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

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Which Heav'n may give, but man could not command.
But if thou wilt that I should dare the fight, 80

Bid that the Trojans and the Grecians all
Be seated on the ground ; and in the midst
The warlike Menelaus and myself



Book HI. HOMER'S ILIAD. 91

Stand front to front, for Helen and the spoils

Of war to combat ; and whoe'er shall prove . S5

The better man in conflict, let him bear

The woman and the spoils in triumph home ;

While ye, the rest, in peace and friendship sworn,

Shall still possess the fertile plains of Troy ;

And to their native Argos they return, 90

Eor noble steeds and lovely women fam'd."

He said, and Hector joy'd to hear his words :
Forth in tbe midst he stepp'd, and with his spear
Grasp'd by the middle, stay'd the Trojan ranks.
At him the long-haired Grecians bent their bows, 95
Prompt to assail with arrows and with stones ;
But loud the monarch Agamemnon's voice
Was heard ; " Hold, Argives, hold ! ye sons of Greece,
Shoot not ! for Hector of the glancing helm
Hath, as it seems, some message to impart." 100

He said ; they held their hands, and silent stood
Expectant, till to both thus Hector spoke :
" Hear now, ye Trojans, and ye well-greav'd Greeks,
The words of Paris, cause of all this war.
He asks through me that all the host of Troy 105



92 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IIL

And Grecian warriors shall upon the ground

Lay down their glitt'ring arms ; while in the midst

The warlike Meneliius and himself

Stand front to front, for Helen and the spoils

Of war to combat ; and whoe'er shall prove 110

The better man in conflict, let him bear

The woman and the spoils in triumph home,

While we, the rest, firm peace and friendship swear."

Thus Hector spoke ; the rest in silence heard ;
But Menelaus, bold in fight, replied : 115

" Hear now my answer ; in this quarrel I
May claim the chiefest share ; and now I hope
Trojans and Greeks may see the final close
Of all the labours ye so long have borne
T' avenge my wrong, at Paris' hand sustain'd. 120
And of us two whiche'er is doom'd to death,
So let him die ! the rest, depart in peace.
Bring then two lambs, one white, the other black,
For Tellus and for Sol ; we on our part
Will bring another, for Satnrnian Jove : 125

And let the majesty of Priam too
Appear, himself to consecrate our oaths,



Book in. HOMER'S ILIAD. 93

(For reckless are liis sons, and void of faith,)

That none Jove's oath may dare to violate.

For young men's spirits are too quickly stirr'd ; 1 30

But in the councils check'd by rev'rend age,

Alike are weigh'd the future and the past,

And for all int'rests due provision made."

He said, and Greeks and Trojans gladly heard,
In hopes of respite from the weary war. 135

They rang'd the cars in ranks ; and they themselves
Descending doff'd their arms, and laid them down
Close each by each, with narrow space between.
Two heralds to the city Hector sent
To bring the lambs, and aged Priam call ; 140

"While Agamemnon to the hollow ships,
Their lamb to bring, in haste Talthybius sent :
He heard, and straight the monarch's voice obey'd.

Meantime to white-arm'd Helen Iris sped,
The heav'nly messenger : in form she seem'd 145
Her husband's sister, whom Antenor's son,
The valiant Helicaon had to wife,
Laodice, of Priam's daughters all
Loveliest of face : she in her chamber found



94 HOIEE'S ILIAD. Book IIL

Her whom she sought : a mighty web she wove, 150

Of double woof and brilliant hues ; whereon

Was interwoven many a toilsome strife

Of Trojan warriors and of brass-clad Greeks,

For her encounter'd at the hand of Mars.

Beside her Iris stood, and thus she spoke : 155

'•' Come, sister dear, and see the glorious deeds

Of Trojan warriors and of brass-clad Greeks.

They who ere while, impatient for the fight,

Roll'd o'er the plain the woful tide of war,

!Now silent sit, the storm of battle hush'd, 160

Reclining on their shields, their lances bright

Beside them reared ; while Paris in the midst

And warlike Menelaus, stand prepar'd

With the long spear for thee to fight ; thyself

The prize of conquest and the victor's wife." 165

Thus as she spoke, in Helen's breast arose
Fond recollection of her former Lord,
Her home, and parents ; o'er her head she threw
A snowy veil ; and shedding tender tears
She issu'd forth, not unaccompanied ; 170

For with her went fair JEthra, Pittheus' child






book ill. HOMER'S ILIAD. 95

And stag-ey'd Clymene, her maidens twain.
They quickly at the Sccean gate arriv'd.

