George Meredith

(12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909 / Portsmouth, England)

Paris And Diomedes - Poem by George Meredith

[Iliad; B. XI V. 378]

So he, with a clear shout of laughter,
Forth of his ambush leapt, and he vaunted him, uttering thiswise:
'Hit thou art! not in vain flew the shaft; how by rights it had pierced thee
Into the undermost gut, therewith to have rived thee of life-breath!
Following that had the Trojans plucked a new breath from their direst,
They all frighted of thee, as the goats bleat in flight from a lion.'
Then unto him untroubled made answer stout Diomedes:
'Bow-puller, jiber, thy bow for thy glorying, spyer at virgins!
If that thou dared'st face me here out in the open with weapons,
Nothing then would avail thee thy bow and thy thick shot of arrows.
Now thou plumest thee vainly because of a graze of my footsole;
Reck I as were that stroke from a woman or some pettish infant.
Aye flies blunted the dart of the man that's emasculate, noughtworth!
Otherwise hits, forth flying from me, and but strikes it the slightest,
My keen shaft, and it numbers a man of the dead fallen straightway.
Torn, troth, then are the cheeks of the wife of that man fallen slaughtered,
Orphans his babes, full surely he reddens the earth with his blood-drops,
Rotting, round him the birds, more numerous they than the women.'


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010



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