Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book 4



  1. The Gods in council, at the last, decree
  2. That famous Ilion shall expugnéd be;
  3. And that their own continu’d faults may prove
  4. The reasons that have so incenséd Jove,
  5. Minerva seeks, with more offences done
  6. Against the lately injur’d Atreus’ son,
  7. (A ground that clearest would make seen their sin)
  8. To have the Lycian Pandarus begin.
  9. He (’gainst the truce with sacred cov’nants bound)
  10. Gives Menelaus a dishonour’d wound,
  11. Machaon heals him. Agamemnon then
  12. To mortal war incenseth all his men.
  13. The battles join; and, in the heat of fight,
  14. Cold death shuts many eyes in endless night.


  1. In Delta is the Gods’ Assize;
  2. The truce is broke; wars freshly rise.
  1. Within the fair-pav’d court of Jove, he and the Gods conferr’d
  2. About the sad events of Troy; amongst whom minister’d
  3. Bless’d Hebe nectar. As they sat, and did Troy’s tow’rs behold,
  4. They drank, and pledg’d each other round in full-crown’d cups of gold.
  5. The mirth at whose feast was begun by great Saturnides
  6. In urging a begun dislike amongst the Goddesses,
  7. But chiefly in his solemn queen, whose spleen he was dispos’d
  8. To tempt yet further, knowing well what anger it inclos’d,
  9. And how wives’ angers should be us’d. On which, thus pleas’d, he play’d:
  10. “Two Goddesses there are that still give Menelaus aid,
  11. And one that Paris loves. The two that sit from us so far
  12. (Which Argive Juno is, and She that rules in deeds of war,)
  13. No doubt are pleas’d to see how well the late-seen fight did frame;
  14. And yet, upon the adverse part, the laughter-loving Dame
  15. Made her pow’r good too for her friend; for, though he were so near
  16. The stroke of death in th’ others’ hopes, she took him from them clear.
  17. “The conquest yet is questionless the martial Spartan king’s.
  18. “We must consult then what events shall crown these future things,
  19. If wars and combats we shall still with even successes strike,
  20. Or as impartial friendship plant on both parts. If ye like
  21. The last, and that it will as well delight as merely please
  22. Your happy deities, still let stand old Priam’s town in peace,
  23. And let the Lacedæmon king again his queen enjoy.”
  24. As Pallas and Heav’n’s Queen sat close, complotting ill to Troy,
  25. With silent murmurs they receiv’d this ill-lik’d choice from Jove;
  26. ’Gainst whom was Pallas much incens’d, because the Queen of Love
  27. Could not, without his leave, relieve in that late point of death
  28. The son of Priam, whom she loath’d; her wrath yet fought beneath
  29. Her supreme wisdom, and was curb’d; but Juno needs must ease
  30. Her great heart with her ready tongue, and said; “What words are these,
  31. Austere, and too-much-Saturn’s son? Why wouldst thou render still
  32. My labours idle, and the sweat of my industrious will
  33. Dishonour with so little pow’r? My chariot-horse are tir’d
  34. With posting to and fro for Greece, and bringing banes desir’d
  35. To people must’ring Priamus, and his perfidious sons;
  36. Yet thou protect’st, and join’st with them whom each just Deity shuns.
  37. “Go on, but ever go resolv’d all other Gods have vow’d
  38. To cross thy partial course for Toy, in all that makes it proud.”
  39. At this, the cloud-compelling Jove a far-fetch’d sigh let fly,
  40. And said: “Thou fury! What offence of such impiety
  41. Hath Priam or his sons done thee, that, with so high a hate,
  42. Thou shouldst thus ceaselessly desire to raze and ruinate
  43. So well a builded town as Troy? I think, hadst thou the pow’r,
  44. Thou wouldst the ports and far-stretch’d walls fly over, and devour
  45. Old Priam and his issue quick, and make all Troy thy feast,
  46. And then at length I hope thy wrath and tiréd spleen would rest;
  47. To which run on thy chariot, that nought be found in me
  48. Of just cause to our future jars. In this yet strengthen thee,
  49. And fix it in thy memory fast, this if I entertain
  50. As peremptory a desire to level with the plain
  51. A city where thy lovéd live, stand not betwixt my ire
  52. And what it aims at, but give way, when thou hast thy desire;
  53. Which now I grant thee willingly, although against my will.
  54. “For not beneath the ample sun, and heav’n’s star-bearing hill,
  55. There is a town of earthly men so honour’d in my mind
  56. As sacred Troy; nor of earth’s kings as Priam and his kind,
  57. Who never let my altars lack rich feast of off’rings slain,
  58. And their sweet savours; for which grace I honour them again.”
  59. Dread Juno, with the cow’s fair eyes, replied: “Three towns there are
  60. Of great and eminent respect, both in my love and care;
  61. Mycene, with the broad highways; and Argos, rich in horse;
  62. And Sparta; all which three destroy, when thou envi’st their force,
  63. I will not aid them, nor malign thy free and sov’reign will,
  64. For if I should be envious, and set against their ill,
  65. I know my envy were in vain, since thou art mightier far.
  66. “But we must give each other leave, and wink at either’s war.
