And to him again made answer the wounded Eurypylus:
No longer, Zeus-born Patroclus, will there be any defence of the Achaeans, but they will fling themselves upon the black ships.For verily all they that aforetime were bravest, lie among the ships smitten by darts or wounded with spear-thrusts at the hands of the Trojans, whose strength ever waxeth. But me do thou succour, and lead me to my black ship, and cut the arrow from my thigh, and wash the black blood from itwith warm water, and sprinkle thereon kindly simples of healing power, whereof men say that thou hast learned from Achilles, whom Cheiron taught, the most righteous of the Centaurs. For the leeches, Podaleirius and Machaon, the one methinks lieth wounded amid the huts,having need himself of a goodly leech, and the other in the plain abideth the sharp battle of the Trojans.And to him again spake the valiant son of Menoetius:
How may these things be? What shall we do, warrior Eurypylus? I am on my way to declare to wise-hearted Achilles a messagewherewith Nestor of Gerenia, warder of the Achaeans, charged me. Nay, but even so will I not neglect thee that art in grievous plight.He spake and clasped the shepherd of the host beneath the breast, and led him to his hut, and his squire when he saw them strewed upon the ground hides of oxen. There Patroclus made him lie at length,and with a knife cut from his thigh the sharp-piercing arrow, and from the wound washed the black blood with warm water, and upon it cast a bitter root, when he had rubbed it between his hands, a root that slayeth pain, which stayed all his pangs; and the wound waxed dry, and the blood ceased.
So then amid the huts the valiant son of Menoetius was tending the wounded Eurypylus, but the others, Argives and Trojans, fought on in throngs, nor were the ditch of the Danaans and their wide wall above long to protect them,the wall that they had builded as a defence for their ships and had drawn a trench about it—yet they gave not glorious hecatombs to the gods—that it might hold within its bounds their swift ships and abundant spoil, and keep all safe. Howbeit against the will of the immortal gods was it builded; wherefore for no long time did it abide unbroken.As long as Hector yet lived, and Achilles yet cherished his wrath, and the city of king Priam was unsacked, even so long the great wall of the Achaeans likewise abode unbroken. But when all the bravest of the Trojans had died and many of the Argives—some were slain and some were left—and the city of Priam was sacked in the tenth year, and the Argives had gone back in their ships to their dear native land, then verily did Poseidon and Apollo take counsel to sweep away the wall, bringing against it the might of all the rivers that flow forth from the mountains of Ida to the sea—Rhesus and Heptaporus and Caresus and Rhodius, and Granicus and Aesepus, and goodly Scamander, and Simois, by the banks whereof many shields of bull's-hide and many helms fell in the dust, and the race of men half-divine—of all these did Phoebus Apollo turn the mouths together,and for nine days' space he drave their flood against the wall; and Zeus rained ever continually, that the sooner he might whelm the wall in the salt sea. And the Shaker of Earth, bearing his trident in his hands, was himself the leader, and swept forth upon the waves all the foundations of beams and stones, that the Achaeans had laid with toil,and made all smooth along the strong stream of the Hellespont, and again covered the great beach with sand, when he had swept away the wall; and the rivers he turned back to flow in the channel, where aforetime they had been wont to pour their fair streams of water.
Thus were Poseidon and Apollo to do in the aftertime;but then war and the din of war blazed about the well-builded wall, and the beams of the towers rang, as they were smitten; and the Argives, conquered by the scourge of Zeus, were penned by their hollow ships, and held in check in terror of Hector, the mighty deviser of rout,while he as aforetime fought like unto a whirlwind. And as when, among hounds and huntsmen, a wild boar or a lion wheeleth about, exulting in his strength, and these array them in ranks in fashion like a wall, and stand against him, and hurl from their hands javelins thick and fast;yet his valiant heart feareth not nor anywise quaileth, though his valour is his bane; and often he wheeleth him about and maketh trial of the ranks of men, and wheresoever he chargeth, there the ranks of men give way: even on this wise Hector went ever through the throng and besought his comrades,urging them to cross the trench. Howbeit his swift-footed horses dared not, but loudly they neighed, standing on the sheer brink, for the trench affrighted them, so wide was it, easy neither to o'erleap at a bound nor to drive across; for over-hanging banks stood all about its circuit on this side and on that,and at the top it was set with sharp stakes that the sons of the Achaeans had planted, close together and great, a defence against foemen. Not lightly might a horse, tugging at the wheeled car, get within that circuit; but the footmen were eager, if thy might achieve it.Then verily Polydamas drew nigh to Hector, and spake, saying:
Hector, and ye other leaders of the Trojans and allies, it is but folly that we seek to drive across the trench our swift horses; hard in sooth is it to cross, for sharp stakes are set in it, and close anigh them is the wall of the Achaeans.There is it no wise possible for charioteers to descend and fight; for the space is narrow, and then methinks shall we suffer hurt. For if Zeus, that thundereth on high, is utterly to crush our foes in his wrath, and is minded to give aid unto the Trojans, there verily were I too fain that this might forthwith come to pass, that the Achaeans should perish here far from Argos, and have no name;but if they turn upon us and we be driven back from the ships and become entangled in the digged ditch, then methinks shall not one man of us return back to the city from before the Achaeans when they rally, even to bear the tidings.But come, even as I shall bid, let us all obey. As for the horses, let the squires hold them back by the trench, but let us on foot, arrayed in our armour, follow all in one throng after Hector; and the Achaeans will not withstand us, if so be the bonds of destruction are made fast upon them.
