Book V

The Exploits of Diomed

The valor of Diomed, aided by Minerva⁠—He is wounded by Pandarus, and healed by the Goddess, who forbids him to fight with any of the immortals, save Venus⁠—His combat with Pandarus and Aeneas⁠—Pandarus slain, and Aeneas, wounded and in great danger, rescued by Venus, who in the act is wounded by Diomed, and leaves Aeneas to the care of Apollo⁠—Descent of Mars to the field in aid of Hector⁠—Return of Aeneas to the field⁠—Descent of Juno and Minerva to resist Mars, who is wounded by Diomed⁠—Return of the gods to heaven.

Then Pallas to Tydides Diomed
Gave strength and courage, that he might appear
Among the Achaians greatly eminent,
And win a glorious name. Upon his head
And shield she caused a constant flame to play,
Like to the autumnal star that shines in heaven
Most brightly when new-bathed in ocean tides.
Such light she caused to beam upon his crest
And shoulders, as she sent the warrior forth
Into the thick and tumult of the fight.

Among the Trojans, Dares was the priest
Of Vulcan, rich and blameless. His two sons
Were Phegeus and Idaus, trained in all
The arts of war. They left the host and came
To meet Tydides⁠—on the chariot they,
And he on foot; and now, as they drew near,
First Phegeus hurled his massive lance. It flew
O’er Diomed’s left shoulder and struck not.
Tydides cast his spear, and not in vain;
It smote the breast of Phegeus in the midst,
And dashed him from his seat. Idaeus leaped
To earth, and left the sumptuous car, nor dared
To guard the slain, yet would have met his death
If Vulcan had not borne him swiftly thence
Concealed in darkness, that he might not leave
The aged man, his father, desolate.
The son of Tydeus took the steeds, and bade
His comrades lead them to the fleet. Aghast
The valiant sons of Troy beheld the sons
Of Dares, one in flight, the other slain.

Meantime the blue-eyed Pallas took the hand
Of Mars, and thus addressed the fiery god:⁠—

“Mars, Mars, thou slayer of men, thou steeped in blood,
Destroyer of walled cities! Should we not
Leave both the Greeks and Trojans to contend,
And Jove to crown with glory whom he will,
While we retire, lest we provoke his wrath?”

Thus having said, she led the violent Mars
From where the battle raged, and made him sit
Beside Scamander, on its grassy bank.
And then the Achaians put the sons of Troy
To flight: each leader slew a foe; and first
The king of men, Atrides, from his car
Struck down the huge-limbed Hodius, who was chief
Among the Halizonians. As he turned
To flee, the Achaian, smiting him between
The shoulders, drove the javelin through his breast.
Heavily clashed his armor as he fell.

Then by Idomeneus was Phaestus slain,
Son of Meonian Borus, who had come
From Tarna, rich in harvests. As he sprang
Into his car, Idomeneus, expert
To wield the ponderous javelin, thrust its blade
Through his right shoulder. From the car he fell,
And the dark night of death came over him.
The Achaian warriors following spoiled the slain.

The son of Atreus, Menelaus, slew
With his sharp spear Scamandrius, the son
Of Strophius, practised in the forest chase,
A mighty hunter. Him had Dian taught
To strike whatever beast the woody wild
Breeds on the hills; but now availed him not
The favor of Diana, archer-queen,
Nor skill to throw the javelin afar;
For Menelaus, mighty with the spear,
Followed him as he fled, and in the back
Smote him, between the shoulder-blades, and drave
The weapon through. He fell upon the ground
Headlong, his armor clashing as he fell.
And then Meriones slew Phereclus,
Son of Harmonius, the artificer,
Who knew to shape all works of rare device,
For Pallas loved him. It was he who built
The fleet for Paris⁠—cause of many woes
To all the Trojans and to him⁠—for ill
He understood the oracles of heaven.
Him did Meriones, pursuing long,
O’ertake, and, smiting him on the right hip,
Pierced through the part beneath the bone and near
The bladder. On his knees with sad lament so
He fell, and death involved him in its shade.

And then by Meges was Pedseus slain,
Antenor’s base-born son, whose noble wife,
Theano, reared him with as fond a care
As her own children, for her husband’s sake.
And now the mighty spearman, Phyleus’ son,
Drew near and smote him with his trenchant lance
Where meet the head and spine, and pierced the neck
Beneath the tongue; and forth the weapon came
Between the teeth. He fell, and in the fall
Gnashed with his teeth upon the cold bright blade.

Then did Evaemon’s son Eurypylus
Strike down Hypsenor, nobly born, the son
Of great Dolopion, Scamander’s priest,
Whom all the people honored as a god.
Evaemon’s gallant son, o’ertaking him
In flight; with one stroke of his falchion hewed
His brawny arm away. The bloody limb
Dropped to the ground, and the dark night of death
Came o’er his eyes: so cruel fate decreed.

Thus toiled the heroes in that stubborn fight.
Nor would you now have known to which array⁠—
Trojan or Greek⁠—Tydides might belong;
For through the field he rushed with furious speed,
Like a swollen river when its current takes
The torrent’s swiftness, scattering with a sweep
The bridges; nor can massive dikes withstand
Its fury, nor embankments raised to screen
The grassy meadows, while the rains of Jove
Fall heavily, and harvests, late the joy
Of toiling youth, are beaten to the ground.
Thus by Tydides the close phalanxes
Of Troy were scattered, nor could they endure,
All numerous as they were, his strong assault.
As Pandarus, Lycaon’s eminent son,
Beheld Tydides rush athwart the field,
Breaking the ranks, he drew his crooked bow
And smote the chief’s left shoulder as he came,
Striking the hollow corselet. The sharp point
Broke through, and blood came gushing o’er the mail.
Then called aloud Lycaon’s eminent son:⁠—

“Brave Trojans, great in mastery of steeds,
Press on; the bravest of the Grecian host
Is smitten, nor, I think, can long survive
The grievous wound, if it be true that I,
At the command of Phoebus, son of Jove,
Have left my home upon the Lycian shore.”

