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The Iliad: Book 16 Analysis

Author: Poetry of Homer Type: Poetry Views: 83

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The Iliad850 B.C.Thus did they fight about the ship of Protesilaus. Then Patroclus

drew near to Achilles with tears welling from his eyes, as from some

spring whose crystal stream falls over the ledges of a high precipice.

When Achilles saw him thus weeping he was sorry for him and said,

"Why, Patroclus, do you stand there weeping like some silly child that

comes running to her mother, and begs to be taken up and carried-

she catches hold of her mother's dress to stay her though she is in

a hurry, and looks tearfully up until her mother carries her- even

such tears, Patroclus, are you now shedding. Have you anything to

say to the Myrmidons or to myself? or have you had news from Phthia

which you alone know? They tell me Menoetius son of Actor is still

alive, as also Peleus son of Aeacus, among the Myrmidons- men whose

loss we two should bitterly deplore; or are you grieving about the

Argives and the way in which they are being killed at the ships, throu

their own high-handed doings? Do not hide anything from me but tell me

that both of us may know about it."Then, O knight Patroclus, with a deep sigh you answered,

"Achilles, son of Peleus, foremost champion of the Achaeans, do not be

angry, but I weep for the disaster that has now befallen the

Argives. All those who have been their champions so far are lying at

the ships, wounded by sword or spear. Brave Diomed son of Tydeus has

been hit with a spear, while famed Ulysses and Agamemnon have received

sword-wounds; Eurypylus again has been struck with an arrow in the

thigh; skilled apothecaries are attending to these heroes, and healing

them of their wounds; are you still, O Achilles, so inexorable? May it

never be my lot to nurse such a passion as you have done, to the

baning of your own good name. Who in future story will speak well of

you unless you now save the Argives from ruin? You know no pity;

knight Peleus was not your father nor Thetis your mother, but the grey

sea bore you and the sheer cliffs begot you, so cruel and

remorseless are you. If however you are kept back through knowledge of

some oracle, or if your mother Thetis has told you something from

the mouth of Jove, at least send me and the Myrmidons with me, if I

may bring deliverance to the Danaans. Let me moreover wear your

armour; the Trojans may thus mistake me for you and quit the field, so

that the hard-pressed sons of the Achaeans may have breathing time-

which while they are fighting may hardly be. We who are fresh might

soon drive tired men back from our ships and tents to their own city."He knew not what he was asking, nor that he was suing for his own

destruction. Achilles was deeply moved and answered, "What, noble

Patroclus, are you saying? I know no prophesyings which I am

heeding, nor has my mother told me anything from the mouth of Jove,

but I am cut to the very heart that one of my own rank should dare

to rob me because he is more powerful than I am. This, after all

that I have gone through, is more than I can endure. The girl whom the

sons of the Achaeans chose for me, whom I won as the fruit of my spear

on having sacked a city- her has King Agamemnon taken from me as

though I were some common vagrant. Still, let bygones be bygones: no

man may keep his anger for ever; I said I would not relent till battle

and the cry of war had reached my own ships; nevertheless, now gird my

armour about your shoulders, and lead the Myrmidons to battle, for the

dark cloud of Trojans has burst furiously over our fleet; the

Argives are driven back on to the beach, cooped within a narrow space,

and the whole people of Troy has taken heart to sally out against

them, because they see not the visor of my helmet gleaming near

them. Had they seen this, there would not have been a creek nor grip

that had not been filled with their dead as they fled back again.

And so it would have been, if only King Agamemnon had dealt fairly

by me. As it is the Trojans have beset our host. Diomed son of

Tydeus no longer wields his spear to defend the Danaans, neither

have I heard the voice of the son of Atreus coming from his hated

head, whereas that of murderous Hector rings in my cars as he gives

orders to the Trojans, who triumph over the Achaeans and fill the

whole plain with their cry of battle. But even so, Patroclus, fall

upon them and save the fleet, lest the Trojans fire it and prevent

us from being able to return. Do, however, as I now bid you, that

you may win me great honour from all the Danaans, and that they may

restore the girl to me again and give me rich gifts into the

bargain. When you have driven the Trojans from the ships, come back

again. Though Juno's thundering husband should put triumph within your

reach, do not fight the Trojans further in my absence, or you will rob

me of glory that should be mine. And do not for lust of battle go on

killing the Trojans nor lead the Achaeans on to Ilius, lest one of the

ever-living gods from Olympus attack you- for Phoebus Apollo loves

them well: return when you have freed the ships from peril, and let

others wage war upon the plain. Would, by father Jove, Minerva, and

Apollo, that not a single man of all the Trojans might be left

alive, nor yet of the Argives, but that we two might be alone left

to tear aside the mantle that veils the brow of Troy."Thus did they converse. But Ajax could no longer hold his ground for

the shower of darts that rained upon him; the will of Jove and the

javelins of the Trojans were too much for him; the helmet that gleamed

about his temples rang with the continuous clatter of the missiles

that kept pouring on to it and on to the cheek-pieces that protected

his face. Moreover his left shoulder was tired with having held his

shield so long, yet for all this, let fly at him as they would, they

could not make him give ground. He could hardly draw his breath, the

sweat rained from every pore of his body, he had not a moment's

respite, and on all sides he was beset by danger upon danger.And now, tell me, O Muses that hold your mansions on Olympus, how

