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(Each o'er his flying courfer hung in air)

Ere6l with ardour, pois'd upon the rein,

They pant, they ftretch, they fliout along the plain. 450

Now, (the laft compafs fetch'd around the goal)

At the near prize each gathers all his foul,

Each burns with double hope, with double pain.

Tears up the fliore, and thunders tow'rd the main.

Firft flew Eumelus on Pheretrlan deeds; 455

With thofe of Tros, bold DIomed fucceeds ;

Clofe on Eumelus' back they puff the wind,

And feem juil: mounting on his car behind;

V. 458. AndfcemjuJ} viountingon his car lehincl.~\h.
more natural image t)ian this could not be thought of.
The poet makes us i"pe(5tators of the race, we fee Dio-


Boole XXIIT. H O :M E R's ILIA D. 19I

Full on his neck he feels the fultry breeze.

And hov'ring o'er, their flretching fliadows fees. 460

Then had he loft, or left a doubtful prize ;

But angry Phoebus to Tydides flics.

Strikes from his hand the fcourge, and renders vain

His matchlefs horles labour on the plain.

Rage fills his eye with anguilh, to furvey 465

Snatch'd from his hope, the glories of the day,

med prefling upon Eumelus fo clofely, that his charicTt
feems to climb the chariot of Eumelus. ,

V. /^6^. Rage f Us his eye moi-th anguifh to furvey^ etc.]
We have feen Diomed furrounded v/ith innumerable dan-
gers ading in the mod perilous fcenes of blood and death,
yet never fhed one tear : and now he weeps on a fmajl
occafion, for a mere trifle : this rauft be afcribed to the na-
ture of mankind, who are often traofported with trifles ;
and there are certain unguarded moments in every man's
life ; fo that he who could meet the greateft dangers with
intrepidity, may through anger be betrayed iKto an inde-
cency, Euftathius.

The reafbn why Apollo is angry at Diomed, accord-
ing to Euftathius, is becaufe he was Interefted for Eu-
melus, whofe mares he had fed, when he ferved Admetus;
but I fancy lie is under a miftake : this indeed'is a reafon
why he fliould favour Eumelus, btit not why he fliould
be angry art Diomed. I rather think "that the quarrel of
Apollo with Diomed was perfonal ; becaufe he offered
him a violence in the fifth book, and Apollo ftill refents it.

The fi<flion of Minerva's aififting Diomed is grounded
upon his being fb wife as to take a couple of whips to
prevent any mifchance : {q that Wifdom, or Pallas, may
be faid to lend him one. Euftathius.

Vol. IV. R

194 HOME R's ILIA D. Book XXIII,

The fraud celellial Pallas fees with pain,

Springs to her knight, and gives the fcourge again,

And fills his deeds with vigour. At a ftroke.

She breaks his rival's chariot from the yoke ; 470

No more their way the ftartled horfes held ;

The car revers'd came ratling on the field ;

Shot headlong from his feat, befide the wheel,

Prone on the duft th' unhappy mafter fell ;

Kis battered face and elbows ftrike the ground; 475

Nofe, mouth and front, one undiftinguifh'd wound ;

drief ftops his voice, a torrent drowns his eyes ;

Before him far the glad Tydides flies ;

Minerva's fpirk drives his mat chiefs pace.

And crowns him vi6lor of the labour'd race. 480

The next, tho' diftant, Menelaus fucceeds ;

"While thus young Neftor animates his deeds.

Now. now^ my genVous pair, exert your force :

Not that we hope to match Tydides* horfe,

Since great Minerva wings their rapid way, 48)

And gives their lord the honours of the day,

V. 4S3. The fpcech of Antilochus to his horfes J] I fear
Antilochus his fpeech to his horfes is blameable ; Eufla-
thius himfelf ieems to think it a fault that he fhould
fpeak fo much in the very heat of the race. He com-
mands and fooths, counfels and threatens his horfes, as
if they were reafonable creatures. The fubfequent fpeech
t)f Menelaus is more excufable as it is more ihort, but.
both of tliem are fpoken in a pafTion, and anger we know
makes us fpeak to every thing and M^e difchurge it upon
the mod fcnfclefs abieds.

