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That adverse gods commit to stern debate 341 Safe in her sides the hecatomb they stow'd,
Then swiftly sailing, cut the liquid road.
The host to expiate, next the king prepares, 410 Nor think your Nestor's years and wisdom vain. With pure lustrations, and with solemn prayers. A godlike race of heroes once I knew,
Wash'd by the briny wave, the pious train
The sable fumes in curling spires arise,
The army thus in sacred rites engaged,
Atrides still with deep resentment raged. Fired with the thirst which virtuous envy breeds,
To wait his will two sacred heralds stood, 420 And smit with love of honourable deeds.
Talthybius and Eurybates the good. Strongest of men, they pierced the mountain boar, Haste to the fierce Achilles' tent (he cries ;) Ranged the wild deserts red with monsters' gore,
Thence bear Briseïs as our royal prize : And from their hills the shaggy Centaurs tore.
Submit he must! or, if they will not part, Yet these with soft persuasive arts I sway'd;
Ourself in arms shall tear her from his heart. When Nestor spoke, they listen'd and obey'd.
The unwilling heralds act their lord's commands; If in my youth e'en these esteem'd me wise, 360 Pensive they walk along the barren sands : Do you, young warriors, hear my age advise. Arrived, the hero in his tent they find, Atrides, seize not on the beauteous slave;
With gloomy aspect, on his arm reclined. That prize the Greeks by common suffrage gave :
LAt awful distance long they silent stand,
430 Nor thou, Achilles, treat our prince with pride;
Loath to advance, or speak their hard command; Let kings be just, and sovereign power preside.
Decent confusion! This the godlike man Thee, the first honours of the war adorn,
Perceived, and thus with accent mild began: Like gods in strength, and of a goddess born ;
With leave and honour enter our abodes, Him awful majesty exalts above
Ye sacred ministers of men and gods ! The powers of earth, and scepter'd sons of Jove. I know your message; by constraint you came; Let both unite, with well-consenting mind, 370 Not you, but your imperious lord I blame. So shall authority with strength be join'd.
Patroclus, haste, the fair Briseis bring; Leave me, O king! to calm Achilles' rage ;
Conduct my captive to the haughty king. Rule thou thyself, as more advanced in age.
But witness, heralds, and proclaim my vow, Forbid it, gods! Achilles should be lost,
Witness to gods above, and men below! The pride of Greece, and bulwark of our host. But first, and loudest, to your prince declare, This said, he ceased. The king of men replies :
That lawless tyrant whose commands you bear, Thy years are awful, and thy words are wisc : Unmoved as death Achilles shall remain, But that imperious, that unconquer'd soul, Though prostrate Greece should bleed at every vein: No laws can limit, no respect controul.
| The raging chief, in frantic passion lost, Before his pride must his superiors fall, 380 Blind to himself, and useless to his host, His word the law, and he the lord of all ?
Unskill'd to judge the future by the past, Hiņ must our hosts, our chiefs, ourselves obey ? In blood and slaughter shall repent at last. What king can bear a rival in his sway?
Patroclus now the unwilling beauty brought; 450 Grant that the gods his matchless force have given; She, in soft sorrows and in pensive thought, Has foul reproach a privilege from heaven? Pass'd silent, as the heralds held her hand,
Here on the monarch's speech Achilles broke And oft look'd back, slow moving o'er the strand. And furious thus, and interrupting, spoke :
Not so' his loss the fierce Achilles bore; Tyrant ! I well deserved thy galling chain, But sad retiring to the sounding shore, To live thy slave, and still to serve in vain,
O'er the wild margin of the deep he hung, Should I submit to each unjust decree; 390 That kindred deep from whence his mother sprung; Command thy vassals, but command not me.
