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For nine long nights through all the dusky air, Because my prize, my beauteous maid I hold,
A maid, unmatch'd in manners as in face,
Skill'd in each art, and crown'd with every grace. Convened to council all the Grecian train;
Not half so dear were Clytämnestra's charms, For much the goddess mourn'd her heroes slain. When first her blooming beauties bless'd my arms.
The assembly seated, rising o'er the rest, Yet if the gods demand her, let her sail ; „Achilles thus the king of men address'd :
Our cares are only for the public weal:
So dearly valued, and so justly mine.
But since for common good I yield the fair, Explore the cause of great Apollo's rage;'
My private loss let grateful Greece repair; Or learn the wasteful vengeance to remove, .
Nor unrewarded let your prince complain, By mystic dreams, for dreams descend from Jove. That he alone has fought and bled in vain. If broken vows this heavy curse have laid,
Insatiate king! (Achilles thus replies) Let altars smoke, and hecatombs be paid.
Fond of the power, but fonder of the prize! So heaven, atoned, shall dying Greece restore, Wouldst thou the Greeks their lawful prey should yie!d, And Phæbus dart his burning shafts no more. 90 The due reward of many a well-fought field?
He said, and sat : when Chalcas thus replied; The spoils of cities ras'd, and warriors slain, Chalcas the wise, the Grecian priest and guide, We share with justice, as with toil we gnin : 160 That sacred seer, whose comprehensive view But to resume whate'er thy avarice craves The past, the present, and the future knew : (That trick of tyrants) may be borne by slaves. Uprising slow, the venerable sage
Yet if our chief for plunder only fight, Thus spoke the prudence and the fears of age. The spoils of Ilion shall thy loss requite,
Beloved of Jove, Achilles ! wouldst thou know Whene'er by Jove's decree our conquering powers Why angry Phæbus bends his fatal bow?
Shall humble to the dust her lofty towers. First give thy faith, and plight-a prince's word Then thus the king : Shall I my prize resign Of sure protection, by thy power and sword. 100 With tame content, and thou possess'd of thine ? For I must speak what wisdom would conceal, Great as thou art, and like a god in fight, And truths, invidious to the great, reveal.
Think not to rob me of a soldier's right.
170 Bold is the task, when subjects, grown too wise, At thy demand shall I restore the maid ? Instruct a monarch where his error lies :
First let the just equivalent be paid; For though we deem the short-lived fury past, Such as a king might ask; and let it be 'Tis sure, the mighty will revenge at last.
A treasure worthy her, and worthy me. To whom Pelides : From thy inmost soul Or grant me this, or with a monarch's claim Speak what thou know'st, and speak without controul: This hand shall seize some other captive dame E'en by that god I swear, who rules the day, 'The mighty Ajax shall his prize resign, To whom thy hands the vows of Greece convey, 110 Ulysses spoils, or e'en thy own be mine. And whose bless'd oracles thy lips declare;
The man who suffers loudly may complain; Long as Achilles breathes this vital air,
And rage he may, but he shall rage in vain. No daring Greek of all the numerous band
But this when time requires.-It now remains Against his priest shall lift an impious hand : We launch a bark to plough the watery plains, Not e'en the chief by whom our hosts are led, And wast the sacrifice to Chrysa's shores, The king of kings, shall touch that sacred head. With chosen pilots and with labouring oars.
Encouraged thus, the blameless man replies : Soon shall the fair the sable ship ascend,
And some deputed prince the charge attend;
Or, if our royal pleasure shall ordain,
190 Till the great king, without a ransom paid,
Let fierce Achilles, dreadful in his rage, To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid. The god propitiate, and the pest assuage. Perhaps, with added sacrifice and prayer,
At this, Pelides, frowning stern, replied:
The prophet spoke; when with a gloomy frown Inglorious slave to interest, ever join'd
T'he distant Trojans never injured me;
Far hence removed, the hoarse-resounding main,
Rich in her fruits, and in her martial race.
