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And dread the ruin that impends on all.
Daughters of Jove ! that on Olympus shine,
Ye ali-beholding, all-recording nine :
O say, when Neptune made proud Ilion yield,
What chief, what hero first embrued the field ?
Of all the Grecians what immortal name,
And whose bless'd trophies, will ye raise to fame ?
Thou first, great Ajax! on the ensanguined plain
Laid Hyrtius, leader of the Mysian train,
Phalces and Mermer, Nestor's son o'erthrew
Bold Merion, Morys and Hippotion slew.
Strong Periphætes and Prothoön bled,
By Teucer's arrows mingled with the dead,
Pierced in the flank by Menelaus' steel,
His people's pastor, Hyperenor fell;
Eternal darkness wrapp'd the warrior ruund,
And the fierce soul came rushing through the wound.
But stretch'd in heaps before Oîleus' son,
Fall mighty numbers, mighty numbers run;
Ajax the less, of all the Grecian race
Skill'd in pursuit, and swiftest in the chase.
THE FIFTH BATTLE AT THE SHIPS; AND THE ACTS OF AJAX.
Jupiter, awaking, sees the Trojans repulsed from the trenches, Hector in a swoon, and Neptune at the head of the Greeks: he is highly incensed at the artifice of Juno, who appeases him by her submissions ; she is then sent to Iris and Apollo. Juno, repairing to the assembly of the gods, attempts, with extraordinary address, to incense them against Jupiter ; in particular she touches Mars with a violent resentment; he is ready to take arms, but is prevented by Minerva. Iris and Apollo obey the orders of Jupiter ; Dris commands Neptune to leave the battle, to which, after much reluctance and passion, he consents. Apollo reinspires Hector with vigor, brings him back to the battle, marches before him with his ægis, and turns the fortune of the fight. He breaks down great part of the Grecian wall: the Trojans rush in and attempt to fire the first line of the fleet, but are, as yet, repelled by the greater Ajax with a prodigious slaughter.
Now in swift flight they pass the trench profound,
And many a chief lay gasping on the ground:
Then stopp'd and panted, where the chariots lie,
Fear on their cheek, and horror in their eye.
Meanwhile, awaken'd from his dream of love,
On Ida's summit sat imperial Jove :
Round the wide fields he cast a careful view,
There saw the Trojans fly, the Greeks pursue;
These proud in arms, those scatter'd o'er the plain,
And, 'midst the war, the monarch of the main.
Not far, great Hector on the dust he spies
(His sad associates round with weeping eyes),
Ejecting blood, and panting yet for breath,
His senses wandering to the verge of death.
The god beheld him with a pitying look,
And thus, incensed, to fraudful Juno spoke :
“O thou, still adverse to the eternal will,
Forever studious in promoting ill!
Thy arts have made the godlike Hector yield,
And driven his conquering squadrons from the field.
Canst thou, unhappy in thy wiles, withstand
Our power immense, and brave the almighty hand ?
Hast thou forgot, when, bound and fix'd on high,
From the vast concave of the spangled sky,
I hung thee trembling in a golden chain,
And all the raging gods opposed in vain ?
Headlong I hurl'd them from the Olympian hall,
Stunn'd in the whirl, and breathless with the fall.
For godlike Hercules these deeds were done,
Nor seem'd the vengeance worthy such a son:
When, by thy wiles induced, fierce Boreas toss'd
The shipwreck'd hero on the Coan coast,
Him through a thousand forms of death I bore,
And sent to Argos, and his native shore.
Hear this, remember, and our fury dread,
Nor pull the unwilling vengeance on thy head;
Lest arts and blandishments successless prove,
Thy soft deceits, and well-dissembled love.”'
The Thunderer spoke: imperial Juno mourn'd,
And, trembling, these submissive words return'd:
By every oath that powers immortal ties,
The foodful earth and all-infolding skies;
By thy black waves, tremendous Styx ! that flow
Through the drear realms of gliding ghosts below;
By the dread honors of thy sacred head,
And that unbroken vow, our virgin bed !
Not by my arts the ruler of the main
Steeps Troy in blood, and ranges round the plain:
By his own ardor, his own pity sway'd,
To help his Greeks, he fought and disobey'd :
Else had thy Juno better counsels given,
And taught submission to the sire of heaven.”
“Think'st thou with me ? fair empress of the skies!
(The immortal father with a smile replies ;)
Then soon the haughty sea-god shall obey,
Nor dare to act but when we point the way.
If truth inspires thy tongue, proclaim our will
To yon bright synod on the Olympian hill;
Our high decree let various Iris know,
And call the god that bears the silver bow.
