The Iliad of Homer (Buckley)/BOOK THE SEVENTEENTH
BOOK THE SEVENTEENTH.
Nor did Patroclus, subdued in fight by the Trojans, escape the notice of the son of Atreus, Mars-beloved Menelaus; but he advanced through the foremost warriors, armed in glittering brass. And round him he walked, like a dam around its calf, having brought forth for the first time, moaning, not being before conscious of parturition: thus did yellow-haired Menelaus walk around Patroclus. But before him he extended his spear, and his shield on all sides equal, anxious to slay him, whoever indeed should come against him. Nor was the son of Panthus, of the good ashen spear, neglectful of blameless Patroclus, fallen; but he stood near him, and addressed warlike Menelaus:
"O Menelaus! son of Atreus, Jove-nurtured one, leader of the people, retire, and leave the body, and let alone the bloody spoils: for not any of the illustrious Trojans or allies smote Patroclus with the spear in the violent conflict before me. Wherefore permit me to bear away the great glory among the Trojans, lest I should strike thee, and take away thy sweet life."
But him yellow-haired Menelaus, very indignant, addressed:
"Father Jove, certainly it is not fitting to boast inordinately. Not so great is the might of a panther, nor a lion, nor of a destructive wild boar, whose most mighty courage rages in his heart, violently in its strength, as much as the sons of Panthus, of the good ashen-spear, breathe forth. Nor did the might of horse-breaking Hyperenor enjoy his youth, when he reproached me, and withstood me; and said that I was the most reproachful warrior among the Greeks; nor did he, I think, returning upon his feet, gratify his dear wife and respected parents. Thus certainly will I dissolve thy strength, if thou wilt stand against me. But I advise thee, retiring, to go back into the crowd; nor do thou stand against me, before thou suffer any harm: for it is a fool that perceives a thing when it is done."
Thus he spoke, but persuaded him not; but he answering, spoke:
"Now indeed, O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, shalt thou make atonement for my brother, whom thou hast slain, and [over whom] thou speakest boastingly; and thou hast widowed his wife in the recess of her new bridal chamber, and caused accursed mourning and sorrow to his parents. Certainly I should be some alleviation of woe to them wretched, if indeed, bearing back thy head and armor, I should place them in the hands of Panthus and noble Phrontis. Nor shall the labor of valor or flight be untried or invincible any longer."
So saying, he smote [him] upon the shield equal on all sides, nor did the brass break through, for the point was bent in the stout shield: and Menelaus, the son of Atreus, next made the attack with his brazen spear, having prayed to father Jove. He smote him upon the lowest part of the gullet as he retired, and he himself forcibly impressed [the spear], relying on his strong hand; and the point went quite through his soft neck. And falling, he made a crash, and his armor rang upon him. And his locks, like unto the Graces, were bedewed with blood, and his curls, which were bound with gold and silver. And as a man rears a widely-blooming plant of olive, fair budding, in a solitary place, where water is wont to spring up in abundance, and which the breezes of every wind agitate, and it buds forth with a white flower; but a wind, suddenly coming on with a mighty blast, overturns it from the furrow, and stretches it upon the earth: so the son of Panthus, Euphorbus, skilled in [the use of] the ashen spear, Menelaus, son of Atreus, when he had slain [him], spoiled of his armor. As when any mountain-nurtured lion, relying on his strength, has carried off from the pasturing herd a heifer, which is the best; but first he breaks its neck, seizing it in his strong teeth, and then tearing it in pieces, laps up the blood and all the entrails; while around him dogs and herdsmen shout very frequently from a distance, nor do they wish to go against him, for pale fear violently seizes them: thus the soul of no one within his breast dared to advance against glorious Menelaus. Then indeed the son of Atreus had easily borne off the celebrated arms of the son of Panthus, had not Phœbus Apollo envied him, who immediately aroused Hector, equal to fleet Mars, against him, assimilating himself to the hero Mentes, leader of the Cicones; and addressing him, he spoke winged words:
"Hector, now indeed thou art thus running, pursuing things not to be overtaken, the steeds of warlike Achilles; they indeed are difficult to be managed by mortal men, or to be driven by any other than Achilles, whom an immortal mother bore. In the mean while Menelaus, the warlike son of Atreus, protecting Patroclus, has slain the bravest of the Trojans, Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, and made him cease from impetuous valor."
Thus having spoken, the god on his part again departed into the labor of the men; but heavy grief oppressed Hector as to his dark soul. Then, indeed, he looked around through the ranks, and immediately observed the one bearing away the famous armor, and the other lying upon the ground; and the blood flowed through the inflicted wound. But he advanced through the foremost warriors, armed in shining brass, shrilly shouting, like unto the inextinguishable flame of Vulcan. Nor did he escape the notice of the son of Atreus, loudly exclaiming; but he, deeply sighing, thus communed with his own great-hearted soul:
"Ah me! if I leave the beautiful armor and Patroclus, who lies here for the sake of my honor, [I dread] lest some one of the Greeks, whoever perceives it, will be indignant; but if, being alone, I fight with Hector and the Trojans, from shame, [I fear] lest many surround me, [being] alone. But crest-tossing Hector is leading all the Trojans hither. But wherefore has my soul been thus debating? Whenever a man desires, in opposition to a deity, to fight with a hero whom a god honors, soon is a great destruction hurled upon him; wherefore no one of the Greeks will blame me, who may perceive me retiring from Hector, since he wars under the impulse of a god. But if I could hear Ajax, brave in the din of war, both of us, again returning, would be mindful of battle even against a god, if by any means we could draw off the body for the sake of Achilles, the son of Peleus: of evils, certainly it would be the better."
