THE ILIAD OF HOMER
RENDERED INTO ENGLISH BLANK VERSE. BY
EDWARD EARL OF DERBY.
In the spring of 1862 I was induced, at the request of some personal friends, to print, for private circulation only, a small volume of "Translations of Poems Ancient and Modern," in which was included the first Book of the Iliad. The opinions expressed by some competent judges of the degree of success which had attended this "attempt to infuse into an almost literal English version something of the spirit, as well as the simplicity, of the great original," [Footnote: Introduction to unpublished volume.] were sufficiently favourable to encourage me to continue the work which I had begun. It has afforded me, in the intervals of more urgent business, an unfailing, and constantly increasing source of interest; and it is not without a feeling of regret at the completion of my task, and a sincere diffidence as to its success, that I venture to submit the result of my labour to the ordeal of public criticism.
Various causes, irrespective of any demerits of the work itself, forbid me to anticipate for this translation any extensive popularity. First, I fear that the taste for, and appreciation of, Classical Literature, are greatly on the decline; next, those who have kept up their classical studies, and are able to read and enjoy the original, will hardly take an interest in a mere translation; while the English reader, unacquainted with Greek, will naturally prefer the harmonious versification and polished brilliancy of Pope's translation; with which, as a happy adaptation of the Homeric story to the spirit of English poetry, I have not the presumption to enter into competition. But, admirable as it is, Pope's Iliad can hardly be said to be Homer's Iliad; and there may be some who, having lost the familiarity with the original language which they once possessed, may, if I have at all succeeded in my attempt, have recalled to their minds a faint echo of the strains which delighted their earlier days, and may recognize some slight trace of the original perfume.
Numerous as have been the translators of the Iliad, or of parts of it, the metres which have been selected have been almost as various: the ordinary couplet in rhyme, the Spenserian stanza, the Trochaic or Ballad metre, all have had their partisans, even to that "pestilent heresy" of the so-called English Hexameter; a metre wholly repugnant to the genius of our language; which can only be pressed into the service by a violation of every rule of prosody; and of which, notwithstanding my respect for the eminent men who have attempted to naturalize it, I could never read ten lines without being irresistibly reminded of Canning's
"Dactylics call'st thou them? God help thee, silly one!"
But in the progress of this work, I have been more and more confirmed in the opinion which I expressed at its commencement, that (whatever may be the extent of my own individual failure) "if justice is ever to be done to the easy flow and majestic simplicity of the grand old Poet, it can only be in the Heroic blank verse." I have seen isolated passages admirably rendered in other metres; and there are many instances in which a translation line for line and couplet for couplet naturally suggests itself, and in which it is sometimes difficult to avoid an involuntary rhyme; but the blank verse appears to me the only metre capable of adapting itself to all the gradations, if I may use the term, of the Homeric style; from the finished poetry of the numerous similes, in which every touch is nature, and nothing is overcoloured or exaggerated, down to the simple, almost homely, style of some portions of the narrative. Least of all can any other metre do full justice to the spirit and freedom of the various speeches, in which the old warriors give utterance, without disguise or restraint, to all their strong and genuine emotions. To subject these to the trammels of couplet and rhyme would be as destructive of their chief characteristics, as the application of a similar process to the Paradise Lost of Milton, or the tragedies of Shakespeare; the effect indeed may be seen by comparing, with some of the noblest speeches of the latter, the few couplets which he seems to have considered himself bound by custom to tack on to their close, at the end of a scene or an act.
I have adopted, not without hesitation, the Latin, rather than the Greek, nomenclature for the Heathen Deities. I have been induced to do so from the manifest incongruity of confounding the two; and from the fact that though English readers may be familiar with the names of Zeus, or Aphrodite, or even Poseidon, those of Hera, or Ares, or Hephaestus, or Leto, would hardly convey to them a definite signification.
It has been my aim throughout to produce a translation and not a paraphrase; not indeed such a translation as would satisfy, with regard to each word, the rigid requirements of accurate scholarship; but such as would fairly and honestly give the sense and spirit of every passage, and of every line; omitting nothing, and expanding nothing; and adhering, as closely as our language will allow, ever to every epithet which is capable of being translated, and which has, in the particular passage, anything of a special and distinctive character. Of the many deficiencies in my execution of this intention, I am but too conscious; whether I have been in any degree successful, must be left to the impartial decision of such of the Public as may honour this work with their perusal.
KNOWSLEY, OCT., 1864
NOTE TO THE FIFTH EDITION.
The favourable reception which has been given to the first Editions of this work, far exceeding my most sanguine hopes, affords a gratifying proof how far, in my preface, I had overrated the extent to which the taste for, and appreciation of, Classical Literature had declined. It will not, I hope, be thought extraordinary that some errors and inaccuracies should have found their way into a translation executed, I must admit, somewhat hastily, and with less of the "limae labor" than I should have bestowed upon it, had I ventured to anticipate for it so extensive a circulation. My thanks, therefore, are due to those critics, who, either publicly or privately, have called my attention to passages in which the sense of the Author has been either incorrectly or imperfectly rendered. All of these I have examined, and have availed myself of several of the suggestions offered for their correction; and a careful revision of the whole work, and renewed comparison with the original, have enabled me to discover other defects, the removal of which will, I hope, render the present Edition, especially in the eyes of Classical Scholars, somewhat more worthy of the favour which has been accorded to its predecessors.
ST. JAMES'S SQUARE, May, 1885.
THE CONTENTION OF ACHILLES AND AGAMEMNON.
In the war of Troy, the Greeks having sacked some of the neighbouring towns, and taken from thence two beautiful captives, Chryseis and Briseis, allotted the first to Agamemnon, and the last to Achilles. Chryses, the father of Chryseis, and priest of Apollo, comes to the Grecian camp to ransom her; with which the action of the poem opens, in the tenth year of the siege. The priest being refused, and insolently dismissed by Agamemnon, entreats for vengeance from his god, who inflicts a pestilence on the Greeks. Achilles calls a council, and encourages Calchas to declare the cause of it, who attributes it to the refusal of Chryseis. The King being obliged to send back his captive, enters into a furious contest with Achilles, which Nestor pacifies; however, as he had the absolute command of the army, he seizes on Briseis in revenge. Achilles in discontent withdraws himself and his forces from the test of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the wrong done to her son, by giving victory to the Trojans. Jupiter granting her suit, incenses Juno, between whom the debate runs high, till they are reconciled by the address of Vulcan.
The time of two-and-twenty days is taken up in this book; nine during the plague, one in the council and quarrel of the Princes, and twelve for Jupiter's stay among the Ethiopians, at whose return Thetis prefers her petition. The scene lies in the Grecian camp, then changes to Chrysa, and lastly to Olympus.
Of Peleus' son, Achilles, sing, O Muse, The vengeance, deep and deadly; whence to Greece Unnumbered ills arose; which many a soul Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades Untimely sent; they on the battle plain Unburied lay, a prey to rav'ning dogs, And carrion birds; but so had Jove decreed, From that sad day when first in wordy war, The mighty Agamemnon, King of men, Confronted stood by Peleus' godlike son.
Say then, what God the fatal strife provok'd? Jove's and Latona's son; he, filled with wrath Against the King, with deadly pestilence The camp afflicted,—and the people died,— For Chryses' sake, his priest, whom Atreus' son With scorn dismiss'd, when to the Grecian ships He came, his captive daughter to redeem, With costly ransom charg'd; and in his hand The sacred fillet of his God he bore, And golden staff; to all he sued, but chief To Atreus' sons, twin captains of the host: "Ye sons of Atreus, and ye well-greav'd Greeks, May the great Gods, who on Olympus dwell, Grant you yon hostile city to destroy, And home return in safety; but my child Restore, I pray; her proffer'd ransom take, And in his priest, the Lord of Light revere."
Then through the ranks assenting murmurs ran, The priest to rev'rence, and the ransom take: Not so Atrides; he, with haughty mien, And bitter speech, the trembling sire address'd: "Old man, I warn thee, that beside our ships I find thee not, or ling'ring now, or back Returning; lest thou prove of small avail Thy golden staff, and fillet of thy God. Her I release not, till her youth be fled; Within my walls, in Argos, far from home, Her lot is cast, domestic cares to ply, And share a master's bed. For thee, begone! Incense me not, lest ill betide thee now."
He said: the old man trembled, and obeyed; Beside the many-dashing Ocean's shore Silent he pass'd; and all apart, he pray'd To great Apollo, fair Latona's son:
"Hear me, God of the silver bow! whose care Chrysa surrounds, and Cilia's lovely vale; Whose sov'reign sway o'er Tenedos extends; O Smintheus, hear! if e'er my offered gifts Found favour in thy sight; if e'er to thee I burn'd the fat of bulls and choicest goats, Grant me this boon—upon the Grecian host Let thine unerring darts avenge my tears."
Thus as he pray'd, his pray'r Apollo heard: Along Olympus' heights he pass'd, his heart Burning with wrath; behind his shoulders hung His bow, and ample quiver; at his back Rattled the fateful arrows as he mov'd; Like the night-cloud he pass'd, and from afar He bent against the ships, and sped the bolt; And fierce and deadly twang'd the silver bow. First on the mules and dogs, on man the last, Was pour'd the arrowy storm; and through the camp, Constant and num'rous, blaz'd the fun'ral fires.
Nine days the heav'nly Archer on the troops Hurl'd his dread shafts; the tenth, th' assembled Greeks Achilles call'd to council; so inspir'd By Juno, white-arm'd Goddess, who beheld With pitying eyes the wasting hosts of Greece. When all were met, and closely throng'd around, Rose the swift-footed chief, and thus began:
"Great son of Atreus, to my mind there seems, If we would 'scape from death, one only course, Home to retrace our steps: since here at once By war and pestilence our forces waste. But seek we first some prophet, or some priest, Or some wise vision-seer (since visions too From Jove proceed), who may the cause explain, Which with such deadly wrath Apollo fires: If for neglected hecatombs or pray'rs He blame us; or if fat of lambs and goats May soothe his anger and the plague assuage."
This said, he sat; and Thestor's son arose, Calchas, the chief of seers, to whom were known The present, and the future, and the past; Who, by his mystic art, Apollo's gift, Guided to Ilium's shore the Grecian fleet. Who thus with cautious speech replied, and said; "Achilles, lov'd of Heav'n, thou bidd'st me say Why thus incens'd the far-destroying King; Therefore I speak; but promise thou, and swear, By word and hand, to bear me harmless through. For well I know my speech must one offend, The Argive chief, o'er all the Greeks supreme; And terrible to men of low estate The anger of a King; for though awhile He veil his wrath, yet in his bosom pent It still is nurs'd, until the time arrive; Say, then, wilt thou protect me, if I speak?"
Him answer'd thus Achilles, swift of foot: "Speak boldly out whate'er thine art can tell; For by Apollo's self I swear, whom thou, O Calchas, serv'st, and who thy words inspires, That, while I live, and see the light of Heav'n, Not one of all the Greeks shall dare on thee, Beside our ships, injurious hands to lay: No, not if Agamemnon's self were he, Who 'mid our warriors boasts the foremost place."
