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

A poem by William Cowper


The battle is continued. The Trojans being closely pursued, Hector by the advice of Helenus enters Troy, and recommends it to Hecuba to go in solemn procession to the temple of Minerva; she with the matrons goes accordingly. Hector takes the opportunity to find out Paris, and exhorts him to return to the field of battle. An interview succeeds between Hector and Andromache, and Paris, having armed himself in the mean time, comes up with Hector at the close of it, when they sally from the gate together.

Thus was the field forsaken by the Gods.
And now success proved various; here the Greeks
With their extended spears, the Trojans there
Prevail'd alternate, on the champain spread
The Xanthus and the Simoïs between.[1]
First Telamonian Ajax,[2] bulwark firm
Of the Achaians, broke the Trojan ranks,
And kindled for the Greeks a gleam of hope,
Slaying the bravest of the Thracian band,
Huge Acamas, Eusorus' son; him first
Full on the shaggy crest he smote, and urged
The spear into his forehead; through his skull
The bright point pass'd, and darkness veil'd his eyes.
But Diomede, heroic Chief, the son
Of Teuthras slew, Axylus.[3] Rich was he,
And in Arisba (where he dwelt beside
The public road, and at his open door
Made welcome all) respected and beloved.
But of his numerous guests none interposed
To avert his woful doom; nor him alone
He slew, but with him also to the shades
Calesius sent, his friend and charioteer.
Opheltius fell and Dresus, by the hand
Slain of Euryalus, who, next, his arms
On Pedasus and on Æsepus turned
Brethren and twins. Them Abarbarea bore,
A Naiad, to Bucolion, son renown'd
Of King Laomedon, his eldest born,
But by his mother, at his birth, conceal'd.
Bucolion pasturing his flocks, embraced
The lovely nymph; she twins produced, both whom,
Brave as they were and beautiful, thy son[4]
Mecisteus! slew, and from their shoulders tore
Their armor. Dauntless Polypoetes slew
Astyalus. Ulysses with his spear
Transfixed Pydites, a Percosian Chief,
And Teucer Aretaön; Nestor's pride
Antilochus, with his bright lance, of life
Bereft Ablerus, and the royal arm
Of Agamemnon, Elatus; he dwelt
Among the hills of lofty Pedasus,
On Satnio's banks, smooth-sliding river pure
Phylacus fled, whom Leïtus as swift
Soon smote. Melanthius at the feet expired
Of the renown'd Eurypylus, and, flush'd
With martial ardor, Menelaus seized
And took alive Adrastus. As it chanced
A thicket his affrighted steeds detain'd
Their feet entangling; they with restive force
At its extremity snapp'd short the pole,
And to the city, whither others fled,
Fled also. From his chariot headlong hurl'd,
Adrastus press'd the plain fast by his wheel.
Flew Menelaus, and his quivering spear
Shook over him; he, life imploring, clasp'd
Importunate his knees, and thus exclaim'd.
Oh, son of Atreus, let me live! accept
Illustrious ransom! In my father's house
Is wealth abundant, gold, and brass, and steel
Of truest temper, which he will impart
Till he have gratified thine utmost wish,
Inform'd that I am captive in your fleet.
He said, and Menelaus by his words
Vanquish'd, him soon had to the fleet dismiss'd
Given to his train in charge, but swift and stern
Approaching, Agamemnon interposed.
Now, brother, whence this milkiness of mind,
These scruples about blood? Thy Trojan friends
Have doubtless much obliged thee. Die the race!
May none escape us! neither he who flies,
Nor even the infant in his mother's womb
Unconscious. Perish universal Troy
Unpitied, till her place be found no more![5]
So saying, his brother's mind the Hero turn'd,
Advising him aright; he with his hand
Thrust back Adrastus, and himself, the King,
His bowels pierced. Supine Adrastus fell,
And Agamemnon, with his foot the corse
Impressing firm, pluck'd forth his ashen spear.
Then Nestor, raising high his voice, exclaim'd.
Friends, Heroes, Grecians, ministers of Mars!
