The Illiad: Juno Deceives Jupiter by the Girdle of Venus.

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Juno Deceives Jupiter by the Girdle of Venus.

Nestor, sitting at the table with Machaon, is alarmed with the increasing clamour of the war, and hastens to Agamemnon; on his way he meets that prince with Diomed and Ulysses, whom he informs of the extremity of the danger. Agamemnon proposes to make their escape by night, which Ulysses withstands; to which Diomed adds his advice, that, wounded as they were, they should go forth and encourage the army with their presence; which advice is pursued. Juno, seeing the partiality of Jupiter to the Trojans, forms a design to overreach him; she sets off her charms with the utmost care, and (the more surely to enchant him) obtains the magic girdle of Venus. She then applies herself to the god of Sleep, and with some difficulty persuades him to seal the eyes of Jupiter; this done, she goes to Mount Ida, where the god at first sight, is ravished with her beauty, sinks in her embraces, and is laid asleep. Neptune takes advantage of his slumber, and succours the Greeks; Hector is struck to the ground with a prodigious stone by Ajax, and carried off from the battle; several actions succeed; till the Trojans, much distressed, are obliged to give way; the lesser Ajax signalizes himself in a particular manner.

Nor did the battle-din not reach the ears
Of Nestor, o'er the wine-cup; and his speech
He thus address'd to AEsculapius' son:
"Say, good Machaon, what these sounds may mean;
For louder swells the tumult round the ships.
But sit thou here, and drink the ruddy wine,
Till fair-hair'd Hecamede shall prepare
The gentle bath, and wash thy gory wounds;
While I go forth, and all around survey."
He said, and from the wall a buckler took,
Well-wrought, with brass resplendent, which his son,
Brave Thrasymedes, in the tent had left,
While with his father's shield himself was girt;
A sturdy spear too, tipp'd with brass, he took:
Without the tent he stood; and there his eyes
A woful sight beheld; the Greeks in flight,
The haughty Trojans pressing on their rout
Confus'd; the Greeks' protecting wall o'erthrown.
As heaves the darkling sea with silent swell,
Expectant of the boist'rous gale's approach;
Nor onward either way is pour'd its flood,
Until it feel th' impelling blast from Heav'n;
So stood th' old man, his mind perplex'd with doubt,
To mingle in the throng, or counsel seek
Of mighty Agamemnon, Atreus' son.
Thus as he mused, the better course appear'd,
To seek Atrides; fiercely fought the rest
With mutual slaughter; loud their armour rang
With thrusts of swords and double-pointed spears.
There Nestor met, advancing from the ships,
The Heav'n-born Kings, Ulysses, Diomed,
And Agamemnon, son of Atreus, all
By wounds disabled; for the ships were beach'd
Upon the shore, beside the hoary sea,
Far from the battle; higher, tow'rd the plain
The foremost had been drawn, and with a wall
Their sterns surrounded; for the spacious beach
Could not contain them, and in narrow bounds
Were pent their multitudes; so high on land
They drew, and rang'd them side by side, and fill'd,
Within the headlands, all the wide-mouth'd bay.
Thus they, their steps supporting on their spears,
Together came, spectators of the fight;
Deep sorrow fill'd their breasts; them Nestor met,
The fear increasing, which their souls possess'd.
To whom the monarch Agamemnon thus:
"O Nestor, son of Neleus, pride of Greece,
Why com'st thou here, and leav'st the battle-field?
Greatly I fear that noble Hector now
His menace will fulfil, who made his boast
Before th' assembled Trojans, that to Troy
He never would return, until our ships
The flames had master'd, and ourselves the sword.
Such was his threat, and now he makes it good.
Heav'n! can it be that I of other Greeks,
As of Achilles, have incurr'd the wrath,
Who thence refuse to battle for the ships?"
To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied:
"Such are indeed our prospects; Jove on high
Could to our fortunes give no diff'rent turn.
