The Iliad of Homer

Book I

Translated by Alexander Pope

Edited by Jack Lynch,
Rutgers University — Newark

Te sequor, O Graiæ gentis Decus! inque tuis nunc
Fixa pedum pono pressis vestigia signis:
Non ita certandi cupidus, quàm propter Amorem,
   Quòd Te imitari aveo ———


It is something strange that of all the Commentators upon Homer, there is hardly one whose principal Design is to illustrate the Poetical Beauties of the Author. They are Voluminous in explaining those Sciences which he made but subservient to his Poetry, and sparing only upon that Art which constitutes his Character. This has been occasion'd by the Ostentation of Men who had more Reading than Taste, and were fonder of showing their Variety of Learning in all Kinds, than their single Understanding in Poetry. Hence it comes to pass that their Remarks are rather Philosophical, Historical, Geographical, Allegorical, or in short rather any thing than Critical and Poetical. Even the Grammarians, tho' their whole Business and Use be only to render the Words of an Author intelligible, are strangely touch'd with the Pride of doing something more than they ought. The grand Ambition of one sort of Scholars is to encrease the Number of Various Lections; which they have done to such a degree of obscure Diligence, that we now begin to value the first Editions of Books as most correct, because they have been least corrected. The prevailing Passion of others is to discover New Meanings in an Author, whom they will cause to appear mysterious purely for the Vanity of being thought to unravel him. These account it a disgrace to be of the Opinion of those that preceded them; and it is generally the Fate of such People who will never say what was said before, to say what will never be said after them. If they can but find a Word that has once been strain'd by some dark Writer to signify any thing different from its usual Acceptation, it is frequent with them to apply it constantly to that uncommon Meaning, whenever they meet it in a clear Writer: For Reading is so much dearer to them than Sense, that they will discard it at any time to make way for a Criticism. In other Places where they cannot contest the Truth of the common Interpretation, they get themselves room for Dissertation by imaginary Amphibologies, which they will have to be design'd by the Author. This Disposition of finding out different Significations in one thing, may be the Effect of either too much, or too little Wit: For Men of a right Understanding generally see at once all that an Author can reasonably mean, but others are apt to fancy Two Meanings for want of knowing One. Not to add, that there is a vast deal of difference between the Learning of a Critick, and the Puzzling of a Grammarian.

It is no easy Task to make something out of a hundred Pedants that is not Pedantical; yet this he must do, who would give a tolerable Abstract of the former Expositors of Homer. The Commentaries of Eustathius are indeed an immense Treasury of the Greek Learning; but as he seems to have amassed the Substance of whatever others had written upon the Author, so he is not free from some of the foregoing Censures. There are those who have said, that a judicious Abstract of Him alone might furnish out sufficient Illustrations upon Homer. It was resolv'd to take the trouble of reading thro' that voluminous Work, and the Reader may be assur'd, those Remarks that any way concern the Poetry or Art of the Poet, are much fewer than is imagin'd. The greater Part of these is already plunder'd by succeeding Commentators, who have very little but what they owe to him: and I am oblig'd to say even of Madam Dacier, that she is either more beholden to him than she has confessed, or has read him less than she is willing to own. She has made a farther Attempt than her Predecessors to discover the Beauties of the Poet; tho' we have often only her general Praises and Exclamations instead of Reasons. But her Remarks all together are the most judicious Collection extant of the scatter'd Observations of the Ancients and Moderns, as her Preface is excellent, and her Translation equally careful and elegant.

The chief Design of the following Notes is to comment upon Homer as a Poet; whatever in them is extracted from others is constantly own'd; the Remarks of the Ancients are generally set at length, and the Places cited: all those of Eustathius are collected which fall under this Scheme: many which were not acknowledg'd by other Commentators, are restor'd to the true Owner; and the same Justice is shown to those who refus'd it to others.


The Contention of Achilles and Agamemnon.

In the War of Troy, the Greeks having sack'd some of the neighbouring Towns, and taken from thence two beautiful Captives, Chruseïs and Briseïs, allotted the first to Agagamemnon, and the last to Achilles. Chryses, the Father of Chruseïs and Priest of Apollo, comes to the Grecian Camp to ransome her; with which the Action of the Poem opens, in the Tenth Year of the Siege. The Priest being refus'd and insolently dismiss'd by Agamemnon, intreats for Vengeance from his God, who inflicts a Pestilence on the Greeks. Achilles calls a Council, and encourages Chalcas to declare the Cause of it, who attributes it to the Refusal of Chruseïs. The King being obliged to send back his Captive, enters into a furious Contest with Achilles, which Nestor pacifies; however as he had the absolute Command of the Army, he seizes on Briseïs in revenge. Achilles in discontent withdraws himself and his Forces from the rest of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the Wrong done to her Son, by giving Victory to the Trojans. Jupiter granting her Suit incenses Juno, between whom the Debate runs high, 'till they are reconciled by the Address of Vulcan.

The Time of two and twenty Days is taken up in this Book; nine during the Plague, one in the Council and Quarrel of the Princes, and twelve for Jupiter's Stay with the Æthiopians, at whose Return Thetis prefers her Petition. The Scene lies in the Grecian Camp, then changes to Chrysa, and lastly to the Gods on Olympus.

The Wrath of Peleus' Son, the direful Spring
Of all the Grecian Woes, O Goddess, sing!
That Wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy Reign
The Souls of mighty Chiefs untimely slain;
Whose Limbs unbury'd on the naked Shore [5]
Devouring Dogs and hungry Vultures tore.
Since Great Achilles and Atrides strove,
Such was the Sov'reign Doom, and such the Will of Jove.

Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated Hour
Sprung the fierce Strife, from what offended Pow'r? [10]
Latona's Son a dire Contagion spread,
And heap'd the Camp with Mountains of the Dead;
The King of Men his Rev'rend Priest defy'd,
And, for the King's Offence, the People dy'd.

For Chryses sought with costly Gifts to gain [15]
His Captive Daughter from the Victor's Chain.
Suppliant the Venerable Father stands,
Apollo's awful Ensigns grace his Hands:
By these he begs; and lowly bending down,
Extends the Sceptre and the Laurel Crown. [20]
He su'd to All, but chief implor'd for Grace
The Brother-Kings, of Atreus' Royal Race.

Ye Kings and Warriors! may your Vows be crown'd,
And Troy's proud Walls lie level with the Ground.
May Jove restore you, when your Toils are o'er, [25]
Safe to the Pleasures of your native Shore.
But oh! relieve a wretched Parent's Pain,
And give Chruseïs to these Arms again;
If Mercy fail, yet let my Presents move,
And dread avenging Phoebus, Son of Jove. [30]

The Greeks in Shouts their joint Assent declare
The Priest to rev'rence, and release the Fair.
Not so Atrides: He, with Kingly Pride,
Repuls'd the sacred Sire, and thus reply'd.
Hence on thy Life, and fly these hostile Plains, [35]
Nor ask, Presumptuous, what the King detains;
Hence, with thy Laurel Crown, and Golden Rod,
Nor trust too far those Ensigns of thy God.
Mine is thy Daughter, Priest, and shall remain;
And Pray'rs, and Tears, and Bribes shall plead in vain; [40]
'Till Time shall rifle ev'ry youthful Grace,
And Age dismiss her from my cold Embrace,
In daily Labours of the Loom employ'd,
Or doom'd to deck the Bed she once enjoy'd.
Hence then: to Argos shall the Maid retire; [45]
Far from her native Soil, and weeping Sire.

The trembling Priest along the Shore return'd,
And in the Anguish of a Father mourn'd.
Disconsolate, nor daring to complain,
Silent he wander'd by the sounding Main: [50]
'Till, safe at distance, to his God he prays,
The God who darts around the World his Rays.

O Smintheus! sprung from fair Latona's Line,
Thou Guardian Pow'r of Cilla the Divine,
Thou Source of Light! whom Tenedos adores, [55]
And whose bright Presence gilds thy Chrysa's Shores.
If e'er with Wreaths I hung thy sacred Fane,
Or fed the Flames with Fat of Oxen slain;
God of the Silver Bow! thy Shafts employ,
Avenge thy Servant, and the Greeks destroy. [60]

Thus Chryses pray'd: the fav'ring Pow'r attends,
And from Olympus' lofty Tops descends.
Bent was his Bow, the Grecian Hearts to wound;
Fierce as he mov'd, his Silver Shafts resound.
Breathing Revenge, a sudden Night he spread, [65]
And gloomy Darkness roll'd around his Head.
The Fleet in View, he twang'd his deadly Bow,
And hissing fly the feather'd Fates below.
On Mules and Dogs th'Infection first began,
And last, the vengeful Arrows fix'd in Man. [70]
For nine long Nights, thro' all the dusky Air
The Fires thick-flaming shot a dismal Glare.
But ere the tenth revolving Day was run,
Inspir'd by Juno, Thetis' God-like Son
Conven'd to Council all the Grecian Train; [75]
For much the Goddess mourn'd her Heroes slain.

Th'Assembly seated, rising o'er the rest,
Achilles thus the King of Men addrest.
Why leave we not the fatal Trojan Shore,
And measure back the Seas we crost before? [80]
The Plague destroying whom the Sword would spare,
'Tis time to save the few Remains of War.
But let some Prophet, or some sacred Sage,
Explore the Cause of great Apollo's Rage;
Or learn the wastful Vengeance to remove, [85]
By mystic Dreams; for Dreams descend from Jove.
If broken Vows this heavy Curse have laid,
Let Altars smoke, and Hecatombs be paid.
So Heav'n aton'd shall dying Greece restore,
And Phoebus dart his burning Shafts no more. [90]

He said and sate: when Chalcas thus reply'd,
Chalcas the wise, the Grecian Priest and Guide,
That sacred Seer whose comprehensive View
The past, the present, and the future knew.
Uprising slow, the venerable Sage [95]
Thus spoke the Prudence and the Fears of Age.

Belov'd of Jove, Achilles! wou'dst thou know
Why angry Phoebus bends his fatal Bow?
First give thy Faith, and plight a Prince's Word
Of sure Protection by thy Pow'r and Sword. [100]
For I must speak what Wisdom would conceal,
And Truths invidious to the Great reveal.
Bold is the Task, when Subjects grown too wise
Instruct a Monarch where his Error lies;
For tho' we deem the short-liv'd Fury past, [105]
'Tis sure, the Mighty will revenge at last.

To whom Pelides. From thy inmost Soul
Speak what thou know'st, and speak without controul.
Ev'n by that God I swear, who rules the Day;
To whom thy Hands the Vows of Greece convey, [110]
And whose blest Oracles thy Lips declare;
Long as Achilles breathes this vital Air,
No daring Greek of all the num'rous Band,
Against his Priest shall lift an impious Hand:
Not ev'n the Chief by whom our Hosts are led, [115]
The King of Kings, shall touch that sacred Head.

