The Iliad Of Homer: Translated Into English Blank Verse: Book V.

A poem by William Cowper

Argument Of The Fifth Book.


Diomede is extraordinarily distinguished. He kills Pandarus, who had violated the truce, and wounds first Venus and then Mars.



Then Athenæan Pallas on the son
Of Tydeus,[1] Diomede, new force conferr'd
And daring courage, that the Argives all
He might surpass, and deathless fame achieve.
Fires on his helmet and his shield around
She kindled, bright and steady as the star
Autumnal,[2] which in Ocean newly bathed
Assumes fresh beauty; with such glorious beams
His head encircling and his shoulders broad,
She urged him forth into the thickest fight.
There lived a man in Troy, Dares his name,
The priest of Vulcan; rich he was and good,
The father of two sons, Idæus this,
That, Phegeus call'd; accomplish'd warriors both.
These, issuing from their phalanx, push'd direct
Their steeds at Diomede, who fought on foot.
When now small interval was left between,
First Phegeus his long-shadow'd spear dismiss'd;
But over Diomede's left shoulder pass'd
The point, innocuous. Then his splendid lance
Tydides hurl'd; nor ineffectual flew
The weapon from his hand, but Phegeus pierced
His paps between, and forced him to the ground.
At once, his sumptuous chariot left, down leap'd
Idæsus, wanting courage to defend
His brother slain; nor had he scaped himself
His louring fate, but Vulcan, to preserve
His ancient priest from unmixt sorrow, snatch'd
The fugitive in darkness wrapt, away.
Then brave Tydides, driving off the steeds,
Consign'd them to his fellow-warriors' care,
That they might lead them down into the fleet.
The valiant Trojans, when they saw the sons
Of Dares, one beside his chariot slain,
And one by flight preserved, through all their host
Felt consternation. Then Minerva seized
The hand of fiery Mars, and thus she spake.
Gore-tainted homicide, town-battering Mars!
Leave we the Trojans and the Greeks to wage
Fierce fight alone, Jove prospering whom he will,
So shall we not provoke our father's ire.
She said, and from the fight conducted forth
The impetuous Deity, whom on the side
She seated of Scamander deep-embank'd.[3]
And now the host of Troy to flight inclined
Before the Grecians, and the Chiefs of Greece
Each slew a warrior. Agamemnon first
Gigantic Odius from his chariot hurl'd.
Chief of the Halizonians. He to flight
Turn'd foremost, when the monarch in his spine
Between the shoulder-bones his spear infixt,
And urged it through his breast. Sounding he fell,
And loud his batter'd armor rang around.
By brave Idomeneus a Lydian died,
Phæstus, from fruitful Tarne sent to Troy,
Son of Mæonian Borus; him his steeds
Mounting, Idomeneus the spear-renown'd
Through his right shoulder pierced; unwelcome night
Involved him; from his chariot down he fell,[4]
And the attendant Cretans stripp'd his arms.
But Menelaus, son of Atreus slew
With his bright spear Scamandrius, Stropius' son,
A skilful hunter; for Diana him,
Herself, the slaughter of all savage kinds
Had taught, on mountain or in forest bred.
But she, shaft-aiming Goddess, in that hour
Avail'd him not, nor his own matchless skill;
For Menelaus, Atreus son spear-famed,
Him flying wounded in the spine between
His shoulders, and the spear urged through his breast.
Prone on his loud-resounding arms he fell.
Next, by Meriones, Phereclus died,
Son of Harmonides. All arts that ask
A well-instructed hand his sire had learn'd,
For Pallas dearly loved him. He the fleet,
Prime source of harm to Troy and to himself,
For Paris built, unskill'd to spell aright
The oracles predictive of the wo.
Phereclus fled; Meriones his flight
Outstripping, deep in his posterior flesh
A spear infix'd; sliding beneath the bone
It grazed his bladder as it pass'd, and stood
Protruded far before. Low on his knees
Phereclus sank, and with a shriek expired.
Pedæus, whom, although his spurious son,
Antenor's wife, to gratify her lord,
Had cherish'd as her own--him Meges slew.
Warlike Phylides[5] following close his flight,
His keen lance drove into his poll, cut sheer
His tongue within, and through his mouth enforced
The glittering point. He, prostrate in the dust,
The cold steel press'd between his teeth and died.
Eurypylus, Evemon's son, the brave
Hypsenor slew; Dolopion was his sire,
Priest of Scamander, reverenced as a God.
In vain before Eurypylus he fled;
He, running, with his falchion lopp'd his arm
Fast by the shoulder; on the field his hand
Fell blood-distained, and destiny severe
With shades of death for ever veil'd his eyes.
Thus strenuous they the toilsome battle waged.
But where Tydides fought, whether in aid
Of Ilium's host, or on the part of Greece,
Might none discern. For as a winter-flood
Impetuous, mounds and bridges sweeps away;[6]
The buttress'd bridge checks not its sudden force,
The firm inclosure of vine-planted fields
Luxuriant, falls before it; finish'd works
Of youthful hinds, once pleasant to the eye,
Now levell'd, after ceaseless rain from Jove;
So drove Tydides into sudden flight
The Trojans; phalanx after phalanx fled
Before the terror of his single arm.
When him Lycaon's son illustrious saw
Scouring the field, and from before his face
The ranks dispersing wide, at once he bent
Against Tydides his elastic bow.
The arrow met him in his swift career
Sure-aim'd; it struck direct the hollow mail
Of his right shoulder, with resistless force
Transfix'd it, and his hauberk stain'd with blood.
Loud shouted then Lycaon's son renown'd.
Rush on, ye Trojans, spur your coursers hard.
Our fiercest foe is wounded, and I deem
His death not distant far, if me the King[7]
Jove's son, indeed, from Lycia sent to Troy.
