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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Father and Son

By Homer (fl. 850 B.C.)

From the Iliad, vi. 466–497: Translation of Alexander Pope

THUS having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy

Stretched his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.

The babe clung crying to his nurse’s breast,

Scared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest.

With sacred pleasure each fond parent smiled,

And Hector hasted to relieve his child;

The glittering terrors from his brows unbound,

And placed the beaming helmet on the ground;

Then kissed the child, and lifting high in air,

Thus to the gods preferred a father’s prayer:—

“O thou whose glory fills the ethereal throne,

And all ye deathless powers, protect my son!

Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,

To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown,

Against his country’s foes the war to wage,

And rise the Hector of the future age!

So when, triumphant from successful toils,

Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils,

Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim,

And say, ‘This chief transcends his father’s fame;’

While pleased amidst the general shouts of Troy,

His mother’s conscious heart o’erflows with joy.”

He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms,

Restored the pleasing burden to her arms;

Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid,

Hushed to repose, and with a smile surveyed.

The troubled pleasure soon chastised by fear,

She mingled with the smile a tender tear.

The softened chief with kind compassion viewed,

And dried the falling drops, and thus pursued:—

“Andromache! my soul’s far better part!

Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy heart?

No hostile hand can antedate my doom,

Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb.

Fixed is the term to all the race of earth;

And such the hard condition of our birth,

No force can then resist, no flight can save;

All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.

No more—but hasten to thy tasks at home,

There guide the spindle and direct the loom:

Me glory summons to the martial scene,—

The field of combat is the sphere for men;

Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim,

The first in danger as the first in fame.”

Thus having said, the glorious chief resumes

His towery helmet, black with shading plumes.

His princess parts with a prophetic sigh;

Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye,

That streamed at every look; then moving slow,

Sought her own palace and indulged her woe.