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- Alexander Pope
Juno Deceives Jupiter by the Girdle of Venus
Nestor, sitting at the table with Machaon, is alarmed with the increasing clamour of war, and hastens to Agamemnon; on his way he meets that prince with Diomed and Ulysses, whom he informs of the extremity of the danger. Agamemnon proposes to make their escape by night, which Ulysses withstands; to which Diomed adds his advice, that, wounded as they were, they should go forth and encourage the army with their presence, which advice is pursued. Juno, seeing the partiality of Jupiter to the Trojans, forms a design to over-reach him: she sets off her charms with the utmost care, and (the more surely to enchant him) obtains the magic girdle of Venus. She then applies herself to the god of sleep, and, with some difficulty, persuades him to seal the eyes of Jupiter: this done, she goes to mount Ida, where the god, at first sight, is ravished with her beauty, sinks in her embraces, and is laid asleep. Neptune takes advantage of his slumber, and succours the Greeks: Hector is struck to the ground with a prodigious stone by Ajax, and carried off from the battle: several actions succeed, till the Trojans, much distressed, are obliged to give way: the lesser Ajax signalizes himself in a particular manner.
But not the genial feast, nor flowing bowl,
Could charm the cares of Nestor’s watchful soul;
His startled ears the increasing cries attend;
Then thus, impatient, to his wounded friend:
“What new alarm, divine Machaon, say,
What mix’d events attend this mighty day?
Hark! how the shouts divide, and how they meet,
And now come full, and thicken to the fleet!
Here with the cordial draught dispel thy care,
Let Hecamede the strengthening bath prepare,
Refresh thy wound, and cleanse the clotted gore;
While I the adventures of the day explore.”
He said: and, seizing Thrasymedes’ shield,
(His valiant offspring,) hasten’d to the field;
(That day the son his father’s buckler bore;)
Then snatch’d a lance, and issued from the door.
Soon as the prospect open’d to his view,
His wounded eyes the scene of sorrow knew;
Dire disarray! the tumult of the fight,
The wall in ruins, and the Greeks in flight.
As when old ocean’s silent surface sleeps,
The waves just heaving on the purple deeps:
While yet the expected tempest hangs on high,
Weighs down the cloud, and blackens in the sky,
The mass of waters will no wind obey;
Jove sends one gust, and bids them roll away.
While wavering counsels thus his mind engage,
Fluctuates in doubtful thought the Pylian sage,
To join the host, or to the general haste;
Debating long, he fixes on the last:
Yet, as he moves, the sight his bosom warms,
The field rings dreadful with the clang of arms,
The gleaming falchions flash, the javelins fly;
Blows echo blows, and all or kill or die.
Him, in his march, the wounded princes meet,
By tardy steps ascending from the fleet:
The king of men, Ulysses the divine,
And who to Tydeus owes his noble line.
(Their ships at distance from the battle stand,
In lines advanced along the shelving strand:
Whose bay, the fleet unable to contain
At length; beside the margin of the main,
Rank above rank, the crowded ships they moor:
Who landed first, lay highest on the shore.)
Supported on the spears, they took their way,
Unfit to fight, but anxious for the day.
Nestor’s approach alarm’d each Grecian breast,
Whom thus the general of the host address’d:
“O grace and glory of the Achaian name;
What drives thee, Nestor, from the field of fame?
Shall then proud Hector see his boast fulfill’d,
Our fleets in ashes, and our heroes kill’d?
Such was his threat, ah! now too soon made good,
On many a Grecian bosom writ in blood.
Is every heart inflamed with equal rage
Against your king, nor will one chief engage?
And have I lived to see with mournful eyes
In every Greek a new Achilles rise?”
Gerenian Nestor then: “So fate has will’d;
And all-confirming time has fate fulfill’d.
Not he that thunders from the aerial bower,
Not Jove himself, upon the past has power.
The wall, our late inviolable bound,
And best defence, lies smoking on the ground:
Even to the ships their conquering arms extend,
And groans of slaughter’d Greeks to heaven ascend.
