Hector persists in remaining outside the walls, despite the entreaties of his father. He flies thrice round Troy, fights, and is slain by Achilles, who drags his body to the fleet at the wheels of his chariot. The lamentations of his wife and parents follow.
Thus they, indeed, driven by fright through the city, like fawns, were refreshing themselves from sweat, and were drinking and allaying their thirst, leaning against the handsome battlements; but the Greeks were coming near the wall, resting their shields upon their shoulders. But Hector his destructive fate fettered to remain there, before Ilium and the Scæan gates. And Phœbus Apollo thus addressed the son of Peleus:
"Why, O son of Peleus, dost thou pursue me, an immortal god, with swift feet, thyself being a mortal? Nor yet hast thou at all discovered that I am a god; but thou incessantly ragest. For certainly the labour of the Trojans is not now a care to thee, whom thou hast routed, and who are now enclosed within their city, while thou art turned aside hither. Neither canst thou slay me, since I am not mortal."
But him swift-footed Achilles, greatly indignant, 695 addressed:
Footnote 695: (return) Milton, P.L. ii. 708:--
--"On th' other side
Incensed with indignation Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burn'd,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war."
"Thou hast injured me, O Far-darter, most destructive of all gods, having now turned me away hither from the wall; certainly many had now seized the earth with their teeth, before they had arrived at Ilium. But now hast thou deprived me of great glory, and hast preserved them easily, for thou didst not at all dread vengeance after. Certainly I would punish thee, if the power at least were mine."
Thus saying, he went towards the city greatly elate, hastening like a steed which bears away the prize, with his chariot, which striving hard, runs swiftly over the plain. So Achilles briskly moved his feet and his knees.
But him aged Priam first beheld with his eyes, rushing over the plain, all shining like a star which rises in autumn; and its resplendent rays shine among many stars in the depth of the night, which by name they call the dog of Orion. Very bright indeed is this, but it is a baleful sign, and brings violent heat upon miserable mortals. So shone the brass round the breast of him running. But the old man groaned, and smote his head with his hands, raising them on high, 696 and, groaning, he cried out greatly, supplicating his dear son. But he stood before the Scæan gates, insatiably eager to fight with Achilles; but the old man piteously addressed him, stretching out his hands:
Footnote 696: (return) On this gesture of grief, see Gorius, Monum. Columb. p. 12.
"O Hector, do not, my beloved son, await this man alone, without others; lest that thou shouldst speedily draw on fate, subdued by the son of Peleus; since he is much more powerful. Cruel! would that he were [only] as dear to the gods as he is to me; quickly then would the dogs and vultures devour him lying low; surely sad grief would then depart from my heart. He who has made me deprived of many and brave sons, slaying, and selling them into far-distant islands. For even now the Trojans being shut up in the city, I cannot see my two sons, Lycaon and Polydorus, whom Laothoë bore to me, queen among women. But if indeed they live at the camp, surely we will afterwards redeem them with brass and with gold; for it is within; for aged Altes, renowned by fame, gave many things to his daughter. But if they are already dead, and in the mansions of Hades, grief will be to my soul, and to their mother, we who gave them birth. But to the other people the grief will be shorter, if thou shouldst not die, subdued by Achilles. But come inside the wall, O my son, that thou mayest save the Trojan men and women, nor afford great glory to the son of Peleus, and thou thyself be deprived of thy dear life. Moreover, pity me, wretched, yet still preserving my senses, 697 unhappy, whom the Saturnian sire will destroy by grievous fate, upon the threshold of old age, having seen many evils, 698 my sons slain, my daughters dragged captives, their chambers plundered, and my infant children dashed upon the earth in dire hostility, and my daughters-in-law torn away by the pernicious hands of the Greeks. And myself perhaps the last--the raw-devouring dogs, whom I have nourished in my palaces, the attendants of my table, the guards of my portals, will tear at the entrance of the gates, 699 after some one, having stricken or wounded me with the sharp brass, shall take away my soul from my limbs; and who, drinking my blood, will lie in the porch, infuriated in mind. To a young man, indeed, slain in battle, lacerated with the sharp brass, it is altogether becoming to lie, for all things are honourable to him dead, whatever may appear; but when dogs dishonour the grey head, the hoary beard, and privy members of an old man slain, that is indeed most pitiable among wretched mortals."
