Homer's Iliads in English
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O goddess sing what woe the discontent
Of Thetis’ son brought to the Greeks; what souls
Of heroes down to Erebus it sent,
Leaving their bodies unto dogs and fowls;
5Whilst the two princes of the army strove,
King Agamemnon and Achilles stout.
That so it should be was the will of Jove,
But who was he that made them first fall out?
Apollo; who incensed by the wrong
10To his priest Chryses by Atrides done,
Sent a great pestilence the Greeks among;
Apace they died, and remedy was none.
For Chryses came unto the Argive fleet,
With treasure great his daughter to redeem;
15And having in his hands the ensigns meet,
That did the priestly dignity beseem,
A golden sceptre and a crown of bays,
Unto the princes all made his request;
But to the two Atrides chiefly prays,
20Who of the Argive army were the best.
O sons of Atreus, may the Gods grant you
A safe return from Troy with victory;
And you on me compassion may shew,
Receive these gifts and set my daughter free;
25And have respect to Jove’s and Leto’s son.
To this the princes all gave their consent,
Except King Agamemnon. He alone,
And with sharp language from the fleet him sent;
Old man, said he, let me not see you here
30Now staying, or returning back again,
For fear the golden sceptre which you bear,
And chaplet hanging on it, prove but vain.
Your daughter shall to Argos go far hence,
And make my bed, and labour at the loom,
35And take heed you no farther me incense,
Lest you return not safely to your home.
Frighted with this, away the old man went;
And often as he walked on the sand,
His prayers to Apollo up he sent.
40Hear me, Apollo, with thy bow in hand,
That honour’d art in Tenedos and Chryse,
And unto whom Cylla great honour bears,
If thou accepted hast my sacrifice,
Pay th’ Argives with thy arrows for my tears.
45His prayer was granted by the deity;
Who with his silver bow and arrows keen,
Descended from Olympus silently
In likeness of the sable night unseen.
His bow and quiver both behind him hang,
50The arrows chink as often as he jogs,
And as he shot the bow was heard to twang,
And first his arrows flew at mules and dogs.
But when the plague into the army came,
Perpetual was the fire of funerals;
55And so nine days continued the same.
Achilles on the tenth for counsel calls;
And Juno ’twas that put it in his head,
Who for the Argive army was afraid:
The lords to counsel being gathered,
60Up stood Achilles, and thus to them said,
We must, I think, Atrides, run from hence,
Since war and plague consume us both at once,
Let’s think on how to stay the pestilence,
Or else at Troy resolve to leave our bones.
65Let’s with some priest or prophet here advise,
That knows the pleasure of the gods above,
Or some that at expounding dreams are wise,
For also dreams descend on men from Jove:
That we may from him know Apollo’s mind,
70If we for sacrifice be in arrear,
Or if he will for lambs and goats be kind,
And to destroy us from henceforth forbear.
Achilles then sat down, and Chalchas rose,
That was of great renown for augury,
75And any thing was able to disclose,
That had been, is, or should hereafter be;
And guided had the Greeks to Ilium;
Achilles, said he, since you me command
To tell you why this plague is on us come,
80Swear you will save me both with word and hand.
Of all the Greeks it will offend the best;
Who though his anger for awhile he smother,
Will not, I fear, long time contented rest,
But will revenged be some time or other.
85Chalchas, replied Achilles, do not fear,
But what the god has told you bring to light:
By Phœbus, not a man shall hurt you here,
As long as I enjoy my life and sight;
Though Agamemnon be the man you dread,
90Who is of all the army most obeyed.
The prophet by these words encouraged,
Said what before to say he was afraid.
’Tis not neglect of vow or sacrifice
That doth the God Apollo thus displease;
95But that we do his priest so much despise,
As not his child for ransom to release.
And more, till she be to her father sent,
And with a hecatomb, and ransomless,
The anger of the god will not relent,
100Nor will the sickness ’mongst the people cease.
This said, he sat. The king look’d furiously,
And anger flaming stood upon his eyes,
While many black thoughts on his heart did lie;
And to the prophet Chalchas thus replies:
105Unlucky prophet, that didst never yet
Good fortune prophecy to me, but ill,
And ever with a mind against me set
Inventest prophecies to cross my will;
And now again you fain would have it thought,
110Because I would not let Chryseis go,
The gifts refusing which her father brought,
Therefore this plague was sent amongst us now.
With Clytemnestra she may well contend,
For person, or for beauty, or for art;
115Yet so, to send her home I do intend,
For of our loss I bear the greatest part.
But you must then some prize for me provide;
Shall no man unrewarded go but I?
This said, Achilles to the king replied,
120Atrides, that on booty have your eye,
You know divided is, or sold the prey
Which never can resumed be again.
But send her home. When we shall have sack’d Troy,
Your loss shall be repaid with triple gain.
125No, said Atrides, that I never meant;
D’ye think ’tis fit that you your shares retain?
And only mine unto the God be sent,
That unrewarded none but I remain?
I thought it reason th’ Argives should collect
130Amongst themselves the value (how they list)
And give it me before they did expect
This prize of mine should be by me dismist.
If they’ll do that, ’tis well. If not, I’ll go
To your, or Ajax, or Ulysses’ tent,
135And take his prize, and right myself will so,
Wherewith I think he will not be content.
But since there’s time enough to speak of this,
Let’s ready make a ship with able rowers,
And th’ hecatomb, to go with fair Chryseis,
140And, to direct, one of the counsellors;
Ajax, Idomeneus, Ulysses, or
Yourself may go, Achilles, if you please,
And do the business you are pleading for,
And, if you can, th’ offended God appease.
