Book XIV

The Fraud Practised on Jupiter by Juno

Consultation of Agamemnon with Nestor, Diomed, and Ulysses⁠—Proposal of Agamemnon to withdraw from Troy by night opposed by Ulysses⁠—Visit made by these wounded chiefs to the battlefield, in order to encourage the army⁠—The cestus of Venus borrowed by Juno, who decoys Jupiter to her chamber, where he falls asleep⁠—Neptune meanwhile actively aids the Greeks, who commit great slaughter⁠—Hector wounded by Ajax.

The mighty uproar was not unperceived
By Nestor’s ear, who, sitting at the wine,
Addressed the son of Aesculapius thus:⁠—

“Noble Machaon, what will happen now?
Bethink thee: for the clamor grows more loud
From our young warriors at the ships. Stay here
And drink the purple wine, while for thy limbs
The fair-haired Hecamede warms the bath
And washes the dark blood away, and I
Will climb the watch-tower, and will know the worst.

He spake, and took a buckler, fairly wrought,
Glittering with brass, and left within the tent
By Thrasymedes, his own knightly son,
Who to the war had borne his father’s shield;
He grasped a ponderous spear, with brazen blade,
And stood without the tent, and saw a sight
Of shame⁠—the routed Greeks, and close behind
The haughty Trojans putting them to flight,
And the Greek wall o’erthrown. As when the face
Of the great deep grows dark with weltering waves,
That silently forbode the swift descent
Of the shrill blast, the yet uncertain seas
Roll not to either side, till from the seat
Of Jupiter comes down the violent wind⁠—
So paused the aged chief, uncertain yet
Of purpose⁠—whether he should join the throng
Of Greeks, with their swift coursers, or repair
To sovereign Agamemnon, Atreus’ son.
This to his thought seemed wiser, and he went
To seek Atrides. Meantime both the hosts
Urged on the work of slaughter; still they fought,
And still the solid brass upon their limbs
Rang, smitten with the swords and two-edged spears.

Then, coming from the fleet, the wounded kings,
Nurslings of Jove, met Nestor; toward him came
Tydides, and Ulysses, and the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon. On the beach
Of the gray deep their ships were ranged afar
From that fierce conflict. There the Greeks had drawn,
To the plain’s edge, the first that touched the land,
And built a rampart at their sterns. Though long
The shore-line, it sufficed not to contain
The galleys, and the host had scanty room;
Wherefore they drew the galleys up in rows,
Row behind row, and filled the shore’s wide mouth
Between the promontories. There the kings
Walked, leaning on their lances, to behold
The tumult and the fight, and inly grieved.
The sight of aged Nestor startled them,
And thus the royal Agamemnon spake:⁠—

“Neleian Nestor, glory of the Greeks,
Why hast thou left the murderous fray, and why
Come hither? Much I fear the fiery chief,
Hector, will make the menace good which once
He uttered, speaking to the men of Troy⁠—
Not to return to Ilium from the fleet
Till he had burned our ships with fire, and slain
Us also; thus he spake, and now fulfils
His menace. O ye gods! The other Greeks,
And not Achilles only, cherish hate
Against me in their hearts, and now refuse
To combat even where our galleys lie.”

And Nestor, the Gerenian knight, replied:⁠—
“Thus is the threat accomplished, nor can Jove
The Thunderer reverse the event. The wall
In which we trusted as impregnable,
Our fleet’s defence and ours, is overthrown;
But obstinately still the Greeks maintain
The combat at the ships, nor couldst thou now
Distinguish with thy sharpest sight where most
The ranks are routed, so confusedly
They fall, and the wild uproar reaches heaven.
Meantime consult we what may yet be done,
If counsel aught avail; yet can I not
Advise to mingle in the strife again.
It is not meet that wounded men should fight.”

