Marion Mills Miller.

The classics, Greek & Latin; the most celebrated works of Hellenic and Roman literatvre, embracing poetry, romance, history, oratory, science, and philosophy (Volume 1) online

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thou."

So said he, but white-armed Hera spake him no word.
And the sun's bright light dropped into Ocean, drawing black
night across Earth the grain-giver. Against the Trojans' will
daylight departed, but welcome, thrice prayed for, to the
Achaians came down the murky night.

Now glorious Hector made an assembly of the Trojans,
taking them apart from the ships, beside the eddying river,
in an open space where was found a spot clear of dead. And
they came down from their chariots to the ground to hear the
word that Hector, dear unto Zeus, proclaimed. He in his hand
held his spear eleven cubits long; before his face gleamed the
spear-head of bronze, and a ring of gold ran round about it.
Thereon he leaned and spake to the Trojans, saying: "Hearken
to me, Trojans and Dardanians and allies. I thought but now
to make havoc of the ships and all the Achaians and depart
back again to windy Ilios ; but dusk came too soon, and that
in chief hath now saved the Argives and the ships beside the



THE ILIAD BOOK VIII 157

beach of the sea. So let us now yield to black night, and make
our supper ready; unyoke ye from the chariots your fair-
maned horses, and set fodder beside them. And from the
city bring kine and goodly sheep with speed ; and provide you
with honey-hearted wine, and corn from your houses, and
gather much wood withal, that all night long until early-
springing dawn we may burn many fires, and the gleam may
reach to heaven; lest perchance even by night the flowing-
haired Achaians strive to take flight over the broad back of
the sea. Verily must they not embark upon their ships
unvexed, at ease: but see ye that many a one of them have
a wound to nurse even at home, being stricken with arrow
or keen-pointed spear as he leapeth upon his ship; that so
many another man may dread to wage dolorous war on the
horse-taming men of Troy. And let the heralds dear to
Zeus proclaim throughout the city that young maidens and
old men of hoary heads camp round the city on the battle-
ments builded of the gods ; and let the women folk burn a great
fire each in her hall ; and let there be a sure watch set, lest an
ambush enter the city when the host is absent. Thus be it,
great-hearted Trojans, as I proclaim; the counsel tliat now
is sound, let that stand spoken; further will I proclaim at
dawn amid the horse-taming men of Troy. I pray with good
hope to Zeus and all the gods, to drive from hence these
dogs borne onward by the fates, them that the fates bear on
in the black ships. Howbeit for the night will we guard
our own selves, and at morn by daybreak, arrayed in our
armour, let us awake keen battle at the hollow ships. I will
know whether Tydeus' son stalwart Diomedes shall thrust me
from the ships back to the wall, or I shall lay him low with
my spear and bear away his gory spoils. To-morrow shall
he prove his valour, whether he can abide the onslaught of
my spear. But he amid the foremost, I ween, shall lie stricken,
and many comrades round about their lord at the rising of
to-morrow's sun. Would that I were immortal and ageless all
my days and honoured like as Athene is honoured and Apollo,
so surely as this day bringeth the Argives ill."

So Hector made harangue, and the Trojans clamoured
applause. And they loosed their sweating steeds from the



158 HOMER

yoke, and tethered them with thongs, each man beside his
chariot; and from the city they brought kine and goodly
sheep with speed, and provided them with honey-hearted wine
and corn from their houses, and gathered much wood withal ;
and sacrificed to the immortals unblemished hecatombs. And
from the plain the winds bare into heaven the sweet savour.
But the blessed gods regaled not themselves nor would they
aught thereof; for sore was holy Ilios hated of them, and
Priam and the folk of Priam of the good ashen spear. But
these with high hopes sate them all night along the highways
of the battle, and their watchfires burned in multitude. Even
as when in heaven the stars about the bright moon shine
clear to see, when the air is windless, and all the peaks appear
and the tall headlands and glades, and from heaven breaketh
open the infinite air, and all stars are seen, and the shepherd's
heart is glad; even in like multitude between the ships and
the streams of Xanthos appeared the watchfires that the Tro-
jans kindled in front of Ilios. A thousand fires burned in
the plain and by the side of each sate fifty in the gleam of
blazing fire. And the horses champed white barley and spelt,
and standing by their chariots waited for the throned Dawn.



BOOK IX

How Agamemnon sent an embassage to Achilles, beseeching him
to be appeased; and how Achilles denied him.