On speedy measures then employ your thought
In such distress! if counsel profit aught:
Arms cannot much: though Mars our souls incite,
These gaping wounds withhold us from the fight.”
To him the monarch: “That our army bends,
That Troy triumphant our high fleet ascends,
And that the rampart, late our surest trust
And best defence, lies smoking in the dust;
All this from Jove’s afflictive hand we bear,
Who, far from Argos, wills our ruin here.
Past are the days when happier Greece was blest,
And all his favour, all his aid confess’d;
Now heaven averse, our hands from battle ties,
And lifts the Trojan glory to the skies.
Cease we at length to waste our blood in vain,
And launch what ships lie nearest to the main;
Leave these at anchor, till the coming night:
Then, if impetuous Troy forbear the fight,
Bring all to sea, and hoist each sail for flight.
Better from evils, well foreseen, to run,
Than perish in the danger we may shun.”
Thus he. The sage Ulysses thus replied,
While anger flash’d from his disdainful eyes:
“What shameful words (unkingly as thou art)
Fall from that trembling tongue and timorous heart?
Oh were thy sway the curse of meaner powers,
And thou the shame of any host but ours!
A host, by Jove endued with martial might,
And taught to conquer, or to fall in fight:
Adventurous combats and bold wars to wage,
Employ’d our youth, and yet employs our age.
And wilt thou thus desert the Trojan plain?
And have whole streams of blood been spilt in vain?
In such base sentence if thou couch thy fear,
Speak it in whispers, lest a Greek should hear.
Lives there a man so dead to fame, who dares
To think such meanness, or the thought declares?
And comes it even from him whose sovereign sway
The banded legions of all Greece obey?
Is this a general’s voice that calls to flight,
While war hangs doubtful, while his soldiers fight?
What more could Troy? What yet their fate denies
Thou givest the foe: all Greece becomes their prize.
No more the troops (our hoisted sails in view,
Themselves abandon’d) shall the fight pursue;
But thy ships flying, with despair shall see;
And owe destruction to a prince like thee.”
“Thy just reproofs (Atrides calm replies)
Like arrows pierce me, for thy words are wise.
Unwilling as I am to lose the host,
I force not Greece to quit this hateful coast;
Glad I submit, whoe’er, or young, or old,
Aught, more conducive to our weal, unfold.”
Tydides cut him short, and thus began:
“Such counsel if you seek, behold the man
Who boldly gives it, and what he shall say,
Young though he be, disdain not to obey:
A youth, who from the mighty Tydeus springs,
May speak to councils and assembled kings.
Hear then in me the great OEnides’ son,
Whose honoured dust (his race of glory run)
Lies whelm’d in ruins of the Theban wall;
Brave in his life, and glorious in his fall.
With three bold sons was generous Prothous bless’d,
Who Pleuron’s walls and Calydon possess’d;
Melas and Agrius, but (who far surpass’d
The rest in courage) OEneus was the last.
From him, my sire. From Calydon expell’d,
He pass’d to Argos, and in exile dwell’d;
The monarch’s daughter there (so Jove ordain’d)
He won, and flourish’d where Adrastus reign’d;
There, rich in fortune’s gifts, his acres till’d,
Beheld his vines their liquid harvest yield,
And numerous flocks that whiten’d all the field.
Such Tydeus was, the foremost once in fame!
Nor lives in Greece a stranger to his name.
Then, what for common good my thoughts inspire,
Attend, and in the son respect the sire.
Though sore of battle, though with wounds oppress’d,
Let each go forth, and animate the rest,
Advance the glory which he cannot share,
Though not partaker, witness of the war.
But lest new wounds on wounds o’erpower us quite,
Beyond the missile javelin’s sounding flight,
Safe let us stand; and, from the tumult far,
Inspire the ranks, and rule the distant war.”
He added not: the listening kings obey,
Slow moving on; Atrides leads the way.
The god of ocean (to inflame their rage)
Appears a warrior furrowed o’er with age;
Press’d in his own, the general’s hand he took,
And thus the venerable hero spoke:
“Atrides! lo! with what disdainful eye
Achilles sees his country’s forces fly;
Blind, impious man! whose anger is his guide,
Who glories in unutterable pride.
