear through his right shoulder so that he fell

headlong from the car, and his eyes were closed in darkness.

Idomeneus speared Erymas in the mouth; the bronze point of the

spear went clean through it beneath the brain, crashing in among

the white bones and smashing them up. His teeth were all of them

knocked out and the blood came gushing in a stream from both his

eyes; it also came gurgling up from his mouth and nostrils, and

the darkness of death enfolded him round about.

Thus did these chieftains of the Danaans each of them kill his

man. As ravening wolves seize on kids or lambs, fastening on them

when they are alone on the hillsides and have strayed from the

main flock through the carelessness of the shepherd--and when the

wolves see this they pounce upon them at once because they cannot

defend themselves--even so did the Danaans now fall on the

Trojans, who fled with ill-omened cries in their panic and had no

more fight left in them.

Meanwhile great Ajax kept on trying to drive a spear into Hector,

but Hector was so skilful that he held his broad shoulders well

under cover of his ox-hide shield, ever on the look-out for the

whizzing of the arrows and the heavy thud of the spears. He well

knew that the fortunes of the day had changed, but still stood

his ground and tried to protect his comrades.

As when a cloud goes up into heaven from Olympus, rising out of a

clear sky when Jove is brewing a gale--even with such panic

stricken rout did the Trojans now fly, and there was no order in

their going. Hector's fleet horses bore him and his armour out of

the fight, and he left the Trojan host penned in by the deep

trench against their will. Many a yoke of horses snapped the pole

of their chariots in the trench and left their master's car

behind them. Patroclus gave chase, calling impetuously on the

Danaans and full of fury against the Trojans, who, being now no

longer in a body, filled all the ways with their cries of panic

and rout; the air was darkened with the clouds of dust they

raised, and the horses strained every nerve in their flight from

the tents and ships towards the city.

Patroclus kept on heading his horses wherever he saw most men

flying in confusion, cheering on his men the while. Chariots were

being smashed in all directions, and many a man came tumbling

down from his own car to fall beneath the wheels of that of

Patroclus, whose immortal steeds, given by the gods to Peleus,

sprang over the trench at a bound as they sped onward. He was

intent on trying to get near Hector, for he had set his heart on

spearing him, but Hector's horses were now hurrying him away. As

the whole dark earth bows before some tempest on an autumn day

when Jove rains his hardest to punish men for giving crooked

judgement in their courts, and arriving justice therefrom without

heed to the decrees of heaven--all the rivers run full and the

torrents tear many a new channel as they roar headlong from the

mountains to the dark sea, and it fares ill with the works of

men--even such was the stress and strain of the Trojan horses in

their flight.

Patroclus now cut off the battalions that were nearest to him and

drove them back to the ships. They were doing their best to reach

the city, but he would not let them, and bore down on them

between the river and the ships and wall. Many a fallen comrade

did he then avenge. First he hit Pronous with a spear on the

chest where it was exposed near the rim of his shield, and he

fell heavily to the ground. Next he sprang on Thestor son of

Enops, who was sitting all huddled up in his chariot, for he had

lost his head and the reins had been torn out of his hands.

Patroclus went up to him and drove a spear into his right jaw; he

thus hooked him by the teeth and the spear pulled him over the

rim of his car, as one who sits at the end of some jutting rock

and draws a strong fish out of the sea with a hook and a line--

even so with his spear did he pull Thestor all gaping from his

chariot; he then threw him down on his face and he died while

falling. On this, as Erylaus was on to attack him, he struck him

full on the head with a stone, and his brains were all battered

inside his helmet, whereon he fell headlong to the ground and the

pangs of death took hold upon him. Then he laid low, one after

the other, Erymas, Amphoterus, Epaltes, Tlepolemus, Echius son of

Damastor, Pyris, lpheus, Euippus and Polymelus son of Argeas.

Now when Sarpedon saw his comrades, men who wore ungirdled

tunics, being overcome by Patroclus son of Menoetius, he rebuked

the Lycians saying. "Shame on you, where are you flying to? Show

your mettle; I will myself meet this man in fight and learn who

it is that is so masterful; he has done us much hurt, and has

stretched many a brave man upon the ground."

He sprang from his chariot as he spoke, and Patroclus, when he

saw this, leaped on to the ground also. The two then rushed at

one another with loud cries like eagle-beaked crook-taloned

vultures that scream and tear at one another in some high

mountain fastness.

The son of scheming Saturn looked down upon them in pity and said

to Juno who was his wife and sister, "Alas, that it should be the

lot of Sarpedon whom I love so dearly to perish by the hand of

Patroclus. I am in two minds whether to catch him up out of the

fight and set him down safe and sound in the fertile land of

Lycia, or to let him now fall by the hand of the son of

Menoetius."

And Juno answered, "Most dread son of Saturn, what is this that

you are saying? Would you snatch a mortal man, whose doom has

long been fated, out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we

shall not all of us be of your mind. I say further, and lay my

saying to your heart, that if you send Sarpedon safely to his own

home, some other of the gods will be also wanting to escort his

son out of battle, for there are many sons of gods fighting round

the city of Troy, and you will make every one jealous. If,

however, you are fond of him and pity him, let him indeed fall by

the hand of Patroclus, but as soon as the life is gone out of

him, send Death and sweet Sleep to bear him off the field and

take him to the broad lands of Lycia, where his brothers and his

kinsmen will bury him with mound and pillar, in due honour to the

dead."

The sire of gods and men assented, but he shed a rain of blood

upon the earth in honour of his son whom Patroclus was about to

kill on the rich plain of Troy far from his home.

When they were now come close to one another Patroclus struck

Thrasydemus, the brave squire of Sarpedon, in the lower part of

the belly, and killed him. Sarpedon then aimed a spear at

Patroclus and missed him, but he struck the horse Pedasus in the

right shoulder, and it screamed aloud as it lay, groaning in the

dust until the life went out of it. The other two horses began to

plunge; the pole of the chariot cracked and they got entangled in

the reins through the fall of the horse that was yoked along with

them; but Automedon knew what to do; without the loss of a moment

he drew the keen blade that hung by his sturdy thigh and cut the

third horse adrift; whereon the other two righted themselves, and

pulling hard at the reins again went together into battle.

Sarpedon now took a second aim at Patroclus, and again missed

him, the point of the spear passed over his left shoulder without

hitting him. Patroclus then aimed in his turn, and the spear sped

not from his hand in vain, for he hit Sarpedon just where the

midriff surrounds the ever-beating heart. He fell like some oak

or silver poplar or tall pine to which woodmen have laid their

axes upon the mountains to make timber for ship-building--even so

did he lie stretched at full length in front of his chariot and

horses, moaning and clutching at the blood-stained dust. As when

a lion springs with a bound upon a herd of cattle and fastens on

a great black bull which dies bellowing in its clutches--even so

did the leader of the Lycian warriors struggle in death as he

fell by the hand of Patroclus. He called on his trusty comrade

and said, "Glaucus, my brother, hero among heroes, put forth all

your strength, fight with might and main, now if ever quit

yourself like a valiant soldier. First go about among the Lycian

captains and bid them fight for Sarpedon; then yourself also do

battle to save my armour from being taken. My name will haunt you

henceforth and for ever if the Achaeans rob me of my armour now

that I have fallen at their ships. Do your very utmost and call

all my people together."

Death closed his eyes as he spoke. Patroclus planted his heel on

his breast and drew the spear from his body, whereon his senses

came out along with it, and he drew out both spear-point and

Sarpedon's soul at the same time. Hard by the Myrmidons held his

snorting steeds, who were wild with panic at finding themselves

deserted by their lords.

Glaucus was overcome with grief when he heard what Sarpedon said,

for he could not help him. He had to support his arm with his

other hand, being in great pain through the wound which Teucer's

arrow had given him when Teucer was defending the wall as he,

Glaucus, was assailing it. Therefore he prayed to far-darting

Apollo saying, "Hear me O king from your seat, may be in the rich

land of Lycia, or may be in Troy, for in all places you can hear

the prayer of one who is in distress, as I now am. I have a

grievous wound; my hand is aching with pain, there is no

staunching the blood, and my whole arm drags by reason of my

hurt, so that I cannot grasp my sword nor go among my foes and

fight them, thou our prince, Jove's son Sarpedon, is slain. Jove

defended not his son, do you, therefore, O king, heal me of my

wound, ease my pain and grant me strength both to cheer on the

Lycians and to fight along with them round the body of him who

has fallen."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He eased his pain,

staunched the black blood from the wound, and gave him new

strength. Glaucus perceived this, and was thankful that the

mighty god had answered his prayer; forthwith, therefore, he went

among the Lycian captains, and bade them come to fight about the

body of Sarpedon. From these he strode on among the Trojans to

Polydamas son of Panthous and Agenor; he then went in search of

Aeneas and Hector, and when he had found them he said, "Hector,

you have utterly forgotten your allies, who languish here for

your sake far from friends and home while you do nothing to

support them. Sarpedon leader of the Lycian warriors has fallen--

he who was at once the right and might of Lycia; Mars has laid

him low by the spear of Patroclus. Stand by him, my friends, and

suffer not the Myrmidons to strip him of his armour, nor to treat

his body with contumely in revenge for all the Danaans whom we

have speared at the ships."

As he spoke the Trojans were plunged in extreme and ungovernable

grief; for Sarpedon, alien though he was, had been one of the

main stays of their city, both as having much people with him,

and himself the foremost among them all. Led by Hector, who was

infuriated by the fall of Sarpedon, they made instantly for the

Danaans with all their might, while the undaunted spirit of

Patroclus son of Menoetius cheered on the Achaeans. First he

spoke to the two Ajaxes, men who needed no bidding. "Ajaxes,"

said he, "may it now please you to show yourselves the men you

have always been, or even better--Sarpedon is fallen--he who was

first to overleap the wall of the Achaeans; let us take the body

and outrage it; let us strip the armour from his shoulders, and

kill his comrades if they try to rescue his body."

He spoke to men who of themselves were full eager; both sides,

therefore, the Trojans and Lycians on the one hand, and the

Myrmidons and Achaeans on the other, strengthened their

battalions, and fought desperately about the body of Sarpedon,

shouting fiercely the while. Mighty was the din of their armour

as they came together, and Jove shed a thick darkness over the

fight, to increase the toil of the battle over the body of his

son.

At first the Trojans made some headway against the Achaeans, for

one of the best men among the Myrmidons was killed, Epeigeus, son

of noble Agacles who had erewhile been king in the good city of

Budeum; but presently, having killed a valiant kinsman of his

own, he took refuge with Peleus and Thetis, who sent him to Ilius

the land of noble steeds to fight the Trojans under Achilles.

Hector now struck him on the head with a stone just as he had

caught hold of the body, and his brains inside his helmet were

all battered in, so that he fell face foremost upon the body of

Sarpedon, and there died. Patroclus was enraged by the death of

his comrade, and sped through the front ranks as swiftly as a

hawk that swoops down on a flock of daws or starlings. Even so

swiftly, O noble knight Patroclus, did you make straight for the

Lycians and Trojans to avenge your comrade. Forthwith he struck

Sthenelaus the son of Ithaemenes on the neck with a stone, and

broke the tendons that join it to the head and spine. On this

Hector and the front rank of his men gave ground. As far as a man

can throw a javelin when competing for some prize, or even in

battle--so far did the Trojans now retreat before the Achaeans.

Glaucus, captain of the Lycians, was the first to rally them, by

killing Bathycles son of Chalcon who lived in Hellas and was the

richest man among the Myrmidons. Glaucus turned round suddenly,

just as Bathycles who was pursuing him was about to lay hold of

him, and drove his spear right into the middle of his chest,

whereon he fell heavily to the ground, and the fall of so good a

man filled the Achaeans with dismay, while the Trojans were

exultant, and came up in a body round the corpse. Nevertheless

the Achaeans, mindful of their prowess, bore straight down upon

them.

Meriones then killed a helmed warrior of the Trojans, Laogonus

son of Onetor, who was priest of Jove of Mt. Ida, and was

honoured by the people as though he were a god. Meriones struck

him under the jaw and ear, so that life went out of him and the

darkness of death laid hold upon him. Aeneas then aimed a spear

at Meriones, hoping to hit him under the shield as he was

advancing, but Meriones saw it coming and stooped forward to

avoid it, whereon the spear flew past him and the point stuck in

the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering till Mars robbed

it of its force. The spear, therefore, sped from Aeneas's hand in

vain and fell quivering to the ground. Aeneas was angry and said,

"Meriones, you are a good dancer, but if I had hit you my spear

would soon have made an end of you."

And Meriones answered, "Aeneas, for all your bravery, you will

not be able to make an end of every one who comes against you.

You are only a mortal like myself, and if I were to hit you in

the middle of your shield with my spear, however strong and

self-confident you may be, I should soon vanquish you, and you

would yield your life to Hades of the noble steeds."

On this the son of Menoetius rebuked him and said, "Meriones,

hero though you be, you should not speak thus; taunting speeches,

my good friend, will not make the Trojans draw away from the dead

body; some of them must go under ground first; blows for battle,

and words for council; fight, therefore, and say nothing."

He led the way as he spoke and the hero went forward with him.

As the sound of woodcutters in some forest glade upon the

mountains--and the thud of their axes is heard afar--even such a

din now rose from earth-clash of bronze armour and of good

ox-hide shields, as men smote each other with their swords and

spears pointed at both ends. A man had need of good eyesight now

to know Sarpedon, so covered was he from head to foot with spears

and blood and dust. Men swarmed about the body, as flies that

buzz round the full milk-pails in spring when they are brimming

with milk--even so did they gather round Sarpedon; nor did Jove

turn his keen eyes away for one moment from the fight, but kept

looking at it all the time, for he was settling how best to kill

Patroclus, and considering whether Hector should be allowed to

end him now in the fight round the body of Sarpedon, and strip

him of his armour, or whether he should let him give yet further

trouble to the Trojans. In the end, he deemed it best that the

brave squire of Achilles son of Peleus should drive Hector and

the Trojans back towards the city and take the lives of many.

First, therefore, he made Hector turn fainthearted, whereon he

mounted his chariot and fled, bidding the other Trojans fly also,

for he saw that the scales of Jove had turned against him.

Neither would the brave Lycians stand firm; they were dismayed

when they saw their king lying struck to the heart amid a heap of

corpses--for when the son of Saturn made the fight wax hot many

had fallen above him. The Achaeans, therefore stripped the

gleaming armour from his shoulders and the brave son of Menoetius

gave it to his men to take to the ships. Then Jove lord of the

storm-cloud said to Apollo, "Dear Phoebus, go, I pray you, and

take Sarpedon out of range of the weapons; cleanse the black

blood from off him, and then bear him a long way off where you

may wash him in the river, anoint him with ambrosia, and clothe

him in immortal raiment; this done, commit him to the arms of the

two fleet messengers, Death, and Sleep, who will carry him

straightway to the rich land of Lycia, where his brothers and

kinsmen will inter him, and will raise both mound and pillar to

his memory, in due honour to the dead."

Thus he spoke. Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and came down

from the heights of Ida into the thick of the fight; forthwith he

took Sarpedon out of range of the weapons, and then bore him a

long way off, where he washed him in the river, anointed him with

ambrosia and clothed him in immortal raiment; this done, he

committed him to the arms of the two fleet messengers, Death, and

Sleep, who presently set him down in the rich land of Lycia.

Meanwhile Patroclus, with many a shout to his horses and to

Automedon, pursued the Trojans and Lycians in the pride and

foolishness of his heart. Had he but obeyed the bidding of the

son of Peleus, he would have, escaped death and have been

scatheless; but the counsels of Jove pass man's understanding; he

will put even a brave man to flight and snatch victory from his

grasp, or again he will set him on to fight, as he now did when

he put a high spirit into the heart of Patroclus.

Who then first, and who last, was slain by you, O Patroclus, when

the gods had now called you to meet your doom? First Adrestus,

Autonous, Echeclus, Perimus the son of Megas, Epistor and

Melanippus; after these he killed Elasus, Mulius, and Pylartes.

These he slew, but the rest saved themselves by flight.

The sons of the Achaeans would now have taken Troy by the hands

of Patroclus, for his spear flew in all directions, had not

Phoebus Apollo taken his stand upon the wall to defeat his

purpose and to aid the Trojans. Thrice did Patroclus charge at an

angle of the high wall, and thrice did Apollo beat him back,

striking his shield with his own immortal hands. When Patroclus

was coming on like a god for yet a fourth time, Apollo shouted to

him with an awful voice and said, "Draw back, noble Patroclus, it

is not your lot to sack the city of the Trojan chieftains, nor

yet will it be that of Achilles who is a far better man than you

are." On hearing this, Patroclus withdrew to some distance and

avoided the anger of Apollo.

Meanwhile Hector was waiting with his horses inside the Scaean

gates, in doubt whether to drive out again and go on fighting, or

to call the army inside the gates. As he was thus doubting

Phoebus Apollo drew near him in the likeness of a young and lusty

warrior Asius, who was Hector's uncle, being own brother to

Hecuba, and son of Dymas who lived in Phrygia by the waters of

the river Sangarius; in his likeness Jove's son Apollo now spoke

to Hector saying, "Hector, why have you left off fighting? It is

ill done of you. If I were as much better a man than you, as I am

worse, you should soon rue your slackness. Drive straight towards

Patroclus, if so be that Apollo may grant you a triumph over him,

and you may rule him."

With this the god went back into the hurly-burly, and Hector bade

Cebriones drive again into the fight. Apollo passed in among

them, and struck panic into the Argives, while he gave triumph to

Hector and the Trojans. Hector let the other Danaans alone and

killed no man, but drove straight at Patroclus. Patroclus then

sprang from his chariot to the ground, with a spear in his left

hand, and in his right a jagged stone as large as his hand could

hold. He stood still and threw it, nor did it go far without

hitting some one; the cast was not in vain, for the stone struck

Cebriones, Hector's charioteer, a bastard son of Priam, as he

held the reins in his hands. The stone hit him on the forehead

and drove his brows into his head for the bone was smashed, and

his eyes fell to the ground at his feet. He dropped dead from his

chariot as though he were diving, and there was no more life left

in him. Over him did you then vaunt, O knight Patroclus, saying,

"Bless my heart, how active he is, and how well he dives. If we

had been at sea this fellow would have dived from the ship's side

and brought up as many oysters as the whole crew could stomach,

even in rough water, for he has dived beautifully off his chariot

on to the ground. It seems, then, that there are divers also

among the Trojans."

As he spoke he flung himself on Cebriones with the spring, as it

were, of a lion that while attacking a stockyard is himself

struck in the chest, and his courage is his own bane--even so

furiously, O Patroclus, did you then spring upon Cebriones.

Hector sprang also from his chariot to the ground. The pair then

fought over the body of Cebriones. As two lions fight fiercely on

some high mountain over the body of a stag that they have killed,

even so did these two mighty warriors, Patroclus son of Menoetius

and brave Hector, hack and hew at one another over the corpse of

Cebriones. Hector would not let him go when he had once got him

by the head, while Patroclus kept fast hold of his feet, and a

fierce fight raged between the other Danaans and Trojans. As the

east and south wind buffet one another when they beat upon some

dense forest on the mountains--there is beech and ash and

spreading cornel; the top of the trees roar as they beat on one

another, and one can hear the boughs cracking and breaking--even

so did the Trojans and Achaeans spring upon one another and lay

about each other, and neither side would give way. Many a pointed

spear fell to ground and many a winged arrow sped from its

bow-string about the body of Cebriones; many a great stone,

moreover, beat on many a shield as they fought around his body,

but there he lay in the whirling clouds of dust, all huge and

hugely, heedless of his driving now.

So long as the sun was still high in mid-heaven the weapons of

either side were alike deadly, and the people fell; but when he

went down towards the time when men loose their oxen, the

Achaeans proved to be beyond all forecast stronger, so that they

drew Cebriones out of range of the darts and tumult of the

Trojans, and stripped the armour from his shoulders. Then

Patroclus sprang like Mars with fierce intent and a terrific

shout upon the Trojans, and thrice did he kill nine men; but as

he was coming on like a god for a time, then, O Patroclus, was

the hour of your end approaching, for Phoebus fought you in fell

earnest. Patroclus did not see him as he moved about in the

crush, for he was enshrouded in thick darkness, and the god

struck him from behind on his back and his broad shoulders with

the flat of his hand, so that his eyes turned dizzy. Phoebus

Apollo beat the helmet from off his head, and it rolled rattling

off under the horses' feet, where its horse-hair plumes were all

begrimed with dust and blood. Never indeed had that helmet fared

so before, for it had served to protect the head and comely

forehead of the godlike hero Achilles. Now, however, Zeus

delivered it over to be worn by Hector. Nevertheless the end of

Hector also was near. The bronze-shod spear, so great and so

strong, was broken in the hand of Patroclus, while his shield

that covered him from head to foot fell to the ground as did also

the band that held it, and Apollo undid the fastenings of his

corslet.

On this his mind became clouded; his limbs failed him, and he

stood as one dazed; whereon Euphorbus son of Panthous a

Dardanian, the best spearman of his time, as also the finest

horseman and fleetest runner, came behind him and struck him in

the back with a spear, midway between the shoulders. This man as

soon as ever he had come up with his chariot had dismounted

twenty men, so proficient was he in all the arts of war--he it

was, O knight Patroclus, that first drove a weapon into you, but

he did not quite overpower you. Euphorbus then ran back into the

crowd, after drawing his ashen spear out of the wound; he would

not stand firm and wait for Patroclus, unarmed though he now was,

to attack him; but Patroclus unnerved, alike by the blow the god

had given him and by the spear-wound, drew back under cover of

his men in fear for his life. Hector on this, seeing him to be

wounded and giving ground, forced his way through the ranks, and

when close up with him struck him in the lower part of the belly

with a spear, driving the bronze point right through it, so that

he fell heavily to the ground to the great of the Achaeans. As

when a lion has fought some fierce wild-boar and worsted him--the

two fight furiously upon the mountains over some little fountain

at which they would both drink, and the lion has beaten the boar

till he can hardly breathe--even so did Hector son of Priam take

the life of the brave son of Menoetius who had killed so many,

striking him from close at hand, and vaunting over him the while.

"Patroclus," said he, "you deemed that you should sack our city,

rob our Trojan women of their freedom, and carry them off in your

ships to your own country. Fool; Hector and his fleet horses were

ever straining their utmost to defend them. I am foremost of all

the Trojan warriors to stave the day of bondage from off them; as

for you, vultures shall devour you here. Poor wretch, Achilles

with all his bravery availed you nothing; and yet I ween when you

left him he charged you straitly saying, 'Come not back to the

ships, knight Patroclus, till you have rent the bloodstained

shirt of murderous Hector about his body. Thus I ween did he

charge you, and your fool's heart answered him 'yea' within you."

Then, as the life ebbed out of you, you answered, O knight

Patroclus: "Hector, vaunt as you will, for Jove the son of Saturn

and Apollo have vouchsafed you victory; it is they who have

vanquished me so easily, and they who have stripped the armour

from my shoulders; had twenty such men as you attacked me, all of

them would have fallen before my spear. Fate and the son of Leto

have overpowered me, and among mortal men Euphorbus; you are

yourself third only in the killing of me. I say further, and lay

my saying to your heart, you too shall live but for a little

season; death and the day of your doom are close upon you, and

they will lay you low by the hand of Achilles son of Aeacus."

When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in death, his soul

left his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning

its sad fate and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its

manhood. Dead though he was, Hector still spoke to him saying,

"Patroclus, why should you thus foretell my doom? Who knows but

Achilles, son of lovely Thetis, may be smitten by my spear and

die before me?"

As he spoke he drew the bronze spear from the wound, planting his

foot upon the body, which he thrust off and let lie on its back.

He then went spear in hand after Automedon, squire of the fleet

descendant of Aeacus, for he longed to lay him low, but the

immortal steeds which the gods had given as a rich gift to Peleus

bore him swiftly from the field.

 

 

BOOK XVII

BRAVE Menelaus son of Atreus now came to know that Patroclus had

fallen, and made his way through the front ranks clad in full

armour to bestride him. As a cow stands lowing over her first

calf, even so did yellow-haired Menelaus bestride Patroclus. He

held his round shield and his spear in front of him, resolute to

kill any who should dare face him. But the son of Panthous had

also noted the body, and came up to Menelaus saying, "Menelaus,

son of Atreus, draw back, leave the body, and let the

bloodstained spoils be. I was first of the Trojans and their

brave allies to drive my spear into Patroclus, let me, therefore,

have my full glory among the Trojans, or I will take aim and kill

you."

To this Menelaus answered in great anger "By father Jove,

boasting is an ill thing. The pard is not more bold, nor the lion

nor savage wild-boar, which is fiercest and most dauntless of all

creatures, than are the proud sons of Panthous. Yet Hyperenor did

not see out the days of his youth when he made light of me and

withstood me, deeming me the meanest soldier among the Danaans.

His own feet never bore him back to gladden his wife and parents.

Even so shall I make an end of you too, if you withstand me; get

you back into the crowd and do not face me, or it shall be worse

for you. Even a fool may be wise after the event."

Euphorbus would not listen, and said, "Now indeed, Menelaus,

shall you pay for the death of my brother over whom you vaunted,

and whose wife you widowed in her bridal chamber, while you

brought grief unspeakable on his parents. I shall comfort these

poor people if I bring your head and armour and place them in the

hands of Panthous and noble Phrontis. The time is come when this

matter shall be fought out and settled, for me or against me."

As he spoke he struck Menelaus full on the shield, but the spear

did not go through, for the shield turned its point. Menelaus

then took aim, praying to father Jove as he did so; Euphorbus was

drawing back, and Menelaus struck him about the roots of his

throat, leaning his whole weight on the spear, so as to drive it

home. The point went clean through his neck, and his armour rang

rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground. His hair

which was like that of the Graces, and his locks so deftly bound

in bands of silver and gold, were all bedrabbled with blood. As

one who has grown a fine young olive tree in a clear space where

there is abundance of water--the plant is full of promise, and

though the winds beat upon it from every quarter it puts forth

its white blossoms till the blasts of some fierce hurricane sweep

down upon it and level it with the ground--even so did Menelaus

strip the fair youth Euphorbus of his armour after he had slain

him. Or as some fierce lion upon the mountains in the pride of

his strength fastens on the finest heifer in a herd as it is

feeding--first he breaks her neck with his strong jaws, and then

gorges on her blood and entrails; dogs and shepherds raise a hue

and cry against him, but they stand aloof and will not come close

to him, for they are pale with fear--even so no one had the

courage to face valiant Menelaus. The son of Atreus would have

then carried off the armour of the son of Panthous with ease, had

not Phoebus Apollo been angry, and in the guise of Mentes chief

of the Cicons incited Hector to attack him. "Hector," said he,

"you are now going after the horses of the noble son of Aeacus,

but you will not take them; they cannot be kept in hand and

driven by mortal man, save only by Achilles, who is son to an

immortal mother. Meanwhile Menelaus son of Atreus has bestridden

the body of Patroclus and killed the noblest of the Trojans,

Euphorbus son of Panthous, so that he can fight no more."

The god then went back into the toil and turmoil, but the soul of

Hector was darkened with a cloud of grief; he looked along the

ranks and saw Euphorbus lying on the ground with the blood still

flowing from his wound, and Menelaus stripping him of his armour.

On this he made his way to the front like a flame of fire, clad

in his gleaming armour, and crying with a loud voice. When the

son of Atreus heard him, he said to himself in his dismay, "Alas!

what shall I do? I may not let the Trojans take the armour of

Patroclus who has fallen fighting on my behalf, lest some Danaan

who sees me should cry shame upon me. Still if for my honour's

sake I fight Hector and the Trojans single-handed, they will

prove too many for me, for Hector is bringing them up in force.

Why, however, should I thus hesitate? When a man fights in

despite of heaven with one whom a god befriends, he will soon rue

it. Let no Danaan think ill of me if I give place to Hector, for

the hand of heaven is with him. Yet, if I could find Ajax, the

two of us would fight Hector and heaven too, if we might only

save the body of Patroclus for Achilles son of Peleus. This, of

many evils would be the least."

While he was thus in two minds, the Trojans came up to him with

Hector at their head; he therefore drew back and left the body,

turning about like some bearded lion who is being chased by dogs

and men from a stockyard with spears and hue and cry, whereon he

is daunted and slinks sulkily off--even so did Menelaus son of

Atreus turn and leave the body of Patroclus. When among the body

of his men, he looked around for mighty Ajax son of Telamon, and

presently saw him on the extreme left of the fight, cheering on

his men and exhorting them to keep on fighting, for Phoebus

Apollo had spread a great panic among them. He ran up to him and

said, "Ajax, my good friend, come with me at once to dead

Patroclus, if so be that we may take the body to Achilles--as for

his armour, Hector already has it."

These words stirred the heart of Ajax, and he made his way among

the front ranks, Menelaus going with him. Hector had stripped

Patroclus of his armour, and was dragging him away to cut off his

head and take the body to fling before the dogs of Troy. But Ajax

came up with his shield like wall before him, on which Hector

withdrew under shelter of his men, and sprang on to his chariot,

giving the armour over to the Trojans to take to the city, as a

great trophy for himself; Ajax, therefore, covered the body of

Patroclus with his broad shield and bestrode him; as a lion

stands over his whelps if hunters have come upon him in a forest

when he is with his little ones--in the pride and fierceness of

his strength he draws his knit brows down till they cover his

eyes--even so did Ajax bestride the body of Patroclus, and by his

side stood Menelaus son of Atreus, nursing great sorrow in his

heart.

Then Glaucus son of Hippolochus looked fiercely at Hector and

rebuked him sternly. "Hector," said he, "you make a brave show,

but in fight you are sadly wanting. A runaway like yourself has

no claim to so great a reputation. Think how you may now save

your town and citadel by the hands of your own people born in

Ilius; for you will get no Lycians to fight for you, seeing what

thanks they have had for their incessant hardships. Are you

likely, sir, to do anything to help a man of less note, after

leaving Sarpedon, who was at once your guest and comrade in arms,

to be the spoil and prey of the Danaans? So long as he lived he

did good service both to your city and yourself; yet you had no

stomach to save his body from the dogs. If the Lycians will

listen to me, they will go home and leave Troy to its fate. If

the Trojans had any of that daring fearless spirit which lays

hold of men who are fighting for their country and harassing

those who would attack it, we should soon bear off Patroclus into

Ilius. Could we get this dead man away and bring him into the

city of Priam, the Argives would readily give up the armour of

Sarpedon, and we should get his body to boot. For he whose squire

has been now killed is the foremost man at the ships of the

Achaeans--he and his close-fighting followers. Nevertheless you

dared not make a stand against Ajax, nor face him, eye to eye,

with battle all round you, for he is a braver man than you are."

