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

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By men beloved of thee, seek not to turn

My wrath aside, but yield, as I do now,

Consenting, but with heart that ill consents ; 50

For of all cities fair, beneath the sun

And starry Heaven, the abode of mortal men,

None to my soul was dear as sacred Troy,

And Priam's self, and Priam's warrior race.

For with drink-off 'rings due, and fat of lambs, 55

My altar still hath at their hands been fed ;

Such honour hath to us been ever paid."

To whom the stag-ey'd Juno thus replied :
" Three cities are there, dearest to my heart ;
Argos, and Sparta, and the ample streets 60



118 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IV.

Of rich Mycenae ; work on them thy will ;

Destroy them, if thine anger they incur;

T will not interpose, nor hinder thee ;

Mourn them I shall ; reluctant see their fall,

But not resist ; for sovereign is thy will. 65

Tet should my labours not be fruitless all ;

Tor I too am a God ; my blood is thine ;

"Worthy of honour, as the eldest born

Of deep-designing Saturn, and thy wife ;

Thine, who o'er all th' Immortals reign'st supreme.70

But yield we each to other, I to thee,

And thou to me ; the other Gods will all

By us be rul'd. On Pallas then enjoin

That to the battle-field of Greece and Troy

She haste, and so contrive that Trojans first 75

May break the treaty, and the Greeks assail."

She said : the Sire of Gods and men complied,
And thus with winged words to Pallas spoke :
" Go to the battle-field of Greece and Troy
In haste, and so contrive that Trojans first 80

May break the treaty, and the Greeks assail."

His words fresh impulse gave to Pallas' zeal,



Boosrv. HOMER'S ILIAD. 119

And from Olympus' heights in haste she sped ;

Like to a meteor, that, of grave portent

To warring armies or sea-faring men, 85

The son of deep-designing Saturn sends,

Bright-flashing, scatt'ring fiery sparks around,

The blue-ey'd Goddess darted down to earth,

And lighted in the midst ; amazement held

The Trojan warriors and the well-greav'd Greeks ; 90

And one to other look'd and said, " "WTiat means

This sign ? Must fearful battle rage again,

Or may we hope for gentle peace from Jove,

"Who to mankind dispenses peace and war % "

Such was the converse Greeks and Trojans held. 95

Pallas meanwhile, amid the Trojan host,

Clad in the likeness of Antenor's son,

Laodocus, a spearman stout and brave,

Search' d here and there, if haply she might find

The godlike Pandarus ; Lycaon's son 100

She found, of noble birth and stalwart form,

Standing, encircled by his sturdy band

Of bucklered followers from iEsepus' stream.

She stood beside him, and address'd him thus :



120 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IV

" Wilt thou by me be ruled, Lycaon's son ? 105
For durst thou but at Menelaus shoot
Thy winged arrow, great would be thy fame,
And great thy favour with the men of Troy,
And most of all with Paris ; at his hand
Thou shalt receive rich guerdon, when he hears 110
That warlike Menelaus, by thy shaft
Subdued, is laid upon the fun'ral pyre.
Bend then thy bow at Atreus' glorious son,
Vowing to Phoebus, Lycia's guardian God,
The Archer-King, to pay of firstling lambs 115

An ample hecatomb, when home return'd
In safety to Zeleia's sacred town."
Thus she ; and, fool, he listen'd to her words.
Straight he micas' d his polish'd bow, his spoil
Won from a mountain ibex, which himself, 120

In ambush lurking, through the breast had shot,
True to his aim, as from behind a crag
He came in sight ; prone on the rock he fell ;
With horns of sixteen palms his head was crown'd ;
These deftly wrought a skilful workman's hand, 125
And polish'd smooth, and tipp'd the ends with gold.



Book IV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 121.

He bent, and resting on the ground his bow,

Strung it anew ; his faithful comrades held

Their shields before him, lest the sons of Greece

Should make their onset ere his shaft could reach 130

The warlike Menelaus, Atreus' son.

His quiver then withdrawing from its case.

With care a shaft he chose, ne'er shot before,

Well-feather'd, messenger of pangs and death ;

The stinging arrow fitted to the string, 135

And vow'd to Phoebus, Lycia's guardian God,

The Archer-King, to pay of firstling lambs

An ample hecatomb, when home return'd

In safety to Zeleia's sacred town.

