Perseus:bib:oclc,24965574, Ovid. Metamorphoses. Brookes More. Boston. Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.

  1. Sadly his father, Priam, mourned for him,
  2. not knowing that young Aesacus had assumed
  3. wings on his shoulders, and was yet alive.
  4. Then also Hector with his brothers made
  5. complete but unavailing sacrifice,
  6. upon a tomb which bore his carved name.
  7. Paris was absent. But soon afterwards,
  8. he brought into that land a ravished wife,
  9. Helen, the cause of a disastrous war,
  10. together with a thousand ships, and all
  11. the great Pelasgian nation.
  12. Vengeance would
  13. not long have been delayed, but the fierce winds
  14. raged over seas impassable, and held
  15. the ships at fishy Aulis. They could not
  16. be moved from the Boeotian land. Here, when
  17. a sacrifice had been prepared to Jove,
  18. according to the custom of their land,
  19. and when the ancient altar glowed with fire,
  20. the Greeks observed an azure colored snake
  21. crawling up in a plane tree near the place
  22. where they had just begun their sacrifice.
  23. Among the highest branches was a nest,
  24. with twice four birds—and those the serpent seized
  25. together with the mother-bird as she
  26. was fluttering round her loss. And every bird
  27. the serpent buried in his greedy maw.
  28. All stood amazed: but Calchas, who perceived
  29. the truth, exclaimed, “Rejoice Pelasgian men,
  30. for we shall conquer; Troy will fall; although
  31. the toil of war must long continue—so
  32. the nine birds equal nine long years of war.”
  33. And while he prophesied, the serpent, coiled
  34. about the tree, was transformed to a stone,
  35. curled crooked as a snake.
  36. but Nereus stormed
  37. in those Aonian waves, and not a ship
  38. moved forward. Some declared that Neptune thus
  39. was aiding Troy, because he built the walls
  40. of that great city. Not so Calchas, son
  41. of Thestor! He knew all the truth, and told
  42. them plainly that a virgin's blood
  43. alone might end a virgin goddess' wrath.
  44. The public good at last prevailed above
  45. affection, and the duty of a king
  46. at last proved stronger than a father's love:
  47. when Iphigenia as a sacrifice,
  48. stood by the altar with her weeping maids
  49. and was about to offer her chaste blood,
  50. the goddess, moved by pity, spread a mist
  51. before their eyes, amid the sacred rites
  52. and mournful supplications. It is said
  53. she left a hind there in the maiden's place
  54. and carried Iphigenia away. The hind,
  55. as it was fitting, calmed Diana's rage
  56. and also calmed the anger of the sea.
  57. The thousand ships received the winds astern
  58. and gained the Phrygian shore.
  59. There is a spot
  60. convenient in the center of the world,
  61. between the land and sea and the wide heavens,
  62. the meeting of the threefold universe.
  63. From there is seen all things that anywhere
  64. exist, although in distant regions far;
  65. and there all sounds of earth and space are heard.
  66. Fame is possessor of this chosen place,
  67. and has her habitation in a tower,
  68. which aids her view from that exalted highs.
  69. And she has fixed there numerous avenues,
  70. and openings, a thousand, to her tower
  71. and no gates with closed entrance, for the house
  72. is open, night and day, of sounding brass,
  73. reechoing the tones of every voice.
  74. It must repeat whatever it may hear;
  75. and there's no rest, and silence in no part.
  76. There is no clamor; but the murmuring sound
  77. of subdued voices, such as may arise
  78. from waves of a far sea, which one may hear
  79. who listens at a distance; or the sound
  80. which ends a thunderclap, when Jupiter
  81. has clashed black clouds together. Fickle crowds
  82. are always in that hall, that come and go,
  83. and myriad rumors—false tales mixed with true—
  84. are circulated in confusing words.
  85. Some fill their empty ears with all this talk,
  86. and some spread elsewhere all that's told to them.
  87. The volume of wild fiction grows apace,
  88. and each narrator adds to what he hears.
  89. Credulity is there and rash Mistake,
  90. and empty Joy, and coward Fear alarmed
  91. by quick Sedition, and soft Whisper—all
  92. of doubtful life. Fame sees what things are done
  93. in heaven and on the sea, and on the earth.
  94. She spies all things in the wide universe.
  1. Fame now had spread the tidings, a great fleet
  2. of Greek ships was at that time on its way,
  3. an army of brave men. The Trojans stood,
  4. all ready to prevent the hostile Greeks
  5. from landing on their shores. By the decree
  6. of Fate, the first man killed of the invaders' force
  7. was strong Protesilaus, by the spear
  8. of valiant Hector, whose unthought-of power
  9. at that time was discovered by the Greeks
  10. to their great cost. The Phyrgians also learned,
  11. at no small cost of blood, what warlike strength
  12. came from the Grecian land. The Sigean shores
  13. grew red with death-blood: Cygnus, Neptune's son,
  14. there slew a thousand men: for which, in wrath,
  15. Achilles pressed his rapid chariot
  16. straight through the Trojan army; making a lane
  17. with his great spear, shaped from a Pelion tree.
  18. And as he sought through the fierce battle's press,
  19. either for Cygnus or for Hector, he
  20. met Cygnus and engaged at once with him
  21. (Fate had preserved great Hector from such foe
  22. till ten years from that day).
