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With more than vulgar grief he stood oppress'd; Unfit for public rule, or private care ;
Ye sons of Greece! partake your leaders care; Whose lust is murder, and whose horrid joy
To tear his country, and his kind destroy! Of partial Jove too justly we complain,
This night, refresh and fortify thy train ; And heavenly oracles believed in vain.
Between the trench and wall let guards remain : A safe return was promised to our toils,
Be that the duty of the young and bold;
With Thracian wine recruit thy honour'd guests,
See! what a blaze from hostile tents aspires, Haste to the joys our native country yields ; How near our fleet approach the Trojan fires ! Spread all your canvass, all your oars employ, Who can, unmoved, behold the dreadful light? Nor hope the fall of heaven-defended Troy. What eye beholds them, and can close to-night?
He said ; deep silence held the Grecian band; This dreadful interval determines all; 5 Silent, unmoved, in dire dismay they stand, 40 To-morrow Troy must flame, or Greece must fall A pensive scene! till Tydeus' warlike son
Thus spoke the hoary sage: the rest obey :
When kings advise us to renounce our fame, His son was first to pass the lofty mound, 111
Monarch of nations ! whose superior sway
O king! the counsels of my age attend; To combat, conquer, and extirpate Troy.
With thee my cares begin, in thee must end; Here Greece shall stay; or if all Greece retire, Thee, prince! it fits alike to speak and hear, Myself will stay, till Troy or I expire;
Pronounce with judgment, with regard give ear, Myself and Sthenelus will fight for fame;
To see no wholesome motion be withstood,
He ceased; the Greeks loud acclamations raise, Nor, though a meaner give advice, repine,
O truly great! in whom the gods have join'd When from Pelides' tent you forced the maid,
But bold of soul, when headlong fury fired,
You wrong'd the man, by men and gods admired : Those wholesome counsels which thy wisdom moves, Now seek some means his fatal wrath to end, Applaading Greece with common voice approves. With prayers to move him, or with gifts to bend. Kings thou canst blame; a bold but prudent youth; To whom the king: With justice hast thou shown And blame e'en kings with praise, because with truth. A princes faults, and I with reason own. And yet those years that since thy birth have run, 81 That happy man, whom Jove still honours most, Would hardly style thee Nestor's youngest son. Is more than armies, and himself a host. 150 Then let me add what yet remains behind, Blest in his love, this wondrous hero stands, A thought unfinish'd in that generous mind; Heaven fights his war, and humbles all our bands. Age bids me speak; nor shall the advice I bring Fain would my heart, which err'd through frantie rage, Distaste the people, or offend the king:
The wrathful chief and angry gods assuage. Cursed is the man, and void of law and right, If gifts immense his mighty soul can bow, Unworthy property, unworthy light,
Hear, all ye Greeks, and witness what I vor.