While he was thus deliberating these things, in his mind and soul, the ranks of the Trojans were meanwhile advancing; and Hector led the way. But he retired back, and quitted the corpse, turning round as a shaggy-bearded lion, which dogs and men drive from the stall with spears and clamor; but his valiant heart within his breast is shaken, and he, unwilling, departs from the field: thus did yellow-haired Menelaus retire from Patroclus. And being turned round, he stood, when he had reached the band of his companions, looking all around for mighty Ajax, the son of Telamon; whom he very quickly perceived upon the left of the whole battle, encouraging his companions, and urging them to fight: for Phœbus Apollo had cast a heaven-sent panic among them. But he made haste to run, and, immediately standing near, spoke:
"Ajax, hither, friend, let us hasten in defense of slain Patroclus, if we can bear his naked corpse at least to Achilles; for his armor crest-tossing Hector possesses,"
Thus he spoke, but he roused the courage of warlike Ajax, and he advanced through the foremost warriors, and with him yellow-haired Menelaus. Hector on his part, after he had despoiled him of his beautiful armor, was dragging Patroclus, that he might sever the head from the shoulders with the sharp brass, and, carrying off the body, might give it to the Trojan dogs, when Ajax came near, bearing his shield, like a tower. Then Hector, retiring back, retreated into the throng of his companions, and sprung up into his chariot; but he gave the handsome armor to the Trojans to carry to the city, to be a great glory to him. But Ajax, with his broad shield covering around the son of Menœtius, stood like a lion over her young; against which, when leading her whelps, the huntsmen rush together in the wood; while he looks dreadful in his might, and draws down all his eyebrows, concealing his eyes: so strode Ajax round the hero Patroclus. On the other side stood the son of Atreus, warlike Menelaus, augmenting the great grief in his bosom.
But Glaucus, the son of Hippolochus, leader of the Lycian heroes, looking sternly at Hector, upbraided him with harsh language: "Hector, most excellent as to appearance, certainly thou art greatly deficient in fighting; doubtless good, fame possesses thee without reason, since thou art a fugitive. Consider now, how alone with the people [who are] born in Ilium, thou mayest preserve the state and city, for none of the Lycians, at all events, will go to fight with the Greeks for thy city; since indeed there is no gratitude for fighting ever incessantly with hostile men. How indeed, inglorious one, hast thou preserved an inferior man in the throng, and suffered Sarpedon, at once thy guest and companion, to become a prey and booty to the Greeks; who, when alive, was a great advantage to thy city and thyself; but now thou didst not attempt to drive away the dogs from him. Wherefore, if any of the Lycian warriors will now obey me, go home, and utter destruction will be manifest to Troy. For if now that confident, intrepid strength, was in the Trojans, which enters heroes who in the defense of their country undertake toil, and conflict with hostile men, immediately might we draw Patroclus into Ilium. But if he, lifeless, should come to the great city of king Priam, and we had drawn him away from the battle, quickly indeed would the Greeks ransom [to us] the beautiful armor of Sarpedon, and we might bear himself also into Troy; for the attendant of that man is slain, who is by far the bravest of the Greeks at the ships, and whose servants are close-fighting warriors. But thou, forsooth, hast not dared to stand against magnanimous Ajax, beholding his eyes in the battle of the enemy, nor to fight against him; for he is more brave than thou."
But him sternly regarding, crest-tossing Hector addressed: "O Glaucus, why hast thou, being such as thou art, spoken haughtily? I' faith, friend, I thought that thou didst excel in judgment the others, as many as inhabit fertile Lycia; but now I altogether blame thy understanding, since thou hast thus spoken, thou who sayest that I do not withstand mighty Ajax. Neither have I dreaded the battle, nor the tumult of steeds; but the counsel of ægis-bearing Jove is ever superior, who puts even the valiant men to flight, and easily takes away the victory; but at another time he himself impels him to fight. But come hither, my friend, stand by me, and behold my conduct. Truly I shall always be a coward, assayest, or I will restrain even some of the Greeks, although very eager, from keeping defense over dead Patroclus."
Thus saying, he cheered on the Trojans, loudly shouting, "Ye Trojans and Lycians, and close-fighting Dardanians, be men, my friends, and be mindful of impetuous valor, while I put on the armor of illustrious Achilles, beautiful, of which I despoiled mighty Patroclus, having slain him."
Thus having spoken, crest-tossing Hector departed from the glowing battle, and, running very quickly, overtook his companions, not far off, following with swift feet those who were bearing toward the city the renowned arms of Achilles. Then standing apart from the mournful battle, he changed his armor. His own indeed he gave to the warlike Trojans to bear to sacred Ilium; but he put on the immortal arms of Achilles, the son of Peleus, which the heavenly gods had bestowed on his dear father; but he indeed, growing old, presented them to his son; but the son grew not old in the armor of his father.
But when cloud-compelling Jove beheld him apart, accoutered in the armor of divine Pelides, then shaking his head, he said to his own soul:
"Ah! luckless one; nor is death at all in thy thoughts, which is now near thee; hut thou puttest on the immortal armor of the bravest hero, at whom others also tremble; and thou hast slain his companion, both gentle and brave, and thou hast taken the armor from his head and shoulders not according to propriety. But now will I give into thy hands a great victory, a compensation for this, that Andromache shall never receive from thee, having returned from the battle, the illustrious arms of the son of Peleus."