So spake Polydamas, and his prudent counsel was well pleasing unto Hector, and forthwith he leapt in his armour from his chariot to the ground. Nor did the other Trojans remain gathered together upon their chariots, but they all leapt forth when they beheld goodly Hector afoot. Then on his own charioteer each man laid command to hold in hishorses well and orderly there at the trench, but the men divided and arrayed themselves, and marshalled in five companies they followed after the leaders. Some went with Hector and peerless Polydamas,even they that were most in number and bravest, and that were most fain to break through the wall and fight by the hollow ships, and with them followed Cebriones as the third; for by his chariot had Hector left another man, weaker than Cebriones. The second company was led by Paris and Alcathous and Agenor, and the third by Helenus and godlike Deïphobus—sons twain of Priam; and a third was with them, the warrior Asius,—Asius son of Hyrtacus, whom his horses tawny and great had borne from Arisbe, from the river Selleïs. And of the fourth company the valiant son of Anchises was leader, even Aeneas, and with him were Antenor's two sons,Archelochus and Acamas, well skilled in all manner of fighting. And Sarpedon led the glorious allies, and he chose as his comrades Glaucus and warlike Asteropaeus, for these seemed to him to be the bravest beyond all others after his own self, but he was pre-eminent even amid all.These then when they had fenced one another with their well-wrought shields of bull's-hide, made straight for the Danaans, full eagerly, nor deemed they that they would any more be stayed, but would fall upon the black ships.
Then the rest of the Trojans and their far-famed allies obeyed the counsel of blameless Polydamas,but Asius, son of Hyrtacus, leader of men, was not minded to leave there his horses and his squire the charioteer, but chariot and all he drew nigh to the swift ships, fool that he was! for he was not to escape the evil fates, and return, glorying in horses and chariot,back from the ships to windy Ilios. Nay, ere that might be, fate, of evil name, enfolded him, by the spear of Idomeneus, the lordly son of Deucalion. For he made for the left wing of the ships, even where the Achaeans were wont to return from the plain with horses and chariots:there drave he through his horses and car, and at the gate he found not the doors shut nor the long bar drawn, but men were holding them flung wide open, if so be they might save any of their comrades fleeing from out the battle toward the ships. Thither of set purpose drave he his horses, and after him followed his men with shrill cries,for they deemed that they would no more be stayed of the Achaeans, but would fall upon the black ships—fools that they were! for at the gate they found two warriors most valiant, high-hearted sons of Lapith spearmen, the one stalwart Polypoetes, son of Peirithous,and the other Leonteus, peer of Ares the bane of men. These twain before the high gate stood firm even as oaks of lofty crest among the mountains, that ever abide the wind and rain day by day, firm fixed with roots great and long;even so these twain, trusting in the might of their arms, abode the oncoming of great Asius, and fled not. But their foes came straight against the well-built wall, lifting on high their shields of dry bull's-hide with loud shouting, round about king Asius, and Iamenus, and Orestes,and Adamas, son of Asius, and Thoön and Oenomaus. And the Lapiths for a time from within the wall had been rousing the well-greaved Achaeans to fight in defence of the ships; but when they saw the Trojans rushing upon the wall, while the Danaans with loud cries turned in flight,forth rushed the twain and fought in front of the gate like wild boars that amid the mountains abide the tumultuous throng of men and dogs that cometh against them, and charging from either side they crush the trees about them, cutting them at the root, and therefrom ariseth a clatter of tusks,till one smite them and take their life away: even so clattered the bright bronze about the breasts of the twain, as they were smitten with faces toward the foe; for . right hardily they fought, trusting in the host above them and in their own might.
