Homer.

Pope's translation of Homer's Iliad, books I, VI, XXII, XXIV; online

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And of my valour's prize defrauds my arms,

Defrauds the votes of all the Grecian train;

And service, faith, and justice plead in vain.
510 But, goddess ! thou thy suppliant son attend,

To high Olympus' shining court ascend,

Urge all the ties to former service ow'd,

And sue for vengeance to the thund'ring god.

Oft hast thou triumph'd in the glorious boast
515 That thou stood'st forth, of all th 7 ethereal host,

When bold rebellion shook the realms above,

Th' undaunted guard of cloud-compelling Jove.

When the bright partner of his awful reign,

The warlike maid, and monarch of the main,
520 The traitor-gods, by mad ambition driv'n,



32 THE ILIAD

Durst threat with chains th' omnipotence of heav'n,
Then, calPd by thee, the monster Titan came
(Whom gods Briareus, men ^Egeon name) ;
Through wondering skies enormous stalk'd along,

525 Not he that shakes the solid earth so strong :
With giant-pride at Jove's high throne he stands,
And brandished round him all his hundred hands.
Th' affrighted gods confessed their awful lord,
They dropp'd the fetters, trembled, and ador'd.

530 This, goddess, this to his remembrance call,
Embrace his knees, at his tribunal fall ;
Conjure him far to drive the Grecian train,
To hurl them headlong to their fleet and main,
To heap the shores with copious death, and bring

535 The Greeks to know the curse of such a king.
Let Agamemnon lift his haughty head
O'er all his wide dominion of the dead,
And mourn in blood that e'er he durst disgrace
The boldest warrior of the Grecian race."

540 " Unhappy son ! " (fair Thetis thus replies,
While tears celestial trickle from her eyes)
" Why have I borne thee with a mother's throes.
To fates averse, and nurs'd for future woes ?
So short a space the light of heav'n to view !

545 So short a space, and filFd with sorrow too !
Oh might a parent's careful wish prevail,
Far, far from Ilion should thy vessels sail,
And thou, from camps remote, the danger slum,
Which now, alas ! too nearly threats my son :

550 Yet (what I can) to move thy suit I'll go
To great Olympus crown'd with fleecy snow.
Meantime, secure within thy ships, from far
Behold the field, nor mingle in the war.
The sire of gods, and all th' ethereal train,

555 On the warm limits of the farthest main



BOOK I 33

Now mix with mortals, nor disdain to grace

The feasts of Ethiopia's blameless race :

Twelve days the powers indulge the genial rite,

Returning with the twelfth revolving light.
560 Then will I mount the brazen dome, and move

The high tribunal of immortal Jove."

The goddess spoke : the rolling waves unclose ;

Then down the deep she plung'd, from whence she rose,

And left him sorrowing on the lonely coast,
565 In wild resentment for the fair he lost.

^ In Chrysa's port now sage Ulysses rode ;

Beneath the deck the destin'd victims stow'd;

The sails they furl'd, they lash'd the mast aside,

And dropp'd their anchors, and the pinnace tied.
570 Next on the shore their hecatomb they land,

Chryseis last descending on the strand.

Her, thus returning from the furrow'd main,

Ulysses led to Phoebus 7 sacred fane ;

Where at his solemn altar, as the maid
575 He gave to Chryses, thus the hero said :

" Hail, rev'rend priest ! to Phoebus' awful dome

A suppliant I from great Atrides come :

Unransom'd here receive the spotless fair ;

Accept the hecatomb the Greeks prepare ;
580 And may thy god, who scatters darts around,

Aton'd by sacrifice, desist to wound."
At this the sire embrac'd the maid again,

So sadly lost, so lately sought in vain.

Then near the altar of the darting king,
585 Dispos'd in rank their hecatomb they bring ;

With water purify their hands, and take

The sacred off 'ring of the salted cake ;

While thus, with arms devoutly rais'd in air,

And solemn voice, the priest directs his pray'r :
590 " God of the silver bow, thy ear incline,



34 THE ILIAD

Whose pow'r encircles Cilia the divine ;
Whose sacred eye thy Tenedos surveys,
And gilds fair Chrysa with distinguished rays !
If, fir'd to Vengeance at thy priest's request,

595 Thy direful darts inflict the raging pest ;
Once more attend ; avert the wasteful woe,
And smile propitious, and unbend thy bow."