At once the sinew and the notch he drew ; 140

The sinew to his breast, and to the bow

The iron head ; then, when the mighty bow

Was to a circle strain'd, sharp rang the horn,

And loud the sinew twang'd, as tow'rd the crowd

With deadly speed the eager arrow sprang. 145

Nor, Menelaus, was thy safety then
Uncar'd for of the Gods ; Jove's daughter first,
Pallas, before thee stood, and t urn 'd aside



122 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IV.

The pointed arrow ; turn'd it so aside

As when a mother from her infant's cheek, 150

"Wrapt in sweet slumbers, brushes off a fly ;

Its course she so directed that it struck

Just where the golden clasps the belt restrain'd,

And where the breastplate, doubled, check'd its force.

On the close-fitting belt the arrow struck; 155

Eight through the belt of curious workmanship

It drove, and through the breastplate richly wrought,

And through the coat of mail he wore beneath,

His inmost guard and best defence to check

The hostile weapons' force ; yet onward still 160

The arrow drove, and graz'd the hero's flesh.

Forth issued from the wound the crimson blood.

As when some Carian or Mseonian maid,

With crimson dye the ivory stains, designed

To be the cheek-piece of a warrior's steed, 105

By many a valiant horseman coveted,

As in the house it lies, a monarch's boast,

The horse adorning, and the horseman's pride :

So, Menelaus, then thy graceful thighs, 169

And knees, and ancles, with thy blood were dy'd.



Book IV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 123

Great Agamemnon shudder'd as he saw
The crimson drops out-welling from the wound ;
Shudder'd the warlike Menelaus' self;
But when not buried in his flesh he saw
The- barb and sinew, back his spirit came. 175

Then deeply groaning, Agamemnon spoke,
As Menelaus by the hand he held,
And with him groan'd his comrades : " Brother dear,
I wrought thy death when late, on compact sworn,
I sent thee forth alone for Greece to fight ; ISO

"Wounded by Trojans, who their plighted faith
Have trodden under foot ; but not in vain
Are solemn cov'nants and the blood of lambs,
The treaty wine outpoured, and hand-plight given,
Wherein men place their trust ; if not at once, 185
Yet soon or late will Jove assert their claim ;
And heavy penalties the perjured pay
With their own blood, their children's, and their wives'.
So in my inmost soul full well I know
The day shall come when this imperial Troy, 190
And Priam's race, and Priam's royal self,
Shall in one common rain be overthrown ;



124: HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IV.

And Saturn's son himself, high-throned Jove,
Who dwells in Heav'n, shall in their faces flash
His aegis dark and dread, this treach'rous deed 195
Avenging ; this shall surely come to pass.
But, Menelaus, deep will be my grief,
If thou shouldst perish, meeting thus thy fate.
To thirsty Argos should I then return
By foul disgrace o'erwhehn'd ; for, with thy fall, 200
The Greeks will mind them of their native land ;
And as a trophy to the sons of Troy
The Argive Helen leave ; thy bones meanwhile
Shall moulder here beneath a foreign soil,
Thy work undone ; and with insulting scorn 205

Some vaunting Trojan, leaping on the tomb
Of noble Menelaus, thus shall say :
* On all his foes may Agamemnon so
His wrath accomplish, who hath hither led
Of Greeks a mighty army, all in vain ; 210

And bootless home with empty ships hath gone,
And valiant Menelaus left behind ;'
Thus when men speak, gape, earth, and hide my shame."
To whom the fair-hair'd Menelaus thus



BookIV. HOMER'S ILIAD. i25

With cheering words : " Fear not thyself, nor cause
The troops to fear : the arrow hath not tonch'd 21 G
A vital part : the sparkling belt hath first
Turn'd it aside, the doublet next beneath,
And coat of mail, the work of arm'rer's hands."

To whom the monarch Agamemnon thus : 220

" Dear Menelaus, may thy words be true !
The leech shall tend thy wound, and spread it o'er
With healing ointments to assuage the pain."