For the men above kept hurling stones from the well-built towers,in defence of their own lives and of the huts and of the swift-faring ships. And like snow-flakes the stones fell ever earthward, like flakes that a blustering wind, as it driveth the shadowy clouds, sheddeth thick and fast upon the bounteous earth; even so flowed the missiles from the hands of these, of Achaeansalike and Trojans; and helms rang harshly and bossed shields, as they were smitten with great stones. Then verily Asius, son of Hyrtacus, uttered a groan, and smote both his thighs, and in sore indignation he spake, saying:
Father Zeus, of a surety thou too then art utterly a lover of lies,for I deemed not that the Achaean warriors would stay our might and our invincible hands. But they like wasps of nimble[*](557.1) waist, or bees that have made their nest in a rugged path, and leave not their hollow home, but abide,and in defence of their young ward off hunter folk; even so these men, though they be but two, are not minded to give ground from the gate, till they either slay or be slain.So spake he, but with these words he moved not the mind of Zeus, for it was to Hector that Zeus willed to vouchsafe glory. But others were fighting in battle about the other gates, and hard were it for me, as though I were a god, to tell the tale of all these things, for everywhere about the wall of stone rose the wondrous-blazing fire; for the Argives, albeit in sore distress, defended their ships perforce; and the gods were grieved at heart,all that were helpers of the Danaans in battle. And the Lapiths clashed in war and strife. Then the son of Peirithous, mighty Polypoetes, cast with his spear and smote Damasus through the helmet with cheek pieces of bronze;and the bronze helm stayed not the spear, but the point of bronze brake clean through the bone, and all the brain was spattered about within; so stayed he him in his fury. And thereafter he slew Pylon and Ormenus. And Leonteus, scion of Ares, smote Hippomachus, son of Antimachus, with a cast of his spear, striking him upon the girdle.And again he drew from its sheath his sharp sword and darting upon him through the throng smote Antiphates first in close fight, so that he was hurled backward upon the ground; and thereafter Menon, and Iamenus, and Orestes, all of these one after the other he brought down to the bounteous earth.
While they were stripping from these their shining arms, meanwhile the youths that followed with Polydamas and Hector, even they that were most in number and bravest, and that most were fain to break through the wall and burn the ships with fire, these still tarried in doubt, as they stood by the trench.For a bird had come upon them, as they were eager to cross over, an eagle of lofty flight, skirting the host on the left, and in its talons it bore a blood-red, monstrous snake, still alive as if struggling, nor was it yet forgetful of combat, it writhed backward, and smote him that held it on the breast beside the neck,till the eagle, stung with pain, cast it from him to the ground, and let it fall in the midst of the throng, and himself with a loud cry sped away down the blasts of the wind. And the Trojans shuddered when they saw the writhing snake lying in the midst of them, a portent of Zeus that beareth the aegis.Then verily Polydamas drew near, and spake to bold Hector:
Hector, ever dost thou rebuke me in the gatherings of the folk, though I give good counsel, since it were indeed unseemly that a man of the people should speak contrariwise to thee, be it in council or in war, but he should ever increase thy might;yet now will I speak even as seemeth to me to be best. Let us not go forward to fight with the Danaans for the ships. For thus, methinks, will the issue be, seeing that in sooth this bird has come upon the Trojans, as they were eager to cross over, an eagle of lofty flight, skirting the host on the left,bearing in his talons a blood-red, monstrous snake, still living, yet straightway let it fall before he reached his own nest, neither finished he his course, to bring and give it to his little ones—even so shall we, though we break the gates and the wall of the Achaeans by our great might, and the Achaeans give way,come back over the selfsame road from th ships in disarray; for many of the Trojans shall we leave behind, whom th Achaeans shall slay with the bronze in defense of the ships. On this wise would a soothsayer interpret, one that in his mind had clear knowledge of omens, and to whom the folk gave ear.