The wall is raz'd, wherein our trust we plac'd
To guard, impregnable, ourselves and ships;
And now around the ships their war they wage,
Unceasing, unabated; none might tell
By closest scrutiny, which way are driv'n
The routed Greeks, so intermix'd they fall
Promiscuous; and the cry ascends to Heav'n.
But come, discuss we what may best be done,
If judgment aught may profit us; ourselves
To mingle in the fray I counsel not;
It were not well for wounded men to fight."
Whom answer'd Agamemnon, King of men:
"Nestor, since to the ships the war is brought,
Nor hath the wall avail'd to stay their course,
Nor yet the deep-dug trench, on which we Greeks
Much toil bestow'd, and which we vainly hop'd
Might guard, impregnable, ourselves and ships;
Seems it the will of Saturn's mighty son
That, far from Argos, from our native land,
We all should here in nameless graves be laid.
I knew when once he lov'd to aid the Greeks;
But now I see that to the blessed Gods
Our foes he equals, and our strength confounds.
Hear then my counsel; let us all agree
The ships that nearest to the sea are beach'd
To launch upon the main, till nightfall there
To ride at anchor: if that e'en by night
The Trojans may suspend their fierce assault;
Then may we launch in safety all the fleet.
No shame it is to fly, although by night,
Impending evil; better so to fly
Than by the threaten'd danger be o'erta'en."
To whom, with scornful glance, Ulysses sage:
"What words have pass'd the barrier of thy lips,
Thou son of Atreus? counsellor of ill!
Would thou hadst been of some ignoble band
The leader, not the chief of such a host
As ours, on whom, from youth to latest age,
Jove hath the gift bestow'd, to bear the brunt
Of hardy war, till ev'ry man be slain.
And think'st thou so to leave the lofty walls
Of Troy, the object of our painful toil?
Be silent, that no other Greek may hear
Words, which no man might trust his tongue to speak,
Who nobler counsels understands, and wields
A royal sceptre, and th' allegiance claims
Of numbers, such as those that own thy sway.
Thy counsels all I utterly condemn;
Who, 'mid the close and clamour of the fight,
Wouldst have us launch our ships, and give the foe,
Already too triumphant, cause renew'd
For boasting; then were death our certain lot;
For, if the ships he launch'd, not long will Greeks
Sustain the war, but with reverted eyes
Shrink from the fight; to such pernicious end
Would lead thy baneful counsels, mighty chief."
Whom answer'd Agamemnon, King of men:
"Ulysses, thy rebuke hath wrung my soul;
Yet never meant I, that against their will
The sons of Greece should launch their well found ships:
But if there be who better counsel knows,
Or young or old, his words would please me well."
Then rose the valiant Diomed, and said:
"The man is near at hand, nor far to seek,
If ye will hear, nor take offence, that I,
The youngest of you all, presume to speak.
Yet of a noble sire I boast me sprung,
Tydeus, who sleeps beneath the Theban soil:
To Portheus three brave sons were born, who dwelt
In Pleuron and in lofty Calydon,
Agrius, and Melas; bravest of them all,
My father's father, OEneus, was the third.
He there remain'd; my father, wand'ring long,
To Argos came; such was the will of Jove
And of th' Immortals all; he there espous'd
Adrastus' daughter; own'd a wealthy house,
With fertile corn-lands round, and orchards stor'd
With goodly fruit-trees; num'rous flocks he had,
And all the Greeks in feats of arms excell'd.
Hear ye the words I speak, for they are true:
And if my speech be wise, despise it not,
As of one worthless, or ignobly born.
Though wounded, to the battle I advise
That we perforce repair; yet not ourselves
To join the combat, or confront the spears,
Lest wounds to wounds be added; but to rouse
The spirits of some, who, zealous heretofore,
How stand aloof, nor mingle in the fray."
He said, and they, his words approving, went,
By Agamemnon led, the King of men.
Nor careless was the watch by Neptune kept:
With them, in likeness of an aged man,
He went, and Agamemnon, Atreus' son,
By the right hand he took, and thus address'd:
"O son of Atreus, great is now the joy
With which Achilles' savage breast is fill'd,
Who sees the slaughter and the rout of Greeks:
For nought he has of heart, no, not a whit:
But perish he, accursed of the Gods!
