Book XVI

The Sixth Battle⁠—Death of Patroclus

Patroclus permitted by Achilles to take part in the war, on condition that he will return after repulsing the Trojans from the fleet⁠—His preparations for the battle, putting on the armor of Achilles, and summoning the Myrmidons to follow him⁠—Alarm of the Trojans on seeing him, supposing him to be Achilles⁠—His exploits⁠—The Trojans driven back from the fleet⁠—Death of Sarpedon⁠—The Trojans pursued by Patroclus, contrary to the command of Achilles, to the walls of Troy⁠—Patroclus disarmed by Apollo, wounded by Euphorbus, and slain by Hector.

Such was the struggle for that gallant barque.
Meanwhile Patroclus stood beside his friend
The shepherd of the people, Peleus’ son,
And shed hot tears, as when a fountain sheds
Dark waters streaming down a precipice.
The great Achilles, swift of foot, beheld
And pitied him, and spake these wingèd words:⁠—

“Why weepest thou, Patroclus, like a girl⁠—
A little girl that by her mother’s side
Runs, importuning to be taken up,
And plucks her by the robe, and stops her way,
And looks at her, and cries, until at last
She rests within her arms? Thou art like her,
Patroclus, with thy tears. Dost thou then bring
Sad tidings to the Myrmidons or me?
Or hast thou news from Phthia? It is said
That still Menoetius, son of Actor, lives,
And Peleus also, son of Aeacus,
Among the Myrmidons. Full bitterly
Should we lament to hear that either died.
Or mournest thou because the Achaians fall
Through their own folly by the roomy ships?
Speak, and hide nothing, for I too would know.”

And thou, O knight Patroclus, with a sigh
Deep drawn, didst answer thus: “Be not displeased,
Achilles, son of Peleus, bravest far
Of all the Achaian army! For the Greeks
Endure a bitter lot. The chiefs who late
Were deemed their mightiest are within the ships,
Wounded or stricken down. There Diomed,
The gallant son of Tydeus, lies, and there
Ulysses, the great spearman, wounded both;
And Agamemnon; and Eurypylus,
Driven from the field, an arrow in his thigh.
Round them the healers, skilled in remedies,
Attend and dress their painful wounds, while thou,
Achilles, sittest here implacable.
O, never be such fierce resentments mine
As thou dost cherish, who art only brave
For mischief! Whom wilt thou hereafter aid,
If now thou rescue not the perishing Greeks?
O merciless! It cannot surely be
That Peleus was thy father, or the queen
Thetis thy mother; the green sea instead
And rugged precipices brought thee forth,
For savage is thy heart. But if thou heed
The warning of some god, if thou hast heard
Aught which thy goddess-mother has received
From Jove, send me at least into the war,
And let me lead thy Myrmidons, that thus
The Greeks may have some gleam of hope. And give
The armor from thy shoulders. I will wear
Thy mail, and then the Trojans, at the sight,
May think I am Achilles, and may pause
From fighting, and the warlike sons of Greece,
Tired as they are, may breathe once more, and gain
A respite from the conflict. Our fresh troops
May easily drive back upon their town
The weary Trojans from our tents and fleet.”

So spake he, sighing; rash and blind, he asked
Death for himself and evil destiny.
Achilles the swift-footed also drew
A heavy sigh, and thus in turn he spake:⁠—

“What, O divine Patroclus, hast thou said?
I fear no omen yet revealed to me;
Nor has my goddess-mother told me aught
From Jove; but ever in my heart and soul
Rankles the painful sense of injury done
By one who, having greater power, deprives
An equal of his right, and takes away
The prize he won. This is my wrong, and this
The cause of all my bitterness of heart.
Her whom the sons of Greece bestowed on me
As my reward, a trophy of my spear,
After the sack of a fenced city⁠—her
Did Agamemnon, son of Atreus, take
Out of my hands, as if I were a wretch,
A worthless outcast. But let that affront
Be with the things that were. It is not well
To bear a grudge forever. I have said
My anger should not cease to burn until
The clamor of the battle and the assault
Should reach the fleet. But go thou and put on
My well-known armor; lead into the field
My Myrmidons, men that rejoice in war,
Since like a lowering cloud the men of Troy
Surround the fleet, and the Achaians stand
In narrow space close pressed beside the sea,
And all the city of Ilium flings itself
Against them, confident of victory,
Now that the glitter of my helm no more
Flashes upon their eyes. Yet very soon
Their flying host would fill the trenches here
With corpses, had but Agamemnon dealt
Gently with me; and now their squadrons close
Around our army. Now no more the spear
Is wielded by Tydides Diomed
In rescue of the Greeks; no more the shout
Of Agamemnon’s hated throat is heard;
But the man-queller Hector, lifting up
His voice, exhorts the Trojans, who, in throngs,
Raising the war-cry, fill the plain, and drive
The Greeks before them. Gallantly lead on
The charge, Patroclus; rescue our good ships;
Let not the enemy give them to the flames,
And cut us off from our desired return.
Follow my counsel; bear my words in mind;
So shalt thou win for me among the Greeks
Great honor and renown, and they shall bring
The beautiful maiden back with princely gifts.
When thou hast driven the assailants from the fleet,
Return thou hither. If the Thunderer,
Husband of Juno, suffer thee to gain
That victory, seek no further to prolong
The combat with the warlike sons of Troy,
Apart from me, lest I be brought to shame,
Nor, glorying in the battle and pursuit,
Slaying the Trojans as thou goest, lead
Thy men to Troy, lest from the Olympian mount
One of the ever-living gods descend
Against thee: Phoebus loves the Trojans well.
But come as soon as thou shalt see the ships
In safety; leave the foes upon the plain
Contending with each other. Would to Jove
The All-Father, and to Pallas, and the god
Who bears the bow, Apollo, that of all
The Trojans, many as they are, and all
The Greeks, not one might be reprieved from death,
While thou and I alone were left alive
To overthrow the sacred walls of Troy.”