fire was thrown upon the ships of the Achaeans. Hector came close up

and let drive with his great sword at the ashen spear of Ajax. He

cut it clean in two just behind where the point was fastened on to the

shaft of the spear. Ajax, therefore, had now nothing but a headless

spear, while the bronze point flew some way off and came ringing

down on to the ground. Ajax knew the hand of heaven in this, and was

dismayed at seeing that Jove had now left him utterly defenceless

and was willing victory for the Trojans. Therefore he drew back, and

the Trojans flung fire upon the ship which was at once wrapped in

flame.The fire was now flaring about the ship's stern, whereon Achilles

smote his two thighs and said to Patroclus, "Up, noble knight, for I

see the glare of hostile fire at our fleet; up, lest they destroy

our ships, and there be no way by which we may retreat. Gird on your

armour at once while I call our people together."As he spoke Patroclus put on his armour. First he greaved his legs

with greaves of good make, and fitted with ancle-clasps of silver;

after this he donned the cuirass of the son of Aeacus, richly inlaid

and studded. He hung his silver-studded sword of bronze about his

shoulders, and then his mighty shield. On his comely head he set his

helmet, well wrought, with a crest of horse-hair that nodded

menacingly above it. He grasped two redoubtable spears that suited his

hands, but he did not take the spear of noble Achilles, so stout and

strong, for none other of the Achaeans could wield it, though Achilles

could do so easily. This was the ashen spear from Mount Pelion,

which Chiron had cut upon a mountain top and had given to Peleus,

wherewith to deal out death among heroes. He bade Automedon yoke his

horses with all speed, for he was the man whom he held in honour

next after Achilles, and on whose support in battle he could rely most

firmly. Automedon therefore yoked the fleet horses Xanthus and Balius,

steeds that could fly like the wind: these were they whom the harpy

Podarge bore to the west wind, as she was grazing in a meadow by the

waters of the river Oceanus. In the side traces he set the noble horse

Pedasus, whom Achilles had brought away with him when he sacked the

city of Eetion, and who, mortal steed though he was, could take his

place along with those that were immortal.Meanwhile Achilles went about everywhere among the tents, and bade

his Myrmidons put on their armour. Even as fierce ravening wolves that

are feasting upon a homed stag which they have killed upon the

mountains, and their jaws are red with blood- they go in a pack to lap

water from the clear spring with their long thin tongues; and they

reek of blood and slaughter; they know not what fear is, for it is

hunger drives them- even so did the leaders and counsellors of the

Myrmidons gather round the good squire of the fleet descendant of

Aeacus, and among them stood Achilles himself cheering on both men and

horses.Fifty ships had noble Achilles brought to Troy, and in each there

was a crew of fifty oarsmen. Over these he set five captains whom he

could trust, while he was himself commander over them all.

Menesthius of the gleaming corslet, son to the river Spercheius that

streams from heaven, was captain of the first company. Fair Polydora

daughter of Peleus bore him to ever-flowing Spercheius- a woman

mated with a god- but he was called son of Borus son of Perieres, with

whom his mother was living as his wedded wife, and who gave great

wealth to gain her. The second company was led by noble Eudorus, son

to an unwedded woman. Polymele, daughter of Phylas the graceful

dancer, bore him; the mighty slayer of Argos was enamoured of her as

he saw her among the singing women at a dance held in honour of

Diana the rushing huntress of the golden arrows; he therefore-

Mercury, giver of all good- went with her into an upper chamber, and

lay with her in secret, whereon she bore him a noble son Eudorus,

singularly fleet of foot and in fight valiant. When Ilithuia goddess

of the pains of child-birth brought him to the light of day, and he

saw the face of the sun, mighty Echecles son of Actor took the

mother to wife, and gave great wealth to gain her, but her father

Phylas brought the child up, and took care of him, doting as fondly

upon him as though he were his own son. The third company was led by

Pisander son of Maemalus, the finest spearman among all the

Myrmidons next to Achilles' own comrade Patroclus. The old knight

Phoenix was captain of the fourth company, and Alcimedon, noble son of

Laerceus of the fifth.When Achilles had chosen his men and had stationed them all with

their captains, he charged them straitly saying, "Myrmidons,

remember your threats against the Trojans while you were at the

ships in the time of my anger, and you were all complaining of me.

'Cruel son of Peleus,' you would say, 'your mother must have suckled

you on gall, so ruthless are you. You keep us here at the ships

against our will; if you are so relentless it were better we went home

over the sea.' Often have you gathered and thus chided with me. The

hour is now come for those high feats of arms that you have so long

been pining for, therefore keep high hearts each one of you to do

battle with the Trojans."With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they

serried their companies yet more closely when they heard the of

their king. As the stones which a builder sets in the wall of some

high house which is to give shelter from the winds- even so closely

were the helmets and bossed shields set against one another. Shield

pressed on shield, helm on helm, and man on man; so close were they

that the horse-hair plumes on the gleaming ridges of their helmets

touched each other as they bent their heads.In front of them all two men put on their armour- Patroclus and

Automedon- two men, with but one mind to lead the Myrmidons. Then

Achilles went inside his tent and opened the lid of the strong chest

which silver-footed Thetis had given him to take on board ship, and

which she had filled with shirts, cloaks to keep out the cold, and

good thick rugs. In this chest he had a cup of rare workmanship,

from which no man but himself might drink, nor would he make

offering from it to any other god save only to father Jove. He took

the cup from the chest and cleansed it with sulphur; this done he

rinsed it clean water, and after he had washed his hands he drew wine.