Thus boastfully he spake; but his swift shaft
Slew not Tydides, who had now withdrawn.
And, standing by his steeds and chariot, spake
To Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus:⁠—
“Haste down, kind Sthenelus, and with thy hand
Draw the sharp arrow from my shoulder here.”

He spake, and Sthenelus at once leaped down,
Stood by his side, and from his shoulder drew
The wingèd arrow deeply fixed within.
The blood flowed forth upon the twisted rings
Of mail, while Diomed, the valiant, prayed:⁠—

“Hear me, O child of aegis-bearing Jove,
Goddess invincible! If ever thou
Didst aid me or my father in the heat
Of battle, aid me, Pallas, yet again.
Give me to slay this Trojan; bring him near,
Within my javelin’s reach, who wounded me,
And now proclaims⁠—the boaster⁠—that not long
Shall I behold the brightness of the sun.”

So prayed he, and Minerva heard his prayer
And lightened all his limbs⁠—his feet, his hands⁠—
And, standing near him, spake these wingèd words:⁠—

“War boldly with the Trojans, Diomed;
For even now I breathe into thy frame
The ancestral might and fearless soul that dwelt
In Tydeus, peerless with the steed and shield.
Lo! I remove the darkness from thine eyes,
That thou mayst well discern the gods from men;
And if a god should tempt thee to the fight,
Beware to combat with the immortal race;
Only, should Venus, child of Jupiter,
Take part in battle, wound her with thy spear.”

The blue-eyed Pallas spake, and disappeared;
And Diomed went back into the field
And mingled with the warriors. If before
His spirit moved him fiercely to engage
The men of Troy, a threefold courage now
Inspired him. As a lion who has leaped
Into a fold⁠—and he who guards the flock
Has wounded but not slain him⁠—feels his rage
Waked by the blow;⁠—the affrighted shepherd then
Ventures not near, but hides within the stalls,
And the forsaken sheep are put to flight,
And, huddling, slain in heaps, till o’er the fence
The savage bounds into the fields again;⁠—
Such was Tydides midst the sons of Troy.
Astynoüs first he slew, Hypenor next,
The shepherd of the people. One he pierced
High on the bosom with his brazen spear,
And smote the other on the collar-bone
With his good sword, and hewed from neck and spine
The shoulder. There he left the dead, and rushed
To Abas and to Polyeidus, sons
Of old Eurydamas, interpreter
Of visions. Ill the aged man had read
His visions when they joined the war. They died,
And Diomed, the valiant, spoiled the slain.
Xanthus and Thoön he encountered next,
The sons of Phaenops, born in his old age.
No other child had he, to be his heir,
And he was worn with length of years. These two
Tydides smote and took their lives, and left
Grief to their father and regretful cares,
Since he no more should welcome their return
From war, and strangers should divide his wealth.
Then smote he Chromius and Echemon, sons
Of Dardan Priam, in one chariot both.
As on a herd of beeves a lion springs
While midst the shrubs they browse, and breaks their necks⁠—
Heifer or ox⁠—so sprang he on the twain
And struck them, vainly struggling, from their car,
And spoiled them of their arms, and took their steeds,
And bade his comrades lead them to the fleet.

Aeneas, who beheld him scattering thus
The embattled ranks before him, straightway went
Through the thick fight, amid encountering spears,
In search of godlike Pandarus. He found
Lycaon’s blameless and illustrious son,
And stood before him, and addressed him thus:⁠—

“Where is thy bow, O Pandarus, and where
Thy wingèd arrows? Where the old renown
In which no warrior here can vie with thee,
And none upon the Lycian shore can boast
That he excels thee? Hasten, and lift up
Thy hands in prayer to Jupiter, and send
An arrow at this man, whoe’er he be,
Who thus prevails, and thus afflicts our host,
And makes the knees of many a strong man weak.
Strike him⁠—unless he be some god incensed
At Troy for sacrifice withheld, since hard
It is to bear the anger of a god.”

Lycaon’s son, the far-renowned, replied:⁠—
“Aeneas, leader of the Trojans mailed
In brass, to me this man in all things seems
Like warlike Diomed. I know his shield,
High helm, and steeds, and yet I may not say
That this is not a god. But if he be
The chief of whom I speak, the warlike son
Of Tydeus, not thus madly would he fight,
Without some god to aid him. By his side
Is one of the immortals, with a cloud
About his shoulders, turning from its aim
The swiftly flying arrow. ’Twas but late
I aimed a shaft that pierced the hollow mail
On his left shoulder, and I thought him sent
To Pluto, but I slew him not. Some god
Must be offended with me. I have here
No steeds or car to mount. Far off at home
There stand within Lycaon’s palace-walls
Eleven chariots, fair and fresh and new:
Each has an ample cover, and by each
Are horses yoked in pairs, that champ their oats
And their white barley. When I left my home,
Lycaon, aged warrior, counselled me,
Within his sumptuous halls, that with my steeds
And chariot I should lead the sons of Troy
In the fierce battle. I obeyed him not:
Far better if I had. I wished to spare
My horses, lest, so largely fed at home,
They might want food in the beleaguered town.
So, leaving them, I came on foot to Troy,
Confiding in my bow, which yet was doomed
To avail me little, for already I
Have smitten with my arrows the two chiefs,
Tydides and Atrides, and from both
Drew the red blood, but only made their rage
To flame the fiercer. In an evil hour
I took my bow and quiver from the wall
And came to lead the Trojans for the sake
Of Hector. But if ever I return
To see my native country and my wife
And my tall spacious mansion, may some foe
Strike off my head if with these hands I fail
To break my bow in pieces, casting it
Into the flames, a useless weapon now.”

The Trojan chief Aeneas, answering, said:⁠—
“Nay, talk not so; it cannot but be thus,
Until upon a chariot, and with steeds,
We try our prowess with this man in war.
Haste, mount my chariot here, and thou shalt see
How well are Trojan horses trained to range
The field of battle, in the swift pursuit
Hither and thither, or in rapid flight;
And they shall bring us safely to the town
Should Jove a second time bestow the meed
Of glory on Tydides. Haste, and take
The lash and well-wrought reins, while I descend
To fight on foot; or haply thou wilt wait
The foe’s advance while I direct the steeds.”