200 Hither we sail'd, a voluntary throng,
| Forbear! (the progeny of Jove replies) To avenge a private, not a public wrong:
To calm thy fury I forsake the skies : What else to Troy the assembled nations draws, Let great Achilles, to the gods resign'd, But thine, ungrateful, and thy brother's cause ? 210 To reason yield the empire o'er his mind. Is this the pay our blood and toils deserve;
By awful Juno this command is given; Disgraced and injured by the man we serve? The king and you are both the care of heaven. And darest thou threat to snatch my prize away, The force of keen reproaches let him feel, Due to the deeds of many a dreadful day?
But sheath, obedient, thy revenging steel. A prize as small, O tyrant ! match'd with thine, For I pronounce (and trust a heavenly power) As thy own actions if compared to mine.
Thy injured honour has its fated hour,
Then let revenge no longer bear the sway,
Hard as it is, my vengeance I suppress:
To this the king : Fly, mighty warrior ! fly, He said, observant of the blue-eyed maid ; Thy aid we need not, and thy threats defy.
Then in the sheath return'd the shining blade. There want not chiefs in such a cause to fight, The goddess swift to high Olympus flies, And Jove himself shall guard a monarch's right. And joins the sacred senate of the skies. Of all the kings (the gods' distinguish'd care)
Nor yet the rage his boiling breast forsook, To power superior none such hatred bear: 230 Which thus redoubling on Atrides broke; Strife and debate thy restless soul employ,
O monster! mix'd of insolence and fear, And wars and horrors are thy savage joy.
Thou dog in forehead, but in heart a deer! If thou hast strength, 'twas heaven that strength be- When wert thou known in ambush'd fights to dare, stow'd ; Or nobly face the horrid front of war?
300 For know, vain man! thy valour is from God. 'Tis ours the chance of fighting fields to try, Haste, launch thy vessels, fly, with speed away, Thine to look on, and bid the valiant die. Rule thy own realms with arbitrary sway:
So much 'tis safer through the camp to go, I heed thee not, but prize at equal rate
And rob a subject, than despoil a foe. Thy short-lived friendship, and thy groundless hate. Scourge of thy people, violent and base! Go, threat thy earth-born Myrmidons ; but here Sent in Jove's anger on a slavish race, 'Tis mine to threaten, prince, and thine to fear. 240 Who, lost to sense of generous freedom past, Know, if the god the beauteous dame demand, Are tamed toʻwrongs, or this had been thy last. My bark shall waft her to her native land;
Now by this sacred sceptre hear me swear, But then prepare, imperious prince! prepare Which never more shall leaves or blossoms bear, 310 Fierce as thou art, to yield thy captive fair : Which sever'd from the trunk (as I from thee) E'en in thy tent I'll seize the blooming prize, On the bare mountains left its parent tree; Thy loved Brisers with the radiant eyes.
This sceptre, form'd by temper'd steel to prove Hence shalt thou prove my might, and curse the An ensign of the delegates of Jove, hour
From whom the power of laws and justice springs Thou stood'st a rival of imperial power ;
(Tremendous oath ! inviolate to kings:) And hence to all our host it shail be known, By this I swear, when bleeding Greece again That kings are subject to the gods alone. 250 Shall call Achilles, she shall call in vain. .
Achilles heard, with grief and rage oppress'd, When, flush'd with slaughter, Hector comes to spread His heart swell's high, and labour'd in his breast. The purpled shore with mountains of the dead, 320 Distracting thoughts by turns his bosom ruled, Then shalt thou mourn the affront thy madness gave Now fired by wrath, and now by reason cool'd: Forced to deplore, when impotent to save : That prompts his hand to draw the deadly sword, . Then rage in bitterness of soul, to know Force thro' the Greeks, and pierce their haughty lord; This act has made the bravest Greek thy foe. This whispers soft, his vengeance to controul, He spoke ; and furious hurld against the ground And calm the rising tempest of his soul.