Ten weighty talents of the purest gold,
Now pray to Jove to grant what Greece demands ; And twice ten vases of refulgent mould ;
Pray in deep silence, and with purest hands. Seven sacred tripods, whose unsullied frame
He said, and all approved. The heralds bring Yet knows no office, nor has felt the flame: 160 The cleansing water from the living spring. Twelve steeds unmatch'd in fleetness and in force, The youth with wine the sacred goblets crown'd, And still victorious in the dusty course,
And large libations drench'd the sands around. 230 Rich were the man whose ample stores exceed The rite perform’d, the chiefs their thirst allay, The prizes purchased by their winged speed :) Then from the royal tent they take their way; Seven lovely captives of the Lesbian line, Wise Nestor turns on each his careful eye, Skill'd in each art, unmatch'd in form divine; Forbids to offend, instructs them to apply; The same I chose for more than vulgar charms, Much he advised them all, Ulysses most, When Lesbos sunk beneath the hero's arms : To deprecate the chief, and save the host. All these, to buy his friendship, shall be paid, Through the still night they march, and hear the rou And join'd with these, the long-contested maid; 170 Of murmuring billows on the sounding shore. With all her charms, Briseis i resign,
To Neptune, ruler of tlie seas profound, And solemn swear those charms were never mine; Whose liquid arms the mighty globe surround, 240 Untouch'd she stay'd, uninjured she removes, They pour forth vows, their embassy to bless, Pure from my arms, and guiltless of my loves. And calm the rage of stern £acides. These instant shall be his; and if the powers And now, arrived, where, on the sandy bay, Give to our arms proud Ilion's hostile towers, The Myrınidonian tents and vessels lay, Then shall he store (when Greece the spoil divides) Amused at ease, the godlike man they found, With gold and brass his loaded navy's sides. Pleased with the solemn harp's harmonious sound: Besides, full twenty nymphs of Trojan race (The well-wrought harp from conquer'd Thebæ cap, With copious love shall crown his warm embrace; 180 Of polish'd silver was its costly frame :) Such as himself will choose ; who yield to none, With this he soothes his angry soul, and sings Or yield to Helen's heavenly charms alone. The immortal deeds of beroes and of kings. Yet hear me farther : when our wars are o'er, Patroclus only of the royal train, If safe we land on Argos' fruitful shore,
Placed in his tent, attends the lofty strain : There shall he live my son, our honours share, Full opposite he sat, and listen'd long, And with Orestes' self divide my care.
In silence waiting till he ceased the song. Yet more--three daughters in my court are bred, Unseen the Grecian embassy proceeds And each well worthy of a royal bed;
To his high tent; the great Ulysses leads.
Achilles starting, as the chiefs he spied,
Pelides grasp'd their hands, and thus begun:
Princes, all hail! whatever brought you here, As never father gave a child before.
Or strong necessity, or urgent fear : Seven ample cities shall confess his sway,
Welcome, though Greeks! for not as foes ye came ; Him Enopè, and Pheræ him obey,
To me more dear than all that bear the name. Cardamylè with ample turrets crown'd,
With that, the chiefs beneath his roof he led, And sacred Pedasus for vines renown'd;
And placed in seats with purple carpets spread.
Then thus-Patroclus, crown a larger bowl,
Of all the warriors yonder host can send,
Thy friend most honours these, and these thy friend There heifers
He said ; Patroclus o'er the blazing fire,
Which flesh of porket, sheep, and goat contains: All this I give, his vengeance to controul,
Achilles at the genial feast presides,
Meanwhile Patroclus sweats the fire to raise;
Above the coals the smoking fragment turns, Since more than his my years, and more my sway. And sprinkles sacred salt from lifted urns ;
The monarch thus. The reverend Nestor then : With bread the glittering canisters they load, Great Agamemnon! glorious king of men!
Which round the board Menælius' son bestow'd: Such are thy offers as a prince may take,
Himself, opposed to Ulysses, full in sight, And such as fits a generous king to make. Each portion parts, and orders every rite. Let chosen delegates this hour be sent
The first fat offerings, to the immortals due, (Myself will name them) to Pelides' tent: 220 Amidst the greedy flames Patroclus threw; Let Phenix lead, revered for hoary age,
Then each, indulging in the social feast, Great Ajax next, and Ithacus the sage.
His thirst and hunger soberly repressid. Yet more to sanctify the word you send,
That done, to Phænix Ajax gave the sign; Let Hodius and Eury bates attend.
Not unperccived ; Ulysses crown'd with wine
The foaming bowl, and instant thus began,
Untouch'd she stay'd, uninjured she removes,
360 His speech addressing to the godlike man:
Pure from his arms, and guiltless of his loves. Health to Achilles ! happy are thy guests! These instant shall be thine : and if the powers Not those more honour'd whom Atrides feasts : Give to our arms proud Ilion's hostile towers, Though generous plenty crown thy loaded boards, Then shalt thou store (when Greece the spoil That Agamemnon's regal tent affords :
divides) But greater cares sit heavy on our souls,
With gold and brass thy loaded navy's sides.