Book XXIII. H O M E R's ILIA D. 195

But reach Atrides ! fliall his mare out-go

Your fwiftncfs ? vanquiHi'd by a female foe f

Th ro' ycur negledl, if lagging on tlie plain

The laft ignoble gift be all we gain ; . 490

No more fhall Neftor's hand your food fupply,

The old man's fury rifes, and ye die.

Hafle then ; yon' narrow road before our fight

Prefents th' occafion, could we ufe it riglit.

Thus he. The courfers at their mafter's threat 495
"With quicker fteps the founding champain beat.
And now Aiitilochus with nice furvey,
Obferves the corapafs cf the hollow way.
*Twas where by force of wintry torrents torn,
Fafl by the road a precipice was worn ; 500

Here, where but one could pafs, to fhun the throng
The Spartan hero's chariot fmoak'd along.
Clofe up the vent'rous youth refolves to keep,
Still edging near, and bears him tow'rd the fteep.
Atrides, trembling cafts his eye below, 5:05

And wonders at the rafhnefs of his foe.

Hold, (lay your fleeds What madncfs thus to ride

Tliis narrow way ; take larger field (he cry'd)

Or both mufl fall Atrides cry'd in vaip ;

He flies more faft, and throws up all the rein, 51O
Far as an able arm the disk can fend.
When youthful rivals their full force extend.
So far, Antilcchus ! thy chariot flew
Before the king : he cautious, backward drew

R 2


His horfe compeird ; foreboding in his fears 515

The rattling ruin of the clafhing cars.

The flound'ring courfers rolling on the plain,

And conqueft loft thro' frantic hafte to gain :

Bur thus upbraids his rival as he flies ;

Go, furious youth, ungen'rous and unwife ! 5 20

Go, but exped not I'll the prize refign :

Add perjury to fraud, and make it thine——

Then to his fteeds with all his force he cries ;

Be fwift, be vig'rous, and regain the prize !

Your rivals, deftitute of youthful force, 525

With fainting knees ihall labour in the course,

/\nd yield the glory yours— -The (teeds obey;

Already at their heels they wing their y/ay.

And feem already to retrieve the day.

Meantime the Grecians in a ring beheld 530

The couriers bounding o'er the du.^y field.
The fird who mark'd them was the Cretan king ;
TTigh on a rlfing ground, above the ring.
The monarch fate : from whence with fare furvey
Tie well obferv'd the chief v/ho led the way, 535

And heard from far his animating cries,
And faw the foremofl: fteed with fliarpen'd eyes;
On whofe broad front, a blaze of fhlning white
Like the full moon, ftood obvious to the fight.
He faw; and rifing, to the Greeks begun. ^40

Are yonder horfe difcern'd by me alone ?
Or can ye, all, another chief furvey,
And other fteeds, than lately led the way ?

Book XXIII. H O M E R's ILIAD. 197

Thofe, the' the fwifteft, by fome God with-held,

Lie fare dlfabled in the middle field : 54 f

For fince the goal they doubled, round the plain

I fearch to find them, but I fearch in vain.

Perchance the reins forfook the driver's hand.

And J turn'd too fliort, he tumbled on the ftrand,

Shot from the chariot;' while his courfers ftray 5/^©

With frantic fury from the deftin'd way.

Rife then fome other, and inform my fight,

(For thefe dim eyes, perhaps, difcern not right)

Yet fure he feems, (to judge by fliape and air,

Tiie great jEtolian chief, renown 'd in war. rj j

"Old man ! (Oileus rafhly thus replies)
Thy tongue too haftily confers the prize.
Of tliofe who view the courfe, not fnarpeft ey'd.
Nor youngeil, yet the readied: to decide.
EumelusTteeds high-bounding in the chace, 56Q

Still, as at firft, unrivall'd lead the race :
I well difctin him, as he fnakes die rein,
And hear uis fiiours victorious o'er the plain.
Thus he. Idomeneus incens'd rejoin'd.
Barb'rous oi words ! and arrogant of mind I ^^c

V. 565. T'/'e difpute beinveen Jdomeneus ana Jj..'xr\
Nc'Mng could be^nore naturally imagined than this con-
tention at a horfe-race : the leaders were divided into
parties, ^nd each v/as interefted for his friend : the poet,
had a two-fold defign, not only to embellifh anddiverfi-
fy his poem by fuch natural circumftances, but alfo to
i\\f,v us, iis Eudathius obfenes, from the conduft of j^jax^
that paflionate men betray themfelves into follies, and


198 HO M E R's ILIA D. Book XXIII.

Contentious prince, of all the Greeks befide

The lad in merit, as the iirfl in pride.