So talked they with each other. Ajax, whelmed
Beneath a storm of darts, meantime but ill
Endured the struggle, for the will of Jove
And the fierce foe prevailed. His shining helm
Rang fearfully, as on his temples fell,
Stroke following after stroke, the weapons hurled
Against its polished studs. The buckler borne
Firmly on his left arm, and shifted oft
From side to side, had wearied it, and yet
The Trojans, pressing round him, could not drive,
With all their darts, the hero from his place.
Heavily heaved his panting chest; his limbs
Streamed with warm sweat; there was no breathing time;
On danger danger followed, toil on toil.

Now, Muses, dwellers of Olympus, tell
How first the galleys of the Greeks were fired.

Hector drew near, and smote with his huge sword
The ashen spear of Ajax just below
The socket of the blade, and cut the stem
In two. The son of Telamon in vain
Brandished the severed weapon, while afar
The brazen blade flew off, and ringing fell
To earth. Then Ajax in his mighty mind
Acknowledged that the gods were in the war,
And shuddered, knowing that the Thunderer
Was thwarting all his warlike purposes,
And willed the victory to Troy. The chief
Withdrew beyond the reach of spears, while fast
The eager enemy hurled the blazing brands
At the swift ship, and wrapped the stern in flames
Unquenchable. Achilles saw, and smote
His thigh, and spake: “Patroclus, noble friend
And knight, make haste: already I behold
The flames that rage with fury at the fleet.
Now, lest the enemy seize our ships and we
Be barred of our return, put quickly on
Thy armor; be my task to call the troops.”

He spake: Patroclus then in glittering brass
Arrayed himself; and first around his thighs
He put the beautiful greaves, and fastened them
With silver clasps; around his chest he bound
The breastplate of the swift Aeacides,
With star-like points, and richly chased; he hung
The sword with silver studs and blade of brass
Upon his shoulders, and with it the shield
Solid and vast; upon his gallant head
He placed the glorious helm with horse-hair plume,
That grandly waved on high. Two massive spears
He took, that fitted well his grasp, but left
The spear which great Achilles only bore,
Heavy and huge and strong, and which no arm
Among the Greeks save his could poise; his strength
Alone sufficed to wield it. ’Twas an ash
Which Chiron felled in Pelion’s top, and gave
To Peleus, that it yet might be the death
Of heroes. Then he called, to yoke with speed
The steeds, Automedon, whom he esteemed
Next to Achilles, that great scatterer
Of armies; for he found him ever firm
In battle, breasting faithfully its shock.
Automedon led forth to take the yoke
Xanthus and Balius, coursers that in speed
Were like the wind. Podargè brought them forth
To Zephyrus, while she, the Harpy, grazed
By ocean’s streams. Upon the outer side
He joined to them the noble Pedasus,
Brought by Achilles from the captured town
Where ruled Eëtion. Though of mortal stock,
Well might he match with those immortal steeds.

Meanwhile Achilles armed the Myrmidons,
Passing from tent to tent. Like ravening wolves,
Terribly strong, that, having slain among
The hills an antlered stag of mighty size,
Tear and devour it, while their jaws are stained
With its red blood, then gather in a herd
About some darkly flowing stream, and lap
The sullen water with their slender tongues,
And drop the clots of blood from their grim mouths
And, although gorged, are fierce and fearless still⁠—
So came the leaders of the Myrmidons,
In rushing crowds, about the valiant friend
Of swift Aeacides. Among them stood
Achilles, great in war, encouraging
The charioteers and warriors armed with shields.

Achilles, dear to Jupiter, had led
Fifty swift barques to Ilium, and in each
Were fifty men, companions at the oar.
O’er these he gave command to five; himself,
Supreme in power, was ruler over all.
One band the nobly armed Menestheus led,
Son of Spercheius. To that river-god,
Beautiful Polydora brought him forth,
Daughter of Peleus; she, a mortal maid,
Met an immortal’s love. Yet Borus, son
Of Periëres, owned the boy and took
The mother for his bride, with princely dower
Eudorus led the second band, a youth
Of warlike mould, whom Polymela bore,
Daughter of Phylas, graceful in the dance.
In secrecy she brought him forth, for once
The mighty Argus-queller saw the maid
Among the choir of those who danced and sang
At Dian’s festival, the huntress-queen,
Who bears the golden shafts; he saw and loved
And, climbing to her chamber, met by stealth
The damsel, and she bore a gallant son,
Eudorus, swift of foot and brave in war.
When Ilithyia, midwife goddess, gave
The boy to see the pleasant light of day,
The stout Echecleus, son of Actor, brought
The mother to his house, with liberal dower.
The aged Phylas reared the child she left
Tenderly as a son, and loved him well.
Pisander, warlike son of Msemalus,
Commanded the third squadron; none like him
Among the Myrmidons could wield the spear
Except Pelides. Phoenix, aged knight,
Led the fourth squadron. With the fifth and last
There came Alcimedon, Laerceus’ son,
As leader. When their ranks were duly formed,
Achilles spake to them in earnest words:⁠—

“Now, Myrmidons, forget no single word
Of all the threats ye uttered against Troy
Since first my wrath began. Ye blame me much,
And say: ‘Hard-hearted son of Peleus, sure
Thy mother must have suckled thee on gall;
For sternly thou dost keep us in the ships,
Unwilling as we are. We might, at least,
Crossing the sea, return in our good ships,
If thus thine anger is to last.’ These words
Ye utter oft when our assemblies meet,
And now the great occasion is at hand
Which ye have longed for; now let him whose heart
Is fearless meet the Trojans valiantly.”