Embolden'd thus, th' unerring prophet spoke: "Not for neglected hecatombs or pray'rs, But for his priest, whom Agamemnon scorn'd, Nor took his ransom, nor his child restor'd; On his account the Far-destroyer sends This scourge of pestilence, and yet will send; Nor shall we cease his heavy hand to feel, Till to her sire we give the bright-ey'd girl, Unbought, unransom'd, and to Chrysa's shore A solemn hecatomb despatch; this done, The God, appeas'd, his anger may remit."
This said, he sat; and Atreus' godlike son, The mighty monarch, Agamemnon, rose, His dark soul fill'd with fury, and his eyes Flashing like flames of fire; on Calchas first A with'ring glance he cast, and thus he spoke;
"Prophet of ill! thou never speak'st to me But words of evil omen; for thy soul Delights to augur ill, but aught of good Thou never yet hast promis'd, nor perform'd. And now among the Greeks thou spread'st abroad Thy lying prophecies, that all these ills Come from the Far-destroyer, for that I Refus'd the ransom of my lovely prize, And that I rather chose herself to keep, To me not less than Clytemnestra dear, My virgin-wedded wife; nor less adorn'd In gifts of form, of feature, or of mind. Yet, if it must he so, I give her back; I wish my people's safety, not their death. But seek me out forthwith some other spoil, Lest empty-handed I alone appear Of all the Greeks; for this would ill beseem; And how I lose my present share, ye see."
To whom Achilles, swift of foot, replied: "Haughtiest of men, and greediest of the prey! How shall our valiant Greeks for thee seek out Some other spoil? no common fund have we Of hoarded treasures; what our arms have won From captur'd towns, has been already shar'd, Nor can we now resume th' apportion'd spoil. Restore the maid, obedient to the God! And if Heav'n will that we the strong-built walls Of Troy should raze, our warriors will to thee A threefold, fourfold recompense assign."
To whom the monarch Agamemnon thus: "Think not, Achilles, valiant though thou art In fight, and godlike, to defraud me thus; Thou shalt not so persuade me, nor o'erreach. Think'st thou to keep thy portion of the spoil, While I with empty hands sit humbly down? The bright-ey'd girl thou bidd'st me to restore; If then the valiant Greeks for me seek out Some other spoil, some compensation just, 'Tis well: if not, I with my own right hand Will from some other chief, from thee perchance, Or Ajax, or Ulysses, wrest his prey; And woe to him, on whomsoe'er I call! But this for future counsel we remit: Haste we then now our dark-ribb'd bark to launch, Muster a fitting crew, and place on board The sacred hecatomb; then last embark The fair Chryseis; and in chief command Let some one of our councillors be plac'd, Ajax, Ulysses, or Idomeneus, Or thou, the most ambitious of them all, That so our rites may soothe the angry God."
To whom Achilles thus with scornful glance; "Oh, cloth'd in shamelessness! oh, sordid soul! How canst thou hope that any Greek for thee Will brave the toils of travel or of war? Well dost thou know that 't was no feud of mine With Troy's brave sons that brought me here in arms; They never did me wrong; they never drove My cattle, or my horses; never sought In Phthia's fertile, life-sustaining fields To waste the crops; for wide between us lay The shadowy mountains and the roaring sea. With thee, O void of shame! with thee we sail'd, For Menelaus and for thee, ingrate, Glory and fame on Trojan crests to win. All this hast thou forgotten, or despis'd; And threat'nest now to wrest from me the prize I labour'd hard to win, and Greeks bestow'd. Nor does my portion ever equal thine, When on some populous town our troops have made Successful war; in the contentious fight The larger portion of the toil is mine; But when the day of distribution comes, Thine is the richest spoil; while I, forsooth, Must be too well content to bear on board Some paltry prize for all my warlike toil. To Phthia now I go; so better far, To steer my homeward course, and leave thee here But little like, I deem, dishonouring me, To fill thy coffers with the spoils of war."
Whom answer'd Agamemnon, King of men: "Fly then, if such thy mind! I ask thee not On mine account to stay; others there are Will guard my honour and avenge my cause: And chief of all, the Lord of counsel, Jove! Of all the Heav'n-born Kings, thou art the man I hate the most; for thou delight'st in nought But war and strife: thy prowess I allow; Yet this, remember, is the gift of Heav'n. Return then, with thy vessels, if thou wilt, And with thy followers, home; and lord it there Over thy Myrmidons! I heed thee not! I care not for thy fury! Hear my threat: Since Phoebus wrests Chryseis from my arms, In mine own ship, and with mine own good crew, Her I send forth; and, in her stead, I mean, Ev'n from thy tent, myself, to bear thy prize, The fair Briseis; that henceforth thou know How far I am thy master; and that, taught By thine example, others too may fear To rival me, and brave me to my face."
Thus while he spake, Achilles chaf'd with rage; And in his manly breast his heart was torn With thoughts conflicting—whether from his side To draw his mighty sword, and thrusting by Th' assembled throng, to kill th' insulting King; Or school his soul, and keep his anger down. But while in mind and spirit thus he mus'd, And half unsheath'd his sword, from Heav'n came down Minerva, sent by Juno, white-arm'd Queen, Whose love and care both chiefs alike enjoy'd. She stood behind, and by the yellow hair She held the son of Peleus, visible To him alone, by all the rest unseen. Achilles, wond'ring, turn'd, and straight he knew The blue-eyed Pallas; awful was her glance; Whom thus the chief with winged words address'd:
"Why com'st thou, child of aegis-bearing Jove? To see the arrogance of Atreus' son? But this I say, and will make good my words, This insolence may cost him soon his life."
To whom the blue-ey'd Goddess thus replied: "From Heav'n I came, to curb, if thou wilt hear, Thy fury; sent by Juno, white-arm'd Queen, Whose love and care ye both alike enjoy. Cease, then, these broils, and draw not thus thy sword; In words, indeed, assail him as thou wilt. But this I promise, and will make it good, The time shall come, when for this insolence A threefold compensation shall be thine; Only be sway'd by me, and curb thy wrath."
Whom answer'd thus Achilles, swift of foot: "Goddess, I needs must yield to your commands, Indignant though I be—for so 'tis best; Who hears the Gods, of them his pray'rs are heard."
He said: and on the silver hilt he stay'd His pow'rful hand, and flung his mighty sword Back to its scabbard, to Minerva's word Obedient: she her heav'nward course pursued To join th' Immortals in th' abode of Jove. But Peleus' son, with undiminish'd wrath, Atrides thus with bitter words address'd:
"Thou sot, with eye of dog, and heart of deer! Who never dar'st to lead in armed fight Th' assembled host, nor with a chosen few To man the secret ambush—for thou fear'st To look on death—no doubt 'tis easier far, Girt with thy troops, to plunder of his right Whoe'er may venture to oppose thy will! A tyrant King, because thou rul'st o'er slaves! Were it not so, this insult were thy last. But this I say, and with an oath confirm, By this my royal staff, which never more Shall put forth leaf nor spray, since first it left Upon the mountain-side its parent stem, Nor blossom more; since all around the axe Hath lopp'd both leaf and bark, and now 'tis borne Emblem of justice, by the sons of Greece, Who guard the sacred ministry of law Before the face of Jove! a mighty oath! The time shall come, when all the sons of Greece Shall mourn Achilles' loss; and thou the while, Heart-rent, shalt be all-impotent to aid, When by the warrior-slayer Hector's hand Many shall fall; and then thy soul shall mourn The slight on Grecia's bravest warrior cast."
Thus spoke Pelides; and upon the ground He cast his staff, with golden studs emboss'd, And took his seat; on th' other side, in wrath, Atrides burn'd; but Nestor interpos'd; Nestor, the leader of the Pylian host, The smooth-tongued chief, from whose persuasive lips Sweeter than honey flowed the stream of speech. Two generations of the sons of men For him were past and gone, who with himself Were born and bred on Pylos' lovely shore, And o'er the third he now held royal sway. He thus with prudent words the chiefs address'd:
"Alas, alas! what grief is this for Greece! What joy for Priam, and for Priam's sons! What exultation for the men of Troy, To hear of feuds 'tween you, of all the Greeks The first in council, and the first in fight! Yet, hear my words, I pray; in years, at least, Ye both must yield to me; and in times past I liv'd with men, and they despis'd me not, Abler in counsel, greater than yourselves. Such men I never saw, and ne'er shall see, As Pirithous and Dryas, wise and brave, Coeneus, Exadius, godlike Polypheme, And Theseus, AEgeus' more than mortal son. The mightiest they among the sons of men; The mightiest they, and of the forest beasts Strove with the mightiest, and their rage subdued. With them from distant lands, from Pylos' shore I join'd my forces, and their call obey'd; With them I play'd my part; with them, not one Would dare to fight of mortals now on earth. Yet they my counsels heard, my voice obey'd; And hear ye also, for my words are wise. Nor thou, though great thou be, attempt to rob Achilles of his prize, but let him keep The spoil assign'd him by the sons of Greece; Nor thou, Pelides, with the monarch strive In rivalry; for ne'er to sceptred King Hath Jove such pow'rs, as to Atrides, giv'n; And valiant though thou art, and Goddess-born, Yet mightier he, for wider is his sway. Atrides, curb thy wrath! while I beseech Achilles to forbear; in whom the Greeks From adverse war their great defender see."
To whom the monarch, Agamemnon, thus: "O father, full of wisdom are thy words; But this proud chief o'er all would domineer; O'er all he seeks to rule, o'er all to reign, To all to dictate; which I will not bear. Grant that the Gods have giv'n him warlike might, Gave they unbridled license to his tongue?"
To whom Achilles, interrupting, thus: "Coward and slave indeed I might be deem'd. Could I submit to make thy word my law; To others thy commands; seek not to me To dictate, for I follow thee no more. But hear me speak, and ponder what I say: For the fair girl I fight not (since you choose To take away the prize yourselves bestow'd) With thee or any one; but of the rest My dark swift ship contains, against my will On nought shalt thou, unpunish'd, lay thy hand. Make trial if thou wilt, that these may know; Thy life-blood soon should reek upon my spear."
After this conflict keen of angry speech, The chiefs arose, the assembly was dispers'd.
With his own followers, and Menoetius' son, Achilles to his tents and ships withdrew. But Atreus' son launch'd a swift-sailing bark, With twenty rowers mann'd, and plac'd on board The sacred hecatomb; then last embark'd The fair Chryseis, and in chief command Laertes' son, the sage Ulysses, plac'd. They swiftly sped along the wat'ry way.
Next, proclamation through the camp was made To purify the host; and in the sea, Obedient to the word, they purified; Then to Apollo solemn rites perform'd With faultless hecatombs of bulls and goats, Upon the margin of the wat'ry waste; And, wreath'd in smoke, the savour rose to Heav'n.