  23. Cheering his steeds,
  24. their white necks pressed upon the straining yoke,
  25. he steered the chariot towards his foe,
  26. and, brandishing the spear with his strong arm,
  27. he cried, “Whoever you may be, you have
  28. the consolation of a glorious death
  29. you die by me, Haemonian Achilles!”
  30. His heavy spear flew after the fierce words.
  31. Although the spear was whirled direct and true,
  32. yet nothing it availed with sharpened point.
  33. It only bruised, as with a blunted stroke,
  34. the breast of Cygnus! “By report we knew
  35. of you before this battle, goddess born.”
  36. The other answered him, “But why are you
  37. surprised that I escape the threatened wound?”
  38. (Achilles was surprised). “This helmet crowned,
  39. great with its tawny horse-hair, and this shield,
  40. broad-hollowed, on my left arm, are not held
  41. for help in war: they are but ornament,
  42. as Mars wears armor. All of them shall be
  43. put off, and I will fight with you unhurt.
  44. It is a privilege that I was born
  45. not as you, of a Nereid but of him
  46. whose powerful rule is over Nereus,
  47. his daughters and their ocean.” So, he spoke.
  48. Immediately he threw his spear against Achilles,
  49. destined to pierce the curving shield through brass,
  50. and through nine folds of tough bull's hide.
  51. It stopped there, for it could not pierce the tenth.
  52. The hero wrenched it out, and hurled again
  53. a quivering spear at Cygnus, with great strength.
  54. The Trojan stood unwounded and unharmed.
  55. Nor did a third spear injure Cygnus, though
  56. he stood there with his body all exposed.
  57. Achilles raged at this, as a wild bull
  58. in open circus, when with dreadful horns
  59. he butts against the hanging purple robes
  60. which stir his wrath and there observes how they
  61. evade him, quite unharmed by his attack.
  62. Achilles then examined his good spear,
  63. to see if by some chance the iron point
  64. was broken from it, but the point was firm,
  65. fixed on the wooden shaft. “My hand is weak,”
  66. he said, “but is it possible its strength
  67. forsook me though it never has before?
  68. For surely I had my accustomed strength,
  69. when first I overthrew Lyrnessus' walls,
  70. or when I won the isle of Tenedos
  71. or Thebes (then under King Eetion)
  72. and I drenched both with their own peoples' blood,
  73. or when the river Caycus ran red
  74. with slaughter of its people, or, when twice
  75. Telephus felt the virtue of my spear.
  76. On this field also, where such heaps lie slain,
  77. my right hand surely has proved its true might;
  78. and it is mighty.”
  79. So he spoke of strength,
  80. remembered. But as if in proof against
  81. his own distrust, he hurled a spear against
  82. Menoetes, a soldier in the Lycian ranks.
  83. The sharp spear tore the victim's coat of mail
  84. and pierced his breast beneath. Achilles, when
  85. he saw his dying head strike on the earth
  86. wrenched the same spear from out the reeking wound,
  87. and said, “This is the hand, and this the spear
  88. I conquered with; and I will use the same
  89. against him who in luck escaped their power;
  90. and the result should favor as I pray
  91. the helpful gods.”
  92. And, as he said such words,
  93. in haste he hurled his ashen spear, again
  94. at Cygnus. It went straight and struck unshunned.
  95. Resounding on the shoulder of that foe,
  96. it bounced back as if it hit a wall
  97. or solid cliff. Yet when Achilles saw
  98. just where the spear struck, Cygnus there
  99. was stained with blood. He instantly rejoiced;
  100. but vainly, for it was Menoetes' blood!
  101. Then in a sudden rage, Achilles leaped
  102. down headlong from his lofty chariot;
  103. and, seeking his god-favored foe, he struck
  104. in conflict fiercely, with his gleaming sword.
  105. Although he saw that he had pierced both shield
  106. and helmet through, he did not harm the foe—
  107. his sword was even blunted on the flesh.
  108. Achilles could not hold himself for rage,
  109. but furious, with his sword-hilt and his shield
  110. he battered wildly the uncovered face
  111. and hollow-temples of his Trojan foe.
  112. Cygnus gave way; Achilles rushed on him,
  113. buffeting fiercely, so that he could not
  114. recover from the shock. Fear seized upon
  115. Cygnus, and darkness swam before his eyes.
  116. Then, as he moved back with retreating steps,
  117. a large stone hindered him and blocked his way.
  118. His back pushed against this, Achilles seized
  119. and dashed him violently to the ground.
  120. Then pressing with buckler and hard knees the breast
  121. of Cygnus, he unlaced the helmet thongs,
  122. wound them about the foeman's neck and drew
  123. them tightly under his chin, till Cygnus' throat
  124. could take no breath of life. Achilles rose
  125. eager to strip his conquered foe but found
  126. his empty armor, for the god of ocean
  127. had changed the victim into that white bird
  128. whose name he lately bore.
  1. There was a truce
  2. for many days after this opening fight
  3. while both sides resting, laid aside their arms.
  4. A watchful guard patroled the Phrygian walls;
  5. the Grecian trenches had their watchful guard.