Let none, desirous of the spoil, his time
Devote to plunder now; now slay your foes,
And strip them when the field shall be your own.[6]
He said, and all took courage at his word.
Then had the Trojans enter'd Troy again
By the heroic Grecians foul repulsed,
So was their spirit daunted, but the son
Of Priam, Helenus, an augur far
Excelling all, at Hector's side his speech
To him and to Æneas thus address'd.
Hector, and thou, Æneas, since on you
The Lycians chiefly and ourselves depend,
For that in difficult emprize ye show
Most courage; give best counsel; stand yourselves,
And, visiting all quarters, cause to stand
Before the city-gates our scatter'd troops,
Ere yet the fugitives within the arms
Be slaughter'd of their wives, the scorn of Greece.
When thus ye shall have rallied every band
And roused their courage, weary though we be,
Yet since necessity commands, even here
Will we give battle to the host of Greece.
But, Hector! to the city thou depart;
There charge our mother, that she go direct,
With the assembled matrons, to the fane
Of Pallas in the citadel of Troy.
Opening her chambers' sacred doors, of all
Her treasured mantles there, let her select
The widest, most magnificently wrought,
And which she values most; that let her spread
On Athenæan Pallas' lap divine.[7]
Twelve heifers of the year yet never touch'd
With puncture of the goad, let her alike
Devote to her, if she will pity Troy,
Our wives and little ones, and will avert
The son of Tydeus from these sacred towers,
That dreadful Chief, terror of all our host,
Bravest, in my account, of all the Greeks.
For never yet Achilles hath himself
So taught our people fear, although esteemed
Son of a Goddess. But this warrior's rage
Is boundless, and his strength past all compare.
So Helenus; nor Hector not complied.
Down from his chariot instant to the ground
All arm'd he leap'd, and, shaking his sharp spears,
Through every phalanx pass'd, rousing again
Their courage, and rekindling horrid war.
They, turning, faced the Greeks; the Greeks repulsed,
Ceased from all carnage, nor supposed they less
Than that some Deity, the starry skies
Forsaken, help'd their foes, so firm they stood.
But Hector to the Trojans call'd aloud.
Ye dauntless Trojans and confederate powers
Call'd from afar! now be ye men, my friends,
Now summon all the fury of your might!
I go to charge our senators and wives
That they address the Gods with prayers and vows
For our success, and hecatombs devote.
So saying the Hero went, and as he strode
The sable hide that lined his bossy shield
Smote on his neck and on his ancle-bone.
And now into the middle space between
Both hosts, the son of Tydeus and the son
Moved of Hippolochus, intent alike
On furious combat; face to face they stood,
And thus heroic Diomede began.
Most noble Champion! who of human kind
Art thou,[8] whom in the man-ennobling fight
I now encounter first? Past all thy peers
I must esteem thee valiant, who hast dared
To meet my coming, and my spear defy.
Ah! they are sons of miserable sires
Who dare my might; but if a God from heaven
Thou come, behold! I fight not with the Gods.
That war Lycurgus son of Dryas waged,
And saw not many years. The nurses he
Of brain-disturbing Bacchus down the steep
Pursued of sacred Nyssa; they their wands
Vine-wreathed cast all away, with an ox-goad
Chastised by fell Lycurgus. Bacchus plunged
Meantime dismay'd into the deep, where him
Trembling, and at the Hero's haughty threats
Confounded, Thetis in her bosom hid.[9]
Thus by Lycurgus were the blessed powers
Of heaven offended, and Saturnian Jove
Of sight bereaved him, who not long that loss
Survived, for he was curst by all above.
I, therefore, wage no contest with the Gods;
But if thou be of men, and feed on bread
Of earthly growth, draw nigh, that with a stroke
Well-aim'd, I may at once cut short thy days.[10]
To whom the illustrious Lycian Chief replied.
Why asks brave Diomede of my descent?
For, as the leaves, such is the race of man.[11]
The wind shakes down the leaves, the budding grove
Soon teems with others, and in spring they grow.
So pass mankind. One generation meets
Its destined period, and a new succeeds.
