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At this, the fairest of her sex obey'd,
And veil'd her blushes in a silken shade :
Unseen, and silent, from the train she moves,
Led by the goddess of the Smiles and Loves.

Arrived, and enter'd at the palace-gate.
The maids officious round their mistress wait ;
Then all, dispersing, various tasks attend ;
The queen and goddess to the prince ascend.
Full in her Paris' sight, the queen of love
Had placed the beauteous progeny of Jove ; 530

Where, as he view'd her charms, she tum'd away
Her glowing eyes, and thus began to say :

" Is this the chief who, lost to sense of shame.
Late fled the field, and yet survives his fame ?
Oh, hadst thou died beneath the righteous sword
Of that brave man whom once I call'd my lord !
The boaster Paris oft desired the day
With Sparta's king to meet in single fray 1
Go now, once more thy rival's rage excite, ' 54C

Provoke Atrides, and renew the fight :
Yet Helen bids thee stay, lest thou, unskill'd,
Should'st fall an easy conquest on the field."

The prince replies: "Ah I cease, divinely fiiir.
Nor add reproaches to the wounds I bear :
This day the foe prevail'd by Pallas' power :
We yet may vanquish in a happier hour :
There want not gods to favour us above ;
But let the business of our Ufe be love :


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These softer moments let delights employ,

And kind embraces snatch the hasty joy. 560

Not thus I loved thee, when from Sparta's shore

My forced^ my willing, heavenly prize I bore ;

When first entranced in Cranae's isle I lay,

Mix'd with thy soul, and all dissolved away !"

Thus having spoke, the enamour'd Phrygian boy
Rush'd to the bed, impatient for the joy.
Him Helen followed slow, with bashful charms.
And clasp'd the blooming hero in her arms.

While these to love's delicious rapture yield.
The stem Atrides rages round the field : 560

So some fell lion, whom the woods obey.
Roars through the desert, and demands bis prey.
Paris he seeks, impatient to destroy.
But seeks in vain along the troops of Troy :
Ev'n those had yielded to a foe so brave
The recreant warrior, hateful as the grave.

Then, speaking thus, the king of kings arose :
•* Ye Trojans, Dardans, all our generous foes !
Hear, and attest ! from heaven, with conquest crcwn'd,
Our brother's arms the just success have found : 670

Be therefore now the Spartan wealth restored.
Let Argive Helen own her lawful lord ;
Th' appointed fine let Ilion justly pay.
And age to age record this signal day."

He ceased. His army's loud applauses rise.
And long the shout rung echo'ng through the skies.


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JTie Breach of the Truce, and the First Battk.

ABevMnrr. — The gods deliberate in council concerning the Trojan war
thej agree upon the continuation of it, and Jupiter sends down Minervt
to break the truce. She persuades Pandarus to aim an arrow at MenelaQs,
who is wounded, but cured bj Machaon. In the mean time, some of the
Trojan troops attack the Greeks. Agamemnon is distinguished in all the
parts of a good general : he reviews the troops, and exhorts the leaders-
some by praises, and othera by reproofs. Nrator is particularly celebrated
for his military discipline. The battle joins, and great numbers are slain
on both sides.

The same day continues through this, as through the last book, as it does
also through the two following, and almost to the end of the seventh book.
The scene is wholly in the field before Troy.

And now Olympus* shining gates unfold ;
The gods, with Jove, assume their thrones of gold :
Immortal Heb6, fresh with bloom divine,
The golden goblet crowns with purple wine :
While the full bowls flow round, the powers employ
Their careful eyes on long-contended Troy.

