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When now Minerva saw her Argives slain, Here, if I fall, by chance of battle slain, From vast Olympus to the gleaming plain
Be his my spoil, and his these arms remain; 90
What cause, O daughter of almighty Jove! If mine the glory to despoil the foe;
The breathless carcass to your navy sent,
Greece on the shore shall raise a monument; Too much has Troy already felt thy hate,
Which when some future mariner surveys, Now breathe thy rage, and hush the stern de Wash'd by broad Hellespont's resounding seas, 100 bate:
Thus shall he say: A valiant Greek lies there, This day, the business of the field suspend; By Hector slain, the mighty man of war. War soon shall kindle, and great Ilion bend ; The stone shall tell your vanquish'd hero's name, Since vengeful goddesses confederate join
And distant ages learn the victor's fame. To raze her walls, though built by hands divine. This fierce defiance Greece astonish'd heard, To whom the progeny of Jove replies :
Blush'd to refuse, and to accept it fear'd. I left, for this, the council of the skies :
40 Stern Menela iis first the silence broke, But who shall bid conflicting hosts forbear? And, inly groaning, thus opprobrious spoke: What art shall calm the furious sons of war?
Women of Greece! oh scandal of your race, To her the god : Great Hector's soul incite Whose coward souls your manly form disgrace, 110 To dare the boldest Greek to single fight,
How great the shame, when every age shall know Till Greece, provoked, from all her numbers show That not a Grecian met this noble foe! A warrior worthy to be Hector's foe.
Go then, resolve to earth, from whence ye grew,
Be what ye seem, unanimated clay!
But in the hands of God is victory.
press'd, The warring nations to suspend their rage; His manly limbs in azure arms he dress’d. 120 Then dare the boldest of the hostile train
That day, Atrides! a superior hand To mortal combat on the listed plain.
Had stretch'd thee breathless on the hostile strand. For not this day shall end thy glorious date ; But all at once, thy fury to compose, The gods have spoke it, and their voice is fate. The kings of Greece, an awful band, arose : He said : the warrior heard the word with joy; E'en he, their chief, great Agamemnon, press'd Then with his spear restrain'd the youth of Troy, 60 Thy daring hand, and this advice address’d: Held by the midst athwart. On either hand Whither, O Menelaiis ! wouldst thou run, The squadrons part; the expecting Trojans stand: And tempt a fate which prudence bids thee shun? Great Agamemnon bids the Greeks forbear; Grieved though thou art, forbear the rash design ; They breathe, and hush the tumult of the war. Great Hector's arm is mightier far than thine. 130 The Athenian maid, and glorious god of day, E'en fierce Achilles learn'd its force to fear, With silent joy the settling hosts survey:
And trembling met this dreadful son of war. In form of vultures, on the beech's height
Sit thou secure amidst thy social band;
The thronging troops obscure the dusky fields, The mightiest warrior of the Achaian name,
He stoop'd to reason, and his rage resignd; 140 Thus in thick orders settling wide around,
No longer bent to rush on certain harms, At length composed they sit, and shade the ground. His joyful friends unbrace his azure arms. Great Hector first amidst both armies broke
He, from whose lips divine persuasion flows, The solemn silence, and their powers bespoke : Grave Nestor, then, in graceful act arose.
Hear, all ye Trojan, all ye Grecian bands, Thus to the kings he spoke: What grief, what What my soul prompts, and what some god com shame mands:
80 Attend on Greece, and all the Grecian namne! Great Jove, averse our warfare to compose, How shall, alas ! her hoary heroes mourn O'erwhelms the nations with new toils and woes; Their sons degenerate, and their race a scorn! War with a fiercer tide once more returns,
What tears shall down thy silver beard be rollid, Till llion falls, or till yon navy burns.
Oh Peleus, old in arms, in wisdom old !
150 You then, O princes of the Greeks ! appear; Once with what joy the generous prince would hear Tis Hector speaks, and calls the gods to hear : Of every chief who fought this glorious war; From all your troops select the boldest knight, Participate their fame, and, pleased, inquire And him, the boldest, Hector dares to fight Each name, each action, and each hero's sire!