To vile reproach what anfwer can we make ?

A goblet or a tripod let us (take.

And be the king the judge. The moft unwife 5 70

Will learn their rafimefs, when they pay the price.

He faid. : and Ajax by mad paflion borne.
Stern had reply'd ; fierce fcorn enhancing fcom

are themfelves guilty of the faults of which they accufe

ft is with a particular dicenc/ that Homer makes A-
chilles the arbitrator between Idomeneus and Ajax : A-j
gamemnon was his fiiperior in the army, but as Achilles
exhibited the (hows, he was the proper judge of any difJ
ference tliat ihould arife about them. Had the conte{
been bet^veen Ajax and Idomeneus, confidered as foldiers,
the caufe muft have been brought before Agamemnon
but as they are to be confidered as lped:ators of the gamesJ
they ought to be determined by Achilles.

It may not be unneceffary jull to obferve to the readei
tlie judicioufnels of Homer's condu(ft in making Achillea
exhibit the games, and not Agamemnon : Achilles is the
hero of the poem, and confequently muft be the chief
a<5lor in all the great fcenes of it : he had remained inac-
tive during a great part of the poem, yet the poet makes
his very ina(5livity contribute to the carrying on the de-
iign of his Ilias : and to fupply his abfence from many
of the bufy fcenes of the preceding parts of it, he now
in the conclufion makes him almoft the fole agent : by
thefe means he leaves a noble idea of his hero upon the
, mind of his reader ; as he raifed our expectations when
he brought him upon the ftage of a(5l:ion, fo he makes
Inm go olf with the utmod pomp and applaufe.


To fell extreams. But Thetis' godlike fon
Awful amidft them rofe, and thus begun.

Forbear, ye chiefs ! reproachful to contend ;
Much would ye blame, fhould others thus offend :
And lo ! th' approaching deeds your conteft end.
No fooner had he fpoke, but thund'ring near.
Drives, thro' a ftream of duft, the charioteer ; 5 8®

High o'er his head the circling lafh he wields ;
His bounding horfes fcarcely touch the fields :
His car amidft the dufty whirlwind roll'd.
Bright with the mingled blaze of tin and gold.
Refulgent thro' die cloud : no eye could find . 58^

The track his flying wheels had left behind :
And the fierce courfers urg'd their rapid pace
So fwift, it feem'd a flight, and not a race.
Now vi(5lor at the goal Tydides (lands.
Quits his bright car, and fprings upon the fands ; 590
From the hot fteeds the fweaty torrents ftream j
The well-ply'd whip is hung athwart the beam :

V. 5 8 1 . High o'er his head the circling lafh he ivields."]
1 am perfuaded that the common tranflation of the word
Kcclcof^xTov, in the original of this verfe, is faulty : it is
rendered^ he lajhed the horfes continually over the fJooul'
ders ; whereas 1 fancy it fhould he tranflated thus, afidue
(equos) agitabat fcutica ab humero dii^a. This natu-
rally exprefl'es the very adHon, and whirl of the whip 0-
ver the driver's fhoulder in the a<ft of lafhing the horfes,
and agrees with the ufe of the fame word in the 431ft
line of this book, where »§« S/V«» >c«r6;*i«^/o<o muft be
• tranflated jadm difci ab ku7nero vibraH,

With joy brave Sthenelus receives the prize.
The tripod-vafe, and dame with radiant eyes :
Thefe to the fhips his train triumphant leads, 50 j

The chief himfelf unyokes the panting deeds.

Young Neftor follows (who by art, not force,
O'er-paft Atrides) fecond in th.e courfe.
Behind, Atrides urg'd the race, more near
Than to the courfer in his fwift c\reer ()03

The following car, juft touching with his heel
And bruflilng with his tail the whirling wheel.
Such, and To narrow now the fpace between
The rivals, late fo diftant on the green;
So foon fwift iEthe her loft ground regain'd, ^o^

One length, one moment had the race obtain'd.