Attending there on aged Priam, sat,
The Elders of the city ; Panthous, 175

And Lampus, and Tlrymsetes ; Clytius,
Bold Icetaon, and Ucalegon,
"With sage Antenor, wise in council both :
All these were gather'd at the Screan gate ;
By age exempt from war, but in discourse 180

Abundant, as the cricket, that on high
From topmost boughs of forest tree sends forth
His delicate music ; so on Ilium's tow'rs
Sat the sage chiefs and councillors of Troy.
Helen they saw, as to the tow'r she came ; 185

And " 'tis no marvel," one to other said,
" The valiant Trojans and the well-greav'd Greeks
For beauty such as this should long endure
The toils of war ; for goddess-like she seems ;
And yet, despite her beauty, let her go, 190

Nor bring on us and on our sons a curse."

Thus they ; but aged Priam Helen call'd :
" Come here, my child, and sitting by my side,



96 IIOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IIL

From whence thou canst discern thy former Lord,
His kindred, and thy friends (not thee I blame, 195
But to the Gods I owe this woful war),
Tell me the name of yonder mighty chief
Among the Greeks a warrior brave and strong :
Others in height surpass him ; but my eyes
A form so noble never yet beheld, 200

Nor so august ; he moves, a King indeed !"

To whom in answer, Helen, heav'nly fair :
" With rev'rence, dearest father, and with shame
I look on thee : oh would that I had died
That day when hither with thy son I came, 205

And left my husband, friends, and darling child,
And all the lov'd companions of my youth :
That I died not, with grief I pine away.
But to thy question ; I will tell thee true ;
Yon chief is Agamemnon, Atreus' son, 210

"Wide-reigning, mighty monarch, ruler good,
And valiant warrior; in my husband's name,
Lost as I am, I call'd him brother once."

She spoke : th' old man admiring gaz'd, and cried,
" Oh bless'd Atrides, child of happy fate, 215



Cook III. HOMER'S ILIAD. 97

Favour'd of Heav'n ! how many noble Greeks

Obey thy rule ! In vine-clad Phrygia once

I saw the hosts of Phrygian warriors wheel

Their rapid steeds; and with them, all the bands

Of Otreus, and of Mygdon, godlike King, 22<.

Who lay encamp'd beside Sangarius' stream :

I too with them was number'd, in the day

When met them in the field the Amazons,

The woman-warriors ; but their forces all

Reach'd not the number of the keen-ey'd Greeks." 225

Ulysses next the old man saw, and ask'd,
" Tell me again, dear child, who this may be,
In stature less than Atreus' royal son,
But broader-shoulder'd, and of ampler chest.
His arms are laid upon the fertile plain, 230

But he himself is moving through the ranks,
Inspecting, like a full-fleec'd ram, that moves
Majestic through a flock of snow-white ewes."

To whom Jove's offspring, Helen, thus replied :

"The wise Ulysses that, Laertes' son : 235

Though bred in rugged Ithaca, yet vers'd

[n ev'ry stratagem, and deep device."

vol. i. n



98 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book III.

" O woman," then the sage Antenor said,

" Of these thy words I can the truth avouch ;

For hither when on thine account to treat, 240

Brave Menelaus and Ulysses came,

I lodg'd them in my house, and lov'd them both,

And studied well the form and mind of each.

As they with Trojans mix'd in social guise,

When both were standing, o'er his comrade high 245

With broad-set shoulders Menelaus stood ;

Seated, Ulysses was the nobler form :

Then, in the great Assembly, when to all

Their public speech and argument they fram'd,

In fluent language Menelaus spoke, 250

In words though few, yet clear ; though young in years,

No wordy babbler, wasteful of his speech :

But when the skill' d Ulysses rose to speak,

With down-cast visage would he stand, his eyes

Bent on the ground ; the staff he bore, nor back 255

He wav'd, nor forward, but like one untaught,

He held it motionless ; who only saw

Would say that he was mad, or void of sense ;

But when his chest its deep-ton'd voice sent forth,



Book III. HOMEK'S ILIAD. 99

With words that fell like flakes of wintry snow, 260
No mortal with Ulysses could compare :
Then little reck'd we of his outward show."