Hector scowled at him and answered, "Glaucus, you should know

better. I have held you so far as a man of more understanding

than any in all Lycia, but now I despise you for saying that I am

afraid of Ajax. I fear neither battle nor the din of chariots,

but Jove's will is stronger than ours; Jove at one time makes

even a strong man draw back and snatches victory from his grasp,

while at another he will set him on to fight. Come hither then,

my friend, stand by me and see indeed whether I shall play the

coward the whole day through as you say, or whether I shall not

stay some even of the boldest Danaans from fighting round the

body of Patroclus."

As he spoke he called loudly on the Trojans saying, "Trojans,

Lycians, and Dardanians, fighters in close combat, be men, my

friends, and fight might and main, while I put on the goodly

armour of Achilles, which I took when I killed Patroclus."

With this Hector left the fight, and ran full speed after his men

who were taking the armour of Achilles to Troy, but had not yet

got far. Standing for a while apart from the woeful fight, he

changed his armour. His own he sent to the strong city of Ilius

and to the Trojans, while he put on the immortal armour of the

son of Peleus, which the gods had given to Peleus, who in his age

gave it to his son; but the son did not grow old in his father's

armour.

When Jove, lord of the storm-cloud, saw Hector standing aloof and

arming himself in the armour of the son of Peleus, he wagged his

head and muttered to himself saying, "A! poor wretch, you arm in

the armour of a hero, before whom many another trembles, and you

reck nothing of the doom that is already close upon you. You have

killed his comrade so brave and strong, but it was not well that

you should strip the armour from his head and shoulders. I do

indeed endow you with great might now, but as against this you

shall not return from battle to lay the armour of the son of

Peleus before Andromache."

The son of Saturn bowed his portentous brows, and Hector fitted

the armour to his body, while terrible Mars entered into him, and

filled his whole body with might and valour. With a shout he

strode in among the allies, and his armour flashed about him so

that he seemed to all of them like the great son of Peleus

himself. He went about among them and cheered them on--Mesthles,

Glaucus, Medon, Thersilochus, Asteropaeus, Deisenor and

Hippothous, Phorcys, Chromius and Ennomus the augur. All these

did he exhort saying, "Hear me, allies from other cities who are

here in your thousands, it was not in order to have a crowd about

me that I called you hither each from his several city, but that

with heart and soul you might defend the wives and little ones of

the Trojans from the fierce Achaeans. For this do I oppress my

people with your food and the presents that make you rich.

Therefore turn, and charge at the foe, to stand or fall as is the

game of war; whoever shall bring Patroclus, dead though he be,

into the hands of the Trojans, and shall make Ajax give way

before him, I will give him one half of the spoils while I keep

the other. He will thus share like honour with myself."

When he had thus spoken they charged full weight upon the Danaans

with their spears held out before them, and the hopes of each ran

high that he should force Ajax son of Telamon to yield up the

body--fools that they were, for he was about to take the lives of

many. Then Ajax said to Menelaus, "My good friend Menelaus, you

and I shall hardly come out of this fight alive. I am less

concerned for the body of Patroclus, who will shortly become meat

for the dogs and vultures of Troy, than for the safety of my own

head and yours. Hector has wrapped us round in a storm of battle

from every quarter, and our destruction seems now certain. Call

then upon the princes of the Danaans if there is any who can hear

us."

Menelaus did as he said, and shouted to the Danaans for help at

the top of his voice. "My friends," he cried, "princes and

counsellors of the Argives, all you who with Agamemnon and

Menelaus drink at the public cost, and give orders each to his

own people as Jove vouchsafes him power and glory, the fight is

so thick about me that I cannot distinguish you severally; come

on, therefore, every man unbidden, and think it shame that

Patroclus should become meat and morsel for Trojan hounds."

Fleet Ajax son of Oileus heard him and was first to force his way

through the fight and run to help him. Next came Idomeneus and

Meriones his esquire, peer of murderous Mars. As for the others

that came into the fight after these, who of his own self could

name them?

The Trojans with Hector at their head charged in a body. As a

great wave that comes thundering in at the mouth of some

heaven-born river, and the rocks that jut into the sea ring with

the roar of the breakers that beat and buffet them--even with

such a roar did the Trojans come on; but the Achaeans in

singleness of heart stood firm about the son of Menoetius, and

fenced him with their bronze shields. Jove, moreover, hid the

brightness of their helmets in a thick cloud, for he had borne no

grudge against the son of Menoetius while he was still alive and

squire to the descendant of Aeacus; therefore he was loth to let

him fall a prey to the dogs of his foes the Trojans, and urged

his comrades on to defend him.

At first the Trojans drove the Achaeans back, and they withdrew

from the dead man daunted. The Trojans did not succeed in killing

any one, nevertheless they drew the body away. But the Achaeans

did not lose it long, for Ajax, foremost of all the Danaans after

the son of Peleus alike in stature and prowess, quickly rallied

them and made towards the front like a wild boar upon the

mountains when he stands at bay in the forest glades and routs

the hounds and lusty youths that have attacked him--even so did

Ajax son of Telamon passing easily in among the phalanxes of the

Trojans, disperse those who had bestridden Patroclus and were

most bent on winning glory by dragging him off to their city. At

this moment Hippothous brave son of the Pelasgian Lethus, in his

zeal for Hector and the Trojans, was dragging the body off by the

foot through the press of the fight, having bound a strap round

the sinews near the ancle; but a mischief soon befell him from

which none of those could save him who would have gladly done so,

for the son of Telamon sprang forward and smote him on his

bronze-cheeked helmet. The plumed headpiece broke about the point

of the weapon, struck at once by the spear and by the strong hand

of Ajax, so that the bloody brain came oozing out through the

crest-socket. His strength then failed him and he let Patroclus'

foot drop from his hand, as he fell full length dead upon the

body; thus he died far from the fertile land of Larissa, and

never repaid his parents the cost of bringing him up, for his

life was cut short early by the spear of mighty Ajax. Hector then

took aim at Ajax with a spear, but he saw it coming and just

managed to avoid it; the spear passed on and struck Schedius son

of noble Iphitus, captain of the Phoceans, who dwelt in famed

Panopeus and reigned over much people; it struck him under the

middle of the collar-bone the bronze point went right through

him, coming out at the bottom of his shoulder-blade, and his

armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.

Ajax in his turn struck noble Phorcys son of Phaenops in the

middle of the belly as he was bestriding Hippothous, and broke

the plate of his cuirass; whereon the spear tore out his entrails

and he clutched the ground in his palm as he fell to earth.

Hector and those who were in the front rank then gave ground,

while the Argives raised a loud cry of triumph, and drew off the

bodies of Phorcys and Hippothous which they stripped presently of

their armour.

The Trojans would now have been worsted by the brave Achaeans and

driven back to Ilius through their own cowardice, while the

Argives, so great was their courage and endurance, would have

achieved a triumph even against the will of Jove, if Apollo had

not roused Aeneas, in the likeness of Periphas son of Epytus, an

attendant who had grown old in the service of Aeneas' aged

father, and was at all times devoted to him. In his likeness,

then, Apollo said, "Aeneas, can you not manage, even though

heaven be against us, to save high Ilius? I have known men, whose

numbers, courage, and self-reliance have saved their people in

spite of Jove, whereas in this case he would much rather give

victory to us than to the Danaans, if you would only fight

instead of being so terribly afraid."

Aeneas knew Apollo when he looked straight at him, and shouted to

Hector saying, "Hector and all other Trojans and allies, shame on

us if we are beaten by the Achaeans and driven back to Ilius

through our own cowardice. A god has just come up to me and told

me that Jove the supreme disposer will be with us. Therefore let

us make for the Danaans, that it may go hard with them ere they

bear away dead Patroclus to the ships."

As he spoke he sprang out far in front of the others, who then

rallied and again faced the Achaeans. Aeneas speared Leiocritus

son of Arisbas, a valiant follower of Lycomedes, and Lycomedes

was moved with pity as he saw him fall; he therefore went close

up, and speared Apisaon son of Hippasus shepherd of his people in

the liver under the midriff, so that he died; he had come from

fertile Paeonia and was the best man of them all after

Asteropaeus. Asteropaeus flew forward to avenge him and attack

the Danaans, but this might no longer be, inasmuch as those about

Patroclus were well covered by their shields, and held their

spears in front of them, for Ajax had given them strict orders

that no man was either to give ground, or to stand out before the

others, but all were to hold well together about the body and

fight hand to hand. Thus did huge Ajax bid them, and the earth

ran red with blood as the corpses fell thick on one another alike

on the side of the Trojans and allies, and on that of the

Danaans; for these last, too, fought no bloodless fight though

many fewer of them perished, through the care they took to defend

and stand by one another.

Thus did they fight as it were a flaming fire; it seemed as

though it had gone hard even with the sun and moon, for they were

hidden over all that part where the bravest heroes were fighting

about the dead son of Menoetius, whereas the other Danaans and

Achaeans fought at their ease in full daylight with brilliant

sunshine all round them, and there was not a cloud to be seen

neither on plain nor mountain. These last moreover would rest for

a while and leave off fighting, for they were some distance apart

and beyond the range of one another's weapons, whereas those who

were in the thick of the fray suffered both from battle and

darkness. All the best of them were being worn out by the great

weight of their armour, but the two valiant heroes, Thrasymedes

and Antilochus, had not yet heard of the death of Patroclus, and

believed him to be still alive and leading the van against the

Trojans; they were keeping themselves in reserve against the

death or rout of their own comrades, for so Nestor had ordered

when he sent them from the ships into battle.

Thus through the livelong day did they wage fierce war, and the

sweat of their toil rained ever on their legs under them, and on

their hands and eyes, as they fought over the squire of the fleet

son of Peleus. It was as when a man gives a great ox-hide all

drenched in fat to his men, and bids them stretch it; whereon

they stand round it in a ring and tug till the moisture leaves

it, and the fat soaks in for the many that pull at it, and it is

well stretched--even so did the two sides tug the dead body

hither and thither within the compass of but a little space--the

Trojans steadfastly set on dragging it into Ilius, while the

Achaeans were no less so on taking it to their ships; and fierce

was the fight between them. Not Mars himself the lord of hosts,

nor yet Minerva, even in their fullest fury could make light of

such a battle.

Such fearful turmoil of men and horses did Jove on that day

ordain round the body of Patroclus. Meanwhile Achilles did not

know that he had fallen, for the fight was under the wall of Troy

a long way off the ships. He had no idea, therefore, that

Patroclus was dead, and deemed that he would return alive as soon

as he had gone close up to the gates. He knew that he was not to

sack the city neither with nor without himself, for his mother

had often told him this when he had sat alone with her, and she

had informed him of the counsels of great Jove. Now, however, she

had not told him how great a disaster had befallen him in the

death of the one who was far dearest to him of all his comrades.

The others still kept on charging one another round the body with

their pointed spears and killing each other. Then would one say,

"My friends, we can never again show our faces at the ships--

better, and greatly better, that earth should open and swallow us

here in this place, than that we should let the Trojans have the

triumph of bearing off Patroclus to their city."

The Trojans also on their part spoke to one another saying,

"Friends, though we fall to a man beside this body, let none

shrink from fighting." With such words did they exhort each

other. They fought and fought, and an iron clank rose through the

void air to the brazen vault of heaven. The horses of the

descendant of Aeacus stood out of the fight and wept when they

heard that their driver had been laid low by the hand of

murderous Hector. Automedon, valiant son of Diores, lashed them

again and again; many a time did he speak kindly to them, and

many a time did he upbraid them, but they would neither go back

to the ships by the waters of the broad Hellespont, nor yet into

battle among the Achaeans; they stood with their chariot stock

still, as a pillar set over the tomb of some dead man or woman,

and bowed their heads to the ground. Hot tears fell from their

eyes as they mourned the loss of their charioteer, and their

noble manes drooped all wet from under the yokestraps on either

side the yoke.

The son of Saturn saw them and took pity upon their sorrow. He

wagged his head, and muttered to himself, saying, "Poor things,

why did we give you to King Peleus who is a mortal, while you are

yourselves ageless and immortal? Was it that you might share the

sorrows that befall mankind? for of all creatures that live and

move upon the earth there is none so pitiable as he is--still,

Hector son of Priam shall drive neither you nor your chariot. I

will not have it. It is enough that he should have the armour

over which he vaunts so vainly. Furthermore I will give you

strength of heart and limb to bear Automedon safely to the ships

from battle, for I shall let the Trojans triumph still further,

and go on killing till they reach the ships; whereon night shall

fall and darkness overshadow the land."

As he spoke he breathed heart and strength into the horses so

that they shook the dust from out of their manes, and bore their

chariot swiftly into the fight that raged between Trojans and

Achaeans. Behind them fought Automedon full of sorrow for his

comrade, as a vulture amid a flock of geese. In and out, and here

and there, full speed he dashed amid the throng of the Trojans,

but for all the fury of his pursuit he killed no man, for he

could not wield his spear and keep his horses in hand when alone

in the chariot; at last, however, a comrade, Alcimedon, son of

Laerces son of Haemon caught sight of him and came up behind his

chariot. "Automedon," said he, "what god has put this folly into

your heart and robbed you of your right mind, that you fight the

Trojans in the front rank single-handed? He who was your comrade

is slain, and Hector plumes himself on being armed in the armour

of the descendant of Aeacus."

Automedon son of Diores answered, "Alcimedon, there is no one

else who can control and guide the immortal steeds so well as you

can, save only Patroclus--while he was alive--peer of gods in

counsel. Take then the whip and reins, while I go down from the

car and fight."

Alcimedon sprang on to the chariot, and caught up the whip and

reins, while Automedon leaped from off the car. When Hector saw

him he said to Aeneas who was near him, "Aeneas, counsellor of

the mail-clad Trojans, I see the steeds of the fleet son of

Aeacus come into battle with weak hands to drive them. I am sure,

if you think well, that we might take them; they will not dare

face us if we both attack them."

The valiant son of Anchises was of the same mind, and the pair

went right on, with their shoulders covered under shields of

tough dry ox-hide, overlaid with much bronze. Chromius and Aretus

went also with them, and their hearts beat high with hope that

they might kill the men and capture the horses--fools that they

were, for they were not to return scatheless from their meeting

with Automedon, who prayed to father Jove and was forthwith

filled with courage and strength abounding. He turned to his

trusty comrade Alcimedon and said, "Alcimedon, keep your horses

so close up that I may feel their breath upon my back; I doubt

that we shall not stay Hector son of Priam till he has killed us

and mounted behind the horses; he will then either spread panic

among the ranks of the Achaeans, or himself be killed among the

foremost."

On this he cried out to the two Ajaxes and Menelaus, "Ajaxes

captains of the Argives, and Menelaus, give the dead body over to

them that are best able to defend it, and come to the rescue of

us living; for Hector and Aeneas who are the two best men among

the Trojans, are pressing us hard in the full tide of war.

Nevertheless the issue lies on the lap of heaven, I will

therefore hurl my spear and leave the rest to Jove."

He poised and hurled as he spoke, whereon the spear struck the

round shield of Aretus, and went right through it for the shield

stayed it not, so that it was driven through his belt into the

lower part of his belly. As when some sturdy youth, axe in hand,

deals his blow behind the horns of an ox and severs the tendons

at the back of its neck so that it springs forward and then

drops, even so did Aretus give one bound and then fall on his

back the spear quivering in his body till it made an end of him.

Hector then aimed a spear at Automedon but he saw it coming and

stooped forward to avoid it, so that it flew past him and the

point stuck in the ground, while the butt-end went on quivering

till Mars robbed it of its force. They would then have fought

hand to hand with swords had not the two Ajaxes forced their way

through the crowd when they heard their comrade calling, and

parted them for all their fury--for Hector, Aeneas, and Chromius

were afraid and drew back, leaving Aretus to lie there struck to

the heart. Automedon, peer of fleet Mars, then stripped him of

his armour and vaunted over him saying, "I have done little to

assuage my sorrow for the son of Menoetius, for the man I have

killed is not so good as he was."

As he spoke he took the blood-stained spoils and laid them upon

his chariot; then he mounted the car with his hands and feet all

steeped in gore as a lion that has been gorging upon a bull.

And now the fierce groanful fight again raged about Patroclus,

for Minerva came down from heaven and roused its fury by the

command of far-seeing Jove, who had changed his mind and sent her

to encourage the Danaans. As when Jove bends his bright bow in

heaven in token to mankind either of war or of the chill storms

that stay men from their labour and plague the flocks--even so,

wrapped in such radiant raiment, did Minerva go in among the host

and speak man by man to each. First she took the form and voice

of Phoenix and spoke to Menelaus son of Atreus, who was standing

near her. "Menelaus," said she, "it will be shame and dishonour

to you, if dogs tear the noble comrade of Achilles under the

walls of Troy. Therefore be staunch, and urge your men to be so

also."

Menelaus answered, "Phoenix, my good old friend, may Minerva

vouchsafe me strength and keep the darts from off me, for so

shall I stand by Patroclus and defend him; his death has gone to

my heart, but Hector is as a raging fire and deals his blows

without ceasing, for Jove is now granting him a time of triumph."

Minerva was pleased at his having named herself before any of the

other gods. Therefore she put strength into his knees and

shoulders, and made him as bold as a fly, which, though driven

off will yet come again and bite if it can, so dearly does it

love man's blood--even so bold as this did she make him as he

stood over Patroclus and threw his spear. Now there was among the

Trojans a man named Podes, son of Eetion, who was both rich and

valiant. Hector held him in the highest honour for he was his

comrade and boon companion; the spear of Menelaus struck this man

in the girdle just as he had turned in flight, and went right

through him. Whereon he fell heavily forward, and Menelaus son of

Atreus drew off his body from the Trojans into the ranks of his

own people.

Apollo then went up to Hector and spurred him on to fight, in the

likeness of Phaenops son of Asius who lived in Abydos and was the

most favoured of all Hector's guests. In his likeness Apollo

said, "Hector, who of the Achaeans will fear you henceforward now

that you have quailed before Menelaus who has ever been rated

poorly as a soldier? Yet he has now got a corpse away from the

Trojans single-handed, and has slain your own true comrade, a man

brave among the foremost, Podes son of Eetion."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Hector as he heard, and he made

his way to the front clad in full armour. Thereon the son of

Saturn seized his bright tasselled aegis, and veiled Ida in

cloud: he sent forth his lightnings and his thunders, and as he

shook his aegis he gave victory to the Trojans and routed the

Achaeans.

The panic was begun by Peneleos the Boeotian, for while keeping

his face turned ever towards the foe he had been hit with a spear

on the upper part of the shoulder; a spear thrown by Polydamas

had grazed the top of the bone, for Polydamas had come up to him

and struck him from close at hand. Then Hector in close combat

struck Leitus son of noble Alectryon in the hand by the wrist,

and disabled him from fighting further. He looked about him in

dismay, knowing that never again should he wield spear in battle

with the Trojans. While Hector was in pursuit of Leitus,

Idomeneus struck him on the breastplate over his chest near the

nipple; but the spear broke in the shaft, and the Trojans cheered

aloud. Hector then aimed at Idomeneus son of Deucalion as he was

standing on his chariot, and very narrowly missed him, but the

spear hit Coiranus, a follower and charioteer of Meriones who had

come with him from Lyctus. Idomeneus had left the ships on foot

and would have afforded a great triumph to the Trojans if

Coiranus had not driven quickly up to him, he therefore brought

life and rescue to Idomeneus, but himself fell by the hand of

murderous Hector. For Hector hit him on the jaw under the ear;

the end of the spear drove out his teeth and cut his tongue in

two pieces, so that he fell from his chariot and let the reins

fall to the ground. Meriones gathered them up from the ground and

took them into his own hands, then he said to Idomeneus, "Lay on,

till you get back to the ships, for you must see that the day is

no longer ours."

On this Idomeneus lashed the horses to the ships, for fear had

taken hold upon him.

Ajax and Menelaus noted how Jove had turned the scale in favour

of the Trojans, and Ajax was first to speak. "Alas," said he,

"even a fool may see that father Jove is helping the Trojans. All

their weapons strike home; no matter whether it be a brave man or

a coward that hurls them, Jove speeds all alike, whereas ours

fall each one of them without effect. What, then, will be best

both as regards rescuing the body, and our return to the joy of

our friends who will be grieving as they look hitherwards; for

they will make sure that nothing can now check the terrible hands

of Hector, and that he will fling himself upon our ships. I wish

that some one would go and tell the son of Peleus at once, for I

do not think he can have yet heard the sad news that the dearest

of his friends has fallen. But I can see not a man among the

Achaeans to send, for they and their chariots are alike hidden in

darkness. O father Jove, lift this cloud from over the sons of

the Achaeans; make heaven serene, and let us see; if you will

that we perish, let us fall at any rate by daylight."

Father Jove heard him and had compassion upon his tears.

Forthwith he chased away the cloud of darkness, so that the sun

shone out and all the fighting was revealed. Ajax then said to

Menelaus, "Look, Menelaus, and if Antilochus son of Nestor be

still living, send him at once to tell Achilles that by far the

dearest to him of all his comrades has fallen."

Menelaus heeded his words and went his way as a lion from a

stockyard--the lion is tired of attacking the men and hounds, who

keep watch the whole night through and will not let him feast on

the fat of their herd. In his lust of meat he makes straight at

them but in vain, for darts from strong hands assail him, and

burning brands which daunt him for all his hunger, so in the

morning he slinks sulkily away--even so did Menelaus sorely

against his will leave Patroclus, in great fear lest the Achaeans

should be driven back in rout and let him fall into the hands of

the foe. He charged Meriones and the two Ajaxes straitly saying,

"Ajaxes and Meriones, leaders of the Argives, now indeed remember

how good Patroclus was; he was ever courteous while alive, bear

it in mind now that he is dead."

With this Menelaus left them, looking round him as keenly as an

eagle, whose sight they say is keener than that of any other

bird--however high he may be in the heavens, not a hare that runs

can escape him by crouching under bush or thicket, for he will

swoop down upon it and make an end of it--even so, O Menelaus,

did your keen eyes range round the mighty host of your followers

to see if you could find the son of Nestor still alive. Presently

Menelaus saw him on the extreme left of the battle cheering on

his men and exhorting them to fight boldly. Menelaus went up to

him and said, "Antilochus, come here and listen to sad news,

which I would indeed were untrue. You must see with your own eyes

that heaven is heaping calamity upon the Danaans, and giving

victory to the Trojans. Patroclus has fallen, who was the bravest

of the Achaeans, and sorely will the Danaans miss him. Run

instantly to the ships and tell Achilles, that he may come to

rescue the body and bear it to the ships. As for the armour,

Hector already has it."

Antilochus was struck with horror. For a long time he was

speechless; his eyes filled with tears and he could find no

utterance, but he did as Menelaus had said, and set off running

as soon as he had given his armour to a comrade, Laodocus, who

was wheeling his horses round, close beside him.

Thus, then, did he run weeping from the field, to carry the bad

news to Achilles son of Peleus. Nor were you, O Menelaus, minded

to succour his harassed comrades, when Antilochus had left the

Pylians--and greatly did they miss him--but he sent them noble

Thrasymedes, and himself went back to Patroclus. He came running

up to the two Ajaxes and said, "I have sent Antilochus to the

ships to tell Achilles, but rage against Hector as he may, he

cannot come, for he cannot fight without armour. What then will

be our best plan both as regards rescuing the dead, and our own

escape from death amid the battle-cries of the Trojans?"

Ajax answered, "Menelaus, you have said well: do you, then, and

Meriones stoop down, raise the body, and bear it out of the fray,

while we two behind you keep off Hector and the Trojans, one in

heart as in name, and long used to fighting side by side with one

another."

On this Menelaus and Meriones took the dead man in their arms and

lifted him high aloft with a great effort. The Trojan host raised

a hue and cry behind them when they saw the Achaeans bearing the

body away, and flew after them like hounds attacking a wounded

boar at the loo of a band of young huntsmen. For a while the

hounds fly at him as though they would tear him in pieces, but

now and again he turns on them in a fury, scaring and scattering

them in all directions--even so did the Trojans for a while

charge in a body, striking with sword and with spears pointed ai

both the ends, but when the two Ajaxes faced them and stood at

bay, they would turn pale and no man dared press on to fight

further about the dead.

In this wise did the two heroes strain every nerve to bear the

body to the ships out of the fight. The battle raged round them

like fierce flames that when once kindled spread like wildfire

over a city, and the houses fall in the glare of its burning--

even such was the roar and tramp of men and horses that pursued

them as they bore Patroclus from the field. Or as mules that put

forth all their strength to draw some beam or great piece of

ship's timber down a rough mountain-track, and they pant and

sweat as they, go even so did Menelaus and pant and sweat as they

bore the body of Patroclus. Behind them the two Ajaxes held

stoutly out. As some wooded mountain-spur that stretches across a

plain will turn water and check the flow even of a great river,

nor is there any stream strong enough to break through it--even

so did the two Ajaxes face the Trojans and stem the tide of their

fighting though they kept pouring on towards them and foremost

among them all was Aeneas son of Anchises with valiant Hector. As

a flock of daws or starlings fall to screaming and chattering

when they see a falcon, foe to all small birds, come soaring near

them, even so did the Achaean youth raise a babel of cries as

they fled before Aeneas and Hector, unmindful of their former

prowess. In the rout of the Danaans much goodly armour fell round

about the trench, and of fighting there was no end.

 

 

BOOK XVIII

THUS then did they fight as it were a flaming fire. Meanwhile the

fleet runner Antilochus, who had been sent as messenger, reached

Achilles, and found him sitting by his tall ships and boding that

which was indeed too surely true. "Alas," said he to himself in

the heaviness of his heart, "why are the Achaeans again scouring

the plain and flocking towards the ships? Heaven grant the gods

be not now bringing that sorrow upon me of which my mother Thetis

spoke, saying that while I was yet alive the bravest of the

Myrmidons should fall before the Trojans, and see the light of

the sun no longer. I fear the brave son of Menoetius has fallen

through his own daring and yet I bade him return to the ships as

soon as he had driven back those that were bringing fire against

them, and not join battle with Hector."

As he was thus pondering, the son of Nestor came up to him and

told his sad tale, weeping bitterly the while. "Alas," he cried,

"son of noble Peleus, I bring you bad tidings, would indeed that

they were untrue. Patroclus has fallen, and a fight is raging

about his naked body--for Hector holds his armour."

A dark cloud of grief fell upon Achilles as he listened. He

filled both hands with dust from off the ground, and poured it

over his head, disfiguring his comely face, and letting the

refuse settle over his shirt so fair and new. He flung himself

down all huge and hugely at full length, and tore his hair with

his hands. The bondswomen whom Achilles and Patroclus had taken

captive screamed aloud for grief, beating their breasts, and with

their limbs failing them for sorrow. Antilochus bent over him the

while, weeping and holding both his hands as he lay groaning for

he feared that he might plunge a knife into his own throat. Then

Achilles gave a loud cry and his mother heard him as she was

sitting in the depths of the sea by the old man her father,

whereon she screamed, and all the goddesses daughters of Nereus

that dwelt at the bottom of the sea, came gathering round her.

There were Glauce, Thalia and Cymodoce, Nesaia, Speo, Thoe and

dark-eyed Halie, Cymothoe, Actaea and Limnorea, Melite, Iaera,

Amphithoe and Agave, Doto and Proto, Pherusa and Dynamene,

Dexamene, Amphinome and Callianeira, Doris, Panope, and the

famous sea-nymph Galatea, Nemertes, Apseudes and Callianassa.

There were also Clymene, Ianeira and Ianassa, Maera, Oreithuia

and Amatheia of the lovely locks, with other Nereids who dwell in

the depths of the sea. The crystal cave was filled with their

multitude and they all beat their breasts while Thetis led them

in their lament.

"Listen," she cried, "sisters, daughters of Nereus, that you may

hear the burden of my sorrows. Alas, woe is me, woe in that I

have borne the most glorious of offspring. I bore him fair and

strong, hero among heroes, and he shot up as a sapling; I tended

him as a plant in a goodly garden, and sent him with his ships to

Ilius to fight the Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to

the house of Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light

of the sun he is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot

help him. Nevertheless I will go, that I may see my dear son and

learn what sorrow has befallen him though he is still holding

aloof from battle."

She left the cave as she spoke, while the others followed weeping

after, and the waves opened a path before them. When they reached

the rich plain of Troy, they came up out of the sea in a long

line on to the sands, at the place where the ships of the

Myrmidons were drawn up in close order round the tents of

Achilles. His mother went up to him as he lay groaning; she laid

her hand upon his head and spoke piteously, saying, "My son, why

are you thus weeping? What sorrow has now befallen you? Tell me;

hide it not from me. Surely Jove has granted you the prayer you

made him, when you lifted up your hands and besought him that the

Achaeans might all of them be pent up at their ships, and rue it

bitterly in that you were no longer with them."

Achilles groaned and answered, "Mother, Olympian Jove has indeed

vouchsafed me the fulfilment of my prayer, but what boots it to

me, seeing that my dear comrade Patroclus has fallen--he whom I

valued more than all others, and loved as dearly as my own life?

I have lost him; aye, and Hector when he had killed him stripped

the wondrous armour, so glorious to behold, which the gods gave

to Peleus when they laid you in the couch of a mortal man. Would

that you were still dwelling among the immortal sea-nymphs, and

that Peleus had taken to himself some mortal bride. For now you

shall have grief infinite by reason of the death of that son whom

you can never welcome home--nay, I will not live nor go about

among mankind unless Hector fall by my spear, and thus pay me for

having slain Patroclus son of Menoetius."

Thetis wept and answered, "Then, my son, is your end near at

hand--for your own death awaits you full soon after that of

Hector."

Then said Achilles in his great grief, "I would die here and now,

in that I could not save my comrade. He has fallen far from home,

and in his hour of need my hand was not there to help him. What

is there for me? Return to my own land I shall not, and I have

brought no saving neither to Patroclus nor to my other comrades

of whom so many have been slain by mighty Hector; I stay here by

my ships a bootless burden upon the earth, I, who in fight have

no peer among the Achaeans, though in council there are better

than I. Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men,

and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his

heart--which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the

taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey. Even so has

Agamemnon angered me. And yet--so be it, for it is over; I will

force my soul into subjection as I needs must; I will go; I will

pursue Hector who has slain him whom I loved so dearly, and will

then abide my doom when it may please Jove and the other gods to

send it. Even Hercules, the best beloved of Jove--even he could

not escape the hand of death, but fate and Juno's fierce anger

laid him low, as I too shall lie when I am dead if a like doom

awaits me. Till then I will win fame, and will bid Trojan and

Dardanian women wring tears from their tender cheeks with both

their hands in the grievousness of their great sorrow; thus shall

they know that he who has held aloof so long will hold aloof no

longer. Hold me not back, therefore, in the love you bear me, for

you shall not move me."