THUS kept the Trojans watch; but the Achaians were
holden of heaven-sent panic, handmaid of palsying fear, and
all their best were stricken to the heart with grief intolerable.
Like as two winds stir up the main, the home of fishes, even
the north wind and the west wind that blow from Thrace,
coming suddenly; and the dark billow straighway lifteth up
its crest and casteth much tangle out along the sea; even so
was the Achaians' spirit troubled in their breast.

But Atreides was stricken to the heart with sore grief,
and went about bidding the clear-voiced heralds summon



THE ILIAD BOOK IX 159

every man by name to the assembly, but not to shout aloud;
and himself he toiled amid the foremost. So they sat sorrow-
ful in assembly, and Agamemnon stood up weeping like unto
a fountain of dark water that from a beetling cliff poureth
down its black stream; even so with deep groaning he spake
amid the Argives and said: "My friends, leaders and captains
of the Argives, Zeus son of Kronos hath bound me with
might in grievous blindness of soul; hard of heart is he, for
that erewhile he promised and gave his pledge that not till I
had laid waste well-walled Ilios should I depart, but now
hath planned a cruel wile, and biddeth me return in dis-
honour to Argos with the loss of many of my folk. Such
meseemeth is the good pleasure of most mighty Zeus, that
hath laid low the heads of many cities, yea and shall lay
low; for his is highest power. So come, even as I shall bid
let us all obey; let us flee with our ships to our dear native
land, for now shall we never take wide-wayed Troy."

So said he, and they all held their peace and kept silence.
Long time were the sons of the Achaians voiceless for grief,
but at the last Diomedes of the loud war-cry spake amid them
and said : "Atreides, with thee first in thy folly will I contend,
where it is just, O king, even in the assembly; be not thou
wroth therefor. My valour didst thou blame in chief amid
the Danaans, and saidst that I was no man of war but a
coward; and all this know the Argives both young and old.
But the son of crooked-counselling Kronos hath endowed thee
but by halves; he granted thee to have the honour of the
sceptre above all men, but valour he gave thee not, wherein is
highest power. Sir, deemest thou that the sons of the Achai-
ans are thus indeed cowards and weaklings as thou sayest?
But and if thine own heart be set on departing, go thy way;
the way is before thee, and thy ships stand beside the sea,
even the great multitude that followed thee from Mykene.
But all the flowing-haired Achaians will tarry here until
we lay waste Troy. Nay, let them too flee on their ships
to their dear native land; yet will we twain, even I and
Sthenelos, fight till we attain the goal of Ilios; for in God's
name are we come."

So said he, and all the sons of the Achaians shouted aloud,



160 HOMER

applauding the saying of horse-taming Diomedes. Then
knightly Nestor arose and said amid them: "Tydeides, in
battle art thou passing mighty, and in council art thou best
among thine equals in years; none of all the Achaians will
make light of thy word nor gainsay it; but thou hast not
made a full end of thy words. Moreover thou art a young
man indeed, and mightest even be my son, my youngest-born ;
yet thou counsellest prudently the princes of the Achaians,
because thou speakest according unto right. But lo, I that
avow me to be older than thou will speak forth and expound
everything; neither shall any man despise my saying, not even
the lord Agamemnon. A tribeless, lawless, homeless man is
he that loveth bitter civil strife. Howbeit now let us yield to
black night and make ready our meal; and let the sentinels
bestow them severally along the deep-delved foss without the
wall. This charge give I to the young men; and thou,
Atreides, lead then the way, for thou art the most royal.
Spread thou a feast for the councillors ; that is thy place and
seemly for thee. Thy huts are full of wine that the ships of
the Achaians bring thee by day from Thrace across the wide
sea; all entertainment is for thee, being king over many. In
the gathering of many shalt thou listen to him that deviseth
the most excellent counsel ; sore need have all the Achaians of
such as is good and prudent, because hard by the ship our foe-
men are burning their watch-fires in multitude ; what man can
rejoice thereat? This night shall either destroy or save the
host."

So said he, and they gladly hearkened to him and obeyed.
Forth sallied the sentinels in their harness, around Thrasy-
medes Nestor's son, shepherd of the host, and Askalaphos and
lalmenos sons of Ares, and Meriones and Aphareus and De'ipy-
ros and Kreion's son noble Lykomedes. Seven were the cap-
tains of the sentinels, and with each went fivescore young men
bearing their long spears in their hands; and they took post
midway betwixt foss and wall, and kindled a fire and made
ready each man his meal.