At sight of Ajax next th' old man enquir'd ;
"Who is yon other warrior, brave and strong,
Tow'ring o'er all with head and shoulders broad V 265

To whom, in answer, Helen, heav'nly fair :
" Gigantic Ajax that, the prop of Greece;
And by his side Idomeneus of Crete
Stands godlike, circled round by Cretan chiefs.
The warlike Menelaus welcom'd him 270

Oft in our palace, when from Crete he came.
Now all the other keen-ey'd Greeks I see,
Whom once I knew, and now could call by name ;
But two I miss, two captains of the host,
My own two brethren, and my mother's sons, 275
Castor and Pollux ; Castor, charioteer
Unrivalled, Pollux, matchless pugilist.
In Laeedsemon have they stay'd behind ?
Or can it be, in ocean-going ships
That they have come indeed, but shun to join 2S0
The fight of warriors, fearful of the shame,



100 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book III.

And deep disgrace that on my name attend ? "
Thus she ; but they beneath the teeming earth
In Lacedsemon lay, their native land.

Meanwhile the heralds through the city bore 285
The treaty off rings to the Gods ; the lambs,
And genial wine, the produce of the soil,
In goat-skin flasks : therewith a flagon bright,
And cups of gold, Idseus brought, and stood
Beside the aged King, as thus he spoke : 290

" Son of Laomedon, arise ! the chiefs
Of Trojan warriors and of brass-clad Greeks
Call for thy presence on the battle-plain
To swear a truce ; where Paris in the midst
And warlike Menelaus stand prepar'd '295

Wi th the long spear for Helen and the spoils
Of war to combat, that whoe'er may prove
The better man in fight,may bear away
The woman and the spoils in triumph home ;
While we, the rest, in peace and friendship sworn, 300
Shall still possess the fertile plains of Troy ;
And to their native Argos they return,
For noble steeds and lovely women fam'd."



Book III. HOMEE'S ILIAD. 101

He said ; the old man shuddered at his words :
But to his comrades gave command forthwith 305
To joke his car ; and they his word obey'd.
Priam, ascending, gather' d up the reins,
And with Antenor by his side, the twain
Drove through the Scasan gate their flying steeds.

But when between th' opposing ranks they came,
Alighting from the car, they mov'd on foot 311

Between the Trojan and the Grecian hosts.
Uprose then Agamemnon, King of men,
Uprose the sage Ulysses ; to the front
The heralds brought the off 'rings to the Gods, 315
And in the flagon mix'd the wine, and pour'd
The hallowing water on the monarchs' hands.
His dagger then the son of Atreus drew,
Suspended, as was wont, beside the hilt
Of his great sword ; and from the victim's head 320
He cut the sacred lock, which to the chiefs
Of Troy and Greece the heralds portion'd out.
Then with uplifted hands he pray'd aloud :
" O Father Jove ! who rul'st from Ida's height, 324
Most great ! most glorious ! and thou Sun, who see'st



102 HOMEK'S ILIAD. Book IIL

And nearest all things ! Eivers ! and thou Earth !

And ye, who after death beneath the earth

Your vengeance wreak on souls of men forsworn,

Be witness ye, and this our cov'nant guard.

If Meneliius fall by Paris' hand, 330

Let him retain both Helen and the spoil,

While in our ships we take our homeward way ;

If Paris be by Menelaus slain,

Troy shall surrender Helen and the spoil,

"With compensation due to Greece, that so 335

A record may to future days remain.