But since thou seem'st desirous to be taught
My pedigree, whereof no few have heard,
Know that in Argos, in the very lap
Of Argos, for her steed-grazed meadows famed,
Stands Ephyra;[12] there Sisyphus abode,
Shrewdest of human kind; Sisyphus, named
Æolides. Himself a son begat,
Glaucus, and he Bellerophon, to whom
The Gods both manly force and beauty gave.
Him Proetus (for in Argos at that time
Proetus was sovereign, to whose sceptre Jove
Had subjected the land) plotting his death,
Contrived to banish from his native home.
For fair Anteia, wife of Proetus, mad
Through love of young Bellerophon, him oft
In secret to illicit joys enticed;
But she prevail'd not o'er the virtuous mind
Discrete of whom she wooed; therefore a lie
Framing, she royal Proetus thus bespake.
Die thou, or slay Bellerophon, who sought
Of late to force me to his lewd embrace.
So saying, the anger of the King she roused.
Slay him himself he would not, for his heart
Forbad the deed; him therefore he dismiss'd
To Lycia, charged with tales of dire import
Written in tablets,[13] which he bade him show,
That he might perish, to Anteia's sire.
To Lycia then, conducted by the Gods,
He went, and on the shores of Xanthus found
Free entertainment noble at the hands
Of Lycia's potent King. Nine days complete
He feasted him, and slew each day an ox.
But when the tenth day's ruddy morn appear'd,
He asked him then his errand, and to see
Those written tablets from his son-in-law.
The letters seen, he bade him, first, destroy
Chimæra, deem'd invincible, divine
In nature, alien from the race of man,
Lion in front, but dragon all behind,
And in the midst a she-goat breathing forth
Profuse the violence of flaming fire.
Her, confident in signs from heaven, he slew.
Next, with the men of Solymæ[14] he fought,
Brave warriors far renown'd, with whom he waged,
In his account, the fiercest of his wars.
And lastly, when in battle he had slain
The man-resisting Amazons, the king
Another stratagem at his return
Devised against him, placing close-conceal'd
An ambush for him from the bravest chosen
In Lycia; but they saw their homes no more;
Bellerophon the valiant slew them all.
The monarch hence collecting, at the last,
His heavenly origin, him there detain'd,
And gave him his own daughter, with the half
Of all his royal dignity and power.
The Lycians also, for his proper use,
Large lot assigned him of their richest soil,[15]
Commodious for the vine, or for the plow.
And now his consort fair three children bore
To bold Bellerophon; Isandrus one,
And one, Hippolochus; his youngest born
Laodamia was for beauty such
That she became a concubine of Jove.
She bore Sarpedon of heroic note.
But when Bellerophon, at last, himself
Had anger'd all the Gods, feeding on grief
He roam'd alone the Aleian field, exiled,
By choice, from every cheerful haunt of man.
Mars, thirsty still for blood, his son destroy'd
Isandrus, warring with the host renown'd
Of Solymæ; and in her wrath divine
Diana from her chariot golden-rein'd
Laodamia slew. Myself I boast
Sprung from Hippolochus; he sent me forth
To fight for Troy, charging me much and oft
That I should outstrip always all mankind
In worth and valor, nor the house disgrace
Of my forefathers, heroes without peer
In Ephyra, and in Lycia's wide domain.
Such is my lineage; such the blood I boast.
He ceased. Then valiant Diomede rejoiced.
He pitch'd his spear, and to the Lycian Prince
In terms of peace and amity replied.
Thou art my own hereditary friend,
Whose noble grandsire was the guest of mine.[16]
For Oeneus, on a time, full twenty days
Regaled Bellerophon, and pledges fair
Of hospitality they interchanged.
Oeneus a belt radiant with purple gave
To brave Bellerophon, who in return
Gave him a golden goblet. Coming forth
I left the kind memorial safe at home.
A child was I when Tydeus went to Thebes,
Where the Achaians perish'd, and of him
Hold no remembrance; but henceforth, my friend,
Thine host am I in Argos, and thou mine
In Lycia, should I chance to sojourn there.