So Chryses pray'd : Apollo heard his pray'r ;
And now the Greeks their hecatomb prepare ;

uoo Between their horns the salted barley threw,
And with their heads to heav'n the victims slew :
The limbs they sever from th' inclosing hide;
The thighs, selected to the gods, divide :
On these, in double cauls involved with art,

605 The choicest morsels lay from ev'ry part.
The priest himself before his altar stands,
And burns the off 'ring with his holy hands,
Pours the black wine, and sees the flames aspire ;
The youths with instruments surround the fire.

610 The thighs thus sacrificed, and entrails dress'd,
Th' assistants part, transfix, and roast the rest :
Then spread the tables, the repast prepare,
Each takes his seat, and each receives his share.
When now the rage of hunger was represt,

015 With pure libations they conclude the feast ;

The youths with wine the copious goblets crown'd,
And, pleased, dispense the flowing bowls around.
With hymns divine the joyous banquet ends,
The paeans lengthen' d till the sun descends :

620 The Greeks, restor'd, the grateful notes prolong :
Apollo listens, and approves the song.

'Twas night : the chiefs beside their vessel lie,
Till rosy morn had purpled o'er the sky :
Then launch, and hoise the mast; indulgent gales,

625 Supplied by Phoebus, fill the swelling sails ;



BOOK I 35

The milk-white canvas bellying as they blow,

The parted ocean foams and roars below :

Above the bounding billows swift they flew,

Till now the Grecian camp appeared in view.
630 Far on the beach they haul their barks to land

(The crooked keel divides the yellow sand),

Then part, where, stretch' d along the winding bay,

The ships and tents in mingled prospect lay.

But, raging still, amidst his navy sate
635 The stern Achilles, stedf ast in his hate ;

Nor mix'd in combat nor in council join'd ;

But wasting cares lay heavy on his mind ;

In his black thoughts revenge and slaughter roll,

And scenes of blood rise dreadful in his soul.
640 Twelve days were past, and now the dawning light

The gods had summoned to th' Olympian height :

Jove, first ascending from the wat'ry bow'rs,

Leads the long order of ethereal pow'rs,

When, like a morning mist, in early day,
645 Rose from the flood the daughter of the sea ;

And to the seats divine her flight addrest.

There, far apart, and high above the rest,

The Thund'rer sate ; where old Olympus shrouds

His hundred heads in heav'n, and props the clouds.
650 Suppliant the goddess stood : one hand she plac'd

Beneath his beard, and one his knees embraced.

" If e'er, father of the gods ! " she said,

" My words cou'd please thee, or my actions aid ;

Some marks of honour on my son bestow,
655 And pay in glory what in life you owe.

Fame is at least by heav'nly promise due

To life so short, and now dishonour' d too.

Avenge this wrong, ever just and wise !

Let Greece be humbled, and the Trojans rise ;
660 Till the proud king and all th' Achaian race



36 THE ILIAD

Shall heap with honours him they now disgrace."
Thus Thetis spoke, but Jove in silence held

The sacred councils of his breast conceal'd.

Not so repuls'd, the goddess closer press'd,
605 Still grasp'd his knees, and urg'd the dear request :

" sire of gods and men ! thy suppliant hear ;

Refuse or grant ; for what has Jove to fear ?

Or, oh ! declare, of all the powers above,

Is wretched Thetis least the care of Jove ? "
670 She said, and sighing thus the god replies

Who rolls the thunder o'er the vaulted skies :

" What hast thou ask'd ? Ah ! why should Jove engage

In foreign contests and domestic rage,

The gods' complaints, and Juno's fierce alarms,
075 W r hile I, too partial, aid the Trojan arms ?

Go, lest the haughty partner of my sway

With jealous eyes thy close access survey ;

But part in peace, secure thy pray'r is sped :

Witness the sacred honours of our head,
680 The nod that ratifies the will divine,

The faithful, fix'd, irrevocable sign ;

This seals thy suit, and this fulfils thy vows "
. He spoke ; and awful bends his sable brows,

Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod,
685 The stamp of fate and sanction of the god :

High heav'n with trembling the dread signal took,

And all Olympus to the centre shook.