Nor deem thou that to thee the blessed Gods
Are wholly hostile; yet again the chiefs
And councillors of Troy shall scour in flight
The dusty plain; and from the ships and tents
Thine eyes shall see them to the city fly."
He said; and loudly shouting, onward rush'd.
As of nine thousand or ten thousand men,
In deadly combat meeting, is the shout;
Such was the sound which from his ample chest
Th' Earth-shaker sent; and ev'ry Greek inspir'd
With stern resolve to wage unflinching war.
Standing on high Olympus' topmost peak,
The golden-throned Juno downward look'd,
And, busied in the glory-giving strife,
Her husband's brother and her own she saw,
Saw, and rejoic'd; next, seated on the crest
Of spring-abounding Ida, Jove she saw,
Sight hateful in her eyes! then ponder'd deep
The stag-ey'd Queen, how best she might beguile
The wakeful mind of aegis-bearing Jove;
And, musing, this appear'd the readiest mode:
Herself with art adorning, to repair
To Ida; there, with fondest blandishment
And female charm, her husband to enfold
In love's embrace; and gentle, careless sleep
Around his eyelids and his senses pour.
Her chamber straight she sought, by Vulcan built,
Her son; by whom were to the door-posts hung
Close-fitting doors, with secret keys secur'd,
That, save herself, no God might enter in.
There enter'd she, and clos'd the shining doors;
And with ambrosia first her lovely skin
She purified, with fragrant oil anointing,
Ambrosial, breathing forth such odours sweet,
That, wav'd above the brazen floor of Jove,
All earth and Heav'n were with the fragrance fill'd;
O'er her fair skin this precious oil she spread;
Comb'd out her flowing locks, and with her hand
Wreath'd the thick masses of the glossy hair,
Immortal, bright, that crown'd th' imperial head.
A robe ambrosial then, by Pallas wrought,
She donn'd, in many a curious pattern trac'd,
With golden brooch beneath her breast confin'd.
Her zone, from which a hundred tassels hung,
She girt about her; and, in three bright drops,
Her glitt'ring gems suspended from her ears;
And all around her grace and beauty shone.
Then o'er her head th' imperial Goddess threw
A beauteous veil, new-wrought, as sunlight white;
And on her well-turn'd feet her sandals bound.
Her dress completed, from her chamber forth
She issued, and from th' other Gods apart
She call'd to Venus, and address'd her thus:
"Say, wilt thou grant, dear child, the boon I ask?
Or wilt thou say me nay, in wrath that I
Espouse the Greek, as thou the Trojan cause?"
To whom the laughter-loving Venus thus:
"Daughter of Saturn, Juno, mighty Queen,
Tell me thy wish; to grant it if my pow'r
May aught avail, thy pleasure shall be done."
To whom great Juno thus, with artful speech:
"Give me the loveliness, and pow'r to charm,
Whereby thou reign'st o'er Gods and men supreme.
For to the bounteous Earth's extremest bounds
I go, to visit old Oceanus,
The sire of Gods, and Tethys, who of yore
From Rhaea took me, when all-seeing Jove
Hurl'd Saturn down below the earth and seas,
And nurs'd me in their home with tend'rest care;
I go to visit them, and reconcile
A lengthen'd feud; for since some cause of wrath
Has come between them, they from rites of love
And from the marriage-bed have long abstain'd:
Could I unite them by persuasive words,
And to their former intercourse restore,
Their love and rev'rence were for ever mine."
Whom answer'd thus the laughter-loving Queen:
"I ought not, and I cannot, say thee nay,
Who liest encircled by the arms of Jove."
Thus Venus spoke; and from her bosom loos'd
Her broider'd cestus, wrought with ev'ry charm
To win the heart; there Love, there young Desire,
There fond Discourse, and there Persuasion dwelt,
Which oft enthralls the mind of wisest men.