  67. “I likewise must have pow’r to crown my works with wishéd end,
  68. Because I am a Deity, and did from thence descend
  69. Whence thou thyself, and th’ elder born; wise Saturn was our sire;
  70. And thus there is a two-fold cause that pleads for my desire,
  71. Being sister, and am call’d thy wife; and more, since thy command
  72. Rules all Gods else, I claim therein a like superior hand.
  73. “All wrath before then now remit, and mutually combine
  74. In either’s empire; I, thy rule, and thou, illustrate, mine;
  75. So will the other Gods agree, and we shall all be strong.
  76. “And first (for this late plot) with speed let Pallas go among
  77. The Trojans, and some one of them entice to break the truce
  78. By off’ring in some treach’rous wound the honour’d Greeks abuse.”
  79. The Father both of men and Gods agreed, and Pallas sent,
  80. With these wing’d words, to both the hosts: “Make all haste, and invent
  81. Some mean by which the men of Troy, against the truce agreed,
  82. May stir the glorious Greeks to arms with some inglorious deed.”
  83. Thus charg’d he her with haste that did, before, in haste abound,
  84. Who cast herself from all the heights, with which steep heav’n is crown’d.
  85. And as Jove, brandishing a star, which men a comet call,
  86. Hurls out his curled hair abroad, that from his brand exhals
  87. A thousand sparks, to fleets at sea, and ev’ry mighty host,
  88. Of all presages and ill-haps a sign mistrusted most;
  89. So Pallas fell ’twixt both the camps, and suddenly was lost,
  90. When through the breasts of all that saw, she strook a strong amaze
  91. With viewing, in her whole descent, her bright and ominous blaze.
  92. When straight one to another turn’d, and said: “Now thund’ring Jove
  93. (Great Arbiter of peace and arms) will either stablish love
  94. Amongst our nations, or renew such war as never was.”
  95. Thus either army did presage, when Pallas made her pass
  96. Amongst the multitude of Troy; who now put on the grace
  97. Of brave Laodocus, the flow’r of old Antenor’s race,
  98. And sought for Lycian Pandarus, a man that, being bred
  99. Out of a faithless family, she thought was fit to shed
  100. The blood of any innocent, and break the cov’nant sworn;
  101. He was Lycaon’s son, whom Jove into a wolf did turn
  102. For sacrificing of a child, and yet in arms renown’d
  103. As one that was inculpable. Him Pallas standing found,
  104. And round about him his strong troops that bore the shady shields;
  105. He brought them from Æsepus’ flood, let through the Lycian fields;
  106. Whom standing near, she whisper’d thus: “Lycaon’s warlike son,
  107. Shall I despair at thy kind hands to have a favour done?
  108. Nor dar’st thou let an arrow fly upon the Spartan king?
  109. It would be such a grace to Troy, and such a glorious thing,
  110. That ev’ry man would give his gift; but Alexander’s hand
  111. Would load thee with them, if he could discover from his stand
  112. His foe’s pride strook down with thy shaft, and he himself ascend
  113. The flaming heap of funeral. Come, shoot him, princely friend;
  114. But first invoke the God of Light, that in thy land was born,
  115. And is in archers’ art the best that ever sheaf hath worn,
  116. To whom a hundred first-ew’d lambs vow thou in holy fire,
  117. When safe to sacred Zelia’s tow’rs thy zealous steps retire.”
  118. With this the mad gift-greedy man Minerva did persuade,
  119. Who instantly drew forth a bow, most admirably made
  120. Of th’ antler of a jumping goat bred in a steep upland,
  121. Which archer-like (as long before he took his hidden stand,
  122. The evicke skipping from a rock) into the breast he smote,
  123. And headlong fell’d him from his cliff. The forehead of the goat
  124. Held out a wondrous goodly palm, that sixteen branches brought;
  125. Of all which join’d, an useful bow a skilful bowyer wrought,
  126. Which pick’d and polish’d, both the ends he hid with horns of gold.
  127. And this bow, bent, he close laid down, and bad his soldiers hold
  128. Their shields before him, lest the Greeks, discerning him, should rise
  129. In tumults ere the Spartan king could be his arrow’s prise.
  130. Mean space, with all his care he choos’d, and from his quiver drew,
  131. An arrow, feather’d best for flight and yet that never flew,
  132. Strong headed, and most apt to pierce; then took he up his bow,
  133. And nock’d his shaft, the ground whence all their future grief did grow.
  134. When, praying to his God the Sun, that was in Lycia bred,
  135. And king of archers, promising that he the blood would shed
  136. Of full an hundred first-fall’n lambs, all offer’d to his name,
  137. When to Zelia’s sacred walls from rescu’d Troy he came,
  138. He took his arrow by the nock, and to his bended breast
  139. The oxy sinew close he drew, ev’n till the pile did rest
  140. Upon the bosom of the bow; and as that savage prise