Then with an angry glance from beneath his brows spake to him Hector of the flashing helm:
Polydamas, this that thou sayest is no longer to my pleasure; yea, thou knowest how to devise better words than these. But if thou verily speakest thus in earnest, then of a surety have the gods themselves destroyed thy wits,seeing thou biddest me forget the counsels of loud-thundering Zeus, that himself promised me and bowed his head thereto. But thou biddest us be obedient to birds long of wing, that I regard not, nor take thought thereof, whether they fare to the right, toward the Dawn and the sun,or to the left toward the murky darkness. nay, for us, let us be obedient to the counsel of great Zeus, that is king over all mortals and immortals. One omen is best, to fight for one's country. Wherefore dost thou fear war and battle?For if the rest of us be slain one and all at the ships of the Argives, yet is there no fear that thou shouldest perish,—for thy heart is—not staunch in fight nor warlike. Howbeit, if thou shalt hold aloof from battle, or shalt beguile with thy words an other, and turn him from war,forthwith smitten by my spear shalt thou lose thy life.So spake he and led the way; and they followed after with a wondrous din; and thereat Zeus, that hurleth the thunderbolt, roused from the mountains of Ida a blast of wind, that bare the dust straight against the ships and he bewildered the mind of the Achaeans, but vouchsafed glory to the Trojans and to Hector. Trusting therefore in his portents and in their might they sought to break the great wall of the Achaeans. The pinnets[*](563.1) of the fortifications they dragged down and overthrew the battlements, and pried out the supporting beams that the Achaeans had setfirst in the earth as buttresses for the wall. These they sought to drag out, and hoped to break the wall of the Achaeans. Howbeit not even now did the Danaans give ground from the path, but closed up the battlements with bull's-hides, and therefrom cast at the foemen, as they came up against the wall. And the two Aiantes ranged everywhere along the walls urging men on, and arousing the might of the Achaeans. One man with gentle words, another with harsh would they chide, whomsoever they saw giving ground utterly from the fight:
Friends, whoso is pre-eminent among the Danaans, whoso holds a middle place,or whoso is lesser, for in nowise are all men equal in war, now is there a work for all, and this, I ween, ye know even of yourselves. Let no man turn him back to the ships now that he has heard one that cheers him on;[*](565.1) nay, press ye forward, and urge ye one the other,in hope that Olympian Zeus, lord of the lightning, may grant us to thrust back the assault and drive our foes to the city.
So shouted forth the twain, and aroused the battle of the Achaeans. And as flakes of snow fall thick on a winter's day, when Zeus, the counsellor,bestirreth him to snow, shewing forth to men these arrows of his, and he lulleth the winds and sheddeth the flakes continually, until he hath covered the peaks of the lofty mountains and the high headlands, and the grassy plains, and the rich tillage of men; aye, and over the harbours and shores of the grey sea is the snow strewn,albeit the wave as it beateth against it keepeth it off, but all things beside are wrapped therein, when the storm of Zeus driveth it on: even so from both sides their stones flew thick, some upon the Trojans, and some from the Trojans upon the Achaeans, as they cast at one another; and over all the wall the din arose. Yet not even then would the Trojans and glorious Hector have broken the gates of the wall and the long bar, had not Zeus the counsellor roused his own son, Sarpedon, against the Argives, as a lion against sleek kine. Forthwith he held before him his shield that was well balanced upon every side,a fair shield of hammered bronze,—that the bronze-smith had hammered out, and had stitched the many bull's-hides within with stitches[*](565.2) of gold that ran all about its circuit. This he held before him, and brandished two spears, and so went his way like a mountain-nurtured lionthat hath long lacked meat, and his proud spirit biddeth him go even into the close-built fold to make an attack upon the flocks. For even though he find thereby the herdsmen with dogs and spears keeping watch over the sheep, yet is he not minded to be driven from the steading ere he maketh essay;but either he leapeth amid the flock and seizeth one, or is himself smitten as a foremost champion by a javelin from a swift hand: even so did his spirit then urge godlike Sarpedon to rush upon the wall, and break-down the battlements. Straightway then he spake to Glaucus, son of Hippolochus:
Glaucus, wherefore is it that we twain are held in honour above all with seats, and messes, and full cups in Lycia, and all men gaze upon us as on gods? Aye, and we possess a great demesne by the banks of Xanthus, a fair tract of orchard and of wheat-bearing plough-land.Therefore now it behoveth us to take our stand amid the foremost Lycians, and confront the blazing battle that many a one of the mail-clad Lycians may say:Verily no inglorious men be these that rule in Lycia, even our kings, they that eat fat sheepand drink choice wine, honey-sweet: nay, but their might too is goodly, seeing they fight amid the foremost Lycians. Ah friend, if once escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal, neither should I fight myself amid the foremost,nor should I send thee into battle where men win glory; but now—for in any case fates of death beset us, fates past counting, which no mortal may escape or avoid—now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to another, or another to us.
