The Iliad of Homer rendered into English blank verse (Volume 1) online

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O Father Jove ! what sov'reign e'er hast thou 270
So far deluded, of such glory robb'd ?
Yet ne'er, on this disastrous voyage bent,
Have I unheeded pass'd thine altar by ;
The choicest off 'rings burning still on each,
In hopes to raze the well-built walls of Troy. 275

268 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book Via

Yet to this pray'r at least thine ear incline ;
Grant that this coast in safety we may leave,
Nor be by Trojans utterly subdued."

He said ; and Jove, with pity, saw his tears ;
And, with a sign, his people's safety vouch'd. 2S0

He sent an eagle, noblest bird that flies,
Who in his talons bore a wild deer's fawn :
The fawn he dropp'd beside the holy shrine,
"Where to the Lord of divination, Jove,
The Greeks were wont their solemn rites to pay. 285
The sign from Heav'n they knew ; with courage fresh
Assail'd the Trojans, and the fight renew'd.
Then none of all the many Greeks might boast
That he, before Tydides, drove his car
Across the ditch, and mingled in the fight. 290

His was the hand that first a crested chief,
The son of Phradmon, Agelaus, struck.
He turn'd his car for flight ; but as he turn'd,
The lance of Diomed, behind his neck,
Between the shoulders, through his chest was driv'n ;
Headlong he fell, and loud his armour rang. 290

Next to Tydides, Agamemnon came,


And Meneliius, Atreus' godlike sons ;

Tli' Ajaces both, in dauntless courage cloth'd ;

Idomeneus, Avitli whom Meriones, 300

His faithful comrade, terrible as Mars ;

Eurypylus, Eusemon's noble son ;

The ninth was Teucer, who, with bended bow,

Behind the shield of Ajax Telamon

Took shelter ; Ajax o'er him held his shield ; 305

Thence look'd he round, and aim'd amid the crowd ;

And as he saw each Trojan, wounded, fall,

Struck by his shafts, to Ajax close he press'd,

As to its mother's shelt'ring arms a child,

Conceal'd and safe beneath the ample targe. 310

Say then, who first of all the Trojans fell
By Teucer's arrows slain % Orsilochus,
And Ophelestes, Dsetor, Ormenus,
And godlike Lycophontes, Chromius,
And Amopaon, Polyoemon's son, 315

And valiant Melanippus : all of these,
Each after other, Teucer laid in dust.
Him Agamemnon, with his well-strung bow
Thinning the Trojan ranks, with joy beheld,

270 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book Via

And, standing at his side, address'd him thus : 320
" Teucer, good comrade, son of Telamon,
Shoot ever thus, if thou wouldst be the light
And glory of the Greeks, and of thy sire,
Who nursed thine infancy, and in his house
Maintain'd, though bastard ; him, though distant far,
To highest fame let thine achievements raise. 326
This too I say, and will make good my word :
If by the grace of segis-bearing Jove,
And Pallas, Ilium's well-built walls we raze,
A gift of honour, second but to mine, 330

I in thy hands will place ; a tripod bright,
Or, with their car and harness, two brave steeds,
Or a fair woman who thy bed may share."
To whom in answer valiant Teucer thus :
" Most mighty son of Atreus, why excite 335

Who lacks not zeal ? To th' utmost of my pow'r
Since first we drove the Trojans back, I watch,
U nceasing, every chance to ply my shafts.
Eight barbed arrows have I shot e'en now,
And in a warrior each has found its mark ; 340

That savage hound alone defeats my aim."


