τρὶς μὲν ἔπειτ᾽ ἐπόρουσε θοῷ ἀτάλαντος Ἄρηϊ
σμερδαλέα ἰάχων , τρὶς δ᾽ ἐννέα φῶτας ἔπεφνεν .
ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε δὴ τὸ τέταρτον ἐπέσσυτο δαίμονι ἶσος ,
ἔνθ᾽ ἄρα τοι Πάτροκλε φάνη βιότοιο τελευτή :
ἤντετο γάρ τοι Φοῖβος ἐνὶ κρατερῇ ὑσμίνῃ
δεινός : ὃ μὲν τὸν ἰόντα κατὰ κλόνον οὐκ ἐνόησεν ,
ἠέρι γὰρ πολλῇ κεκαλυμμένος ἀντεβόλησε :
στῆ δ᾽ ὄπιθεν , πλῆξεν δὲ μετάφρενον εὐρέε τ᾽ ὤμω
χειρὶ καταπρηνεῖ , στρεφεδίνηθεν δέ οἱ ὄσσε .
τοῦ δ᾽ ἀπὸ μὲν κρατὸς κυνέην βάλε Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων :
ἣ δὲ κυλινδομένη καναχὴν ἔχε ποσσὶν ὑφ᾽ ἵππων
αὐλῶπις τρυφάλεια , μιάνθησαν δὲ ἔθειραι
αἵματι καὶ κονίῃσι : πάρος γε μὲν οὐ θέμις ἦεν
ἱππόκομον πήληκα μιαίνεσθαι κονίῃσιν ,
ἀλλ᾽ ἀνδρὸς θείοιο κάρη χαρίεν τε μέτωπον
ῥύετ᾽ Ἀχιλλῆος : τότε δὲ Ζεὺς Ἕκτορι δῶκεν
ᾗ κεφαλῇ φορέειν , σχεδόθεν δέ οἱ ἦεν ὄλεθρος .
πᾶν δέ οἱ ἐν χείρεσσιν ἄγη δολιχόσκιον ἔγχος
βριθὺ μέγα στιβαρὸν κεκορυθμένον : αὐτὰρ ἀπ᾽ ὤμων
ἀσπὶς σὺν τελαμῶνι χαμαὶ πέσε τερμιόεσσα .
λῦσε δέ οἱ θώρηκα ἄναξ Διὸς υἱὸς Ἀπόλλων .
Three times that peer of swift Ares attacked them , shouting his dread war-cry , and each time killed nine men . But when , like a god , you charged at them again , Patroclus , then your fate loomed in sight . For Apollo [ p . 547 ] met you , terrible in combat . Apollo advanced , veiled in a dense mist , invisible to Patroclus in the tumult , stood behind him and struck him in the back with the flat of his hand . The warrior’s vision spun , as Apollo knocked the helmet from his head , sending it under the horses’ feet with a clang , and the plumes on its crest were streaked with blood and dust . The gods had never allowed it to be fouled till then , that horsehair-plumed helmet that protected the godlike brow and head of Achilles : now Zeus let Hector wear it for a while , since death was nearing him too . The long-shadowed spear , thick , heavy and strong , and tipped with bronze , in Patroclus’ hands was wholly shattered , the tasselled shield on its strap fell to the ground , and that blow from Lord Apollo , son of Zeus , had loosened the breastplate .
And thrice three heroes at each onset slew .
There ends thy glory ! there the Fates untwine
The last , black remnant of so bright a line :
Apollo dreadful stops thy middle way ;
Death calls , and heaven allows no longer day !
For lo ! the god in dusky clouds enshrined ,
Approaching dealt a staggering blow behind .
The weighty shock his neck and shoulders feel ;
His eyes flash sparkles , his stunn’d senses reel
In giddy darkness ; far to distance flung ,
His bounding helmet on the champaign rung .
Achilles’ plume is stain’d with dust and gore ;
That plume which never stoop’d to earth before ;
Long used , untouch’d , in fighting fields to shine ,
And shade the temples of the mad divine .
Jove dooms it now on Hector’s helm to nod ;
Not long — for fate pursues him , and the god .
His spear in shivers falls ; his ample shield
Drops from his arm : his baldric strows the field :
The corslet his astonish’d breast forsakes :
Loose is each joint ; each nerve with horror shakes ;
Stupid he stares , and all-assistless stands :
Such is the force of more than mortal hands !