Footnote 697: (return) I.e. alive. Cf. xxiii.
Footnote 698: (return) On the proverbial woes of Priam, cf. Aristotle Eth. i. 9, 10; and Ennius, fragm. Andromach. p. 236--9, with the notes of Columna, ed. Hessel.
Footnote 699: (return) Cf. Virg. Æn. ii. 550, sqq., who has imitated this passage in his description of the death of Priam.
The old man spoke, and tore out the hoary locks with his hands, plucking them from his head; nor did he persuade the mind of Hector. But his mother, then on the other side, wailing, shed tears, laying bare her bosom, whilst with the other hand she laid forth her breast; and shedding tears, addressed to him winged words: "Ο Hector, my son, reverence these things, and pity me myself. If ever I afforded thee the grief-lulling breast, remember these things, O dear son; and being within the wall, repel [this] hostile man; nor stand a foremost adversary to him. Wretched one! for if he shall slay thee, neither shall I mourn thee on the couch, my dear offspring, whom I myself brought forth, nor will thy rich-dowered wife; but far away from us both, the swift dogs will devour thee at the ships of the Greeks."
Thus weeping, they twain addressed their dear son, supplicating him much; nor did they persuade the mind of Hector; but he awaited huge Achilles, coming near. And as a fierce serpent at its den, fed on evil poisons, awaits 700 a man, but direful rage enters it, and it glares horribly, coiling itself around its den; so Hector, possessing inextinguishable courage, retired not, leaning his splendid shield against a projecting tower; but, indignant, he thus addressed his own great-hearted soul: 701
"Ah me, if indeed I enter the gates and the wall, Polydamas will first cast reproach upon me, 702 he who advised me to lead the Trojans towards the city in this disastrous night, when noble Achilles arose to battle. But I did not obey; certainly it would have been much better. And now, since by my injurious obstinacy I have destroyed the people, I fear the Trojan men, and the long-robed Trojan women, lest some one inferior to me should say, 'Hector, relying on his own strength, has destroyed the people.' Thus will they say; but it would have been far better for me, slaying Achilles in the encounter, 703 to return, or gloriously to be slain by him for the city. But if now I shall lay down my bossed shield and stout helmet, and, resting my spear against the wall, I myself going, shall come before renowned Achilles, and promise that we will give to the Atrides to lead away Helen, and all the numerous possessions along with her, whatever Paris brought to Troy in his hollow barks, and who was the origin of the contention, and at the same time that we will divide others, as many as this city contains, among the Greeks,--but again I should exact an oath from the elders of the Trojans, 704 that they would conceal nothing, but divide all things into two portions, whatever treasure this delightful city contains within it. Yet why does my soul discuss such things? [I dread] lest I, going, should reach him, but he pity me not, nor at all respect me, but slay me, being thus naked, as a woman, after I have put off my armour. Nor, indeed, is it now allowed to converse with him from an oak, or from a rock, as a virgin and a youth; a virgin and youth converse with one another. But it is better to engage him in strife; that as soon as possible we may know to which, indeed, the Olympian [Jove] will give glory."
Footnote 700: (return) Hesych. χειά' ή κατάδυσις των οφεων και δρακόντων.
Footnote 701: (return) Milton, P.L. νi. III:--
"Abdiel that sight endured not, where he stood
Among the mightiest, bent on highest deeds,
And thus his own undaunted heart explores."
Footnote 702: (return) Cf. Aristot. Eth. iii. 8, and Casaub. on Pers. Sat. i. 4. "Ne mihi Polydamas, et Troiades Labeonem Prætulerint."
Footnote 703: (return) Αντην.
Footnote 704: (return) This is perhaps the easiest way of expressing γερούσιον öορκον. It means an oath to be solemnly kept, an oath to which the elders might with propriety pledge themselves.