At Hector, as he spoke, another shaft
He shot, ambitious of so great a prize :
He miss'd his aim ; but Priam's noble son
Gorgythion, through the breast his arrow struck, 34."
"Whom from iEsyme brought, a wedded bride
Of heavenly beauty, Castianeira bore.
Down sank his head, as in a garden sinks
A ripen'd poppy charg'd with vernal rains ;
So sank his head beneath his helmet's weight. 350
At Hector yet another arrow shot
Teucer, ambitious of so great a prize ;
Yet this too miss'd, by Phoebus turn'd aside ;
But Archeptolemus, the charioteer
Of Hector, onward hurrying, through the breast 355
It struck, beside the nipple ; from the car
He fell ; aside the startled horses swerv'd ;
And as he fell the vital spirit fled.
Deep, for his comrade slain, was Hector's grief;
Yet him, though griev'd at heart, perforce he left,
And to Cebriones, his brother, call'd, 361

Then near at hand, the horses' reins to take ;
He heard, and straight obey'd ; then Hector leap'd


Down from his glitt'ring chariot to the ground,

His fearful war-cry shouting ; in his hand 365

A pond'rous stone he carried ; and, intent

To strike him down, at Teucer straight he rusli'd.

He from his quiver chose a shaft in haste,

And fitted to the cord ; but as he drew

The sinew, Hector of the glancing helm 370

HuiTd the huge mass of rock, which Teucer struck

Near to the shoulder, where the collar-hone

Joins neck and breast, the spot most opportune,

And broke the tendon ; paralys'd, his arm

Dropp'd helpless by his side ; upon Ins knees 375

He fell, and from his hands let fall the bow.

Not careless Ajax saw his brother's fall,

But o'er him spread in haste his cov'ring shield.

Two faithful friends, Mecisteus, Echius' son,

And brave Alastor, from the press withdrew, 380

And bore him, deeply groaning, to the ships.

Then Jove again the Trojan courage fir'd,
And backward to the ditch they forc'd the Greeks.
Proud of his prowess, Hector led them on ;
A.nd as a hound that, fleet of foot, o'ertakes 385


Or boar or lion, object of liis chase,

Springs from behind, and fastens on his flank,

Yet careful watches, lest he turn to bay :

So Hector press'd upon the long-hair' d Greeks,

Slaying the hindmost ; they in terror fled. 390

But, pass'd at length the ditch and palisade,

With loss of many by the Trojans slain,

Before the ships they rallied from their flight,

And one to other call'd : and one and all

With hands uplifted, pray'd to all the Gods ; 395

While Hector, here and there, on ev'ry side

His flying coursers wheel'd, with eyes that flash'd

Awful as Gorgon's, or as blood-stain'd Mars.

Juno, the white-arm'd Queen, with pity mov'd,
To Pallas thus her winged words address'd : -100
" O Heav'n, brave child of asgis-bearing Jove,
Can we, ev'n now, in this their sorest need,
Refuse the Greeks our aid, by one subdued,
One single man, of pride unbearable,
Hector, the son of Priam, who e'en now, 405

Hath caus'd them endless grief?" To whom again
The blue-ey'd Goddess, Pallas, thus replied :


274 HOMEK'S ILIAD. Book vhl

" I too would fain behold him robb'd of life,

In his own country slain by Grecian hands ;

But that my sire, by ill advice misled, 410

Rages in wrath, still thwarting all my plans ;

Forgetting now how oft his son I sav'd,

Sore wearied with the toils Eurystheus gave.

Oft would his tears ascend to Heav'n, and oft

From Heav'n would Jove despatch me to his aid ;

But if I then had known what now I know, 416

When to the narrow gates of Pluto's realm

He sent him forth to bring from Erebus

Its guardian dog, he never had return'd

In safety from the marge of Styx profound. 420

He holds me now in hatred, and his ear

To Thetis lends, who kiss'd his knees, and touch'd

His beard, and pray'd him to avenge her son

Achilles ; yet the time shall come when I

Shall be once more his own dear blue-ey'd Maid. 425

But haste thee now, prepare for us thy car,

While to the house of tegis-bearing Jove

I go, and don my armour for the fight,";

To prove if Hector of the glancing helm,


The sou of Priam, will unmov'd behold i30

Us two advancing o'er the pass of war ;
Or if the flesh of Trojans, slain by Greeks,
Shall sate the maw of rav'ning dogs and birds."