Then he stood in the middle of the court and prayed, looking towards

heaven, and making his drink-offering of wine; nor was he unseen of

Jove whose joy is in thunder. "King Jove," he cried, "lord of

Dodona, god of the Pelasgi, who dwellest afar, you who hold wintry

Dodona in your sway, where your prophets the Selli dwell around you

with their feet unwashed and their couches made upon the ground- if

you heard me when I prayed to you aforetime, and did me honour while

you sent disaster on the Achaeans, vouchsafe me now the fulfilment

of yet this further prayer. I shall stay here where my ships are

lying, but I shall send my comrade into battle at the head of many

Myrmidons. Grant, O all-seeing Jove, that victory may go with him; put

your courage into his heart that Hector may learn whether my squire is

man enough to fight alone, or whether his might is only then so

indomitable when I myself enter the turmoil of war. Afterwards when he

has chased the fight and the cry of battle from the ships, grant

that he may return unharmed, with his armour and his comrades,

fighters in close combat."Thus did he pray, and all-counselling Jove heard his prayer. Part of

it he did indeed vouchsafe him- but not the whole. He granted that

Patroclus should thrust back war and battle from the ships, but

refused to let him come safely out of the fight.When he had made his drink-offering and had thus prayed, Achilles

went inside his tent and put back the cup into his chest.Then he again came out, for he still loved to look upon the fierce

fight that raged between the Trojans and Achaeans.Meanwhile the armed band that was about Patroclus marched on till

they sprang high in hope upon the Trojans. They came swarming out like

wasps whose nests are by the roadside, and whom silly children love to

tease, whereon any one who happens to be passing may get stung- or

again, if a wayfarer going along the road vexes them by accident,

every wasp will come flying out in a fury to defend his little ones-

even with such rage and courage did the Myrmidons swarm from their

ships, and their cry of battle rose heavenwards. Patroclus called

out to his men at the top of his voice, "Myrmidons, followers of

Achilles son of Peleus, be men my friends, fight with might and with

main, that we may win glory for the son of Peleus, who is far the

foremost man at the ships of the Argives- he, and his close fighting

followers. The son of Atreus King Agamemnon will thus learn his

folly in showing no respect to the bravest of the Achaeans."With these words he put heart and soul into them all, and they

fell in a body upon the Trojans. The ships rang again with the cry

which the Achaeans raised, and when the Trojans saw the brave son of

Menoetius and his squire all gleaming in their armour, they were

daunted and their battalions were thrown into confusion, for they

thought the fleet son of Peleus must now have put aside his anger, and

have been reconciled to Agamemnon; every one, therefore, looked

round about to see whither he might fly for safety.Patroclus first aimed a spear into the middle of the press where men

were packed most closely, by the stern of the ship of Protesilaus.

He hit Pyraechmes who had led his Paeonian horsemen from the Amydon

and the broad waters of the river Axius; the spear struck him on the

right shoulder, and with a groan he fell backwards in the dust; on

this his men were thrown into confusion, for by killing their

leader, who was the finest soldier among them, Patroclus struck

panic into them all. He thus drove them from the ship and quenched the

fire that was then blazing- leaving the half-burnt ship to lie where

it was. The Trojans were now driven back with a shout that rent the

skies, while the Danaans poured after them from their ships,

shouting also without ceasing. As when Jove, gatherer of the

thunder-cloud, spreads a dense canopy on the top of some lofty

mountain, and all the peaks, the jutting headlands, and forest

glades show out in the great light that flashes from the bursting

heavens, even so when the Danaans had now driven back the fire from

their ships, they took breath for a little while; but the fury of

the fight was not yet over, for the Trojans were not driven back in

utter rout, but still gave battle, and were ousted from their ground

only by sheer fighting.The fight then became more scattered, and the chieftains killed

one another when and how they could. The valiant son of Menoetius

first drove his spear into the thigh of Areilycus just as he was

turning round; the point went clean through, and broke the bone so

that he fell forward. Meanwhile Menelaus struck Thoas in the chest,

where it was exposed near the rim of his shield, and he fell dead. The

son of Phyleus saw Amphiclus about to attack him, and ere he could

do so took aim at the upper part of his thigh, where the muscles are

thicker than in any other part; the spear tore through all the

sinews of the leg, and his eyes were closed in darkness. Of the sons

of Nestor one, Antilochus, speared Atymnius, driving the point of

the spear through his throat, and down he fell. Maris then sprang on

Antilochus in hand-to-hand fight to avenge his brother, and bestrode

the body spear in hand; but valiant Thrasymedes was too quick for him,

and in a moment had struck him in the shoulder ere he could deal his

blow; his aim was true, and the spear severed all the muscles at the

root of his arm, and tore them right down to the bone, so he fell

heavily to the ground and his eyes were closed in darkness. Thus did

these two noble comrades of Sarpedon go down to Erebus slain by the

two sons of Nestor; they were the warrior sons of Amisodorus, who

had reared the invincible Chimaera, to the bane of many. Ajax son of

Oileus sprang on Cleobulus and took him alive as he was entangled in

the crush; but he killed him then and there by a sword-blow on the

neck. The sword reeked with his blood, while dark death and the strong

hand of fate gripped him and closed his eyes.Peneleos and Lycon now met in close fight, for they had missed