Swift to the seas profound the goddess flies,

Jove to his starry mansion in the skies.
690 The shining synod of th' immortals wait

The coming god, and from their thrones of state

Arising silent, wrapt in holy fear,

Before the majesty of heav'n appear.

Trembling they stand, while Jove assumes the throne,
oon All, but the god's imperious queen alone :



BOOK I 37

Late had she view'd the silver-footed dame,

And all her passions kindled into flame.

" Say, artful manager of heav'n " (she cries),

"Who now partakes the secrets of the skies ?
700 Thy Juno knows not the decree of fate,

In vain the partner of imperial state.

What fav'rite goddess then those cares divides
, Which Jove in prudence from his consort hides ? "

To this the Thund'rer : " Seek not thou to find
705 The sacred counsels of almighty mind :

Involved in darkness lies the great decree,

Nor can the depths of fate be pierc'd by thee ;

What fits thy knowledge, thou the first shalt know :

The first of gods above and men below ;
710 But thou nor they shall search the thoughts that roll

Deep in the close recesses of my soul."
Full on the sire the goddess of the skies

RolFd the large orbs of her majestic eyes,

And thus return'd : " Austere Saturnius, say,
715 From whence this wrath, or who controls thy sway ?

Thy boundless will, for me, remains in force,

And all thy counsels take the destin'd course.

But 'tis for Greece I fear : for late was seen

In close consult the silver-footed queen.
720 Jove to his Thetis nothing could deny,

Nor was the signal vain that shook the sky.

What fatal favour has the goddess won,

To grace her fierce inexorable son ?

Perhaps in Grecian blood to drench the plain,
725 And glut his vengeance with my people slain."
Then thus the god : " Oh restless fate of pride,

That strives to learn what heav'n resolves to hide !

Vain is the search, presumptuous and abhorr'd,

Anxious to thee, and odious to thy lord.
730 Let this suffice ; th 7 immutable decree



38 THE ILIAD

No force can shake : what is, that ought to be.

Goddess, submit, nor dare our will withstand,

But dread the power of this avenging hand ;

Th' united strength of all the gods above
735 In vain resists th ? omnipotence of Jove."

The Thund'rer spoke, nor durst the queen reply

A rev'rend horror silenc'd all the sky.

The feast disturbed with sorrow Vulcan saw,

His mother menaced, and the gods in awe ;
740 Peace at his heart, and pleasure his design,

Thus interposed the architect divine :

" The wretched quarrels of the mortal state

Are far unworthy, gods ! of your debate :
" Let men their days in senseless strife employ;
745 We, in eternal peace and constant joy.

Thou, goddess-mother, with our sire comply,

Nor break the sacred union of the sky :

Lest, rous'd to rage, he shake the blest abodes,

Launch the red lightning, and dethrone the gods.
750 If you submit, the Thund'rer stands appeas'd ;

The gracious pow'r is willing to be pleas'd."
Thus Vulcan spoke ; and, rising with a bound,

The double bowl with sparkling nectar crown'd,

Which held to Juno in a cheerful way,
755 " Goddess " (he cried), " be patient and obey.

Dear as you are, if Jove his arm extend,

I can but grieve, unable to defend.

What god so daring in your aid to move,

Or lift his hand against the force of Jove ?
760 Once in your cause I felt his matchless might,

HurPd headlong downward from th' ethereal height ;

Tost all the day in rapid circles round ;

Nor, till the sun descended, touch'd the ground :

Breathless I fell, in giddy motion lost ;
765 The Sirithians rais'd me on the Lemnian coast."



BOOK I 39

He said, and to her hands the goblet heav'd,
Which, with a smile, the white-arm'd queen received.
Then to the rest he filPd ; and, in his turn,
Each to his lips applied the nectar 7 d urn.