And then the royal Agamemnon said:⁠—
“Since at our ships, beneath their very sterns,
The combat rages; since the wall we built
Avails not, nor the trench, at which the Greeks
Labored and suffered, hoping it might be
A sure defence for us and for our fleet,
Certain it is that to Almighty Jove
It hath seemed good that here the Greeks, afar
From Argos, should be shamefully cut off;
For well was I aware when he designed
To aid the Greeks, and well can I perceive
That he is honoring now the men of Troy
Like to the blessed gods, and fettering
Our valor and our hands. Hear my advice,
And follow it. Let us draw down the ships
Nearest the sea, and launch them on the deep,
And moor them, anchored, till the lonely night
Shall come, when, if the Trojans pause from war,
Haply we may draw down the other barques;
For he who flees from danger, even by night,
Deserves no blame; and better is his fate
Who flees from harm than his whom harm o’ertakes.”

Then wise Ulysses, with stern look, replied:⁠—
“What words, Atrides, have escaped thy lips?
Unhappy man, thou shouldst have held command
O’er some effeminate army, and not ours⁠—
Ours to whom Jupiter, from youth to age,
Hath granted to accomplish difficult wars,
Until we pass away. And wouldst thou then
Depart from Troy, the city of broad streets,
For which we have endured so much and long?
Nay, be thou silent, lest the other Greeks
Hear words that never should be said by one
Who knows to speak with wisdom, and who bears
The sceptre, and who rules so many Greeks
As thou dost. I contemn with my whole soul
The counsel thou hast given, commanding us,
While yet the battle rages, to draw down
Our good ships to the sea, that so the foe
May see his wish more easily fulfilled,
Even in the hour of triumph, and our fate
Be certain ruin; for the Greeks no more
Will combat when they draw their galleys down,
But, looking backward to the shore, will leave
The battle there; and thus, O king of men!
Will mischief flow from what thou counsellest.”

And Agamemnon, king of men, rejoined:⁠—
“Thou touchest me, Ulysses, to the heart
With thy harsh censure; yet I did not give
Command to drag our good ships to the sea,
Against the will of the Greeks. And would there were
Some other, young or old, to counsel them
More prudently, for that would please me well.”

Then spake the great in battle, Diomed:⁠—
“The man is here, nor have ye far to look
If ye will be persuaded, and refrain
To blame me angrily, because my years
Are fewest midst you all. I too can boast
Of noble birth; my father, Tydeus, lies
Buried beneath a mound of earth at Thebes.
To Portheus three illustrious sons were born,
Who dwelt in Pleuron, and in Calydon
The lofty⁠—Agrius, Melas, and the knight,
My father’s father, Oeneus, eminent
Among the rest for valor; he remained
At home, but, wandering thence, my father went
To Argos, for the will of Jove was such⁠—
Jove and the other gods. He wedded there
A daughter of Adrastus, and he dwelt
Within a mansion filled with wealth; broad fields
Fertile in corn were his, and many rows
Of trees and vines around him; large his flocks,
And great his fame as one expert to wield,
Beyond all other Greeks, the spear in war.
This should ye know, for this is true; nor yet
Contemn my counsel given with careful thought
And for your good, nor deem it comes from one
Unwarlike and low-born. Now let us join
The battle, wounded as we are, for much
It needs our presence, keeping carefully
Beyond the reach of weapons, to avoid
Wound upon wound, and, cheering on the rest,
Send back into the combat those who stand
Apart, indulgent to their weariness.”

He spake: they hearkened, and with hasty steps
Went on, King Agamemnon at their head.

Nor was the glorious power that shakes the earth
Unmindful of his charge. He went among
The warriors in the semblance of a man
Stricken in years, and, seizing the right hand
Of Agamemnon, spake these wingèd words:⁠—

“O son of Atreus, the revengeful heart
Of Peleus’ son must leap within his breast
For joy, to see the slaughter and the rout
Of the Achaians, since with him there dwells
No touch of pity. May he perish too,
Like us, and may some god o’erwhelm his name
With infamy. With thee the blessed gods
Are not so far incensed, and thou shalt see
The Trojan chiefs and princes of their host
Raising the dust-clouds on the spacious plain
In fleeing from our ships and tents to Troy.”

