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but whereas Neptune, the rivers, and the fountains are
faid to have been prefent, this is no way impoffible, if
we confider it in an allegorical fenfe, which implies,
that the rivers, feas, and fountains fupply the air with
vapours, and by that means afcend into the iEther.
f. 35. Celeftial pow'rs! defcend,

And as your minds direct, your fuccour lend

To either hofl ]

Euftathius informs us, that the ancients were very much



$6 H M E R's ILIAD. Book XX.

To either heft. Troy foon mufl lie o'erthrown,

If uncontroll'd Achilles fights alone :

Their troops but lately durft not meet his eyes;

What can they now, if in his rage he rife ? 40

Aflift them, Gods ! or Ilion's facred wall

May fall this day, tho' fate forbids the fall.

divided upon this pafTage of Homer. Some have criticiz-
ed it, and others have anfwered their criticifm; but he
reports nothing more than the objection, without tran-
fmitting the anfwer to us. Thofe who condemned
Homer, faid Jupiter was for the Trojans; he faw the
Greeks were the ftrongeft, fo permitted the gods to
declare themfelves, and go to the battel. But therein
that God is deceived, and does not gain his point; for
the gods who favour the Greeks being ftronger than
thofe who favour the Trojans, the Greeks will ftill have
the fame advantage. I do not know what anfwer the
partifans of Homer made, but for my part, I think this
objection is more ingenious than folid. Jupiter does
not pretend that the Trojans fhould be ftronger than
the Greeks, he has onlyamind that the decree of Deftiny
(hould. be executed. Deftiny had refufed to Achilles
the glory of taking Troy, but if Achilles fights fmgly
againft the Trojans, he is capable of forcing Deftiny ; (as
Homer has already elfewhere faid, that there had been
brave men who had done fo.) Whereas if the gods
took part, though thofe v/ho followed the Grecians were
ftronger than thofe who were for the Trojans, the lat-
ter would however be ftrong enough to fupport deftiny,
and to hinder Achilles from making himfelf maftcr of
Troy: this was Jupiter's fole view. Thus is this paf-
fage far from being blameable, it is on the contrary very
beautiful, and infinitely glorious for Achilles. Dacier.

f. 41. Or Ilions facred ivall

May fall this day, thJ fate forbids the fall.']
^lonf. de la Motte criticizes on this pafiage, as thinking



Book XX. H O M E R's ILIA D. 37

He faid, and fir'd their heav'nly breads with rage :
On adverfe parts the warring Gods engage.
Heav'n's awful queen; and he whofe azure round 4$
Girds the vafl: globe ; the maid in arms renown'd ;

it abfurd and contradictory to Homer's own fyftem, to
imagine, that what fate had ordained mould not come
to pafs. Jupiter here feems to fear that Troy will be
taken this very day in fpite of deftiny, Cxlf fiopev, M.
Boivin anfwers, that the explication hereof depends
wholly upon the principles of the ancient Pagan theo-
logy, and their doctrine concerning fate. It is certain,
according to Homer and Virgil, that what deftiny had
decreed did not constantly happen in the precife time
marked by deftiny ; the fatal moment was not to be re-
tarded, but might be haftened : for example, that of the
death of Dido was advanced by the blow llie gave her-
felf; her hour was not then come.



■Necfato, merit a nee movie peribat y



Sed mlfera ante d'n

Every violent death was accounted vrrlp popov, that is,
before the fated time, or (which is the fame thing) a-
gainfl: the natural order, turbato mart all tath ordine, as
the Romans expreiTed it. And the fame might be faid
of any misfortunes which men drew upon them (elves
by their own ill conduct. (See the note on $ . 560.
* lib. 16.) In a word, it mud be allowed that it was
not eafy, in the Pagan religion, to form the jufrcft ideas
upon a doctrine fo difficult to be cleared; and upon
which it is no great wonder if a poet fhonld not always
be perfectly confident with himfelf, when it has puzzled
fuch a number of divines and phiiofophers.

#'. 44. On adverfe parts the warring Gods engage,
Heav'n's awful queen, etc. J

Euftathius has a very curious remark upon this divi-
Con of the gods in Homer, which M. Dacier has en-

Vol. IV. D



$8 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XX.