  6. Then, on a festal day, Achilles gave
  7. the blood of a slain heifer to obtain
  8. the favor of Athena for their cause.
  9. The entrails burned upon the altar, while
  10. the odor, grateful to the deities,
  11. was mounting to the skies. When sacred rites
  12. were done, a banquet for the heroes was
  13. served on their tables. There the Grecian chiefs
  14. reclined on couches; while they satisfied
  15. themselves with roasted flesh, and banished cares:
  16. and thirst with wine. Nor harp nor singing voice
  17. nor long pipe made of boxwood pierced with holes,
  18. delighted them. They talked of their own deeds
  19. and valor, all that thrilling night: and even
  20. the strength of enemies whom they had met
  21. and overcome. What else could they admit
  22. or think of, while the great Achilles spoke
  23. or listened to them? But especially
  24. the recent victory over Cygnus held
  25. them ardent. Wonderful it seemed to them
  26. that such a youth could be composed of flesh
  27. not penetrable by the sharpest spear;
  28. of flesh which blunted even hardened steel,
  29. and never could be wounded. All the Greeks,
  30. and even Achilles wondered at the thought.
  31. Then Nestor said to them: “During your time,
  32. Cygnus has been the only man you knew
  33. who could despise all weapons and whose flesh
  34. could not be pierced by thrust of sword or spear.
  35. But long ago I saw another man
  36. able to bear unharmed a thousand strokes,
  37. Caeneus of Thessaly, Caeneus who lived
  38. upon Mt. Othrys. He was famed in war
  39. yet, strange to say, by birth he was a woman!”
  40. Then all expressed the greatest wonderment,
  41. and begged to hear the story of his life.
  42. Achilles cried, “O eloquent old man!
  43. The wisdom of our age! All of us wish
  44. to hear, who was this Caeneus? Why was he
  45. changed to the other sex? in what campaigns,
  46. and in what wars was he so known to you?
  47. Who conquered him, if any ever did?”
  48. The aged man replied to them with care:—
  49. “Although my great age is a harm to me,
  50. and many actions of my early days
  51. escape my memory; yet, most of them
  52. are well remembered. Nothing of old days,
  53. amid so many deeds of war and peace,
  54. can be more firmly fixed upon my mind
  55. than the strange story I shall tell of him.
  56. “If long extent of years made anyone
  57. a witness of most wonderful events
  58. and many, truly I may say to you
  59. that I have lived two hundred years; and now
  60. have entered my third century.
  61. The daughter of Elatus, Caenis, was
  62. remarkable for charm—most beautiful
  63. of all Thessalian maidens—many sighed
  64. for her in vain through all the neighboring towns
  65. and yours, Achilles, for that was her home.
  66. But Peleus did not try to win her love,
  67. for he was either married at that time
  68. to your dear mother, or was pledged to her.
  69. “Caenis never became the willing bride
  70. of any suitor; but report declares,
  71. while she was walking on a lonely shore,
  72. the god of ocean saw and ravished her.
  73. And in the joy of that love Neptune said,
  74. ‘Request of me whatever you desire,
  75. and nothing shall deny your dearest wish!’—
  76. the story tells us that he made this pledge.
  77. And Caenis said to Neptune, ‘The great wrong,
  78. which I have suffered from you justifies
  79. the wonderful request that I must make;
  80. I ask that I may never suffer such
  81. an injury again. Grant I may be
  82. no longer woman, and I'll ask no more.’
  83. while she was speaking to him, the last words
  84. of her strange prayer were uttered in so deep,
  85. in such a manly tone, it seemed indeed
  86. they must be from a man.—That was a fact:
  87. Neptune not only had allowed her prayer
  88. but made the new man proof against all wounds
  89. of spear or sword. Rejoicing in the gift
  90. he went his way as Caeneus Atracides,
  91. spent years in every manful exercise,
  92. and roamed the plains of northern Thessaly.
  1. “The son of bold Ixion, Pirithous
  2. wedding Hippodame, had asked as guests
  3. the cloud-born centaurs to recline around
  4. the ordered tables, in a cool cave, set
  5. under some shading trees. Thessalian chiefs
  6. were there and I myself was with them there.
  7. The festal place resounded with the rout
  8. in noisy clamor, singing nuptial verse;
  9. and in the great room, filled with smoking fire,
  10. the maiden came escorted by a crowd
  11. of matrons and young married women; she
  12. most beautiful of all that lovely throng.
  13. “And so Pirithous, the fortunate son,
  14. of bold Ixion, was so praised by all,
  15. for his pure joy and lovely wife,
  16. it seemed his very blessings must have led
  17. to fatal harm: for savage Eurytus,
  18. wildest of the wild centaurs, now inflamed
  19. with sudden envy, drunkenness, and lust,
  20. upset the tables and made havoc there
  21. so dreadful, that the banquet suddenly
  22. was changed from love to uproar. Seized by the hair,
  23. the bride was violently dragged away.
  24. When Eurytus caught up Hippodame
  25. each one of all the centaurs took at will
  26. the maid or matron that he longed for most.
  27. The palace, seeming like a captured town,
  28. resounded with affrighted shrieks of women.
  29. At once we all sprang up. And Theseus cried,
  30. “What madness, Eurytus, has driven you
  31. to this vile wickedness! While I have life,
  32. you dare attack Pirithous. You know
  33. not what you do, for one wrong injures both!’