She said : the white-arm'd Queen her word obey'd.
Juno, great Goddess, royal Saturn's child, 435

The horses brought, with golden frontlets crown'd ;
While Pallas, child of aegis-bearing Jove,
Within her father's threshold dropp'd her veil
Of airy texture, work of her own hands ;
The cuirass donn'd of cloud-compelling Jove, 440
And stood accoutred for the bloody fray.
The fiery car she mounted ; in her hand
A spear she bore, long, weighty, tough ; wherewith
The mighty daughter of a mighty sire
Sweeps down the ranks of those her wrath pursues.
Then Jnno sharply touch'd the flying steeds ; 446

Forthwith spontaneous opening, grated harsh
The heavenly portals, guarded by the Hours,
Who Heav'n and high Olympus have in charge,
To roll aside or close the veil of cloud ; 450

Through these th' excited horses held their way.


From Ida's heights the son of Saturn saw,
And, fill'd with wrath, the keav'nly messenger,
The golden-winged Iris, thus bespoke :
" Haste thee, swift Iris; turn them back, and warn
That farther they advance not : 'tis not meet 456
That they and I in war should be oppos'd.
This too I say, and will make good my words :
Their flying horses I will lame ; themselves
Dash from their car, and break their chariot-wheels ;
And ten revolving years heal not the wound 461

Where strikes my lightning ; so shall Pallas learn

What 'tis against her father to contend.

Juno less moves my wonder and my wrath ;

Whate'er I plan, 'tis still her wont to thwart." 465

Thus he : from Ida to Olympus' height

The storm-swift Iris on her errand sped.

At many-ridg'd Olympus' outer gate

She met the Goddesses, and stay'd their course,

And thus convey'd the sov'reign will of Jove : 470
" Whither away ? what madness fills your breasts ?

To give the Greeks your succour, Jove forbids ;

And thus he threatens, and will make it good :


Your flying horses he will lame ; yourselves
Dash from the ear, and break your chariot- wheels ;
And ten revolving years heal not the wounds 476
His lightning makes : so, Pallas, shalt thou learn
What 'tis against thy father to contend.
Juno less moves his wonder and his wrath ;
Whate'er he plans, 'tis still her wont to thwart ; 480
But over-bold and void of shame art thou,
If against Jove thou dare to lift thy spear."
Thus as she spoke, swift Iris disappear'd.
Then Juno thus to Pallas spoke : " E"o more,
Daughter of Eegis-bearing Jove, can we 485

For mortal men his sov'reign will resist ;
Live they or die, as each man's fate may be ;
While he, 'twixt Greeks and Trojans, as 'tis meet,
His own designs accomplishing, decides."
She said, and backward turn'd her horses' heads. 400
The horses from the car the Hours unyok'd,
And safely tether'cl in the heav'nly stalls ;
The car they rear'd against the inner wall,
That brightly polish'd shone ; the Goddesses
Themselves meanwhile, amid th' Immortals all, 405

278 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book Via

With sorrowing hearts on golden seats reclin'd.

Ere long, on swiftly-rolling chariot borne,
Jove to Olympus, to th' abode of Gods,
From Ida's height return'd : th' earth-shaking God,
Neptune, unyok'd his steeds ; and on the stand 500
Secur'd the car, and spread the cov'ring o'er.
Then on his golden throne all-seeing Jove
Sat down ; beneath his feet Olympus shook.
Juno and Pallas only sat aloof;
No word they utter'd, no enquiry made. 505

Jove knew their thoughts, and thus address'd them both:
" Pallas and Juno, wherefore sit ye thus
In angry silence ? In the glorious fight
No lengthen'd toil have ye sustain'd, to slay
The Trojans, whom your deadly hate pursues. 510
Not all the Gods that on Olympus dwell
Could turn me from my purpose, such my might,
And such the pow'r of my resistless hand ;
But ye were struck with terror ere ye saw
The battle-field, and fearful deeds of war. 515

But this I say, and bear it in your minds,
Had I my lightning launch'd, and from your car


Had Imrl'd ye down, ye ne'er had reach'd again
Olympus' height, tli' immortal Gods' abode."

