Copyright
Homer.

Homer's Iliad online

. (page 32 of 41)
Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 32 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


She, as a falcon, cuts th' atrial way, 710

Swift firom Olympus' snowy summit flies,
And bears the blazing present through the skies.
18* Bb



Digitized



by Google



BOOK XII.

The ReconcUiatioti ofAchUUs and Agamemnon.

Amitmxnt. — ^Thetifl bring* to her son thp armour made by ViUcan. She
preserves the body of his friend from corruption, and commands him to
assemble the army, to declare his resentment at an end. Agamemnon
and Achilles are solemnly reconciled : the speeches, presents, and ceremo*
nies on that occasion. Achilles is with great difficulty persuaded to refrain
from the battle till the troops have refreshed themselves, by the advice of
Ulysses. The presents are conveyed to the tent of Achillea : where Brisels
laments over the body of Patroclus. The hero obstinately refuses all
repast, and gives himself up to lamentations for his friend. Minerva
descends to strengthen him, by the order of Jupiter. He arms for the
fight: his appearance described. He addresses himself to his horses,
and reproaches them with {he death of Patroclus. One of them i« miracu-
lously endued with voice, and inspired to prophesy his fate : but the here,
not astonished by that prodigy, rushes with fury to the combat.

The thirtieth day. The scene is on the sea-shore.

Soon as Aurora heaved her orient head
Above the waves that blush'd with early red,
(With new-born day to gladden mortal sight.
And gild the courts of heaven with sacred light,)
Th' immortal arms the goddess-mother bears
Swift to her son: her son she finds in tears,
Stretch'd o'er Patroclus' corse; while all the lest
Their sovereign's sorrows in their own express'd.
A ray divine her heavenly presence shed.
And thus, his hand soft-touching, Thetis said: 10

"Suppress, my son, this rage of grie^ and know
It was not man, but Heaven, that gave the blow;
Behold what arms by Vulcan are bestow'd I
Arms worthy thee, or fit to grace a god."

Then drops the radiant burden on the ground:
Clang the strong armSj and ring the shores around:
Back shrink the MyrmJiJons with dread surprise,
And from the broad eflSilj^ence turn their eyes.



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX. ' 419

(Jnmoyed, the hero kindles at the show,

And feels with rage divine his bosom glow; 20

From his fierce eye-balls livmg flames expire,

And flash incessant like a stream of fire:

He turns the radiant gift, and feeds his mind

On all th' immortal artist had designed.

"Goddess!" he cried, "these glorious arms that shme
With matchless art, confess the hand divine.
Now to the bloody battle let me bend;
But, ah! the relics of my slaughtered friend!
In those wide wounds through which his spirit fled.
Shall flies, and worms obscene, pollute the dead?'* 30

"That unavailing care be laid aside,"
The azure goddess to her son repUed;
"Whole years untouched, uninjured, shall remain.
Fresh as in life, the carcase of the slain.
But go, Achilles, as afiairs require;
Before the Grecian peers renounce thine ire;
Then uncontroPd in boundless war engage.
And Heaven with strength supply the mighty rage!"

Then in the nostrils of the slain she pour'd
Nectareous drops, and rich ambrosia shower'd 40

O'er all the corse. The flies forbid their prey.
Untouched it rests, and sacred from decay.
Achilles to the strand obedient went;
The shores resounded with the voice hi sent.
The heroes heard, and all the naval tram
That tend the ships, or guide them o'er the main,
Alarm'd, transported at the well-known sound.
Frequent and full, the great assembly crown'd;
Studious to see that terror of the plain,
Long lost to battle, shine in arms again. 50

Tydides and Ulysses first appear.
Lame with their wounds, and leaning on the spear;
These on the sacred seats of council placed.
The king of men, Atrides, came the last:
He too sore wounded by Agenor's son.