Hermes, of profitable arts the fire,

And Vulcan, the black fov'reign of the fire:

Thefe to the fleet repair with inftant flight ;

The veffels tremble as the Gods alight. 56

In aid of Troy, Latona, Phcebus came,

Mars fiery-helm'd, the laughter-loving dame,

tirely borrowed (as indeed no commentator ever bor-
rowed more, or acknowleged lefs, than me has every
where done from Euftathius.) This divifion, fays he,
is not made at random, but founded upon very folid
reafons, drawn from the nature of thofe two nations.
He places on the fide of the Greeks all the gods who
prefide over arts and fciences, to fignify how much in
that refpecl: the Greeks excelled all other nations. Juno,
Pallas, Neptune, Mercury and Vulcan are for the Greeks ;
Juno, not only as the goddefs who prefides over mar-
riage, and who is concerned to revenge an injury done
to the nuptial bed, but likewife as the goddefs who re-
prefents monarchial government, which was better elta-
biifhed in Greece than any where elfe; Pallas, becaufe
being the goddefs of war and wifdom, fhe ought to affift
thofe who are wronged ; befides the Greeks underftood
the art of war better than the Barbarians; Neptune, be-
caufe he was an enemy to the Trojans upon account
of Laomedcn's perfidioufnefs, and becaufe moft of the
Greeks being come from ifhnds or peninfulas, they were
in fome fort his fubjecls; Mercury, becaufe he is a God
who prefides over ftratagems of war, and becaufe Troy
was taken by that of the wooden horfc; and laftly Vul-
can, as the declared enemy of Mars and of all adulterers,
and as the father of arts.

y. $2. MarSjJiery-helnfd, the laughter -loving dame 7^
The reafons why Mars and Venus engage for the 7'ro-
jans, are very obvious ; the point in hand was to fa* our
raviftiers and debauchees. But the fame reulon, you



Book XX. H O M E R> ILIAD. 39

Xanthus whofe dreams in golden currents flow,

And the chafte huntrefs of the filver bow.

Ere yet the Gods their various aid employ, 5?

Each Argive bofom fwell'd with manly joy,

While great Achilles, (terror of the plain)

Long loft to battel, (hone in arms again.

Dreadful he flood in front of all his hoft ;

Pale Troy beheld, and feem'd already loft ; 60

Her braveft heroes pant with inward fear,

And trembling fee another Cod of war.

But when the pow'rs descending fwell'd the fight,
Then tumult rofe; fierce rage and pale affright
Vary'd each face; then Difcord founds alarms, 6$
Earth echoes, and the nations rum to arms.
Now thro' the trembling fhores Minerva calls,
And now (he thunders from the Grecian walls.
Mars hov'ring o'er his Troy, his terror throuds
In gloomy tempcfts, and a night of clouds: 70

Now thro' each Trojan heart he fury pours
With voice divine from Ilion's topmoft tow'rs,
Now fhouts to Simois, from her beauteous hill ;
The mountain (hook, the rapid ftream ftood dill.

will fay, does not ferve for Apollo, Diana and Latona,
It is urged that Apollo is for the Trojans, becaufe of
the darts and arrows which were the principal ftrength
of the Barbarians; and Diana, becaufe fne prefided over
dancing, and thofe Barbarians were great dancers : and
Latona, as influenced by her children. Xanthus being
a Trojan river, is interefted for his country. Eufta-
thius.

D2



40 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XX.

Above, the fire of Gods his thunder rolls, 75

And peals on peals redoubled rend the poles.
Beneath, ftern Neptune (hakes the folic! ground;
The forefts wave, the mountains nod around ;
Thro' all their fummits tremble Ida's woods,
And from their fources boil her hundred floods. 80

, jr. 75. Above, the fire of Gods, etc.] " The images

u {fays Longinus) which Homer gives of the combat

" of the gods, have in them fomethingprodigioufly great

" and magnificent. We fee in thele verfes, the earth

" opened to its very center, hell ready to difclofe itfelf,

" the whole machine of the world upon the point to be

il dcftroyed and overturned : to (hew that in fuch a

rt conflict, heaven and hell, all things mortal and im-

" mortal, the whole creation in fhort was engaged in

" this battel, and all the extent of nature in danger."