So spoke the God ; but, seated side by side, 520
Juno and Pallas glances interchang'd
Of ill portent for Troy ; Pallas indeed
Sat silent, and, though inly wroth with Jove,
Yet answer'd not a word ; but Juno's breast
Could not contain her rage, and thus she spoke : 525
" What words, dread son of Saturn, dost thou speak ?
Well do we know thy pow'r invincible,
Yet deeply grieve we for the warlike Greeks,
Condemn'd to hopeless ruin : from the light,
Since such is thy command, we stand aloof; 530

But yet some saving counsel may we give,
Lest in thine anger thou destroy them quite."

To whom the Cloud-compeller thus replied :
" Yet greater slaughter, stag-ey'd Queen of Heav'n,
To-morrow shalt thou see, if so thou list, 535

Wrought on the warrior Greeks by Saturn's son ;
For Hector's proud career shall not be check'd
Until the wrath of Peleus' godlike son
Beside the ships be kindled, in the day


When round Patroclus' corpse, in narrow space, 540
E'en by the vessels' sterns, the war shall rage.
Such is the voice of destiny : for thee,
I reck not of thy wrath ; nor should I care
Though thou wert thrust beneath the lowest deep
Of earth and ocean, where Iapetus 545

And Saturn lie, uncheer'd by ray of sun
Or breath of air, in Tartarus profound.
Though there thou wert to banishment consign'd,
I should not heed, but thy reproaches hear
Unmov'd ; for viler thing is none than thou." 550
He said, but white-arm'd Juno answer'd not.

The sun, now sunk beneath the ocean wave,
Drew o'er the teeming earth the veil of night.
The Trojans saw, reluctant, day's decline ;
But on the Greeks thrice welcome, thrice invoked
"With earnest prayers, the shades of darkness fell.556

The noble Hector then to council call'd
The Trojan leaders ; from the ships apart
He led them, by the eddying river's side,
To a clear space of ground, from corpses free. 560
They from their cars dismounting, to the words


Of godlike Hector listen'd : in his hand
His massive spear he held, twelve cubits long,
Whose glitt'ring point flash'd bright, with hoop of gold
Encircled round ; on this he leant, and said, 565

"Hear me, ye Trojans, Dardans, and Allies;
I hop'd that to the breezy heights of Troy
We might ere now in triumph have return'd,
The Grecian ships and all the Greeks destroy'd :
But night hath' come too soon, and sav'd awhile 570
The Grecian army and their stranded ships.
Then yield we to the night ; prepare the meal ;
Unyoke your horses, and before them place
Their needful forage ; from the city bring
Oxen and sheep ; the luscious wine provide ; 575
Bring bread from out our houses ; and collect
Good store of fuel, that the livelong night,
E'en till the dawn of day, may broadly blaze
Our num'rous watchfires, and illume the Heav'ns;
Lest, e'en by night, the long-hair'd Greeks should seek
O'er the broad bosom of the sea to fly, 581

That so not unassail'd they may embark,
Nor undisturb'd ; but haply some may bear,


E'en to their homes, the mem'iy of a wound

Receiv'd from spear or arrow, as on board 585

They leap'd in haste ; and others too may fear

To tempt with hostile arms the pow'r of Troy.

Then let the sacred heralds' voice proclaim

Throughout the city, that the stripling youths

And hoary-headed sires allot themselves 590

In sev'ral watches to the Heav'n-built tow'rs.

Charge too the women, in their houses each,

To kindle blazing fires ; let careful watch

Be set, lest, in the absence of the men,

The town by secret ambush be surpris'd. 595

Such, valiant Trojans, is th' advice I give ;

And what to-night your wisdom shall approve

Will I, at morn, before the Trojans speak.

Hopeful, to Jove I pray, and all the Gods,

To chase from hence these fate-inflicted hounds, 600

By fate sent hither on their dark-ribb'd ships.

Now keep we through the night our watchful guard ;

And with the early dawn, equipp'd in arms,

Upon their fleet our angry battle pour.

Then shall I know if Tydeus' valiant son 605


Back from the ships shall drive me to the walls,

Or I, triumphant, bear his bloody spoils :

To-morrow morn his courage will decide,

If he indeed my onset will await.