This in her hand she plac'd, as thus she spoke:
"Take thou from me, and in thy bosom hide,
This broider'd cestus; and, whate'er thy wish,
Thou shalt not here ungratified return."
Thus Venus; smil'd the stag-ey'd Queen of Heav'n,
And, smiling, in her bosom hid the gift.
Then Venus to her father's house return'd;
But Juno down from high Olympus sped;
O'er sweet Emathia, and Pieria's range,
O'er snowy mountains of horse-breeding Thrace,
Their topmost heights, she soar'd, nor touch'd the earth.
From Athos then she cross'd the swelling sea,
Until to Lemnos, godlike Thoas' seat,
She came; there met she Sleep, twin-born with Death,
Whom, as his hand she clasp'd, she thus address'd:
"Sleep, universal King of Gods and men,
If ever thou hast listen'd to my voice,
Grant me the boon which now I ask, and win
My ceaseless favour in all time to come.
When Jove thou seest in my embraces lock'd,
Do thou his piercing eyes in slumber seal.
Rich guerdon shall be thine; a gorgeous throne,
Immortal, golden; which my skilful son,
Vulcan, shall deftly frame; beneath, a stool
Whereon at feasts thy feet may softly rest."
Whom answer'd thus the gentle God of Sleep:
"Daughter of Saturn, Juno, mighty Queen,
On any other of th' immortal Gods
I can with ease exert my slumb'rous pow'r;
Even to the stream of old Oceanus,
Prime origin of all; but Saturn's son,
Imperial Jove, I dare not so approach,
Nor sink in sleep, save by his own desire.
Already once, obeying thy command,
A fearful warning I receiv'd, that day
When from the capture and the sack of Troy
That mighty warrior, son of Jove, set sail;
For, circumfus'd around, with sweet constraint
I bound the sense of aegis-bearing Jove,
While thou, with ill-design, rousing the force
Of winds tempestuous o'er the stormy sea,
Didst cast him forth on Coos' thriving isle,
Far from his friends; then Jove, awaking, pour'd
His wrath, promiscuous, on th' assembled Gods;
Me chief his anger sought; and from on high
Had hurl'd me, plung'd beneath th' unfathom'd sea,
But Night, the vanquisher of Gods and men,
Her fugitive received me; he his wrath
Repress'd, unwilling to invade the claims
Of holy Night; and now thou fain wouldst urge
That I another reckless deed essay."
Whom answer'd thus the stag-ey'd Queen of Heav'n:
"Why, Sleep, with thoughts like these perplex thy mind
Think'st thou that Jove as ardently desires
To aid the men of Troy, as fiercely burn'd
His anger on his valiant son's behalf?
Grant my request; and of the Graces one,
The youngest and the fairest, have to wife,
Pasithea, whom thy love hath long pursued."
Thus promis'd Juno; Sleep, rejoicing, heard,
And answer'd thus: "Swear then the awful oath.
Inviolable, by the stream of Styx,
Thy one hand laid upon the fruitful earth,
The other resting on the sparkling sea;
That all the Gods who in the nether realms
With Saturn dwell, may of our solemn bond
Be witnesses, that of the Graces one,
The youngest, fairest, I shall have to wife,
Pasithea, whom my love hath long pursued."
He said: nor did the white-arm'd Queen refuse;
She took the oath requir'd; and call'd by name
On all the Titans, sub-Tartarean Gods:
Then, sworn and ratified the oath, they pass'd
From Lemnos, and from Imbros, veil'd in cloud,
Skimming their airy way; on Lectum first,
In spring-abounding Ida, nurse of beasts,
The sea they left, and journey'd o'er the land,
While wav'd beneath their feet the lofty woods.
There Sleep, ere yet he met the eye of Jove,
Remain'd; and, mounted on a lofty pine,
The tallest growth of Ida, that on high
Flung through the desert air its boughs to Heav'n,
Amid the pine's close branches lay ensconc'd;
Like to a mountain bird of shrillest note,
Whom Gods the Chalcis, men the night-hawk call.
