Book VI

Interviews Between Glaucus and Diomed, and Hector and Andromache

Successes of the Greeks⁠—Hector recalled to Troy by Helenus, to appoint a procession of the Trojan matrons to the temple of Minerva⁠—Meeting of Glaucus and Diomed, who recognize each other as old friends⁠—Their exchange of weapons⁠—Meeting of Hector and Andromache, and return of Hector and Paris to the field.

Now from that stubborn conflict of the Greeks
And Trojans had the gods withdrawn. The fight
Of men encountering men with brazen spears
Still raged from place to place upon the plain
Between the Xanthus and the Simoïs.

And first of all did Ajax Telamon,
The bulwark of the Achaians, break the ranks
Of Troy and raise the hopes of those who fought
Beside him; for he smote the bravest man
Of all the Thracian warriors⁠—Acamas,
Son of Eussorus, strong and large of limb.
His spear-head, through the plumèd helmet’s cone
Entering the forehead of the Thracian, pierced
The bone, and darkness gathered o’er his eyes.
The valiant Diomed slew Axylus,
The son of Teuthras. To the war he came
From nobly-built Arisba; great his wealth,
And greatly was he loved, for courteously
He welcomed to his house beside the way
All comers. None of these could interpose
Between him and his death, for Diomed
Slew him and his attendant charioteer,
Calysius; both went down below the earth.

And then Euryalus struck Dresus down,
And smote Opheltius, and went on to slay
Aesepus and his brother Pedasus;⁠—
A river-nymph, Abarbareia, bore
Both children to Bucolion the renowned.
Bucolion was the eldest of the sons
Of great Laomedon. His mother reared
The boy in secret. While he fed his sheep,
He with the river-nymph was joined in love
And marriage, and she bore him twins; and these,
Brave and of shapely limb, Mecisteus’ son
Struck down, and from their shoulders tore the mail.
The warlike Polypoetes overthrew
Astyalus; Ulysses smote to earth
Pidytes the Percosian with the spear,
And Teucer Aretaon, nobly born.
The glittering javelin of Antilochus,
The son of Nestor, laid Ablerus low;
And Agamemnon, king of men, struck down
Elatus, who on lofty Pedasus
Dwelt, by the smoothly flowing Satnio’s stream.
Brave Leitus slew Phylacus in flight,
And by Eurypylus Melanthius fell.
Then valiant Menelaus took alive
Adrastus, whose two coursers, as they scoured
The plain in terror, struck against a branch
Of tamarisk, and, there entangled, snapped
The chariot pole, and, breaking from it, fled
Whither were others fleeing. From the car
Adrastus to the dust beside the wheel
Fell, on his face. There, lifting his huge spear,
Atrides Menelaus o’er him stood.
Adrastus clasped the warrior’s knees and said:⁠—

“O son of Atreus, take me prisoner,
And thou shalt have large ransom. In the house
Of my rich father ample treasures lie⁠—
Brass, gold, and tempered steel⁠—and he shall send
Gifts without end when he shall hear that I
Am spared alive and in the Grecian fleet.”

He spake, and moved the conqueror, who now
Was minded to give charge that one among
His comrades to the Grecian fleet should lead
The captive. Agamemnon came in haste,
And, lifting up his voice, rebuked him thus:⁠—

“O Menelaus, soft of heart, why thus
Art thou concerned for men like these? In sooth,
Great are the benefits thy household owes
The Trojans. Nay, let none of them escape
The doom of swift destruction by our hands.
The very babe within his mother’s womb,
Even that must die, and all of Ilium born
Perish unburied, utterly cut off.”

He spake; the timely admonition changed
The purpose of his brother, who thrust back
The suppliant hero with his hand; and then
King Agamemnon smote him through the loins,
And prone on earth he fell. Upon the breast
Of the slain man Atrides placed his heel,
And from the body drew the ashen spear.

Then Nestor to the Argives called aloud:⁠—
“Friends, Grecian heroes, ministers of Mars!
Let no man here through eagerness for spoil
Linger behind the rest, that he may bear
Much plunder to the ships; but let us first
Strike down our enemies, and afterward
At leisure strip the bodies of the dead.”