Then spake again Lycaon’s eminent son:⁠—
“Keep thou the reins, Aeneas, and still guide
The horses. With their wonted charioteer,
The better shall they bear away the car
Should we be forced to fly before the arm
Of Diomed; lest, taking flight, they range
Unmastered when they hear thy voice no more,
Nor bear us from the combat, and the son
Of Tydeus, having slain us, shall lead thence
Thy firm-hoofed coursers. Therefore guide them still,
Them and the chariot, while, with this keen spear,
I wait the Greek, as he is rushing on.”

They spake, and, climbing the magnificent car,
Turned toward Tydides the swift-footed steeds.
The noble son of Capaneus beheld,
And said in wingèd words to Diomed:⁠—

“Tydides Diomed, most dear of men!
I see two warriors, strong, immensely strong,
Coming to combat with thee. Pandarus
Is one, the skilled in archery, who boasts
To be Lycaon’s son; and by his side
There comes Aeneas, glorying that he sprang
From the large-souled Anchises⁠—borne to him
By Venus. Mount we now our car and leave
The ground, nor in thy fury rush along
The van of battle, lest thou lose thy life.”

The brave Tydides, with a frown, replied:⁠—
“Speak not of flight; thou canst not yet persuade
My mind to that. To skulk or shrink with fear
In battle ill becomes me, and my strength
Is unexhausted yet. It suits me not
To mount the chariot; I will meet the foe
Just as I am. Minerva will not let
My spirit falter. Ne’er shall those swift steeds
Bear the two warriors hence⁠—if even one
Escapes me. One thing more have I to say;
And keep it well in mind. Should Pallas deign⁠—
The wise, forecasting Pallas⁠—to bestow
On me the glory of o’ercoming both,
Stop thy swift horses, and tie fast the reins
To our own chariot, and make haste to seize
The horses of Aeneas, guiding them
Hence from the Trojan to the Grecian host;
For they are of the stock which Jupiter
The Thunderer gave to Tros. It was the price
He paid for Ganymede, and they, of all
Beneath the eye of morning and the sun,
Are of the choicest breed. The king of men,
Anchises, stealthily and unobserved,
Brought to the coursers of Laomedon
His brood-mare, and obtained the race. Six colts,
Their offspring, in his courts were foaled. Of these,
Four for himself he kept, and in his stalls
Reared them, and two of them, both apt for war,
He gave Aeneas. If we make them ours,
The exploit will bring us honor and renown.”

Thus they conferred. Meantime their foes drew near,
Urging their fiery coursers on, and first
Lycaon’s eminent son addressed the Greek:⁠—

“My weapon, swift and sharp, the arrow, failed
To slay thee; let me try the javelin now,
And haply that, at least, may reach its mark.”

He spake, and, brandishing his massive spear,
Hurled it against the shield of Diomed.
The brazen point broke through, and reached the mail.
Then shouted with loud voice Lycaon’s son:⁠—

“Ha! Thou art wounded in thy flank; my spear
Bites deep; nor long, I think, canst thou survive,
And great will be my glory gained from thee.”

But thus the valiant Diomed replied.
Incapable of fear: “Thy thought is wrong.
I am not wounded, and I well perceive
That ye will never give the conflict o’er
Till one of you, laid low amid the dust,
Pour out his blood to glut the god of war.”

He spake, and cast his spear. Minerva kept
The weapon faithful to its aim. It struck
The nose, and near the eye; then passing on
Betwixt the teeth, the unrelenting edge
Cleft at its root the tongue; the point came out
Beneath the chin. The warrior from his car
Fell headlong; his bright armor, fairly wrought,
Clashed round him as he fell; his fiery steeds
Started aside with fright; his breath and strength
Were gone at once, Aeneas, with his shield
And his long spear, leaped down to guard the slain,
That the Achaians might not drag him thence.
There, lion-like, confiding in his strength,
He stalked around the corpse, and over it
Held his round shield and lance, prepared to slay
Whoever came, and shouting terribly.

Tydides raised a stone⁠—a mighty weight,
Such as no two men living now could lift;
But he, alone, could swing it round with ease.
With this he smote Aeneas on the hip,
Where the thigh joins its socket. By the blow
He brake the socket and the tendons twain,
And tore the skin with the rough, jagged stone.
The hero fell upon his knees, but stayed
His fall with his strong palm upon the ground;
And o’er his eyes a shadow came like night.

Then had the king of men, Aeneas, died,
But for Jove’s daughter, Venus, who perceived
His danger instantly⁠—his mother, she
Who bore him to Anchises when he kept
His beeves, a herdsman. Round her son she cast
Her white arms, spreading over him in folds
Her shining robe, to be a fence against
The weapons of the foe, lest some Greek knight
Should at his bosom aim the steel to take
His life. And thus the goddess bore away
From that fierce conflict her beloved son.

Nor did the son of Capaneus forget
The bidding of the warlike Diomed,
But halted his firm-footed steeds apart
From the great tumult, with the long reins stretched
And fastened to the chariot. Next, he sprang
To seize the horses with fair-flowing manes,
That drew the chariot of Aeneas. These
He drave away, far from the Trojan host,
To the well-greaved Achaians, giving them
In charge, to lead them to the hollow ships,
To his beloved friend Deipylus,
Whom he of all his comrades honored most,
As likest to himself in years and mind.
And then he climbed his car and took the reins,
And, swiftly drawn by his firm-footed steeds,
Followed Tydides, who with cruel steel
Sought Venus, knowing her unapt for war,
And all unlike the goddesses who guide
The battles of mankind, as Pallas does,
Or as Bellona, ravager of towns.
O’ertaking her at last, with long pursuit,
Amid the throng of warring men, the son
Of warlike Tydeus aimed at her his spear,
And wounded in her hand the delicate one
With its sharp point. It pierced the ambrosial robe,
Wrought for her by the Graces, at the spot
Where the palm joins the wrist, and broke the skin,
And drew immortal blood⁠—the ichor⁠—such
As from the blessed gods may flow; for they
Eat not the wheaten loaf, nor drink dark wine;
And therefore they are bloodless, and are called
Immortal. At the stroke the goddess shrieked,
And dropped her son. Apollo in his arms
Received and in a dark cloud rescued him,
Lest any of the Grecian knights should aim
A weapon at his breast to take his life.
Meantime the brave Tydides cried aloud:⁠—

“Leave wars and battle, goddess. Is it not
Enough that thou delude weak womankind?
Yet, if thou ever shouldst return, to bear
A part in battle, thou shalt have good cause
To start with fear, when war is only named.”