The son of Saturn spoke, and moreover nodded with his sable brows. But the armor fitted the person of Hector, and Mars, the dreadful warrior, entered him. And his limbs were inwardly filled with might and strength, and he went after the illustrious allies, exclaiming aloud; and glittering in his armor, to all of them he presented the appearance of the magnanimous son of Peleus. But going among them, he animated each with his words—Mesthles, Glaucus, Medon, and Thersilochus, Asteropæus, Disenor, and Hippothous, Phorcys, Chromius, and Ennomus the augur. Exhorting these, he spoke winged words:
"Hear, ye countless troops of allies dwelling around, for I did not assemble you here, each from his own city, seeking or wanting a crowd, but that ye might willingly defend for me the wives and infant children of the Trojans from the warlike Greeks. Thinking these things, I wear away my people by gifts and provisions [to you], and I satisfy the desire of each of you. Wherefore now let some one, being turned round straight, either perish or be saved; for these are the chances of war. Nevertheless, whoever will drag Patroclus, although dead, to the horse-breaking Trojans, and to whom Ajax shall yield, [to him] will I present one-half of the spoils, but I myself will keep the other half; and glory shall be to him as much as to me."
Thus he spoke; but they, lifting up their spears, advanced with condensed might direct against the Greeks; and their mind eagerly hoped to draw away the dead body from Telamonian Ajax:—fools! truly over it he took away the life from many. And then Ajax addressed Menelaus, good in the din of war:
"O my friend, O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, no longer do I expect that even we ourselves will return from battle. Nor do I fear so much about the dead body of Patroclus, which will quickly satiate the dogs and birds of the Trojans, as much as I fear for my own head, lest it suffer any thing, and for thine, for Hector, that cloud of war, overshadows all things; while to us, on the other hand, utter destruction appears. But come, call the bravest of the Greeks, if any one will hear."
Thus he spoke; nor did Menelaus, good in the din of war, disobey; but he shouted, crying with a loud voice to the Greeks:
"O friends, leaders and chieftains of the Greeks, ye who with Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, and Menelaus, drink the public wine, and command each his forces; but honor and glory follows from Jove. Difficult would it be for me to look to each of the leaders, for so great a strife of battle burns. But let some one advance, and let him be indignant in his mind, that Patroclus should become a sport to Trojan dogs."
Thus he spoke; but quickly the swift Oïlean Ajax heard, and first advanced opposite, running through the battle; after him Idomeneus, and Meriones, the armor-bearer of Idomeneus, equal to man-slaughtering Mars. But who in his mind could recount the names of the others as many as afterward aroused the battle of the Greeks? But the Trojans, in close array, first made the onset, and Hector led them on.
But as when, at the mouths of a river flowing from Jove, the great wave roars against the stream, while around the lofty shores resound, the wave being ejected [upon the beach], with so loud a clamor did the Trojans advance; but the Greeks stood round the son of Menœtius, having one spirit, protected by their brazen shields; while over their shining helmets the son of Saturn poured a thick haze; for he did not formerly hate the son of Menœtius when, being alive, he was the attendant of Achilles, therefore he was loth that he should become a prey to the Trojan dogs of the enemy; and so he excited his companions to defend him. The Trojans, however, first dislodged the dark-eyed Greeks, and they, leaving the dead body, retreated; nor did the magnanimous Trojans slay any of them with their spears, although desirous, but drew off the body. But the Greeks were about to be absent from him a very short while, for very quickly did Ajax rally them, who, next to the renowned son of Peleus, excelled the other Greeks in beauty and in deeds. And he broke through the front ranks, resembling a wild boar in strength, which among the mountains easily disperses the dogs and blooming youths through the woods, turning to bay; so the son of illustrious Telamon, noble Ajax, having made the attack, easily routed the phalanxes of the Trojans who had surrounded Patroclus, and mostly expected to drag him to their city, and bear away glory. Meanwhile Hippothous, the illustrious son of Pelasgian Lethus, was dragging him by the foot through the violent conflict, having bound him with a strap at the ankle round the tendons, gratifying Hector and the Trojans. But soon came evil upon him, which no one, even of those desiring it, averted from him. Him the son of Telamon, rushing through the crowd, smote in close fight through the brazen-cheeked helmet. The horse-haired helmet was cleft by the point of the weapon, stricken by the great spear and strong hand; and the brain, bloody, gushed out of the wound at the cone of the helmet; and his strength was there relaxed. Then he let fall from his hands the foot of magnanimous Patroclus, to lie upon the earth, and near him he himself fell, prone upon the dead body, far away from fertile Larissa: nor did he repay the debt of nourishment to his beloved parents, for his life was short, subdued by the spear of magnanimous Ajax. But Hector again aimed at Ajax with his shining spear; he, however, seeing it opposite, avoided the brazen spear by a little; but he struck Schedius, the magnanimous son of Iphitus, by far the bravest of the Phoceans, who inhabited dwellings in renowned Panopëus, ruling over many men. Him he smote under the middle of the clavicle, and the brazen point of the weapon went quite through, near the extremity of the shoulder. Falling, he made a crash, and his arms rang upon him. Then Ajax again smote warlike Phorcys, the son of Phænops, in the middle of the belly, while defending Hippothous. And he broke the cavity of the corselet, and the brazen weapon drank his entrails through; and falling in the dust, he seized the earth with the palm of his hand. The foremost warriors and illustrious Hector retreated; but the Greeks shouted loudly, and drew off the bodies, both Phorcys and Hippothous, and they loosed the armor from their shoulders.
