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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Triumph of Hector

By William Munford (1775–1825)

[Born in Mecklenburg Co., Va., 1775. Died at Richmond, Va., 1825. From the Translation of the Iliad, completed in 1825.—Homer’s Iliad: Translated by William Munford. 1846.]

SO equal, then, the war and battle hung,

Till Jove at length superior glory gave

To Hector, Priam’s son, who entered first

Achaia’s wall. With loud, tremendous shout,

He called his Trojan heroes. Sons of Troy,

Equestrian warriors, to the onset come!

Break now the Grecian wall, and on their ships

Throw flaming brands, like thunder-bolts of Jove!

He said, inspiring fury; they his call

With transport heard throughout that numerous host!

Thronging together, to the wall they ran,

Armed with keen spears, before them held erect,

And mounting scaling-ladders. Hector seized

And bore a stone which stood before the gates,

Heavy and craggy, pointed sharp at top,

Which not two men, though stoutest of the race

Earth now sustains, could without toil have moved

By levers from the ground and heaved its mass

Into a wagon; yet did singly he

Toss it with ease, so light Saturnian Jove

Made it to him! For, as a shepherd brings

In one hand joyfully, a ram’s rich fleece,

And feels but small the weight, so Hector bore

That rock enormous towards the lofty gates,

Strong-framed, with double valves, of panels thick,

Compact and firm; two irons bars within

Transverse secured them, fastened by a bolt.

He near them took his stand, with legs astride,

That not in vain that weapon should be thrown;

Then smote them in the midst with all his strength,

And broke both hinges. Thundering on, the stone,

With force o’erwhelming, fell within the wall.

Loud rang the yielding gates, asunder riven,

Nor could the bars retain them; flew the planks

In splintered fragments, scattered every way.

Into the pass illustrious Hector leaped;

Gloomy as night, with aspect stem and dread!

Arrayed in brazen panoply, he shone

Terrific; in his hands two javelins keen!

And surely no one could have checked him then,

Except the gods, when through those gates he sprang!

His eyes, tremendous, flashed with living fire;

And, turning to his host, he called them all

To pass the barrier. They that call obeyed.

Some clambered o’er the wall, while others through

The portals poured; and, terror-struck, the Greeks

Fled to their hollow ships. Confusion dire,

And uproar wild and horrible ensued.