But, Paris slain, if Priam and his sons

The promis'd compensation shall withhold,

Then here, my rights in battle to assert,

Will I remain, till I the end achieve." 340

Thus as he spoke, across the victims' throats
He drew the pitiless blade, and on the ground
He laid them gasping, as the stream of life
Pour'cl forth, their vigour by the blade subdued.
Then, from the flagon drawn, from out the cups 345
The wine they pour'd ; and to th' eternal Gods
They pray'd ; and thus from Trojans and from Greeks



Book in. HOMER'S ILIAD. 103

Arose the joint petition ; " Grant, O Jove !
Most great ! most glorious ! grant, ye heav'nly pow'rs,
That whosoe'er this solemn truce shall break, 350
Ev'n as this wine we pom', their hearts' best blood,
Theirs and their children's, on the earth be pour'd,
And strangers in subjection take their wives ! "

Thus they ; but Jove, unyielding, heard their pray'r.
The rites perform'd, then aged Priam spoke : 355
" Hear me, ye Trojans, and ye well-greav'd Greeks !
To Ilium's breezy heights I now withdraw,
For that mine eyes will not endure the sight
Of warlike Menelaus and my son
Engag'd in deadly combat ; of the two 360

"Which may be doom'd to death, is only known
To Jove, and to th' immortal pow'rs of Heav'n."

Thus spoke the godlike King ; and on the car
He plac'd the consecrated lambs ; himself
Ascending then, he gather'd up the reins, 365

And with Antenor by his side, the twain
To Ilium's walls retrac'd their homeward way.

Then Hector, son of Priam, measur'd out,
With sage Ulysses join'd, th' allotted space ;



104 HOMEK'S ILIAD. Book HI

ISText, in the brass-bound helmet cast the lots, 370
"Which of the two the first should throw the spear.
The crowd, with hands uplifted, to the Gods,
Trojans and Greeks alike, address'd their pray'r:
" Father Jove ! who rul'st from Ida's height,
Most great ! most glorious ! grant that whosoe'er 375
On both our armies hath this turmoil brought
May undergo the doom of death, and we,
The rest, firm peace and lasting friendship swear."

Thus they ; great Hector of the glancing helm,
"With eyes averted, shook the casque ; and forth 380
"Was cast the lot of Paris ; on the ground
The rest lay down by ranks, where near to each
Were rang'd his active steeds, and glitt'ring arms.
Then o'er his shoulders fair-hair'd Helen's Lord,
The godlike Paris, donn'd his armour bright : 385

First on his legs the well- wrought greaves he fix'd,
Fasten'd with silver clasps ; his ample chest
A breastplate guarded, by Lycaon lent,
His brother, but which fitted well his form.
Around his shoulders slung, his sword he bore, 390
Brass-bladed, silver-studded ; then his shield



BookIII. HOMER'S ILIAD. 105

Weighty and strong ; and on his firm-set head
A helm he wore, well wrought, with horsehair plume
That nodded, fearful, o'er his "brow ; his hand
Grasp'd the firm spear, familiar to his hold. 395

Prepar'd alike the adverse warrior stood.

They, from the crowd apart their armour donn'd,
Came forth : and each, with eyes of mutual hate,
Regarded each : admirinsr wonder seiz'd
The Trojan warriors and the well-greav'd Greeks, 400
As in the centre of the measur'd ground
They stood oppos'd, and pois'd their quiv'ring spears.
First Paris threw his weighty spear, and struck
Fair in the midst Atrides' buckler round,
But broke not through ; upon the stubborn targe 405
Was bent the lance's point ; then thus to Jove,
His weapon hurling, Menelaus pray'd :
" Great King, on him who wrought me causeless wrong,
On Paris, grant that retribution due
My arm may bring ; that men in days to come 410
May fear their host to injure, and repay
With treach'rous wile his hospitable cares."

He said, and poising, hurl'd his weighty spear :



106 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book III.

Full in the midst it struck the buckler round ; 414
Right through the buckler pass'd the sturdy spear,
And through the gorgeous breastplate, and within
Cut through the linen vest ; but Paris, back
Inclining, stoop'd, and shunn'd the doom of death.

