Page images

Till pierc'd at distance from their native den,
O'erpower'd they fall beneath the force of men.
Prostrate on earth their beauteous bodies lay,
Like mountain firs as tall and straight as they.
Great Menelaus views with pitying eyes,
Lifts his bright lance, and at the victor flies;
Mars urg'd him on; yet, ruthless in his hate,
The gods but urg'd him to provoke his fate.
He thus advancing, Nestor's valiant son
Shakes for his danger, and neglects his own;
Struck with the thought, should Helen's lord be

And all his country's glorious labours vain.
Already met the threatening heroes stand;
The spears already tremble in their hand :
In rush'd Antilochus, his aid to bring,
And fall or conquer by the Spartan king.
These seen, the Dardan backward turn'd his course,
Brave as he was, and shunn'd unequal force,
The breathless bodies to the Greeks they drew,
Then mix'd in combat, and their toils renew.
First Pylamenes, great in battle bled,
Who sheath'd in brass the Paphlagonians led.
Atrides mark'd him where sublime he stood;
Fix'd in his throat, the javelin drank his blood.
The faithful Mydon, as he turn'd from fight
His flying courser, sunk to endless night:
A broken rock by Nestor's son was thrown;
His bended arm receiv'd the falling stone.
From his numb'd hands the ivory-studded reins,
Dropt in the dust, are trail'd along the plains:
Meanwhile his temples feel a deadly wound:
He groans in death, and ponderous sinks to ground;
Deep drove his helmet in the sands, and there
The head stood fix'd, the quivering legs in air,
Till trampled flat beneath the courser's feet:
The youthful victor mounts his empty seat,
And bears the prize in triumph to the fleet.

Great Hector saw, and raging at the view,
Pours on the Greeks; the Trojan troops pursue:
He fires his host with animating cries,
And brings along the furies of the skies.
Mars, stern destroyer! and Bellona dread,
Flame in the front, and thunder at their head:
This swells the tumult and the rage of fight;
That shakes a spear that casts a dreadful light,
Where Hector march'd, the god of battles shin'd,
Now storm'd before him, and now rag'd behind.

Tydides paus'd amidst his full career; Then first the hero's manly breast knew fear. As when some simple swain his cot forsakes, And wide through fens an unknown journey takes; If chance a swelling brook his passage stay, And foam impervious cross the wanderer's way, Confus'd he stops, a length of country past, Eyes the rough waves, and, tir'd, returns at last. Amaz'd no less the great Tydides stands : He stay'd, and, turning, thus address'd his bands: "No wonder, Greeks! that all to Hector yield, Secure of favouring gods, he takes the field: His strokes they second, and avert our spears: Behold where Mars in mortal arms appears! Retire then, warriors, but sedate and slow! Retire, but with your faces to the foe. Trust not too much your unavailing might; 'Tis not with Troy, but with the gods ye fight." Now near the Greeks the black battalions drew; And first two leaders valiant Hector slew: His force Anchialus and Mnesthes found, In every art of glorious war renown'd;

In the same car the chiefs to combat ride,
And fought united, and united died.
Struck at the sight, the mighty Ajax glows
With thirst of vengeance, and assaults the foes.
His inassy spear with matchless fury sent,
Through Amphius' belt and heavy belly went :
Amphius Apesus' happy soil possess'd,
With herds abounding, and with treasure bless'd;
But fate resistless froin his country led
The chief, to perish at his people's head.
Shook with his fall, his brazen armour rung,
And fierce, to seize it, conquering Ajax sprung;
Around his head an iron tempest rain'd ;
A wood of spears his ample shield sustain'd;
Beneath one foot the yet-warm corpse he prest,
And drew his javelin from the bleeding breast:
He could no more; the showering darts deny'd
To spoil his glittering arms and plumy pride.
Now foes on foes came pouring on the field,
With bristling lances, and compacted shields;
Till, in the steely circle straiten'd round,
Fore'd he gives way, and sternly quits the ground.
While thus they strive, Tlepolemus the great,
Urg'd by the force of unresisted fate,
Burns with desire Sarpedon's strength to prove;
Alcides' offspring meets the son of Jove.
Sheath'd in bright arms each adverse chief came on,
Jove's great descendant, and his greater son.
Prepar'd for combat ere the lance he toss'd,
The daring Rhodian vents his haughty boast:

"What brings this Lycian counsellor so far,
To tremble at our arms, not mix in war?
Know thy vain self; nor let their flattery move,
Who style thee son of cloud-compelling Jove.
How far unlike those chiefs of race divine,
How vast the difference of their deeds and thine!
Jove got such heroes as my sire, whose soul
No fear could daunt, nor Earth nor Hell control.
Troy felt his arm, and yon proud ramparts stand
Rais'd on the ruins of his vengeful hand:
With six small ships, and but a slender train,
He left the town a wide-deserted plain.
But what art thou? who deedless look'st around,
While unreveng'd thy Lycians bite the ground:
Small aid to Troy thy feeble force can be ;
But, wert thou greater, thou must yield to me.
Pierc'd by my spear, to endless darkness go!
I make this present to the shades below."

The son of Hercules, the Rhodian guide, Thus haughty spoke. The Lycian king reply'd :

[ocr errors]

Thy sire, O prince! o'erturn'd the Trojan state, Whose perjur'd monarch well deserv'd his fate; Those heavenly steeds the hero sought so far, False he detain'd, the just reward of war. Nor so content, the generous chief defy'd, With base reproaches and unmanly pride. But you, unworthy the high race you boast, Shall raise my glory when thy own is lost: Now meet thy fate, and, by Sarpedon slain, Add one more ghost to Pluto's gloomy reign."

He said: both javelins at an instant flew; Both struck; both wounded; but Sarpedon's slew: Full in the boaster's neck the weapon stood. Transfix'd his throat, and drank the vital blood; The soul disdainful seeks the caves of night, And his scal'd eyes for ever lose the light.

Yet not in vain, Tlepolemus, was thrown Thy angry lance; which, piercing to the bone Sarpedon's thigh, had robb'd the chief of breath; But Jove was present, and forbade the death.

Borne from the conflict by the Lycian throng,
The wounded hero dragg'd the lance along.

is friends, each busied in his several part,
Through haste, or danger, had not drawn the dart.)
The Greeks with slain Tlepolemus retir'd;
Whose fall Ulysses view'd, with fury fir'd;
Doubtful if Jove's great son he should pursue,
Or pour his vengeance on the Lycian crew.
But Heaven and Fate the first design withstand,
Nor this great death must grace Ulysses' hand.
Minerva drives him on the Lycian train ;
Alastor, Cromius, Halius, strow'd the plain,
Alcander, Prytanis, Noëmon fell:

And numbers more his sword had sent to Hell,
But Hector saw; and, furious at the sight,
Rush'd terrible amidst the ranks of fight.
With joy Sarpedon view'd the wish'd relief,
And, faint, lamenting, thus implor'd the chief:
"Oh suffer not the foe to bear away
My helpless corpse, an unassisted prey;
It!, unblest, must see my son no more,
My much-lov'd consort, and my native shore,
Yet let me die in flion's sacred wall;

Troy, in whose cause I fell, shall mourn my fall."
He said, nor Hector to the chief replies,
But shakes his plume, and fierce to combat flies;
Swift as a whirlwind, drives the scattering foes;
Aud dyes the ground with purple as he goes.

Beneath a beech, Jove's consecrated shade,
His mournful friends divine Sarpedon laid:
Brave Pelagon, his favourite chief, was nigh,
Who wrench'd the javelin from his sinewy thigh.
The fainting soul stood ready wing'd for flight,
And o'er his eye-balls swam the shades of night;
But Boreas rising fresh, with gentle breath,
Recall'd his spirit from the gates of death.

The generous Greeks recede with tardy pace, Though Mars and Hector thunder in their face; None turn their backs to mean ignoble flight, Slow they retreat, and ev'n retreating fight. Who first, who last, by Mars and Hector's hand Stretch'd in their blood, lay gasping on the sand? Teuthras the great, Orestes the renown'd For manag'd steeds, and Trechus press'd the ground: Next Enomaus, and Enops' offspring dy'd; Orebius last full groaning at their side; Orebius, in his painted mitre gay, In fat Boeotia held his wealthy sway, Where lakes surround low Hyle's watery plain : A prince and people studious of their gain.