145O impudence! Achilles then replied,
What other of th’ Achæans willingly,
Will, when you only for yourself provide,
Go where you bid, or fight with th’ enemy?
Against the Trojans I no quarrel have.
150In Pthia plund’ring they were never seen,
Nor ever thence my kine or horses drave,
Nor could; the sea and great hills are between.
Only for yours and Menelaus’ sake,
To honour gain for you we came to Troy,
155Whereof no notice, dogs-head, now you take,
But threaten me my prize to take away;
Which by my labour I have dearly bought,
And by th’ Achæans given me has been.
And when the city Troy we shall have got,
160Your share will great, mine little be therein.
For though my part be greatest in the pain,
Yet when unto division we come,
You will expect the greatest part o’ th’ gain,
And that with little I go weary home.
165Then farewell Troy. To sea I’ll go again,
And back to Pthia. Then it will be seen
When you without me shall at Troy remain,
What honour and what riches you shall win.
Go when you will, said Agamemnon, fly,
170I’ll not entreat you for my sake to stay.
When you are gone more honour’d shall be I,
Nor Jove, I hope, will with you go away.
In you I shall but lose an enemy
That only loves to quarrel and to fight.
175The Gods have given you strength I not deny.
Go ’mongst your myrmidons and use your might.
I care not for you, nor your anger fear,
For after I have sent away Chryseis,
And satisfi’d the God, I’ll not forbear
180To fetch away from you the fair Briseis,
And that by force. For I would have you see
How much to mine inferior is your might,
And others fear t’ oppose themselves to me.
This swell’d Achilles’ choler to the height,
185And made him study what to do were best,
To draw his sword and Agamemnon kill,
Or take some time his anger to digest.
His sword was drawn, yet doubtful was his will.
But Juno, that of both of them took care,
190Sent Pallas down, who coming stood behind
Achilles, and laid hold upon his hair.
Whereat Achilles wond’ring in his mind,
Turn’d back, and by the terror of her eyes
Knew her; but by none else perceiv’d was she.
195Come you, said he, to see the injuries
That are by Agamemnon done to me?
So great, O Goddess Pallas, is his pride,
As I believe it cost him will his life.
I hither came, Athena then reply’d,
200To put an end to this unlucky strife.
From heaven I hither was by Juno sent,
That loves you both, and of you both takes care,
Drawing of swords and bloodshed to prevent.
But as for evil words you need not spare.
205For the wrong done you he shall trebly pay
Another time. Hold then. Your sword forbear.
I must then, said Achilles, you obey,
Tho’ wrong’d. Who hears not Gods, the Gods not hear.
This said, his mighty sword again he sheath’d,
210And Pallas up unto Olympus flew.
Achilles still nothing but choler breath’d,
And Agamemnon thus revil’d anew.
Dog’s-face, and drunkard, coward that thou art,
That hat’st to lead the people out to fight;
215Nor yet to lie in ambush hast the heart,
And painfully watch in the field all night.
But thou to take from other men their due,
Safe lying in the camp, more pleasure hast.
But fools they are that ruled are by you,
220Or else this injury had been your last.
But this I’ll say, and with an oath make good.
(Now by this sceptre, which hath left behind
The stock whereon it once grew in the wood,
And never more shall have nor leaf nor rind,
225And by Achæan princes now is borne
By whom Jove’s laws to th’ people carried be.)
You hear now what a great oath I have sworn:
If ere the Acheans shall have need of me,
And Agamemnon cannot them relieve,
230When Hector fills the field with bodies slain,
And Agamemnon only for them grieve,
They my assistance wish for shall in vain.
This said, Achilles threw the sceptre down
That stuck all over was with nails of gold;
325And Nestor rose, of Pyle that wore the crown,
Wise and sweet orator and captain old.
His words like honey dropped from his tongue.
Two ages he in battle honour gain’d.
For all that while he youthful was and strong,
240And with the third age now in Pyle he reign’d.
What grief t’ Achæa coming is, said he,
O Gods, what joy to Priam and his seed,
How glad will all the Trojans be to see
You two, that all the rest in pow’r exceed,
245With your own hands shed one another’s blood!
I elder am, do then as I advise.
For I conversed have with men as good,
That yet my counsel never did despise.
Perithous and Dryas were great men,
250And Polyphemus and Exadius,
Such as for strength I ne’er shall see again;
And so were Cæneus, and Theseus,
The strongest of mankind were these, and slew
The strongest of wild beasts that haunt the wood.
255These strong men I convers’d withal and knew;
And with them also I did what I could.
With these no other could contend in fight.
Yet they from Pyle thought fit to call me forth
Far off; nor ever did my counsel slight.
260Think not therefore my counsel nothing worth.
Atrides take not from him, though you can,
The damsel which the Greeks have given him.
Forbear the king, Pelides. For the man
Whom Jove hath crown’d is made of Jove a limb.
265Though you be strong, and on a Goddess got,
Atrides is before you in command.
Atrides, be but you to peace once brought,
T’ appease Achilles I will take in hand,
Who is (while we are lying here) our wall.
270To this Atrides answered again,
I nothing can deny of this at all.
But he amongst us thinks he ought to reign,
And give the law to all as he thinks fit.
But I am certain that shall never be.
275He well can fight; the Gods have granted it,
But they ne’er taught him words of infamy.
Then interrupting him, Achilles said,
I were a wretch and nothing worth indeed,
If I whatever you command obey’d.