Then silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, what you have said

is true. It is well to save your comrades from destruction, but

your armour is in the hands of the Trojans; Hector bears it in

triumph upon his own shoulders. Full well I know that his vaunt

shall not be lasting, for his end is close at hand; go not,

however, into the press of battle till you see me return hither;

to-morrow at break of day I shall be here, and will bring you

goodly armour from King Vulcan."

On this she left her brave son, and as she turned away she said

to the sea-nymphs her sisters, "Dive into the bosom of the sea

and go to the house of the old sea-god my father. Tell him

everything; as for me, I will go to the cunning workman Vulcan on

high Olympus, and ask him to provide my son with a suit of

splendid armour."

When she had so said, they dived forthwith beneath the waves,

while silver-footed Thetis went her way that she might bring the

armour for her son.

Thus, then, did her feet bear the goddess to Olympus, and

meanwhile the Achaeans were flying with loud cries before

murderous Hector till they reached the ships and the Hellespont,

and they could not draw the body of Mars's servant Patroclus out

of reach of the weapons that were showered upon him, for Hector

son of Priam with his host and horsemen had again caught up to

him like the flame of a fiery furnace; thrice did brave Hector

seize him by the feet, striving with might and main to draw him

away and calling loudly on the Trojans, and thrice did the two

Ajaxes, clothed in valour as with a garment, beat him from off

the body; but all undaunted he would now charge into the thick of

the fight, and now again he would stand still and cry aloud, but

he would give no ground. As upland shepherds that cannot chase

some famished lion from a carcase, even so could not the two

Ajaxes scare Hector son of Priam from the body of Patroclus.

And now he would even have dragged it off and have won

imperishable glory, had not Iris fleet as the wind, winged her

way as messenger from Olympus to the son of Peleus and bidden him

arm. She came secretly without the knowledge of Jove and of the

other gods, for Juno sent her, and when she had got close to him

she said, "Up, son of Peleus, mightiest of all mankind; rescue

Patroclus about whom this fearful fight is now raging by the

ships. Men are killing one another, the Danaans in defence of the

dead body, while the Trojans are trying to hale it away, and take

it to windy Ilius: Hector is the most furious of them all; he is

for cutting the head from the body and fixing it on the stakes of

the wall. Up, then, and bide here no longer; shrink from the

thought that Patroclus may become meat for the dogs of Troy.

Shame on you, should his body suffer any kind of outrage."

And Achilles said, "Iris, which of the gods was it that sent you

to me?"

Iris answered, "It was Juno the royal spouse of Jove, but the son

of Saturn does not know of my coming, nor yet does any other of

the immortals who dwell on the snowy summits of Olympus."

Then fleet Achilles answered her saying, "How can I go up into

the battle? They have my armour. My mother forbade me to arm till

I should see her come, for she promised to bring me goodly armour

from Vulcan; I know no man whose arms I can put on, save only the

shield of Ajax son of Telamon, and he surely must be fighting in

the front rank and wielding his spear about the body of dead

Patroclus."

Iris said, "We know that your armour has been taken, but go as

you are; go to the deep trench and show yourself before the

Trojans, that they may fear you and cease fighting. Thus will the

fainting sons of the Achaeans gain some brief breathing-time,

which in battle may hardly be."

Iris left him when she had so spoken. But Achilles dear to Jove

arose, and Minerva flung her tasselled aegis round his strong

shoulders; she crowned his head with a halo of golden cloud from

which she kindled a glow of gleaming fire. As the smoke that goes

up into heaven from some city that is being beleaguered on an

island far out at sea--all day long do men sally from the city

and fight their hardest, and at the going down of the sun the

line of beacon-fires blazes forth, flaring high for those that

dwell near them to behold, if so be that they may come with their

ships and succour them--even so did the light flare from the head

of Achilles, as he stood by the trench, going beyond the wall--

but he aid not join the Achaeans for he heeded the charge which

his mother laid upon him.

There did he stand and shout aloud. Minerva also raised her voice

from afar, and spread terror unspeakable among the Trojans.

Ringing as the note of a trumpet that sounds alarm then the foe

is at the gates of a city, even so brazen was the voice of the

son of Aeacus, and when the Trojans heard its clarion tones they

were dismayed; the horses turned back with their chariots for

they boded mischief, and their drivers were awe-struck by the

steady flame which the grey-eyed goddess had kindled above the

head of the great son of Peleus.

Thrice did Achilles raise his loud cry as he stood by the trench,

and thrice were the Trojans and their brave allies thrown into

confusion; whereon twelve of their noblest champions fell beneath

the wheels of their chariots and perished by their own spears.

The Achaeans to their great joy then drew Patroclus out of reach

of the weapons, and laid him on a litter: his comrades stood

mourning round him, and among them fleet Achilles who wept

bitterly as he saw his true comrade lying dead upon his bier. He

had sent him out with horses and chariots into battle, but his

return he was not to welcome.

Then Juno sent the busy sun, loth though he was, into the waters

of Oceanus; so he set, and the Achaeans had rest from the tug and

turmoil of war.

Now the Trojans when they had come out of the fight, unyoked

their horses and gathered in assembly before preparing their

supper. They kept their feet, nor would any dare to sit down, for

fear had fallen upon them all because Achilles had shown himself

after having held aloof so long from battle. Polydamas son of

Panthous was first to speak, a man of judgement, who alone among

them could look both before and after. He was comrade to Hector,

and they had been born upon the same night; with all sincerity

and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Look to it well, my friends; I would urge you to go back now to

your city and not wait here by the ships till morning, for we are

far from our walls. So long as this man was at enmity with

Agamemnon the Achaeans were easier to deal with, and I would have

gladly camped by the ships in the hope of taking them; but now I

go in great fear of the fleet son of Peleus; he is so daring that

he will never bide here on the plain whereon the Trojans and

Achaeans fight with equal valour, but he will try to storm our

city and carry off our women. Do then as I say, and let us

retreat. For this is what will happen. The darkness of night will

for a time stay the son of Peleus, but if he find us here in the

morning when he sallies forth in full armour, we shall have

knowledge of him in good earnest. Glad indeed will he be who can

escape and get back to Ilius, and many a Trojan will become meat

for dogs and vultures may I never live to hear it. If we do as I

say, little though we may like it, we shall have strength in

counsel during the night, and the great gates with the doors that

close them will protect the city. At dawn we can arm and take our

stand on the walls; he will then rue it if he sallies from the

ships to fight us. He will go back when he has given his horses

their fill of being driven all whithers under our walls, and will

be in no mind to try and force his way into the city. Neither

will he ever sack it, dogs shall devour him ere he do so."

Hector looked fiercely at him and answered, "Polydamas, your

words are not to my liking in that you bid us go back and be pent

within the city. Have you not had enough of being cooped up

behind walls? In the old-days the city of Priam was famous the

whole world over for its wealth of gold and bronze, but our

treasures are wasted out of our houses, and much goods have been

sold away to Phrygia and fair Meonia, for the hand of Jove has

been laid heavily upon us. Now, therefore, that the son of

scheming Saturn has vouchsafed me to win glory here and to hem

the Achaeans in at their ships, prate no more in this fool's wise

among the people. You will have no man with you; it shall not be;

do all of you as I now say;--take your suppers in your companies

throughout the host, and keep your watches and be wakeful every

man of you. If any Trojan is uneasy about his possessions, let

him gather them and give them out among the people. Better let

these, rather than the Achaeans, have them. At daybreak we will

arm and fight about the ships; granted that Achilles has again

come forward to defend them, let it be as he will, but it shall

go hard with him. I shall not shun him, but will fight him, to

fall or conquer. The god of war deals out like measure to all,

and the slayer may yet be slain."

Thus spoke Hector; and the Trojans, fools that they were, shouted

in applause, for Pallas Minerva had robbed them of their

understanding. They gave ear to Hector with his evil counsel, but

the wise words of Polydamas no man would heed. They took their

supper throughout the host, and meanwhile through the whole night

the Achaeans mourned Patroclus, and the son of Peleus led them in

their lament. He laid his murderous hands upon the breast of his

comrade, groaning again and again as a bearded lion when a man

who was chasing deer has robbed him of his young in some dense

forest; when the lion comes back he is furious, and searches

dingle and dell to track the hunter if he can find him, for he is

mad with rage--even so with many a sigh did Achilles speak among

the Myrmidons saying, "Alas! vain were the words with which I

cheered the hero Menoetius in his own house; I said that I would

bring his brave son back again to Opoeis after he had sacked

Ilius and taken his share of the spoils--but Jove does not give

all men their heart's desire. The same soil shall be reddened

here at Troy by the blood of us both, for I too shall never be

welcomed home by the old knight Peleus, nor by my mother Thetis,

but even in this place shall the earth cover me. Nevertheless, O

Patroclus, now that I am left behind you, I will not bury you,

till I have brought hither the head and armour of mighty Hector

who has slain you. Twelve noble sons of Trojans will I behead

before your bier to avenge you; till I have done so you shall lie

as you are by the ships, and fair women of Troy and Dardanus,

whom we have taken with spear and strength of arm when we sacked

men's goodly cities, shall weep over you both night and day."

Then Achilles told his men to set a large tripod upon the fire

that they might wash the clotted gore from off Patroclus. Thereon

they set a tripod full of bath water on to a clear fire: they

threw sticks on to it to make it blaze, and the water became hot

as the flame played about the belly of the tripod. When the water

in the cauldron was boiling they washed the body, anointed it

with oil, and closed its wounds with ointment that had been kept

nine years. Then they laid it on a bier and covered it with a

linen cloth from head to foot, and over this they laid a fair

white robe. Thus all night long did the Myrmidons gather round

Achilles to mourn Patroclus.

Then Jove said to Juno his sister-wife, "So, Queen Juno, you have

gained your end, and have roused fleet Achilles. One would think

that the Achaeans were of your own flesh and blood."

And Juno answered, "Dread son of Saturn, why should you say this

thing? May not a man though he be only mortal and knows less than

we do, do what he can for another person? And shall not I--

foremost of all goddesses both by descent and as wife to you who

reign in heaven--devise evil for the Trojans if I am angry with

them?"

Thus did they converse. Meanwhile Thetis came to the house of

Vulcan, imperishable, star-bespangled, fairest of the abodes in

heaven, a house of bronze wrought by the lame god's own hands.

She found him busy with his bellows, sweating and hard at work,

for he was making twenty tripods that were to stand by the wall

of his house, and he set wheels of gold under them all that they

might go of their own selves to the assemblies of the gods, and

come back again--marvels indeed to see. They were finished all

but the ears of cunning workmanship which yet remained to be

fixed to them: these he was now fixing, and he was hammering at

the rivets. While he was thus at work silver-footed Thetis came

to the house. Charis, of graceful head-dress, wife to the

far-famed lame god, came towards her as soon as she saw her, and

took her hand in her own, saying, "Why have you come to our

house, Thetis, honoured and ever welcome--for you do not visit us

often? Come inside and let me set refreshment before you."

The goddess led the way as she spoke, and bade Thetis sit on a

richly decorated seat inlaid with silver; there was a footstool

also under her feet. Then she called Vulcan and said, "Vulcan,

come here, Thetis wants you"; and the far-famed lame god

answered, "Then it is indeed an august and honoured goddess who

has come here; she it was that took care of me when I was

suffering from the heavy fall which I had through my cruel

mother's anger--for she would have got rid of me because I was

lame. It would have gone hardly with me had not Eurynome,

daughter of the ever-encircling waters of Oceanus, and Thetis,

taken me to their bosom. Nine years did I stay with them, and

many beautiful works in bronze, brooches, spiral armlets, cups,

and chains, did I make for them in their cave, with the roaring

waters of Oceanus foaming as they rushed ever past it; and no one

knew, neither of gods nor men, save only Thetis and Eurynome who

took care of me. If, then, Thetis has come to my house I must

make her due requital for having saved me; entertain her,

therefore, with all hospitality, while I put by my bellows and

all my tools."

On this the mighty monster hobbled off from his anvil, his thin

legs plying lustily under him. He set the bellows away from the

fire, and gathered his tools into a silver chest. Then he took a

sponge and washed his face and hands, his shaggy chest and brawny

neck; he donned his shirt, grasped his strong staff, and limped

towards the door. There were golden handmaids also who worked for

him, and were like real young women, with sense and reason, voice

also and strength, and all the learning of the immortals; these

busied themselves as the king bade them, while he drew near to

Thetis, seated her upon a goodly seat, and took her hand in his

own, saying, "Why have you come to our house, Thetis honoured and

ever welcome--for you do not visit us often? Say what you want,

and I will do it for you at once if I can, and if it can be done

at all."

Thetis wept and answered, "Vulcan, is there another goddess in

Olympus whom the son of Saturn has been pleased to try with so

much affliction as he has me? Me alone of the marine goddesses

did he make subject to a mortal husband, Peleus son of Aeacus,

and sorely against my will did I submit to the embraces of one

who was but mortal, and who now stays at home worn out with age.

Neither is this all. Heaven vouchsafed me a son, hero among

heroes, and he shot up as a sapling. I tended him as a plant in a

goodly garden and sent him with his ships to Ilius to fight the

Trojans, but never shall I welcome him back to the house of

Peleus. So long as he lives to look upon the light of the sun, he

is in heaviness, and though I go to him I cannot help him; King

Agamemnon has made him give up the maiden whom the sons of the

Achaeans had awarded him, and he wastes with sorrow for her sake.

Then the Trojans hemmed the Achaeans in at their ships' sterns

and would not let them come forth; the elders, therefore, of the

Argives besought Achilles and offered him great treasure, whereon

he refused to bring deliverance to them himself, but put his own

armour on Patroclus and sent him into the fight with much people

after him. All day long they fought by the Scaean gates and would

have taken the city there and then, had not Apollo vouchsafed

glory to Hector and slain the valiant son of Menoetius after he

had done the Trojans much evil. Therefore I am suppliant at your

knees if haply you may be pleased to provide my son, whose end is

near at hand, with helmet and shield, with goodly greaves fitted

with ancle-clasps, and with a breastplate, for he lost his own

when his true comrade fell at the hands of the Trojans, and he

now lies stretched on earth in the bitterness of his soul."

And Vulcan answered, "Take heart, and be no more disquieted about

this matter; would that I could hide him from death's sight when

his hour is come, so surely as I can find him armour that shall

amaze the eyes of all who behold it."

When he had so said he left her and went to his bellows, turning

them towards the fire and bidding them do their office. Twenty

bellows blew upon the melting-pots, and they blew blasts of every

kind, some fierce to help him when he had need of them, and

others less strong as Vulcan willed it in the course of his work.

He threw tough copper into the fire, and tin, with silver and

gold; he set his great anvil on its block, and with one hand

grasped his mighty hammer while he took the tongs in the other.

First he shaped the shield so great and strong, adorning it all

over and binding it round with a gleaming circuit in three

layers; and the baldric was made of silver. He made the shield in

five thicknesses, and with many a wonder did his cunning hand

enrich it.

He wrought the earth, the heavens, and the sea; the moon also at

her full and the untiring sun, with all the signs that glorify

the face of heaven--the Pleiads, the Hyads, huge Orion, and the

Bear, which men also call the Wain and which turns round ever in

one place, facing. Orion, and alone never dips into the stream of

Oceanus.

He wrought also two cities, fair to see and busy with the hum of

men. In the one were weddings and wedding-feasts, and they were

going about the city with brides whom they were escorting by

torchlight from their chambers. Loud rose the cry of Hymen, and

the youths danced to the music of flute and lyre, while the women

stood each at her house door to see them.

Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, for there was a

quarrel, and two men were wrangling about the blood-money for a

man who had been killed, the one saying before the people that he

had paid damages in full, and the other that he had not been

paid. Each was trying to make his own case good, and the people

took sides, each man backing the side that he had taken; but the

heralds kept them back, and the elders sate on their seats of

stone in a solemn circle, holding the staves which the heralds

had put into their hands. Then they rose and each in his turn

gave judgement, and there were two talents laid down, to be given

to him whose judgement should be deemed the fairest.

About the other city there lay encamped two hosts in gleaming

armour, and they were divided whether to sack it, or to spare it

and accept the half of what it contained. But the men of the city

would not yet consent, and armed themselves for a surprise; their

wives and little children kept guard upon the walls, and with

them were the men who were past fighting through age; but the

others sallied forth with Mars and Pallas Minerva at their head--

both of them wrought in gold and clad in golden raiment, great

and fair with their armour as befitting gods, while they that

followed were smaller. When they reached the place where they

would lay their ambush, it was on a riverbed to which live stock

of all kinds would come from far and near to water; here, then,

they lay concealed, clad in full armour. Some way off them there

were two scouts who were on the look-out for the coming of sheep

or cattle, which presently came, followed by two shepherds who

were playing on their pipes, and had not so much as a thought of

danger. When those who were in ambush saw this, they cut off the

flocks and herds and killed the shepherds. Meanwhile the

besiegers, when they heard much noise among the cattle as they

sat in council, sprang to their horses, and made with all speed

towards them; when they reached them they set battle in array by

the banks of the river, and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod

spears at one another. With them were Strife and Riot, and fell

Fate who was dragging three men after her, one with a fresh

wound, and the other unwounded, while the third was dead, and she

was dragging him along by his heel: and her robe was bedrabbled

in men's blood. They went in and out with one another and fought

as though they were living people haling away one another's dead.

He wrought also a fair fallow field, large and thrice ploughed

already. Many men were working at the plough within it, turning

their oxen to and fro, furrow after furrow. Each time that they

turned on reaching the headland a man would come up to them and

give them a cup of wine, and they would go back to their furrows

looking forward to the time when they should again reach the

headland. The part that they had ploughed was dark behind them,

so that the field, though it was of gold, still looked as if it

were being ploughed--very curious to behold.

He wrought also a field of harvest corn, and the reapers were

reaping with sharp sickles in their hands. Swathe after swathe

fell to the ground in a straight line behind them, and the

binders bound them in bands of twisted straw. There were three

binders, and behind them there were boys who gathered the cut

corn in armfuls and kept on bringing them to be bound: among them

all the owner of the land stood by in silence and was glad. The

servants were getting a meal ready under an oak, for they had

sacrificed a great ox, and were busy cutting him up, while the

women were making a porridge of much white barley for the

labourers' dinner.

He wrought also a vineyard, golden and fair to see, and the vines

were loaded with grapes. The bunches overhead were black, but the

vines were trained on poles of silver. He ran a ditch of dark

metal all round it, and fenced it with a fence of tin; there was

only one path to it, and by this the vintagers went when they

would gather the vintage. Youths and maidens all blithe and full

of glee, carried the luscious fruit in plaited baskets; and with

them there went a boy who made sweet music with his lyre, and

sang the Linos-song with his clear boyish voice.

He wrought also a herd of horned cattle. He made the cows of gold

and tin, and they lowed as they came full speed out of the yards

to go and feed among the waving reeds that grow by the banks of

the river. Along with the cattle there went four shepherds, all

of them in gold, and their nine fleet dogs went with them. Two

terrible lions had fastened on a bellowing bull that was with the

foremost cows, and bellow as he might they haled him, while the

dogs and men gave chase: the lions tore through the bull's thick

hide and were gorging on his blood and bowels, but the herdsmen

were afraid to do anything, and only hounded on their dogs; the

dogs dared not fasten on the lions but stood by barking and

keeping out of harm's way.

The god wrought also a pasture in a fair mountain dell, and a

large flock of sheep, with a homestead and huts, and sheltered

sheepfolds.

Furthermore he wrought a green, like that which Daedalus once

made in Cnossus for lovely Ariadne. Hereon there danced youths

and maidens whom all would woo, with their hands on one another's

wrists. The maidens wore robes of light linen, and the youths

well woven shirts that were slightly oiled. The girls were

crowned with garlands, while the young men had daggers of gold

that hung by silver baldrics; sometimes they would dance deftly

in a ring with merry twinkling feet, as it were a potter sitting

at his work and making trial of his wheel to see whether it will

run, and sometimes they would go all in line with one another,

and much people was gathered joyously about the green. There was

a bard also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers

went about performing in the midst of them when the man struck up

with his tune.

All round the outermost rim of the shield he set the mighty

stream of the river Oceanus.

Then when he had fashioned the shield so great and strong, he

made a breastplate also that shone brighter than fire. He made a

helmet, close fitting to the brow, and richly worked, with a

golden plume overhanging it; and he made greaves also of beaten

tin.

Lastly, when the famed lame god had made all the armour, he took

it and set it before the mother of Achilles; whereon she darted

like a falcon from the snowy summits of Olympus and bore away the

gleaming armour from the house of Vulcan.

 

 

BOOK XIX

NOW when Dawn in robe of saffron was hasting from the streams of

Oceanus, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached

the ships with the armour that the god had given her. She found

her son fallen about the body of Patroclus and weeping bitterly.

Many also of his followers were weeping round him, but when the

goddess came among them she clasped his hand in her own, saying,

"My son, grieve as we may we must let this man lie, for it is by

heaven's will that he has fallen; now, therefore, accept from

Vulcan this rich and goodly armour, which no man has ever yet

borne upon his shoulders."

As she spoke she set the armour before Achilles, and it rang out

bravely as she did so. The Myrmidons were struck with awe, and

none dared look full at it, for they were afraid; but Achilles

was roused to still greater fury, and his eyes gleamed with a

fierce light, for he was glad when he handled the splendid

present which the god had made him. Then, as soon as he had

satisfied himself with looking at it, he said to his mother,

"Mother, the god has given me armour, meet handiwork for an

immortal and such as no-one living could have fashioned; I will

now arm, but I much fear that flies will settle upon the son of

Menoetius and breed worms about his wounds, so that his body, now

he is dead, will be disfigured and the flesh will rot."

Silver-footed Thetis answered, "My son, be not disquieted about

this matter. I will find means to protect him from the swarms of

noisome flies that prey on the bodies of men who have been killed

in battle. He may lie for a whole year, and his flesh shall still

be as sound as ever, or even sounder. Call, therefore, the

Achaean heroes in assembly; unsay your anger against Agamemnon;

arm at once, and fight with might and main."

As she spoke she put strength and courage into his heart, and she

then dropped ambrosia and red nectar into the wounds of

Patroclus, that his body might suffer no change.

Then Achilles went out upon the seashore, and with a loud cry

called on the Achaean heroes. On this even those who as yet had

stayed always at the ships, the pilots and helmsmen, and even the

stewards who were about the ships and served out rations, all

came to the place of assembly because Achilles had shown himself

after having held aloof so long from fighting. Two sons of Mars,

Ulysses and the son of Tydeus, came limping, for their wounds

still pained them; nevertheless they came, and took their seats

in the front row of the assembly. Last of all came Agamemnon,

king of men, he too wounded, for Coon son of Antenor had struck

him with a spear in battle.

When the Achaeans were got together Achilles rose and said, "Son

of Atreus, surely it would have been better alike for both you

and me, when we two were in such high anger about Briseis, surely

it would have been better, had Diana's arrow slain her at the

ships on the day when I took her after having sacked Lyrnessus.

For so, many an Achaean the less would have bitten dust before

the foe in the days of my anger. It has been well for Hector and

the Trojans, but the Achaeans will long indeed remember our

quarrel. Now, however, let it be, for it is over. If we have been

angry, necessity has schooled our anger. I put it from me: I dare

not nurse it for ever; therefore, bid the Achaeans arm forthwith

that I may go out against the Trojans, and learn whether they

will be in a mind to sleep by the ships or no. Glad, I ween, will

he be to rest his knees who may fly my spear when I wield it."

Thus did he speak, and the Achaeans rejoiced in that he had put

away his anger.

Then Agamemnon spoke, rising in his place, and not going into the

middle of the assembly. "Danaan heroes," said he, "servants of

Mars, it is well to listen when a man stands up to speak, and it

is not seemly to interrupt him, or it will go hard even with a

practised speaker. Who can either hear or speak in an uproar?

Even the finest orator will be disconcerted by it. I will expound

to the son of Peleus, and do you other Achaeans heed me and mark

me well. Often have the Achaeans spoken to me of this matter and

upbraided me, but it was not I that did it: Jove, and Fate, and

Erinys that walks in darkness struck me mad when we were

assembled on the day that I took from Achilles the meed that had

been awarded to him. What could I do? All things are in the hand

of heaven, and Folly, eldest of Jove's daughters, shuts men's

eyes to their destruction. She walks delicately, not on the solid

earth, but hovers over the heads of men to make them stumble or

to ensnare them.

"Time was when she fooled Jove himself, who they say is greatest

whether of gods or men; for Juno, woman though she was, beguiled

him on the day when Alcmena was to bring forth mighty Hercules in

the fair city of Thebes. He told it out among the gods saying,

'Hear me, all gods and goddesses, that I may speak even as I am

minded; this day shall an Ilithuia, helper of women who are in

labour, bring a man child into the world who shall be lord over

all that dwell about him who are of my blood and lineage.' Then

said Juno all crafty and full of guile, 'You will play false, and

will not hold to your word. Swear me, O Olympian, swear me a

great oath, that he who shall this day fall between the feet of a

woman, shall be lord over all that dwell about him who are of

your blood and lineage.'

"Thus she spoke, and Jove suspected her not, but swore the great

oath, to his much ruing thereafter. For Juno darted down from the

high summit of Olympus, and went in haste to Achaean Argos where

she knew that the noble wife of Sthenelus son of Perseus then

was. She being with child and in her seventh month, Juno brought

the child to birth though there was a month still wanting, but

she stayed the offspring of Alcmena, and kept back the Ilithuiae.

Then she went to tell Jove the son of Saturn, and said, 'Father

Jove, lord of the lightning--I have a word for your ear. There is

a fine child born this day, Eurystheus, son to Sthenelus the son

of Perseus; he is of your lineage; it is well, therefore, that he

should reign over the Argives.'

"On this Jove was stung to the very quick, and in his rage he

caught Folly by the hair, and swore a great oath that never

should she again invade starry heaven and Olympus, for she was

the bane of all. Then he whirled her round with a twist of his

hand, and flung her down from heaven so that she fell on to the

fields of mortal men; and he was ever angry with her when he saw

his son groaning under the cruel labours that Eurystheus laid

upon him. Even so did I grieve when mighty Hector was killing the

Argives at their ships, and all the time I kept thinking of Folly

who had so baned me. I was blind, and Jove robbed me of my

reason; I will now make atonement, and will add much treasure by

way of amends. Go, therefore, into battle, you and your people

with you. I will give you all that Ulysses offered you yesterday

in your tents: or if it so please you, wait, though you would

fain fight at once, and my squires shall bring the gifts from my

ship, that you may see whether what I give you is enough."

And Achilles answered, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, you

can give such gifts as you think proper, or you can withhold

them: it is in your own hands. Let us now set battle in array; it

is not well to tarry talking about trifles, for there is a deed

which is as yet to do. Achilles shall again be seen fighting

among the foremost, and laying low the ranks of the Trojans: bear

this in mind each one of you when he is fighting."

Then Ulysses said, "Achilles, godlike and brave, send not the

Achaeans thus against Ilius to fight the Trojans fasting, for the

battle will be no brief one, when it is once begun, and heaven

has filled both sides with fury; bid them first take food both

bread and wine by the ships, for in this there is strength and

stay. No man can do battle the livelong day to the going down of

the sun if he is without food; however much he may want to fight

his strength will fail him before he knows it; hunger and thirst

will find him out, and his limbs will grow weary under him. But a

man can fight all day if he is full fed with meat and wine; his

heart beats high, and his strength will stay till he has routed

all his foes; therefore, send the people away and bid them

prepare their meal; King Agamemnon will bring out the gifts in

presence of the assembly, that all may see them and you may be

satisfied. Moreover let him swear an oath before the Argives that

he has never gone up into the couch of Briseis, nor been with her

after the manner of men and women; and do you, too, show yourself

of a gracious mind; let Agamemnon entertain you in his tents with

a feast of reconciliation, that so you may have had your dues in

full. As for you, son of Atreus, treat people more righteously in

future; it is no disgrace even to a king that he should make

amends if he was wrong in the first instance."

And King Agamemnon answered, "Son of Laertes, your words please

me well, for throughout you have spoken wisely. I will swear as

you would have me do; I do so of my own free will, neither shall

I take the name of heaven in vain. Let, then, Achilles wait,

though he would fain fight at once, and do you others wait also,

till the gifts come from my tent and we ratify the oath with

sacrifice. Thus, then, do I charge you: take some noble young

Achaeans with you, and bring from my tents the gifts that I

promised yesterday to Achilles, and bring the women also;

furthermore let Talthybius find me a boar from those that are

with the host, and make it ready for sacrifice to Jove and to the

sun."

Then said Achilles, "Son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, see to

these matters at some other season, when there is breathing time

and when I am calmer. Would you have men eat while the bodies of

those whom Hector son of Priam slew are still lying mangled upon

the plain? Let the sons of the Achaeans, say I, fight fasting and

without food, till we have avenged them; afterwards at the going

down of the sun let them eat their fill. As for me, Patroclus is

lying dead in my tent, all hacked and hewn, with his feet to the

door, and his comrades are mourning round him. Therefore I can

take thought of nothing save only slaughter and blood and the

rattle in the throat of the dying."

Ulysses answered, "Achilles, son of Peleus, mightiest of all the

Achaeans, in battle you are better than I, and that more than a

little, but in counsel I am much before you, for I am older and

of greater knowledge. Therefore be patient under my words.

Fighting is a thing of which men soon surfeit, and when Jove, who

is war's steward, weighs the upshot, it may well prove that the

straw which our sickles have reaped is far heavier than the

grain. It may not be that the Achaeans should mourn the dead with

their bellies; day by day men fall thick and threefold

continually; when should we have respite from our sorrow? Let us

mourn our dead for a day and bury them out of sight and mind, but

let those of us who are left eat and drink that we may arm and

fight our foes more fiercely. In that hour let no man hold back,

waiting for a second summons; such summons shall bode ill for him

who is found lagging behind at our ships; let us rather sally as

one man and loose the fury of war upon the Trojans."

When he had thus spoken he took with him the sons of Nestor, with

Meges son of Phyleus, Thoas, Meriones, Lycomedes son of Creontes,

and Melanippus, and went to the tent of Agamemnon son of Atreus.

The word was not sooner said than the deed was done: they

brought out the seven tripods which Agamemnon had promised, with

the twenty metal cauldrons and the twelve horses; they also

brought the women skilled in useful arts, seven in number, with

Briseis, which made eight. Ulysses weighed out the ten talents of

gold and then led the way back, while the young Achaeans brought

the rest of the gifts, and laid them in the middle of the

assembly.