He spake; and she departed, wild with pain,
For grievously she suffered. Instantly
Fleet-footed Iris took her by the hand
And led her from the place, her heart oppressed
With anguish and her fair cheek deathly pale.
She found the fiery Mars, who had withdrawn
From that day’s combat to the left, and sat,
His spear and his swift coursers hid from sight,
In darkness. At his feet she fell, and prayed
Her brother fervently, that he would lend
His steeds that stood in trappings wrought of gold:⁠—

“Dear brother, aid me; let me have thy steeds
To bear me to the Olympian mount, the home
Of gods, for grievously the wound I bear
Afflicts me. ’Twas a mortal gave the wound⁠—
Tydides, who would even fight with Jove.”

She spake; and Mars resigned to her his steeds
With trappings of bright gold. She climbed the car,
Still grieving, and, beside her, Iris took
Her seat, and caught the reins and plied the lash.
On flew the coursers, on, with willing speed,
And soon were at the mansion of the gods
On high Olympus. There the active-limbed,
Fleet Iris stayed them, loosed them from the car,
And fed them with ambrosial food. Meanwhile,
The goddess Venus at Dione’s feet
Had cast herself. The mother round her child
Threw tenderly her arms, and with her hand
Caressed her brow, and spake, and thus inquired:⁠—

“Which of the dwellers of the skies, dear child,
Has dealt thus cruelly with thee, as one
Caught in the doing of some flagrant wrong?”

And thus did Venus, queen of smiles, reply:⁠—
“The son of Tydeus, arrogant Diomed,
Wounded me as I sought to bear away
From battle’s dangers my beloved son
Aeneas, dear beyond all other men:
For now no longer does the battle rage
Between the Greeks and Trojans, but the Greeks
Venture to combat even with the gods.”

Dione, great among the goddesses,
Rejoined: “Submit, my daughter, and endure,
Though inly grieved; for many of us who dwell
Upon the Olympian mount have suffered much
From mortals, and have brought great miseries
Upon each other. First, it was the fate
Of Mars to suffer, when Aloëus’ sons,
Otus and mighty Ephialtes, made
Their fetters fast upon his limbs. He lay
Chained thirteen months within a brazen cell;
And haply there the god, whose thirst of blood
Is never cloyed, had perished, but for aid
Which Eriboea gave, the beautiful,
His step-mother. She made his miseries known
To Mercury, who set him free by stealth,
Withered and weak with long imprisonment.
And Juno suffered when Amphitryon’s son,
The valiant, dared to plant in her right breast
A three-pronged arrow, and she writhed with pain.
And Pluto suffered, when the hero-son
Of aegis-bearing Jove, with a swift shaft,
Smote him beside the portals of the dead,
And left him filled with pain. He took his way
To high Olympus and the home of Jove,
Grieving and racked with pain, for deep the dart
Had pierced his brawny shoulder, torturing him.
There Paean with his pain-dispelling balms
Healed him, for he was not of mortal race.
O daring man and reckless, to make light
Of such impieties and violate
The sacred persons of the Olympian gods!
It was the blue-eyed Pallas who stirred up
Tydides to assail thee thus. The fool!
He knew not that the man who dares to meet
The gods in combat lives not long. No child
Shall prattling call him father when he comes
Returning from the dreadful tasks of war.
Let then Tydides, valiant though he be,
Beware lest a more potent foe than thou
Encounter him, and lest the nobly-born
Aegialeia, in some night to come⁠—
Wise daughter of Adrastus, and the spouse
Of the horse-tamer Diomed⁠—call up
The servants of her household from their sleep,
Bewailing him to whom in youth she gave
Her maiden troth⁠—the bravest of the Greeks.”

She spake, and wiped the ichor from the hand
Of Venus; at her touch the hand was healed
And the pain left it. Meantime Pallas stood,
With Juno, looking on, both teasing Jove
With words of sarcasm. Blue-eyed Pallas thus
Addressed the god: “O Father Jupiter,
Wilt thou be angry at the word I speak?⁠—
As Venus, wheedling some Achaian dame
To join the host she loves, the sons of Troy,
Caressed the fair, arrayed in gay attire,
A golden buckle scratched her tender hand.”

As thus she spake, the Father of the gods
And mortals, calling golden Venus near,
Said, with a smile: “Nay, daughter, not for thee
Are tasks of war; be gentle marriage-rites
Thy care; the labors of the battle-field
Pertain to Pallas and the fiery Mars.”

Thus with each other talked the gods, while still
The great in battle, Diomed, pursued
Aeneas, though he knew that Phoebus stretched
His arm to guard the warrior. Small regard
Had he for the great god, and much he longed
To strike Aeneas down and bear away
The glorious arms he wore; and thrice he rushed
To slay the Trojan, thrice Apollo smote
Upon his glittering shield. But when he made
The fourth assault, as if he were a god,
The archer of the skies, Apollo, thus
With menacing words rebuked him: “Diomed,
Beware; desist, nor think to make thyself
The equal of a god. The deathless race
Of gods is not as those who walk the earth.”