each other with their spears. They had both thrown without effect,

so now they drew their swords. Lycon struck the plumed crest of

Peneleos' helmet but his sword broke at the hilt, while Peneleos smote

Lycon on the neck under the ear. The blade sank so deep that the

head was held on by nothing but the skin, and there was no more life

left in him. Meriones gave chase to Acamas on foot and caught him up

just as he was about to mount his chariot; he drove a spear through

his right shoulder so that he fell headlong from the car, and his eyes

were closed in darkness. Idomeneus speared Erymas in the mouth; the

bronze point of the spear went clean through it beneath the brain,

crashing in among the white bones and smashing them up. His teeth were

all of them knocked out and the blood came gushing in a stream from

both his eyes; it also came gurgling up from his mouth and nostrils,

and the darkness of death enfolded him round about.Thus did these chieftains of the Danaans each of them kill his

man. As ravening wolves seize on kids or lambs, fastening on them when

they are alone on the hillsides and have strayed from the main flock

through the carelessness of the shepherd- and when the wolves see this

they pounce upon them at once because they cannot defend themselves-

even so did the Danaans now fall on the Trojans, who fled with

ill-omened cries in their panic and had no more fight left in them.Meanwhile great Ajax kept on trying to drive a spear into Hector,

but Hector was so skilful that he held his broad shoulders well

under cover of his ox-hide shield, ever on the look-out for the

whizzing of the arrows and the heavy thud of the spears. He well

knew that the fortunes of the day had changed, but still stood his

ground and tried to protect his comrades.As when a cloud goes up into heaven from Olympus, rising out of a

clear sky when Jove is brewing a gale- even with such panic stricken

rout did the Trojans now fly, and there was no order in their going.

Hector's fleet horses bore him and his armour out of the fight, and he

left the Trojan host penned in by the deep trench against their

will. Many a yoke of horses snapped the pole of their chariots in

the trench and left their master's car behind them. Patroclus gave

chase, calling impetuously on the Danaans and full of fury against the

Trojans, who, being now no longer in a body, filled all the ways

with their cries of panic and rout; the air was darkened with the

clouds of dust they raised, and the horses strained every nerve in

their flight from the tents and ships towards the city.Patroclus kept on heading his horses wherever he saw most men flying

in confusion, cheering on his men the while. Chariots were being

smashed in all directions, and many a man came tumbling down from

his own car to fall beneath the wheels of that of Patroclus, whose

immortal steeds, given by the gods to Peleus, sprang over the trench

at a bound as they sped onward. He was intent on trying to get near

Hector, for he had set his heart on spearing him, but Hector's

horses were now hurrying him away. As the whole dark earth bows before

some tempest on an autumn day when Jove rains his hardest to punish

men for giving crooked judgement in their courts, and arriving justice

therefrom without heed to the decrees of heaven- all the rivers run

full and the torrents tear many a new channel as they roar headlong

from the mountains to the dark sea, and it fares ill with the works of

men- even such was the stress and strain of the Trojan horses in their

flight.Patroclus now cut off the battalions that were nearest to him and

drove them back to the ships. They were doing their best to reach

the city, but he would not Yet them, and bore down on them between the

river and the ships and wall. Many a fallen comrade did he then

avenge. First he hit Pronous with a spear on the chest where it was

exposed near the rim of his shield, and he fell heavily to the ground.

Next he sprang on Thestor son of Enops, who was sitting all huddled up

in his chariot, for he had lost his head and the reins had been torn

out of his hands. Patroclus went up to him and drove a spear into

his right jaw; he thus hooked him by the teeth and the spear pulled

him over the rim of his car, as one who sits at the end of some

jutting rock and draws a strong fish out of the sea with a hook and

a line- even so with his spear did he pull Thestor all gaping from his

chariot; he then threw him down on his face and he died while falling.