Thus he pondered, remaining; but near him came Achilles, like unto the helmet-shaking warrior, Mars, brandishing upon his right shoulder the dreadful Pelian ash; but the brass shone around, like unto the splendour either of a blazing fire, or of the rising sun. Then, as tremor seized Hector, he perceived him, nor could he remain there any longer, but he left the gates behind him, and fled affrighted; but the son of Peleus rushed on, trusting to his swift feet. As a falcon in the mountains, the swiftest of birds, easily dashes after a timid pigeon; she, indeed, flies away obliquely; but he, close at hand, shrilly screaming, frequently assails, and his spirit orders him to seize her: thus, eager, he flew right on; but Hector fled in terror under the wall of the Trojans, and moved his fleet limbs. Then they rushed by the prospect-ground and the wind-waving fig-tree, always under the wall along the public way, and reached the two fair-flowing springs, where the two springs of the eddying Scamander rise. The one, indeed, flows with tepid water, and a steam arises from it around, as of burning fire; whilst the other flows forth in the summer time, like unto hail, or cold snow, or ice from water. There, at them, are the wide, handsome stone basins, where the wives and fair daughters of the Trojans used to wash their splendid garments formerly in time of peace, before the sons of the Greeks arrived. In this direction they ran past [the one] flying, but the other pursuing from behind. A brave man, indeed, fled before, but a much braver swiftly pursued him; since they did not seek to obtain a victim or a bull's hide, such as are the rewards of men for speed, but they ran for the life of horse-breaking Hector. And as when prize-winning 705 solid-hoofed steeds ran very swiftly round the course, and a great reward is proposed, either a tripod, or a woman [in honour] of a deceased hero; so they thrice made the circuit of the city of Priam with their swift feet: and all the gods beheld. Then to them the father of men and gods commenced an address:
Footnote 705: (return) I.e. race horses.
"Alas! certainly I behold with mine eyes a beloved hero pursued round the wall; and my heart is grieved on account of Hector, who has sacrificed many thighs of oxen to me, upon the tops of many-valed Ida, and at other times again in the highest [places of] the city; but now, indeed, noble Achilles pursues him, on swift feet, around the city of Priam. But come, deliberate, O ye gods, and consider, whether we shall preserve him from death, or shall subdue him now, being brave [at the hands of] Achilles, the son of Peleus."
But him the blue-eyed goddess Minerva then addressed:
"O father, hurler of the white thunder, [collector] of dark clouds, what a word hast thou spoken! Dost thou wish to liberate from sad death a man, being mortal, long ago destined to fate? Do it: but all we, the other gods, will not assent to thee."
Her, then, the cloud-compelling Jupiter, answering, addressed: "Take courage, Tritonia, beloved child: I by no means speak with serious mind, but I wish to be mild to thee. Do as is the inclination, nor delay at all."
Thus speaking, he incited Minerva, already prepared; and, springing forth, she descended down from the heights of Olympus.
But swift Achilles pursued Hector, incessantly pressing upon him. And as when a dog pursues the fawn of a deer in the mountains, having roused it from its lair, through both glens and thickets; and, although panic-stricken, it crouches down beneath a brake; yet tracking it, he runs continually on until he finds it; so Hector eluded not the swift-footed son of Peleus. As often as he would rush against the Dardanian gates, towards under the well-built towers, if perchance they might aid him with missile weapons from above, so often, previously anticipating him, he turned him away towards the plain; whilst he himself always flew on the side of the city. And as in a dream one cannot pursue a fugitive; neither can the one escape the other, nor the other pursue: so the one could not overtake the other in his speed, nor the other escape him. But how, then, could Hector have escaped the fates of death, if Apollo had not, for the very last time, met him, who aroused for him his courage and swift knees? But noble Achilles nodded to the people with his head, nor permitted them to cast their bitter weapons at Hector, lest some one, wounding him, should obtain the glory, and he himself come second. But when for the fourth time they arrived at the fountains, then, indeed, the Sire raised aloft his golden scales, and placed in them the two fates of death, bearing long sleep, this of Achilles, but that of horse-breaking Hector. Holding them by the middle, he poised them, and the fatal day of Hector inclined and sunk to Hades; but Phœbus Apollo left him.
Then the blue-eyed goddess Minerva approached the son of Peleus, and, standing near, addressed to him winged words:
"Now, O illustrious Achilles, dear to Jove, I hope that we two shall bear back great glory to the Greeks at the ships, having slain Hector, although being insatiate of war. Now, certainly, it is no longer possible for him to escape us, not even if far-darting Apollo should toil much, throwing himself at the feet of the ægis-bearing father Jove. But do thou now stand and revive; but I, approaching with thee, will persuade him to engage thee face to face."