Thus speaking, he revived in every breast
Courage and zeal. Then had the men of Troy
Sought refuge from the Greeks within their walls,
O’ercome by abject fear, if Helenus,
The son of Priam, and of highest note
Among the augurs, had not made his way
To Hector and Aeneas, speaking thus:⁠—

“O Hector and Aeneas, since on you
Is laid the mighty labor to command
The Trojans and the Lycians⁠—for the first
Are ye in battle, and in council first⁠—
Here make your stand, and haste from side to side,
Rallying your scattered ranks, lest they betake
Themselves to flight, and, rushing to their wives,
Become the scorn and laughter of the foe.
And then, so soon as ye shall have revived
The courage of your men, we here will bide
The conflict with the Greeks, though closely pressed;
For so we must. But, Hector, thou depart
To Troy and seek the mother of us both,
And bid her call the honored Trojan dames
To where the blue-eyed Pallas has her fane,
In the high citadel, and with a key
Open the hallowed doors, and let her bring
What she shall deem the fairest of the robes,
And amplest, in her palace, and the one
She prizes most, and lay it on the knees
Of the bright-haired Minerva. Let her make
A vow to offer to the goddess there
Twelve yearling heifers that have never borne
The yoke, if she in mercy will regard
The city, and the wives and little ones
Of its defenders; if she will protect
Our sacred Ilium from the ruthless son
Of Tydeus, from whose valor armies flee,
And whom I deem the bravest of the Greeks.
For not so greatly have we held in dread
Achilles, the great leader, whom they call
The goddess-born; but terrible in wrath
Is Diomed, nor hath his peer in might.”

He spake, and Hector of his brother’s words
Was not unmindful. Instantly he leaped,
Armed, from his chariot, shaking his sharp spears;
And everywhere among the host he went,
Exhorting them to combat manfully;
And thus he kindled the fierce fight anew.
They, turning from the flight, withstood the Greeks.
The Greeks fell back and ceased to slay; they thought
That one of the immortals had come down
From out the starry heaven to help the men
Of Troy, so suddenly they turned and fought.
Then Hector to the Trojans called aloud:⁠—

“O valiant sons of Troy, and ye allies
Summoned from far! Be men, my friends; call back
Your wonted valor, while I go to Troy
To ask the aged men, our counsellors,
And all our wives, to come before the gods
And pray and offer vows of sacrifice.”

So the plumed Hector spake, and then withdrew,
While the black fell that edged his bossy shield
Struck on his neck and ankles as he went.

Now came into the midst between the hosts
Glaucus, the offspring of Hippolochus,
And met the son of Tydeus⁠—both intent
On combat. But when now the twain were near,
And ready to engage, brave Diomed
Spake first, and thus addressed his enemy:⁠—

“Who mayst thou be, of mortal men? Most brave
Art thou, yet never in the glorious fight
Have I beheld thee. Thou surpassest now
All others in thy daring, since thou com’st
Within the reach of my long spear. The sons
Of most unhappy men are they who meet
My arm; but⁠—if thou comest from above,
A god⁠—I war not with the gods of heaven;
For even brave Lycurgus lived not long,
The son of Dryas, who engaged in strife
With the celestial gods. He once pursued
The nurses of the frantic Bacchus through
The hallowed ground of Nyssa. All at once
They flung to earth their sacred implements,
Lycurgus the man-slayer beating them
With an ox-driver’s goad. Then Bacchus fled
And plunged into the sea, where Thetis hid
The trembler in her bosom, for he shook
With panic at the hero’s angry threats.
Thenceforward were the blessed deities
Wroth with Lycurgus. Him did Saturn’s son
Strike blind, and after that he lived not long,
For he was held in hate by all the gods.
So will I never with the gods contend.
But if thou be indeed of mortal race,
And nourished by the fruits of earth, draw near;
And quickly shalt thou pass the gates of death.”