280I will no more to what you say take heed.
But this I tell you, if you take away
The damsel which is mine by your own gift,
I do not mean for that to make a fray
Amongst the Greeks, or once my hand to lift.
285Fetch her yourself, Atrides, but take heed
Against my will you nothing else take there.
Try; that th’ Achæans may see how you speed,
And how your black blood shall run down my spear.
Thus in disorder the assembly ends.
290Achilles to his own ships took his way,
Patroclus with him and his other friends.
And Agamemnon then without delay
Launched a bark, and in go row’rs twice ten.
Aboard the maid and th’ hecatomb they lay.
295Ulysses went commander of the men.
And swiftly then the ship cuts out her way.
And then Atrides th’ army purifi’d,
And threw into the sea the purgament.
Then sacrific’d o’ th’ sands by the sea side
300A hecatomb. To heaven up went the scent,
And busy were the people. But the king
Still on his quarrel with Achilles thought,
And how Briseis from his tent to bring.
For what he threaten’d he had not forgot.
305But sent Talthybius and Eurybates
T’ Achilles’ tent to fetch Briseis thence.
(Two public servants of the king were these,
Ordained to carry his commandments.)
If he refuse, said he, to let her go,
310I’ll thither go myself with greater force
And take her thence, whether he will or no.
Which, angry as he is, will vex him worse.
The messengers, though not well pleased, went
Unto the fleet o’ th’ Myrmidons, and there
315They found Achilles sitting by his tent.
Well pleas’d he was not. And they silent were,
And stood still, struck with fear and reverence.
Achilles seeing that, spake first, and said,
Come near. To me you have done no offence.
320Go you, Patroclus, and lead forth the maid,
And give her to these men, that they may be
To Gods and men, and to th’ unbridled man,
My witnesses, when they have need of me
To save th’ Achæans, which he never can.
325For what can he devise of any worth?
Or how can he the Greeks in battle save?
This said, Patroclus led Briseis forth,
And to Atrides’ messengers her gave.
She with them went, though much against her heart.
330Achilles from his friends went off and pray’d.
And sitting with his face to the sea apart
Weeping, unto his mother Thetis said,
Mother, though Jove have given me so small
A time of life, I could contented be,
335Had I not been dishonoured withal,
And forc’d to bear such open injury.
Thetis in the inmost closets of the deep,
Sat with the old God Nereus, and heard.
And not enduring long to hear him weep,
340Above the sea like to a mist appear’d,
And by him sat, and strok’d his head, and said,
Why weep you, child? What is’t that grieves you so?
Tell me, speak out. Of what are you afraid?
Come, whatsoever ’tis let me it know.
345Mother, said he, ’tis not to you unknown,
When we took Thebe, and had brought away
The captives and the riches of the town,
Chryseis fell t’ Atrides for his prey.
And how her father Chryses came to th’ fleet
350With ransom great his daughter to redeem,
And having in his hands the ensigns meet
Which did his priestly dignity beseem,
A golden sceptre and a crown of bays,
Unto the princes all made his request.
355But to the two Atrides chiefly prays,
Who of the Argive army were the best.
O sons of Atreus, may the Gods grant you
A safe return from Troy with victory;
And you on me compassion may shew,
360Receive these gifts, and set my daughter free;
And have respect to Jove’s and Leto’s son.
To this the princes all gave their consent,
Except King Agamemnon. He alone,
And with sharp language from the fleet him sent.
365Away the old man goes, and as he went,
Against the Greeks he to Apollo pray’d;
Who heard him, and the plague amongst them sent,
Which daily multitudes of them destroy’d.
Of which the prophet, being ask’d the cause,
370Said, ’twas for th’ injury to Chryses done.
I mov’d to send her back. Then angry was
Atrides, though beside Atrides, none.
And though he too has sent her now away,
Yet what he threaten’d he has brought to pass.
375His officers from me have forc’d my prey,
And Agamemnon now Briseis has.
And now, if ever, let me have your aid,
If you have holpen Jove with word or deed;
(For in my father’s house you oft have said,
380That heretofore you stood him in great stead,
When other Gods to bind him had decreed,
Juno and Neptune, Pallas and the rest,
You to him came and from his bonds him freed.
For up you fetch’d Briareus, the best
385Of Titans all, whom men Ægæon call,
The gods Briareus, with a hundred hands,
And set him next to Jove. No God at all
Then durst to Jupiter approach with bonds);
Put Jove in mind of this, and him intreat
390The Trojan hands to fortify in fight,
And to repel the Greeks with slaughter great,
That in their goodly king they may delight,
And Agamemnon count what he hath won
By doing such dishonour to the best
395Of th’ Argives, and that has such service done.
Ay me, said Thetis, would you could here rest
Unhurt, ungriev’d. For I have born you to
Short life. And not far from you is your fate.
And grievous ’tis to be dishonour’d too.
400But I to Jove will all you say relate
When I go to Olympus. Till then stay,
And angry though you are, from war forbear.
To blackmoor-land the Gods went yesterday,
And twelve days hence again they will be there.
405This said, the Goddess went away, and left
Her son Achilles with his anger striving,
For that he had been of his prize bereft.
And then Ulysses at the port arriving
Of Chryse, first his sails he furl’d, and stow’d
410Them on the deck together with the mast;
And with their oars their ship ashore they row’d,
And out their anchors threw; and ty’d her fast.
And on the beach the men descending laid
The victims in good order on the sand.
415When this was done, they disembark’d the maid.