He said, and to the sacred herald call'd : 221

" Haste thee, Talthybius ! summon with all speed
The son of ^Esculapius, peerless leech,
Machaon ; bid him hither haste to see
The warlike Menelaus, chief of Greeks,
Who by an arrow from some practis'd hand,
Trojan or Lycian, hath receiv'd a wound ; 230

A cause of boast to them, to us of grief."

He said , nor did the herald not obey,
But through the brass-clad ranks of Greece he pass'd,
In search of brave Machaon ; him he found
Standing, by buckler'd warriors bold begirt, 235

Who follow'd him from Trica's grassy plains.



126 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IV.



He stood beside him, and address'd liim tlms :

" Up, son of .zEsculapius ! Atreus' son,

The mighty monarch, summons thee to see

The warlike Menelaus, chief of Greeks, 210

"Who by an arrow from some practis'd hand,

Trojan or Lycian, hath receiv'd a wound ;

A cause of boast to them, to us of grief."

Thus he ; and not unmov'd Machaon heard : 241
They thro' the crowd, and thro' the wide-spread host,
Together took their way ; but when they came
Where fair-hair'd Menelaus, wounded, stood,
Around him in a ring the best of Greece,
And in the midst the godlike chief himself,
From the close-fitting belt the shaft he drew, 250

Breaking the pointed barbs ; the sparkling belt
He loosen'd, and the doublet underneath,
And coat of mail, the work of arm'rer's hand.
But when the wound appear'd in sight, where sr^uck
The stinging arrow, from the clotted blood 255

He clean s'd it, and applied with skilful hand
The herbs of healing power, which Chiron erst
In friendly guise upon his sire bestowed.



BookIY. HOMEB'S ILIAD. 127

While round the valiant Menelaus they
"Were thus engag'd, advanc'd the Trojan hosts : 260
They donn'd their arms, and for the fight prepar'd.
In Agamemnon then no trace was seen
Of laggard sloth, no shrinking from the fight,
But full of ardour to the field he rush'd.
He left his horses and brass-mounted ear 265

(The champing horses by Eurymedon,
The son of Ptolemy, Peiraeus' son,

"Were held aloof), but with repeated charge

Still to be near at hand, when faint with toil

His limbs should fail him marshalling his host. 270

Himself on foot the warrior ranks array'd ;

"With cheering words addressing whom he found

"With zeal preparing for the battle-field :

" Relax not, valiant friends, your warlike toil ;

For Jove to falsehood ne'er will give his aid ; 275

And they who first, regardless of their oaths,

Have broken truce, shall with their flesh themselvea

The vultures feed, while we, their city raz'd,

Their wives and helpless children bear away."

But whom remiss and shrinking from the war 2S0



128 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IV.

He found, with keen rebuke he thus assail'd ;

"Ye wretched Greeks, your country's foul reproach,

Have ye no sense of shame ? Why stand ye thus

Like timid fawns, that in the chase run down,

Stand all bewildered, spiritless and tame ? 285

So stand ye now, nor dare to face the fight.

What ! will ye wait the Trojans' near approach,

Where on the beach, beside the hoary deep,

Our goodly ships are drawn, and see if Jove

Will o'er you his protecting hand extend ?" 290

As thus the King the serried ranks review'd,
He came where thronging round their skilful chief
Idomeneus, the warlike bands of Crete
Were arming for the fight ; Idomeneus,
Of courage stubborn as the forest boar, 295

The foremost ranks array'd ; Meriones
The rearmost squadrons had in charge ; with joy
The monarch Agamemnon saw, and thus
With accents bland Idomeneus address'd :

" Idomeneus, above all other Greeks, 300

In battle and elsewhere, I honour thee ;
And in the banquet, where the noblest mix



Book IV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 129

The ruddy wine for chiefs alone reserved,
Though others drink their share, yet by thy side
Thy cup, like mine, still new replenish'd stands 305
To drink at pleasure. Up then to the fight,
Lnd show thyself the warrior that thou art."

To whom the Cretan King, Idomeneus :
" In me, Atrides, thou shalt ever find,
As at the first I promis'd, comrade true ; 310

But go, and stir the other long-haired Greeks
To speedy battle ; since the Trojans now
The truce have broken ; and defeat and death
Must wait on those who have their oaths forsworn."

