Abbildungen der Seite


(From the "Iliad": translated by W. E. Aytoun.)

[WILLIAM EDMONSTOUNE AYTOUN, Scotch poet, man of letters, and humorist, was born in 1813 and died in 1865. He was son-in-law of John Wilson; one of the editors of Blackwood's, and professor of rhetoric and belles-lettres in the University of Edinburgh. He is best remembered by the "Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers" and the "Bon Gaultier Ballads."]

PRONE he fell, and thus Achilles triumphed o'er his fallen foe: :"So thou thoughtest, haughty Hector, when thou didst Patroclus slay,

That no vengeance should o'ertake thee, and that I was far away! Fool! a stronger far was lying at the hollow ships that dayAn avenger who hath made thee his dear blood with thine repay; I was left, and I have smote thee. To the ravenous hounds and kites

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Art thou destined, whilst thy victim shall receive the funeral rites! Him thus answered helmèd Hector, and his words were faint and slow:

"By thy soul, thy knees, thy parents- let them not entreat me so!
Suffer not the dogs to rend me by the vessels on the shore,
But accept the gold and treasure sent to thee in ample store
By my father and my mother. O, give back my body, then,
That the funeral rites may grace it, offered by my countrymen!"

Then the swift Achilles, sternly glancing, answered him again :"Speak not of my knees or parents-dog! thou dost implore in vain;

For I would my rage and hatred could so far transport me on,
That I might myself devour thee, for the murders thou hast done:
Therefore know that from thy carcass none shall drive the dogs


Not although thy wretched parents ten and twenty ransoms pay, And should promise others also- not though Dardan Priam brought Gold enough to weigh thee over, shall thy worthless corpse be bought: Never shall thy aged mother, of her eldest hope bereft,

Mourn above thee to the mercies of the dog and vulture left!"

Then the helmèd Hector, dying, once again essayed to speak:""Tis but what my heart foretold me of thy nature, ruthless Greek! Vain indeed is my entreaty, for thou hast an iron heart! Yet bethink thee for a moment, lest the gods should take my part, When Apollo and my brother Paris shall avenge my fate, Stretching thee, thou mighty warrior, dead before the Scæan gate!" Scarcely had the hero spoken, ere his eyes were fixed in death, And his soul, the body leaving, glided to the shades beneath;

Its hard fate lamenting sorely, from so fair a mansion fled;
And the noble chief Achilles spoke again above the dead :—


"Meanwhile, die thou! I am ready, when 'tis Jove's eternal will, And the other heavenly deities, their appointment to fulfil." This he said, and tore the weapon from the body where it lay, Flung it down, and stooping o'er him, rent the bloody spoils away: And the other Grecian warriors crowded round the fatal place, Hector's noble form admiring, and his bold and manly face; Yet so bitter was their hatred, that they gashed the senseless dead; And each soldier that beheld him, turning to his neighbor, said: "By the gods! 'tis easier matter now to handle Hector's frame, Than when we beheld him flinging on the ships devouring flame.” The wife of Hector knew Nothing of this great disaster-none had brought her tidings true, How her spouse had rashly tarried all without the city gate. Weaving of a costly garment, in an inner room she sate, With a varied wreath of blossoms broidering the double border; And unto the fair-haired maidens of her household gave she order On the fire to place a tripod, and to make the fuel burn, For a welcome bath for Hector, when from fight he should return. Hapless woman! and she knew not that from all these comforts far, Blue-eyed Pallas had subdued him, by Achilles, first in war; But she heard the voice of weeping from the turrets, and the wail And the cry of lamentation; then her limbs began to fail,

And she shook with dread all over, dropped the shuttle on the ground,

And bespoke her fair-haired maidens, as they stood in order round: "Two of ye make haste and follow - what may all this tumult mean?


Sure that cry of bitter anguish came from Hecuba the queen.
Wildly leaps my heart within me, and my limbs are faint and bend-
Much I fear some dire misfortune over Priam's sons impending:
Would to heaven my words were folly; yet my terror I must own,
Lest Achilles, having hasted 'twixt my Hector and the town,
O'er the open plain hath chased him, all alone and sore distressed -
Lest his hot and fiery valor should at last be laid to rest;
For amidst the throng of warriors never yet made Hector one
Onward still he rushed before them, yielding in his pride to none."
Thus she spoke, and like a Mænad frantic through the halls she

Wildly beat her heart within her and her maidens followed too.
Oh! but when she reached the turret, and the crowd were forced

How she gazed! and oh, how dreadful was the sight she there


Hector dragged before the city; and the steeds with hasty tramp, Hurling him, in foul dishonor, to the sea-beat Grecian camp. Darkness fell upon her vision darkness like the mist of death Nerveless sank her limbs beneath her, and her bosom ceased to breathe.



All the ornamental tissue dropped from her wild streaming hair,
Both the garland, and the fillet, and the veil, so wondrous fair,
Which the golden Venus gave her on that well-remembered day
When the battle-hasting Hector led her as his bride away
From the palace of Aëtion-noble marriage gifts were they!
Thronging round her came her sisters, and her kindred held her fast,
For she called on death to free her, ere that frantic fit was past.
When the agony was over, and her mind again had found her,
Thus she faltered, deeply sobbing, to the Trojan matrons round

"Oh, my Hector! me unhappy! equal destinies were ours; Born, alas! to equal fortunes -thou in Priam's ancient towers, I in Thebes, Aëtion's dwelling in the woody Poplacus. Hapless father! hapless daughter! better had it been for us That he never had begot me - doomed to evil from my birth. Thou art gone to Hades, husband, far below the caves of earth, And thou leavest me a widow in thy empty halls to mourn, And thy son an orphan infant-better had he ne'er been born! Thou wilt never help him, Hector thou canst never cheer thy boy, Nor can he unto his father be a comfort and a joy!