He spake; the son of Tydeus, shrinking back,
Gave way before the anger of the god
Who sends his shafts afar. Then Phoebus bore
Aeneas from the tumult to the height
Of sacred Pergamus, where stands his fane;
And there Latona and the archer-queen,
Diana, in the temple’s deep recess,
Tended him and brought back his glorious strength.
Meantime the bowyer-god, Apollo, formed
An image of Aeneas, armed like him,
Round which the Trojans and Achaians thronged
With many a heavy weapon-stroke that fell
Upon the huge orbs of their ox-hide shields
And lighter bucklers. Now to fiery Mars
Apollo spake: “Mars, Mars, thou plague of men,
Thou steeped in blood, destroyer of walled towns!
Wilt thou not force this man to leave the field?
Wilt thou not meet in arms this daring son
Of Tydeus, who would even fight with Jove?
Already has he wounded, in close fight,
The goddess Venus at the wrist, and since
Assaulted me as if he were a god.”

He said, and on the heights of Pergamus
Sat down, while the destroyer Mars went forth
Among the embattled Trojan ranks, to rouse
Their valor. In the form of Acamus,
The gallant Thracian leader, he bespake
The sons of Jove-descended Priam thus:⁠—

“O sons of Priam, him who claims descent
From Jupiter! How long will ye submit
To see your people slaughtered by the Greeks?
Is it until the battle-storm shall reach
Your city’s stately portals? Even now
A hero whom we honor equally
With the great Hector, our Aeneas, son
Of the large-souled Anchises, is struck down.
Haste, let us rescue our beloved friend.”

He spake, and into every heart his words
Carried new strength and courage. In that hour
Sarpedon chid the noble Hector thus:⁠—
“Where is the prowess, Hector, which was thine
So lately? Thou hast said that thou alone,
Thy kindred and thy brothers, could defend
The city, without armies or allies.
Now I see none of these; they all, like hounds
Before a lion, crouch and slink away,
While the confederates bear the brunt of war.
I am but an auxiliar come from far,
From Lycia, where the eddying Xanthus runs.
There left I a beloved wife, and there
An infant child, and large possessions, such
As poor men covet. Yet do I exhort
My Lycians to the combat, and myself
Would willingly engage this foe of Troy,
Although I here have nothing which the Greeks
Might bear or drive away. Thou standest still,
Meanwhile, nor dost thou bid the rest to keep
Their ground and bear the battle for their wives.
Yet have a care, lest, as if caught at length
In the strong meshes of a mighty net,
Ye find yourselves the captives and the prey
Of enemies, who quickly will destroy
Your nobly-peopled city. These are thoughts
That should engage thy mind by night and day,
And thou shouldst beg the chiefs of thine allies,
Called to thy aid from far, that manfully
They meet the foe, and foil his fierce attack,
And take the cause of this reproach away.”

Sarpedon spake; and Hector, all in arms,
Stung by his words, and leaping from his car,
Brandished his spears, and went among the hosts
And rallied them to battle. Terrible
The conflict that ensued. The men of Troy
Made head against the Greeks: the Greeks stood firm,
Nor ever thought of flight. As when the wind
Strews chaff about the sacred threshing-floors
While wheat is winnowed, and before the breeze
The yellow Ceres separates the grain
From its light husk, which gathers in white heaps⁠—
Even so the Greeks were whitened o’er with dust
Raised in that tumult by the horses’ hoofs
And rising to the brazen firmament,
As toward the fight the charioteers again
Urged on their coursers. Yet the Greeks withstood
The onset, and struck forward with strong arms.
Meantime the furious Mars involved the field
In darkness, to befriend the sons of Troy,
And went through all the ranks, and well fulfilled
The mandate which Apollo gave the god
Who wields the golden falchion, bidding him
Kindle the courage of the Trojan host
Whene’er he saw the auxiliar of the Greeks,
Minerva, leave the combat. Then the god
Brought from the sanctuary’s inner shrine
Aeneas⁠—filling with recovered strength
That shepherd of the people. He beside
His comrades placed himself, and they rejoiced
To see him living and unharmed and strong
As ever; yet they questioned not; their task
Was different, set them by the god who bears
The silver bow, and Mars the slayer of men,
And raging Strife that never is appeased.

The Ajaces and Ulysses and the son
Of Tydeus roused the Achaians to the fight.
For of the strength and clamor of the foe
They felt no fear, but calmly stood, to bide
The assault; as stand in air the quiet clouds
Which Saturn’s son upon the mountain-tops
Piles in still volumes when the north wind sleeps,
And every ruder breath of blustering air
That drives the gathered vapors through the sky.
Thus calmly waited they the Trojan host,
Nor thought of flight. And now Atrides passed
In haste along their ranks, and gave command:⁠—

“O friends, be men, and let your hearts be strong,
And let no warrior in the heat of fight
Do what may bring him shame in others’ eyes;
For more of those who shrink from shame are safe
Than fall in battle, while with those who flee
Is neither glory nor reprieve from death.”

So spake the king, and hurled his spear and smote
Deïcoön, the son of Pergasis,
A chief, and a companion in the war
Of the great-souled Aeneas. He in Troy
Was honored as men honored Priam’s sons,
For he was ever foremost in the fight.
The weapon struck his shield, yet stopped not there,
But, breaking through its folds and through the belt,
Transfixed the part beneath. The Trojan fell
To earth, his armor clashing with his fall.

Aeneas slew the sons of Diodes⁠—
Orsilochus and Crethon, eminent Greeks.
Their father dwelt in Pherae nobly built,
Amid his riches. From Alpheius he
Derived his race⁠—a river whose long stream
Flows through the meadows of the Pylian land.
Orsilochus was to Alpheius born,
Lord over many men, and he became
The father of great Diocles, to whom
Twin sons were born, well trained in all the arts
Of warfare⁠—Crethon and Orsilochus.
These, in the prime of youth, with their black ships
Followed the Argives to the coast of Troy
Famed for its generous steeds. They left their home
To vindicate the honor of the sons
Of Atreus⁠—Agamemnon, king of men,
And Menelaus⁠—but they found their death.