Merion purfu'd, at greater diftance ftill.
With tardier courfers, and inferior flviil.
Laft Came, Admetus ! thy unhappy fon ;
Slow dragg'd the fteeds his batter'd chariot on : C/.q
Achilles faw, and pitying thus begun.

Behold ! the man whofe matchlefs art furpaft
The fons of Greece ! the ableft, yet the laft !
Fortune denies,, but juftice bids us pay
(Since great Tydides bears the firft away) S>6i j

To him the fecond honours of the day.

V. 614. Fortune cUnieSy but jufllce, etc. 3 Achilles
here intends to fliew, that it is not juft, fortune (hould
rule over virtue, but that a brave man who had per-
formed his duty, and who did not bring upon himfelf
his misfortune, ought to have the recompence he has
deferved : and this principle is juft, provided we do not

Book XXin. H O M E R's ILIA D. 201

The Greeks confent with loud applauding cries,
And then Eumelus had receiv'd the prize,
But youthful Neftor, jealous of his fame^
Th' award oppofes, and aflerts his claim. 62&

Think not (he cries) I tamely will refigti
O Peleus' fon ! the mare fo juftly mine.
What if the Gods, the skilful to confound.
Have thrown the horfe and horfeman to the ground !
Perhaps he fought not heav'n by facrifice, 62^5

And vows omitted forfeited the prize.
If yet, (diftin<fHon to thy friend to fliow,
-And pleafe a foul defirous to beftow,)
Some gift muft grace Eumelus ; view thy ftore
Of beauteous handmaids, fteeds, and fhining ore, 630
An ample prefent let him thence receive.
And Greece fhall praife thy gen*roas thirft to give.
But this my prize I never fhall forego ;
This, who but touches, warriors I is my foe.

reward liim at the expence of another's right : Eumelus is
a ThefTalian, and it is probable Achilles has a partiality to
his countryman. Dacier.

v. 633. But this, my prize i J never shall for ego » — ~\
There is an air of bravery in this difcourfe of Antilochus:
he fpeaks with the generofity of a gallant foldier, and
prefers his honour to hii intereft : he tells Achilles if he
pleafes he may make Eumelus a richer prefent than his
prize ; he is not concerned for the value of it ; but as it
was the reward of vicflory, he would not refign it, be-
caufe that would be an ackaowledgment that Eumelus de-
ferved it.

The charader of Antilochus is admirably fuftained
through this whole epifode ; he is a very fenfible man,

201 H O M E R's ILIAD. Book XXIH.

Thus fpake the youth ; nor did his words offend j 635
Pleas 'd with the well-tun'd flatt'ry of a friend,
Achilles fmii'd : the gift proposed (he cry'd)
Antilochus ! we fliall ourfelf provide.
With plates of brafs the corfelet cover'd o'er,"
(The fame renown'd Afteropaeus wore) 640

Vv' hofe glittVing margins rais'd with filvcr ihine,
(No vulgar gift) Eumelus, (hall be thine.

He faid : Automedon at his command
The corfelet brought, and gave it to his hand.
Di(Hngui{h'd by his friend, his bofom glows 64J

"With gen'rous joy : then Menelaus rofe ;
The herald plac'd the fceptre in his hands,
And ftiird the clamour of the fhouting bands*
Not without caufe incens'd at Neftor's fon.
And inly grieving, thus the king begun : 65O

The praife of wifdora, in thy youth obtained.
An adt fo rafh (Antilochus) has Ifcain'd,
Robb'd of my glory and my juft reward,
To you, O Grecians ! be my wrong declar'd :
So not a leader fiiall our condu(5l blame, 6SS

Or judge me envious of a rival's fame ;
But fliall not we, ourfelves, the truth maintain ?
What needs appealing in a fadl fo plain ?

but tranfported with youthful heat, and ambitious of
glory : his rafhnefs in driving fo furioufly agamft Me-
nelaus muii be imputed co this; bat his paiEcrss beiL^
gratified by the conqueil m the race, his rcafou again
returns, he owns his error, and is full wf isfi^aauon to

Book XXIII. H O M E R's ILIAD. 2©3

What Greek fli^ll blame me, if I bid thee rife,

And vindicate by oath th' ill-gotten prize ? 660

Rife if thou dar'ft, before tiiy chariot (land.

The driving fcourge high-lifted in thy hand,

And touch thy fteeds, and fwear, thy whole intent

Was but to conquer, not to circumvent.