Then Atreides gathered the councillors of the Achaians,
and led them to his hut, and spread before them an abundant
feast. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer that lay



THE ILIAD BOOK IX 161

before them. And when they had put away from them the
desire of meat and drink, then the old man first began to
weave his counsel, even Nestor, whose rede of old time was
approved the best. He of good intent spake to them and said :
"Most noble son of Atreus, Agamemnon king of men, in thy
name will I end and with thy name begin> because thou art
king over many hosts, and to thy hand Zeus hath entrusted
sceptre and law, that thou mayest take counsel for thy folk.
Thee therefore more than any it behooveth both to speak and
hearken, and to accomplish what another than thou may say,
when his heart biddeth him speak for profit : wheresoever thou
leadest all shall turn on thee, so I will speak as meseemeth best.
No other man shall have a more excellent thought than this that
I bear in mind from old time even until now, since the day
when thou, O heaven-sprung king, didst go and take the damsel
Briseis from angry Achilles' hut by no consent of ours. Nay,
I right heartily dissuaded thee ; but thou yieldedst to thy proud
spirit, and dishonouredst a man of valour whom even the im-
mortals honoured; for thou didst take and keepest from him
his meed of valour. Still let us even now take thought -how we
may appease him and persuade him with gifts of friendship
and kindly words."

And Agamemnon king of men answered and said to him :
"Old sir, in no false wise hast thou accused my folly. Fool
was I, I myself deny it not. Worth many hosts is he whom
Zeus loveth in his heart, even as now he honoureth this man
and destroyeth the host of the Achaians. But seeing I was a
fool in that I yielded to my sorry passion, I will make amends
and give a recompense beyond telling. In the midst of you
all I will name the excellent gifts ; seven tripods untouched of
fire, and ten talents of gold and twenty gleaming caldrons, and
twelve stalwart horses, winners in the race, that have taken
prizes by their speed. No lackwealth were that man, neither
nndowered of precious gold, whose substance were as great
as the prizes my whole-hooved steeds have borne me off.
And seven women will I give, skilled in excellent handiwork,
Lesbians whom I chose me from the spoils the day that he
himself took stablished Lesbos, surpassing womankind in beau-
ty. These will I give him, and with them shall be she whom



162 HOMER

erst I took from him, even the daughter of Briseus; more-
over I will swear a great oath that never I went up into her
bed nor had with her converse as is the wont of mankind, even
of men and women. All these things shall be set straightway
before him; and if hereafter the gods grant us to lay waste the
great city of Priam, then let him enter in when we Achaians
be dividing the spoil, and lade his ship full of gold and bronze,
and himself choose twenty Trojan women, the fairest that
there be after Helen of Argos. And if we win to the richest
of lands, even Achaian Argos, he shall be my son and I will
hold him in like honour with Orestes, my stripling boy that is
nurtured in all abundance. Three daughters are mine in my
well-builded hall, Chrysothemis and Laodike and Iphianassa;
let him take of them which he will, without gifts of wooing,
to Peleus' house ; and I will add a great dower such as no man
ever yet gave with his daughter. And seven well-peopled cities
will I give him, Kardamyle and Enope and grassy Hire and
holy Pherai and Antheia deep in meads, and fair Aipeia and
Pedasos land of vines. And all are nigh to the salt sea, on the
uttermost border of sandy Pylos; therein dwell men abound-
ing in flocks and kine, men that shall worship him like a god
with gifts, and beneath his sway fulfil his prosperous ordi-
nances. All this will I accomplish so he but cease from wrath.
Let him yield ; Hades I ween is not to be softened neither over-
come, and therefore is he hatefullest of all gods to mortals.
Yea, let him be ruled by me, inasmuch as I am more royal and
avow me to be the elder in years."

Then knightly Nestor of Gerenia answered and said:
"Most noble son of Atreus, Agamemnon king of men, now are
these gifts not lightly to be esteemed that thou offerest king
Achilles. Come therefore, let us speed forth picked men to go
with all haste to the hut of Peleus' son Achilles. Lo now,
whomsoever I appoint let them consent. First let Phoinix dear
to Zeus lead the way, and after him great Aias and noble
Odysseus; and for heralds let Odios and Eurybates be their
companions. And now bring water for our hands, and bid
keep holy silence, that we may pray unto Zeus the son of
Kronos, if perchance he will have mercy upon us."

So said he, and spake words that were well-pleasing unto



THE ILIAD BOOK IX 163

all. Forthwith the heralds poured water on their hands, and
the young men crowned the bowls with drink and gave each
man his portion after they had poured the libation in the cups.
And when they had made libation and drunk as their heart
desired, they issued forth from the hut of Agamemnon son of
Atreus. And knightly Nestor of Gerenia gave them full
charge, with many a glance to each, and chief est to Odysseus,
how they should essay to prevail on Peleus' noble son.