The carnage Juno from the skies survey'd, And, touch'd with grief, bespoke the blue ey'd maid. "Oh sight accurs'd! shall faithless Troy prevail, And shall our promise to our people fail? How vain the word to Menelaüs given By Jove's great daughter and the queen of Heaven; Beneath his arms that Priam's towers should fall; If warring gods for ever guard the wall? Mars, red with slaughter, aids our hated foes: Haste, let us arm, and force with force oppose !" She spoke; Minerva burns to meet the war: And now Heaven's empress calls her blazing car. At her command rush forth the steeds divine; Rich with immortal gold their trappings shine. Bright Hebe waits; by Hebè, ever young, The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung. On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel Of sounding brass; the polish'd axle steel. Fight brazen spokes in radiant order flame; The circles gold, of uncorrupted frame,

Such as the Heavens produce: and round the gold
Two brazen rings of work divine were roll'd.
The bossy naves of solid silver shone;
Braces of gold suspend the moving throne:
The car, behind, an arching figure bore;
The bending concave form'd an arch before.
Silver the beam, th' extended yoke was gold,
And golden reins th' immortal coursers hold.
Herself, impatient, to the ready car
The coursers joins, and breathes revenge and war.
Pallas disrobes; her radiant veil unty'd,
With flowers adorn'd, with art diversify'd,
(The labour'd veil her heavenly fingers wove)
Flows on the pavement of the court of Jove.
Now Heaven's dread arins her mighty limbs invest,
Jove's cuirass blazes on her ample breast;
Deck'd in sad triumph for the mournful field,
O'er her broad shoulders hangs his horrid shield,
Dire, black, tremendous! Round the margin roll'd,
A fringe of serpents hissing guards the gold:
Here all the terrours of grim war appear,
Here rages force, here tremble flight and fear,
Here storm'd contention, and here fury frown'd,
And the dire orb portentous Gorgon crown'd.
The massy golden helm she next assumes,
That dreadful nods, with four o'ershading plumes;
So vast, the broad circumference contains
A hundred armies on a hundred plains.
The goddess thus the imperial car ascends;
Shook by her arm the mighty javelin bends,
Ponderous and huge; that, when her fury burns,
Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts o'erturns.

Swift at the scourge th' ethereal coursers fly,
While the smooth chariot cuts the liquid sky.
Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers;
Heaven's golden gates, kept by the winged Hours;
Commission'd in alternate watch they stand,
The Sun's bright portals and the skies command,
Involve in clouds th' eternal gates of day,
Or the dark barrier roll with ease away.
The sounding hinges ring; on either side
The gloomy volumes, pierc'd with light, divide.
The chariot mounts, where, deep in ambient skies
Confus'd, Olympus' hundred heads arise :
Where far apart the thunderer fills his throne;
O'er all the gods superior and alone.
There with her snowy hand the queen restrains
The fiery steeds, and thus to Jove complains:

"O sire! can no resentment touch thy soul? Can Mars rebel, and does no thunder roll? What lawless rage on yon forbidden plain, What rash destruction! and what heroes slain! Venus, and Phoebus with the dreadful bow, Smile on the slaughter, and enjoy my woe. Mad, furious power! whose unrelenting mind, No god can govern, and no justice bind. Say, mighty father! shall we scourge his pride, And drive from fight th' impetuous homicide?"

To whom assenting, thus the thunderer said: "Go! and the great Minerva be thy aid. To tame the monster-god Minerva knows, And oft afflicts his brutal breast with woes." He said; Saturnia, ardent to obey, Lash'd her white steeds along th' aerial way. Swift down the steep of Heaven the chariot rolls, Between th' expanded Earth and starry poles. Far as a shepherd, from some point on high, O'er the wide main extends his boundless eye; Through such a space of air, with thundering sound, At every leap th' immortal coursers bound:

[ocr errors]

Troy now they reach'd, and touch'd those banks |
Where silver Simois and Scamander join. [divine
There Juno stopp'd, (and her fair steeds unloos'd)
Of air condens'd a vapour circumfus'd:
For these, impregnate with celestial dew
On Simois' brink ambrosial herbage grew.
Thence to relieve the fainting Argive throng,
Smooth as the sailing doves, they glide along.
The best and bravest of the Grecian band
(A warlike circle) round Tydides stand:
Such was their look as lions bath'd in blood,
Or foaming boars, the terrour of the wood.
Heaven's empress mingles with the mortal crowd,
And shouts, in Stentor's sounding voice, aloud:
Stentor the strong, endued with brazen lungs,
Whose throat surpass'd the force of fifty tongues.
"Inglorious Argives! to your race a shame,
And only men in figure and in name!