And then Ulysses took her by the hand,
And brought her to the altar, where the priest
Her father stood, and to him spake, and said,
O Chryses, see, Atrides hath dismiss’d
420Your daughter, and this hecatomb hath paid.
By Agamemnon we are hither sent
The same to offer, and t’ Apollo pray,
That he accept it will, and be content
The sickness from the Greeks to take away.
425This said, he put Chryseis to his hand,
And he with great contentment her receiv’d.
Then all with salt and barley ready stand,
And Chryses pray’d with hands to heaven upheav’d.
Hear me, Apollo, with the silver bow,
430That dost in Tenedos and Cylla reign,
And heardst my pray’r against the Greeks; hear now,
And from them send the pestilence again.
When Chryses had thus to Apollo pray’d,
Then pray’d they all; and salt and barley threw
435Upon the victims; which they kill’d and flay’d.
But from the altar first they them withdrew.
And then the thighs cut off they alit in twain,
And round about they cover them with fat,
And one part on the other laid again.
440The priest himself came when they had done that,
And burnt them on a fire of cloven wood;
And as they burning were pour’d on black wine.
Young men with spits five-branched by them stood.
When burnt the thighs were for the pow’r divine,
445And entrails eaten, the rest cut in joints
Before the fire they roasted skilfully,
Pierced through with the spits that had five points;
And took it up when roasted thoroughly.
When ended was their work, began the feast;
450Where nothing wanting was of what was good.
And having thirst and hunger dispossest,
And filled with sweet wine the temp’rers stood.
Then round the cups were borne; and all day long
Sitting they celebrated Phœbus’ might,
455And magnifi’d his goodness in sweet song,
And he in his own praises took delight.
But when the sun had borne away his light,
Upon the sands they laid them down to sleep.
And when again Aurora came in sight,
460Again they launch their ship into the deep.
A good fore-wind Apollo with them sent.
Then with her breast the ship the water tore
(Which by her down on both sides roaring went)
And soon arrived at the Trojan shore.
465And there they drew her up again to land,
And ev’ry man went which way he thought best.
Achilles yet not able to command
The anger that still boiled in his breast,
No longer would the Greeks at council meet,
470Nor with them any more to battle come;
But sullen sat before his tent and fleet,
Wishing to see the Argives beaten home.
Twelve times the sun had risen now and set,
The Gods t’ Olympus all returned were;
475Thetis her son’s complaints did not forget,
But up she carried them to Jupiter.
Upon the highest top alone sat he
Of the great many-headed hill, and laid
One hand on’s breast, th’ other on his knee.
480And in that posture thus unto him said,
O father Jove, if for you I have done
Service at any time by word or deed,
Repay it now I pray you to my son,
Whom Agamemnon hath dishonoured.
485Short time the Fates have given him to life.
Atrides taken from him hath his prey.
Now victory unto the Trojans give
Till Agamemnon for his fault shall pay.
Thus prayed she. But Jove made no reply.
490Nor took she off her hands; but pray’d anew;
O Jove, my prayer grant me, or deny,
That I may know what power I have in you.
Then Jove much grieved, spake to her, and said,
’Twixt me and Juno ’twill a quarrel make.
495For she before the Gods will me upbraid,
When she shall know the Trojans’ part I take.
But go, lest she observe what you do here.
I’ll give a nod to all that you have spoken,
That you may safely trust to and not fear.
500A nod from me is an unfailing token.
This said, with his black brows he to her nodded,
Wherewith displayed were his locks divine;
Olympus shook at stirring of his Godhead;
And Thetis from it jump’d into the brine,
505And Jupiter unto his house went down.
The Gods arose and waited on him thither:
But unto Juno it was not unknown
That he and Thetis had conferr’d together,
Who presently to Jove her husband went,
510And angry him rebuk’d with language keen.
You that still in my absence tricks invent,
What God hath with you now in counsel been?
Though unto me you hate to tell your mind.
Juno, said Jove, you must not hope to hear
515All whatsoe’er it be, I have design’d.
But what I mean shall come unto the ear
Of all the Gods, you first of all shall know.
But what from all together I shall hide
Ask me no more, I will not tell you, though
520My wife you be. Juno then thus repli’d.
Harsh Chronides, what words of yours are these!
To ask you questions I’ll henceforth forbear,
And quietly let you do what you please.
But one thing I must tell you that I fear.
525Thetis, I fear, has gotten your consent,
For her son’s sake the Argives to oppress.
Suspect you can, said Jove, but not prevent,
Which doth but give me cause to love you less.
Though it be true, ’twas I would have it so.
530Therefore sit still and do as I would have you.
Lest when my mighty hands about you go,
Nor all the other Gods in heav’n shall save you.
Then Juno silent sat with grief and fear;
And all the Gods i’ th’ house of Jove did grieve.
535But Vulcan, the renoun’d artificer,
Stood up his mother Juno to relieve.
O what will this come to at last, said he,
If you for mortals thus shall be at odds!
The tumult than the cheer will greater be.
540What pleasure can this be unto the Gods?
And though my mother wiser be than I,
Yet thus much I’ll not doubt her to advise,
That with my father’s will she would comply,
That no such quarrel may hereafter rise.
545For by the roots he can the world pluck up.
Therefore I pray you mother speak him fair;
He’ll soon be pleas’d. Then filled he a cup
Of nectar sweet, and bore it to her chair;
And to her said, mother, I pray you hold,
550And do no more my father’s choler move.
If you be beaten I shall but behold,
And grieve I am not strong enough for Jove.