So may he perish, so may Jove disclaim
The wretch relentless, and o’erwhelm with shame!
But Heaven forsakes not thee: o’er yonder sands
Soon shall thou view the scattered Trojan bands
Fly diverse; while proud kings, and chiefs renown’d,
Driven heaps on heaps, with clouds involved around
Of rolling dust, their winged wheels employ
To hide their ignominious heads in Troy.”
He spoke, then rush’d amid the warrior crew,
And sent his voice before him as he flew,
Loud, as the shout encountering armies yield
When twice ten thousand shake the labouring field;
Such was the voice, and such the thundering sound
Of him whose trident rends the solid ground.
Each Argive bosom beats to meet the fight,
And grisly war appears a pleasing sight.
Meantime Saturnia from Olympus’ brow,
High-throned in gold, beheld the fields below;
With joy the glorious conflict she survey’d,
Where her great brother gave the Grecians aid.
But placed aloft, on Ida’s shady height
She sees her Jove, and trembles at the sight.
Jove to deceive, what methods shall she try,
What arts, to blind his all-beholding eye?
At length she trusts her power; resolved to prove
The old, yet still successful, cheat of love;
Against his wisdom to oppose her charms,
And lull the lord of thunders in her arms.
Swift to her bright apartment she repairs,
Sacred to dress and beauty’s pleasing cares:
With skill divine had Vulcan form’d the bower,
Safe from access of each intruding power.
Touch’d with her secret key, the doors unfold:
Self-closed, behind her shut the valves of gold.
Here first she bathes; and round her body pours
Soft oils of fragrance, and ambrosial showers:
The winds, perfumed, the balmy gale convey
Through heaven, through earth, and all the aerial way:
Spirit divine! whose exhalation greets
The sense of gods with more than mortal sweets.
Thus while she breathed of heaven, with decent pride
Her artful hands the radiant tresses tied;
Part on her head in shining ringlets roll’d,
Part o’er her shoulders waved like melted gold.
Around her next a heavenly mantle flow’d,
That rich with Pallas’ labour’d colours glow’d:
Large clasps of gold the foldings gather’d round,
A golden zone her swelling bosom bound.
Far-beaming pendants tremble in her ear,
Each gem illumined with a triple star.
Then o’er her head she cast a veil more white
Than new-fallen snow, and dazzling as the light.
Last her fair feet celestial sandals grace.
Thus issuing radiant with majestic pace,
Forth from the dome the imperial goddess moves,
And calls the mother of the smiles and loves.
“How long (to Venus thus apart she cried)
Shall human strife celestial minds divide?
Ah yet, will Venus aid Saturnia’s joy,
And set aside the cause of Greece and Troy?”
“Let heaven’s dread empress (Cytheraea said)
Speak her request, and deem her will obey’d.”
“Then grant me (said the queen) those conquering charms,
That power, which mortals and immortals warms,
That love, which melts mankind in fierce desires,
And burns the sons of heaven with sacred fires!
“For lo! I haste to those remote abodes,
Where the great parents, (sacred source of gods!)
Ocean and Tethys their old empire keep,
On the last limits of the land and deep.
In their kind arms my tender years were past;
What time old Saturn, from Olympus cast,
Of upper heaven to Jove resign’d the reign,
Whelm’d under the huge mass of earth and main.
For strife, I hear, has made the union cease,
Which held so long that ancient pair in peace.
What honour, and what love, shall I obtain,
If I compose those fatal feuds again;
Once more their minds in mutual ties engage,
And, what my youth has owed, repay their age!”
She said. With awe divine, the queen of love
Obey’d the sister and the wife of Jove;
And from her fragrant breast the zone embraced,
With various skill and high embroidery graced.
In this was every art, and every charm,
To win the wisest, and the coldest warm:
Fond love, the gentle vow, the gay desire,
The kind deceit, the still-reviving fire,
Persuasive speech, and the more persuasive sighs,
Silence that spoke, and eloquence of eyes.
This on her hand the Cyprian Goddess laid:
“Take this, and with it all thy wish;” she said.