We will not clash. Trojans or aids of Troy
No few the Gods shall furnish to my spear,
Whom I may slaughter; and no want of Greeks
On whom to prove thy prowess, thou shalt find.
But it were well that an exchange ensued
Between us; take mine armor, give me thine,
That all who notice us may understand
Our patrimonial[17] amity and love.
So they, and each alighting, hand in hand
Stood lock'd, faith promising and firm accord.
Then Jove of sober judgment so bereft
Infatuate Glaucus that with Tydeus' son
He barter'd gold for brass, an hundred beeves
In value, for the value small of nine.
But Hector at the Scæan gate and beech[18]
Meantime arrived, to whose approach the wives
And daughters flock'd of Troy, inquiring each
The fate of husband, brother, son, or friend.
He bade them all with solemn prayer the Gods
Seek fervent, for that wo was on the wing.
But when he enter'd Priam's palace, built
With splendid porticoes, and which within
Had fifty chambers lined with polish'd stone,
Contiguous all, where Priam's sons reposed
And his sons' wives, and where, on the other side.
In twelve magnificent chambers also lined
With polish'd marble and contiguous all,
The sons-in-law of Priam lay beside
His spotless daughters, there the mother queen
Seeking the chamber of Laodice,
Loveliest of all her children, as she went
Met Hector. On his hand she hung and said:
Why leavest thou, O my son! the dangerous field?
I fear that the Achaians (hateful name!)
Compass the walls so closely, that thou seek'st
Urged by distress the citadel, to lift
Thine hands in prayer to Jove? But pause awhile
Till I shall bring thee wine, that having pour'd
Libation rich to Jove and to the powers
Immortal, thou may'st drink and be refresh'd.
For wine is mighty to renew the strength
Of weary man, and weary thou must be
Thyself, thus long defending us and ours.
To whom her son majestic thus replied.
My mother, whom I reverence! cheering wine
Bring none to me, lest I forget my might.[19]
I fear, beside, with unwash'd hands to pour
Libation forth of sable wine to Jove,
And dare on none account, thus blood-defiled,[20]
Approach the tempest-stirring God in prayer.
Thou, therefore, gathering all our matrons, seek
The fane of Pallas, huntress of the spoil,
Bearing sweet incense; but from the attire
Treasured within thy chamber, first select
The amplest robe, most exquisitely wrought,
And which thou prizest most--then spread the gift
On Athenæan Pallas' lap divine.
Twelve heifers also of the year, untouch'd
With puncture of the goad, promise to slay
In sacrifice, if she will pity Troy,
Our wives and little ones, and will avert
The son of Tydeus from these sacred towers,
That dreadful Chief, terror of all our host.
Go then, my mother, seek the hallowed fane
Of the spoil-huntress Deity. I, the while,
Seek Paris, and if Paris yet can hear,
Shall call him forth. But oh that earth would yawn
And swallow him, whom Jove hath made a curse
To Troy, to Priam, and to all his house;
Methinks, to see him plunged into the shades
For ever, were a cure for all my woes.
He ceased; the Queen, her palace entering, charged
Her maidens; they, incontinent, throughout
All Troy convened the matrons, as she bade.
Meantime into her wardrobe incense-fumed,
Herself descended; there her treasures lay,
Works of Sidonian women,[21] whom her son
The godlike Paris, when he cross'd the seas
With Jove-begotten Helen, brought to Troy.
The most magnificent, and varied most
With colors radiant, from the rest she chose
For Pallas; vivid as a star it shone,
And lowest lay of all. Then forth she went,
The Trojan matrons all following her steps.
But when the long procession reach'd the fane
Of Pallas in the heights of Troy, to them
The fair Theano ope'd the portals wide,
Daughter of Cisseus, brave Antenor's spouse,
And by appointment public, at that time,
Priestess of Pallas. All with lifted hands[22]
In presence of Minerva wept aloud.
Beauteous Theano on the Goddess' lap
Then spread the robe, and to the daughter fair
Of Jove omnipotent her suit address'd.
