Book XX

The Battle of the Gods

Permission given by Jupiter to the gods to take part in the war⁠—The combat renewed with great violence and tumult⁠—Aeneas, encountering Achilles, to which he is encouraged by Apollo, is only preserved from death by the interposition of Neptune⁠—Slaughter of the Trojans by Achilles⁠—Hector, when in danger of being slain, snatched from the presence of Achilles by Phoebus in a cloud⁠—Havoc made by Achilles in the Trojan army.

Thus, O Pelides, did the sons of Greece,
Impatient for the battle, arm themselves,
By their beaked ships, around thee. Opposite,
Upon a height that rose amidst the plain,
The Trojans waited. Meantime Jupiter
Sent Themis from the Olympian summit, ploughed
With dells, to summon all the immortal ones
To council. Forth she went from place to place,
Bidding them to the palace halls of Jove.
Then none of all the Rivers failed to join
The assembly, save Oceanus, and none
Of all the Nymphs were absent whose abode
Is in the pleasant groves and river-founts
And grassy meadows. When they reached the halls
Of cloud-compelling Jove they sat them down
On shining thrones, divided each from each
By polished columns, wrought for Father Jove
By Vulcan’s skill. Thus all to Jove’s abode
Were gathered. Neptune had not disobeyed
The call. He left the sea, and took his seat
Among them, and inquired the will of Jove.

“Why, wielder of the lightning, dost thou call
The gods again to council? Do thy plans
Concern the Greeks and Trojans? For the war
Between their hosts will be rekindled soon.”

And thus the Cloud-compeller Jove replied:
“Thou who dost shake the shores, thou knowest well
The purpose of my mind, and for whose sake
I call this council. Though so soon to die,
They are my care. Yet will I keep my place,
Seated upon the Olympian mount, and look
Calmly upon the conflict. All of you
Depart, and aid the Trojans or the Greeks,
As it may list you. For should Peleus’ son
Alone do battle with the men of Troy,
Their squadrons could not stand before the assault
Of the swift-footed warrior for an hour.
Beforetime, at the sight of him they fled,
O’ercome with fear, and now, when he is roused
To rage by his companion’s death, I fear
Lest, though it be against the will of fate,
He level with the ground the walls of Troy.”

Saturnius spake, and moved the hosts to join
In desperate conflict. All the gods went forth
To mingle with the war on different sides.
Juno and Pallas hastened to the fleet
With Neptune, he who makes the earth to shake,
And Hermes, god of useful arts, and shrewd
In forecast. Vulcan also went with them,
Strong and stern-eyed, yet lame, his feeble legs
Moving with labor. To the Trojan side
Went crested Mars, Apollo with his locks
Unshorn, Diana mighty with the bow,
Latona, Xanthus, and the queen of smiles,
Venus; for while the gods remained apart
From men, the Achaian host was high in hope
Because Achilles, who so long had left
The war, now reappeared upon the field,
And terror shook the limbs of every son
Of Troy when he beheld the swift of foot,
Pelides, terrible as Mars⁠—that curse
Of human-kind⁠—in glittering arms again.
But when the dwellers of Olympus joined
The crowd of mortals, Discord, who makes mad
The nations, rose and raged; Minerva raised
Her war-cry from the trench without the wall,
And then she shouted from the sounding shore;
While, like a cloudy whirlwind, opposite,
Moved Mars, and fiercely yelled, encouraging
The men of Troy, as on the city heights
He stood, or paced with rapid steps the hill
Beside the Simoïs, called the Beautiful.

Thus, kindling hate between the hosts, the gods
Engaged, and hideous was the strife that rose
Among them. From above, with terrible crash,
Thundered the father of the blessed gods
And mortal men, while Neptune from below
Shook the great earth and lofty mountain peaks.
Then watery Ida’s heights and very roots,
The city of Troy, and the Greek galleys, quaked.
Then Pluto, ruler of the nether world,
Leaped from his throne in terror, lest the god
Who makes the earth to tremble, cleaving it
Above him, should lay bare to gods and men
His horrible abodes, the dismal haunts
Which even the gods abhor. Such tumult filled
The field of battle when the immortals joined
The conflict. Then against King Neptune stood
Phoebus Apollo, with his wingèd shafts,
And Pallas, goddess of the azure eyes,
Confronted Mars. Encountering Juno came
The sister of Apollo, archer-queen
And huntress, Dian of the golden bow.
The helpful Hermes, god of useful arts,
Opposed Latona, and the mighty stream
Called Xanthus by the immortals, but by men
Scamander, with his eddies strong and deep,
Stood face to face with Vulcan in the field.