770 Vulcan with awkward grace his office plies,
And unextinguished laughter shakes the skies.

Thus the blest gods the genial day prolong-
In feasts ambrosial and celestial song.
Apollo tun'd the lyre ; the muses round

775 With voice alternate aid the silver sound.
Meantime the radiant sun, to mortal sight
Descending swift, roll'd down the rapid light.
Then to their starry domes the gods depart,
The shining monuments of Vulcan's art :

780 Jove on his couch reclin'd his awful head,
And Juno slumber'd on the golden bed.



BOOK VI

.

Now heav'n forsakes the fight ; th' immortals yield

To human force and human skill the field :

Dark show'rs of jav'lins fly from foes to foes ;

Now here, now there, the tide of combat flows ;
5 While Troy's fam'd streams, that bound the deathful plain,

On either side run purple to the main.
Great Ajax first to conquest led the way,

Broke the thick ranks, and turn'd the doubtful day.

The Thraciaii Acamas his faulchion found,
10 And hew'd th' enormous giant to the ground ;

His thundering arm a deadly stroke imprest

Where the black horse-hair nodded o'er his crest :

Fix'd in his front the brazen weapon lies,

And seals in endless shades his swimming eyes.
15 Next Teuthras' son distain'd the sands with blood ;

Axylus, hospitable, rich, and good:

In fair Arisba's walls (his native place)

He held his seat ; a friend to human race.

Fast by the road, his ever-open door
20 Oblig'd the wealthy and relieved the poor.

To stern Tydides now he falls a prey,

No friend to guard him in the dreadful day !

Breathless the good man fell, and by his side

His faithful servant, old Calesius, died.
25 By great Euryalus was Dresus slain,

And next he laid Opheltius on the plain.

Two twins were near, bold, beautiful, and young,

From a fair Naiad and Bucolion sprung

(Laomedon's white flocks Bucolion fed,
30 That monarch's first-born by a foreign bed ;

40



BOOK VI 41

In secret woods he won the Naiad's grace,

And two fair infants crown'd his strong embrace) :

Here dead they lay in all their youthful charms ;

The ruthless victor stripp'd their shining arms.
35 Astyalus by Poly pee tes fell ;

Ulysses 7 spear Pidytes sent to hell ;

By Teucer's shaft brave Aretaon bled,

And Nestor's son laid stern Ablerus dead ;

Great Agamemnon, leader of the brave,
40 The mortal wound of rich Elatus gave,

Who held in Pedasus his proud abode,

And till'd the banks where silver Satnio flowM.

Melanthius by Eurypylus was slain ;

And Phylacus from Leitus flies in vain.
45 Unblest Adrastus next at mercy lies

Beneath the Spartan spear, a living prize.

Scar'd with the din and tumult of the fight,

His headlong steeds, precipitate in flight,

Kush'd on a tamarisk's strong trunk, and broke
50 The shatter'd chariot from the crooked yoke ;

Wide o'er the field, resistless as the wind,

For Troy they fly, and leave their lord behind.

Prone on his face he sinks beside the wheel.

Atrides o'er him shakes his vengeful steel ;
55 The fallen chief in suppliant posture press'd

The victor's knees, and thus his pray'r address'd :
" Oh ! spare my youth, and for the life I owe

Large gifts of price my father shall bestow :

When fame shall tell that, not in battle slain,
00 Thy hollow ships his captive son detain ;

Rich heaps of brass shall in thy tent be told,

And steel well-temper'd, and persuasive gold."
He said : compassion touch'd the hero's heart ;

He stood suspended with the lifted dart.
65 As pity pleaded for his vanquished prize.



42 THE ILIAD

Stern Agamemnon swift to vengeance flies,

And furious thus : " impotent of mind !

Shall these, shall these Atrides' mercy find ?

Well hast thpu known proud Troy's perfidious land ?
70 And well her natives merit at thy hand !

Not one of all the race, nor sex, nor age,

Shall save a Trojan from our boundless rage ;

Ilion shall perish whole, and bury all ;

Her babes, her infants at the breast, shall fall.
75 A dreadful lesson of exampled fate,

To warn the nations and to curb the great ! "

The monarch spoke ; the words, with warmth addrest,

To rigid justice steePd his brother's breast.