Achilles, rising in the midst, begun:



Digitized



by Google



420 THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX.

*'0h, monarch! better far had been the fate

Of thee, of me, of all the Grecian state,

if (ere the day when, by mad passion sway'd,

Rash we contended for the black-eyed maidj 00

Preventing Dian had despatched her dart,

And shot the shining mischief to the heart:

Then many a hero had not press'd the shore,

Nor Troy's glad fields been fattened with our gore:

Long, long shall Greece the woes we caused bewail.

And sad posterity repeat the tale.

But this, no more the subject of debate,

Is past, forgotten, and resign'd to fate.

Why should, alas! a mortal man, as I,

Bum with a fury that can never die? 70

Here then my anger ends: let war succeed,

And ev'n as Greece has bled, let Ilion bleed.

Now call the hosts, and try, if in our sight

Troy yet shall dare to camp a second night:

I deem their mightiest, when this arm he knows.

Shall 'scape with transport, and with joy repose.'*

He said: his finished wrath with loud acclaim
The Greeks accept, and shout Pelides' name.
When thus, not rising from his lofty throne.
In state unmoved, the king of men begun: SO

"Hear me, ye sons of Greece! with silence hear'
And grant your monarch an impartial ear;
Awhile your loud, untimely joy suspend.
And let your rash, injurious clamours end:
Unruly murmurs, or ill-timed applause.
Wrong the best speaker, and the justest cause.
Nor charge on me, ye Greeks, the dire debate:
Know, angry Jove, and all-compelling Fate,
With fell Erinnys, urged my wrath that day
When from Achilles' arms I forced the prey. 90

What then could I, against the will of Heaven T
Not by myself, but vengeful At6, driven;
She, Joke's dread daughter, fated to infest
The race of mortals, enter'd hi my breast.



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX. 42I

Not on the ground that haughty Fury treads.

But prints her lofty footsteps on the heads

Of mighty men ! inflicting as she goes

Long- festering wounds, inextricable woes !

Of old, she stalk'd amid the bright abodes;

And Jove himself the sire of men and gods, 100

The world's great ruler, felt her venom'd dart;

Deceived by Juno's wiles, and female art.

For when Alcmena's nine long months were run,

And Jove expected his immortal son,

To gods and goddesses th* unruly joy

He show'd, and vaunted of his matchless boy:

^ From us,' he said, Hhis day an infant springs.

Fated to rule, and bom a king of kings/

Satumia ask'd an oath, to vouch the truth.

And fix dominion on the favour'd youth. IJO

The Thunderer, unsuspicious of the fraud.

Pronounced those solemn words that bind a god.

The joyful goddess from Olympus' height.

Swift to Achaian Argos bent her flight;

Scarce seven moons gone, lay Sthenelus's wife ;

She pushed her lingering infant into life :

Her charms Alcmena's coming labours stay,

And stop the babe just issuing to the day:

Then bids Satumius bear his oath in mind :

*A youth,' said she, *of Jove's immortal kind, 120

Is this day bom ; from Sthenelus he springs.

And claims thy promise to be king of kings.'

Grief seized the Thunderer, by his oath engaged :

Stung to the soul, he sorrow'd, and he raged.

From his ambrosial head, where perch'd she sate,

He snatch'd the fury-goddess of debate ;

The dread, th' irrevocable oath he swore,

Th' immortal seats should ne'er behold her more ;

\nd whirl'd her headlong down, for ever driven

From bright Olympus and the starry heaven : 180

Thence on the nether world the Fury fell ;

Ordain'd with man's contentious race to dwell.



Digitized



by Google



422 THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX.

Full oft the god his son's hard toils bemoan'd,

Cursed the dire Fury, and in secret groanM.

Ev'n thus, like Jove himself, was I misled.

While raging Hector heap'd our camps with dead.

What can the errors of my rage atone?

My martial troops, my treasures are thy own :

This instant from the navy shall be sent

Whate'er Ulysses promised at thy tent: 140

But thou, appeased, propitious to our prayer,

Resume thy arms, and shine again in war.*^

"Oh, king of nations ! whose superior sway,**
Returns Achilles, " all our hosts obey I
To keep or send the presents be thy care ;
To us 'tis equal : all we ask is war.
While yet we talk, or but an instant shun
The fight, our glorious work remains undone.
Let every Greek who sees my spear confound
The Trojan ranks, and deal destruction round, 150

With emulation what I act survey,
And learn from thence the business of the day."