So warred the gods with gods. Meantime the son
Of Peleus, ranging through the thick of fight,
Sought only Hector, Priam’s son, whose blood
He meant to pour to greedy Mars, the god
Of carnage. But Apollo, who impels
Warriors to battle, stirred Aeneas up
To meet Pelides. First he filled his heart
With resolute valor, and then took the voice
Of Priam’s son, Lycaon. In his shape
Thus spake Apollo, son of Jupiter:⁠—

“Aeneas, prince of Troy, where now are all
The boasts which thou hast made before the chiefs
Of Troy at banquets, that thou yet wouldst meet
Pelides in the combat hand to hand?”

Aeneas made reply: “Priamides,
Why dost thou bid me, when thou knowest me
Unwilling, meet in combat Peleus’ son,
The mighty among men? It will not be
For the first time if I confront him now.
He chased me once from Ida with his spear⁠—
Me and my fellows, when he took our herds
And laid Lyrnessus waste and Pedasus.
But Jove, who gave me strength and nimble feet,
Preserved me; I had else been slain by him
And by Minerva, for the goddess went
Before him, giving him the victory
And moving him to slay the Leleges
And Trojans with the brazen spear he bore.
’Tis not for mortal man to fight the son
Of Peleus, at whose side there ever stands
One of the immortal gods, averting harm.
And then his weapon flies right on, nor stops
Until it bites the flesh. Yet were the god
To weigh the victory in an equal scale,
Achilles would not vanquish me with ease,
Though he might boast his frame were all of brass.”

Then spake the king Apollo, son of Jove:
“Pray, warrior, to the eternal gods. They say
That Venus gave thee birth, who has her own
From Jove. His mother is of lower rank
Than thine. Thine is a child of Jove, but his
A daughter of the Ancient of the Deep.
Strike at him with that conquering spear of thine,
Nor let him scare thee with stern words and threats.”

He said, and breathed into the prince’s breast
Fresh valor, as, arrayed in glittering arms,
He pressed to where the foremost warriors fought;
Yet not unseen by Juno’s eye went forth
The son of old Anchises. She convened
The gods in council, and addressed them thus:⁠—

“Neptune and Pallas, what shall now be done?
Consider ye. Aeneas, all arrayed
In glittering arms, is pressing on to meet
Pelides. Phoebus sends him. Let us join
To turn him back, or let some one of us
Stand near Achilles, fill his limbs with strength,
Nor let his heart grow faint, but let him see
That we, the mightiest of the immortals, look
On him with favor, and that those who strive
Amid the war and bloodshed to protect
The sons of Troy are empty boasters all.
For this we came from heaven to interpose
In battle, that Achilles may endure
No harm from Trojan hands, although, no doubt,
Hereafter he must suffer all that Fate
Spun for him when his mother brought him forth.
But if he hear not, from some heavenly voice,
Of this assurance, fear may fall on him
When, haply, in the battle he shall meet
Some god; for when revealed to human sight
The presence of the gods is terrible.”

And then did Neptune, he who shakes the earth,
Make answer: “Juno, it becomes thee ill
To be so greatly vexed. I cannot wish
A contest with the other gods, though we
In power excel them. Rather let us sit
Apart, where we can look upon the war,
And leave it to mankind. And yet if Mars
Or Phoebus should begin the fight, or seek
To thwart Achilles or restrain his arm,
There will be cause for us to join the strife
In earnest, and I deem that they full soon,
The contest ended, will return to join
The assembled gods upon the Olympian mount,
Forced to withdraw by our all-potent hands.”

So spake the dark-haired god, and led the way
To the high mound of godlike Hercules,
Raised from the earth by Trojans, with the aid
Of Pallas, that the hero there might find
A refuge when the monster of the deep
Should chase him from the sea-beach to the plain.
With other gods beside him Neptune there
Sat down and drew a shadow, which no sight
Could pierce, around their shoulders. Other gods,
Upon the hill called Beautiful, were grouped
Round thee, Apollo, archer-god, and Mars,
Spoiler of cities. On both sides they sat,
Devising plans, unwilling to begin
The fierce encounter, though Almighty Jove
From where he sat in heaven commanded it.