He spake, and, shouting, strode across the field.
As loud a cry as from nine thousand men,
Or from ten thousand hurrying to engage
In battle, such the cry that ocean’s king
Uttered from his deep lungs. It woke anew
Invincible resolve in every heart
Among the Greeks to combat to the end.

Now, Juno of the golden throne beheld
As, standing on the Olympian height, she cast
Downward her eyes to where her brother moved,
Bearing his part with glory in the fray;
And inly she rejoiced. She also saw
Jove on the peak of Ida, down whose side
Glide many brooks, and greatly was displeased.
Then the majestic goddess with large eyes
Mused how to occupy the mind of him
Who bears the aegis. This at length seemed best:
To deck herself in fair array, and haste
To Ida, that the God might haply yield
To amorous desire, and in that hour
Her hand might pour into his lids, and o’er
His watchful mind, a soft and pleasant sleep.
She went to her own chamber, which her son
Vulcan had framed, with massive portals made
Fast to the lintels by a secret bolt,
Which none but she could draw. She entered in
And closed the shining doors; and first she took
Ambrosial water, washing every stain
From her fair limbs, and smoothed them with rich oil,
Ambrosial, soft, and fragrant, which, when touched
Within Jove’s brazen halls, perfumed the air
Of earth and heaven. When thus her shapely form
Had been anointed, and her hands had combed
Her tresses, she arranged the lustrous curls,
Ambrosial, beautiful, that clustering hung
Round her immortal brow. And next she threw
Around her an ambrosial robe, the work
Of Pallas, all its web embroidered o’er
With forms of rare device. She fastened it
Over the breast with clasps of gold, and then
She passed about her waist a zone which bore
Fringes an hundred-fold, and in her ears
She hung her three-gemmed ear-rings, from whose gleam
She won an added grace. Around her head
The glorious goddess drew a flowing veil,
Just from the loom, and shining like the sun;
And, last, beneath her bright white feet she bound
The shapely sandals. Gloriously arrayed
In all her ornaments, she left her bower,
And calling Venus to herself, apart
From all the other gods, addressed her thus:⁠—

“Wilt thou, dear child, comply with what I ask?
Or, angered that I aid the Greeks, while thou
Dost favor Troy, wilt thou deny my suit?”

And thus Jove’s daughter, Venus, made reply:⁠—
“O Juno, whom I reverence, speak thy thought,
Daughter of mighty Saturn! For my heart
Commands me to obey thy wish in all
That I can do, and all that can be done.”

And thus imperial Juno, planning guile,
Rejoined: “Give me the charm and the desire
With which thou overcomest gods and men.
I go to the far end of this green earth,
To visit Ocean, father of the gods,
And Mother Tethys, who, receiving me
From Rhea, cherished me, and brought me up
In their abodes, when Jove the Thunderer
Cast Saturn down to lie beneath the earth
And barren sea. I go to visit them,
And end their hateful quarrel. For too long
Have they been strangers to the marriage-bed.
But if my words persuade them, and bring back
Their hearts to their old love, my name will be
Honored by them, and dear throughout all time.”

And laughter-loving Venus answered thus:⁠—
“What thou desirest should not be denied,
And shall not, for thou sleepest in the arms
Of Jupiter, the mightiest of the gods.”

She spake, and from her bosom drew the zone,
Embroidered, many-colored, and instinct
With every winning charm⁠—with love, desire,
Dalliance, and gentle speech⁠—that stealthily
O’ercomes the purpose of the wisest mind,
And, placing it in Juno’s hands, she said:⁠—