Then again would the Trojans, [routed] by the warlike Greeks, have gone up to Ilium, subdued through cowardice; but the Argives on their part, by their valor and might, would have obtained glory, even contrary to the destined will of Jove, had not Apollo himself excited Æneas, in body like unto Periphas the herald, son of Epytis, who knowing prudent counsels in his mind, had grown old, as a herald, with his aged sire. Assimilating himself to him, Apollo, the son of Jove, addressed him:
"O Æneas, how could ye preserve lofty Ilium against the deity, since I behold these other men relying on their bravery, and might, and valor, and their number, and possessing a dauntless host? Yet Jove wills the victory to us, rather than to the Danai; yet ye greatly tremble, nor fight."
Thus he spoke; but Æneas, seeing him before him, recognized far-darting Apollo; and loudly shouting, addressed Hector:
"O Hector, and ye other leaders of the Trojans and allies, this now indeed is a shame, that we, subdued by cowardice, should go up to Ilium, [driven] by the warlike Achæans. For already even now some one of the gods, having stood near to me, declared that Jove, the highest counselor, is an ally of the battle [to us]. Wherefore let us go direct against the Greeks, nor let themmove the dead Patroclus to the ships."
Thus he spoke, and then springing forth, stood far before the front ranks. But they rallied, and stood opposed to the Greeks. Then Æneas wounded with his spear Leocritus, son of Arisbas, the brave companion of Lycomedes. Him falling, warlike Lycomedes pitied, and advancing very near, he stood, and hurled with his shining spear, and struck Apisaon, the son of Hippasis, shepherd of the people, in the liver, beneath the diaphragm, and immediately relaxed his limbs. He had come from fertile Pæonia, and next to Asteropæus, was the bravest to fight. Warlike Asteropæus pitied him fallen, and he rushed forward, willing to fight with the Greeks. But not yet could he [do so], for [those] standing around Patroclus were fenced in on every side with shields, and held their spears before them; for Ajax went eagerly among all, greatly cheering them on. He suffered not any one either to retire from the body, nor any of the Greeks to fight in front, excelling the others, but vigorously to stalk around for defense, and to combat in close fight. Thus did mighty Ajax command; but the earth was moistened with purple gore, while upon each other fell the dead bodies of the Trojans and courageous allies, and of the Greeks; for neither did they fight bloodlessly, although far fewer perished, because they were ever mindful throughout the tumult to repel severe labor from each other.
Thus indeed they fought, like a fire; nor would you say that the Sun was safe, or the Moon, for they were wrapt in dark haze in the combat, as many of the bravest as stood around the dead son of Menœtius. The other Trojans and well-armed Greeks, however, fought at ease beneath the atmosphere; the piercing splendor of the sun was expanded over them, and a cloud did not appear over all the earth, nor the mountains. Resting at intervals, they fought, avoiding the cruel weapons of each other, standing far asunder; while those in the middle suffered hardships from darkness and from war, and were afflicted by the ruthless brass, as many as were most brave. But two heroes, illustrious men, Thrasymedes and Antilochus, had not yet heard that blameless Patroclus was dead; but thought that, still alive, he was fighting with the Trojans in the foremost tumult. But these, watching the slaughter and flight of their companions, fought apart, since Nestor had so ordered, urging [them] on to battle from the black ships. But to these all day a mighty contest of severe strife arose, and ever incessantly the knees, the legs, and the feet of each under him, the hands and the eyes of those fighting around the brave companion of swift-footed Æacides, were defiled with fatigue and perspiration. And as when a man gives the hide of a huge ox, saturated with grease, to his people to stretch, but they, having received, stretch it, standing apart from each other in a circle, and straightway the moisture exudes, and the oily matter enters, many pulling it, till it is stretched in every direction; so they, on both sides, dragged the body here and there in a small space; for the mind of the Trojans, on the one hand, eagerly hoped to draw him to Ilium, but of the Greeks, on the other, to the hollow ships. Around him arose a fierce tumult; nor could Mars, the exciter of troops, nor Minerva, having beheld it, have found fault, not even if wrath had particularly come upon her; such an evil labor of men and horses did Jove extend over Patroclus on that day. Nor as yet did noble Achilles at all know that Patroclus was dead, because they fought far from the swift ships, beneath the wall of the Trojans. He never thought in his mind that he was dead; but that alive, having approached the gates, he would return back, since he did not at all suppose that he could sack the city without him, for he had often heard this from his mother, hearing it apart, who used to tell him the design of mighty Jove. Yet his mother had not then told him so great an evil as had happened, that the companion by far most dear to him had perished.
But they, ever around the dead body, holding their sharp spears, charged incessantly, and slaughtered one another, and thus would some of the brazen-mailed Greeks say:
"O friends, surely it will not be honorable for us to retreat to the hollow ships; but [rather] let the black earth here gape for all. This indeed would at once be better for us, than that we should permit the horse-breaking Trojans to drag him to their city, and obtain glory."
And thus also would some one of the magnanimous Trojans say:
"O friends, although it be our destiny that all be equally subdued beside this man, never let any one retire from the battle."
