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

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16 HOMEK'S ILIAD. Book!

Nor tliou, though great thon be, attempt to rob

Achilles of bis prize, but let bim keep 325

The spoil assign'd bim by tbe sons of Greece ;

ISTor thou, Pelides, with the monarch strive

In rivalry ; for ne'er to sceptred King

Hath Jove such pow'rs, as to Atrides, giv'n ;

And valiant though thou art, and Goddess-born, 330

Yet mightier he, for wider is his sway.

Atrides, curb thy wrath ! while I beseech

Achilles to forbear ; in whom the Greeks

From adverse war their great defender see."

To whom the monarch, Agamemnon, thus : 335
" O father, full of wisdom are thy words ;
But this proud chief o'er all would domineer ;
O'er all he seeks to rule, o'er all to reign,
To all to dictate ; which I will not bear.
Grant that the Gods have giv'n him warlike might, 340
Gave they unbridled license to his tongue ? "

To whom Achilles, interrupting, thus :
" Coward and slave indeed I might be deem'd,
Could I submit to make thy word my law ;
To others thy commands ; seek not to me 345



Book! HOMER'S ILIAD. 17

To dictate, for I follow thee no more.
But hear nie speak, and ponder what I say :
For the fair girl I fight not (since you choose
To take away the prize yourselves bestow'd)
"With thee or any one ; but of the rest 350

My dark swift ship contains, against my will
On nought shalt thou, unpuriish'd, lay thy hand.
Make trial if thou wilt, that these may know ;
. Thy life-blood soon should reek upon my spear."

After this conflict keen of angry speech, 355

The chiefs arose, the assembly was dispers'd.

"With his own followers, and Mencetius' son,
Achilles to his tents and ships withdrew.
But Atreus' son launch'd a swift-sailing bark,
With twenty rowers mann'd, and plac'd on board 360
The sacred hecatomb ; then last embark'd
The fair Chryseis, and in chief command
< Laertes' son, the sage Ulysses, plac'd.
They swiftly sped along the wat'ry way.

Next, proclamation through the camp was made 365

To purify the host ; and in the sea,

Obedient to the word, they purified ;

vol. i. c



18 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book!

Then to Apollo solemn rites perforni'd

With, faultless hecatombs of bulls and goats,

Upon the margin of the wat'ry waste ; 370

And, wreath'd in smoke, the savour rose to Heav'n.

The camp thus occupied, the King pursued
His threaten'd plan of vengeance ; to his side
Calling Talthybius and Eurybates,
Heralds, and faithful followers, thus he spoke : 375

" Haste to Achilles' tent, and in your hand
Back with you thence the fair Briseis bring :
If he refuse to send her, I myself
With a sufficient force will bear her thence,
Which he may find, perchance, the worse for him." 380

So spake the monarch, and with stern command
Dismiss'd them ; with reluctant steps they pass'd
Along the margin of the wat'ry waste,
Till to the tents and ships they came, where lay
The warlike Myrmidons. Their chief they found 385
Sitting beside his tent and dark-ribb'd ship.
Achilles mark'd their coming, not well pleas'd :
With troubled mien, and awe-struck by the King,
They stood, nor dar'd accost him ; but himself



Book! HOMER'S ILIAD. 19

Divin'd their errand, and address'd them thus : 390

" Welcome, ye messengers of Gods and men,
Heralds ! approach in safety ; not with yon,
But with Atrides, is my just offence,
"Who for the fair Briseis sends you here.
Go, then, Patroclus, bring the maiden forth, 395

And give her to their hands ; but witness ye,
Before the blessed Gods and mortal men,
And to the face of that injurious King,
When he shall need my arm, from shameful rout
To save his followers ; blinded by his rage, 400

He neither heeds experience of the past
Nor scans the future, provident how best
To guard his fleet and army from the foe."

He spoke : obedient to his friend and chief,
Patroclus led the fair Briseis forth, 405

And gave her to their hands ; they to the ships
Retrac'd their steps, and with them the fair girl
Reluctant went : meanwhile Achilles, plung'd
In bitter grief, from all the band apart,
Upon the margin of the hoary sea 410

Sat idly gazing on the dark-blue waves;



20 HOMER'S ILIAD Book I.

And to his Goddess-mother long he pray'd,

"With outstretch'd hands, " Oh, mother ! since thy son

To early death by destiny is doom'd,

I might have hop'd the Thunderer on high, 415

Olympian Jove, with honour would have crown'd

My little space ; but now disgrace is mine ;

Since Agamemnon, the wide-ruling King,

Hath wrested from me, and still holds, my prize."