I would have helpt you once, when by the foot
He threw me down to Lemnos from the sky.
555All the day long I was a falling to’t,
Where more than half dead taken up was I.
And there by th’ Sincians I was taken up.
When Vulcan had his history told out,
His mother on him smil’d, and took the cup,
560 And to the Gods he nectar bore about.
And then the Gods laught all at once outright
To see the lame and sooty Vulcan skink.
And all the day from morning unto night
Ambrosia they eat, and nectar drink.
565 Apollo played, and alternately
The Muses to him sung. When night was come,
Then gently Sleep solicited each eye,
And to his house each God departed home.
And Jupiter went up unto the bed
570 Where he at other times was wont to lie
When sleep came on him, and laid down his head
To take repose; and Juno lay him by.
The Gods, and princes of the Argive host
Slept all night long. Jove only waking lay,
And many projects in his mind he tost,
To grace Achilles, and the Greeks annoy.
5At last a Dream he call’d. False Dream, said he,
Go, hie to Agamemnon’s tent, and say,
Distinctly as you bidden are by me.
Bid him bring up his army now to Troy;
For now the time is come he shall it take.
10The Gods no more thereon deliberate,
But all consented have for Juno’s sake,
No longer to delay the Trojan fate.
Then with his errand went the Dream away,
And quickly was at Agamemnon’s tent.
15And finding him as fast asleep he lay,
Up presently unto his head he went.
And in the shape of Nestor to him spake.
Sleep you, said he, Atrides? ’Tis not fit
For him from whom the people counsel take,
Hobbes1839: 20That sleep all night upon his eyes should sit.
But Jove looks to you. Listen then to me.
For ’tis from Jove that I am to you come.
He bids you lead the army presently
Up every man to the walls of Ilium.
Hobbes1839: 25For now the time is come you shall it take.
The Gods no more thereon deliberate.
But all consented have for Juno’s sake,
No longer to delay the Trojan fate.
And therefore when you wake forget it not.
Hobbes1839: 30This said, the Dream departed. And the king
Believ’d it as an oracle, and thought
To take Troy now as sure as anything;
Vain man, presuming from a dream Jove’s will,
Who meant to th’ Greeks and Trojans yet much woe,
Hobbes1839: 35And with their carcasses the field to fill
Before the Greeks should back to Argos go.
The king awak’d, and sat upon his bed,
Puts on his coat and a great cloak upon,
Handsome and new; his dream still in his head;
The dream of Agamemnon, &c.
Hobbes1839: 40And then his silver-studded sword puts on.
And then he took his sceptre in his hand
Which formerly his ancestors had borne,
And went to th’ ships whereof he had command.
And to the Gods with light then came the morn.
Hobbes1839: 45Then Agamemnon bids to counsel call.
The cryers call’d, the Greeks together went.
But first he had with the old captains all
Consulted what to do at Nestor’s tent;
And said he dream’d that one like Nestor spake
Hobbes1839: 50To him and said, Atrides ’tis not fit
For one of whom the people counsel take
That sleep upon his eyes all night should sit.
But Jove secures you. Listen then to me,
For ’tis from him that I unto you come.
Hobbes1839: 55He bids you lead the army presently
Up every man to the walls of Ilium.
For now the time is come you shall it take,
The Gods thereon no more deliberate,
But all consented have for Juno’s sake,
Hobbes1839: 60No longer to delay the Trojan fate.
And therefore when you wake forget it not.
This said, the dream went off again, and I
How to th’ assault the army may be brought
As far as we can safely fain would try.
Hobbes1839: 65I’ll first give them advice to go away,
As if there were no hope to gain the town.
But you must then be sure to make them stay.
This said, King Agamemnon sat him down,
And Nestor rose. Captains of th’ host, said he,
Hobbes1839: 70This dream, had it been told b’another man,
Feigned and foolish would have seem’d to me.
But since the king is th’ author (if we can)
Let us persuade the people to take arms.
And having said, began to lead away.
Hobbes1839: 75And now the people coming there in swarms.
For as the bees in a fair summer’s day
Come out in clusters from the hollow rock,
And light upon the flow’rs that honey yield;
So to th’ assembly did the people flock,
Hobbes1839: 80And bristling stood with expectation fill’d.
When they sat down, it made the ground to sigh.
The lords nine criers then amongst them sent
To make them silent, or to drown their cry,
And from the press their chairs to defend.
Hobbes1839: 85With much ado at last they silent were.
Then Agamemnon took into his hand
His sceptre (which was made by Mulciber
For Jove to carry when he did command.
Jove gave it afterward to Mercury;
The tempting of the army.
Hobbes1839: 90And Mercury to Pelops gave the same.
From Pelops it went down successively
To Atreus, and to Thyestes came.
From him it came to Agamemnon’s hand,
Who many islands and all Argos sway’d.)
Hobbes1839: 95And leaning now upon it with his hand,
Unto the princes of the army said.
Servants of Mars, commanders of the Greeks,
O what great trouble Jove involves me in!
Disgracefully to send me home he seeks,
Hobbes1839: 100Although he told me I the town should win,
And now (when I have lost so many men)
It seems to play with men he takes delight.
What towns has he destroy’d, and will again
Destroy still more, to exercise his might?
Hobbes1839: 105For both to us and our posterity
’Twill be a great disgrace to go to Troy
With so great multitudes, and baffled be,
And nothing done again to come away.
If we and they should on a truce agree,
Hobbes1839: 110And one by one they muster up their men;
And we should count how many tens we be,
And make one Trojan fill out wine for ten,
Many a ten would want a man to skink,
So much in number we the town exceed.