The warriors thronged into the field, which shone
With brazen armor and caparisons
Of steeds; earth trembled with the sounding tramp
Of marching squadrons. From the opposing ranks
Two chieftains, each the bravest of his host,
Impatient to engage⁠—Anchises’ son,
Aeneas, and the great Achilles⁠—came.
And first Aeneas, with defiant mien
And nodding casque, stood forth. He held his shield
Before him, which he wielded right and left,
And shook his brazen spear. On the other side,
Pelides hurried toward him, terrible
As is a lion, which the assembled hinds
Of a whole village chase and seek to slay,
While on he stalks, contemning their assault;
But if the arrow of some strong-armed youth
Have smitten him, he stands, and gathers all
His strength to spring, with open jaws and teeth
Half hid in foam, and uttering fearful growls
From his deep chest; he lashes with his tail
His sides and sinewy thighs to rouse himself
To combat, and then, grimly frowning, leaps
To slay, or by the foremost youths be slain,
So sprang Achilles, moved by his bold heart
To meet the brave Aeneas. As the twain
Drew near each other, the swift-footed chief,
The great Achilles, was the first to speak:⁠—

“Why, O Aeneas, hast thou come so far
Through this vast crowd to seek me? Does thy heart
Bid thee confront me in the hope to gain
The place which Priam holds, and to bear rule
Over the knights Of Troy? Yet shouldst thou take
My life, think not that Priam in thy hand
Will place such large reward. He has his sons,
Nor is he fickle, but of stable mind.
Or will the Trojans, if thou slayest me,
Bestow on thee broad acres, of a soil
Fruitful exceedingly, and suited well
To vines or to the plough, which thou mayst till
That also, as I hope, thou wilt obtain
With difficulty; for, unless I err,
I forced thee once to flee before my spear.
Dost thou remember, when thou wert alone
Among thy beeves, I drave thee, running fast,
Down Ida’s steeps? Then didst thou never turn
To face me, but didst seek a hiding-place
Within Lyrnessus, which I also took
And wasted, with the aid of Father Jove
And Pallas. From the town I led away
The women, never to be free again.
Jove and the other gods protected thee
That day. Yet will they not protect thee now,
As thou dost vainly hope. Withstand me not,
I counsel thee, but hide thyself among
The crowd before thou suffer harm, for he
Who sees past evils only is a fool.”

And then Aeneas answered: “Do not think,
Pelides, with such words to frighten me,
As if I were a beardless boy. I too
Might use reproach and taunt; but well we know
Each other’s birth and lineage, through report
Of men, although by sight I know not thine,
Nor know’st thou mine. They say that thou art sprung
From Peleus the renowned, and from the nymph
Of ocean, fair-haired Thetis, while I boast
My birth from brave Anchises, and can claim
Venus as mother. Two of these today
Must weep the death of a beloved son,
For we are not to part, I think, nor end
The combat after a few childish words;
Yet let me speak, that thou mayst better know
Our lineage, known already far and wide.
Jove was the father, cloud-compelling Jove,
Of Dardanus, by whom Dardania first
Was peopled, ere our sacred Troy was built
On the great plain⁠—a populous town; for men
Dwelt still upon the roots of Ida fresh
With many springs. To Dardanus was born
King Erichthonius, richest in his day
Of mortal men, and in his meadows grazed
Three thousand mares, exulting in their brood
Of tender foals. Of some of this vast herd
Boreas became enamored as they fed.
He came to them in likeness of a steed
That wore an azure mane, and they brought forth
Twelve foals, which all were females, of such speed
That when they frolicked on the teeming earth
They flew along the topmost ears of wheat
And broke them not, and when they sported o’er
The mighty bosom of the deep they ran
Along the hoary summits of its waves.
To Erichthonius Tros was born, who ruled
The Trojans, and from Tros there sprang three sons
Of high renown⁠—Ilus, Assaracus,
And godlike Ganymede, most beautiful
Of men; the gods beheld and caught him up
To heaven, so beautiful was he, to pour
The wine to Jove, and ever dwell with them.
And Ilus had a son, Laomedon,
Of mighty fame, to whom five sons were born,
Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Clytius,
And Hicetaon, trained to war by Mars.
Assaracus begat my ancestor,
Capys, to whom Anchises owes his birth.
Anchises is my father; Priam’s son
Is noble Hector. Such I claim to be
My lineage and my blood; but Jove at will
Gives in large measure, or diminishes,
Men’s warlike prowess; and the power of Jove
Is over all. But let us talk no more
Of things like these, as if we were but boys,
While here in the mid-field we stand between
The warring armies. Both of us might cast
Reproaches at each other, many and foul,
Such as no galley of a hundred oars
Could bear and float. Men’s tongues are voluble,
And endless are the modes of speech, and far
Extends from side to side the field of words.
Such as thou utterest it will be thy lot
To hear from others. But what profits it
For us to rail and wrangle, in high brawl,
Like women angered to the quick, that rush
Into the middle of the street and scold
With furious words, some true and others false,
As rage may prompt them? Me thou shalt not move
With words from my firm purpose ere thou raise
Thy arm against me. Let us hasten first
To prove the temper of our brazen spears.”

