The Iliad

by Homer

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BOOK 4 Battlefield

[1] Now the gods, seated by the side of Zeus, were holding assembly on the golden floor, and in their midst the queenly Hebe poured them nectar, and they with golden goblets pledged one the other as they looked forth upon the city of the Trojans. And forthwith the son of Cronos made essay to provoke Hera with mocking words, and said with malice: "Twain of the goddesses hath Menelaus for helpers, even Argive Hera, and Alalcomenean Athene. Howbeit these verily sit apart and take their pleasure in beholding, whereas by the side of that other laughter-loving Aphrodite ever standeth, and wardeth from him fate, and but now she saved him, when he thought to perish. But of a surety victory rests with Menelaus, dear to Ares; let us therefore take thought how these things are to be; whether we shall again rouse evil war and the dread din of battle, or put friendship between the hosts. If this might in any wise be welcome to all and their good pleasure, then might the city of king Priam still be an habitation, and Menelaus take back Argive Helen."

[20] So spake he, and thereat Athene and Hera murmured, who sat side by side, and were devising ills for the Trojans. Athene verily held her peace and said naught, wroth though she was at father Zeus, and fierce anger gat hold of her; howbeit Hera's breast contained not her anger, but she spake to him, saying: "Most dread son of Cronos, what a word hast thou said! How art thou minded to render my labour vain and of none effect, and the sweat that I sweated in my toil,—aye, and my horses twain waxed weary with my summoning the host for the bane of Priam and his sons? Do thou as thou wilt; but be sure we other gods assent not all thereto."

[30] Then, stirred to hot anger, spake to her Zeus, the cloud-gatherer: "Strange queen, wherein do Priam and the sons of Priam work thee ills so many, that thou ragest unceasingly to lay waste the well-built citadel of Ilios? If thou wert to enter within the gates and the high walls, and to devour Priam raw and the sons of Priam and all the Trojans besides, then perchance mightest thou heal thine anger. Do as thy pleasure is; let not this quarrel in time to come be to thee and me a grievous cause of strife between us twain. And another thing will I tell thee, and do thou lay it to heart. When it shall be that I, vehemently eager to lay waste a city, choose one wherein dwell men that are dear to thee, seek thou in no wise to hinder my anger, but suffer me; since I too have yielded to thee of mine own will, yet with soul unwilling. For of all cities beneath sun and starry heaven wherein men that dwell upon the face of the earth have their abodes, of these sacred Ilios was most honoured of my heart, and Priam and the people of Priam, with goodly spear of ash. For never at any time was mine altar in lack of the equal feast, the drink-offering, and the savour of burnt-offering, even the worship that is our due."

[50] Then in answer to him spake ox-eyed, queenly Hera: "Verily have I three cities that are far dearest in my sight, Argos and Sparta and broad-wayed Mycenae; these do thou lay waste whensoe'er they shall be hateful to thy heart. Not in their defence do I stand forth, nor account them too greatly. For even though I grudge thee, and am fain to thwart their overthrow, I avail naught by my grudging, for truly thou art far the mightier. Still it beseemeth that my labour too be not made of none effect; for I also am a god, and my birth is from the stock whence is thine own, and crooked-counselling Cronos begat me as the most honoured of his daughters in twofold wise, for that I am eldest, and am called thy wife, whilst thou art king among all the immortals. Nay then, let us yield one to the other herein, I to thee and thou to me, and all the other immortal gods will follow with us; and do thou straightway bid Athene go her way into the dread din of battle of Trojans and Achaeans, and contrive how that the Trojans may be first in defiance of their oaths to work evil upon the Achaeans that exult in their triumph."

[68] So said she, and the father of men and gods failed not to hearken; forthwith he spake to Athene winged words: "Haste thee with all speed unto the host into the midst of Trojans and Achaeans, and contrive how that the Trojans may be first in defiance of their oaths to work evil upon the Achaeans that exult in their triumph."

[73] So saying, he stirred on Athene that was already eager, and down from the peaks of Olympus she went darting. Even in such wise as the son of crooked-counselling Cronos sendeth a star to be a portent for seamen or for a wide host of warriors, a gleaming star, and therefrom the sparks fly thick; even so darted Pallas Athene to earth, and down she leapt into the midst; and amazement came upon all that beheld, on horse-taming Trojans and well-greaved Achaeans; and thus would a man say with a glance at his neighbour: "Verily shall we again have evil war and the dread din of battle, or else friendship is set amid the hosts by Zeus, who is for men the dispenser of battle."

[85] So would many a one of Achaeans and Trojans speak. But Athene entered the throng of the Trojans in the guise of a man, even of Laodocus, son of Antenor, a valiant spearman, in quest of god-like Pandarus, if haply she might find him. And she found Lycaon's son, peerless and stalwart, as he stood, and about him were the stalwart ranks of the shield-bearing hosts that followed him from the streams of Aesepus. Then she drew near, and spake to him winged words: "Wilt thou now hearken to me, thou wise-hearted son of Lycaon? Then wouldst thou dare to let fly a swift arrow upon Menelaus, and wouldst win favour and renown in the eyes of all the Trojans, and of king Alexander most of all. From him of a surety wouldst thou before all others bear off glorious gifts, should he see Menelaus, the warlike son of Atreus, laid low by thy shaft, and set upon the grievous pyre. Nay, come, shoot thine arrow at glorious Menelaus, and vow to Apollo, the wolf-born god, famed for his bow, that thou wilt sacrifice a glorious hecatomb of firstling lambs, when thou shalt come to thy home, the city of sacred Zeleia."

[104] So spake Athene, and persuaded his heart in his folly. Straightway he uncovered his polished bow of the horn of a wild ibex, that himself on a time had smitten beneath the breast as it came forth from a rock, he lying in wait the while in a place of ambush, and had struck it in the chest, so that it fell backward in a cleft of the rock. From its head the horns grew to a length of sixteen palms; these the worker in horn had wrought and fitted together, and smoothed all with care, and set thereon a tip of gold. This bow he bent, leaning it against the ground, and laid it carefully down; and his goodly comrades held their shields before him, lest the warrior sons of the Achaeans should leap to their feet or ever Menelaus, the warlike son of Atreus, was smitten. Then opened he the lid of his quiver, and took forth an arrow, a feathered arrow that had never been shot, freighted with dark pains; and forthwith he fitted the bitter arrow to the string, and made a vow to Apollo, the wolf-born god, famed for his bow, that he would sacrifice a glorious hecatomb of firstling lambs, when he should come to his home, the city of sacred Zeleia. And he drew the bow, clutching at once the notched arrow and the string of ox's sinew: the string he brought to his breast and to the bow the iron arrow-head. But when he had drawn the great bow into a round, the bow twanged and the string sang aloud, and the keen arrow leapt, eager to wing its way amid the throng.

[127] Then, O Menelaus, the blessed gods, the immortals, forgat thee not; and before all the daughter of Zeus, she that driveth the spoil, who took her stand before thee, and warded off the stinging arrow. She swept it just aside from the flesh, even as a mother sweepeth a fly from her child when he lieth in sweet slumber; and of herself she guided it where the golden clasps of the belt were fastened and the corselet overlapped. On the clasped belt lighted the bitter arrow, and through the belt richly dight was it driven, and clean through the curiously wrought corselet did it force its way, and through the taslet which he wore, a screen for his flesh and a barrier against darts, wherein was his chiefest defence; yet even through this did it speed. So the arrow grazed the outermost flesh of the warrior, and forthwith the dark blood flowed from the wound. As when a woman staineth ivory with scarlet, some woman of Maeonia or Caria, to make a cheek-piece for horses, and it lieth in a treasure-chamber, though many horsemen pray to wear it; but it lieth there as a king's treasure, alike an ornament for his horse and to its driver a glory; even in such wise, Menelaus, were thy thighs stained with blood, thy shapely thighs and thy legs and thy fair ankles beneath.

[148] Thereat shuddered the king of men, Agamemnon, as he saw the black blood flowing from the wound, and Menelaus, dear to Ares, himself likewise shuddered. But when he saw that the sinew and the barbs were without the flesh, back again into his breast was his spirit gathered. But with a heavy moan spake among them lord Agamemnon, holding Menelaus by the hand; and his comrades too made moan: "Dear brother, it was for thy death, meseems, that I swore this oath with sacrifice, setting thee forth alone before the face of the Achaeans to do battle with the Trojans, seeing the Trojans have thus smitten thee, and trodden under foot the oaths of faith. Yet in no wise is an oath of none effect and the blood of lambs and drink-offerings of unmixed wine and the hand-clasps, wherein we put our trust. For even if for the moment the Olympian vouchsafeth not fulfillment, yet late and at length doth he fulfill them, and with a heavy price do men make atonement, even with their own heads and their wives and their children. For of a surety know I this in heart and soul: the day shall come when sacred Ilios shall be laid low, and Priam, and the people of Priam, with goodly spear of ash; and Zeus, son of Cronos, throned on high, that dwelleth in the heaven, shall himself shake over them all his dark aegis in wrath for this deceit. These things verily shall not fail of fulfillment; yet dread grief for thee shall be mine, O Menelaus, if thou shalt die and fill up thy lot of life. Aye, and as one most despised should I return to thirsty Argos, for straightway will the Achaeans bethink them of their native land, and so should we leave to Priam and the Trojans their boast, even Argive Helen. And thy bones shall the earth rot as thou liest in the land of Troy with thy task unfinished; and thus shall many a one of the overweening Trojans say, as he leapeth upon the barrow of glorious Menelaus: ' Would that in every matter it may he thus that Agamemnon may fulfill his wrath, even as now he led hither a host of the Achaeans to no purpose, and lo! he hath departed home to his dear native land with empty ships, and hath left here noble Menelaus.' So shall some man speak in aftertime; in that day let the wide earth gape for me."

[183] But fair-haired Menelaus spake and heartened him, saying: "Be thou of good cheer, neither affright in any wise the host of the Achaeans. Not in a fatal spot hath the shaft been fixed; ere that my flashing belt stayed it, and the kilt beneath, and the taslet that the coppersmiths fashioned."

[188] Then in answer to him spake lord Agamemnon: "Would it may be so, dear Menelaus. But the leech shall search the wound and lay thereon simples that shall make thee cease from dark pains."

[192] Therewith he spake to Talthybius, the godlike herald: "Talthybius, make haste to call hither Machaon, son of Asclepius, the peerless leech, to see warlike Menelaus, son of Atreus, whom some man well skilled in archery hath smitten with an arrow, some Trojan or Lycian, compassing glory for himself but for us sorrow."

[198] So spake he, and the herald failed not to hearken, as he heard, but went his way throughout the host of the brazen-coated Achaeans, glancing this way and that for the warrior Machaon; and he marked him as he stood, and round about him were the stalwart ranks of the shield-bearing hosts that followed him from Trica, the pastureland of horses. And he came up to him, and spake winged words, saying: "Rouse thee, son of Asclepius; lord Agamemnon calleth thee to see warlike Menelaus, captain of the Achaeans, whom some man, well skilled in archery, hath smitten with an arrow, some Trojan or Lycian, compassing glory for himself but for us sorrow."

[208] So spake he, and roused the heart in his breast, and they went their way in the throng throughout the broad host of the Achaeans. And when they were come where was fair-haired Menelaus, wounded, and around him were gathered in a circle all they that were chieftains, the godlike hero came and stood in their midst, and straightway drew forth the arrow from the clasped belt; and as it was drawn forth the sharp barbs were broken backwards. And he loosed the flashing belt and the kilt beneath and the taslet that the coppersmiths fashioned. But when he saw the wound where the bitter arrow had lighted, he sucked out the blood, and with sure knowledge spread thereon soothing simples, which of old Cheiron had given to his father with kindly thought.

[220] While they were thus busied with Menelaus, good at the war-cry, meanwhile the ranks of the shield-bearing Trojans came on; and the Achaeans again did on their battle-gear, and bethought them of war.

[223] Then wouldst thou not have seen goodly Agamemnon slumbering, nor cowering, nor with no heart for fight, but full eager for battle where men win glory. His horses and his chariot adorned with bronze he let be, and his squire, Eurymedon, son of Peiraeus' son Ptolemaeus, kept the snorting steeds withdrawn apart; and straitly did Agamemnon charge him to have them at hand, whenever weariness should come upon his limbs, as he gave commands throughout all the host; but he himself ranged on foot through the ranks of warriors. And whomsoever of the Danaans with swift steeds he saw eager, to these would he draw nigh, and hearten them earnestly, saying: "Ye Argives, relax ye no whit of your furious valour; for father Zeus will be no helper of lies; nay, they that were the first to work violence in defiance of their oaths, their tender flesh of a surety shall vultures devour, and we shall bear away in our ships their dear wives and little children, when we shall have taken their citadel."

[240] And whomsoever again he saw holding back from hateful war, them would he chide roundly with angry words: "Ye Argives that rage with the bow, ye men of dishonour, have ye no shame? Why is it that ye stand thus dazed, like fawns that, when they have grown weary with running over a wide plain, stand still, and in their hearts is no valour found at all? Even so ye stand dazed and fight not. Is it that ye wait for the Trojans to come near where your ships with stately sterns are drawn up on the shore of the grey sea, that ye may know if haply the son of Cronos will stretch forth his arm over you?"

[250] Thus ranged he giving his commands through the ranks of warriors; and he came to the Cretans as he fared through the throng of men. These were arming them for war around wise-hearted Idomeneus; and Idomeneus stood amid the foremost fighters like a wild boar in valour, while Meriones was speeding on the hindmost battalions. At sight of them Agamemnon, king of men, waxed glad, and forthwith he spake to Idomeneus with gentle words: "Idomeneus, beyond all the Danaans with swift steeds do I show honour to thee both in war and in tasks of other sort, and at the feast, when the chieftains of the Argives let mingle in the bowl the flaming wine of the elders. For even though the other long-haired Achaeans drink an allotted portion, thy cup standeth ever full, even as for mine own self, to drink whensoever thy heart biddeth thee. Come, rouse thee for battle, such a one as of old thou declaredst thyself to be."

[265] To him then Idomeneus, leader of the Cretans, made answer, saying: "Son of Atreus, of a surety will I be to thee a trusty comrade, even as at the first I promised and gave my pledge; but do thou urge on the other long-haired Achaeans that we may fight with speed, seeing the Trojans have made of none effect our oaths. Death and woes shall hereafter be their lot, for that they were the first to work violence in defiance of the oaths."

[272] So spake he, and the son of Atreus passed on, glad at heart, and came to the Aiantes as he fared through the throng of warriors; these were arming them for battle, and a cloud of footmen followed with them. Even as when from some place of outlook a goatherd seeth a cloud coming over the face of the deep before the blast of the West Wind, and to him being afar off it seemeth blacker than pitch as it passeth over the face of the deep, and it bringeth a mighty whirlwind; and he shuddereth at sight of it, and driveth his flock beneath a cave; even in such wise by the side of the Aiantes did the thick battalions of youths, nurtured of Zeus, move into furious war--dark battalions, bristling with shields and spears. At sight of these lord Agamemnon waxed glad, and he spake and addressed them with winged words: "Ye Aiantes, leaders of the brazen-coated Argives, to you twain, for it beseemeth not to urge you, I give no charge; for of yourselves ye verily bid your people fight amain. I would, O father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, that such spirit as yours might be found in the breasts of all; then would the city of king Priam forthwith bow her head, taken and laid waste beneath our hands."

[292] So saying, he left them there and went to others. Then found he Nestor, the clear-voiced orator of the Pylians, arraying his comrades and urging them to fight, around mighty Pelagon and Alastor and Chromius and lord Haemon and Bias, shepherd of the host. The charioteers first he arrayed with their horses and cars, and behind them the footmen, many and valiant, to be a bulwark of battle; but the cowards he drave into the midst, that were he never so loath each man must needs fight perforce. Upon the charioteers was he first laying charge, and he bade them keep their horses in hand, nor drive tumultuously on amid the throng. "Neither let any man, trusting in his horsemanship and his valour, be eager to fight with the Trojans alone in front of the rest, nor yet let him draw back; for so will ye be the feebler. But what man soe'er from his own car can come at a car of the foe, let him thrust forth with his spear, since verily it is far better so. Thus also did men of olden time lay waste cities and walls, having in their breasts mind and spirit such as this."

[310] So was the old man urging them on, having knowledge of battles from of old. At sight of him lord Agamemnon waxed glad, and he spake, and addressed him with winged words:Old Sir, I would that even as is the spirit in thy breast, so thy limbs might obey, and thy strength be firm. But evil old age presseth hard upon thee; would that some other among the warriors had thy years, and that thou wert among the youths. To him then made answer the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia: "Son of Atreus, verily I myself could wish that I were such a one as on the day when I slew goodly Ereuthalion. But in no wise do the gods grant to men all things at one time. As I was then a youth, so now doth old age attend me. Yet even so will I abide among the charioteers and urge them on by counsel and by words; for that is the office of elders. Spears shall the young men wield who are more youthful than I and have confidence in their strength."

[326] So spake he, and the son of Atreus passed on glad at heart. He found Menestheus, driver of horses, son of Peteos, as he stood, and about him were the Athenians, masters of the war-cry. And hard by stood Odysseus of many wiles, and with him the ranks of the Cephallenians, no weakling folk, stood still; for their host had not as yet heard the war-cry, seeing the battalions of the horse-taming Trojans and the Achaeans had but newly bestirred them to move; wherefore these stood, and waited until some other serried battalions of the Achaeans should advance to set upon the Trojans, and begin the battle. At sight of these Agamemnon, king of men, chid them, and spoke, and addressed them with winged words: "O son of Peteos, the king nurtured of Zeus, and thou that excellest in evil wiles, thou of crafty mind, [340] why stand ye apart cowering, and wait for others? For you twain were it seemly that ye take your stand amid the foremost, and confront blazing battle; for ye are the first to hear my bidding to the feast, whenso we Achaeans make ready a banquet for the elders. Then are ye glad to eat roast meat and drink cups of honey-sweet wine as long as ye will. But now would ye gladly behold it, aye if ten serried battalions of the Achaeans were to fight in front of you with the pitiless bronze."

[349] Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows Odysseus of many wiles addressed him: "Son of Atreus, what a word hath escaped the barrier of thy teeth! How sayest thou that we are slack in battle, whenso we Achaeans rouse keen war against the horse-taming Trojans? Thou shalt see, if so be thou wilt and if thou carest aught therefor, the father of Telemachus mingling with the foremost fighters of the horse-taming Trojans. This that thou sayest is as empty wind."

[356] Then lord Agamemnon spake to him with a smile, when he knew that he was wroth, and took back his words: "Zeus-born son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, neither do I chide thee overmuch nor urge thee on, for I know that the heart in thy breast knoweth kindly thoughts, seeing thou art minded even as I am. Nay, come, these things will we make good hereafter, if any harsh word hath been spoken now; and may the gods make all to come to naught."

[364] So saying he left them there and went to others. Then found he the son of Tydeus, Diomedes high of heart, as he stood in his jointed car; and by his side stood Sthenelus, son of Capaneus. At sight of him too lord Agamemnon chid him, and spake and addressed him with winged words: "Ah me, thou son of wise-hearted Tydeus, tamer of horses, why cowerest thou, why gazest thou at the dykes of battle? Tydeus of a surety was not wont thus to cower, but far in advance of his comrades to fight against the foe, as they tell who saw him amid the toil of war; for I never met him, neither saw him; but men say that he was pre-eminent over all. Once verily he came to Mycenae, not as an enemy, but as a guest, in company with godlike Polyneices, to gather a host; for in that day they were waging a war against the sacred walls of Thebe, and earnestly did they make prayer that glorious allies be granted them; and the men of Mycenae were minded to grant them, and were assenting even as they bade, but Zeus turned their minds by showing tokens of ill. So when they had departed and were with deep reeds, that coucheth in the grass, there did the Achaeans send forth Tydeus on an embassage. And he went his way, and found the many sons of Cadmus feasting in the house of mighty Eteocles. Then, for all he was a stranger, the horseman Tydeus feared not, all alone though he was amid the many Cadmeians, but challenged them all to feats of strength and in every one vanquished he them full easily; such a helper was Athene to him. But the Cadmeians, goaders of horses, waxed wroth, and as he journeyed back, brought and set a strong ambush, even fifty youths, and two there were as leaders, Maeon, son of Haemon, peer of the immortals, and Autophonus' son, Polyphontes, staunch in fight. But Tydeus even upon these let loose a shameful fate, and slew them all; one only man suffered he to return home; Maeon he sent forth in obedience to the portents of the gods. Such a man was Tydeus of Aetolia; howbeit the son that he begat is worse than he in battle, though in the place of gathering he is better."