Juno meanwhile to Ida's summit sped,
To Gargarus; the Cloud-compeller saw;
He saw, and sudden passion fir'd his soul,
As when, their parents' eyes eluding, first
They tasted of the secret joys of love.
He rose to meet her, and address'd her thus:
"From high Olympus, Juno, whither bound,
And how, to Ida hast thou come in haste?
For horses here or chariot hast thou none."
To whom thus Juno with deceitful speech
Replied: "To fertile earth's extremest bounds
I go, to visit old Oceanus,
The sire of Gods, and Tethys, who of yore
Receiv'd, and nurtur'd me with tend'rest care.
I go to visit them, and reconcile
A lengthen'd feud; for since some cause of wrath
Has come between them, they from rites of love
And from the marriage-bed have long abstain'd.
Meanwhile at spring-abounding Ida's foot
My horses wait me, that o'er land and sea
Alike my chariot bear; on thine account
From high Olympus hither have I come,
Lest it displease thee, if, to thee unknown,
I sought the Ocean's deeply-flowing stream."
To whom the Cloud-compeller thus replied:
"Juno, thy visit yet awhile defer;
And let us now in love's delights indulge:
For never yet did such a flood of love
For Goddess or for mortal fill my soul;
Not for Ixion's beauteous wife, who bore
Pirithous, sage in council as the Gods;
Nor the neat-footed maiden Danae,
Acrisius' daughter, her who Perseus bore,
Th' observ'd of all; nor noble Phoenix' child,
Who bore me Minos, and the godlike might
Of Rhadamanthus; nor for Semele,
Nor for Alcmena fair, of whom was born
In Thebes the mighty warrior Hercules,
As Bacchus, joy of men, of Semele:
No, nor for Ceres, golden-tressed Queen,
Nor for Latona bright, nor for thyself,
As now with fond desire for thee I burn."
To whom thus Juno with deceitful speech:
"What words, dread son of Saturn, dost thou speak?
If here on Ida, in the face of day,
We celebrate the mystic rites of love.
How if some other of th' immortal Gods
Should find us sleeping, and 'mid all the Gods
Should spread the tale abroad? I could not then
Straight to thy house, for very shame, return.
But if indeed such passion fill thy soul,
Thou hast thy secret chamber, built for thee
By Vulcan, with close-fitting doors secur'd;
Thither, if such thy pleasure, go we now."
To whom the Cloud-compeller thus replied:
"Juno, nor fear the eye of God or man;
For all around us I will throw such veil
Of golden cloud, that not the sun himself
With sharpest beam of light may pierce it through."
Thus saying, in his arms he clasp'd his wife;
The teeming earth beneath them caus'd to spring
The tender grass, and lotus dew-besprent,
Crocus and hyacinth, a fragrant couch,
Profuse and soft, upspringing from the earth.
There lay they, all around them spread a veil
Of golden cloud, whence heav'nly dews distill'd.
There on the topmost height of Gargarus,
By sleep and love subdued, th' immortal Sire,
Clasp'd in his arms his wife, repos'd in peace.
Then Sleep arose, and to the Grecian ships
In haste repairing, to th' Earth-shaking King
His tidings bore; and standing at his side
Thus to the God his winged words address'd:
"Now, Neptune, to the Greeks thy ready aid
Afford, that short-liv'd triumph they may gain,
While slumber holds the eyes of Jove; for I
In sweet unconsciousness have drown'd his sense,
Beguil'd by Juno, in whose arms he lies."
He said, and vanish'd 'mid the tribes of men:
But fir'd with keener zeal to aid the Greeks,
Neptune sprang forth in front, and call'd aloud:
"Again, ye Greeks, shall our remissness yield
The victory to Hector, Priam's son,
To seize our ships, and endless glory gain?
Such is his boast and menace, since in wrath
Achilles still beside his ships remains.
Yet him we scarce should miss, if we, the rest,
But firmly stood for mutual defence.