Once from the walls your timorous foes engag'd,
While fierce in war divine Achilles rag'd;
Now issuing fearless they possess the plain,
Now win the shores, and scarce the seas remain."
Her speech new fury to their hearts convey'd ;
While near Tydides stood th' Athenian maid;
The king beside his panting steeds she found,
O'erspent with toil, reposing on the ground:
To cool his glowing wound he sat apart
(The wound inflicted by the Lycian dart);
Large drops of sweat from all his limbs descend;
Beneath his ponderous shield his sinews bend,
Whose ample belt, that o'er his shoulders lay,
He eas'd, and wash'd the clotted gore away.
The goddess leaning o'er the bending yoke,
Beside his coursers, thus her silence broke:
"Degenerate prince! and not of Tydeus' kind,
Whose little body lodg'd a mighty mind;
Foremost he press'd in glorious toils to share,
And scarce refrain'd when I forbade the war.
Alone, unguarded, once he dar'd to go
And feast, encircled by the Theban foe;
There brav'd, and vanquish'd, many a hardy knight;
Such nerves I gave him, and such force in fight.
Thou too no less hast been my constant care;
Thy hands I arm'd, and sent thee forth to war:
But thee or fear deters, or sloth detains;
No drop of all thy father warms thy veins."

The chief thus answer'd mild: "Immortal maid!
I own thy presence, and confess thy aid. [plains,
Not fear, thou know'st, withholds me from the
Nor sloth hath seiz'd me, but thy word restrains:
From warring gods thou bad'st me turn my spear,
And Venus only found resistance here.
Hence, goddess! heedful of thy high commands,
Loth I gave way, and warn'd our Argive bands:
For Mars, the homicide, these eyes beheld,
With slaughter red, and raging round the field."
Then thus Minerva. "Brave Tydides, hear!
Not Mars himself, nor aught immortal, fear.
Full on the god impel thy foaming horse:
Pallas commands, and Pallas lends thee force.
Rash, furious, blind, from these to those he flies,
And every side of wavering combat tries; [made;
Large promise makes, and breaks the promise
Now gives the Grecians, now the Trojans aid."

She said, and to the steeds approaching near,
Drew from his seat the martial charioteer,
The vigorous power the trembling car ascends,
Fierce for revenge, and Diomed attends.
The groaning axle bent beneath the load;
So great a hero, and so great a God.

She snatch'd the reins, she lash'd with all her force,
And full on Mars impell'd the foaming horse:
But first, to hide her heavenly visage spread,
Black Orcus' helmet o'er her radiant head.

Just then gigantic Periphas lay slain,
The strongest warrior of th' Etolian train;
The god, who slew him, leaves his prostrate prize
Stretch'd where he fell, and at Tydides flics.
Now, rushing fierce, in equal arms appear,
The daring Greek; the dreadful god of war !
Full at the chief, above his courser's head,
From Mars's arm th' enormous weapon fled :
Pallas oppos'd her hand, and caus'd to glance,
Far from the car, the strong immortal lance.
Then threw the force of Tydeus' warlike son;
The javelin hiss'd; the goddess urg'd it on:
Where the broad cincture girt his armour round,
It pierc'd the god: his groin receiv'd the wound.
From the rent skin the warrior tugs again
The Smoaking steel. Mars bellows with the pain:
Loud as the roar encountering armies yield,
When shouting millions shake the thundering field.
Both armies start, and trembling gaze around;
And Earth and Heaven rebellow to the sound.
As vapours blown by Auster's sultry breath,
Pregnant with plagues, and shedding seeds of death,
Beneath the rage of burning Sirius rise,
Choke the parch'd Earth, and blacken all the skies;
In such a cloud the god from combat driven,
High o'er the dusty whirlwind scales the Heaven.
Wild with his pain, he sought the bright abodes,
There suilen sate beneath the sire of gods,
Show'd the celestial blood, and with a groan
Thus pour'd his plaints before th' immortal throne:
"Can Jove, supine, flagitious facts survey,
And brook the furies of this daring day?
For mortal men celestial powers engage,
And gods on gods exert eternal rage.