He said, and Agamemnon went his way 315

Rejoicing ; through the crowd he pass'd, and came
"Where stood th' Ajaces ; them, in act to arm,
Amid a cloud of infantry he found ;
And as a goat-herd from his watch-tow'r crag
Beholds a cloud advancing o'er the sea, 320

By Zephyr's breath impell'd ; as from afar
He gazes, black as pitch, it sweeps along
O'er the dark ocean's face, and with it brings
A hurricane of rain ; he, shudd'ring, sees,

VOL. I. k



130 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IV

And drives his flock beneath the sheltering cave : 325
So thick and dark, about th' Ajaces stirr'd,
Impatient for the war, the stalwart youths,
Black masses, bristling close with spear and shield.

Well pleas'd,the monarch Agamemnon saw, 329
And thus address'd them : " Yaliant chiefs, to you,
The leaders of the brass-clad Greeks, I give
('T were needless and unseemly) no commands ;
For well ye understand your troops to rouse
To deeds of dauntless courage ; would to Jove,
To Pallas and Apollo, that such mind 335

As is in you, in all the camp were found ;
Then soon should Priam's lofty city fall,
Tak'n and destroy'd by our victorious hands."

Thus saying, them he left, and onward mov'd.
Nestor, the smooth-tongu'd Pylian chief, he fou'nd340
The troops arraying, and to valiant deeds
His friends encouraging ; stout Pelagon,
Alastor, Chromius, Hamion, warlike Prince,
And Bias bold, his people's sure defence.
In the front rank, with chariot and with horse, 345
He plac'd the car -borne warriors ; in the rear,



Book IV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 131

Num'rous and brave, a cloud of infantry,

Compactly mass'd, to stem the tide of war,

Between the two he plac'd th' inferior troops, 349

That e'en against their will they needs must fight.

The horsemen first he charg'd, and bade them keep

Their horses well in hand, nor wildly rush

Amid the tumult : " See," he said, " that none,

In skill or valour over-confident,

Advance before his comrades, nor alone 355

Retire ; for so your lines were easier forc'd ;

But ranging each beside a hostile car,

Thrust with your spears ; for such the better way ;

By men so disciplin'd, in elder days

Were lofty walls and fenced towns destroy'd." 360

Thus he, experienc'd in the wars of old ;
"Well pleas'd,the monarch Agamemnon saw,
And thus address'd him ; " Would to Heav'n, old man,
That, as thy spirit, such too were thy strength
And vigour of thy limbs ; but now old age, 3G5

The common lot of mortals, weighs thee down ;
Would I could see some others in thy place,
And thou couldst still be numbered with the young !"



132 HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IV.

To whom Gerenian Nestor thus replied :
" Atrides, I too fain would see restor'd 370

The strength I once possess'd, what time I slew
The godlike Ereuthalion ; hut the Gods
On man hestow not all their gifts at once ;
I then was young, and now am how'd with age,
Yet with the chariots can I still go forth, 375

And aid with sage advice : for such the right
And privilege of age ; to hurl the spear
Belongs to younger men, who after me
Were born, who boast their vigour unimpair'd."

He said ; and Agamemnon went his way, 380

Rejoicing : to Menestheus next he came,
The son of Peteus, charioteer renown'd;
Him found he, circled by th' Athenian bands,
The raisers of the war-cry ; close beside
The sage Ulysses stood, around him rang'd, 385

Not unrenown'd, the Cephalonian troops :
The sound of battle had not reach'd their ears ;
For but of late the Greek and Trojan hosts
Were set in motion ; they expecting stood,
Till other Grecian columns should advance, 390



book IV. HOMEK'S ILIAD. 133

Assail the Trojans, and renew the war.

Atrides saw, and thus, reproachful, spoke :
" O son of Peteus, Heav'n-descended King '.
And thou too, master of all tricky arts,
Why, ling'ring, stand ye thus aloof, and wait 395
For others coming ? ye should be the first
The hot assault of battle to confront ;
For ye are first my summons to receive,
Whene'er the honour'd banquet we prepare :
And well ye like to eat the sav'ry meat, 400

And, at your will, the luscious wine-cups drain :
Now stand ye here, and unconcern'd would see-
Ten columns pass before you to the fight."