Non [ecus ac fi qua penitus vi terra deh'ifcens
J f mas refer et fedes et regna redudat
Pallida, Bus tnv'ifoyfuperqtie humane barathrum
CernatvSy trepidentque inmijfo lum'me manes.

Virgil.

Madam Dacicr rightly obferves that this copy is in-
J>rior to the original on this account, that Virgil has
made a companion of that which Homer made an ac-
tion. This occafions an infinite difference, which is
eafy to be perceived.

One may compare with this noble paffage of Homer,
the battel of the gods and giants in Hefiod's Theogony,
which is one of the fubHmeft parts of that author; and
Milton's battel of the Angels in the fixth book : the e-
levation, and enthufiafm of our great countryman feems
owing to this original.



Book XX. H O M E R's ILIAD. 4*

Troy's turrets totter on the rocking plain ;

And the tofs'd navies beat the heaving main.

Deep in the difmal regions of the dead,

Th' infernal monarch rear'd his horrid head,

Leap'd from his throne, left Neptune's arm mould lay S$

His dark dominions open to the day,

And pour in light on Piuto's drear abodes,

Abhorr'd by men, and dreadful ev'n to Gods.

Such war th' immortals wage: fuch horrors rend
The world's vaft concave, when the Gods contend. 90
Firft filver-fhafted Phoebus took the plain
Againft blue Neptune, monarch of the main 1
The God of arms his giant bulk difplay'd,
Oppos'd to Pallas, v/ar's triumphant maid.
Againfl Latona march'd the fon of May \ ^.5

The quiver'd Dian, fitter of the day,
(Her golden arrows founding at her fide)
Saturnia, majefty of heav'n, defy'd.

^'.91. Firft fiher-fhafted Pkzbus took the plain , etc. J
With what art does the poet engage the gods in this
conflicl: ! Neptune oppofes Apollo, which implies that
things moift and dry are in continual difcord : Pallas
fights with Mars, which fignifles that raftinefs and wis-
dom always difagree: Juno is againft Diana, that is r
nothing more differs from a marriage date, than celibacy^
Vulcan engages Xanthus, that is, fire and water are in
perpetual variance. Thus we have a fine allegory con-
cealed under the veil of excellent poetry, and the reader
receives a double fatisfaclion at the fame time from
beautiful ver.fes ? and an initrucYive moral > Euftathius*.
^2



43 HO M E R's ILIA D. Book XX.

With fiery Vulcan- laft in battel (lands

The facred flood that rolls on golden fands; 100

Xanthus his name with thofe of heav'nly birth,

But call'd Scamander by the fons of earth.

While thus the Gods in various league engage,
Achilles glow'd with more than mortal rage:
Hector he fought; in fearch of Hector turn'd 105

His eyes around, for Hector only burn'd;
And burfl: like light'ning thro' the ranks, and vow'd
To glut the God of battels with his blood.

iEneas was the firft who dar'd to ftay ;
Apollo wedg'd him in the warrior's way, 1 10

But fwell'd his bofom with undaunted might,
Half-forc'd, and half-perfuaded to the fight.
Like young Lycaon, of the royal line,
In voice and afpect feem'd the power divine;
And bade the chief reflect, how late with fcorn 1 1 5

In diftant threats he brav'd the Goddefs-born.

Then thus the hero of Anchifes' drain.
To meet Pelides you perfuade in vain :
Already have I met, nor void of fear
Obferv'd the fury of his flying fpear ; 120

f. 119. J/reaJj/ have I met, etc.] Euftathius remarks
that the poet lets no opportunity pafs of inferting into
his poem the actions that preceded the tenth year of the
war, efpecially the actions of Achilles the hero of it. In
this place he brings in ^Eneas extolling the bravery of
his enemy, and confefling him'eif to have formerly been
vanquished by him : at the fame time he preferves a
piece of ancient hiflory, by inferting into the poem the
hero's concmeft of Pedafus and Lyrncflus.



Book XX. HOMER's ILIA D. 45

From Ida's woods he chas'd us to the field,

Our force he fcatter'd, and our herds he kill'd:

LyrnefTus, Pedafus in afhe3 lay j

But (Jove aflifting) I furviv'd the day.

Elfe had I funk oppreft in fatal fight, 125

By fierce Achilles and Minerva's might.

