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As two lions1on either side of a slain deer spring at one another in fury, and there is a fearful snarling and a clashing also of teeth—, [405] like vultures with crooked talons and hooked beak that fight and scream aloud on a high rock over a mountain goat or fat wild-deer which some active man has shot with an arrow from the string, and himself has wandered away elsewhere, [410] not knowing the place; but they quickly mark it and vehemently do keen battle about it—, like these they two rushed upon one another with a shout. Then Cycnus, eager to kill the son of almighty Zeus, struck upon his shield with a brazen spear, [415] but did not break the bronze; and the gift of the god saved his foe. But the son of Amphitryon, mighty Heracles, with his long spear struck Cycnus violently in the neck beneath the chin, where it was unguarded between helm and shield. And the deadly spear cut through the two sinews; [420] for the hero's full strength lighted on his foe. And Cycnus fell as an oak falls or a lofty pine that is stricken by the lurid thunderbolt of Zeus; even so he fell, and his armour adorned with bronze clashed about him. Then the stout-hearted son of Zeus let him be, [425] and himself watched for the onset of manslaying Ares: fiercely he stared, like a lion who has come upon a body and full eagerly rips the hide with his strong claws and takes away the sweet life with all speed: his dark heart is filled with rage [430] and his eyes glare fiercely, while he tears up the earth with his paws and lashes his flanks and shoulders with his tail so that no one dares to face him and go near to give battle. Even so, the son of Amphitryon, unsated of battle, stood eagerly face to face with Ares, [435] nursing courage in his heart. And Ares drew near him with grief in his heart; and they both sprang at one another with a cry. As it is when a rock shoots out from a great cliff and whirls down with long bounds, careering eagerly with a roar, and a high crag clashes with it and keeps it there where they strike together; [440] with no less clamor did deadly Ares, the chariot-borne, rush shouting at Heracles. And he quickly received the attack.

1 The conception is similar to that of the sculptured group at Athens of Two Lions devouring a Bull (Dickens,Cat. of the Acropolis Museum,No. 3).

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