  141. His strength constrain’d into an orb, as if the wind did rise
  142. The coming of it made a noise, the sinew-forgéd string
  143. Did give a mighty twang, and forth the eager shaft did sing,
  144. Affecting speediness of flight, amongst the Achive throng.
  145. Nor were the blesséd Heav’nly Pow’rs unmindful of thy wrong,
  146. O Menelaus, but, in chief, Jove’s seed: the Pillager,
  147. Stood close before, and slack’d the force the arrow did confer,
  148. With as much care and little hurt, as doth a mother use,
  149. And keep off from her babe, when sleep doth through his pow’rs diffuse
  150. His golden humour, and th’ assaults of rude and busy flies
  151. She still checks with her careful hand; for so the shaft she plies
  152. That on the buttons made of gold, which made his girdle fast,
  153. And where his curets double were, the fall of it she plac’d.
  154. And thus much proof she put it to: the buckle made of gold;
  155. The belt it fast’ned, bravely wrought; his curets’ double fold;
  156. And last, the charméd plate he wore, which help’d him more than all,
  157. And, ’gainst all darts and shafts bestow’d, was to his life a wall;
  158. So, through all these, the upper skin the head did only race;
  159. Yet forth the blood flow’d, which did much his royal person grace,
  160. And show’d upon his ivory skin, as doth a purple dye
  161. Laid, by a dame of Caïra, or lovely Mæony,
  162. On ivory, wrought in ornaments to deck the cheeks of horse;
  163. Which in her marriage room must lie; whose beauties have such force
  164. That they are wish’d of many knights, but are such precious things,
  165. That they are kept for horse that draw the chariots of kings,
  166. Which horse, so deck’d, the charioteer esteems a grace to him;
  167. Like these, in grace, the blood upon thy solid thighs did swim,
  168. O Menelaus, down by calves and ankles to the ground.
  169. For nothing decks a soldier so, as doth an honour’d wound.
  170. Yet, fearing he had far’d much worse, the hair stood up on end
  171. On Agamemnon, when he saw so much black blood descend.
  172. And stiff’ned with the like dismay was Menelaus too,
  173. But seeing th’ arrow’s stale without, and that the head did go
  174. No further than it might be seen, he call’d his spirits again;
  175. Which Agamemnon marking not but thinking he was slain,
  176. He grip’d his brother by the hand, and sigh’d as he would break,
  177. Which sigh the whole host took from him, who thus at last did speak:
  178. “O dearest brother, is’t for this, that thy death must be wrought,
  179. Wrought I this truce? For this has thou the single combat fought
  180. For all the army of the Greeks? For this hath Ilion sworn,
  181. And trod all faith beneath their feet? Yet all this hath not worn
  182. The right we challeng’d out of force; this cannot render vain
  183. Our stricken right hands, sacred wine, nor all our off’rings slain;
  184. For though Olympius be not quick in making good our ill,
  185. He will be sure as he is slow, and sharplier prove his will.
  186. “Their own hands shall be ministers of those plagues they despise,
  187. Which shall their wives and children reach, and all their progenies.
  188. “For both in mind and soul I know, that there shall come a day
  189. When Ilion, Priam, all his pow’r, shall quite be worn away,
  190. When heav’n-inhabiting Jove shall shake his fiery shield at all,
  191. For this one mischief. This, I know, the world cannot recall.
  192. “But be all this, all my grief still for thee will be the same,
  193. Dear brother. If thy life must here put out his royal flame,
  194. I shall to sandy Argos turn with infamy my face;
  195. And all the Greeks will call for home; old Priam and his race
  196. Will flame in glory; Helena untouch’d be still their prey;
  197. And thy bones in our enemies’ earth our curséd fates shall lay;
  198. Thy sepulchre be trodden down; the pride of Troy desire
  199. Insulting on it, ’Thus, O thus, let Agamemnon’s ire
  200. In all his acts be expiate, as now he carries home
  201. His idle army, empty ships, and leaves here overcome
  202. Good Menelaus.’ When this rave breaks in their bated breath,
  203. Then let the broad earth swallow me, and take me quick to death.”
  204. “Nor shall this ever chance,” said he, “and therefore be of cheer,
  205. Lest all the army, led by you, your passions put in fear.
  206. “The arrow fell in no such place a death could enter at,
  207. My girdle, curets doubled here, and my most trusted plate,
  208. Objected all ’twixt me and death, the shaft scarce piercing one.”
  209. “Good brother,” said the king, “I wish it were no further gone,
  210. For then our best in med’cines skilled shall ope and search the wound,
  211. Applying balms to ease thy pains, and soon restore thee sound.”
  212. This said, divine Talthybiús he call’d, and bad him haste