As two young lions, nourished by their dam
Amid the thickets of some mighty wood,
Seizing the beeves and fattened sheep, lay waste
The stables, till at length themselves are slain
By trenchant weapons in the shepherd’s hand,
So by the weapons of Aeneas died
These twain; they fell as lofty fir-trees fall.
But now, when Menelaus saw their fate,
The mighty warrior, deeply sorrowing, rushed
Among the foremost, armed in glittering brass,
And brandishing his spear; for Mars had roused
His soul to fury, trusting he would meet
Aeneas, and would perish by his hand.
Antilochus, the generous Nestor’s son,
Came also to the van, for anxiously
He feared mischance might overtake the king,
To make the toils of their long warfare vain;
And there he found the combatants prepared
For battle, with their trusty spears in hand,
And standing face to face. At once he took
His stand beside the monarch of the Greeks.
At sight of the two warriors side by side,
All valiant as he was, Aeneas shunned
The encounter. They, when they had drawn the dead
Among the Grecian ranks, and to their friends
Given up the hapless brothers, turned to take
Their place among the foremost in the fight.
Then, too, Pykemenes, a chief like Mars,
And leader of the Paphlagonian host⁠—
A valiant squadron armed with shields⁠—was slain.
Atrides Menelaus, skilled to wield
The javelin, gave his death-wound. He transfixed
The shoulder at the collar-bone. Meanwhile
Antilochus against his charioteer,
Mydon, the brave son of Atymnias, hurled
A stone that smote his elbow as he wheeled
His firm-paced steeds in flight. He dropped the reins,
Gleaming with ivory as they trailed in dust.
Antilochus leaped forward, smiting him
Upon the temples with his sword. He fell
Gasping amidst the sand, his head immersed
Up to his shoulders⁠—for the sand was deep⁠—
And there remained till he was beaten down
Before the horses’ hoofs. Antilochus,
Lashing the horses, drave them to the Greeks.

Hector beheld, and, springing with loud shouts,
Stood mid the wavering ranks. The phalanxes
Of the brave Trojans followed him, for Mars
And terrible Bellona led them on⁠—
Bellona bringing Tumult in her train,
And Mars with brandished lance⁠—a mighty weight⁠—
Now stalking after Hector, now before.

Him when the valiant Diomed beheld,
He trembled; and, as one who, journeying
Along a way he knows not, having crossed
A place of drear extent, before him sees
A river rushing swiftly toward the deep,
And all its tossing current white with foam,
And stops and turns, and measures back his way,
So then did Diomed withdraw, and spake:⁠—

“O friends, how greatly must we all admire
This noble Hector, mighty with the spear
And terrible in war. There is some god
Forever near him, warding off the stroke
Of death; beside him yonder even now
Stands Mars in semblance of a mortal man.
Yield, then, and with your faces toward the foe
Fall back, and strive not with the gods of heaven.”

Even as he spake, the Trojan host drew near,
And Hector slew two warriors trained to arms⁠—
Menesthes and Anchialus⁠—who came
Both in one chariot to the war. Their fall
Ajax, the son of Telamon, beheld,
And pitied, and drew near, and stood, and hurled
His glittering spear. It smote Ampheius, son
Of Selagus, who, rich in lands and goods,
Abode in Paesus. In an evil hour
He joined the cause of Priam and his sons.
Him at the belt the spear of Ajax smote,
And pierced the bowels. With a crash he fell,
Then hastened mighty Ajax to strip off
The armor, but the Trojans at him cast
Their pointed spears that glittered as they flew,
And many struck his shield. He pressed his heel
Against the slain, and from the body drew
His brazen spear, but could not from the breast
Loose the bright mail, so thick the weapons came,
And such the wary dread with which he saw
The bravest of the Trojans closing round,
Many and fierce, and all with spears outstretched;
And he, though strong and valiant and renowned,
Driven from the ground, gave way to mightier force.

So toiled the warriors through that stubborn fight,
When cruel fate urged on Tlepoemus,
The great and valiant son of Hercules,
To meet Sarpedon, mighty as a god.
And now as each to each advanced⁠—the son
And grandson of the cloud-compeller Jove⁠—
Thus first Tlepolemus addressed his foe:⁠—

“Sarpedon, Lycian monarch, what has brought
Thee hither, trembling thus, and inexpert
In battle? Lying flatterers are they
That call thee son of Jupiter who bears
The aegis; for unlike the heroes thou,
Born to the Thunderer in times of old,
Nor like my daring father, Hercules
The lion-hearted, who once came to Troy
To claim the coursers of Laomedon.
With but six ships, and warriors but a few,
He laid the city waste and made its streets
A desolation. Thou art weak of heart,
And round thee are thy people perishing;
Yet, even wert thou brave, thy presence here
From Lycia’s coast would prove of small avail
To Troy; for, slain in combat here by me,
Thou to the gates of Hades shalt go down.”

Sarpedon, leader of the Lycians, thus
Made answer: “True it is, Tlepolemus,
That he laid waste the sacred city of Troy
For the base dealings of Laomedon,
The monarch who with railing words repaid
His great deservings, and kept back the steeds
For which he came so far. But thou⁠—thy fate
Is slaughter and black death from this my spear;
And fame will come to me, and one more soul
Go down to Hades.” As Sarpedon spake,
Tlepolemus upraised his ashen spear,
And from the hands of both the chiefs at once
Their massive weapons flew. Sarpedon smote
Full in the throat his foe; the cruel point
Passed through the neck, and night came o’er his eyes.
Tlepolemus, in turn, on the left thigh
Had struck Sarpedon with his ponderous lance.
The weapon, cast with vigorous hand and arm,
Pierced deep, and touched the bone; but Jupiter
Averted from his son the doom of death.

His noble comrades raised and bore away
The great Sarpedon from the battle-field,
Trailing the long spear with them. Bitter pain
It gave him; in their haste they marked it not,
Nor thought to draw the ashen weapon forth,
That he might mount the car; so eagerly
His anxious bearers hurried from the war.

On the other side the well-armed Greeks took up
The slain Tlepolemus, to bear him thence.
The great Ulysses, large of soul, beheld,
And felt his spirit moved, as anxiously
He pondered whether to pursue the son
Of Jove the Thunderer, or turn and take
The life of many a Lycian. Yet to slay
Jove’s mighty son was not his destiny,
And therefore Pallas moved him to engage
The crowd of Lycian warriors. Then he slew
Coeranus and Alastor, Chromius,
Alcander, Halius, and Prytanis
Noëmon; and yet more the noble Greek
Had slain, if crested Hector, mighty chief,
Had not perceived the havoc and, arrayed
In shining armor, hurried to the van
Of battle, carrying terror to the hearts
Of the Achaians. As he saw him near,
Sarpedon was rejoiced, yet sadly said:⁠—

“O son of Priam, leave me not a prey
To these Achaians. Aid me, let me breathe
My latest breath in Troy, since I no more
Can hope, returning to my native land,
To gladden my dear wife and little son.”

