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the double resistance of belt and corslet. It draws blood, nevertheless, in a stream; and both Menelaus and Agamemnon at first fear that the wound is mortal;—
"Great Agamemnon shuddered as he saw
Two points are remarkable in this passage : first, the tenderness which Agamemnon shows towards his younger brother, even to the point of self-reproach at having allowed him to fight Paris at all, though in a quarrel which was so thoroughly his own. His expressions of grief and remorse at the thought of going home to Greece without him (which run to considerable length), though somewhat tinged with selfishness, inasmuch as he feels his own honour at stake, are much more like the feeling of a parent than of an elder brother. Again, the picture of Menelaus "shuddering" at his own wound —so sensitive to the dread of death that he apparently all but faints, until he is reassured by finding that the barb of the arrow has not really penetrated—is utterly inconsistent with our English notions of a hero. We have to bear in mind, here and elsewhere, that these Greek heroes, of whatever race we are to suppose them to be, are of an entirely different temperament to us cold and self-restrained northerns. They are highly sensitive to hodily pain, very much given to groans and tears, and very much afraid of death for themselves, however indifferent to human life in the case of others. Death, to these sensuous Greeks, was an object of dread and aversion, chiefly because it implied to their minds something like annihilation. However vivid in some passages of their poets is the description of those happy Elysian fields where the souls of heroes dwelt, the popular belief gave to the disembodied spirit but a shadowy and colourless existence. The wound is soon stanched by the aid of the skilful leech Machaon, son of jEsculapius (and therefore grandson of Apollo "the Healer"), but who is a warrior and chieftain as well as the rest, though he has placed his skill at the service of Agamemnon. The King of Men himself, as soon as his brother's hurt is tended, rushes along the lines, rousing chiefs and clansmen to avenge the treachery of the enemy. Idomeneus of Crete, Ajax the Greater and the Less, Mnestheus of Athens, Ulysses, Diomed — to all in turn he makes his passionate appeal; to some, in language which they are inclined to resent, as implying that they were disinclined for the combat. Diomed and Sthenelus he even reminds of the brave deeds of their fathers Tydeus and Capaneus in the great siege of Thebes, and stings them with the taunt, that the sons will never win the like renown. Diomed hears in silence; but the son of Capaneus inherits, with all the bravery, something of the insolence of the chief who swore that "with or without the gods " he would burn Thebes: he answers the great king in words which have yet a certain nobility in their self-assertion—
"Atrides, lie not, when thou know'st the truth;
All the leaders of the Greeks eagerly marshal their forces at the King's call Nestor's experienced counsel orders the line of battle—so well, that subsequent commanders were fain to take a lesson from it.
"In the front rank, with chariot and with horse,
THE FIRST DAY S BATTLE.
As before, while the Greek line advances in perfect silence, the Trojans make their onset with loud shouts and a clamour of discordant war-cries in many tongues. Mars animates the Trojans, Minerva the Greeks; while Fear and Panic hover over the two armies, and Strife —whom the poet describes in words which are the very echo of Solomon's proverb—" The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water "—
"With humble crest at first, anon her head,
The two armies close in battle, only embittered by the broken truce. The description is a good specimen of the poet's powers, and Lord Derby's translation is sufficiently close:—
"Then rose the mingled shonts and groans of men
* There is a parallel, probably quite unconscious and there
Then begins one of those remarkable descriptions of a series of single combats between warriors of note on either side, in which Homer delights and excels. It must be confessed that they are somewhat wearisome to a modern reader; although, as has been well observed, the details of attack and defence, wounds and death, are varied in a fashion which shows that the artist was thoroughly master of his work; and it is even said that in the physical results assigned to each particular wound he has shown no mean knowledge of anatomy. Still, the continuous catalogue of ghastly wounds and dying agonies is uncongenial with our more refined sympathies. But it was quite in harmony with the tastes of ruder days. We find the same apparent repetition of single combats in the medieval romances—notably in Mallory's King Arthur; and they were probably not the least popular portions of the tale. Even a stronger parallel case might be found in the description of a prize-fight in the columns of sporting newspapers, not so many years ago, when each particular blow and its results, up to " Round 102," were graphically described in language quite as figurative, if not so poetic, as Homer's; and found, we must suppose, a sufficient circle of readers to whom it was not only intelligible but highly interesting. The poet who recites—as we must suppose Homer to have done—must above every
fore a higher testimony to the truth of Homer's simile, in Kinglake's vivid description of the charge of Scarlett's brigade on the Russian cavalry at Balaclava: "As heard on the edge of the Chersonese, a mile and a half towards the west, the collected roar which arose from this thicket of intermixed combatants had the unity of sound which belongs to the moan of a distant sea."—Kinglake's Crimea, iv. 174.