The camp thus occupied, the King pursued His threaten'd plan of vengeance; to his side Calling Talthybius and Eurybates, Heralds, and faithful followers, thus he spoke:
"Haste to Achilles' tent, and in your hand Back with you thence the fair Briseis bring: If he refuse to send her, I myself With a sufficient force will bear her thence, Which he may find, perchance, the worse for him."
So spake the monarch, and with stern command Dismiss'd them; with reluctant steps they pass'd Along the margin of the wat'ry waste, Till to the tents and ships they came, where lay The warlike Myrmidons. Their chief they found Sitting beside his tent and dark-ribb'd ship. Achilles mark'd their coming, not well pleas'd: With troubled mien, and awe-struck by the King, They stood, nor dar'd accost him; but himself Divin'd their errand, and address'd them thus:
"Welcome, ye messengers of Gods and men, Heralds! approach in safety; not with you, But with Atrides, is my just offence, Who for the fair Briseis sends you here. Go, then, Patroclus, bring the maiden forth, And give her to their hands; but witness ye, Before the blessed Gods and mortal men, And to the face of that injurious King, When he shall need my arm, from shameful rout To save his followers; blinded by his rage, He neither heeds experience of the past Nor scans the future, provident how best To guard his fleet and army from the foe."
He spoke: obedient to his friend and chief, Patroclus led the fair Briseis forth, And gave her to their hands; they to the ships Retrac'd their steps, and with them the fair girl Reluctant went: meanwhile Achilles, plung'd In bitter grief, from all the band apart, Upon the margin of the hoary sea Sat idly gazing on the dark-blue waves; And to his Goddess-mother long he pray'd, With outstretch'd hands, "Oh, mother! since thy son To early death by destiny is doom'd, I might have hop'd the Thunderer on high, Olympian Jove, with honour would have crown'd My little space; but now disgrace is mine; Since Agamemnon, the wide-ruling King, Hath wrested from me, and still holds, my prize."
Weeping, he spoke; his Goddess-mother heard, Beside her aged father where she sat In the deep ocean-caves: ascending quick Through the dark waves, like to a misty cloud, Beside her son she stood; and as he wept, She gently touch'd him with her hand, and said, "Why weeps my son? and whence his cause of grief? Speak out, that I may hear, and share thy pain."
To whom Achilles, swift of foot, replied, Groaning, "Thou know'st; what boots to tell thee all? On Thebes we march'd, Eetion's sacred town, And storm'd the walls, and hither bore the spoil. The spoils were fairly by the sons of Greece Apportion'd out; and to Atrides' share The beauteous daughter of old Chryses fell. Chryses, Apollo's priest, to free his child, Came to th' encampment of the brass-clad Greeks, With costly ransom charg'd; and in his hand The sacred fillet of his God he bore, And golden staff; to all he sued, but chief To Atreus' sons, twin captains of the host. Then through the ranks assenting murmurs ran, The priest to rev'rence, and the ransom take: Not so Atrides; he, with haughty mien And bitter words, the trembling sire dismiss'd. The old man turn'd in sorrow; but his pray'r Phoebus Apollo heard, who lov'd him well. Against the Greeks he bent his fatal bow, And fast the people fell; on ev'ry side Throughout the camp the heav'nly arrows flew; A skilful seer at length the cause reveal'd Why thus incens'd the Archer-God; I then, The first, gave counsel to appease his wrath. Whereat Atrides, full of fury, rose, And utter'd threats, which he hath now fulfill'd. For Chryses' daughter to her native land In a swift-sailing ship the keen-ey'd Greeks Have sent, with costly off'rings to the God: But her, assign'd me by the sons of Greece, Brises' fair daughter, from my tent e'en now The heralds bear away. Then, Goddess, thou, If thou hast pow'r, protect thine injur'd son. Fly to Olympus, to the feet of Jove, And make thy pray'r to him, if on his heart Thou hast in truth, by word or deed, a claim. For I remember, in my father's house, I oft have heard thee boast, how thou, alone Of all th' Immortals, Saturn's cloud-girt son Didst shield from foul disgrace, when all the rest, Juno, and Neptune, and Minerva join'd, With chains to bind him; then, O Goddess, thou Didst set him free, invoking to his aid Him of the hundred arms, whom Briareus Th' immortal Gods, and men AEgeon call. He, mightier than his father, took his seat By Saturn's side, in pride of conscious strength: Fear seiz'd on all the Gods, nor did they dare To bind their King: of this remind him now, And clasp his knees, and supplicate his aid For Troy's brave warriors, that the routed Greeks Back to their ships with slaughter may be driv'n; That all may taste the folly of their King, And Agamemnon's haughty self may mourn The slight on Grecia's bravest warrior cast."
Thus he; and Thetis, weeping, thus replied: "Alas, my child, that e'er I gave thee birth! Would that beside thy ships thou could'st remain From grief exempt, and insult! since by fate Few years are thine, and not a lengthened term; At once to early death and sorrows doom'd Beyond the lot of man! in evil hour I gave thee birth! But to the snow-clad heights Of great Olympus, to the throne of Jove, Who wields the thunder, thy complaints I bear. Thou by thy ships, meanwhile, against the Greeks Thine anger nurse, and from the fight abstain. For Jove is to a solemn banquet gone Beyond the sea, on AEthiopia's shore, Since yesternight; and with him all the Gods. On the twelfth day he purpos'd to return To high Olympus; thither then will I, And to his feet my supplication make; And he, I think, will not deny my suit."
This said, she disappear'd; and left him there Musing in anger on the lovely form Tom from his arms by violence away.
Meantime, Ulysses, with his sacred freight, Arriv'd at Chrysa's strand; and when his bark Had reach'd the shelter of the deep sea bay, Their sails they furl'd, and lower'd to the hold; Slack'd the retaining shrouds, and quickly struck And stow'd away the mast; then with their sweeps Pull'd for the beach, and cast their anchors out, And made her fast with cables to the shore. Then on the shingly breakwater themselves They landed, and the sacred hecatomb To great Apollo; and Chryseis last. Her to the altar straight Ulysses led, The wise in counsel; in her father's hand He plac'd the maiden, and address'd him thus: "Chryses, from Agamemnon, King of men, To thee I come, thy daughter to restore; And to thy God, upon the Greeks' behalf, To offer sacrifice, if haply so We may appease his wrath, who now incens'd With grievous suff'ring visits all our host." Then to her sire he gave her; he with joy Receiv'd his child; the sacred hecatomb Around the well-built altar for the God In order due they plac'd; their hands then washed, And the salt cake prepar'd, before them all With hands uplifted Chryses pray'd aloud:
"Hear me, God of the silver bow! whose care Chrysa surrounds, and Cilla's lovely vale, Whose sov'reign sway o'er Tenedos extends! Once hast thou heard my pray'r, aveng'd my cause, And pour'd thy fury on the Grecian host. Hear yet again, and grant what now I ask; Withdraw thy chast'ning hand, and stay the plague."
Thus, as he pray'd, his pray'r Apollo heard. Their pray'rs concluded, and the salt cake strew'd Upon the victims' heads, they drew them back, And slew, and flay'd; then cutting from the thighs The choicest pieces, and in double layers O'erspreading them with fat, above them plac'd The due meat-off'rings; then the aged priest The cleft wood kindled, and libations pour'd Of ruddy wine; arm'd with the five-fork'd prongs Th' attendant ministers beside him stood. The thighs consum'd with fire, the inward parts They tasted first; the rest upon the spits Roasted with care, and from the fire withdrew. Their labours ended, and the feast prepar'd, They shared the social meal, nor lacked there aught. The rage of thirst and hunger satisfied, Th' attendant youths the flowing goblets crown'd, And in fit order serv'd the cups to all. All day they sought the favour of the God, The glorious paeans chanting, and the praise Of Phoebus: he, well pleas'd, the strain receiv'd But when the sun was set, and shades of night O'erspread the sky, upon the sandy beach Close to their ship they laid them down to rest. And when the rosy-finger'd morn appear'd, Back to the camp they took their homeward way A fav'ring breeze the Far-destroyer sent: They stepp'd the mast, and spread the snowy sail: Full in the midst the bellying sail receiv'd The gallant breeze; and round the vessel's prow The dark waves loudly roar'd, as on she rush'd Skimming the seas, and cut her wat'ry way. Arriv'd where lay the wide-spread host of Greece, Their dark-ribb'd vessel on the beach they drew High on the sand, and strongly shor'd her up; Then through the camp they took their sev'ral ways.
Meantime, beside the ships Achilles sat, The Heav'n-born son of Peleus, swift of foot, Chafing with rage repress'd; no more he sought The honour'd council, nor the battle-field; But wore his soul away, and inly pin'd For the fierce joy and tumult of the fight. But when the twelfth revolving day was come, Back to Olympus' heights th' immortal Gods, Jove at their head, together all return'd. Then Thetis, mindful of her son's request, Rose from the ocean wave, and sped in haste To high Olympus, and the courts of Heav'n. Th' all-seeing son of Saturn there she found Sitting apart upon the topmost crest Of many-ridg'd Olympus; at his feet She sat, and while her left hand clasp'd his knees, Her right approached his beard, and suppliant thus She made her pray'r to Saturn's royal son:
"Father, if e'er amid th' immortal Gods By word or deed I did thee service true, Hear now my pray'r! Avenge my hapless son, Of mortals shortest-liv'd, insulted now By mighty Agamemnon, King of men, And plunder'd of his lawful spoils of war. But Jove, Olympian, Lord of counsel, Thou Avenge his cause; and give to Trojan arms Such strength and pow'r, that Greeks may learn how much They need my son, and give him honour due."
She said: the Cloud-compeller answer'd not, But silent sat; then Thetis clasp'd his knees, And hung about him, and her suit renew'd:
"Give me thy promise sure, thy gracious nod, Or else refuse (for thou hast none to fear), That I may learn, of all th' immortal Gods, How far I stand the lowest in thine eyes."
Then, much disturb'd, the Cloud-compeller spoke: "Sad work thou mak'st, in bidding me oppose My will to Juno's, when her bitter words Assail me; for full oft amid the Gods She taunts me, that I aid the Trojan cause. But thou return, that Juno see thee not, And leave to me the furth'rance of thy suit. Lo, to confirm thy faith, I nod my head; And well among th' immortal Gods is known The solemn import of that pledge from me: For ne'er my promise shall deceive, or fail, Or be recall'd, if with a nod confirm'd."
He said, and nodded with his shadowy brows; Wav'd on th' immortal head th' ambrosial locks, And all Olympus trembled at his nod. They parted thus: from bright Olympus' heights The Goddess hasted to her ocean-caves, Jove to his palace; at his entrance all Rose from their seats at once; not one presum'd To wait his coming, but advanc'd to meet. Then on his throne he sat; but not unmark'd Of Juno's eye had been the council held In secret with the silver-footed Queen, The daughter of the aged Ocean-God; And with sharp words she thus addressed her Lord:
"Tell me, deceiver, who was she with whom Thou late held'st council? ever 'tis thy way Apart from me to weave thy secret schemes, Nor dost thou freely share with me thy mind."