  213. Machaon (Æsculapius’ son, who most of men was grac’d
  214. With physic’s sov’reign remedies) to come and lend his hand
  215. To Menelaus, shot by one well-skill’d in the command
  216. Of bow and arrows, one of Troy, or of the Lycian aid,
  217. Who much hath glorified our foe, and us as much dismay’d.
  218. He heard, and hasted instantly, and cast his eyes about
  219. The thickest squadrons of the Greeks, to find Machaon out.
  220. He found him standing guarded well with well-arm’d men of Thrace;
  221. With whom he quickly join’d, and said: “Man of Apollo’s race,
  222. Haste, for the king of men commands, to see a wound impress’d
  223. In Menelaus, great in arms, by one instructed best
  224. In th’ art of archery, of Troy, or of the Lycian bands,
  225. That them with much renown adorns, us with dishonour brands.”
  226. Machaon much was mov’d with this, who with the herald flew
  227. From troop to troop alongst the host; and soon they came in view
  228. Of hurt Atrides, circled round with all the Grecian kings;
  229. Who all gave way, and straight he draws the shaft, which forth he brings
  230. Without the forks; the girdle then, plate, curets, off he plucks,
  231. And views the wound; when first from it the clotter’d blood he sucks,
  232. Then med’cines, wondrously compos’d, the skilful leech applied,
  233. Which loving Chiron taught his sire, he from his sire had tried.
  234. While these were thus employ’d to ease the Atrean martialist,
  235. The Trojans arm’d, and charg’d the Greeks; the Greeks arm and resist.
  236. Then not asleep, nor maz’d with fear, nor shifting off the blows,
  237. You could behold the king of men, but in full speed he goes
  238. To set a glorious fight on foot; and he examples this,
  239. With toiling, like the worst, on foot; who therefore did dismiss
  240. His brass-arm’d chariot, and his steeds, with Ptolemëus’ son,
  241. Son of Piraides, their guide, the good Eurymedon;
  242. “Yet,” said the king, “attend with them, lest weariness should seize
  243. My limbs, surcharg’d with ord’ring troops so thick and vast as these.”
  244. Eurymedon then rein’d his horse, that trotted neighing by;
  245. The king a footman, and so scours the squadrons orderly.
  246. Those of his swiftly-mounted Greeks, that in their arms were fit,
  247. Those he put on with cheerful words, and bad them not remit
  248. The least spark of their forward spirits, because the Trojans durst
  249. Take these abhorr’d advantages, but let them do their worst;
  250. For they might be assur’d that Jove would patronise no lies,
  251. And that who, with the breach of truce, would hurt their enemies,
  252. With vultures should be torn themselves; that they should raze their town,
  253. Their wives, and children at their breast, led vassals to their own.
  254. But such as he beheld hang of from that increasing fight,
  255. Such would he bitterly rebuke, and with disgrace excite:
  256. “Base Argives, blush ye not to stand as made for butts to darts?
  257. Why are ye thus discomfited, like hinds that have no hearts,
  258. Who, wearied with a long-run field, are instantly emboss’d,
  259. Stand still, and in their beastly breasts is all their courage lost?
  260. And so stand you strook with amaze, nor dare to strike a stroke.
  261. “Would ye the foe should nearer yet your dastard spleens provoke,
  262. Ev’n where on Neptune’s foamy shore our navies lie in sight,
  263. To see if Jove will hold your hands, and teach ye how to fight?”
  264. Thus he, commanding, rang’d the host, and, passing many a band,
  265. He came to the Cretensian troops, where all did arméd stand
  266. About the martial Idomen; who bravely stood before
  267. In vanguard of his troops, and match’d for strength a savage boar;
  268. Meriones, his charioteer, the rearguard bringing on.
  269. Which seen to Atreus’ son, to him it was a sight alone,
  270. And Idomen’s confirméd mind with these kind words he seeks:
  271. “O Idomen! I ever lov’d thy self past all the Greeks,
  272. In war, or any work of peace, at table, ev’rywhere;
  273. For when the best of Greece besides mix ever, at our cheer,
  274. My good old ardent wine with small, and our inferior mates
  275. Drink ev’n that mix’d wine measur’d too, thou drink’st, without those rates,
  276. Our old wine neat, and evermore thy bowl stands full like mine,
  277. To drink still when and what thou wilt. Then rouse that heart of thine,
  278. And, whatsoever heretofore thou hast assum’d to be,
  279. This day be greater.” To the king in this sort answer’d he:
  280. “Atrides, what I ever seem’d, the same at ev’ry part
  281. This day shall show me at the full, and I will fit thy heart.
  282. “But thou shouldst rather cheer the rest, and tell them they in right
  283. Of all good war must offer blows, and should begin the fight,
  284. (Since Troy first brake the holy truce) and not endure these braves.