Gods! should he see our warriors trembling stand, Each to his rival yields the mark unknown,
Surveys the inscription with rejoicing eyes,
Then casts before him, and with transport cries : Oh! would to all the immortal powers above,
Warriors; I claim the lot, and arm with joy; Minerva, Phæbus, and almighty Jove !
160 Be mine the conquest of this chief of Troy. Years might again roll back, my youth renew, Now, while my brightest arms my limbs invest, And give this arm the spring which once it knew. To Saturn's son be all your vows address'd: When, fierce in war, where Jardan's waters fall, But pray in secret, lest the foes should hear, I led my troops to Phea's trembling wall,
And deem your prayers the mean effect of fear. And with the Arcadian spears my prowess tried Said I in secret? No, your vows declare, Where Celadon rolls down his rapid tide.
In such a voice as fills the earth and air. There Ereuthalion braved us in the field,
Lives there a chief whom Ajax ought to dread? Proud, Areïthous' dreadful arms to wield;
Ajax, in all the toils of battle bred ? Great Areïthous known from shore to shore. From warlike Salamis I drew my birth, By the huge knotted iron mace he bore; 170 And, born to combats, fear no force on earth. No lance he shook, nor bent the twanging bow, He said. The troops with elevated eyes But broke, with this, the battle of the foe.
Implore the god whose thunder rends the skies : 240 Him not by manly force Lycurgus slew,
O father of mankind, superior lord! Whose guileful javelin from the thicket flew! On lofty Ida's holy bill adored : Deep in a winding way his breast assail'd,
Who in the highest heaven hast fix'd thy throne Nor aught the warrior's thundering mace avail'd, Supreme of gods! unbounded and alone : Supine he fell: those arms which Mars before Grant thou, that Telamon may bear away Had given the vanquish'd, now the victor bore : The praise and conquest of this doubtful day; But when old age had dimm'd Lycurgus' eyes,
Or if illustrious Hector be thy care, To Ereuthalion he consign'd the prize. 180 That both may claim it, and that both may share. Furious with this he crush'd our levell’d bands, Now Ajax braced his dazzling armour on; And dared the trial of the strongest hands;
Sheath'd in bright steel the giant-warrior shone ; 250 Nor could the strongest hands his fury stay; He moves to combat with majestic pace; All saw, and fear'd, his huge tempestuous sway: So stalks in arms the grizly god of Thrace, Till I, the youngest of the host, appear'd,
When Jove to punish faithless men prepares, And, youngest, met whom all our army fear'd. And gives whole nations to the waste of wars. I fought the chief: my arms Minerva crown’d: Thus march'd the chief, tremendous as a god : Prone fell the giant o'er a length of ground. Grimly he smiled; earth trembled as he strode: What then he was, oh were your Nestor now! His massy javelin quivering in his hand, Not Hector's self should want an equal foe. 190 He stood, the bulwark of the Grecian band. But, warriors, you, that youthful vigour boast, Through every Argive heart new transport ran; The flower of Greece, the examples of our host, All Troy stood trembling at the mighty man: Sprung from such fathers, who such numbers sway, E'en Hector paused ; and, with new doubts oppress'd Can you stand trembling, and desert the day? Felt his great heart suspended in his breast :
His warm reproofs the listening kings inflame; "Twas vain to seek retreat, and vain to fear: And nine, the noblest of the Grecian name,
Himself had challenged, and the foe drew near. Up-started fierce: but far before the rest
Stern. Telamon behind his ample shield, The king of men advanced his dauntless breast : As from a brazen tower, o'erlook'd the field: Then bold Tydides, great in arms, appear'd: Huge was its orb, with seven thick folds o'ercasix And next his bulk gigantic Ajax rear'd: 200 Of tough bull-hides; of solid brass the last ; Oileus follow'd; Idomen was there;
(The work of Tychius, who in Hylè dwellid, And Merion, dreadful as the god of war:
And in all arts of armoury excell'd.)
270 With these Eurypilus and Thoas stand,
This Ajax bore before his manly breast, And wise Ulysses closed the daring band.
