Not Your Fathers Horseman


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Patroclus hurled next, the bronze launched from his hand-no miss, a mortal hit.

He struck him right where the midriff packs the pounding heart and down Sarpedon fell as an oak or white poplar falls or towering pine that shipwrights up on a mountain hew down with whetted axes for sturdy ship timber— so he stretched in front of his team and chariot, sprawled and roaring, clawing the bloody dust. As the bull a marauding lion cuts from the herd, tawny and greathearted among the shambling cattle, dies bellowing under the lion's killing jaws— so now Sarpedon, captain of Lycia's shieldsmen, died at Patroclus' hands and died raging still, crying out his beloved comrade's name: "Glaucus— oh dear friend, dear fighter, soldier's soldier!


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Now is the time to prove yourself a spearman, a daring man of war—now, if you are brave, make grueling battle your one consuming passion. First find Lycia's captains, range the ranks, spur them to fight and shield Sarpedon's body. Then you, Glaucus, you fight for me with bronze! You'll hang your head in shame—every day of your life— if the Argives strip my armor here at the anchored ships where I have gone down fighting.

Hold on, full force— spur all our men to battle! The end closed in around him, swirling down his eyes, choking off his breath.

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The theme of Sons vs. Fathers in A Horseman in the Sky from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Patroclus planted a heel against his chest, wrenched the spear from his wound and the midriff came out with it-so he dragged out both the man's life breath and the weapon's point together. Close by, the Myrmidons clung to the panting stallions straining to bolt away, free of their masters' chariot.

But grief came over Glaucus, hearing his comrade's call. His heart was racing—what could he do to help him? Wounded himself, he gripped his right arm hard, aching where Teucer's arrow had hit him squarely, assaulting the Argive wall, when Teucer saved his men.


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Glaucus cried a prayer to the distant deadly Archer: "Hear me, Lord Apollo! Wherever you are now— in Lycia's rich green country or here in Troy, wherever on earth, you can hear a man in pain, you have that power, and pain comes on me now. Look at this ugly wound— my whole arm rings with the stabbing pangs, the blood won't clot, my shoulder's a dead weight. I can't take up my spear, can't hold it steady— no wading into enemy ranks to fight it out.

Not even his own son! I beg you, Apollo, heal this throbbing wound, lull the pain now, lend me power in battle— so I can rally our Lycians, drive them into war and fight to save my comrade's corpse myself. So Glaucus prayed and Apollo heard his prayer. He stopped the pains at once, stanched the dark blood in his throbbing wound and filled his heart with courage. And Glaucus sensed it all and the man glowed with joy that the mighty god had heard his prayer so quickly.

First he hurried to spur his Lycian captains on, ranging his own ranks, to fight around Sarpedon, then he ran for the Trojan lines with long strides. He found Polydamas, Panthous' son, and Prince Agenor and reaching Aeneas and Hector helmed in bronze, shoulder-to-shoulder let his challenge fly: "Hector, you've wiped your allies from your mind!

And, all for you, Hector, far from their loved ones, far from native land they bleed their lives away. But you won't lift a hand to fight beside them. There lies Sarpedon, lord of Lycia's shieldsmen, who defended his realm with just decrees and power— Ares has cut him down with Patroclus' brazen spear. Quick, my, friends, stand by him!

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Cringe with shame at the thought they'll strip his gear and maim his corpse— these Myrmidons, seething for all the Argive troops we killed, we speared to death against their fast trim ships! Hard grief came sweeping over the Trojans' heads— unbearable, irrepressible. He was their city's bastion, always, even though he came from foreign parts, and a mass of allies marched at his command but he excelled them all in battle, always. So now they went at the Argives, out for blood, and furious for Sarpedon Hector swung them round.

But the Argives surged to Patroclus' savage spirit— he spurred the Aeantes first, both ablaze for battle: "Ajax, Ajax! Come—now thrill to fight as before, brave among the brave, but now be braver still! Their captain's down, the first to storm our wall, the great Sarpedon. If only we could seize his body, mutilate him, shame him, tear his gear from his back and any comrade of his who tries to shield his corpse— bring that enemy down with ruthless bronze! And both armies now, pulling their lines tighter, Trojans and Lycians, Myrmidons and Achaeans closed around the corpse to lunge in battle— terrible war cries, stark clashing of armored men.

A Horseman in the Sky

And across the onslaught Zeus swept murderous night to make the pitched battle over his own dear son a brutal, blinding struggle. Here at the first assault the Trojans shouldered back the fiery-eyed Achaeans— a Myrmidon had been hit, and not their least man, dauntless Agacles' son, renowned Epigeus.

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He ruled Budion's fortress town in the old days but then, having killed some highborn cousin, fled to Peleus and glistening Thetis, begged for his own life and they sent him off with Achilles, breaker of men, east to stallion-country to fight and die in Troy. He had just grasped the corpse when shining Hector smashed his head with a rock and his whole skull split in his massive helmet— down he slammed on Sarpedon's body, facefirst and courage-shattering Death engulfed his corpse.