Hear then my counsel: let us all agree,
Girt with our best and broadest shields, our heads
With flashing helmets guarded, in our hands
Grasping our longest spears, to dare the fight.
Myself will lead you on; and Priam's son,
Though bold he be, will fear with me to cope.
And if, among our bravest, any bear
Too small a buckler, with some meaner man
Let him exchange, and don the larger shield."
He said, and they assenting heard his speech.
The Kings themselves, Ulysses, Diomed,
And mighty Agamemnon, Atreus' son,
Though sorely wounded, yet the troops array'd;
Thro'out the ranks they pass'd, and chang'd the arms;
The bravest donn'd the best, the worse the worst.
When with their dazzling armour all were girt,
Forward they mov'd; th' Earth-shaker led them on:
In his broad hand an awful sword he bore,
Long-bladed, vivid as the lightning's flash:
Yet in the deadly strife he might not join,
But kindled terror in the minds of men.
Hector meantime the Trojan troops array'd.
Then fiercer grew, and more intense the strain
Of furious fight, when Ocean's dark-hair'd King
And Priam's noble son were met in arms,
And aided, this the Trojans, that the Greeks.
High tow'rd the tents uprose the surging sea,
As with loud clamour met th' opposing hosts.
Less loud the roar of Ocean's wave, that driv'n
By stormy Boreas, breaks upon the beach;
Less loud the crackling of the flames that rage
In the deep forest of some mountain glen;
Less loud the wind, to wildest fury rous'd,
Howls in the branches of the lofty oaks;
Than rose the cry of Trojans and of Greeks,
As each, with furious shout, encounter'd each.
At Ajax first, who straight before him stood,
Great Hector threw his spear, nor miss'd his aim,
Where the two belts, the one which bore his shield,
His silver-studded sword the other, met
Across his breast; these two his life preserv'd.
Hector was wroth, that from his stalwart hand
The spear had flown in vain; and back he sprang
For safety to his comrades' shelt'ring ranks:
But mighty Ajax Telamon upheav'd
A pond'rous stone, of many, all around
That scatter'd lay beneath the warriors' feet,
And serv'd to prop the ships; with one of these,
As Hector backward stepp'd, above the shield
He smote him on the breast, below the throat.
With whirling motion, circling as it flew,
The mass he hurl'd. As by the bolt of Heav'n
Uprooted, prostrate lies some forest oak;
The sulph'rous vapour taints the air; appall'd,
Bereft of strength, the near beholder stands,
And awestruck hears the thunder-peal of Jove;
So in the dust the might of Hector lay:
Dropp'd from his hand the spear; the shield and helm
Fell with him; loud his polished armour rang.
On rush'd, with joyous shout, the sons of Greece,
In hope to seize the spoil; thick flew the spears:
Yet none might reach or wound the fallen chief;
For gather'd close around, the bravest all,
Valiant AEneas, and Polydamas,
Godlike Agenor, and the Lycian chief
Sarpedon, and the noble Glaucus stood.
Nor did the rest not aid; their shields' broad orbs
Before him still they held, while in their arms
His comrades bore him from the battle-field,
To where, with charioteer and well-wrought car,
Beyond the fight, his flying coursers stood,
Which bore him, deeply groaning, tow'rd the town.
But when the ford was reach'd of Xanthus' stream,
Broad-flowing, eddying, by immortal Jove
Begotten, on the ground they laid him down,
And dash'd the cooling water on his brow:
Reviv'd, he lifted up awhile his eyes;
Then on his knees half rising, he disgorg'd
The clotted blood; but backward to the earth,
Still by the blow subdu'd, again he fell,
And darkling shades of night his eyes o'erspread.
Onward, with zeal redoubled, press'd the Greeks,
When Hector from the field they saw withdrawn.
Foremost of all, Oileus' active son,
With sudden spring assailing, Satnius slew:
Him a fair Naiad nymph to OEnops bore,
Who by the banks of Satnois kept his herds.