  34. The valiant hero did not merely talk:
  35. he pushed them off as they were pressing on,
  36. and rescued her whom Eurytus had seized.
  37. Since Eurytus could not defend such deeds
  38. with words, he turned and beat with violent hands
  39. the face of him who saved the bride and struck
  40. his generous breast. By chance, an ancient bowl
  41. was near at hand. This rough with figures carved,
  42. the son of Aegeus caught and hurled it full
  43. in that vile centaur's face. He, spouting out
  44. thick gouts of blood, and bleeding from his wounds—
  45. his brains and wine mixed,—kicked the blood-soaked sand.
  46. His double membered centaur brothers, wild
  47. with passion at his death, all shouted out,
  48. ‘To arms! to arms!’ Their courage raised by wine!
  49. In their first onset, hurled cups flew about,
  50. and shattered wine casks, hollow basins—things
  51. before adapted to a banquet, now
  52. for death and carnage in the furious fight.
  53. Amycus first (Opinion's son) began to spoil
  54. the inner sanctuary of its gifts.
  55. He snatched up from that shrine a chandelier,
  56. adorned with glittering lamps, and lifted high,
  57. with all the force of one who strives to break
  58. the bull s white neck with sacrificial axe,
  59. he dashed it at the head of Celadon,
  60. one of the Lapithae, and crushed his skull
  61. into the features of his face. His eyes
  62. leaped from his sockets, and the shattered bones
  63. of his smashed face gave way so that his nose
  64. was driven back and fastened in his throat.
  65. But Belates of Pella tore away
  66. a table-leg of maple wood and felled
  67. Amycus to the ground; his sunken chin
  68. cast down upon his breast; and, as he spat
  69. his teeth out mixed with blood, a second blow
  70. despatched him to the shades of Tartarus.
  71. “Gryneus, seeing a smoking altar, cried,
  72. ‘Good use for this,’ with which words he raised up
  73. that heavy, blazing altar. Hurling it
  74. into the middle of the Lapithae,
  75. he struck down Broteas and Orius:
  76. Mycale, mother of that Orius,
  77. was famous for her incantations,
  78. which she had often used to conjure down
  79. the shining twin-horns of the unwilling moon.
  80. Exadius threatened, ‘You shall not escape!
  81. Let me but have a weapon!’ And with that,
  82. he whirled the antlers of a votive stag,
  83. which he found there, hung on a tall pine-tree;
  84. and with that double-branching horn he pierced
  85. the eyes of Gryneus, and he gouged them out.
  86. One eye stuck to the horn; the other rolled
  87. down on his beard, to which it strictly clung
  88. in dreadful clotted gore.
  89. Then Rhoetus snatched
  90. a blazing brand of plum-wood from an altar
  91. and whirling it upon the right, smashed through
  92. the temples of Charaxus, wonderful
  93. with golden hair. Seized by the violent flames,
  94. his yellow locks burned fiercely, as a field
  95. of autumn grain; and even the scorching blood
  96. gave from the sore wound a terrific noise
  97. as a red-hot iron in pincers which the smith
  98. lifts out and plunges in the tepid pool,
  99. hissing and sizzling. Charaxus shook
  100. the fire from his burnt locks; and heaved up on
  101. his shoulders a large threshold stone torn from
  102. the ground—a weight sufficient for a team
  103. of oxen. The vast weight impeded him,
  104. so that it could not even touch his foe—
  105. and yet, the massive stone did hit his friend,
  106. Cometes, who was standing near to him,
  107. and crushed him down. Then Rhoetus, crazed with joy,
  108. exulting yelled, ‘I pray that all of you
  109. may be so strong!’ Wielding his half-burnt stake
  110. with heavy blows again and again, he broke
  111. the sutures of his enemy's skull, until
  112. the bones were mingled with his oozing brains.
  113. “Victorious, then rushed he upon Evagrus,
  114. and Corythus and Dryas. First of these
  115. was youthful Corythus, whose cheeks were then
  116. just covered with soft down. When he fell dead,
  117. Evagrus cried, ‘What glory do you get,
  118. killing a boy?’ But Rhoetus did not give
  119. him time for uttering one word more. He pushed
  120. the red hot stake into the foeman's mouth,
  121. while he still spoke, and down into his lungs.
  122. He then pursued the savage Dryas, while
  123. whirling the red fire fast about his head;
  124. but not with like success, for, while he still
  125. rejoiced in killings, Dryas turned and pierced
  126. him with a stake where neck and shoulder meet.
  127. “Rhoetus groaned and with a great effort pulled
  128. the stake out from the bone, then fled away,
  129. drenched in his blood. And Orneus followed him.
  130. Lycabas fled, and Medon with a wound
  131. in his right shoulder. Thaumas and Pisenor
  132. and Mermerus fled with them. Mermerus,
  133. who used to excell all others in a race,
  134. ran slowly, crippled by a recent wound.
  135. Pholus and Melaneus ran for their lives
  136. and with them Abas, hunter of wild boars
  137. and Asbolus, the augur, who in vain
  138. had urged his friends to shun that hapless fight.