There, bathed in tears of anger and disdain, Seize on Briseis, whom the Grecians doom'd Thus loud lamented to the stormy main :
460 My prize of war, yet tamely see resumed :
O parent goddess ! since in early bloom And seize secure; no more Achilles draws Thy son must fall, by too severe a doom; His conquering sword in any woman's cause;
Sure, to so short a race of glory born, The gods command me to forgive the past;
Great Jove in justice should this span adorn : But let this first invasion be the last :
Honour and fame at least the Thunderer owed; For know, thy blood, when next thon darest in And ill he pays the promise of a god, vade,
If yon proud monarch thus thy son defies, Shall stream in vengeance on my reeking blade. Obscures my glories, and resumes my prize.
At this they ceased : the stern debate expired : 400 Far in the deep recesses of the main, The chiefs in sullen majesty retired.
Where aged Ocean holds bís watery reign, Achilles with Patroclus took his way,
The goddess-mother heard. The waves divide: 470 Where near his tents his hollow vessels lay.
And like a mist she rose above the tale; Meantime Atrides launch'd with numerous oars Beheld him mourning on the naked shores, A well-rigg'd ship for Chrysa's sacred shores : And thus the sorrows of his soul explores : High on the deck was fair Chryseïs placed, Why grieves my son ? Thy anguish let me share, And sage Ulysses with the conduct graced : Reveal the cause, and trust a parent's care.
He, deeply sighing, said: To tell my woe, Why have I born thee with a mother's throes,
To fates averse, and nursed for future woes?
So short a space the light of heaven to view!
Which now, alas ! too nearly threats my son.
On the warm limits of the farthest main,
Twelve days the powers indulge the genial rite,
Returning with the twelfth revolving light.
Then will I mount the brazen dome, and move 560
the avenging darts The goddess spoke: the rolling waves unclose : Incessant fly, and pierce the Grecian hearts. Then down the deep she plunged from whence she A prophet then, inspired by heaven, arose,
And left him sorrowing on the lonely coast, (rose,
Next on the shore their hecatomb they land, 570
A suppliant I from great Atrides come :
Unransom'd here receive the spotless fair;
And smile propitious, and unbend thy bow. Conjure himn far to drive the Grecian train,
So Chryses pray'd. Apollo heard his prayer : To burl them headlong to their fleet and main, And now the Greeks their hecatomb prepare ; To heap the shores with copious death, and bring Between their horns the salted barley threw, 600 The Greeks to know the curse of such a king : And with their heads to heaven the victims slew : Let Agamemnon lift his haughty head
The limbs they sever from the enclosing hide; O'er all his wide dominion of the dead,
The thighs, selected to the gods, divide : And mourn in blood, that e'er he durst disgrace On these, in double cauls involved with art, The boldest warrior of the Grecian race.
The choicest morsels lay from every part. Unhappy son! (fair Thetis thus replies, 540 The priest himself before his altar stands, While tears celestial trickle from her eyes) And burns the offering with his holy hands,
Pours the black wine, and sees the flames aspire ; * Neptune.