Goddess[23] of Goddesses, our city's shield,
Adored Minerva, hear! oh! break the lance
Of Diomede, and give himself to fall
Prone in the dust before the Scæan gate.
So will we offer to thee at thy shrine,
This day twelve heifers of the year, untouch'd
By yoke or goad, if thou wilt pity show
To Troy, and save our children and our wives.
Such prayer the priestess offer'd, and such prayer
All present; whom Minerva heard averse.
But Hector to the palace sped meantime
Of Alexander, which himself had built,
Aided by every architect of name
Illustrious then in Troy. Chamber it had,
Wide hall, proud dome, and on the heights of Troy
Near-neighboring Hector's house and Priam's stood.
There enter'd Hector, Jove-beloved, a spear
Its length eleven cubits in his hand,
Its glittering head bound with a ring of gold.
He found within his chamber whom he sought,
Polishing with exactest care his arms
Resplendent, shield and hauberk fingering o'er
With curious touch, and tampering with his bow.[24]
Helen of Argos with her female train
Sat occupied, the while, to each in turn
Some splendid task assigning. Hector fix'd
His eyes on Paris, and him stern rebuked.
Thy sullen humors, Paris, are ill-timed.
The people perish at our lofty walls;
The flames of war have compass'd Troy around
And thou hast kindled them; who yet thyself
That slackness show'st which in another seen
Thou would'st resent to death. Haste, seek the field
This moment, lest, the next, all Ilium blaze.
To whom thus Paris, graceful as a God.
Since, Hector, thou hast charged me with a fault,
And not unjustly, I will answer make,
And give thou special heed. That here I sit,
The cause is sorrow, which I wish'd to soothe
In secret, not displeasure or revenge.
I tell thee also, that even now my wife
Was urgent with me in most soothing terms
That I would forth to battle; and myself,
Aware that victory oft changes sides,
That course prefer. Wait, therefore, thou awhile,
'Till I shall dress me for the fight, or go
Thou first, and I will overtake thee soon.
He ceased, to whom brave Hector answer none
Return'd, when Helen him with lenient speech
Accosted mild.[25] My brother! who in me
Hast found a sister worthy of thy hate,
Authoress of all calamity to Troy,
Oh that the winds, the day when I was born,
Had swept me out of sight, whirl'd me aloft
To some inhospitable mountain-top,
Or plunged me in the deep; there I had sunk
O'erwhelm'd, and all these ills had never been.
But since the Gods would bring these ills to pass,
I should, at least, some worthier mate have chosen,
One not insensible to public shame.
But this, oh this, nor hath nor will acquire
Hereafter, aught which like discretion shows
Or reason, and shall find his just reward.
But enter; take this seat; for who as thou
Labors, or who hath cause like thee to rue
The crime, my brother, for which Heaven hath doom'd
Both Paris and my most detested self
To be the burthens of an endless song?
To whom the warlike Hector huge[26] replied.
Me bid not, Helen, to a seat, howe'er
Thou wish my stay, for thou must not prevail.
The Trojans miss me, and myself no less
Am anxious to return. But urge in haste
This loiterer forth; yea, let him urge himself
To overtake me ere I quit the town.
For I must home in haste, that I may see
My loved Andromache, my infant boy,
And my domestics, ignorant if e'er
I shall behold them more, or if my fate
Ordain me now to fall by Grecian hands.
So spake the dauntless hero, and withdrew.
But reaching soon his own well-built abode
He found not fair Andromache; she stood
Lamenting Hector, with the nurse who bore
Her infant, on a turret's top sublime.
He then, not finding his chaste spouse within,
Thus from the portal, of her train inquired.
Tell me, ye maidens, whither went from home
Andromache the fair?[27] Went she to see
Her female kindred of my father's house,
Or to Minerva's temple, where convened
The bright-hair'd matrons of the city seek
To soothe the awful Goddess? Tell me true.
To whom his household's governess discreet.