The son of Peleus thus ; and thus replies
The great in councils, Ithacus the wise :

"Though, godlike, thou art by no toils oppress'd.
At least our armies claim repast and rest.
Long and laborious must the combat be.
When by the gods inspired, and led by thee.
Strength is derived from spirits and from blood.
And those augment by generous wine and food: 160

What boastful son of war, without that stay.
Can last a hero through a single day?
Courage may prompt; but, ebbing out his strength.
Mere unsupported man must yield at length;
Shrunk with dry famine, and with toils declined.
The drooping body will desert the mind:
But built anew with strength-conferring fare.
With limbs and soul untamed, he tires a war.
Dismiss the people then, and give command
With strong repast to hearten every band; 170



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX. 428

But let the presents to Achilles made,

In full assembly of all Greece be laid.

The king of men shall rise in public sight,

And solemn swear, observant of the rite,

That spotless as she came, the maid removes,

Pure from his arms, and guiltless of his loves.

That done, a sumptuous banquet shall be made.

And the full price of injured honour paid.

Stretch not henceforth, O prince ! thy sovereign might

Beyond the bounds of reason and of right; 180*

'Tis the chief praise that e'er to kings belong'd.

To right with justice whom with power they wrong'd."

To him the monarch: "Just is thy decree.
Thy words give joy, and wisdom breathes in thee.
Each due atonement gladly I prepare;
And Heaven regard me as I justly swear.
Here then awhile let Greece assembled stay,
Nor great Achilles grudge this short delay;
Till from the fleet our presents be conveyed,
And, Jov^ attesting, the firm compact made. 190

A train of noble youth the charge shall bear;
These to select, Ulysses, be thy care:
In order rank'd let all our gifts appear.
And the fair train of captives close the rear:
Talthybius shall the victim boar convey.
Sacred to Jove, and yon bright orb of day.**

**For this," the stem iEacides replies,
"Some less important season may suffice.
When the stem fury of the war is o'er.
And wrath extinguished bums my breast no more. 200
By Hector slain, their faces to the sky.
All grim with gaping wounds, our heroes lie :
Those call to war! and, might my voice incite,
Now, now, this instant, should commence the fight:
Then, when the day's complete, let generous bowls,
And copious banquets, glad your weary souls.
Let not my palate know the taste of food.
Till my insatiate rage be cloy'd with blood:



Digitized



by Google



424 THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX.

Pale lies my friend, with wounds disfigured o'er,

And his cold feet are pointed to the door. 210

Revenge is all my soul ! no meaner care,

Interest, or thought, has room to harbour there ;

Destruction be my feast, and mortal wounds.

And scenes of blood, and agonizing sounds."

"Oh, first of Greeks !" Ulysses thus rejoined,
^*The best and bravest of the warrior kind I
Thy praise it is in dreadful camps to shine.
But old experience and calm wisdom mine.
Then hear my counsel, and to reason yield:
The bravest soon are satiate of the field; 220

Though vast the heaps that strew the crimson plain.
The bloody harvest brings but little gain:
The scale of conquest ever wavering lies.
Great Jove but turns it, and the victor dies ! "
The great, the bold, by thousands daily fall.
And endless were the grief to weep for all.
Eternal sorrows what avails to shed?
Greece honours not with solemn fasts the dead :
Enough, when death demands the brave, to pay
The tribute of a melancholy day. 230

One chief with patience to the grave resigned.
Our care devolves on others left behind.
Let generous food supplies of strength produce,
Let rising spirits flow firom sprightly juice.
Let their warm heads with scenes of battle glow,
And pour new furies on the feebler foe.
Yet a short interval, and none shall dare
Expect a second summons to the war.
Who waits for that, the dire effect shall find.
If trembling in the ships he lags behind. 24Q

Embodied to the battle let us bend.
And all at once on haughty Troy descend."