From thee, O father! all these ills we bear,
And thy fell daughter with the shield and spear:
| Thou gav'st that fury to the realms of light,
Pernicious, wild, regardless of the right.
All Heaven beside reveres thy sovereign sway,
Thy voice we hear, and thy behests obey:
'Tis hers t' offend, and ev'n offending share
Thy breast, thy counsels, thy distinguish'd care:
So boundless she, and thou so partial grown,
Well may we deem the wonderous birth thy own.
Now frantic Diomed, at her command,
Against th' immortals lifts his raging hand:
The heavenly Venus first his fury found,
Me next encountering, me he dar'd to wound;
Vanquish'd I fled ev'n I the god of fight,
From mortal madness scarce was sav'd by flight.
Else had'st thou seen me sink on yonder plain,
Heap'd round, and heaving under loads of slain !
Or, pierc'd with Grecian darts, for ages lic,
Condemn'd to pain, though fated not to die.


Him thus upbraiding, with a wrathful look
The lord of thunders view'd, and stern bespoke :
"To me, perfidious! this lamenting strain?
Of lawless force shall lawless Mars complain?
Of all the gods who tread the spangled skies,
Thou most unjust, most odicus in our eyes!
Inhuman discord is thy dire delight,
The waste of slaughter, and the rage of fight.
No bound, no law, thy fiery temper quells,
And all thy mother in thy soul rebels.

In vain our threats, in vain our power we use;
She gives th' example, and her son pursues.

Yet long the inflicted pangs thou shalt not mourn,
Spring since thou art from Jove, and heavenly born.
Fise, sing'd with hightning hadst thou hence been

Where chain'd on burning rocks the Titans groan."
Thus he who shakes Olympus with his nod;
Then gave to Pæon's care the bleeding god.
With gentle hand the balm be pour'd around,
And heal'd th' immortal flesh, and clos'd the wound.
As when the fig's press'd juice, infus'd in créam,
To cards coagulates the liquid stream,
Sudden the fluids fix, the parts combin'd;
Such, and so soon, the etherial texture join'd.
Cleans'd from the dust and gore, fair Hebè drest
His mighty litabs in an immortal vest.
Glorious he sate, in majesty restor'd,

Fast by the throne of Heaven's superior lord.
Juno and Pallas mount the blest abodes,
Their task perform'd, and mix among the gods.





Ta gods having left the field, the Grecians prevail. Helenus, the chief augur of Troy, commands Hector to return to the city, in order to appoint a solemn procession of the queen and the Trojan matrons to the temple of Minerva, to entreat her to remove Diomed from the fight. The battle relaxing during the absence of Hector, Glaucus and Diomed have an interview between the two armies; where coming to the knowledge of the friendship and hospitality past between their ancestors, they make exchange of their arms. Hector, having performed the orders of Helenus, prevails upon Paris to return to the battle; and, taking a tender leave of his wife Andromache, hastens again to the field.

The scene is first in the field of battle, between the river Simoïs and Scamander, and then changes to Troy.

Now Heaven forsakes the fight: th' immortals
To human force and human skill, the field: [yield,
Dark showers of javelins fly from foes to foes;
Now here, now there, the tide of combat flows;
Thule Troy's fam'd streams', that bound the death-
On either side run purple to the main. [ful plain,
Great Ajax first to conquest led the way,
Broke the thick ranks, and turn'd the doubtful day.
The Thracian Acamas his falchion found,
And hew'd th' enormous giant to the ground;
His thundering arm a deadly stroke imprest
Where the black horse-hair nodded o'er his crest:

Scamander and Simoïs.

Fix'd in his front the brazen weapon lies,

And seals in endless shades his swimming eyes.
Next Teuthras' son distain'd the sands with blood,
Axylus, hospitable, rich and good:

In fair Arisbe's walls (his native place)
He held his seat: a friend to human race.
Fast by the road, his ever open door
Oblig'd the wealthy, and reliev'd the poor.
To stern Tydides now he falls a prey,
No friend to guard him in the dreadful day!
Breathless the good man fell, and by his side
His faithful servant, old Calesius, dy'd.