Hippolochus’s son, the far-renowned,
Made answer thus: “O large-souled Diomed,
Why ask my lineage? Like the race of leaves
Is that of humankind. Upon the ground
The winds strew one year’s leaves; the sprouting grove
Puts forth another brood, that shoot and grow
In the spring season. So it is with man:
One generation grows while one decays.
Yet since thou takest heed of things like these,
And askest whence I sprang⁠—although to most
My birth is not unknown⁠—there is a town
Lapped in the pasture-grounds where graze the steeds
Of Argos, Ephyra by name, and there
Dwelt Sisyphus Aeolides, most shrewd
Of men; his son was Glaucus, and the son
Of Glaucus was the good Bellerophon,
To whom the gods gave beauty and the grace
Of winning manners. Proetus sought his death
And banished him, for Proetus was the chief
Among the Argives; Jupiter had made
That people subject to his rule. The wife
Of Proetus, nobly-born Anteia, sought
With passionate desire his secret love,
But failed to entice, with all her blandishments,
The virtuous and discreet Bellerophon.
Therefore went she to Proetus with a lie⁠—

“ ‘Die, Proetus, thou, or put Bellerophon
To death, for he has offered force to me.’

“The monarch hearkened, and was moved to wrath;
And then he would not slay him, for his soul
Revolted at the deed; he sent him thence
To Lycia, with a fatal tablet, sealed,
With things of deadly import writ therein,
Meant for Anteia’s father, in whose hand
Bellerophon must place it, and be made
To perish. So at Lycia he arrived
Under the favoring guidance of the gods;
And when he came where Lycian Xanthus flows,
The king of that broad realm received his guest
With hospitable welcome, feasting him
Nine days, and offering up in sacrifice
Nine oxen. But when rosy-fingered Morn
Appeared for the tenth time, he questioned him
And bade him show the token he had brought
From Proetus. When the monarch had beheld
The fatal tablet from his son-in-law,
The first command he gave him was, to slay
Heaven-born Chimaera, the invincible.
No human form was hers: a lion she
In front, a dragon in the hinder parts,
And in the midst a goat, and terribly
Her nostrils breathed a fierce, consuming flame;
Yet, trusting in the portents of the gods,
He slew her. Then it was his second task
To combat with the illustrious Solymi⁠—
The hardest battle he had ever fought⁠—
So he declared⁠—with men; and then he slew⁠—
His third exploit⁠—the man-like Amazons.
Then he returned to Lycia; on his way
The monarch laid a treacherous snare. He chose
From his wide Lycian realm the bravest men
To lie in ambush for him. Never one
Of these came home again⁠—Bellerophon
The matchless slew them all. And when the king
Saw that he was the offspring of a god,
He kept him near him, giving him to wife
His daughter, and dividing with him all
His kingly honors, while the Lycians set
Their richest fields apart⁠—a goodly spot,
Ploughlands and vineyards⁠—for the prince to till.
And she who now became his wife brought forth
Three children to the sage Bellerophon⁠—
Isandrus and Hippolochus; and, last,
Laodameia, who in secret bore
To all-providing Jupiter a son⁠—
Godlike Sarpedon, eminent in arms.
But when Bellerophon upon himself
Had drawn the anger of the gods, he roamed
The Alcian fields alone, a prey to thoughts
That wasted him, and shunning every haunt
Of humankind. The god whose lust of strife
Is never sated, Mars, cut off his son
Isandrus, warring with the illustrious race
Of Solymi; and Dian, she who guides
Her car with golden reins, in anger slew
His daughter. I am of Hippolochus;
From him I claim my birth. He sent me forth
To Troy with many counsels and commands,
Ever to bear myself like a brave man,
And labor to excel, and never bring
Dishonor on the stock from which I sprang⁠—
The bravest stock by far in Ephyra
And the wide realm of Lycia. ’Tis my boast
To be of such a race and such a blood.”