  139. As Nessus joined the rout, he said to him,
  140. ‘You need not flee, for you shall be reserved
  141. a victim for the bow of Hercules!’
  142. but neither Lycidas, Eurynomus
  143. nor Areos, nor Imbreus had escaped
  144. from death: for all of these the strong right hand
  145. of Dryas pierced, as they confronted him.
  146. Crenaeus there received a wound in front.
  147. Although he turned in flight, as he looked back,
  148. a heavy javelin between his eyes
  149. pierced through him, where his nose and forehead joined.
  1. “In all this uproar, Aphidas lay flat,
  2. in endless slumber from the wine he drank,
  3. incessant, and his nerveless hand still held
  4. the cup of mixed wine, as he lay full stretched,
  5. upon a shaggy bear-skin from Mount Ossa.
  6. When Phorbas saw him, harmless in that sleep,
  7. he laid his fingers in his javelin's thong,
  8. and shouted loudly, ‘Mix your wine, down there,
  9. with waters of the Styx!’ And stopping talk,
  10. let fly his javelin at the sleeping youth—
  11. the ashen shaft, iron-tipped, was driven through
  12. his neck, exposed, as he by chance lay there—
  13. his head thrown back. He did not even feel
  14. a touch of death—and from his deep-pierced throat
  15. his crimson blood flowed out upon the couch,
  16. and in the wine-bowl still grasped in his hand.
  17. “I saw Petraeus when he strove to tear
  18. up from the earth, an acorn-bearing oak.
  19. And, while he struggled with it, back and forth,
  20. and was just ready to wrench up the trunk,
  21. Pirithous hurled a well aimed spear at him,
  22. transfixed his ribs, and pinned his body tight,
  23. writhing, to that hard oak: and Lycus fell
  24. and Chromis fell, before Pirithous.
  25. “They gave less glory to the conqueror
  26. than Helops or than Dictys. Helops was
  27. killed by a javelin, which pierced his temples
  28. from the right side, clear through to his left ear.
  29. And Dictys, running in a desperate haste,
  30. hoping in vain, to escape Ixion's son,
  31. slipped on the steep edge of a precipice;
  32. and, as he fell down headlong crashed into
  33. the top of a huge ash-tree, which impaled
  34. his dying body on its broken spikes.
  35. “Aphareus, eager to avenge him tried
  36. to lift a rock from that steep mountain side;
  37. but as he heaved, the son of Aegeus struck
  38. him squarely with an oaken club; and smashed,
  39. and broke the huge bones of that centaur's arm.
  40. He has no time, and does not want to give
  41. that useless foe to death. He leaps upon
  42. the back of tall Bienor, never trained
  43. to carry riders, and he fixed his knees
  44. firm in the centaur's ribs, and holding tight
  45. to the long hair, seized by his left hand, struck
  46. and shattered the hard features and fierce face
  47. and bony temples with his club of gnarled
  48. strong oak. And with it, he struck to the ground
  49. Nedymnus and Lycopes, dart expert,
  50. and Hippasus, whose beard hid all his breast.
  51. And Rhipheus taller than the highest trees
  52. and Thereus, who would carry home alive
  53. the raging bears, caught in Thessalian hills.
  54. Demoleon could no longer stand and look
  55. on Theseus and his unrestrained success.
  56. He struggled with vast effort to tear up
  57. an old pine, trunk and all, with its long roots,
  58. and, failing shortly in that first attempt,
  59. he broke it off and hurled it at his foe.
  60. But Theseus saw the pine tree in its flight
  61. and, warned by Pallas, got beyond its range—
  62. his boast was, Pallas had directed him!
  63. And yet, the missle was not launched in vain.
  64. It sheared the left shoulder and the breast
  65. from tall Crantor. He, Achilles, was
  66. your father's armor bearer and was given
  67. by King Amyntor, when he sued for peace.
  68. “When Peleus at a distance saw him torn
  69. and mangled, he exclaimed, ‘At least receive
  70. this sacrifice, O Crantor! most beloved!
  71. Dearest of young men!’ And with sturdy arm
  72. and all his strength of soul as well, he hurled
  73. his ashen lance against Demoleon,
  74. which piercing through his shivered ribs, hung there
  75. and quivered in the bones. The centaur wrenched
  76. the wooden shaft out, with his frenzied hands,
  77. but could not move the pointed head, which stuck
  78. within his lungs. His very anguish gave
  79. him such a desperation, that he rose
  80. against his foe and trampled and beat down
  81. the hero with his hoofs, Peleus allowed
  82. the blows to fall on helm and ringing shield.
  83. Protected so, he watched his time and thrust
  84. up through the centaur's shoulder. By one stroke
  85. he pierced two breasts, where horse and man-form met.
  86. Before this, Peleus with the spear had killed
  87. both Myles and Phlegraeus and with the sword
  88. Iphinous and Clanis. Now he killed
  89. Dorylas, who was clad in a wolfskin cap
  90. and fought with curving bull's horns dripping blood.
  91. “To him I said, for courage gave me strength,
  92. ‘Your horns! how much inferior to my steel!’—
  93. and threw my spear. Since he could not avoid
  94. the gleaming point, he held up his right hand
  95. to shield his forehead from the threatened wound.