So boasted Pandarus. Yet him the dart
Quell'd not. Retreating, at his coursers' heads
He stood, and to the son of Capaneus
His charioteer and faithful friend he said.
Arise, sweet son of Capaneus, dismount,
And from my shoulder draw this bitter shaft.
He spake; at once the son of Capaneus
Descending, by its barb the bitter shaft
Drew forth; blood spouted through his twisted mail
Incontinent, and thus the Hero pray'd.
Unconquer'd daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd!
If ever me, propitious, or my sire
Thou hast in furious fight help'd heretofore,
Now aid me also. Bring within the reach
Of my swift spear, Oh grant me to strike through
The warrior who hath check'd my course, and boasts
The sun's bright beams for ever quench'd to me![8]
He prayed, and Pallas heard; she braced his limbs,
She wing'd him with alacrity divine,
And, standing at his side, him thus bespake.
Now Diomede, be bold! Fight now with Troy.
To thee, thy father's spirit I impart
Fearless; shield-shaking Tydeus felt the same.
I also from thine eye the darkness purge
Which dimm'd thy sight[9] before, that thou may'st know
Both Gods and men; should, therefore, other God
Approach to try thee, fight not with the powers
Immortal; but if foam-born Venus come,
Her spare not. Wound her with thy glittering spear.
So spake the blue-eyed Deity, and went,
Then with the champions in the van again
Tydides mingled; hot before, he fights
With threefold fury now, nor less enraged
Than some gaunt lion whom o'erleaping light
The fold, a shepherd hath but gall'd, not kill'd,
Him irritating more; thenceforth the swain
Lurks unresisting; flies the abandon'd flock;
Heaps slain on heaps he leaves, and with a bound
Surmounting all impediment, escapes;
Such seem'd the valiant Diomede incensed
To fury, mingling with the host of Troy.
Astynoüs and Hypenor first he slew;
One with his brazen lance above the pap
He pierced, and one with his huge falchion smote
Fast by the key-bone,[10] from the neck and spine
His parted shoulder driving at a blow.
Them leaving, Polyides next he sought
And Abas, sons of a dream-dealing seer,
Eurydamas; their hoary father's dreams
Or not interpreted, or kept concealed,
Them saved not, for by Diomede they died.
Xanthus and Thöon he encounter'd next,
Both sons of Phænops, sons of his old age,
Who other heir had none of all his wealth,
Nor hoped another, worn with many years.
Tydides slew them both; nor aught remain'd
To the old man but sorrow for his sons
For ever lost, and strangers were his heirs.
Two sons of Priam in one chariot borne
Echemon next, and Chromius felt his hand
Resistless. As a lion on the herd
Leaping, while they the shrubs and bushes browse,
Breaks short the neck of heifer or of steer,
So them, though clinging fast and loth to fall,
Tydides hurl'd together to the ground,
Then stripp'd their splendid armor, and the steeds
Consigned and chariot to his soldiers' care.
Æneas him discern'd scattering the ranks,
And through the battle and the clash of spears
Went seeking godlike Pandarus; ere long
Finding Lycaon's martial son renown'd,
He stood before him, and him thus address'd.
Thy bow, thy feather'd shafts, and glorious name
Where are they, Pandarus? whom none of Troy
Could equal, whom of Lycia, none excel.
Come. Lift thine hands to Jove, and at yon Chief
Dispatch an arrow, who afflicts the host
Of Ilium thus, conquering where'er he flies,
And who hath slaughter'd numerous brave in arms,
But him some Deity I rather deem
Avenging on us his neglected rites,
And who can stand before an angry God?
Him answer'd then Lycaon's son renown'd.
Brave leader of the Trojans brazen-mail'd,
Æneas! By his buckler which I know,
And by his helmet's height, considering, too
His steeds, I deem him Diomede the bold;
Yet such pronounce him not, who seems a God.
But if bold Diomede indeed he be
Of whom I speak, not without aid from heaven
His fury thus prevails, but at his side
Some God, in clouds enveloped, turns away
From him the arrow to a devious course.
Already, at his shoulder's hollow mail
My shaft hath pierced him through, and him I deem'd
Dismiss'd full sure to Pluto ere his time
But he survives; whom therefore I at last
Perforce conclude some angry Deity.
Steeds have I none or chariot to ascend,
Who have eleven chariots in the stands
Left of Lycaon, with fair hangings all
O'ermantled, strong, new finish'd, with their steeds
In pairs beside them, eating winnow'd grain.
Me much Lycaon my old valiant sire
At my departure from his palace gates
Persuaded, that my chariot and my steeds
Ascending, I should so conduct my bands
To battle; counsel wise, and ill-refused!
But anxious, lest (the host in Troy so long
Immew'd) my steeds, fed plenteously at home,
Should here want food, I left them, and on foot
To Ilium came, confiding in my bow
Ordain'd at last to yield me little good.
Twice have I shot, and twice I struck the mark,
First Menelaus, and Tydides next;
From each I drew the blood, true, genuine blood,
Yet have but more incensed them. In an hour
Unfortunate, I therefore took my bow
Down from the wall that day, when for the sake
Of noble Hector, to these pleasant plains
I came, a leader on the part of Troy.
But should I once return, and with these eyes
Again behold my native land, my sire,
My wife, my stately mansion, may the hand,
That moment, of some adversary there
Shorten me by the head, if I not snap
This bow with which I charged myself in vain,
And burn the unprofitable tool to dust.
To whom Æneas, Trojan Chief, replied.
Nay, speak not so. For ere that hour arrive
We will, with chariot and with horse, in arms
Encounter him, and put his strength to proof.
Delay not, mount my chariot. Thou shalt see
With what rapidity the steeds of Troy
Pursuing or retreating, scour the field.
If after all, Jove purpose still to exalt
The son of Tydeus, these shall bear us safe
Back to the city. Come then. Let us on.