“This many-colored zone, and all that dwells
Within it, take, and in thy bosom hide,
And thou, I deem, wilt not return and leave
Thy purpose unfulfilled.” As thus she spake,
The large-eyed stately Juno smiled and took,
And, smiling, in her bosom placed the zone,
While Venus, daughter of the Thunderer,
Went to the palace. Juno took her way
From high Olympus o’er Pieria’s realm
And rich Emathia, o’er equestrian Thrace,
With snowy peaks exceeding high; her feet
Touched not the ground. From Athos suddenly
She stooped upon the tossing deep, and came
To Lemnos, seat of Thoas the divine.
And there she met Death’s brother, Sleep, and took
His hand in hers, and thus accosted him:⁠—

“O Sleep, whose sway is over all the gods
And all mankind, if ever thou didst heed
My supplication, hearken to me now,
And I shall be forever grateful. Close
The glorious eyes of Jove beneath his lids
Midst our embracings, and for thy reward
Thou shalt possess a sumptuous throne of gold
Imperishable. Vulcan, my lame son,
Shall forge it for thee, and adorn its sides,
And place below a footstool, upon which
Thy shining feet shall rest in banqueting.”

Then gentle Sleep made answer, speaking thus:⁠—
“Great Saturn’s daughter, Juno the august,
On any other of the deathless gods
Could I bring slumber⁠—even on the tides
Of the swift Ocean, parent of them all;
Yet may I not approach Saturnian Jove
If he command me not. Already once
He made me quail with fright before his threats,
When his magnanimous son, Alcides, sailed
From Troy, which he had ravaged. Then I lulled
The senses of the Aegis-bearer, Jove,
Wrapping myself around him, while thy mind
Was planning mischiefs for his son, and thou
Didst wake the blasts of all the bitter winds
To sweep the ocean, and to bear away
The hero on its billows from his friends
To populous Cos. When Jupiter awoke
His anger rose; he seized and flung the gods
Hither and thither; me he chiefly sought,
And would have cast me to destruction, down
From the great heavens into the deep, if Night,
Whose power o’ercomes the might of gods and men,
Had not preserved me, fleeing to her shade.
So Jove refrained, indignant as he was,
For much he feared to offend the swift-paced Night.
And now thou bid’st me tempt my fate again.”

Imperial, large-eyed Juno thus rejoined:⁠—
“Why rise such thoughts, O Sleep, within thy heart?
Deem’st thou that Jove the Thunderer favors Troy
As much as he was angered for the sake
Of Hercules, his son? Do what I ask,
And thou shalt have from me a wedded spouse.
One of the younger Graces shall be thine⁠—
Pasithea, whom thou hast desired so long.”

She spake, and Sleep, delighted, answered thus:⁠—
“Swear now to me, O goddess, by the Styx,
The inviolable river. Lay one hand
Upon the food-producing earth, and place
The other on the glimmering; sea, that all
The gods below, round Saturn, may attest
Thy promise⁠—that thou wilt bestow on me
One of the younger Graces for my bride⁠—
Pasithea, whom I have desired so long.”

He spake, and white-armed Juno willingly
Complied; she took the oath, and called on all
The gods who dwell in Tartarus below,
And bear the name of Titans. When the oath
Was taken, and the accustomed rites performed,
From Lemnos and from Imbrus forth they went,
Shrouded in mist; and swiftly moving on
Toward Ida, seamed with rivulets and nurse
Of savage beasts, they came to Lectos first,
And there they left the sea. Their way was now
Over the land, and underneath their feet
The forest summits shook. Sleep halted there
Ere yet the eye of Jupiter descried
His coming, and upon a lofty fir,
The tallest growing on the Idaean mount,
High in the air among the clouds of heaven,
Springing from earth, he took his perch within
The screen of branches, like the shrill-voiced bird,
Called Chalcis by the immortals, and by men
Cymindis, haunting the high mountain-side.

And Juno hastened on to Gargarus,
The peak of lofty Ida. Jupiter,
The Cloud-compeller, saw her, and at once
Love took possession of his mighty heart,
As when they first were wedded, and withdrew
From their dear parents’ sight. The God drew near
And stood before her, and addressed her thus:⁠—

“Why art thou hastening from Olympus thus,
And whither; yet without thy steeds and car?”