Grief for his dead companion seized Patroclus now, he tore through frontline fighters swift as a hawk diving to scatter crows and fear-struck starlings— straight at the Lycians, Patroclus 0 my rider, straight at the pressing Trojan ranks you swooped, enraged at your comrade's death! So the front gave ground and flashing Hector too, though only as far as a long slim spear can fly when a man tests his hurling strength in the games or in war when enemy fighters close to crush his life— so far the Trojans gave as the Argives drove them back.

But Glaucus was first, lord of Lycia's shieldsmen now, the first to turn and he killed the gallant Bathycles, Chalcon's prize son who had made his home in Hellas, excelling the Myrmidons all in wealth and fortune. Now, just as the man was about to catch Glaucus Glaucus suddenly spun and struck, he stabbed his chest, ripped him down with a crash. A heavy blow to the Argives, one of the brave ones down. A great joy to the Trojans, massing packs of them swarming round the corpse but Achaean forces never slacked their drive, their juggernaut fury bore them breakneck on.

And there—Meriones killed a Trojan captain, Laogonus, daring son of Onetor, priest of Zeus, Idaean Zeus, and his land revered him like a god— Meriones gouged him under the jaw and ear, his spirit flew from his limbs and the hateful darkness gripped him. Just then Aeneas hurled his brazen spear at Meriones, hoping to hit the man as he charged behind his shield.

But he eyed Aeneas straight on, he dodged the bronze, ducking down with a quick lunge, and behind his back the heavy spearshaft plunged and stuck in the earth, the butt- end quivering into the air till suddenly rugged Ares snuffed its fury out, dead still.

I Forgave My Father, And I Don't Owe Him Anything Else

The weapon shaking, planted fast in the ground, his whole arm's power poured in a wasted shot, Aeneas flared in anger, shouting out, "Meriones— great dancer as you are, my spear would have stopped your dancing days for good if only I had hit you! The hardy spearman Meriones shot back, -Aeneas— great man of war as you are, you'll find it hard to quench the fire of every man who fights you. You too are made of mortal stuff, I'd say.

And I, if I'd lanced your guts with bronze-strong as you are and cocksure of your hands—you'd give me glory now, you'd give your life to the famous horseman Death! But Patroclus nerved for battle dressed him down: "Meriones, brave as you are, why bluster on this way? Trust me, my friend, you'll never force the Trojans back from this corpse with a few stinging taunts— Earth will bury many a man before that. Come— the proof of battle is action, proof of words, debate. No time for speeches now, it's time to fight. Breaking off, he led the way as Meriones followed, staunch as a god.

And loud as the roar goes up when men cut timber deep in the mountain glades and the pounding din of axes echoes miles away— so the pound and thud of blows came rising up from the broad earth, from the trampled paths of war and the bronze shields and tough plied hides struck hard as the swords and two-edged spearheads stabbed against them. Not even a hawk-eyed scout could still make out Sarpedon, the man's magnificent body covered over head to toe, buried under a mass of weapons, blood and dust.

But they still kept swarming round and round the corpse like flies in a sheepfold buzzing over the brimming pails in the first spring days when the buckets flood with milk. So veteran troops kept swarming round that corpse, never pausing—nor did mighty Zeus for a moment turn his shining eyes from the clash of battle. He kept them fixed on the struggling mass forever, the Father's spirit churning, thrashing out the ways, the numberless ways to cause Patroclus' slaughter.

To kill him too in this present bloody rampage over Sarpedon's splendid body? Hector in glory cutting Patroclus down with hacking bronze then tearing the handsome war-gear off his back? Or let him take still more, piling up his kills? As Zeus turned things over, that way seemed the best: the valiant friend-in-arms of Peleus' son Achilles would drive the Trojans and Hector helmed in bronze back to Troy once more, killing them by platoons— and Zeus began with Hector, he made the man a coward.

Hector leaping back in his chariot, swerving to fly, shouted out fresh orders—"Retreat, Trojans, now! A rout-not even the die-hard Lycians stood their ground, they all scattered in panic, down to the last man when they saw their royal king speared in the heart, Sarpedon sprawled there in the muster of the dead, for men by the squad had dropped across his corpse once Zeus stretched tight the lethal line of battle.

So then the Achaeans ripped the armor off his back, Sarpedon's gleaming bronze that Menoetius' son the brave Patroclus flung in the arms of cohorts poised to speed those trophies back to the beaked ships. And storming Zeus was stirring up Apollo: "On with it now— sweep Sarpedon clear of the weapons, Phoebus my friend, and once you wipe the dark blood from his body, bear him far from the fighting, off and away, and bathe him well in a river's running tides and anoint him with deathless oils.

Then send him on his way with the wind-swift escorts, twin brothers Sleep and Death, who with all good speed will set him down in the broad green land of Lycia. Down from Ida's slopes he dove to the bloody field and lifting Prince Sarpedon clear of the weapons, bore him far from the fighting, off and away, and bathed him well in a river's running tides and anointed him with deathless oils. But Patroclus, giving a cry to Automedon whipping on his team, Patroclus went for Troy's and Lycia's lines, blind in his fatal frenzy—luckless soldier.

Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman
Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman
Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman
Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman
Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman
Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman
Not Your Fathers Horseman Not Your Fathers Horseman

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