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In battle for their wives. I have destroyed
And tell it him aloud, that other Greeks
ye mine answer back.
7 HECTOR'S REBUKE TO POLYDAMAS.-Cowper's Homer. Abridged. POLYDAMAS to dauntless Hector spake:
Ofttimes in council, Hector, thou art wont
To censure me, although advising well;
To whom dark-louring Hector thus replied:
8. HECTOR'S EXPLOIT AT THE BARRIERS OF THE GRECIAN FLEET.-Idem.
So hung the war in balance,
Till Jove himself, superior fame, at length,
First through the wall. In lofty sounds that reached
Now press them! now, ye Trojans, steed-renowned,
Such was his exhortation. They, his voice
The nobleness of this reply may have been paralleled, but not surpassed, by patriots of succeeding times.
All hearing, with close-ordered ranks, direct
9. HECTOR SLAIN BY ACHILLES.-Cowper's Homer. BRIGHT as among stars the star of all, Most radiant Hesperus, at midnight moves, So in the right hand of Achilles beamed His brandished spear, while, meditating woe To Hector, he explored his noble form, Seeking where he was vulnerable most. But every part, his dazzling armor, torn From brave Patroclus' body, well secured, Save where the circling key-bone from the neck Disjoins the shoulder; there his throat appeared,
Whence injured life with swiftest flight escapes.
But Hector! thou had'st once far other hopes, And, stripping slain Patroclus, thought'st thee safe, Nor cared'st for absent me. Fond dream and vain! I was not distant far. In yonder fleet He left one able to avenge his death,
And he hath slain thee. Thee the dogs shall rend Dishonorably, and the fowls of air, —
But all Achaia's host shall him entomb!
To whom the Trojan Chief languid replied: By thy own life-by theirs who gave thee birthAnd by thy knees - O! let not Grecian dogs Rend and devour me; but in gold accept And brass a ransom at my father's hands, And at my mother's an illustrious price. Send home my body!-grant me burial rites Among the daughters and the sons of Troy!
To whom, with aspect stern, Achilles thus: Dog! neither knees nor parents name to me! I would my fierceness of revenge were such That I could carve and eat thee, to whose arms Such griefs I owe; so true it is and sure That none shall save thy carcass from the dogs! No, trust me, would thy parents bring me, weighed, Ten twenty ransoms, and engage, on oath, To add still more; - would thy Dardanian Sire, Priam, redeem thee with thy weight in gold,Not even at that price would I consent That she who bare should place thee on thy bier, With lamentation! Dogs and ravening fowls Shall rend thy body, while a shred remains!
Then, dying, warlike Hector thus replied: Full well I knew before how suit of mine Should speed, preferred to thee. Thy heart is steel. But, O! while yet thou liv'st, think, lest the Gods Requite thee on that day, when, pierced thyself, By Paris and Apollo, thou shalt fall, Brave as thou art, before the Scæan gate!
He ceased; and death involved him dark around. His spirit, from his limbs dismissed, the house Of Adés sought, mourning, in her descent, Youth's prime and vigor lost,— disastrous doom!
But him, though dead, Achilles thus bespake:
TELEMACHUS TO THE ALLIED CHIEFS.-Fenelon. Born, 1651; died, 1715.
FELLOW-SOLDIERS and confederated chiefs! I grant you, if ever man deserved to have the weapon of stratagem and deceit turned against him, it is he who has used it himself so often, -- the faithless Adrastus! But shall it be said that we, who have united to punish the perfidy of this man, that we are ourselves perfidious? Shall fraud be counteracted by fraud? If we can adopt the practices of Adrastus without guilt, Adrastus himself is innocent, and our present attempt to punish him is unwarrantable. You have sworn, by all that is most sacred, to leave Venusium a deposit in the hands of the Lucanians. The Lucanian garrison, you say, is corrupted by Adrastus. I do not doubt it. But this garrison is still Lucanian. It receives the pay of the Lucanians, and has not yet refused to obey them. It has preserved, at least, an appearance of neutrality. Neither Adrastus nor his people have yet entered it. The treaty is still subsisting; and the Gods have not forgotten your oath.
Is a promise never to be kept but when a plausible pretence to break it is wanting? Shall an oath be sacred only when nothing is to be gained by its violation? If you are insensible to the love of virtue, and the fear of the Gods, have you no regard to your interest and reputation? If, to terminate a war, you violate your oath, how many wars will this impious conduct excite? Who will hereafter trust you? What security can you ever give for your good faith? A solemn treaty ?—You have trampled one under foot! An oath? -You have committed perjury when perjury was profitable, and have defied the Gods! In peace, you will be regarded as treacherously preparing for war. Every affair, based on Every affair, based on a confidence in your probity, will become impracticable. Your promises will not be believed. Nay, the very league which now constitutes your strength will lose its cohesive principle. Your perjury will be the triumph of Adrastus! He will not need to attack you himself. Your own dissensions, your own mistrusts, your own duplicity, will be your ruin.
Ye mighty chiefs, renowned for magnanimity and wisdom, experienced and brave, governing uncounted thousands, — despise not the counsel of a youth! To whatever extremity war may reduce you, let your resources be diligence and virtue. True fortitude can never despair. But, if you once pass the barrier of honor and integrity, the ruin of your cause is irreparable. You can neither reëstablish that confidence without which no affair of importance can succeed, nor can you bring men back to the reverence of that virtue which you have taught them to despise. What have you to fear? Is not your courage equal to victory, without the aid of fraud? Your own power,