Encourag'd thus, the blameless Priest replies:
Nor Vows unpaid, nor slighted Sacrifice,
But He, our Chief, provok'd the raging Pest,
Apollo's Vengeance for his injur'd Priest. [120]
Nor will the God's awaken'd Fury cease,
But Plagues shall spread, and Fun'ral Fires increase,
'Till the great King, without a Ransom paid,
To her own Chrysa send the black-ey'd Maid.
Perhaps, with added Sacrifice and Pray'r, [125]
The Priest may pardon, and the God may spare.

The Prophet spoke; when with a gloomy Frown,
The Monarch started from his shining Throne;
Black Choler fill'd his Breast that boil'd with Ire,
And from his Eyeballs flash'd the living Fire. [130]
Augur accurst! denouncing Mischief still,
Prophet of Plagues, for ever boding Ill!
Still must that Tongue some wounding Message bring,
And still thy Priestly Pride provoke thy King?
For this are Phoebus' Oracles explor'd, [135]
To teach the Greeks to murmur at their Lord?
For this with Falshoods is my Honour stain'd;
Is Heav'n offended, and a Priest profan'd,
Because my Prize, my beauteous Maid I hold,
And heav'nly Charms prefer to proffer'd Gold? [140]
A Maid, unmatch'd in Manners as in Face,
Skill'd in each Art, and crown'd with ev'ry Grace.
Not half so dear were Clytemnestra's Charms,
When first her blooming Beauties blest my Arms.
Yet if the Gods demand her, let her sail; [145]
Our Cares are only for the Publick Weal:

Let me be deem'd the hateful Cause of all,
And suffer, rather than my People fall.
The Prize, the beauteous Prize I will resign,
So dearly valu'd, and so justly mine. [150]
But since for common Good I yield the Fair,
My private Loss let grateful Greece repair;
Nor unrewarded let your Prince complain,
That He alone has fought and bled in vain.

Insatiate King (Achilles thus replies) [155]
Fond of the Pow'r, but fonder of the Prize!
Would'st thou the Greeks their lawful Prey shou'd yield,
The due Reward of many a well-fought Field?
The Spoils of Cities raz'd, and Warriors slain,
We share with Justice, as with Toil we gain: [160]
But to resume whate'er thy Av'rice craves,
(That Trick of Tyrants) may be born by Slaves.
Yet if our Chief for Plunder only fight,
The Spoils of Ilion shall thy Loss requite,
Whene'er, by Jove's Decree, our conqu'ring Pow'rs [165]
Shall humble to the Dust her lofty Tow'rs.

Then thus the King. Shall I my Prize resign
With tame Content, and Thou possest of thine?
Great as thou art, and like a God in Fight,
Think not to rob me of a Soldier's Right. [170]
At thy Demand shall I restore the Maid?
First let the just Equivalent be paid;
Such as a King might ask; and let it be
A Treasure worthy Her, and worthy Me.
Or grant me this, or with a Monarch's Claim [175]
This Hand shall seize some other Captive Dame.
The mighty Ajax shall his Prize resign,
Ulysses' Spoils, or ev'n thy own be mine.
The Man who suffers, loudly may complain;
And rage he may, but he shall rage in vain. [180]
But this when Time requires — It now remains
We launch a Bark to plow the watry Plains,
And waft the Sacrifice to Chrysa's Shores,
With chosen Pilots, and with lab'ring Oars.
Soon shall the Fair the sable Ship ascend, [185]
And some deputed Prince the Charge attend;
This Creta's King, or Ajax shall fulfill,
Or wise Ulysses see perform'd our Will,
Or, if our Royal Pleasure shall ordain,
Achilles self conduct her o'er the Main; [190]
Let fierce Achilles, dreadful in his Rage,
The God propitiate, and the Pest asswage.

At this, Pelides frowning stern, reply'd:
O Tyrant, arm'd with Insolence and Pride!
Inglorious Slave to Int'rest, ever join'd [195]
With Fraud, unworthy of a Royal Mind.
What gen'rous Greek obedient to thy Word,
Shall form an Ambush, or shall lift the Sword?
What Cause have I to war at thy Decree?
The distant Trojans never injur'd me. [200]
To Pthia's Realms no hostile Troops they led;
Safe in her Vales my warlike Coursers fed:
Far hence remov'd, the hoarse-resounding Main
And Walls of Rocks, secure my native Reign,
Whose fruitful Soil luxuriant Harvests grace, [205]
Rich in her Fruits, and in her martial Race.
Hither we sail'd, a voluntary Throng,
T'avenge a private, not a publick Wrong:
What else to Troy th'assembled Nations draws,
But thine, Ungrateful, and thy Brother's Cause? [210]
Is this the Pay our Blood and Toils deserve,
Disgrac'd and injur'd by the Man we serve?
And dar'st thou threat to snatch my Prize away,
Due to the Deeds of many a dreadful Day?
A Prize as small, O Tyrant! match'd with thine, [215]
As thy own Actions if compar'd to mine.
Thine in each Conquest is the wealthy Prey,
Tho' mine the Sweat and Danger of the Day.
Some trivial Present to my Ships I bear,
Or barren Praises pay the Wounds of War. [220]
But know, proud Monarch, I'm thy Slave no more;
My Fleet shall waft me to Thessalia's Shore.
Left by Achilles on the Trojan Plain,
What Spoils, what Conquests shall Atrides gain?