And each well worthy of a royal bed ;
And bright Chrysothemis with golden hair;
Himself will give the dower: so vast a store, 380
Thee nope and Pheræ thee obey,
Æpea fair, the pastures Hira yields,
Along the verdant margin of the main :
There heifers graze, and labouring oxen toil; 390 The day may come, when all our warriors slain, | Bold are the men, and generous is the soil : That heart shall melt, that courage rise in vain. There shalt thou reign, with power and justice Regard in time, O prince divinely brave!
Such are the proffers which this day we bring,
If honour, and if interest plead in vain,
If no regard thy suffering country claim,
400 And shun contention, the sure source of woe; Hear thy own glory, and the voice of fame: That young and old may in thy praise combine, For now that chief, whose unresisted ire The virtues of humanity be thine.
Made nations tremble, and whole hosts retire, This, now despised, advice thy father gave; Proud Hector, now, the unequal fight demands, Ah! check thy anger, and be truly brave.
And only triumphs to deserve thy hands. If thou wilt yield to great Atrides' prayers,
340 Then thus the goddess-born: Ulysses, hear Gifts worthy thee his royal hand prepares ;
A faithful speech, that knows nor art, nor fear; If not-but hear me, while I number o'er
What in my secret soul is understood, The proffer'd presents, an exhaustless store. My tongue shall utter, and my deeds make good. Ten weighty talents of the purest gold,
Let Greece then know, my purpose I relain : 410 And twice ten vases of refulgent mould;
Nor with new treaties vex my peace in vain. Seven sacred tripods, whose unsullied frame Who dares think one thing, and another tell, Yet knows no office, nor has felt the flame;
My heart detests him as the gates of hell.
Which nor Atrides nor his Greeks can bend;
Fight or not fight, a like reward we claim, Skill'd in each art, unmatch'd in form divine : The wretch and hero find their prize the same; The same he chose for more than vulgar charms, Alike regretted in the dust he lies,
420 When Lesbos sunk beneath thy conquering arms, Who yields ignobly, or who bravely dies. All these, to buy thy friendship, shall be paid, Of all my dangers, all my glorious pains, And join'd with these, the long-contested maid ; A life of labours, lo! what fruit remains ? With all her charms, Briseïs he'll resign,
As the bold bird her helpless young attends, And solemn swear those charms were only thine ; | From danger guards them, and from want defends ;
In search of prey she wings the spacious air, His gifts are hateful : kings of such a kind
Not all proud Thebes' unrivalled walls contain, 500 And twelve lay smoking on the Trojan plain : The world's great empress on the Egyptian plain, Then at Atrides' haughty feet were laid
(That spreads her conquests o'er a thousand states, The wealth I gather'd, and the spoils I made. And pours her heroes through a hundred gates, Your mighty monarch these in peace possess'd; Two hundred horsemen, and two hundred cars Some few my soldiers had, himself the rest. From each wide portal issuing to the wars ;) Some present too to every prince was paidi, Though bribes were heap'd on bribes, in number more And every prince enjoys the gift he made; Than dust in fields, or sands along the shore ; I only must refund, of all his train;
440 Should all these offers for my friendship call, See what pre-eminence our merits gain!
"Tis he that offers, and I scorn them all. My spoil alone his greedy soul delights;
Atrides' daughter never shall be led
510 My spouse alone must bless his lustful nights : |(An ill-match'd consort) to Achilles' bed; The woman, let him (as he may) enjoy ;
Like golden Venus though she charm'd the heart, But what's the quarrel then of Greece to Troy? And vied with Pallas in the works of art. What to these shores the assembled nations draws ? Some greater Greek let those high nuptials grace, What calls for vengeance, but a woman's cause ? I hate alliance with a tyrant's race. Are fair endowments and a beauteous face If heaven restore me to my realms with life, Beloved by none but those of Atreus' race? The reverend Pelus shall elect my wife. The wife whom choice and passion both approve, 450 Thessalian nymphs there are, of form divine, Sure every wise and worthy man will love. And kings that sue to mix their blood with mine. Nor did my fair-one less distinction claim; Blest in kind love, my years shall glide away, Slave as she was, my soul adored the dame. Content with just hereditary sway ; Wrong'd in my love, all proffers I disdain ; There, deaf for ever to the martial strife, Deceived for once, I trust not kings again.