He spake. The warlike Diomed was glad,
And, planting in the foodful earth his spear,
Addressed the people’s shepherd blandly thus:⁠—

“Most surely thou art my ancestral guest;
For noble Oeneus once within his halls
Received the blameless chief Bellerophon,
And kept him twenty days, and they bestowed
Gifts on each other, such as host and guest
Exchange; a purple baldric Oeneus gave
Of dazzling color, and Bellerophon
A double golden goblet; this I left
Within my palace when I came to Troy.
Of Tydeus I remember nothing, since
He left me, yet a little child, and went
To Thebes, where perished such a host of Greeks.
Henceforward I will be thy host and friend
In Argos; thou shalt be the same to me
In Lycia when I visit Lycia’s towns;
And let us in the tumult of the fray
Avoid each other’s spears, for there will be
Of Trojans and of their renowned allies
Enough for me to slay whene’er a god
Shall bring them in my way. In turn for thee
Are many Greeks to smite whomever thou
Canst overcome. Let us exchange our arms,
That even these may see that thou and I
Regard each other as ancestral guests.”

Thus having said, and leaping from their cars,
They clasped each other’s hands and pledged their faith.
Then did the son of Saturn take away
The judging mind of Glaucus, when he gave
His arms of gold away for arms of brass
Worn by Tydides Diomed⁠—the worth
Of fivescore oxen for the worth of nine.

And now had Hector reached the Scaean gates
And beechen tree. Around him flocked the wives
And daughters of the Trojans eagerly;
Tidings of sons and brothers they required,
And friends and husbands. He admonished all
Duly to importune the gods in prayer,
For woe, he said, was near to many a one.

And then he came to Priam’s noble hall⁠—
A palace built with graceful porticos,
And fifty chambers near each other, walled
With polished stone, the rooms of Priam’s sons
And of their wives; and opposite to these
Twelve chambers for his daughters, also near
Each other; and, with polished marble walls,
The sleeping-rooms of Priam’s sons-in-law
And their unblemished consorts. There he met
His gentle mother on her way to seek
Her fairest child, Laodice. She took
His hand and held it fast, while thus she spake:⁠—

“Why art thou come, my child, and why hast left
The raging fight? Full hard these hateful Greeks
Press us, in fighting round the city-walls.
Thy heart, I know, hath moved thee to repair
To our high citadel, and lift thy hands
In prayer to Jupiter. But stay thou here
Till I bring pleasant wine, that thou mayst pour
A part to Jove and to the other gods,
And drink and be refreshed; for wine restores
Strength to the weary, and I know that thou
Art weary, fighting for thy countrymen.”

Great Hector of the crested helm replied:⁠—
“My honored mother, bring not pleasant wine,
Lest that unman me, and my wonted might
And valor leave me. I should fear to pour
Dark wine to Jupiter with hands unwashed.
Nor is it fitting that a man like me,
Defiled with blood and battle-dust, should make
Vows to the cloud-compeller, Saturn’s son.
But thou, with incense, seek the temple reared
To Pallas the despoiler⁠—calling first
Our honored dames together. Take with thee
What thou shalt deem the fairest of the robes,
And amplest, in thy palace, and the one
Thou prizest most, and lay it on the knees
Of the bright-haired Minerva. Make a vow
To offer to the goddess in her fane
Twelve yearling heifers that have never borne
The yoke, if she in mercy will regard
The city, and the wives and little ones
Of its defenders; if she will protect
Our sacred Ilium from the ruthless son
Of Tydeus, from whose valor armies flee.
So to the shrine of Pallas, warrior-queen,
Do thou repair, while I depart to seek
Paris, if he will listen to my voice.
Would that the earth might open where he stands,
And swallow him! Olympian Jupiter
Reared him to be the bane of all who dwell
In Troy, to large-souled Priam and his sons.
Could I behold him sinking to the shades,
My heart would lose its sense of bitter woe.”

He spake. His mother, turning homeward, gave
Charge to her handmaids, who through all the town
Passed, summoning the matrons, while the queen
Descended to her chamber, where the air
Was sweet with perfumes, and in which were laid
Her rich embroidered robes, the handiwork
Of Sidon’s damsels, whom her son had brought⁠—
The godlike Alexander⁠—from the coast
Of Sidon, when across the mighty deep
He sailed and brought the high born Helen thence.
One robe, most beautiful of all, she chose,
To bring to Pallas, ampler than the rest,
And many-hued; it glistened like a star,
And lay beneath them all. Then hastily
She left the chamber with the matron train.