By great Euryalus was Dresus slain,
And next he laid Opheltius on the plain.
Two twins were near, bold, beautiful, and young,
From a fair Naiad and Bucolion sprung:
(Laomedon's white flocks Bucolion fed,
That monarch's first-born by a foreign bed;
In secret woods he won the Naiad's grace,
And two fair infants crown'd his strong embrace.)
Here dead they lay in all their youthful charms;
The ruthless victor stripp'd their shining arms.
Astyalus by Polypates fell

Ulysses' spear Pydytes sent to Hell;
By Teucer's shaft brave Aretaön bled,
And Nestor's son laid stern Ablerus dead;
Great Agamemnon, leader of the brave,
The mortal wound of rich Elatus gave,
Who held in Pedasus his proud abode,
And till'd the banks where silver Satnio flow'd.
Melanthius by Eurypylus was slain;
And Phylacus from Leitus flies in vain.

Unblest Astrastus next at mercy lies
Beneath the Spartan spear, a living prize.
Scar'd with the din and tumult of the fight,
His headlong steeds, precipitate in flight,
Rush'd on a tamarisk's strong trunk, and broke
The shatter'd chariot from the crooked yoke;
Wide o'er the field, resistless as the wind,
For Troy they fly, and leave their lord behind.
Prone on his face he sinks beside the wheel:
Atrides o'er him shakes his vengeful steel;
The fallen chief in suppliant posture press'd
The victor's knees, and thus his prayer address'd:
"Oh, spare my youth! and for the life I owe
Large gifts of price my father shall bestow.
When fame shall tell, that, not in battle slain,
Thy hollow ships his captive son detain;
Rich heaps of brass shall in thy tent be told,
And steel well temper'd, and persuasive gold."

He said: compassion touch'd the hero's heart; He stood, suspended, with the lifted dart; As pity pleaded for his vanquish'd prize, Stern Agamemnon swift to vengeance flies, And furious thus: "Oh impotent of mind! Shall these, shall these Atrides' mercy find? And well her natives merit at thy hand! Well hast thou known proud Troy's perfidious land, Not one of all the race, nor sex, nor age, Shall save a Trojan from our boundless rage: Her babes, her infants at the breast, shall fall. Ilion shall perish whole, and bury all; To warn the nations, and to curb the great!" A dreadful lesson of exampled fate,

The monarch spoke; the words with warmth adTo rigid justice steel'd his brother's breast. [drest, Fierce from his knees the hapless chief he thrust; The monarch's javelin stretch'd him in the dust, Then pressing with his foot his panting heart, Forth from the slain he tugg'd the recking dart.

Old Nestor saw, and rous'd the warriors' rage!
"Thus, heroes! thus the vigorous combat wage!
No son of Mars descend, for servile gains,
To touch the booty, while a foe remains.
Behold yon glittering host, your future spoil!
First gain the conquest, then reward the toil."
And now had Greece eternal fame acquir'd,
And frighten'd Troy within her walls retir'd;
Had not sage Helenus her state redrest,
Taught by the gods that mov'd his sacred breast.
Where Hector stood, with great Eneas join'd,
The seer reveal'd the counsels of his mind:


"Ye generous chiefs! on whom th' immortals
The cares and glories of this doubtful day;
On whom your aids, your country's hopes depend;
Wise to consult, and active to defend !
Here, at our gates, your brave efforts unite,
Turn back the routed, and forbid the flight;
Ere yet their wives' soft arms the cowards gain,
The sport and insult of the hostile train.
When your commands have hearten'd every band,
Ourselves, here fix'd, will make the dangerous stand;
Prest as we are, and sore of former fight,
These straits demand our last remains of might.
Meanwhile, thou Hector to the town retire,
And teach our mother what the gods require:
Direct the queen to lead th' assembled train
Of Troy's chief matrons to Minerva's fane;
Unbar the sacred gates, and seek the power
With offer'd vows, in Ilion's topmost tower.
The largest mantle her rich wardrobes hold,
Most priz'd for art, and labour'd o'er with gold,
Before the goddess' honour'd knees be spread;
And twelve young heifers to her altar led:
If so the power, aton'd by fervent prayer,
Our wives, our infants, and our city spare,
And far avert Tydides' wasteful ire,
That mows whole troops, and makes all Troy retire.
Not thus Achilles taught our host to dread,
Sprung though he was from more than mortal bed;
Not thus resistless rul'd the stream of fight,
In rage unbounded, and unmatch'd in might."