Agamemnon then rose, and Talthybius whose voice was like that of

a god came to him with the boar. The son of Atreus drew the knife

which he wore by the scabbard of his mighty sword, and began by

cutting off some bristles from the boar, lifting up his hands in

prayer as he did so. The other Achaeans sat where they were all

silent and orderly to hear the king, and Agamemnon looked into

the vault of heaven and prayed saying, "I call Jove the first and

mightiest of all gods to witness, I call also Earth and Sun and

the Erinyes who dwell below and take vengeance on him who shall

swear falsely, that I have laid no hand upon the girl Briseis,

neither to take her to my bed nor otherwise, but that she has

remained in my tents inviolate. If I swear falsely may heaven

visit me with all the penalties which it metes out to those who

perjure themselves."

He cut the boar's throat as he spoke, whereon Talthybius whirled

it round his head, and flung it into the wide sea to feed the

fishes. Then Achilles also rose and said to the Argives, "Father

Jove, of a truth you blind men's eyes and bane them. The son of

Atreus had not else stirred me to so fierce an anger, nor so

stubbornly taken Briseis from me against my will. Surely Jove

must have counselled the destruction of many an Argive. Go, now,

and take your food that we may begin fighting."

On this he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his

own ship. The Myrmidons attended to the presents and took them

away to the ship of Achilles. They placed them in his tents,

while the stable-men drove the horses in among the others.

Briseis, fair as Venus, when she saw the mangled body of

Patroclus, flung herself upon it and cried aloud, tearing her

breast, her neck, and her lovely face with both her hands.

Beautiful as a goddess she wept and said, "Patroclus, dearest

friend, when I went hence I left you living; I return, O prince,

to find you dead; thus do fresh sorrows multiply upon me one

after the other. I saw him to whom my father and mother married

me, cut down before our city, and my three own dear brothers

perished with him on the self-same day; but you, Patroclus, even

when Achilles slew my husband and sacked the city of noble Mynes,

told me that I was not to weep, for you said you would make

Achilles marry me, and take me back with him to Phthia, we should

have a wedding feast among the Myrmidons. You were always kind to

me and I shall never cease to grieve for you."

She wept as she spoke, and the women joined in her lament-making

as though their tears were for Patroclus, but in truth each was

weeping for her own sorrows. The elders of the Achaeans gathered

round Achilles and prayed him to take food, but he groaned and

would not do so. "I pray you," said he, "if any comrade will hear

me, bid me neither eat nor drink, for I am in great heaviness,

and will stay fasting even to the going down of the sun."

On this he sent the other princes away, save only the two sons of

Atreus and Ulysses, Nestor, Idomeneus, and the knight Phoenix,

who stayed behind and tried to comfort him in the bitterness of

his sorrow: but he would not be comforted till he should have

flung himself into the jaws of battle, and he fetched sigh on

sigh, thinking ever of Patroclus. Then he said--

"Hapless and dearest comrade, you it was who would get a good

dinner ready for me at once and without delay when the Achaeans

were hasting to fight the Trojans; now, therefore, though I have

meat and drink in my tents, yet will I fast for sorrow. Grief

greater than this I could not know, not even though I were to

hear of the death of my father, who is now in Phthia weeping for

the loss of me his son, who am here fighting the Trojans in a

strange land for the accursed sake of Helen, nor yet though I

should hear that my son is no more--he who is being brought up in

Scyros--if indeed Neoptolemus is still living. Till now I made

sure that I alone was to fall here at Troy away from Argos, while

you were to return to Phthia, bring back my son with you in your

own ship, and show him all my property, my bondsmen, and the

greatness of my house--for Peleus must surely be either dead, or

what little life remains to him is oppressed alike with the

infirmities of age and ever present fear lest he should hear the

sad tidings of my death."

He wept as he spoke, and the elders sighed in concert as each

thought on what he had left at home behind him. The son of Saturn

looked down with pity upon them, and said presently to Minerva,

"My child, you have quite deserted your hero; is he then gone so

clean out of your recollection? There he sits by the ships all

desolate for the loss of his dear comrade, and though the others

are gone to their dinner he will neither eat nor drink. Go then

and drop nectar and ambrosia into his breast, that he may know no

hunger."

With these words he urged Minerva, who was already of the same

mind. She darted down from heaven into the air like some falcon

sailing on his broad wings and screaming. Meanwhile the Achaeans

were arming throughout the host, and when Minerva had dropped

nectar and ambrosia into Achilles so that no cruel hunger should

cause his limbs to fail him, she went back to the house of her

mighty father. Thick as the chill snow-flakes shed from the hand

of Jove and borne on the keen blasts of the north wind, even so

thick did the gleaming helmets, the bossed shields, the strongly

plated breastplates, and the ashen spears stream from the ships.

The sheen pierced the sky, the whole land was radiant with their

flashing armour, and the sound of the tramp of their treading

rose from under their feet. In the midst of them all Achilles put

on his armour; he gnashed his teeth, his eyes gleamed like fire,

for his grief was greater than he could bear. Thus, then, full of

fury against the Trojans, did he don the gift of the god, the

armour that Vulcan had made him.

First he put on the goodly greaves fitted with ancle-clasps, and

next he did on the breastplate about his chest. He slung the

silver-studded sword of bronze about his shoulders, and then took

up the shield so great and strong that shone afar with a

splendour as of the moon. As the light seen by sailors from out

at sea, when men have lit a fire in their homestead high up among

the mountains, but the sailors are carried out to sea by wind and

storm far from the haven where they would be--even so did the

gleam of Achilles' wondrous shield strike up into the heavens. He

lifted the redoubtable helmet, and set it upon his head, from

whence it shone like a star, and the golden plumes which Vulcan

had set thick about the ridge of the helmet, waved all around it.

Then Achilles made trial of himself in his armour to see whether

it fitted him, so that his limbs could play freely under it, and

it seemed to buoy him up as though it had been wings.

He also drew his father's spear out of the spear-stand, a spear

so great and heavy and strong that none of the Achaeans save only

Achilles had strength to wield it; this was the spear of Pelian

ash from the topmost ridges of Mt. Pelion, which Chiron had once

given to Peleus, fraught with the death of heroes. Automedon and

Alcimus busied themselves with the harnessing of his horses; they

made the bands fast about them, and put the bit in their mouths,

drawing the reins back towards the chariot. Automedon, whip in

hand, sprang up behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted

in full armour, resplendent as the sun-god Hyperion. Then with a

loud voice he chided with his father's horses saying, "Xanthus

and Balius, famed offspring of Podarge--this time when we have

done fighting be sure and bring your driver safely back to the

host of the Achaeans, and do not leave him dead on the plain as

you did Patroclus."

Then fleet Xanthus answered under the yoke--for white-armed Juno

had endowed him with human speech--and he bowed his head till his

mane touched the ground as it hung down from under the yoke-band.

"Dread Achilles," said he, "we will indeed save you now, but the

day of your death is near, and the blame will not be ours, for it

will be heaven and stern fate that will destroy you. Neither was

it through any sloth or slackness on our part that the Trojans

stripped Patroclus of his armour; it was the mighty god whom

lovely Leto bore that slew him as he fought among the foremost,

and vouchsafed a triumph to Hector. We two can fly as swiftly as

Zephyrus who they say is fleetest of all winds; nevertheless it

is your doom to fall by the hand of a man and of a god."

When he had thus said the Erinyes stayed his speech, and Achilles

answered him in great sadness, saying, "Why, O Xanthus, do you

thus foretell my death? You need not do so, for I well know that

I am to fall here, far from my dear father and mother; none the

more, however, shall I stay my hand till I have given the Trojans

their fill of fighting."

So saying, with a loud cry he drove his horses to the front.

 

 

BOOK XX

THUS, then, did the Achaeans arm by their ships round you, O son

of Peleus, who were hungering for battle; while the Trojans over

against them armed upon the rise of the plain.

Meanwhile Jove from the top of many-delled Olympus, bade Themis

gather the gods in council, whereon she went about and called

them to the house of Jove. There was not a river absent except

Oceanus, nor a single one of the nymphs that haunt fair groves,

or springs of rivers and meadows of green grass. When they

reached the house of cloud-compelling Jove, they took their seats

in the arcades of polished marble which Vulcan with his

consummate skill had made for father Jove.

In such wise, therefore, did they gather in the house of Jove.

Neptune also, lord of the earthquake, obeyed the call of the

goddess, and came up out of the sea to join them. There, sitting

in the midst of them, he asked what Jove's purpose might be.

"Why," said he, "wielder of the lightning, have you called the

gods in council? Are you considering some matter that concerns

the Trojans and Achaeans--for the blaze of battle is on the point

of being kindled between them?"

And Jove answered, "You know my purpose, shaker of earth, and

wherefore I have called you hither. I take thought for them even

in their destruction. For my own part I shall stay here seated on

Mt. Olympus and look on in peace, but do you others go about

among Trojans and Achaeans, and help either side as you may be

severally disposed. If Achilles fights the Trojans without

hindrance they will make no stand against him; they have ever

trembled at the sight of him, and now that he is roused to such

fury about his comrade, he will override fate itself and storm

their city."

Thus spoke Jove and gave the word for war, whereon the gods took

their several sides and went into battle. Juno, Pallas Minerva,

earth-encircling Neptune, Mercury bringer of good luck and

excellent in all cunning--all these joined the host that came

from the ships; with them also came Vulcan in all his glory,

limping, but yet with his thin legs plying lustily under him.

Mars of gleaming helmet joined the Trojans, and with him Apollo

of locks unshorn, and the archer goddess Diana, Leto, Xanthus,

and laughter-loving Venus.

So long as the gods held themselves aloof from mortal warriors

the Achaeans were triumphant, for Achilles who had long refused

to fight was now with them. There was not a Trojan but his limbs

failed him for fear as he beheld the fleet son of Peleus all

glorious in his armour, and looking like Mars himself. When,

however, the Olympians came to take their part among men,

forthwith uprose strong Strife, rouser of hosts, and Minerva

raised her loud voice, now standing by the deep trench that ran

outside the wall, and now shouting with all her might upon the

shore of the sounding sea. Mars also bellowed out upon the other

side, dark as some black thunder-cloud, and called on the Trojans

at the top of his voice, now from the acropolis, and now speeding

up the side of the river Simois till he came to the hill

Callicolone.

Thus did the gods spur on both hosts to fight, and rouse fierce

contention also among themselves. The sire of gods and men

thundered from heaven above, while from beneath Neptune shook the

vast earth, and bade the high hills tremble. The spurs and crests

of many-fountained Ida quaked, as also the city of the Trojans

and the ships of the Achaeans. Hades, king of the realms below,

was struck with fear; he sprang panic-stricken from his throne

and cried aloud in terror lest Neptune, lord of the earthquake,

should crack the ground over his head, and lay bare his mouldy

mansions to the sight of mortals and immortals--mansions so

ghastly grim that even the gods shudder to think of them. Such

was the uproar as the gods came together in battle. Apollo with

his arrows took his stand to face King Neptune, while Minerva

took hers against the god of war; the archer-goddess Diana with

her golden arrows, sister of far-darting Apollo, stood to face

Juno; Mercury the lusty bringer of good luck faced Leto, while

the mighty eddying river whom men can Scamander, but gods

Xanthus, matched himself against Vulcan.

The gods, then, were thus ranged against one another. But the

heart of Achilles was set on meeting Hector son of Priam, for it

was with his blood that he longed above all things else to glut

the stubborn lord of battle. Meanwhile Apollo set Aeneas on to

attack the son of Peleus, and put courage into his heart,

speaking with the voice of Lycaon son of Priam. In his likeness

therefore, he said to Aeneas, "Aeneas, counsellor of the Trojans,

where are now the brave words with which you vaunted over your

wine before the Trojan princes, saying that you would fight

Achilles son of Peleus in single combat?"

And Aeneas answered, "Why do you thus bid me fight the proud son

of Peleus, when I am in no mind to do so? Were I to face him now,

it would not be for the first time. His spear has already put me

to Right from Ida, when he attacked our cattle and sacked

Lyrnessus and Pedasus; Jove indeed saved me in that he vouchsafed

me strength to fly, else had the fallen by the hands of Achilles

and Minerva, who went before him to protect him and urged him to

fall upon the Lelegae and Trojans. No man may fight Achilles, for

one of the gods is always with him as his guardian angel, and

even were it not so, his weapon flies ever straight, and fails

not to pierce the flesh of him who is against him; if heaven

would let me fight him on even terms he should not soon overcome

me, though he boasts that he is made of bronze."

Then said King Apollo, son to Jove, "Nay, hero, pray to the

ever-living gods, for men say that you were born of Jove's

daughter Venus, whereas Achilles is son to a goddess of inferior

rank. Venus is child to Jove, while Thetis is but daughter to the

old man of the sea. Bring, therefore, your spear to bear upon

him, and let him not scare you with his taunts and menaces."

As he spoke he put courage into the heart of the shepherd of his

people, and he strode in full armour among the ranks of the

foremost fighters. Nor did the son of Anchises escape the notice

of white-armed Juno, as he went forth into the throng to meet

Achilles. She called the gods about her, and said, "Look to it,

you two, Neptune and Minerva, and consider how this shall be;

Phoebus Apollo has been sending Aeneas clad in full armour to

fight Achilles. Shall we turn him back at once, or shall one of

us stand by Achilles and endow him with strength so that his

heart fail not, and he may learn that the chiefs of the immortals

are on his side, while the others who have all along been

defending the Trojans are but vain helpers? Let us all come down

from Olympus and join in the fight, that this day he may take no

hurt at the hands of the Trojans. Hereafter let him suffer

whatever fate may have spun out for him when he was begotten and

his mother bore him. If Achilles be not thus assured by the voice

of a god, he may come to fear presently when one of us meets him

in battle, for the gods are terrible if they are seen face to

face."

Neptune lord of the earthquake answered her saying, "Juno,

restrain your fury; it is not well; I am not in favour of forcing

the other gods to fight us, for the advantage is too greatly on

our own side; let us take our places on some hill out of the

beaten track, and let mortals fight it out among themselves. If

Mars or Phoebus Apollo begin fighting, or keep Achilles in check

so that he cannot fight, we too, will at once raise the cry of

battle, and in that case they will soon leave the field and go

back vanquished to Olympus among the other gods."

With these words the dark-haired god led the way to the high

earth-barrow of Hercules, built round solid masonry, and made by

the Trojans and Pallas Minerva for him fly to when the

sea-monster was chasing him from the shore on to the plain. Here

Neptune and those that were with him took their seats, wrapped in

a thick cloud of darkness; but the other gods seated themselves

on the brow of Callicolone round you, O Phoebus, and Mars the

waster of cities.

Thus did the gods sit apart and form their plans, but neither

side was willing to begin battle with the other, and Jove from

his seat on high was in command over them all. Meanwhile the

whole plain was alive with men and horses, and blazing with the

gleam of armour. The earth rang again under the tramp of their

feet as they rushed towards each other, and two champions, by far

the foremost of them all, met between the hosts to fight--to wit,

Aeneas son of Anchises, and noble Achilles.

Aeneas was first to stride forward in attack, his doughty helmet

tossing defiance as he came on. He held his strong shield before

his breast, and brandished his bronze spear. The son of Peleus

from the other side sprang forth to meet him, like some fierce

lion that the whole country-side has met to hunt and kill--at

first he bodes no ill, but when some daring youth has struck him

with a spear, he crouches openmouthed, his jaws foam, he roars

with fury, he lashes his tail from side to side about his ribs

and loins, and glares as he springs straight before him, to find

out whether he is to slay, or be slain among the foremost of his

foes--even with such fury did Achilles burn to spring upon

Aeneas.

When they were now close up with one another Achilles was first

to speak. "Aeneas," said he, "why do you stand thus out before

the host to fight me? Is it that you hope to reign over the

Trojans in the seat of Priam? Nay, though you kill me Priam will

not hand his kingdom over to you. He is a man of sound judgement,

and he has sons of his own. Or have the Trojans been allotting

you a demesne of passing richness, fair with orchard lawns and

corn lands, if you should slay me? This you shall hardly do. I

have discomfited you once already. Have you forgotten how when

you were alone I chased you from your herds helter-skelter down

the slopes of Ida? You did not turn round to look behind you; you

took refuge in Lyrnessus, but I attacked the city, and with the

help of Minerva and father Jove I sacked it and carried its women

into captivity, though Jove and the other gods rescued you. You

think they will protect you now, but they will not do so;

therefore I say go back into the host, and do not face me, or you

will rue it. Even a fool may be wise after the event."

Then Aeneas answered, "Son of Peleus, think not that your words

can scare me as though I were a child. I too, if I will, can brag

and talk unseemly. We know one another's race and parentage as

matters of common fame, though neither have you ever seen my

parents nor I yours. Men say that you are son to noble Peleus,

and that your mother is Thetis, fair-haired daughter of the sea.

I have noble Anchises for my father, and Venus for my mother; the

parents of one or other of us shall this day mourn a son, for it

will be more than silly talk that shall part us when the fight is

over. Learn, then, my lineage if you will--and it is known to

many.

"In the beginning Dardanus was the son of Jove, and founded

Dardania, for Ilius was not yet stablished on the plain for men

to dwell in, and her people still abode on the spurs of

many-fountained Ida. Dardanus had a son, king Erichthonius, who

was wealthiest of all men living; he had three thousand mares

that fed by the water-meadows, they and their foals with them.

Boreas was enamoured of them as they were feeding, and covered

them in the semblance of a dark-maned stallion. Twelve filly

foals did they conceive and bear him, and these, as they sped

over the rich plain, would go bounding on over the ripe ears of

corn and not break them; or again when they would disport

themselves on the broad back of Ocean they could gallop on the

crest of a breaker. Erichthonius begat Tros, king of the Trojans,

and Tros had three noble sons, Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymede who

was comeliest of mortal men; wherefore the gods carried him off

to be Jove's cupbearer, for his beauty's sake, that he might

dwell among the immortals. Ilus begat Laomedon, and Laomedon

begat Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Clytius, and Hiketaon of the stock

of Mars. But Assaracus was father to Capys, and Capys to

Anchises, who was my father, while Hector is son to Priam.

"Such do I declare my blood and lineage, but as for valour, Jove

gives it or takes it as he will, for he is lord of all. And now

let there be no more of this prating in mid-battle as though we

were children. We could fling taunts without end at one another;

a hundred-oared galley would not hold them. The tongue can run

all whithers and talk all wise; it can go here and there, and as

a man says, so shall he be gainsaid. What is the use of our

bandying hard like women who when they fall foul of one another

go out and wrangle in the streets, one half true and the other

lies, as rage inspires them? No words of yours shall turn me now

that I am fain to fight--therefore let us make trial of one

another with our spears."

As he spoke he drove his spear at the great and terrible shield

of Achilles, which rang out as the point struck it. The son of

Peleus held the shield before him with his strong hand, and he

was afraid, for he deemed that Aeneas's spear would go through it

quite easily, not reflecting that the god's glorious gifts were

little likely to yield before the blows of mortal men; and indeed

Aeneas's spear did not pierce the shield, for the layer of gold,

gift of the god, stayed the point. It went through two layers,

but the god had made the shield in five, two of bronze, the two

innermost ones of tin, and one of gold; it was in this that the

spear was stayed.

Achilles in his turn threw, and struck the round shield of Aeneas

at the very edge, where the bronze was thinnest; the spear of

Pelian ash went clean through, and the shield rang under the

blow; Aeneas was afraid, and crouched backwards, holding the

shield away from him; the spear, however, flew over his back, and

stuck quivering in the ground, after having gone through both

circles of the sheltering shield. Aeneas though he had avoided

the spear, stood still, blinded with fear and grief because the

weapon had gone so near him; then Achilles sprang furiously upon

him, with a cry as of death and with his keen blade drawn, and

Aeneas seized a great stone, so huge that two men, as men now

are, would be unable to lift it, but Aeneas wielded it quite

easily.

Aeneas would then have struck Achilles as he was springing

towards him, either on the helmet, or on the shield that covered

him, and Achilles would have closed with him and despatched him

with his sword, had not Neptune lord of the earthquake been quick

to mark, and said forthwith to the immortals, "Alas, I am sorry

for great Aeneas, who will now go down to the house of Hades,

vanquished by the son of Peleus. Fool that he was to give ear to

the counsel of Apollo. Apollo will never save him from

destruction. Why should this man suffer when he is guiltless, to

no purpose, and in another's quarrel? Has he not at all times

offered acceptable sacrifice to the gods that dwell in heaven?

Let us then snatch him from death's jaws, lest the son of Saturn

be angry should Achilles slay him. It is fated, moreover, that he

should escape, and that the race of Dardanus, whom Jove loved

above all the sons born to him of mortal women, shall not perish

utterly without seed or sign. For now indeed has Jove hated the

blood of Priam, while Aeneas shall reign over the Trojans, he and

his children's children that shall be born hereafter."

Then answered Juno, "Earth-shaker, look to this matter yourself,

and consider concerning Aeneas, whether you will save him, or

suffer him, brave though he be, to fall by the hand of Achilles

son of Peleus. For of a truth we two, I and Pallas Minerva, have

sworn full many a time before all the immortals, that never would

we shield Trojans from destruction, not even when all Troy is

burning in the flames that the Achaeans shall kindle."

When earth-encircling Neptune heard this he went into the battle

amid the clash of spears, and came to the place where Achilles

and Aeneas were. Forthwith he shed a darkness before the eyes of

the son of Peleus, drew the bronze-headed ashen spear from the

shield of Aeneas, and laid it at the feet of Achilles. Then he

lifted Aeneas on high from off the earth and hurried him away.

Over the heads of many a band of warriors both horse and foot did

he soar as the god's hand sped him, till he came to the very

fringe of the battle where the Cauconians were arming themselves

for fight. Neptune, shaker of the earth, then came near to him

and said, "Aeneas, what god has egged you on to this folly in

fighting the son of Peleus, who is both a mightier man of valour

and more beloved of heaven than you are? Give way before him

whensoever you meet him, lest you go down to the house of Hades

even though fate would have it otherwise. When Achilles is dead

you may then fight among the foremost undaunted, for none other

of the Achaeans shall slay you."

The god left him when he had given him these instructions, and at

once removed the darkness from before the eyes of Achilles, who

opened them wide indeed and said in great anger, "Alas! what

marvel am I now beholding? Here is my spear upon the ground, but

I see not him whom I meant to kill when I hurled it. Of a truth

Aeneas also must be under heaven's protection, although I had

thought his boasting was idle. Let him go hang; he will be in no

mood to fight me further, seeing how narrowly he has missed being

killed. I will now give my orders to the Danaans and attack some

other of the Trojans."

He sprang forward along the line and cheered his men on as he did

so. "Let not the Trojans," he cried, "keep you at arm's length,

Achaeans, but go for them and fight them man for man. However

valiant I may be, I cannot give chase to so many and fight all of

them. Even Mars, who is an immortal, or Minerva, would shrink

from flinging himself into the jaws of such a fight and laying

about him; nevertheless, so far as in me lies I will show no

slackness of hand or foot nor want of endurance, not even for a

moment; I will utterly break their ranks, and woe to the Trojan

who shall venture within reach of my spear."

Thus did he exhort them. Meanwhile Hector called upon the Trojans

and declared that he would fight Achilles. "Be not afraid, proud

Trojans," said he, "to face the son of Peleus; I could fight gods

myself if the battle were one of words only, but they would be

more than a match for me, if we had to use our spears. Even so

the deed of Achilles will fall somewhat short of his word; he

will do in part, and the other part he will clip short. I will go

up against him though his hands be as fire--though his hands be

fire and his strength iron."

Thus urged the Trojans lifted up their spears against the

Achaeans, and raised the cry of battle as they flung themselves

into the midst of their ranks. But Phoebus Apollo came up to

Hector and said, "Hector, on no account must you challenge

Achilles to single combat; keep a lookout for him while you are

under cover of the others and away from the thick of the fight,

otherwise he will either hit you with a spear or cut you down at

close quarters."

Thus he spoke, and Hector drew back within the crowd, for he was

afraid when he heard what the god had said to him. Achilles then

sprang upon the Trojans with a terrible cry, clothed in valour as

with a garment. First he killed Iphition son of Otrynteus, a

leader of much people whom a naiad nymph had borne to Otrynteus

waster of cities, in the land of Hyde under the snowy heights of

Mt. Tmolus. Achilles struck him full on the head as he was coming

on towards him, and split it clean in two; whereon he fell

heavily to the ground and Achilles vaunted over him saying, "You

be low, son of Otrynteus, mighty hero; your death is here, but

your lineage is on the Gygaean lake where your father's estate

lies, by Hyllus, rich in fish, and the eddying waters of Hermus."

Thus did he vaunt, but darkness closed the eyes of the other.

The chariots of the Achaeans cut him up as their wheels passed

over him in the front of the battle, and after him Achilles

killed Demoleon, a valiant man of war and son to Antenor. He

struck him on the temple through his bronze-cheeked helmet. The

helmet did not stay the spear, but it went right on, crushing the

bone so that the brain inside was shed in all directions, and his

lust of fighting was ended. Then he struck Hippodamas in the

midriff as he was springing down from his chariot in front of

him, and trying to escape. He breathed his last, bellowing like a

bull bellows when young men are dragging him to offer him in

sacrifice to the King of Helice, and the heart of the

earth-shaker is glad; even so did he bellow as he lay dying.

Achilles then went in pursuit of Polydorus son of Priam, whom his

father had always forbidden to fight because he was the youngest

of his sons, the one he loved best, and the fastest runner. He,

in his folly and showing off the fleetness of his feet, was

rushing about among front ranks until he lost his life, for

Achilles struck him in the middle of the back as he was darting

past him: he struck him just at the golden fastenings of his belt

and where the two pieces of the double breastplate overlapped.

The point of the spear pierced him through and came out by the

navel, whereon he fell groaning on to his knees and a cloud of

darkness overshadowed him as he sank holding his entrails in his

hands.

When Hector saw his brother Polydorus with his entrails in his

hands and sinking down upon the ground, a mist came over his

eyes, and he could not bear to keep longer at a distance; he

therefore poised his spear and darted towards Achilles like a

flame of fire. When Achilles saw him he bounded forward and

vaunted saying, "This is he that has wounded my heart most deeply

and has slain my beloved comrade. Not for long shall we two quail

before one another on the highways of war."

He looked fiercely on Hector and said, "Draw near, that you may

meet your doom the sooner." Hector feared him not and answered,

"Son of Peleus, think not that your words can scare me as though

I were a child; I too if I will can brag and talk unseemly; I

know that you are a mighty warrior, mightier by far than I,

nevertheless the issue lies in the lap of heaven whether I, worse

man though I be, may not slay you with my spear, for this too has

been found keen ere now."

He hurled his spear as he spoke, but Minerva breathed upon it,

and though she breathed but very lightly she turned it back from

going towards Achilles, so that it returned to Hector and lay at

his feet in front of him. Achilles then sprang furiously on him

with a loud cry, bent on killing him, but Apollo caught him up

easily as a god can, and hid him in a thick darkness. Thrice did

Achilles spring towards him spear in hand, and thrice did he

waste his blow upon the air. When he rushed forward for the

fourth time as though he were a god, he shouted aloud saying,

"Hound, this time too you have escaped death--but of a truth it

came exceedingly near you. Phoebus Apollo, to whom it seems you

pray before you go into battle, has again saved you; but if I too

have any friend among the gods I will surely make an end of you

when I come across you at some other time. Now, however, I will

pursue and overtake other Trojans."

On this he struck Dryops with his spear, about the middle of his

neck, and he fell headlong at his feet. There he let him lie and

stayed Demouchus son of Philetor, a man both brave and of great

stature, by hitting him on the knee with a spear; then he smote

him with his sword and killed him. After this he sprang on

Laogonus and Dardanus, sons of Bias, and threw them from their

chariot, the one with a blow from a thrown spear, while the other

he cut down in hand-to-hand fight. There was also Tros the son of

Alastor--he came up to Achilles and clasped his knees in the hope

that he would spare him and not kill him but let him go, because

they were both of the same age. Fool, he might have known that he

should not prevail with him, for the man was in no mood for pity

or forbearance but was in grim earnest. Therefore when Tros laid

hold of his knees and sought a hearing for his prayers, Achilles

drove his sword into his liver, and the liver came rolling out,

while his bosom was all covered with the black blood that welled

from the wound. Thus did death close his eyes as he lay lifeless.

Achilles then went up to Mulius and struck him on the ear with a

spear, and the bronze spear-head came right out at the other ear.

He also struck Echeclus son of Agenor on the head with his sword,

which became warm with the blood, while death and stern fate

closed the eyes of Echeclus. Next in order the bronze point of

his spear wounded Deucalion in the fore-arm where the sinews of

the elbow are united, whereon he waited Achilles' onset with his

arm hanging down and death staring him in the face. Achilles cut

his head off with a blow from his sword and flung it helmet and

all away from him, and the marrow came oozing out of his backbone

as he lay. He then went in pursuit of Rhigmus, noble son of

Peires, who had come from fertile Thrace, and struck him through

the middle with a spear which fixed itself in his belly, so that

he fell headlong from his chariot. He also speared Areithous

squire to Rhigmus in the back as he was turning his horses in

flight, and thrust him from his chariot, while the horses were

struck with panic.

As a fire raging in some mountain glen after long drought--and

the dense forest is in a blaze, while the wind carries great

tongues of fire in every direction--even so furiously did

Achilles rage, wielding his spear as though he were a god, and

giving chase to those whom he would slay, till the dark earth ran

with blood. Or as one who yokes broad-browed oxen that they may

tread barley in a threshing-floor--and it is soon bruised small

under the feet of the lowing cattle--even so did the horses of

Achilles trample on the shields and bodies of the slain. The axle

underneath and the railing that ran round the car were

bespattered with clots of blood thrown up by the horses' hoofs,

and from the tyres of the wheels; but the son of Peleus pressed

on to win still further glory, and his hands were bedrabbled with

gore.

 

 

BOOK XXI

NOW when they came to the ford of the full-flowing river Xanthus,

begotten of immortal Jove, Achilles cut their forces in two: one

half he chased over the plain towards the city by the same way

that the Achaeans had taken when flying panic-stricken on the

preceding day with Hector in full triumph; this way did they fly

pell-mell, and Juno sent down a thick mist in front of them to

stay them. The other half were hemmed in by the deep

silver-eddying stream, and fell into it with a great uproar. The

waters resounded, and the banks rang again, as they swam hither

and thither with loud cries amid the whirling eddies. As locusts

flying to a river before the blast of a grass fire--the flame

comes on and on till at last it overtakes them and they huddle

into the water--even so was the eddying stream of Xanthus filled

with the uproar of men and horses, all struggling in confusion

before Achilles.

Forthwith the hero left his spear upon the bank, leaning it

against a tamarisk bush, and plunged into the river like a god,

armed with his sword only. Fell was his purpose as he hewed the

Trojans down on every side. Their dying groans rose hideous as

the sword smote them, and the river ran red with blood. As when

fish fly scared before a huge dolphin, and fill every nook and

corner of some fair haven--for he is sure to eat all he can

catch--even so did the Trojans cower under the banks of the

mighty river, and when Achilles' arms grew weary with killing

them, he drew twelve youths alive out of the water, to sacrifice

in revenge for Patroclus son of Menoetius. He drew them out like

dazed fawns, bound their hands behind them with the girdles of

their own shirts, and gave them over to his men to take back to

the ships. Then he sprang into the river, thirsting for still

further blood.