Thus spoke Minerva; but he obeyed, and rejoiced in his mind; and stood, leaning upon his ashen, brass-pointed spear. But she then left him, and overtook noble Hector, likening herself to Deïphobus, unwearied in her body and voice; and, standing near, she addressed to him winged words: "O brother dear, certainly swift Achilles now greatly presses on thee, pursuing thee with rapid feet round the city of Priam. But come now, let us stand, and, awaiting, repulse him."
But her mighty crest-tossing Hector in turn addressed:
"Deïphobus, surely thou wert ever before by far the dearest to me of my brothers, the sons whom Hecuba and Priam produced. But now I think in my mind that I honour thee still more, since thou hast dared for my sake, when thou dost behold [me] with thine eyes, to come out of the city; while others remain within."
But him the azure-eyed goddess Minerva in turn addressed:
"My brother dear, my father and venerable mother indeed greatly supplicated me, by turn embracing my knees and my companions around, to remain there (so much do all tremble with fear); but my mind within was harassed with sad grief. But now let us forthwith eagerly engage, nor let there any longer be a sparing of our spears, that we may know whether Achilles, having slain us both, shall bear our bloody spoils to the hollow barks, or be subdued by thy spear."
Thus having spoken, Minerva also with deception led on. But when they were near advancing towards each other, him mighty crest-tossing Hector first addressed:
"No longer, O son of Peleus, will I fly thee as before. Thrice have I fled round the great city of Priam, nor ever dared to await thee coming on; but now my mind urges me to stand against thee: certainly I shall slay, or be slain. But come, let us attest the gods; for they will be the best witnesses and observers of agreements. For neither will I cruelly insult thee, if indeed Jove shall give me the victory, and I take away thy life; but after I shall despoil thy beautiful armour, O Achilles, I will give back thy body to the Greeks; and so also do thou."
But him swift-footed Achilles sternly regarding, addressed:
"Talk not to me of covenants, O most cursed Hector. As there are not faithful leagues between lions and men, nor yet have wolves and lambs an according mind, 706 but ever meditate evils against each other; so it is not possible for thee and me to contract a friendship, nor shall there at all be leagues between us,--first shall one, falling, satiate the invincible warrior Mars with his blood. Call to mind all thy valour; now it is very necessary for thee to be both a spearman and a daring warrior. Nor is there any longer any escape for thee, for Pallas Minerva at once subdues thee beneath my spear, and thou shalt now pay for all the accumulated sorrows of my companions, whom thou hast slain, raging with the spear."
Footnote 706: (return) See Duport, p. 127; and cf. Hor. Epod. iv. 1.
He spoke, and brandishing it, sent forth his long-shadowed spear, and illustrious Hector, seeing it opposite, avoided it; for, looking before him, he sunk down, and the brazen spear passed over him, and was fixed in the earth. But Pallas Minerva plucked it out, and gave it back to Achilles, and escaped the notice of Hector, the shepherd of the people. Then Hector addressed the illustrious son of Peleus:
"Thou hast erred, O godlike Achilles, nor art thou yet acquainted with my fate from Jove; certainly thou didst say so, but thou art a prater, and very subtle in words, in order that, dreading thee, I may be forgetful of my strength and courage. But not in my back, whilst flying, shalt thou thrust thy spear, but shalt drive it through my breast, rushing right on, if God grants this to thee. But now in turn avoid my brazen spear! would that thou mightst now receive it all in thy body. Then truly would the war become lighter to the Trojans, thou being slain; for thou art the greatest bane to them."
He spoke, and, brandishing, sent forth his long-shadowed spear, and struck the centre of Pelides' shield, nor missed; but the spear was repelled far away from the shield. But Hector was enraged because his swift weapon had fled in vain from his hand; and stood dejected, for he had not another ashen spear. Then he called upon the white-shielded Deïphobus, greatly shouting, [and] he asked him for a long spear; but he was not near him; and Hector perceived in his mind, and said:
"Alas! without doubt, now the gods have summoned me to death. For I indeed thought the hero Deïphobus was by my side; but he is within the wall, and Minerva has deceived me. But now is evil death near me, nor far away, neither is there escape. Certainly this long since was more agreeable to Jove and to the far-darting son of Jove, who formerly, propitious, preserved me; but now, on the contrary, Fate overtakes me. Nevertheless I will not perish cowardly and ingloriously at least, but having done some great deed to be heard of even by posterity."
