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THE FOURTH BATTLL CONTINUED, IN WHICH NEPTUNE ASSISTS THE GREEKS:
THE ACTS OF IDOMENEUS.
Neptune, concerned for the loss of the Grecians, upon seeing the fortification forced
by Hector (who had entered the gate near the station of the Ajaces), assumes the shape of Calchas, and inspires those heroes to oppose him : then, in the form of one of the generals, encourages the other Greeks who had retired to their vessels. The Ajaces form their troops in a close phalanx, and put a stop to Hector and the Trojans. Several deeds of valor are perforined ; Meriones, losing his spear in the encounter, repairs to seek another at the tent of Idomeneus: this occasions a conversation between those two warriors, who return together to the battle. Idomeneus signalizes his courage above the rest ; he kills Othryoneus, Asius and Alcathous: Deiphobus and Æneas march against him, and at length Idomeneus retires. Menelaus wounds Helenus, and kills Pisander. The Trojans are repulsed on the left wing ; Hector still keeps his ground against the Ajaces, till, being galled by the Locrian slingers and archers, Poiydamas advises to cail a council of war: Hector approves of his advice, but goes first to rally the Trojans ; upbraids Paris, rejoins Polydamas, meets Ajax again, and renews the attack.
The eight-and-twentieth day still continues. The scene is between the Grecian wall and the sea-shore.
WHEN now the Thunderer on the sea-beat coast
Had fix'd great Hector and his conquering host,
He left them to the fates, in bloody fray
To toil and struggle through the well-fought day.
Then turn’d to Thracia from the field of fight
Those eyes that shed insufferable light,
To where the Mysians prove their martial force,
And hardy Thracians tame the savage horse;
And where the far-famed Hippomolgian strays,
Renown'd for justice and for length of days ;
Thrice happy race! that, innocent of blood,
From milk, innoxious, seek their simple food
Jove sees delighted"; and avoids the scene
Of guilty Troy, of arms, and dying men : * Renown'd for justice and for length of days. Arrian. de Exp. Alex. iv. p. 239, also speaks of the independence of these people, which he regards as the result of their poverty and uprightness. Some authors have regarded the phrase "Hippomo'gian," i.e." milking their mares,' as an epithet applicable to numerous tribes, since the oldest of the Samatian nomads made their mares' milk one of their chief articies of diet. The epithet aßiwv or aßiwv, in this passage, has occasioned much discussion, It may, mean, according as we read it, either ** long-lived," or " bowless," the latter epithet indicating that they did not depend upon archery for subsistence.
No aid, he deems, to either host is given,
While his high law suspends the powers of Heaven.
Meantime the monarch of the watery main
Observed the Thunderer, nor observed in vain.
In Samothracia, on a mountain's brow,
Whose waving woods o'erhung the deeps below,
He sat; and round him cast his azure eyes
Where Ida's misty tops confusedly rise ;
Below, fair Ilion's glittering spires were seen;
The crowded ships and sable seas between.
There, from the crystal chambers of the main
Emerged, he sat, and mourn’d his Argives slain.
At Jove incensed, with grief and fury stung,
Prone down the rocky steep he rush'd along;
Fierce as he pass'd, the lofty mountains nod,
The forest shakes; earth trembled as he trod,
And felt the footsteps of the imniortal god.
From realm to realm three ample strides he took,
And, at the fourth, the distant Ægæ shook.
Far in the bay his shining palace stands,
Eternal frame ! not raised by mortal hands:
This having reach'd, his brass-hoof’d steeds he reins,
Fleet as the winds, and deck'd with golden manes.
Refulgent arms his mighty limbs inföld,
Immortal arms of adamant and gold.
He mounts the car, the golden scourge applies,
He sits superior, and the chariot flies:
His whirling wheels the glassy surface sweep;
The enormous monsters rolling o'er the deep
Gambol around him on the watery way,
And heavy whales in awkward measures play ;
The sea subsiding spreads a level plain,
Exults, and owns the monarch of the main ;
The parting waves before his coursers fly;
The wondering waters leave his axle dry.
Deep in the liquid regions lies a cave, Between where Tenedos the surges lave, And rocky Imbrus breaks the rolling wave : There the great ruler of the azure round Stopp'd his swift chariot, and his steeds unbound, Fed with ambrosial herbage from his hand, And link'd their fetlocks with a golden band, Infrangible, immortal : there they star : The father of the floods pursues his way: Where, like a tempest, darkening heaven around, Or fiery deluge that devours the ground, The impatient Trojans, in a gloomy throng,
Embattled roll'd, as Hector rush'd along:
To the loud tumult and the barbarous cry
The heavens re-echo, and the shores reply:
They vow destruction to the Grecian name,
And in their hopes the fleets already flame.
But Neptune, rising from the seas profound,
The god whose earthquakes rock the solid ground,
Now wears a mortal form; like Calchas seen,
Such his loud voice, and such his manly mien;
His shouts incessant every Greek inspire,
But most the Ajaces, adding fire to fire.
“ 'Tis yours, 0 warriors, all our hopes to raise :
Oh recollect your ancient worth and praise !
'Tis yours to save us, if you cease to fear;
Flight, more than shameful, is destructive here.