When Jove, disposed to tempt Satumia's spleen.
Thus waked the fury of his partial queen :
" Two powers divine the son of Atreus aid,
Imperial Juno and the martial maid ; 10

But high in heaven they sit, and gaze from far
The tame spectators of his deeds of war.
Not thus fair Venus "helps her favoured knight:
The queen of pleasures shares the toils of fight,
Each danger wards, and, constant in her care,
Saves in the moment of the last despair.
Her act has rescued Paris' forfeit life.
Though great Atrides gain'd the glorious strife.
Then say, ye powers 1 what signal issue waits
To crown this deed, and fin^>h all the Fates? 20


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Shall heaven by peace the bleeding kingdoms spare,
Or rouse the Furies, and awake the war ?
Yet, would the gods for human good provide,
Atrides soon might gain his beauteous bride,
Slill Priam's walls in peaceful honours grow.
And through his gates the crowding nations flow."

Thus while he spoke, the queen of heaven, enraged.
And queen of war in close consult engaged :
Apart they sit, their deep designs employ
And meditate the future woes of Troy. 30

Though secret anger swelled Minerva's breast.
The prudent goddess yet her wrath suppressed ;
But Juno, impotent of passion, broke
Her sullen silence, and with fury spoke :

** Shall then, O tyrant of th* ethereal reign !
My schemes, my labours, and my hopes, be vain ?
Have I, for this, shook Ilion with alarms.
Assembled nations, set two worlds in arms ?
To spread the war, I flew from shore to shore ;
Th' immortal coursers scarce the labour bore. 40

At length ripe vengeance o'er their heads impends,
But Jove himself the faithless race defends :
Loath as thou art to punish lawless lust.
Not all the gods are partial and unjust."

The sire, whose thunder shakes the cloudy skies,
Sighs from his inmost soul, and thus replies :
^Oh, lasting rancour I oh, insatiate hate
To Phrygians monarch and the Phrygian state !
What high ofience has fired the wife of Jove ?
Can wretched mortals harm the powers above, . 50

That Troy and Troy's whole race thou would'st confound,
And yon fair structures level with the ground ?
Haste, leave the skies, fulfil thy stern desire,
Burst all her gates, and wrap her walls in fire !
Let Priam bleed I if yet thou thirst for more.
Bleed all his sons, and Ilion float with gore ;
To boundless vengeince the wide realm be given,
Till vast destruction glut the queen of heaven !


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So let it be, and Jove his pea^e enjoy.

When heaven no longer hears the name of Troy. GO

But should this arm prepare to wreak our hate

On thy loved realms, whose guilt demands their fale.

Presume not thou the lifted bolt to stay :

Remember Troy, and give the vengeance way.

For know, of all the numerous towns that rise

Beneath the rolling sun and starry skies,

Which gods have raised, or earth-bom men enjoy,

None stands so new to Jove as sacred Troy.

No mortals merit more distinguish'd grace

Than godlike Priam, or than Priam's race ! 70

Still to our name their hecatombs expire,

And altars blaze with unextinguished fire."

At this the goddess roll'd her radiant eyes.
Then on the Thunderer fix'd them, and replies :

** Three towns are Juno's on the Grecian plains,
More dear than'all th' extended earth contains —
Mycenae, Argos, and the Spartan wall :
These thou may'st raze, nor I forbid their fall :
'Tis not in me the vengeance to remove ;
The crime's sufficient that they share my love. 80

Of power superior why should I complain ?
Resent I may, but must resent in vain.
Yet some distinction Juno might require,
Sprung with thyself from one celestial sire ;
A goddess bom to share the realms above.
And styled the consort of the thundering Jove :
Nor thou a wife nor sister's right deny;
Let both consent, and both by turns comply;
So shall the gods our joint decrees obey,
And heaven shall act as we direct the way. 90

See, ready Pallas waits thy high commands.
To raise in arms the Greek and Phrygian bands ;
Their sudden friendship by her arts may cease.
And the proud Trojans first infringe the peace."

The sire of men and monarch of the sky
Th' advice approved, and bade Minerva fly,

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Dissolve the league, and all her arts employ
To make the breach the faithless act of Troy.