With smiles she took the charm; and smiling press’d
The powerful cestus to her snowy breast.
Then Venus to the courts of Jove withdrew;
Whilst from Olympus pleased Saturnia flew.
O’er high Pieria thence her course she bore,
O’er fair Emathia’s ever-pleasing shore,
O’er Hemus’ hills with snows eternal crown’d;
Nor once her flying foot approach’d the ground.
Then taking wing from Athos’ lofty steep,
She speeds to Lemnos o’er the rolling deep,
And seeks the cave of Death’s half-brother, Sleep.
“Sweet pleasing Sleep! (Saturnia thus began)
Who spread’st thy empire o’er each god and man;
If e’er obsequious to thy Juno’s will,
O power of slumbers! hear, and favour still.
Shed thy soft dews on Jove’s immortal eyes,
While sunk in love’s entrancing joys he lies.
A splendid footstool, and a throne, that shine
With gold unfading, Somnus, shall be thine;
The work of Vulcan; to indulge thy ease,
When wine and feasts thy golden humours please.”
“Imperial dame (the balmy power replies),
Great Saturn’s heir, and empress of the skies!
O’er other gods I spread my easy chain;
The sire of all, old Ocean, owns my reign.
And his hush’d waves lie silent on the main.
But how, unbidden, shall I dare to steep
Jove’s awful temples in the dew of sleep?
Long since, too venturous, at thy bold command,
On those eternal lids I laid my hand;
What time, deserting Ilion’s wasted plain,
His conquering son, Alcides, plough’d the main.
When lo! the deeps arise, the tempests roar,
And drive the hero to the Coan shore:
Great Jove, awaking, shook the blest abodes
With rising wrath, and tumbled gods on gods;
Me chief he sought, and from the realms on high
Had hurl’d indignant to the nether sky,
But gentle Night, to whom I fled for aid,
(The friend of earth and heaven,) her wings display’d;
Impower’d the wrath of gods and men to tame,
Even Jove revered the venerable dame.”
“Vain are thy fears (the queen of heaven replies,
And, speaking, rolls her large majestic eyes);
Think’st thou that Troy has Jove’s high favour won,
Like great Alcides, his all-conquering son?
Hear, and obey the mistress of the skies,
Nor for the deed expect a vulgar prize;
For know, thy loved-one shall be ever thine,
The youngest Grace, Pasithae the divine.”
“Swear then (he said) by those tremendous floods
That roar through hell, and bind the invoking gods:
Let the great parent earth one hand sustain,
And stretch the other o’er the sacred main:
Call the black Titans, that with Chronos dwell,
To hear and witness from the depths of hell;
That she, my loved-one, shall be ever mine,
The youngest Grace, Pasithae the divine.”
The queen assents, and from the infernal bowers
Invokes the sable subtartarean powers,
And those who rule the inviolable floods,
Whom mortals name the dread Titanian gods.
Then swift as wind, o’er Lemnos’ smoky isle
They wing their way, and Imbrus’ sea-beat soil;
Through air, unseen, involved in darkness glide,
And light on Lectos, on the point of Ide:
(Mother of savages, whose echoing hills
Are heard resounding with a hundred rills:)
Fair Ida trembles underneath the god;
Hush’d are her mountains, and her forests nod.
There on a fir, whose spiry branches rise
To join its summit to the neighbouring skies;
Dark in embowering shade, conceal’d from sight,
Sat Sleep, in likeness of the bird of night.
(Chalcis his name by those of heavenly birth,
But call’d Cymindis by the race of earth.)
To Ida’s top successful Juno flies;
Great Jove surveys her with desiring eyes:
The god, whose lightning sets the heavens on fire,
Through all his bosom feels the fierce desire;
Fierce as when first by stealth he seized her charms,
Mix’d with her soul, and melted in her arms:
Fix’d on her eyes he fed his eager look,
Then press’d her hand, and thus with transport spoke:
“Why comes my goddess from the ethereal sky,
And not her steeds and flaming chariot nigh?”
Then she —“I haste to those remote abodes
Where the great parents of the deathless gods,
The reverend Ocean and gray Tethys, reign,
On the last limits of the land and main.