Hobbes1839: 115But when upon their many aids I think,
I wonder less that we no better speed.
Nine years are gone; our cordage spoiled with rain:
Our ships are rotted, and our wives at home,
And children dear expect us back again.
Hobbes1839: 120Nor know we of the war what will become.
Come, then, and all agree on what I say,
Let’s put to sea, and back t’ Achæa fly.
We shall not win the town although we stay.
This said, the army with applauses high
Hobbes1839: 125Consented all (save those that had been by
In council of the princes of Achæa)
And moved were like to the billows high
That rolled are by some great wind at sea.
Or as, when in a field of well-grown wheat
Hobbes1839: 130The ears incline by a sharp wind opprest;
So bow’d the heads in this assembly great
When their consent they to the king exprest.
Then going to the ships cry’d Ha la la!
Great dust they raised, and encouraged
Hobbes1839: 135Each other to the sea his ship to draw,
And cleans’d the way to th’ water from each bed;
And straight unpropt their ships; and to the sky
Went up the noise. Then Juno sent away
Pallas. Pallas, quoth she, the Greeks will fly,
Hobbes1839: 140And Helen leave behind, for whom at Troy
So many of the Greeks their lives have lost,
And stay’d so long in vain before the town.
And then will Priam and the Trojans boast,
Unless you quickly to the ships go down.
Hobbes1839: 145Go quickly then, try if you can prevail,
With hopeful words to stay them yet ashore,
And take away their sudden list to sail,
And let the ships lie as they did before.
This said, the Goddess leapt down to the ground,
Hobbes1839: 150From high Olympus, and stood on the sand
Where lay the Greeks. Ulysses there she found
Angry to see the people go from land.
Ulysses, said she, do you mean to fly,
And here leave Helen after so much cost
Hobbes1839: 155Of time and blood, and show your vanity;
And leave the Trojans of their rape to boast?
Speak to each one, try if you can prevail
With hopeful words to stay them on the shore,
And take away this sudden list to sail,
Hobbes1839: 160And let the ships lie where they lay before.
Ulysses then ran t’ Agamemnon’s tent,
And took his staff (the mark of chief command)
And laying by his cloak to th’ ships he went,
Amongst th’ Achæans with that staff in’s hand.
Hobbes1839: 165And when he met with any prince or peer,
He gently said, fear does not you become.
You should not only you yourself stay here,
But also others keep from flying home.
Atrides now did but the Argives try,
Hobbes1839: 170And those he sees most forward to be gone
Shall find perhaps least favour in his eye.
For of the secret council you were none.
Deep-rooted is the anger of a king,
To whom high Jove committed has the law,
Hobbes1839: 175And justice left to his distributing.
But when a common man he bawling saw,
He bang’d him with his staff, and roughly spake.
Be silent, and hear what your betters say.
For who of you doth any notice take
Hobbes1839: 180In council or in martial array?
Let one be king (we cannot all be kings)
To whom Jove gave the sceptre and the laws
To rule for him. Thus he the people brings
Off from their purpose, and to council draws.
Hobbes1839: 185Then to th’ assembly back again they pass’d,
With noise like that the sea makes when it breaks
Against the shore, and quiet were at last.
Thersites only standeth up and speaks.
One that to little purpose could say much.
Hobbes1839: 190And what he thought would make men laugh would say.
And for an ugly fellow none was such
’Mongst all the Argives that besieged Troy.
Lame of one leg he was; and look’d asquint;
His shoulders at his breast together came;
Hobbes1839: 195His head went tapering up into a point,
With straggling and short hair upon the same.
Ulysses and Achilles most him hated,
For these two princes he us’d most to chide;
And Agamemnon now aloud he rated,
Hobbes1839: 200And thereby anger’d all the Greeks beside.
What is’t, Atrides, said he, stays you here?
Your tent is full of brass; women you have
The best of all that by us taken were,
For always unto you the choice we gave.
Hobbes1839: 205Or look you for more gold that yet may come
For ransom of some prisoner whom I
Or other Greeks shall take at Ilium,
Or for some young maid to keep privately?
But kings ought not their private ease to buy
Hobbes1839: 210With public danger and a common woe.
Come, women of Achaia, let us fly,
And let him spend his gettings on the foe.
For then how much we help him he will know,
That has a better than himself disgrac’d.
Hobbes1839: 215But that Achilles is to anger slow,
That injury of his had been his last.
This said, Ulysses straightway to him went,
And with sour look, and bitter language said,
Prater, that to thyself seems eloquent,
Hobbes1839: 220How darest thou alone the king t’ upbraid?
A greater coward than thou art there’s none
’Mongst all the Greeks that came with us to Troy.
Else ’gainst the king thy tongue would not so run.
Thou seek’st but an excuse to run away.
Hobbes1839: 225Because we know not how we shall come off
As yet from Troy, must you the king upbraid,
And at the princes of the army scoff,
As if they too much honour to him paid?
But I will tell you one thing, and will do’t.
Hobbes1839: 230If here again I find you fooling thus,
Then from my shoulders let my head be cut,
Or let me lose my son Telemachus,
If I not strip you naked to the skin,
And send you soundly beaten to the ships
Hobbes1839: 235With many stripes and ugly to be seen.
This said, he basted him both back and hips.
Thersites shrugg’d, and wept, sat down, and had
His shoulders black and blue, dy’d by the staff;
Look’d scurvily. The people that were sad
Hobbes1839: 240But just before, now could not choose but laugh.