So spake he, and Glaucus turned not aside,neither disobeyed him, but the twain went straight forward, leading the great host of the Lycians. At sight of them, Menestheus, son of Peteos, shuddered, for it was to his part of the wall that they came, bearing with them ruin; and he looked in fear along the wall of the Achaeans, in hope that he might see one of the leaders who would ward off bane from his comrades;and he marked the Aiantes twain, insatiate in war, standing there, and Teucer that was newly come from his hut, close at hand; howbeit it was no wise possible for him to shout so as to be heard of them, so great a din was there, and the noise went up to heaven of smitten shields and helms with crests of horse-hair,and of the gates, for all had been closed, and before them stood the foe, and sought to break them by force, and enter in. Forthwith then to Aias he sent the herald Thoötes:
Go, goodly Thoötes, run thou, and call Aias, or rather the twain, for that were far best of all,seeing that here will utter ruin soon be wrought. Hard upon us here[*](569.1) press the leaders of the Lycians, who of old have ever been fierce in mighty conflicts. But if with them too yonder the toil of war and strife have arisen, yet at least let valiant Aias, son of Telamon, come alone,and let Teucer, that is well skilled with the bow, follow with him.So spake he, and the herald failed not to hearken as he heard, but set him to run beside the wall of the brazen-coated Achaeans, and he came and stood by the Aiantes, and straightway said:
Ye Aiantes twain, leaders of the brazen-coated Achaeans,the son of Peteos, nurtured of Zeus, biddeth you go thither, that, though it be but for a little space, ye may confront the toil of war—both of you, if so may be, for that were far best Of all, seeing that yonder will utter ruin soon be wrought. Hard upon them there press the leaders of the Lycians, who of oldhave ever been fierce in mighty conflicts. But if here too war and strife have arisen, yet at least let valiant Aias, son of Telamon, go alone, and let Teucer, that is well skilled with the bow, follow with him.
So spake he, and great Telamonian Aias failed not to hearken.Forthwith he spake winged words to the son of Oïleus:
Aias, do ye twain, thou and strong Lycomedes, stand fast here and urge on the Danaans to fight amain, but I will go thither, and confront the war, and quickly will I come again, when to the full I have borne them aid.So saying Telamonian Aias departed, and with him went Teucer, his own brother, begotten of one father, and with them Pandion bare the curved bow of Teucer. Now when, as they passed along within the wall, they reached the post of great-souled Menestheus—and to men hard pressed they came—the foe were mounting upon the battlements like a dark whirlwind, even the mighty leaders and rulers of the Lycians; and they clashed together in fight, and the battle-cry arose. Then Aias, son of Telamon, was first to slay his man, even great-souled Epicles, comrade of Sarpedon,for he smote him with a huge jagged rock, that lay the topmost of all within the wall by the battlements. Not easily with both hands could a man, such as mortals now are, hold it, were he never so young and strong, but Aias lifted it on high and hurled it, and he shattered the four-horned helmet, and crushed togetherall the bones of the head of Epicles; and he fell like a diver from the high wall, and his spirit left his bones. And Teucer smote Glaucus, the stalwart son of Hippolochus, as he rushed upon them, with an arrow from the high wall, where he saw his arm uncovered; and he stayed him from fighting.Back from the wall he leapt secretly, that no man of the Achaeans might mark that he had been smitten, and vaunt over him boastfully. But over Sarpedon came grief at Glaucus' departing, so soon as he was ware thereof, yet even so forgat he not to fight, but smote with a thrust of his spear Alcmaon, son of Thestor, with sure aim,and again drew forth the spear. And Alcmaon, following the spear, fell headlong, and about him rang his armour, dight with bronze. But Sarpedon with strong hands caught hold of the battlement and tugged, and the whole length of it gave way, and the wall above was laid bare, and he made a path for many.
But against him came Aias and Teucer at the one moment: Teucer smote him with an arrow on the gleaming baldric of his sheltering shield about his breast, but Zeus warded off the fates from his own son that he should not be laid low at the ships' sterns; and Aias leapt upon him and thrust against his shield, but the spear-pointpassed not through, howbeit he made him reel in his onset. So he gave ground a little space from the battlement, yet withdrew not wholly, for his spirit hoped to win him glory. And he wheeled about, and called to the godlike Lycians:
Ye Lycians, wherefore are ye thus slack in furious valour?Hard is it for me, how mighty so ever I be, alone to breach the wall, and make a path to the ships. Nay, have at them with me; the more men the better work.So spake he; and they, seized with fear of the rebuke of their king, pressed on the more around about their counsellor and king,and the Argives over against them made strong their battalions within the wall; and before them was set a mighty work. For neither could the mighty Lycians break the wall of the Danaans, and make a path to the ships, nor ever could the Danaan spearmen thrust back the Lyciansfrom the walI, when once they had drawn nigh thereto. But as two men with measuring-rods in hand strive about the landmark-stones in a common field, and in a narrow space contend each for his equal share; even so did the battlements hold these apart, and over themthey smote the bull's-hide bucklers about one another's breasts, the round shields and fluttering targets. And many were wounded in the flesh by thrusts of the pitiless bronze, both whensoever any turned and his back was left bare, as they fought, and many clean through the very shield.Yea, everywhere the walls and battlements were spattered with blood of men from both sides, from Trojans and Achaeams alike. Howbeit even so they could not put the Achaeans to rout, but they held their ground, as a careful woman that laboureth with her hands at spinning, holdeth the balance and raiseth the weight and the wool in either scale, making them equal,that she may win a meagre wage for her children; so evenly was strained their war and battle, until Zeus vouchsafed the glory of victory to Hector, son of Priam, that was first to leap within the wall of the Achaeans he uttered a piercing shout, calling aloud to the Trojans:
Rouse you horse-taming Trojans, break the wall of the Argives, and fling among the ships wondrous-blazing fire.