There he found Lycaon, son of Priam seed of Dardanus, as he was

escaping out of the water; he it was whom he had once taken

prisoner when he was in his father's vineyard, having set upon

him by night, as he was cutting young shoots from a wild fig-tree

to make the wicker sides of a chariot. Achilles then caught him

to his sorrow unawares, and sent him by sea to Lemnos, where the

son of Jason bought him. But a guest-friend, Eetion of Imbros,

freed him with a great sum, and sent him to Arisbe, whence he had

escaped and returned to his father's house. He had spent eleven

days happily with his friends after he had come from Lemnos, but

on the twelfth heaven again delivered him into the hands of

Achilles, who was to send him to the house of Hades sorely

against his will. He was unarmed when Achilles caught sight of

him, and had neither helmet nor shield; nor yet had he any spear,

for he had thrown all his armour from him on to the bank, and was

sweating with his struggles to get out of the river, so that his

strength was now failing him.

Then Achilles said to himself in his surprise, "What marvel do I

see here? If this man can come back alive after having been sold

over into Lemnos, I shall have the Trojans also whom I have slain

rising from the world below. Could not even the waters of the

grey sea imprison him, as they do many another whether he will or

no? This time let him taste my spear, that I may know for certain

whether mother earth who can keep even a strong man down, will be

able to hold him, or whether thence too he will return."

Thus did he pause and ponder. But Lycaon came up to him dazed and

trying hard to embrace his knees, for he would fain live, not

die. Achilles thrust at him with his spear, meaning to kill him,

but Lycaon ran crouching up to him and caught his knees, whereby

the spear passed over his back, and stuck in the ground,

hungering though it was for blood. With one hand he caught

Achilles' knees as he besought him, and with the other he

clutched the spear and would not let it go. Then he said,

"Achilles, have mercy upon me and spare me, for I am your

suppliant. It was in your tents that I first broke bread on the

day when you took me prisoner in the vineyard; after which you

sold me away to Lemnos far from my father and my friends, and I

brought you the price of a hundred oxen. I have paid three times

as much to gain my freedom; it is but twelve days that I have

come to Ilius after much suffering, and now cruel fate has again

thrown me into your hands. Surely father Jove must hate me, that

he has given me over to you a second time. Short of life indeed

did my mother Laothoe bear me, daughter of aged Altes--of Altes

who reigns over the warlike Lelegae and holds steep Pedasus on

the river Satnioeis. Priam married his daughter along with many

other women and two sons were born of her, both of whom you will

have slain. Your spear slew noble Polydorus as he was fighting in

the front ranks, and now evil will here befall me, for I fear

that I shall not escape you since heaven has delivered me over to

you. Furthermore I say, and lay my saying to your heart, spare

me, for I am not of the same womb as Hector who slew your brave

and noble comrade."

With such words did the princely son of Priam beseech Achilles;

but Achilles answered him sternly. "Idiot," said he, "talk not to

me of ransom. Until Patroclus fell I preferred to give the

Trojans quarter, and sold beyond the sea many of those whom I had

taken alive; but now not a man shall live of those whom heaven

delivers into my hands before the city of Ilius--and of all

Trojans it shall fare hardest with the sons of Priam. Therefore,

my friend, you too shall die. Why should you whine in this way?

Patroclus fell, and he was a better man than you are. I too--see

you not how I am great and goodly? I am son to a noble father,

and have a goddess for my mother, but the hands of doom and death

overshadow me all as surely. The day will come, either at dawn or

dark, or at the noontide, when one shall take my life also in

battle, either with his spear, or with an arrow sped from his

bow."

Thus did he speak, and Lycaon's heart sank within him. He loosed

his hold of the spear, and held out both hands before him; but

Achilles drew his keen blade, and struck him by the collar-bone

on his neck; he plunged his two-edged sword into him to the very

hilt, whereon he lay at full length on the ground, with the dark

blood welling from him till the earth was soaked. Then Achilles

caught him by the foot and flung him into the river to go down

stream, vaunting over him the while, and saying, "Lie there among

the fishes, who will lick the blood from your wound and gloat

over it; your mother shall not lay you on any bier to mourn you,

but the eddies of Scamander shall bear you into the broad bosom

of the sea. There shall the fishes feed on the fat of Lycaon as

they dart under the dark ripple of the waters--so perish all of

you till we reach the citadel of strong Ilius--you in flight, and

I following after to destroy you. The river with its broad silver

stream shall serve you in no stead, for all the bulls you offered

him and all the horses that you flung living into his waters.

None the less miserably shall you perish till there is not a man

of you but has paid in full for the death of Patroclus and the

havoc you wrought among the Achaeans whom you have slain while I

held aloof from battle."

So spoke Achilles, but the river grew more and more angry, and

pondered within himself how he should stay the hand of Achilles

and save the Trojans from disaster. Meanwhile the son of Peleus,

spear in hand, sprang upon Asteropaeus son of Pelegon to kill

him. He was son to the broad river Axius and Periboea eldest

daughter of Acessamenus; for the river had lain with her.

Asteropaeus stood up out of the water to face him with a spear in

either hand, and Xanthus filled him with courage, being angry for

the death of the youths whom Achilles was slaying ruthlessly

within his waters. When they were close up with one another

Achilles was first to speak. "Who and whence are you," said he,

"who dare to face me? Woe to the parents whose son stands up

against me." And the son of Pelegon answered, "Great son of

Peleus, why should you ask my lineage. I am from the fertile land

of far Paeonia, captain of the Paeonians, and it is now eleven

days that I am at Ilius. I am of the blood of the river Axius--of

Axius that is the fairest of all rivers that run. He begot the

famed warrior Pelegon, whose son men call me. Let us now fight,

Achilles."

Thus did he defy him, and Achilles raised his spear of Pelian

ash. Asteropaeus failed with both his spears, for he could use

both hands alike; with the one spear he struck Achilles' shield,

but did not pierce it, for the layer of gold, gift of the god,

stayed the point; with the other spear he grazed the elbow of

Achilles' right arm drawing dark blood, but the spear itself went

by him and fixed itself in the ground, foiled of its bloody

banquet. Then Achilles, fain to kill him, hurled his spear at

Asteropaeus, but failed to hit him and struck the steep bank of

the river, driving the spear half its length into the earth. The

son of Peleus then drew his sword and sprang furiously upon him.

Asteropaeus vainly tried to draw Achilles' spear out of the bank

by main force; thrice did he tug at it, trying with all his might

to draw it out, and thrice he had to leave off trying; the fourth

time he tried to bend and break it, but ere he could do so

Achilles smote him with his sword and killed him. He struck him

in the belly near the navel, so that all his bowels came gushing

out on to the ground, and the darkness of death came over him as

he lay gasping. Then Achilles set his foot on his chest and

spoiled him of his armour, vaunting over him and saying, "Lie

there--begotten of a river though you be, it is hard for you to

strive with the offspring of Saturn's son. You declare yourself

sprung from the blood of a broad river, but I am of the seed of

mighty Jove. My father is Peleus, son of Aeacus ruler over the

many Myrmidons, and Aeacus was the son of Jove. Therefore as Jove

is mightier than any river that flows into the sea, so are his

children stronger than those of any river whatsoever. Moreover

you have a great river hard by if he can be of any use to you,

but there is no fighting against Jove the son of Saturn, with

whom not even King Achelous can compare, nor the mighty stream of

deep-flowing Oceanus, from whom all rivers and seas with all

springs and deep wells proceed; even Oceanus fears the lightnings

of great Jove, and his thunder that comes crashing out of

heaven."

With this he drew his bronze spear out of the bank, and now that

he had killed Asteropaeus, he let him lie where he was on the

sand, with the dark water flowing over him and the eels and

fishes busy nibbling and gnawing the fat that was about his

kidneys. Then he went in chase of the Paeonians, who were flying

along the bank of the river in panic when they saw their leader

slain by the hands of the son of Peleus. Therein he slew

Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus, Mnesus, Thrasius, Oeneus, and

Ophelestes, and he would have slain yet others, had not the river

in anger taken human form, and spoken to him from out the deep

waters saying, "Achilles, if you excel all in strength, so do you

also in wickedness, for the gods are ever with you to protect

you: if, then, the son of Saturn has vouchsafed it to you to

destroy all the Trojans, at any rate drive them out of my stream,

and do your grim work on land. My fair waters are now filled with

corpses, nor can I find any channel by which I may pour myself

into the sea for I am choked with dead, and yet you go on

mercilessly slaying. I am in despair, therefore, O captain of

your host, trouble me no further."

Achilles answered, "So be it, Scamander, Jove-descended; but I

will never cease dealing out death among the Trojans, till I have

pent them up in their city, and made trial of Hector face to

face, that I may learn whether he is to vanquish me, or I him."

As he spoke he set upon the Trojans with a fury like that of the

gods. But the river said to Apollo, "Surely, son of Jove, lord of

the silver bow, you are not obeying the commands of Jove who

charged you straitly that you should stand by the Trojans and

defend them, till twilight fades, and darkness is over an the

earth."

Meanwhile Achilles sprang from the bank into mid-stream, whereon

the river raised a high wave and attacked him. He swelled his

stream into a torrent, and swept away the many dead whom Achilles

had slain and left within his waters. These he cast out on to the

land, bellowing like a bull the while, but the living he saved

alive, hiding them in his mighty eddies. The great and terrible

wave gathered about Achilles, falling upon him and beating on his

shield, so that he could not keep his feet; he caught hold of a

great elm-tree, but it came up by the roots, and tore away the

bank, damming the stream with its thick branches and bridging it

all across; whereby Achilles struggled out of the stream, and

fled full speed over the plain, for he was afraid.

But the mighty god ceased not in his pursuit, and sprang upon him

with a dark-crested wave, to stay his hands and save the Trojans

from destruction. The son of Peleus darted away a spear's throw

from him; swift as the swoop of a black hunter-eagle which is the

strongest and fleetest of all birds, even so did he spring

forward, and the armour rang loudly about his breast. He fled on

in front, but the river with a loud roar came tearing after. As

one who would water his garden leads a stream from some fountain

over his plants, and all his ground-spade in hand he clears away

the dams to free the channels, and the little stones run rolling

round and round with the water as it goes merrily down the bank

faster than the man can follow--even so did the river keep

catching up with Achilles albeit he was a fleet runner, for the

gods are stronger than men. As often as he would strive to stand

his ground, and see whether or no all the gods in heaven were in

league against him, so often would the mighty wave come beating

down upon his shoulders, and be would have to keep flying on and

on in great dismay; for the angry flood was tiring him out as it

flowed past him and ate the ground from under his feet.

Then the son of Peleus lifted up his voice to heaven saying,

"Father Jove, is there none of the gods who will take pity upon

me, and save me from the river? I do not care what may happen to

me afterwards. I blame none of the other dwellers on Olympus so

severely as I do my dear mother, who has beguiled and tricked me.

She told me I was to fall under the walls of Troy by the flying

arrows of Apollo; would that Hector, the best man among the

Trojans, might there slay me; then should I fall a hero by the

hand of a hero; whereas now it seems that I shall come to a most

pitiable end, trapped in this river as though I were some

swineherd's boy, who gets carried down a torrent while trying to

cross it during a storm."

As soon as he had spoken thus, Neptune and Minerva came up to him

in the likeness of two men, and took him by the hand to reassure

him. Neptune spoke first. "Son of Peleus," said he, "be not so

exceeding fearful; we are two gods, come with Jove's sanction to

assist you, I, and Pallas Minerva. It is not your fate to perish

in this river; he will abate presently as you will see; moreover

we strongly advise you, if you will be guided by us, not to stay

your hand from fighting till you have pent the Trojan host within

the famed walls of Ilius--as many of them as may escape. Then

kill Hector and go back to the ships, for we will vouchsafe you a

triumph over him."

When they had so said they went back to the other immortals, but

Achilles strove onward over the plain, encouraged by the charge

the gods had laid upon him. All was now covered with the flood of

waters, and much goodly armour of the youths that had been slain

was rifting about, as also many corpses, but he forced his way

against the stream, speeding right onwards, nor could the broad

waters stay him, for Minerva had endowed him with great strength.

Nevertheless Scamander did not slacken in his pursuit, but was

still more furious with the son of Peleus. He lifted his waters

into a high crest and cried aloud to Simois saying, "Dear

brother, let the two of us unite to save this man, or he will

sack the mighty city of King Priam, and the Trojans will not hold

out against him. Help me at once; fill your streams with water

from their sources, rouse all your torrents to a fury; raise your

wave on high, and let snags and stones come thundering down you

that we may make an end of this savage creature who is now

lording it as though he were a god. Nothing shall serve him

longer, not strength nor comeliness, nor his fine armour, which

forsooth shall soon be lying low in the deep waters covered over

with mud. I will wrap him in sand, and pour tons of shingle round

him, so that the Achaeans shall not know how to gather his bones

for the silt in which I shall have hidden him, and when they

celebrate his funeral they need build no barrow."

On this he upraised his tumultuous flood high against Achilles,

seething as it was with foam and blood and the bodies of the

dead. The dark waters of the river stood upright and would have

overwhelmed the son of Peleus, but Juno, trembling lest Achilles

should be swept away in the mighty torrent, lifted her voice on

high and called out to Vulcan her son. "Crook-foot," she cried,

"my child, be up and doing, for I deem it is with you that

Xanthus is fain to fight; help us at once, kindle a fierce fire;

I will then bring up the west and the white south wind in a

mighty hurricane from the sea, that shall bear the flames against

the heads and armour of the Trojans and consume them, while you

go along the banks of Xanthus burning his trees and wrapping him

round with fire. Let him not turn you back neither by fair words

nor foul, and slacken not till I shout and tell you. Then you may

stay your flames."

On this Vulcan kindled a fierce fire, which broke out first upon

the plain and burned the many dead whom Achilles had killed and

whose bodies were lying about in great numbers; by this means the

plain was dried and the flood stayed. As the north wind, blowing

on an orchard that has been sodden with autumn rain, soon dries

it, and the heart of the owner is glad--even so the whole plain

was dried and the dead bodies were consumed. Then he turned

tongues of fire on to the river. He burned the elms the willows

and the tamarisks, the lotus also, with the rushes and marshy

herbage that grew abundantly by the banks of the river. The eels

and fishes that go darting about everywhere in the water, these,

too, were sorely harassed by the flames that cunning Vulcan had

kindled, and the river himself was scalded, so that he spoke

saying, "Vulcan, there is no god can hold his own against you. I

cannot fight you when you flare out your flames in this way;

strive with me no longer. Let Achilles drive the Trojans out of

city immediately. What have I to do with quarrelling and helping

people?"

He was boiling as he spoke, and all his waters were seething. As

a cauldron upon a large fire boils when it is melting the lard of

some fatted hog, and the lard keeps bubbling up all over when the

dry faggots blaze under it--even so were the goodly waters of

Xanthus heated with the fire till they were boiling. He could

flow no longer but stayed his stream, so afflicted was he by the

blasts of fire which cunning Vulcan had raised. Then he prayed to

Juno and besought her saying, "Juno, why should your son vex my

stream with such especial fury? I am not so much to blame as all

the others are who have been helping the Trojans. I will leave

off, since you so desire it, and let son leave off also.

Furthermore I swear never again will I do anything to save the

Trojans from destruction, not even when all Troy is burning in

the flames which the Achaeans will kindle."

As soon as Juno heard this she said to her son Vulcan, "Son

Vulcan, hold now your flames; we ought not to use such violence

against a god for the sake of mortals."

When she had thus spoken Vulcan quenched his flames, and the

river went back once more into his own fair bed.

Xanthus was now beaten, so these two left off fighting, for Juno

stayed them though she was still angry; but a furious quarrel

broke out among the other gods, for they were of divided

counsels. They fell on one another with a mighty uproar--earth

groaned, and the spacious firmament rang out as with a blare of

trumpets. Jove heard as he was sitting on Olympus, and laughed

for joy when he saw the gods coming to blows among themselves.

They were not long about beginning, and Mars piercer of shields

opened the battle. Sword in hand he sprang at once upon Minerva

and reviled her. "Why, vixen," said he, "have you again set the

gods by the ears in the pride and haughtiness of your heart? Have

you forgotten how you set Diomed son of Tydeus on to wound me,

and yourself took visible spear and drove it into me to the hurt

of my fair body? You shall now suffer for what you then did to

me."

As he spoke he struck her on the terrible tasselled aegis--so

terrible that not even can Jove's lightning pierce it. Here did

murderous Mars strike her with his great spear. She drew back and

with her strong hand seized a stone that was lying on the plain--

great and rugged and black--which men of old had set for the

boundary of a field. With this she struck Mars on the neck, and

brought him down. Nine roods did he cover in his fall, and his

hair was all soiled in the dust, while his armour rang rattling

round him. But Minerva laughed and vaunted over him saying,

"Idiot, have you not learned how far stronger I am than you, but

you must still match yourself against me? Thus do your mother's

curses now roost upon you, for she is angry and would do you

mischief because you have deserted the Achaeans and are helping

the Trojans."

She then turned her two piercing eyes elsewhere, whereon Jove's

daughter Venus took Mars by the hand and led him away groaning

all the time, for it was only with great difficulty that he had

come to himself again. When Queen Juno saw her, she said to

Minerva, "Look, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, that

vixen Venus is again taking Mars through the crowd out of the

battle; go after her at once."

Thus she spoke. Minerva sped after Venus with a will, and made at

her, striking her on the bosom with her strong hand so that she

fell fainting to the ground, and there they both lay stretched at

full length. Then Minerva vaunted over her saying, "May all who

help the Trojans against the Argives prove just as redoubtable

and stalwart as Venus did when she came across me while she was

helping Mars. Had this been so, we should long since have ended

the war by sacking the strong city of Ilius."

Juno smiled as she listened. Meanwhile King Neptune turned to

Apollo saying, "Phoebus, why should we keep each other at arm's

length? it is not well, now that the others have begun fighting;

it will be disgraceful to us if we return to Jove's

bronze-floored mansion on Olympus without having fought each

other; therefore come on, you are the younger of the two, and I

ought not to attack you, for I am older and have had more

experience. Idiot, you have no sense, and forget how we two alone

of all the gods fared hardly round about Ilius when we came from

Jove's house and worked for Laomedon a whole year at a stated

wage and he gave us his orders. I built the Trojans the wall

about their city, so wide and fair that it might be impregnable,

while you, Phoebus, herded cattle for him in the dales of many

valleyed Ida. When, however, the glad hours brought round the

time of payment, mighty Laomedon robbed us of all our hire and

sent us off with nothing but abuse. He threatened to bind us hand

and foot and sell us over into some distant island. He tried,

moreover, to cut off the ears of both of us, so we went away in a

rage, furious about the payment he had promised us, and yet

withheld; in spite of all this, you are now showing favour to his

people, and will not join us in compassing the utter ruin of the

proud Trojans with their wives and children."

And King Apollo answered, "Lord of the earthquake, you would have

no respect for me if I were to fight you about a pack of

miserable mortals, who come out like leaves in summer and eat the

fruit of the field, and presently fall lifeless to the ground.

Let us stay this fighting at once and let them settle it among

themselves."

He turned away as he spoke, for he would lay no hand on the

brother of his own father. But his sister the huntress Diana,

patroness of wild beasts, was very angry with him and said, "So

you would fly, Far-Darter, and hand victory over to Neptune with

a cheap vaunt to boot. Baby, why keep your bow thus idle? Never

let me again hear you bragging in my father's house, as you have

often done in the presence of the immortals, that you would stand

up and fight with Neptune."

Apollo made her no answer, but Jove's august queen was angry and

upbraided her bitterly. "Bold vixen," she cried, "how dare you

cross me thus? For all your bow you will find it hard to hold

your own against me. Jove made you as a lion among women, and

lets you kill them whenever you choose. You will find it better

to chase wild beasts and deer upon the mountains than to fight

those who are stronger than you are. If you would try war, do so,

and find out by pitting yourself against me, how far stronger I

am than you are."

She caught both Diana's wrists with her left hand as she spoke,

and with her right she took the bow from her shoulders, and

laughed as she beat her with it about the ears while Diana

wriggled and writhed under her blows. Her swift arrows were shed

upon the ground, and she fled weeping from under Juno's hand as a

dove that flies before a falcon to the cleft of some hollow rock,

when it is her good fortune to escape. Even so did she fly

weeping away, leaving her bow and arrows behind her.

Then the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, said to Leto,

"Leto, I shall not fight you; it is ill to come to blows with any

of Jove's wives. Therefore boast as you will among the immortals

that you worsted me in fair fight."

Leto then gathered up Diana's bow and arrows that had fallen

about amid the whirling dust, and when she had got them she made

all haste after her daughter. Diana had now reached Jove's

bronze-floored mansion on Olympus, and sat herself down with many

tears on the knees of her father, while her ambrosial raiment was

quivering all about her. The son of Saturn drew her towards him,

and laughing pleasantly the while began to question her saying,

"Which of the heavenly beings, my dear child, has been treating

you in this cruel manner, as though you had been misconducting

yourself in the face of everybody?" and the fair-crowned goddess

of the chase answered, "It was your wife Juno, father, who has

been beating me; it is always her doing when there is any

quarrelling among the immortals."

Thus did they converse, and meanwhile Phoebus Apollo entered the

strong city of Ilius, for he was uneasy lest the wall should not

hold out and the Danaans should take the city then and there,

before its hour had come; but the rest of the ever-living gods

went back, some angry and some triumphant to Olympus, where they

took their seats beside Jove lord of the storm cloud, while

Achilles still kept on dealing out death alike on the Trojans and

on their horses. As when the smoke from some burning city ascends

to heaven when the anger of the gods has kindled it--there is

then toil for all, and sorrow for not a few--even so did Achilles

bring toil and sorrow on the Trojans.

Old King Priam stood on a high tower of the wall looking down on

huge Achilles as the Trojans fled panic-stricken before him, and

there was none to help them. Presently he came down from off the

tower and with many a groan went along the wall to give orders to

the brave warders of the gate. "Keep the gates," said he, "wide

open till the people come flying into the city, for Achilles is

hard by and is driving them in rout before him. I see we are in

great peril. As soon as our people are inside and in safety,

close the strong gates for I fear lest that terrible man should

come bounding inside along with the others."

As he spoke they drew back the bolts and opened the gates, and

when these were opened there was a haven of refuge for the

Trojans. Apollo then came full speed out of the city to meet them

and protect them. Right for the city and the high wall, parched

with thirst and grimy with dust, still they fied on, with

Achilles wielding his spear furiously behind them. For he was as

one possessed, and was thirsting after glory.

Then had the sons of the Achaeans taken the lofty gates of Troy

if Apollo had not spurred on Agenor, valiant and noble son to

Antenor. He put courage into his heart, and stood by his side to

guard him, leaning against a beech tree and shrouded in thick

darkness. When Agenor saw Achilles he stood still and his heart

was clouded with care. "Alas," said he to himself in his dismay,

"if I fly before mighty Achilles, and go where all the others are

being driven in rout, he will none the less catch me and kill me

for a coward. How would it be were I to let Achilles drive the

others before him, and then fly from the wall to the plain that

is behind Ilius till I reach the spurs of Ida and can hide in the

underwood that is thereon? I could then wash the sweat from off

me in the river and in the evening return to Ilius. But why

commune with myself in this way? Like enough he would see me as I

am hurrying from the city over the plain, and would speed after

me till he had caught me--I should stand no chance against him,

for he is mightiest of all mankind. What, then, if I go out and

meet him in front of the city? His flesh too, I take it, can be

pierced by pointed bronze. Life is the same in one and all, and

men say that he is but mortal despite the triumph that Jove son

of Saturn vouchsafes him."

So saying he stood on his guard and awaited Achilles, for he was

now fain to fight him. As a leopardess that bounds from out a

thick covert to attack a hunter--she knows no fear and is not

dismayed by the baying of the hounds; even though the man be too

quick for her and wound her either with thrust or spear, still,

though the spear has pierced her she will not give in till she

has either caught him in her grip or been killed outright--even

so did noble Agenor son of Antenor refuse to fly till he had made

trial of Achilles, and took aim at him with his spear, holding

his round shield before him and crying with a loud voice. "Of a

truth," said he, "noble Achilles, you deem that you shall this

day sack the city of the proud Trojans. Fool, there will be

trouble enough yet before it, for there is many a brave man of us

still inside who will stand in front of our dear parents with our

wives and children, to defend Ilius. Here therefore, huge and

mighty warrior though you be, here shall you die."

As he spoke his strong hand hurled his javelin from him, and the

spear struck Achilles on the leg beneath the knee; the greave of

newly wrought tin rang loudly, but the spear recoiled from the

body of him whom it had struck, and did not pierce it, for the

gods gift stayed it. Achilles in his turn attacked noble Agenor,

but Apollo would not vouchsafe him glory, for he snatched Agenor

away and hid him in a thick mist, sending him out of the battle

unmolested Then he craftily drew the son of Peleus away from

going after the host, for he put on the semblance of Agenor and

stood in front of Achilles, who ran towards him to give him chase

and pursued him over the corn lands of the plain, turning him

towards the deep waters of the river Scamander. Apollo ran but a

little way before him and beguiled Achilles by making him think

all the time that he was on the point of overtaking him.

Meanwhile the rabble of routed Trojans was thankful to crowd

within the city till their numbers thronged it; no longer did

they dare wait for one another outside the city walls, to learn

who had escaped and who were fallen in fight, but all whose feet

and knees could still carry them poured pell-mell into the town.

 

 

BOOK XXII

THUS the Trojans in the city, scared like fawns, wiped the sweat

from off them and drank to quench their thirst, leaning against

the goodly battlements, while the Achaeans with their shields

laid upon their shoulders drew close up to the walls. But stern

fate bade Hector stay where he was before Ilius and the Scaean

gates. Then Phoebus Apollo spoke to the son of Peleus saying,

"Why, son of Peleus, do you, who are but man, give chase to me

who am immortal? Have you not yet found out that it is a god whom

you pursue so furiously? You did not harass the Trojans whom you

had routed, and now they are within their walls, while you have

been decoyed hither away from them. Me you cannot kill, for death

can take no hold upon me."

Achilles was greatly angered and said, "You have baulked me,

Far-Darter, most malicious of all gods, and have drawn me away

from the wall, where many another man would have bitten the dust

ere he got within Ilius; you have robbed me of great glory and

have saved the Trojans at no risk to yourself, for you have

nothing to fear, but I would indeed have my revenge if it were in

my power to do so."

On this, with fell intent he made towards the city, and as the

winning horse in a chariot race strains every nerve when he is

flying over the plain, even so fast and furiously did the limbs

of Achilles bear him onwards. King Priam was first to note him as

he scoured the plain, all radiant as the star which men call

Orion's Hound, and whose beams blaze forth in time of harvest

more brilliantly than those of any other that shines by night;

brightest of them all though he be, he yet bodes ill for mortals,

for he brings fire and fever in his train--even so did Achilles'

armour gleam on his breast as he sped onwards. Priam raised a cry

and beat his head with his hands as he lifted them up and shouted

out to his dear son, imploring him to return; but Hector still

stayed before the gates, for his heart was set upon doing battle

with Achilles. The old man reached out his arms towards him and

bade him for pity's sake come within the walls. "Hector," he

cried, "my son, stay not to face this man alone and unsupported,

or you will meet death at the hands of the son of Peleus, for he

is mightier than you. Monster that he is; would indeed that the

gods loved him no better than I do, for so, dogs and vultures

would soon devour him as he lay stretched on earth, and a load of

grief would be lifted from my heart, for many a brave son has he

reft from me, either by killing them or selling them away in the

islands that are beyond the sea: even now I miss two sons from

among the Trojans who have thronged within the city, Lycaon and

Polydorus, whom Laothoe peeress among women bore me. Should they

be still alive and in the hands of the Achaeans, we will ransom

them with gold and bronze, of which we have store, for the old

man Altes endowed his daughter richly; but if they are already

dead and in the house of Hades, sorrow will it be to us two who

were their parents; albeit the grief of others will be more

short-lived unless you too perish at the hands of Achilles. Come,

then, my son, within the city, to be the guardian of Trojan men

and Trojan women, or you will both lose your own life and afford

a mighty triumph to the son of Peleus. Have pity also on your

unhappy father while life yet remains to him--on me, whom the son

of Saturn will destroy by a terrible doom on the threshold of old

age, after I have seen my sons slain and my daughters haled away

as captives, my bridal chambers pillaged, little children dashed

to earth amid the rage of battle, and my sons' wives dragged away

by the cruel hands of the Achaeans; in the end fierce hounds will

tear me in pieces at my own gates after some one has beaten the

life out of my body with sword or spear-hounds that I myself

reared and fed at my own table to guard my gates, but who will

yet lap my blood and then lie all distraught at my doors. When a

young man falls by the sword in battle, he may lie where he is

and there is nothing unseemly; let what will be seen, all is

honourable in death, but when an old man is slain there is

nothing in this world more pitiable than that dogs should defile

his grey hair and beard and all that men hide for shame."

The old man tore his grey hair as he spoke, but he moved not the

heart of Hector. His mother hard by wept and moaned aloud as she

bared her bosom and pointed to the breast which had suckled him.

"Hector," she cried, weeping bitterly the while, "Hector, my son,

spurn not this breast, but have pity upon me too: if I have ever

given you comfort from my own bosom, think on it now, dear son,

and come within the wall to protect us from this man; stand not

without to meet him. Should the wretch kill you, neither I nor

your richly dowered wife shall ever weep, dear offshoot of

myself, over the bed on which you lie, for dogs will devour you

at the ships of the Achaeans."

Thus did the two with many tears implore their son, but they

moved not the heart of Hector, and he stood his ground awaiting

huge Achilles as he drew nearer towards him. As serpent in its

den upon the mountains, full fed with deadly poisons, waits for

the approach of man--he is filled with fury and his eyes glare

terribly as he goes writhing round his den--even so Hector leaned

his shield against a tower that jutted out from the wall and

stood where he was, undaunted.