He spake, and hurled his brazen spear to smite
The dreadful shield, a terror in men’s eyes;
That mighty buckler rang with the strong blow.
Achilles, as it came, held forth his shield
With nervous arm far from him, for he feared
That the long javelin of his valiant foe
Might pierce it. Idle fear; he had not thought
That the bright armor given him by the gods
Not easily would yield to force of man.
Nor could the rapid spear that left the hand
Of brave Aeneas pierce the shield; the gold,
The gift of Vulcan, stopped it. Through two folds
It went, but three remained; for Vulcan’s skill
Fenced with five folds the disk⁠—the outer two
Of brass, the inner two of tin; between
Was one of gold, and there the brazen spear
Was stayed. And then in turn Achilles threw
His ponderous spear, and struck the orbèd shield
Borne by Aeneas near the upper edge,
Where thinnest was the brass and thinnest lay
The bullock’s hide. The Pelian ash broke through;
The buckler crashed; Aeneas, stooping low,
Held it above him, terrified; the spear,
Tearing both plate and hide of that huge shield,
Passed over him, and, eager to go on,
Plunged in the earth and stood. He, when he saw
The massive lance which he had just escaped
Fixed in the earth so near him, stood awhile
As struck with fear, and with despairing looks.
Achilles drew his trenchant sword and rushed
With fury on Aeneas, uttering
A fearful shout. Aeneas lifted up
A stone, a mighty weight, which no two men,
As men are now, could raise, yet easily
He wielded it. Aeneas then, to save
His threatened life, had smitten with the stone
His adversary’s buckler or his helm,
And with his sword Pelides had laid dead
The Trojan, had not he who shakes the earth,
Neptune, beheld him in that perilous hour,
And instantly addressed the immortal gods:⁠—

“My heart, ye gods, is heavy for the sake
Of the great-souled Aeneas, who will sink
To Hades overcome by Peleus’ son.
Rash man! He listened to the archer-god
Apollo, who has now no power to save
The chief from death. But, guiltless as he is,
Why should he suffer evil for the wrong
Of others? He has always sought to please
With welcome offerings the gods who dwell
In the broad heaven. Let us withdraw him, then,
From this great peril, lest, if he should fall
Before Achilles, haply Saturn’s son
May be displeased. And ’tis the will of fate
That he escape; that so the Dardan race,
Beloved by Jove above all others sprung
From him and mortal women, may not yet
Perish from earth and leave no progeny.
For Saturn’s son already holds the house
Of Priam in disfavor, and will make
Aeneas ruler o’er the men of Troy,
And his sons’ sons shall rule them after him.”

Imperial Juno with large eyes replied:
“Determine, Neptune, for thyself, and save
Aeneas, or, all blameless as he is,
Abandon him to perish by the hand
Of Peleus’ son, Achilles. We have sworn⁠—
Minerva and myself⁠—that never we
Would aid in aught the Trojans to escape
Their day of ruin, though the town of Troy
Sink to the dust in the destroying flames⁠—
Flames kindled by the warlike sons of Greece.”

And then did Neptune, shaker of the shores,
Go forth into the battle and amidst
The clash of spears, and come where stood the chiefs,
Aeneas and his mighty foe, the son
Of Peleus. Instantly he caused to rise
A darkness round the eyes of Peleus’ son,
And from the buckler of Aeneas drew
The spear with ashen stem and brazen blade,
And laid it at Achilles’ feet, and next
He lifted high Aeneas from the ground
And bore him thence. O’er many a warrior’s head,
And many a harnessed steed, Aeneas flew,
Hurled by the god, until he reached the rear
Of that fierce battle, where the Caucons stood
Arrayed for war. The shaker of the shores
Drew near, and said to him in wingèd words:⁠—

“What god, Aeneas, moved thee to defy
Madly the son of Peleus, who in might
Excels thee, and is dearer to the gods?
Whenever he encounters thee in arms
Give way, lest thou, against the will of fate,
Pass down to Hades. When he shall have met
His fate and perished, thou mayst boldly dare
To face the foremost of the enemy;
No other of the Greeks shall take thy life.