So spake he, urging them on, and they all heard with their ears, and rushed straight upon the wall in one mass, and with sharp spears in their hands mounted upon the pinnets.And Hector grasped and bore a stone that lay before the gate, thick at the base, but sharp at the point; not easily might two men, the mightiest of the folk, have upheaved it from the ground upon a wain—men, such as mortals now are—yet lightly did he wield it even alone;and the son of crooked-counselling Cronos made it light for him. And as when a shepherd easily beareth the fleece of a ram, taking it in one hand, and but little doth the weight thereof burden him; even so Hector lifted up the stone and bare it straight against the doors that guarded the close and strongly fitted gates—double gates they were, and high, and two cross bars held them within, and a single bolt fastened them. He came and stood hard by, and planting himself smote them full in the midst, setting his feet well apart that his cast might lack no strength; and he brake off both the hinges, and the stone fell within by its own weight,and loudly groaned the gates on either side, nor did the bars hold fast, but the doors were dashed apart this way and that beneath the onrush of the stone. And glorious Hector leapt within, his face like sudden night; and he shone in terrible bronze wherewith his body was clothed about, and in his handshe held two spears. None that met him could have held him back, none save the gods, when once he leapt within the gates; and his two eyes blazed with fire. And he wheeled him about in the throng, and called to the Trojans to climb over the wall; and they hearkened to his urging. Forthwith some clomb over the wall, and others poured inby the strong-built gate, and the Danaans were driven in rout among the hollow ships, and a ceaseless din arose.
Now Zeus, when he had brought the Trojans and Hector to the ships, left the combatants there to have toil and woe unceasingly, but himself turned away his bright eyes, and looked afar, upon the land of the Thracian horsemen,and of the Mysians that fight in close combat, and of the lordly Hippemolgi that drink the milk of mares, and of the Abii, the most righteous of men. To Troy he no longer in any wise turned his bright eyes, for he deemed not in his heart that any of the immortals would draw nigh to aid either Trojans or Danaans. But the lord, the Shaker of Earth, kept no blind watch, for he sat marvelling at the war and the battle, high on the topmost peak of wooded Samothrace, for from thence all Ida was plain to see; and plain to see were the city of Priam, and the ships of the Achaeans.There he sat, being come forth from the sea, and he had pity on the Achaeans that they were overcome by the Trojans, and against Zeus was he mightily wroth. Forthwith then he went down from the rugged mount, striding forth with swift footsteps, and the high mountains trembled and the woodland beneath the immortal feet of Poseidon as he went.Thrice he strode in his course, and with the fourth stride he reached his goal, even Aegae, where was his famous palace builded in the depths of the mere, golden and gleaming, imperishable for ever. Thither came he, and let harness beneath his car his two bronze hooved horses, swift of flight, with flowing manes of gold;and with gold he clad himself about his body, and grasped the well-wrought whip of gold, and stepped upon his car, and set out to drive over the waves. Then gambolled the sea-beasts beneath him on every side from out the deeps, for well they knew their lord, and in gladness the sea parted before him;right swiftly sped they on, and the axle of bronze was not wetted beneath; and unto the ships of the Achaeans did the prancing steeds bear their lord.
There is a wide cavern in the depths of the deep mere, midway between Tenedos and rugged Imbros. There Poseidon,the Shaker of Earth, stayed his horses,and loosed them from the car, and cast before them food ambrosial to graze upon, and about their feet he put hobbles of gold, neither to be broken nor loosed, that they might abide fast where they were against the return of their lord; and himself he went to the host of the Achaeans. But the Trojans, all in one body, like flame or tempest-blast were following furiously afterHector, son of Priam, with loud shouts and cries, and they deemed that they would take the ships of the Achaeans, and slay thereby all the bravest. Howbeit Poseidon, the Enfolder and Shaker of Earth, set him to urge on the Argives, when he had come forth from the deep sea,in the likeness of Calchas, both in form and untiring voice. To the two Aiantes spake he first, that were of themselves full eager:
Ye Aiantes twain, ye two shall save the host of the Achaeans, if ye are mindful of your might, and think not of chill rout. Not otherwhere do I dread the invincible handsof the Trojans that have climbed over the great wall in their multitude, for the well-greaved Achaeans will hold back all; nay it is here that I have wondrous dread lest some evil befall us, here where yon madman is leading on like a flame of fire, even Hector, that boasts him to be a son of mighty Zeus.But in the hearts of you twain may some god put it, here to stand firm yourselves, and to bid others do the like; so might ye drive him back from the swift-faring ships, despite his eagerness, aye, even though the Olympian himself be urging him on.