So the twain went along the shore of the loud-sounding
sea, making instant prayer to the earth-embracer, the Shaker
of the Earth, that they might with ease prevail on Aiakides'
great heart. So they came to the huts and ships of the Myr-
midons, and found their king taking his pleasure of a loud
lyre, fair, of curious work, with a silver cross-bar upon it;
one that he had taken from the spoils when he laid Eetion's
city waste. Therein he was delighting his soul, and singing
the glories of heroes. And over against him sate Patroklos
alone in silence, watching till Aiakides should cease from sing-
ing. So the twain came forward, and noble Odysseus led the
way, and they stood before his face; and Achilles sprang up
amazed with the lyre in his hand, and left the seat where he
was sitting, and in like manner Patroklos when he beheld
the men arose. Then Achilles fleet of foot greeted them and
said: "Welcome; verily ye are friends that are come sore
indeed is the need even ye that are dearest of the Achaians
to me even in my wrath."

So spake noble Achilles and led them forward, and made
them sit on settles and carpets of purple; and anon he spake
to Patroklos being near : "Bring forth a greater bowl, thou son
of Menoitios ; mingle stronger drink, and prepare each man a
cup, for dearest of men are these that are under my roof."

So said he, and Patroklos hearkened to his dear comrade.
He cast down a great fleshing-block in the fire-light, and laid
thereon a sheep's back and a fat goat's, and a great hog's chine
rich with fat. And Automedon held them for him, while
Achilles carved. Then he sliced well the meat and pierced it
through with spits, and Menoitios' son, that godlike hero, made
the fire burn high. Then when the fire was burned down and
the flame waned, he scattered the embers and laid the spits



164 HOMER

thereover, resting them on the spit-racks, when he had sprinkled
them with holy salt. Then when he had roasted the meat and
apportioned it in the platters, Patroklos took bread and dealt
it forth on the table in fair baskets, and Achilles dealt the
meat And he sate him over against godlike Odysseus by the
other wall, and bade his comrade Patroklos do sacrifice to the
gods; so he cast the first-fruits into the fire. Then put they
forth their hands to the good cheer lying before them. And
when they had put from them the desire of meat and drink,
Aias nodded to Phoinix. But noble Odysseus marked it, and
filled a cup with wine and pledged Achilles : "Hail, O Achilles !
The fair feast lack we not either in the hut of Agamemnon
son of Atreus neither now in thine ; for feasting is there abun-
dance to our heart's desire, but our thought is not for matters
of the delicious feast; nay, we behold very sore destruction,
thou fosterling of Zeus, and are afraid. Now is it in doubt
whether we save the benched ships or behold them perish, if
thou put not on thy might. Nigh unto ships and wall have the
high-hearted Trojans and famed allies pitched their camp, and
kindled many fires throughout their host, and ween that they
shall no more be withheld but will fall on our black ships. And
Zeus son of Kronos sheweth them signs upon the right by
lightning, and Hector greatly exulteth in his might and rageth
furiously, trusting in Zeus, and recketh not of god nor man,
for mighty madness hath possessed him. He prayeth bright
Dawn to shine forth with all speed, for he hath passed his
word to smite off from the ships the ensigns' tops, and to fire
the hulls with devouring flame, and hard thereby to make havoc
of the Achaians confounded by the smoke. Therefore am I
sore afraid in my heart, lest the gods fulfil his boastings, and
it be fated for us to perish here in Troy-land, far from Argos
pasture-land of horses. Up then! if thou art minded even
at the last to save the failing sons of the Achaians from the
war-din of the Trojans. Thyself shalt have grief hereafter,
and when the ill is done is there no way to find a cure there-
for; in good time rather take thou thought to ward the evil
day from the Danaans. Friend, surely to thee thy father
Peleus gave commandment the day he sent thee to Agamemnon
forth from Phthia : 'My son, strength shall Athene and Hera



