صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

215

son,

220

Were I a god, to tell of all their deeds;
For round the wall on every side there raged,
Fierce as consuming fire, a storm of stones.
The Greeks, in bitter anguish, yet constrained,
Fought for their fleet; and sorrowful were all
The gods who in the battle favored Greece.

Now the two Lapithæ began the fight.
Pirithous' brave Polypætes, cast
His
spear at Damasus; it broke its

way
Through the helm's brazen cheek, nor that alone:
Right through the temple went the brazen blade,
And crushed the brain within. He left him slain,
And next struck Pylon down, and Ormenus.
Leonteus, of the stock of Mars, assailed
Hippomachus, who from Antimachus
Derived his birth; he pierced him at the belt,
And, drawing forth his trenchant sword, hewed down,
In combat hand-to-hand, Antiphates;
He dashed him backward to the ground, and next
Smote Menon and Iamenus; and last
He slew Orestes: at his feet they lay,
A pile of dead, upon their mother Earth.

Then, as the twain were stripping from the dead Their glittering arms, the largest, bravest band

225

230

235

240

245

Of those who eagerly desired to break
The rampart and to burn the ships with fire,
Following Polydamas and Hector, stood
Consulting at the trench. An

augury,
Just as they were in act to cross, appeared
Upon the left: an eagle high in air,
Between the armies, in his talons bore
A monstrous serpent, bleeding, yet alive
And palpitating, nor disabled yet
For combat; for it turned, and on the breast
Wounded the eagle, near the neck. The bird
In pain let fall his prize amid the host,
And flew

away, with screams, upon the wind,
The Trojans shuddered at the spotted snake
Lying among them, and Polydamas
Said thus to fearless Hector, standing near:

“Hector, thou almost ever chidest me
In council, even when I judge aright.
I know it ill becomes the citizen
To speak against the way that pleases thee,
In war or council,- he should rather seek
To strengthen thy authority; yet now
I will declare what seems to me the best:
Let us not combat with the Greeks, to take

250

255

265

265

270

Their fleet; for this, I think, will be the end,
If now the omen we have seen be meant
For us of Troy who seek to cross the trench;-
This eagle, flying high upon the left,
Between the hosts, that in his talons bore
A monstrous serpent, bleeding, yet alive,
Hath dropped it mid our host before he came
To his dear nest, nor brought it to his brood; —
So we, although by force we break the gates
And rampart, and although the Greeks fall back,
Shall not as happily retrace our way;
For many a Trojan shall we leave behind,
Slain by the weapons of the Greeks, who stand
And fight to save their fleet. Thus will the seer,
Skilled in the lore of prodigies, explain
The portent, and the people will obey."

Sternly the crested Hector looked, and spake: –
“Polydamas, the thing that thou hast said
Pleases me not, and easily couldst thou
Frame better counsels. If thy words convey
Thy earnest thought, the gods assuredly
Have made thee lose thy senses. Thou dost ask
That I no longer reverence the decree
Of Jove, the Thunderer of the sky, who

gave

275

230

285

One augury

290

[ocr errors]

His promise, and confirmed it. Thou dost ask
That I be governed by the flight of birds,
Which I regard not, whether to the right
And toward the morning and the sun they fly,
Or toward the left and evening. We should heed
The will of mighty Jupiter, who bears
Rule over gods and men.
There is, the surest and the best, – — to fight
For our own land. Why dreadest thou the war
And conflict? Though we all should fall beside
The galleys of the Greeks, there is no fear
That thou wilt perish, for thou hast no heart
To stand against the foe;- no warrior thou !
Yet, if thou dare to stand aloof, or seek
By words to turn another from the fight,

I wield shall take thy life at once."
He spake, and went before; and all his band
Followed with fearful clamor. Jupiter,
The God of thunders, sending a strong wind
From the Idæan summits, drave the dust
Full on the galleys, and made faint the hearts
Of the Greek warriors, and gave new renown
To Hector and the men of Troy. For these,
Trusting in portents sent from Jupiter,

295

The spear

300

305

315

And their own valor, labored to break through
The massive rampart of the Greeks: they tore
The galleries from the towers, and levelled down
The breastworks, heaved with levers from their place 310
The jutting buttresses which Argive hands
Had firmly planted to support the towers,
And brought them to the ground; and thus they hoped
To force a. passage to the Grecian camp.
Not

yet did they of Greece give way: they fenced
The
rampart

with their ox-hide shields, and smote
The enemy from behind them as he came
Under the wall. The chieftains Ajax flew
From tower to tower, and cheered the Achaians on,
And roused their valor,--some with gentle words,
And some with harsh rebuke, - whome'er they saw
Skulk from the toils and dangers of the fight.
“O friends!” they said, “ye great in war,

and

ye
Of less renown, and ye of little note!-
For all are not alike in war, — the time
Demands the aid of all, as well ye

know:
And now let no man turn him toward the fleet
Before the threats of Hector, but press on,
And each exhort his fellow: so may Jove,
Who Alings the lightning from Olympus, grant

320

325

330

« السابقةمتابعة »