Fierce from his knees the hapless chief he thrust ;
80 The monarch's jav'lin stretch'd him in the dust.

Then, pressing with his foot his panting heart,

Forth from the slain he tugg'd the reeking dart.

Old Nestor saw, and rous'd the warriors' rage :

"Thus, heroes ! thus the vig'rous combat wage !
85 No son of Mars descend, for servile gains,

To touch the booty, while a foe remains.

Behold yon glitt'ring host, your future spoil !

First gain the conquest, then reward the toil."
And now had Greece eternal fame acquir'd,
90 And frighted Troy within her walls retir'd ;

Had not sage Helenus her state redrest,

Taught by the gods that mov'd his sacred breast.

Where Hector stood, with great ^Eneas join'd,

The seer reveal'd the counsels of his mind :
95 " Ye gen'rous chiefs ! on whom th' immortals lay

The cares and glories of this doubtful day,

On whom your aid's, your country's hopes depend,

Wise to consult and active to defend !

Here, at our gates, your brave efforts unite,
100 Turn back the routed, and forbid the flight ;



BOOK VI 43

Ere yet their wives' soft arms the cowards gain,

The sport and insult of the hostile train.

When your commands have hearten' d ev'ry band,

Ourselves, here fix'd, will make the dangerous stand ;
105 Press'd as we are and sore of former fight,

These straits demand our last remains of might.

Meanwhile, thou, Hector, to the town retire,

And teach our mother what the gods require :

Direct the queen to lead th' assembled train
no Of Troy's chief matrons to Minerva's fane ;

Unbar the sacred gates, and seek the pow'r,

With oifer'd vows, in Ilion's topmost tow'r.

The largest mantle her rich wardrobes hold,

Most priz'd for art, and laboured o'er with gold,
L15 Before the goddess' honour'd knees be spread;

And twelve young heifers to her altars led.

If so the pow'r, aton'd by fervent prayer,

Our wives, our infants, and our city spare,

And far avert Tydides' wasteful ire,
120 That mows whole troops and makes all Troy retire.

Not thus Achilles taught our hosts to dread,

Sprung though he was from more than mortal bed ;

Not thus resistless rul'd the stream of fight,

In rage unbounded and unmatch'd in might."
125 Hector obedient heard, and with a bound

Leap'd from his trembling chariot to the ground;

Through all his host, inspiring force, he flies,

And bids the thunder of the battle rise.

With rage recruited the bold Trojans glow,
130 And turn the tide of conflict on the foe :

Fierce in the front he shakes two dazzling spears ;

All Greece recedes, and 'midst her triumph fears :

Some god, they thought, who rul'd the fate of wars,

Shot down avenging from the vault of stars.
135 Then thus, aloud : " Ye dauntless Dardans, hear !



44 THE ILIAD

And you whom distant nations send to war !

Be mindful of the strength your fathers bore ;

Be still your selves,' and Hector asks no more.

One hour demands me in the Trojan wall,
140 To bid our altars flame, and victims fall :

Nor shall, I trust, the matrons' holy train

And rev'rend elders seek the gods in vain."
This said, with ample strides the hero past ;

The shield's large orb behind his shoulder cast,
145 His neck o'ershading, to his ankle hung ;

And as he march'd the brazen buckler rung.
Now paus'd the battle (godlike Hector gone),

When daring Glaucus and great Tydeus' son

Between both armies met; the chiefs from^far
150 Observed each other, and had mark'd for war.

Near as they drew, Tydides thus began :

" What art thou, boldest of the race of man ?

Our eyes, till now, that aspect ne'er beheld,

Where fame is reap'd amid th' embattled field ;
155 Yet far before the troops thou dar'st appear,

And meet a lance the fiercest heroes fear.

Unhappy they and born of luckless sires,

Who tempt our fury when Minerva fires !

But if from heaven, celestial, thou descend,
160 Know, with immortals we no more contend.

Not long Lycurgus view'd the golden light,

That daring man who mix'd with gods in fight.

Bacchus and Bacchus' votaries he drove

With brandish'd steel from Nyssa's sacred grove :
165 Their consecrated spears lay scatter'd round,

With curling vines and twisted ivy bound ;

While Bacchus headlong sought the briny flood,

And Thetis' arms receiv'd the trembling god.