"Alas," said he to himself in the heaviness of his heart, "if I

go within the gates, Polydamas will be the first to heap reproach

upon me, for it was he that urged me to lead the Trojans back to

the city on that awful night when Achilles again came forth

against us. I would not listen, but it would have been indeed

better if I had done so. Now that my folly has destroyed the

host, I dare not look Trojan men and Trojan women in the face,

lest a worse man should say, 'Hector has ruined us by his

self-confidence.' Surely it would be better for me to return

after having fought Achilles and slain him, or to die gloriously

here before the city. What, again, if I were to lay down my

shield and helmet, lean my spear against the wall and go straight

up to noble Achilles? What if I were to promise to give up Helen,

who was the fountainhead of all this war, and all the treasure

that Alexandrus brought with him in his ships to Troy, aye, and

to let the Achaeans divide the half of everything that the city

contains among themselves? I might make the Trojans, by the

mouths of their princes, take a solemn oath that they would hide

nothing, but would divide into two shares all that is within the

city--but why argue with myself in this way? Were I to go up to

him he would show me no kind of mercy; he would kill me then and

there as easily as though I were a woman, when I had off my

armour. There is no parleying with him from some rock or oak

tree as young men and maidens prattle with one another. Better

fight him at once, and learn to which of us Jove will vouchsafe

victory."

Thus did he stand and ponder, but Achilles came up to him as it

were Mars himself, plumed lord of battle. From his right shoulder

he brandished his terrible spear of Pelian ash, and the bronze

gleamed around him like flashing fire or the rays of the rising

sun. Fear fell upon Hector as he beheld him, and he dared not

stay longer where he was but fled in dismay from before the

gates, while Achilles darted after him at his utmost speed. As a

mountain falcon, swiftest of all birds, swoops down upon some

cowering dove--the dove flies before him but the falcon with a

shrill scream follows close after, resolved to have her--even so

did Achilles make straight for Hector with all his might, while

Hector fled under the Trojan wall as fast as his limbs could take

him.

On they flew along the waggon-road that ran hard by under the

wall, past the lookout station, and past the weather-beaten wild

fig-tree, till they came to two fair springs which feed the river

Scamander. One of these two springs is warm, and steam rises from

it as smoke from a burning fire, but the other even in summer is

as cold as hail or snow, or the ice that forms on water. Here,

hard by the springs, are the goodly washing-troughs of stone,

where in the time of peace before the coming of the Achaeans the

wives and fair daughters of the Trojans used to wash their

clothes. Past these did they fly, the one in front and the other

giving chase behind him: good was the man that fled, but better

far was he that followed after, and swiftly indeed did they run,

for the prize was no mere beast for sacrifice or bullock's hide,

as it might be for a common foot-race, but they ran for the life

of Hector. As horses in a chariot race speed round the

turning-posts when they are running for some great prize--a

tripod or woman--at the games in honour of some dead hero, so did

these two run full speed three times round the city of Priam. All

the gods watched them, and the sire of gods and men was the first

to speak.

"Alas," said he, "my eyes behold a man who is dear to me being

pursued round the walls of Troy; my heart is full of pity for

Hector, who has burned the thigh-bones of many a heifer in my

honour, one while on the crests of many-valleyed Ida, and again

on the citadel of Troy; and now I see noble Achilles in full

pursuit of him round the city of Priam. What say you? Consider

among yourselves and decide whether we shall now save him or let

him fall, valiant though he be, before Achilles, son of Peleus."

Then Minerva said, "Father, wielder of the lightning, lord of

cloud and storm, what mean you? Would you pluck this mortal whose

doom has long been decreed out of the jaws of death? Do as you

will, but we others shall not be of a mind with you."

And Jove answered, "My child, Trito-born, take heart. I did not

speak in full earnest, and I will let you have your way. Do

without let or hindrance as you are minded."

Thus did he urge Minerva who was already eager, and down she

darted from the topmost summits of Olympus.

Achilles was still in full pursuit of Hector, as a hound chasing

a fawn which he has started from its covert on the mountains, and

hunts through glade and thicket. The fawn may try to elude him by

crouching under cover of a bush, but he will scent her out and

follow her up until he gets her--even so there was no escape for

Hector from the fleet son of Peleus. Whenever he made a set to

get near the Dardanian gates and under the walls, that his people

might help him by showering down weapons from above, Achilles

would gain on him and head him back towards the plain, keeping

himself always on the city side. As a man in a dream who fails to

lay hands upon another whom he is pursuing--the one cannot escape

nor the other overtake--even so neither could Achilles come up

with Hector, nor Hector break away from Achilles; nevertheless he

might even yet have escaped death had not the time come when

Apollo, who thus far had sustained his strength and nerved his

running, was now no longer to stay by him. Achilles made signs to

the Achaean host, and shook his head to show that no man was to

aim a dart at Hector, lest another might win the glory of having

hit him and he might himself come in second. Then, at last, as

they were nearing the fountains for the fourth time, the father

of all balanced his golden scales and placed a doom in each of

them, one for Achilles and the other for Hector. As he held the

scales by the middle, the doom of Hector fell down deep into the

house of Hades--and then Phoebus Apollo left him. Thereon Minerva

went close up to the son of Peleus and said, "Noble Achilles,

favoured of heaven, we two shall surely take back to the ships a

triumph for the Achaeans by slaying Hector, for all his lust of

battle. Do what Apollo may as he lies grovelling before his

father, aegis-bearing Jove, Hector cannot escape us longer. Stay

here and take breath, while I go up to him and persuade him to

make a stand and fight you."

Thus spoke Minerva. Achilles obeyed her gladly, and stood still,

leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen spear, while Minerva left him

and went after Hector in the form and with the voice of

Deiphobus. She came close up to him and said, "Dear brother, I

see you are hard pressed by Achilles who is chasing you at full

speed round the city of Priam, let us await his onset and stand

on our defence."

And Hector answered, "Deiphobus, you have always been dearest to

me of all my brothers, children of Hecuba and Priam, but

henceforth I shall rate you yet more highly, inasmuch as you have

ventured outside the wall for my sake when all the others remain

inside."

Then Minerva said, "Dear brother, my father and mother went down

on their knees and implored me, as did all my comrades, to remain

inside, so great a fear has fallen upon them all; but I was in an

agony of grief when I beheld you; now, therefore, let us two make

a stand and fight, and let there be no keeping our spears in

reserve, that we may learn whether Achilles shall kill us and

bear off our spoils to the ships, or whether he shall fall before

you."

Thus did Minerva inveigle him by her cunning, and when the two

were now close to one another great Hector was first to speak. "I

will-no longer fly you, son of Peleus," said he, "as I have been

doing hitherto. Three times have I fled round the mighty city of

Priam, without daring to withstand you, but now, let me either

slay or be slain, for I am in the mind to face you. Let us, then,

give pledges to one another by our gods, who are the fittest

witnesses and guardians of all covenants; let it be agreed

between us that if Jove vouchsafes me the longer stay and I take

your life, I am not to treat your dead body in any unseemly

fashion, but when I have stripped you of your armour, I am to

give up your body to the Achaeans. And do you likewise."

Achilles glared at him and answered, "Fool, prate not to me about

covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions,

wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other

out and out an through. Therefore there can be no understanding

between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us,

till one or other shall fall and glut grim Mars with his life's

blood. Put forth all your strength; you have need now to prove

yourself indeed a bold soldier and man of war. You have no more

chance, and Pallas Minerva will forthwith vanquish you by my

spear: you shall now pay me in full for the grief you have caused

me on account of my comrades whom you have killed in battle."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. Hector saw it

coming and avoided it; he watched it and crouched down so that it

flew over his head and stuck in the ground beyond; Minerva then

snatched it up and gave it back to Achilles without Hector's

seeing her; Hector thereon said to the son of Peleus, "You have

missed your aim, Achilles, peer of the gods, and Jove has not yet

revealed to you the hour of my doom, though you made sure that he

had done so. You were a false-tongued liar when you deemed that I

should forget my valour and quail before you. You shall not drive

spear into the back of a runaway--drive it, should heaven so

grant you power, drive it into me as I make straight towards you;

and now for your own part avoid my spear if you can--would that

you might receive the whole of it into your body; if you were

once dead the Trojans would find the war an easier matter, for it

is you who have harmed them most."

He poised his spear as he spoke and hurled it. His aim was true

for he hit the middle of Achilles' shield, but the spear

rebounded from it, and did not pierce it. Hector was angry when

he saw that the weapon had sped from his hand in vain, and stood

there in dismay for he had no second spear. With a loud cry he

called Deiphobus and asked him for one, but there was no man;

then he saw the truth and said to himself, "Alas! the gods have

lured me on to my destruction. I deemed that the hero Deiphobus

was by my side, but he is within the wall, and Minerva has

inveigled me; death is now indeed exceedingly near at hand and

there is no way out of it--for so Jove and his son Apollo the

far-darter have willed it, though heretofore they have been ever

ready to protect me. My doom has come upon me; let me not then

die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some

great thing that shall be told among men hereafter."

As he spoke he drew the keen blade that hung so great and strong

by his side, and gathering himself together be sprang on Achilles

like a soaring eagle which swoops down from the clouds on to some

lamb or timid hare--even so did Hector brandish his sword and

spring upon Achilles. Achilles mad with rage darted towards him,

with his wondrous shield before his breast, and his gleaming

helmet, made with four layers of metal, nodding fiercely forward.

The thick tresses of gold with which Vulcan had crested the

helmet floated round it, and as the evening star that shines

brighter than all others through the stillness of night, even

such was the gleam of the spear which Achilles poised in his

right hand, fraught with the death of noble Hector. He eyed his

fair flesh over and over to see where he could best wound it, but

all was protected by the goodly armour of which Hector had

spoiled Patroclus after he had slain him, save only the throat

where the collar-bones divide the neck from the shoulders, and

this is a most deadly place: here then did Achilles strike him as

he was coming on towards him, and the point of his spear went

right through the fleshy part of the neck, but it did not sever

his windpipe so that he could still speak. Hector fell headlong,

and Achilles vaunted over him saying, "Hector, you deemed that

you should come off scatheless when you were spoiling Patroclus,

and recked not of myself who was not with him. Fool that you

were: for I, his comrade, mightier far than he, was still left

behind him at the ships, and now I have laid you low. The

Achaeans shall give him all due funeral rites, while dogs and

vultures shall work their will upon yourself."

Then Hector said, as the life ebbed out of him, "I pray you by

your life and knees, and by your parents, let not dogs devour me

at the ships of the Achaeans, but accept the rich treasure of

gold and bronze which my father and mother will offer you, and

send my body home, that the Trojans and their wives may give me

my dues of fire when I am dead."

Achilles glared at him and answered, "Dog, talk not to me neither

of knees nor parents; would that I could be as sure of being able

to cut your flesh into pieces and eat it raw, for the ill you

have done me, as I am that nothing shall save you from the

dogs--it shall not be, though they bring ten or twenty-fold

ransom and weigh it out for me on the spot, with promise of yet

more hereafter. Though Priam son of Dardanus should bid them

offer me your weight in gold, even so your mother shall never lay

you out and make lament over the son she bore, but dogs and

vultures shall eat you utterly up."

Hector with his dying breath then said, "I know you what you are,

and was sure that I should not move you, for your heart is hard

as iron; look to it that I bring not heaven's anger upon you on

the day when Paris and Phoebus Apollo, valiant though you be,

shall slay you at the Scaean gates."

When he had thus said the shrouds of death enfolded him, whereon

his soul went out of him and flew down to the house of Hades,

lamenting its sad fate that it should enjoy youth and strength no

longer. But Achilles said, speaking to the dead body, "Die; for

my part I will accept my fate whensoever Jove and the other gods

see fit to send it."

As he spoke he drew his spear from the body and set it on one

side; then he stripped the blood-stained armour from Hector's

shoulders while the other Achaeans came running up to view his

wondrous strength and beauty; and no one came near him without

giving him a fresh wound. Then would one turn to his neighbour

and say, "It is easier to handle Hector now than when he was

flinging fire on to our ships" and as he spoke he would thrust

his spear into him anew.

When Achilles had done spoiling Hector of his armour, he stood

among the Argives and said, "My friends, princes and counsellors

of the Argives, now that heaven has vouchsafed us to overcome

this man, who has done us more hurt than all the others together,

consider whether we should not attack the city in force, and

discover in what mind the Trojans may be. We should thus learn

whether they will desert their city now that Hector has fallen,

or will still hold out even though he is no longer living. But

why argue with myself in this way, while Patroclus is still lying

at the ships unburied, and unmourned--he whom I can never forget

so long as I am alive and my strength fails not? Though men

forget their dead when once they are within the house of Hades,

yet not even there will I forget the comrade whom I have lost.

Now, therefore, Achaean youths, let us raise the song of victory

and go back to the ships taking this man along with us; for we

have achieved a mighty triumph and have slain noble Hector to

whom the Trojans prayed throughout their city as though he were a

god."

On this he treated the body of Hector with contumely: he pierced

the sinews at the back of both his feet from heel to ancle and

passed thongs of ox-hide through the slits he had made: thus he

made the body fast to his chariot, letting the head trail upon

the ground. Then when he had put the goodly armour on the chariot

and had himself mounted, he lashed his horses on and they flew

forward nothing loth. The dust rose from Hector as he was being

dragged along, his dark hair flew all abroad, and his head once

so comely was laid low on earth, for Jove had now delivered him

into the hands of his foes to do him outrage in his own land.

Thus was the head of Hector being dishonoured in the dust. His

mother tore her hair, and flung her veil from her with a loud cry

as she looked upon her son. His father made piteous moan, and

throughout the city the people fell to weeping and wailing. It

was as though the whole of frowning Ilius was being smirched with

fire. Hardly could the people hold Priam back in his hot haste to

rush without the gates of the city. He grovelled in the mire and

besought them, calling each one of them by his name. "Let be, my

friends," he cried, "and for all your sorrow, suffer me to go

single-handed to the ships of the Achaeans. Let me beseech this

cruel and terrible man, if maybe he will respect the feeling of

his fellow-men, and have compassion on my old age. His own father

is even such another as myself--Peleus, who bred him and reared

him to be the bane of us Trojans, and of myself more than of all

others. Many a son of mine has he slain in the flower of his

youth, and yet, grieve for these as I may, I do so for one--

Hector--more than for them all, and the bitterness of my sorrow

will bring me down to the house of Hades. Would that he had died

in my arms, for so both his ill-starred mother who bore him, and

myself, should have had the comfort of weeping and mourning over

him."

Thus did he speak with many tears, and all the people of the city

joined in his lament. Hecuba then raised the cry of wailing among

the Trojans. "Alas, my son," she cried, "what have I left to live

for now that you are no more? Night and day did I glory in you

throughout the city, for you were a tower of strength to all in

Troy, and both men and women alike hailed you as a god. So long

as you lived you were their pride, but now death and destruction

have fallen upon you."

Hector's wife had as yet heard nothing, for no one had come to

tell her that her husband had remained without the gates. She was

at her loom in an inner part of the house, weaving a double

purple web, and embroidering it with many flowers. She told her

maids to set a large tripod on the fire, so as to have a warm

bath ready for Hector when he came out of battle; poor woman, she

knew not that he was now beyond the reach of baths, and that

Minerva had laid him low by the hands of Achilles. She heard the

cry coming as from the wall, and trembled in every limb; the

shuttle fell from her hands, and again she spoke to her

waiting-women. "Two of you," she said, "come with me that I may

learn what it is that has befallen; I heard the voice of my

husband's honoured mother; my own heart beats as though it would

come into my mouth and my limbs refuse to carry me; some great

misfortune for Priam's children must be at hand. May I never live

to hear it, but I greatly fear that Achilles has cut off the

retreat of brave Hector and has chased him on to the plain where

he was singlehanded; I fear he may have put an end to the

reckless daring which possessed my husband, who would never

remain with the body of his men, but would dash on far in front,

foremost of them all in valour."

Her heart beat fast, and as she spoke she flew from the house

like a maniac, with her waiting-women following after. When she

reached the battlements and the crowd of people, she stood

looking out upon the wall, and saw Hector being borne away in

front of the city--the horses dragging him without heed or care

over the ground towards the ships of the Achaeans. Her eyes were

then shrouded as with the darkness of night and she fell fainting

backwards. She tore the attiring from her head and flung it from

her, the frontlet and net with its plaited band, and the veil

which golden Venus had given her on the day when Hector took her

with him from the house of Eetion, after having given countless

gifts of wooing for her sake. Her husband's sisters and the wives

of his brothers crowded round her and supported her, for she was

fain to die in her distraction; when she again presently breathed

and came to herself, she sobbed and made lament among the Trojans

saying, "Woe is me, O Hector; woe, indeed, that to share a common

lot we were born, you at Troy in the house of Priam, and I at

Thebes under the wooded mountain of Placus in the house of Eetion

who brought me up when I was a child--ill-starred sire of an

ill-starred daughter--would that he had never begotten me. You

are now going into the house of Hades under the secret places of

the earth, and you leave me a sorrowing widow in your house. The

child, of whom you and I are the unhappy parents, is as yet a

mere infant. Now that you are gone, O Hector, you can do nothing

for him nor he for you. Even though he escape the horrors of this

woeful war with the Achaeans, yet shall his life henceforth be

one of labour and sorrow, for others will seize his lands. The

day that robs a child of his parents severs him from his own

kind; his head is bowed, his cheeks are wet with tears, and he

will go about destitute among the friends of his father, plucking

one by the cloak and another by the shirt. Some one or other of

these may so far pity him as to hold the cup for a moment towards

him and let him moisten his lips, but he must not drink enough to

wet the roof of his mouth; then one whose parents are alive will

drive him from the table with blows and angry words. 'Out with

you,' he will say, 'you have no father here,' and the child will

go crying back to his widowed mother--he, Astyanax, who erewhile

would sit upon his father's knees, and have none but the

daintiest and choicest morsels set before him. When he had played

till he was tired and went to sleep, he would lie in a bed, in

the arms of his nurse, on a soft couch, knowing neither want nor

care, whereas now that he has lost his father his lot will be

full of hardship--he, whom the Trojans name Astyanax, because

you, O Hector, were the only defence of their gates and

battlements. The wriggling writhing worms will now eat you at the

ships, far from your parents, when the dogs have glutted

themselves upon you. You will lie naked, although in your house

you have fine and goodly raiment made by hands of women. This

will I now burn; it is of no use to you, for you can never again

wear it, and thus you will have respect shown you by the Trojans

both men and women."

In such wise did she cry aloud amid her tears, and the women

joined in her lament.

 

 

BOOK XXIII

THUS did they make their moan throughout the city, while the

Achaeans when they reached the Hellespont went back every man to

his own ship. But Achilles would not let the Myrmidons go, and

spoke to his brave comrades saying, "Myrmidons, famed horsemen

and my own trusted friends, not yet, forsooth, let us unyoke, but

with horse and chariot draw near to the body and mourn Patroclus,

in due honour to the dead. When we have had full comfort of

lamentation we will unyoke our horses and take supper all of us

here."

On this they all joined in a cry of wailing and Achilles led them

in their lament. Thrice did they drive their chariots all

sorrowing round the body, and Thetis stirred within them a still

deeper yearning. The sands of the seashore and the men's armour

were wet with their weeping, so great a minister of fear was he

whom they had lost. Chief in all their mourning was the son of

Peleus: he laid his bloodstained hand on the breast of his

friend. "Fare well," he cried, "Patroclus, even in the house of

Hades. I will now do all that I erewhile promised you; I will

drag Hector hither and let dogs devour him raw; twelve noble sons

of Trojans will I also slay before your pyre to avenge you."

As he spoke he treated the body of noble Hector with contumely,

laying it at full length in the dust beside the bier of

Patroclus. The others then put off every man his armour, took the

horses from their chariots, and seated themselves in great

multitude by the ship of the fleet descendant of Aeacus, who

thereon feasted them with an abundant funeral banquet. Many a

goodly ox, with many a sheep and bleating goat did they butcher

and cut up; many a tusked boar moreover, fat and well-fed, did

they singe and set to roast in the flames of Vulcan; and rivulets

of blood flowed all round the place where the body was lying.

Then the princes of the Achaeans took the son of Peleus to

Agamemnon, but hardly could they persuade him to come with them,

so wroth was he for the death of his comrade. As soon as they

reached Agamemnon's tent they told the serving-men to set a large

tripod over the fire in case they might persuade the son of

Peleus to wash the clotted gore from this body, but he denied

them sternly, and swore it with a solemn oath, saying, "Nay, by

King Jove, first and mightiest of all gods, it is not meet that

water should touch my body, till I have laid Patroclus on the

flames, have built him a barrow, and shaved my head--for so long

as I live no such second sorrow shall ever draw nigh me. Now,

therefore, let us do all that this sad festival demands, but at

break of day, King Agamemnon, bid your men bring wood, and

provide all else that the dead may duly take into the realm of

darkness; the fire shall thus burn him out of our sight the

sooner, and the people shall turn again to their own labours."

Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said. They made

haste to prepare the meal, they ate, and every man had his full

share so that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough

to eat and drink, the others went to their rest each in his own

tent, but the son of Peleus lay grieving among his Myrmidons by

the shore of the sounding sea, in an open place where the waves

came surging in one after another. Here a very deep slumber took

hold upon him and eased the burden of his sorrows, for his limbs

were weary with chasing Hector round windy Ilius. Presently the

sad spirit of Patroclus drew near him, like what he had been in

stature, voice, and the light of his beaming eyes, clad, too, as

he had been clad in life. The spirit hovered over his head and

said--

"You sleep, Achilles, and have forgotten me; you loved me living,

but now that I am dead you think for me no further. Bury me with

all speed that I may pass the gates of Hades; the ghosts, vain

shadows of men that can labour no more, drive me away from them;

they will not yet suffer me to join those that are beyond the

river, and I wander all desolate by the wide gates of the house

of Hades. Give me now your hand I pray you, for when you have

once given me my dues of fire, never shall I again come forth out

of the house of Hades. Nevermore shall we sit apart and take

sweet counsel among the living; the cruel fate which was my

birth-right has yawned its wide jaws around me--nay, you too

Achilles, peer of gods, are doomed to die beneath the wall of the

noble Trojans.

"One prayer more will I make you, if you will grant it; let not

my bones be laid apart from yours, Achilles, but with them; even

as we were brought up together in your own home, what time

Menoetius brought me to you as a child from Opoeis because by a

sad spite I had killed the son of Amphidamas--not of set purpose,

but in childish quarrel over the dice. The knight Peleus took me

into his house, entreated me kindly, and named me to be your

squire; therefore let our bones lie in but a single urn, the

two-handled golden vase given to you by your mother."

And Achilles answered, "Why, true heart, are you come hither to

lay these charges upon me? will of my own self do all as you have

bidden me. Draw closer to me, let us once more throw our arms

around one another, and find sad comfort in the sharing of our

sorrows."

He opened his arms towards him as he spoke and would have clasped

him in them, but there was nothing, and the spirit vanished as a

vapour, gibbering and whining into the earth. Achilles sprang to

his feet, smote his two hands, and made lamentation saying, "Of a

truth even in the house of Hades there are ghosts and phantoms

that have no life in them; all night long the sad spirit of

Patroclus has hovered over head making piteous moan, telling me

what I am to do for him, and looking wondrously like himself."

Thus did he speak and his words set them all weeping and mourning

about the poor dumb dead, till rosy-fingered morn appeared. Then

King Agamemnon sent men and mules from all parts of the camp, to

bring wood, and Meriones, squire to Idomeneus, was in charge over

them. They went out with woodmen's axes and strong ropes in their

hands, and before them went the mules. Up hill and down dale did

they go, by straight ways and crooked, and when they reached the

heights of many-fountained Ida, they laid their axes to the roots

of many a tall branching oak that came thundering down as they

felled it. They split the trees and bound them behind the mules,

which then wended their way as they best could through the thick

brushwood on to the plain. All who had been cutting wood bore

logs, for so Meriones squire to Idomeneus had bidden them, and

they threw them down in a line upon the seashore at the place

where Achilles would make a mighty monument for Patroclus and for

himself.

When they had thrown down their great logs of wood over the whole

ground, they stayed all of them where they were, but Achilles

ordered his brave Myrmidons to gird on their armour, and to yoke

each man his horses; they therefore rose, girded on their armour

and mounted each his chariot--they and their charioteers with

them. The chariots went before, and they that were on foot

followed as a cloud in their tens of thousands after. In the

midst of them his comrades bore Patroclus and covered him with

the locks of their hair which they cut off and threw upon his

body. Last came Achilles with his head bowed for sorrow, so noble

a comrade was he taking to the house of Hades.

When they came to the place of which Achilles had told them they

laid the body down and built up the wood. Achilles then bethought

him of another matter. He went a space away from the pyre, and

cut off the yellow lock which he had let grow for the river

Spercheius. He looked all sorrowfully out upon the dark sea, and

said, "Spercheius, in vain did my father Peleus vow to you that

when I returned home to my loved native land I should cut off

this lock and offer you a holy hecatomb; fifty she-goats was I to

sacrifice to you there at your springs, where is your grove and

your altar fragrant with burnt-offerings. Thus did my father vow,

but you have not fulfilled his prayer; now, therefore, that I

shall see my home no more, I give this lock as a keepsake to the

hero Patroclus."

As he spoke he placed the lock in the hands of his dear comrade,

and all who stood by were filled with yearning and lamentation.

The sun would have gone down upon their mourning had not Achilles

presently said to Agamemnon, "Son of Atreus, for it is to you

that the people will give ear, there is a time to mourn and a

time to cease from mourning; bid the people now leave the pyre

and set about getting their dinners: we, to whom the dead is

dearest, will see to what is wanted here, and let the other

princes also stay by me."

When King Agamemnon heard this he dismissed the people to their

ships, but those who were about the dead heaped up wood and built

a pyre a hundred feet this way and that; then they laid the dead

all sorrowfully upon the top of it. They flayed and dressed many

fat sheep and oxen before the pyre, and Achilles took fat from

all of them and wrapped the body therein from head to foot,

heaping the flayed carcases all round it. Against the bier he

leaned two-handled jars of honey and unguents; four proud horses

did he then cast upon the pyre, groaning the while he did so. The

dead hero had had house-dogs; two of them did Achilles slay and

threw upon the pyre; he also put twelve brave sons of noble

Trojans to the sword and laid them with the rest, for he was full

of bitterness and fury. Then he committed all to the resistless

and devouring might of the fire; he groaned aloud and called on

his dead comrade by name. "Fare well," he cried, "Patroclus, even

in the house of Hades; I am now doing all that I have promised

you. Twelve brave sons of noble Trojans shall the flames consume

along with yourself, but dogs, not fire, shall devour the flesh

of Hector son of Priam."

Thus did he vaunt, but the dogs came not about the body of

Hector, for Jove's daughter Venus kept them off him night and

day, and anointed him with ambrosial oil of roses that his flesh

might not be torn when Achilles was dragging him about. Phoebus

Apollo moreover sent a dark cloud from heaven to earth, which

gave shade to the whole place where Hector lay, that the heat of

the sun might not parch his body.

Now the pyre about dead Patroclus would not kindle. Achilles

therefore bethought him of another matter; he went apart and

prayed to the two winds Boreas and Zephyrus vowing them goodly

offerings. He made them many drink-offerings from the golden cup

and besought them to come and help him that the wood might make

haste to kindle and the dead bodies be consumed. Fleet Iris heard

him praying and started off to fetch the winds. They were holding

high feast in the house of boisterous Zephyrus when Iris came

running up to the stone threshold of the house and stood there,

but as soon as they set eyes on her they all came towards her and

each of them called her to him, but Iris would not sit down. "I

cannot stay," she said, "I must go back to the streams of Oceanus

and the land of the Ethiopians who are offering hecatombs to the

immortals, and I would have my share; but Achilles prays that

Boreas and shrill Zephyrus will come to him, and he vows them

goodly offerings; he would have you blow upon the pyre of

Patroclus for whom all the Achaeans are lamenting."

With this she left them, and the two winds rose with a cry that

rent the air and swept the clouds before them. They blew on and

on until they came to the sea, and the waves rose high beneath

them, but when they reached Troy they fell upon the pyre till the

mighty flames roared under the blast that they blew. All night

long did they blow hard and beat upon the fire, and all night

long did Achilles grasp his double cup, drawing wine from a

mixing-bowl of gold, and calling upon the spirit of dead

Patroclus as he poured it upon the ground until the earth was

drenched. As a father mourns when he is burning the bones of his

bridegroom son whose death has wrung the hearts of his parents,

even so did Achilles mourn while burning the body of his comrade,

pacing round the bier with piteous groaning and lamentation.

At length as the Morning Star was beginning to herald the light

which saffron-mantled Dawn was soon to suffuse over the sea, the

flames fell and the fire began to die. The winds then went home

beyond the Thracian sea, which roared and boiled as they swept

over it. The son of Peleus now turned away from the pyre and lay

down, overcome with toil, till he fell into a sweet slumber.

Presently they who were about the son of Atreus drew near in a

body, and roused him with the noise and tramp of their coming. He

sat upright and said, "Son of Atreus, and all other princes of

the Achaeans, first pour red wine everywhere upon the fire and

quench it; let us then gather the bones of Patroclus son of

Menoetius, singling them out with care; they are easily found,

for they lie in the middle of the pyre, while all else, both men

and horses, has been thrown in a heap and burned at the outer

edge. We will lay the bones in a golden urn, in two layers of

fat, against the time when I shall myself go down into the house

of Hades. As for the barrow, labour not to raise a great one now,

but such as is reasonable. Afterwards, let those Achaeans who may

be left at the ships when I am gone, build it both broad and

high."

Thus he spoke and they obeyed the word of the son of Peleus.

First they poured red wine upon the thick layer of ashes and

quenched the fire. With many tears they singled out the whitened

bones of their loved comrade and laid them within a golden urn in

two layers of fat: they then covered the urn with a linen cloth

and took it inside the tent. They marked off the circle where the

barrow should be, made a foundation for it about the pyre, and

forthwith heaped up the earth. When they had thus raised a mound

they were going away, but Achilles stayed the people and made

them sit in assembly. He brought prizes from the

ships--cauldrons, tripods, horses and mules, noble oxen, women

with fair girdles, and swart iron.

The first prize he offered was for the chariot races--a woman

skilled in all useful arts, and a three-legged cauldron that had

ears for handles, and would hold twenty-two measures. This was

for the man who came in first. For the second there was a

six-year old mare, unbroken, and in foal to a he-ass; the third

was to have a goodly cauldron that had never yet been on the

fire; it was still bright as when it left the maker, and would

hold four measures. The fourth prize was two talents of gold, and

the fifth a two-handled urn as yet unsoiled by smoke. Then he

stood up and spoke among the Argives saying--

"Son of Atreus, and all other Achaeans, these are the prizes that

lie waiting the winners of the chariot races. At any other time I

should carry off the first prize and take it to my own tent; you

know how far my steeds excel all others--for they are immortal;

Neptune gave them to my father Peleus, who in his turn gave them

to myself; but I shall hold aloof, I and my steeds that have lost

their brave and kind driver, who many a time has washed them in

clear water and anointed their manes with oil. See how they stand

weeping here, with their manes trailing on the ground in the

extremity of their sorrow. But do you others set yourselves in

order throughout the host, whosoever has confidence in his horses

and in the strength of his chariot."