Therewith the Enfolder and Shaker of Earthsmote the twain with his staff, and filled them with valorous strength and made their limbs light, their feet and their hands above. And himself, even as a hawk, swift of flight, speedeth forth to fly, and poising himself aloft above a high sheer rock, darteth over the plain to chase some other bird;even so from them sped Poseidon, the Shaker of Earth. And of the twain swift Aias, son of Oïleus, was first to mark the god, and forthwith spake to Aias, son of Telamon:
Aias, seeing it is one of the gods who hold Olympus that in the likeness of the seer biddeth the two of us fight beside the ships—not Calchas is he, the prophet, and reader of omens, for easily did I know the tokens behind him of feet and of legs as he went from us; and plain to be known are the gods —lo, mine own heart also within my breast is the more eager to war and do battle,and my feet beneath and my hands above are full fain.Then in answer spake to him Telamonian Aias:
Even so too mine own hands invincible are fain now to grasp the spear, and my might is roused, and both my feet are swift beneath me; and I am eager to meet even in single fightHector, Priam's son, that rageth incessantly.
On this wise spake they one to the other, rejoicing in the fury of fight which the god put in their hearts; and meanwhile the Enfolder of Earth roused the Achaeans that were in the rear beside the swift ships, and were refreshing their hearts.Their limbs were loosed by their grievous toil and therewithal sorrow waxed in their hearts, as they beheld the Trojans that had climbed over the great wall in their multitude. Aye, as they looked upon these they let tears fall from beneath their brows, for they deemed not that they should escape from ruin. But the Shaker of Earth,lightly passing among them, aroused their strong battalions. To Teucer first he came and to Leïtus, to bid them on, and to the warrior Peneleos, and Thoas and Deïpyrus, and Meriones and Antilochus, masters of the war-cry; to these he spake, spurring them on with winged words:
Shame, ye Argives, mere striplings! It was in your fighting that I trusted for the saving of our ships; but if ye are to flinch from grievous war, then of a surety hath the day now dawned for us to be vanquished beneath the Trojans. Out upon it! Verily a great marvel is this that mine eyes behold,a dread thing that I deemed should never be brought to pass: the Trojans are making way against our ships, they that heretofore were like panic-stricken hinds that in the woodland become the prey of jackals and pards and wolves, as they wander vainly in their cowardice, nor is there any fight in them.Even so the Trojans aforetime had never the heart to abide and face the might and the hands of the Achaeans, no not for a moment. But lo, now far from the city they are fighting at the hollow ships because of the baseness of our leader and the slackness of the folk, that, being at strife with him, have no heart to defendthe swift-faring ships, but are slain in the midst of them. But if in very truth the warrior son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, is the cause of all, for that he wrought dishonour on the swift-footed son of Peleus, yet may we in no wise prove slack in war.Nay, let us atone for the fault with speed: the hearts of good men admit of atonement.[*](11.1) But it is no longer well that ye are slack in furious valour, all ye that are the best men in the host. Myself I would not quarrel with one that was slack in war, so he were but a sorry wight, but with you I am exceeding wroth at heart.Ye weaklings, soon ye shall cause yet greater evil by this slackness. Nay, take in your hearts, each man of you, shame and indignation; for in good sooth mighty is the conflict that has arisen. Hector, good at the war-cry, is fighting at the ships, strong in his might, and hath broken the gates and the long bar.
Thus did the Earth-enfolder arouse the Achaeans with his word of command, and round about the twain Aiantes their battalions took their stand, so strong in might, that not Ares might have entered in and made light of them, nor yet Athene, the rouser of hosts; for they that were the chosen bravest abode the onset of the Trojans and goodly Hector,fencing spear with spear, and shield with serried[*](13.1) shield; buckler pressed on buckler, helm on helm, and man on man; and the horse-hair crests on the bright helmet-ridges touched each other, as the men moved their heads, in such close array stood they one by another, and spears in stout hands overlapped[*](13.2) each other, as they were brandished,and their minds swerved not, but they were fain to fight. Then the Trojans drave forward in close throng and Hector led them, pressing ever forward, like a boulder from a cliff that a river swollen by winter rains thrusteth from the brow of a hill, when it has burst with its wondrous flood the foundations of the ruthless stone;high aloft it leapeth, as it flies, and the woods resound beneath it, and it speedeth on its course and is not stayed until it reacheth the level plain, but then it rolleth no more for all its eagerness; even so Hector for a time threatened lightly to make his way even to the sea through the huts and ships of the Achaeans,slaying as he went, but when he encountered the close-set battalions, then was he stayed, as he drew close against them. And the sons of the Achaeans faced him, thrusting with swords and two-edged spears, and drave him back from them, so that he gave ground and was made to reel. Then he uttered a piercing shout, calling aloud to the Trojans:
Ye Trojans and Lycians and Dardanians that fight in close combat, stand ye fast. No long space shall the Achaeans hold me back, for all they have arrayed themselves in fashion like a wall; nay, methinks, they will give ground before my spear, if verily the highest of gods hath urged me on, the loud-thundering lord of Hera.