He spake, and having thus admonished him
He left Aeneas there, and suddenly
Swept off the darkness that so thickly rose
Around Achilles, who, with sight now clear,
Looked forth, and, sighing, said to his great soul:⁠—

“How strange is this! My eyes have seen today
A mighty marvel. Here the spear I flung
Is lying on the earth, and him at whom
I cast it, in the hope to take his life,
I see no longer. Well beloved, no doubt,
Is this Aeneas by the immortal gods.
Yet that, I thought, was but an empty boast
Of his. Well, let him go; I cannot think
That he who gladly fled from death will find
The courage to encounter me again.
And now will I exhort the Greeks to fight
This battle bravely, while I go to prove
The prowess of the other chiefs of Troy.”

He spake, and, cheering on the soldiery,
He sprang into the ranks: “Ye noble Greeks,
Avoid no more the Trojans; press right on.
“Let each man single out his man, and fight
With eager heart. ’Tis hard for me to chase,
With all my warlike might, so many men,
And fight with all. Not even Mars, the god,
Although immortal, nor Minerva’s self,
Could combat with so vast a multitude
Unwearied; yet whatever I can do,
With hands and feet and strength, I give my word
Not to decline, or be remiss in aught.
I go to range the Trojan files, where none,
I think, will gladly stand to meet my spear.”

Such stirring words he uttered, while aloud
Illustrious Hector called, encouraging
The men of Troy, and promising to meet
Achilles: “Valiant Trojans, do not quail
Before Pelides. In the strife of words
I too might bear my part against the gods;
But harder were the combat with the spear,
For greater is their might than ours. The son
Of Peleus cannot make his threatenings good.
A part will he perform and part will leave
Undone. I go to wait him; I would go
Although his hands were like consuming flame⁠—
His hands like flame, his strength the strength of steel.”

He spake: the Trojans at his stirring word
Lifted their lances, and the adverse hosts
Joined battle with a fearful din. Then came
Apollo and admonished Hector thus:⁠—

“Hector, encounter not Achilles here
Before the armies, but amidst the throng
And tumult of the battle, lest perchance
He strike thee with the javelin or the sword.”

He spake: the Trojan chief, dismayed to hear
The warning of the god, withdrew among
The crowded ranks. Meantime Achilles sprang
Upon the Trojans with a terrible cry,
And slew a leader of the host, the brave
Iphition, whom a Naiad, at the foot
Of snowy Tmolus, in the opulent vale
Of Hyda, bore to the great conqueror
Of towns, Otrynteus. As he came in haste,
The noble son of Peleus with his spear
Smote him upon the forehead in the midst,
And cleft the head in two. He fell; his arms
Clashed, and Achilles boasted o’er him thus:⁠—

“Son of Otrynteus, terrible in arms,
Thou art brought low; thou meetest here thy death,
Though thou wert born by the Gygaean lake
Where lie, by fishy Hyllus and the stream
Of eddying Hermus, thy paternal fields.”

Thus boastfully he spake, while darkness came
Over Iphition’s eyes, and underneath
The chariots of the Greeks who foremost fought
His corse was mangled. Next Achilles smote
Antenor’s son, Demoleon, gallantly
Breasting the onset of the Greeks. He pierced
His temple through the helmet’s brazen cheek;
The brass stayed not the blow; the eager spear
Brake through the bone, and crushed the brain within,
And the brave youth lay dead. Achilles next
Struck down Hippodamas; he pierced his back
As, leaping from his car, the Phrygian fled
Before him. With a moan he breathed away
His life, as moans a bull when dragged around
The altar of the Heliconian king
By youths on whom the god that shakes the earth
Looks down well pleased. With such a moaning sound
The fiery spirit left the Phrygian’s frame.

Then sprang Achilles with his spear to slay
The godlike Polydorus, Priam’s son,
Whose father bade him not to join the war,
For he was younger than the other sons,
And dearest of them all. In speed of foot
He had no peer. Yet, with a boyish pride
To show his swiftness, in the foremost ranks
He ranged the field, until he lost his life.
Him with a javelin the swift-footed son
Of Peleus smote as he was hurrying by.
The weapon pierced the middle of his back,
Where, by its golden rings, the belt was clasped
Above the double corselet; the keen blade
Came forth in front; the Trojan with a cry
Fell forward on his knees, and, bending, clasped
His bowels in his hands. When Hector saw
His brother thus upon the earth, there came
A darkness o’er his eyes, nor could he bear
Longer to stand aloof, but, brandishing
His spear, came forward like a rushing flame
To meet the son of Peleus, who beheld
And bounded toward him, saying boastfully:
“So, he is near whose hand hath given my heart
Its deepest wound, who slew my dearest friend.
No more are we to shun each other now,
Timidly stealing through the paths of war.”