To whom the Sire of Gods and men replied: "Expect not, Juno, all my mind to know; My wife thou art, yet would such knowledge be Too much for thee; whate'er I deem it fit That thou shouldst know, nor God nor man shall hear Before thee; but what I in secret plan, Seek not to know, nor curiously inquire."
Whom answer'd thus the stag-ey'd Queen of Heav'n: "What words, dread son of Saturn, dost thou speak? Ne'er have I sought, or now, or heretofore, Thy secret thoughts to know; what thou think'st fit To tell, I wait thy gracious will to hear. Yet fear I in my soul thou art beguil'd By wiles of Thetis, silver-footed Queen, The daughter of the aged Ocean-God; For she was with thee early, and embrac'd Thy knees, and has, I think, thy promise sure, Thou wilt avenge Achilles' cause, and bring Destructive slaughter on the Grecian host."
To whom the Cloud-compeller thus replied: "Presumptuous, to thy busy thoughts thou giv'st Too free a range, and watchest all I do; Yet shalt thou not prevail, but rather thus Be alien'd from my heart—the worse for thee! If this be so, it is my sov'reign will. But now, keep silence, and my words obey, Lest all th' Immortals fail, if I be wroth, To rescue thee from my resistless hand."
He said, and terror seiz'd the stag-ey'd Queen: Silent she sat, curbing her spirit down, And all the Gods in pitying sorrow mourn'd. Vulcan, the skill'd artificer, then first Broke silence, and with soothing words address'd His mother, Juno, white-arm'd Queen of Heav'n: "Sad were't, indeed, and grievous to be borne, If for the sake of mortal men you two Should suffer angry passions to arise, And kindle broils in Heav'n; so should our feast By evil influence all its sweetness lack. Let me advise my mother (and I know That her own reason will my words approve) To speak my father fair; lest he again Reply in anger, and our banquet mar. For Jove, the lightning's Lord, if such his will, Might hurl us from our seats (so great his pow'r), But thou address him still with gentle words; So shall his favour soon again be ours."
This said, he rose, and in his mother's hand A double goblet plac'd, as thus he spoke: "Have patience, mother mine! though much enforc'd, Restrain thy spirit, lest perchance these eyes, Dear as thou art, behold thee brought to shame; And I, though griev'd in heart, be impotent To save thee; for 'tis hard to strive with Jove. When to thy succour once before I came, He seiz'd me by the foot, and hurl'd me down From Heav'n's high threshold; all the day I fell, And with the setting sun, on Lemnos' isle Lighted, scarce half alive; there was I found, And by the Sintian people kindly nurs'd."
Thus as he spoke, the white-armed Goddess smil'd, And, smiling, from, his hand receiv'd the cup, Then to th' Immortals all, in order due, He minister'd, and from the flagon pour'd The luscious nectar; while among the Gods Rose laughter irrepressible, at sight Of Vulcan hobbling round the spacious hall.
Thus they till sunset pass'd the festive hours; Nor lack'd the banquet aught to please the sense, Nor sound of tuneful lyre, by Phoebus touch'd, Nor Muses' voice, who in alternate strains Responsive sang: but when the sun had set, Each to his home departed, where for each The crippled Vulcan, matchless architect, With wondrous skill a noble house had rear'd.
To his own couch, where he was wont of old, When overcome by gentle sleep, to rest, Olympian Jove ascended; there he slept, And, by his side, the golden-throned Queen.
THE TRIAL OF THE ARMY AND CATALOGUE OF THE FORCES.
Jupiter, in pursuance of the request of Thetis, sends a deceitful vision to Agamemnon, persuading him to lead the army to battle in order to make the Greeks sensible of their want of Achilles. The general, who is deluded with the hopes of taking Troy without his assistance, but fears the army was discouraged by his absence and the late plague, as well as by length of time, contrives to make trial of their disposition by a stratagem. He first communicates his design to the princes in council that he would propose a return to the soldiers, and that they should put a stop to them if the proposal was embraced. Then he assembles the whole host, and upon moving for a return to Greece, they unanimously agree to it, and run to prepare the ships. They are detained by the management of Ulysses, who chastises the insolence of Thersites. The assembly is recalled, several speeches made on the occasion, and at length the advice of Nestor followed, which was to make a general muster of the troops, and to divide them into their several nations, before they proceeded to battle. This gives occasion to the poet to enumerate all the forces of the Greeks and Trojans, in a large catalogue.
The time employed in this book consists not entirely of one day. The scene lies in the Grecian camp and upon the sea-shore; toward the end it removes to Troy.
All night in sleep repos'd the other Gods, And helmed warriors; but the eyes of Jove Sweet slumber held not, pondering in his mind How to avenge Achilles' cause, and pour Destructive slaughter on the Grecian host. Thus as he mus'd, the wisest course appear'd By a deluding vision to mislead The son of Atreus; and with winged words Thus to a phantom form he gave command: "Hie thee, deluding Vision, to the camp And ships of Greece, to Agamemnon's tent; There, changing nought, as I command thee, speak. Bid that he arm in haste the long-hair'd Greeks To combat; for the wide-built streets of Troy He now may capture; since th' immortal Gods Watch over her no longer; all are gain'd By Juno's pray'rs; and woes impend o'er Troy."
He said: the Vision heard, and straight obey'd: Swiftly he sped, and reached the Grecian ships, And sought the son of Atreus; him he found Within his tent, wrapped in ambrosial sleep; Above his head he stood, like Neleus' son, Nestor, whom Agamemnon rev'renc'd most Of all the Elders; in his likeness cloth'd Thus spoke the heav'nly Vision; "Sleep'st thou, son Of Atreus, valiant warrior, horseman bold? To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief, Charg'd with the public weal, and cares of state. Hear now the words I bear; to thee I come A messenger from Jove, who from on high Looks down on thee with eyes of pitying love. He bids thee arm in haste the long-hair'd Greeks To combat; since the wide-built streets of Troy Thou now mayst capture; for th' immortal Gods Watch over her no longer; all are gain'd By Juno's pray'rs; and woes impend o'er Troy. Bear this in mind; and when from sleep arous'd Let not my words from thy remembrance fade." This said, he vanish'd; and the monarch left, Inspir'd with thoughts which ne'er should come to pass. For in that day he vainly hop'd to take The town of Priam; ignorant what Jove Design'd in secret, or what woes, what groans, What lengthen'd labours in the stubborn fight, Were yet for Trojans and for Greeks in store. He woke from sleep; but o'er his senses spread Dwelt still the heavenly voice; he sat upright; He donn'd his vest of texture fine, new-wrought, Then o'er it threw his ample robe, and bound His sandals fair around his well-turn'd feet; And o'er his shoulders flung his sword, adorn'd With silver studs; and bearing in his hand His royal staff, ancestral, to the ships Where lay the brass-clad warriors, bent his way.
Aurora now was rising up the steep Of great Olympus, to th' immortal Gods Pure light diffusing; when Atrides bade The clear-voic'd heralds to th' Assembly call The gen'ral host; they gave the word, and straight From ev'ry quarter throng'd the eager crowd. But first, of all the Elders, by the side Of Nestor's ship, the aged Pylian chief, A secret conclave Agamemnon call'd; And, prudent, thus the chosen few address'd: "Hear me, my friends! In the still hours of night I saw a heav'nly Vision in my sleep: Most like it seemed in stature, form, and face To rev'rend Nestor; at my head it stood, And with these words address'd me—'Sleep'st thou, son Of Atreus, valiant warrior, horseman bold? To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief, Charg'd with the public weal, and cares of state. Hear now the words I bear: to thee I come A messenger from Jove, who from on high Looks down on thee with eyes of pitying love. He bids thee arm in haste the long-hair'd Greeks To combat: since the wide-built streets of Troy Thou now may'st capture; for th' immortal Gods Watch over her no longer: all are gain'd By Juno's pray'rs, and woes impend o'er Troy. Bear thou my words in mind.' Thus as he spoke He vanish'd; and sweet sleep forsook mine eyes. Seek we then straight to arm the sons of Greece: But first, as is our wont, myself will prove The spirit of the army; and suggest Their homeward voyage; ye, throughout the camp Restore their courage, and restrain from flight."
Thus having said, he sat; and next arose Nestor, the chief of Pylos' sandy shore. Who thus with prudent speech replied, and said: "O friends, the chiefs and councillors of Greece, If any other had this Vision seen, We should have deem'd it false, and laugh'd to scorn The idle tale; but now it hath appear'd, Of all our army, to the foremost man: Seek we then straight to arm the sons of Greece."
He said, and from the council led the way. Uprose the sceptred monarchs, and obey'd Their leader's call, and round them throng'd the crowd. As swarms of bees, that pour in ceaseless stream From out the crevice of some hollow rock, Now clust'ring, and anon 'mid vernal flow'rs, Some here, some there, in busy numbers fly; So to th' Assembly from their tents and ships The countless tribes came thronging; in their midst, By Jove enkindled, Rumour urged them on. Great was the din; and as the mighty mass Sat down, the solid earth beneath them groan'd; Nine heralds rais'd their voices loud, to quell The storm of tongues, and bade the noisy crowd Be still, and listen to the Heav'n-born Kings.
At length they all were seated, and awhile Their clamours sank to silence; then uprose The monarch Agamemnon, in his hand His royal staff, the work of Vulcan's art; Which Vulcan to the son of Saturn gave; To Hermes he, the heav'nly messenger; Hermes to Pelops, matchless charioteer; Pelops to Atreus; Atreus at his death Bequeath'd it to Thyestes, wealthy Lord Of num'rous herds; to Agamemnon last Thyestes left it; token of his sway O'er all the Argive coast, and neighbouring isles. On this the monarch leant, as thus he spoke: "Friends, Grecian Heroes, Ministers of Mars! Grievous, and all unlook'd for, is the blow Which Jove hath dealt me; by his promise led I hop'd to raze the strong-built walls of Troy, And home return in safety; but it seems He falsifies his word, and bids me now Return to Argos, frustrate of my hope, Dishonour'd, and with grievous loss of men. Such now appears th' o'er-ruling sov'reign will Of Saturn's son; who oft hath sunk the heads Of many a lofty city in the dust, And yet will sink; for mighty is his hand. 'Tis shame indeed that future days should hear How such a force as ours, so great, so brave, Hath thus been baffled, fighting, as we do, 'Gainst numbers far inferior to our own, And see no end of all our warlike toil. For should we choose, on terms of plighted truce, Trojans and Greeks, to number our array; Of Trojans, all that dwell within the town, And we, by tens disposed, to every ten, To crown our cups, one Trojan should assign, Full many a ten no cupbearer would find: So far the sons of Greece outnumber all That dwell within the town; but to their aid Bold warriors come from all the cities round, Who greatly harass me, and render vain My hope to storm the strong-built walls of Troy. Already now nine weary years have pass'd; The timbers of our ships are all decay'd, The cordage rotted; in our homes the while Our wives and helpless children sit, in vain Expecting our return; and still the work, For which we hither came, remains undone. Hear then my counsel; let us all agree Home to direct our course, since here in vain We strive to take the well-built walls of Troy."