And threatening, thus his adverse chief address'd: All these, alike inspired with noble rage,
Hector! approach my arm, and singly know Demand the fight. To whom the Pyliaŋ sage: What strength thou hast, and what the Grecian foe
Let thirst of glory your brave souls divide; Achilles shuns the fight; yet some there are, What chief shall combat let the lots decide. Not void of soul, and not unskill'd in war: Whom heaven shall choose, be his the chance to raise Let him, unactive on the sea-beat shore, His country's fame, his own immortal praise. 210 Indulge his wrath, and aid our arms no more;
The lots produced, each hero signs his own; Whole troops of heroes Greece has yet to boast, Then in the general's helm the fates are thrown. And sends thee one, a sample of her host. The people pray, with lified eyes and hands, Such as I am, I come to prove thy might; And vows like these ascend from all the bands : No more—be sudden, and begin the fight. Grant, thou Almighty! in whose hand is fate,
O son of Telamon, thy country's pride! A wonhy champion for the Grecian state.
|(To Ajax thus the Trojan prince replied ;) This task let Ajax or Tydides prove,
Me, as a boy or woman, wouldst thou fright, Or he, the king of kings, beloved by Jove! New to the field, and trembling at the fight?
Old Nestor shook the casque. By heaven inspired, Thou meet’st a chief deserving of thy arms, Leap'd forth the lot, of every Greek desired. 220 To combat born, and bred amidst alarms: This from the right to left the herald bears,
I know to shift my ground, remount the car, Held out in order to the Grecian peers;
290 | Turn, charge, and answer every call of war;
To right, to left, the dextrous lance I wield, Return, brave Ajax, to thy Grecian friends,
Who wearies heaven with vows for Hector's life. He said, and rising, high above the field
But let us, on this memorable day, Whirl'd the long lance against the sevenfold shield. Exchange some gift; that Greece and Troy may say Full on the brass descending from above
No hate, but glory, made their chiefs contend; Through six bull-hides the furious weapon drove, And each brave foe was in his soul a friend. Till in the seventh it fix'd. Then Ajax threw; With that, a sword with stars of silver graced, Through Hector's shield the forceful javelin flew, The baldric studded, and the sheath enchased, His corselet enters, and his garment rends, 301 He gave the Greek. The generous Greek bestow'd And glancing downwards, near his flank descends. A radiant belt that rich with purple glow'd. The wary Trojan shrinks, and, bending low Then with majestic grace they quit the plain ; 370 Beneath his buckler, disappoints the blow.
This seeks the Grecian, that the Phrygian train. From their bored shields the chiefs their javelins The Trojan bands returning Hector wait, drew,
And hail with joy the champion of their state : Then close impetuous, and the charge renew; Escaped great Ajax, they survey'd him round, Fierce as the mountain-lions bathed in blood, Alive, unharm'd, and vigorous from his wound. Or foaming boars, the terror of the wood,
To Troy's high gates the godlike man they bear, At Ajax, Hector his long lance extends;
Their present triumph, as their late despair.
The well-arm'd Greeks to Agamemnon lead.
Then spread the tables, the repast prepare,
whose counsels long had sway'd the rest,
What Greeks are perish'd! what a ople lost ! His bulk supporting on the shatter'd shield; What tides of blood have drench'd Scamander's Nor wanted heavenly aid : Apollo's might
shore ! Confirm'd bis sinews, and restored to fight.
What crowds of heroes sunk, to rise no more! And now both heroes their broad falchions drew: Then hear me, chief! nor let the morrow's light In flaming circles round their heads they flew; 330 Awake thy squadrons to new toils of fight; But then by heralds' voice the word was given Some space at least permit the war to breathe, The sacred ministers of earth and heaven;
While we to flames our slaughter'd friends beDivine Talthybius whom the Greeks employ,
queath, And sage Idæus on the part of Troy.