Where'er he mov'd the goddefs (hone before,

And bath'd his brazen lance in hoftile gore.

What mortal man Achilles can fufta'm ?

Th' immortals guard him thro' the dreadful plain,'

And fuffer not his dart to fall in vain.

Were God my aid, this arm fhould check his pow'r,

Tho' ftrong in battel as a brazen tow'r.

To whom the fon of Jove. That God implore,
And be, what great Achilles was before. 13$

Irom heav'nly Venus thou deriv'fl thy ftrain,
And he, but from a fitter of the main;
An agectfea God f father of his line^
But Jove himfelf the facred fource of thine.

i/. 121. From Ida's woods he chas'd us
But Jove ajfifling I furviv'd.']
It is remarkable that jEneas owed his fafety to his flight
from Achilles, but it may feem ftrange that Achilles,
who was fo famed for his fwiftnefs mould not be able
to overtake him, even with Minerva for his guide. Eu-
flathius anfwers, that this might proceed from the bet-
ter knowlege iEneas might have of the ways and
defiles : Achilles being a ftranger, and jEneas having
Jong kept his father's flocks in thofe parts.

He farther obferves, that the word <p*h difcovers thaj
it was in the nighf that Achilles purfued jEneas,



44 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XX.

Then lift thy weapon for a noble blow, 140

Nor fear the vaunting of a mortal foe.

This faid, and fpirit breath 'd into his breaft,
Thro' the thick troops th* embolden 'd hero preft: :
His vent'rous act the white-arm'd queen furvey'd,
And thus, afTembling all the pow'rs, me faid- 145:

Behold an action, Gods ! that claims your care,
Lo great iEneas rufhing to the war;
Againft Pelides he directs his courfe,
Phoebus impels, and Phoebus gives him force. -
Reftrain his bold career; at leaft, t'attend 15.0

Our favour'd hero, let fome pow'r defcend.
To guard his life, and add to his renown,
We, the great armament of heav'n, came down.
Hereafter let him fall, as fates defign,
That fpun fo fhort his life's illuftrious line : 155

But left fome adverfe God now crofs4iis way,
Give him to know, what pow'rs affilt this day :
For how fhall mortal ftand the dire alarms,
When heav'n's refulgent hoft appear in arms ?

Thus fhe, and thus the God whofe force can make 160
The folid globe's eternal balls (hake.
Againft the might of man, fo feeble known,
Why mould celeftial pow'rs exert their own ?
Suffice, from yonder mount to view the fcene;
And leave to war the fates of mortal men. 165

But if th' armipotent, or God of light,
Obftruct Achilles, or commence the Gghfr^



-Book XX. H O M E R's I L I A I>. 45

Thence on the Gods of Troy we fwift defcend:
Full foon, I doubt not, fhall the conflict end,
And thefe, in ruin and confufion hurl'd, IJ9

Yield to our conqu'ring arms the lower world.

Thus having faid, the tyrant of the fea,
Cerulean Neptune, rofe, and led the way.
Advanc'd upon the field there flood a mound
Of earth congested, wall'd, and trench'd around ; 175
In elder times to guard Alcides made,
(The work of Trojans, with Minerva's aid)
What time, a vengeful monfter of the main
Swept the wide fhore, and drove him to the plain.

f. 174. Advanced upon the field there flood a mound,
etc.] It may not be unnecefTary to explain this pafTage
to make it underftood by the reader : the poet is very
fhort in the defcription, as fuppofing the feci already
known, and haftens to the combate between Achilles
and Sneas. This is very judicious in Homer, not to
dweil on a piece of hiftory that bad no relation to his
action, when he has raifed the reader's expectation by
fo pompous an introduction, and made the Gods them-
selves his Spectators.

The ftory is as follows : Laomedon having defrauded
Neptune of the reward he promifed him for the building
the walls of Troy, Neptune fent a monftro.es whale, to
which Laomedon expofed his daughter Hefione: but
Hercules having undertaken to deftroy the monfter, the
Trojans raifed an intrenchmentto defend Hercules from
his purfuit : this being a remarkable piece of conduct
in the Trojans, it gave occafion to the poet to adorn a
plain narration with fiction, by afcribing the work to
Pallas the goddefs of wifdom. Euftathius*



46 H O M E R's I L I A D. £ook XX.

Here Neptune, and the Gods of Greece repair, 180
"With clouds encompafs'd, and a veil of air :
The adverfe pow'rs, around Apollo laid,
Crown the fair hills that filver Simois (hade.
In circle clofe each heav'nly party fate,
Intent to form the future fcheme of fate ; 185

But mix not yet in fight, tho' Jove on high
Gives the loud fignal, and the heav'ns reply.