The lash take thou, and the resplendent reins,
While I alight for battle, or thyself
Receive them, and the steeds shall be my care.
Him answer'd then Lycaon's son renown'd.
Æneas! manage thou the reins, and guide
Thy proper steeds. If fly at last we must
The son of Tydeus, they will readier draw
Directed by their wonted charioteer.
Else, terrified, and missing thy control,
They may refuse to bear us from the fight,
And Tydeus' son assailing us, with ease
Shall slay us both, and drive thy steeds away.
Rule therefore thou the chariot, and myself
With my sharp spear will his assault receive.
So saying, they mounted both, and furious drove
Against Tydides. Them the noble son
Of Capaneus observed, and turning quick
His speech to Diomede, him thus address'd.
Tydides, Diomede, my heart's delight!
Two warriors of immeasurable force
In battle, ardent to contend with thee,
Come rattling on. Lycaon's offspring one,
Bow-practised Pandarus; with whom appears
Æneas; he who calls the mighty Chief
Anchises father, and whom Venus bore.
Mount--drive we swift away--lest borne so far
Beyond the foremost battle, thou be slain.
To whom, dark-frowning, Diomede replied
Speak not of flight to me, who am disposed
To no such course. I am ashamed to fly
Or tremble, and my strength is still entire;
I cannot mount. No. Rather thus, on foot,
I will advance against them. Fear and dread
Are not for me; Pallas forbids the thought.
One falls, be sure; swift as they are, the steeds
That whirl them on, shall never rescue both.
But hear my bidding, and hold fast the word.
Should all-wise Pallas grant me my desire
To slay them both, drive not my coursers hence,
But hook the reins, and seizing quick the pair
That draw Æneas, urge them from the powers
Of Troy away into the host of Greece.
For they are sprung from those which Jove to Tros
In compensation gave for Ganymede;
The Sun himself sees not their like below.
Anchises, King of men, clandestine them
Obtain'd, his mares submitting to the steeds
Of King Laomedon. Six brought him foals;
Four to himself reserving, in his stalls
He fed them sleek, and two he gave his son:
These, might we win them, were a noble prize.
Thus mutual they conferr'd; those Chiefs, the while,
With swiftest pace approach'd, and first his speech
To Diomede Lycaon's son address'd.
Heroic offspring of a noble sire,
Brave son of Tydeus! false to my intent
My shaft hath harm'd thee little. I will now
Make trial with my spear, if that may speed.
He said, and shaking his long-shadow'd spear,
Dismiss'd it. Forceful on the shield it struck
Of Diomede, transpierced it, and approach'd
With threatening point the hauberk on his breast.
Loud shouted Pandarus--Ah nobly thrown!
Home to thy bowels. Die, for die thou must,
And all the glory of thy death is mine.
Then answer thus brave Diomede return'd
Undaunted. I am whole. Thy cast was short.
But ye desist not, as I plain perceive,
Till one at least extended on the plain
Shall sate the God of battles with his blood.
He said and threw. Pallas the spear herself
Directed; at his eye fast by the nose
Deep-entering, through his ivory teeth it pass'd,
At its extremity divided sheer
His tongue, and started through his chin below.
He headlong fell, and with his dazzling arms
Smote full the plain. Back flew the fiery steeds
With swift recoil, and where he fell he died.
Then sprang Æneas forth with spear and shield,
That none might drag the body;[11] lion-like
He stalk'd around it, oval shield and spear
Advancing firm, and with incessant cries
Terrific, death denouncing on his foes.
But Diomede with hollow grasp a stone
Enormous seized, a weight to overtask
Two strongest men of such as now are strong,
Yet he, alone, wielded the rock with ease.
Full on the hip he smote him, where the thigh
Rolls in its cavity, the socket named.
He crushed the socket, lacerated wide
Both tendons, and with that rough-angled mass
Flay'd all his flesh, The Hero on his knees
Sank, on his ample palm his weight upbore
Laboring, and darkness overspread his eyes.
There had Æneas perish'd, King of men,
Had not Jove's daughter Venus quick perceived
His peril imminent, whom she had borne
Herself to Anchises pasturing his herds.
Her snowy arras her darling son around
She threw maternal, and behind a fold
Of her bright mantle screening close his breast
From mortal harm by some brave Grecian's spear,
Stole him with eager swiftness from the fight.
Nor then forgat brave Sthenelus his charge
Received from Diomede, but his own steeds
Detaining distant from the boisterous war,
Stretch'd tight the reins, and hook'd them fast behind.
The coursers of Æneas next he seized
Ardent, and them into the host of Greece
Driving remote, consign'd them to his care,
Whom far above all others his compeers
He loved, Deipylus, his bosom friend
Congenial. Him he charged to drive them thence
Into the fleet, then, mounting swift his own,
Lash'd after Diomede; he, fierce in arms,
Pursued the Cyprian Goddess, conscious whom,
Not Pallas, not Enyo, waster dread
Of cities close-beleaguer'd, none of all
Who o'er the battle's bloody course preside,
But one of softer kind and prone to fear.
When, therefore, her at length, after long chase
Through all the warring multitude he reach'd,
With his protruded spear her gentle hand
He wounded, piercing through her thin attire
Ambrosial, by themselves the graces wrought,
Her inside wrist, fast by the rosy palm.
Blood follow'd, but immortal; ichor pure,
Such as the blest inhabitants of heaven
May bleed, nectareous; for the Gods eat not
Man's food, nor slake as he with sable wine
Their thirst, thence bloodless and from death exempt.
She, shrieking, from her arms cast down her son,
And Phoebus, in impenetrable clouds
Him hiding, lest the spear of some brave Greek
Should pierce his bosom, caught him swift away.
Then shouted brave Tydides after her--
Depart, Jove's daughter! fly the bloody field.
Is't not enough that thou beguilest the hearts
Of feeble women? If thou dare intrude
Again into the war, war's very name
Shall make thee shudder, wheresoever heard.