  285. “To take wrong first, and then be dar’d to the revenge it craves;
  286. Assuring them that Troy in fate must have the worst at last,
  287. Since first, and ’gainst a truce, they hurt, where they should have embrac’d.”
  288. This comfort and advice did fit Atrides’ heart indeed
  289. Who still through new-rais’d swarms of men held his laborious speed,
  290. And came where both th’ Ajaces stood; whom like the last he found
  291. Arm’d, casqu’d, and ready for the fight. Behind them, hid the ground
  292. A cloud of foot, that seem’d to smoke. And as a goatherd spies,
  293. On some hill’s top, out of the sea a rainy vapour rise,
  294. Driv’n by the breath of Zephyrus which, though far off he rest,
  295. Comes on as black as pitch, and brings a tempest in his breast,
  296. Whereat he frighted, drives his herds apace into a den;
  297. So dark’ning earth with darts and shields show’d these with all their men.
  298. This sight with like joy fir’d the king, who thus let forth the flame
  299. In crying out to both the dukes: “O you of equal name,
  300. I must not cheer, nay, I disclaim all my command of you,
  301. Yourselves command with such free minds, and make your soldiers show
  302. As you nor I led, but themselves. O would our father Jove,
  303. Minerva, and the God of Light, would all our bodies move
  304. With such brave spirits as breathe in you, then Priam’s lofty town
  305. Should soon be taken by our hands, for ever overthrown!”
  306. Then held he on to other troops, and Nestor next beheld,
  307. The subtle Pylian orator, range up and down the field
  308. Embattelling his men at arms, and stirring all to blows,
  309. Points ev’ry legion out his chief, and ev’ry chief he shows
  310. The forms and discipline of war, yet his commanders were
  311. All expert, and renownéd men. Great Pelagon was there,
  312. Alastor, manly Chromius, and Hæmon worth a throne,
  313. Arid Bias that could armies lead. With these he first put on
  314. His horse troops with their chariots; his foot (of which he choos’d
  315. Many, the best and ablest men, and which he ever us’d
  316. As rampire to his gen’ral pow’r) he in the rear dispos’d.
  317. The slothful, and the least of spirit, he in the midst inclos’d,
  318. That, such as wanted noble wills, base need might force to stand.
  319. His horse troops, that the vanguard had, he strictly did command
  320. To ride their horses temp’rately, to keep their ranks, and shun
  321. Confusion, lest their horsemanship and courage made them run
  322. (Too much presum’d on) much too far, and, charging so alone,
  323. Engage themselves in th’ enemy’s strength, where many fight with one.
  324. “Who his own chariot leaves to range, let him not freely go,
  325. But straight unhorse him with a lance; for ’tis much better so.
  326. “And with this discipline,” said he, “this form, these minds, this trust,
  327. Our ancestors have walls and towns laid level with the dust.”
  328. Thus prompt, and long inur’d to arms, this old man did exhort;
  329. And this Atrides likewise took in wondrous cheerful sort,
  330. And said: “O father, would to heav’n, that as thy mind remains
  331. In wonted vigour, so thy knees could undergo our pains!
  332. But age, that all men overcomes, hath made his prise on thee;
  333. Yet still I wish that some young man, grown old in mind, might be
  334. Put in proportion with thy years, and thy mind, young in age,
  335. Be fitly answer’d with his youth; that still where conflicts rage,
  336. And young men us’d to thirst for fame, thy brave exampling hand
  337. Might double our young Grecian spirits, and grace our whole command.”
  338. The old knight answer’d: “I myself could wish, O Atreus’ son,
  339. I were as young as when I slew brave Ereuthalion,
  340. But Gods at all times give not all their gifts to mortal men.
  341. “If then I had the strength of youth, I miss’d the counsels then
  342. That years now give me; and now years want that main strength of youth;
  343. Yet still my mind retains her strength (as you now said the sooth)
  344. And would be where that strength is us’d, affording counsel sage
  345. To stir youth’s minds up; ’tis the grace and office of our age;
  346. Let younger sinews, men sprung up whole ages after me,
  347. And such as have strength, use it, and as strong in honour be.”
  348. The king, all this while comforted, arriv’d next where he found
  349. Well-rode Menestheus (Peteus’ son) stand still, inviron’d round
  350. With his well-train’d Athenian troops, and next to him he spied
  351. The wise Ulysses, deedless too, and all his bands beside
  352. Of strong Cephalians; for as yet th’ alarm had not been heard
  353. In all their quarters, Greece and Troy were then so newly stirr’d,
  354. And then first mov’d, as they conceiv’d; and they so look’d about
  355. To see both hosts give proof of that they yet had cause to doubt.
  356. Atrides seeing them stand so still, and spend their eyes at gaze,
  357. Began to chide: “And why,” said he, “dissolv’d thus in amaze,
  358. Thou son of Peteus, Jove-nurs’d king, and thou in wicked sleight
  359. A cunning soldier, stand ye off? Expect ye that the fight
  360. Should be by other men begun? “Tis fit the foremost band
  361. Should show you there; you first should front who first lifts up his hand.
  362. “First you can hear, when I invite the princes to a feast,
  363. When first, most friendly, and at will, ye eat and drink the best,