He spake, and crested Hector answered not,
Still pressing forward, eager to drive back
The Greeks in quick retreat, and take the life
Of many a foe. Then did the noble band
Who bore the great Sarpedon lay him down
Beneath a shapely beech, a tree of Jove
The Aegis-bearer. There stout Pelagon,
His well-beloved comrade, from his thigh
Drew forth the sharp blade of the ashen spear.
Then the breath left him, and his eyes were closed
In darkness; but the light came back again
As, breathing over him, the fresh north wind
Revived the spirit in his laboring breast.

But not for Mars nor Hector mailed in brass
Fled the Achaians to their fleet; nor yet
Advanced they on the foe, but step by step
Gave way before him, for they had perceived
The god of war was with the sons of Troy.

Whom first, whom last did Hector, Priam’s son,
And iron Mars lay low? The godlike chief
Teuthras, and⁠—great among the Grecian knights⁠—
Orestes, and the Aetolian Trechus, famed
As spearman, and Oenomaüs, and the son
Of Oenops, Helemes, and after these
Belted Oresbius, who in Hyla made
His home, intent on gathering wealth beside
The Lake Cephissus, on whose borders dwelt
Boeotians many, lords of fertile lands.

The white-armed goddess Juno, when she saw
The Argives falling in that cruel fray,
Addressed Minerva with these wingèd words:⁠—

“O thou unconquerable goddess, born
To Jove the Aegis-bearer! What is this?
It was an idle promise that we made
To Menelaus, that he should behold
Troy, with its strong defences, overthrown,
And reach his home again, if thus we leave
Mars the destroyer to his ravages.
Come, let us bring our friends effectual aid.”

So spake she, and her bidding was obeyed
By blue-eyed Pallas. Juno the august,
Daughter of mighty Saturn, laid in haste
The harness, with its ornaments of gold,
Upon the horses. Hebe rolled the wheels,
Each with eight spokes, and joined them to the ends
Of the steel axle⁠—fellies wrought of gold,
Bound with a brazen rim to last for aye⁠—
A wonder to behold. The hollow naves
Were silver, and on gold and silver cords
Was slung the chariot’s seat; in silver hooks
Rested the reins, and silver was the pole
Where the fair yoke and poitrels, all of gold,
Were fastened. Juno, eager for the strife,
Led the swift-footed steeds beneath the yoke.

Then Pallas, daughter of the god who bears
The aegis, on her father’s palace-floor
Let fall in dainty folds her flowing robe
Of many colors, wrought by her own hand,
And, putting on the mail of Jupiter
The Cloud-compeller, stood arrayed in arms
For the stern tasks of war. Her shoulder bore
The dreadful aegis with its shaggy brim
Bordered with Terror. There was Strife, and there
Was Fortitude, and there was fierce Pursuit,
And there the Gorgon’s head, a ghastly sight,
Deformed and dreadful, and a sign of woe
When borne by Jupiter. Upon her head
She placed a golden helmet with four crests
And fair embossed, of strength that might withstand
The armed battalions of a hundred towns;
Then stepped into her shining car, and took
Her massive spear in hand, heavy and huge,
With which whole ranks of heroes are o’erthrown
Before the daughter of the Mighty One
Incensed against them. Juno swung the lash
And swiftly urged the steeds. Before their way,
On sounding hinges, of their own accord,
Flew wide the gates of heaven, which evermore
The Hours are watching⁠—they who keep the mount
Olympus and the mighty heaven, with power
To open or to close their cloudy veil.
Thus through the gates they drave the obedient steeds,
And found Saturnius, where he sat apart
From other gods, upon the loftiest height
Of many-peaked Olympus. Juno there,
The white-armed goddess, stayed her chariot-wheels,
And, thus accosting Jove, she questioned him:⁠—

“O Father Jupiter, does not thy wrath
Rise at those violent deeds of Mars? Thou seest
How many of the Achaians he has slain,
And what brave men. Nay, thus it should not be.
Great grief is mine; but Venus and the god
Phoebus, who bears the silver bow, rejoice
To see this lawless maniac range the field,
And urge him on. O Father Jupiter,
Wilt thou be angry with me if I drive
Mars, sorely wounded, from the battle-field?”

The cloud-compelling Jupiter replied:⁠—
“Thou hast my leave; but send to encounter him
Pallas the spoiler, who has many a time
Brought grievous troubles on the god of war.”

He spake, and white-armed Juno instantly
Obeyed him. With the scourge she lashed the steeds,
And not unwillingly they flew between
Earth and the starry heaven. As much of space
As one who gazes on the dark-blue deep
Sees from the headland summit where he sits⁠—
Such space the coursers of immortal breed
Cleared at each bound they made with sounding hoofs;
And when they came to Ilium and its streams,
Where Simoïs and Scamander’s channels meet,
The white-armed goddess Juno stayed their speed,
And loosed them from the yoke, and covered them
With darkness. Simoïs ministered, meanwhile,
The ambrosial pasturage on which they fed.

On went the goddesses, with step as light
As timid doves, and hastened toward the field
To aid the Achaian army. When they came
Where fought the bravest warriors in a throng
Around the great horse-tamer Diomed,
Like ravenous lions or wild boars whose rage
Is terrible, the white-armed goddess stood,
And called aloud⁠—for now she wore the form
Of gallant Stentor, in whose brazen voice
Was heard a shout like that of fifty men:⁠—

“Shame on you, Argives⁠—wretches, who in form,
And form alone, are heroes. While we yet
Had great Achilles in the war, the men
Of Ilium dared not pass beyond their gates,
So much they feared his mighty spear; but now
They push the battle to our hollow ships,
Far from the town.” As thus the goddess spake,
New strength and courage woke in every breast.