THE ILIAD BOOK IX 165

give thee if they will; but do them refrain thy proud soul in
thy breast, for gentle-mindedness is the better part ; and with-
draw from mischievous strife, that so the Argives may honour
thee the more, both young and old.' Thus the old man charged
thee, but thou f orgettest. Yet cease now at the last, and eschew
thy grievous wrath; Agamemnon offereth thee worthy gifts,
so thou wilt cease from anger. Lo now, hearken thou to me,
and I will tell thee all the gifts that in his hut Agamemnon
promised thee : seven tripods untouched of fire, and ten talents
of gold and twenty gleaming caldrons and twelve stalwart
horses, winners in the race, that have taken prizes by their
speed. No lackwealth were that man, neither undowered of
precious gold, whose substance were as great as the prizes
Agamemnon's steeds have borne him off. And seven women
will he give, skilled in excellent handiwork, Lesbians whom he
chose him from the spoils the day that thou thyself tookest
Lesbos, surpassing womankind in beauty. These will he give
thee, and with them shall be she whom erst he took from thee,
even the daughter of Briseus ; moreover he will swear ,a great
oath that never he went up into her bed nor had with her con-
verse as is the wont of mankind, O king, even of men and
women. All these things shall be set straightway before thee ;
and if hereafter the gods grant us to lay waste the great city
of Priam, then enter thou in when we Achaians be dividing the
spoil, and lade thy ship full of gold and bronze, and thyself
choose twenty Trojan women, the fairest that there be after
Helen of Argos. And if we win to the richest of lands, even
Achaian Argos, thou shalt be his son and he will hold thee in
like honour with Orestes, his stripling boy that is nurtured in
all abundance. Three daughters are his in his well-builded
hall, Chrysothemis and Laodike and Iphianassa; take thou of
them which thou wilt, without gifts of wooing, to Peleus'
house ; and he will add a great dower such as no man ever yet
gave with his daughter. And seven well-peopled cities will he
give thee, Kardamyle and Enope and grassy Hire and holy
Pherai and Antheia deep in meads, and fair Aipeia and Peda-
sos land of vines. And all are nigh to the sea, on the utter-
most border of sandy Pylos; therein dwell men abounding in
flocks and kine, men that shall worship thee like a god with



166 HOMER

gifts, and beneath thy sway fulfil thy prosperous ordinances.
All this will he accomplish so thou but cease from wrath. But
and if Agamemnon be too hateful to thy heart, both he and
his gifts, yet have thou pity on all the Achaians that faint
throughout the host ; these shall honour thee as a god, for ver-
ily thou wilt earn exceeding great glory at their hands. Yea
now mightest thou slay Hector, for he would come very near
thee in his deadly madness, because he deemeth that there is no
man like unto him among the Danaans that the ships brought
hither."

And Achilles fleet of foot answered and said unto him:
"Heaven-sprung son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, in
openness must I now declare unto you my saying, even as I
am minded and as the fulfilment thereof shall be, that ye may
not sit before me and coax this way and that. For hateful to
me even as the gates of hell is he that hideth one thing in his
heart and uttereth another: but I will speak what meseemeth
best. Not me, I ween, shall Agamemnon son of Atreus per-
suade, nor the other Danaans, seeing we were to have no thank
for battling with the foemen ever without respite. He that
abideth at home hath equal share with him that fighteth his
best, and in like honour are held both the coward and the
brave ; death cometh alike to the untoiling and to him that hath
toiled long. Neither have I any profit for that I endured tribu-
lation of soul, ever staking my life in fight. Even as a hen
bringeth her unfledged chickens each morsel as she winneth it,
and with herself it goeth hard, even so I was wont to watch
out many a sleepless night and pass through many bloody days
of battle, warring with folk for their women's sake. Twelve
cities of men have I laid waste from ship-board, and from land
eleven, I do you to wit, throughout deep-soiled Troy -land ; out
of all these took I many goodly treasures and would bring and
give them all to Agamemnon son of Atreus, and he staying
behind amid the fleet ships would take them and portion out
some few but keep the most. Now some he gave to be meeds
of honour to the princes and the kings, and theirs are left
untouched; only from me of all the Achaians took he my
darling lady and keepeth her let him sleep beside her and
take his joy! But why must the Argives make war on the



THE ILIAD BOOK IX 167

Trojans? why hath Atreides gathered his host and led them
hither? is it not for lovely-haired Helen's sake? Do then the
sons of Atreus alone of mortal men love their wives? surely
whatsoever man is good and sound of mind loveth his own
and cherisheth her, even as I too loved mine with all my heart,
though but the captive of my spear. But now that he hath
taken my meed of honour from mine arms and hath deceived
me, let him not tempt me that know him full well; he shall
not prevail. Nay, Odysseus, let him take counsel with thee
and all the princes to ward from the ships the consuming fire.
Verily without mine aid he hath wrought many things, and



Online LibraryMarion Mills MillerThe classics, Greek & Latin; the most celebrated works of Hellenic and Roman literatvre, embracing poetry, romance, history, oratory, science, and philosophy (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 40)