To this the King: Fly, mighty Warriour! fly, [225]
Thy Aid we need not, and thy Threats defy.
There want not Chiefs in such a Cause to fight,
And Jove himself shall guard a Monarch's Right.
Of all the Kings (the Gods distinguish'd Care)
To Pow'r superior none such Hatred bear: [230]
Strife and Debate thy restless Soul employ,
And Wars and Horrors are thy savage Joy.
If thou hast Strength, 'twas Heav'n that Strength bestow'd,
For know, vain Man! thy Valour is from God.
Haste, launch thy Vessels, fly with Speed away, [235]
Rule thy own Realms with arbitrary Sway:
I heed thee not, but prize at equal rate
Thy short-liv'd Friendship, and thy groundless Hate.
Go, threat thy Earth-born Myrmidons; but here
'Tis mine to threaten, Prince, and thine to fear. [240]
Know, if the God the beauteous Dame demand,
My Bark shall waft her to her native Land;
But then prepare, Imperious Prince! prepare,
Fierce as thou art, to yield thy captive Fair:
Ev'n in thy Tent I'll seize the blooming Prize, [245]
Thy lov'd Briseïs with the radiant Eyes.
Hence shalt thou prove my Might, and curse the Hour,
Thou stood'st a Rival of Imperial Pow'r;
And hence to all our Host it shall be known,
That Kings are subject to the Gods alone. [250]

Achilles heard, with Grief and Rage opprest,
His Heart swell'd high, and labour'd in his Breast.
Distracting Thoughts by turns his Bosom rul'd,
Now fir'd by Wrath, and now by Reason cool'd:
That prompts his Hand to draw the deadly Sword, [255]
Force thro' the Greeks, and pierce their haughty Lord;
This whispers soft his Vengeance to controul,
And calm the rising Tempest of his Soul.
Just as in Anguish of Suspence he stay'd,
While half unsheath'd appear'd the glitt'ring Blade, [260]
Minerva swift descended from above,
Sent by the Sister and the Wife of Jove;
(For both the Princes claim'd her equal Care)
Behind she stood, and by the Golden Hair
Achilles seiz'd; to him alone confest; [265]
A sable Cloud conceal'd her from the rest.
He saw, and sudden to the Goddess cries,
Known by the Flames that sparkled from her Eyes.

Descends Minerva, in her guardian Care,
A heav'nly Witness of the Wrongs I bear [270]
From Atreus' Son? Then let those Eyes that view
The daring Crime, behold the Vengeance too.

Forbear! (the Progeny of Jove replies)
To calm thy Fury I forsook the Skies:
Let great Achilles, to the Gods resign'd, [275]
To Reason yield the Empire o'er his Mind.
By awful Juno this Command is giv'n;
The King and You are both the Care of Heav'n.
The Force of keen Reproaches let him feel,
But sheath, Obedient, thy revenging Steel. [280]
For I pronounce (and trust a heav'nly Pow'r)
Thy injur'd Honour has its fated Hour,
When the proud Monarch shall thy Arms implore,
And bribe thy Friendship with a boundless Store.
Then let Revenge no longer bear the Sway, [285]
Command thy Passions, and the Gods obey.

To her Pelides. With regardful Ear
'Tis just, O Goddess! I thy Dictates hear.
Hard as it is, my Vengeance I suppress:
Those who revere the Gods, the Gods will bless. [290]
He said, observant of the blue-ey'd Maid;
Then in the Sheath return'd the shining Blade.
The Goddess swift to high Olympus flies,
And joins the sacred Senate of the Skies.

Nor yet the Rage his boiling Breast forsook, [295]
Which thus redoubling on the Monarch broke.
O Monster, mix'd of Insolence and Fear,
Thou Dog in Forehead, but in Heart a Deer!
When wert thou known in ambush'd Fights to dare,
Or nobly face the horrid Front of War? [300]
'Tis ours, the Chance of fighting Fields to try,
Thine to look on, and bid the Valiant dye.
So much 'tis safer thro' the Camp to go,
And rob a Subject, than despoil a Foe.
Scourge of thy People, violent and base! [305]
Sent in Jove's Anger on a slavish Race,
Who lost to Sense of gen'rous Freedom past
Are tam'd to Wrongs, or this had been thy last.
Now by this sacred Sceptre, hear me swear,
Which never more shall Leaves or Blossoms bear, [310]
Which sever'd from the Trunk (as I from thee)
On the bare Mountains left its Parent Tree;
This Sceptre, form'd by temper'd Steel to prove
An Ensign of the Delegates of Jove,
From whom the Pow'r of Laws and Justice springs: [315]
(Tremendous Oath! inviolate to Kings)
By this I swear, when bleeding Greece again
Shall call Achilles, she shall call in vain.
When flush'd with Slaughter, Hector comes, to spread
The purpled Shore with Mountains of the Dead, [320]
Then shalt thou mourn th'Affront thy Madness gave,
Forc'd to deplore, when impotent to save:
Then rage in Bitterness of Soul, to know
This Act has made the bravest Greek thy Foe.

He spoke; and furious, hurl'd against the Ground [325]
His Sceptre starr'd with golden Studs around.
Then sternly silent sate: With like Disdain,
The raging King return'd his Frowns again.