And now the delegates Ulysses sent.
To bear the presents from the royal tent.
The sons of Nestor, Phyleus' valiant heir,
Thias and Morion, thunderbolts of war»



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX. 425

With Lycomedes of Creontian strain,

And Melanippus, form*d the chosen train.

Swift as the word was given, the youths obey'd ;

Twice ten bright vases in the midst they laid ; 250

A row of six fair tripods then succeeds ;

And twice the number of high bounding steeds;

Seven captives next a lovely line compose;

The eighth Briseis, like the blooming rose,

Closed the bright band : great Ithacus before.

First of the train, the golden talents bore:

The rest in public view the chiefs dispose —

A splendid scene! Then Agamemnon rose:

The boar Talthybius held: the Grecian lord

Drew the broad cutlass, sneath'd beside his sword : 260

The stubborn bristles from the victim's brow

He crops, and offering meditates his vow.

His hands iiplifted to th' attesting skies,

On heaven's broad marble roof were fix'd his eyes;

The solemn words a deep attention draw.

And Greece around sat thrill'd with sacred awe :

"Witness, thou first, thou greatest power above!
All-good, all- wise, and all-surviving Jove!
And Mother-earth, and Heaven's revolving light,
And ye, fell Furies of the realms of night, 270

Who rule the dead, and horrid woes prepare
For perjured kings, and all who falsely swear!
The black-eyed maid inviolate removes.
Pure and unconscious of my manly loves.
If this be false. Heaven all its vengeance shed,
And level'd thunder strike my guilty head !"

With that, his weapon deep inflicts the wound ; -
The bleeding savage tumbles to the ground ;
The sacred herald rolls the victim slain
(A feast for fish) into the foaming main. 280

Then thus Achilles: "Hear, ye Greeks ! and know
Whate'er we feel, 'tis Jove inflicts the wo;
Not else Atrides could our rage inflame,
Nor from my arms unwilling force the dame.



Digitized



by Google



426 THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX,

'Twas Joie's high will alone, o'er-ruling all.
That doom'd our strife, and doom'd the Greeks to fall.
Go then, ye chiefs ! indulge the genial rite,
Achilles waits you, and expects the fight.**

The speedy council at his word adjoum'd:
To their black vessels all the Greeks retum'd; 200

Achilles sought his tent. His train before
March'd onward, bending with the gifts they Lore.
Those in the tents the squires industrious spread.
The foaming coursers to the stalls they led;
To their new seats the female captives move:
Briseis, radiant as the queen of love.
Slow as she pass'd, beheld with sad survey
Where, gash'd with cruel wounds, Patroclus lay.
Prone on the body fell the heavenly fair.
Beat her sad breast, and tore her golden hair; 800

All-beautiful in grie^ her humid eyes.
Shining with tears, she lifts, and thus she cries :

"Ah, youth for ever dear, for ever kind.
Once tender friend of my distracted mind !
I left thee fresh in life, in beauty gay!
Now find thee cold, inanimated clay I
What woes my wretched race of life attend!
Sorrows on sorrows, never doom*d to end.
The first loved consort of my virgin bed
Before these eyes in fatal battle bled! 810

My three brave brothers in one mournful day,
All trod the dark irremeable* way;
Thy friendly hand uprear'd me from the plain,
And dried my sorows for a husband slain;
Achilles' care you promised I should prove.
The first, the dearest partner of his love!
That rites divine should ratify the band.
And make me empress in his native land.
Accept these grateful tears! for thee they flow,
For thee that ever felt another's wo!" 820

* Admitdng no retom. So used by Diyden.

Digitized by CjOOQ IC



THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX. 427

Her sister captives echoed groan for groan,
Nor moum'd Patroclus* fortunes, but their own.
The leaders press'd the chief on every side;
Unmoved he heard them, and with sighs denied.

"If yet Achilles have a friend, whose care
Is bent to please him, this request forbear:
Till yonder sun descend, ah ! let me pay
To grief and anguish one abstemious day."