Thus having spoken, he drew his sharp sword, which hung below his loins, both huge and strong, and, with collected might, rushed forward, like a lofty-soaring eagle, which swoops to the plain through the gloomy clouds, about to snatch either a tender lamb, or a timid hare; thus Hector rushed forward, brandishing his sharp sword. Achilles also rushed on, and filled his soul with fierce rage. He sheltered his breast in front with his shield, beautiful, curiously wrought and nodded with his shining helmet, four-coned; but the beautiful golden tufts, which Vulcan had diffused in great abundance round the cone, were shaken. As the star Hesperus, which is placed the brightest star in heaven, 707 proceeds amongst other stars in the unseasonable time of night, so it shone from the well-sharpened spear which Achilles, designing mischief to noble Hector, brandished in his right hand, eyeing his fair person, where it would best yield. But the beautiful brazen armour, of which he had despoiled great Patroclus, having slain him, covered the rest of his body so much; yet did there appear [a part] where the collar-bones separate the neck from the shoulders, and where the destruction of life is most speedy. There noble Achilles, eager, drove into him with the spear, and the point went out quite through his tender neck. However the ash, heavy with brass, did not cut away the windpipe, so that, answering in words, he could address him. But he fell in the dust, and noble Achilles vaunted over him:
"Hector, thou didst once suppose, when spoiling Patroclus, that thou be safe, nor dreaded me, being absent. Fool! for I apart, a much braver avenger of him, was left behind at the hollow ships, I who have relaxed thy knees. The dogs, indeed, and birds shall dishonourably tear thee, but the Greeks shall perform his funeral rites."
But him crest-tossing Hector, growing languid, then addressed:
"I supplicate thee by thy soul, thy knees, thy parents, suffer not the dogs to tear me at the ships of the Greeks; but do thou indeed receive brass in abundance, and gold, which my father and venerable mother will give thee; and send my body home, that the Trojans and wives of the Trojans may make me, dead, partaker of a funeral pyre." 708
Footnote 707: (return) Milton, P.L. v. 166:--
"Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn."
Footnote 708: (return) Cf. Æn. x. 903; xii. 930, sqq.
But him swift-footed Achilles, sternly regarding, addressed;
"Dog, supplicate me not by my knees, nor by my parents; for would that my might and mind in any manner urge me myself, tearing thy raw flesh to pieces, to devour it, such things hast thou done to me. So that there is not any one who can drive away the dogs from thy head, not even if they should place ten-fold and twenty-times such ransoms, bringing them hither, and even promise others; not even if Dardanian Priam should wish to compensate for thee with gold: 709 not even thus shall thy venerable mother lament [thee] whom she has borne, having laid thee upon a bier, but dogs and fowl shall entirely tear thee in pieces."
But him crest-tossing Hector, dying, addressed:
"Surely well knowing thee, I foresaw this, nor was I destined to persuade thee; for truly within thee there is an iron soul. Reflect now, lest to thee I be some cause of the wrath of the gods, on that day when Paris and Phœbus Apollo 710 shall kill thee, though being brave, at the Scæan gates."
As he spoke thus, the end of death overshadowed him; and his soul flying from his limbs, descended to Hades, bewailing its destiny, relinquishing vigour and youth. But him, although dead, noble Achilles addressed:
"Die: but I will then receive my fate whensoever Jove may please to accomplish it, 711 and the other immortal gods."
He spoke, and plucked the spear from the corpse; and then laid it aside, but he spoiled the bloody armour from his shoulders. But the other sons of the Greeks ran round, who also admired the stature and wondrous form, of Hector; 712 nor did any stand by without inflicting a wound. And thus would some one say, looking to his neighbour: "Oh, strange! surely Hector is now much more gentle to be touched, than when he burned the ships with glowing fire."
Footnote 709: (return) I.e. to give thy weight in gold. Theognis, 77: ιστὸς ἀνὴρ χρυσοῦ τε καὶ άργύρου άντερύσασθαι Ἄξιος.
Footnote 710: (return) Grote, vol. i. p. 406, observes: "After routing the Trojans, and chasing them into the town, Achilles was slain near the Skæan gate by an arrow from the quiver of Paris, directed under the unerring auspices of Apollo," referring to Soph. Phil. 334; Virg. Æn. vi. 56.