To calm their Passion with the Words of Age,
Slow from his Seat arose the Pylian Sage; [330]
Th'experienc'd Nestor, in Persuasion skill'd,
Words, sweet as Honey, from his Lips distill'd:
Two Generations now had past away,
Wise by his Rules, and happy by his Sway;
Two Ages o'er his native Realm he reign'd, [335]
And now th'Example of the third remain'd.
All view'd with Awe the Venerable Man;
Who thus, with mild Benevolence, began;

What Shame, what Woe is this to Greece! what Joy
To Troy's proud Monarch, and the Friends of Troy! [340]
That adverse Gods commit to stern Debate
The best, the bravest of the Grecian State.
Young as you are, this youthful Heat restrain,
Nor think your Nestor's Years and Wisdom vain.
A Godlike Race of Heroes once I knew, [345]
Such, as no more these aged Eyes shall view!
Lives there a Chief to match Pirithous' Fame,
Dryas the bold, or Ceneus' deathless Name.
Theseus, endu'd with more than mortal Might,
Or Polyphemus, like the Gods in Fight? [350]
With these of old to Toils of Battel bred,
In early Youth my hardy Days I led;
Fir'd with the Thirst which Virtuous Envy breeds,
And smit with Love of Honourable Deeds.
Strongest of Men, they pierc'd the Mountain Boar, [355]
Rang'd the wild Desarts red with Monsters Gore,
And from their Hills the shaggy Centaurs tore.
Yet these with soft, persuasive Arts I sway'd,
When Nestor spoke, they listen'd and obey'd.
If, in my Youth, ev'n these esteem'd me wise, [360]
Do you, young Warriors, hear my Age advise.
Atrides, seize not on the beauteous Slave;
That Prize the Greeks by common Suffrage gave:
Nor thou, Achilles, treat our Prince with Pride;
Let Kings be just, and Sov'reign Pow'r preside. [365]
Thee, the first Honours of the War adorn,
Like Gods in Strength, and of a Goddess born;
Him awful Majesty exalts above
The Pow'rs of Earth, and sceptred Sons of Jove.
Let both unite with well-consenting Mind, [370]
So shall Authority with Strength be join'd.
Leave me, O King! to calm Achilles' Rage;
Rule thou thy self, as more advanc'd in Age.
Forbid it Gods! Achilles should be lost,
The Pride of Greece, and Bulwark of our Host. [375]

This said, he ceas'd: The King of Men replies;
Thy Years are awful, and thy Words are wise.
But that imperious, that unconquer'd Soul,
No Laws can limit, no Respect controul.
Before his Pride must his Superiors fall, [380]
His Word the Law, and He the Lord of all?
Him must our Hosts, our Chiefs, our Self obey?
What King can bear a Rival in his Sway?
Grant that the Gods his matchless Force have giv'n;
Has foul Reproach a Privilege from Heav'n? [385]

Here on the Monarch's Speech Achilles broke,
And furious, thus, and interrupting spoke.
Tyrant, I well deserv'd thy galling Chain,
To live thy Slave, and still to serve in vain,
Should I submit to each unjust Decree: [390]
Command thy Vassals, but command not Me.
Seize on Briseïs, whom the Grecians doom'd
My Prize of War, yet tamely see resum'd;
And seize secure; No more Achilles draws
His conqu'ring Sword in any Woman's Cause. [395]
The Gods command me to forgive the past;
But let this first Invasion be the last;
For know, thy Blood, when next thou dar'st invade,
Shall stream in Vengeance on my reeking Blade.

At this, they ceas'd; the stern Debate expir'd: [400]
The Chiefs in sullen Majesty retir'd.

Achilles with Patroclus took his Way.
Where near his Tents his hollow Vessels lay.
Mean time Atrides launch'd with num'rous Oars
A well-rigg'd Ship for Chrysa's sacred Shores: [405]
High on the Deck was fair Chruseïs plac'd,
And sage Ulysses with the Conduct grac'd:
Safe in her Sides the Hecatomb they stow'd,
Then swiftly sailing, cut the liquid Road.

The Host to expiate next the King prepares, [410]
With pure Lustrations, and with solemn Pray'rs.
Wash'd by the briny Wave, the pious Train
Are cleans'd, and cast th'Ablutions in the Main.
Along the Shore whole Hecatombs were laid,
And Bulls and Goats to Phoebus' Altars paid. [415]
The sable Fumes in curling Spires arise,
And waft their grateful Odours to the Skies.

The Army thus in sacred Rites engag'd,
Atrides still with deep Resentment rag'd.
To wait his Will two sacred Heralds stood, [420]
Talthybius and Eurybates the good.
Haste to the fierce Achilles' Tent (he cries)
Thence bear Briseïs as our Royal Prize:
Submit he must; or if they will not part,
Ourself in Arms shall tear her from his Heart. [425]

Th'unwilling Heralds act their Lord's Commands;
Pensive they walk along the barren Sands:
Arriv'd, the Heroe in his Tent they find,
With gloomy Aspect, on his Arm reclin'd.
At awful Distance long they silent stand, [430]
Loth to advance, or speak their hard Command;
Decent Confusion! This the Godlike Man
Perceiv'd, and thus with Accent mild began.

With Leave and Honour enter our Abodes,
Ye sacred Ministers of Men and Gods! [435]
I know your Message; by Constraint you came;
Not you, but your Imperious Lord I blame.
Patroclus haste, the fair Briseïs bring;
Conduct my Captive to the haughty King.
But witness, Heralds, and proclaim my Vow, [440]
Witness to Gods above, and Men below!
But first, and loudest, to your Prince declare,
That lawless Tyrant whose Commands you bear;
Unmov'd as Death Achilles shall remain,
Tho' prostrate Greece should bleed at ev'ry Vein: [445]
The raging Chief in frantick Passion lost,
Blind to himself, and useless to his Host,
Unskill'd to judge the Future by the Past,
In Blood and Slaughter shall repent at last.

