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Rhapsody 16

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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ARGUMENT.

Patroclus at length obtains permission from Achilles, and enters the fight, on condition that he should return after liberating the Greeks from their immediate peril. He comes opportunely to the assistance of Ajax, routs the Trojans, and kills Sarpedon, whose body, but without the armour, is rescued by Hector and Glaucus. Forgetful of his promise to Achilles, Patroclus pursues the Trojans to their very walls. He is driven back by Apollo, but slays the charioteer of Hector, Cebriones. He is suddenly afflicted with stupor by Apollo, and dies by the hand of Hector, whose death he foretells. Hector pursues Automedon with the chariot of Achilles towards the ships.

 

Thus, then, they were fighting for the well-benched ship. But Patroclus stood beside Achilles, the shepherd of the people, shedding warm[508] tears; as a black-water fountain, which pours its sable tide down from a lofty rock. But swift-footed noble Achilles, seeing, pitied him, and addressing him, spoke winged words:

"Why weepest thou, O Patroclus, as an infant girl, who, running along with her mother, importunes to be taken up, catching her by the robe, and detains her hastening; and weeping, looks at her [mother] till she is taken up?--like unto her, O Patroclus, dost thou shed the tender tear. Dost thou bear any tidings to the Myrmidons, or to me myself? Or hast thou alone heard any news from Phthia? They say that, indeed, Menoetius, the son of Actor, still lives, and that Peleus, the son of Aeacus, lives amongst the Myrmidons: for deeply should we lament for either of them dying. Or dost thou mourn for the Greeks, because they thus perish at their hollow ships, on account of their injustice? Speak out, nor conceal it in thy mind, that we both may know."

[Footnote 508: Longus, iv. 7: [Greek: Dakrya en epi toutois Thermotera], which Mollus, referring to Homer, thus explains: "Lacrymae, quae ex magno impetu, et animi affectu quasi calido, neutiquam simulatae prosiliebant."]

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