But Pallas now Tydides’ soul inspires,
Fills with her force, and warms with all her fires,
Above the Greeks his deathless fame to raise,
And crown her hero with distinguish’d praise.
High on his helm celestial lightnings play,
His beamy shield emits a living ray;
The unwearied blaze incessant streams supplies,
Like the red star
that flames at harvest,
the summer star,
that fires the autumnal skies,
When fresh he rears his radiant orb to sight,
And, bathed in ocean, shoots a keener light.
Such glories Pallas on the chief bestow’d,
Such, from his arms, the fierce effulgence flow’d:
Onward she drives him, furious to engage,
Where the fight burns, and where the thickest rage.
A certain Dares,
a noble man among the Trojans, rich,
and a votary of Hephaistos, had two sons
well-trained in warfare, Phegeus and Idaios.
These two the Akhaian faced as they came forward
upon their car; on foot he braced to meet them.
As the range narrowed, Phegeus aimed and cast
his long spear first: the point cleared Diomedes’
shoulder on the left, and failed to touch him.
Then Diomedes wheeling in his turn
let fly his bronze-shod spear. No miss,
but a clean hit midway between the nipples
knocked the man backwards from his team. Idaios
left the beautiful chariot, leaping down,
but dared not stand his ground over his brother;
nor could he have himself eluded death
unless Hephaistos had performed the rescue,
hiding him in darkness – thus to spare
his father full bereavement, were he lost.
Yanking the horses’ heads, lashing their flanks,
Diomedes handed team and chariot over
to men of his command, to be conducted
back to the ships.
The Trojans seeing Dares’ sons, one slain, the other fled,
Were struck-amaz’d: the blue-ey’d Maid (to grace her Diomed
In giving him free way to his power) made this so ruthful fact
a fit advantage to remove the war-god out of act,
Who raged so on the Ilion side; she gripped his hand and said:
Gore-tainted homicide, town battering Mars!
Leave we the Trojans and the Greeks to wage
Fierce fight alone, Jove prospering whom he will,
So shall we not provoke our father’s ire.
And so, luring the headlong Ares off the lines
Athena sat him down on Scamander’s soft, sandy banks
while Argives bent the Trojans back. Each captain
killed his man.
First king Agamemnon flung mighty Odius, captain of the Halizoni, from his chariot. The Spear of Agamemnon caught him on the broad of his back, just as he was turning in flight; it struck him between the shoulders and went right through his chest, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the ground.
But next Idomeneus killed Phaestrus, the son of Maeonian Borus,
who had come from fertile Tarne. Him, just as he was mounting his chariot, spear-famed Idomeneus, with his long lance, wounded in the right shoulder: he fell from his chariot, and hateful darkness seized him.
Then the attendants of Idomeneus despoiled him of his arms.
Atrides–Menelaus slew (as he before him fled)
Scamandrius, son of Strophius, that was a huntsman bred;
A skilful huntsman, for his skill Diana’s self did teach,
And made him able with his dart, infallibly to reach
All sorts of subtlest savages, which many a woody hill
Bred for him, and he much preserv’d – and all to show his skill.
Yet not the dart-delighting queen taught him to shun this dart,
Nor all his hitting so far off (the mast’ry of his art):
His back receiv’d it, and he fell upon his breast withal:
his body’s ruin, and his arms, so sounded in his fall,
That his affrighted horse flew off, and left him like his life.
Next artful Phereclus untimely fell;
Bold Merion sent him to the realms of hell.
Thy father’s skill, O Phereclus! was thine,
The graceful fabric and fair design;
For loved by Pallas, Pallas did impart
To him the shipwright’s and the builder’s art.
Beneath his hand the fleet of Paris rose,
The fatal cause of all his country’s woes;
But he the mystic will of heaven unknown,
Nor saw his country’s peril nor his own.
The hapless artist, while confused he fled,
The spear Merion mingled with the dead.
Through his right hip, with forceful fury cast,
Between the bladder and the bone it past;
Prone on his knees he falls with fruitless cries,
And death and lasting slumber seals his eyes.
Then Meges killed
Paaios, bastard son of Lord Antenor,
a son whom Lady Theano had cherished
equally with her own, to please her husband.
Meges Phyleides, the master spearman,
closing with him, hit his nape: the point
clove through his tongue’s root and against his teeth.
Bitting cold bronze he fell into the dust.
Eurypylus, Evemon’s son, the brave
Hypsenor slew; Dolopian was his sire,
Priest of Scamander, reverenced as a God.
In vain before Eurypylus he fled;
He, running, with his falchion lopp’d his arm
Fast by the shoulder; on the field his hand
Fell blood-stained, and destiny severe
With shades of death forever veil’d his eyes.
Thus furiously did the battle rage between them. As for the son of
Tydeus, you could not say whether he was more among the Achaeans or the Trojans. He rushed across the plain like a winter torrent
an April torrent fed by the snow
Melted in fury
that has burst its barrier in full flood; no dykes, no walls of fruitful vineyards can embank it when it is swollen with rain from heaven, but in a moment it comes tearing onward, and lays many a field waste that many a strong man’s hand has reclaimed – even so were the dense phalanxes of the Trojans driven by the son of Tydeus, and many though they were, they dared not abide his onslaught.
But the shining archer Pandarus marked him storming
down the plain, smashing the Trojan lines before him.
Quickly he trained his reflex bow on Diomedes
charging straight ahead – he shot! he struck him full
in the right shoulder, under the breastplate’s hollow
the ripping point tore deep, shearing its way through,
armor splattered with blood as Pandarus triumphed,
shouting over Tydides wildly,
Rush on, ye magnanimous Trojans, spurrers of steeds; for the bravest of the Greeks is wounded; nor do I think that he will long endure the violent arrow, if king Apollo, the son of Jove, really urged me proceeding from Lycia.
So boasted Pandarus. Yet him the dart
Quell’s not. Retiring, at his coursers’ heads
He stood, and to the son of Capaneus
His charioteer and faithful friend he said.
Quick, Sthenelos, old friend, jump down
and pull this jabbing arrow from my shoulder!
He hasted from his seat
Before the coach, and withdrew the shaft: the purple wound did sweat,
And drown his shirt of mail in blood, and as it bled he pray’d:
Hear me, daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, unweariable, if ever you loved my father well and stood by him in the thick of a fight, do the like by me; grant me come within a spear’s throw of that man and kill him. He has been too quick for me and has wounded me; and now he is boasting that I shall not see the light of the sun much longer.
Thus did the king implore.
The goddess heard, came near, and took the weariness of fight
From all his nerves and lineaments, and made them fresh and light,
Be bold (she cried) in every combat shine,
War be thy province, thy protection mine;
Rush to the fight, and every foe control;
Wake each paternal virtue in thy soul:
Strength swells thy boiling breast, infused by me,
And all thy godlike father breathes in thee!
Yet more, from mortal mists I purge thy eyes,
And set to view the warring deities.
These see thou shun, through all the embattled plain;
Nor rashly strive where human force is vain.
If Venus mingle in the martial band,
Her shalt thou wound: so Pallas give command.
Her eyes bright, Athena soared away and Tydeus’ son
went charging back to the front line of champions.
Now, long ablaze as he was to fight the Trojans,
triple the fury seized him –
With tenfold ardour now invades the plain,
claw-mad as a lion
a brindled lion
gaunt lion whom o’erleaping light
some shepherd tending woolly flocks in the field
has just grazed, a lion leaping into the fold,
but he hasn’t killed him, only spurred his strength
and helpless to beat him off the man scurries for shelter,
leaving his flocks panicked, lost as the ramping beast
mauls them thick-and-fast, piling corpse on corpse
and in one furious bound clears the fenced yard –
so raging Diomedes mauled the Trojans.
Astynoues and Hypenor first he slew;
One with brazen lance above the pap
He pierced, the one with his huge falchion smote
Fast by the key-bone, from the neck and spine
He parted shoulder driving at a blow.
These, indeed, he left, but rushed on Abas and Polyidus, the sons of Eurydamas, the aged interpreter of dreams; to whom going to war, the old man did not interpret their dreams; but brave Diomede spoiled them when slain.
Next he met
Xanthos and Thoon, two dear sons of Phainops,
a man worn out with misery and years
who fathered no more heirs – but these
Diomedes overpowered; he took their lives,
leaving their father empty pain and mourning –
never to welcome them alive at home
after the war, and all their heritage
broken up among others.
Then he came upon two sons of Priam, Echemmon and Chromius,
as they were both in one chariot. He sprang upon them as a lion
Tears down, and wrings in two his neck:
to crunch the neck
fastens on the neck of some cow or heifer when the herd is feeding in a coppice. For all their vain struggles he flung them both from their chariot and stripped the armour from their bodies. Then he gave their horses to his comrades to take them back to the ships.
With deep concern divine Aeneas view’d
The foe prevailing, and his friends pursued,
Through the thick storm of singing spears he flies,
Exploring Pandarus with careful eyes,
At length he found Lycaon’s mighty son;
To whom the chief of Venus’ race begun:
Thy bow, thy feather’d shafts, and glorious name
Where are they, Pandarus? whom none of Troy
Could equal, whom Lycia, none excel.
Come. Lift thine hands to Jove, and at yon Chief
Dispatch an arrow, who afflicts the host
Of Ilium thus, conquering where’er he flies,
And who hath slaughter’d numerous brave in arms,
But him some Deity I rather deem
Avenging on us his neglected rites,
And who can stand before an angry God?
Him the illustrious son of Lycaon answered in turn:
Aeneas, counsellor of the Trojans armed in bronze,
he looks like Tydeus’ son to me in every way –
I know his shield, the hollow eyes of his visor,
his team, I’ve watched them closely.
And still I could never swear he’s not a god…
but if he’s the man I think he is, Tydeus’ gallant son,
he rages so with a god beside him – not alone, no –
a god with his shoulders shrouded round in a cloud
who deflects my shaft to a less mortal spot.
I had already whipped an arrow into him,
caught him square in the right shoulder too,
just where the breastplate leaves the armpit bare,
and I thought I’d sent him down to the House of Death
but I’ve still not laid him low. So it is some god rampaging!
And here I am, no chariot, no team to speed me on.
But back in Lycaon’s halls are eleven war-cars,
beauties all, fresh from the smith and fire-new
and blankets spread across them. And beside each
a brace of stallions standing poised and pawing,
champing their oats and barley glistening white.
Over and over father, the old spearman Lycaon,
urged me, setting out from his well-built halls,
‘Take those teams and cars,’ he told me, ‘mount up,
lead the Trojans into jolting shocks of battle!’
But would I listen? So much the better if a had…
I had to spare my teams. They’d never starve for fodder –
crammed with the fighters – bred to eat their fill.
So I left them there, I made it to Troy on foot,
trusting my bows and arrows, and a lot of good
I was to get from them. Already I’ve let fly
at two of their best men, Diomedes and Menelaus –
I’ve hit them both, and the blood gushed from both,
direct hits, but I only roused their fury.
What bad luck –
to snatch this curved bow off its peg that day
I marched my Trojans hard to your lovely town of Troy,
to please Prince Hector. But if I get home again
and set my eyes on my native land, my wife
and my fine house with the high vaulting roof,
let some stranger cut my head off then and there
if I don’t smash this bow and fling it in the fire –
the gear I packed is worthless as the wind.
Him then Aeneas, the leader of the Trojans addressed in turn:
Use no such words; for any other way
Than this, they shall not now be use’d: we first will both assay
This man with horse and chariot. Come then ascend to me,
That thou mayst try our Trojan horse, how skill’d in field they be,
And in pursuing those that fly, or flying being pursu’d,
How excellent they are of foot: and these, if Jove conclude
The ‘scape of Tydeus again, and grace him with our flight,
Take thou these fair reins and this scourge; or (if thou wilt) fight thou,
And leave the horses’ care to me.
Him then the illustrious son of Lycaon answered in turn:
manage the reins yourself, and guide the team,
they’ll draw the rounded war-car with more ease
knowing the driver, if we must give ground
to Diomedes this time. God forbid
they panic, missing your voice,
and balk at pulling out when Diomedes
makes his leap upon us!
God forbid he kill the two of us
and make a prize of these! No, you yourself
handle your car and team. I’ll take him on
with my good spear when he attacks.
So saying, they mounted both, and furious drove
Against Tydides. Them the noble son
Of Capeneus observed, and turning quick
His speech to Diomede, him thus address’d.
O friend! two chiefs of force immense I see,
Dreadful they come, and bend their rage on thee:
Lo the brave heir of old Lycaon’s line,
And great Aeneas, sprung from race divine!
Enough is given to fame. Ascend thy car;
And save a life, the bulwark of our war.
But powerful Diomedes froze him with a glance:
Talk not of flight for I shall not listen to you: I am of a race that knows neither flight nor fear, and my limbs are as yet unwearied. I am in no mind to mount, but will go against them even as I am; Pallas Minerva bids me be afraid of no man, and even though one of them escape, their steeds shall not take both back again. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart – if Minerva sees fit to vouchsafe me the glory of killing both, stay your horses here and make the reins fast to the rim of the chariot; then be sure you spring Aeneas’ horses and drive them from the Trojan to the Achaian ranks. They are of the stock that great Jove gave to Tros in payment for his son Ganymede, and are the finest that live and move under the sun. King Anchises stole the blood by putting his mares to them without Laomedon’s knowledge, and they bore him six foals. Four are still in his stables, but he gave the other two to Aeneas. We shall win great glory if we can take them.
Wavering back and forth as their two attackers
closed in a rush, whipping that purebred team along
and Pandarus shouted first,
Stout-hearted, warlike-minded, son of illustrious Tydeus, certainly my swift shaft, my bitter arrow has not slain thee. Now again will I try with my spear, whether I can hit my mark.
This said, he shook, and then he threw, a lance, aloft and large,
That in Tydides’ curets stuck, quite driving through his targe;
Then bray’d he out in so wild a voice that all the field might hear:
He bleeds! the pride of Greece! (the boaster cries)
Our triumph now, the mighty warrior lies!
But Diomed all undismayed made answer,
A miss, no hit. I doubt you two will quit, though,
being what you are till one of you is down
and glutting leather-covered Ares, god
of battle, with your blood!
This said – his lance was gone:
Minerva led it to his face, which at his eye ran in,
And as he stoop’d, struck through his jaws, his tongue’s root, and his chin. Down from the chariot he fell, his gay arms shin’d and rung,
The swift horse trembled, and his soul forever charmed his tongue.
Then sprang Aeneas forth with spear and shield,
That none might drag the body; lion-like
He stalk’d around it, oval shield and spear
Advancing firm, and with incessant cries
Terrific, death denouncing on his foes.
But the son of Tydeus caught up a mighty stone, so huge and great that as men are now
as live in these degenerate days
it would take two to lift it; nevertheless he bore it aloft with ease unaided, and with this he struck Aeneas on the groin where the hip turns in the joint that is called the ‘cup-bone.’
(‘tis call’d the buckle-bone)
The stone crushed this joint, and broke both sinews, while its jagged edges tore away all the flesh. The hero fell on his knees, and propped himself with his hand resting on the ground till darkness of night fell upon his eyes.
And now the prince, the captain of men Aeneas
would have died on the spot if Zeus’ daughter
had not marked him quickly, his mother Aphrodite
who bore him to King Anchises tending cattle once.
Round her beloved son her glistening arms went streaming,
flinging her shining robes before him, only a fold
but it blocked the weapons hurtling toward his body.
She feared some Argive fast with chariot-team
might hurl bronze in his chest and rip his life out.
She, indeed, stealthily bore off her beloved son from the battle. Nor was the son of Capaneus forgetful of those commands which warlike Diomede gave him: but he detained his own solid-hoofed steeds apart from the tumult, having stretched forth the reins from the rim; and rushing forward, drove from the Trojans to the well-greaved Greeks the beautiful-maned steeds of Aeneas, and gave them to Deipylus, his beloved companion
(whom he honoured above all his coevals, because he possessed in his mind sentiments congenial with himself), to drive them to the hollow ships:
Then mounting on his car, resumed the rein,
And followed where Tydides swept the plain.
Meanwhile (his conquest ravish’d from his eyes)
The raging chief in chase of Venus flies:
No goddess she commission’d to the field,
Like Pallas dreadful with her sable shield,
Or fierce Bellona thundering at the wall,
While flames ascend, and mighty ruins fall:
He knew soft combats suit the tender dame,
New to the field and still a foe to fame.
Through breaking ranks his furious course he bends,
And at the goddess his broad lance extends;
Through her bright veil the daring weapon drove,
The ambrosial veil, which all the Graces wove;
Her snowy hand the razing steel profaned,
and the transparent skin with crimson stain’s.
From the clear vein a stream immortal flow’d,
Such stream as issues from a wounded god:
Pure emanation! Uncorrupted flood;
Unlike our gross, diseased, terrestrial blood:
for the Gods eat not
Man’s food, nor slake as he with sable wine
Their thirst, thence bloodless and from death exempt.
and flung her child away; but lord Apollo
caught him in his arms and bore him off
in a dark cloud, so no Danaan spear
should stab and finish him.
and Diomede shouted out as he left her,
Daughter of Zeus, give up the war, your lust for carnage!
So, it is not enough that you lure defenceless women
to their ruin? Haunting the fighting, are you?
Now I think you’ll cringe at the hint of war
if you get wind of battle far away.
She, sighing went her way
Extremely greiv’d, and with her griefs her beauties did decay,
And black her ivory body grew. Then from a dewy mist
Brake swift-footed Iris to her aid, from all the darts that hiss’d
At her quick rapture; and to Mars they took their plaintive course,
And found him on the fight’s left hand; by him his speedy horse
And huge lance, lying in a fog. The queen of all things fair
Her loved brother on her knees besought with instant prayer,
Dear brother, she cried, save me, and give me your horses to take me to Olympus where the gods dwell. I am badly wounded by a mortal, the son of Tydeus, who could now fight even with father Jove.
Then Mars his coursers gold caparison’d
Resign’d to Venus; she, with countenance sad,
The chariot climb’s, and Iris at her side
The bright reins seizing lash’d the ready steeds.
Soon as the Olympian heights, seat of the Gods,
They reach’d, wing-footed Iris loosing quick
The coursers, gave them large whereon to browse
Ambrosial food; but Venus on the knees
Sank of Dione, who with folded arms
Maternal, to her bosom straining close
Her daughter, stroked her cheek and thus inquired.
Which of the heavenly gods, beloved daughter, has wantonly done such things to thee, as if thou hadst openly wrought some evil?
And Aphrodite, lover of smiling eyes,
This insult from no god I found,
And impious mortal gave the daring wound!
Behold the deed of haughty Diomed!
‘Twas in the son’s defence the mother bled.
The war with Troy no more the Grecians wage;
But with the gods (the immortal gods) engage.
Dione the light and loveliest of immortals tried to calm her:
There, child, patience, even in such distress.
Many of us who live upon Olympos
have taken hurt from men, and hurt each other.
Ares bore it, when Otos and Ephialtes,
Aloeus’ giant sons, put him in chains:
he lay for thirteen moons in a brazen jar,
until that glutton of war might well have perished
had Eeriboia, their stepmother,
not told Hermes: Hermes broke him free
more dead than alive, worn out by the iron chain.
Then think how Hera suffered, too,
when Amphitryon’s mighty son let fly
his triple-barbed arrow into her right breast:
unappeasable pain came over her.
And Aides, great lord of undergloom,
bore a shot from the same strong son of Zeus
at Pylos, amid the dead. That arrow stroke
delivered him to anguish. Then Aides,
pierced and stricken, went to high Olympos,
the arrow grinding still in his great shoulder,
and there Paieon with a poultice healed him
who was not born for death. What recklessness
in Herakles, champion though he was at labours,
to shrug at impious act and bend his bow
for the discomfort of the Olympians!
But this man, he that wounded you, Athena
put him up to it – idiot, not to know
his days are numbered who would fight the gods!
His children will not sing around his knees
‘Papa! Papa!’ on his return from war.
So let Diomedes pause, for all his prowess,
let him remember he may meet his match,
and Aigialeia, Adestos’ daughter,
starting up from sleep some night in tears
may waken all the house, missing her husband,
noblest of Akhaians: Diomedes.
This said, with both her hands she cleans’d the tender back and palm
Of all the sacred blood they lost; and, never using balm,
The pain ceas’d, and the wound was cur’d of this kind queen of love.
Them Juno mark’d and Pallas, and with speed
Sarcastic pointed at Saturnian Jove
To vex him, blue-eyed Pallas thus began.
Father Jove, said she, do not be angry with me, but I think the Cyprian must have been persuading some of the Achaian women to go with the Trojans of whom she is so very fond, and while caressing one or other of them she must have torn her delicate hand with the gold pin of the woman’s brooch.
Thus she spoke: but the father of men and gods smiled, and having called, he thus accosted golden Venus:
Not these, O daughter are your proper cares,
Thee milder arts befit, and softer wars;
Sweet smiles are thine, and kind endearing charms;
To Mars and Pallas leave the deeds of arms.
And now as the high gods bantered back and forth
Diomedes, loosing his war cry, charged Aeneas –
though what he saw was lord Apollo himself,
guarding, spreading his arms above the fighter,
but even before the mighty god he would not flinch.
Tydides reared and hurled himself again and again,
trying to kill Aenaes, strip his famous armor.
Three times he charged, frenzied to bring him down,
three times Apollo battered his gleaming shield back –
then at Tydides fourth assault like something superhuman,
the Archer who strikes from worlds away shrieked out –
a voice of terror –
What! Not yield to gods? Thy equals learn to know:
The race of gods is far above men creeping here below.
The son of Tydeus then gave way a little space, to avoid the anger of the god, while Apollo took Aeneas out of the crowd and set him in sacred Pergamus, where his temple stood. There, within the mighty sanctuary, Latona and Diana healed him and made him glorious to behold,
made him strong
while Apollo of the silver bow fashioned a wraith in the likeness
of Aeneas, and armed as he was. Round this the Trojans and Achaeans hacked at the bucklers about one another’s breasts, hewing each other’s shields and light hide-covered targets. Then Phoebus Apollo said to Mars,
Gore-tainted homicide, Town-batterer Mars!
Wilt thou not meet and from the fight withdraw
This man Tydides, now so fiery grown
That he would even cope with Jove himself?
First Venus’ hand he wounded, and assail’d
Impetuous as a God, next, even me.
Thus having spoken, he sat down on lofty Pergamus; but destructive Mars aroused the ranks of the Trojans, going through them, assimilating himself to Acamus, the swift leader of the Thracians, and thus he harangued the Jove-nourished sons of Priam:
You royal sons of Priam, monarch dear to the gods,
how long will you let Achaeans massacre your army?
Until they’re battling round your well-built gates?
A man is down we prized on par with noble Hector –
Aeneas, proud Anchises’ son. Up with you now,
rescue him from the crash of battle! Save our comrade!
He made them burn at this, and then Sarpedon
in his turn growled at Hektor:
Say, chief, is all thy ancient valour lost?
Where are thy threats, and where thy glorious boast,
That propp’d alone by Priam’s race should stand
Troy’s sacred walls, nor need a foreign hand?
Now, now thy country calls her wonted friends,
And the proud vaunt in just derision ends.
Remote they stand, while alien troops engage,
Like trembling hounds
They cringe and cower
before the lions rage.
Far distant hence I held my wide command,
Where foaming Xanthus laves the Lycian land;
With ample wealth (the wish of mortals) bless’d,
A beauteous wife, and an infant at her breast;
With those I left whatever dear could be:
Greece, if she conquers, nothing wins from me;
Yet first in fight my Lycian bands I cheer,
And long to meet this mighty man ye fear;
While Hector idle stands, nor bids the brave
Their wives, their infants, and their alters save.
Haste, warrior, haste! preserve thy threaten’d state,
Or one vast burst of all-involving fate
Full o’er your towers shall fall, and sweep away
Sons, sires, and wives, an undistinguish’d prey.
Rouse all thy Trojans, urge thy aids to fight;
These claim thy thoughts by day, thy watch by night;
With force incessant the brave Greeks oppose;
Such cares thy friends deserve, and such thy foes.
So spoke Sarpedon, and Hector smarted under his words. He sprang from his chariot clad in his suit of armor, and went about among the host brandishing his two spears, exhorting the men to fight and raising the terrible cry of battle.
And all hands turn’d against the Greeks; the Greeks despis’d their worst,
And thick’ning their instructed powers, expected all they durst.
As the breezes sport with the chaff upon some goodly threshing-floor, when men are winnowing – while yellow Ceres blows with the wind to shift the chaff from the grain, and the chaff-heaps grow whiter and whiter –
So look’d the Grecians gray with dust, that struck the solid heav’n,
Rais’d from returning chariots and troops together driv’n.
Fierce Mars, to help the Trojans, covered them in a veil of darkness,
and went about everywhere among them, inasmuch as Phoebus Apollo had told him that when he saw Pallas Minerva leave the fray, he was to put courage into the hearts of the Trojans – for it was she who was helping the Danaans.
And then his own hands wrought,
Which (from his fane’s rich chancel, cur’d) the true Aeneas brought,
And placed him by his peers in the field, who did with joy admire
To see him both alive and safe, and all his pow’rs entire.
but they could not ask him how it had all happened, for they were too busy with the turmoil raised by Mars and Strife, who raged insatiably in their midst.
Amid the Akhaians those two men named Aias,
joining Diomedes and Odysseus,
made bastion for Danaans. See these four,
all fearless of attack or Trojan power,
patient in battle –
like unto clouds,
motionless as clouds
that Zeus may station on high mountaintops
in a calm heaven, while the north wind sleeps
and so do all the winds whose gusty blowing
rifts and dispels shade-bearing cloud. So these
Danaans held their ground against the Trojans
and never stirred, while Agamemnon passed
amid the ranks haranguing troops:
Now, he cried,
Be steadfast, fellow warriors, now be men!
Hold fast a sense of honor. More escape
Of men who fear disgrace, than fall in fight,
While dastards forfeit life and glory both.
He spoke, and darted with his spear quickly, and struck Deicoon, son of Pergasis, a warrior chief, the companion of magnanimous Aeneas, whom the Trojans honored equally with the sons of Priam; since he was prompt to fight amid the van.
His shield hit hard by Agamemnon's thrust
could not withstand the spearhead
but through his belt
His bowels enter'd, and with hideous clang
And outcry of his batter'd arms he fell.
Here then Aeneas slew some brave heroes of the Greeks – Crethon and Orsilochus, the sons of Diocles: their father, indeed, rich in sustenance, dwelt in well-built Pherae; but his origin was from the river Alpheus, which flows widely through the land of the Pylians. Alpheus begat Orsilochus, a prince over many men; but Orsilochus begat magnanimous Diocles; and of Diocles were born two sons, Crethon and Orsilochus, well skilled in all kinds of battle. These, indeed, in the bloom of youth, in their sable ships followed with the Argives to Ilium famed for noble steeds, seeking honor for the sons of Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus: but there the end of death overshadowed them.
Imagine two young lions, reared
by a mother lioness in undergrowth
of a deep mountain forest – twins who prey
on herds and flocks, despoiling farms, till one day
they too are torn to pieces, both at once,
by sharp spears in the hands of men. So these
went down before the weapons of Aineas,
falling like lofty pines
before an ax.
Then Menelaus brave in the din of war, pitied them fallen, and went through the van, equipped in shining brass, brandishing his spear; for Mars kindled his strength, with the design that he should be subdued by the hands of Aeneas.
Antilochus marked him now, great Nestor's son
went racing across the front himself, terrified
for the lord of armies – what if he were killed?
Their hard campaigning just might come to grief.
As Aeneas and Menelaus came within arm's reach,
waving whetted spears in each other's faces,
nerved to fight it out, Antilochus rushed in,
tensing shoulder-to-shoulder by his captain now and
Aeneas, bold though he was, drew back on seeing the two heroes side by side in front of him, so they drew the bodies of Crethon and Orsilochus to the ranks of the Achaeans and committed the two poor fellows into the hands of their comrades. They then turned back and fought in the front ranks.
Next, fierce as Mars, Pylaemenes they slew,
Prince of the shielded band magnanimous
Of Paphlagonia. Him Atrides kill'd
Spear-practised Menelaus, with a lance
His throat transpiercing while erect he rode.
Then, while his charioteer, Mydon the brave,
Son of Atymnias, turn'd his steeds to flight,
Full on his elbow-point Antilochus,
The son of Nestor, dash'd him with a stone.
The slack reins, white as ivory, forsook
His torpid hand and trail'd the dust. At once
Forth sprang Antilochus, and with his sword
Hew'd deep his temples. On his head he pitch'd
Panting, and on his shoulders in the sand
(For in deep sand he fell) stood long erect,
Till his own coursers spread him in the dust;
The son of Nestor seized, and with his scourge
Drove them afar into the host of Greece.
When Hector had heard tell
(Amongst the uproar) of their deaths, he laid out all his voice,
And ran upon the Greeks: behind came many men of choice,
Before him march’d great Mars himself, match’d with his female mate,
The dread Bellona: she brought on (to fight for mutual fate)
A tumult that was wild and mad: he shook a horrid lance,
And now Hector, and anon, behind would make the chance.
Tydides paused amidst his full career;
Then first the hero's manly breast knew fear.
As when some simple swain
a man at a loss, helpless,
in counsel poor
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,
Confused he stops, a length of country pass'd,
Eyes the rough waves, and tired, returns at last.
Amazed no less the great Tydides stands:
He stay'd, and turning thus address'd his bands:
Oh my friends,
what fools we were to marvel at wondrous Hector,
what a spearman, we said, and what a daring fighter!
But a god goes with him always, beating off disaster –
look, that's Ares beside him now, just like a mortal!
Give ground, but faces fronting the Trojans always –
no use trying to fight the gods in force.
As he spoke the Trojans drew close up, and Hector killed two men,
both in one chariot, Menesthes and Anchialus, heroes well versed
in war. Ajax son of Telamon pitied them in their fall; he came close
up and hurled his spear, hitting Amphius the son of Selagus, a man
of great wealth who lived in Paesus and owned much corn-growing
land, but his lot had led him to come to the aid of Priam and his sons.
Him Telamonian Ajax smote on the belt, and the long-shadowed spear was fixed in the pit of his stomach. Falling, he made a crash, and illustrious Ajax ran up to him, about to spoil [him of] his armor; but the Trojans poured upon him sharp spears, shining all around, and his shield received many. But he, pressing on him with his heel, drew from the body his brazen spear; however, he was not able to take off from his shoulders any other beautiful armor, for he was pressed upon with weapons. He also dreaded the stout defense of haughty Trojans, who, both numerous and doughty, stood around, stretching forth their spears, and who drove him away from them, although being mighty, and valiant, and renowned. But he, retiring, was repelled by force.
Thus toil'd both hosts in that laborious field.
And now his ruthless destiny impell'd
Tlepolemus, Alcides' son, a Chief
Dauntless and huge, against a godlike foe
Sarpedon. They approaching face to face
Stood, son and grandson of high-thundering Jove,
And, haughty, thus Tlepolemus began.
Lykian, war-counselor Sarpedon, why so coy
upon this field? You call yourself a fighter?
They lie who say you come of Zeus's line,
you are so far inferior to those
fathered by Zeus among the men of old.
Think what the power of Herakles was like,
my lion-hearted father! For Laomedon's
chariot horses once he beached at Troy
with only six shiploads of men, a handful,
yet he sacked Ilion and left her ways
desolate. But your nerve is gone, your troops
are losing badly: it is no gain for Trojans
that you came here from Lykia, powerful
man that you are – and when you fall to me,
down through the gates of death you go!
The son of Hercules, the Rhodian guide,
Thus haughty spoke. The Lycian king replied:
Tlepolemus, your father overthrew Ilius by reason of Laomedon’s folly in refusing payment to one who had served him well. He would not give your father the horses which he had come so far to fetch. As for
yourself, you shall meet death by my spear. You shall yield glory
to myself, and your soul to Hades of the noble steeds.
With this, he threw an ashen dart, and then Tlepolemus loos’d
Another from his glorious hand: both at one instant flew;
Both struck; both wounded; from his neck Sarpedon’s javelin drew
The life-blood of Tlepolemus; full in the midst it fell,
And what he threaten’d, th’ other gave: that darkness, and that hell.
Sarpedon’s left thigh took the lance; it pierc’d the solid bone,
And with his raging head ran through; but Jove preserv’d his son.
His noble companions bore godlike Sarpedon from the battle; but the long spear, trailed along with him, pained him; but this no one of them hastening noticed, nor thought of extracting from his thigh the ashen spear, that he might ascend the chariot; for such anxiety did his attendants entertain for him.
far across the lines the armed Achaeans hauled him
out of the fight, and seasoned Odysseus saw it,
his brave spirit steady, ablaze for action now.
What should he do? – he racked his heart and soul –
lunge at Prince Sarpedon, son of storming Zeus,
or go at the Lycians' mass and kill them all?
But no, it was not the gallant Odysseus' fate
to finish Zeus's rugged son with his sharp bronze,
so Pallas swung his fury against the Lycian front.
Whirling, killing Coeranus, Chromius and Alastor,
killing Alcander and Halius, Prytanis and Noemon –
and stalwart Odysseus would have killed still more
but tall Hector, his helmet flashing, marked him quickly,
plowed through the front, helmed in fiery bronze,
filling the Argives' hearts with sudden terror.
And Zeus's son Sarpedon rejoiced to see him
striding past and begged him in his pain,
Ah, leave not me, Priamides! a prey
To Grecian hands, but in your city, at least,
Grant me to die: since hither, doom'd, I came
Never to gratify with my return
To Lycia, my loved spouse, or infant child.
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;
And dyes the ground with purple as he goes.
But good Sarpedon’s men
Ventur’d themselves, and forced him off, and set him underneath
The goodly beech of Jupiter, where now they did unsheathe
The ashen lance: strong Pelagon, his friend, most lov’d, most true,
Enforc’d it from his maimed thigh: with which his spirit flew,
And darkness over-flew his eyes; yet with a gentle gale,
That round about the dying prince cool Boreas did exhale,
He was revived, recomforted, that else had griev’d and died.
Even though not yet routed to the ships
under attack from Ares and from Hektor,
the Argives could not gain but yielded everywhere,
knowing that Ares fought among the Trojans.
Then whom first, whom last did Hector, the son of Priam, and brazen Mars slay?
Orestes, breaker of horses; a spear-thrower,
Trekhos, an Aitalian; Oinomaos;
Helenos Oinopides; Oresbios
whose plated breast-band glittered – in the past
he lived at Hyle on Lake Kephisos,
fond of his wealth, amid his countrymen,
Boiotians of the fertile plain.
When therefore the white-armed goddess Juno perceived these Greeks perishing in the violent engagement straightway to Minerva she addressed winged words:
A dismal scene, this. O untiring goddess,
daughter of mighty Zeus who bears the storm cloud,
our word to Menelaos was a fraud –
that he should never sail for home
before he plundered Ilion! How likely,
if we allow this lunatic attack
bv that sinister fool Ares? Come,
we'll put our minds on our own fighting power.
She spake; nor blue-eyed Pallas not complied.
Then Juno, Goddess dread, from Saturn sprung,
Her coursers gold-caparison'd prepared
Impatient. Hebe to the chariot roll'd
The brazen wheels, and joined them to the smooth
Steel axle; twice four spokes divided each
Shot from the centre to the verge. The verge
Was gold by fellies of eternal brass
Guarded, a dazzling show! The shining naves
Were silver; silver cords and cords of gold
The seat upbore; two crescents blazed in front.
The pole was argent all, to which she bound
The golden yoke, and in their place disposed
The breast-bands incorruptible of gold;
But Juno to the yoke, herself, the steeds
Led forth, on fire to reach the dreadful field.
Minerva, on the other hand, the daughter of Aegis-bearing Jove, let flow down on her father's floor her dainty robe of variegated hue, which she herself had wrought and worked with her own hands: then she, having put on her tunic, equipped herself for the tearful war in the armor of cloud-compelling Jove, and around her shoulders she then threw the fringed Aegis, dreadful, around which on all sides Terror appears plumed. Thereon was Strife, thereon Fortitude, and thereon was chilling Pursuit; on it was the Gorgonian head of the dreadful monster, dire, horrible, a portent of Aegis-bearing Jove. On her head she placed her four-crested helmet, with a spreading metal ridge, golden, sufficient for the heavy-armed of a hundred cities. She then stepped into her shining chariot
and took the great haft of her spear in hand –
that heavy spear this child of Power can use
to break in wrath long battle lines of fighters.
Then at the crack of Hera's whip
over the horses' backs, the gates of heaven
swung wide of themselves on rumbling hinges –
gates the Hours keep, for they have charge
of entry to wide heaven and Olympos,
by opening or closing massive cloud.
Passing through these and goading on their team,
the goddesses encountered Kronos' son,
who sat apart from all the gods
on the summit of Olympos. Reining in,
Hera with arms as white as ivory
addressed the all-highest:
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 this pride,
And drive from fight the impetuous homicide?
To whom the cloud-assembler God replied.
Leap to it then. Launch Athena against him –
the queen of plunder, she's the one – his match,
a marvel at bringing Ares down in pain.
He said; Saturnia, ardent to obey,
Lash'd her white steeds along the aerial way
Swift down the steep of heaven the chariot rolls,
Between the 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 the immortal coursers bound
Troy now they reach'd and touch'd those banks divine,
Where silver Simois and Scamander join
There Juno stopp'd, and (her fair steeds unloosed)
Of air condensed a vapour circumfused
For these, impregnate with celestial dew,
On Simois, brink ambrosial herbage grew.
The two immortals stepped briskly as wild doves,
quivering, keen to defend the fighting men of Argos.
Once they gained the spot where the most and bravest stood,
flanking strong Diomedes breaker of wild stallions –
massed like a pride of lions
lions bathed in blood
tearing raw flesh
or ramping boars
whose fury never flags –
the white-armed goddess Hera rose and shouted
loud as the brazen voice of great-lunged Stentor
who cries out with the blast of fifty other men,
Inglorious Argives! to your race a shame,
And only men in figure and in name!
Once from the walls your timorous foes engaged,
While fierce in war divine Achilles raged;
Now issuing fearless they possess the plain,
Now win the shores, and scarce the seas remain.
This did with shame make bold
The general spirit and power of Greece; when with particular note
Of their disgrace, Athena made Tydeus issue hote.
She found him at his chariot, refreshing of his wound
Inflicted by slain Pandarus; his sweat did so abound,
It much annoy’d him underneath the broad belt of his shield;
With which – and tired with his toil – his soul could hardly yield
His body motion. With his hand he lifted up his belt,
And wip’d away that clotter’d blood the fervent wound did melt.
Minerva lean’d against his horse, and near their withers laid
Her sacred hand, then spake to him:
So, Tydeus' son is half the size of his father,
and he was short and slight – but Tydeus was a fighter!
Even then, when I forbade him to go to war
or make a show of himself in others' eyes…
that time, alone, apart from his men, he marched
the message into Thebes, filled with hordes of Thebans,
I told him to banquet in their halls and eat in peace.
But he always had that power, that courage from the first –
and so he challenged the brave young blades of Thebes
to tests of strength and beat them all with ease,
I urged him on with so much winning force.
But you, Tydides, I stand by you as well,
I guard you too. And with all good will I say,
fight it out with the Trojans here! But look at you –
fatigue from too much charging has sapped your limbs,
that or some lifeless fear has paralyzed you now.
So you're no offspring of Tydeus,
the gallant, battle-hardened Oeneus' son!
But her valiant Diomede answering addressed:
I own thy presence, and confess thy aid.
Not fear, thou know'st, withholds me from the plains,
Nor sloth hath seized 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
My dearest mind, said she,
What then is fit is chang’d: ‘tis true, Mars hath just rule in war –
But just war; otherwise he raves, not fights; he’s alter’d far.
He vow’d to Juno and myself that his aid should be us’d
Against the Trojans; whom it guards, and therein he abus’d
His rule in arms, infring’d his word, and made his war unjust:
He is inconstant, impious, mad. Resolve then; firmly trust
My aid of thee against his worst, or any deity:
Add scourge to thy free horse, charge home: he fights perfidiously.
With that challenge
Athena levered Sthenelus out the back of the car.
A twist of her wrist and the man hit the ground,
springing aside as the goddess climbed aboard,
blazing to fight beside the shining Diomedes.
The big oaken axle groaned beneath the weight,
bearing a great man and a terrifying goddess –
Then Pallas Minerva seized the scourge and the reins. Straightway she drove the solid-hoofed steeds against Mars first. He, indeed, had just slain huge Periphas, the illustrious son of Ochesius, by far the bravest of the Aetolians. Him indeed gore-stained Mars slew; but Minerva put on the helmet of Pluto, that impetuous Mars might not see her.
Soon as gore-tainted Mars the approach perceived
Of Diomede, he left the giant length
Of Periphas extended where he died,
And flew to cope with Tydeus' valiant son.
Full nigh they came, when Mars on fire to slay
The hero, foremost with his brazen lance
Assail'd him, hurling o'er his horses' heads.
Athena, grey-eyed goddess,
with one hand caught and deflected it
and sent it bounding harmless from the car.
Now Diomedes put his weight behind
his own bronze-headed spear. Pallas Athena
rammed it at Ares' belted waist so hard
she put a gash in his fair flesh, and pulled
the spearhead out again.
Mars roared as loudly as nine or ten thousand men in the
thick of a fight, and the Achaeans and Trojans were struck with
panic, so terrible was the cry he raised.
As vapours blown by Auster's sultry breath,
Pregnant with plagues, and shedding seeds of death
wild as a black cyclone twisting out of a cloudbank,
as when from the clouds, a gloomy haze appears, a heavy-blowing wind arising from heat; such did brazen Mars appear to Diomede, son of Tydeus, going amid the clouds into the broad heaven.
The Olympian heights, seat of the Gods, he sat
Beside Saturnian Jove; wo fill'd his heart;
He show'd fast-streaming from the wound his blood
Immortal, and impatient thus complain'd.
how do you take this insubordination?
What frightful things we bear from one another
doing good turns to men! And I must say
we all hold it against you. You conceived
a daughter with no prudence, a destroyer,
given to violence. We other gods
obey you, as submissive as you please,
while she goes unreproved; never a word,
a gesture of correction comes from you –
only begetter of the insolent child.
She is the one who urged Diomedes on
to mad attempts on the immortals – first
he closed with Kypris, cut her palm, and now
he hurled himself against me like a fury.
It was my speed that got me off, or I
should still be there in pain among the dead,
the foul dead – or undone by further strokes
of cutting bronze.
Jove looked angrily at him and said,
Thou many minds, inconstant changeling thou,
Sit not complaining thus by me, whom most of all the gods
Inhabiting the starry hill I hate: no periods
Being set to thy contentions, brawls, fights, and pitching fields –
Just of thy mother Juno’s moods: stiff neck’d and never yields,
Though I correct her still, and chide; nor can forbear offence,
Though to her son; this wound I know tastes of her insolence.
But I will prove more natural; thou shalt be cur’d because
Thou com’st of me: but hadst thou been so cross to sacred laws,
Being born to any other god, thou hadst been thrown from heav’n
Long since, as low as Tartarus, beneath the giants driv’n.
Thus he who shakes Olympus with his nod;
Then gave to Paeon's care the bleeding god.
With gentle hand the balm he pour'd around,
And heal'd the immortal flesh, and closed the wound.
As when the fig's press'd juice, infused in cream,
To curds coagulates the liquid stream,
Sudden the fluids fix the parts combined;
Such, and so soon, the ethereal texture join'd.
Cleansed from the dust and gore, fair Hebe dress'd
His mighty limbs in an immortal vest.
Glorious he sat, in majesty restored,
Fast by the throne of heaven's superior lord.
Juno and Pallas mount the bless'd abodes,
Their task perform'd, and mix among the gods.