Thus, then, some one said, and aroused the spirit of each. Thus indeed were they fighting; and the iron clangor reached the brazen heaven through the unfruitful air. But the horses of Æacides being apart from the combat, wept, when first they perceived that their charioteer had fallen in the dust, beneath man-slaughtering Hector. Automedon, indeed, the brave son of Diores, frequently urged them on, beating them with the sharp lash, and frequently addressed them in mild terms and in threats; but they chose neither to go back to the ships toward the wide Hellespont nor into the battle among the Greeks; but, as a pillar remains firm, which stands at the tomb of a dead man or woman, so they remained detaining the splendid chariot motionless, and drooping their heads to the earth. But warm tears flowed from their eyelids to the earth, complaining from desire of their charioteer; and their thick mane was defiled, flowing down on both sides from the collar at the yoke. But the son of Saturn beholding them lamenting, felt compassion, and shaking his head, communed with his own mind:
"Ah! luckless pair, why did we give you to king Peleus, a mortal; for ye are free from old age, and immortal? Was it that ye might endure griefs with unhappy men? For there is not any thing at all more wretched than man, of all, as many as breathe and move over the earth. But Hector, the son of Priam, shall not be borne by you, even in the curiously-wrought chariot, for I will not permit it. Is it not enough that he both possesses those arms, and vainly boasts? But into your knees and spirit will I cast vigor, that ye may safely bear Automedon from the battle to the hollow ships for still will I give glory to them (the Trojans), to slay, until they reach the well-benched ships, till the sun set, and sacred darkness come on."
So saying, he breathed strong vigor into the steeds; and they, shaking the dust from their manes to the ground quickly bore the rapid car among the Trojans and Greeks. And against them fought Automedon, though grieved for his companion, rushing along in his chariot like a vulture among the geese. For he fled easily from the tumult of the Trojans, and easily did he rush on, pursuing through the dense throng. Yet did he not slay the men when he pressed onward to pursue; for it was by no means possible for him, being alone in the sacred car, to assault with the spear and to rein in the fleet steeds. At length, however, a companion, the hero Alcimedon, son of Laërceus, the son of Æmon, beheld him with his eyes, and stood behind his chariot, and addressed Automedon:
"Which of the gods, O Automedon, has placed a foolish counsel in thy bosom, and taken from thee sound judgment; inasmuch as alone thou fightest in the foremost ranks with the Trojans? Thy companion indeed is slain; and Hector himself vaunts, having upon his shoulders the armor of Æacides."
Him then Automedon, the son of Diores, addressed:
"Alcimedon, what other of the Greeks, then, is like thee, to subdue and restrain the spirit of immortal steeds, unless Patroclus, while alive, a counselor equal to the gods? Now, however, death and fate possess him. Nevertheless, do thou take the lash and beautiful reins; but I will descend from the chariot, that I may fight."
Thus he spoke, but Alcimedon, ascending the chariot, swift in war, instantly took in his hands the lash and reins, while Automedon leaped down; but illustrious Hector perceived this, and immediately addressed Æneas, being near:
"Æneas, counselor of the brazen-mailed Trojans, I have observed these two steeds of Achilles proceeding through the battle with unskillful charioteers. I therefore may hope to capture them, if thou, at least, desire it in thy mind; for standing opposite, they will not dare to withstand us, rushing on to fight in battle."
Thus he spoke; nor did the brave son of Anchises disobey. Both advanced direct, covered as to their shoulders with bulls' hides, dry, thick; and upon them much brass was plated. But along with them went both Chromius and godlike Aretus: and their mind greatly hoped to slay them, and to drive away the long-necked steeds. Foolish, for they were not destined to return back bloodlessly from Automedon, for he, having prayed to father Jove, was filled with fortitude and valor, as to his dark mind, and immediately addressed Alcimedon, his faithful comrade:
"O Alcimedon, do not now detain the steeds far from me; but [keep them] breathing closely at my back; for I do not think that Hector, the son of Priam, will abstain from violence, before that he has mounted the beautiful-maned horses of Achilles, having slain both of us, and put to rout the ranks of Grecian heroes; or himself be slain among the first."
Thus saying, he called upon the Ajaces, and Menelaus: "Ye Ajaces, leaders of the Greeks, and Menelaus, leave then the dead body to those, as many as are bravest, to defend it on all sides, and to repulse the ranks of men; but from us who are alive avert the merciless day. For hither violently rush through the lamentable fight Hector and Æneas, who are the best of the Trojans. But all these things rest upon the knees of the gods; for I also will hurl, and all these things will be a care to Jove."
He said; and, brandishing, hurled his long-shadowed spear and struck upon the shield of Aretus, equal on all sides; it however did not repel the spear, but the brass went entirely through, and passed through the belt into the bottom of his belly. And as when a man in youthful vigor, holding a sharp ax, cuts through the whole tendon, striking behind the horns of a wild bull; but it, leaping forward, falls; so he, springing forward, fell supine; and the sharp spear quivering in his entrails, relaxed his limbs. Then Hector took aim at Automedon with his shining spear, but he, seeing it in front of him, avoided the brazen weapon; for he bent forward. But the long spear was fixed in the ground behind him; and moreover the nether end of the spear was shaken; but there then the strong weapon spent its force. Then truly they would have engaged hand to hand with their swords, had not the eager Ajaces, who came through the crowd, at the call of their companion, separated them. But Hector, Æneas, and godlike Chromius, greatly dreading them, retired back again, and left Aretus lying there, lacerated as to his heart; but him Automedon, equal to swift Mars, despoiled of his armor, and, boastmg, uttered this speech:
"Surely now I have a little relieved my heart of sorrow for the dead son of Menœtius, although having slain but an inferior man."