From the red field their scatter'd bodies bear, 400 Between the swords their peaceful sceptres rear’d: And nigh the fleet a funeral structure rear; And first Idæus' awful voice was heard :
So decent urns their snowy bones may keep, Forbear, my sons! your farther force to prove, And pious children o'er their ashes weep. Both dear to men, and both beloved of Jove. Here, where on one promiscuous pile they blazed To either host your matchless worth is known, High o'er them all a general tomb be raised; Each sounds your praise, and war is all your own. 340 Nest, to secure our camp and naval powers, But now the night extends her awful shade; Raise an embattled wall with lofty towers; The goddess parts you: be the night obey'd. From space to space be ample gates around, To whom great Ajax his high soul express'd: For passing chariots; and a trench profound. 0 sage! to Hector be these words address'd. So Greece to combat shall in safety go,
410 Let him who first provoked our chiefs to fight, Nor fear the fierce incursions of the foe. Let him demand the sanction of the night;
'Twas thus the sage his wholesome counsel moved; If first he ask it, I content obey,
The sceptred kings of Greece his words approved. And cease the strife when Hector shows the way. Meanwhile, convened at Priam's palace gate,
O first of Greeks! (his noble foe rejoin'd) The Trojan peers in nightly council sat : Whom heaven adorns, superior to thy kind, 350 A senate void of order, as of choice; With strength of body, and with worth of mind! Their hearts were fearful, and confused their voice Now martial law commands us to forbear;
Antenor rising, thus demands their ear: Hereafter we shall meet in glorious war;
Ye Trojans, Dardans, and auxiliars, hear! Some future day shall lengthen out the strife, "Tis heaven the counsel of my breast inspires, 420 And let the gods decide of death or life!
And I but move what every god requires : Since then the night extends her gloomy shade, Let Sparta's treasures be this hour restored, And heaven enjoins it, be the night obey'd.
And Argive Helen own her ancient lord.
The ties of faith, the sworn alliance broke He came, and, standing in the midst, explain'd
Straight to their several cares the Trojans move,
Some search the plain, some fell the sounding grove
To shed his sacred light on earth again,
Arose the golden chariot of the day,
And, laid along their cars, deplored the dead.
With melting hearts the cold reinains they burn'd;
And sadly slow to sacred Troy return'd. 511
Now, ere the morn had streak'd with reddening light
520 And whose the conquest, nighty Jove decide! They raised embattled walls with lofty towers:
The monarch spoke: the warriors snatch'd with haste From space to space were ample gates around, (Each at his post in arms) a short repast.
For passing chariots; and a trench profound, Soon as the rosy morn had waked the day, Of large extent; and deep in earth, below, To the black ships Idaus bent his way ;
Strong piles infix'd, stood adverse to the foe. There, to the son of Mars, in council found,
So toild the Greeks: meanwhile the gods above, He raised his voice : the host stood listening round: In shining circle round their father Jove,
Ye sons of Atreus, and ye Greeks, give ear! 460 Amazed beheld the wondrous works of man: The words of Troy, and Troy's great monarch, hear. Then he, whose trident shakes the earth, began: Pleased may he hear (so heaven succeed my prayers)
What mortals henceforth shall our power adore, What Paris, author of the war, declares.
Our fanes frequent, our oracles implore,
531 The spoils and treasures he to Ilion bore,
If the proud Grecians thus successful boast
No god consulted, and no victim slain!
Their fame shall fill the world's remotest ends,
, razed and lost, in long oblivion sleep. 510 And whose the conquest, mighty Jove decide! Thus spoke the hoary monarch of the deep.
The Greeks gave ear, but none the silence broke; The Almighty Thunderer with a frown replies,
That clouds the world, and blackens half the skies:
The meanest subject of our realms above ?
The ruin vanish'd, and the name no more,
The rolling sun descending to the main
Black from the tents the savoury vapours flew.
And now the fleet, arrived from Lemnos' strands, 560 As deep beneath the infernal centre hurld,
Let him who tempts me, dread those dire abodes; A thousand measures to the royal tent;
And know, the Almighty is the god of gods. (Euneus, whom Hypsipyle of yore,
League all your forces then, ye powers above, To Jason, shepherd of his people, bore ;)
Join all, and try the omnipotence of Jove : The rest they purchased at their proper cost, Let down our golden everlasting chain, And well the plenteous freight supplied the host : Whose strong embrace holds heaven, and earth, and Each, in exchange, proportion'd treasures gave:
main : Some brass, or iron; some an ox, or slave.
