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Who hailed from far Syene, with his friend
Amphimedon of Libya, in their haste
to join the battle, slipped up in the blood
and fell together: just as they arose
that glittering sword was driven through the throat
of Phorbas into the ribs of his companion.
But Erithus, the son of Actor, swung
a battle-ax, so weighty, Perseus chose
not combat with his curving blade. He seized
in his two hands a huge bowl, wrought around
with large design, outstanding from its mass.
This, lifting up, he dashes on his foe,
who vomits crimson blood, and falling back
beats on the hard floor with his dying head.
And next he slew Caucasian Abaris,
and Polydaemon—from Semiramis
nobly descended—and Sperchius, son,
Lycetus, long-haired Elyces, unshorn,
Clytus and Phlegias, the hero slew;—
and trampled on the dying heaped around.
Not daring to engage his enemy
in open contest, Phineus held aloof,
and hurled his javelin. Badly aimed—by some
mischance or turned—it wounded Idas, who
had followed neither side; vain-hoping thus
to shun the conflict.
Idas, filled with rage,
on Phineus gazed with futile hate, and said,
“Since I am forced unwilling to such deeds,
behold, whom you have made your enemy,
O savage Phineus! Let your recompense
be stroke for stroke.” So speaking, from the wound
he drew the steel, but, faint from loss of blood,
before his arm could hurl the weapon back,
he sank upon his knees.
Here, also, lies
Odytes,—noblest of the Cephenes,
save Cepheus only,—slaughtered by the sword
of Clymenus. And Prothoenor lies
the victim of Hypseus; by his side
Hypseus slaughtered by Lyncidas falls.
And in the midst of this destruction stood
Emathion, now an aged man, revered,
who feared the Gods, and stood for upright deeds.
And, since his years denied him strength for war,
he battled with his tongue, and railed, and cursed
their impious weapons. As that aged man
clings to the altar with his trembling hands,
Chromis with ruthless sword cuts off his head,
which straightway falls upon the altar, whence
his dying tongue denounces them in words
of execration: and his soul expires
amid the altar flames.
and Ammon, his twin brother, who not knew
their equals at the cestus, by the hand
of Phineus fell; for what avails in deed
the cestus as a weapon matched with swords.
Ampycus by the same hand fell,—the priest
of Ceres, with his temples wreathed in white.
And O, Iapetides not for this
did you attend the feast! Your voice attuned
melodious to the harp, was in request
to celebrate the wedding-day with song,—
a work of peace; as you did stand aside,
holding the peaceful plectrum in your hand,
the mocking Pettalus in ridicule said,
“Go sing your ditties to the Stygian shades.”
And, mocking thus, he drove his pointed sword
in your right temple. As your limbs gave way,
your dying fingers swept the tuneful strings:
and falling you did chant a mournful dirge.—
You to avenge enraged Lycormas tore
a huge bar from the door-post, on the right,
and dashing it against the mocker crushed
his neck-bones: as a slaughtered bullock falls—
he tumbled to the ground.
Then on the left.
Cinyphian Pelates began to wrench
an oak plank from the door-post, but the spear
of Corythus, the son of Marmarus,
pinioned his right hand to the wooden post;
and while he struggled Abas pierced his side.—
He fell not to the floor, but dying hung
suspended from the door-post by his hand.
And of the friends of Perseus, Melaneus
was slain, and Dorylas whose wealth was large
in Nasamonian land. No other lord,
as Dorylas, such vast estates possessed;
no other owned so many heaps of corn.
The missile steel stood fastened in his groin,
obliquely fixed,—a fatal spot—and when
the author of his wound, Halcyoneus
the Bactrian, beheld his victim thus,
rolling his eyes and sobbing forth his soul,
he railed; “Keep for yourself of all your lands
as much as you can cover.” And he left
the bleeding corpse.
But Perseus in revenge
hurled after him a spear, which, in his need,
he ripped out from the wound, yet warm, and struck
the boaster on the middle of his nose.
The piercing steel, passed through his nose and neck,—
remained projecting from the front and back.
And while good fortune helped his hand, he slew
Clanis and Clytius, of one mother born,
but with a different wound he slaughtered each:
for, leveled by a mighty arm, his ashen spear
drove through the thighs of Clytius, right and left,
and Clanis bit the javelin with his teeth.
And by his might, Mendesian Celadon
and Atreus fell, his mother of the tribes
of Palestine, his father was unknown.
Aethion, also, who could well foresee
the things to come, but was at last deceived
by some false omen. And Thoactes fell,
the armour-bearer of the king; and, next,
the infamous Agyrtes who had slain
his father. These he slew; and though his strength
was nearly spent, so many more remained:
for now the multitude with one accord
conspired to slaughter him. From every side
the raging troops assailed the better cause.
In vain the pious father and the bride,
together with her mother, fill the halls
with lamentations; for the clash of arms,
the groans of fallen heroes drown their cries.—
Bellona in a sea of blood has drenched
their Household Gods, polluted by these deeds,
and she endeavours to renew the strife.
Perseus, alone against that raging throng,
is now surrounded by a myriad men,
led on by Phineus; and their flying darts,
as thick as wintry tail, are showered around
on every side, grazing his eyes and ears.—
Quickly he fixed his shoulder firm against
the rock of a great pillar, which secured
his back from danger, and he faced his foes,
and baffled their attack.
Upon his left
Chaonian Molpeus pressed, and on his right
a Nabathe an called Ethemon pressed.—
As when a tiger from a valley hears
the lowing of two herds, in separate fields,
though hunger urges he not knows on which
to spring, but rages equally for each;
so, Perseus doubtful which may first attack
his left or right, knows not on which to turn,
but stands attentive witness to the flight
of Molpeus, whom he wounded in the leg.
Nor could he choose—Ethemon, full of rage,
pressed on him to inflict a fatal wound,
deep in his neck; but with incautious force
struck the stone pillar with his ringing sword
and shattered the metal blade, close to the hilt;
the flying fragment pierced its owner's neck,
but not with mortal wound. In vain he pled
for mercy, stretching forth his helpless arms:
perseus transfixed him with his glittering blade,
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