On this, as Erylaus was on to attack him, he struck him full on the

head with a stone, and his brains were all battered inside his helmet,

whereon he fell headlong to the ground and the pangs of death took

hold upon him. Then he laid low, one after the other, Erymas,

Amphoterus, Epaltes, Tlepolemus, Echius son of Damastor, Pyris,

lpheus, Euippus and Polymelus son of Argeas.Now when Sarpedon saw his comrades, men who wore ungirdled tunics,

being overcome by Patroclus son of Menoetius, he rebuked the Lycians

saying. "Shame on you, where are you flying to? Show your mettle; I

will myself meet this man in fight and learn who it is that is so

masterful; he has done us much hurt, and has stretched many a brave

man upon the ground."He sprang from his chariot as he spoke, and Patroclus, when he saw

this, leaped on to the ground also. The two then rushed at one another

with loud cries like eagle-beaked crook-taloned vultures that scream

and tear at one another in some high mountain fastness.The son of scheming Saturn looked down upon them in pity and said to

Juno who was his wife and sister, "Alas, that it should be the lot

of Sarpedon whom I love so dearly to perish by the hand of

Patroclus. I am in two minds whether to catch him up out of the

fight and set him down safe and sound in the fertile land of Lycia, or

to let him now fall by the hand of the son of Menoetius."And Juno answered, "Most dread son of Saturn, what is this that

you are saying? Would you snatch a mortal man, whose doom has long

been fated, out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we shall not

all of us be of your mind. I say further, and lay my saying to your

heart, that if you send Sarpedon safely to his own home, some other of

the gods will be also wanting to escort his son out of battle, for

there are many sons of gods fighting round the city of Troy, and you

will make every one jealous. If, however, you are fond of him and pity

him, let him indeed fall by the hand of Patroclus, but as soon as

the life is gone out of him, send Death and sweet Sleep to bear him

off the field and take him to the broad lands of Lycia, where his

brothers and his kinsmen will bury him with mound and pillar, in due

honour to the dead."The sire of gods and men assented, but he shed a rain of blood

upon the earth in honour of his son whom Patroclus was about to kill

on the rich plain of Troy far from his home.When they were now come close to one another Patroclus struck

Thrasydemus, the brave squire of Sarpedon, in the lower part of the

belly, and killed him. Sarpedon then aimed a spear at Patroclus and

missed him, but he struck the horse Pedasus in the right shoulder, and

it screamed aloud as it lay, groaning in the dust until the life

went out of it. The other two horses began to plunge; the pole of

the chariot cracked and they got entangled in the reins through the

fall of the horse that was yoked along with them; but Automedon knew

what to do; without the loss of a moment he drew the keen blade that

hung by his sturdy thigh and cut the third horse adrift; whereon the

other two righted themselves, and pulling hard at the reins again went

together into battle.Sarpedon now took a second aim at Patroclus, and again missed him,

the point of the spear passed over his left shoulder without hitting

him. Patroclus then aimed in his turn, and the spear sped not from his

hand in vain, for he hit Sarpedon just where the midriff surrounds the

ever-beating heart. He fell like some oak or silver poplar or tall

pine to which woodmen have laid their axes upon the mountains to

make timber for ship-building- even so did he lie stretched at full

length in front of his chariot and horses, moaning and clutching at

the blood-stained dust. As when a lion springs with a bound upon a

herd of cattle and fastens on a great black bull which dies

bellowing in its clutches- even so did the leader of the Lycian

warriors struggle in death as he fell by the hand of Patroclus. He

called on his trusty comrade and said, "Glaucus, my brother, hero

among heroes, put forth all your strength, fight with might and

main, now if ever quit yourself like a valiant soldier. First go about

among the Lycian captains and bid them fight for Sarpedon; then

yourself also do battle to save my armour from being taken. My name

will haunt you henceforth and for ever if the Achaeans rob me of my

armour now that I have fallen at their ships. Do your very utmost

and call all my people together."Death closed his eyes as he spoke. Patroclus planted his heel on his

breast and drew the spear from his body, whereon his senses came out

along with it, and he drew out both spear-point and Sarpedon's soul at

the same time. Hard by the Myrmidons held his snorting steeds, who

were wild with panic at finding themselves deserted by their lords.Glaucus was overcome with grief when he heard what Sarpedon said,

for he could not help him. He had to support his arm with his other

hand, being in great pain through the wound which Teucer's arrow had

given him when Teucer was defending the wall as he, Glaucus, was

assailing it. Therefore he prayed to far-darting Apollo saying,

"Hear me O king from your seat, may be in the rich land of Lycia, or

may be in Troy, for in all places you can hear the prayer of one who

is in distress, as I now am. I have a grievous wound; my hand is

aching with pain, there is no staunching the blood, and my whole arm

drags by reason of my hurt, so that I cannot grasp my sword nor go

among my foes and fight them, thou our prince, Jove's son Sarpedon, is

slain. Jove defended not his son, do you, therefore, O king, heal me

of my wound, ease my pain and grant me strength both to cheer on the

Lycians and to fight along with them round the body of him who has

fallen."Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He eased his pain,

staunched the black blood from the wound, and gave him new strength.