"Weeping, he spoke ; his Goddess-mother heard, 420
Beside her aged father where she sat
In the deep ocean-caves : ascending quick
Through the dark waves, like to a misty cloud,
Beside her son she stood ; and as he wept,
She gently touch'd him with her hand, and said, 425
" Why weeps my son ? and whence his cause of grief?
Speak out, that I may hear, and share thy pain."

To whom Achilles, swift of foot, replied,
Groaning, " Thou know'st ; what boots to tell thee all \
On Thebes we march'd, Eetion's sacred town, 430
And storm'd the walls, and hither bore the spoil.
The spoils were fairly by the sons of Greece
Apportion'd out ; and to Atrides' share



BookI. nOMEK'S ILIAD. 21

The beauteous daughter of old Chryses fell.

Chryses, Apollo's priest, to free his child, 435

Came to th' encampment of the brass-clad Greeks,

"With costly ransom charg'd ; and in his hand

The sacred fillet of his God he bore,

And golden staff; to all he sued, but chief

To Atreus' sons, twin captains of the host. 440

Then through the ranks assenting murmurs ran,

The priest to rev'rence, and the ransom take :

Hot so Atrides ; he, with haughty mien

And bitter words, the trembling sire dismiss'd.

The old man turn'd in sorrow ; but his pray'r 445

Phoebus Apollo heard, who lov'd him well.

Against the Greeks he bent his fatal bow,

And fast the people fell ; on ev'ry side

Throughout the camp the heav'nly arrows flew ;

A skilful seer at length the cause reveal'd 450

Why thus incens'd the Archer-God ; I then,

The first, gave counsel to appease his wrath.

Whereat Atrides, full of fury, rose,

And utter'd threats, which he hath now fulfill'd.

For Chryses' daughter to her native land 455



22 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book I.

In a swift-sailing ship the keen-ey'd Greeks

Have sent, with costly off rings to the God :

But her, assign'd me by the sons of Greece,

Brises' fair daughter, from my tent e'en now

The heralds bear away. Then, Goddess, thou, 460

If thou hast pow'r, protect thine injur'd son.

Fly to Olympus, to the feet of Jove,

And make thy pray'r to him, if on his heart

Thou hast in truth, by word or deed, a claim.

For I remember, in my father's house, 465

I oft have heard thee boast, how thou, alone

Of all th' Immortals, Saturn's cloud-girt son

Didst shield from foul disgrace, when all the rest,

Juno, and Neptune, and Minerva join'd,

"With chains to bind him ; then, O Goddess, thou 470

Didst set him free, invoking to his aid .

Him of the hundred arms, whom Briareus

Th' immortal Gods, and men iEgeon call.

He, mightier than his father, took his seat

By Saturn's side, in pride of conscious strength : 475

Fear seiz'd on all the Gods, nor did they dare

To bind their King : of this remind him now,



Book I. HOMER'S ILIAD. 23

And clasp his knees, and supplicate Iris aid

For Troy's brave warriors, that the routed Greeks

Back to their ships with slaughter may be driv'n ; 480

That all may taste the folly of their King,

And Agamemnon's haughty self may mourn

The slight on Grecia's bravest warrior cast."

Thus he ; and Thetis, weeping, thus replied :
" Alas, my child, that e'er I gave thee birth ! 485
Would that beside thy ships thou could'st remain
From grief exempt, and insult ! since by fate
Few years are thine, and not a lengthened term ;
At once to early death and sorrows doom'd
Beyond the lot of man ! in evil hour 490

I gave thee birth ! But to the snow-clad heights
Of great Olympus, to the throne of Jove,
Who wields the thunder, thy complaints I bear.
Thou by thy ships, meanwhile, against the Greeks
Thine anger nurse, and from the fight abstain. 495
For Jove is to a solemn banquet gone
Beyond the sea, on ^Ethiopia's shore,
Since yesternight ; and with him all the Gods.
On the twelfth clay he purpos'd to return



24 HOMEB'S ILIAD. Book 1

To high Olympus ; thither then will I, 500

And to his feet my supplication make ;
And he, I think, will not deny my suit."