And Juno answered with dissembled guile:⁠—
“To the far ends of the green earth I go,
To visit Ocean, father of the gods,
And Mother Tethys, in whose palace halls
They nourished me, and brought me up. I go
To end their hateful quarrels, for too long
Have they been strangers to the marriage-bed,
Incensed against each other. Now my steeds,
Waiting to bear me over land and sea,
Stand at the foot of Ida seamed with rills,
And now I come to thee, lest thou perchance
Be wroth if I unknown to thee repair
To where old Ocean dwells amid his deeps.”

The Cloud-compeller, Jupiter, rejoined:⁠—
“Hereafter, Juno, there will be a time
For such a journey; meantime let us give
This hour to rest and dalliance. Never yet
Did love of goddess or of mortal maid
Possess and overcome my heart as now;
Not even when I loved Ixion’s dame,
Who bore Pirithoüs, prudent as a god
Among the counsellors; nor when I loved
Acrisius’ daughter with the dainty feet,
Danae, who brought forth Perseus, eminent
Above the other warrior-chiefs; nor when
I carried off from Phoenix the renowned
His daughter, who bore Minos afterward,
And Rhadamanthus. Never so I loved
Semele, nor Alcmena who in Thebes
Brought forth to me the great-souled Hercules,
My valiant son, while Bacchus, the delight
Of men, was born of Semele; nor yet
So loved I Ceres, fair-haired queen, nor yet
Latona, gloriously beautiful,
Nor even thee, as now I love, and yield
My spirit to the sweetness of desire.”

Imperial Juno artfully replied:⁠—
“Importunate Saturnius, what is this
That thou hast said? If on this summit height
Of Ida we recline, where all around
Is open to the sight, how will it be
Should any of the ever-living gods
Behold us sleeping, and to all the rest
Declare it? I could never, rising thence,
Enter again thy palace, save with shame.
Yet if thou truly speakest thy desire,
Thou hast a marriage-chamber of thine own,
Which Vulcan, thy beloved son, for thee
Framed, fitting to its posts the solid doors;
And thither let us go to take our rest
Within it, since thou hast declared thy will.”

Then spake again the Cloud-compeller Jove:⁠—
“O Juno! Fear thou not that any god
Or man will look upon us. I shall throw
A golden cloud around us, which the Sun
Himself cannot look through, although his eye
Is piercing, far beyond all other eyes.”

The son of Saturn spake, and took his wife
Into his arms, while underneath the pair
The sacred Earth threw up her freshest herbs⁠—
The dewy lotus, and the crocus-flower,
And thick and soft the hyacinth. All these
Upbore them from the ground. Upon this couch
They lay, while o’er them a bright golden cloud
Gathered, and shed its drops of glistening dew.

So slumbered on the heights of Gargarus
The All-Father, overcome by sleep and love,
And held his consort in his arms. Meanwhile
The gentle Sleep made haste to seek the fleet
Of Greece. He bore a message to the god
Neptune, who shakes the shores, and, drawing near,
He thus accosted him with wingèd words:⁠—

“Now, Neptune, give the Greeks thy earnest aid,
And though it be but for a little space,
While Jupiter yet slumbers, let them win
The glory of the day; for I have wrapt
His senses in a gentle lethargy,
To which he is betrayed by Juno’s wiles.”

He spake, and took his way, departing thence
Among the tribes of men. These words inflamed
The god’s desire to aid the Greeks; he sprang
Far on among the foremost, and exclaimed:⁠—

“O Greeks! Do ye again submit to yield
The victory to Hector, Priam’s son.
That he may seize our fleet and bear away
The glory of the day? This is his hope,
And this his boast, since now Achilles lies
Inactive at his ships, in sullen wrath.
Yet little should we need him, if the rest
Stood bravely by each other. Hear me now,
And do what I advise. Let all of us,
The best and bravest, bearing shields, and capped
With glittering helms, and wielding in our hands
The longest spears, advance, and I will lead
The charge; nor do I think that Hector, son
Of Priam, daring as he seems, will yet
Abide our onset. Who so has the heart
To make a stand with me, and yet who bears
A narrow shield, let it be given to one
Less warlike, and a broader shield be found.”