Atrides then his silver-studded sword
Rearing on high, a mighty blow let fall 420

On Paris' helm ; but shiv'ring in his hand
In countless fragments flew the faithless blade.
Then thus to Jove, with eyes uplift to Ileav'n,
Atrides made his moan : " O Father Jove !
Of all the Gods, the most unfriendly thou ! 425

On Paris' head I hop'd for all his crimes
To wreak my vengeance due ; but in my grasp
My faithless sword is shatter'd, and my spear
Hath bootless left my hand, nor reached my foe."
Then onward rushing, by the horsehair plume 430
He seiz'd his foeman's helm, and wrenching round
Dragg'd by main force amid the well-greav'd Greeks.
The broider'd strap, that, pass'd beneath his beard,
The helmet held, the warrior's throat compress'd :
Then had Atrides dragg'd him from the field, 435



book III. HOMER'S ILIAD. 107

And endless fame acquir'd ; but Yenus, child

Of Jove, her fav'rite's peril quickly saw,

A.nd broke the throttling strap of tough bull's hide.

In the broad hand the empty helm remained.

The trophy, by their champion whirl'd amid 440

The well-greav'd Greeks, his eager comrades seiz'd ;

While he, infuriate, rush'd with murd'rous aim

On Priam's son ; but him, the Queen of Love

(As Gods can only) from the field convey'd,

Wrapt in a misty cloud ; and on a couch, 445

Sweet perfumes breathing, gently laid him down ;

Then went in search of Helen ; her she found,

Circled with Trojan dames, on Ilium's tow'r :

Her by her airy robe the Goddess held,

And in the likeness of an aged dame 450

Who oft for her, in Sparta when she dwelt,

Many a fair fleece had wrought, and lov'd her well,

Address'd her thus : " Come, Helen, to thy house ;

Come, Paris calls thee ; in his chamber he

Expects thee, resting on luxurious couch, 455

In costly garb, with manly beauty grac'd :

Not from the fight of warriors wouldst thou deem



108 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book in.



He late had come, but for the dance prepar'd,
Or resting from the dance's pleasing toil."

She said, and Helen's spirit within her mov'd ; 460
And when she saw the Goddess' beauteous neck,
Her lovely bosom, and her glowing eyes,
She gaz'd in wonder, and address'd her thus :
" Oh why, great Goddess, make me thus thy sport ?
Seek'st thou to bear me far away from hence 465

To some fair Phrygian or Mseonian town,
If there some mortal have thy favour gain'd ?
Or, for that Menelaus in the field
Hath vanquish'd Paris, and is willing yet
That I, his bane, should to his home return ; 470

Here art thou found, to weave again thy wiles !
Go then thyself ! thy godship abdicate !
Renounce Olympus ! lavish here on him
Thy pity and thy care ! he may perchance
Make thee his wife — at least his paramour ! 475
But thither go not I ! foul shame it were
Again to share his bed ; the dames of Troy
Will for a byword hold me ; and e'en now
My soul with endless sorrow is possess'd."



Book III. HOMEK'S ILIAD. 109

To whom in anger heav'nly Yenus spoke : 480

" Incense me not, poor fool ! lest I in wrath
Desert thee quite, and as I heretofore
Have lov'd, so make thee object of my hate ;
And kindle, 'twixt the Trojans and the Greeks,
Such bitter feuds, as both shall wreak on thee." 485

She said ; and trembled Helen, child of Jove ;
She rose in silence ; in a snow-white veil
All glitt'ring, shrouded ; by the Goddess led
She pass'd, unnotic'd by the Trojan dames.
But when to Paris' splendid house they came, 490
Thronging around her, her attendants gave
Their duteous service ; through the lofty hall
With queenly grace the godlike woman pass'd.
A seat the laughter-loving Goddess plac'd
By Paris' side ; there Helen sat, the child 495

Of aegis-bearing Jove, with downcast eyes,
Yet with sharp words she thus address'd her Lord :
" Back from the battle ? would thou there hadst died
Beneath a warrior's arm, whom once I call'd
My husband ! vainly didst thou boast ere while 500
Thine arm, thy dauntless courage, and thy spear



110 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book in

The warlike Menelaus should subdue !

Go now again, and challenge to the fight

The warlike Menelaus. Be thou ware !

I warn thee, pause, ere madly thou presume 505

With fair-hair'd Menelaus to contend !

Soon shouldst thou fall beneath his conqu'ring spear."