Swear by that God whofe liquid arms furround 665

The globe, and whofe dread earthquakes heave the ground.

The prudent chief with calm attention heard, ;
Then mildly thus ; Excufe, if youth have err'd ;
Superior as thou art, forgive th' offence,
idor I thy equal, or in years, or fenfe. ^70

Thou know'ft the errors of unripen'd age.
Weak are its counfels, headlong is its rage.
The prize I quit, if thou thy wrath refign ;
The mare, or ought thou aflc'ft, be freely thine,
Ere I become (from thy dear friendlhip torn) 675

Hateful to thee, and to the Gods forfworn.

So fpake Antilochus ; and at the word
The mare contefled to the king reflor'd.

V. 66'i>. And touch thyjieeds, and pwear J It is

evident, fays Euftathius,from hence, that all fraud was for-
bid in the chariot race ; but it is not very plain what un-
lawful deceit Antilochus ufed againft Menelaus : perhaps
Antilochus in his halle had declined from the race-ground,
and avoided fbme of the uneven places of it, and confe-
quently took an unfair advantage of his adveriary ; or
perhaps his driving fb furioufly againft Menejaus, a« to
endanger both their chariots and their lives, mv^vi be
reckoned foul play ; and therefore Antilochus rcfufes ta
take the oath.

204 H O ^I E R's I L I AD. Book XXIII.

Joy fwells his foul, as when the vemal grain

Lifts the green ear above the fpringing plain, 680

The fields their vegetable life renew.

And laugh and giltter with the morning dew ;

Such joy the Spartan's fliining face o'er-fpread

And lifted his gay heart, while thus he faid.

Still may our fouls, O gen'rous youth ! agree, 58 J
'Tis now Atrides' turn to yield to thee.
Rafh heat perhaps a moment might controul,
Not bfeak, the fettled temper of thy foul.
Not but (my friend) 'tis ftill the wifer way
To wave contention with fuperior fway : ^go

Tor ah ! how few, who fhould like thee offend.
Like thee, have talents to regain the friend ?
To plead indulgence, and thy fault atone.
Suffice thy father's merit and thy own :

V. 679. jfoy fwe/Is his fault as nvhen the vernal
grainy etc.3 1

Eudathius is very large in the explication of this fimi* ||
litude, which at the firft view feems obfcure : his words
are thefe : l|

As the dew raifes the blades of corn, that are for want
of it weak and deprefl^d, and by pervading the pores of
the corn animates and makes it f^ourifli, fo did the be-
haviour of Antllochus raife the dejeded mind of Mene-
laus, exalt his fpirits, and reftorehim to a full fatisfadion.

I have given the reader his interpretation » and tranl-
lated it with the liberty of poetry : itis very much in the
Unguage of fciipture, and in the fpirit of the orientals,

- Gen'rous

Book XXIIT. H O M E Pv's ILIAD. SOj:

Gen'rous alike, for me, the fire and fon '695

Have greatly fiifFerVi, and have greatly done.
! yield ; that all may know, my foul can bend,
Nor is my pride preferr'd before my friend.

He faid ; and pleas'd his paiTion to command,
Rengn'd the courfer to Noemon's hand, 700

Friend of the youthfijl chief: himlclf content,

The ihining charger to his veflel fent.

The golden talents Merion next obtain'd ;

The fifth reward, the double bowl, remained.

Achilles this to rev'rend Neftor bears, loS

And thus the purpofe of his gift declares.

Accept thou this, O facred fre ! (he faid)
Ir dear memorial of Patroclus dead ;
Dead, and for ever loil Patroclus lies.
For ever fnatch'd from our deiiring eyes! 71D

V. 707. Accept thou thisi facred fire l~\ The poet
m my opinion preferves a great dcv^l ©f decency towards
this old hero and venerable counfellor : he ^ives him an
honorary reward for his fuperior wifdem, and therefore
Achilles calls it ci-s^^icT, and not ^&'^oy, a prize, and not
a prefent. The moral of Homer is, that princes ought
no lefs to honour and reco npence thofe who excel in
wifdom and counfel, than thofe who ai-e capable of adual

Achilles, perhaps, had a double view in paying him this
refpecl, not only out of deference to his age, and wifdom,
but alfo becaufe he had in a manner won the prize by
the advice he gave his fon ; fo that Nefbr may be faid
to have conquered in the perion of Andlochus. Euflu-


Vol. IV. S

2o6 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XXIII.