He spake, and roused their courage and their might,
And as they heard their king they brought their rank
To closer order. As an architect
Builds up, with closely fitting stones, the wall
Of some tall mansion, proof against the blast,
So close were now the helms and bossy shields,
Shield leaned on shield, and helm on helm, and man
On man, and on the glittering helmet-cones
The horse-hair plumes with every motion touched
Each other, so compact the squadrons stood.
Two heroes, nobly armed, were at their head, to
Patroclus and Automedon, and both
Had but one thought⁠—to combat in the van.

Entering his tent, Achilles raised the lid
Of a fair coffer, beautifully wrought,
Which silver-footed Thetis placed on board
His barque, and filled with tunics, cloaks well lined,
And fleecy carpets. There he also kept
A goblet richly chased, from which no lip
Of man, save his, might drink the dark red wine,
Nor wine be poured to any god save Jove,
The mighty Father. This he took in hand
And purified with sulphur first, and then
Rinsed with clear water. Next, with washen hands,
He drew the dark red wine, and stood without,
In the open space, and, pouring out the wine,
Prayed with his eyes turned heavenward, not unheard
By Jupiter, who wields the thunderbolt.

“Dodonian Jove, Pelasgian, sovereign King,
Whose dwelling is afar, and who dost rule
Dodona winter-bound, where dwell thy priests,
The Selli, with unwashen feet, who sleep
Upon the ground! Thou once hast heard my prayer,
And thou hast honored me, and terribly
Avenged me on the Greeks. Accomplish yet
This one request of mine. I shall remain
Among the rows of ships, but in my stead
I send my comrade, who will lead to war
My vast array of Myrmidons. With him,
O God of Thunders, send the victory.
Make his heart bold; let even Hector learn
Whether my follower, though alone, can wage
Successful war, or conquer only then
When I go forth with him into the field
Of slaughter. When he shall have beaten back
The assailants from the fleet, let him return
Unharmed to my good galleys and to me.
With all his arms and all his valiant men.”

So spake he, offering prayer, and Jupiter,
The Great Disposer, hearkened. Half the prayer
The All-Father granted him, and half denied:
To drive the storm of battle from the fleet
He granted, but denied his friend’s return
In safety. When the warrior thus had prayed,
And poured the wine to Father Jove, he went
Into his tent again, and there replaced
The goblet in the coffer. Coming forth,
He stood before the entrance to behold
The terrible encounter of the hosts.

The newly armed, led by their gallant chief,
Patroclus, marched in warlike order forth,
And in high hope, to fall upon the foe.
As wasps, that by the wayside build their cells,
Angered from time to time by thoughtless boys⁠—
Whence mischief comes to many⁠—if by chance
Some passing traveller should unwittingly
Disturb them, all at once are on the wing,
And all attack him, to defend their young
So fearless and so fierce the Myrmidons
Poured from their fleet, and mighty was the din.
Patroclus with loud voice exhorted them:⁠—

“O Myrmidons, companions of the son
Of Peleus, bear in mind, my friends, your fame
For valor, and be men, that we who serve
Achilles, we who combat hand to hand,
May honor him by our exploits, and teach
Wide-ruling Agamemnon how he erred
Slighting the bravest warrior of the Greeks.”

These words awoke the courage and the might
Of all who heard them, and in close array
They fell upon the Trojans. Fearfully
The fleet around them echoed to the sound
Of Argives shouting. When the Trojans saw,
In glittering arms, Menoetius’ gallant son
And his attendant, every heart grew faint
With fear; the close ranks wavered; for they thought
That the swift son of Peleus at the fleet
Had laid aside his wrath, and was again
The friend of Agamemnon. Eagerly
They looked around for an escape from death.

Then first Patroclus cast his shining displeasure
Into the crowd before him, where they fought
Most fiercely round the stern of the good ship
Of brave Protesilaüs. There it smote
Pyraechmes, who had led from Amydon,
On the broad Axius, his Paeonian knights.
Through his right shoulder went the blade; he fell,
Heavily groaning, to the earth. His band
Of warriors from Paeonia, panic-struck,
Fled from Patroclus as they saw their chief
Cut off, their bravest in the battle-field.
So from the ship he drave the foe, and quenched
The blazing fire. There lay the half-burnt barque,
While with a mighty uproar fled the host
Of Troy, and from between the beaked ships
Poured after them with tumult infinite
The Greeks. As when from some high mountain-top
The God of Lightnings, Jupiter, sweeps off
The overshadowing cloud, at once appear
The watch-lowers and the headland heights and lawns
All in full light, and all the unmeasured depth
Of ether opens, so the Greeks, when thus
Their fleet was rescued from the hostile flame,
Breathed for a space; and yet they might not cease
From battle, for not everywhere alike
Were chased the Trojans from the dark-hulled ships
Before the Greeks, but struggled still to keep
The mastery, and yielded but to force.

Then in that scattered conflict of the chiefs
Each Argive slew a warrior. With his spear
The brave son of Menoetius made a thrust
At Areilochus, and pierced his thigh,
Just as he turned away, and through the part
Forced the keen weapon, splintering as it went
The bone, and brought the Trojan to the ground;
And warlike Menelaus pierced the breast
Of Thoas where the buckler left it bare,
And took his life. The son of Phyleus saw
Amphiclus rushing on, and with his spear
Met him and pierced his leg below the knee,
Where brawniest is the limb. The blade cut through
The sinews, and his eyes were closed in night.
There fought the sons of Nestor. One of these,
Antilochus, transfixed with his good spear
Atymnius through the flank, and brought him down
At his own feet. With sorrow Maris saw
His brother fall, and toward Antilochus
Flew to defend the corpse; but ere he strook,
The godlike Thrasymedes, with a blow
That missed not, smote his shoulder, tearing off
With the spear’s blade upon the upper arm
The muscles from the bone. With ringing arms
He fell, and darkness gathered o’er his eyes.
Thus were two brothers by two brothers slain,
And sent to Erebus; two valiant friends
Were they of King Sarpedon, and the sons
Of Amisodarus, who reared and fed
Chimera, the destroyer of mankind.