Thus as he spoke, the crowd, that had not heard The secret council, by his words was mov'd; So sway'd and heav'd the multitude, as when O'er the vast billows of th' Icarian sea Eurus and Notus from the clouds of Heav'n Pour forth their fury; or as some deep field Of wavy corn, when sweeping o'er the plain The ruffling west wind sways the bending ears; So was th' Assembly stirr'd; and tow'rd the ships With clam'rous joy they rush'd; beneath, their feet Rose clouds of dust, while one to other call'd To seize the ships and drag them to the main. They clear'd the channels, and with shouts of "home" That rose to Heav'n, they knock'd the shores away. Then had the Greeks in shameful flight withdrawn, Had Juno not to Pallas thus appeal'd: "Oh Heav'n! brave child of aegis-bearing Jove, Shall thus the Greeks, in ignominious flight, O'er the wide sea their homeward course pursue, And as a trophy to the sons of Troy The Argive Helen leave, on whose account, Far from their home, so many valiant Greeks Have cast their lives away? Go quickly thou Amid the brass-clad Greeks, and man by man Address with words persuasive, nor permit To launch their well-trimm'd vessels on the deep."
She said, nor did Minerva not obey, But swift descending from Olympus' heights With rapid flight she reach'd the Grecian ships. Laertes' son, in council sage as Jove There found she standing; he no hand had laid On his dark vessel, for with bitter grief His heart was filled; the blue-ey'd Maid approach'd, And thus address'd him: "Great Laertes' son, Ulysses, sage in council, can it be That you, the men of Greece, embarking thus On your swift ships, in ignominious flight, O'er the wide sea will take your homeward way, And as a trophy to the sons of Troy The Argive Helen leave, on whose account Far from their homes so many valiant Greeks Have cast their lives away? Go quickly thou Among the multitude, and man by man Address with words persuasive, nor permit To launch their well-trimm'd vessels on the deep."
She said; the heav'nly voice Ulysses knew; Straight, springing to the course, he cast aside, And to Eurybates of Ithaca, His herald and attendant, threw his robe; Then to Atrides hasten'd, and by him Arm'd with his royal staff ancestral, pass'd With rapid step amid the ships of Greece. Each King or leader whom he found he thus With cheering words encourag'd and restrain'd: "O gallant friend, 'tis not for thee to yield, Like meaner men, to panic; but thyself Sit quiet, and the common herd restrain. Thou know'st not yet Atrides' secret mind: He tries us now, and may reprove us soon. His words in council reach'd not all our ears: See that he work us not some ill; for fierce His anger; and the Lord of counsel, Jove, From whom proceeds all honour, loves him well."
But of the common herd whome'er he found Clam'ring, he check'd with staff and threat'ning words: "Good friend, keep still, and hear what others say, Thy betters far: for thou art good for nought, Of small account in council or in fight. All are not sovereigns here: ill fares the state Where many masters rule; let one be Lord, One King supreme; to whom wise Saturn's son In token of his sov'reign power hath giv'n The sceptre's sway and ministry of law."
Such were his words, as through the ranks he pass'd: They from the vessels and the tents again Throng'd to th' Assembly, with such rush of sound, As when the many-dashing ocean's wave Breaks on the shore, and foams the frothing sea. The others all were settled in their seats: Only Thersites, with unmeasur'd words, Of which he had good store, to rate the chiefs, Not over-seemly, but wherewith he thought To move the crowd to laughter, brawl'd aloud. The ugliest man was he who came to Troy: With squinting eyes, and one distorted foot, His shoulders round, and buried in his breast His narrow head, with scanty growth of hair. Against Achilles and Ulysses most His hate was turn'd; on them his venom pour'd; Anon, at Agamemnon's self he launch'd His loud-tongued ribaldry; 'gainst him he knew Incensed the public mind; and bawling loud,  With scurril words, he thus address'd the King: "What more, thou son of Atreus, would'st thou have? Thy tents are full of brass; and in those tents Many fair women, whom, from all the spoil, We Greeks, whene'er some wealthy town we take, Choose first of all, and set apart for thee. Or dost thou thirst for gold, which here perchance Some Trojan brings, the ransom of his son Captur'd by me, or by some other Greek? Or some new girl, to gratify thy lust, Kept for thyself apart? a leader, thou Shouldst not to evil lead the sons of Greece. Ye slaves! ye coward souls! Women of Greece! I will not call you men! why go we not Home with our ships, and leave this mighty chief To gloat upon his treasures, and find out Whether in truth he need our aid, or no; Who on Achilles, his superior far, Foul scorn hath cast, and robb'd him of his prize, Which for himself he keeps? Achilles, sure, Is not intemperate, but mild of mood; Else, Atreus' son, this insult were thy last."
On Agamemnon, leader of the host, With words like these Thersites pour'd his hate; But straight Ulysses at his side appear'd, And spoke, with scornful glance, in stern rebuke: "Thou babbling fool, Thersites, prompt of speech, Restrain thy tongue, nor singly thus presume The Kings to slander; thou, the meanest far Of all that with the Atridae came to Troy. Ill it beseems, that such an one as thou Should lift thy voice against the Kings, and rail With scurril ribaldry, and prate of home. How these affairs may end, we know not yet; Nor how, or well or ill, we may return. Cease then against Atrides, King of men, To pour thy spite, for that the valiant Greeks To him, despite thy railing, as of right An ample portion of the spoils assign. But this I tell thee, and will make it good, If e'er I find thee play the fool, as now, Then may these shoulders cease this head to bear, And may my son Telemachus no more Own me his father, if I strip not off Thy mantle and thy garments, aye, expose Thy nakedness, and flog thee to the ships Howling, and scourg'd with ignominious stripes."
Thus as he spoke, upon Thersites' neck And back came down his heavy staff; the wretch Shrank from the blow, and scalding tears let fall. Where struck the golden-studded staff, appear'd A bloody weal: Thersites quail'd, and down, Quiv'ring with pain, he sat, and wip'd away. With horrible grimace, the trickling tears. The Greeks, despite their anger, laugh'd aloud, And one to other said, "Good faith, of all The many works Ulysses well hath done, Wise in the council, foremost in the fight, He ne'er hath done a better, than when now He makes this scurril babbler hold his peace. Methinks his headstrong spirit will not soon Lead him again to vilify the Kings."
Thus spoke the gen'ral voice: but, staff in hand, Ulysses rose; Minerva by his side, In likeness of a herald, bade the crowd Keep silence, that the Greeks, from first to last, Might hear his words, and ponder his advice. He thus with prudent phrase his speech began: "Great son of Atreus, on thy name, O King, Throughout the world will foul reproach be cast, If Greeks forget their promise, nor make good The vow they took to thee, when hitherward We sailed from Argos' grassy plains, to raze, Ere our return, the well-built walls of Troy. But now, like helpless widows, or like babes, They mourn their cruel fate, and pine for home. 'Tis hard indeed defeated to return; The seaman murmurs, if from wife and home, Ev'n for one month, his well-found bark be stay'd, Toss'd by the wint'ry blasts and stormy sea; But us the ninth revolving year beholds Still ling'ring here: I cannot therefore blame Our valiant Greeks, if by the ships I hear Their murmurs; yet 'twere surely worst of all Long to remain, and bootless to return. Bear up, my friends, remain awhile, and see If Calchas truly prophesy, or no. For this ye all have seen, and can yourselves Bear witness, all who yet are spar'd by fate, Not long ago, when ships of Greece were met At Aulis, charg'd with evil freight for Troy, And we, around a fountain, to the Gods Our altars rear'd, with faultless hecatombs, Near a fair plane-tree, where bright water flow'd, Behold a wonder! by Olympian Jove Sent forth to light, a snake, with burnish'd scales, Of aspect fearful, issuing from beneath The altars, glided to the plane-tree straight. There, on the topmost bough, beneath the leaves Cow'ring, a sparrow's callow nestlings lay; Eight fledglings, and the parent bird the ninth. All the eight nestlings, utt'ring piercing cries, The snake devour'd; and as the mother flew, Lamenting o'er her offspring, round and round, Uncoiling, caught her, shrieking, by the wing. Then, when the sparrow's nestlings and herself The snake had swallowed, by the God, who first Sent him to light, a miracle was wrought: For Jove, the deep-designing Saturn's son, Turn'd him to stone; we stood, and wond'ring gaz'd. But when this prodigy befell our rites, Calchas, inspir'd of Heaven, took up his speech: 'Ye long-haired sons of Greece, why stand ye thus In mute amaze? to us Olympian Jove, To whom be endless praise, vouchsafes this sign, Late sent, of late fulfilment: as ye saw The snake devour the sparrow and her young, Eight nestlings, and the parent bird the ninth: So, for so many years, are we condemn'd To wage a fruitless war; but in the tenth The wide-built city shall at last be ours.' Thus he foretold, and now the time is come. Here then, ye well-greav'd Greeks, let all remain, Till Priam's wealthy city be our own."
He said, and loudly cheer'd the Greeks—and loud From all the hollow ships came back the cheers— In admiration of Ulysses' speech. Gerenian Nestor next took up the word: "Like children, Grecian warriors, ye debate; Like babes to whom unknown are feats of arms. Where then are now our solemn covenants, Our plighted oaths? Go, cast we to the fire Our councils held, our warriors' plans matur'd, Our absolute pledges, and our hand-plight giv'n, In which our trust was placed; since thus in vain In words we wrangle, and how long soe'er We here remain, solution none we find. Atrides, thou, as is thy wont, maintain Unchang'd thy counsel; for the stubborn fight Array the Greeks; and let perdition seize Those few, those two or three among the host, Who hold their separate counsel—(not on them Depends the issue!)—rather than return To Argos, ere we prove if Jove indeed Will falsify his promis'd word, or no. For well I ween, that on the day when first We Grecians hitherward our course address'd, To Troy the messengers of blood and death, Th' o'er-ruling son of Saturn, on our right His lightning flashing, with auspicious sign Assur'd us of his favour; let not then The thoughts of home be breath'd, ere Trojan wives Given to our warriors, retribution pay For wrongs by us, in Helen's cause, sustain'd. But whoso longs, if such an one there be, To make his homeward voyage, let him take His well-rigg'd bark, and go; before the rest To meet the doom of death! But thou, O King! Be well advis'd thyself, and others lead By wholesome counsel; for the words I speak Are not to be despis'd; by tribes and clans, O Agamemnon! range thy troops, that so Tribe may to tribe give aid, and clan to clan. If thus thou do, and Greeks thy words obey, Then shalt thou see, of chiefs and troops alike, The good and bad; for on their own behoof They all shall fight; and if thou fail, shalt know Whether thy failure be of Heav'n's decree, Or man's default and ignorance of war."