To whom, with stern regard, Ulysses thus : 4-04
" What words have pass'd the barrier of thy lips,
Atrides ? how with want of warlike zeal
Canst thou reproach us? when the Greeks again
The furious war shall waken, thou shalt see
(If that thou care to see) amid the ranks
Of Trov, the father of Telemachus 410

1\ the fore-front: thy words are empty wind,"

Atrides saw him chafed, and smiling, thus



134: HOMEE'S ILIAD. Book IV.

Recalled his former words : " Ulysses sage,
Laertes' high-born son, not over-much
I give thee blame, or orders ; for I know 415

Thy mind to gentle counsels is inclin'd ;
Thy thoughts are one with mine ; then come, hence-
forth
Shall all be well ; and if a hasty word
Have pass'd, may Heaven regard it as unsaid."

Thus saying, them he left, and onward mov'd. 420
The son of Tydeus, valiant Diomed,
Standing he found amid his warlike steeds
And well-built cars ; beside him, Sthenelns,
The son of Capaneus ; Atrides saw,
And thus address'd him with reproachful words : 425
" Alas ! thou son of Tydeus, wise and bold,
"Why crouch with fear ? why thus appalFd survey
The pass of war ? not so had Tydeus crouch'd ;
His hand was ever readv from their foes
To guard his comrades ; so, at least, they say 430
Whose eyes beheld his labours ; I myself
Nor met him e'er, nor saw ; but, by report,
Thy father was the foremost man of men.



Book IV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 135

A. stranger to Mycence once he came,

With godlike Polynices ; not at war, 435

But seeking succour for the troops that lay

Encamp'd before the sacred walls of Thebes ;

For reinforcements earnestly they sued ;

The boon they ask'd was granted them, but Jove

With unpropitious omens turn'd them back. 440

Advancing on their journey, when they reach'd

Asopus' grassy banks and rushes deep,

The Greeks upon a mission Tydeus sent :

He went ; and many Thebans there he found

Feasting in Eteocles' royal hall : 445

Amid them all, a stranger and alone,

He stood unterrified, and challeng'd all

To wrestle with him, and with ease o'erthrew :

So mighty was the aid that Pallas gave.

Whereat indignant, they, on his return, 450

An ambush set, of fifty chosen youths ;

Two were their leaders ; Hsemon's godlike son,

Mseon, and Lycophontes, warrior brave,

Son of Autophonus ; and these too far'd

But ill at Tydeus' hand ; he slew them all : 455



/



136 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IV.

Mason alone, obedient to the Gods,
He spar'd, and bade him bear the tidings home.
Such Tydeus was : though greater in debate,
His son will never rival him in arms."

He said : brave Diomed in silence heard, 460

Submissive to the monarch's stern rebuke ;
Then answer'd thus the son of Capaneus :
" Atrides, speak not falsely : well thou know'st
The truth, that we our fathers far surpass.
The seven-gated city, Thebes, we took, 465

"With smaller force beneath the wall of Mars,
Trusting to heav'nly signs, and fav'ring Jove,
Where they by blind, presumptuous folly fail'd ;
Then equal not our fathers' deeds with ours."

To whom thus Diomed, with stern regard : 470
" Father, be silent ; hearken to my words :
I blame not Agamemnon, King of men,
Who thus to battle stirs the weil-greav'd Greeks :
His will the glory be if we o'ercome
The valiant Trojans, and their city take ; 475

Great too his loss if they o'er us prevail :
Then come, let us too for the fight prepare "



BookIV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 137

He said ; and from the car leap'd down in arms :
Fierce rang the armonr on the warrior's breast,
That ev'n the stoutest heart might quail with fear.

As by the west wind driv'n, the ocean waves 481
Dash forward on the far-resounding shore,
"Wave upon wave ; first curls the ruffled sea
With whit'ning crests ; anon with thund'ring roar
It breaks upon the beach, and from the crags 4Sc
Recoiling flings in giant curves its head
Aloft, and tosses high the wild sea-spray :
Column on column, so the hosts of Greece
Pour'd, ceaseless, to the war ; to each the chiefs
Their orders gave ; the rest in silence mov'd : 490
Nor would ye deem that mighty mass endued
With power of speech, so silently they moved
In awe of their great captains : far around
Flashed the bright armour they were girt withal.