Oilean Ajax, springing forward, seized
On Cleobulus, for the struggling crowd
Hindered his flight. He took the Trojan’s life,
Smiting the neck with his huge-handled sword;
The blade grew warm with blood, and cruel fate
Brought darkness o’er the dying warrior’s eyes.
Peneleus fought with Lycon; each had cast
His spear and missed his aim, and now with swords
The twain encountered. Lycon dealt a stroke
Upon the crested helmet of his foe,
And the blade failed him, breaking at the hilt.
Meantime Peneleus smote beneath the ear
The neck of Lycon: deep the weapon went;
The severed head, held only by the skin,
Dropped to one side, and life forsook the limbs.
Meriones, o’ertaking Acamas,
In rapid flight, discharged a mighty blow
On his left shoulder as he climbed his car;
He fell, and darkness gathered o’er his eyes.
Then plunged Idomeneus the cruel spear
Into the mouth of Erymas. The blade
Passed on beneath the brain, and pierced the neck,
And there divided the white bones. It dashed
The teeth out; both the eyes were filled with blood,
Which gushed from mouth and nostrils as he breathed;
And the black cloud of death came over him.
Thus every Grecian leader slew his man.

As ravening wolves that spring on lambs and kids,
And seize them, wandering wide among the hills
Beyond the keeper’s care, and bear them off,
And rend with cruel fangs their helpless prey,
So fiercely did the Achaians fling themselves
Upon the men of Troy, who only thought
Of flight from that tumultuous strife, and quite
Forgot their wonted valor. All the while
The greater Ajax sought to hurl his spear
At Hector, clad in brazen mail, who yet,
Expert in battle, kept his ample chest
Hid by his bull’s-hide shield, and, though he heard
The hiss of darts and clash of spears, and saw
The fortune of the field deserting him,
Lingered to rescue his beloved friends.

As from the summit of Olympus spreads
A cloud into the sky that late was clear,
When Jove brings on the tempest, with such speed
In clamorous flight the Trojans left the fleet,
Yet passed they not the trench in seemly plight.
The rapid steeds of Hector bore him safe
Across with all his arms, while, left between
The high banks of the trench, the Trojan host
Struggled despairingly. The fiery steeds,
Harnessed to many a chariot, left it there
With broken pole. Patroclus followed close,
With mighty voice encouraging the Greeks,
And meditating vengeance on the foe,
That noisily ran on, and right and left
Were scattered, filling all the ways. The dust
Rose thick and high, and spread, and reached the clouds,
As with swift feet the Trojan coursers held
Their way to Ilium from the tents and ships.
Patroclus where he saw the wildest rout
Drave thither, shouting threats. Full many a chief
Fell under his own axle from his car,
And chariots with a crash were overthrown.
The swift, immortal horses which the gods
Bestowed on Peleus leaped the trench at once,
Eager to reach the plain. As eagerly
Patroclus longed to overtake and smite
Hector, whose steeds were hurrying him away.

As when, in autumn time, the dark-brown earth
Is whelmed with water from the stormy clouds,
When Jupiter pours down his heaviest rains,
Offended at men’s crimes who override
The laws by violence, and drive justice forth
From the tribunals, heedless of the gods
And their displeasure⁠—all the running streams
Are swelled to floods⁠—the furious torrents tear
The mountain slopes, and, plunging from the heights
With mighty roar, lay waste the works of men,
And fling themselves into the dark-blue sea⁠—
Thus with loud tumult fled the Trojan horse.

Patroclus, having cut the nearest bands
Of Troy in pieces, made his warriors turn
Back to the fleet, and, eager as they were,
Stopped the pursuit that led them toward the town.
Then, in the area bounded by the sea,
River, and lofty wall, he chased and smote
And took full vengeance. With his glittering spear
He wounded Pronoüs where the buckler left
The breast exposed; the Trojan with a clash
Fell to the earth, and life forsook his limbs.
Advancing in his might, Patroclus smote
Thestor, the son of Enops, as he sat
Cowering upon his sumptuous seat, o’ercome
With fear, and dropped the reins. Through his right cheek
Among the teeth Patroclus thrust his spear,
And o’er the chariot’s border drew him forth
With the spear’s stem. As when an angler sits
Upon a jutting rock, and from the sea
Draws a huge fish with line and gleaming hook,
So did Patroclus, with his shining spear,
Draw forth the panting Trojan from his car,
And shook him clear: he fell to earth and died.

As Eryalus then came swiftly on,
Patroclus flung a stone, and on the brow
Smote him; the Trojan’s head, beneath the blow,
Parted in two within the helm; he fell
Headlong to earth, a prey to ghastly death.
Then slew he Erymas, Amphoterus,
Epaltes, Pyris, Ipheus, Echius,
Tlepolemus, Damastor’s son, and next
Euippus; nor was Polymelus spared,
The son of Argias⁠—smitten all, and thrown,
Slain upon slain, along their mother earth.

And now Sarpedon, as he saw his friends,
The unbelted Lycians, falling by the hand
Of Menoetiades, exhorted thus
The gallant Lycians: “Shame upon you all,
My Lycians! Whither do you flee? Be bold!
For I myself will meet this man, and learn
Who walks the field in triumph thus, and makes
Such havoc in our squadrons; for his hand
Has laid full many a gallant warrior low.”