Glaucus perceived this, and was thankful that the mighty god had

answered his prayer; forthwith, therefore, he went among the Lycian

captains, and bade them come to fight about the body of Sarpedon. From

these he strode on among the Trojans to Polydamas son of Panthous

and Agenor; he then went in search of Aeneas and Hector, and when he

had found them he said, "Hector, you have utterly forgotten your

allies, who languish here for your sake far from friends and home

while you do nothing to support them. Sarpedon leader of the Lycian

warriors has fallen- he who was at once the right and might of

Lycia; Mars has laid him low by the spear of Patroclus. Stand by

him, my friends, and suffer not the Myrmidons to strip him of his

armour, nor to treat his body with contumely in revenge for all the

Danaans whom we have speared at the ships."As he spoke the Trojans were plunged in extreme and ungovernable

grief; for Sarpedon, alien though he was, had been one of the main

stays of their city, both as having much people with him, and

himself the foremost among them all. Led by Hector, who was infuriated

by the fall of Sarpedon, they made instantly for the Danaans with

all their might, while the undaunted spirit of Patroclus son of

Menoetius cheered on the Achaeans. First he spoke to the two Ajaxes,

men who needed no bidding. "Ajaxes," said he, "may it now please you

to show youselves the men you have always been, or even better-

Sarpedon is fallen- he who was first to overleap the wall of the

Achaeans; let us take the body and outrage it; let us strip the armour

from his shoulders, and kill his comrades if they try to rescue his

body."He spoke to men who of themselves were full eager; both sides,

therefore, the Trojans and Lycians on the one hand, and the

Myrmidons and Achaeans on the other, strengthened their battalions,

and fought desperately about the body of Sarpedon, shouting fiercely

the while. Mighty was the din of their armour as they came together,

and Jove shed a thick darkness over the fight, to increase the of

the battle over the body of his son.At first the Trojans made some headway against the Achaeans, for one

of the best men among the Myrmidons was killed, Epeigeus, son of noble

Agacles who had erewhile been king in the good city of Budeum; but

presently, having killed a valiant kinsman of his own, he took

refuge with Peleus and Thetis, who sent him to Ilius the land of noble

steeds to fight the Trojans under Achilles. Hector now struck him on

the head with a stone just as he had caught hold of the body, and

his brains inside his helmet were all battered in, so that he fell

face foremost upon the body of Sarpedon, and there died. Patroclus was

enraged by the death of his comrade, and sped through the front

ranks as swiftly as a hawk that swoops down on a flock of daws or

starlings. Even so swiftly, O noble knight Patroclus, did you make

straight for the Lycians and Trojans to avenge your comrade. Forthwith

he struck Sthenelaus the son of Ithaemenes on the neck with a stone,

and broke the tendons that join it to the head and spine. On this

Hector and the front rank of his men gave ground. As far as a man

can throw a javelin when competing for some prize, or even in

battle- so far did the Trojans now retreat before the Achaeans.

Glaucus, captain of the Lycians, was the first to rally them, by

killing Bathycles son of Chalcon who lived in Hellas and was the

richest man among the Myrmidons. Glaucus turned round suddenly, just

as Bathycles who was pursuing him was about to lay hold of him, and

drove his spear right into the middle of his chest, whereon he fell

heavily to the ground, and the fall of so good a man filled the

Achaeans with dismay, while the Trojans were exultant, and came up

in a body round the corpse. Nevertheless the Achaeans, mindful of

their prowess, bore straight down upon them.Meriones then killed a helmed warrior of the Trojans, Laogonus son

of Onetor, who was priest of Jove of Mt. Ida, and was honoured by

the people as though he were a god. Meriones struck him under the

jaw and ear, so that life went out of him and the darkness of death

laid hold upon him. Aeneas then aimed a spear at Meriones, hoping to

hit him under the shield as he was advancing, but Meriones saw it

coming and stooped forward to avoid it, whereon the spear flew past

him and the point stuck in the ground, while the butt-end went on

quivering till Mars robbed it of its force. The spear, therefore, sped

from Aeneas's hand in vain and fell quivering to the ground. Aeneas

was angry and said, "Meriones, you are a good dancer, but if I had hit

you my spear would soon have made an end of you."And Meriones answered, "Aeneas, for all your bravery, you will not

be able to make an end of every one who comes against you. You are

only a mortal like myself, and if I were to hit you in the middle of

your shield with my spear, however strong and self-confident you may

be, I should soon vanquish you, and you would yield your life to Hades

of the noble steeds."On this the son of Menoetius rebuked him and said, "Meriones, hero

though you be, you should not speak thus; taunting speeches, my good

friend, will not make the Trojans draw away from the dead body; some

of them must go under ground first; blows for battle, and words for

council; fight, therefore, and say nothing."He led the way as he spoke and the hero went forward with him. As