And, oh, said one t’ another standing near,
Ulysses many handsome things has done,
When we in council or in battle were,
A better deed than this is he did none,
Hobbes1839: 245That has so silenced this railing knave,
And of his peevish humour stay’d the flood,
As he no more will dare the king to brave.
And then to speak Ulysses ready stood.
Where Pallas like a crier did appear,
Hobbes1839: 250And standing by him silence did command,
That also they that sat far off might hear.
Then spake he, with the sceptre in his hand.
The people, O Atrides, go about
To put you on an act will be your shame,
Hobbes1839: 255Forgetting what they promis’d setting out,
Not to return till Troy they overcame.
But now like widow-women they complain,
Or little children longing to go home.
To be from home a month, it is a pain
Hobbes1839: 260To them that to their loving wives would come.
To sea they’d go though certain to be tost
By many a sturdy wind upon the same.
But they have now lain here nine years almost;
I cannot therefore say they are to blame.
Hobbes1839: 265But certainly after so long a stay
’Tis very shameful empty back to go.
Let us at least abide till know we may
Whether what Chalchas said be true or no.
For this we all know and are witnesses
Hobbes1839: 270(Excepting only those that since are dead)
When we from Aulis went to pass the seas,
And by contrary winds were hindered,
That there we to the gods did sacrifice
Upon an altar close unto a spring,
Hobbes1839: 275That of a plane-tree at the root did rise;
And how we saw there a prodigious thing.
A mighty serpent with a back blood-red
From out the spring glided up to the tree,
The boughs whereof were ev’ry way far spread.
Hobbes1839: 280On th’ utmost chanc’d a sparrow’s nest to be.
Young ones were in it eight, with th’ old one nine;
The old one near the nest stay’d fluttering,
And grievously the while did cry and whine.
At last the serpent catcht her by the wing.
Hobbes1839: 285And when the serpent had devour’d all nine,
He presently was turn’d into a stone;
That we might see from Jove it was a sign
Of what should afterward at Troy be done.
We were amaz’d so strange a thing to see,
Hobbes1839: 290Till Chalchas rose and did the same explain.
This is a certain sign from Jove, said he,
That he intends to do the like again.
For as the snake devour’d nine birds in all;
So nine years long we shall make war at Troy,
Hobbes1839: 295And after nine years Ilium shall fall.
But in the tenth year we shall come away.
This then said Chalchas; and all hitherto
Is come to pass. Therefore Achæans stay,
Since nothing here remaineth now to do,
Hobbes1839: 300But overcoming the old town of Troy.
This said, the people made a mighty noise,
Which bounding from the ships was twice as great,
Sounding of nothing but Ulysses’ praise.
And up then rose old Nestor from his seat.
Hobbes1839: 305Fie, fie, said he, why sit we talking here?
Where are your promises, and whither gone
Our oaths and vows? To what end did we swear?
Where be the hands that we rely’d upon?
What good will’t do to sit upon the shore,
Hobbes1839: 310How long soever be our time to stay?
Hold fast, Atrides, as you did before
The power you have; and lead us up to Troy.
A man or two you safely may neglect,
Though they dissent and secret counsel take.
Hobbes1839: 315For they’ll be able nothing to effect,
Before to Argos our retreat we make,
And know if Jove have spoken true or no.
For when we went aboard to go for Troy,
Jove light’ned to the right hand, which all know
Hobbes1839: 320A sign of granting is for what we pray.
Let none of you long therefore to be gone,
Till of some Trojan’s wife he hath his will,
And ta’en a not unfit revenge upon
The Trojans that have Helen us’d as ill.
Hobbes1839: 325But he that for all this is fiercely bent
On going home, and thinks that counsel best,
And lays hand on his ship, let him be sent
Down into Erebus before the rest.
But you, O king, think well, and take advice
Hobbes1839: 330First into tribes the army to divide,
And tribes again into fraternities,
That tribe may tribe and fellow fellow aid.
The leaders and the soldiers then you’ll know
Which of them merits praise, and which is naught.
Hobbes1839: 335And if the town you do not overthrow,
Whether on us or Jove to lay the fault.
To this Atrides answer made and said,
O Nestor, father, you exceed all men
In giving counsel. Would the Gods me aid
Hobbes1839: 340With counsellors such as you are but ten,
The town of Priam we should quickly win.
Nor had we now so long about it staid,
If Jupiter had not engag’d me in
A quarrel with Achilles for a maid.
Hobbes1839: 245But if we come but once more to agree,
The evil day from Troy will not be far.
Now take your food, that we may ready be,
And able to endure the toil of war.
Let ev’ry man now sharpen well his spear,
Hobbes1839: 350His buckler mend, and give his horses meat,
And look well to his chariot everywhere,
That we may fight all day without retreat,
For we shall fight I doubt not all day long,
And never cease as long as we can see.
Hobbes1839: 355Of many a shield sweaty will be the thong,
And spear upon the hand lie heavily;
And many horses at the chariot sweat.
But he that willingly to avoid the fight
Shall stay behind, or to the ships retreat,
Hobbes1839: 360His body shall be food for dog and kite.
This said, the people pleas’d with what was spoken,
Approv’d the same with shouts, as loud as when
Betwixt great waves and rocks the sea is broken.
Then from the assembly they return again.
Hobbes1839: 365And at their ships they sacrifice and pray
Each one to th’ God in whom he trusted most,
That he might by his favour come away
Alive, with whole limbs from the Trojan host.