To whom the monarch Agamemnon thus: "Father, in council, of the sons of Greece, None can compare with thee; and would to Jove To Pallas, and Apollo, at my side I had but ten such counsellors as thee! Then soon should royal Priam's city fall, Tak'n and destroy'd by our victorious hands. But now on me hath aegis-bearing Jove, The son of Saturn, fruitless toil impos'd, And hurtful quarrels; for in wordy war About a girl, Achilles and myself Engag'd; and I, alas! the strife began: Could we be friends again, delay were none, How short soe'er, of Ilium's final doom. But now to breakfast, ere we wage the fight. Each sharpen well his spear, his shield prepare, Each to his fiery steeds their forage give, Each look his chariot o'er, that through the day We may unwearied stem the tide of war; For respite none, how short soe'er, shall be Till night shall bid the storm of battle cease. With sweat shall reek upon each warrior's breast The leathern belt beneath the cov'ring shield; And hands shall ache that wield the pond'rous spear: With sweat shall reek the fiery steeds that draw Each warrior's car; but whomsoe'er I find Loit'ring beside the beaked ships, for him 'Twere hard to'scape the vultures and the dogs."
He said; and from th' applauding ranks of Greece Rose a loud sound, as when the ocean wave, Driv'n by the south wind on some lofty beach, Dashes against a prominent crag, expos'd To blasts from every storm that roars around. Uprising then, and through the camp dispers'd They took their sev'ral ways, and by their tents The fires they lighted, and the meal prepar'd; And each to some one of the Immortal Gods His off'ring made, that in the coming fight He might escape the bitter doom of death. But to the o'erruling son of Saturn, Jove, A sturdy ox, well-fatten'd, five years old, Atrides slew; and to the banquet call'd The aged chiefs and councillors of Greece; Nestor the first, the King Idomeneus, The two Ajaces next, and Tydeus' son, Ulysses sixth, as Jove in council sage. But uninvited Menelaus came, Knowing what cares upon his brother press'd. Around the ox they stood, and on his head The salt cake sprinkled; then amid them all The monarch Agamemnon pray'd aloud: "Most great, most glorious Jove! who dwell'st on high, In clouds and darkness veil'd, grant Thou that ere This sun shall set, and night o'erspread the earth, I may the haughty walls of Priam's house Lay prostrate in the dust; and burn with fire His lofty gates; and strip from Hector's breast His sword-rent tunic, while around his corpse Many brave comrades, prostrate, bite the dust."
Thus he; but Saturn's son his pray'r denied; Receiv'd his off'rings, but his toils increas'd. Their pray'rs concluded, and the salt cake strewed Upon the victim's head, they drew him back, And slew, and flay'd; then cutting from the thighs The choicest pieces, and in double layers O'erspreading them with fat, above them plac'd The due meat-off'rings; these they burnt with logs Of leafless timber; and the inward parts, First to be tasted, o'er the fire they held. The thighs consum'd with fire, the inward parts They tasted first; the rest upon the spits Roasted with care, and from the fire withdrew. Their labours ended, and the feast prepar'd, They shared the social meal, nor lacked there aught. The rage of thirst and hunger satisfied, Gerenian Nestor thus his speech began: "Most mighty Agamemnon, King of men, Great Atreus' son, no longer let us pause, The work delaying which the pow'rs of Heav'n Have trusted to our hands; do thou forthwith Bid that the heralds proclamation make, And summon through the camp the brass-clad Greeks; While, in a body, through the wide-spread ranks We pass, and stimulate their warlike zeal."
He said; and Agamemnon, King of men, Obedient to his counsel, gave command That to the war the clear-voic'd heralds call The long-hair'd Greeks: they gave the word, and straight From ev'ry quarter throng'd the eager crowd. The Heav'n-born Kings, encircling Atreus' son, The troops inspected: Pallas, blue-ey'd Maid, Before the chiefs her glorious aegis bore, By time untouch'd, immortal: all around A hundred tassels hung, rare works of art, All gold, each one a hundred oxen's price. With this the Goddess pass'd along the ranks, Exciting all; and fix'd in every breast The firm resolve to wage unwearied war; And dearer to their hearts than thoughts of home Or wish'd return, became the battle-field.
As when a wasting fire, on mountain tops, Hath seized the blazing woods, afar is seen The glaring light; so, as they mov'd, to Heav'n Flash'd the bright glitter of their burnish'd arms.
As when a num'rous flock of birds, or geese, Or cranes, or long-neck'd swans, on Asian mead, Beside Cayster's stream, now here, now there, Disporting, ply their wings; then settle down With clam'rous noise, that all the mead resounds; So to Scamander's plain, from tents and ships, Pour'd forth the countless tribes; the firm earth groan'd Beneath the tramp of steeds and armed men. Upon Scamander's flow'ry mead they stood, Unnumber'd as the vernal leaves and flow'rs.
Or as the multitudinous swarms of flies, That round the cattle-sheds in spring-tide pour, While the warm milk is frothing in the pail: So numberless upon the plain, array'd For Troy's destruction, stood the long-hair'd Greeks. And as experienced goat-herds, when their flocks Are mingled in the pasture, portion out Their sev'ral charges, so the chiefs array'd Their squadrons for the fight; while in the midst The mighty monarch Agamemnon mov'd: His eye, and lofty brow, the counterpart Of Jove, the Lord of thunder; in his girth Another Mars, with Neptune's ample chest. As 'mid the thronging heifers in a herd Stands, proudly eminent, the lordly bull; So, by Jove's will, stood eminent that day, 'Mid many heroes, Atreus' godlike son.
Say now, ye Nine, who on Olympus dwell, Muses (for ye are Goddesses, and ye Were present, and know all things: we ourselves But hear from Rumour's voice, and nothing know), Who were the chiefs and mighty Lords of Greece. But should I seek the multitude to name, Not if ten tongues were mine, ten mouths to speak, Voice inexhaustible, and heart of brass, Should I succeed, unless, Olympian maids, The progeny of aegis-bearing Jove, Ye should their names record, who came to Troy. The chiefs, and all the ships, I now rehearse.
Boeotia's troops by Peneleus were led, And Leitus, and Prothoenor bold, Arcesilas and Clonius: they who dwelt In Hyria, and on Aulis' rocky coast, Scoenus, and Scolus, and the highland range Of Eteonus; in Thespeia's vale, Graia, and Mycalessus' wide-spread plains: And who in Harma and Eilesium dwelt, And in Erythrae, and in Eleon, Hyle, and Peteon, and Ocalea, In Copae, and in Medeon's well-built fort, Eutresis, Thisbe's dove-frequented woods, And Coronca, and the grassy meads Of Haliartus; and Plataea's plain, In Glissa, and the foot of Lower Thebes, And in Anchestus, Neptune's sacred grove; And who in viny-cluster'd Arne dwelt, And in Mideia, and the lovely site Of Nissa, and Anthedon's utmost bounds. With these came fifty vessels; and in each Were six score youths, Boeotia's noblest flow'r.
Who in Aspledon dwelt, and in Minyas' realm Orehomenus, two sons of Mars obey'd, Ascalaphus, and bold Ialmenus; In Actor's house, the son of Azeus, born Of fair Astyoche, a maiden pure, Till in the upper chamber, where she slept, Stout Mars by stealth her virgin bed assail'd: Of these came thirty ships in order due.
By Schedius and Epistrophus, the sons Of great Iphitus, son of Naubolus, Were led the Phocian forces; these were they Who dwelt in Cyparissus, and the rock Of Python, and on Crissa's lovely plain; And who in Daulis, and in Panope, Anemorea and IIyampolis, And by Cephisus' sacred waters dwelt, Or in Lilaea, by Cephisus' springs. In their command came forty dark-ribb'd ships. These were the leaders of the Phocian bands, And on Boeotia's left their camp was pitch'd.
Ajax, Oileus' son, the Locrians led; Swift-footed, less than Ajax Telamon, Of stature low, with linen breastplate arm'd: But skill'd to throw the spear o'er all who dwell In Hellas or Achaia: these were they From Cynos, Opus, and Calliarus, Bessa, and Scarpha, and Augaea fair, Tarpha, and Thronium, by Boagrius' stream. Him from beyond Euboea's sacred isle, Of Locrians follow'd forty dark-ribb'd ships.
Breathing firm courage high, th' Abantian host, Who from Euboea and from Chalcis came, Or who in vine-clad Histiaea dwelt, Eretria, and Cerinthus maritime, And who the lofty fort of Dium held, And in Carystus and in Styra dwelt: These Elephenor led, true plant of Mars, Chalcodon's son, the brave Abantian chief. Him, all conspicuous with their long black hair, The bold Abantians follow'd: spearmen skill'd, Who through the foemen's breastplates knew full well, Held in firm grasp, to drive the ashen spear. In his command came forty dark-ribb'd ships.
Those who in Athens' well-built city dwelt, The noble-soul'd Erectheus' heritage; Child of the fertile soil, by Pallas rear'd, Daughter of Jove, who him in Athens plac'd In her own wealthy temple; there with blood Of bulls and lambs, at each revolving year, The youths of Athens do him sacrifice; These by Menestheus, Peteus' son, were led. With him might none of mortal men compare, In order due of battle to array Chariots and buckler'd men; Nestor alone Perchance might rival him, his elder far. In his command came fifty dark-ribb'd ships.
Twelve ships from Salamis with Ajax came, And they beside th' Athenian troops were rang'd.
Those who from Argos, and the well-wall'd town Of Tyrins came, and from Hermione, And Asine, deep-bosom'd in the bay; And from Troezene and Eione, And vine-clad Epidaurus; and the youths Who dwelt in Mases, and AEgina's isle; O'er all of these the valiant Diomed Held rule; and Sthenelus, th' illustrious son Of far-fam'd Capaneus; with these, the third, A godlike warrior came, Euryalus, Son of Mecistheus, Talaus' royal son. Supreme o'er all was valiant Diomed. In their command came eighty dark-ribb'd ships.
Who in Mycenae's well-built fortress dwelt, And wealthy Corinth, and Cleone fair, Orneia, and divine Araethure, And Sicyon, where Adrastus reign'd of old, And Gonoessa's promontory steep, And Hyperesia, and Pellene's rock; In AEgium, and the scatter'd towns that he Along the beach, and wide-spread Helice; Of these a hundred ships obey'd the rule Of mighty Agamemnon, Atreus' son. The largest and the bravest host was his; And he himself, in dazzling armour clad, O'er all the heroes proudly eminent, Went forth exulting in his high estate, Lord of the largest host, and chief of chiefs.
Those who in Lacedaemon's lowland plains, And who in Sparta and in Phare dwelt, And who on Messa's dove-frequented cliffs, Bryseia, and AEgaea's lovely vale, And in Amyclae, and the sea-bathed fort Of Helos, OEtylus and Laas dwelt; His valiant brother Menelaus led, With sixty ships; but ranged apart they lay. Their chief, himself in martial ardour bold, Inspiring others, fill'd with fierce desire The rape of Helen and his wrongs to avenge.