Footnote 711: (return) "I have conversed with some men who rejoiced in the death or calamity of others, and accounted it as a judgment upon them for being on the other side, and against them in the contention: but within the revolution of a few months, the same man met with a more uneasy and unhandsome death; which when I saw, I wept, and was afraid; for I knew that it must be so with all men; for we also die, and end our quarrels and contentions by passing to a final sentence."--Taylor, Holy Dying, i. p. 305, ed. Bohn.
Footnote 712: (return) Herodot. ix. 25: Ὁ δὲ νεκρὸς ἔην θέης ἄξιος μεγάθεος εἵνεκα κα κάλλεος.
Thus would some one say, and, standing by, would wound him. But swift-footed Achilles, after he had despoiled him, standing amongst the Greeks, spoke winged words:
"O friends, leaders and princes of the Greeks, since the gods have granted us to subdue this hero, he who did as many mischiefs, as did not all the others together; come! let us make trial round the city with our arms, that we may learn concerning the Trojans, what mind they have; whether they are about to desert the citadel, he being slain, or intend to remain, Hector being no more. But why does my mind within me deliberate these things? Patroclus lies at the ships, an unwept, unburied corse; and him I shall never forget, as long as I am amongst the living, and my dear knees move for me; and though they forget the dead in Hades, yet will I remember my beloved comrade even there. But come now, ye youths of the Greeks, singing a pæan, 713 let us return to the hollow ships, and let us bring him; we bear back great glory: we have slain noble Hector, whom the Trojans, throughout the city, worshipped as a god."
He spoke, and was meditating unseemly deeds against noble Hector. He perforated the tendons of both his feet behind, from the heel to the instep, and fastened in them leather thongs, and bound him from the chariot; but left his head to be trailed along. Then ascending his chariot, and taking up the splendid armour, he lashed (the horses) to go on, and they, not unwilling, flew. But the dust arose from him while trailed along, and his azure locks around approached [the ground], 714 and his entire head, once graceful, lay in the dust; for Jupiter had then granted to his enemies, to dishonour him in his own father-land. Thus indeed his whole head was denied with dust; but his mother plucked out her hair, and cast away her shining veil, and wept very loudly, having beheld her son. And his dear father groaned piteously, and all the people around were occupied in wailing and lamentation through the city; and it was very like to this, as if all Ilium, from its summit, were smouldering in fire. With difficulty indeed did the people detain the old man, indignant with grief anxious to rush out from the Dardanian gates: for rolling in the mud, he was supplicating all, addressing each man by name:
Footnote 713: (return) "This hymn consisted in a repetition, cf. v. 393, 4, which Quintus Smyrnæus has imitated in Ιδ. 117, and Abronius Silo translated ap. Senec. Suas. c. 2. The most ancient hymn of this kind on record is that in the first book of Samuel, xviii. 7."--Kennedy.
Footnote 714: (return) Supply οὔδει or κονίη.
"Desist, my friends, and permit me alone, grieved as I am, going out of the city, to approach the ships of the Greeks. I will supplicate this reckless, violent man, if perchance he may respect my time of life, and have compassion on my old age; for such is his father Peleus to him, he who begat and nurtured him a destruction to the Trojans; but particularly to me above all has he caused sorrows. For so many blooming youths has he slain to me, for all of whom I do not lament so much, although grieved, as for this one, Hector, keen grief for whom will bear me down even into Hades. 715 Would that he had died in my hands; for thus we should have been satisfied, weeping and lamenting, both his unhappy mother who bore him, and I myself." Thus he spoke, weeping, but the citizens also groaned. But among the Trojan dames, Hecuba began her continued lamentation:
Footnote 715: (return) "Then shall ye bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave." --Genes, xlii. 38
"O my son, why do wretched I live, having suffered grievous things, thou being dead? Thou who by night and day wast my boast throughout the town, and an advantage to the Trojan men and women throughout the city, who received thee as a god. For assuredly thou wast a very great glory to them when alive now, on the contrary, death and fate possess thee."