Then blue-eyed Pallas hastened to the son
Of Tydeus. By his steeds she found the king,
And by his chariot, as he cooled the wound
Made by the shaft of Pandarus. The sweat
Beneath the ample band of his round shield
Had weakened him, and weary was his arm.
He raised the band, and from the wounded limb
Wiped off the clotted blood. The goddess laid
Her hand upon the chariot-yoke, and said:⁠—

“Tydeus hath left a son unlike himself;
For he, though low in stature, was most brave;
And when he went, an envoy and alone,
To Thebes, the populous Cadmean town,
And I, enjoining him to keep aloof
From wars and rash encounters, bade him sit
Quietly at the feasts in palace-halls,
Still, to his valiant temper true, he gave
Challenges to the Theban youths, and won
The prize with ease in all their games, such aid
I gave him. Now I stand by thee in turn,
Protect thee, and exhort thee manfully
To fight against the Trojans; but today
Either the weariness of toil unnerves
Thy frame, or withering fear besets thy heart.
Henceforth we cannot deem thee, as of late,
The offspring of Oenides skilled in war.”

And then the valiant Diomed replied:⁠—
“I know thee, goddess, daughter of great Jove
The Aegis-bearer; therefore will I speak
Freely and keep back nothing. No base fear
Unmans me, nor desire of ease; but well
I bear in mind the mandate thou hast given.
Thou didst forbid me to contend with gods,
Except that if Jove’s daughter, Venus, joined
The battle, I might wound her with my spear.
But now I have withdrawn, and given command
That all the Greeks come hither; for I see
That Mars is in the field and leads the war.”

Again the blue-eyed Pallas, answering, said:⁠—
“Tydides Diomed, most dear of men,
Nay, fear thou nothing from this Mars, nor yet
From any other of the gods; for I
Will be thy sure defence. First urge thy course
Full against Mars, with thy firm-footed steeds.
Engage him hand to hand; respect him not,
The fiery, frantic Mars, the unnatural plague
Of man, the fickle god, who promised me
And Juno, lately, to take part with us
Against the Trojans and befriend the Greeks.
Now he forgets, and joins the sons of Troy.”

She spake, and laid her hand on Sthenelus,
To draw him from the horses; instantly
He leaped to earth; the indignant deity
Took by the side of Diomed her place;
The beechen axle groaned beneath the weight
Of that great goddess and that man of might.
Then Pallas seized the lash and caught the reins,
And, urging the firm-footed coursers, drave
Full against Mars, who at that moment slew
Huge Periphas, the mightiest one of all
The Aetolian band⁠—Ochesius’ famous son.
While bloody-handed Mars was busy yet
About the slain, Minerva hid her face
In Pluto’s helmet, that the god might fail
To see her. As that curse of humankind
Beheld the approach of noble Diomed,
He left the corpse of Periphas unspoiled
Where he had fallen, and where he breathed his last,
And came in haste to meet the Grecian knight.
And now, when they were near, and face to face,
Mars o’er the chariot-yoke and horses’ reins
First hurled his brazen spear, in hope to take
His enemy’s life; but Pallas with her hand
Caught it and turned it, so that it flew by
And gave no wound. The valiant Diomed
Made with his brazen spear the next assault,
And Pallas guided it to strike the waist
Where girded by the baldric. In that part
She wounded Mars, and tore the shining skin,
And drew the weapon back. The furious god
Uttered a cry as of nine thousand men,
Or of ten thousand, rushing to the fight.
The Greeks and Trojans stood aghast with fear,
To hear that terrible cry of him whose thirst
Of bloodshed never is appeased by blood.

As when, in time of heat, the air is filled
With a black shadow from the gathering clouds
And the strong-blowing wind, so furious Mars
Appeared to Diomed, as in a cloud
He rose to the broad heaven and to the home
Of gods on high Olympus. Near to Jove
He took his seat in bitter grief, and showed
The immortal blood still dropping from his wound,
And thus, with wingèd words, complaining said:⁠—

“O Father Jupiter! Does not thy wrath
Rise at these violent deeds? ’Tis ever thus
That we, the gods, must suffer grievously
From our own rivalry in favoring man;
And yet the blame of all this strife is thine,
For thou hast a mad daughter, ever wrong,
And ever bent on mischief. All the rest
Of the immortals dwelling on this mount
Obey thee and are subject to thy will.
Her only thou hast never yet restrained
By word or act, but dost indulge her freaks
Because the pestilent creature is thy child.
And now she moves the insolent Diomed
To raise his hand against the immortal gods.
And first he wounded Venus in the wrist,
Contending hand to hand; and then he sought
To encounter me in arms, as if he were
The equal of a god. My own swift feet
Carried me thence, else might I long have lain,
In anguish, under heaps of carcasses,
Or helplessly been mangled by his sword.”

The Cloud-compeller, Jove, replied, and frowned:
“Come not to me, thou changeling, to complain.
Of all the gods upon the Olympian mount
I like thee least, who ever dost delight
In broils and wars and battles. Thou art like
Thy mother Juno, headstrong and perverse.
Her I can scarcely rule by strict commands,
And what thou sufferest now, I deem, is due
To her bad counsels. Yet ’tis not my will
That thou shouldst suffer longer, who dost share
My lineage, whom thy mother bore to me.
But wert thou born, destroyer as thou art,
To any other god, thou hadst long since
Lain lower than the sons of Uranus.”

So spake he, and to Paeon gave command
To heal the wound; and Paeon bathed the part
With pain-dispelling balsams, and it healed;
For Mars was not to die. As, when the juice
Of figs is mingled with white milk and stirred,
The liquid gathers into clots while yet
It whirls with the swift motion, so was healed
The wound of violent Mars. Then Hebe bathed
The god, and robed him richly, and he took
His seat, delighted, by Saturnian Jove.

Now, having forced the curse of nations, Mars
To pause from slaughter, Argive Juno came,
With Pallas, her invincible ally,
Back to the mansion of imperial Jove.