Fired with the charge, she headlong urged her flight.
And shot like lightning from Olympus' height. lOO

As the red comet, from Satumius sent,
To fright the nations with a dire portent,
(A fatal sign to armies on the plain,
Or trembling sailors on the wintry main,)
With sweeping glories glides along in air,
And shakes the sparkles from its blazing haiir :
Between both armies thus, in open sight.
Shot the bright goddess in a trail of light.
With eyes erect the gazing hosts admire
The power descending, and the heavens on fire ! IIC

"The gods,*' they cried, "the gods this signal sent.
And fate now labours with some vast event :
Jove seals the league, or bloodier scenes prepares ;
Jove, the great arbiter of peace and wars \"

They said, while Pallas through the Trojan throng
(In shape a mortal) pass'd disguised along.
Like bold Laodocus, her course she bent.
Who from Antenor traced his high descent.
Amidst the ranks Lycaon's son she found.
The warlike Pandarus, for strength renown'd ; 120

Whose squadrons, led from black iEsopus* flood.
With flaming shields in martial circle stood.

To him the goddess : " Phrygian ! canst thou hear
A well-timed counsel with a willing ear?
What praise were thine, couldst thou direct thy dart.
Amidst this triumph, to the Spartan's heart !
What gifts from Troy, from Paris would'st thou gain,
Thy country's foe, the Grecian glory slain !
Then seize th' occasion, dare the mighty deed,
Aim at his breast, and may that aim succeed I 130

But first, to speed the shaft, address thy vow
To Lycian Phoebus with the silver bow.
And swear the firstlings of thy flock to pay
On Zelia's altars, to the god of day.**


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He heard ; and madly, at the motion pleased,
His polish'd bow with hasty rashness seized.
'Twas formed of horn, and smooth'd with artful toil,
A mountain goat resigned the shining spoil,
Who pierced long since beneath his arrows bled ;
The stately quarry on the cliffs lay dead, 140

And sixteen palms his brow's large honours spread :
The workman join'd and shaped the bended horns.
And beaten gold each taper point adorns.
This, by the Greeks unseen, the warrior bends.
Screened by the shields of his surrounding friends.
There meditates the mark : and, couching low,
Fits the sharp arrow to the well-strung bow.
One from a hundred feather'd deaths he chose.
Fated to wound, and cause of future woes :
Then offers vows with hecatombs to crown 1 50

Apollo's altars in his native town.

Now, with full force, the yielding horn he bends,
Drawn to an arch, and joins the doubling ends;
Close to his breast he strains the nerve below.
Till the barb'd pomt approach the circling bow;
Th' impatient weapon whizzes on the wing ;
Sounds the tough horn, and twangs the quivermg string.
But thee, Atrides 1 in that dangerous hour.
The gods forgot not, nor thy guardian power.
Pallas assists, and, weaken'd in its force, 100

Diverts the weapon from its destined course :
So from her babe, when slumber seals his eye,
The watchful mother wafts th' envenom'd fly.
Just where his belt, with golden buckles join'd,
Where linen folds the double corslet lined.
She turn*d the shaft, which, hissing from above,
Pass'd the broad belt, and through the corslet drove ;
The folds it pierced, the plaited linen tore,
And raised the skin, and drew the purple gore.
As when some stately trappings are decreed 17C

To grace a monarch on his bounding steed,
A pymph in Caria or Masonia bred,
Stains the pure ivory with a lively red ;

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With equal lustre various colours vie.

The shining whiteness, and the Tyrian dye :

So, great Atrides ! show'd thy sacred blood,

As down thy snowy thigh distili'd the streaming flood.

With horror seized, the king of men descried

The shaft infix'd, and saw the gushing tide :

Nor less the Spartan fear'd, before he found 180

The shining barb appear above the wound.

Then, with a sigh that heaved his manly breast,

The royal brother thus his grief expressed.