the sound of woodcutters in some forest glade upon the mountains-

and the thud of their axes is heard afar- even such a din now rose

from earth-clash of bronze armour and of good ox-hide shields, as

men smote each other with their swords and spears pointed at both

ends. A man had need of good eyesight now to know Sarpedon, so covered

was he from head to foot with spears and blood and dust. Men swarmed

about the body, as flies that buzz round the full milk-pails in spring

when they are brimming with milk- even so did they gather round

Sarpedon; nor did Jove turn his keen eyes away for one moment from the

fight, but kept looking at it all the time, for he was settling how

best to kill Patroclus, and considering whether Hector should be

allowed to end him now in the fight round the body of Sarpedon, and

strip him of his armour, or whether he should let him give yet further

trouble to the Trojans. In the end, he deemed it best that the brave

squire of Achilles son of Peleus should drive Hector and the Trojans

back towards the city and take the lives of many. First, therefore, he

made Hector turn fainthearted, whereon he mounted his chariot and

fled, bidding the other Trojans fly also, for he saw that the scales

of Jove had turned against him. Neither would the brave Lycians

stand firm; they were dismayed when they saw their king lying struck

to the heart amid a heap of corpses- for when the son of Saturn made

the fight wax hot many had fallen above him. The Achaeans, therefore

stripped the gleaming armour from his shoulders and the brave son of

Menoetius gave it to his men to take to the ships. Then Jove lord of

the storm-cloud said to Apollo, "Dear Phoebus, go, I pray you, and

take Sarpedon out of range of the weapons; cleanse the black blood

from off him, and then bear him a long way off where you may wash

him in the river, anoint him with ambrosia, and clothe him in immortal

raiment; this done, commit him to the arms of the two fleet

messengers, Death, and Sleep, who will carry him straightway to the

rich land of Lycia, where his brothers and kinsmen will inter him, and

will raise both mound and pillar to his memory, in due honour to the

dead."Thus he spoke. Apollo obeyed his father's saying, and came down from

the heights of Ida into the thick of the fight; forthwith he took

Sarpedon out of range of the weapons, and then bore him a long way

off, where he washed him in the river, anointed him with ambrosia

and clothed him in immortal raiment; this done, he committed him to

the arms of the two fleet messengers, Death, and Sleep, who

presently set him down in the rich land of Lycia.Meanwhile Patroclus, with many a shout to his horses and to

Automedon, pursued the Trojans and Lycians in the pride and

foolishness of his heart. Had he but obeyed the bidding of the son

of Peleus, he would have, escaped death and have been scatheless;

but the counsels of Jove pass man's understanding; he will put even

a brave man to flight and snatch victory from his grasp, or again he

will set him on to fight, as he now did when he put a high spirit into

the heart of Patroclus.Who then first, and who last, was slain by you, O Patroclus, when

the gods had now called you to meet your doom? First Adrestus,

Autonous, Echeclus, Perimus the son of Megas, Epistor and

Melanippus; after these he killed Elasus, Mulius, and Pylartes.

These he slew, but the rest saved themselves by flight.The sons of the Achaeans would now have taken Troy by the hands of

Patroclus, for his spear flew in all directions, had not Phoebus

Apollo taken his stand upon the wall to defeat his purpose and to

aid the Trojans. Thrice did Patroclus charge at an angle of the high

wall, and thrice did Apollo beat him back, striking his shield with

his own immortal hands. When Patroclus was coming on like a god for

yet a fourth time, Apollo shouted to him with an awful voice and said,

"Draw back, noble Patroclus, it is not your lot to sack the city of

the Trojan chieftains, nor yet will it be that of Achilles who is a

far better man than you are." On hearing this, Patroclus withdrew to

some distance and avoided the anger of Apollo.Meanwhile Hector was waiting with his horses inside the Scaean

gates, in doubt whether to drive out again and go on fighting, or to

call the army inside the gates. As he was thus doubting Phoebus Apollo

drew near him in the likeness of a young and lusty warrior Asius,

who was Hector's uncle, being own brother to Hecuba, and son of

Dymas who lived in Phrygia by the waters of the river Sangarius; in

his likeness Jove's son Apollo now spoke to Hector saying, "Hector,

why have you left off fighting? It is ill done of you. If I were as

much better a man than you, as I am worse, you should soon rue your

slackness. Drive straight towards Patroclus, if so be that Apollo

may grant you a triumph over him, and you may rull him."With this the god went back into the hurly-burly, and Hector bade

Cebriones drive again into the fight. Apollo passed in among them, and

struck panic into the Argives, while he gave triumph to Hector and the

Trojans. Hector let the other Danaans alone and killed no man, but

drove straight at Patroclus. Patroclus then sprang from his chariot to

the ground, with a spear in his left hand, and in his right a jagged

stone as large as his hand could hold. He stood still and threw it,

nor did it go far without hitting some one; the cast was not in

vain, for the stone struck Cebriones, Hector's charioteer, a bastard

son of Priam, as he held the reins in his hands. The stone hit him

on the forehead and drove his brows into his head for the bone was

smashed, and his eyes fell to the ground at his feet. He dropped

dead from his chariot as though he were diving, and there was no

more life left in him. Over him did you then vaunt, O knight

Patroclus, saying, "Bless my heart, how active he is, and how well

he dives. If we had been at sea this fellow would have dived from

the ship's side and brought up as many oysters as the whole crew could

stomach, even in rough water, for he has dived beautifully off his

chariot on to the ground. It seems, then, that there are divers also

among the Trojans."As he spoke he flung himself on Cebriones with the spring, as it