He spake, and from his car with all his arms
Sprang to the ground, while on the other side
Patroclus, as he saw him come, leaped down
And left his chariot. As on some tall rock
Two vultures, with curved talons and hooked beaks,
Fight screaming, so these two with furious cries
Advanced against each other. When the son
Of crafty Saturn saw them meet, his heart
Was touched with pity, and he thus bespake
His spouse and sister Juno: “Woe is me!
Sarpedon, most beloved of men, is doomed
To die, o’ercome by Menoetiades.
And now I halt between two purposes⁠—
Whether to bear him from this fatal fight,
Alive and safe, to Lycia’s fertile fields,
Or let him perish by his enemy’s hand.”

Imperial, large-eyed Juno answered thus:⁠—
“What words, dread son of Saturn, hast thou said!
Wouldst thou deliver from the common lot
Of death a mortal doomed long since by fate?
Do as thou wilt, but be thou sure of this⁠—
The other gods will not approve. And bear
In mind these words of mine. If thou shouldst send
Sarpedon home to Lycia safe, reflect
Some other god may claim the right, like thee,
To rescue his beloved son from death
In battle; for we know that in the war
Round Priam’s noble city are many sons
Of gods, who will with vehement anger see
Thy interposing hand. Yet if he be
So dear to thee, and thou dost pity him,
Let him in mortal combat be o’ercome
By Menoetiades, and when the breath
Of life has left his frame, give thou command
To Death and gentle Sleep to bear him hence
To the broad realm of Lycia. There his friends
And brethren shall perform the funeral rites;
There shall they build him up a tomb, and rear
A column⁠—honors that become the dead.”

She ceased, nor did the All-Father disregard
Her words. He caused a bloody dew to fall
Upon the earth in sorrow for the son
Whom well he loved, and whom Patroclus soon
Should slay upon the fertile plain of Troy,
Far from the pleasant land that saw his birth.

The warriors now drew near. Patroclus slew
The noble Thrasymelus, who had been
Sarpedon’s valiant comrade in the war.
Below the belt he smote him, and he fell
Lifeless. Sarpedon threw his shining lance;
It missed, but struck the courser Pedasus
In the right shoulder. With a groan he fell
In dust, and, moaning, breathed his life away.
Then the two living horses sprang apart,
And the yoke creaked, and the entangled reins
Were useless, fastened to the fallen horse.
Automedon, the mighty spearman, saw
The remedy, and from his brawny thigh
He drew his sword, and cut the outside horse
Loose from his fellows. They again were brought
Together, and obeyed the reins once more;
And the two chiefs renewed the mortal fight.

And now, again, Sarpedon’s shining spear
Was vainly flung; the point, in passing o’er
Patroclus’s left shoulder, gave no wound.
In turn, Patroclus, hurling not in vain
His weapon, smote him where the midriff’s web
Holds the tough heart. He fell as falls an oak
Or poplar or tall pine, which workmen hew
Among the mountains with their sharpened steel
To frame a ship. So he before his steeds
And chariot fell upon the bloody dust,
And grasped it with his hands, and gnashed his teeth.
As when a lion coming on a herd
Seizes, amid the crowd of stamping beeves,
A tawny and high-mettled bull, that dies
Bellowing in fury in the lion’s jaws⁠—
Like him, indignant to be overcome,
The leader of the bucklered Lycian host,
Laid prostrate by Patroclus, called by name
His dear companion, and addressed him thus:⁠—

“Beloved Glaucus, mighty among men!
Now prove thyself a hero, now be bold.
Now, if thou have a warrior’s spirit, think
Of nought but battle. Go from rank to rank,
Exhorting all the Lycian chiefs to fight
Around Sarpedon. Combat thou for me
With thy good spear, for I shall be to thee
A shame and a reproach through all thy days,
If here the Greeks, beside whose ships I fall,
Bear off my armor. Stand thou firm, and stir
Thy people up to combat valiantly.”

While he was speaking, death crept o’er his sight
And stopped his breath. Patroclus set his heel
Against his bosom, and plucked out the spear;
The midriff followed it, and thus he drew
The life and weapon forth at once. Meantime
The Myrmidons held fast the snorting steeds,
That, loosened from the Lycian’s car, were bent
On flight. The grief of Glaucus as he heard
His comrade’s voice was bitter, and his heart
Ached at the thought that he could bring no aid.
He seized his arm and pressed it in his grasp,
For there the wound which Teucer’s arrow left,
When Glaucus stormed the wall and Teucer’s shafts
Defended it, still pained him grievously,
And thus he prayed to Phoebus, archer-god:⁠—

“Give ear, O king! wherever thou abide,
In the opulent realm of Lycia, or in Troy;
For everywhere thou nearest those who cry
To thee in sorrow, and great sorrow now
Is on me. Grievous is the wound I bear;
Sharp are the pains that pierce my hand; the blood
Cannot be stanched; my very arm becomes
A burden; I can wield the spear no more
With a firm grasp, nor combat with the foe.
A mighty chief⁠—Sarpedon, son of Jove⁠—
Has perished, and the father came not nigh
To aid his son. Yet come thou to my aid,
O monarch-god! and heal this painful wound,
And give me strength to rally to the fight
The Lycian warriors, and myself contend
Valiantly for the rescue of the dead.”

So prayed he: Phoebus hearkened, and at once
Assuaged the pain, and stanched the purple blood
In the deep wound, and filled his frame with strength.
The warrior felt the change, rejoiced to know
That with such friendly speed the mighty god
Granted his prayer. And first he went among
The Lycian chiefs, exhorting them to wage
Fierce battle for Sarpedon. Then he sought,
Walking with rapid strides, the Trojan chiefs,
Agenor, nobly born, Polydamas,
The son of Panthoüs, Aeneas next,
And Hector mailed in brass. By him he stood,
And thus accosted him with wingèd words:⁠—

“O Hector, thou art careless of the fate
Of thine allies, who for thy sake, afar
From those they love, and from their native land,
Pour out their lives; thou bringest them no aid.
Sarpedon lies in death, the chief who led
The bucklered Lycians, who with justice swayed
The realm of Lycia, and defended it
With valor. Him hath brazen Mars beneath
The weapon of Patroclus smitten down.
Come then, my friends, repulse we gallantly
These Myrmidons; else will they bear away
His armor and insult his corpse, to avenge
The havoc we have made among the Greeks
Who perished by our weapons at the fleet.”