Thus she spoke, weeping; but the wife of Hector had not yet learned anything: no certain messenger going, informed her that her husband had remained without the gates; but she was weaving a web in a retired part of her lofty house; double, splendid, and was spreading on it various painted works. 716 And she had ordered her fair-haired attendants through the palace, to place a large tripod on the fire, that there might be a warm bath for Hector, returning from the battle. Foolish! nor knew she that, far away from baths, azure-eyed Minerva had subdued him by the hands of Achilles. But she heard the shriek and wailing from the tower, and her limbs were shaken, and the shuttle fell from her to the ground; and immediately she addressed her fair-haired attendants:
Footnote 716: (return) οικίλματα is similarly used in vi. 294.
"Come hither, let two follow me, that I may see what deeds have been done. I heard the voice of my venerable mother-in-law, and to myself the heart within my breast leaps up to my mouth, and the limbs under me are benumbed. Surely some evil is now near the sons of Priam. O that the word may be [far] from my ear! I dread lest brave Achilles, having already cut off noble Hector alone from the city, may drive him towards the plain, and even now have made him desist from the fatal valour which possessed him; for he never remained among the throng of warriors, but leaped out far before, yielding in his valour to none."
Thus having spoken, she rushed through the palace like unto one deranged, greatly palpitating in heart; and her attendants went along with her. But when she reached the tower and the crowd of men, she stood looking round over the wall, and beheld him dragged before the city; but the fleet steeds drew him ruthlessly towards the ships of the Greeks. Then gloomy night veiled her over her eyes, and she fell backwards, and breathed out her soul in a swoon. But from her head fell the beautiful head-gear, the garland, the net, and the twisted fillet, and the veil which golden Venus had given to her on that day when crest-tossing Hector led her from the palace of Eëtion, after he had presented many marriage-gifts. Around her in great numbers stood her sisters-in-law and sisters, who supported her amongst them, seized with stupor unto death. 717 But when she again revived, and her soul was collected in her breast, sobbing at intervals, she spoke among the Trojan dames:
Footnote 717: (return) See Kennedy: ὥστε is to be understood before ἀπολέσθαι.
"Hector, O wretched me! then we were both born to a like fate, thou indeed in Troy, in the mansion of Priam, but I in Thebe, beneath woody Placus, in the palace of Eëtion; who, himself ill-fated, reared me, ill-fated, being yet a little child;--would that he had not begotten me! Now, however, thou goest to the mansions of Hades beneath the recesses of the earth, but leavest me, in hateful grief, a widow in the dwelling; and thy boy, yet such an infant, to whom thou and I unfortunate gave birth; nor wilt thou be an advantage to him, O Hector, for thou art dead; nor he to thee. For even if he shall escape the mournful war of the Greeks, still will labour and hardship ever be to him hereafter; for others will deprive him of his fields by changing the landmarks. But the bereaving day renders a boy destitute of his contemporaries; he is ever dejected, and his cheeks are bedewed with tears. The boy in want shall go to the companions of his father, pulling one by the cloak, another by the tunic; and some of these pitying, shall present him with a very small cup; and he shall moisten his lips, but not wet his palate. Him also some one, enjoying both [parents], 718 shall push away from the banquet, striking him with his hands, and reviling him with reproaches: 'A murrain on thee! even thy father feasts not with us.' Then shall the boy Astyanax return weeping to his widowed mother,--he who formerly, indeed, upon the knees of his own father, ate marrow alone, and the rich fat of sheep; but when sleep came upon him, and he ceased childishly crying, used to sleep on couches in the arms of a nurse, in a soft bed, full as to his heart with delicacies. But now, indeed, Astyanax, 719 whom the Trojans call by surname (because thou alone didst defend their gates and lofty walls for them), shall suffer many things, missing his dear father. But now shall the crawling worms devour thee, naked, at the curved ships, far away from thy parents, after the dogs shall have satiated themselves: but thy robes, fine and graceful, woven by the hands of women, lie in thy palaces. Truly all these will I consume with burning fire, being of no use to thee, for thou wilt not lie on them; but let them be a glory [to thee] before the Trojans and the Trojan dames."
Thus she spoke, weeping, and the females also mourned.
Footnote 718: (return) Ἀμφιθαλὴς παῖς ὸ ἀμφοτέρωθεν θάλλων, ἤγουν ᾦ ἄμφω οὶ γovεῖς περίεισι.
Footnote 719: (return) Playing on the signification of the name,--"king of the city." This piece of twaddle has not been omitted by Plato in his ridiculous Cratylus.