The youths with instruments surround the fire •
The thighs thus sacrificed, and entrails dress'd, 610 But part in peace, secure thy prayer is sped:
Jove to his starry mansion in the skies. 'Twas night; the chiefs beside their vessel lie, The shining synod of the immortals wait 690 Till rosy morn had purpled o'er the sky:
The coming god, and from their thrones of state Then launch, and hoist the mast; indulgent gales, Arising silent, rapt in holy fear, Supplied by Phæbus, fill the swelling sails; Before the majesty of heaven appear. The milk-white canvass bellying as they blow, Trembling they stand, while Jove assumes the throne, The parted ocean foams and roars below: All, but the god's imperious queen alone : Above the bounding billows swift they flew, Late had she view'd the silver-footed dame, Till now the Grecian camp appear'd in view. And all her passions kindled into flame. Far on the beach they haul their bark to land, 630 Say, artful manager of heaven (she cries,) (The crooked keel divides the yellow sand;) Who now partakes the secrets of the skies? Then part, where stretch'd along the winding bay Thy Juno knows not the decrees of fate, 700 The ships and tents in winding prospect lay. In vain the partner of imperial state. But raging still, amidst his navy sat
What favourite goddess then those cares divides, The stern Achilles, steadfast in bis hate;
Which Jove in prudence from his consort hides? Nor mix'd in combat, nor in council join'd;
To this the Thunderer : Seek not thou to find
Twelve days were past, and now the dawning light What fits thy knowledge, thou the first shal know;
Deep in the close recesses of my soul,
711 When like the morning mist in early day,
Full on the sire the goddess of the skies Rose from the flood the daughter of the sea; Roll'd the large orbs of her majestic eyes, And to the seats divine her flight address'd. And thus return'd: Austere Saturnius, say, "There, far apart, and high above the rest,
From whence this wrath, or who controuls thy sway? "The Thunderer sat; where old Olympus shrouds Thy boundless will, for me, remains in force, His hundred heads in heaven, and props the clouds. And all thy counsels take the destined course. Suppliant the goddess stood: one hand she placed 650 But 'tis for Greece I fear : for late was seen Beneath his beard, and one his knees embraced. In close consult the silver-footed queen. If e'er, O father of the gods ! (she said,)
Jove to his Thetis nothing could deny,
720 My words could please thee, or my actions aid; Nor was the signal vain that shook the sky. Some marks of honour on my son bestow, What fatal favour has the goddess won, And pay in glory what in life you owe.
To grace her fierce inexorable son ? Fame is at least by heavenly promise due
Perhaps in Grecian blood to drench the plain, To life so short, and now dishonour'd too.
And glut his vengeance with my people slain. Avenge this wrong, oh ever just and wise!
Then thus the god : Oh restless fate of pride, Let Grecce be humbled, and the Trojans rise; That strives to learn what heaven resolves to hide ! Till the proud king, and all the Achaian race, 660 Vain is the search, presumptuous and abhorr'd, Shall heup with honours him they now disgrace. Anxious to thee, and odious to thy lord.
Thus Thelis spoke: but Jove in silence held, Let this snffice, the immutable decree The sacred counsels of his breast conceal'd. No force can shake: what is, that ought to be. Not so repulsed, the goddess closer press'd, Goddess, submit, nor dare our will withstand, Still grasp'd his knees, and urged the dear request. But dread the power of this avenging hand : O sire of gods and men ! thy suppliant hear; The united strength of all the gods above Refuse, or grant: for what has Jove to fear! In vain resist the omnipotence of Jove. Or, oh! declare, of all the powers above,
The Thunderer spoke, por durst the queen reply; is wretched Thetis least the care of Jove?
A reverend horror silenced all the sky.
740 Is foreign contests, and domestic rage,
Thus interposed the architect divine :
Are far unworthy, gods! of your debate :
Let men their days in senseless strife employ ; With jealous eyes thy close access survey:
We, in eternal peace, and constant joy.
Thou, goddess-mother, with our sire comply,
Now pleasing sleep had seald each mortal eye,
Stretch'd in the tents the Grecian leaders lie, Launch the red lightning, and dethrone the gods.
The immortals slumber'd on their thrones above; If you submit, the Thunderer stands appeased; 750 The gracious power is willing to be pleased.
All, but the ever-wakeful eyes of Jove.
To honour Thetis' son he bends his care,
And plunge the Greeks in all the woes of war: Which held to Juno in a cheerful way,
Then bids an empty phantom rise to sight,
And thus commands the vision of the night :
Fly hence, deluding dream! and light as air,
10 I can but grieve, unable to defend.
Bid him in arms draw forth the embattled train, What god so daring in your aid to move,
Lead all his Grecians to the dusty plain.
Declare, e'en now 'tis given him to destroy
The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
At Juno's suit the heavenly factions end.
Destruction hangs o'er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits the impending fall.
Swift as the word the vain illusion fled,
Descends, and hovers o'er Atrides' head; 20 Which, with a smile, the white-arı'd queen re
Clothed in the figure of the Pylian sage, ceived.
Renown'd for wisdom, and revered for age; Then to the rest he fill'd; and in his turn,
Around his temples spreads his golden wing, Each to his lips applied the nectar'd urn.