His sceptre starr'd with golden studs around. Just as in anguish of suspense he stay'd,
Then sternly silent sat. With like disdain • While half unsheath'd appear’d the glittering blade, The raging king return'd his frowns again. Minerva swift descended from above,
261] To calm their passions with the words of age, Sent by the sister and the wife of Jove;
Slow from his seat arose the Pylian sage, 330 (For both the princes claim'd her equal care :) Experienced Nestor, in persuasion skill'd, Behind she stood, and by the golden hair
Words sweet as honey from his lips distillid; Achilles seized; to him alone confess'd;
Two generations now had pass'd away, A sable cloud conceal'd her from the rest.
Wise by his rules, and happy by his sway; He sees, and sudden to the goddess cries,
Two ages o'er his native realm he reign'd, Known by the flames that sparkle from her eyes :) And now the example of the third remain'd. Descends Minerva in her guardian care,
| All view'd with awe the venerable man; A heavenly witness of the wrongs I bear 2 70 Who thus with mild benevolence began : From Atreus' son! then let those eyes that view What shame, what woe is this to Greece! what joy The daring crime, behold the vengeance too. ITo Troy's proud monarch, and the friends of Troy!
That adverse gods commit to stern debate 341 Safe in her sides the hecatomb they stow'd,
Then swiftly sailing, cut the liquid road.
The host te expiate, next the king prepares, 410 Nor think your Nestor's years and wisdom vain. With pure lustrations, and with solemn prayers. A godlike race of heroes once I knew,
Wash'd by the briny wave, the pious train Such as no more these aged eyes shall view! Are cleansed, and cast the ablutions in the main. Lives there a chief to match Pirithous' fame, Along the shore whole hecatombs were laid, Dryas the bold, or Ceneus' deathless name; And bulls and goats to Phæbus' altars paid. Theseus, endued with more than mortal might, The sable fumes in curling spires arise, Or Polyphemus, like the gods in fight?
350 |And waft their grateful odours to the skies. With these of old to toils of battle bred,
The army thus in sacred rites engaged, In early youth my hardy days I led;
Atrides still with deep resentment raged. Fired with the thirst which virtuous envy breeds,
To wait his will two sacred heralds stood, , 420 And smit with love of honourable deeds.
Talthybius and Eurybates the good.
Submit he must! or, if they will not part,
The unwilling heralds act their lord's commands;
With gloomy aspect, on his arm reclined. That prize the Greeks by common suffrage gave:
At awful distance long they silent stand, 430 Nor thou, Achilles, treat our prince with pride; Loath to advance, or speak their hard command; Let kings be just, and sovereign power preside. Decent confusion! This the godlike man Thee, the first honours of the war adorn,
Perceived, and thus with accent mild began : Like gods in strength, and of a goddess born; | With leave and honour enter our abodes, Him awful majesty exalts above
Ye sacred ministers of men and gods!' The powers of earth, and scepter'd sons of Jove. I know your message; by constraint you came; Let both unite, with well-consenting mind, 370 Not you, but your imperions lord I blame. So shall authority with strength be join'd.
Patroclus, haste, the fair Briseïs bring;
Witness to gods above, and men below!
This said, he ceased. The king of men replies : That lawless tyrant whose commands you bear,
Though prostrate Greece should bleed at every vein: No laws can limit, no respect controul.
The raging chief, in frantic passion lost, Before his pride must his superiors fall, 380 Blind to himself, and useless to his host, His word the law, and he the lord of all ?
Unskill'd to judge the future by the past, Him must our hosts, our chiefs, ourselves obey ? In blood and slaughter shall repent at last. What king can bear a rival in his sway?