[ocr errors]

Even though this war that wastes us pass away and harm him not,
Toil and sorrow, never ending, still must be his future lot.
Others will remove his landmarks, and will take his fields away,
Neither friend nor comrade left him by this orphan-making day;
And he looks so sad already, and his cheeks are wet with tears!
Then the boy in want shall wander to his father's old compeers,
Grasping by the cloak one warrior, and another by the vest;
Then perhaps some one amongst them, less forgetful than the rest,
Shall bestow a cup upon him—yet that cup shall be so small
That his lips will scarce be moistened, nor his thirst assuaged at

Then shall some one, blessed with parents, thrust him rudely from

the hall,

Loading him with blows and scorning, which perforce the boy must


Saying, 'Get thee gone, thou beggar! lo, thy father feasts not here!'
Weeping at this harsh denial, back shall he return to me-

He, Astyanax, the infant, who upon his father's knee
Feasted on the richest marrow, and the daintiest meats that be;
Who, when slumber fell upon him, and his childish crying ceased,

Went to sleep in ease and plenty, cradled on his nurse's breast.
Now, Astyanax-the Trojans by that name the infant call;
Since 'twas thou, my Hector, only that didst keep the gates and

Many a wrong shall feel and suffer, since his father is no more.
Now the creeping worm shall waste thee, lying naked on the shore,
Neither friend nor parent near thee - when the dogs have ta'en their

and thy graceful garments lie within thy palace still;
These, the skillful work of women, all to ashes I will burn,
For thou never more shalt wear them, and thou never canst return;
Yet the Trojans will revere them, relics of their chief so true!"
Thus she spoke in tears, and round her all the women sorrowed too.


(From the "Iliad": translated by John Gibson Lockhart.)

[JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART, Scotch poet and man of letters, was born 1794, died 1854. He became the son-in-law of Sir Walter Scott. He joined the staff of Blackwood's in 1818, and was editor of the Quarterly Review, 1826–53.] ON did the old man pass; and he entered, and found the Peleides Seated apart from his train: two only of Myrmidons trustful, Hero Automedon only, and Alkimus, sapling of Ares,

Near to him minist'ring stood; he reposed him but now from the meal-time,

Sated with food and with wine, nor removed from him yet was the table.

All unobserved of them entered the old man stately, and forthwith Grasped with his fingers the knees and was kissing the hands of Achilles

[ocr errors]

Terrible, murderous hands, by which son upon son had been slaughtered.

As when a man who has fled from his home with the curse of the


Kneels in a far-off land, at the hearth of some opulent stranger, Begging to shelter his head, there is stupor on them that behold him;

So was Achilles dumb at the sight of majestical Priam

He and his followers all, each gazing on other bewildered.
But he uplifted his voice in their silence, and made supplication:
"Think of thy father at home" (he began), "O godlike Achilles !
Him, my coeval, like me within age's calamitous threshold.
Haply this day there is trouble upon him, some insolent neighbors

Round him in arms, nor a champion at hand to avert the disaster:
Yet even so there is comfort for him, for he hears of thee living;
Day unto day there is hope for his heart amid worst tribulation,
That yet again he shall see his beloved from Troia returning.
Misery only is mine; for of all in the land of my fathers,
Bravest and best were the sons I begat, and not one is remaining.
Fifty were mine in the hour that the host of Achaia descended:
Nineteen granted to me out of one womb, royally mothered,
Stood by my side; but the rest were of handmaids born in my


Soon were the limbs of the many unstrung in the fury of Ares:
But one peerless was left, sole prop of the realm and the people;
And now at last he too, the protector of Ilion, Hector,
Dies by thy hand. For his sake have I come to the ships of Achaia,
Eager to ransom the body with bountiful gifts of redemption.
Thou have respect for the gods, and on me, O Peleides! have pity,
Calling thy father to mind; but more piteous is my desolation,
Mine, who alone of mankind have been humbled to this of endurance-
Pressing my mouth to the hand that is red with the blood of my


Hereon Achilles, awaked to a yearning remembrance of Peleus, Rose up, took by the hand, and removed from him gently the old


Sadness possessing the twain-one, mindful of valorous Hector,
Wept with o'erflowing tears, low laid at the feet of Achilles;
He, sometime for his father, anon at the thought of Patroclus,
Wept, and aloft in the dwelling their long lamentation ascended.
But when the bursting of grief had contented the godlike Peleides,
And from his heart and his limbs irresistible yearning departed,
Then from his seat rose he, and with tenderness lifted the old man,
Viewing the hoary head and the hoary beard with compassion;
And he addressed him, and these were the air-winged words that he

"Ah unhappy! thy spirit in truth has been burdened with evils. How could the daring be thine to come forth to the ships of Achaia Singly, to stand in the eyes of the man by whose weapon thy children,

Many and gallant, have died? full surely thy heart is of iron.
But now seat thee in peace, old man, and let mourning entirely
Pause for a space in our minds, although heavy on both be affliction;
For without profit and vain is the fullness of sad lamentation,
Since it was destined so of the gods for unfortunate mortals
Ever in trouble to live, but they only partake not of sorrow;
For by the threshold of Zeus two urns have their station of old time,
Whereof the one holds dolings of good, but the other of evil;

« ZurückWeiter »