He said, and Venus with excess of pain
Bewilder'd went; but Iris tempest-wing'd
Forth led her through the multitude, oppress'd
With anguish, her white wrist to livid changed.
They came where Mars far on the left retired
Of battle sat, his horses and his spear
In darkness veil'd. Before her brother's knees
She fell, and with entreaties urgent sought
The succor of his coursers golden-rein'd.
Save me, my brother! Pity me! Thy steeds
Give me, that they may bear me to the heights
Olympian, seat of the immortal Gods!
Oh! I am wounded deep; a mortal man
Hath done it, Diomede; nor would he fear
This day in fight the Sire himself of all.
Then Mars his coursers gold-caparison'd
Resign'd to Venus; she, with countenance sad,
The chariot climb'd, and Iris at her side
The bright reins seizing lash'd the ready steeds.
Soon as the Olympian heights, seat of the Gods,
They reach'd, wing-footed Iris loosing quick
The coursers, gave them large whereon to browse
Ambrosial food; but Venus on the knees
Sank of Dione, who with folded arms
Maternal, to her bosom straining close
Her daughter, stroked her cheek, and thus inquired.
My darling child! who? which of all the Gods
Hath rashly done such violence to thee
As if convicted of some open wrong?
Her then the Goddess of love-kindling smiles
Venus thus answer'd; Diomede the proud,
Audacious Diomede; he gave the wound,
For that I stole Æneas from the fight
My son of all mankind my most beloved;
Nor is it now the war of Greece with Troy,
But of the Grecians with the Gods themselves.
Then thus Dione, Goddess all divine.
My child! how hard soe'er thy sufferings seem
Endure them patiently. Full many a wrong
From human hands profane the Gods endure,
And many a painful stroke, mankind from ours.
Mars once endured much wrong, when on a time
Him Otus bound and Ephialtes fast,
Sons of Alöeus, and full thirteen moons
In brazen thraldom held him. There, at length,
The fierce blood-nourished Mars had pined away,
But that Eëriboea, loveliest nymph,
His step-mother, in happy hour disclosed
To Mercury the story of his wrongs;
He stole the prisoner forth, but with his woes
Already worn, languid and fetter-gall'd.
Nor Juno less endured, when erst the bold
Son of Amphytrion with tridental shaft
Her bosom pierced; she then the misery felt
Of irremediable pain severe.
Nor suffer'd Pluto less, of all the Gods
Gigantic most, by the same son of Jove
Alcides, at the portals of the dead
Transfix'd and fill'd with anguish; he the house
Of Jove and the Olympian summit sought
Dejected, torture-stung, for sore the shaft
Oppress'd him, into his huge shoulder driven.
But Pæon[12] him not liable to death
With unction smooth of salutiferous balms
Heal'd soon. Presumptuous, sacrilegious man!
Careless what dire enormities he wrought,
Who bent his bow against the powers of heaven!
But blue-eyed Pallas instigated him
By whom thou bleed'st. Infatuate! he forgets
That whoso turns against the Gods his arm
Lives never long; he never, safe escaped
From furious fight, the lisp'd caresses hears
Of his own infants prattling at his knees.
Let therefore Diomede beware, lest strong
And valiant as he is, he chance to meet
Some mightier foe than thou, and lest his wife,
Daughter of King Adrastus, the discrete
Ægialea, from portentous dreams
Upstarting, call her family to wail
Her first-espoused, Achaia's proudest boast,
Diomede, whom she must behold no more.
She said, and from her wrist with both hands wiped
The trickling ichor; the effectual touch
Divine chased all her pains, and she was heal'd.
Them Juno mark'd and Pallas, and with speech
Sarcastic pointed at Saturnian Jove
To vex him, blue-eyed Pallas thus began.
Eternal father! may I speak my thought,
And not incense thee, Jove? I can but judge
That Venus, while she coax'd some Grecian fair
To accompany the Trojans whom she loves
With such extravagance, hath heedless stroked
Her golden clasps, and scratch'd her lily hand.
So she; then smiled the sire of Gods and men,
And calling golden Venus, her bespake.
War and the tented field, my beauteous child,
Are not for thee. Thou rather shouldst be found
In scenes of matrimonial bliss. The toils
Of war to Pallas and to Mars belong.
Thus they in heaven. But Diomede the while
Sprang on Æneas, conscious of the God
Whose hand o'ershadow'd him, yet even him
Regarding lightly; for he burn'd to slay
Æneas, and to seize his glorious arms.
Thrice then he sprang impetuous to the deed,
And thrice Apollo with his radiant shield
Repulsed him. But when ardent as a God
The fourth time he advanced, with thundering-voice
Him thus the Archer of the skies rebuked.
Think, and retire, Tydides! nor affect
Equality with Gods; for not the same
Our nature is and theirs who tread the ground.
He spake, and Diomede a step retired,
Not more; the anger of the Archer-God
Declining slow, and with a sullen awe.
Then Phoebus, far from all the warrior throng
To his own shrine the sacred dome beneath
Of Pergamus, Æneas bore; there him
Latona and shaft-arm'd Diana heal'd
And glorified within their spacious fane.
Meantime the Archer of the silver bow
A visionary form prepared; it seem'd
Himself Æneas, and was arm'd as he.
At once, in contest for that airy form,
Grecians and Trojans on each other's breasts
The bull-hide buckler batter'd and light targe.
Then thus Apollo to the warrior God.
Gore-tainted homicide, town-batterer Mars!
Wilt thou not meet and from the fight withdraw
This man Tydides, now so fiery grown
That he would even cope with Jove himself?
First Venus' hand he wounded, and assail'd
Impetuous as a God, next, even me.