This said, she disappear'd ; and left him there
Musing in anger on the lovely form
Torn from his arms by violence away. 505

Meantime, Ulysses, with his sacred freight,
Arriv'd at Chrysa's strand ; and when his bark
Had reach'd the shelter of the deep sea bay,
Their sails they furl'd, and lower'd to the hold ;
Slack'd the retaining shrouds, and quickly struck 510
And stow'd away the mast ; then with their sweeps
Pull'd for the beach, and cast their anchors out,
And made her fast with cables to the shore.
Then on' the shingly breakwater themselves
They landed, and the sacred hecatomb 515

To great Apollo ; and Chryseis last.
Her to the altar straight Ulysses led,
The wise in counsel ; in her father's hand
He plac'd the maiden, and address'd him thus :
" Chryses, from Agamemnon, King of men, 52C

To thee I come, thy daughter to restore ;



Book I. HOMEE'S ILIAD. 25

And to thy God, upon the Greeks' behalf,

To offer sacrifice, if haply so

We may appease his wrath, who now incens'd

With grievous suff'ring visits all our host." " 525

Then to her sire he gave her ; he with joy

Beceiv'd his child ; the sacred hecatomb

Around the well-built altar for the God

In order due they plac'd ; their hands then washed,

And the salt cake prepar'd, before them all 530

With hands uplifted Chryses pray'd aloud :

" Hear me, God of the silver bow ! whose care
Chrysa surrounds, and Cilia's lovely vale,
Whose sov'reign sway o'er Tenedos extends !
Once hast thou heard my pray'r, aveng'd my cause, 535
And pour'd thy fury on the Grecian host.
Hear yet again, and grant what now I ask ;
Withdraw thy chast'ning hand, and stay the plague."

Thus, as he pray'd, his pray'r Apollo heard.
Their pray'rs concluded, and the salt cake strew'd 540
Upon the victims' heads, they drew them back,
And slew, and flay'd ; then cutting from the thighs
The choicest pieces, and in double layers



26 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book I

O'erspreading tliem with fat, above them plac'd

The due meat-offrings ; then the aged priest 545

The cleft wood kindled, and libations pour'd

Of ruddy wine ; arm'd with the five-fork'd prongs

Th' attendant ministers beside him stood.

The thighs consum'd with fire, the inward parts

They tasted first ; the rest upon the spits 550

Roasted with care, and from the fire withdrew.

Their labours ended, and the feast prepar'd,

They shared the social meal, nor lacked there aught.

The rage of thirst and hunger satisfied,

Th' attendant youths the flowing goblets crown'd, 555

And in fit order serv'd the cups to all.

All day they sought the favour of the God,

The glorious pceans chanting, and the praise

Of Phcebus : he, well pleas'd, the strain receiv'd

But when the sun was set, and shades of night 560

O'erspread the sky, upon the sandy beach

Close to their ship they laid them down to rest.

And when the rosy-finger'd morn appear'd,

Back to the camp they took their homeward way

A. fav'ring breeze the Far-destroyer sent : 565



Book! HOMER'S ILIAD. 27

They stepp'd the mast, and spread the snowy sail :
Full in the midst the bellying sail receiv'd
The gallant breeze ; and round the vessel's prow
The dark waves loudly roar'd, as on she rush'd
Skimming the seas, and cut her wat'ry way. 570

Arriv'd where lay the wide-spread host of Greece,
Their dark-ribb'd vessel on the beach they drew
High on the sand, and strongly shor'd her up ;
Then through the camp they took their sev'ral ways.
Meantime, beside the ships Achilles sat, 575

The Heav'n-born son of Peleus, swift of foot,
Chafing with rage repress' d ; no more he sought
The honour'd council, nor the battle-field ;
But wore his soul away, and inly pin'd
For the fierce joy and tumult of the fight. 580

But when the twelfth revolving day was come,
Back to Olympus' heights th' immortal Gods,
Jove at their head, together all return'd.
Then Thetis, mindful of her son's request,
Rose from the ocean wave, and sped in haste 585