He spoke, and from the warriors turn'd his face:
Yet still the brother-kings of Atreus' race — 830

Nestor, Idomeneus, Ulysses sage.
And PhcEnix — strive to calm his grief and rage:
His rage they calm not, nor his grief control;
He groans, he raves, he sorrows from his soul.

"Thou too, Patroclus!" (thus his heart he vents)
"Once spread th* inviting banquet in our tents:
Thy sweet society, thy winning care.
Once staid Achilles rushing to the war.
But now, alas ! to death's cold arms resign'd.
What banquet but revenge can glad my mind? 840

What greater sorrow could afflict my breast.
What more, if hoary Peleus were deceased?
Who now, perhaps, in Phthia dreads to hear
His son*s sad fate, and drops a tender tear?
What more, should Neoptolemus the brave,
My only offspring, sink into the grave?
If yet that offspring lives (I distant far.
Of all neglectful, wage a hateful war).
I could not this, this cruel stroke attend ;
Fate claim'd Achilles, but might spare his friend. 350
I hoped Patroclus might survive, to rear
My tender orphan with a parent's care.
From Scyros* isle conduct him o'er the main,
And glad his eyes with his paternal reign,
The lofty palace, and the large domain.
For Peleus breathes no more the vital air;
Or drags a wretched life of age and caie.
But till the news of my sad fate invades
His hastening soul, and sinks him to the shades.*^

Digitized by CjOOQ IC



428 THE iLIAD, BOOK XIX.

Sighing he said. His grief the heroes join'd, 360

Each stole a tear for what he left beliind.
Their mingled grief the sire of heaven surveyed,
And thus with pity to his blue-eyed maid:

"Is then Achilles now no more thy care.
And dost thou thus desert the great in war?
Lo, where yon sails their canvas wings extend, ^

All comfortless he sits, and wails his friend:
Ere thirst and want his forces have oppress'd,
Haste, and infuse ambrosia in his breast."

He spoke: and sudden, at the word of Jove, 870

Shot the descending goddess from above.
So swift through aether the shrill Harpy springs,
The wide air floating to her ample wings.
To great Achilles ^he her flight address'd.
And pour'd divine ambrosia in his breast,
With nectar sweet, (refection of the gods);
Then, swift ascending, sought the bright abodes.

Now issued from the ships the warrior-train,
And like a deluge pour'd upon the plain.
As when the piercing blasts of Boreas blow, dbO

And scatter o'er the fields the driving ^snow;
From dusky clouds the fleecy winter flies.
Whose dazzling lustre whitens all the skies:
So helms succeeding helms, s^|hields from shields
Catch the quick beams, and brighten all the fields ;
Broad glittering breast-plates, spears with pointed rays,
Mix in one stream, reflecting blaze on blaze:
Thick beats the centre as the coursers bound,
With splendour flame the skies, and laugh the fields around.

Full in the midst, high-towering o'er the rest, 390

His limbs in arms divine Achilles dress'd;
Arms which the father of the fire bestow'd.
Forged on th* eternal anvils of the god.
Grief and revenge his furious heart inspire,
His glowing eye-balls roll with liv'ng fire;
He grinds his teeth, and, furious with delay.
Overlooks th' embattled host, ard hopes the blcody day.



Digitized



by Google



THE ILIAD, BOOK JLlX, 429

The silver cuishes first his thighs infold :
Then o'er his breast was braced the hollow gold:
The brazen sword a various baldric tied, 400

That, starr'd with gems, hung glittering at his side ;
And, like the moon, the broad refulgent shield
Blazed with long rays, and gleam'd athwart the field.

So to night-wandering sailors, pale with fears.
Wide o'er the watery waste a light appears,
Which, on the far-seen mountain blazing high,
Streams from some lonely watch-tower to the sky ;
With mournful eyes they gaze, and gaze again ;
Loud 'howls the storm, and drives them o'er the main.