He spake, and grief immitigable seized
The Trojans; for the slain, though stranger-born,
Had been a pillar of the realm of Troy,
And many were the troops that followed him,
And he was bravest of them all in war.

Then rushed the Trojans fiercely on the Greeks,
With Hector, sorrowing for Sarpedon’s fall,
Leading them on, while the bold-hearted chief,
Patroclus Menoetiades, aroused
The courage of the Greeks. He thus addressed
The warriors Ajax, eager like himself
For combat: “Be it now your welcome task,
O warriors Ajax, to drive back the foe;
He who first sprang across the Grecian wall,
Sarpedon, lies a corpse, and we must now
Dishonor the dead chief, and strip from him
His armor, and strike down with our good spears
Whoever of his comrades shall resist.”

He spake, and all were resolute to beat
The enemy back; and when, on either side,
Trojans and Lycians, Myrmidons and Greeks,
Had put their phalanxes in firm array,
They closed, with dreadful shouts and horrid clash
Of arms, in fight around the dead, while Jove
Drew o’er that deadly fray an awful veil
Of darkness, that the struggle for the corpse
Of his dear son might rage more furiously.
The Trojans first drave back the dark-eyed Greeks,
For one was in the onset smitten down,
Not the least valiant of the Myrmidons⁠—
The son of brave Agacles, nobly born
Epeigeus, who aforetime, when he ruled
The populous Budeium, having slain
A noble kinsman, fled a suppliant
To Peleus and the silver-footed queen,
Thetis, his consort, and by them was sent,
With terrible Achilles, to the coast
Of courser-breeding Ilium and the siege
Of Troy. As now he stooped to seize the dead,
Illustrious Hector smote him with a stone
Upon the forehead, cleaving it in two
In the strong helmet; headlong on the corse
He fell, and cruel death crept over him.
With grief Patroclus saw his comrade slain,
And broke his way among the foremost ranks.
As a swift hawk that chases through the air
Starlings and daws, so didst thou dart among
Trojans and Lycians, for thy wrath was roused,
O knight Patroclus! by thy comrade’s death.
And now his hand struck Sthenelaüs down,
The dear son of Ithaemenes; he flung
A stone that crushed the sinews of the neck.
Back drew illustrious Hector, and with him
The warriors who were fighting in the van.
As far as one can send a javelin,
When men contend in martial games, or meet
Their deadly enemies in war, so far
Withdrew the Trojans, and the Greeks pursued.
The leader of the bucklered Lycian host,
Glaucus, was first to turn against his foes.
He slew the brave Bathycles, the dear son
Of Chalcon, who in Hellas had his home,
And was the richest of the Myrmidons.
The Lycian, turning on him suddenly
As he drew near pursuing, sent his spear
Right through his breast, and with a clash he fell.
Great was the sorrow of the Greeks to see
That valiant warrior fall; the men of Troy
Exulted, and pressed round him in a crowd.
Nor lacking was the valor of the Greeks,
Who met them manfully. Meriones
Struck down a Trojan chief, Laogonus,
Onetor’s valiant son. His father stood
Priest at the altar of Idaean Jove,
And like a god was honored by the realm.
Below the jaw and ear Meriones
Smote him, and instantly the life forsook
His limbs, and fearful darkness shrouded him.
Straight at Meriones Aeneas aimed
His brazen spear to smite him, as he came,
Beneath his buckler; but the Greek beheld
The weapon in the air, and, stooping low,
Escaped it; over him it passed, and stood
Fixed in the earth behind him, where its stem
Trembled, for now the rapid steel had spent
Its force. As thus it quivered in the ground,
Aeneas, who perceived that it had left
His powerful hand in vain, was vexed, and said:
“Had I but struck thee, dancer as thou art,
Meriones, my spear had suddenly
Ended thy dancing.” Then Meriones,
The skilful spearman, answered: “Thou art brave,
But thou wilt find it hard to overcome
The might of all who gather to repulse
Thy onset. Thou art mortal, and if I,
Aiming at thee with my good spear, should pierce
Thy bosom, valiant as thou art and proud
Of thy strong arm, thy death would bring me praise,
And send thy soul where gloomy Pluto dwells.”

He spake; the brave Patroclus heard, and thus
Rebuked him: “Why wilt thou, Meriones,
With all thy valor, stand to make a speech?
The foe, my friend, will not be forced to leave
The corpse by insults; some of them must die.
In deeds the issue of a battle lies;
Words are for counsel. Now is not the time
To utter swelling phrases, but to fight.”

He ended, and went on; the godlike man
Followed his steps. As when from mountain dells
Rises, and far is heard, a crashing sound
Where woodmen fell the trees, such was the noise
From those who fought on that wide plain⁠—the din
Of brass, of leather, and of tough bull’s-hide
Smitten with swords and two-edged spears. No eye,
Although of keenest sight, would then have known
Noble Sarpedon, covered as he lay,
From head to foot, with weapons, blood, and dust;
And still the warriors thronged around the dead.
As when in spring-time at the cattle-stalls
Flies gather, humming, when the milk is drawn,
Round the full pails, so swarmed around the corpse
The combatants; nor once did Jove withdraw
His bright eyes from the stubborn fray, but still
Gazed, planning how Patroclus should be slain.
Uncertain whether, in the desperate strife
Over the great Sarpedon, to permit
Illustrious Hector with his spear to lay
The hero dead, and make his arms a spoil,
Or spare him yet a while, to make the war
More bloody. As he pondered, this seemed best:
That the brave comrade of Achilles first
Should put to flight the Trojans and their chief,
Hector the brazen-mailed, pursuing them
Toward Troy with slaughter. To this end he sent
Into the heart of Hector panic fear,
Who climbed his car and fled, and bade the rest
Flee also, for he saw how Jove had weighed
The fortunes of the day. Now none remained,
Not even the gallant Lycians, when they saw
Their monarch lying wounded to the heart
Among a heap of slain; for Saturn’s son
In that day’s strife had caused a multitude
To fall in death. Now when the Greeks had stripped
Sarpedon of the glittering brazen mail,
The brave son of Menoetius bade his friends
Convey it to the hollow ships. Meanwhile
The Cloud-compeller spake to Phoebus thus:⁠—