Strive all, of mortal and immortal birth, All night they feast, the Greek and Trojan powers; To drag, by this, the Thunderer down to earth : Those on the fields, and these within their towers. Ye strive in vain! If I but stretch this band, But Jove averse the signs of wrath display'd, I heave the gods, the ocean, and the land; 30 And shot red lightnings through the gloomy shade: I fix the chain to great Olympus' height, Humbled they stood; pale horror seized on all, And the vast world hangs trembling in my sight! While the deep thunder shook the aërial hall. For such I reign, unbounded and above; Each pour’d to Jove, before the bowl was crown'd; And such are men, and gods, compared to Jove. And large libations drench'd the thirsty ground: The Almighty spoke; nor durst the powers reply: Then late, refresh'd with sleep from toils of fight, A reverend horror silenced all the sky; Enjoy'd the balmy blessings of the night. Trembling they stood hefore their sovereign's look ;
At length his best beloved, the power of wisdom
spoke : BOOK VIII.
Oh first and greatest! god, by gods adored!
We own thy might, our father and our lord ! 40
But ah! permit to pity human state;
them with the pains of Tartarus if they assist either With arms unaiding mourn our Argives slain :
The cloud-compelling god her suit approved, of both, and affrights the Greeks with his thunders And smiled superior on his best beloved. and lightnings. Nestor alone continues in the field in Then callid his coursers, and his chariot took ; great danger; Diomed relieves him; whose exploits,
50 and those of Hector, are excellently described. Juno The steadfast firmament beneath them shook: endeavours to animate Neptune to the assistance of Rapt by the ethereal steeds the chariots rollid; the Greeks, but in vain. The acts of Teucer, who is Brass were their hoofs, their curling manes of gold at length wounded by Hector, and carried off. Juno Of heaven's undrossy gold the god's array and Minerva prepare to aid the Grecians; but are re. Refulgent, flash'd intolerable day. strained by Iris, sent from Jupiter. The night puts High on the throne he shines: his coursers fly an end to the battle. Hector continues in the field Between the extended earth and starry sky. (the Greeks being driven to their fortifications before But when to Ida's topmost height he came the ships,) and gives orders to keep the watch all night
(Fair nurse of fountains, and of savage game,) in the camp, to prevent the enemy from re-embarking and escaping by flight. They kindle fires, through all Where, o'er her pointed summits proudly raised, the field, and pass the night under arms.
His fane breathed odours, and his altar blazed : 60 The time of seven-and-twenty days is employed from There, from his radiant car, the sacred sire
the opening of the poem to the end of this book. The Of gods and men released the steeds of fire :
High on the cloudy point his seat he placed ;
Thence his broad eye the subject world surveys, BOOK VIII.
The town, and tents, and navigable seas. AURORA now, fair daughter of the dawn,
Now had the Grecians snatch'd a short repast, Sparkled with rosy light the dewy lawn;
And buckled on their shining arms with haste. When Jove convened the senate of the skies, Troy roused as soon; for on this dreadful day Where high Olympus' cloudy tops arise.
The fate of fathers, wives, and infants, lay. 70 The Sire of Gods his awful silence broke,
The gates unfolding pour forth all their train; The heavens attentive trembled as he spoke: Squadrons on squadrons cloud the dusky plain :
Celestial states, immortal gods! give ear; Men, steeds, and chariots, shake the trembling ground; Hear our decree, and reverence what ye hear; The tumult thickens, and the skies resound. The fix'd decree, which not all heaven can move; And now with shouts the shocking armies closed, Thou, Fate! fulfil it; and, ye powers ! approve! 10 To lances lances, shields to shields opposed; What god but enters yon forbidden field,
Host against host with shadowy legions drew, Who yields assistance, or but wills to yield, The sounding darts in iron tempests flew; Back to the skies with shame he shall be driven, Victors and vanquish d join promiscuous cries, Gash'd with dishonest wounds, the scorn of heaven : Triumphant shouts and dying groans arise : 80 Or far, oh far from steep Olympus thrown, With streaming blood the slippery fields are dyed, Low in the dark Tartarean gulf shall groan,
And slaughter'd heroes swell the dreadful tide. With burning chains fix'd to the brazen floors, Long as the morning beams increasing bright, And lock'd by hell's inexorable doors;
TO'er heaven's clear azure spread the sacred light: