Now as the Dawn flung out her golden robe across the earth
Zeus who loves the lightning summoned all the gods
to assembly on the topmost peak of ridged Olympus.
He harangued the immortals hanging on his words:
Celestial states! immortal gods! give ear,
Hear our decree, and reverence what ye hear;
The fix'd decree which not all heaven can move;
Thou, fate! fulfill it! and, ye powers, approve!
What god but enters yon forbidden field,
Who yields assistance, or but wills to yield,
Back to the skies with shame he shall be driven,
Gash'd with dishonest wounds, the scorn of heaven;
Or far, oh far, from steep Olympus thrown,
Low in the dark Tartarean gulf shall groan,
With burning chains fix'd to the brazen floors,
And lock'd by hell's inexorable doors;
As deep beneath the infernal centre hurl'd,
As from that centre to the ethereal world.
Let him who tempts me, dread those dire abodes:
And know, the Almighty is the god of gods.
League all your forces, then, ye powers above,
Join all, and try the omnipotence of Jove.
Let down our golden everlasting chain
Whose strong embrace holds heaven, and earth, and main
Strive all, of mortal and immortal birth,
To drag, by this, the Thunderer down to earth
Ye strive in vain! if I but stretch this hand,
I heave the gods, the ocean, and the land;
I fix the chain to great Olympus' height,
And the vast world hangs trembling in my sight!
For such I reign, unbounded and above;
And such are men, and gods, compared to Jove.
Thus he said. But they all became mute in silence, wondering at his speech; for he spoke very menacingly. But at length the azure-eyed goddess Minerva thus spoke in the midst:
Father, son of Saturn, king of kings, we all know that your might is not to be gainsaid, but we are also sorry for the Danaan warriors, who are perishing and coming to a bad end. We will, however, since you so bid us, refrain from actual fighting, but we will make serviceable suggestions to the Argives that they may not all of them perish in your displeasure.
He smiled and said:
dear child, third born of heaven. I do not speak
my full intent. With you, I would be gentle.
This said, his brass-hoof’d winged horse he did to chariot bind,
Whose crests were fring’d with manes of gold; and golden garments shined On his rich shoulders; in his hand he took a golden scourge,
Divinely fashion’d, and with blows their willing speed did urge,
Mid way betwixt the earth and heaven. To Ida then he came,
Abounding in delicious springs, and nurse of beasts untame,
Where on the mountain Gargarus men did fane erect
To his high name, and alters sweet, and there his horse he check’d,
Dissolv’d them from his chariot, and in a cloud of jet
He covered them, and on the top took his triumphant seat,
Beholding Priam’s famous town, and all the fleet of Greece.
Quickly the long-haired Achaeans took their meal
throughout the shelters, then they armed at once.
And on their side the Trojans put on harness too.
mustering throughout the city, a smaller force
but nerved to engage in combat even so –
necessity pressed them to fight for sons and wives.
All the gates flung wide and the Trojan mass surged out.
horses, chariots, men on foot – a tremendous roar went up.
Then shields with shields met, darts with darts, strength against strength oppos’d: The boss-pik’d targets were thrust on, and thunder’d as they clos’d
In mighty tumult; groan for groan and breath for breath did breath,
Of men then slain, and to be slain: earth flow’d with fruits of death.
Till sacred morn had brighten'd into noon,
The vollied weapons on both sides their task
Perform'd effectual, and the people fell.
but when the sun had reached mid-heaven, the sire of all balanced his golden scales, and put two fates of death within them, one for the Trojans and the other for the Achaeans. He took the balance by the middle, and when he lifted it up the day of the Achaeans sank;
the death-fraught scale of the Achaeans settled down upon the ground, while that of the Trojans rose heavenwards. Then
Zeus erupted in thunder from Ida, with burning
flashes of lightning against the Akhaian army,
dazing them all: now white-faced terror seized them.
Neither Idomeneus nor Agamemnon
held his ground, and neither Aias held,
the Tall One nor the Short One, peers of war;
only the old lord of the western approaches,
Nestor, stayed in place –
not that in fact he willed to. No, one horse
had been disabled by Alexandros,
whose arrow hit him high, just at the spot
most vulnerable, where the springing mane begins.
The beast reared in agony, for the point
entered his brain, and round and round
he floundered, fixed by the bronze point, making havoc
among the horses. While the old man hacked
to cut away the trace horse with his sword,
amid the rout Lord Hektor's team appeared
and the car that bore the fierce man. Soon enough,
old Nestor would have perished in that place,
had not Diomedes of the great warcry
seen Hektor coming. With a tremendous shout
he tried to rouse Odysseus, and called to him:
Jove-born son of Laertes, much-contriving Ulysses, whither dost thou fly, turning thy back in the throng, like a coward? [Beware], lest some man with a spear transpierce thee in the back, flying. But stay, that we may repel the fierce hero from the aged man.
His fruitless words are lost unheard in air,
Ulysses seeks the ships, and shelters there.
But bold Tydides to the rescue goes,
A single warrior midst a host of foes;
Before the coursers with a sudden spring
He leap'd, and anxious thus bespoke the king:
Old soldier, these young fighters wear you down –
your strength goes slack and old age dogs your steps,
your driver's worthless, your horses drag their weight.
Come, up with you now, climb aboard my chariot!
So you can see the breed of Tros's team, their flair
for their own terrain as they gallop back and forth,
one moment in flight, the next in hot pursuit –
I took them both from Aeneas, driving terrors.
Your own good team? Our aides will handle them –
we'll steer these racers straight at the Trojans now,
the great breakers of horses. We'll let Hector see
if the spear in my hand is mad for bloodshed too!
Nestor knight of Gerene hearkened to his words. Thereon the
doughty squires, Sthenelus and kind-hearted Eurymedon, saw to
Nestor’s horses, while the two both mounted Diomed’s chariot.
Nestor took the reins in his hands and lashed the horses on; they
were soon close up with Hector, and the son of Tydeus aimed a
spear at him as he was charging full speed towards them. He
missed him, but struck his charioteer and squire Eniopeus son of
noble Thebaeus in the breast by the nipple while the reins were in
his hands, so that he died there and then, and the horses swerved
as he fell headlong from the chariot.
Hector had deep remorse
Of his mishap, yet left he him, and for another sought;
Not long his steeds did want a guide, for straight good fortune brought
Bold Archeptolemus, whose life did from Iphytis spring:
He made him take the reigns and mount. Then souls were set on wing,
The high exploits were undergone, then Trojans in their walls
Had been infolded like meek lambs, had Jove wink’d at their falls –
Therefore, dreadfully thundering he sent forth his glowing thunderbolt, and cast it into the earth before the steeds of Diomede: but there arose a terrible flame of burning sulphur, and the two frightened steeds crouched trembling beneath the chariot. Moreover, the beautiful reins fell from the hand of Nestor, and he feared in his soul, and addressed Diomede:
Give way, now; get the team to pull us out!
Do you not realize that power from Zeus
is being denied you? Glory goes today
to Hektor, by favor of the son of Kronos.
Another day he may bestow it on us
if he only will. No man defends himself
against the mind of Zeus – even the ruggedest
of champions. His power is beyond us.
To him the valiant Diomede replied.
Old man, certainly thou hast said all this rightly: but this grievous sorrow invades my heart and my soul: for Hector at some time will say, haranguing among the Trojans, ‘The son of Tydeus, routed by me, fled to his ships.' Thus at some time will he boast: but then, may the earth yawn wide for me.
But the noble horseman Nestor shouted back,
Ah, warlike Tydeus son! said he, what needless words are these?
Though Hector should report thee faint, and amorous of thy ease,
The Trojans, nor the Trojan’s wives, would never give him trust,
Whose youthful husbands thy free hand hath smother’d so in dust.
He said, and, hasty, o'er the gasping throng
Drives the swift steeds: the chariot smokes along;
The shouts of Trojans thicken in the wind;
The storm of hissing javelins pours behind.
Then with a voice that shakes the solid skies,
Pleased, Hector braves the warrior as he flies.
0 Diomedes, once
Akhaian skirmishers gave you the place of honor!
Heart of the roast, cups brimming full! But they'll
despise you now – turned woman, after all!
You empty doll, ride on!
Never will I give way to you, and never
Will you climb hand over hand upon our ramparts
or load our women in your ships: you face
your doom from me!
and Diomedes was torn two ways – he'd half a mind
to turn the team and take him face-to-face ...
Three times Tydides was tempted, heart and soul.
three times from the crags of Ida Zeus let loose his thunder,
the Master Strategist handing down a sign to the Trojans –
victory thunder turning the tide of war their way.
And Hector called to his men in a ringing voice,
Trojans, Lycians, and Dardanians, lovers of close fighting,
be men, my friends, and fight with might and with main;
I see that Jove is minded to vouchsafe victory and great glory to
myself, while he will deal destruction upon the Danaans. Fools, for
having thought of building this weak and worthless wall. It shall
not stay my fury; my horses will spring lightly over their trench,
and when I am at their ships forget not to bring me fire that I may
burn them, while I slaughter the Argives who will be all dazed and
bewildered by the smoke.
Thus having spoken, he cheered on his steeds,
Golden and Whitefoot, Blaze and Silver Flash!
Xanthus! Podargus! and ye generous pair
AEthon and glossy Lampus!
Tawny and Whitefoot,
Dusky and Dapple,
Mine, and the bounty of Andromache,
Far-famed Eetion’s daughter, she your bowl
With corn fresh-flavor'd and with wine full oft
Hath mingled, your refreshment seeking first
Ere mine, who have a youthful husband's claim.
Now follow! now be swift; that we may seize
The shield of Nestor, bruited to the skies
As golden all, trappings and disk alike.
Now from the shoulders of the equestrian Chief
Tydides tear we off his splendid mail,
The work of Vulcan. May we take but these,
I have good hope that, ere this night be spent,
The Greeks shall climb their galleys and away.
Thus he said boasting; but venerable Juno was indignant, and shook herself on her throne, and made great Olympus tremble; and openly accosted the mighty deity, Neptune:
O Neptune, what a spite is this? Thou god so huge in power,
Afflicts it not thy honour’d heart, to see rude spoil devour
These Greeks that have in Helice and Aege off’red thee
So many and so wealthy gifts? Let them the victors be.
If we that are the aids of Greece, would beat home these of Troy,
And hinder broad-ey’d Jove’s proud will, it would abate his joy.
Neptune with wrath rejects the rash design:
Hera, what wild words! What are you saying?
I for one have no desire to battle Zeus,
not you and I and the rest of the gods together.
The King is far too strong – he'll crush us all.
Now godlike Hector, to whose matchless might
Jove gave the glory of the destined fight,
Squadrons on squadrons drives, and fills the fields
With close-ranged chariots, and with thicken'd shields.
Where the deep trench in length extended lay,
Compacted troops stand wedged in firm array,
A dreadful front! they shake the brands, and threat
With long-destroying flames the hostile fleet.
He would even have set fire to the ships and burned them, had not Queen Juno put it into the mind of Agamemnon, to bestir himself and to encourage the Achaeans. To this end he went round the ships and tents carrying a great purple cloak, and took his stand by the huge black hull of Ulysses’ ship, which was middlemost of all; it was from this place that his voice would carry farthest, on the one hand towards the tents of Ajax son of Telamon, and on the other towards those of Achilles- for these two heroes, well assured of their own strength, had valorously drawn up their ships at the two ends of the line. From this spot then, with a voice that could be heard afar, he shouted to the
Oh shame to Greece! Warriors in show alone!
Where is your boasted prowess? Ye profess'd
Vain-glorious erst in Lemnos, while ye fed
Plenteously on the flesh of beeves full-grown,
And crown'd your beakers high, that ye would face
Each man a hundred Trojans in the field –
Ay, twice a hundred – yet are all too few
To face one Hector now; nor doubt I aught
But he shall soon fire the whole fleet of Greece.
Jove! Father! what great sovereign ever felt
Thy frowns as I? Whom hast thou shamed as me?
Yet I neglected not, through all the course
Of our disasterous voyage (in the hope
That we should vanquish Troy) thy sacred rites,
But where I found thine altar, piled it high
With fat and flesh of bulls, on every shore.
But oh, vouchsafe to us, that we at least
Ourselves, deliver'd, may escape the sword,
Nor let their foes thus tread the Grecians down!
The father on Ida pitied the weeping man
and nodded; his main army should be saved.
And Zeus that instant launched above the field
the most portentous of all birds, an eagle,
pinning in his talons a tender fawn.
A sucking hind calf
sprung of a running doe,
He dropped it near the beautiful altar of Zeus
where the Akhaians made their offerings
to Zeus of Omens: and beholding this,
knowing the eagle had come down from Zeus,
they flung themselves again upon the Trojans,
with joy renewed in battle.
Then none of the Greeks, numerous as they were, could have boasted that he had driven his own swift steeds before Diomede, and urged them beyond the ditch, and fought against [the enemy]; for far the first he slew a helmeted Trojan hero, Agelaus, son of Phradmon. He, indeed, was turning his horses for flight; but as he was turning, Diomede fixed his spear in his back, between his shoulders, and drove it through his breast. He fell from his chariot, and his arms rattled upon him.
Th’ Atrides next address’d
Themselves to fight; th Ajaces next, with vehement strength endued;
Idomeneus, and his friend stout Merion, next pursued;
And after these Euripelus, Evemon’s honour’d race:
The ninth, with backward, wreathed bow, had little Teucer place;
He still fought under Ajax’ shield, who sometimes held it by.
And then he look’d his object out, and let his arrow fly;
And whomsoever, in the press, he wounded, him he slew,
Then under Ajax’ seven-fold shield he presently withdrew:
He far’d like an unhappy child, that doth to mother run
For succor, when he knows full well he some shrewd term hath done.
Who first by Teucer's mortal arrows bled?
Orsilochus; then fell Ormenus dead:
The godlike Lycophon next press'd the plain,
With Chromius, Daetor, Ophelestes slain:
Bold Hamopaon breathless sunk to ground;
The bloody pile great Melanippus crown'd.
Heaps fell on heaps, sad trophies of his art,
A Trojan ghost attending every dart.
Great Agamemnon views with joyful eye
The ranks grow thinner as his arrows fly:
Teucer, lovely soldier,
Telamon's son, pride of the armies – now you're shooting!
You'll bring a ray of hope to your men, your father too.
He raised you when you were little, a bastard boy,
no matter – Telamon tended you in his own house.
Far off as he is, you'll set him up in glory.
I tell you this, so help me it's the truth:
if Zeus with his storm-shield and Queen Athena
ever let me plunder the strong walls of Troy,
you are the first, the first after myself –
I'll place some gift of honor in your hands,
a tripod, or purebred team with their own car
or a fine woman to mount and share your bed.
To whom the generous Teucer thus replied.
Most noble son of Atreus, you need not urge me; from the moment we began to drive them back to Ilius, I have never ceased so far as in me lies to look out for men whom I can shoot and kill; I have shot eight barbed shafts, and all of them have been buried in the flesh of warlike youths, but this mad dog I cannot hit.
He said, and from the nerve another shaft
Impatient sent at Hector; but it flew
Devious, and brave Gorgythion struck instead.
Him beautiful Castianira, brought
By Priam from AEsyma, nymph of form
Celestial, to the King of Ilium bore.
As in the garden, with the weight surcharged
Of its own fruit, and drench'd by vernal rains
The poppy falls oblique, so he his head
Hung languid, by his helmet's weight depress'd.
But Teucer discharged another arrow from the string against Hector, for his mind longed to strike him. Yet even then he missed, for Apollo warded off the shaft: but he struck in the breast, near the pap, Archeptolemus, the bold charioteer of Hector, rushing to battle: and he fell from his chariot, and his swift steeds sprang back. There his soul and strength were dissolved. But sad grief darkened the mind of Hector, on account of his charioteer. Then indeed he left him, although grieved for his companion, and ordered his brother Cebriones, being near, to take the reins of the steeds; but he was not disobedient, having heard him.
As he did so, Lord Hektor
sprang out of the glittering chariot
with a savage cry, picked up a stone, and ran
for Teukros in a fury to strike him down.
Out of his quiver the cool archer drew
one more keen arrow, fitting it to the string,
but even as he pulled it back Lord Hekter
cast the rough stone and caught him on the shoulder
just at the collarbone, that frail crossbeam
that separates the chest and throat. A tendon
snapped; the archer's arm went numb; he dropped
on one knee, and his bow fell.
Ajax neglected not to save his brother thus depress’d,
But came and sav’d him with his shield; and two more friends, address’d
To be his aid, took him to fleet: Mecistius, Echius’ son,
And gay Alastor. Teucer sigh’d, for all his service done.
Troy yet found grace before the Olympian sire,
He arm'd their hands, and fill'd their breasts with fire.
The Greeks repulsed, retreat behind their wall,
Or in the trench on heaps confusedly fall.
First of the foe, great Hector march'd along,
With terror clothed, and more than mortal strong.
As the bold hound, that gives the lion chase,
With beating bosom, and with eager pace,
Hangs on his haunch, or fastens on his heels,
Guards as he turns, and circles as he wheels;
Thus oft the Grecians turn'd, but still they flew;
Thus following, Hector still the hindmost slew.
When they had fled through the set stakes and trench and many Achaeans had been laid low at the hands of the Trojans, they halted at their ships, calling upon one another and praying every man instantly as they lifted up their hands to the gods; but Hector wheeled his horses this way and that, his eyes glaring like those of Gorgo or murderous Mars. Juno when she saw them had pity upon them, and at once said to Minerva,
Look, daughter of Zeus whose shield is thunder –
don't we care for them any longer? All our Argives
dying there in droves! This is our last chance.
They're filling out their fates to the last gasp,
hacked to pieces under a single man's assault.
This maniac, Hector – I cannot bear him any longer.
Look at the savage slaughter he has made!
Whom answer'd thus Pallas, caerulean-eyed.
Death twice over to this Trojan!
Let him be broken at the Argives' hands,
give up his breath in his own land and perish!
My father, now, is full of a black madness,
evil and perverse. All that I strive for
he brings to nothing; he will not remember
how many times I intervened to save
his son, worn out in trials set by Eurystheus.
How Herakles would cry to heaven! And Zeus
would send me out of heaven to be his shield.
Had I foreseen this day
that time he went down, bidden by Eurystheus,
between Death's narrow gates to bring from Erebos
the watchdog of the Lord of Undergloom,
he never would have left the gorge of Styx!
Now Zeus not only scorns me, he performs
what Thetis wills: she kissed his knees, she begged him
to give back honor to that stormer of towns,
But in time to come he'll call me
dear Grey Eyes again. Harness the team for us,
While I go in to get my battle-gear
in Zeus's hall. Then let me see
if Hektor in his flashing helm exults
when we appear on the precarious field,
or if a certain Trojan, fallen by the shipways,
gluts the dogs and birds with flesh and fat!
So counsell'd Pallas, nor the daughter dread
Of mighty Saturn, Juno, disapproved,
But busily and with dispatch prepared
The trappings of her coursers golden-rein'd.
Meantime, Minerva progeny of Jove,
On the adamantine floor of his abode
Let fall profuse her variegated robe,
Labor of her own hands. She first put on
The corslet of the cloud-assembler God,
Then arm'd her for the field of wo, complete.
Mounting the fiery chariot, next she seized
Her ponderous spear, huge, irresistible,
With which Jove's awful daughter levels ranks
Of heroes against whom her anger burns.
Juno with lifted lash urged on the steeds.
At their approach, spontaneous roar'd the wide-
Unfolding gates of heaven; the heavenly gates
Kept by the watchful Hours, to whom the charge
Of the Olympian summit appertains,
And of the boundless ether, back to roll,
And to replace the cloudy barrier dense.
Spurr'd through the portal flew the rapid steeds:
Which when the Eternal Father from the heights
Of Ida saw, kindling with instant ire
To golden-pinion'd Iris thus he spake.
Fly, Iris, turn them back, let them not come at me:
Our meetings – severally dispos’d – will nothing gracious be.
Beneath their o’erthrown chariot I’ll shiver their proud steeds,
Hurl down themselves, their wagon break, and for their stubborn deeds
In ten whole years they shall not heal the wounds I will impress
With horrid thunder, that my maid may know when to address
Arms ‘gainst her father. For my wife, she doth not so offend;
‘Tis but her use to interrupt whatever I intend.
Thus he said: but Iris, swift as the storm, hastened to bear the message. Down from the Idaean mountains she went to great Olympus: meeting them in the foremost gates of many-valleyed Olympus, she restrained them, and pronounced to them the message of Jove:
Where are you rushing now?
What is this madness blazing in your hearts?
Zeus forbids you to fight for Achaea's armies!
Here is Father's threat – he will fulfill it too:
he'll maim your racers for you,
right beneath their yokes, and you two goddesses,
he'll hurl you from your chariot, smash your car,
and not once in the course of ten slow wheeling years
will you heal the wounds his lightning bolt rips open!
So you, his gray-eyed girl may learn what it means
to fight against your Father. But with Hera, though,
he is not so outraged, so irate – it's always your way
to thwart his will whatever Zeus commands. You,
you insolent brazen bitch – you really dare
to shake that monstrous spear in Father's face?"
Thus indeed having said, swift-footed Iris departed. Then Juno addressed these words to Minerva:
O daughter of that god, whose arm can wield
The avenging bolt, and shake the dreadful shield
No more let beings of superior birth
Contend with Jove for this low race of earth;
Triumphant now, now miserably slain,
They breathe or perish as the fates ordain:
But Jove's high counsels full effect shall find;
And, ever constant, ever rule mankind.
Thus then having said, she turned back the solid-hoofed steeds. The Hours unyoked for them the fair-maned steeds, and bound them to the ambrosial mangers; but they tilted the chariots against the splendid walls. But they themselves sat, mingled with the other deities, on their golden couches, sad at heart.
Presently father Jove drove his chariot to Olympus, and entered the
assembly of gods. The mighty lord of the earthquake unyoked his
horses for him, set the car upon its stand, and threw a cloth over it.
Jove then sat down upon his golden throne and Olympus reeled
beneath him. Minerva and Juno sat alone, apart from Jove, and
neither spoke nor asked him questions, but Jove knew what they
meant, and said,
Juno and Pallas, wherefore sit ye sad?
Not through fatigue by glorious fight incurr'd
And slaughter of the Trojans whom ye hate.
Mark now the difference. Not the Gods combined
Should have constrain'd me back, till all my force,
Superior as it is, had fail'd, and all
My fortitude. But ye, ere ye beheld
The wonders of the field, trembling retired.
And ye did well – Hear what had else befallen.
My bolts had found you both, and ye had reach'd,
In your own chariot borne, the Olympian height,
Seat of the blest Immortals, never more.
Both goddesses let fall their chins upon their ivory breasts,
Set next to Jove, contriving still afflicted Troy’s unrests:
Pallas for anger could not speak; Saturnia, contrary,
Could not for anger hold her peace, but made this bold reply:
Fearsome as you are,
why take that tone with goddesses, my lord?
We are well aware how far from weak you are;
but we mourn still for the Akhaian spearmen
if they are now to meet hard fate and die.
As you command, we shall indeed
abstain from battle – merely, now and again,
dropping a word of counsel to the Argives,
that all may not be lost through your displeasure.
The goddess thus; and thus the god replies,
Who swells the clouds, and blackens all the skies:
To-morrow morning, Juno, if you choose to do so, you will see the son of Saturn destroying large numbers of the Argives, for fierce Hector shall not cease fighting till he has roused the son of Peleus when they are fighting in dire straits
a very narrow pass
at their ships’ sterns about the body of Patroclus. Like it or no, this is how it is decreed; for aught I care, you may go to the lowest depths beneath earth and sea, where Iapetus and Saturn dwell in lone Tartarus with neither ray of light nor breath of wind to cheer them. You may go on and on till you get there, and I shall not care one whit for your displeasure; you are the greatest vixen living.
none more impudent
you bitch unparalleled.
So he erupted
but the white-armed goddess Hera answered not a word . . .
Now down in the Ocean sank the fiery light of day,
drawing the dark night across the grain-giving earth.
For the men of Troy the day went down against their will
but not the Argives – what a blessing, how they prayed
for the nightfall coming on across their lines.
But illustrious Hector then formed a council of the Trojans, having led them apart from the ships, at the eddying river, in a clear space, where the place appeared free from dead bodies. But alighting to the ground from their horses, they listened to the speech which Hector, beloved of Jove, uttered. In his hand he held a spear of eleven cubits
and before him shone the golden point
The point was brass
of the spear, and a golden ring surrounded it. Leaning on this, he spoke winged words:
Trojans, Dardanians, and allies of Troy!
I hoped, this evening (every ship consumed,
And all the Grecians slain) to have return'd
To wind-swept Ilium. But the shades of night
Have intervened, and to the night they owe,
In chief, their whole fleet's safety and their own.
Now, therefore, as the night enjoins, all take
Needful refreshment. Your high-mettled steeds
Release, lay food before them, and in haste
Drive hither from the city fatted sheep
And oxen; bring ye from your houses bread,
Make speedy purchase of heart-cheering wine,
And gather fuel plenteous; that all night,
E'en till Aurora, daughter of the morn
Shall look abroad, we may with many fires
Illume the skies; lest even in the night,
Launching, they mount the billows and escape.
Beware that they depart not unannoy'd,
But, as he leaps on board, give each a wound
With shaft or spear, which he shall nurse at home.
So shall the nations fear us, and shall vex
With ruthless war Troy's gallant sons no more.
Next, let the heralds, ministers of Jove,
Loud notice issue that the boys well-grown,
And ancients silver-hair'd on the high towers
Built by the Gods, keep watch; on every hearth
In Troy, let those of the inferior sex
Make sprightly blaze, and place ye there a guard
Sufficient, lest in absence of the troops
An ambush enter, and surprise the town.
Act thus, ye dauntless Trojans; the advice
Is wholesome, and shall serve the present need,
And so much for the night; ye shall be told
The business of the morn when morn appears.
It is my prayer to Jove and to all heaven
(Not without hope) that I may hence expel
These dogs, whom Ilium's unpropitious fates
Have wafted hither in their sable barks.
But we will also watch this night, ourselves,
And, arming with the dawn, will at their ships
Give them brisk onset. Then shall it appear
If Diomede the brave shall me compel
Back to our walls, or I, his arms blood-stain'd,
Torn from his breathless body, bear away.
To-morrow, if he dare but to abide
My lance, he shall not want occasion meet
For show of valor. But much more I judge
That the next rising sun shall see him slain
With no few friends around him. Would to heaven!
I were as sure to 'scape the blight of age
And share their honors with the Gods above
As comes the morrow fraught with wo to Greece.
This was the speech of Hektor,
and cheers rang out from the Trojans after it.
They led from under the yokes their sweating teams,
tethering each beside his chariot,
then brought down from the city beeves and sheep
in all haste – brought down wine and bread as well
Full hecatombs lay burning on the shore:
The winds to heaven the curling vapours bore.
Ungrateful offering to the immortal powers!
Whose wrath hung heavy o'er the Trojan towers:
Nor Priam nor his sons obtain'd their grace;
Proud Troy they hated, and her guilty race.
But they, greatly elated, sat all night in the ranks of war, and many fires blazed for them. As when in heaven the stars appear very conspicuous around the lucid moon, when the aether is wont to be without a breeze, and all the pointed rocks and lofty summits and groves appear, but in heaven the immense aether is disclosed, and all the stars are seen,
and the shepherd's heart exults – so many fires burned
between the ships and the Xanthus' whirling rapids
set by the men of Troy, bright against their walls.
A thousand courts of guard kept fires, and every guard allow’d
Fifty stout men, by whom their horse ate oats and hard white corn,
And all did willfully expect the silver-throned morn.