On other works though Troy with fury fall,
And pour her armies o'er our batter'd wall :
There Greece has strength : but this, this part o’erthrown,
Her strength were vain; 1 dread for
Here Hector rages like the force of fire,
Vaunts of his gods, and calls high Jove his sire :
If yet some heavenly power your breast excite,
Breathe in your hearts, and string your arms to fight,
Greece yet may live, her threaten'd fleet maintain :
And Hector's force, and Jove's own aid, be vain.”
Then with his sceptre, that the deep controls,
He touch'd the chiefs, and steel'd their manly souls :
Strength, not their own, the touch divine imparts,
Prompts their light limbs, and swells their daring hearts.
Then, as a falcon from the rocky height,
Her quarry seen, impetuous at the sight,
Forth-springing instant, darts herself from high,
Shoots on the wing, and skims along the sky:
Such, and so swift, the power of ocean flew;
The wide horizon shut him from their view.
The inspiring god O'îleus' active son
Perceived the first, and thus to Telamon :
“Some god, my friend, some god in human form
Favoring descends, and wills to stand the storm.
Not Calchas this, the venerable seer;
Short as he turned, I saw the power appear:
I mark'd his parting, and the steps he trod;
His own bright evidence reveals a god.
Even now some energy divine I share,
And seem to walk on wings, and tread in air !”
“ With equal ardor (Telamon returns)
My soul is kindled, and my bosom burns;
New rising spirits all my force alarm,
Lift each impatient limb, and brace my arm.
This ready arm, unthinking, shakes the dart ;
The blood pours back, and fortifies my heart:
Singly, methinks, yon towering chief I meet,
And stretch the dreadful Hector at my feet.”
Full of the god that urged their burning breast,
The heroes thus their mutual warmth express'd.
Neptune meanwhile the routed Greeks inspired;
Who, breathless, pale, with length of labors tired,
Pant in the ships; while Troy to conquest calls,
And swarms victorious o'er their yielding walls :
Trembling before the impending storm they lie,
While tears of rage stand burning in their eye,
Greece sunk they thought, and this their fatal hour;
But breathe new courage as they feel the power.
Teucer and Leitus first his words excite;
Then stern Peneleus rises to the fight;
Phoäs, Deïpyrus, in arms renown'd,
And Merion next, the impulsive fury found;
Last Nestor's son the same bold ardor takes,
While thus the god the martial fire awakes :
“Oh lasting infamy, oh dire disgrace To chiefs of vigorous youth, and manly race! I trusted in the gods, and you, to see Brave Greece victorious, and her navy free: Ah, no—the giorious combat you disclaim, And one black day clouds all her former fame. Heavens! what a prodigy these eyes survey, Unseen, unthought, till this amazing day! Fly, we at length from Troy's oft-conquer'd bands ? And falls our fleet by such'inglorious hands? A rout undisciplined, a straggling train, Not born to glories of the dusty plain ; Like frighted fawns from hill to hill pursued, A prey to every savage of the wood: Shall these, so late who trembled at your name, Invade your camps, involve your ships in flame ? A change so shameful, say, what cause has wrought? The soldiers' baseness, or the general's fault? Fools! will ye perish for your
leader's vice; The purchase infamy, and life the price ? 'Tis not your cause, Achilles' injured fame : Another's is the crime, but yours the shame. Grant that our chief offend through rage or lust, Must you be cowards, if your king's unjust? Prevent this evil, and your country save:
Small thought retrieves the spirits of the brave.
Think, and subdue! on dastards dead to fame
I waste no anger, for they feel no shame :
you, the pride, the flower of all our host,
My heart weeps blood to see your glory lost!
Nor deem this day, this battle, all you lose;
A day more black, a fate more vile, ensues.
Let each reflect, who prizes fame or breath,
On endless infamy, on instant death :
For, lo ! the fated time, the appointed shore :
Hark! the gates burst, the brazen barriers roar !
Impetuous Hector thunders at the wall ;
The hour, the spot, to conquer, or to fall.”
These words the Grecians' fainting hearts inspire,
And listening armies catch the godlike fire.
Fix'd at his post was each bold Ajax found,
With well-ranged squadrons strongly circled round.
So close their
order, so disposed their fight,
As Pallas' self might view with fix'd delight;
Or had the god of war inclined his eyes,
The god of war had own'd a just surprise.
A chosen phalanx, firm, resolved as fate,
Descending Hector and his battle wait.
An iron scene gleams dreadful o'er the fields,
Armor in armor lock'd, and shields in shields,
Spears lean on spears, on targets targets throng,
Helms stuck to helms, and man drove man along.
The floating plumes unnumber'd wave above,
As when an earthquake stirs the nodding grove;
And levell’d at the skies with pointing rays,
Their brandish'd lances at each motion blaze.
Thus breathing death, in terrible array,
The close compacted legions urged their way:
Fierce they drove on, impatient to destroy ;
Troy charged the first, and Hector first of Troy.
As from some mountain's craggy forehead torn,
A rock's round fragment flies, wlth fury borne
(Which from the stubborn stone a torrent rends),
Precipitate the ponderous mass descends :
From steep to steep the rolling ruin bounds;
At every shock the crackling wood resounds ;
Still gathering force, it smokes ; and urged amain,
Whirls, leaps, and thunders down, impetuous to the plain :
There stops-s0 Hector. Their whole force he proved, *