Nor fail'd the crime th' immortals* wrath to move
170 (Th' immortals bless'd with endless ease above) ;



BOOK VI 45

Deprived of sight by their avenging doom,

Cheerless he breath 'd and wander'd in the gloom :

Then sunk unpitied to the dire abodes,

A wretch accurst and hated by the gods !
175 I brave not heaven ; but if the fruits of earth

Sustain thy life, and human be thy birth,

Bold as thou art, too prodigal of breath,

Approach, and enter the dark gates of death."

" What, or from whence I am, or who my sire "
180 (Replied the chief), " can Tydeus' son inquire ?

Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,

Now green in youth, now withering on the ground :

Another race the following spring supplies ;

They fall successive and successive rise :
185 So generations in their course decay ;

So flourish these, when those are passed away.

Pmt if thou still persist to search my birth,

Then hear a tale that fills the spacious earth.

"A city stands on Argos' utmost bound,
190 (Argos the fair, for warlike steeds renown'd) ;

^Eolian Sisyphus, with wisdom blest,

In ancient time the happy walls possest,

Then call'd Ephyre : Glaucus was his son,

Great Glaucus, father of Bellerophon,
i<)5 Who o'er the sons of men in beauty shin'd,

LovVl for that valour which preserves mankind.

Then mighty Prcetus Argos' sceptre sway'd,

Whose hard commands Bellerophon obeyed.

With direful jealousy the monarch rag'd,
200 And the brave prince in numerous toils engag'd.

For him Antsea burn'd with lawless flame,

And strove to tempt him from the paths of fame :

In vain she tempted the relentless youth,

Endu'd with wisdom, sacred fear, and truth.
205 Fir'd at his scorn, the queen to Proetus fled,



46 THE ILIAD

And begg'd revenge for her insulted bed.

Incens'd he heard, resolving on his fate ;

But hospitable laws restrained his hate :

To Lycia the devoted youth he sent,
210 With tablets seal'd, that told his dire intent.

Now, bless'd by ev'ry pow'r who guards the good,

The chief arrived at Xanthus 7 silver flood :

There Lycia's monarch paid him honours due ;

Nine days he feasted, and nine bulls he slew.
215 But when the tenth bright morning orient glow'd,

The faithful youth his monarch's mandate showed :

The fatal tablets, till that instant seal'd,

The deathful secret to the king reveal'd.

First, dire Chimsera's conquest was enjoin'd :
220 A mingled monster, of no mortal kind ;

Behind, a dragon's fiery tail was spread ;

A goat's rough body bore a lion's head ;

Her pitchy nostrils flaky flames expire :

Her gaping throat emits infernal fire.
225 " This pest he slaughtered (for he read the skies.

And trusted heav'n's informing prodigies) ;

Then met in arms the Solymsean crew

(Fiercest of men), and those the warrior slew.

Next the bold Amazon's whole force defied ;
230 And conquered still, for heav'n was on his side.
" Nor ended here his toils : his Lycian foes,

At his return, a treach'rous ambush, rose

With levell'd spears along the winding shore :

There fell they breathless, and return'd no more.
235 "At length the monarch with repentant grief

Conf ess'd the gods, and god-descended chief j

His daughter gave, the stranger to detain,

With half the honours of his ample reign.

The Lycians grant a chosen space of ground,
240 With woods, with vineyards, and with harvests crown'd.



BOOK VI 47

There long the chief his happy lot possessed,

With two brave sons and one fair daughter bless'd

(Fair ev'n in heav'nly eyes ; her fruitful love

Crown'd with Sarpedon's birth th ? embrace of Jove) ;
245 But when at last, distracted in his mind,

Forsook by heav'n, forsaking human kind,

Wide o'er th ? Aleian field ho chose to stray,

A long, forlorn, uncomfortable way !

Woes heap'd on woes consumed his wasted heart ;
250 His beauteous daughter fell by Phoebe's dart ;


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Online LibraryHomerPope's translation of Homer's Iliad, books I, VI, XXII, XXIV; → online text (page 5 of 13)