Patroclus now the unwilling beauty brought; 150 Grant that the gods his matchless force have given; She, in soft sorrows and in pensive thought, Has foul reproach a privilege from heaven? Pass'd silent, as the heralds held her hand, Here on the monarch's speech Achilles broke
And oft look'd back, slow moving o'er the strand. And furious thus, and interrupting, spoke :
Not so his loss the fierce Achilles bore; Tyrant ! I well deserved thy galling chain,
But sad retiring to the sounding shore, To live thy slave, and still to serve in vain,
O'er the wild margin of the deep he hung, Should I submit to each unjust decree,
390) That kindred deep from whence his mother sprung: Command thy vassals, but command not me.
There, bathed in iears of anger and disdain, Seize on Briseïs, whom the Grecians doom'd Thus loud lamented to the stormy main : My prize of war, yet tamely see resumed:
O parent goddess ! since in early bloom
460 And seize secure; no more Achilles draws
Thy son must fall, by too severe a doom; His conquering sword in any woman's cause;
Sure, to so short a race of glory born, 'The gods command me to forgive the past;
Great Jove in justice should this span adorn: But let this first invasion be the last :
Honour and fame at least the Thunderer owed; For know, thy blood, when next thou darest in- | And ill he pays the promise of a god, vade,
If yon proud monarch thus thy son defies, -
At this they ceased : the stern debate expired: 400! Far in the deep recesses of the main,
Where aged Ocean holds his watery reign,
The goddess-mother heard. The waves divide: 470 Where near his tents his hollow vessels lay. And like a mist she rose above the tide; Meantime Atrides launch'd with numerous oars Beheld him mourning on the naked shores, A well-rigg'd ship for Chrysa's sacred shores : And thus the sorrows of his soul explores : High on the deck was fair Chrysers placed, Why grieves my son ? Thy anguish let me share, And sage Ulysses with the conduct graced : Reveal the cause, and trust a parent's care.
He, deeply sighing, said: To tell my woe, Why have I born thee with a mother's throes, Is but to mention what too well you know.
To fates averse, and nursed for future woes? From Thebè, sacred to Apollo's name,
So short a space the light of heaven to view ! (Aëtion's realm,) our conquering army came, So short a space! and fill'd with sorrow too! With treasure loaded and triumphant spoils, 480 O might a parent's careful wish prevail, Whose just division crown'd the soldier's toils ; Far, far from Ilion should thy vessels sail ! But bright Chrysers, heavenly prize! was led, And thou, from camps remote, the danger shun, By vote selected, to the general's bed.
Which now, alas ! too nearly threats my son. The priest of Phæbus sought by gifts to gain Yet (what I can) to move thy suit I'll go 550 His beauteous daughter from the victor's chain; To great Olympus crown'd with fleecy snow. The fleet he reach'd, and lowly bending down, Meantime, secure within thy ships, from far Held forth the sceptre and the laurel crown, Behold the field, nor mingle in the war. Entreating all : but chief implored for grace,
The sire of gods and all the ethereal train, The brother-kings of Atreus' royal race:
On the warm limits of the farthest main, The generous Greeks their joint consent declare, 490 Now 'mix with mortals, nor disdain to grace The priest to reverence, and release the fair. The feasts of Æthiopia's blameless race; Not so Atrides : he, with wonted pride,
Twelve days the powers indulge the genial rite, The sire insulted, and his gifts denied.