To high Olympus, and the courts of Heav'n.
/ Th' all-seeing son of Saturn there she found



28 HOIEE'S ILIAD. Book L

Sitting apart upon the topmost crest

Of many-ridg'd Olympus ; at his feet

She sat, and while her left hand clasp'd his knees, 590

Her right approached his beard, and suppliant thus

She made her pray'r to Saturn's royal son :

" Father, if e'er amid th' immortal Gods
By word or deed I did thee service true,
Hear now my pray'r ! Avenge my hapless son, 595
Of mortals shortest-liv'd, insulted now
By mighty Agamemnon, King of men,
And plunder'd of his lawful spoils of war.
But Jove, Olympian, Lord of counsel, Thou
Avenge his cause ; and give to Trojan arms GOO

Such strength and pow'r, that Greeks may learn how

much
They need my son, and give him honour due."

She said : the Cloud-compeller answer'd not,
But silent sat ; then Thetis clasp'd his knees,
Ajid hung about him, and her suit renew' d : 005

" Give me thy promise sure, thy gracious nod,
Or else refuse (for thou hast none to fear),
That I may learn, of all th' immortal Gods,



Book I. HOMER'S ILIAD. 29

How far I stand the lowest in thine eyes."

Then, much disturb'd, the Cloud-conipeller spoke :
" Sad work thou mak'st, in bidding me oppose 611
My will to Juno's, when her bitter words
Assail me ; for full oft amid the Gods
She taunts me, that I aid the Trojan cause.
But thou return, that Juno see thee not, 615

And leave to me the furth'rance of thy suit.
Lo, to confirm thy faith, I nod my head ;
And well among th' immortal Gods is known
The solemn import of that pledge from me :
For ne'er my promise shall deceive, or fail, 620

Or be recall'd, if with a nod confirm'd."

He saidj and nodded with his shadowy brows ;
"Wav'd on th' immortal head th' ambrosial locks,
And all Olympus trembled at his nod.
They parted thus : from bright Olympus' heights 625
The Goddess hasted to her ocean-caves,
Jove to his palace ; at his entrance all
Rose from their seats at once ; not one presum'd
To wait his coming, but advanc'd to meet.
Then on his throne he sat ; but not unmark'd 630



30 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book I.

Of Juno's eye had been the conncil held

In secret with the silver-footed Queen,

The daughter of the aged Ocean-God ;

And with sharp words she thus addressed her Lord :

" Tell me, deceiver, who was she with whom 635
Thou late held'st council ? ever 'tis thy way
Apart from me to weave thy secret schemes,
Nor dost thou freely share with me thy mind."

To whom the Sire of Gods and men replied :
" Expect not, Juno, all my mind to know ; G-iO

My wife thou art, yet would such knowledge be
Too much for thee ; whate'er I deem it fit
That thou shouldst know, nor God nor man shall hear
Before thee ; but what I in secret plan,
Seek not to know, nor curiously inquire." 645

"Whom answer'd thus the stag-ey'd Queen of Heav'n :
"What words, dread son of Saturn, dost thou speak?
Ne'er have I sought, or now, or heretofore,
Thy secret thoughts to know ; what thou think'st fit
To tell, I wait thy gracious will to hear. 650

Yet fear I in my soul thou art beguil'd
By wiles of Thetis, silver-footed Queen,



Book I. HOMER'S ILIAD. 31

The daughter of the aged Ocean-God ;

For she was with thee early, and embrac'd

Thy knees, and has, I think, thy promise sure, 655

Thou wilt avenge Achilles' cause, and bring

Destructive slaughter on the Grecian host."

To whom the Cloud-compeller thus replied :
" Presumptuous, to thy "busy thoughts thou giv'st
Too free a range, and watchest all I do ; 660

Tet shalt thou not prevail, hut rather thus
Be alien'd from my heart — the worse for thee !
If this be so, it is my sov'reign will.
But now, keep silence, and my words obey,
Lest all th' Immortals fail, if I be wroth, 665

To rescue thee from my resistless hand."