Enjoy the dear prerogative of life. Ye have my answer—what remains to do,
Life is not to be bought with heaps of gold; Your king, Ulysses, may consult with you. Not all Apollo's Pythian treasures hold, What needs he the defence this arm can make ? Or Troy once held, in peace and pride of sway, Has he not walls no human force can shake ? Can bribe the poor possession of a day!. Has he not fenced his guarded navy round, 460 Lost herds and treasures we by arms regain, With piles, with ramparts, and a trench profoand ? And steeds unrivallid on the dusty plain : And will not these (the wonders he has done!) But from our lips the vital spirit fled,
530 Repel the rage of Priam's single son ?
Returns no more to wake the silent dead.
Short is my date, but deathless my renown:
For years on years, and long-extended days.
Jove's arm display'd asserts her from the skies ; Pthia to her Achilles shall restore
Her hearts are strengthened, and her glories rise. The wealth he left for this detested shore;
Go then, to Greece report our fix'd design; Thither the spoils of this long war shall pass, Bid all your councils, all your armies join, The ruddy gold, the steel, and shining brass : Let all your forces, all your arts conspire My beauteous captives thither I'll convey,
To save the ships, the troops, the chiefs from fire. And all that rests of my unravish'd prey. 480 One stratagem has fail'd, and others will : One only valued gift your tyrant gave,
Ye find Achilles is unconquer'd still. And that resumed, the fair Lyrnessian slave. Go then-digest my message as ye may
550 Then tell him, loud, that all the Greeks may hear, But here this night let reverend Phenix stay: And learn to scorn the wretch they basely fear; His tedious toils and hoary hairs demand (For, arm'd in impudence, mankind he braves, A peaceful death in Prhia's friendly land. And meditates new cheats on all his slaves; But whether he remain or sail with me, Though shameless as he is, to face these eyes His age be sacred, and his will be free. Is what he dares not : if he dares, he dies ;)
The son of Peleus ceased: the chiefs around Tell him, all terms, all commerce I decline, In silence wrapp'd, in consternation drown'd, Nor share his council nor his battle join ; 490 Attend the 'stern reply. Then Phænix rose : For once deceived, was his; but twice, were mine.' (Down his white beard a stream of sorrow flows.) No, let the stupid prince, whom Jove deprives And while the fate of suffering Greece he mourn'd, Of sense and justice, run where frenzy drives ; With accent weak these tender words return'd: 561
Divine Achilles ! wilt thou then retire,
Injustice, swift, erect, and unconfined, And leave our hosts in blood, our fleets on fire ? Sweeps the wide earth, and tramples o'er mankind, If wrath so dreadful fill thy ruthless mind,
While prayers, to heal her wrongs, move slow beHow shall thy friend, thy Phænix stay behind ?
hind. The royal Peleus, when from Pthia's coast
Who hears these daughters of almighty Jove, 631 He sent thee early to the Achaian host;
For him they mediate to the throne above:
The sire revenges for the daughters' sake;
Oh let not headlong passion bear the sway;
These reconciling goddesses obey :
Due honours calm the fierce, and bend the strong When Greece of old beheld my youthful flames,
Were these not paid thee by the terms we bring, 641 (Delighted Greece, the land of lovely dames !) Were rage still harbour'd in the haughty king, My father, faithless to my mother's arms,
Nor Greece, nor all her fortunes, should engage Old as he was, ador'd a stranger's charms. Thy friend to plead against so just a rage. I tried what youth could do (at her desire) 580 But since what honour asks, the general sends, To win the damsel, and prevent my sire.