And graspM his hand ; while all the Greeks around

With answering sighs retum'd the plaintive sound :

"Oh, dear as life ! did I for this agree
The solemn truce — a fatal truce to thee I
Wert thou exposed to all the hostile train.
To fight for Greece, and conquer to be slain T
The race of Trojans in thy ruin join, 100

And faith is scom'd by all the perjured line.
Not thus our vows, confirmed with wine and gore,
Those hands we plighted, and those oaths we swore,
Shall all be vain : when Heaven's revenge is slow
Jove but prepares to strike the fiercer blow.
The day shall come, that great avenging day,
Which Troy*s proud glories in the dust shall lay;
When Priam's powers and Priam's self shall fall.
And one prodigious ruin swallow all.
I see the god, already, from the pole 200

Bare his red arm, and bid the thunder roll ;
I see th' Eternal all his fury shed,
And shake his aegis o'er their guilty head.
Such mighty woes on perjured princes wait ;
But thou, alas ! deserv'st a happier fate.
Still must I moum the period of thy days.
And only moum, without my share of praise ?
Deprived of thee, the heartless Greeks no more
Shall dream of conquests on the hostile shore ;
Troy seized of Helen, and our glory lost, 210

Thy bones shall moulder on a foreign coast :


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While some proud Trojan thus insulting cries,
And spurns the dust where Menelaus lies :
* Such are the trophies Greece from Ilion brings.
And such the conquests of her king of kings.
Lo, his proud vessels scattered o'er the main.
And unrevenged his mighty brother slain.'
Oh ! ere that dire disgrace shall blast my fame.
Overwhelm me, earth 1 and hide a monarch's shame."

He said. A leader's and a brother's fears 220

Possess his soul, which thus the Spartan cheers :
** Let not thy words the warmth of Greece abate ;
The feeble dart is guiltless of my fate :
Stiff with the rich embroider'd work around.
My varied belt repell'd the flying wound."

To whom the king : "My brother and my friend.
Thus, always thus, may Heaven thy life defend I
Now seek some skilful hand, whose powerful art
May staunch th' effusion, and extract the dart.
Herald, be swift, and bid Machaon bring 230

His speedy succour to the Spartan king ;
Pierced with a winged shaft, the deed of Troy,
The Grecian's sorrow, and the Dardan's joy."

With hasty zeal the swift Talthybius flies ;
Through the thick files he darts his searching eyes,
And finds Machaon, where sublime he stands
In arms encircled with his native bands.
Then thus : ** Machaon, to the king repair.
His wounded brother claims thy timely care ,
Pierced by some Lycian or Dardanian bow, 240

A grief to us, a triumph to the foe."

The heavy tidings grieved the godlike man .
Swift to his succour through the ranks he ran ;
The dauntless king yet standing firm he found,
And all the chiefs in deep concern around.
Where to the steely point the reed was join'd.
The shaft he drew, but left the head behind.
Straight the broad belt, with gay embroidery graced.
He loosed ; the corslet from his breast unbraced :


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Then suck'd the blood, and sovereign balm infused, 250
Which Chiron gave, and iEsculapius used.

While round the prince the Greeks employ then care.
The Trojans rushed tumultuous to the war ;
Once more they glitter in refulgent arms,
Once more the fields are fiird with dire alarms.
Nor had you seen the king of men appear
Confused, inactive, or surprised with fear ;
But, fond of glory, with severe delight
His beating bosom claim'd the rising fight.
No longer with his warlike steeds he stay'd, 200

Or press'd the car with polish'd brass inlaid ;
But left Eurymedon the rems to guide :
The fiery coursers snorted at his side.
On foot through all the martial ranks he moves.
And these encourages, and those reproves.
" Brave men I" he cries (to such who boldly dare
Urge their swift steeds to face the coming war),
" Your ancient valour on the foes approve ;
Jove is with Greece, and let us trust in Jove.
'Tis not for us, but guilty Troy to dread, 270

Whose crimes sit heavy on her perjured head ;
Her sons and matrons Greece shall lead in chains,
And her dead warriors strew the mournful plains.