And thus the flattering dream deceives the king: Vulcan with awkward grace his office plies, 770
Canst thou, with all a monarch's cares oppress'd, And undistinguish'd laughter shakes the skies.
Oh Atreus' son! canst thou indulge thy rest?
Ili fits a chief who mighty nations guides,
Directs in council and in war presides,
To whom its safety a whole people owes,
30 Monarch, awake! 'tis Jove's command I bear, Descending swift, roll'd down the rapid light.
Thou, and thy glory, claim his heavenly care.
In just array draw forth the embutled train,
Lead all thy Grecians to the dusty plain; Jove on his couch reclined his awful head, 780
E'en now, O king! 'tis given thee to destroy
The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
Destruction hangs o'er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits th' impending fall. 40
Awake, but waking, this advice approve,
And trust the vision that descends from Jove. The Trial of the Army, and Catalogue of the Forces.
The phantom said ; then vanish'd from his sight, Jupiter in pursuance of the request of Thetis, sends a Resolves to air, and mixes with the night. deceitful vision to Agamemnon, persuading him to A thousand schemes the monarch's mind employ; lead the army to battle; in order to make the Greeks sensible of their want of Achilles. The general who Elate in thought, he sacks untaken 'Troy: is delnded with the hopes of taking Troy without his Vain as he was, and to the future blind; assistance, but fears the army was discouraged by his Nor saw what Jove and secret fate design'd; absence and the late plague, as well as by the length What mighty toils to either host remain, of time, contrives to make trial of their disposition by What scenes of grief, and numbers of the slain! 50 a stratagem. He first communicates his design to the Eager he rises, and in fancy hears princes in council, that he would propose a return to The voice celestial murmuring in his ears. the soldiers, and that they should put a stop to them First on his limbs a slender vest he drew, if the proposal was embraced. Then he assembles the whole host, and upon moving for a return to Greece. Around him next the regal mantle threw, they unanimously agree to it, and run to prepare the The embroider'd sandals on his feet were tied : ships. They are detained by the management of Ulys. The starry faulchion glitter'd at his side; ges, who chastises the insolence of Thersites. The And last his arm the massy sceptre loads, assembly is recalled, several speeches made on the oc: Unstain'd, immortal, and the gift of gods. casion, and at length the advice of Nestor followed. Now rosy morn ascends the court of Jove, which was to make a general muster of the troops, Lifts up her light, and opens day above.
60 and to divide them into their several nations, before The king despatch'd his heralds with commands they proceeded to battle. This gives occasion to the poet to enumerate all the forces of the Greeks and To range the camp and summon all the bands : Trojans, in a large catalogue.
The gathering hosts the monarch's word obey; The time employed in this book consists not entirely of While to the fleet Atrides bends his wny.
one day. The scene lies in the Grecian camp, and upon In his black ship the Pylian prince he found; the sea-shore; toward the end, it removes to Troy. There calls a senate of the peers around:
The assembly placed, the king of men express'd And now the mark of Agamemnon's reign
Friends and confederates! with attentive ear On this bright sceptre now the king reclined,
Heroes of Greece, and brothers of the war! Whose yisionary form like Nestor came,
Of partial Jove with justice I complain, The same in habit, and in mien the same.
And heavenly oracles believed in vain. The heavenly phantoni hover'd o'er my head, A safe return was promised to our toils, And, dost thou sleep, oh Atreus' son? (he said ;) Renown'd, triumphant, and enrich'd with spoils ; Ill fits a chief who mighty nations guides,
Now shameful flight alone can save the host, Directs in council, and in war presides,
Our blood, our treasure, and our glory lost. To whom its safety a whole people owes,
So Jove decrees, resistless lord of all! To waste long nights in indolent repose. 80 At whose command whole empires rise or fall: Monarch, awake! 'tis Jove's command I bear, He shakes the feeble props of human trust. Thou and thy glory claim his heavenly care. And towns and arinies humbles to the dust. 150 In just array draw forth the embattled train, What shame to Greece a fruitless war to wage, And lead the Grecians to the dusty plain;
Oh lasting shame in every future age! E'en now, O king ! 'tis given thee to destroy Once great in arms, the common scorn we grow, The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
Repulsed and baffled by a feeble foe. For now no more the gods with fate contend, So small their number, that if wars were ceased, At Juno's suit the heavenly factions end.