He ceased, and on the topmost turret sat
Of Pergamus. Then all-destroyer Mars
Ranging the Trojan host, rank after rank
Exhorted loud, and in the form assumed
Of Acamas the Thracian leader bold,
The godlike sons of Priam thus harangued.
Ye sons of Priam, monarch Jove-beloved!
How long permit ye your Achaian foes
To slay the people?--till the battle rage
(Push'd home to Ilium) at her solid gates?
Behold--a Chief disabled lies, than whom
We reverence not even Hector more,
Æneas; fly, save from the roaring storm
The noble Anchisiades your friend.
He said; then every heart for battle glow'd;
And thus Sarpedon with rebuke severe
Upbraiding generous Hector, stern began.
Where is thy courage, Hector? for thou once
Hadst courage. Is it fled? In other days
Thy boast hath been that without native troops
Or foreign aids, thy kindred and thyself
Alone, were guard sufficient for the town.
But none of all thy kindred now appears;
I can discover none; they stand aloof
Quaking, as dogs that hear the lion's roar.
We bear the stress, who are but Troy's allies;
Myself am such, and from afar I came;
For Lycia lies far distant on the banks
Of the deep-eddied Xanthus. There a wife
I left and infant son, both dear to me,
With plenteous wealth, the wish of all who want.
Yet urge I still my Lycians, and am prompt
Myself to fight, although possessing here
Nought that the Greeks can carry or drive hence.
But there stand'st thou, neither employed thyself,
Nor moving others to an active part
For all their dearest pledges. Oh beware!
Lest, as with meshes of an ample net,
At one huge draught the Grecians sweep you all,
And desolate at once your populous Troy!
By day, by night, thoughts such as these should still
Thy conduct influence, and from Chief to Chief
Of the allies should send thee, praying each
To make firm stand, all bickerings put away.
So spake Sarpedon, and his reprimand
Stung Hector; instant to the ground he leap'd
All arm'd, and shaking his bright spears his host
Ranged in all quarters animating loud
His legions, and rekindling horrid war.
Then, rolling back, the powers of Troy opposed
Once more the Grecians, whom the Grecians dense
Expected, unretreating, void of fear.
As flies the chaff wide scatter'd by the wind
O'er all the consecrated floor, what time
Ripe Ceres[13] with brisk airs her golden grain
Ventilates, whitening with its husk the ground;
So grew the Achaians white, a dusty cloud
Descending on their arms, which steeds with steeds
Again to battle mingling, with their hoofs
Up-stamp'd into the brazen vault of heaven;
For now the charioteers turn'd all to fight.
Host toward host with full collected force
They moved direct. Then Mars through all the field
Took wide his range, and overhung the war
With night, in aid of Troy, at the command
Of Phoebus of the golden sword; for he
Perceiving Pallas from the field withdrawn,
Patroness of the Greeks, had Mars enjoin'd
To rouse the spirit of the Trojan host.
Meantime Apollo from his unctuous shrine
Sent forth restored and with new force inspired
Æneas. He amidst his warriors stood,
Who him with joy beheld still living, heal'd,
And all his strength possessing unimpair'd.
Yet no man ask'd him aught. No leisure now
For question was; far other thoughts had they;
Such toils the archer of the silver bow,
Wide-slaughtering Mars, and Discord as at first
Raging implacable, for them prepared.
Ulysses, either Ajax, Diomede--
These roused the Greeks to battle, who themselves
The force fear'd nothing, or the shouts of Troy,
But steadfast stood, like clouds by Jove amass'd
On lofty mountains, while the fury sleeps
Of Boreas, and of all the stormy winds
Shrill-voiced, that chase the vapors when they blow,
So stood the Greeks, expecting firm the approach
Of Ilium's powers, and neither fled nor fear'd.
Then Agamemnon the embattled host
On all sides ranging, cheer'd them. Now, he cried,
Be steadfast, fellow warriors, now be men!
Hold fast a sense of honor. More escape
Of men who fear disgrace, than fall in fight,
While dastards forfeit life and glory both.
He said, and hurl'd his spear. He pierced a friend
Of brave Æneas, warring in the van,
Deicöon son of Pergasus, in Troy
Not less esteem'd than Priam's sons themselves,
Such was his fame in foremost fight acquired.
Him Agamemnon on his buckler smote,
Nor stayed the weapon there, but through his belt
His bowels enter'd, and with hideous clang
And outcry[14] of his batter'd arms he fell.
Æneas next two mightiest warriors slew,
Sons of Diocles, of a wealthy sire,
Whose house magnificent in Phæræ stood,
Orsilochus and Crethon. Their descent
From broad-stream'd Alpheus, Pylian flood, they drew.
Alpheus begat Orsilochus, a prince
Of numerous powers. Orsilochus begat
Warlike Diodes. From Diodes sprang
Twins, Crethon and Orsilochus, alike
Valiant, and skilful in all forms of war.
Their boyish prime scarce past, they, with the Greeks
Embarking, in their sable ships had sail'd
To steed-fam'd Ilium; just revenge they sought
For Atreus' sons, but perished first themselves.
As two young lions, in the deep recess
Of some dark forest on the mountain's brow
Late nourished by their dam, forth-issuing, seize
The fatted flocks and kine, both folds and stalls
Wasting rapacious, till, at length, themselves
Deep-wounded perish by the hand of man,
So they, both vanquish'd by Æneas, fell,
And like two lofty pines uprooted, lay.
Them fallen in battle Menelaus saw
With pity moved; radiant in arms he shook
His brazen spear, and strode into the van.
Mars urged him furious on, conceiving hope
Of his death also by Æneas' hand.
But him the son of generous Nestor mark'd
Antilochus, and to the foremost fight
Flew also, fearing lest some dire mischance
The Prince befalling, at one fatal stroke
Should frustrate all the labors of the Greeks.
They, hand to hand, and spear to spear opposed,
Stood threatening dreadful onset, when beside
The Spartan chief Antilochus appear'd.