Patroclus now th'unwilling Beauty brought; [450]
She, in soft Sorrows, and in pensive Thought,
Supported by the Chiefs on either Hand,
In Silence past along the winding Strand.

Not so his Loss the fierce Achilles bore;
But sad retiring to the sounding Shore, [455]
O'er the wild Margin of the Deep he hung,
That kindred Deep, from whence his Mother sprung.
There, bath'd in Tears of Anger and Disdain,
Thus loud lamented to the stormy Main.

O Parent Goddess! since in early Bloom [460]
Thy Son must fall, by too severe a Doom,
Sure, to so short a Race of Glory born,
Great Jove in Justice should this Span adorn:
Honour and Fame at least the Thund'rer ow'd,
And ill he pays the Promise of a God; [465]
If yon proud Monarch thus thy Son defies,
Obscures my Glories, and resumes my Prize.

Far in the deep Recesses of the Main,
Where aged Ocean holds his wat'ry Reign,
The Goddess-Mother heard. The Waves divide; [470]
And like a Mist she rose above the Tide;
Beheld him mourning on the naked Shores,
And thus the Sorrows of his Soul explores.
Why grieves my Son? Thy Anguish let me share,
Reveal the Cause, and trust a Parent's Care. [475]

He deeply sighing said: To tell my Woe,
Is but to mention what too well you know.
From ThebŠ sacred to Apollo's Name,
(A‰tion's Realm) our conqu'ring Army came,
With Treasure loaded and triumphant Spoils, [480]
Whose just Division crown'd the Soldier's Toils;
But bright Chruseïs, heav'nly Prize! was led
By Vote selected, to the Gen'ral's Bed.
The Priest of Phoebus sought by Gifts to gain
His beauteous Daughter from the Victor's Chain; [485]
The Fleet he reach'd, and lowly bending down,
Held forth the Sceptre and the Laurel Crown,
Entreating All: but chief implor'd for Grace
The Brother Kings of Atreus' Royal Race:
The gen'rous Greeks their joint Consent declare, [490]
The Priest to rev'rence, and release the Fair;
Not so Atrides: He, with wonted Pride,
The Sire insulted, and his Gifts deny'd:
Th'insulted Sire (his God's peculiar Care)
To Phoebus pray'd, and Phoebus heard the Pray'r: [495]
A dreadful Plague ensues; Th'avenging Darts
Incessant sly, and pierce the Grecian Hearts:
A Prophet then, inspir'd by Heav'n arose,
And points the Crime, and thence derives the Woes:
My self the first th'assembl'd Chiefs incline [500]
T'avert the Vengeance of the Pow'r Divine;
Then rising in his Wrath, the Monarch storm'd;
Incens'd he threaten'd, and his Threats perform'd:
The fair Chruseïs to her Sire was sent,
With offer'd Gifts to make the God relent; [505]
But now He seiz'd Briseïs' heav'nly Charms,
And of my Valour's Prize defrauds my Arms,
Defrauds the Votes of all the Grecian Train;
And Service, Faith, and Justice plead in vain.
But Goddess! thou, thy suppliant Son attend, [510]
To high Olympus' shining Court ascend,
Urge all the Ties to former Service ow'd,
And sue for Vengeance to the Thund'ring God.
Oft hast thou triumph'd in the glorious Boast,
That thou stood'st forth, of all th'Æthereal Host, [515]
When bold Rebellion shook the Realms above,
Th'undaunted Guard of Cloud-compelling Jove.
When the bright Partner of his awful Reign,
The Warlike Maid, and Monarch of the Main,
The Traytor-Gods, by mad Ambition driv'n, [520]
Durst threat with Chains th'Omnipotence of Heav'n.
Then call'd by thee: the Monster Titan came,
(Whom Gods Briareus, Men Ægeon name)
Thro' wondring Skies enormous stalk'd along;
Not He that shakes the solid Earth so strong: [525]
With Giant-Pride at Jove's high Throne he stands,
And brandish'd round him all his Hundred Hands;
Th'affrighted Gods confess'd their awful Lord,
They dropt the Fetters, trembled and ador'd.
This, Goddess, this to his Remembrance call, [530]
Embrace his Knees, at his Tribunal fall;
Conjure him far to drive the Grecian Train,
To hurl them headlong to their Fleet and Main,
To heap the Shores with copious Death, and bring
The Greeks to know the Curse of such a King: [535]
Let Agamemnon lift his haughty Head
O'er all his wide Dominion of the Dead,
And mourn in Blood, that e'er he durst disgrace
The boldest Warrior of the Grecian Race.

Unhappy Son! (fair Thetis thus replies, [540]
While Tears Celestial trickled from her Eyes)
Why have I born thee with a Mother's Throes,
To Fates averse, and nurs'd for future Woes?
So short a Space the Light of Heav'n to view!
So short a Space, and fill'd with Sorrow too! [545]
Oh might a Parent's careful Wish prevail,
Far, far from Ilion should thy Vessels sail,
And thou, from Camps remote, the Danger shun,
Which now, alas! too nearly threats my Son.
Yet (what I can) to move thy Suit I'll go, [550]
To great Olympus crown'd with fleecy Snow.
Mean time, secure within thy Ships from far
Behold the Field, nor mingle in the War.
The Sire of Gods, and all th'Etherial Train,
On the warm Limits of the farthest Main, [555]
Now mix with Mortals, nor disdain to grace
The Feasts of Æthiopia's blameless Race:
Twelve Days the Pow'rs indulge the Genial Rite,
Returning with the twelfth revolving Light.
Then will I mount the Brazen Dome, and move [560]
The high Tribunal of Immortal Jove.