Returning with the twelfth revolving light. The insulted sire (his god's peculiar care)
Then will I mount the brazen dome, and move 560 To Phæbus pray'd, and Phcbus heard the prayer: The high tribunal of immortal Jove. A dreadful plague ensues; the avenging darts
The goddess spoke: the rolling waves unclose : Incessant fly, and pierce the Grecian hearts. Then down the deep she plunged from whence she A prophet then, inspired by heaven, arose,
And left him sorrowing on the lonely coast, (rose, And points the crime, and thence derives the woes. In wild resentment for the fair he lost Myself the first the assembled chiefs incline 500 In Chrysa's port now sage Ulysses rode; To avert the vengeance of the power divine; Beneath the deck the destined victims stow'd; Then rising in his wrath, the monarch storm'd; The sails they furl'd, they lash'd the mast aside, Incensed he threaten'd, and his threats perform'd: And dropp'd their anchors, and the pinnace tied. The fair Chrysers to her sire was sent,
Next on the shore their hecatomb they land, 570 With offer'd gifts to make the god relent;
Chrysers last descending on the strand. But now he seized Briseis' heavenly charms, Her, thus returning from the furrow'd main, And of my valour's prize defrauds my arms, Ulysses led to Phæbus' sacred fane; Defrauds the votes of all the Grecian train ; Where at his solemn altar, as the maid And service, faith, and justice, plead in vain. He gave to Chryses, thus the hero said : But, goddess ! thou thy suppliant son attend, 5101 Hail, reverend priest! To Phæbus' awful dome To high Olympus' shining court ascend,
A suppliant I from great Atrides come : Urge all the ties to former service owed,
Unransom'd here receive the spotless fair;
At this, the sire embraced the maid again,
Then near the altar of the darting king,
590 Not he that shakes the solid earth so strong :* Whose power encircles Cilla the divine; With giant-pride at Jove's high throne he stands, Whose sacred eye thy Tenedos surveys, And brandish'd round him all his hundred hands; And gilds fair Chrysa with distinguish'd rays ! The affrighted gods confess'd their awful lord, | If, fired to vengeance at thy priest's request, They dropp'd the fetters, trembled, and adored. Thy direful darts inflict the raging pest; This, goddess, this to his remembrance call, 530 Once more attend ! avert the wasteful woe, Embrace his knees, at his tribunal fall;
And smile propitious, and unbend thy bow. Conjure him far to drive the Grecian train,
So Chryses pray'd. Apollo heard his prayer: To hurl them headlong to their fleet and main, And now the Greeks their hecatomb prepare; To heap the shores with copious death, and bring Between their horns the salted barley threw, 600 The Greeks to know the curse of such a king : And with their heads to heaven the victims slew : Let Agamemnon lift his haughty head
The limbs they sever from the enclosing hide; O'er all his wide dominion of the dead,
The thighs, selected to the gods, divide ; And mourn in blood, that e'er he durst disgrace On these, in double cauls involved with art, The boldest warrior of the Grecian race.
The choicest morsels lay from every part. Unhappy son! (fair Thetis thus replies, 540 The priest himself before his altar stands, While tears celestial trickle from her eyes) And burns the offering with his holy hands,
Pours the black wine, and sees the flames aspire, * Neptune.
The youths with instruments surround the fire.
The thighs thus sacrificed, and entrails dress'd, 610 But part in peace, secure thy prayer is sped:
The nod that ratifies the will divine,
680 Each takes his seat, and each receives his share. The faithful, fix'd, irrevocable sign; When now the rage of hunger was repress'd, This seals thy suit, and this fulfils thy vows-With pure libations they conclude the feast ; He spoke, and awful bends his sable brows; The youths with wine the copious goblets crown'd, Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod; And pleas'd dispense the flowing bowls around. The stamp of fate, and sanction of the god : With hymns divine the joyous banquet ends, High heaven with trembling the dread signal took, The Pæans lengthen'd till the sun descends; And all Olympus to the centre shook. The Greeks, restored, the grateful notes prolong; 620 Swift to the seas profound the goddess flies, Apollo listens, and approves the song.