“Go now, beloved Phoebus, and withdraw
Sarpedon from the weapons of the foe;
Cleanse him from the dark blood, and bear him thence,
And lave him in the river-stream, and shed
Ambrosia o’er him. Clothe him then in robes
Of heaven, consigning him to Sleep and Death,
Twin brothers, and swift bearers of the dead,
And they shall lay him down in Lycia’s fields,
That broad and opulent realm. There shall his friends
And kinsmen give him burial, and shall rear
His tomb and column⁠—honors due the dead.”

He spake: Apollo instantly obeyed
His father, leaving Ida’s mountain height,
And sought the field of battle, and bore off
Noble Sarpedon from the enemy’s spears,
And laved him in the river-stream, and shed
Ambrosia o’er him. Then in robes of heaven
He clothed him, giving him to Sleep and Death,
Twin brothers, and swift bearers of the dead,
And they, with speed conveying it, laid down
The corpse in Lycia’s broad and opulent realm.

Meantime Patroclus, urging on his steeds
And charioteer, pursued, to his own hurt,
Trojans and Lycians. Madman! Had he then
Obeyed the counsel which Pelides gave,
The bitter doom of death had not been his.
But stronger than the purposes of men
Are those of Jove, who puts to flight the brave,
And takes from them the victory, though he
Impelled them to the battle; and he now
Urged on Patroclus to prolong the fight.

Who first, when thus the gods decreed thy death,
Fell by thy hand, Patroclus, and who last?
Adrastus first, Autonoüs next, and then
Echeclus; then died Perimus, the son
Of Meges; then with Melanippus fell
Epistor; next was Elasus o’ercome,
And Mulius, and Pylartes. These he slew,
While all the rest betook themselves to flight.

Then had the Greeks possessed themselves of Troy,
With all its lofty portals, by the hand
And valor of Patroclus, for his rage
Was terrible beyond the rage of all
Who bore the spear, had not Apollo stood
On a strong tower to menace him with ill,
And aid the Trojans. Thrice Patroclus climbed
A shoulder of the lofty wall, and thrice
Apollo, striking his immortal hands
Against the glittering buckler, thrust him down;
And when, for the fourth time, the godlike man
Essayed to mount the wall, the archer-god,
Phoebus, encountered him with fearful threats:
“Noble Patroclus, hold thy hand, nor deem
The city of the warlike Trojans doomed
To fall beneath thy spear, nor by the arm
Of Peleus’ son, though mightier far than thou.”

He spake; Patroclus, fearful of the wrath
Of the archer-god, withdrew, and stood afar,
While Hector, at the Scaean gates, restrained
His coursers, doubtful whether to renew
The fight by mingling with the crowd again,
Or gather all his host within the walls
By a loud summons. As he pondered thus,
Apollo stood beside him in the form
Of Asius, a young warrior and a brave,
Uncle of Hector, the great horse-tamer,
And brother of Queen Hecuba, and son
Of Dymas, who in Phrygia dwelt beside
The streams of the Sangarius. Putting on
His shape and aspect, thus Apollo said:⁠—

“Why, Hector, dost thou pause from battle thus?
Nay, it becomes thee not. Were I in might
Greater than thou, as I am less, full soon
Wouldst thou repent this shrinking from the war.
Come boldly on, and urge thy firm-paced steeds
Against Patroclus; slay him on the field,
And Phoebus will requite thee with renown.”

He spake, and mingled in the hard-fought fray,
While noble Hector bade his charioteer,
The brave Cebriones, ply well the lash,
And join the battle. Phoebus went before,
Entering the crowd, and spread dismay among
The Greeks, and gave the glory of the hour
To Hector and the Trojans. Little heed
Paid Hector to the rest, nor raised his arm
To slay them, but urged on his firm-paced steeds
To meet Patroclus, who, beholding him,
Leaped from his car. In his left hand he held
A spear, and with the other lifting up
A white, rough stone, the largest he could grasp,
Flung it with all its force. It flew not wide,
Nor flew in vain, but smote Cebriones,
The warlike chief who guided Hector’s steeds,
A spurious son of Priam the renowned.
The sharp stone smote his forehead as he held
The reins, and crushed both eyebrows in; the bone
Resisted not the blow; the warrior’s eyes
Fell in the dust before his very feet.
Down from the sumptuous seat he plunged, as dives
A swimmer, and the life forsook his limbs.
And this, Patroclus, was thy cruel jest:⁠—

“Truly a nimble man is this who dives
With such expertness. Were this, now, the sea,
Where fish are bred, and he were searching it
For oysters, he might get an ample store
For many men, in leaping from a ship,
Though in a storm, so skilfully he dives
Even from the chariot to the plain. No doubt
There must be divers in the town of Troy.”

He spake, and sprang upon Cebriones.
With all a lion’s fury, which attacks
The stables and is wounded in the breast,
And perishes through his own daring; thus,
Patroclus, didst thou fall upon the slain,
While Hector, hastening also, left his steeds,
And both contended for Cebriones.
As lions for the carcass of a deer
Fight on a mountain summit, hungry both,
And both unyielding, thus two mighty men
Of war, Patroclus Menoetiades
And glorious Hector, eager each to smite
His adversary with the cruel spear,
Fought for Cebriones. The slain man’s head
Was seized by Hector’s powerful hand, whose grasp
Relaxed not, while Patroclus held the foot;
And, thronging to the spot, the other Greeks
And Trojans mingled in the desperate strife.