He said, and terror seiz'd the stag-ey'd Queen :
Silent she sat, curbing her spirit down,
And all the Gods in pitying sorrow mourn'd.
Vulcan, the skill'd artificer, then first 670

Broke silence, and with soothing words address'd
, K His mother, Juno, white-ami'd Queen of Heav'n :
" Sad were't, indeed, and grievous to be borne,
If for the sake of mortal men you two



32 HOMEK'S ILIAD. Book L



Should suffer angry passions to arise, 675

And kindle broils in Heav'n ; so should our feast

By evil influence all its sweetness lack.

Let me advise my mother (and I know

That her own reason will my words approve)

To speak my father fair ; lest he again 680

Reply in anger, and our banquet mar.

For Jove, the lightning's Lord, if such his will,

Might hurl us from our seats (so great his pow'r),

But thou address him still with gentle words ;

So shall his favour soon again be ours." 685

This said, he rose, and in his mother's hand
A double goblet plac'd, as thus he spoke :
" Have patience, mother mine ! though much enforc'd,
Restrain thy spirit, lest perchance these eyes,
Dear as thou art, behold thee brought to shame : 690
And I, though griev'd in heart, be impotent
To save thee ; for 'tis hard to strive with Jove.
When to thy succour once before I came,
He seiz'd me by the foot, and hurl'd me down
From Heav'n's high threshold ; all the day I fell, 695
And with the setting sun, on Lemnos' isle



book! HOMEK'S ILIAD. 33

Lighted, scarce lialf alive ; there was I found,
And by the Sintian people kindly nurs'd."

Thus as lie spoke, the white-armed Goddess smil'd,
And, smiling, from his hand receiv'd the cup, 700
Then to th' Immortals all, in order due,
He minister' d, and from the flagon pour'd
The luscious nectar ; while among the Gods
Rose laughter irrepressible, at sight
Of Vulcan hobbling round the spacious hall. 705

Thus they till sunset pass'd the festive hours ;
Nor lack'd the banquet aught to please the sense,
Nor sound of tuneful lyre, by Phoebus touch'd,
Nor Muses' voice, who in alternate strains
Responsive sang : but when the sun had set, 710

Each to his home departed, where for each
The crippled Vulcan, matchless architect,
With wondrous skill a noble house had rear'd.

To his own couch, where he was wont of old,
When overcome by gentle sleep, to rest, 715

Olympian Jove ascended ; there he slept,
And, by his side, the golden-throned Queen. 717



VOL. I.



ARGUMENT.

TUB TRIAL OF THE ARMY AND CATALOGUE OP THE FORCES.

Jupiter, in pursuance of the request of Thetis, sends a deceitful
vision to Agamemnon, persuading him to lead the army to battle
in order to make the Greeks sensible of their want of Achilles.
The general, who is deluded with the hopes of taking Troy
without his assistance, but fears the army was discouraged by his
absence and the late plague, as well as by length of time, con-
trives to make trial of their disposition by a stratagem. He first
communicates his design to the princes in council that he would
propose a return to the soldiers, and that they should put a stop
to them if the proposal was embraced. Then he assembles the
whole host, and upon moving for a return to Greece, they unani-
mously agree to it, and run to prepare the ships. They are de-
tained by the management of Ulysses, who chastises the inso-
lence of Thersites. The assembly is recalled, several speeches
made on the occasion, and at length the advice of Nestor fol-
lowed, which was to make a general muster of the troops, and
to divide them into their several nations, before they proceeded
to battle. This gives occasion to the poet to enumerate all the
forces of the Greeks and Trojans, in a large catalogue.

The time employed in this book consists not entirely of one day.
Tho scene lies in the Grecian camp and upon the sea-shore ; to-
ward the end it removes to Troy.



BookIL HOMEB'S ILIAD. 37



BOOK II.

A LL night in sleep repos'd the other Gods,

And helmed warriors ; but the eyes of Jove
Sweet slumber held not, pondering in his mind
How to avenge Achilles' cause, and pour
Destructive slaughter on the Grecian host. 5

Thus as he mus'd, the wisest course appear' d
By a deluding vision to mislead
The son of Atreus ; and with winged words
Thus to a phantom form he gave command :
" Hie thee, deluding Vision, to the camp 10

And ships of Greece, to Agamemnon's tent ;
There, changing nought, as I command thee, speak.
Bid that he arm in haste the long-hair'd Greeks
To combat ; for the wide-built streets of Troy
He now may capture ; since th' immortal Gods 15
"Watch over her no longer ; all are gain'd

By Juno's pray'rs ; -and woes impend o'er Troy."