They who in Pylos and Arene dwelt, And Thyrum, by the ford of Alpheus' stream, In Cyparissus and Amphigene, Pteleon, and lofty OEpus' well-built fort, Helos, and Dorium, where the Muses met, And put to silence Thracian Thamyris, As from OEchalia, from the royal house Of Eurytus he came; he, over-bold, Boasted himself pre-eminent in song, Ev'n though the daughters of Olympian Jove, The Muses, were his rivals: they in wrath Him of his sight at once and powr'r of song Amerc'd, and bade his hand forget the lyre. These by Gerenian Nestor all were led, In fourscore ships and ten in order due.
They of Arcadia, and the realm that lies Beneath Cyllene's mountain high, around The tomb of AEpytus, a warrior race; The men of Pheneus and Orchomenus In flocks abounding; who in Ripa dwelt, In Stratia, and Enispe's breezy height, Or Tegea held, and sweet Mantinea, Stymphalus and Parrhasia; these were led By Agapenor brave, Anchaeus' son, In sixty ships; in each a num'rous crew Of stout Arcadian youths, to war inur'd. The ships, wherewith they crossed the dark-blue sea, Were giv'n by Agamemnon, King of men, The son of Atreus; for th' Arcadian youth Had ne'er to maritime pursuits been train'd.
Who in Buprasium and in Elis dwelt, Far as Hyrmine, and th' extremest bounds Of Myrsinus; and all the realm that lies Between Aleisium and the Olenian rock; These by four chiefs were led; and ten swift ships, By bold Epeians mann'd, each chief obey'd. Amphimachus and Thalpius were the first, Sons of two brothers, Cteatus the one, The other Eurytus, to Actor born; Next Amarynceus' son, Diores bold; The fourth Polyxenus, the godlike son Of Augeas' royal heir, Agasthenes.
They of Dulichium, and the sacred isles, Th' Echinades, which face, from o'er the sea, The coast of Elis, were by Meges led, The son of Phyleus, dear to Jove, in arms Valiant as Mars; who, with his sire at feud, Had left his home, and to Dulichium come: In his command were forty dark-ribb'd ships.
Those who from warlike Cephalonia came, And Ithaca, and leafy Neritus, And Crocyleium; rugged AEgilips, And Samos, and Zacynthus, and the coast Of the mainland with its opposing isles; These in twelve ships, with scarlet-painted bows, Ulysses led, in council sage as Jove.
Thoas, Andraemon's son, th' AEtolians led; From Pleuron, and Pylone, Olenus, Chalcis-by-sea, and rocky Calydon: The race of OEneus was no more; himself, And fair-hair'd Meleager, both were dead: Whence all AEtolia's rule on him was laid. In his command came forty dark-ribb'd ships.
The King Idomeneus the Cretans led, From Cnossus, and Gortyna's well-wall'd town, Miletus, and Lycastus' white-stone cliffs, Lyctus, and Phaestus, Rhytium, and the rest Whom Crete from all her hundred cities sent: These all Idomeneus, a spearman skill'd, Their King, commanded; and Meriones, In battle terrible as blood-stain'd Mars. In their command came fourscore dark-ribb'd ships.
Valiant and tall, the son of Hercules, Tlepolemus, nine vessels brought from Rhodes, By gallant Rhodians mann'd, who tripartite Were settled, and in Ialyssus dwelt, In Lindus, and Cameirus' white-stone hills. These all renown'd Tlepolemus obey'd, Who to the might of Hercules was born Of fair Astyoche; his captive she, When many a goodly town his arms had raz'd, Was brought from Ephyra, by Selles' stream. Rear'd in the royal house, Tlepolemus, In early youth, his father's uncle slew, A warrior once, but now in life's decline, Lycimnius; then in haste a fleet he built, Muster'd a num'rous host; and fled, by sea, The threaten'd vengeance of the other sons And grandsons of the might of Hercules. Long wand'rings past, and toils and perils borne, To Rhodes he came; his followers, by their tribes, Three districts form'd; and so divided, dwelt, Belov'd of Jove, the King of Gods and men, Who show'r'd upon them boundless store of wealth.
Nireus three well-trimm'd ships from Syme brought; Nireus, to Charops whom Aglaia bore; Nireus, the goodliest man of all the Greeks, Who came to Troy, save Peleus' matchless son: But scant his fame, and few the troops he led.
Who in Nisyrus dwelt, and Carpathus, And Cos, the fortress of Eurypylus, And in the Casian and Calydnian Isles, Were by Phidippus led, and Antiphus, Two sons of Thessalus, Alcides' son; With them came thirty ships in order due.
Next those who in Pelasgian Argos dwelt, And who in Alos, and in Alope, Trachys, and Phthia, and in Hellas fam'd For women fair; of these, by various names, Achaians, Myrmidons, Hellenes, known, In fifty ships, Achilles was the chief. But from the battle-strife these all abstain'd, Since none there was to marshal their array. For Peleus' godlike son, the swift of foot, Lay idly in his tent, the loss resenting Of Brises' fair-hair'd daughter; whom himself Had chosen, prize of all his warlike toil, When he Lyrnessus and the walls of Thebes O'erthrew, and Mynes and Epistrophus Struck down, bold warriors both, Evenus' sons, Selepius' royal heir; for her in wrath, He held aloof, but soon again to appear.
Those in the flow'ry plain of Pyrrhasus, To Ceres dear, who dwelt; in Phylace, In Iton, rich in flocks, and, by the sea, In Antron, and in Pteleon's grass-clad meads; These led Protesilaus, famed in arms, While yet he liv'd; now laid beneath the sod. In Phylace were left his weeping wife, And half-built house; him, springing to the shore, First of the Greeks, a Dardan warrior slew. Nor were his troops, their leader though they mourn'd, Left leaderless; the post of high command Podarces claim'd of right, true plant of Mars, Iphiclus' son, the rich Phylacides; The brother of Protesilaus he, Younger in years, nor equal in renown; Yet of a chief no want the forces felt, Though much they mourn'd their valiant leader slain. In his command came forty dark-ribb'd ships.
Those who from Pherae came, beside the lake Boebeis, and who dwelt in Glaphyrae, In Boebe, and Iolcos' well-built fort, These in eleven ships Eumelus led, Whom Pelias' daughter, fairest of her race, Divine Alcestis to Admetus bore.
Who in Methone and Thaumacia dwelt, In Meliboea and Olizon's rock; These Philoctetes, skilful archer, led. Sev'n ships were theirs, and ev'ry ship was mann'd By fifty rowers, skilful archers all. But he, their chief, was lying, rack'd with pain, On Lemnos' sacred isle; there left perforce In torture from a venomous serpent's wound: There he in anguish lay: nor long, ere Greeks Of royal Philoctetes felt their need. Yet were his troops, their leader though they mourn'd, Not leaderless: Oileus' bastard son, Medon, of Rhene born, their ranks array'd.
Who in OEchalia, Eurytus' domain, In Tricca, and in rough Ithome dwelt, These Podalirius and Machaon led, Two skilful leeches, AEsculapius' sons. Of these came thirty ships in order due.
Who in Ormenium and Asterium dwelt, By Hypereia's fount, and on the heights Of Titanum's white peaks, of these was chief Eurypylus, Euaemon's gallant son; In his command came forty dark-ribb'd ships.
Who in Argissa and Gyrtona dwelt, Ortha, Elone, and the white-wall'd town Of Oloosson, Polypoetes led; Son of Pirithous, progeny of Jove, A warrior bold; Hippodamia fair Him to Pirithous bore, what time he slew The shaggy Centaurs, and from Pelion's heights For refuge 'mid the rude AEthices drove. Nor he alone; with him to Troy there came A scion true of Mars, Leonteus, heir Of nobly-born Coronus, Caeneus' son. In their command came forty dark-ribb'd ships.
With two and twenty vessels Gouneus came From Cythus; he the Enienes led, And the Peraebians' warlike tribes, and those Who dwelt around Dodona's wintry heights, Or till'd the soil upon the lovely banks Of Titaresius, who to Peneus pours The tribute of his clearly-flowing stream; Yet mingles not with Peneus' silver waves, But on the surface floats like oil, his source From Styx deriving, in whose awful name Both Gods and men by holiest oaths are bound.
Magnesia's troops, who dwelt by Peneus' stream, Or beneath Pelion's leafy-quiv'ring shades, Swift-footed Prothous led, Tenthredon's son; In his command came forty dark-ribb'd ships.
These were the leaders and the chiefs of Greece: Say, Muse, of these, who with th' Atridae came, Horses and men, who claim'd the highest praise. Of steeds, the bravest and the noblest far Were those Eumelus drove, Admetus' son: Both swift as birds, in age and colour match'd, Alike in height, as measur'd o'er the back; Both mares, by Phoebus of the silver bow Rear'd in Pieria, thunderbolts of war. Of men, while yet Achilles held his wrath, The mightiest far was Ajax Telamon. For with Achilles, and the steeds that bore The matchless son of Peleus, none might vie: But 'mid his beaked ocean-going ships He lay, with Agamemnon, Atreus' son, Indignant; while his troops upon the beach With quoits and jav'lins whil'd away the day, And feats of archery; their steeds the while The lotus-grass and marsh-grown parsley cropp'd, Each standing near their car; the well-wrought cars Lay all unheeded in the warriors' tents; They, inly pining for their godlike chief, Roam'd listless up and down, nor join'd the fray.
Such was the host, which, like devouring fire, O'erspread the land; the earth beneath them groan'd: As when the Lord of thunder, in his wrath, The earth's foundations shakes, in Arimi, Where, buried deep, 'tis said, Typhoeus lies; So at their coming, groan'd beneath their feet The earth, as quickly o'er the plain they spread.
To Troy, sent down by aegis-bearing Jove, With direful tidings storm-swift Iris came. At Priam's gate, in solemn conclave met, Were gather'd all the Trojans, young and old: Swift Iris stood amidst them, and, the voice Assuming of Polites, Priam's son, The Trojan scout, who, trusting to his speed, Was posted on the summit of the mound Of ancient AEsuetes, there to watch Till from their ships the Grecian troops should march; His voice assuming, thus the Goddess spoke: "Old man, as erst in peace, so still thou lov'st The strife of words; but fearful war is nigh. Full many a host in line of battle rang'd My eyes have seen; but such a force as this, So mighty and so vast, I ne'er beheld: In number as the leaves, or as the sand, Against the city o'er the plain they come. Then, Hector, for to thee I chiefly speak, This do; thou know'st how various our allies, Of diff'rent nations and discordant tongues: Let each then those command o'er whom he reigns, And his own countrymen in arms array." She said; and Hector knew the voice divine, And all, dissolv'd the council, flew to arms, The gates were open'd wide; forth pour'd the crowd, Both foot and horse; and loud the tumult rose.