Meanwhile the ruining armies hide the ground;
The trampled centre yields a hollow found:
Steeds cas'd in mail, and chiefs in armour bright, 190
The gleamy ehampain glows with brazen light.
Amid both hofts (a dreadful fpace) appear
There, great Achilles ; bold iEneas here.
"With tow'ring ftrides JEneas firft advanc'd;.
The nodding plumage on his helmet danc'd^ 191$

f. 180. Here Neptune and the Gods, etc.] I wonder
why Euftathius and all other commentators fhould be
filent upon this recefs of the gods : it feems ftrange at
the firft view, that fo many deities, after having entered
the fcene of action, fhould perform fo fhort a part, and
immediately become themfelves fpectators ? I conceive
the reafon of this conduct in the poet to be, that A-
chilles has been inactive during the greatelt part of the
poem ; and as he is the hero of it, ought to be the
chief character in it: the poet therefore withdraws the
go'ds from the field, that Achilles may have the whole
honour of the day, and not ac~t in fubordination to the
deities: befides the poem now draws to a conclufion,
and it is necefiTary for Homer to enlarge upon the ex-
ploits of Achilles, that he may leave a noble idea of his
valour upon the mind of the reader.



Book XX. H O M E R's ILIAD. 47

Spread o'er his breaft the fencing fhield he bore,

And, as he mov'd, his jav'lin flam'd before.

Not fo Pelides ; furious to engage,

He rufh'd impetuous. Such the lion's rage,

Who viewing firft his foes with fcornful eyes, 20«

Tho' all in arms the peopled city rile,

Stalks carelefs on, with unregarding pride;

'Till at the length, by fome brave youth defy'd,

To his bold fpear the favage turns alone,

He murmurs fury with an hollow groan ; 20$

He grins, he foams, he rolls his eyes around ;

Lafh'd by his tall his heaving fides refound ;

He calls up all his rage ; he grinds his teeth,

Refolv'd on vengeance, or refolv'd on death.

So fierce Achilles on .Eneas flies ; 2X9

So ftands iEneas, and his force defies.

Ere yet the ftern encounter join'd, begun

The feed of Thetis thus to Venus' fon.

Why comes ^neas thro' the ranks fo far?
Seeks he to meet Achilles' arm in war, 2l£

#.214, etc. The mmerfaUon of Achilles and 7Eneas7\
\ mall lay before the reader the words of Euftathius in
defence of this paffage, which I confefs feems to me to
be faulty in the poet. The reader (fays he) would na-
turally expect fome great and terrible atchievements
mould enfue from Achilles on his firft enterance upon ac-
tion. The poet feems to prepare us for it, by his
magnificent introduclion of him into the field? but in-
ftead of a ftorm, wc have a calm; he follows the fame
method in this book as he did in the third, where when
both armies were ready to engage in a general conflict,



48 HOMER'S ILIA D. Book XX*

In hope the realms of Priam to enjoy,

And prove his merits to the throne of Troy ?

Grant that beneath thy lance Achilles dies,

The partial monarch may refufe the prize ;

Sons he has many ; thofe thy pride may quell ; 22©

And 'tis his fault to love thofe fons too well.

Or, in reward of thy victorious hand,

Has Troy propos'd fome fpacious tract of land?

An ample foreft, or a fair domain,

Of hills for vines, and arable for grain ? 225

JBv'n this, perhaps will hardly prove thy lot.

But can Achilles be fo foon forgot ?

he ends the day in a (Ingle combat between two heroes:
thus he always agreeably furprizes his readers. Befides
the admirers of Homer reap a farther advantage from
this converfation of the heroes : there is a chain of an-
cient hiftory as well as a feries of poetical beauties.

