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Then Atalanta's son, who was not an Argive but an Arcadian, hurling himself like a hurricane at the gates, called for fire and picks to raze the town; but Periclymenus, son of the ocean-god, stayed his wild career, heaving on his head a wagon-load of stone, the coping from the battlements; and it shattered his head with yellow hair and crashed through the seams of the skull, dabbling with blood his fresh cheek; and he will never go back alive to his mother with her lovely bow, the maid of Mae
is head toward Olympus, his blood toward earth, while his legs and arms went spinning round like Ixion's wheel] he was hurled, spinnning; his burning corpse fell to the ground.
But when Adrastus saw that Zeus was hostile to his army, he drew the Argive troops outside the trench. Meanwhile our armed cavalry, seeing the lucky omen of Zeus before us, were driving forth their chariots, and the armed men charged with spears into the middle of the Argives, and all troubles happened at once: men were
At once, the two sons of the old Oedipus were hiding themselves in bronze armor; and lords of Thebes with friendly care equipped the captain of this land, while Argive chieftains armed the other. There they stood dazzling, nor were they pale, all eagerness to hurl their lances at each other. Then their friends came to their sides first one, then another, with words of encouragement, saying: “Polyneices, it rests with you to set up an image of Zeus as a trophy and crown Argos with fair renown.” Others to Eteocles: “Now you are fighting for your city; now, if victorious, you have the scepter in your power.” So they spoke, cheering them to the battle. The seers were sacrificing sheep and noting the tongues and forks of fire, the damp reek which is a bad omen, and the tapering flame which gives decisions on two points, being both a sign of victory and defeat. But, if you have any power or subtle speech or charmed spell, go, restrain your children from this terrible combat, for great
Eteocles, in kicking aside a stone that rolled beneath his tread, exposed a limb outside his shield, and Polyneices, seeing a chance of dealing him a blow, aimed at it, and the Argive shaft passed through his leg; the Danaid army, one and all, cried out for joy. And the wounded man, seeing Polyneices' shoulder bare in this effort, plunged his spear with all his might into his breast, restoring gladness to the citizens of Thebes, though he broke off the spear-head. And so, at a loss for a weapon, he retreated step by step, till catching up a splintered rock he let it fly and broke the other's spear in the middle; and now the combat was equal, for each had lost his lance. Then clutching their sword-hilts they closed, and round and round, with shields clashing, they fought a wild battle. And Eteocles introduced the crafty Thessalian trick, having some knowledge of it from his association with that country. Disengaging himself from the immediate contest, he drew back his left foot but
Chorus O Ares, god of much suffering! Why, why are you possessed by a love of blood and death, out of harmony with the festivals of Bromius? Not for young girls crowned in the lovely dance do you toss your curls, singing to the flute's breath a song to charm the dancers' feet; no, with warriors clad in armor you inspire the Argive army with a lust for Theban blood, leading your revels that are held without music. Nor do you rush with wild waving of the thyrsus, clad in fawnskin, but with chariots and horses you go to the waters of Ismenus, inspiring the Argives with hatred for the Spartans, arraying in bronze armor against these stone-built walls a band of warriors and their shields. Truly Strife is a goddess to fear, who devised these troubles for the princes of this land, for the much-suffering sons of Labdacus.