Aspermos

Henry Howard (kopie naar), Poseidon komt tussenbeide in de Trojaanse oorlog, 1805

Δεύτερος αὖτ’ Ἀχιλεὺς προΐει δολιχόσκιον ἔγχος,
καὶ βάλεν Αἰνείαο κατ’ ἀσπίδα πάντοσ’ ἐΐσην
ἄντυγ’ ὕπο πρώτην, ᾗ λεπτότατος θέε χαλκός,
λεπτοτάτη δ’ ἐπέην ῥινὸς βοός· ἣ δὲ διὰ πρὸ
Πηλιὰς ἤϊξεν μελίη, λάκε δ’ ἀσπὶς ὑπ᾽ αὐτῆς.
Αἰνείας δ’ ἐάλη καὶ ἀπὸ ἕθεν ἀσπίδ’ ἀνέσχε
δείσας· ἐγχείη δ᾽ ἄρ’ ὑπὲρ νώτου ἐνὶ γαίῃ
ἔστη ἱεμένη, διὰ δ’ ἀμφοτέρους ἕλε κύκλους
ἀσπίδος ἀμφιβρότης· ὃ δ’ ἀλευάμενος δόρυ μακρὸν
ἔστη, κὰδ δ’ ἄχος οἱ χύτο μυρίον ὀφθαλμοῖσι,
ταρβήσας ὅ οἱ ἄγχι πάγη βέλος. αὐτὰρ Ἀχιλλεὺς
ἐμμεμαὼς ἐπόρουσεν ἐρυσσάμενος ξίφος ὀξὺ
σμερδαλέα ἰάχων· ὃ δὲ χερμάδιον λάβε χειρὶ
Αἰνείας, μέγα ἔργον, ὃ οὐ δύο γ’ ἄνδρε φέροιεν,
οἷοι νῦν βροτοί εἰσ’· ὃ δέ μιν ῥέα πάλλε καὶ οἶος.
ἔνθά κεν Αἰνείας μὲν ἐπεσσύμενον βάλε πέτρῳ
ἢ κόρυθ’ ἠὲ σάκος, τό οἱ ἤρκεσε λυγρὸν ὄλεθρον,
τὸν δέ κε Πηλεΐδης σχεδὸν ἄορι θυμὸν ἀπηύρα,
εἰ μὴ ἄρ’ ὀξὺ νόησε Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων·
αὐτίκα δ’ ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖς μετὰ μῦθον ἔειπεν·
“ὢ πόποι ἦ μοι ἄχος μεγαλήτορος Αἰνείαο,
ὃς τάχα Πηλεΐωνι δαμεὶς Ἄϊδος δὲ κάτεισι
πειθόμενος μύθοισιν Ἀπόλλωνος ἑκάτοιο
νήπιος, οὐδέ τί οἱ χραισμήσει λυγρὸν ὄλεθρον.
ἀλλὰ τί ἢ νῦν οὗτος ἀναίτιος ἄλγεα πάσχει
μὰψ ἕνεκ’ ἀλλοτρίων ἀχέων, κεχαρισμένα δ’ αἰεὶ
δῶρα θεοῖσι δίδωσι τοὶ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν;
ἀλλ’ ἄγεθ’ ἡμεῖς πέρ μιν ὑπὲκ θανάτου ἀγάγωμεν,
μή πως καὶ Κρονίδης κεχολώσεται, αἴ κεν Ἀχιλλεὺς
τόνδε κατακτείνῃ· μόριμον δέ οἵ ἐστ’ ἀλέασθαι,
ὄφρα μὴ ἄσπερμος γενεὴ καὶ ἄφαντος ὄληται
Δαρδάνου, ὃν Κρονίδης περὶ πάντων φίλατο παίδων
οἳ ἕθεν ἐξεγένοντο γυναικῶν τε θνητάων.
ἤδη γὰρ Πριάμου γενεὴν ἔχθηρε Κρονίων·
νῦν δὲ δὴ Αἰνείαο βίη Τρώεσσιν ἀνάξει
καὶ παίδων παῖδες, τοί κεν μετόπισθε γένωνται.”
(Homer, Iliad 20.273-308)

Achilles next—he hurled his spear and its long shadow flew
and the weapon struck the balanced round shield of Aeneas
under the outer rim where the bronze ran thinnest,
backed by the thinnest bull’s-hide. Straight through
the Pelian ash burst, the shield rang out with a screech—
but Aeneas crouched low, holding the buckler off his chest,
terrified as the shaft shot past his back, hurled so hard
it plunged deep in the ground, even after it tore up
two round plies of the shield that cased his body.
Dodging the big spear, Aeneas got to his feet…
a dizzying swirl of anguish rushing down his eyes,
blind with fear, the point had stuck so close.
But drawing his sharp sword, Achilles charged, wild,
hurtling toward him, loosing a savage cry as Aeneas
hefted a boulder in his hands, a tremendous feat—
no two men could hoist it, weak as men are now,
but all on his own he raised it high with ease.
Then and there he’d have struck Achilles lunging in,
the rock would have hit him square in casque or shield,
the gear would have warded off grim death, and Achilles, closing,
would have slashed his life away with a well-honed blade—
if the god of earthquakes had not marked it quickly
and called the gods at once who grouped around him:
“Now, I tell you, my heart aches for great Aeneas!
He’ll go down to the House of Death this instant,
overwhelmed by Achilles—all because he trusted
the distant deadly Archer’s urgings. Poor fool—
as if Apollo would lift a hand to save him now
from death, grim death. Aeneas the innocent!
Why should Aeneas suffer here, for no good reason,
embroiled in the quarrels of others, not his own?
He always gave us gifts to warm our hearts,
gifts for the gods who rule the vaulting skies.
So come, let us rescue him from death ourselves,
for fear the son of Cronus might just tower in rage
if Achilles kills this man. He is destined to survive.
Yes, so the generation of Dardanus will not perish,
obliterated without an heir, without a trace:
Dardanus, dearest to Zeus of all the sons
that mortal women brought to birth for Father.
Now he has come to hate the generation of Priam.
and now Aeneas will rule the men of Troy in power—
his sons’ sons and the sons born in future years.”
(tr. Robert Fagles)

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