Æneas, at the sight of two combined,
Stood not, although intrepid. They the dead
Thence drawing far into the Grecian host
To their associates gave the hapless pair,
Then, both returning, fought in front again.
Next, fierce as Mars, Pylæmenes they slew,
Prince of the shielded band magnanimous
Of Paphlagonia. Him Atrides kill'd
Spear-practised Menelaus, with a lance
His throat transpiercing while erect he rode.
Then, while his charioteer, Mydon the brave,
Son of Atymnias, turn'd his steeds to flight,
Full on his elbow-point Antilochus,
The son of Nestor, dash'd him with a stone.
The slack reins, white as ivory,[15] forsook
His torpid hand and trail'd the dust. At once
Forth sprang Antilochus, and with his sword
Hew'd deep his temples. On his head he pitch'd
Panting, and on his shoulders in the sand
(For in deep sand he fell) stood long erect,
Till his own coursers spread him in the dust;
The son of Nestor seized, and with his scourge
Drove them afar into the host of Greece.
Them Hector through the ranks espying, flew
With clamor loud to meet them; after whom
Advanced in phalanx firm the powers of Troy,
Mars led them, with Enyo terror-clad;
She by the maddening tumult of the fight
Attended, he, with his enormous spear
in both hands brandish'd, stalking now in front
Of Hector, and now following his steps.
Him Diomede the bold discerning, felt
Himself no small dismay; and as a man
Wandering he knows not whither, far from home,
If chance a rapid torrent to the sea
Borne headlong thwart his course, the foaming flood
Obstreperous views awhile, then quick retires,
So he, and his attendants thus bespake.
How oft, my countrymen! have we admired
The noble Hector, skillful at the spear
And unappall'd in fight? but still hath he
Some God his guard, and even now I view
In human form Mars moving at his side.
Ye, then, with faces to the Trojans turn'd,
Ceaseless retire, and war not with the Gods.
He ended; and the Trojans now approach'd.
Then two bold warriors in one chariot borne,
By valiant Hector died, Menesthes one,
And one, Anchialus. Them fallen in fight
Ajax the vast, touch'd with compassion saw;
Within small space he stood, his glittering spear
Dismiss'd, and pierced Amphius. Son was he
Of Selagus, and Pæsus was his home,
Where opulent he dwelt, but by his fate
Was led to fight for Priam and his sons.
Him Telamonian Ajax through his belt
Wounded, and in his nether bowels deep
Fix'd his long-shadow'd spear. Sounding he fell.
Illustrious Ajax running to the slain
Prepared to strip his arms, but him a shower
Of glittering-weapons keen from Trojan hands
Assail'd, and numerous his broad shield received.
He, on the body planting firm his heel,
Forth drew the polish'd spear, but his bright arms
Took not, by darts thick-flying sore annoy'd,
Nor fear'd he little lest his haughty foes,
Spear-arm'd and bold, should compass him around;
Him, therefore, valiant though he were and huge,
They push'd before them. Staggering he retired.
Thus toil'd both hosts in that laborious field.
And now his ruthless destiny impell'd
Tlepolemus, Alcides' son, a Chief
Dauntless and huge, against a godlike foe
Sarpedon. They approaching face to face
Stood, son and grandson of high-thundering Jove,
And, haughty, thus Tlepolemus began.
Sarpedon, leader of the Lycian host,
Thou trembler! thee what cause could hither urge
A man unskill'd in arms? They falsely speak
Who call thee son of Ægis-bearing Jove,
So far below their might thou fall'st who sprang
From Jove in days of old. What says report
Of Hercules (for him I boast my sire)
All-daring hero with a lion's heart?
With six ships only, and with followers few,
He for the horses of Laomedon
Lay'd Troy in dust, and widow'd all her streets.
But thou art base, and thy diminish'd powers
Perish around thee; think not that thou earnest
For Ilium's good, but rather, whatsoe'er
Thy force in fight, to find, subdued by me,
A sure dismission to the gates of hell.
To whom the leader of the Lycian band.
Tlepolemus! he ransack'd sacred Troy,
As thou hast said, but for her monarch's fault
Laomedon, who him with language harsh
Requited ill for benefits received,
Nor would the steeds surrender, seeking which
He voyaged from afar. But thou shalt take
Thy bloody doom from this victorious arm,
And, vanquish'd by my spear, shalt yield thy fame
To me, thy soul to Pluto steed-renown'd.
So spake Sarpedon, and his ashen beam
Tlepolemus upraised. Both hurl'd at once
Their quivering spears. Sarpedon's through the neck
Pass'd of Tlepolemus, and show'd beyond
Its ruthless point; thick darkness veil'd his eyes.
Tlepolemus with his long lance the thigh
Pierced of Sarpedon; sheer into his bone
He pierced him, but Sarpedon's father, Jove,
Him rescued even on the verge of fate.
His noble friends conducted from the field
The godlike Lycian, trailing as he went
The pendent spear, none thinking to extract
For his relief the weapon from his thigh,
Through eagerness of haste to bear him thence.
On the other side, the Grecians brazen-mail'd
Bore off Tlepolemus. Ulysses fill'd
With earnest thoughts tumultuous them observed,
Danger-defying Chief! Doubtful he stood
Or to pursue at once the Thunderer's son
Sarpedon, or to take more Lycian lives.
But not for brave Ulysses had his fate
That praise reserved, that he should slay the son
Renown'd of Jove; therefore his wavering mind
Minerva bent against the Lycian band.
Then Coeranus, Alastor, Chromius fell,
Alcander, Halius, Prytanis, and brave
Noëmon; nor had these sufficed the Chief
Of Ithaca, but Lycians more had fallen,
Had not crest-tossing Hector huge perceived
The havoc; radiant to the van he flew,
Filling with dread the Grecians; his approach
Sarpedon, son of Jove, joyful beheld,
And piteous thus address'd him as he came.