But ere to-morrow's sun be high in Heav'n, 610

He, 'mid the foremost, if I augur right,

"Wounded and bleeding in the dust shall lie,

And many a comrade round him. "Would to Heav'n

I were as sure to be from age and death

Exempt, and held in honour as a God, 615

Phoebus, or Pallas, as I am assur'd

The coming day is fraught with ill to Greece."

Thus Hector spoke ; the Trojans shouted loud :
Then from the yoke the sweating steeds they loos'd,
And tether'd each beside their sev'ral cars : 620

Next from the city speedily they brought
Oxen and sheep ; the luscious wine procur'd ;
Brought bread from out their houses, and good store
Of fuel gather'd ; wafted from the plain,
The winds to Heav'n the sav'ry odours bore. 625

Full of proud hopes, upon the pass of war,
All night they camp'd ; and frequent blaz'd their fires.


As when in Heav'n, around the glitt'ring moon
The stars shine "bright amid the breathless air ;
And ev'ry crag, and ev'ry jutting peak 630

Stands boldly forth, and ev'ry forest glade ;
Ev'n to the gates of Heav'n is open'd wide
The boundless sky ; shines each particular star
Distinct ; joy fills the gazing shepherd's heart.
So bright, so thickly scatter'd o'er the plain, 635

Before the walls of Troy, between the ships
And Xanthus' stream, the Trojan watchfires blaz'd.

A thousand fires burnt brightly ; and round each
Sat fifty warriors in the ruddy glare ;
Champing the provender before them laid, 640

Barley and rye, the tether'd horses stood
Beside the cars, and waited for the morn. 642



Agamemnon, after the last day's defeat, proposes to the Greeks to
quit the siege, and return to their country. Diomed opposes
this, and Nestor seconds him, praising his wisdom and resolution.
He orders the guard to be strengthened, and a council summoned
to deliberate what measures were to be followed in this emer-
gency. Agamemnon pursues this advice, and Nestor farther pre-
vails upon him to send ambassadors to Achilles in order to move
him to a reconciliation. Ulysses and Ajax are make choice of,
who are accompanied by old Phoenix. They make, each of them,
very moving and pressing speeches, but are rejected with rough-
ness by Achilles, who notwithstanding retains Phoenix in his
tent. The ambassadors return unsuccessfully to the camp, and
the troops betake themselves to sleep.

This book, and the next following, take up the space of one night,
which is the twenty-seventh from the beginning of the poem.
The scene lies on the sea-shore, the station of the Grecian ships.



rpHUS kept their watch the Trojans ; but the Greeks

Dire Panic held, companion of chill Fear,
Their bravest struck with grief unbearable.
As when two stormy winds ruffle the sea,
Boreas and Zephyr, from the hills of Thrace 5

"With sudden gust descending ; the dark waves
Hear high their angry crests, and toss on shore
Masses of tangled weed ; such stormy grief
The breast of ev'ry Grecian warrior rent.

Atrides, heart-struck, wander'd to and fro, 10

And to the clear-voic'd heralds gave command
To call, but not with proclamation loud,
Each sev'ral man to council ; he himself
Spar'd not his labour, mixing with the chiefs.
Sadly they sat in council; Atreus' son, 15

Weeping, arose ; as some dark-water'd fount
Pours o'er a craggy steep its gloomy stream ;


Then with deep groans th' assembled Greeks address'd:

" O friends ! the chiefs and councillors of Greece,

Grievous, and all unlook'd for, is the blow 20

"Which Jove hath dealt me ; by his promise led

I hop'd to raze the strong-built walls of Troy,

And home return in safety ; but it seems

He falsifies his word, and bids me now

Return to Argos, frustrate of my hope, 25

Diskonour'd, and with grievous loss of men.

Such now appears th' o'er-ruling sov'reign will

Of Saturn's son, who oft hath sunk the heads

Of many a lofty city in the dust,

And yet will sink; for mighty is his hand. 30

Hear then my counsel ; let us all agree

Home to direct our course : since here in vain

We strive to take the well-built walls of Troy."