Before the city stands a lofty mound, In the mid plain, by open space enclos'd; Men call it Batiaea; but the Gods The tomb of swift Myrinna; muster'd there The Trojans and Allies their troops array'd.
The mighty Hector of the glancing helm, The son of Priam, led the Trojan host: The largest and the bravest band were they, Bold spearmen all, who follow'd him in arms.
Anchises' valiant son, AEneas, led The Dardans; him, 'mid Ida's jutting peaks, Immortal Venus to Anchises bore, A Goddess yielding to a mortal's love: With him, well skill'd in war, Archilochus And Acamas, Antenor's gallant sons.
Who in Zeleia dwelt, at Ida's foot, Of Trojan race, a wealthy tribe, who drank Of dark AEsepus' waters, these were led By Pandarus, Lycaon's noble son, Taught by Apollo's self to draw the bow.
Who from Adraste, and Apaesus' realm, From Pityeia, and the lofty hill Tereian came, with linen corslets girt, Adrastus and Amphius led; two sons Of Merops of Percote; deeply vers'd Was he in prophecy; and from the war Would fain have kept his sons; but they, by fate, Doom'd to impending death, his caution scorn'd.
Those who from Practium and Percote came, And who in Sestos and Abydos dwelt, And in Arisba fair; those Asius led, The son of Hyrtacus, of heroes chief; Asius the son of Hyrtacus, who came From fair Arisba, borne by fiery steeds Of matchless size and strength, from Selles' stream.
Hippothous led the bold Pelasgian tribes, Who dwell in rich Larissa's fertile soil, Hippothous and Pylaeus, Lethus' sons, The son of Teutamus, Pelasgian chief.
The Thracians, by fast-flowing Hellespont Encompass'd, Acamas and Peirous brave; The spear-skill'd Cicones Euphemus led, Son of Troezenus, Ceus' highborn son.
From distant Amydon Pyraecmes brought The Paeon archers from broad Axius' banks; Axius, the brightest stream on earth that flows.
The hairy strength of great Pylaemenes The Paphlagonians led from Eneti (Whence first appear'd the stubborn race of mules), Who in Cytorus and in Sesamum, And round Parthenius' waters had their home; Who dwelt in Cromne, and AEgialus, And on the lofty Erythinian rock.
By Hodius and Epistrophus were brought From distant Alybe, the wealthy source Of silver ore, the Alizonian bands.
Chromis the Mysians led, and Ennomus; A skilful augur, but his augury From gloomy death to save him nought avail'd; Slain by the son of Peleus, in the stream, Where many another Trojan felt his arm.
From far Ascania's lake, with Phorcys join'd, The godlike presence of Ascanius brought The Phrygians, dauntless in the standing fight.
From Lydia came Pylaemenes' two sons, Born of the lake Gygeian; Antiphus, And Mesthles; these Maeonia's forces led, Who dwelt around the foot of Tmolus' hill.
In charge of Nastes came the Carian troops, Of barbarous speech; who in Miletus dwelt, And in the dense entangled forest shade Of Phthira's hill, and on the lofty ridge Of Mycale, and by Maeander's stream; These came with Nastes and Amphimacus; Amphimacus and Nastes, Nomion's sons; With childish folly to the war he came, Laden with store of gold; yet nought avail'd His gold to save him from the doom of death; Slain by the son of Peleus in the stream; And all his wealth Achilles bore away.
Sarpedon last, and valiant Glaucus led The Lycian bands, from distant Lycia's shore, Beside the banks of Xanthus' eddying stream.
THE DUEL OF MENELAUS AND PARIS.
The armies being ready to engage, a single combat is agreed upon, between Menelaus and Paris (by the intervention of Hector) for the determination of the war. Iris is sent to call Helen to behold the fight. She leads her to the walls of Troy, where Priam sat with his counsellors, observing the Grecian leaders on the plain below, to whom Helen gives an account of the chief of them. The kings on either part take the solemn oath for the conditions of the combat. The duel ensues, wherein Paris being overcome, is snatched away in a cloud by Venus, and transported to his apartment. She then calls Helen from the walls, and brings the lovers together. Agamemnon, on the part of the Grecians, demands the restoration of Helen, and the performance of the articles.
The three-and-twentieth day still continues throughout this book. The scene is sometimes in the field before Troy, and sometimes in Troy itself.
WHEN by their sev'ral chiefs the troops were rang'd, With noise and clamour, as a flight of birds, The men of Troy advanc'd; as when the cranes, Flying the wintry storms, send forth on high Their dissonant clamours, while o'er the ocean stream They steer their course, and on their pinions bear Battle and death to the Pygmaean race.
On th' other side the Greeks in silence mov'd, Breathing firm courage, bent on mutual aid. As when the south wind o'er the mountain tops Spreads a thick veil of mist, the shepherd's bane, And friendly to the nightly thief alone, That a stone's throw the range of vision bounds; So rose the dust-cloud, as in serried ranks With rapid step they mov'd across the plain. But when th' opposing forces near were met, A panther's skin across his shoulders flung, Arm'd with his bow and sword, in front of all Advanc'd the godlike Paris; in his hand He pois'd two brass-tipp'd jav'lins, and defied To mortal combat all the chiefs of Greece.
Him when the warlike Menelaus saw With haughty strides advancing from the crowd; As when a lion, hunger-pinch'd, espies Some mighty beast of chase, or antler'd stag, Or mountain goat, and with exulting spring Strikes down his prey, and on the carcase feeds, Unscar'd by baying hounds and eager youths: So Menelaus saw with fierce delight The godlike Paris; for he deem'd that now His vengeance was at hand; and from his car, Arm'd as he was, he leap'd upon the plain. But when the godlike Paris saw him spring Defiant from the ranks, with quailing heart, Back to his comrades' shelt'ring crowd he sprang, In fear of death; as when some trav'ller spies, Coil'd in his path upon the mountain side, A deadly snake, back he recoils in haste, His limbs all trembling, and his cheek all pale; So back recoil'd, in fear of Atreus' son, The godlike Paris 'mid the Trojan host.
To whom in stern rebuke thus Hector spoke: "Thou wretched Paris, though in form so fair, Thou slave of woman, manhood's counterfeit! Would thou hadst ne'er been born, or died at least Unwedded; so 'twere better far for all, Than thus to live a scandal and reproach. Well may the long-hair'd Greeks triumphant boast, Who think thee, from thine outward show, a chief Among our warriors; but thou hast in truth Nor strength of mind, nor courage in the fight. How was't that such as thou could e'er induce A noble band, in ocean-going ships To cross the main, with men of other lands Mixing in amity, and bearing thence A woman, fair of face, by marriage ties Bound to a race of warriors; to thy sire, Thy state, thy people, cause of endless grief, Of triumph to thy foes, contempt to thee! Durst thou the warlike Menelaus meet, Thou to thy cost shouldst learn the might of him Whose bride thou didst not fear to bear away: Then shouldst thou find of small avail thy lyre, Or Venus' gifts of beauty and of grace, Or, trampled in the dust, thy flowing hair. But too forbearing are the men of Troy; Else for the ills that thou hast wrought the state, Ere now thy body had in stone been cas'd."
To whom the godlike Paris thus replied: "Hector, I needs must own thy censure just, Nor without cause; thy dauntless courage knows Nor pause nor weariness; but as an axe, That in a strong man's hand, who fashions out Some naval timber, with unbated edge Cleaves the firm wood, and aids the striker's force; Ev'n so unwearied is thy warlike soul. Yet blame not me for golden Venus' gifts: The gifts of Heav'n are not to be despis'd, Which Heav'n may give, but man could not command. But if thou wilt that I should dare the fight, Bid that the Trojans and the Grecians all Be seated on the ground; and in the midst The warlike Menelaus and myself Stand front to front, for Helen and the spoils Of war to combat; and whoe'er shall prove The better man in conflict, let him bear The woman and the spoils in triumph home; While ye, the rest, in peace and friendship sworn, Shall still possess the fertile plains of Troy; And to their native Argos they return, For noble steeds and lovely women fam'd."
He said, and Hector joy'd to hear his words: Forth in the midst he stepp'd, and with his spear Grasp'd by the middle, stay'd the Trojan ranks. At him the long-haired Grecians bent their bows, Prompt to assail with arrows and with stones; But loud the monarch Agamemnon's voice Was heard; "Hold, Argives, hold! ye sons of Greece, Shoot not! for Hector of the glancing helm Hath, as it seems, some message to impart."
He said; they held their hands, and silent stood Expectant, till to both thus Hector spoke: "Hear now, ye Trojans, and ye well-greav'd Greeks, The words of Paris, cause of all this war. He asks through me that all the host of Troy And Grecian warriors shall upon the ground Lay down their glitt'ring arms; while in the midst The warlike Menelaus and himself Stand front to front, for Helen and the spoils Of war to combat; and whoe'er shall prove The better man in conflict, let him bear The woman and the spoils in triumph home, While we, the rest, firm peace and friendship swear."
Thus Hector spoke; the rest in silence heard; But Menelaus, bold in fight, replied: "Hear now my answer; in this quarrel I May claim the chiefest share; and now I hope Trojans and Greeks may see the final close Of all the labours ye so long have borne T' avenge my wrong, at Paris' hand sustain'd. And of us two whiche'er is doom'd to death, So let him die! the rest, depart in peace. Bring then two lambs, one white, the other black, For Tellus and for Sol; we on our part Will bring another, for Saturnian Jove: And let the majesty of Priam too Appear, himself to consecrate our oaths, (For reckless are his sons, and void of faith,) That none Jove's oath may dare to violate. For young men's spirits are too quickly stirr'd; But in the councils check'd by rev'rend age, Alike are weigh'd the future and the past, And for all int'rests due provision made."
He said, and Greeks and Trojans gladly heard, In hopes of respite from the weary war. They rang'd the cars in ranks; and they themselves Descending doff'd their arms, and laid them down Close each by each, with narrow space between. Two heralds to the city Hector sent To bring the lambs, and aged Priam call; While Agamemnon to the hollow ships, Their lamb to bring, in haste Talthybius sent: He heard, and straight the monarch's voice obey'd.
Meantime to white-arm'd Helen Iris sped, The heav'nly messenger: in form she seem'd Her husband's sister, whom Antenor's son, The valiant Helicaon had to wife, Laodice, of Priam's daughters all Loveliest of face: she in her chamber found Her whom she sought: a mighty web she wove, Of double woof and brilliant hues; whereon Was interwoven many a toilsome strife Of Trojan warriors and of brass-clad Greeks, For her encounter'd at the hand of Mars. Beside her Iris stood, and thus she spoke: "Come, sister dear, and see the glorious deeds Of Trojan warriors and of brass-clad Greeks. They who erewhile, impatient for the fight, Roll'd o'er the plain the woful tide of war, Now silent sit, the storm of battle hush'd, Reclining on their shields, their lances bright Beside them reared; while Paris in the midst And warlike Menelaus, stand prepar'd With the long spear for thee to fight; thyself The prize of conquest and the victor's wife."