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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 17

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Page 2

Thus he spoke, but persuaded him not; but he answering, spoke:

"Now indeed, O Jove-nurtured Menelaus, shalt thou make atonement for my brother, whom thou hast slain, and [over whom] thou speakest boastingly; and thou hast widowed his wife in the recess of her new bridal chamber, and caused accursed mourning and sorrow to his parents. Certainly I should be some alleviation of woe to them wretched, if indeed, bearing back thy head and armour, I should place them in the hands of Panthus and noble Phrontis. Nor shall the labour of valour or flight be untried or invincible any longer."

So saying, he smote [him] upon the shield equal on all sides, nor did the brass break through, for the point was bent in the stout shield: and Menelaus, the son of Atreus, next made the attack with his brazen spear, having prayed to father Jove. He smote him upon the lowest part of the gullet as he retired, and he himself forcibly impressed [the spear], relying on his strong hand; and the point went quite through his soft neck. And falling, he made a crash, and his armour rang upon him. And his locks, like unto the Graces, were bedewed with blood, and his curls, which were bound with gold and silver. And as a man rears a widely-blooming plant of olive, fair budding, in a solitary place, where water is wont to spring[549] up in abundance, and which the breezes of every wind agitate, and it buds forth with a white flower; but a wind, suddenly coming on with a mighty blast, overturns it from the furrow, and stretches it upon the earth: so the son of Panthus, Euphorbus, skilled in [the use of] the ashen spear, Menelaus, son of Atreus, when he had slain [him], spoiled of his armour. As when any mountain-nurtured lion, relying on his strength, has carried off from the pasturing herd a heifer, which is the best; but first he breaks its neck, seizing it in his strong teeth, and then tearing it in pieces, laps up the blood and all the entrails; whilst around him dogs and herdsmen shout very frequently from a distance, nor do they wish to go against him, for pale fear violently seizes them: thus the soul of no one within his breast dared to advance against glorious Menelaus. Then indeed the son of Atreus had easily borne off the celebrated arms of the son of Panthus, had not Phoebus Apollo envied him, who immediately aroused Hector, equal to fleet Mars, against him, assimilating himself to the hero Mentes, leader of the Cicones; and addressing him, he spoke winged words:

"Hector, now indeed thou art thus running, pursuing things not to be overtaken, the steeds of warlike Achilles; they indeed are difficult to be managed by mortal men, or to be driven by any other. than Achilles, whom an immortal mother bore. In the meanwhile Menelaus, the warlike son of Atreus, protecting Patroclus, has slain the bravest of the Trojans, Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, and made him cease from impetuous valour."

[Footnote 549: This perfect has much the same usage as [Greek: epenenothe], 219.]

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