  96. His hand was pierced and pinned against his forehead.
  97. He shouted madly. Peleus, near him while
  98. he stood there pinned and helpless with his wound,
  99. struck him with sharp sword in the belly deep.
  100. He leaped forth fiercely, as he trailed his bowels
  101. upon the ground, with his entangled legs
  102. treading upon them, bursting them, he fell
  103. with empty belly, lifeless to the earth.
  104. “Cyllarus, beauty did not save your life—
  105. if beauty is in any of your tribe—
  106. your golden beard was in its early growth,
  107. your golden hair came flowing to your shoulders.
  108. in your bright face there was a pleasing glance.
  109. The neck and shoulders and the hands and breast,:
  110. and every aspect of his human form
  111. resembled those admired statues which
  112. our gifted artists carve. Even the shape
  113. of the fine horse beneath the human form
  114. was perfect too. Give him the head and neck
  115. of a full-blooded horse, and he would seem
  116. a steed for Castor, for his back was shaped
  117. so comfortable to be sat upon
  118. and muscle swelled upon his arching chest.
  119. His lustrous body was as black as pitch,
  120. and yet his legs and flowing tail
  121. were white as snow.
  122. Many a female of his kind
  123. loved him, but only Hylonome gained
  124. his love. There was no other centaur maid
  125. so beautiful as she within the woods.
  126. By coaxing ways she had won Cyllarus,
  127. by loving and confessing love. By daintiness,
  128. so far as that was possible in one
  129. of such a form, she held his love; for now
  130. she smoothed her long locks with a comb; and now
  131. she decked herself with rosemary and now
  132. with violets or with roses in her hair;
  133. and sometimes she wore lilies, white as snow;
  134. and twice each day she bathed her lovely face,
  135. in the sweet stream that falls down from the height
  136. of wooded Pagasa; and daily, twice
  137. she dipped her body in the stream. She wore
  138. upon her shoulders and left side a skin,
  139. greatly becoming, of selected worth.
  140. “Their love was equal, and together they
  141. would wander over mountain-sides, and rest
  142. together in cool caves; and so it was,
  143. they went together to that palace-cave,
  144. known to the Lapithae. Together they
  145. fought fiercely in this battle, side by side.
  146. Thrown by an unknown hand, a javelin pierced
  147. Cyllarus, just below the fatal spot
  148. where the chest rises to the neck—his heart,
  149. though only slightly wounded, grew quite cold,
  150. and his whole body felt cold, afterwards,
  151. as quickly as the weapon was drawn out.
  152. Then Hylonome held in her embrace
  153. the dying body; fondled the dread wound
  154. and, fixing her lips closely to his lips
  155. endeavored to hold back his dying breath.
  156. But soon she saw that he indeed was dead.
  157. With mourning words, which clamor of the fight
  158. prevented me from hearing, she threw herself
  159. on the spear that pierced her Cyllarus and fell
  160. upon his breast, embracing him in death.
  1. “Another sight still comes before my eyes,
  2. the centaur Phaeocomes with his log.
  3. He wore six lion skins well wrapped around
  4. his body, and with fixed connecting knots
  5. they covered him, both horse and man. He hurled
  6. a trunk two yokes of oxen scarce could move
  7. and struck the hapless son of Olenus
  8. a crushing blow upon the head. The broad
  9. round dome was shattered, and his dying brains
  10. oozed out through hollow nostrils, mouth, and ears,
  11. as curdled milk seeps down through oaken twigs;
  12. or other liquors, crushed out under weights,
  13. flow through a well-pierced sieve and, thick,
  14. squeeze out through numerous holes.
  15. As he began
  16. to spoil his victim—and your father can
  17. affirm the truth of this—I thrust my sword
  18. deep in the wretch's groin. Chthonius, too,
  19. and Teleboas fell there by my sword.
  20. The former had a two-pronged stick as his
  21. sole weapon, and the other had a spear,
  22. with which the wounded me. You see the scar.
  23. The old scar still is surely visible!
  24. “Those were my days of youth and strength, and then
  25. I ought to have warred against the citadel
  26. of Pergama. I could have checked, or even
  27. vanquished, the arms of Hector: but, alas,
  28. Hector had not been born, or was perhaps
  29. a boy. Old age has dulled my youthful strength.
  30. What use is it, to speak of Periphas,
  31. who overcame Pyretus, double-formed?
  32. Why tell of Ampyx, who with pointless shaft,
  33. victorious thrust Echeclus through the face?
  34. Macareus, hurling a heavy crowbar pierced
  35. Erigdupus and laid him low.
  36. A hunting spear that Nessus strongly hurled,
  37. was buried in the groin of Cymelus.
  38. Do not believe that Mopsus, son of Ampycus,
  39. was merely a prophet of events to come,
  40. he slew a daring two-formed monster there.
  41. Hodites tried in vain to speak, before
  42. his death, but could not, for his tongue was nailed
  43. against his chin, his chin against his throat.
  44. “Five of the centaurs Caeneus put to death:
  45. Styphelus, Bromus, and Antimachus,
  46. Elymus, and Pyracmos with his axe.
  47. I have forgot their wounds but noted well
  48. their names and number. Latreus, huge of limb,
  49. had killed and stripped Emathian Halesus.