[401] So he spake, and stalwart Diomedes answered him not a word, but had respect to the reproof of the king revered. But the son of glorious Capaneus made answer: "Son of Atreus, utter not lies, when thou knowest how to speak truly. We declare ourselves to be better men by far than our fathers: we took the seat of Thebe of the seven gates, when we twain had gathered a lesser host against a stronger wall, putting our trust in the portents of the gods and in the aid of Zeus; whereas they perished through their own blind folly. Wherefore I bid thee put not our fathers in like honour with us."

[411] Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows stalwart Diomedes addressed him: "Good friend, abide in silence, and hearken to my word. I count it not shame that Agamemnon, shepherd of the host, should urge on to battle the well-greaved Achaeans; for upon him will great glory attend if the Achaeans shall slay the Trojans and take sacred Ilios, and upon him likewise will fall great sorrow, if the Achaeans be slain. Nay, come, let us twain also bethink us of furious valour."

[419] He spake, and leapt in his armour from his chariot to the ground, and terribly rang the bronze upon the breast of the prince as he moved; thereat might terror have seized even one that was steadfast of heart. As when on a sounding beach the swell of the sea beats, wave after wave, before the driving of the West Wind; out on the deep at the first is it gathered in a crest, but thereafter is broken upon the land and thundereth aloud, and round about the headlands it swelleth and reareth its head, and speweth forth the salt brine: even in such wise on that day did the battalions of the Danaans move, rank after rank, without cease, into battle; and each captain gave charge to his own men, and the rest marched on in silence; thou wouldst not have deemed that they that followed in such multitudes had any voice in their breasts, all silent as they were through fear of their commanders; and on every man flashed the inlaid armour wherewith they went clad. But for the Trojans, even as ewes stand in throngs past counting in the court of a man of much substance to be milked of their white milk, and bleat without ceasing as they near the voices of their lambs: even so arose the clamour of the Trojans throughout the wide host; for they had not all like speech or one language, but their tongues were mingled, and they were a folk summoned from many lands. These were urged on by Ares, and the Greeks by flashing-eyed Athene, and Terror, and Rout, and Discord that rageth incessantly, sister and comrade of man-slaying Ares; she at the first rears her crest but little, yet thereafter planteth her head in heaven, while her feet tread on earth. She it was that now cast evil strife into their midst as she fared through the throng, making the groanings of men to wax.

[446] Now when they were met together and come into one place, then dashed they together shields and spears and the fury of bronze-mailed warriors; and the bossed shields closed each with each, and a great din arose. Then were heard alike the sound of groaning and the cry of triumph of the slayers and the slain, and the earth flowed with blood. As when winter torrents, flowing down the mountains from their great springs to a place where two valleys meet, join their mighty floods in a deep gorge, and far off amid the mountains the shepherd heareth the thunder thereof; even so from the joining of these in battle came shouting and toil.

[457] Antilochus was first to slay a warrior of the Trojans in full armour, a goodly man amid the foremost fighters, Echepolus, son of Thalysius. Him was he first to smite upon the horn of his helmet with crest of horse-hair, and into his forehead drave the spear, and the point of bronze passed within the bone; and darkness enfolded his eyes, and he crashed as doth a wall, in the mighty conflict. As he fell lord Elephenor caught him by the feet, the son he of Chalcodon, and captain of the great-souled Abantes, and sought to drag him from beneath the missiles, fain with all speed to strip off his armour; yet but for a scant space did his striving endure; for as he was haling the corpse great-souled Agenor caught sight of him, and where his side was left uncovered of his shield, as he stooped, even there; he smote him with a thrust of his bronze-shod spear, and loosed his limbs. So his spirit left him, and over his body was wrought grievous toil of Trojans and Achaeans. Even as wolves leapt they one upon the other, and man made man to reel.