Thus having spoken, seizing the gore-stained spoils, he placed them in the chariot, and mounted himself, bloody as to his feet and hands above, like some lion which has fed upon a bull. Again over Patroclus was the direful battle extended, grievous, lamentable; and Minerva excited the contention, descending from heaven; for far-sounding Jove sent her forth to encourage the Greeks, as his intention was now changed. As Jove extends a purple rainbow from heaven to mortals, to be a signal either of war, or of a chilling storm, which causes men to cease from their works upon the earth, and afflicts the cattle; so she, having obscured herself in a purple cloud, entered the army of the Greeks, and aroused every man. First, however, she addressed the son of Atreus, gallant Menelaus, inciting him, for he was near her, assimilating herself, in her form and unwearied voice, to Phœnix:
"Thine, of a truth, will shame and disgrace now be, O Menelaus, if the swift dogs tear the faithful companion of illustrious Achilles beneath the wall of the Trojans; therefore bravely hold on, and urge on all the people." Whom, in return, Menelaus, good in the din of war, addressed: "Phœnix, father, old man long since born, would that Miverva would give me strength, and ward off the force of the weapons. Then indeed would I be willing to stand by and defend Patroclus; for dying, he greatly affected my mind with grief. But Hector has the dreadful force of fire, nor does he cease slaying with his spear; for to him Jove affords glory."
Thus he spoke; but the azure-eyed goddess Minerva rejoiced, because to her he had prayed first of all the gods. But in his shoulders and knees she put strength, and placed in his bosom the boldness of a fly, which, although frequently driven away from a human body, persists in biting—and the blood of man is sweet to it. With such confidence she filled his dark soul: and he advanced toward Patroclus, and took aim with his splendid spear. Now there was among the Trojans one Podes, the son of Eëtion, rich and brave; whom of his people Hector chiefly honored, for he was his dear companion in the banquet. Him yellow-haired Menelaus smote upon the belt while hastening to flight, and drove the brazen weapon quite through. He, falling, gave a crash, and Menelaus, the son of Atreus, dragged away the body from the Trojans to the crowd of his companions. But Apollo, standing near, excited Hector in the likeness of Phœnops, son of Asias, who, inhabiting dwellings at Abydos, was most dear to him of all his guests. Assimilating himself to him, far-darting Apollo spoke:
"Hector, what other of the Greeks will any more fear thee, since now thou dreadest Menelaus, who indeed before was but an effeminate warrior, but now departs alone, bearing off the dead corse from the Trojans? He has slain, in the front ranks, Podes, the son of Eëtion, thy comrade, faithful and brave."
Thus he spoke; but him a dark cloud of grief overshadowed, and he went through the front ranks, armed in glittering brass. And then the son of Saturn took his ægis, fringed and splendid, and covered Ida with clouds; but having flashed his lightning, he thundered very loudly, and shook it (the mountain); and (he) gave victory to the Trojans, but put the Greeks to flight.
Peneleus, the Bœotian, first was leader of the flight; for he was wounded slightly on the tip of the shoulder with a spear, being always turned frontward; but the spear of Polydamas grazed even to the bone, for he, coming close, had wounded him. Next Hector wounded Leïtus, son of magnanimous Alectryon, on the hand at the wrist, and caused him to cease from battle. Then looking around him, he trembled, since he no longer hoped in his mind [to be able] to fight with the Trojans, holding his spear in his hand. But Idomeneus had struck, on the corselet, upon the breast near the pap, Hector rushing after Leïtus: the long spear, however, was broken at the socket; and the Trojans shouted. But he [Hector] discharged his javelin at Idomeneus, the son of Deucalion, as he was standing in his car: him he missed by a little, but struck Coeranus, the attendant and charioteer of Meriones, who had followed him from well-situated Lyctus. For at first on foot, having left his equally-plied ships, he came, and would have secured a decided victory to the Trojans, had not Coeranus quickly driven on his swift-footed steeds: to him then he (Coeranus) came as a help, and warded off the merciless day; but he himself lost his life beneath man-slaughtering Hector. Him he smote beneath the jawbone and ear, and the extremity of the spear forced out his teeth and cut through the middle of his tongue. He fell from his chariot, and the reins dropped to the ground; and Meriones, stooping, lifted them from the plain in his own hands, and addressed Idomeneus:
"Lash on, now, until thou reach the swift ships; for even thou thyself perceivest that victory is no longer on the side of the Achæans."
Thus he spake; and Idomeneus lashed on the beautiful-maned steeds to the hollow ships; for fear now seized his mind.
Nor did Jove escape notice of magnanimous Ajax and Menelaus, when he for the present gave the dubious victory to the Trojans; but to them the mighty Ajax, son of Telamon, began to speak:
"Alas! even he who is very stupid might now know that father Jove himself is aiding the Trojans; for the weapons of them all take effect, whoever may throw them, whether coward or brave man. Jove certainly directs them all. But the weapons of all of us fall to the earth in vain. Come, however, let us devise the best plan, both how we may drag off the corse, and how we ourselves may be a source of joy to our beloved comrades, having returned home. They, of a truth, beholding us here, are grieved, and think that we shall no longer resist the might and invincible hands of man-slaughtering Hector. But, would there were some companion who would quickly bring word to Achilles, since I think he has not yet heard the mournful tidings, that his dear comrade has died. But nowhere can I see such a person among the Greeks, for they and their steeds are together enveloped in darkness. O father Jove, liberate at least the sons of the Greeks from darkness; make a clear atmosphere, and grant us to see with our eyes; then destroy us in the light, if thus it be pleasing to thee."