As when the east wind and the south contend
In the open mountain grounds, and furiously
Assail the deep old woods of beech and ash
And barky cornel, flinging their long boughs
Against each other with a mighty roar,
And crash of those that break, so did the Greeks
And Trojans meet with mutual blows, and slay
Each other; nor had either host a thought
Of shameful flight. Full many a trenchant spear
Went to its mark beside Cebriones,
And many a wingèd arrow that had left
The bowstring; many a massive stone was hurled
Against the ringing bucklers, as they fought
Around the dead, while he, the mighty, lay
Stretched on the ground amid the eddying dust,
Forgetful of his art of horsemanship.

While yet the sun was climbing to his place
In middle heaven, the men of either host
Were smitten by the weapons, and in both
The people fell; but when he stooped to the west
The Greeks prevailed, and from that storm of darts
And tumult of the Trojans they drew forth
Cebriones, and stripped him of his arms.
Still rushed Patroclus onward, bent to wreak
His fury on the Trojans. Fierce as Mars,
He charged their squadrons thrice with fearful shouts,
And thrice he laid nine warriors in the dust.
But as with godlike energy he made
The fourth assault, then clearly was it seen,
Patroclus, that thy life was near its end,
For Phoebus terribly in that fierce strife
Encountered thee. Patroclus saw him not
Advancing in the tumult, for he moved
Unseen in darkness. Coming close behind,
He smote, with open palm, the hero’s back
Between the ample shoulders, and his eyes
Reeled with the blow, while Phoebus from his head
Struck the tall helm, that, clanking, rolled away
Under the horses’ feet; its crest was soiled
With blood and dust, though never till that hour
Had dust defiled its horse-hair plume; for once
That helmet guarded an illustrious head,
The glorious brows of Peleus’ son, and now
Jove destined it for Hector, to be worn
In battle; and his death was also near.
The spear Patroclus wielded, edged with brass,
Long, tough, and huge, was broken in his hands,
And his broad buckler, dropping with its band,
Lay on the ground, while Phoebus, son of Jove,
Undid the fastenings of his mail. With mind
Bewildered, and with powerless limbs, he stood
As thunderstruck. Then a Dardanian named
Euphorbus, son of Panthoüs, who excelled
His comrades in the wielding of the spear,
The race, and horsemanship, approaching, smote
Patroclus in the back with his keen spear,
Between the shoulder-blades. Already he
Had dashed down twenty warriors from their cars,
Guiding his own, a learner in the art
Of war. The first was he who threw a lance
At thee, Patroclus, yet o’ercome thee not;
For, plucking from thy back its ashen stem,
He fled, and mingled with the crowd, nor dared
Await thy coming, though thou wert unarmed,
While, weakened by that wound and by the blow
Given by the god, Patroclus turned and sought
Shelter from danger in the Grecian ranks;
But Hector, when he saw the gallant Greek
Thus wounded and retreating, left his place
Among the squadrons, and, advancing, pierced
Patroclus with his spear, below the belt,
Driving the weapon deep. The hero fell
With clashing mail, and all the Greeks beheld
His fall with grief. As when a lion bears
A stubborn boar to earth, what time the twain
Fight on the mountains for a slender spring,
Both thirsty and both fierce, the lion’s strength
Lays prone his panting foe, so Priam’s son
Slew, fighting hand to hand, the valiant Greek,
Son of Menoetius, who himself had slain
So many. Hector gloried over him
With wingèd words: “Patroclus, thou didst think
To lay our city waste, and carry off
Our women captive in thy ships to Greece.
Madman! In their defence the fiery steeds
Of Hector sweep the battle-field, and I,
Mightiest of all the Trojans, with the spear
Will guard them from the doom of slavery.
Now vultures shall devour thee, wretched youth!
Achilles, mighty though he be, has brought
No help to thee, though doubtless when he sent
Thee forth to battle, and remained within,
He charged thee thus: ‘Patroclus, flower of knights,
Return not to the fleet until thy hand
Hath torn the bloody armor from the corpse
Of the man-queller Hector.’ So he spake,
And filled with idle hopes thy foolish heart.”

Then thou, Patroclus, with a faltering voice,
Didst answer thus: “Now, Hector, while thou mayst,
Utter thy boast in swelling words, since Jove
And Phoebus gave the victory to thee.
Easily have they vanquished me; ’twas they
Who stripped the armor from my limbs, for else,
If twenty such as thou had met me, all
Had perished by my spear. A cruel fate
O’ertakes me, aided by Latona’s son,
The god, and by Euphorbus among men.
Thou who shalt take my spoil art but the third;
Yet hear my words, and keep them in thy thought.
Not long shalt thou remain alive; thy death
By violence is at hand, and thou must fall,
Slain by the hand of great Aeacides.”

While he was speaking, death stole over him
And veiled his senses, while the soul forsook
His limbs and flew to Hades, sorrowing
For its sad lot, to part from life in youth
And prime of strength. Illustrious Hector thus
Answered the dying man: “Why threaten me,
Patroclus, with an early death? Who knows
That he, thy friend, whom fair-haired Thetis bore,
Achilles, may not sooner lose his life,
Slain by my spear?” He spake, and set his heel
Upon the slain, and from the wound drew forth
His brazen spear and pushed the corpse aside,
And with the weapon hurried on to smite
Godlike Automedon, the charioteer
Of swift Aeacides; but him the steeds
Fleet-footed and immortal, which the gods
Bestowed on Peleus, swiftly bore away.