Ah, leave not me, Priamides! a prey
To Grecian hands, but in your city, at least,
Grant me to die: since hither, doom'd, I came
Never to gratify with my return
To Lycia, my loved spouse, or infant child.
He spake; but Hector unreplying pass'd
Impetuous, ardent to repulse the Greeks
That moment, and to drench his sword in blood.
Then, under shelter of a spreading beech
Sacred to Jove, his noble followers placed
The godlike Chief Sarpedon, where his friend
Illustrious Pelagon, the ashen spear
Extracted. Sightless, of all thought bereft,
He sank, but soon revived, by breathing airs
Refresh'd, that fann'd him gently from the North.
Meantime the Argives, although press'd alike
By Mars himself and Hector brazen-arm'd,
Neither to flight inclined, nor yet advanced
To battle, but inform'd that Mars the fight
Waged on the side of Ilium, slow retired.[16]
Whom first, whom last slew then the mighty son
Of Priam, Hector, and the brazen Mars!
First godlike Teuthras, an equestrian Chief,
Orestes, Trechus of Ætolian race,
OEnomaüs, Helenus from OEnops' sprung,
And brisk[17] in fight Oresbius; rich was he,
And covetous of more; in Hyla dwelt
Fast by the lake Cephissus, where abode
Boeotian Princes numerous, rich themselves
And rulers of a people wealth-renown'd.
But Juno, such dread slaughter of the Greeks
Noting, thus, ardent, to Minerva spake.
Daughter of Jove invincible! Our word
That Troy shall perish, hath been given in vain
To Menelaus, if we suffer Mars
To ravage longer uncontrol'd. The time
Urges, and need appears that we ourselves
Now call to mind the fury of our might.
She spake; nor blue-eyed Pallas not complied.
Then Juno, Goddess dread, from Saturn sprung,
Her coursers gold-caparison'd prepared
Impatient. Hebe to the chariot roll'd
The brazen wheels,[18] and joined them to the smooth
Steel axle; twice four spokes divided each
Shot from the centre to the verge. The verge
Was gold by fellies of eternal brass
Guarded, a dazzling show! The shining naves
Were silver; silver cords and cords of gold
The seat upbore; two crescents[19] blazed in front.
The pole was argent all, to which she bound
The golden yoke, and in their place disposed
The breast-bands incorruptible of gold;
But Juno to the yoke, herself, the steeds
Led forth, on fire to reach the dreadful field.
Meantime, Minerva, progeny of Jove,
On the adamantine floor of his abode
Let fall profuse her variegated robe,
Labor of her own hands. She first put on
The corselet of the cloud-assembler God,
Then arm'd her for the field of wo complete.
She charged her shoulder with the dreadful shield
The shaggy Ægis,[20] border'd thick around
With terror; there was Discord, Prowess there,
There hot Pursuit, and there the feature grim
Of Gorgon, dire Deformity, a sign
Oft borne portentous on the arm of Jove.
Her golden helm, whose concave had sufficed
The legions of an hundred cities, rough
With warlike ornament superb, she fix'd
On her immortal head. Thus arm'd, she rose
Into the flaming chariot, and her spear
Seized ponderous, huge, with which the Goddess sprung
From an Almighty father, levels ranks
Of heroes, against whom her anger burns.
Juno with lifted lash urged quick the steeds;
At her approach, spontaneous roar'd the wide-
Unfolding gates of heaven;[21] the heavenly gates
Kept by the watchful Hours, to whom the charge
Of the Olympian summit appertains,
And of the boundless ether, back to roll,
And to replace the cloudy barrier dense.
Spurr'd through the portal flew the rapid steeds;
Apart from all, and seated on the point
Superior of the cloven mount, they found
The Thunderer. Juno the white-arm'd her steeds
There stay'd, and thus the Goddess, ere she pass'd,
Question'd the son of Saturn, Jove supreme.
Jove, Father, seest thou, and art not incensed,
These ravages of Mars? Oh what a field,
Drench'd with what Grecian blood! All rashly spilt,
And in despite of me. Venus, the while,
Sits, and the Archer of the silver bow
Delighted, and have urged, themselves, to this
The frantic Mars within no bounds confined
Of law or order. But, eternal sire!
Shall I offend thee chasing far away
Mars deeply smitten from the field of war?
To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
Go! but exhort thou rather to the task
Spoil-huntress Athenæan Pallas, him
Accustom'd to chastise with pain severe.
He spake, nor white-arm'd Juno not obey'd.
She lash'd her steeds; they readily their flight
Began, the earth and starry vault between.
Far as from his high tower the watchman kens
O'er gloomy ocean, so far at one bound
Advance the shrill-voiced coursers of the Gods.
But when at Troy and at the confluent streams
Of Simoïs and Scamander they arrived,
There Juno, white-arm'd Goddess, from the yoke
Her steeds releasing, them in gather'd shades
Conceal'd opaque, while Simoïs caused to spring
Ambrosia from his bank, whereon they browsed.
Swift as her pinions waft the dove away
They sought the Grecians, ardent to begin:
Arriving where the mightiest and the most
Compass'd equestrian Diomede around,
In aspect lion-like, or like wild boars
Of matchless force, there white-arm'd Juno stood,
And in the form of Stentor for his voice
Of brass renown'd, audible as the roar
Of fifty throats, the Grecians thus harangued.
Oh shame, shame, shame! Argives in form alone,
Beautiful but dishonorable race!
While yet divine Achilles ranged the field,
No Trojan stepp'd from yon Dardanian gates
Abroad; all trembled at his stormy spear;
But now they venture forth, now at your ships
Defy you, from their city far remote.
She ceased, and all caught courage from the sound.