  50. Now in his armor he came rushing out,
  51. in years he was between old age and youth;
  52. but he retained the vigor of his youth;
  53. his temples showed his hair was mixed with grey.
  54. Conspicuous for his Macedonian lance
  55. and sword and shield, facing both sides—each way,
  56. he insolently clashed his arms; and while
  57. he rode poured out these words in empty air.
  58. “ ‘Shall I put up with one like you, O Caeneus?
  59. For you are still a woman in my sight.
  60. Have you forgot your birth or that disgrace
  61. by which you won reward—at what a price
  62. you got the false resemblance to a man?!
  63. Consider both your birth, and what you have
  64. submitted to! Take up a distaff, and
  65. wool basket! Twist your threads with practiced thumb!
  66. Leave warfare to your men!’
  67. “While puffed-up pride
  68. was vaunting out such nonsense, Caeneus hurled
  69. a spear and pierced the stretched out running side,
  70. just where the man was joined upon the horse.
  71. “The Centaur, Latreus, raved with pain and struck
  72. with his great pike, the face of Caeneus.
  73. His pike rebounded as the hail that slants
  74. up from the roof; or as a pebble might
  75. rebound from hollow drum. Then coming near,
  76. he tried to drive a sword into the hard side
  77. of Caeneus, but it could not make a wound.
  78. ‘Aha!’ he cried, ‘this will not get you off.
  79. The good edge of my sword will take your life,
  80. although the point is blunt!’ He turned the edge
  81. against the flank of Caeneus and swung round
  82. the hero's loins with his long, curving arm.
  83. The flesh resounded like a marble block,
  84. the keen blade shattered on the unyielding skin.
  85. “And, after Caeneus had exposed his limbs
  86. unhurt to Latreus, who stood there amazed,
  87. ‘Come now,’ he said, ‘and let us try my steel
  88. against your body!’ And, clear to the hilt,
  89. down through the monster's shoulder-blade he plunged
  90. his deadly sword and, turning it again,
  91. deep in the Centaur's entrails, made new wounds
  92. within his wound.
  93. “Then, quite beside themselves,
  94. the double-natured monsters rushed against
  95. that single-handed youth with huge uproar,
  96. and thrust and hurled their weapons all at him.
  97. Their blunted weapons fell and he remained
  98. unharmed and without even a mark.”
  99. “That strange sight left them speechless. ‘Oh what shame!’
  100. at length cried Monychus, ‘Our mighty host,—
  101. a nation of us, are defeated and defied
  102. by one who hardly is a man. Although
  103. indeed, he is a man, and we have proved,
  104. by our weak actions, we are certainly
  105. what he was! Shame on us! Oh, what if we
  106. have twofold strength, of what avail our huge
  107. and mighty limbs, doubly united in
  108. the strongest, hugest bodies in this world?
  109. And how can I believe that we were born
  110. of any goddess? It is surely vain
  111. to claim descent of great Ixion, who
  112. high-souled, sought Juno for his mighty mate;
  113. imagine it, while we are conquered by
  114. an enemy, who is but half a man!
  115. Wake up! and let us heap tree-trunks and stones
  116. and mountains on him! Crush his stubborn life!
  117. Let forests smother him to death! Their weight
  118. will be as deadly as a hundred wounds!’
  119. “While he was raving, by some chance he found
  120. a tree thrown down there by the boisterous wind:
  121. example to the rest, he threw that tree
  122. against the powerful foe; and in short time
  123. Othrys was bare of trees, and Pelion had no shade.
  124. Buried under that mountainous forest heap,
  125. Caeneus heaved up against the weight of oaks
  126. upon his brawny shoulders piled. But, as
  127. the load increased above his face and head,
  128. he could not draw a breath. Gasping for life,
  129. he strove to lift his head into the air,
  130. and sometimes he convulsed the towering mass,
  131. as if great Ida, now before our eyes,
  132. should tremble with some heaving of the earth.
  133. “What happened to him could not well be known.
  134. Some thought his body was borne down by weight
  135. into the vast expanse of Tartarus.
  136. The son of Ampycus did not agree,
  137. for from the middle of the pile we saw
  138. a bird with golden wings mount high in air.
  139. Before or since, I never saw the like.
  140. “When Mopsus was aware of that bird's flight—
  141. it circled round the camp on rustling wings—
  142. with eyes and mind he followed it and shouted aloud:
  143. ‘Hail, glory of the Lapithaean race,
  144. their greatest hero, now a bird unique!’
  145. and we believed the verdict of the seer.
  146. “Our grief increased resentment, and we bore
  147. it with disgust that one was overwhelmed
  148. by such a multitude. Then in revenge
  149. we plied our swords, till half our foes were dead,
  150. and only flight and darkness saved the rest.”
  1. Nestor had hardly told this marvellous tale
  2. of bitter strife betwixt the Lapithae
  3. and those half-human, vanquished Centaurs, when
  4. Tlepolemus, incensed because no word
  5. of praise was given to Hercules, replied
  6. in this way; “Old sir, it is very strange,
  7. you have neglected to say one good word
  8. in praise of Hercules. My father told
  9. me often, that he overcame in battle
  10. those cloud born centaurs.”