Him then, approaching near, Oileus' son
Thrust through the flank: he fell, and o'er his corpse
Trojans and Greeks in stubborn fight engag'd.
But Panthous' son a swift avenger came,
Polydamas, with brandish'd spear, and struck
Through the right shoulder Prothoenor, son
Of Areilycus; right through was driv'n
The sturdy spear; he, rolling in the dust,
Clutch'd with his palms the ground; then, shouting loud,
Thus with triumphant boast Polydamas:
"From the strong hand of Panthous' noble son
Methinks that not in vain the spear has flown:
A Greek now bears it off; and he, perchance,
May use it as a staff to Pluto's realm."
Thus he; the Greeks with pain his vaunting heard;
But chief it rous'd the spirit within the breast
Of Ajax Telamon, whom close beside
The dead had fall'n; he at Polydamas,
Retreating, hurl'd in haste his glitt'ring spear;
He, springing sideways, 'scap'd the stroke of fate;
But young Archilochus, Antenor's son,
Receiv'd the spear, for Heav'n had will'd his death:
The spine it struck, the topmost joint, where met
The head and neck, and both the tendons broke;
Forward he fell; and ere or knee or leg,
His head, and mouth, and nostrils struck the ground.
Then Ajax, in his turn, exulting, thus:
"Say now, Polydamas, and tell me true,
May this be deem'd for Prothoenor's death
A full equivalent? no common man
He seems, and born of no ignoble race;
Valiant Antenor's brother, or perchance
His son; the likeness speaks him near akin."
Thus he, though well he knew; then bitter grief
Possess'd the Trojans' souls; but Acamas,
Guarding his brother's body, with his spear
Slew the Boeotian Promachus, who fain
Would by the feet have drawn away the dead:
Then Acamas, exulting, cried aloud:
"Ye wretched Greeks, in boasting measureless!
Not ours alone the labour and the loss
Of battle; ye too have your share of death.
Behold where lies your Promachus, subdued
Beneath my spear; not long unpaid the debt
Due for my brother's blood! 'Tis well for him
Who leaves a brother to avenge his fate."
Thus he; the Greeks with pain his vaunting heard;
But chief it rous'd the spirit within the breast
Of Peneleus; on Acamas he sprang,
Who waited not th' encounter; next he slew
Ilioneus, the son of Phorbas, Lord
Of num'rous flocks, of all the Trojans most
Belov'd of Hermes, who his wealth increas'd.
To him Ilioneus, an only son,
His mother bore; who now, beneath the brow
And through the socket of the eye was struck,
Thrusting the eyeball out; for through the eye,
And backward through the head, the spear was driv'n:
With hands extended, down to earth he sank;
But Peneleus his weighty sword let fall
Full on his neck; the sever'd head and helm
Together fell, remaining still infix'd
The sturdy spear; then he, the gory head
Uplifting, to the Trojans vaunting cried:
"Go now, ye Trojans! bid that in the house
Of brave Ilioneus his parents raise
The voice of wailing for their gallant son;
As neither shall the wife of Promachus,
The son of Alegenor, with glad smile
Her husband's coming hail, when home from Troy
We sons of Greece, with vict'ry crown'd, return."
Thus as he spoke, pale fear possess'd them all,
Each looking round to seek escape from death.
Say now, ye Nine, who on Olympus dwell,
Who, when th' Earth-shaker turn'd the tide of war,
First bore away his foeman's bloody spoils?
Great Ajax Telamon first Hyrtius smote,
The son of Gyrtius, who to battle led
The warlike Mysians; next Antilochus
From Mermerus and Phalces stripp'd their arms;
Meriones Hippotion gave to death,
And Morys; Teucer Periphetes slew,
And Prothoon; Menelaus, through the flank
Smote Hyperenor; as the grinding spear
Drain'd all his vitals, through the gaping wound
His spirit escap'd, and darkness clos'd his eyes.
But chiefest slaughter of the Trojans wrought
Oileus' active son; of all the Greeks
No foot so swift as his, when Jove had fill'd
Their souls with fear, to chase the flying foe.