Hector obedient heard; and with a bound,
Leap'd from his trembling chariot to the ground;
Through all his host, inspiring force, he flies,
And bids the thunder of the battle rise.
With rage recruited the bold Trojans glow,
And turn the tide of conflict on the foe:
Fierce in the front he shakes two dazzling spears:
All Greece recedes, and 'midst her triumphs fears;
Some god, they thought, who rul'd the fate of wars,
Shot down avenging, from the vault of stars.

Then thus, aloud: "Ye dauntless Dardans, hear!
And you whom distant nations send to war!
Be mindful of the strength your fathers bore;
Be still yourselves, and Hector asks no more.
One hour demands me in the Trojan wall,
To bid our altars flame, and victims fall:
Nor shall, I trust, the matrons' holy train
And reverend elders seek the gods in vain."

This said, with ample strides the hero past;
The shield's large orb behind his shoulder cast,
His neck o'ershading, to his ancle hurg;
And as he march'd, the brazen buckler rung.
Now paus'd the battle (god-like Hector gone)
When daring Glaucus and great Tydeus' son
Between both armies met: the chiefs from far
Observ'd each other, and had mark'd for war.
Near as they drew, Tydides thus began:

"What art thou, boldest of the race of man?

Our eyes, till now, that aspect ne'er beheld,
Where fame is reap'd amid th' embattled field;
Yet far before the troops thou dar'st appear,
And meet a lance the fiercest heroes fear.
Unhappy they, and born of luckless sires,
Who tempt our fury when Minerva fires!
But if from Heaven, celestial, thou descend;
Know, with immortals we no more contend.
Not long Lycurgus view'd the golden light,
That daring man who mix'd with gods in fight.
Bacchus, and Bacchus' votaries, he drove,
With brandish'd steel, from Nyssa's sacred grove:
Their consecrated spears lay scatter'd round,
With curling vines and twisted ivy bound;
While Bacchus headlong sought the briny flood,
And Thetis' arm receiv'd the trembling god.
Nor fail'd the crime th' immortals' wrath to move,
(Th' immortals blest with endless ease above)
Depriv'd of sight by their avenging doom,
Cheerless he breath'd, and wander'd in the gloom:
Then sunk unpity'd to the dire abodes,
A wretch accurst, and hated by the gods!
I brave not Heaven: but if the fruits of Earth
Sustain thy life, and human be thy birth;
Bold as thou art, too prodigal of breath,
Approach, and enter the dark gates of Death."


What, or from whence I am, or who my sire,"
(Reply'd the chief) " can Tydeus' son inquire?
Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground;
Another race the following spring supplies;
They fall successive, and successive rise:
So generations in their course decay;

So flourish these, when those are past away.
But if thou still persist to search my birth,
Then hear a tale that fills the spacious Earth.

(Argos the fair, for warlike steeds renown'd)
"A city stands on Argos' utmost bound,
Eolian Sisyphus, with wisdom blest,
In ancient time the happy walls possest,
Then call'd Ephyre: Glaucus was his son;
Great Glaucus, father of Bellerophon,
Who o'er the sons of men in beauty shin'd,
Lov'd for that valour which preserves mankind.
Then mighty Prætus Argos' sceptres sway'd,
Whose hard command Bellerophon obey'd.
With direful jealousy the monarch rag'd,
And the brave prince in numerous toils engag'd.
For him Antaa burn'd with lawless flame,
And strove to tempt him from the paths of fame:
In vain she tempted the relentless youth,
Endued with wisdom, sacred fear, and truth.
Fir'd at his scorn the queen to Prætus fled,
And begg'd revenge for her insulted bed.
Incens'd he heard, resolving on his fate;
But hospitable laws restrain'd his hate:
To Lycia the devoted youth he sent,
With tablets seal'd, that told his dire intent.
Now, blest by every power who guards the good,
The chief arriv'd at Xanthus' silver flood:
There Lycia's monarch paid him honours due,
Nine days he feasted, and nine bulls he slew.
But when the tenth bright morning orient glow'd,
The faithful youth his monarch's mandate show'd:
The fatal tablets, till that instant seal'd,
The deathful secret to the king reveal'd:
First, dire Chimæra's conquest was enjoin'd,
A mingled monster, of no mortal kind;
Behind a dragon's fiery tail was spread ;
A goat's rough body bore a lion's head;

« PreviousContinue »