He spake; they hearkened and obeyed. The kings
Tydides, and Ulysses, and the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, though their wounds
Still galled them, marshalled and reviewed the ranks,
And changed their arms; they made the braver wear
The better armor, and the worse they gave
To the less warlike. Now, when o’er their breasts
The burnished mail was girded, they began
Their march; the great earth-shaker, Neptune, led
The onset, grasping in his sinewy hand
A sword of fearful length and flashing blade,
Like lightning. No man dared encounter it
In combat; every arm was stayed by fear.

Right opposite, illustrious Hector ranged
His Trojans. Dark-haired Neptune and the son
Of Priam now engaged in desperate strife,
One on the side of Troy, and one for Greece.
The sea swelled upward toward the Grecian tents
And fleet, while both the armies flung themselves
Against each other with a loud uproar.
Not with such noise the ocean-billows lash
The mainland, when the violent north wind
Tumbles them shoreward; not with such a noise
Roar the fierce flames within the mountain glen,
When leaping upward to consume the trees;
And not so loudly howls the hurricane
Among the lofty branches of the oaks
When in its greatest fury, as now rose
The din of battle from the hosts that rushed
Against each other with terrific cries.

At Ajax glorious Hector cast his spear,
As face to face they stood. It missed him not,
But struck him where two belts upon his breast
O’erlapped each other⁠—that which held the shield
And that which bore the silver-studded sword.
These saved the tender muscles. Hector, vexed
That thus his weapon should have flown in vain,
Retreated toward his comrades, shunning death.
As he drew back, the Telamonian hurled
A stone⁠—for stones in multitude, that propped
The galleys, lay around, and rolled among
The feet of those who struggled. One of these
He lifted, smiting Hector on the breast,
Above the buckler’s orb and near the neck.
He sent it spinning like a top; it fell
And whirled along the ground. As when beneath
The stroke of Father Jupiter an oak
Falls broken at the root, and from it fumes
A stifling smell of sulphur, and the heart
Of him who stands and sees it sinks with dread⁠—
For fearful is the bolt of mighty Jove⁠—
So dropped the valiant Hector to the earth
Amid the dust; his hand let fall the spear;
His shield and helm fell with him, and his mail
Of shining brass clashed round him. Then the Greeks
Rushed toward him, yelling fiercely, for they hoped
To drag him thence; and many a lance they cast;
But none by javelin or by thrust could wound
The shepherd of the people, for there came
Around him all the bravest of his host⁠—
Polydamas, Aeneas, and the great
Agenor, and Sarpedon, he who led
The Lycian bands, and Glaucus the renowned;
These flung themselves into the strife, while none
Of all the rest refrained, but firmly held
Their broad round shields before him. Then his friends
Lifted him in their arms, and bore him off,
Out of the conflict, to his fiery steeds
That waited for him in the battle’s rear,
With charioteer and sumptuous car; and these
Bore him to Ilium, sorely suffering.

But when they now had reached the crossing-place
Of Xanthus, full of eddies, pleasant stream,
The progeny of ever-living Jove,
They lifted out the hero from the car,
And laid him on the ground, and on him poured
Water, at which his breath and sight returned.
He sat upon his knees, and from his throat
Gave forth the purple blood, and then he fell
Back to the ground, and darkness veiled his eyes,
For still his senses felt the stunning blow.