Madam Dacier's excufe is very little better : and to
(hew that this is really a fault in the poet, I believe I
may appeal to the talte of every reader who certainly
finds himfelf diiappointed: our expectation is raifed to
fee gods and heroes engage, when fuddenly it all (inks
into fuch a combat, in which neither party receives a
wound: and (what is more extraordinary) the gods are
made the fpectators of fo fmall an action ! what occafioa
was there for thunder, earthquakes, and defcending
deities, to introduce a matter of fo little importance ?
neither is it any excufe to fay he has given us a piece
of ancient hiftory ; we expected to read a poet, not an
hiftorian. In (hort, after the greateft preparation for
action imaginable, he fufpends the whole narration, and
from the heat of a poet, cools at once into the fimpli-
clty of an hiUorian.

Once



Book XX. HOME R ! s ILIA D. 4 >

Once (as I think) you faw this brandiih'd fpear,

And then the -great Aneas feem'd to fear.

With hearty hade from Ida's mount he fled, 230

Kor, 'till he reach 'd Lyrneflus, turn'd his head.

Her lofty wails not long our progrefs ftay'd ;

Thofe, Pallas, Jove, and we, in ruins laid:

In Grecian chains her captive race were cart;

*Tis true, the great JEneas fled too faft. 23 J

Defrauded of ray conquefl: once before,

What then I loft, the Gods this day reftore.

Go; while thou may'ft, avoid the threaten'd fate ;

Fools ftay to feel it, and arc wife too late.

To this Anchifes' fon. Such words employ 240

To one that fears thee, fome unwarlike boy ;

Such we difdain ; the beft may be defy'd

With mean reproaches, and unmanly pride :

Unworthy the high race from which we came,

Proclaim'd fo loudly by the voice of fame; -245

Each from illuflrious fathers draws his line;

Each goddefs-born ; half human, half divine*

Thetis' this day, or Venus' offspring dies,

And tears (hall trickle from celefthl eyes - :

For when two heroes, thus deriv'd, contend, 25 c 1 .

'Tis not in words the glorious ftrife can end.

If yet thou farther feek to learn my birth

(A tale refounded thro' the fpacions earth)

Hear how the glorious origin we prove

from ancient Dardanus, the firfl from Jove : 255 »

Vol. IV. - E



50 H O M E R's I L I A D. Book XX.

Dardania's walls he rais'd; for Ilion, then,

(The city fince of many-languag'd men)

Was not. The natives were content to till

The fhady foot of Ida's fount-full hill.

From Dardanus, great Erichthonius fprings, 260

The richeft, once, of Afia's wealthy kings J

Three thoufand mares his fpacious paflures bred,

Three thoufand foals befide their mothers fed.

Boreas, enamour'd of the fprightly train,

Conceal'd his godhead in a flowing mane, 265

)h 258. The natives were content to till

The Jhadyfoot of Ida's fount- fill hill.

Kt.c-(TI Se LxpSavlw, Ittu $tcj*1\io( jp7j
Ev ttiSIu xi-roKtro rc'x/f (^ipinuv AvQpdxov
Ahh e'9' V7ruptla.s ux.tov xokvT{£xx.v "l<f»f .

Plato and Strabo underftand this pafTagc as favouring
the opinion that the mountainous parts of the world
were firft inhabited, after the univerfal deluge; and that
mankind by degrees defcended to dwell in the lower
parts of the hills (which they would have the word
vnapuet fignify) and only in greater procefs of time
ventured into the valleys : Virgil however feems to have
taken this word in a fenie fomething different where he
alludes to this paflage. JEn. 3. 109,

— — — •Nondum Ilium et arces ^

fergametz fleterant, habit abant vallibus imls.

f. 262. Three thoufand mares, etc. 3 The number of
the horles and mares of Erichthonius may feem incre-
dible, were we not aflfured by Herodotus that there were
in the ftud of Cyrus at one time (befides thofe for the
fervice of war) eight hundred horfes and fix thoufand
fix hundred mares. Fultathius.

f. 264. tioreas enamour'd, etc.] Homer has the hap-



■"BookXX. H O M E R's I L I A D. 51

With voice diflembled to his loves he neigh'd,
And cours'd the dappled beauties o'er the mead :
Hence fprung twelve others of unrival'd kind,


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Online LibraryHomerThe Iliad (Volume 4) → online text (page 3 of 22)