Thus spoke the son of Peleus and the drivers of chariots

bestirred themselves. First among them all uprose Eumelus, king

of men, son of Admetus, a man excellent in horsemanship. Next to

him rose mighty Diomed son of Tydeus; he yoked the Trojan horses

which he had taken from Aeneas, when Apollo bore him out of the

fight. Next to him, yellow-haired Menelaus son of Atreus rose and

yoked his fleet horses, Agamemnon's mare Aethe, and his own horse

Podargus. The mare had been given to Agamemnon by Echepolus son

of Anchises, that he might not have to follow him to Ilius, but

might stay at home and take his ease; for Jove had endowed him

with great wealth and he lived in spacious Sicyon. This mare, all

eager for the race, did Menelaus put under the yoke.

Fourth in order Antilochus, son to noble Nestor son of Neleus,

made ready his horses. These were bred in Pylos, and his father

came up to him to give him good advice of which, however, he

stood in but little need. "Antilochus," said Nestor, "you are

young, but Jove and Neptune have loved you well, and have made

you an excellent horseman. I need not therefore say much by way

of instruction. You are skilful at wheeling your horses round the

post, but the horses themselves are very slow, and it is this

that will, I fear, mar your chances. The other drivers know less

than you do, but their horses are fleeter; therefore, my dear

son, see if you cannot hit upon some artifice whereby you may

insure that the prize shall not slip through your fingers. The

woodman does more by skill than by brute force; by skill the

pilot guides his storm-tossed barque over the sea, and so by

skill one driver can beat another. If a man go wide in rounding

this way and that, whereas a man who knows what he is doing may

have worse horses, but he will keep them well in hand when he

sees the doubling-post; he knows the precise moment at which to

pull the rein, and keeps his eye well on the man in front of him.

I will give you this certain token which cannot escape your

notice. There is a stump of a dead tree--oak or pine as it may

be--some six feet above the ground, and not yet rotted away by

rain; it stands at the fork of the road; it has two white stones

set one on each side, and there is a clear course all round it.

It may have been a monument to some one long since dead, or it

may have been used as a doubling-post in days gone by; now,

however, it has been fixed on by Achilles as the mark round which

the chariots shall turn; hug it as close as you can, but as you

stand in your chariot lean over a little to the left; urge on

your right-hand horse with voice and lash, and give him a loose

rein, but let the left-hand horse keep so close in, that the nave

of your wheel shall almost graze the post; but mind the stone, or

you will wound your horses and break your chariot in pieces,

which would be sport for others but confusion for yourself.

Therefore, my dear son, mind well what you are about, for if you

can be first to round the post there is no chance of any one

giving you the go-by later, not even though you had Adrestus's

horse Arion behind you--a horse which is of divine race--or those

of Laomedon, which are the noblest in this country."

When Nestor had made an end of counselling his son he sat down in

his place, and fifth in order Meriones got ready his horses.

They then all mounted their chariots and cast lots. Achilles

shook the helmet, and the lot of Antilochus son of Nestor fell

out first; next came that of King Eumelus, and after his, those

of Menelaus son of Atreus and of Meriones. The last place fell to

the lot of Diomed son of Tydeus, who was the best man of them

all. They took their places in line; Achilles showed them the

doubling-post round which they were to turn, some way off upon

the plain; here he stationed his father's follower Phoenix as

umpire, to note the running, and report truly.

At the same instant they all of them lashed their horses, struck

them with the reins, and shouted at them with all their might.

They flew full speed over the plain away from the ships, the dust

rose from under them as it were a cloud or whirlwind, and their

manes were all flying in the wind. At one moment the chariots

seemed to touch the ground, and then again they bounded into the

air; the drivers stood erect, and their hearts beat fast and

furious in their lust of victory. Each kept calling on his

horses, and the horses scoured the plain amid the clouds of dust

that they raised.

It was when they were doing the last part of the course on their

way back towards the sea that their pace was strained to the

utmost and it was seen what each could do. The horses of the

descendant of Pheres now took the lead, and close behind them

came the Trojan stallions of Diomed. They seemed as if about to

mount Eumelus's chariot, and he could feel their warm breath on

his back and on his broad shoulders, for their heads were close

to him as they flew over the course. Diomed would have now passed

him, or there would have been a dead heat, but Phoebus Apollo to

spite him made him drop his whip. Tears of anger fell from his

eyes as he saw the mares going on faster than ever, while his own

horses lost ground through his having no whip. Minerva saw the

trick which Apollo had played the son of Tydeus, so she brought

him his whip and put spirit into his horses; moreover she went

after the son of Admetus in a rage and broke his yoke for him;

the mares went one to one side of the course, and the other to

the other, and the pole was broken against the ground. Eumelus

was thrown from his chariot close to the wheel; his elbows,

mouth, and nostrils were all torn, and his forehead was bruised

above his eyebrows; his eyes filled with tears and he could find

no utterance. But the son of Tydeus turned his horses aside and

shot far ahead, for Minerva put fresh strength into them and

covered Diomed himself with glory.

Menelaus son of Atreus came next behind him, but Antilochus

called to his father's horses. "On with you both," he cried, "and

do your very utmost. I do not bid you try to beat the steeds of

the son of Tydeus, for Minerva has put running into them, and has

covered Diomed with glory; but you must overtake the horses of

the son of Atreus and not be left behind, or Aethe who is so

fleet will taunt you. Why, my good fellows, are you lagging? I

tell you, and it shall surely be--Nestor will keep neither of

you, but will put both of you to the sword, if we win any the

worse a prize through your carelessness. Fly after them at your

utmost speed; I will hit on a plan for passing them in a narrow

part of the way, and it shall not fail me."

They feared the rebuke of their master, and for a short space

went quicker. Presently Antilochus saw a narrow place where the

road had sunk. The ground was broken, for the winter's rain had

gathered and had worn the road so that the whole place was

deepened. Menelaus was making towards it so as to get there

first, for fear of a foul, but Antilochus turned his horses out

of the way, and followed him a little on one side. The son of

Atreus was afraid and shouted out, "Antilochus, you are driving

recklessly; rein in your horses; the road is too narrow here, it

will be wider soon, and you can pass me then; if you foul my

chariot you may bring both of us to a mischief."

But Antilochus plied his whip, and drove faster, as though he had

not heard him. They went side by side for about as far as a young

man can hurl a disc from his shoulder when he is trying his

strength, and then Menelaus's mares drew behind, for he left off

driving for fear the horses should foul one another and upset the

chariots; thus, while pressing on in quest of victory, they might

both come headlong to the ground. Menelaus then upbraided

Antilochus and said, "There is no greater trickster living than

you are; go, and bad luck go with you; the Achaeans say not well

that you have understanding, and come what may you shall not bear

away the prize without sworn protest on my part."

Then he called on his horses and said to them, "Keep your pace,

and slacken not; the limbs of the other horses will weary sooner

than yours, for they are neither of them young."

The horses feared the rebuke of their master, and went faster, so

that they were soon nearly up with the others.

Meanwhile the Achaeans from their seats were watching how the

horses went, as they scoured the plain amid clouds of their own

dust. Idomeneus captain of the Cretans was first to make out the

running, for he was not in the thick of the crowd, but stood on

the most commanding part of the ground. The driver was a long way

off, but Idomeneus could hear him shouting, and could see the

foremost horse quite plainly--a chestnut with a round white star,

like the moon, on its forehead. He stood up and said among the

Argives, "My friends, princes and counsellors of the Argives, can

you see the running as well as I can? There seems to be another

pair in front now, and another driver; those that led off at the

start must have been disabled out on the plain. I saw them at

first making their way round the doubling-post, but now, though I

search the plain of Troy, I cannot find them. Perhaps the reins

fell from the driver's hand so that he lost command of his horses

at the doubling-post, and could not turn it. I suppose he must

have been thrown out there, and broken his chariot, while his

mares have left the course and gone off wildly in a panic. Come

up and see for yourselves, I cannot make out for certain, but the

driver seems an Aetolian by descent, ruler over the Argives,

brave Diomed the son of Tydeus."

Ajax the son of Oileus took him up rudely and said, "Idomeneus,

why should you be in such a hurry to tell us all about it, when

the mares are still so far out upon the plain? You are none of

the youngest, nor your eyes none of the sharpest, but you are

always laying down the law. You have no right to do so, for there

are better men here than you are. Eumelus's horses are in front

now, as they always have been, and he is on the chariot holding

the reins."

The captain of the Cretans was angry, and answered, "Ajax you are

an excellent railer, but you have no judgement, and are wanting

in much else as well, for you have a vile temper. I will wager

you a tripod or cauldron, and Agamemnon son of Atreus shall

decide whose horses are first. You will then know to your cost."

Ajax son of Oileus was for making him an angry answer, and there

would have been yet further brawling between them, had not

Achilles risen in his place and said, "Cease your railing, Ajax

and Idomeneus; is it not you would be scandalised if you saw any

one else do the like: sit down and keep your eyes on the horses;

they are speeding towards the winning-post and will be bere

directly. You will then both of you know whose horses are first,

and whose come after."

As he was speaking, the son of Tydeus came driving in, plying his

whip lustily from his shoulder, and his horses stepping high as

they flew over the course. The sand and grit rained thick on the

driver, and the chariot inlaid with gold and tin ran close behind

his fleet horses. There was little trace of wheel-marks in the

fine dust, and the horses came flying in at their utmost speed.

Diomed stayed them in the middle of the crowd, and the sweat from

their manes and chests fell in streams on to the ground.

Forthwith he sprang from his goodly chariot, and leaned his whip

against his horses' yoke; brave Sthenelus now lost no time, but

at once brought on the prize, and gave the woman and the

ear-handled cauldron to his comrades to take away. Then he

unyoked the horses.

Next after him came in Antilochus of the race of Neleus, who had

passed Menelaus by a trick and not by the fleetness of his

horses; but even so Menelaus came in as close behind him as the

wheel is to the horse that draws both the chariot and its master.

The end hairs of a horse's tail touch the tyre of the wheel, and

there is never much space between wheel and horse when the

chariot is going; Menelaus was no further than this behind

Antilochus, though at first he had been a full disc's throw

behind him. He had soon caught him up again, for Agamemnon's mare

Aethe kept pulling stronger and stronger, so that if the course

had been longer he would have passed him, and there would not

even have been a dead heat. Idomeneus's brave squire Meriones was

about a spear's cast behind Menelaus. His horses were slowest of

all, and he was the worst driver. Last of them all came the son

of Admetus, dragging his chariot and driving his horses on in

front. When Achilles saw him he was sorry, and stood up among the

Argives saying, "The best man is coming in last. Let us give him

a prize for it is reasonable. He shall have the second, but the

first must go to the son of Tydeus."

Thus did he speak and the others all of them applauded his

saying, and were for doing as he had said, but Nestor's son

Antilochus stood up and claimed his rights from the son of

Peleus. "Achilles," said he, "I shall take it much amiss if you

do this thing; you would rob me of my prize, because you think

Eumelus's chariot and horses were thrown out, and himself too,

good man that he is. He should have prayed duly to the immortals;

he would not have come in last if he had done so. If you are

sorry for him and so choose, you have much gold in your tents,

with bronze, sheep, cattle and horses. Take something from this

store if you would have the Achaeans speak well of you, and give

him a better prize even than that which you have now offered; but

I will not give up the mare, and he that will fight me for her,

let him come on."

Achilles smiled as he heard this, and was pleased with

Antilochus, who was one of his dearest comrades. So he said--

"Antilochus, if you would have me find Eumelus another prize, I

will give him the bronze breastplate with a rim of tin running

all round it which I took from Asteropaeus. It will be worth much

money to him."

He bade his comrade Automedon bring the breastplate from his

tent, and he did so. Achilles then gave it over to Eumelus, who

received it gladly.

But Menelaus got up in a rage, furiously angry with Antilochus.

An attendant placed his staff in his hands and bade the Argives

keep silence: the hero then addressed them. "Antilochus," said

he, "what is this from you who have been so far blameless? You

have made me cut a poor figure and baulked my horses by flinging

your own in front of them, though yours are much worse than mine

are; therefore, O princes and counsellors of the Argives, judge

between us and show no favour, lest one of the Achaeans say,

'Menelaus has got the mare through lying and corruption; his

horses were far inferior to Antilochus's, but he has greater

weight and influence.' Nay, I will determine the matter myself,

and no man will blame me, for I shall do what is just. Come here,

Antilochus, and stand, as our custom is, whip in hand before your

chariot and horses; lay your hand on your steeds, and swear by

earth-encircling Neptune that you did not purposely and

guilefully get in the way of my horses."

And Antilochus answered, "Forgive me; I am much younger, King

Menelaus, than you are; you stand higher than I do and are the

better man of the two; you know how easily young men are betrayed

into indiscretion; their tempers are more hasty and they have

less judgement; make due allowances therefore, and bear with me;

I will of my own accord give up the mare that I have won, and if

you claim any further chattel from my own possessions, I would

rather yield it to you, at once, than fall from your good graces

henceforth, and do wrong in the sight of heaven."

The son of Nestor then took the mare and gave her over to

Menelaus, whose anger was thus appeased; as when dew falls upon a

field of ripening corn, and the lands are bristling with the

harvest--even so, O Menelaus, was your heart made glad within

you. He turned to Antilochus and said, "Now, Antilochus, angry

though I have been, I can give way to you of my own free will;

you have never been headstrong nor ill-disposed hitherto, but

this time your youth has got the better of your judgement; be

careful how you outwit your betters in future; no one else could

have brought me round so easily, but your good father, your

brother, and yourself have all of you had infinite trouble on my

behalf; I therefore yield to your entreaty, and will give up the

mare to you, mine though it indeed be; the people will thus see

that I am neither harsh nor vindictive."

With this he gave the mare over to Antilochus's comrade Noemon,

and then took the cauldron. Meriones, who had come in fourth,

carried off the two talents of gold, and the fifth prize, the

two-handled urn, being unawarded, Achilles gave it to Nestor,

going up to him among the assembled Argives and saying, "Take

this, my good old friend, as an heirloom and memorial of the

funeral of Patroclus--for you shall see him no more among the

Argives. I give you this prize though you cannot win one; you can

now neither wrestle nor fight, and cannot enter for the

javelin-match nor foot-races, for the hand of age has been laid

heavily upon you."

So saying he gave the urn over to Nestor, who received it gladly

and answered, "My son, all that you have said is true; there is

no strength now in my legs and feet, nor can I hit out with my

hands from either shoulder. Would that I were still young and

strong as when the Epeans were burying King Amarynceus in

Buprasium, and his sons offered prizes in his honour. There was

then none that could vie with me neither of the Epeans nor the

Pylians themselves nor the Aetolians. In boxing I overcame

Clytomedes son of Enops, and in wrestling, Ancaeus of Pleuron who

had come forward against me. Iphiclus was a good runner, but I

beat him, and threw farther with my spear than either Phyleus or

Polydorus. In chariot-racing alone did the two sons of Actor

surpass me by crowding their horses in front of me, for they were

angry at the way victory had gone, and at the greater part of the

prizes remaining in the place in which they had been offered.

They were twins, and the one kept on holding the reins, and

holding the reins, while the other plied the whip. Such was I

then, but now I must leave these matters to younger men; I must

bow before the weight of years, but in those days I was eminent

among heroes. And now, sir, go on with the funeral contests in

honour of your comrade: gladly do I accept this urn, and my heart

rejoices that you do not forget me but are ever mindful of my

goodwill towards you, and of the respect due to me from the

Achaeans. For all which may the grace of heaven be vouchsafed you

in great abundance."

Thereon the son of Peleus, when he had listened to all the thanks

of Nestor, went about among the concourse of the Achaeans, and

presently offered prizes for skill in the painful art of boxing.

He brought out a strong mule, and made it fast in the middle of

the crowd--a she-mule never yet broken, but six years old--when

it is hardest of all to break them: this was for the victor, and

for the vanquished he offered a double cup. Then he stood up and

said among the Argives, "Son of Atreus, and all other Achaeans, I

invite our two champion boxers to lay about them lustily and

compete for these prizes. He to whom Apollo vouchsafes the

greater endurance, and whom the Achaeans acknowledge as victor,

shall take the mule back with him to his own tent, while he that

is vanquished shall have the double cup."

As he spoke there stood up a champion both brave and great

stature, a skilful boxer, Epeus, son of Panopeus. He laid his

hand on the mule and said, "Let the man who is to have the cup

come hither, for none but myself will take the mule. I am the

best boxer of all here present, and none can beat me. Is it not

enough that I should fall short of you in actual fighting? Still,

no man can be good at everything. I tell you plainly, and it

shall come true; if any man will box with me I will bruise his

body and break his bones; therefore let his friends stay here in

a body and be at hand to take him away when I have done with

him."

They all held their peace, and no man rose save Euryalus son of

Mecisteus, who was son of Talaus. Mecisteus went once to Thebes

after the fall of Oedipus, to attend his funeral, and he beat all

the people of Cadmus. The son of Tydeus was Euryalus's second,

cheering him on and hoping heartily that he would win. First he

put a waistband round him and then he gave him some well-cut

thongs of ox-hide; the two men being now girt went into the

middle of the ring, and immediately fell to; heavily indeed did

they punish one another and lay about them with their brawny

fists. One could hear the horrid crashing of their jaws, and they

sweated from every pore of their skin. Presently Epeus came on

and gave Euryalus a blow on the jaw as he was looking round;

Euryalus could not keep his legs; they gave way under him in a

moment and he sprang up with a bound, as a fish leaps into the

air near some shore that is all bestrewn with sea-wrack, when

Boreas furs the top of the waves, and then falls back into deep

water. But noble Epeus caught hold of him and raised him up; his

comrades also came round him and led him from the ring, unsteady

in his gait, his head hanging on one side, and spitting great

clots of gore. They set him down in a swoon and then went to

fetch the double cup.

The son of Peleus now brought out the prizes for the third

contest and showed them to the Argives. These were for the

painful art of wrestling. For the winner there was a great tripod

ready for setting upon the fire, and the Achaeans valued it among

themselves at twelve oxen. For the loser he brought out a woman

skilled in all manner of arts, and they valued her at four oxen.

He rose and said among the Argives, "Stand forward, you who will

essay this contest."

Forthwith uprose great Ajax the son of Telamon, and crafty

Ulysses, full of wiles, rose also. The two girded themselves and

went into the middle of the ring. They gripped each other in

their strong hands like the rafters which some master-builder

frames for the roof of a high house to keep the wind out. Their

backbones cracked as they tugged at one another with their mighty

arms--and sweat rained from them in torrents. Many a bloody weal

sprang up on their sides and shoulders, but they kept on striving

with might and main for victory and to win the tripod. Ulysses

could not throw Ajax, nor Ajax him; Ulysses was too strong for

him; but when the Achaeans began to tire of watching them, Ajax

said to Ulysses, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, you shall either

lift me, or I you, and let Jove settle it between us."

He lifted him from the ground as he spoke, but Ulysses did not

forget his cunning. He hit Ajax in the hollow at back of his

knee, so that he could not keep his feet, but fell on his back

with Ulysses lying upon his chest, and all who saw it marvelled.

Then Ulysses in turn lifted Ajax and stirred him a little from

the ground but could not lift him right off it, his knee sank

under him, and the two fell side by side on the ground and were

all begrimed with dust. They now sprang towards one another and

were for wrestling yet a third time, but Achilles rose and stayed

them. "Put not each other further," said he, "to such cruel

suffering; the victory is with both alike, take each of you an

equal prize, and let the other Achaeans now compete."

Thus did he speak and they did even as he had said, and put on

their shirts again after wiping the dust from off their bodies.

The son of Peleus then offered prizes for speed in running--a

mixing-bowl beautifully wrought, of pure silver. It would hold

six measures, and far exceeded all others in the whole world for

beauty; it was the work of cunning artificers in Sidon, and had

been brought into port by Phoenicians from beyond the sea, who

had made a present of it to Thoas. Eueneus son of Jason had given

it to Patroclus in ransom of Priam's son Lycaon, and Achilles now

offered it as a prize in honour of his comrade to him who should

be the swiftest runner. For the second prize he offered a large

ox, well fattened, while for the last there was to be half a

talent of gold. He then rose and said among the Argives, "Stand

forward, you who will essay this contest."

Forthwith uprose fleet Ajax son of Oileus, with cunning Ulysses,

and Nestor's son Antilochus, the fastest runner among all the

youth of his time. They stood side by side and Achilles showed

them the goal. The course was set out for them from the

starting-post, and the son of Oileus took the lead at once, with

Ulysses as close behind him as the shuttle is to a woman's bosom

when she throws the woof across the warp and holds it close up to

her; even so close behind him was Ulysses--treading in his

footprints before the dust could settle there, and Ajax could

feel his breath on the back of his head as he ran swiftly on. The

Achaeans all shouted applause as they saw him straining his

utmost, and cheered him as he shot past them; but when they were

now nearing the end of the course Ulysses prayed inwardly to

Minerva. "Hear me," he cried, "and help my feet, O goddess." Thus

did he pray, and Pallas Minerva heard his prayer; she made his

hands and his feet feel light, and when the runners were at the

point of pouncing upon the prize, Ajax, through Minerva's spite

slipped upon some offal that was lying there from the cattle

which Achilles had slaughtered in honour of Patroclus, and his

mouth and nostrils were all filled with cow dung. Ulysses

therefore carried off the mixing-bowl, for he got before Ajax and

came in first. But Ajax took the ox and stood with his hand on

one of its horns, spitting the dung out of his mouth. Then he

said to the Argives, "Alas, the goddess has spoiled my running;

she watches over Ulysses and stands by him as though she were his

own mother." Thus did he speak and they all of them laughed

heartily.

Antilochus carried off the last prize and smiled as he said to

the bystanders, "You all see, my friends, that now too the gods

have shown their respect for seniority. Ajax is somewhat older

than I am, and as for Ulysses, he belongs to an earlier

generation, but he is hale in spite of his years, and no man of

the Achaeans can run against him save only Achilles."

He said this to pay a compliment to the son of Peleus, and

Achilles answered, "Antilochus, you shall not have praised me to

no purpose; I shall give you an additional half talent of gold."

He then gave the half talent to Antilochus, who received it

gladly.

Then the son of Peleus brought out the spear, helmet and shield

that had been borne by Sarpedon, and were taken from him by

Patroclus. He stood up and said among the Argives, "We bid two

champions put on their armour, take their keen blades, and make

trial of one another in the presence of the multitude; whichever

of them can first wound the flesh of the other, cut through his

armour, and draw blood, to him will I give this goodly Thracian

sword inlaid with silver, which I took from Asteropaeus, but the

armour let both hold in partnership, and I will give each of them

a hearty meal in my own tent."

Forthwith uprose great Ajax the son of Telamon, as also mighty

Diomed son of Tydeus. When they had put on their armour each on

his own side of the ring, they both went into the middle eager to

engage, and with fire flashing from their eyes. The Achaeans

marvelled as they beheld them, and when the two were now close up

with one another, thrice did they spring forward and thrice try

to strike each other in close combat. Ajax pierced Diomed's round

shield, but did not draw blood, for the cuirass beneath the

shield protected him; thereon the son of Tydeus from over his

huge shield kept aiming continually at Ajax's neck with the point

of his spear, and the Achaeans alarmed for his safety bade them

leave off fighting and divide the prize between them. Achilles

then gave the great sword to the son of Tydeus, with its

scabbard, and the leathern belt with which to hang it.

Achilles next offered the massive iron quoit which mighty Eetion

had erewhile been used to hurl, until Achilles had slain him and

carried it off in his ships along with other spoils. He stood up

and said among the Argives, "Stand forward, you who would essay

this contest. He who wins it will have a store of iron that will

last him five years as they go rolling round, and if his fair

fields lie far from a town his shepherd or ploughman will not

have to make a journey to buy iron, for he will have a stock of

it on his own premises."

Then uprose the two mighty men Polypoetes and Leonteus, with Ajax

son of Telamon and noble Epeus. They stood up one after the other

and Epeus took the quoit, whirled it, and flung it from him,

which set all the Achaeans laughing. After him threw Leonteus of

the race of Mars. Ajax son of Telamon threw third, and sent the

quoit beyond any mark that had been made yet, but when mighty

Polypoetes took the quoit he hurled it as though it had been a

stockman's stick which he sends flying about among his cattle

when he is driving them, so far did his throw out-distance those

of the others. All who saw it roared applause, and his comrades

carried the prize for him and set it on board his ship.

Achilles next offered a prize of iron for archery--ten

double-edged axes and ten with single edges: he set up a ship's

mast, some way off upon the sands, and with a fine string tied a

pigeon to it by the foot; this was what they were to aim at.

"Whoever," he said, "can hit the pigeon shall have all the axes

and take them away with him; he who hits the string without

hitting the bird will have taken a worse aim and shall have the

single-edged axes."

Then uprose King Teucer, and Meriones the stalwart squire of

Idomeneus rose also, They cast lots in a bronze helmet and the

lot of Teucer fell first. He let fly with his arrow forthwith,

but he did not promise hecatombs of firstling lambs to King

Apollo, and missed his bird, for Apollo foiled his aim; but he

hit the string with which the bird was tied, near its foot; the

arrow cut the string clean through so that it hung down towards

the ground, while the bird flew up into the sky, and the Achaeans

shouted applause. Meriones, who had his arrow ready while Teucer

was aiming, snatched the bow out of his hand, and at once

promised that he would sacrifice a hecatomb of firstling lambs to

Apollo lord of the bow; then espying the pigeon high up under the

clouds, he hit her in the middle of the wing as she was circling

upwards; the arrow went clean through the wing and fixed itself

in the ground at Meriones' feet, but the bird perched on the

ship's mast hanging her head and with all her feathers drooping;

the life went out of her, and she fell heavily from the mast.

Meriones, therefore, took all ten double-edged axes, while Teucer

bore off the single-edged ones to his ships.

Then the son of Peleus brought in a spear and a cauldron that had

never been on the fire; it was worth an ox, and was chased with a

pattern of flowers; and those that throw the javelin stood up--to

wit the son of Atreus, king of men Agamemnon, and Meriones,

stalwart squire of Idomeneus. But Achilles spoke saying, "Son of

Atreus, we know how far you excel all others both in power and in

throwing the javelin; take the cauldron back with you to your

ships, but if it so please you, let us give the spear to

Meriones; this at least is what I should myself wish."

King Agamemnon assented. So he gave the bronze spear to Meriones,

and handed the goodly cauldron to Talthybius his esquire.

 

 

BOOK XXIV

THE assembly now broke up and the people went their ways each to

his own ship. There they made ready their supper, and then

bethought them of the blessed boon of sleep; but Achilles still

wept for thinking of his dear comrade, and sleep, before whom all

things bow, could take no hold upon him. This way and that did he

turn as he yearned after the might and manfulness of Patroclus;

he thought of all they had done together, and all they had gone

through both on the field of battle and on the waves of the weary

sea. As he dwelt on these things he wept bitterly and lay now on

his side, now on his back, and now face downwards, till at last

he rose and went out as one distraught to wander upon the

seashore. Then, when he saw dawn breaking over beach and sea, he

yoked his horses to his chariot, and bound the body of Hector

behind it that he might drag it about. Thrice did he drag it

round the tomb of the son of Menoetius, and then went back into

his tent, leaving the body on the ground full length and with its

face downwards. But Apollo would not suffer it to be disfigured,

for he pitied the man, dead though he now was; therefore he

shielded him with his golden aegis continually, that he might

take no hurt while Achilles was dragging him.

Thus shamefully did Achilles in his fury dishonour Hector; but

the blessed gods looked down in pity from heaven, and urged

Mercury, slayer of Argus, to steal the body. All were of this

mind save only Juno, Neptune, and Jove's grey-eyed daughter, who

persisted in the hate which they had ever borne towards Ilius

with Priam and his people; for they forgave not the wrong done

them by Alexandrus in disdaining the goddesses who came to him

when he was in his sheepyards, and preferring her who had offered

him a wanton to his ruin.

When, therefore, the morning of the twelfth day had now come,

Phoebus Apollo spoke among the immortals saying, "You gods ought

to be ashamed of yourselves; you are cruel and hard-hearted. Did

not Hector burn you thigh-bones of heifers and of unblemished

goats? And now dare you not rescue even his dead body, for his

wife to look upon, with his mother and child, his father Priam,

and his people, who would forthwith commit him to the flames, and

give him his due funeral rites? So, then, you would all be on the

side of mad Achilles, who knows neither right nor ruth? He is

like some savage lion that in the pride of his great strength and

daring springs upon men's flocks and gorges on them. Even so has

Achilles flung aside all pity, and all that conscience which at

once so greatly banes yet greatly boons him that will heed it.

man may lose one far dearer than Achilles has lost--a son, it may

be, or a brother born from his own mother's womb; yet when he has

mourned him and wept over him he will let him bide, for it takes

much sorrow to kill a man; whereas Achilles, now that he has

slain noble Hector, drags him behind his chariot round the tomb

of his comrade. It were better of him, and for him, that he

should not do so, for brave though he be we gods may take it ill

that he should vent his fury upon dead clay."

Juno spoke up in a rage. "This were well," she cried, "O lord of

the silver bow, if you would give like honour to Hector and to

Achilles; but Hector was mortal and suckled at a woman's breast,

whereas Achilles is the offspring of a goddess whom I myself

reared and brought up. I married her to Peleus, who is above

measure dear to the immortals; you gods came all of you to her

wedding; you feasted along with them yourself and brought your

lyre--false, and fond of low company, that you have ever been."

Then said Jove, "Juno, be not so bitter. Their honour shall not

be equal, but of all that dwell in Ilius, Hector was dearest to

the gods, as also to myself, for his offerings never failed me.

Never was my altar stinted of its dues, nor of the

drink-offerings and savour of sacrifice which we claim of right.

I shall therefore permit the body of mighty Hector to be stolen;

and yet this may hardly be without Achilles coming to know it,

for his mother keeps night and day beside him. Let some one of

you, therefore, send Thetis to me, and I will impart my counsel

to her, namely that Achilles is to accept a ransom from Priam,

and give up the body."

On this Iris fleet as the wind went forth to carry his message.

Down she plunged into the dark sea midway between Samos and rocky

Imbrus; the waters hissed as they closed over her, and she sank

into the bottom as the lead at the end of an ox-horn, that is

sped to carry death to fishes. She found Thetis sitting in a

great cave with the other sea-goddesses gathered round her; there

she sat in the midst of them weeping for her noble son who was to

fall far from his own land, on the rich plains of Troy. Iris went

up to her and said, "Rise Thetis; Jove, whose counsels fail not,

bids you come to him." And Thetis answered, "Why does the mighty

god so bid me? I am in great grief, and shrink from going in and

out among the immortals. Still, I will go, and the word that he

may speak shall not be spoken in vain."