To whom thus Paris : " Wring not thus my soul
With keen reproaches : now, with Pallas' aid,
Hath Menelaus conquer'd ; but my day 510

Will come : I too can boast my guardian Gods.
But turn we now to love, and love's delights ;
For never did thy beauty so inflame
My sense ; not when from Lacedsemon first
I bore thee in my ocean-going ships, 515

And revell'd in thy love on Cranae's isle,
As now it fills my soul with fond desire."

He said, and led her to the nuptial couch ;
Her Lord she folio w'd ; and while there reclin'd
Upon the richly-inlaid couch they lay, 520

Atrides, like a lion baffled, rush'd
Amid the crowd, if haply he might find
The godlike Paris ; but not one of all



Book III. HOMEK'S ILIAD. Ill

The Trojans and their brave allies could aid
The warlike Menelaus in his search ; 525

Not that, for love, would any one that knew
Have screen'd him from his anger, for they all
Abhorr'd him as the shade of death : then thus
Outspoke great Agamemnon, King of men :
" Hear me, ye Trojans, Dardans, and Allies ! 530
"With warlike Menelaus rests, 'tis plain,
The prize of vict'ry : then surrender ye
The Argive Helen and the spoils of war,
"With compensation due to Greece, that so
A record may to future days remain." 535

Thus he ; the Greeks, assenting, cheer'd his words.



ARGUMENT.

THE BREACH OP THE TRUCE, AND THE FIRST BATTLE.

The Gods deliberate in council concerning the Trojan war: they
agree upon the continuation of it, and Jupiter sends down Min-
erva to break the truce. She persuades Pandarus to aim an arrow
at'Meneliius, who is wounded, but cured by Machaon. In the
mean time some of the Trojan troops attack the Greeks. Aga-
memnon is distinguished in all the parts of a good general ; he
reviews the troops, and exhorts the leaders, some by praises, and
others by reproofs. Nestor is particularly celebrated for his
military discipline. The battle joius, 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.



uookIV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 115



BOOK IV.

/"YN golden pavement, round the board of Jove,

The Gods were gather'd ; Hebe in the midst
Pour'd the sweet nectar; they, in golden cups,
Each other pledg'd, as down they look'd on Troy.
Then- Jove, with cutting words and taunting tone, 5
Began the wrath of Juno to provoke :
" Two Goddesses for Menelaus fight,
Thou, Juno, Queen of Argos, and with thee
Minerva, shield of warriors ; but ye two
Sitting aloof, well-pleased it seems, look on ; 10

While laughter-loving Yenus, at the side
Of Paris standing, still averts his fate,
And rescues, when, as now, expecting death.
To warlike Menelaus we decree,
Of right, the vict'ry ; but consult we now 15

What may the issue be ; if we shall light
Again the flame of war and discord fierce,



116 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IV.

Or the two sides in peace and friendship join.

For me, if thus your gen'ral voice incline,

Let Priam's city stand, and Helen back 20

To warlike Menelaus be restor'd."

So spoke the God ; but seated side by side,
Juno and Pallas glances interchang'd
Of ill portent for Troy ; Pallas indeed
Sat silent ; and, though inly wroth with Jove, 25

Yet answer'd not a word ; but Juno's breast
Could not contain her rage, and thus she spoke :
" "What words, dread son of Saturn, dost thou speak ?
How Avouldst thou render vain, and void of fruit,
My weary labour and my horses' toil, 30

To stir the people, and on Priam's self,
And Priam's offspring, bring disastrous fate ?
Do as thou wilt ! yet not with our consent."

To whom, in wrath, the Cloud-compeller thus :
" Eevengeful ! how have Priam and his sons 35

So deeply injur'd thee, that thus thou seek'st
"With unabated anger to pursue,
Till thou o'erthrow, the strong-built walls of Troy ?
Couldst thou but force the gates, and entering in



Book IV. HOMEK'S ILIAD. 117

On Priam's mangled flesh, and Priam's sons, 40

And Trojans all, a bloody banquet make,

Percliance thy fury might at length be stayed.

But have thy will, lest this in future times

'Twixt me and thee be cause of strife renew'd.

Yet hear my words, and ponder what I say : 45

If e'er, in times to come, my will should be

Some city to destroy, inhabited


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