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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 6

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Thus having said, the hero changed his brother's mind, having advised right things: but he, with his hand, thrust back the hero Adrastus from him; and him king Agamemnon smote in the belly, and he was cast supine. But the son of Atreus planting his heel upon his breast, drew out the ashen spear.

Then Nestor exhorted the Greeks, exclaiming aloud: "O friends, Grecian heroes, servants of Mars, let no one now, desirous of spoil, linger behind, that he may return bringing abundance to the ships; but let us slay the men, and afterwards at your leisure, shall ye spoil the dead bodies through the plain."

Thus having said, he aroused the might and courage of each. And then truly had the Trojans retreated into Ilium, under the influence of the Mars-beloved Greeks, conquered through their own cowardice, had not Helenus, son of Priam, by far the best of augurs, standing near, spoken these words to Aeneas and to Hector:

"Aeneas and Hector, since upon you chiefly of the Trojans and Lydians the labour devolves, because ye are the bravest for every purpose, both to fight and to take counsel, stand here, and stay the forces before the gates, running in all directions, before that, on the contrary, flying they fall into the arms of their wives, and become a triumph to the enemies. But after ye have exhorted all the phalanxes, we remaining here will fight against the Greeks, though much pressed, for necessity urges us. But Hector, do thou go to the city, and then speak to thy mother and mine; and let her, collecting together the matrons of distinction[238] into the temple of azure-eyed Minerva, on the lofty citadel, [and] having opened the doors of the sacred house with the key, let her place on the knees of fair-haired Minerva the robe which seems to her the most beautiful, and the largest in her palace, and which is much the most dear to her. And let her promise to sacrifice to that goddess in her temple twelve yearling heifers, as yet ungoaded, if she will take compassion on the city and on the wives and infant children of the Trojans: if indeed she will avert from sacred Ilium the son of Tydeus, that ferocious warrior, the dire contriver of flight: whom I declare to be the bravest of the Greeks; nor have we ever to such a degree dreaded Achilles, chiefest of men, whom they say is from a goddess: but this man rages excessively, nor can any equal him in might."

[Footnote 238: Hesych. [Greek: Geraias entimous, tus geras ti echysas].]

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