Since, Hector, truth is thy demand, receive
True answer. Neither went she forth to see
Her female kindred of thy father's house,
Nor to Minerva's temple, where convened
The bright-haired matrons of the city seek
To soothe the awful Goddess; but she went
Hence to the tower of Troy: for she had heard
That the Achaians had prevail'd, and driven
The Trojans to the walls; she, therefore, wild
With grief, flew thither, and the nurse her steps
Attended, with thy infant in her arms.
So spake the prudent governess; whose words
When Hector heard, issuing from his door
He backward trod with hasty steps the streets
Of lofty Troy, and having traversed all
The spacious city, when he now approach'd
The Scæan gate, whence he must seek the field,
There, hasting home again his noble wife
Met him, Andromache the rich-endow'd
Fair daughter of Eëtion famed in arms.
Eëtion, who in Hypoplacian Thebes
Umbrageous dwelt, Cilicia's mighty lord--
His daughter valiant Hector had espoused.
There she encounter'd him, and with herself
The nurse came also, bearing in her arms
Hectorides, his infant darling boy,
Beautiful as a star. Him Hector called
Scamandrios, but Astyanax[28] all else
In Ilium named him, for that Hector's arm
Alone was the defence and strength of Troy.
The father, silent, eyed his babe, and smiled.
Andromache, meantime, before him stood,
With streaming cheeks, hung on his hand, and said.
Thy own great courage will cut short thy days,
My noble Hector! neither pitiest thou
Thy helpless infant, or my hapless self,
Whose widowhood is near; for thou wilt fall
Ere long, assail'd by the whole host of Greece.
Then let me to the tomb, my best retreat
When thou art slain. For comfort none or joy
Can I expect, thy day of life extinct,
But thenceforth, sorrow. Father I have none;
No mother. When Cilicia's city, Thebes
The populous, was by Achilles sack'd.
He slew my father; yet his gorgeous arms
Stripp'd not through reverence of him, but consumed,
Arm'd as it was, his body on the pile,
And heap'd his tomb, which the Oreades,
Jove's daughters, had with elms inclosed around.[29]
My seven brothers, glory of our house,
All in one day descended to the shades;
For brave Achilles,[30] while they fed their herds
And snowy flocks together, slew them all.
My mother, Queen of the well-wooded realm
Of Hypoplacian Thebes, her hither brought
Among his other spoils, he loosed again
At an inestimable ransom-price,
But by Diana pierced, she died at home.
Yet Hector--oh my husband! I in thee
Find parents, brothers, all that I have lost.
Come! have compassion on us. Go not hence,
But guard this turret, lest of me thou make
A widow, and an orphan of thy boy.
The city walls are easiest of ascent
At yonder fig-tree; station there thy powers;
For whether by a prophet warn'd, or taught
By search and observation, in that part
Each Ajax with Idomeneus of Crete,
The sons of Atreus, and the valiant son
Of Tydeus, have now thrice assail'd the town.
To whom the leader of the host of Troy.
These cares, Andromache, which thee engage,
All touch me also; but I dread to incur
The scorn of male and female tongues in Troy,
If, dastard-like, I should decline the fight.
Nor feel I such a wish. No. I have learn'd
To be courageous ever, in the van
Among the flower of Ilium to assert
My glorious father's honor, and my own.
For that the day shall come when sacred Troy,
When Priam, and the people of the old
Spear-practised King shall perish, well I know.
But for no Trojan sorrows yet to come
So much I mourn, not e'en for Hecuba,
Nor yet for Priam, nor for all the brave
Of my own brothers who shall kiss the dust,
As for thyself, when some Achaian Chief
Shall have convey'd thee weeping hence, thy sun
Of peace and liberty for ever set.
Then shalt thou toil in Argos at the loom
For a task-mistress, and constrain'd shalt draw
From Hypereïa's fount,[31] or from the fount
Messeïs, water at her proud command.
Some Grecian then, seeing thy tears, shall say--
"This was the wife of Hector, who excell'd
All Troy in fight when Ilium was besieged."
Such he shall speak thee, and thy heart, the while,
Shall bleed afresh through want of such a friend
To stand between captivity and thee.