The Goddess spoke: The rowling Waves unclose;
Then down the Deep she plung'd from whence she rose,
And left him sorrowing on the lonely Coast,
In wild Resentment for the Fair he lost. [565]

In Chrysa's Port now sage Ulysses rode;
Beneath the Deck the destin'd Victims stow'd:
The Sails they furl'd, they lash'd the Mast aside,
And dropt their Anchors, and the Pinnace ty'd.
Next on the Shore their Hecatomb they land, [570]
Chruseïs last descending on the Strand.
Her, thus returning from the furrow'd Main,
Ulysses led to Phoebus sacred Fane;
Where at his solemn Altar, as the Maid
He gave to Chryses, thus the Heroe said. [575]

Hail Rev'rend Priest! to Phoebus' awful Dome
A Suppliant I from great Atrides come:
Unransom'd here receive the spotless Fair;
Accept the Hecatomb the Greeks prepare;
And may thy God who scatters Darts around, [580]
Aton'd by Sacrifice, desist to wound.

At this, the Sire embrac'd the Maid again,
So sadly lost, so lately sought in vain.
Then near the Altar of the darting King,
Dispos'd in Rank their Hecatomb they bring: [585]
With Water purify their Hands, and take
The sacred Off'ring of the salted Cake;
While thus with Arms devoutly rais'd in Air,
And solemn Voice, the Priest directs his Pray'r.

God of the Silver Bow, thy Ear incline, [590]
Whose Power encircles Cilla the Divine,
Whose sacred Eye thy Tenedos surveys,
And gilds fair Chrysa with distinguish'd Rays!
If, fir'd to Vengeance at thy Priests request,
Thy direful Darts inflict the raging Pest; [595]
Once more attend! avert the wastful Woe,
And smile propitious, and unbend thy Bow.

So Chryses pray'd, Apollo heard his Pray'r:
And now the Greeks their Hecatomb prepare;
Between their Horns the salted Barley threw, [600]
And with their Heads to Heav'n the Victims slew:
The Limbs they sever from th'inclosing Hide;
The Thighs, selected to the Gods, divide:
On these, in double Cawls involv'd with Art,
The choicest Morsels lay from ev'ry Part. [605]
The Priest himself before his Altar stands,
And burns the Victims with his holy Hands,
Pours the black Wine, and sees the Flames aspire;
The Youth with Instruments surround the Fire:
The Thighs thus sacrific'd, and Entrails drest, [610]
Th'Assistants part, transfix, and roast the rest:
Then spread the Tables, the Repast prepare,
Each takes his Seat, and each receives his Share.
When now the Rage of Hunger was represt,
With pure Libations they conclude the Feast; [615]
The Youths with Wine the copious Goblets crown'd,
And pleas'd, dispense the flowing Bowls around.
With Hymns Divine the joyous Banquet ends,
The Pæans lengthen'd 'till the Sun descends:
The Greeks restor'd the grateful Notes prolong; [620]
Apollo listens, and approves the Song.

'Twas Night: the Chiefs beside their Vessel lie,
'Till rosie Morn had purpled o'er the Sky:
Then launch, and hoise the Mast; Indulgent Gales
Supply'd by Phoebus, fill the swelling Sails; [625]
The milk-white Canvas bellying as they blow;
The parted Ocean foams and roars below:
Above the bounding Billows swift they flew,
'Till now the Grecian Camp appear'd in view.
Far on the Beach they haul their Bark to Land, [630]
(The crooked Keel divides the yellow Sand)
Then part, where stretch'd along the winding Bay
The Ships and Tents in mingled Prospect lay.

But raging still amidst his Navy sate
The stern Achilles, stedfast in his Hate; [635]
Nor mix'd in Combate, nor in Council join'd,
But wasting Cares lay heavy on his Mind:
In his black Thoughts Revenge and Slaughter roll,
And Scenes of Blood rise dreadful in his Soul.

Twelve Days were past, and now the dawning Light [640]
The Gods had summon'd to th'Olympian Height.
Jove first ascending from the Wat'ry Bow'rs,
Leads the long Order of Ætherial Pow'rs.
When like a Morning Mist, in early Day,
Rose from the Flood the Daughter of the Sea; [645]
And to the Seats Divine her Flight addrest.
There, far apart, and high above the rest,
The Thund'rer sate; where old Olympus shrouds
His hundred Heads in Heav'n, and props the Clouds.
Suppliant the Goddess stood: One Hand she plac'd [650]
Beneath his Beard, and one his Knees embrac'd.
If e'er, O Father of the Gods! she said,
My Words cou'd please thee, or my Actions aid;
Some Marks of Honour on my Son bestow,
And pay in Glory what in Life you owe. [655]
Fame is at least by Heav'nly Promise due
To Life so short, and now dishonour'd too.
Avenge this Wrong, oh ever just and wise!
Let Greece be humbled, and the Trojans rife;
'Till the proud King, and all th'Achaian Race [660]
Shall heap with Honours him they now disgrace.

Thus Thetis spoke, but Jove in Silence held
The sacred Counsels of his Breast conceal'd.
Not so repuls'd, the Goddess closer prest,
Still grasp'd his Knees, and urg'd the dear Request. [665]
O Sire of Gods and Men! thy Suppliant hear,
Refuse, or grant; for what has Jove to fear?
Or oh declare, of all the Pow'rs above
Is wretched Thetis least the Care of Jove?