[473] Then Telamonian Aias smote Anthemion's son, the lusty youth Simoeisius, whom on a time his mother had born beside the banks of Simois, as she journeyed down from Ida, whither she had followed with her parents to see their flocks. For this cause they called him Simoeisius; yet paid he not back to his dear parents the recompense of his upbringing, and but brief was the span of his life, for that he was laid low by the spear of great-souled Aias. For, as he strode amid the foremost, he was smitten on the right breast beside the nipple; and clean through his shoulder went the spear of bronze, and he fell to the ground in the dust like a poplar tree that hath grown up in the bottom land of a great marsh, smooth of stem, but from the top thereof branches grow: this hath some wainwright felled with the gleaming iron that he might bend him a felloe for a beauteous chariot, and it lieth drying by a river's banks. Even in such wise did Zeus-born Aias slay Simoeisius, son of Anthemion.

[489] And at him Priam's son Antiphus, of the flashing corselet, cast with his sharp spear amid the throng. Him he missed, but smote in the groin Odysseus' goodly comrade, Leucus, as he was drawing the corpse to the other side; so he fell upon it, and the body slipped from his grasp. For his slaying waxed Odysseus mightily wroth at heart, and strode amid the foremost warriors, harnessed in flaming bronze; close to the foe he came and took his stand, and glancing warily about him hurled with his bright spear; and back did the Trojans shrink from the warrior as he cast. Not in vain did he let fly his spear, but smote Priam's bastard son Democoon, that had come at his call from Abydus, from his stud of swift mares. Him Odysseus, wroth for his comrade's sake, smote with his spear on the temple, and out through the other temple passed the spear-point of bronze, and darkness enfolded his eyes, and he fell with a thud and upon him his armour clanged. Then the foremost warriors and glorious Hector gave ground; and the Argives shouted aloud, and drew off the bodies, and charged far further onward.

[507] And Apollo, looking down from Pergamus, had indignation, and called with a shout to the Trojans: "Rouse ye, horse-taming Trojans, give not ground in fight before Argives; not of stone nor of iron is their flesh to resist the bronze that cleaveth the flesh, when they are smitten. Nay, and Achilles moreover fighteth not, the son of fair-haired Thetis, but amid the ships nurseth his bitter wrath."

[514] So spake the dread god from the city; but the Achaeans were urged on by the daughter of Zeus, most glorious Tritogeneia, who fared throughout the throng wheresoever she saw them giving ground.

[517] Then was Amarynceus' son, Diores, caught in the snare of fate; for with a jagged stone was he smitten on the right leg by the ankle, and it was the leader of the Thracians that made the cast, even Peiros, son of Imbrasus, that had come from Aenus. The sinews twain and the bones did the ruthless stone utterly crush; and he fell backward in the dust and stretched out both his hands to his dear comrades, gasping out his life; and there ran up he that smote him, Peiros, and dealt him a wound with a thrust of his spear beside the navel; and forth upon the ground gushed all his bowels, and darkness enfolded his eyes.

[527] But as the other sprang back Thoas of Aetolia smote him with a cast of his spear in the breast above the nipple, and the bronze was fixed in his lung; and Thoas came close to him, and plucked forth from his chest the mighty spear, and drew his sharp sword and smote him therewith full upon the belly, and took away his life. Howbeit of his armour he stripped him not, for about him his comrades, men of Thrace that wear the hair long at the top, stood with long spears grasped in their hands, and for all that he was great and mighty and lordly, drave him back from them, so that he reeled and gave ground. Thus the twain lay stretched in the dust each by the other, captains the one of the Thracians and the other of the brazen-coated Epeians; and about them were others full many likewise slain.

[539] Then could no man any more enter into the battle and make light thereof, whoso still unwounded by missile or by thrust of sharp bronze, might move throughout the midst, being led of Pallas Athene by the hand, and by her guarded from the onrush of missiles: for multitudes of Trojans and Achaeans alike were that day stretched one by the other's side with faces in the dust.


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