38 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IL

He said : the Vision heard, and straight obey'd :
Swiftly he sped, and reached the Grecian ships,
And sought the son of Atreus ; him he fonnd 20

"Within his tent, wrapped in ambrosial sleep ;
Above his head he stood, like Neleus' son,
Nestor, whom Agamemnon rev'renc'd most
Of all the Elders ; in his likeness cloth' d
Thus spoke the heav'nly Yision ; " Sleep'st thou, son
Of Atreus, valiant warrior, horseman bold ? 26

To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief,
Charg'd with the public weal, and cares of state.
Hear now the words I bear ; to thee I come
A messenger from Jove, who from on high 30

Looks down on thee with eyes of pitying love.
He bids thee arm in haste the long-hair'd Greeks
To combat ; since the wide-built streets of Troy
Thou now mayst capture ; for th' immortal Gods
Watch over her no longer ; all are gain'd 35

By Juno's pray'rs ; and woes impend o'er Troy.
Bear this in mind ; and when from sleep arous'd
Let not my words from thy remembrance fade."
This said, he vanish'd ; and the monarch left,



Book II. HOMEE'S ILIAD. 39

Inspir'd with thoughts which, ne'er should come to pass.
For in that day he vainly hop'd to take 41

The town of Priam ; ignorant what Jove
Design'd in secret, or what woes, what groans,
What lengthen'd labours in the stubborn fight,
Were yet for Trojans and for Greeks in store. 45
He woke from sleep ; but o'er his senses spread
Dwelt still the heavenly voice ; he sat upright ;
He donn'd his vest of texture fine, new-wrought,
Then o'er it threw his ample robe, and bound
His sandals fair around his well-turn'd feet ; 50

And o'er his shoulders fiung his sword, adorn'd
With silver studs ; and bearing in his hand
His royal staff, ancestral, to the ships
Where lay the brass-clad warriors, bent his way.

Aurora now was rising up the steep 55

Of great Olympus, to th' immortal Gods
Pure light diffusing ; when Atrides bade
The clear-voic'd heralds to th' Assembly call
The gen'ral host ; they gave the word, and straight
From ev'ry quarter throng'd the eager crowd. 60

But first, of all the Elders, by the side



40 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book II

Of Nestor's ship, the aged Pylian chief,

A secret conclave Agamemnon call'd ;

And, prudent, thus the chosen few address'd :

" Hear me, my friends ! In the still hours of night 65

I saw a heav'nly Yision in my sleep :

Most like it seemed in stature, form, and face

To rev'rend Nestor ; at my head it stood,

And with these words address'd me — ' Sleep'st thou, son

Of Atreus, valiant warrior, horseman hold ? 70

To sleep all night but ill becomes a chief,

Charg'd with the public weal, and cares of state.

Hear now the words I bear : to thee I come

A messenger from Jove, who from on high

Looks down on thee with eyes of pitying love. 75

He bids thee arm in haste the long-hair'd Greeks

To combat : since the wide-built streets of Troy

Thou now may'st capture ; for th' immortal Gods

"Watch over her no longer : all are gain'd

By Juno's pray'rs, and woes impend o'er Troy. 80

Bear thou my words in mind.' Thus as he spoke

He vanish'd ; and sweet sleep forsook mine eyes.

Seek we then straight to arm the sons of Greece :



Book II. HOMER'S ILIAD. 11

But first, as is our wont, myself will prove
The spirit of the arrny ; and suggest 85

Their homeward voyage ; ye, throughout the camp
Restore their courage, and restrain from flight."

Thus having said, he sat ; and next arose
Nestor, the chief of Pylos' sandy shore,
"Who thus with prudent speech replied, and said : 90
" O friends, the chiefs and councillors of Greece,
If any other had this Vision seen,
We should have deem'd it false, and laugh'd to scorn
The idle tale ; but now it hath appear'd,
Of all our army, to the foremost man : 95


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