And then he said to Hector with a frown:
“Draw nearer, that thou mayst the sooner die.”

The crested Hector, undismayed, replied:
“Pelides, do not hope with empty words
To frighten me, as if I were a boy.
Insults and taunts I could with ease return.
I know that thou art brave; I know that I
In might am not thy equal; but the event
Rests in the laps of the great gods, and they
May, though I lack the prowess, give thy life
Into my hands when I shall cast my spear.
The weapon that I bear is keen like thine.”

Thus having spoken, brandishing his spear,
He sent it forth; but with a gentle breath
Minerva turned it from the glorious Greek,
And laid it at the noble Hector’s feet.
Then did Achilles, resolute to slay
His enemy, rush against him with a shout
Of fury; but Apollo, with such power
As gods put forth, withdrew him thence, and spread
A darkness round him. Thrice the swift of foot,
Achilles, rushed against him with his spear,
And thrice he smote the cloud. But when once more,
In godlike might, he made the assault, he spake
These wingèd words of menace and reproach:⁠—

“Hound as thou art, thou hast once more escaped
Thy death; for it was near. Again the hand
Of Phoebus rescues thee; to him thy vows
Are made ere thou dost trust thyself amidst
The clash of javelins. I shall meet thee yet
And end thee utterly, if any god
Favor me also. I will now pursue
And strike the other Trojan warriors down.”

He spake, and in the middle of the neck
Smote Dryops with his spear. The Phrygian fell
Before him at his feet. He left him there,
And wounding with his spear Philetor’s son,
Demuchus, tall and valiant, in the knee,
Stayed him until he slew him with his sword.
Then from their chariot to the ground he cast
Laogonus and Dardanus, the sons
Of Bias, piercing with a javelin one,
And cutting down the other with his sword.

And Tros, Alastor’s son, who came to him
And clasped his knees, in hope that he would spare
A captive⁠—spare his life, nor slay a youth
Of his own age⁠—vain hope! He little knew
That not by prayers Achilles could be moved,
Nor was he pitiful, nor mild of mood,
But hard of heart⁠—while Tros embraced his knees
And passionately sued, Pelides thrust
His sword into his side; the liver came
Forth at the wound; the dark blood gushing filled
The Phrygian’s bosom; o’er his eyes there crept
A darkness, and his life was at an end.

Approaching Mulius next, Achilles smote
The warrior at the ear; the brazen point
Passed through the other ear; and then he slew
Agenor’s son, Echeclus, letting fall
His heavy-hilted sword upon his head
Just in the midst; the blade grew warm with blood,
And gloomy death and unrelenting fate
Darkened the victim’s eyes. Achilles next
Wounded Deucalion, thrusting through his arm
The brazen javelin, where the sinews met
That strung the elbow. While with powerless arm
The wounded Trojan stood awaiting death,
Achilles drave his falchion through his neck.
Far flew the head and helm, the marrow flowed
From out the spine, and stretched upon the ground
Deucalion lay. Pelides still went on,
O’ertaking Rigmus, the renowned son
Of Peireus, from the fruitful fields of Thrace,
And smote him in the stomach with his lance.
There hung the weapon fixed; the wounded man
Fell from the car. At Areïthoüs
The charioteer, who turned his steeds to flee,
Achilles sent his murderous lance, and pierced
His back, and dashed him from the car, and left
His horses wild with fright. As when, among
The deep dells of an arid mountain-side,
A great fire burns its way, and the thick wood
Before it is consumed, and shifting winds
Hither and thither sweep the flames, so ranged
Achilles in his fury through the field
From side to side, and everywhere o’ertook
His victims, and the earth ran dark with blood.

As when a yeoman underneath the yoke
Brings his broad-fronted oxen to tread out
White barley on the level threshing-floor,
The sheaves are quickly trodden small beneath
The heavy footsteps of the bellowing beasts,
So did the firm-paced coursers, which the son
Of Peleus guided, trample with their feet
Bucklers and corpses, while beneath the car
Blood steeped the axle, and the chariot-seat
Dripped on its rim with blood, that from below
Was splashed upon them by the horses’ hoofs
And by the chariot-wheels. Such havoc made
Pelides in his ardor for renown,
Till his invincible hands were foul with blood.