were, of a lion that while attacking a stockyard is himself struck

in the chest, and his courage is his own bane- even so furiously, O

Patroclus, did you then spring upon Cebriones. Hector sprang also from

his chariot to the ground. The pair then fought over the body of

Cebriones. As two lions fight fiercely on some high mountain over

the body of a stag that they have killed, even so did these two mighty

warriors, Patroclus son of Menoetius and brave Hector, hack and hew at

one another over the corpse of Cebriones. Hector would not let him

go when he had once got him by the head, while Patroclus kept fast

hold of his feet, and a fierce fight raged between the other Danaans

and Trojans. As the east and south wind buffet one another when they

beat upon some dense forest on the mountains- there is beech and ash

and spreading cornel; the to of the trees roar as they beat on one

another, and one can hear the boughs cracking and breaking- even so

did the Trojans and Achaeans spring upon one another and lay about

each other, and neither side would give way. Many a pointed spear fell

to ground and many a winged arrow sped from its bow-string about the

body of Cebriones; many a great stone, moreover, beat on many a shield

as they fought around his body, but there he lay in the whirling

clouds of dust, all huge and hugely, heedless of his driving now.So long as the sun was still high in mid-heaven the weapons of

either side were alike deadly, and the people fell; but when he went

down towards the time when men loose their oxen, the Achaeans proved

to be beyond all forecast stronger, so that they drew Cebriones out of

range of the darts and tumult of the Trojans, and stripped the

armour from his shoulders. Then Patroclus sprang like Mars with fierce

intent and a terrific shout upon the Trojans, and thrice did he kill

nine men; but as he was coming on like a god for a time, then, O

Patroclus, was the hour of your end approaching, for Phoebus fought

you in fell earnest. Patroclus did not see him as he moved about in

the crush, for he was enshrouded in thick darkness, and the god struck

him from behind on his back and his broad shoulders with the flat of

his hand, so that his eyes turned dizzy. Phoebus Apollo beat the

helmet from off his head, and it rolled rattling off under the horses'

feet, where its horse-hair plumes were all begrimed with dust and

blood. Never indeed had that helmet fared so before, for it had served

to protect the head and comely forehead of the godlike hero

Achilles. Now, however, Zeus delivered it over to be worn by Hector.

Nevertheless the end of Hector also was near. The bronze-shod spear,

so great and so strong, was broken in the hand of Patroclus, while his

shield that covered him from head to foot fell to the ground as did

also the band that held it, and Apollo undid the fastenings of his

corslet.On this his mind became clouded; his limbs failed him, and he

stood as one dazed; whereon Euphorbus son of Panthous a Dardanian, the

best spearman of his time, as also the finest horseman and fleetest

runner, came behind him and struck him in the back with a spear,

midway between the shoulders. This man as soon as ever he had come

up with his chariot had dismounted twenty men, so proficient was he in

all the arts of war- he it was, O knight Patroclus, that first drove a

weapon into you, but he did not quite overpower you. Euphorbus then

ran back into the crowd, after drawing his ashen spear out of the

wound; he would not stand firm and wait for Patroclus, unarmed

though he now was, to attack him; but Patroclus unnerved, alike by the

blow the god had given him and by the spear-wound, drew back under

cover of his men in fear for his life. Hector on this, seeing him to

be wounded and giving ground, forced his way through the ranks, and

when close up with him struck him in the lower part of the belly

with a spear, driving the bronze point right through it, so that he

fell heavily to the ground to the great of the Achaeans. As when a

lion has fought some fierce wild-boar and worsted him- the two fight

furiously upon the mountains over some little fountain at which they

would both drink, and the lion has beaten the boar till he can

hardly breathe- even so did Hector son of Priam take the life of the

brave son of Menoetius who had killed so many, striking him from close

at hand, and vaunting over him the while. "Patroclus," said he, "you

deemed that you should sack our city, rob our Trojan women of their

freedom, and carry them off in your ships to your own country. Fool;

Hector and his fleet horses were ever straining their utmost to defend

them. I am foremost of all the Trojan warriors to stave the day of

bondage from off them; as for you, vultures shall devour you here.

Poor wretch, Achilles with all his bravery availed you nothing; and

yet I ween when you left him he charged you straitly saying, 'Come not

back to the ships, knight Patroclus, till you have rent the

bloodstained shirt of murderous Hector about his body. Thus I ween did

he charge you, and your fool's heart answered him 'yea' within you."Then, as the life ebbed out of you, you answered, O knight

Patroclus: "Hector, vaunt as you will, for Jove the son of Saturn

and Apollo have vouchsafed you victory; it is they who have vanquished

me so easily, and they who have stripped the armour from my shoulders;

had twenty such men as you attacked me, all of them would have

fallen before my spear. Fate and the son of Leto have overpowered

me, and among mortal men Euphorbus; you are yourself third only in the

killing of me. I say further, and lay my saying to your heart, you too

shall live but for a little season; death and the day of your doom are

close upon you, and they will lay you low by the hand of Achilles

son of Aeacus."When he had thus spoken his eyes were closed in death, his soul left

his body and flitted down to the house of Hades, mourning its sad fate

and bidding farewell to the youth and vigor of its manhood. Dead

though he was, Hector still spoke to him saying, "Patroclus, why

should you thus foretell my doom? Who knows but Achilles, son of

lovely Thetis, may be smitten by my spear and die before me?"As he spoke he drew the bronze spear from the wound, planting his

foot upon the body, which he thrust off and let lie on its back. He

then went spear in hand after Automedon, squire of the fleet

descendant of Aeacus, for he longed to lay him low, but the immortal

steeds which the gods had given as a rich gift to Peleus bore him

swiftly from the field.


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