But Athenæan Pallas eager sought
The son of Tydeus; at his chariot side
She found the Chief cooling his fiery wound
Received from Pandarus; for him the sweat
Beneath the broad band of his oval shield
Exhausted, and his arm fail'd him fatigued;
He therefore raised the band and wiped the blood
Coagulate; when o'er his chariot yoke
Her arm the Goddess threw, and thus began.
Tydeus, in truth, begat a son himself
Not much resembling. Tydeus was of size
Diminutive, but had a warrior's heart.
When him I once commanded to abstain
From furious fight (what time he enter'd Thebes
Ambassador, and the Cadmeans found
Feasting, himself the sole Achaian there)
And bade him quietly partake the feast.
He, fired with wonted ardor, challenged forth
To proof of manhood the Cadmean youth,
Whom easily, through my effectual aid,
In contests of each kind he overcame.
But thou, whom I encircle with my power,
Guard vigilant, and even bid thee forth
To combat with the Trojans, thou, thy limbs
Feel'st wearied with the toils of war, or worse,
Indulgest womanish and heartless fear.
Henceforth thou art not worthy to be deem'd
Son of Oenides, Tydeus famed in arms.
To whom thus valiant Diomede replied.
I know thee well, oh Goddess sprung from Jove!
And therefore willing shall, and plain, reply.
Me neither weariness nor heartless fear
Restrains, but thine injunctions which impress
My memory, still, that I should fear to oppose
The blessed Gods in fight, Venus except,
Whom in the battle found thou badest me pierce
With unrelenting spear; therefore myself
Retiring hither, I have hither call'd
The other Argives also, for I know
That Mars, himself in arms, controls the war.
Him answer'd then the Goddess azure-eyed.
Tydides! Diomede, my heart's delight!
Fear not this Mars,[22] nor fear thou other power
Immortal, but be confident in me.
Arise. Drive forth. Seek Mars; him only seek;
Him hand to hand engage; this fiery Mars
Respect not aught, base implement of wrong
And mischief, shifting still from side to side.
He promised Juno lately and myself
That he would fight for Greece, yet now forgets
His promise, and gives all his aid to Troy.
So saying, she backward by his hand withdrew
The son of Capaneus, who to the ground
Leap'd instant; she, impatient to his place
Ascending, sat beside brave Diomede.
Loud groan'd the beechen axle, under weight
Unwonted, for it bore into the fight
An awful Goddess, and the chief of men.
Quick-seizing lash and reins Minerva drove
Direct at Mars. That moment he had slain
Periphas, bravest of Ætolia's sons,
And huge of bulk; Ochesius was his sire.
Him Mars the slaughterer had of life bereft
Newly, and Pallas to elude his sight
The helmet fixed of Ades on her head.[23]
Soon as gore-tainted Mars the approach perceived
Of Diomede, he left the giant length
Of Periphas extended where he died,
And flew to cope with Tydeus' valiant son.
Full nigh they came, when Mars on fire to slay
The hero, foremost with his brazen lance
Assail'd him, hurling o'er his horses' heads.
But Athenæan Pallas in her hand
The flying weapon caught and turn'd it wide,
Baffling his aim. Then Diomede on him
Rush'd furious in his turn, and Pallas plunged
The bright spear deep into his cinctured waist
Dire was the wound, and plucking back the spear
She tore him. Bellow'd brazen-throated Mars
Loud as nine thousand warriors, or as ten
Join'd in close combat. Grecians, Trojans shook
Appall'd alike at the tremendous voice
Of Mars insatiable with deeds of blood.
Such as the dimness is when summer winds
Breathe hot, and sultry mist obscures the sky,
Such brazen Mars to Diomede appear'd
By clouds accompanied in his ascent
Into the boundless ether. Reaching soon
The Olympian heights, seat of the Gods, he sat
Beside Saturnian Jove; wo fill'd his heart;
He show'd fast-streaming from the wound his blood
Immortal, and impatient thus complain'd.
Jove, Father! Seest thou these outrageous acts
Unmoved with anger? Such are day by day
The dreadful mischiefs by the Gods contrived
Against each other, for the sake of man.
Thou art thyself the cause. Thou hast produced
A foolish daughter petulant, addict
To evil only and injurious deeds;
There is not in Olympus, save herself,
Who feels not thy control; but she her will
Gratifies ever, and reproof from thee
Finds none, because, pernicious as she is,
She is thy daughter. She hath now the mind
Of haughty Diomede with madness fill'd
Against the immortal Gods; first Venus bled;
Her hand he pierced impetuous, then assail'd,
As if himself immortal, even me,
But me my feet stole thence, or overwhelm'd
Beneath yon heaps of carcases impure,
What had I not sustain'd? And if at last
I lived, had halted crippled by the sword.
To whom with dark displeasure Jove replied.
Base and side-shifting traitor! vex not me
Here sitting querulous; of all who dwell
On the Olympian heights, thee most I hate
Contentious, whose delight is war alone.
Thou hast thy mother's moods, the very spleen
Of Juno, uncontrolable as she.
Whom even I, reprove her as I may,
Scarce rule by mere commands; I therefore judge
Thy sufferings a contrivance all her own.
But soft. Thou art my son whom I begat.
And Juno bare thee. I can not endure
That thou shouldst suffer long. Hadst thou been born
Of other parents thus detestable,
What Deity soe'er had brought thee forth,
Thou shouldst have found long since a humbler sphere.
He ceased, and to the care his son consign'd
Of Pæon; he with drugs of lenient powers,
Soon heal'd whom immortality secured
From dissolution. As the juice from figs
Express'd what fluid was in milk before
Coagulates, stirr'd rapidly around,
So soon was Mars by Pæon skill restored.
Him Hebe bathed, and with divine attire
Graceful adorn'd; when at the side of Jove
Again his glorious seat sublime he took.
Meantime to the abode of Jove supreme
Ascended Juno throughout Argos known
And mighty Pallas; Mars the plague of man,
By their successful force from slaughter driven.

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