They reached Minerva’s temple, and its gates
Were opened by Theano, rosy-cheeked,
The knight Antenor’s wife and Cisseus’ child,
Made priestess to the goddess by the sons
Of Troy. Then all the matrons lifted up
Their voices and stretched forth their suppliant hands
To Pallas, while the fair Theano took
The robe and spread its folds upon the lap
Of fair-haired Pallas, and with solemn vows
Prayed to the daughter of imperial Jove:⁠—

“O venerated Pallas, Guardian-Power
Of Troy, great goddess! Shatter thou the lance
Of Diomed, and let him fall in death
Before the Scaean gates, that we forthwith
May offer to thee in thy temple here
Twelve yearling heifers that have never worn
The yoke, if thou wilt pity us and spare
The wives of Trojans and their little ones.”

So spake she, supplicating; but her prayer
Minerva answered not; and while they made
Vows to the daughter of Almighty Jove,
Hector was hastening to the sumptuous home
Of Alexander, which that prince had built
With aid of the most cunning architects
In Troy the fruitful, by whose hands were made
The bed-chamber and hall and ante-room.
There entered Hector, dear to Jove; he bore
In hand a spear eleven cubits long:
The brazen spear-head glittered brightly, bound
With a gold circle. In his room he there
Found Paris, busied with his shining arms⁠—
Corselet and shield; he tried his curved bow;
While Argive Helen with the attendant maids
Was sitting, and appointed each a task.
Hector beheld, and chid him sharply thus:⁠—

“Strange man! A fitting time indeed is this,
To indulge thy sullen humor, while in fight
Around our lofty walls the men of Troy
Are perishing, and for thy sake the war
Is fiercely blazing all around our town.
Thou wouldst thyself reprove him, shouldst thou see
Another warrior as remiss as thou
In time of battle. Rouse thee, then, and act,
Lest we behold our city all in flames.”

Then answered Paris of the godlike form:⁠—
“Hector! Although thou justly chidest me,
And not beyond my due, yet let me speak.
Attend and hearken. Not in sullenness,
Nor angry with the Trojans, sat I here
Within my chamber, but that I might give
A loose to sorrow. Even now my wife
With gentle speeches has besought of me
That I return to battle; and to me
That seems the best, for oft doth victory
Change sides in war. Remain thou yet awhile,
Till I put on my armor; or go thou,
And I shall follow and rejoin thee soon.”

He ended. Hector of the beamy helm
Heard him, and answered not; but Helen spake,
And thus with soothing words addressed the chief:⁠—

“Brother-in-law⁠—for such thou art, though I
Am lost to shame, and cause of many ills⁠—
Would that some violent blast when I was born
Had whirled me to the mountain wilds, or waves
Of the hoarse sea, that they might swallow me,
Ere deeds like these were done! But since the gods
Have thus decreed, why was I not the wife
Of one who bears a braver heart and feels
Keenly the anger and reproach of men?
For Paris hath not, and will never have,
A resolute mind, and must abide the effect
Of his own folly. Enter thou meanwhile,
My brother; seat thee here, for heavily
Must press on thee the labors thou dost bear
For one so vile as I, and for the sake
Of guilty Paris. An unhappy lot,
By Jupiter’s appointment, waits us both⁠—
A theme of song for men in time to come.”

Great Hector of the beamy helm replied:⁠—
“Nay, Helen, ask me not to sit; thy speech
Is courteous, but persuades me not. My mind
Is troubled for the Trojans, to whose aid
I hasten, for they miss me even now.
But thou exhort this man, and bid him haste
To overtake me ere I leave the town.
I go to my own mansion first, to meet
My household⁠—my dear wife and little child;
Nor know I whether I may come once more
To them, or whether the great gods ordain
That I must perish by the hands of Greeks.”