  11. Nestor, very loth,
  12. replied, “Why force me to recall old wrongs,
  13. to uncover sorrow buried by the years,
  14. that made me hate your father? It is true
  15. his deeds were wonderful beyond belief,
  16. heaven knows, and filled the earth with well earned praise
  17. which I should rather wish might be denied.
  18. Deiphobus, the wise Polydamas, and even
  19. great Hector get no praise from me.
  20. Your father, I recall once overthrew
  21. Messene's walls and with no cause destroyed
  22. Elis and Pylos and with fire and sword
  23. ruined my own loved home. I cannot name
  24. all whom he killed. But there were twelve of us,
  25. the sons of Neleus and all warrior youths,
  26. and all those twelve but me alone he killed.
  27. Ten of them met the common fate of war,
  28. but sadder was the death of Periclymenus.
  29. “Neptune, the founder of my family,
  30. had granted him a power to assume
  31. whatever shape he chose, and when he wished
  32. to lay that shape aside. When he, in vain,
  33. had been transformed to many other shapes
  34. he turned into the form of that bird, which
  35. is wont to carry in his crooked talons
  36. the forked lightnings, favorite bird of Jove.
  37. With wings and crooked bill and sharp-hooked talons,
  38. he assailed and tore the face of Hercules.
  39. But, when he soared away on eagle wings
  40. up to the clouds and hovered, poised in air,
  41. that hero aimed his too unerring bow
  42. and hit him where the new wing joined his side.
  43. The wound was not large, but his sinews cut
  44. failed to uphold him, and denied his wings
  45. their strength and motion. He fell down to earth;
  46. his weakened pinions could not catch the air.
  47. And the sharp arrow, which had lightly pierced
  48. the wing, was driven upward through the side
  49. into the left part of my brother's neck.
  50. “O noble leader of the Rhodian fleet,
  51. why should I sing the praise of Hercules?
  52. But for my brothers I take no revenge
  53. except withholding praise of his great deeds.
  54. With you, my friendship will remain secure.”
  55. When Nestor with his honied tongue had told
  56. these tales of old, they all took wine again
  57. and they arose and gave the night to sleep.
  1. But Neptune, who commands the ocean waves,
  2. lamented with a father's grief his son,
  3. whose person he had changed into a bird—
  4. the swan of Phaethon, and towards Achilles,
  5. grim victor in the fight, his lasting hate
  6. made him pursue resentment far beyond
  7. the ordinary manner of the gods.
  8. After nine years of war he spoke these words,
  9. addressing long haired Sminthean Apollo:
  10. “O nephew the most dear to me of all
  11. my brother's sons, with me you built in vain
  12. the walls of Troy: you must be lost in grief,
  13. when you look on those towers so soon to fall?
  14. Or do you not lament the multitudes
  15. slain in defence of them—To name but one:
  16. “Does not the ghost of Hector, dragged around
  17. his Pergama, appear to you? And yet
  18. the fierce Achilles, who is bloodstained more
  19. than slaughtering war, lives on this earth,
  20. for the destruction of our toil. Let him
  21. once get into my power, and I will make
  22. him feel the action of my triple spear.
  23. But, since I may not meet him face to face,
  24. do you with sudden arrow give him death.”
  25. The Delian god, Apollo, gave assent,
  26. both for his own hate and his uncle's rage.
  27. Veiled in a cloud, he found the Trojan host
  28. and, there, while bloody strife went on, he saw
  29. the hero Paris shoot at intervals
  30. his arrows at the nameless host of Greeks.
  31. Revealing his divinity, he said:
  32. “Why spend your arrows on the common men
  33. if you would serve your people, take good aim
  34. at great Achilles and at last avenge
  35. your hapless brothers whom he gave to death.”
  36. He pointed out Achilles—laying low
  37. the Trojan warriors with his mighty spear.
  38. On him he turned the Trojan's willing bow
  39. and guided with his hand the fatal shaft.
  40. It was the first joy that old Priam knew
  41. since Hector's death. So then Achilles you,
  42. who overcame the mighty, were subdued
  43. by a coward who seduced a Grecian wife!
  44. Ah, if you could not die by manly hands,
  45. your choice had been the axe.
  46. Now that great terror of the Trojan race,
  47. the glory and defence of the Pelasgians,
  48. Achilles, first in war, lay on the pyre.
  49. The god of Fire first armed, then burned, his limbs.
  50. And now he is but ashes; and of him, so great,
  51. renowned and mighty, but a pitiful
  52. handful of small dust insufficient for
  53. a little urn! But all his glory lives
  54. enough to fill the world—a great reward.
  55. And in that glory is his real life:
  56. in a true sense he will never know the void
  57. of Tartarus.
  58. But soon his very shield—
  59. that men might know to whom it had belonged—
  60. brings war, and arms are taken for his arms.
  61. Neither Diomed nor Ajax called the less
  62. ventured to claim the hero's mighty shield.
  63. Menelaus and other warlike chiefs,
  64. even Agamemnon, all withdrew their claims.
  65. Only the greater Ajax and Ulysses
  66. had such assurance that they dared contest
  67. for that great prize. Then Agamemnon chose
  68. to avoid the odium of preferring one.
  69. He bade the Argolic chieftains take their seats
  70. within the camp and left to all of them
  71. the hearing and decision of the cause.