Saturday, March 29, 2008

These are the solemn honors owed the dead

"But the chief mourners stayed in place, piled timber
and built a pyre a hundred feet in length and breadth
and aloft it laid the corpse with heavy, aching hearts.
And droves of fat sheep and shambling, crook-horned cattle
they led before the pyre, skinned and dressed them well.
And the great-hearted Achilles, flensing fat from all
wrapped the corpse with folds of it, head to foot,
then heaped the flayed carcasses round Patroclus.
He set two-handled jars of honey and oil beside him
leaned them against the bier - and then with wild zeal
slung the bodies of four massive stallions onto the pyre
and gave a wrenching groan. And the dead lord Patroclus
had fed nine dogs at table - he slit the throats of two,
threw them onto the pyre and then a dozen brave sons
of proud Trojans he hacked to pieces with his bronze....
Achilles' mighty heart was erupting now with slaughter -
he loosed the iron rage of fire to consume them all
and cried out, calling his dear friend by name"

RIP Robert Fagles


[1] Post Title - The Iliad Book 23 Line 10; translation by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics 1990)

[2] Extract - ibid. Lines 187-204

1 comment:

km said...

Looks like this is the translation I should be reading....