On th' other hand, the Trojans, as the flocks 495
That in the court-yard of some wealthy Lord
In countless numbers stand, at milking-time,
Incessant bleating, as their lambs they hear :
So rose their mingled clamours through the camp ;



138 HOMEK'S ILIAD. Book IV.

For not one language nor one speech was there, 500
But many nations call'd from distant lands :
These Mars inspir'd, and those the blue-ey'd Maid ;
And Fear, and Flight, and Discord unappeas'd,
Of blood-stain'd Mars the sister and the friend :
"With humble crest at first, anon her head, 505

While yet she treads the earth, affronts the skies.
The gage of battle in the midst she threw,
Strode through the crowd, and woe to mortals wrought.
When to the midst they came, together rush'd
Bucklers and lances, and the furious might 510

Of mail-clad warriors ; bossy shield on shield
Clatter'd in conflict ; loud the clamour rose.
Then rose too mino-led shouts and groans of men
Slaying and slain ; the earth ran red with blood. 514
As when, descending from the mountain's brow,
Two wintry torrents, from their copious source
Pour downward to the narrow pass, where meet
Their mingled waters in some deep ravine,
Their weight of flood ; on the far mountain's side
The shepherd hears the roar ; so loud arose 52"

The shouts and yells of those commingling hosts.



Book IV. HOMEE'S ILIAD. 139

First 'mid the foremost ranks Antilochus
A Trojan warrior, Echepolus, slew,
A crested chief, Thalesius' noble son.
Beneath his horsehair-plumed helmet's peak 525

The sharp spear struck ; deep in his forehead fix'd
It pierc'd the bone ; then darkness veil'd his eyes,
And, like a tow'r, amid the press he fell.
Him Elephenor, brave Abantian chief,
Son of Chalcoclon, seizing by the feet, 530

Dragg'd from beneath the darts, in haste to strip
His armour off ; but short-liv'd was th' attempt ;
For bold Asenor mark'd him as he drew
The corpse aside, and with his brass-tipp'd spear 534
Thrust through his flank, unguarded, as he stoop'd,
Beside his sliield ; and slack'd his limbs in death.
The spirit was fled ; but hotly o'er him rag'd
The war of Greeks and Trojans ; fierce as wolves
They fought, man struggling hand to hand with man.

Then Ajax Telamon a stalwart youth,
Son of Anthemion, Simoisius, slew ;
Whose mother gave him birth on Simois' banks,
When with her parents down from Ida's heights



140 HOMER'S ILIAD. Book IV.

She drove her flock ; thence Simoisius nam'd :

Not destined he his parents to repay 545

Their early care ; for short his term of life,

By godlike Ajax' mighty spear subdued.

Him, to the front advancing, in the breast,

By the right nipple, Ajax struck ; right through, 549

From front to back, the brass-tipp'd spear was driv'n,

Out through the shoulder ; prone in dust he fell ;

As some tall poplar, grown in marshy mead,

Smooth-stemm'd, with branches tapering tow'rd the

head ;
Which with the biting axe the wheelwright fells,
To bend the felloes of his well-built car ; 555

Sapless, beside the river, lies the tree ;
So lay the youthful Simoisius, felled
By godlike Ajax' hand. At him, in turn,
The son of Priam, Antiphus, encas'd
In radiant armour, from amid the crowd 560

His jav'lin threw ; his mark, indeed, he miss a ;
But through the groin Ulysses' faithful friena,
Leucus, he struck, in act to bear away
The youthful dead ; down on the corpse he fell,

I



Book IV. HOMER'S ILIAD. 141

And, dying, of the dead relax'd his grasp. 565

Fierce anger, at his comrade's slaughter, filled
Ulysses' breast ; in burnished armour clad
Forward he rush'd ; and standing near, around
He look'd, and pois'd on high his glitt'ring lance :
Beneath his aim the Trojans back recoil'd ; 570

Nor vainly flew the spear ; Democoon,


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