Thus with new ardour he the brave inspires ;
Or thus the fearfiil with reproaches fires :
" Shame to your country, scandal of your kind !
Bom to the fate ye well deserve to find !
Why stand ye gazing round the dreadful plain.
Prepared for flight, but doom'd to fly in vain ?
Confiised and panting thus, the hunted deer 28u

Falls as he flies, a victim to his fear.
Still must ye wait the foes, and still retire,
Till yon tall vessels blaze with Trojan fire ?
Or trust ye, Jove a valiant foe shall chase,
To save a trembling, heartless, dastard race ?"

This said, he stalk'd with ample strides along.
To Crete's brave monarch and his martial throng ;


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High at their head he saw the chief appear,

And bold Meriones excite the rear.

At this the king his generous joy expressed, 200

And clasp'd the warrior to his armed breast :

"Divine Idomeneus! what thanks we owe

To worth like thine ! what praise shall we bestow?

To thee the foremost honours are decreed,

First in the fight, and every graceful deed.

For tliis, in banquets, when the generous bowls

Restore our blood, and raise the warriors' souls.

Though all the rest with stated rules we bound,

Unmix'd, unmeasured, are thy goblets crown'd.

Be still thyself; in arms a mighty name ; 800

Maintain thy honours, and enlarge thy fame."

To whom the Cretan thus his speech address'd :
" Secure of me, O king I exhort the rest :
Fix'd to thy side, in every toil I share,
Thy firm associate in the day of war.
But let the signal be this moment given ;
To mix in fight is all I ask of Heaven.
The field shall prove how perjuries succeed.
And chains or death avenge their impious deed."

Charm'd with this heat, the king his course pursues, 310
And next the troops of either Ajax views :
In one firm orb the bands were ranged around,
A cloud of heroes blacken'd all the ground.
Thus from the lofty promontory's brow
A swain surveys the gathering storm below :
Slow from the main the heavy vapours rise.
Spread in dim streams, and sail along the skies.
Till black as night the swelling tempest shows.
The cloud condensing as the west wind blows :
He dreads th' impending storm, and drives his flock 32C
To the close covert of an arching rock:
Such, and so thick, th' embattled squadrons stood.
With spears erect, a moving iron wood ;
A shady light was shot from glimmering shields.
And their brown arms obscured the dusky fields.


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•Oh, heroes I worthy such a dauntless train,
Whose godlike virtue we but urge in vain T'
Exclaimed the king ; " who raise your eager bands
With great examples, more than loud commands :
Ah ! would the gods but breathe in all the rest 330

Such souls as bum in your exalted breast,
Soon should our arms with just success be crow^i'd,
And Troy's proud walls lie smoking on the ground."

Then to the next the general bends his course
(His heart exults, and glories in his force) ;
There reverend Nestor ranks his Pylian bands.
And with inspiring eloquence commands ;
With strictest order sets his train in arms.
The chie& advises, and the soldiers warms.
Alastor, Chromius, Haemon, round him wait, 240

Bias the good, and Pelagon the great.
The horse and chariots to the front assign'd.
The foot (the strength of war) he ranged behind ;
The middle place suspected troops supply.
Enclosed by both, nor left the power to fly ;
He gives command to curb the fiery steed.
Nor cause confusion, nor the ranks exceed :
"Before the rest let none too rashly ride ;
Nor strength, nor skill, but just in time, be tried :
The charge once made, no warrior turn the rein, 350
But fight, or fall ; a firm, embodied train.
He whom the fortune of the field shall cast
From forth his chariot, mount the' next in ha^te ;
Nor seek unpractised to direct the car.
Content with javelins to provoke the war.
Our great forefathers held this prudent course,
Thus ruled their ardour, thus preserved their force ;
By laws like these immortal conquests made,
And earth's proud tyrants low in ashes laid."