  364. Yet in the fight, most willingly, ten troops ye can behold
  365. Take place before ye.” Ithacus at this his brows did fold,
  366. And said: “How hath thy violent tongue broke through thy set of teeth,
  367. To say that we are slack in fight, and to the field of death
  368. Look others should enforce our way, when we were busied then,
  369. Ev’n when thou spak’st, against the foe to cheer and lead our men?
  370. But thy eyes shall be witnesses, if it content thy will,
  371. And that (as thou pretend’st) these cares do so affect thee still,
  372. The father of Telemachus (whom I esteem so dear,
  373. And to whom, as a legacy, I’ll leave my deeds done here)
  374. Ev’n with the foremost band of Troy hath his encounter dar’d,
  375. And therefore are thy speeches vain, and had been better spar’d.”
  376. He, smiling, since he saw him mov’d, recall’d his words, and said:
  377. “Most generous Laertes’ son, most wise of all our aid,
  378. I neither do accuse thy worth, more than thyself may hold
  379. Fit, (that inferiors think not much, being slack, to be controll’d)
  380. Nor take I on me thy command; for well I know thy mind
  381. Knows how sweet gentle counsels are, and that thou stand’st inclin’d,
  382. As I myself, for all our good. On then; if now we spake
  383. What hath displeas’d, another time we full amends will make;
  384. And Gods grant that thy virtue ere may prove so free and brave,
  385. That my reproofs may still be vain, and thy deservings grave.”
  386. Thus parted they; and forth he went, when he did leaning find,
  387. Against his chariot, near his horse, him with the mighty mind,
  388. Great Diomedes, Tydeus’ son, and Sthenelus, the seed
  389. Of Capaneius; whom the king seeing likewise out of deed,
  390. Thus cried he out on Diomed: “O me! In what a fear
  391. The wise great warrior, Tydeus’ son, stands gazing ev’rywhere
  392. For others to begin the fight! It was not Tydeus’ use
  393. To be so daunted, whom his spirit would evermore produce
  394. Before the foremost of his friends in these affairs of fright,
  395. As they report that have beheld him labour in a fight.
  396. “For me, I never knew the man, nor in his presence came,
  397. But excellent, above the rest, he was in gen’ral fame;
  398. And one renown’d exploit of his, I am assur’d, is true.
  399. “He came to the Mycenian court, without arms, and did sue,
  400. At godlike Polynices’ hands, to have some worthy aid
  401. To their designs that ’gainst the walls of sacred Thebes were laid.
  402. “He was great Polynices’ guest, and nobly entertain’d,
  403. And of the kind Mycenian state what he requested gain’d,
  404. In mere consent; but when they should the same in act approve,
  405. By some sinister prodigies, held out to them by Jove,
  406. They were discourag’d. Thence he went, and safely had his pass
  407. Back to Asopus’ flood, renown’d for bulrushes and grass.
  408. “Yet, once more, their ambassador, the Grecian peers address
  409. Lord Tydeus to Eteocles; to whom being giv’n access,
  410. He found him feasting with a crew of Cadmeans in his hall;
  411. Amongst whom, though an enemy, and only one to all;
  412. To all yet he his challenge made at ev’ry martial feat,
  413. And eas’ly foil’d all, since with him Minerva was so great.
  414. “The rank-rode Cadmeans, much incens’d with their so foul disgrace,
  415. Lodg’d ambuscadoes for their foe, in some well-chosen place
  416. By which he was to make return. Twice five-and-twenty men,
  417. And two of them great captains too, the ambush did contain.
  418. “The names of those two men of rule were Mæon, Hæmon’s son,
  419. And Lycophontes, Keep-field call’d, the heir of Autophon,
  420. By all men honour’d like the Gods; yet these and all their friends
  421. Were sent to hell by Tydeus’ hand, and had untimely ends.
  422. “He trusting to the aid of Gods, reveal’d by augury,
  423. Obeying which, one chief he sav’d, and did his life apply
  424. To be the heavy messenger of all the others’ deaths;
  425. And that sad message, with his life, to Mæon he bequeaths.
  426. “So brave a knight was Tydeüs of whom a son is sprung,
  427. Inferior far in martial deeds, though higher in his tongue.”
  428. All this Tydides silent heard, aw’d by the rev’rend king;
  429. Which stung hot Sthenelus with wrath, who thus put forth his sting:
  430. “Atrides, when thou know’st the truth, speak what thy knowledge is,
  431. And do not lie so; for I know and I will brag in this,
  432. That we are far more able men than both our fathers were.
  433. “We took the sev’n-fold ported Thebes, when yet we had not there
  434. So great help as our fathers had; and fought beneath a wall,
  435. Sacred to Mars, by help of Jove, and trusting to the fall
  436. Of happy signs from other Gods, by whom we took the town
  437. Untouch’d; our fathers perishing here by follies of their own;
  438. And therefore never more compare our fathers’ worth with ours.”
  439. Tydides frown’d at this, and said: “Suppress thine anger’s pow’rs,
  440. Good friend, and hear why I refrain’d. Thou seest I am not mov’d
  441. Against our gen’ral, since he did but what his place behov’d,
  442. Admonishing all Greeks to fight; for, if Troy prove our prise,
  443. The honour and the joy is his; if here our ruin lies,
  444. The shame and grief for that as much is his in greatest kinds.
  445. “As he then his charge, weigh we ours; which is our dauntless minds.”