I visit these, to whose indulgent cares
I owe the nursing of my tender years:
For strife, I hear, has made that union cease
Which held so long that ancient pair in peace.
The steeds, prepared my chariot to convey
O’er earth and seas, and through the aerial way,
Wait under Ide: of thy superior power
To ask consent, I leave the Olympian bower;
Nor seek, unknown to thee, the sacred cells
Deep under seas, where hoary Ocean dwells.”
“For that (said Jove) suffice another day!
But eager love denies the least delay.
Let softer cares the present hour employ,
And be these moments sacred all to joy.
Ne’er did my soul so strong a passion prove,
Or for an earthly, or a heavenly love:
Not when I press’d Ixion’s matchless dame,
Whence rose Pirithous like the gods in fame:
Not when fair Danae felt the shower of gold
Stream into life, whence Perseus brave and bold.
Not thus I burn’d for either Theban dame:
(Bacchus from this, from that Alcides came:)
Nor Phoenix’ daughter, beautiful and young,
Whence godlike Rhadamanth and Minos sprung.
Not thus I burn’d for fair Latona’s face,
Nor comelier Ceres’ more majestic grace.
Not thus even for thyself I felt desire,
As now my veins receive the pleasing fire.”
He spoke; the goddess with the charming eyes
Glows with celestial red, and thus replies:
“Is this a scene for love? On Ida’s height,
Exposed to mortal and immortal sight!
Our joys profaned by each familiar eye;
The sport of heaven, and fable of the sky:
How shall I e’er review the blest abodes,
Or mix among the senate of the gods?
Shall I not think, that, with disorder’d charms,
All heaven beholds me recent from thy arms?
With skill divine has Vulcan form’d thy bower,
Sacred to love and to the genial hour;
If such thy will, to that recess retire,
In secret there indulge thy soft desire.”
She ceased; and, smiling with superior love,
Thus answer’d mild the cloud-compelling Jove:
“Nor god nor mortal shall our joys behold,
Shaded with clouds, and circumfused in gold;
Not even the sun, who darts through heaven his rays,
And whose broad eye the extended earth surveys.”
Gazing he spoke, and, kindling at the view,
His eager arms around the goddess threw.
Glad Earth perceives, and from her bosom pours
Unbidden herbs and voluntary flowers:
Thick new-born violets a soft carpet spread,
And clustering lotos swell’d the rising bed,
And sudden hyacinths the turf bestrow,
And flamy crocus made the mountain glow
There golden clouds conceal the heavenly pair,
Steep’d in soft joys and circumfused with air;
Celestial dews, descending o’er the ground,
Perfume the mount, and breathe ambrosia round:
At length, with love and sleep’s soft power oppress’d,
The panting thunderer nods, and sinks to rest.
Now to the navy borne on silent wings,
To Neptune’s ear soft Sleep his message brings;
Beside him sudden, unperceived, he stood,
And thus with gentle words address’d the god:
“Now, Neptune! now, the important hour employ,
To check a while the haughty hopes of Troy:
While Jove yet rests, while yet my vapours shed
The golden vision round his sacred head;
For Juno’s love, and Somnus’ pleasing ties,
Have closed those awful and eternal eyes.”
Thus having said, the power of slumber flew,
On human lids to drop the balmy dew.
Neptune, with zeal increased, renews his care,
And towering in the foremost ranks of war,
Indignant thus —“Oh once of martial fame!
O Greeks! if yet ye can deserve the name!
This half-recover’d day shall Troy obtain?
Shall Hector thunder at your ships again?
Lo! still he vaunts, and threats the fleet with fires,
While stern Achilles in his wrath retires.
One hero’s loss too tamely you deplore,
Be still yourselves, and ye shall need no more.
Oh yet, if glory any bosom warms,
Brace on your firmest helms, and stand to arms:
His strongest spear each valiant Grecian wield,
Each valiant Grecian seize his broadest shield;
Let to the weak the lighter arms belong,
The ponderous targe be wielded by the strong.
Thus arm’d, not Hector shall our presence stay;
Myself, ye Greeks! myself will lead the way.”