The Greeks saw Hector leave the field, and pressed
The foe more hotly, and bethought themselves
Of their old valor. Then the swift of foot,
Oilean Ajax, darted to the van,
And with his fir-tree spear smote Satnius, son
Of Enops, whom a Naiad eminent
For beauty among all the nymphs brought forth
To Enops, when on Satnio’s banks he kept
His flocks. Oileus’ son, expert to wield
The spear, drew near, and pierced him in the flank.
Prostrate he fell, and suddenly the Greeks
And Trojans gathered round in desperate fray.
Polydamas, the mighty spearman, son
Of Panthoüs, coming to avenge him, smote
On the right shoulder Prothoenor, son
Of Areilochus. The pitiless spear
Passed through, and falling in the dust he grasped
The earth with dying hands. Polydamas
Shouted aloud, exulting over him:⁠—

“Not vainly, as I think, hath flown the spear
From the strong hand of the magnanimous son
Of Panthoüs. Some Achaian hath received
The weapon in his side, to lean upon
In going down to Pluto’s dim abode.”

He spake; the Achaians chafed to hear his boast,
And most the warlike son of Telamon;
For the slain Greek fell near him. Instantly,
Just as the Trojan moved away, he hurled
His shining lance. Polydamas, to escape
The death-stroke, sprang aside. Archilochus,
Antenor’s son, received the blow: the gods
Had doomed him to be slain. It pierced the spine
Where the head joins the neck, and severed there
The tendons on each side. His head and mouth
And nostrils struck the ground before his knees.

And thus to excellent Polydamas
Did Ajax shout in turn: “Bethink thee now,
And tell me truly, was not this a man
Worthy to die for Prothoenor’s sake?
No man of mean repute or meanly born
He seems, but either brother to the knight
Antenor, or his son; for certainly
His looks declare him of Antenor’s race.”

He spake; but well he knew the slain. Meanwhile
The Trojans heard and grieved. Then Acamas,
Stalking around his fallen brother, slew
Promachus, the Boeotian, with his spear,
While dragging off the dead man by the feet.

Then o’er the fallen warrior, Acamas
Boasted aloud: “O measureless in threats!
Bowmen of Argos! Not to us alone
Shall woe and mourning come; ye also yet
Will perish. See your Promachus o’erthrown,
And by my spear, that so my brother’s death
May not be unrequited. Every man
Should wish a brother left to avenge his fall.”

He ended, and the Greeks were vexed to hear
His boast; the brave Peneleus most of all
Was angered, and he rushed on Acamas,
Who waited not the onset of the king,
And in his stead was Ilioneus slain,
The son of Phorbas, who was rich in flocks,
Whom Mercury, of all the sons of Troy,
Loved most, and gave him ample wealth; his wife
Brought Ilioneus forth, and only him;
And him Peneleus smote beneath the brow
In the eye’s socket, forcing out the ball;
The spear passed through, and reappeared behind.
Down sat the wounded man with arms outstretched,
While, drawing his sharp sword, Peneleus smote
The middle of his neck, and lopped away
The helmèd head, which fell upon the ground,
The spear still in the eye. He lifted it
As one would lift a poppy up, and thus
He shouted, boasting, to the Trojan host:⁠—

“Go now, ye Trojans, and inform from me
The father and the mother of the slain
That they may mourn within their palace walls
Illustrious Ilioneus. After this
Shall the sad wife of Promachus, the son
Of Alegenor, never hasten forth
To meet her husband with glad looks, when we
The Greeks return from Ilium with our fleet.”

He spake; the Trojans all grew pale with fear,
And gazed around for an escape from death.

Say, Muses, ye who on the Olympian height
Inhabit, who was first among the Greeks
To gather bloody spoil, when now the power
That shakes the shores had turned the tide of war.

First, Ajax, son of Telamon, struck down
Hyrtius, the leader of the Mysian band,
And son of Gyrtias, while Antilochus
Spoiled Mermerus and Phalces. Morys next,
Slain by the weapon of Meriones,
Fell with Hippotion. Teucer overthrew
Prothous and Periphoetes. Atreus’ son
Smote Hyperenor, prince among his tribe,
Upon the flank; the trenchant weapon drank
The entrails, and the soul, driven forth, escaped
Through the deep wound, and darkness veiled his eyes.
But Ajax swift of foot, Oileus’ son,
O’erthrew the most, for none could equal him
In swift pursuit when Jove ordained a flight.