Let her descend, and from the embattled plain
Command the sea-god to his watery reign :
While Phoebus hastes great Hector to prepare
To rise afresh, and once more wake the war :
His laboring bosom re-inspires with breath,
And calls his senses from the verge of death.
Greece chased by Troy, even to Achilles' feet,
Shall fall by thousands at the hero's feet.
He, not untouch'd with pity, to the plain
Shall send Patroclus, but shall send in vain.
What youths he slaughters under Ilion's walls !
Even my loved son, divine Sarpedon falls !
Vanquish'd at last by Hector's lance he lies.
Then, nor till then, shall great Achilles rise :
And lo! that instant, godlike Hector dies.
From that great hour the war's whole fortune turns,
Pallas assists, and lofty Ilion burns.
Not till that day shall Jove relax his rage,
Nor one of all the heavenly host engage
In aid of Greece. The promise of a god
I gave, and seal'd it with the almighty nod,
Achilles' glory to the stars to raise ;
Such was our word, and fate the word obeys.”
The trembling queen (the almighty order given)
Swift from the Idæan summit shot to heaven.
As some wayfaring man, who wanders o'er
In thought a length of lands he trod before,
Sends forth his active mind from place to place,
Joins hill to dale, and measures space with space:
So swift flew Juno to the bless'd abodes,
If thought of man can match the speed of gods.
There sat the powers in awful synod placed ;
They bow'd, and made obeisance as she pass'd
Through all the brazen dome : * with goblets crown
They hail her queen; the nectar streams around.
Fair Themis first presents the golden bowl,
And anxious asks what cares disturb her soul?
To whom the white-arm'd goddess thus replies
“Enough thou know'st the tyrant of the skies,
Severely bent his purpose to fulfil,
Unmoved his mind, and unrestrain'd his will.
Go thou, the feasts of heaven attend thy call ;
Bid the crown'd nectar circle round the hall :
But Jove shall thunder through the ethereal dome
Such stern decrees, such threaten'd woes to come,
As soon shall freeze mankind with dire surprise,
And damp the eternal banquets of the skies.”
The goddess said, and sullen took her place ;
Black horror sadden'd each celestial face.
To see the gathering grudge in every breast,
Smiles on her lips a spleenful joy express’d;
While on her wrinkled front, and eyebrow bent,
Sat steadfast care, and lowering discontent.
Thus she proceeds—“ Attend, ye powers above!
But know, 'tis madness to contest with Jove :
Supreme he sits; and sees, in pride of sway,
Your vassal godheads grudgingly obey :
The brazen dome. See the note on Bk. viii. p. 142.
Fierce in the majesty of power controls ;
Shakes all the thrones of heaven, and bends the poles.
Submiss, immortals ! all he wills, obey :
And thou, great Mars, begin and show the way.
Behold Ascalaphus! behold him die,
But dare not murmur, dare not vent a sigh;
Thy own loved boasted offspring lies o’erthrown,
If that loved boasted offspring be thy own.”
Stern Mars, with anguish for his slaughter'd son,
Smote his rebelling breast, and fierce begun :
“ Thus then, immortals ! thus shall Mars obey;
Forgive me, gods, and yield my vengeance way;
Descending first to yon forbidden plain,
The god of battles dares avenge the slain;
Dares, though the thunder bursting o'er my head
Should hurl me blazing on those heaps of dead.”
With that he gives command to Fear and Flight
To join his rapid coursers for the fight:
Then grim in arms, with hasty vengeance flies;
Arms that reflect a radiance through the skies.
And now had Jove, by bold rebellion driven,
Discharged his wrath on half the host of heaven;
But Pallas, springing through the bright abode,
Starts from her azure throne to calm the god.
Struck for the immortal race with timely fear,
From frantic Mars she snatch'd the shield and spear:
Then the huge helmet lifting from his head,
Thus to the impetuous homicide she said :
“ By what wild passion, furious ! art thou toss'd ?
Striv’st thou with Jove ? thou art already lost.
Shall not the Thunderer's dread command restrain,
And was imperial Juno heard in vain ?
Back to the skies wouldst thou with shame be driven,
And in thy guilt involve the host of heaven?
Ilion and Greece no more should Jove engage,
The skies would yield an ampler scene of rage;
Guilty and guiltless find an equal fate
And one vast ruin whelm the Olympian state.
Cease then thy offspring's death unjust to call;
Heroes as great have died, and yet shall fall.
Why should heaven's law with foolish man comply,
Exempted from the race ordain'd to die?"
This menace fix'd the warrior to his throne;
Sullen he sat, and curb’d the rising groan.
Then Juno calld (Jove's orders to obey)
The winged Iris, and the god of day.
6 Go wait the Thunderer's will (Saturnia cried)