So saying, he aroused the strength and spirit of every man. Then among them with high heart strode Deïphobus, son of Priam, and before him he held his shield that was well-balanced upon every side, stepping forward lightly on his feet and advancing under cover of his shield. And Meriones aimed at him with his bright spear,and cast, and missed not, but smote the shield of bull's hide, that was well balanced upon every side, yet drave not in any wise therethrough; nay, well ere that might be, the long spear-shaft was broken in the socket; and Deïphobus held from him the shield of bull's hide, and his heart was seized with fearof the spear of wise-hearted Meriones; but that warrior shrank back into the throng of his comrades, and waxed wondrous wroth both for the loss of victory and for the spear which he had shattered. And he set out to go along the huts and ships of the Achaeans to fetch him a long spear that he had left in his hut. But the rest fought on, and a cry unquenchable arose.And Teucer, son of Telamon, was first to slay his man, even the spearman Imbrius, the son of Mentor, rich in horses. He dwelt in Pedaeum before the sons of the Achaeans came, and had to wife a daughter of Priam that was born out of wedlock, even Medesicaste; but when the curved ships of the Danaans camehe returned back to Ilios and was pre-eminent among the Trojans, and he dwelt in the house of Priam, who held him in like honour with his own children. Him did the son of Telamon smite beneath the ear with a thrust of his long spear, and again drew forth the spear; and he fell like an ash-tree that, on the summit of a mountain that is seen from afar on every side,is cut down by the bronze, and bringeth its tender leafage to the ground; even so fell he, and about him rang his armour dight with bronze. And Teucer rushed forth eager to strip from him his armour, but Hector, even as he rushed, cast at him with his bright spear. Howbeit Teucer, looking steadily at him, avoided the spear of bronze by a little,but Hector smote Amphimachus, son of Cteatus, the son of Actor, in the breast with his spear as he was coming into the battle; and he fell with a thud, and upon him his armour clanged. Then Hector rushed forth to tear from the head of great-hearted Amphimachus the helm that was fitted to his temples,but Aias lunged with his bright spear at Hector as he rushed, yet in no wise reached he his flesh, for he was all clad in dread bronze; but he smote the boss of his shield, and thrust him back with mighty strength, so that he gave ground backward from the two corpses, and the Achaeans drew them off.
Amphimachus then did Stichius and goodly Menestheus, leaders of the Athenians, carry to the host of the Achaeans, and Imbrius the twain Aiantes bare away, their hearts fierce with furious valour. And as when two lions that have snatched away a goat from sharp-toothed hounds, bear it through the thick brush,holding it in their jaws high above the ground, even so the twain warrior Aiantes held Imbrius on high, and stripped him of his armour. And the head did the son of Oïleus cut from the tender neck, being wroth for the slaying of Amphimachus, and with a swing he sent it rolling through the throng like a ball;and it fell in the dust before the feet of Hector. Then verily Poseidon waxed mightily wroth at heart when his son's son fell in the dread conflict, and he went his way along the huts and ships of the Achaeans to arouse the Danaans; but for the Trojans was he fashioning woes.And there met him Idomeneus, famed for his spear, on his way from a comrade that he had but now found coming from the battle smitten in the knee with the sharp bronze. Him his comrades bare forth, but Idomeneus had given charge to the leeches, and was going to his hut, for he was still fain to confront the battle;and the lord, the Shaker of Earth, spake to him, likening his voice to that of Andraemon's son Thoas, that in all Pleuron and steep Calydon was lord over the Aetolians, and was honoured of the folk even as a god:
Idomeneus, thou counsellor of the Cretans, where now I pray thee,are the threats gone, wherewith the sons of the Achaeans threatened the Trojans?And to him Idomeneus, leader of the Cretans, made answer:
O Thoas, there is no man now at fault, so far as I wot thereof; for we are all skilled in war. Neither is any man holden of craven error,nor doth any through dread withdraw him from evil war, but even thus, I ween, must it be the good pleasure of the son of Cronos, supreme in might, that the Achaeans should perish here far from Argos, and have no name. But, Thoas, seeing that aforetime thou wast ever staunch in fight, and dost also urge on another, wheresoever thou seest one shrinking from fight,therefore now cease thou not, but call to every man.