And sends by those whom most thy heart commends, My sire with curses loads my hated head,
The best and noblest of the Grecian train ; And cries, Ye furies ! barren be his bed.
Permit not these to sue, and sue in vain ! Infernal Jove, the vengeful fiends below,
Let me, my son, an ancient fact unfold, And ruthless Proserpine confirm'd his vow. A great example drawn from times of old; Despair and grief distract my labouriug mind! Hear what our fathers were, and what their praise Gods ! what a crime my impious heart designed ! Who conquer'd their revenge in former days. 651 I thought (but some kind god that thought sup Where Calydon on rocky mountains stands, press'd)
Once fought the Ætolian and Curetian bands; To plunge the poinard in my father's breast : To guard it those, to conquer these advance ; Then meditate my flight; my friends in vain 590 And mutual deaths were dealt with mutual chance. With prayers entreat me, and with force detain. The silver Cynthia bade Contention rise, On fat of rams, black bulls, and brawny swine, In vengeance of neglected sacrifice: They daily feast, with draughts of fragrant wine :
On neus' fields she sent a monstrous boar, Strong guards they placed, and watch'd nine nights That levell'd harvests, and whole forests tore : 660 entire:
This beast (when many a chief his tusks had slain) The roofs and porches flamed with constant fire : Great Meleager stretch'd along the plain. The tenth I forced the gates, unseen of all,
Then, for his spoils a new debate arose, And favour'd by the night, o'erleap'd the wall. The neighbour nations thence commencing foes. My travels thence through spacious Greece extend; Strong as they were, the bold Curetes fail'd, In Puhia's court at last my labours end.
While Meleager's thundering arm prevail'd: Your sire received me, as his son caress'd, 600Till rage at length inflamed his lofty breast, With gifts enrich'd, and with possessions bless'd. (For rage invades the wisest and the best.) The strong Dolopians thenceforth own'd my reign, Cursed by Althæa, to his wrath he yields, And all the coast that runs along the main. And in his wife's embrace forgets the fields. By love to thee his bounties I repaid,
|(She from Marpessa sprung, divinely fair, And early wisdom to thy soul convey'd :
And matchless Idas, more than man in war; Great as thou art, my lessons made thee brave The god of day adored the mother's charms. A child I took thee, but a hero gave.
Against the god the father bent his arms: Thy infant breast a like affection show'd;
The afflicted pair, their sorrows to proclaim, Still in my arms (an ever pleasing load,)
From Cleopatra changed his daughter's name, Or at my knee, by Phænix wouldst thou stand; 610 And callid Alcyone ; a name to show No food was grateful but from Phænix' hand. The father's grief, the mourning mother's woe.) I pass my watchings o'er thy helpless years,
To her the chief retired from stern debate, The tender labours, the compliant cares ;
But found no peace from fierce Althæa's hate: 680 The gods (I thought) reversed their hard decree, Althæa's hate the unhappy warrior drew, And Phænix felt a father's joys in thee:
Whose luckless hand his royal uncle slew : Thy growing virtues justified my cares,
She beat the ground, and call'd the powers beneath And promised comfort to my silver hairs.
On her own son to wreak her brother's death ; Now be thy rage, thy fatal rage, resign'd ;
Hell heard her curses from the realms profound, A cruel heart ill suits a manly mind :
And the red fiends that walk the nightly round. The gods (the only great, and only wise) 620 In vain Ætolia her deliverer waits, Are moved by offerings, vows, and sacrifice;
War shakes her walls, and thunders at her gates. Offending man their high compassion wins, She sent ambassadors, a chosen band, And daily prayers atone for daily sins.
Priests of the gods, and elders of the land; 690 Prayers are Jove's daughters, of celestial race, Besought the chief to save the sinking state : Lame are their feet, and wrinkled is their face; Their prayers were urgent, and their proffers great ; With humble mien and with dejected eyes,
(Full fifty acres of the richest ground, Constant they follow where injustice flies :
Half pasture green, and half with vineyards crown'd.