Jove to his starry mansion in the skies. 'Twas night; the chiefs beside their vessel lie, The shining synod of the immortals wait 690 Till rosy morn had purpled o'er the sky:
The coming god, and from their thrones of state Then launch, and hoist the mast; indulgent gales, Arising silent, rapt in holy fear, Supplied by Phæbus, fill the swelling sails;
| Before the majesty of heaven appear. The milk-white canvass bellying as they blow, Trembling they stand, while Jove assumes the throne, The parted ocean foams and roars below:
All, but the god's imperious queen alone : Above the bounding billows swift they flew, Late had she view'd the silver-footed dame, Till now the Grecian camp appear'd in view. And all her passions kindled into flame. Far on the beach they haul their bark to land, 630 Say, artful' manager of heaven (she cries,) (The crooked keel divides the yellow sand;) Who now partakes the secrets of the skies ? Then part, where stretch'd along the winding bay Thy Juno knows not the decrees of fate, 700 The ships and tents in winding prospect lay. In vain the partner of imperial state. But raging still, amidst his navy sat
What favourite goddess then those cares divides, The stern Achilles, steadfast in his hate;
Which Jove in prudence from his consort hides? Nor mix'd in combat, nor in council join'd;
To this the Thunderer: Seek not thou to find But wasting cares lay heavy on his mind :
The sacred counsels of almighty mind : In his black thoughts revenge and slaughter roll, Involved in darkness lies the great decree, And scenes of blood rise dreadful in his soul. 639 Nor can the depths of fate be pierced by thee..
Twelve days were past, and now the dawning light What fits thy knowledge, thou the first shalt know; The gods had summond to the Olympian height: The first of gods above and men below; Jove first ascending from the watery bowers, But thou, nor they, shall search the thoughts that roll Leads the long order of ethereal powers.
Deep in the close recesses of my soul.
711 When like the morning mist in early day,
Full on the sire the goddess of the skies Rose from the flood the daughter of the sea; Roll'd the large orbs of her majestic eyes, And to the seats divine her flight address'd.
And thus return'd: Austere Saturnius, say, There, far apart, and high above the rest,
From whence this wrath, or who controuls thy sway? The Thunderer sat; where old Olympus shrouds Thy boundless will, for me, remains in force, His hundred heads in heaven, and props the clouds. And all thy counsels take the destined course. Suppliant the goddess stood: one hand she placed 650 But 'tis for Greece I fear: for late was seen Beneath his beard, and one his knees embraced. In close consult the silver-footed queen. If e'er, O father of the gods ! (she said,),
Jove to his Thetis nothing could deny, , 720 My words could please thee, or my actions aid; Nor was the signal vain that shook the sky. Some marks of honour on my son bestow,
What fatal favour has the goddess won, And pay in glory what in life you owe.
To grace her fierce inexorable son ? Fame is at least by heavenly promise due
Perhaps in Grecian blood to drench the plain, To life so short, and now dishonour'd too.
And glut his vengeance with my people slain. Avenge this wrony, oh ever just and wise !
Then thus the god : Oh restless fate of pride, Let Greece be humbled, and the Trojans rise; That strives to learn what heaven resolves to hide ! Till the proud king, and all the Achaian race, 660 Vain is the search, presumptuous and abhorr'd, Shall heap with honours him they now disgrace. Anxious to thee, and odious to thy lord. Thus Thetis spoke : but Jove in silence held, Let this suffice, the immutable decree
730 The sacred counsels of his breast conceal'd. No force can shake : what is, that ought to be. Not so repulsed, the goddess closer press'd, Goddess, submit, nor dare our will withstand, Still grasp'd his knees, and urged the dear request. | But dread the power of this avenging hand : O sire of gods and men ! thy suppliant hear; The united strength of all the gods above . Refuse, or grant: for what has Jove to fear! In vain resist the omnipotence of Jove. Or, oh! declare, of all the powers above,
The Thunderer spoke, nor durst the queen reply; Is wretched Thetis least the care of Jove?
A reverend horror silenced all the sky.
740 la foreign contests, and domestic rage,
Thus interposed the architect divine:
Are far unworthy, gods! of your debate.
Let men their days in senseless strife employ ; With jealous eyes thy close access survey: (We, in eternal peace, and constant joy.