Take thou this token of a grateful heart,

Tho' 'tis not thine to hurl the diftant dait.

The quoit to tofs, the pond'rous mace to wield,

Or urge the race, or wredle on the field.

Thy prefcnt vigour age has overthrown, 715

But left the glory of the paft thy own.

He faid, and plac'd the goblet at his fide ;
With joy, the venerable king reply 'd.

"Wifely and well, ray fon, thy words have prov'd
-A fenlor honour'd, and a friend belov'd ! 720

V. 719. Nejlor's fpeechio Achilles 7\ This fpeech Is
admirably well adapted to the charadler of Neftor: he
-aggrandizes, with an infirmity peculiar to age, his own'
exploits; and one would think Horace had him in his

'Laudaiur tcmporis acll

Se puero- ■ ■

'Neither is it any blemilh to tlie charader of Neflor thus
to be a little talkative about his own atchievements : to
have defcribed him other wife, would have been an out-
rage to human nature, in as much as the wifeft man liv-
ing is not free from the infirmities of man ; and as every
ftage of life has fome imperfedion peculiar to itfelf.

The reader may obferve that the old man takes abun-
dance of pains to give reafons hov/ his rivals came to be
vidlors in the chariot-race : he is very follicitous to make
it appear that it was not through any want of flvili or
power in himfelf : and in my opinion Neftor is never
Riore vain-glorious than in this recital of his own difap-

Book XXIII. H O M E R's I L I A D. 207

Too true it is, deferted of my llrength,

Thefe wither'd arms and limbs have fail a at lenf;th.

Oh ! liad I now that force I felt of yore,

Konwn thro' Buprafium and the Pylian fliore !

Vit^orions then in cv'ry folemn game, y^ -

Ordain 'd to Amarynces' mighty name ;

The brave Epeians gave my glory waj',

^Etolians, P} lians, all refign'd the day.

It is for the fame reafon he repeats the words I have
cited above : he obtrudes (by that repetition) the dif-
advantages under which he laboured, upon the obferva-
tion of the reader, for fear he fhould impute the lofs of
the victory to his want of fkill.

Nelbr fays that thefe Moliones overpowered him by
their nuf?iber. The critics, as Euflathius remarks, have
laboured hard to explain this difficulty ; they tell us a
formal ftory, that when Neftor was ready to enter the
lifts againlT: theft: brothers, he objeaed againft them as
unfair adverfaries, (for it muft be remembered that they
were mongers that grew together, and confequently had
four hands to Nelbr's two) but the judges would not
allow his plea, but determined, that as they grew to-
gether, fo they ought to be confidered as one man.

Others tell us that they brought feveral chariots in-
to the lifts, v/hofe charioteers combined together in fa-
vour of Eurytus and Cteatus, thefe brother-monfters.

Others fay, that the multitude of the fpectators con-
fpired to difappoiat Neftor.

I thought it neceffary to give my reader thefe feveral
conjeiftures that he might underfbnd why Neftor fays he
was overpowered by TImBh, or nu7/il?ers; and alfo, be-
caufe it confinns my former obfervaiion, that Neftor is
very careful to draw his ow picture in the ftrongeft co-
lours, and to Ihew it in the faireft light,


2oS H O M E R's ILIA D. Book XXIIf.

I quell'd Clytomedes in fights of hand,

And backward hurl'd Anc^us on the fand, 730

Surpaft Iphyclus in the fwift career,

Phyleus and Polydorus, with the fpear.

The fons of A<5tor won the prize of horfe,

Bnt \von by numbers, not by art or force :

For the fam'd twins, impatient to farvey, 735

Prize after prize by Neflor born away.

Sprang to their car ; and with united pains

One lafh'd the courfers, while one rul'd the reins.

Such once I was ! now to thefe taflcs iucceeds

A younger' race, that emulate our deeds: 740

I yiejd alas I (to age who. mufl not yield ?)

Tho' once the foremoit hero of the field.

Go thou ! my fon I by gen'roiis friendihip led.

With martial honours decorate the dead ;

While pleas 'd I take the gift thy hands prefent, 745

(Pledge of benevolence, and kind intent)

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