And Greece triumphant held a general feast, Destruction hangs o'er yon devoted wall,
All rank'd by tens; whole decads when they dine And nodding lion waits the impending fall. 90 Must want a Trojan slave to pour the wine. This hear observant, and the gods obey !
But other forces have our hopes o’erthrown, The vision spoke, and pass'd in air away.
And Troy prevails by armies not her own.
10 Now, valiant chiefs! since heaven itself alarms, Now nine long years of mighty Jove are run, Unite, and rouse the sons of Greece to arms. Since first the labours of this war begun. But first with caution try what yet they dare, Our cordage torn, decay'd our vessels lie, Worn with nine years of unsuccessful war
And scarce insure the wretched power to fly. To move the troops to measure back the main, Haste then, for ever leave the Trojan wall! "Be mine; and yours the province to detain. Our weeping wives, our tender children call:
He spoke, and sat; when Nestor rising said Love, duty, safety, summon us away, (Nestor, whom Pylos' sandy realms obey'd :) 100|'Tis nature's voice, and nature we obey. Princes of Greece, your faithful ears incline, Our shatter'd barks may yet transport us o'er, Nor doubt the vision of the powers divine; Safe and inglorious, to our native shore.
170 Sent by great Jove to him who rules the host, Fly, Grecians, fly, your sails and oars employ Forbid it heaven! this warning should be lost ! And dream no more of heaven-defended Troy. Then let us haste, obey the god's alarms,
His deep design unknown, the hosts approve And join to rouse the sons of Greecc to arms. Atrides' speech. The mighty numbers move.
Thus spoke the sage. The kings without delay So roll the billows to the Icarian shore, Dissolve the council, and their chief obey: From east and south where winds begin to roar, The sceptred rulers lead : the following host, Burst their dark mansions in the clouds and sweep Pour'd forth by thousands, darkens all the coast. 110 The whitening surface of the rufled deep. As from some rocky cliff the shepherd sees
And as on corn when western gusts descend, Clustering in heaps on heaps the driving bees, Before the blast the lofty harvests bend;
180 Rolling, and blackening, swarms succeeding swarms, Thus o'er the field the moving host appears, With deeper murmurs and more hoarse alarms; With nodding plumes and groves of waving spears. Dusky they spread, a close embodied crowd, The gathering murmur spreads, their trampling feet And o'er the vale descends the living cloud. Beat the loose sands, and thicken to the feet. So, from the tents and ships, a lengthening train With long-resounding cries they urge the train Spreads all the beach, and wide o'ershades the plain: To fit the ships, and launch into the main. Along the region runs a deafening sound:
They toil, they sweat, thick clouds of dust arise, Beneath their footsteps groans the trembling ground: The doubling clamours echo to the skies. Fame flies before, ihe messenger of Jove, 121 E'en then the Greeks had left the hostile plain, And shining soars, and claps her wings above. And fate decreed the fall of Troy in vain ; Nine sacred heralds now, proclaiming loud: But Jove's imperial queen their tight survey'd, The monarch's will, suspend the listening crowd. And sighing thus bespoke the blue-eyed maid: Soon as the thronys in order ranged appear,
Shall then the Grecians fly? O dire disgrace! And fainier murraurs died upon the car,
And leave unpunish'd this perfidious race ? The king of kings his awful tigure raised;
Shall Troy, shall Priam, and the adulterous spouse,
And bravest chiefs, in Helen's quarrel slain,
No: let my Greeks, unmoved by vain alarms,
Nor let one sail be hoisted on the main.