So spoke the master of the martial art, 360

And touch'd with transport great Atrides' heart.
**Oh ! hadst th>u strength to match thy brave desires,
And nerves to second what thy soul inspires !
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98 THE ILIAD, Book IV.

But wasting } ears, that wither human race,
Exhaust thy spirits, and thy arms unbrace.
What once thou wert, oh, ever mighl'st thou be I
And age the lot of any chief but thee."

Thus to th' experienced prince Atrides cried ;
He shook his hoary locks, and thus replied :
" Well might I wish, could mortal wish renew 870

That strength which once in boiling youth I knew
Such as I was, when Ereuthalion, slain
Beneath this arm, fell prostrate on the plain.
But Heaven its gifts not all at once bestows,
These, years with wisdom crowns — with action, those :
The field of combat fits the young and bold.
The solemn council best becomes the old :
To you the glorious conflict I resign,
Let sage advice, the pakn of age, be mine.*'

He said. With joy the monarch march'd before, 380
And found Mnestheus on the dusty shore.
With whom the firm Athenian phalanx stands,
And next Ulysses, with his subject bands.
Remote their forces lay, nor knew so far
The peace infringed, nor heard the sounds of war :
The tumult late begun, they stood intent
To watch the motion, dubious of th' event.
The king, who saw their squadrons yet unmoved.
With hasty ardour thus the chiefs reproved :

"Can Peleus' son forget a warrior's part? 390

And fears Ulysses, skilPd in every art ?
Why stand you distant, and the rest expect
To mix in combat which yourselves neglect ?
From you 'twas hoped among the first to dare
The shock of armies, and commence the war ;
For this your names are call'd before the rest,
To share the pleasures of the genial feast :
And can you, chiefs I without a blush, survey
Whole troops before you labouring in the fray ?
Say, is it thus those honours you requite ; 400

Th© first in banquets, but the last in fight ?**


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Ulysses heard : the hero's warmth o'erspread
His cheek with blushes ; and, severe, he said :
* Take back th* unjust reproach ! Behold, we stand
SheathM in bright arms, and but expect command.
If glorious deeds afford thy soul delight,
Behold me plunging in the thickest fight.
Then give thy warrior-chief a warrior's due,
Who dares to act whatever thou darest to view."

Struck with his generous wrath, the king replies : 410
**0h, great in action, and in council wise !
With ours, thy care and ardour are the same.
Nor need I to command, nor ought to blanj^e.
Sage as thou art, and leam'd in human kind,
Forgive the transport of a martial mind.
Haste to the fight, secure of just amends ;
The god^ that make, shall keep the worthy friends."

He said ; and pass'd where great Tydides lay.
His steeds and chariots wedged in firm array
(The warlike Sthenelus attends his side), 420

To whom with stem reproach the monarch cried :
"Oh, son of Tydeus I (he whose strength could tame
The bounding steed, in arms a mighty name,)
Canst thou, remote, the mingling host descry.
With hands inactive, and a careless eye ?
Not thus thy sire the fierce encounter fear'd ;
Still first in front the matchless prince appear'd.
What glorious toils, what wonders they recite,
Who viewed him labouring through the ranks of fight !
I saw him once, when, gathering martial powers, 430
A peaceful guest he sought Mycense's towers ;
Armies he ask'd, and armies had been given,
Not we denied, but Jove forbade from heaven :
While dreadful comets, glaring from afar,
Forewam'd the horrors of the Theban war.
Next, sent by Greece from where Asopus flows,
A fearless envoy, he approach'd the foes ;
Thebe's hostile walls, unguarded and alone.
Dauntless he enters, and demands the throne.


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The tyrant feasting with his chiefs he found, i 10

And dared to combat all those chiefs around ;

Dared and subdued, before their haughty lord ;

For Pallas strung his arms, and edged his sword.

Online LibraryHomerHomer's Iliad → online text (page 8 of 41)