The troops assent; their martial arms they change:
The busy chiefs their banded legions range.
The kings, though wounded, and oppress’d with pain,
With helpful hands themselves assist the train.
The strong and cumbrous arms the valiant wield,
The weaker warrior takes a lighter shield.
Thus sheath’d in shining brass, in bright array
The legions march, and Neptune leads the way:
His brandish’d falchion flames before their eyes,
Like lightning flashing through the frighted skies.
Clad in his might, the earth-shaking power appears;
Pale mortals tremble, and confess their fears.
Troy’s great defender stands alone unawed,
Arms his proud host, and dares oppose a god:
And lo! the god, and wondrous man, appear:
The sea’s stern ruler there, and Hector here.
The roaring main, at her great master’s call,
Rose in huge ranks, and form’d a watery wall
Around the ships: seas hanging o’er the shores,
Both armies join: earth thunders, ocean roars.
Not half so loud the bellowing deeps resound,
When stormy winds disclose the dark profound;
Less loud the winds that from the AEolian hall
Roar through the woods, and make whole forests fall;
Less loud the woods, when flames in torrents pour,
Catch the dry mountain, and its shades devour;
With such a rage the meeting hosts are driven,
And such a clamour shakes the sounding heaven.
The first bold javelin, urged by Hector’s force,
Direct at Ajax’ bosom winged its course;
But there no pass the crossing belts afford,
(One braced his shield, and one sustain’d his sword.)
Then back the disappointed Trojan drew,
And cursed the lance that unavailing flew:
But ‘scaped not Ajax; his tempestuous hand
A ponderous stone upheaving from the sand,
(Where heaps laid loose beneath the warrior’s feet,
Or served to ballast, or to prop the fleet,)
Toss’d round and round, the missive marble flings;
On the razed shield the fallen ruin rings,
Full on his breast and throat with force descends;
Nor deaden’d there its giddy fury spends,
But whirling on, with many a fiery round,
Smokes in the dust, and ploughs into the ground.
As when the bolt, red-hissing from above,
Darts on the consecrated plant of Jove,
The mountain-oak in flaming ruin lies,
Black from the blow, and smokes of sulphur rise;
Stiff with amaze the pale beholders stand,
And own the terrors of the almighty hand!
So lies great Hector prostrate on the shore;
His slacken’d hand deserts the lance it bore;
His following shield the fallen chief o’erspread;
Beneath his helmet dropp’d his fainting head;
His load of armour, sinking to the ground,
Clanks on the field, a dead and hollow sound.
Loud shouts of triumph fill the crowded plain;
Greece sees, in hope, Troy’s great defender slain:
All spring to seize him; storms of arrows fly,
And thicker javelins intercept the sky.
In vain an iron tempest hisses round;
He lies protected, and without a wound.
Polydamas, Agenor the divine,
The pious warrior of Anchises’ line,
And each bold leader of the Lycian band,
With covering shields (a friendly circle) stand,
His mournful followers, with assistant care,
The groaning hero to his chariot bear;
His foaming coursers, swifter than the wind,
Speed to the town, and leave the war behind.
When now they touch’d the mead’s enamell’d side,
Where gentle Xanthus rolls his easy tide,
With watery drops the chief they sprinkle round,
Placed on the margin of the flowery ground.
Raised on his knees, he now ejects the gore;
Now faints anew, low-sinking on the shore;
By fits he breathes, half views the fleeting skies,
And seals again, by fits, his swimming eyes.
Soon as the Greeks the chief’s retreat beheld,
With double fury each invades the field.
Oilean Ajax first his javelin sped,
Pierced by whose point the son of Enops bled;
(Satnius the brave, whom beauteous Neis bore
Amidst her flocks on Satnio’s silver shore;)
Struck through the belly’s rim, the warrior lies
Supine, and shades eternal veil his eyes.
An arduous battle rose around the dead;
By turns the Greeks, by turns the Trojans bled.
Fired with revenge, Polydamas drew near,
And at Prothoenor shook the trembling spear;
The driving javelin through his shoulder thrust,
He sinks to earth, and grasps the bloody dust.