  446. Thus, from his chariot, amply arm’d, he jump’d down to the ground;
  447. The armour of the angry king so horribly did sound,
  448. It might have made his bravest foe let fear take down his braves.
  449. And as when with the west-wind flaws, the sea thrusts up her waves,
  450. One after other, thick and high, upon the groaning shores,
  451. First in herself loud, but oppos’d with banks and rocks she roars,
  452. And, all her back in bristles set, spits ev’ry way her foam;
  453. So, after Diomed, instantly the field was overcome
  454. With thick impressions of the Greeks; and all the noise that grew
  455. (Ord’ring and cheering up their men) from only leaders flew.
  456. The rest went silently away, you could not hear a voice,
  457. Nor would have thought, in all their breasts, they had one in their choice,
  458. Their silence uttering their awe of them that them controll’d,
  459. Which made each man keep right his arms, march, fight still where he should
  460. The Trojans (like a sort of ewes, penn’d in a rich man’s fold,
  461. Close at his door, till all be milk’d, and never baaing hold
  462. Hearing the bleating of their lambs) did all their wide host fill
  463. With shouts and clamours, nor observ’d one voice, one baaing still,
  464. But show’d mix’d tongues from many a land of men call’d to their aid.
  465. Rude Mars had th’ ordering of their spirits; of Greeks, the learned Maid
  466. But Terror follow’d both the hosts, and Flight, and furious Strife
  467. The sister, and the mate, of Mars, that spoil of human life;
  468. And never is her rage at rest, at first she is but small,
  469. Yet after, but a little fed, she grows so vast and tall
  470. That, while her feet move here in earth, her forehead is in heav’n;
  471. And this was she that made ev’n then both hosts so deadly giv’n.
  472. Through ev’ry troop she stalk’d, and stirr’d rough sighs up as she went;
  473. But when in one field both the foes her fury did content,
  474. And both came under reach of darts, then darts and shields oppos’d
  475. To darts and shields; strength answer’d strength; then swords and targets clos’d
  476. With swords and targets; both with pikes; and then did tumult rise
  477. Up to her height; then conqu’rors’ boasts mix’d with the conquer’d’s cries;
  478. Earth flow’d with blood. And as from hills rainwaters headlong fall,
  479. That all ways eat huge ruts, which, met in one bed, fill a vall
  480. With such a confluence of streams, that on the mountain grounds
  481. Far off, in frighted shepherds’ ears, the bustling noise rebounds:
  482. So grew their conflicts, and so show’d their scuffling to the ear,
  483. With flight and clamour still commix’d, and all effects of fear.
  484. And first renown’d Antilochus slew (fighting, in the face
  485. Of all Achaia’s foremost bands, with an undaunted grace)
  486. Echepolus Thalysiades; he was an arméd man;
  487. Whom on his hair-plum’d helmet’s crest the dart first smote, then ran
  488. Into his forehead, and there stuck; the steel pile making way
  489. Quite through his skull; a hasty night shut up his latest day.
  490. His fall was like a fight-rac’d tow’r; like which lying there dispread,
  491. King Elephenor (who was son to Chalcodon, and led
  492. The valiant Abants) covetous that he might first possess
  493. His arms, laid hands upon his feet, and hal’d him from the press
  494. Of darts and jav’lins hurl’d at him. The action of the king
  495. When great-in-heart Agenor saw, he made his jav’lin sing
  496. To th’ others’ labour; and along as he the trunk did wrest,
  497. His side (at which he bore his shield) in bowing of his breast
  498. Lay naked, and receiv’d the lance, that made him lose his hold
  499. And life together; which, in hope of that he lost, he sold,
  500. But for his sake the fight grew fierce, the Trojans and their foes
  501. Like wolves on one another rush’d, and man for man it goes.
  502. The next of name, that serv’d his fate, great Ajax Telamon
  503. Preferr’d so sadly. He was heir to old Anthemion,
  504. And deck’d with all the flow’r of youth; the fruit of which yet fled,
  505. Before the honour’d nuptial torch could light him to his bed.
  506. His name was Simoisius; for, some few years before,
  507. His mother walking down the hill of Ida, by the shore
  508. Of silver Simois, to see her parents’ flocks, with them
  509. She, feeling suddenly the pains of child-birth, by the stream
  510. Of that bright river brought him forth; and so (of Simois)
  511. They call’d him Simoisius. Sweet was that birth of his
  512. To his kind parents, and his growth did all their care employ;
  513. And yet those rites of piety, that should have been his joy