So spake the plumèd Hector, and withdrew,
And reached his pleasant palace, but found not
White-armed Andromache within, for she
Was in the tower, beside her little son
And well-robed nurse, and sorrowed, shedding tears.
And Hector, seeing that his blameless wife
Was not within, came forth again, and stood
Upon the threshold questioning the maids.

“I pray you, damsels, tell me whither went
White-armed Andromache? Has she gone forth
To seek my sisters, or those stately dames,
My brothers’ wives? Or haply has she sought
The temple of Minerva, where are met
The other bright-haired matrons of the town
To supplicate the dreaded deity?”

Then said the diligent housewife in reply:⁠—
“Since thou wilt have the truth⁠—thy wife is gone
Not to thy sisters, nor those stately dames,
Thy brothers’ wives; nor went she forth to join
The other bright-haired matrons of the town,
Where in Minerva’s temple they are met
To supplicate the dreaded deity
But to the lofty tower of Troy she went
When it was told her that the Trojan troops
Lost heart, and that the valor of the Greeks
Prevailed. She now is hurrying toward the walls,
Like one distracted, with her son and nurse.”

So spake the matron. Hector left in haste
The mansion, and retraced his way between
The rows of stately dwellings, traversing
The mighty city. When at length he reached
The Scaean gates, that issue on the field,
His spouse, the nobly-dowered Andromache,
Came forth to meet him⁠—daughter of the prince
Eëtion, who, among the woody slopes
Of Placos, in the Hypoplacian town
Of Thebé, ruled Cilicia and her sons,
And gave his child to Hector great in arms.
She came attended by a maid, who bore
A tender child⁠—a babe too young to speak⁠—
Upon her bosom⁠—Hector’s only son,
Beautiful as a star, whom Hector called
Scamandrius, but all else Astyanax⁠—
The city’s lord⁠—since Hector stood the sole
Defence of Troy. The father on his child
Looked with a silent smile. Andromache
Pressed to his side meanwhile, and, all in tears,
Clung to his hand, and, thus beginning, said:⁠—

“Too brave! Thy valor yet will cause thy death.
Thou hast no pity on thy tender child,
Nor me, unhappy one, who soon must be
Thy widow. All the Greeks will rush on thee
To take thy life. A happier lot were mine,
If I must lose thee, to go down to earth,
For I shall have no hope when thou art gone⁠—
Nothing but sorrow. Father have I none,
And no dear mother. Great Achilles slew
My father when he sacked the populous town
Of the Cilicians⁠—Thebé with high gates.
’Twas there he smote Eëtion, yet forbore
To make his arms a spoil; he dared not that,
But burned the dead with his bright armor on,
And raised a mound above him. Mountain-nymphs,
Daughters of aegis-bearing Jupiter,
Came to the spot and planted it with elms.
Seven brothers had I in my father’s house,
And all went down to Hades in one day.
Achilles the swift-footed slew them all
Among their slow-paced bullocks and white sheep.
My mother, princess on the woody slopes
Of Placos, with his spoils he bore away,
And only for large ransom gave her back.
But her Diana, archer-queen, struck down
Within her father’s palace. Hector, thou
Art father and dear mother now to me,
And brother and my youthful spouse besides.
In pity keep within the fortress here,
Nor make thy child an orphan nor thy wife
A widow. Post thine army near the place
Of the wild fig-tree, where the city-walls
Are low and may be scaled. Thrice in the war
The boldest of the foe have tried the spot⁠—
The Ajaces and the famed Idomeneus,
The two chiefs born to Atreus, and the brave
Tydides, whether counselled by some seer
Or prompted to the attempt by their own minds.”