Thus he spoke; but the Sire felt compassion for him weeping, and immediately dissipated the haze, and removed the cloud. And the sun shone forth, and the whole battle was displayed, and then Ajax addressed Menelaus, good in the din of war:
"Look around now, O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, if any where thou canst perceive, yet alive, Antilochus, the son of magnanimous Nestor. Urge him, going speedily, to tell to warlike Achilles, that the comrade, by for most dear to him, has perished."
Thus he spoke; nor did Menelaus, good in the din of war, disobey. But he hastened to go, like some lion from a fold, which after that he is fatigued, harassing both dogs and men, who watching all night, suffer him not to carry off the fat of the oxen; but he, desirous of flesh, rushes on, but nothing profits; for many javelins fly against him from daring hands, and blazing torches, which, eager as he is, he dreads; but early in the morning he goes apart with saddened mind. So, most unwilling, from Patroclus, went Menelaus, brave in the din of war; because he greatly feared lest the Greeks, through grievous terror, should leave him a prey to the enemy. And much, therefore, he exhorted Meriones and the Ajaces:
"Ye Ajaces, leaders of the Greeks, and Meriones, now let each one be mindful of the gentleness of wretched Patroclus; for when alive, he knew how to be mild to all; but now, indeed, Death and Fate overtake him."
Thus then having spoken, yellow-haired Menelaus departed, gazing round in all directions, like an eagle which, they say, sees most acutely of birds beneath the sky, and, which, though being aloft, the swift-footed hare does not escape, when lying beneath the dense-foliaged thicket; but he pounces upon it, and quickly seizing it, deprives it of life. Thus, O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, were thy shining eyes turned round in all directions through the band of thy numerous companions, if any where thou mightest behold the son of Nestor, yet living. But him he very soon perceived upon the left of all the battle, encouraging his companions, and inciting them to fight; and standing near, yellow-haired Menelaus addressed [him]:
"Ho! hither come, Antilochus, Jove-nurtured, that thou mayest hear the sad message which—would that it had not happened. I think, indeed, that thou thyself looking, perceivest that a god rolls disaster upon the Greeks, but that victory is on the side of the Trojans; for Patroclus, the bravest of the Greeks, is slain; and a great longing [after him] has befallen the Greeks. But do thou quickly tell it to Achilles, running to the ships of the Greeks, if perchance quickly he may bring in safety to his ships the unarmed body; for crest-tossing Hector possesses the armor."
Thus he spoke; but Antilochus shuddered, hearing the news; and long did a want of words possess him; and his eyes were filled with tears, and his liquid voice was interrupted. Yet not even thus did he neglect the command of Menelaus; but he hastened to run, and gave his armor to Laodocus, his blameless companion, who, near him, managed the solid-hoofed steeds. Him, however, his feet bore, weeping, from the battle, about to communicate the evil news to Achilles, son of Peleus.
Nor, O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, was thy mind willing to aid the harassed comrades, in the place whence Antilochus had departed, and great longing after him was caused to the Pylians; but to them he sent noble Thrasymedes, and he himself went again toward the hero Patroclus; but arriving, he stood beside the Ajaces, and immediately addressed them:
"Him, indeed, I have now dispatched to the swift ships, to go to swift-footed Achilles: yet I do not think that he will come, although greatly enraged with noble Hector; for being unarmed, he could by no means fight with the Trojans. Let even us then ourselves deliberate upon the best plan, as well how we shall draw off the body, as also how we ourselves may escape Death and Fate from the clamor of the Trojans."
But him mighty Telamonian Ajax then answered:
"All things correctly hast thou spoken, O illustrious Menelaus. But do thou, and Meriones, stooping quickly under it, having lifted it up, bear the body from the fight; while we two of like name, possessing equal courage, will fight with the Trojans and with noble Hector, we who even formerly have sustained the sharp conflict, remaining by each other."
Thus he spoke; but they with great exertion lifted up the body in their arms from the ground: but the Trojan army shouted in their rear when they saw the Greeks raising up the dead body, and rushed on like dogs, which spring upon a wounded boar, before the youthful hunters. One while indeed they run, eager to tear him asunder, but again, when he turns upon them, relying on his strength, then they retreat, and fly in different directions hither and thither: so the Trojans sometimes steadily pursued in a body, striking with their swords and two-edged spears; but when again the Ajaces, turning round upon them, stood, then was their color changed, nor dared any one, rushing forward, to combat for the corpse.