The goddess took her dark veil, than which there can be no robe

more sombre, and went forth with fleet Iris leading the way

before her. The waves of the sea opened them a path, and when

they reached the shore they flew up into the heavens, where they

found the all-seeing son of Saturn with the blessed gods that

live for ever assembled near him. Minerva gave up her seat to

her, and she sat down by the side of father Jove. Juno then

placed a fair golden cup in her hand, and spoke to her in words

of comfort, whereon Thetis drank and gave her back the cup; and

the sire of gods and men was the first to speak.

"So, goddess," said he, "for all your sorrow, and the grief that

I well know reigns ever in your heart, you have come hither to

Olympus, and I will tell you why I have sent for you. This nine

days past the immortals have been quarrelling about Achilles

waster of cities and the body of Hector. The gods would have

Mercury slayer of Argus steal the body, but in furtherance of our

peace and amity henceforward, I will concede such honour to your

son as I will now tell you. Go, then, to the host and lay these

commands upon him; say that the gods are angry with him, and that

I am myself more angry than them all, in that he keeps Hector at

the ships and will not give him up. He may thus fear me and let

the body go. At the same time I will send Iris to great Priam to

bid him go to the ships of the Achaeans, and ransom his son,

taking with him such gifts for Achilles as may give him

satisfaction."

Silver-footed Thetis did as the god had told her, and forthwith

down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus. She went to

her son's tents where she found him grieving bitterly, while his

trusty comrades round him were busy preparing their morning meal,

for which they had killed a great woolly sheep. His mother sat

down beside him and caressed him with her hand saying, "My son,

how long will you keep on thus grieving and making moan? You are

gnawing at your own heart, and think neither of food nor of

woman's embraces; and yet these too were well, for you have no

long time to live, and death with the strong hand of fate are

already close beside you. Now, therefore, heed what I say, for I

come as a messenger from Jove; he says that the gods are angry

with you, and himself more angry than them all, in that you keep

Hector at the ships and will not give him up. Therefore let him

go, and accept a ransom for his body."

And Achilles answered, "So be it. If Olympian Jove of his own

motion thus commands me, let him that brings the ransom bear the

body away."

Thus did mother and son talk together at the ships in long

discourse with one another. Meanwhile the son of Saturn sent Iris

to the strong city of Ilius. "Go," said he, "fleet Iris, from the

mansions of Olympus, and tell King Priam in Ilius, that he is to

go to the ships of the Achaeans and free the body of his dear

son. He is to take such gifts with him as shall give satisfaction

to Achilles, and he is to go alone, with no other Trojan, save

only some honoured servant who may drive his mules and waggon,

and bring back the body of him whom noble Achilles has slain. Let

him have no thought nor fear of death in his heart, for we will

send the slayer of Argus to escort him, and bring him within the

tent of Achilles. Achilles will not kill him nor let another do

so, for he will take heed to his ways and sin not, and he will

entreat a suppliant with all honourable courtesy."

On this Iris, fleet as the wind, sped forth to deliver her

message. She went to Priam's house, and found weeping and

lamentation therein. His sons were seated round their father in

the outer courtyard, and their raiment was wet with tears: the

old man sat in the midst of them with his mantle wrapped close

about his body, and his head and neck all covered with the filth

which he had clutched as he lay grovelling in the mire. His

daughters and his sons' wives went wailing about the house, as

they thought of the many and brave men who lay dead, slain by the

Argives. The messenger of Jove stood by Priam and spoke softly to

him, but fear fell upon him as she did so. "Take heart," she

said, "Priam offspring of Dardanus, take heart and fear not. I

bring no evil tidings, but am minded well towards you. I come as

a messenger from Jove, who though he be not near, takes thought

for you and pities you. The lord of Olympus bids you go and

ransom noble Hector, and take with you such gifts as shall give

satisfaction to Achilles. You are to go alone, with no Trojan,

save only some honoured servant who may drive your mules and

waggon, and bring back to the city the body of him whom noble

Achilles has slain. You are to have no thought, nor fear of

death, for Jove will send the slayer of Argus to escort you. When

he has brought you within Achilles' tent, Achilles will not kill

you nor let another do so, for he will take heed to his ways and

sin not, and he will entreat a suppliant with all honourable

courtesy."

Iris went her way when she had thus spoken, and Priam told his

sons to get a mule-waggon ready, and to make the body of the

waggon fast upon the top of its bed. Then he went down into his

fragrant store-room, high-vaulted, and made of cedar-wood, where

his many treasures were kept, and he called Hecuba his wife.

"Wife," said he, "a messenger has come to me from Olympus, and

has told me to go to the ships of the Achaeans to ransom my dear

son, taking with me such gifts as shall give satisfaction to

Achilles. What think you of this matter? for my own part I am

greatly moved to pass through the camps of the Achaeans and go to

their ships."

His wife cried aloud as she heard him, and said, "Alas, what has

become of that judgement for which you have been ever famous both

among strangers and your own people? How can you venture alone to

the ships of the Achaeans, and look into the face of him who has

slain so many of your brave sons? You must have iron courage, for

if the cruel savage sees you and lays hold on you, he will know

neither respect nor pity. Let us then weep Hector from afar here

in our own house, for when I gave him birth the threads of

overruling fate were spun for him that dogs should eat his flesh

far from his parents, in the house of that terrible man on whose

liver I would fain fasten and devour it. Thus would I avenge my

son, who showed no cowardice when Achilles slew him, and thought

neither of flight nor of avoiding battle as he stood in defence

of Trojan men and Trojan women."

Then Priam said, "I would go, do not therefore stay me nor be as

a bird of ill omen in my house, for you will not move me. Had it

been some mortal man who had sent me some prophet or priest who

divines from sacrifice--I should have deemed him false and have

given him no heed; but now I have heard the goddess and seen her

face to face, therefore I will go and her saying shall not be in

vain. If it be my fate to die at the ships of the Achaeans even

so would I have it; let Achilles slay me, if I may but first have

taken my son in my arms and mourned him to my heart's

comforting."

So saying he lifted the lids of his chests, and took out twelve

goodly vestments. He took also twelve cloaks of single fold,

twelve rugs, twelve fair mantles, and an equal number of shirts.

He weighed out ten talents of gold, and brought moreover two

burnished tripods, four cauldrons, and a very beautiful cup which

the Thracians had given him when he had gone to them on an

embassy; it was very precious, but he grudged not even this, so

eager was he to ransom the body of his son. Then he chased all

the Trojans from the court and rebuked them with words of anger.

"Out," he cried, "shame and disgrace to me that you are. Have you

no grief in your own homes that you are come to plague me here?

Is it a small thing, think you, that the son of Saturn has sent

this sorrow upon me, to lose the bravest of my sons? Nay, you

shall prove it in person, for now he is gone the Achaeans will

have easier work in killing you. As for me, let me go down within

the house of Hades, ere mine eyes behold the sacking and wasting

of the city."

He drove the men away with his staff, and they went forth as the

old man sped them. Then he called to his sons, upbraiding

Helenus, Paris, noble Agathon, Pammon, Antiphonus, Polites of the

loud battle-cry, Deiphobus, Hippothous, and Dius. These nine did

the old man call near him. "Come to me at once," he cried,

"worthless sons who do me shame; would that you had all been

killed at the ships rather than Hector. Miserable man that I am,

I have had the bravest sons in all Troy--noble Nestor, Troilus

the dauntless charioteer, and Hector who was a god among men, so

that one would have thought he was son to an immortal--yet there

is not one of them left. Mars has slain them and those of whom I

am ashamed are alone left me. Liars, and light of foot, heroes of

the dance, robbers of lambs and kids from your own people, why do

you not get a waggon ready for me at once, and put all these

things upon it that I may set out on my way?"

Thus did he speak, and they feared the rebuke of their father.

They brought out a strong mule-waggon, newly made, and set the

body of the waggon fast on its bed. They took the mule-yoke from

the peg on which it hung, a yoke of boxwood with a knob on the

top of it and rings for the reins to go through. Then they

brought a yoke-band eleven cubits long, to bind the yoke to the

pole; they bound it on at the far end of the pole, and put the

ring over the upright pin making it fast with three turns of the

band on either side the knob, and bending the thong of the yoke

beneath it. This done, they brought from the store-chamber the

rich ransom that was to purchase the body of Hector, and they set

it all orderly on the waggon; then they yoked the strong

harness-mules which the Mysians had on a time given as a goodly

present to Priam; but for Priam himself they yoked horses which

the old king had bred, and kept for own use.

Thus heedfully did Priam and his servant see to the yolking of

their cars at the palace. Then Hecuba came to them all sorrowful,

with a golden goblet of wine in her right hand, that they might

make a drink-offering before they set out. She stood in front of

the horses and said, "Take this, make a drink-offering to father

Jove, and since you are minded to go to the ships in spite of me,

pray that you may come safely back from the hands of your

enemies. Pray to the son of Saturn lord of the whirlwind, who

sits on Ida and looks down over all Troy, pray him to send his

swift messenger on your right hand, the bird of omen which is

strongest and most dear to him of all birds, that you may see it

with your own eyes and trust it as you go forth to the ships of

the Danaans. If all-seeing Jove will not send you this messenger,

however set upon it you may be, I would not have you go to the

ships of the Argives."

And Priam answered, "Wife, I will do as you desire me; it is well

to lift hands in prayer to Jove, if so be he may have mercy upon

me."

With this the old man bade the serving-woman pour pure water over

his hands, and the woman came, bearing the water in a bowl. He

washed his hands and took the cup from his wife; then he made the

drink-offering and prayed, standing in the middle of the

courtyard and turning his eyes to heaven. "Father Jove," he said,

"that rulest from Ida, most glorious and most great, grant that I

may be received kindly and compassionately in the tents of

Achilles; and send your swift messenger upon my right hand, the

bird of omen which is strongest and most dear to you of all

birds, that I may see it with my own eyes and trust it as I go

forth to the ships of the Danaans."

So did he pray, and Jove the lord of counsel heard his prayer.

Forthwith he sent an eagle, the most unerring portent of all

birds that fly, the dusky hunter that men also call the Black

Eagle. His wings were spread abroad on either side as wide as the

well-made and well-bolted door of a rich man's chamber. He came

to them flying over the city upon their right hands, and when

they saw him they were glad and their hearts took comfort within

them. The old man made haste to mount his chariot, and drove out

through the inner gateway and under the echoing gatehouse of the

outer court. Before him went the mules drawing the four-wheeled

waggon, and driven by wise Idaeus; behind these were the horses,

which the old man lashed with his whip and drove swiftly through

the city, while his friends followed after, wailing and lamenting

for him as though he were on his road to death. As soon as they

had come down from the city and had reached the plain, his sons

and sons-in-law who had followed him went back to Ilius.

But Priam and Idaeus as they showed out upon the plain did not

escape the ken of all-seeing Jove, who looked down upon the old

man and pitied him; then he spoke to his son Mercury and said,

"Mercury, for it is you who are the most disposed to escort men

on their way, and to hear those whom you will hear, go, and so

conduct Priam to the ships of the Achaeans that no other of the

Danaans shall see him nor take note of him until he reach the son

of Peleus."

Thus he spoke and Mercury, guide and guardian, slayer of Argus,

did as he was told. Forthwith he bound on his glittering golden

sandals with which he could fly like the wind over land and sea;

he took the wand with which he seals men's eyes in sleep, or

wakes them just as he pleases, and flew holding it in his hand

till he came to Troy and to the Hellespont. To look at, he was

like a young man of noble birth in the hey-day of his youth and

beauty with the down just coming upon his face.

Now when Priam and Idaeus had driven past the great tomb of

Ilius, they stayed their mules and horses that they might drink

in the river, for the shades of night were falling, when,

therefore, Idaeus saw Mercury standing near them he said to

Priam, "Take heed, descendant of Dardanus; here is matter which

demands consideration. I see a man who I think will presently

fall upon us; let us fly with our horses, or at least embrace his

knees and implore him to take compassion upon us?"

When he heard this the old man's heart failed him, and he was in

great fear; he stayed where he was as one dazed, and the hair

stood on end over his whole body; but the bringer of good luck

came up to him and took him by the hand, saying, "Whither,

father, are you thus driving your mules and horses in the dead of

night when other men are asleep? Are you not afraid of the fierce

Achaeans who are hard by you, so cruel and relentless? Should

some one of them see you bearing so much treasure through the

darkness of the flying night, what would not your state then be?

You are no longer young, and he who is with you is too old to

protect you from those who would attack you. For myself, I will

do you no harm, and I will defend you from any one else, for you

remind me of my own father."

And Priam answered, "It is indeed as you say, my dear son;

nevertheless some god has held his hand over me, in that he has

sent such a wayfarer as yourself to meet me so opportunely; you

are so comely in mien and figure, and your judgement is so

excellent that you must come of blessed parents."

Then said the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "Sir, all that

you have said is right; but tell me and tell me true, are you

taking this rich treasure to send it to a foreign people where it

may be safe, or are you all leaving strong Ilius in dismay now

that your son has fallen who was the bravest man among you and

was never lacking in battle with the Achaeans?"

And Priam said, "Who are you, my friend, and who are your

parents, that you speak so truly about the fate of my unhappy

son?"

The slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, answered him, "Sir, you

would prove me, that you question me about noble Hector. Many a

time have I set eyes upon him in battle when he was driving the

Argives to their ships and putting them to the sword. We stood

still and marvelled, for Achilles in his anger with the son of

Atreus suffered us not to fight. I am his squire, and came with

him in the same ship. I am a Myrmidon, and my father's name is

Polyctor: he is a rich man and about as old as you are; he has

six sons besides myself, and I am the seventh. We cast lots, and

it fell upon me to sail hither with Achilles. I am now come from

the ships on to the plain, for with daybreak the Achaeans will

set battle in array about the city. They chafe at doing nothing,

and are so eager that their princes cannot hold them back."

Then answered Priam, "If you are indeed the squire of Achilles

son of Peleus, tell me now the whole truth. Is my son still at

the ships, or has Achilles hewn him limb from limb, and given him

to his hounds?"

"Sir," replied the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "neither

hounds nor vultures have yet devoured him; he is still just lying

at the tents by the ship of Achilles, and though it is now twelve

days that he has lain there, his flesh is not wasted nor have the

worms eaten him although they feed on warriors. At daybreak

Achilles drags him cruelly round the sepulchre of his dear

comrade, but it does him no hurt. You should come yourself and

see how he lies fresh as dew, with the blood all washed away, and

his wounds every one of them closed though many pierced him with

their spears. Such care have the blessed gods taken of your brave

son, for he was dear to them beyond all measure."

The old man was comforted as he heard him and said, "My son, see

what a good thing it is to have made due offerings to the

immortals; for as sure as that he was born my son never forgot

the gods that hold Olympus, and now they requite it to him even

in death. Accept therefore at my hands this goodly chalice; guard

me and with heaven's help guide me till I come to the tent of the

son of Peleus."

Then answered the slayer of Argus, guide and guardian, "Sir, you

are tempting me and playing upon my youth, but you shall not move

me, for you are offering me presents without the knowledge of

Achilles whom I fear and hold it great guilt to defraud, lest

some evil presently befall me; but as your guide I would go with

you even to Argos itself, and would guard you so carefully

whether by sea or land, that no one should attack you through

making light of him who was with you."

The bringer of good luck then sprang on to the chariot, and

seizing the whip and reins he breathed fresh spirit into the

mules and horses. When they reached the trench and the wall that

was before the ships, those who were on guard had just been

getting their suppers, and the slayer of Argus threw them all

into a deep sleep. Then he drew back the bolts to open the gates,

and took Priam inside with the treasure he had upon his waggon.

Ere long they came to the lofty dwelling of the son of Peleus for

which the Myrmidons had cut pine and which they had built for

their king; when they had built it they thatched it with coarse

tussock-grass which they had mown out on the plain, and all round

it they made a large courtyard, which was fenced with stakes set

close together. The gate was barred with a single bolt of pine

which it took three men to force into its place, and three to

draw back so as to open the gate, but Achilles could draw it by

himself. Mercury opened the gate for the old man, and brought in

the treasure that he was taking with him for the son of Peleus.

Then he sprang from the chariot on to the ground and said, "Sir,

it is I, immortal Mercury, that am come with you, for my father

sent me to escort you. I will now leave you, and will not enter

into the presence of Achilles, for it might anger him that a god

should befriend mortal men thus openly. Go you within, and

embrace the knees of the son of Peleus: beseech him by his

father, his lovely mother, and his son; thus you may move him."

With these words Mercury went back to high Olympus. Priam sprang

from his chariot to the ground, leaving Idaeus where he was, in

charge of the mules and horses. The old man went straight into

the house where Achilles, loved of the gods, was sitting. There

he found him with his men seated at a distance from him: only

two, the hero Automedon, and Alcimus of the race of Mars, were

busy in attendance about his person, for he had but just done

eating and drinking, and the table was still there. King Priam

entered without their seeing him, and going right up to Achilles

he clasped his knees and kissed the dread murderous hands that

had slain so many of his sons.

As when some cruel spite has befallen a man that he should have

killed some one in his own country, and must fly to a great man's

protection in a land of strangers, and all marvel who see him,

even so did Achilles marvel as he beheld Priam. The others looked

one to another and marvelled also, but Priam besought Achilles

saying, "Think of your father, O Achilles like unto the gods, who

is such even as I am, on the sad threshold of old age. It may be

that those who dwell near him harass him, and there is none to

keep war and ruin from him. Yet when he hears of you being still

alive, he is glad, and his days are full of hope that he shall

see his dear son come home to him from Troy; but I, wretched man

that I am, had the bravest in all Troy for my sons, and there is

not one of them left. I had fifty sons when the Achaeans came

here; nineteen of them were from a single womb, and the others

were borne to me by the women of my household. The greater part

of them has fierce Mars laid low, and Hector, him who was alone

left, him who was the guardian of the city and ourselves, him

have you lately slain; therefore I am now come to the ships of

the Achaeans to ransom his body from you with a great ransom.

Fear, O Achilles, the wrath of heaven; think on your own father

and have compassion upon me, who am the more pitiable, for I have

steeled myself as no man yet has ever steeled himself before me,

and have raised to my lips the hand of him who slew my son."

Thus spoke Priam, and the heart of Achilles yearned as he

bethought him of his father. He took the old man's hand and moved

him gently away. The two wept bitterly--Priam, as he lay at

Achilles' feet, weeping for Hector, and Achilles now for his

father and now for Patroclous, till the house was filled with

their lamentation. But when Achilles was now sated with grief and

had unburthened the bitterness of his sorrow, he left his seat

and raised the old man by the hand, in pity for his white hair

and beard; then he said, "Unhappy man, you have indeed been

greatly daring; how could you venture to come alone to the ships

of the Achaeans, and enter the presence of him who has slain so

many of your brave sons? You must have iron courage: sit now upon

this seat, and for all our grief we will hide our sorrows in our

hearts, for weeping will not avail us. The immortals know no

care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the

floor of Jove's palace there stand two urns, the one filled with

evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Jove the

lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good

and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Jove sends none but

evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of

famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go

up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor

men. Even so did it befall Peleus; the gods endowed him with all

good things from his birth upwards, for he reigned over the

Myrmidons excelling all men in prosperity and wealth, and mortal

though he was they gave him a goddess for his bride. But even on

him too did heaven send misfortune, for there is no race of royal

children born to him in his house, save one son who is doomed to

die all untimely; nor may I take care of him now that he is

growing old, for I must stay here at Troy to be the bane of you

and your children. And you too, O Priam, I have heard that you

were aforetime happy. They say that in wealth and plenitude of

offspring you surpassed all that is in Lesbos, the realm of Makar

to the northward, Phrygia that is more inland, and those that

dwell upon the great Hellespont; but from the day when the

dwellers in heaven sent this evil upon you, war and slaughter

have been about your city continually. Bear up against it, and

let there be some intervals in your sorrow. Mourn as you may for

your brave son, you will take nothing by it. You cannot raise him

from the dead, ere you do so yet another sorrow shall befall

you."

And Priam answered, "O king, bid me not be seated, while Hector

is still lying uncared for in your tents, but accept the great

ransom which I have brought you, and give him to me at once that

I may look upon him. May you prosper with the ransom and reach

your own land in safety, seeing that you have suffered me to live

and to look upon the light of the sun."

Achilles looked at him sternly and said, "Vex me, sir, no longer;

I am of myself minded to give up the body of Hector. My mother,

daughter of the old man of the sea, came to me from Jove to bid

me deliver it to you. Moreover I know well, O Priam, and you

cannot hide it, that some god has brought you to the ships of the

Achaeans, for else, no man however strong and in his prime would

dare to come to our host; he could neither pass our guard unseen,

nor draw the bolt of my gates thus easily; therefore, provoke me

no further, lest I sin against the word of Jove, and suffer you

not, suppliant though you are, within my tents."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Then the son of Peleus sprang

like a lion through the door of his house, not alone, but with

him went his two squires Automedon and Alcimus who were closer to

him than any others of his comrades now that Patroclus was no

more. These unyoked the horses and mules, and bade Priam's herald

and attendant be seated within the house. They lifted the ransom

for Hector's body from the waggon. but they left two mantles and

a goodly shirt, that Achilles might wrap the body in them when he

gave it to be taken home. Then he called to his servants and

ordered them to wash the body and anoint it, but he first took it

to a place where Priam should not see it, lest if he did so, he

should break out in the bitterness of his grief, and enrage

Achilles, who might then kill him and sin against the word of

Jove. When the servants had washed the body and anointed it, and

had wrapped it in a fair shirt and mantle, Achilles himself

lifted it on to a bier, and he and his men then laid it on the

waggon. He cried aloud as he did so and called on the name of his

dear comrade, "Be not angry with me, Patroclus," he said, "if you

hear even in the house of Hades that I have given Hector to his

father for a ransom. It has been no unworthy one, and I will

share it equitably with you."

Achilles then went back into the tent and took his place on the

richly inlaid seat from which he had risen, by the wall that was

at right angles to the one against which Priam was sitting.

"Sir," he said, "your son is now laid upon his bier and is

ransomed according to desire; you shall look upon him when you

him away at daybreak; for the present let us prepare our supper.

Even lovely Niobe had to think about eating, though her twelve

children--six daughters and six lusty sons--had been all slain in

her house. Apollo killed the sons with arrows from his silver

bow, to punish Niobe, and Diana slew the daughters, because Niobe

had vaunted herself against Leto; she said Leto had borne two

children only, whereas she had herself borne many--whereon the

two killed the many. Nine days did they lie weltering, and there

was none to bury them, for the son of Saturn turned the people

into stone; but on the tenth day the gods in heaven themselves

buried them, and Niobe then took food, being worn out with

weeping. They say that somewhere among the rocks on the mountain

pastures of Sipylus, where the nymphs live that haunt the river

Achelous, there, they say, she lives in stone and still nurses

the sorrows sent upon her by the hand of heaven. Therefore, noble

sir, let us two now take food; you can weep for your dear son

hereafter as you are bearing him back to Ilius--and many a tear

will he cost you."

With this Achilles sprang from his seat and killed a sheep of

silvery whiteness, which his followers skinned and made ready all

in due order. They cut the meat carefully up into smaller pieces,

spitted them, and drew them off again when they were well

roasted. Automedon brought bread in fair baskets and served it

round the table, while Achilles dealt out the meat, and they laid

their hands on the good things that were before them. As soon as

they had had enough to eat and drink, Priam, descendant of

Dardanus, marvelled at the strength and beauty of Achilles for he

was as a god to see, and Achilles marvelled at Priam as he

listened to him and looked upon his noble presence. When they had

gazed their fill Priam spoke first. "And now, O king," he said,

"take me to my couch that we may lie down and enjoy the blessed

boon of sleep. Never once have my eyes been closed from the day

your hands took the life of my son; I have grovelled without

ceasing in the mire of my stable-yard, making moan and brooding

over my countless sorrows. Now, moreover, I have eaten bread and

drunk wine; hitherto I have tasted nothing."

As he spoke Achilles told his men and the women-servants to set

beds in the room that was in the gatehouse, and make them with

good red rugs, and spread coverlets on the top of them with

woollen cloaks for Priam and Idaeus to wear. So the maids went

out carrying a torch and got the two beds ready in all haste.

Then Achilles said laughingly to Priam, "Dear sir, you shall lie

outside, lest some counsellor of those who in due course keep

coming to advise with me should see you here in the darkness of

the flying night, and tell it to Agamemnon. This might cause

delay in the delivery of the body. And now tell me and tell me

true, for how many days would you celebrate the funeral rites of

noble Hector? Tell me, that I may hold aloof from war and

restrain the host."

And Priam answered, "Since, then, you suffer me to bury my noble

son with all due rites, do thus, Achilles, and I shall be

grateful. You know how we are pent up within our city; it is far

for us to fetch wood from the mountain, and the people live in

fear. Nine days, therefore, will we mourn Hector in my house; on

the tenth day we will bury him and there shall be a public feast

in his honour; on the eleventh we will build a mound over his

ashes, and on the twelfth, if there be need, we will fight."

And Achilles answered, "All, King Priam, shall be as you have

said. I will stay our fighting for as long a time as you have

named."

As he spoke he laid his hand on the old man's right wrist, in

token that he should have no fear; thus then did Priam and his

attendant sleep there in the forecourt, full of thought, while

Achilles lay in an inner room of the house, with fair Briseis by

his side.

And now both gods and mortals were fast asleep through the

livelong night, but upon Mercury alone, the bringer of good luck,

sleep could take no hold for he was thinking all the time how to

get King Priam away from the ships without his being seen by the

strong force of sentinels. He hovered therefore over Priam's head

and said, "Sir, now that Achilles has spared your life, you seem

to have no fear about sleeping in the thick of your foes. You

have paid a great ransom, and have received the body of your son;

were you still alive and a prisoner the sons whom you have left

at home would have to give three times as much to free you; and

so it would be if Agamemnon and the other Achaeans were to know

of your being here."

When he heard this the old man was afraid and roused his servant.

Mercury then yoked their horses and mules, and drove them quickly

through the host so that no man perceived them. When they came to

the ford of eddying Xanthus, begotten of immortal Jove, Mercury

went back to high Olympus, and dawn in robe of saffron began to

break over all the land. Priam and Idaeus then drove on toward

the city lamenting and making moan, and the mules drew the body

of Hector. No one neither man nor woman saw them, till Cassandra,

fair as golden Venus standing on Pergamus, caught sight of her

dear father in his chariot, and his servant that was the city's

herald with him. Then she saw him that was lying upon the bier,

drawn by the mules, and with a loud cry she went about the city

saying, "Come hither Trojans, men and women, and look on Hector;

if ever you rejoiced to see him coming from battle when he was

alive, look now on him that was the glory of our city and all our

people."

At this there was not man nor woman left in the city, so great a

sorrow had possessed them. Hard by the gates they met Priam as he

was bringing in the body. Hector's wife and his mother were the

first to mourn him: they flew towards the waggon and laid their

hands upon his head, while the crowd stood weeping round them.

They would have stayed before the gates, weeping and lamenting

the livelong day to the going down of the sun, had not Priam

spoken to them from the chariot and said, "Make way for the mules

to pass you. Afterwards when I have taken the body home you shall

have your fill of weeping."

On this the people stood asunder, and made a way for the waggon.

When they had borne the body within the house they laid it upon a

bed and seated minstrels round it to lead the dirge, whereon the

women joined in the sad music of their lament. Foremost among

them all Andromache led their wailing as she clasped the head of

mighty Hector in her embrace. "Husband," she cried, "you have

died young, and leave me in your house a widow; he of whom we are

the ill-starred parents is still a mere child, and I fear he may

not reach manhood. Ere he can do so our city will be razed and

overthrown, for you who watched over it are no more--you who were

its saviour, the guardian of our wives and children. Our women

will be carried away captives to the ships, and I among them;

while you, my child, who will be with me will be put to some

unseemly tasks, working for a cruel master. Or, may be, some

Achaean will hurl you (O miserable death) from our walls, to

avenge some brother, son, or father whom Hector slew; many of

them have indeed bitten the dust at his hands, for your father's

hand in battle was no light one. Therefore do the people mourn

him. You have left, O Hector, sorrow unutterable to your parents,

and my own grief is greatest of all, for you did not stretch

forth your arms and embrace me as you lay dying, nor say to me

any words that might have lived with me in my tears night and day

for evermore."

Bitterly did she weep the while, and the women joined in her

lament. Hecuba in her turn took up the strains of woe. "Hector,"

she cried, "dearest to me of all my children. So long as you were

alive the gods loved you well, and even in death they have not

been utterly unmindful of you; for when Achilles took any other

of my sons, he would sell him beyond the seas, to Samos Imbrus or

rugged Lemnos; and when he had slain you too with his sword, many

a time did he drag you round the sepulchre of his comrade--though

this could not give him life--yet here you lie all fresh as dew,

and comely as one whom Apollo has slain with his painless

shafts."

Thus did she too speak through her tears with bitter moan, and

then Helen for a third time took up the strain of lamentation.

"Hector," said she, "dearest of all my brothers-in-law--for I am

wife to Alexandrus who brought me hither to Troy--would that I

had died ere he did so--twenty years are come and gone since I

left my home and came from over the sea, but I have never heard

one word of insult or unkindness from you. When another would

chide with me, as it might be one of your brothers or sisters or

of your brothers' wives, or my mother-in-law--for Priam was as

kind to me as though he were my own father--you would rebuke and

check them with words of gentleness and goodwill. Therefore my

tears flow both for you and for my unhappy self, for there is no

one else in Troy who is kind to me, but all shrink and shudder as

they go by me."

She wept as she spoke and the vast crowd that was gathered round

her joined in her lament. Then King Priam spoke to them saying,

"Bring wood, O Trojans, to the city, and fear no cunning ambush

of the Argives, for Achilles when he dismissed me from the ships

gave me his word that they should not attack us until the morning

of the twelfth day."

Forthwith they yoked their oxen and mules and gathered together

before the city. Nine days long did they bring in great heaps of

wood, and on the morning of the tenth day with many tears they

took brave Hector forth, laid his dead body upon the summit of

the pile, and set the fire thereto. Then when the child of

morning, rosy-fingered dawn, appeared on the eleventh day, the

people again assembled, round the pyre of mighty Hector. When

they were got together, they first quenched the fire with wine

wherever it was burning, and then his brothers and comrades with

many a bitter tear gathered his white bones, wrapped them in soft

robes of purple, and laid them in a golden urn, which they placed

in a grave and covered over with large stones set close together.

Then they built a barrow hurriedly over it keeping guard on every

side lest the Achaeans should attack them before they had

finished. When they had heaped up the barrow they went back again

into the city, and being well assembled they held high feast in

the house of Priam their king.

Thus, then, did they celebrate the funeral of Hector tamer of

horses.