She said, and sighing thus the God replies [670]
Who rolls the Thunder o'er the vaulted Skies.
What hast thou ask'd? Ah why should Jove engage
In foreign Contests, and domestic Rage,
The Gods Complaints, and Juno's fierce Alarms,
While I, too partial, aid the Trojan Arms? [675]
Go, lest the haughty Partner of my Sway
With jealous Eyes thy close Access survey;
But part in Peace, secure thy Pray'r is sped:
Witness the sacred Honours of our Head,
The Nod that ratifies the Will Divine, [680]
The faithful, fix'd, irrevocable Sign;
This seals thy Suit, and this fulfills thy Vows —
He spoke, and awful, bends his sable Brows;
Shakes his Ambrosial Curls, and gives the Nod;
The Stamp of Fate, and Sanction of the God: [685]
High Heav'n with trembling the dread Signal took,
And all Olympus to the Centre shook.

Swift to the Seas profound the Goddess flies,
Jove to his starry Mansion in the Skies.
The shining Synod of th'Immortals wait [690]
The coming God, and from their Thrones of State
Arising silent, wrapt in Holy Fear,
Before the Majesty of Heav'n appear.
Trembling they stand, while Jove assumes the Throne,
All, but the God's Imperious Queen alone: [695]
Late had she view'd the Silver-footed Dame,
And all her Passions kindled into Flame.
Say, artful Manager of Heav'n (she cries)
Who now partakes the Secrets of the Skies?
Thy Juno knows not the Decrees of Fate, [700]
In vain the Partner of Imperial State.
What fav'rite Goddess then those Cares divides,
Which Jove in Prudence from his Consort hides?

To this the Thund'rer: Seek not thou to find
The sacred Counsels of Almighty Mind: [705]
Involv'd in Darkness lies the great Decree,
Nor can the Depths of Fate be pierc'd by thee.
What fits thy Knowledge, thou the first shalt know;
The first of Gods above and Men below:
But thou, nor they, shall search the Thoughts that roll [710]
Deep in the close Recesses of my Soul.

Full on the Sire the Goddess of the Skies
Roll'd the large Orbs of her majestic Eyes,
And thus return'd. Austere Saturnius, say,
From whence this Wrath, or who controuls thy Sway? [715]
Thy boundless Will, for me, remains in Force,
And all thy Counsels take the destin'd Course.
But 'tis for Greece I fear: For late was seen
In close Consult, the Silver-footed Queen.
Jove to his Thetis nothing could deny, [720]
Nor was the Signal vain that shook the Sky.
What fatal Favour has the Goddess won,
To grace her fierce, inexorable Son?
Perhaps in Grecian Blood to drench the Plain,
And glut his Vengeance with my People slain. [725]

Then thus the God: Oh restless Fate of Pride,
That strives to learn what Heav'n resolves to hide;
Vain is the Search, presumptuous and abhorr'd,
Anxious to thee, and odious to thy Lord.
Let this suffice; th'immutable Decree [730]
No Force can shake: What is, that ought to be.
Goddess submit, nor dare our Will withstand,
But dread the Pow'r of this avenging Hand;
Th'united Strength of all the Gods above
In vain resists th'Omnipotence of Jove. [735]

The Thund'rer spoke, nor durst the Queen reply;
A rev'rend Horror silenc'd all the Sky.
The Feast disturb'd with Sorrow Vulcan saw,
His Mother menac'd, and the Gods in Awe;
Peace at his Heart, and Pleasure his Design, [740]
Thus interpos'd the Architect Divine.
The wretched Quarrels of the mortal State
Are far unworthy, Gods! of your Debate:
Let Men their Days in senseless Strife employ,
We, in eternal Peace and constant Joy. [745]
Thou, Goddess-Mother, with our Sire comply,
Nor break the sacred Union of the Sky:
Lest, rouz'd to Rage, he shake the blest Abodes,
Launch the red Lightning, and dethrone the Gods.
If you submit, the Thund'rer stands appeas'd; [750]
The gracious Pow'r is willing to be pleas'd.

Thus Vulcan spoke; and rising with a Bound,
The double Bowl with sparkling Nectar crown'd,
Which held to Juno in a chearful way,
Goddess (he cry'd) be patient and obey. [755]
Dear as you are, if Jove his Arm extend,
I can but grieve, unable to defend.
What God so daring in your Aid to move,
Or lift his Hand against the Force of Jove?
Once in your Cause I felt his matchless Might, [760]
Hurl'd headlong downward from th'Etherial Height;
Tost all the Day in rapid Circles round;
Nor 'till the Sun descended, touch'd the Ground:
Breathless I fell, in giddy Motion lost;
The Sinthians rais'd me on the Lemnian Coast. [765]

He said, and to her Hands the Goblet heav'd,
Which, with a Smile, the white-arm'd Queen receiv'd.
Then to the rest he fill'd; and, in his Turn,
Each to his Lips apply'd the nectar'd Urn.
Vulcan with awkward Grace his Office plies, [770]
And unextinguish'd Laughter shakes the Skies.

Thus the blest Gods the Genial Day prolong,
In Feasts Ambrosial, and Celestial Song.
Apollo tun'd the Lyre; the Muses round
With Voice alternate aid the silver Sound. [775]
Meantime the radiant Sun, to mortal Sight
Descending swift, roll'd down the rapid Light.
Then to their starry Domes the Gods depart,
The shining Monuments of Vulcan's Art:
Jove on his Couch reclin'd his awful Head, [780]
And Juno slumber'd on the golden Bed.