“Lo thus (the victor cries) we rule the field,
And thus their arms the race of Panthus wield:
From this unerring hand there flies no dart
But bathes its point within a Grecian heart.
Propp’d on that spear to which thou owest thy fall,
Go, guide thy darksome steps to Pluto’s dreary hall.”
He said, and sorrow touch’d each Argive breast:
The soul of Ajax burn’d above the rest.
As by his side the groaning warrior fell,
At the fierce foe he launch’d his piercing steel;
The foe, reclining, shunn’d the flying death;
But fate, Archilochus, demands thy breath:
Thy lofty birth no succour could impart,
The wings of death o’ertook thee on the dart;
Swift to perform heaven’s fatal will, it fled
Full on the juncture of the neck and head,
And took the joint, and cut the nerves in twain:
The dropping head first tumbled on the plain.
So just the stroke, that yet the body stood
Erect, then roll’d along the sands in blood.
“Here, proud Polydamas, here turn thy eyes!
(The towering Ajax loud-insulting cries:)
Say, is this chief extended on the plain
A worthy vengeance for Prothoenor slain?
Mark well his port! his figure and his face
Nor speak him vulgar, nor of vulgar race;
Some lines, methinks, may make his lineage known,
Antenor’s brother, or perhaps his son.”
He spake, and smiled severe, for well he knew
The bleeding youth: Troy sadden’d at the view.
But furious Acamas avenged his cause;
As Promachus his slaughtered brother draws,
He pierced his heart —“Such fate attends you all,
Proud Argives! destined by our arms to fall.
Not Troy alone, but haughty Greece, shall share
The toils, the sorrows, and the wounds of war.
Behold your Promachus deprived of breath,
A victim owed to my brave brother’s death.
Not unappeased he enters Pluto’s gate,
Who leaves a brother to revenge his fate.”
Heart-piercing anguish struck the Grecian host,
But touch’d the breast of bold Peneleus most;
At the proud boaster he directs his course;
The boaster flies, and shuns superior force.
But young Ilioneus received the spear;
Ilioneus, his father’s only care:
(Phorbas the rich, of all the Trojan train
Whom Hermes loved, and taught the arts of gain:)
Full in his eye the weapon chanced to fall,
And from the fibres scoop’d the rooted ball,
Drove through the neck, and hurl’d him to the plain;
He lifts his miserable arms in vain!
Swift his broad falchion fierce Peneleus spread,
And from the spouting shoulders struck his head;
To earth at once the head and helmet fly;
The lance, yet sticking through the bleeding eye,
The victor seized; and, as aloft he shook
The gory visage, thus insulting spoke:
“Trojans! your great Ilioneus behold!
Haste, to his father let the tale be told:
Let his high roofs resound with frantic woe,
Such as the house of Promachus must know;
Let doleful tidings greet his mother’s ear,
Such as to Promachus’ sad spouse we bear,
When we victorious shall to Greece return,
And the pale matron in our triumphs mourn.”
Dreadful he spoke, then toss’d the head on high;
The Trojans hear, they tremble, and they fly:
Aghast they gaze around the fleet and wall,
And dread the ruin that impends on all.
Daughters of Jove! that on Olympus shine,
Ye all-beholding, all-recording nine!
O say, when Neptune made proud Ilion yield,
What chief, what hero first embrued the field?
Of all the Grecians what immortal name,
And whose bless’d trophies, will ye raise to fame?
Thou first, great Ajax! on the unsanguined plain
Laid Hyrtius, leader of the Mysian train.
Phalces and Mermer, Nestor’s son o’erthrew,
Bold Merion, Morys and Hippotion slew.
Strong Periphaetes and Prothoon bled,
By Teucer’s arrows mingled with the dead,
Pierced in the flank by Menelaus’ steel,
His people’s pastor, Hyperenor fell;
Eternal darkness wrapp’d the warrior round,
And the fierce soul came rushing through the wound.
But stretch’d in heaps before Oileus’ son,
Fall mighty numbers, mighty numbers run;
Ajax the less, of all the Grecian race
Skill’d in pursuit, and swiftest in the chase.