Then answered Hector, great in war: “All this
I bear in mind, dear wife; but I should stand
Ashamed before the men and long-robed dames
Of Troy, were I to keep aloof and shun
The conflict, coward-like. Not thus my heart
Prompts me, for greatly have I learned to dare
And strike among the foremost sons of Troy,
Upholding my great father’s fame and mine;
Yet well in my undoubting mind I know
The day shall come in which our sacred Troy,
And Priam, and the people over whom
Spear-bearing Priam rules, shall perish all.
But not the sorrows of the Trojan race,
Nor those of Hecuba herself, nor those
Of royal Priam, nor the woes that wait
My brothers many and brave⁠—who all at last,
Slain by the pitiless foe, shall lie in dust⁠—
Grieve me so much as thine, when some mailed Greek
Shall lead thee weeping hence, and take from thee
Thy day of freedom. Thou in Argos then
Shalt, at another’s bidding, ply the loom,
And from the fountain of Messeis draw
Water, or from the Hypereian spring,
Constrained unwilling by thy cruel lot.
And then shall someone say who sees thee weep,
‘This was the wife of Hector, most renowned
Of the horse-taming Trojans, when they fought
Around their city.’ So shall someone say,
And thou shalt grieve the more, lamenting him
Who haply might have kept afar the day
Of thy captivity. O, let the earth
Be heaped above my head in death before
I hear thy cries as thou art borne away!”

So speaking, mighty Hector stretched his arms
To take the boy; the boy shrank crying back
To his fair nurse’s bosom, scared to see
His father helmeted in glittering brass,
And eying with affright the horse-hair plume
That grimly nodded from the lofty crest.
At this both parents in their fondness laughed;
And hastily the mighty Hector took
The helmet from his brow and laid it down
Gleaming upon the ground, and, having kissed
His darling son and tossed him up in play,
Prayed thus to Jove and all the gods of heaven:

“O Jupiter and all ye deities,
Vouchsafe that this my son may yet become
Among the Trojans eminent like me,
And nobly rule in Ilium. May they say,
‘This man is greater than his father was!’
When they behold him from the battle-field
Bring back the bloody spoil of the slain foe⁠—
That so his mother may be glad at heart.”

So speaking, to the arms of his dear spouse
He gave the boy; she on her fragrant breast
Received him, weeping as she smiled. The chief
Beheld, and, moved with tender pity, smoothed
Her forehead gently with his hand and said:⁠—

“Sorrow not thus, beloved one, for me.
No living man can send me to the shades
Before my time; no man of woman born,
Coward or brave, can shun his destiny.
But go thou home, and tend thy labors there⁠—
The web, the distaff⁠—and command thy maids
To speed the work: The cares of war pertain
To all men born in Troy, and most to me.”

Thus speaking, mighty Hector took again
His helmet, shadowed with the horse-hair plume,
While homeward his beloved consort went,
Oft looking back, and shedding many tears.
Soon was she in the spacious palace-halls
Of the min-queller Hector. There she found
A troop of maidens⁠—with them all she shared
Her grief; and all in his own house bewailed
The living Hector, whom they thought no more
To see returning from the battle-field,
Safe from the rage and weapons of the Greeks,

Nor waited Paris in his lofty halls,
But when he had put on his glorious arms,
Glittering with brass, he traversed with quick steps
The city; and as when some courser, fed
With barley in the stall, and wont to bathe
In some smooth-flowing river, having snapped
His halter, gayly scampers o’er the plain,
And in the pride of beauty bears aloft
His head, and gives his tossing mane to stream
Upon his shoulders, while his flying feet
Bear him to where the mares are wont to graze⁠—
So came the son of Priam⁠—Paris⁠—down
From lofty Pergamus in glittering arms,
And, glorious as the sun, held on his way
Exulting and with rapid feet. He found
His noble brother Hector as he turned
To leave the place in which his wife and he
Had talked together. Alexander then⁠—
Of godlike form⁠—addressed his brother thus:⁠—

“My elder brother! I have kept thee here
Waiting, I fear, for me, though much in haste,
And came less quickly than thou didst desire.”

And Hector of the plumèd helm replied:⁠—
“Strange being, no man justly can dispraise
Thy martial deeds, for thou art truly brave.
But oft art thou remiss and wilt not join
The combat. I am sad at heart to hear
The Trojans⁠—they who suffer for thy sake
A thousand hardships⁠—speak so ill of thee.
Yet let us go: we will confer of this
Another time, if Jove should e’er vouchsafe
That to the immortal gods of heaven we pour
In our own halls the cup of liberty
When we have chased the well-armed Greeks from Troy.”