Thus they with alacrity bore the body from the fight toward the hollow ships; but the fierce battle was extended to them like a flame, which assailing, [and] being suddenly excited, sets fire to a city of men, and the houses diminish in the mighty blaze; while the force of the wind roars through it: so a horrid tumult of steeds and warlike heroes followed them departing. But as mules, exerting vast strength, drag from a mountain along a rugged path either a beam or a large piece of timber for ship-building, but the spirit within them, as they hasten, is wearied equally with fatigue and perspiration; so they with alacrity bore away the body, while the Ajaces behind them checked [the enemy]; as a barrier of wood, stretched straight across a plain, restrains water; which checks the furious courses even of rapid rivers, and immediately turning them, directs the streams of all into the plain; nor can they at all burst through it, though flowing with violence. So the Ajaces in the rear always repulsed the attack of the Trojans, who, however, followed along with them; but two among them in particular, Æneas, son of Anchises, and illustrious Hector. And as a cloud of starlings or jackdaws, shrilly chattering, flies away when they perceive a hawk advancing, which brings death to small birds; so then from Æneas and Hector departed the son of the Greeks, loudly clamoring, and were forgetful of the fight. And much beautiful armor of the flying Greeks fell both in and about the trench; but there was no cessation from the battle.
- Cf. Hesiod, Opp. 216: Παθὼν δέ νήπιος ἔγνω. Plato, Sympos. p. 336. A.: Ἀλλ' ἀπὸ τῶν ἡμετέρον παθημάτων γνόντα, εὐλαβηθῆναι, καὶ μὴ, κατὰ τὴν παροιμίαν, ὥσπερ νήπιον, παθόντα γνῶναι. Æsch. Ag. 177: Τὸν πάθει μάθος θέντα κυρίως ἔχειν—καὶ παρ' ἄκοντας ἤλθε σωφρονεῖν. See Proclus on Hesiod, Opp. 89.
- This perfect has much the same usage as ἐπενήνοθε. II. 219.
- "The evils here spoken of, and of which a choice is presented to Menelaus, are loss of both the body and the armor of Patroclus, or of either separately. The first alternative he is resolved on guarding against by summoning Ajax to his aid; of the last two, he prefers the abandonment of the arms, i. e., σύλη, spoliation of the corpse, to ἀείκεια, its disfigurement."—Kennedy.
- Take ἴμεν (ἰέναι) imperatively, or understand ἐπιπείσεται ἐμοὶ ὥστε αὐτὸν ἰέναι εἰς οἶκον, ἄμεινον ἂν εἴη οὕτως ἄρα ὄλεθρος, κ. τ. λ. See Kennedy.
- See Duport, Gnom. Hom. p. 97.
- Schol.: Στίφος ποιήσαντες, συνασπίσαντες, εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ πάντες ὁρμήσαντες. A curious interpretation is given in the Glossaries: "Βρίζω, post cibum denuo impetum facio." See Alberti on Hesych. p. 766.
- i. e., who are supplied from the public resources—τὰ ἐκ τῶν κοινῶν καὶ δημοσίων χρημάτων χορηγούμενα τοῖς βασιλεῦσι.—Schol.
- Schol. Apoll. Rhod. i. 11: Τῶν ποταμῶν οἱ συμβάλλοντες τόποι τῇ θαλάσσῆ, προχοαὶ λέγονται, where he quotes this instance from Homer.
- See iii. 372, "the part of the helmet in which the crest was inserted—unless αὐλὸν be taken metaphorically, and by παρ' αὐλὸν be meant the stream of blood, as from a pipe."—Oxford Transl.
- i. e., resting at intervals, as it is explained in verse 373.
- Clarke compares Æn. xii. 284, from Ennius, apud Macrob. vi. 1: "Hastati spargunt hastas, fit ferreus imber." See Columna's notes, p. 82, ed. Hessel. The Scholiast rather interprets it, of a strong and violent shout, στερεὸς καὶ πολὺ ἰσχυρός.
- See Virg. Æn. xi. 89, sqq. with Servius, Quintus Calab. iii. 740: Οὐδὲ μιν ἄμβροτοι ἵπποι ἀταρβέος Αἰακίδαο Μίμνον ἀδάκρυτοι παρὰ νήεσιν· ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοὶ Μύροντο σφετέροιο δαϊκταμένου βασιλῆος. Οὐδ' ἔθελον μογεροῖσιν ἔτ' ἀνδράσιν, οὐδὲ μεθ' ἵπποις Μίσγεσθ' Ἀργείων, ὀλοὸν περὶ πένθος ἔχοντες.
- On this comfortable and satisfactory sentiment, see the lugubrious collection of parallel passages in Duport, p. 98.
- The Trojans.
- i. e., splendid, of surpassing workmanship. Others refer the epithet to the divine gift mentioned in ver 443, to the fabrication of the chariot by the god Vulcan, or to the origin of Achilles himself from a goddess.
- Alcimedon in this address condemns the imprudence of his friend, who, in this moment of imminent danger, takes upon him the joint offices of warrior (παραβάτης) and charioteer (ἡνίοχος).
- Cf. Æn. x. 501, sqq. So Milton, Paradise Lost, ix. 404:
"O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve,
Of thy presumed return! event perverse!"
- Ἐπιλίγδην, on the surface, δι' ἐπιπολῆς.—Kennedy.
- A prayer well worthy of Ajax. Ammian. Marcell. xxviii. "Per horrorem tenebrarum—quo tempore hebetari solent obstrictæ terroribus mentes; ut inter innumera multa Ajax quoque Homericus docet, optans perire potius luce, quam pati formidiniæ augmenta nocturnæ." Cf. Longin. ix.
- Literally, "girding themselves with strength."
- Or "shouting in pressage of their doom," as Heyne and Kennedy would take it, a meaning borne out by προίδωσιν. Cf. Longus. Past. ii. 12; Οἳ κωμῆται ταραχθέντες, ἐπιπήδωσιν αὐτοίς ὡσεὶ ψᾶρες, ἢ κολοιοί.