Page:The Iliad of Homer in English Hexameter Verse.djvu/28

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Bear it, as sign of sway:—ay! deep is the oath I am swearing;—
When in their utmost need, when all of the sons of Achaia,
Yearn for Achilleus' help—they may yearn for, but shall not obtain it!
Then when, unequal to aid, thou beholdest the heaps of the dying 240
Piled by the arm of Hector,—the arm of the homicide Hector—
Bitterly then shalt thou rue, in remorse and in anguish of spirit,
Rue that day when thy madness dishonor'd the bravest Achaian."

Thus did Pelides speak:—and speaking he hurl'd his sceptre,
Golden-studded, to earth, at his feet:—and sat and was silent.
Equally stern sat Atrides.—To them, far renown'd in assembly,
Uprose the Pylian king, the melodious orator, Nestor.
Soft o'er his lips ran mellifluous words, as the running of honey.
Two generations of men, who had lived to the prime of their manhood,
Grew up and flourish'd with him, and had faded away and departed, 250
In Pylos, loved by the Gods:—and he ruled o'er the third generation.
Friend as he was of both of the princes, he rose and address'd them.

"Great, O alas, how great, is the grief this day of Achaia!
Great, how great, were the joy of Priam, the children of Priam,
Troy, and the sons of Troy, did they know of this mad contention,
'Twixt the two first of the host: best in council and bravest in battle.
Hear me, my friends, and conform to my words!—Ye are younger than I am !—
Chieftains of old I remember,—ay, chieftains mighty in prowess—
Mightier e'en than yourselves; and they, when I spake, disobey'd not.
Ne'er have I seen such chiefs—mine eyes shall never behold such,— 260
Chiefs such as Peirithoöus; or as Dryas, first of the people;
Cænëus; and Exadius; and the godlike man Polyphemus;
Theseus, Ægeus' offspring, a warrior like the Immortals.
Strongest in fight were they, of all who on earth had their dwelling;
Strongest in fight were they; and fought, as was fit, with the strongest;
Fought with the mountain-monsters[1], and utterly smote and subdued them.

  1. That is, according to some commentators, the Centaurs; but there seems to be no sufficient reason for so describing them.