  514. To pay their honour’d years again in as affectionate sort,
  515. He could not graciously perform, his sweet life was so short,
  516. Cut off with mighty Ajax’ lance; for, as his spirit put on,
  517. He strook him at his breast’s right pap, quite through his shoulder-bone,
  518. And in the dust of earth he fell, that was the fruitful soil
  519. Of his friends’ hopes; but where he sow’d he buried all his toil.
  520. And as a poplar shot aloft, set by a river side,
  521. In moist edge of a mighty fen, his head in curls implied,
  522. But all his body plain and smooth, to which a wheel-wright puts
  523. The sharp edge of his shining axe, and his soft timber cuts
  524. From his in native root, in hope to hew out of his bole
  525. The fell’ffs, or out-parts of a wheel, that compass in the whole,
  526. To serve some goodly chariot; but, being big and sad,
  527. And to be hal’d home through the bogs, the useful hope he had
  528. Sticks there, and there the goodly plant lies with’ring out his grace:
  529. So lay, by Jove-bred Ajax’ hand, Anthemion’s forward race,
  530. Nor could through that vast fen of toils be drawn to serve the ends
  531. Intended by his body’s pow’rs, nor cheer his aged friends.
  532. But now the gay-arm’d Antiphus, a son of Priam, threw
  533. His lance at Ajax through the prease; which went by him, and flew
  534. On Leucus, wise Ulysses’ friend; his groin it smote, as fain
  535. He would have drawn into his spoil the carcass of the slain,
  536. By which he fell, and that by him; it vex’d Ulysses’ heart,
  537. Who thrust into the face of fight, well-arm’d at ev’ry part,
  538. Came close, and look’d about to find an object worth his lance;
  539. Which when the Trojans saw him shake, and he so near advance,
  540. All shrunk; he threw, and forth it shin’d, nor fell but where it fell’d;
  541. His friend’s grief gave it angry pow’r, and deadly way it held
  542. Upon Democoon, who was sprung of Priam’s wanton force,
  543. Came from Abydus, and was made the master of his horse.
  544. Through both his temples strook the dart, the wood of one side shew’d,
  545. The pile out of the other look’d, and so the earth he strew’d
  546. With much sound of his weighty arms. Then back the foremost went;
  547. Ev’n Hector yielded; then the Greeks gave worthy clamours vent,
  548. Effecting then their first-dumb pow’rs; some drew the dead, and spoil’d,
  549. Some follow’d, that, in open flight, Troy might confess it foil’d.
  550. Apollo, angry at the sight, from top of Ilion cried:
  551. “Turn head, ye well-rode peers of Troy, feed not the Grecians’ pride,
  552. They are not charm’d against your points, of steel, nor iron, fram’d;
  553. Nor fights the fair-hair’d Thetis’ son, but sits at fleet inflam’d.”
  554. So spake the dreadful God from Troy. The Greeks, Jove’s noblest Seed
  555. Encourag’d to keep on the chace; and, where fit spirit did need,
  556. She gave it, marching in the midst. Then flew the fatal hour
  557. Back on Diores, in return of Ilion’s sun-burn’d pow’r;
  558. Diores Amaryncides, whose right leg’s ankle-bone,
  559. And both the sinews, with a sharp and handful-charging stone
  560. Pirus Imbrasides did break, that led the Thracian bands
  561. And came from Ænos; down he fell, and up he held his hands
  562. To his lov’d friends; his spirit wing’d to fly out of his breast
  563. With which not satisfied, again Imbrasides address’d
  564. His jav’lin at him, and so ripp’d his navel, that the wound,
  565. As endlessly it shut his eyes, so, open’d, on the ground
  566. It pour’d his entrails. As his foe went then suffic’d away,
  567. Thoas Ætolius threw a dart, that did his pile convey,
  568. Above his nipple, through his lungs; when, quitting his stern part,
  569. He clos’d with him, and, from his breast first drawing out his dart,
  570. His sword flew in, and by the midst it wip’d his belly out;
  571. So took his life, but left his arms; his friends so flock’d about,
  572. And thrust forth lances of such length before their slaughter’d king,
  573. Which, though their foe were big and strong, and often brake the ring
  574. Forg’d of their lances, yet (enforc’d) he left th’ affected prise.
  575. The Thracian and Epeian dukes, laid close with closéd eyes
  576. By either other, drown’d in dust; and round about the plain,
  577. All hid with slaughter’d carcasses, yet still did hotly reign
  578. The martial planet; whose effects had any eye beheld,
  579. Free and unwounded (and were led by Pallas through the field,
  580. To keep off jav’lins, and suggest the least fault could be found)
  581. He could not reprehend the fight, so many strew’d the ground.


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