The monarch spoke ; they all in silence heard :
In speechless sorrow long they sat : at length 35

Rose valiant Diomed, and thus he spoke :
" Atrides, I thy folly must confront,
As is my right, in council : thou, O King !
Be not offended : once, among the Greeks


Thou lieldest light my prowess, with the name 40

Of coward branding me; how justly so

Is known to all the Greeks, both young and old.

On thee the deep- designing Saturn's son

In diff'ring measure hath his gifts bestow'd :

A throne he gives thee, higher far than all ; 45

But valour, noblest boon of Heav'n, denies.

How canst thou hope the sons of Greece shall prove

Such heartless dastards as thy words suppose ?

If homeward to return thy mind be fix'd,

Depart ; the way is open, and the ships, 50

Which from Mycenee follow'd thee in crowds,

Are close at hand, and ready to be launch'd.

Yet will the other long-hair'd Greeks remain

Till Priam's city fall : nay, though the rest

Betake them to their ships, and sail for home, 55

Yet I and Sthenelus, we two, will fight

Till Troy be ours ; for Heav'n is on our side."

Thus he ; the sons of Greece, with loud applause,
The speech of valiant Diomed confirm'd.

Then aged Nestor rose, and thus began : . CO

" Tydides, eminent thou art in war ;

VOL. T. °


And ill the council thy compeers in age

Must yield to thee ; thy present words, no Greek

Can censure, or gainsay ; and yet the end

Thou hast not reach'd, and object of debate. 05

But thou art young, and for thine age mightst be

My latest born ; yet dost thou to the Kings

Sage counsel give, and well in season speak.

But now will I, that am thine elder far,

Go fully through the whole ; and none my words 70

May disregard, not ev'n Atrides' self.

Outcast from kindred, law, and hearth is he

Whose soul delights in fierce internal strife.

But yield we now to th' influence of night :

Prepare the meal ; and let the sev'ral guards 75

Be posted by the ditch, without the wall.

This duty on the younger men I lay :

Then, Agamemnon, thou thy part perform ;

For thou art King supreme ; the Elders all,

As meet and seemly, to the feast invite : 80

Thy tents are full of wine, which Grecian ships

O'er the wide sea bring day by day from Thi ace ;


Nor lack'st tliou aught thy guests to entertain,

And many own thy sway ; when all are met,

His counsel take, who gives the best advice ; S3

Great need we have of counsel wise and good,

When close beside our ships the hostile fires

Are burning : who can this unmov'd behold ?

This night our ruin or our safety sees."

He said ; and they, assenting, heard his speech. 90
Forth with their followers went th' appointed guards,
The princely Thrasymedes, Nestor's son,
Ascalaphus, and bold Ialmenus,
Two valiant sons of Mars ; Meriones,
And Aphareus, and brave Dei'pyrus, 95

And godlike Lycomedes, Creon's son.
Sev'n were the leaders ; and with each went forth
A hundred gallant youths, with lances arm'd.
Between the ditch and wall they took their post ;
There lit their fires, and there the meal prepar'd. 100

Then for th' assembled Elders in his tent
An ample banquet Agamemnon spread ;
They on the viands, set before them, fell :
The rage of thirst and hunger satisfied,


The aged Nestor first his mind disclos'cl ; 105

He who, before, the sagest counsel gave,
Now thus with prudent words began, and said :

"Most mighty Agamemnon, King of men,
"With thee, Atrides, my discourse shall end,
With thee begin : o'er many nations thou 110

Hold'st sov'reign sway ; since Jove to thee hath giv'n
The sceptre, and the high prerogative,
To be thy people's judge and counsellor,
'Tis thine to speak the word, 'tis thine to hear
And to determine, when some other chief 115

Suggestions offers in the gen'ral cause :
What counsel shall prevail, depends on thee :
Yet will I say what seems to me the best.
Sounder opinion none can hold than this,
Which I maintain, and ever have maiutain'd, 120
Ev'n from the day when thou, great King, didst bear
The fair Briseis from Achilles' tent
Despite his anger — not by my advice :
I fain would have dissuaded thee, but thou,
Following the dictates of thy wrathful pride, 125
Didst to our bravest wrong, dishon'riiu? him


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