But may I rest beneath my hill of earth
Or ere that day arrive! I would not live
To hear thy cries, and see thee torn away.
So saying, illustrious Hector stretch'd his arms
Forth to his son, but with a scream, the child
Fell back into the bosom of his nurse,
His father's aspect dreading, whose bright arms
He had attentive mark'd and shaggy crest
Playing tremendous o'er his helmet's height.
His father and his gentle mother laugh'd,[32]
And noble Hector lifting from his head
His dazzling helmet, placed it on the ground,
Then kiss'd his boy and dandled him, and thus
In earnest prayer the heavenly powers implored.
Hear all ye Gods! as ye have given to me,
So also on my son excelling might
Bestow, with chief authority in Troy.
And be his record this, in time to come,
When he returns from battle. Lo! how far
The son excels the sire! May every foe
Fall under him, and he come laden home
With spoils blood-stain'd to his dear mother's joy.
He said, and gave his infant to the arms
Of his Andromache, who him received
Into her fragrant bosom, bitter tears
With sweet smiles mingling; he with pity moved
That sight observed, soft touch'd her cheek, and said,
Mourn not, my loved Andromache, for me
Too much; no man shall send me to the shades
Of Tartarus, ere mine allotted hour,
Nor lives he who can overpass the date
By heaven assign'd him, be he base or brave.[33]
Go then, and occupy content at home
The woman's province; ply the distaff, spin
And weave, and task thy maidens. War belongs
To man; to all men; and of all who first
Drew vital breath in Ilium, most to me.[34]
He ceased, and from the ground his helmet raised
Hair-crested; his Andromache, at once
Obedient, to her home repair'd, but oft
Turn'd as she went, and, turning, wept afresh.
No sooner at the palace she arrived
Of havoc-spreading Hector, than among
Her numerous maidens found within, she raised
A general lamentation; with one voice,
In his own house, his whole domestic train
Mourn'd Hector, yet alive; for none the hope
Conceived of his escape from Grecian hands,
Or to behold their living master more.
Nor Paris in his stately mansion long
Delay'd, but, arm'd resplendent, traversed swift
The city, all alacrity and joy.
As some stall'd horse high-fed, his stable-cord
Snapt short, beats under foot the sounding plain,
Accustomed in smooth-sliding streams to lave
Exulting; high he bears his head, his mane
Undulates o'er his shoulders, pleased he eyes
His glossy sides, and borne on pliant knees
Shoots to the meadow where his fellows graze;
So Paris, son of Priam, from the heights
Of Pergamus into the streets of Troy,
All dazzling as the sun, descended, flush'd
With martial pride, and bounding in his course.
At once he came where noble Hector stood
Now turning, after conference with his spouse,
When godlike Alexander thus began.
My hero brother, thou hast surely found
My long delay most irksome. More dispatch
Had pleased thee more, for such was thy command.
To whom the warlike Hector thus replied.
No man, judicious, and in feat of arms
Intelligent, would pour contempt on thee
(For thou art valiant) wert thou not remiss
And wilful negligent; and when I hear
The very men who labor in thy cause
Reviling thee, I make thy shame my own.
But let us on. All such complaints shall cease
Hereafter, and thy faults be touch'd no more,
Let Jove but once afford us riddance clear
Of these Achaians, and to quaff the cup
Of liberty, before the living Gods.

* * * * *

It may be observed, that Hector begins to resume his hope of success, and his warlike spirit is roused again, as he approaches the field of action. The depressing effect of his sad interview is wearing away from his mind, and he is already prepared for the battle with Ajax, which awaits him.

The student who has once read this book, will read it again and again. It contains much that is addressed to the deepest feelings of our common nature, and, despite of the long interval of time which lies between our age and the Homeric--despite the manifold changes of customs, habits, pursuits, and the advances that have been made in civilization and art--despite of all these, the universal spirit of humanity will recognize in these scenes much of that true poetry which delights alike all ages, all nations, all men.--FELTON.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'The Iliad Of Homer: Translated Into English Blank Verse: Book VI.' by William Cowper

comments powered by Disqus