Next his high head the helmet graced; behind 410

The sweepy crest hung floating in the wind:
Like the red star, that fi-om his flaming hair
Shakes down diseases, pestilence, and war;
So stream'd the golden honours fi-om his head,
Trembled the sparkling plumes, and the loose glories shed.

The chief beholds himself with wondering eyes.;
His arms he poises, and his motion tries;
Buoy*d by some inward force he seems to swim.
And feels a pinion lifting every limb.

And now he shakes his great paternal spear, - 420

Ponderous and huge ! which not a Greek could reai\
From Pelion's cloudy top an ash entire
Old Chiron felPd, and shaped it for his sire;
A spear which stem Achilles only wields.
The death of heroes, and the dread of fields I

Automedon and Alcimus prepare
Th' immortal coursers and the radiant car,
(The silver traces sweeping at their side;)
Their fiery mouths resplendent bridles tied ;
The ivory-studded reins, retum'd behind, 430

Waved o'er their backs, and to the chariot join'd.
The charioteer then whirl'd the lash around.
And awift ascended at one active bound.
All bright in heavenly arms above his squire,
Achillea mounts, and sets the field on fire;



Digitized



by Google



430 THE ILIAD, BOOK XIX.

Not brighter Phoebus, in th' ethereal way,
Flames from his chariot, and restores the day.
High o'er the host all terrible he stands.
And thunders to his steeds these dread commands:

^Xanthus and Balius! of Podarges' strain, 44C

(Unless ye boast that heavenly race in vain,)
Be swift, be mindful of the load ye bear.
And learn to make your master more your care:
Through falling squadrons bear my slaughtering sword.
Nor, as ye left Patroclus, leave your lord."

The generous Xanthus, as the words he said,
Seem'd sensible of wo, and droop'd his head :
Trembling he stood before the golden wain.
And bow'd to dust the honours of his mane ;
When, strange to tell ! (so Juno wiird) he broke 450

Eternal silence, and portentous spoke:*

"Achilles! yes! this day at least we bear
Thy rage in safety through the files of war :
But come it will, the fatal time must come.
Nor our's the fault, but Grod decrees thy doom.
Not through our crime, or slowness in the course.
Fell thy Patroclus, but by heavenly force;
The bright far-shooting god who gilds the day
(Confess'd we saw him) tore his arms away.
No: could om* swiftness o'er the winds prevail, 460

Or beat the pinions of the western gale.
All were in vain: the Fates thy death demand.
Due to a mortal and immortal hand."

Then ceased for ever, hy the Furies tied.
His fateful voice. Th' intrepid chief replied.
With unabated rage: "So let it be*
Portents and prodigies are lost on me.
I know my fates; to die, to see no more
My much-loved parents, and my native shore —
Enough: when Heaven ordains, I sink in night; 470

Now perish Troy P — ^He said, and rush'd to fight.



Digitized



by Google



BOOK XX.

27m BatUe uf the Oods, and the Acts of AchiUee,

Abqumbht. — Jupiter, upon Achilks* return to the battle, calla a souncil of
the gods, and permits them to assist either party. The terrors of the
battle described, when the deities are engaged. Apollo encourages
iEIneo to meet Achilles. After a long conversation, these two heroes
encounter; but JEneas is preserved by the assistance of Neptune.
Achilles falls upon the rest of the Trojans; and is upon the point of
killing Hector, but Apollo conveys him away in a cloud. Achilles
pursues the Trojans with a great slaughter.

The same day continues. The scene is in the field before Troy.

Thus round Pelides, breathing war and blood,
Greece, sheathed in arms, beside her vessels stood ;
While near impending from a neighbouring height,
Troy's black battalions wait the shock of fight.
Then Jove to Themis gives command to call
The gods to council in the starry hall :
Swift o*er Olympus' hundred hills she flies.
And summons all the senate of the skies.
These shining on, in long procession come
To Jove's eternal adamantine dome. 10

Not one was absent, not a rural power,
That haunts the verdant gloom, or rosy bower:
Each fair-hair'd dryad of the shady wood,



Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 32 of 41)