But Agamemnon sacrific’d a steer
Hobbes1839: 370To Jove, of five years old, and to the feast
Call’d such as in the army princes were,
Or held to be for chivalry the best,
Nestor, Idomeneus, two Ajaces,
And the son of Tydeus Diomed,
Hobbes1839: 375The sixth Ulysses Laertiades,
And Menelaus thither came unbid.
For well he knew his brother would be sad.
About the victim then th’ assembly stands,
And in their hands they salt and barley had.
Hobbes1839: 380Then pray’d Atrides holding up his hands;
Great, glorious Jove, that dwellest in the sky,
O let not Phœbus carry hence the day
Till Priam’s palace proud in ashes lie,
And Hector sprawling in the dust of Troy,
Hobbes1839: 385And many Trojans with him. So pray’d he.
And Jove was with his sacrifice content.
But unto all his pray’r did not agree,
Intending still his labour to augment.
Whan all had pray’d, they salt and barley threw
Hobbes1839: 390Upon the victim which they kill’d and flay’d.
But from the altar they it first withdrew.
The thighs they slit, and fat upon them laid.
And burnt them in a fire of cloven wood;
The entrails o’er the fire they broiled eat,
Hobbes1839: 395The rest they roast on spits that by them stood;
And when they roasted were, fell to their meat.
When the desire of meat and drink was gone,
Nestor stood up, and to Atrides said,
Let us no longer leave the work undone,
Hobbes1839: 400Which Jupiter himself has on us laid.
Let’s call the Greeks together out of hand,
That we may make them ready for the war.
Atrides then to th’ criers gave command
T’ assemble them. They soon assembled are.
Hobbes1839: 405And then the princes went into the field,
And them in tribes and in fraternities
Distinguished. And Pallas with her shield,
(An undecaying shield and of great price,
Rais’d at the brim with orbs of beaten gold
Hobbes1839: 410An hundred, worth an hundred cows at least.)
With this the Goddess went, to make them bold,
Courage inspiring into ev’ry breast.
And now their hearts are all on fire to fight,
And vanish’d is the thought of their returning.
Hobbes1839: 415And such as of a mountain is the sight
Upon whose top a large thick wood stands burning;
Such, as they marching were, the splendour was,
And seemed to reach up unto the sky,
Reflected from so many arms of brass
Hobbes1839: 420Bright and new polished unto the eye.
As when of many sorts the long-neck’d fowls
Unto the large and flow’ry plain repair,
Through which Cayster’s water gently rolls,
In multitudes high flying in the air,
Hobbes1839: 425Then here and there fly priding in their wing,
And by and by at once light on the ground,
And with great clamour make the air to ring,
And th’ earth whereon they settle to resound;
So when th’ Acheans went up from the fleet,
Hobbes1839: 430And on their march were to the town of Troy,
The earth resounded loud with hoofs and feet.
But at Scamander’s flow’ry bank they stay,
In number like the flowers of the field,
Or leaves in spring, or multitude of flies
Hobbes1839: 435In some great dairy ’bout the vessels fill’d,
Delighted with the milk, dance, fall and rise.
The leaders then amongst them went, and brought
Them quickly into tribes and companies,
As ev’ry goat-herd quickly knows his goat
Hobbes1839: 440Whether it be another man’s or his.
And Agamemnon there amongst the rest
Was eminent. Like Jove in hea and face;
Belted like Mars; like Neptune’s was his breast.
Such beauty Jove upon the man did place.
The catalogue of ships and commanders.
Hobbes1839: 445Now, Muses, ye that in Olympus dwell,
(For Goddesses you are, and present were,
And all that pass’d at Troy can truly tell,
And we can nothing know but what we hear.)
Who of the Greeks at Troy commanded men?
Hobbes1839: 450The common soldiers you need not name,
For I should never say them o’er again,
Although I had as many tongues as Fame.
Boetia, wherein contained be
Eteonus, and Schœnus, and Scolus,
Hobbes1839: 455Aulis, Thespeia, Græa, Hyrie,
Harma, Eilesius, and Mycalessus,
Erythræ, Elion, Ocaliæ.
Hylæ, Eutresis, Thisbe, Peleon,
Platæa, Aliareus, and Copæ,
Hobbes1839: 460Coronia, Glisse, Thebe, Medeon,
Onchestus Neptune’s town, Nissa divine,
And Midias, and utmost Anthedon,
And Arne that great plenty has of wine.
The which in all made fifty ships. And those
Hobbes1839: 465Commanded were by Archesilaus,
And Prothoenor and Peneleos,
And Leitus, and with them Clonius.
The seamen in each one to six score rose.
Aspledon and Orchomenus besides
Hobbes1839: 470Did set forth twenty good black ships to sea.
Ascalaphus and Ialmenus were guides,
Begot by Mars upon Astyoche.
The towns of Phocis, Crissa, Panopea,
And Cyparissus, Python, and Daulis,
Hobbes1839: 475And on the brook of Cephisus Lilæa,
And Anemoria, and Hyampolis,
And other towns o’ th’ bank of Cephisus,
Made ready forty good ships for the seas,
Ruled by Schedius and Epistraphus
Hobbes1839: 480The sons of Iphitus Naubolides.
The Locrians the lesser Ajax led,
Of King Oileus the valiant son.
(For he was lower more than by the head
Than t’ other Ajax, son of Telamon)
Hobbes1839: 485A linen armour he wore on his breast.
But understood as well to use a spear,
Or better, than could any of the rest
That in the army of th’ Achæans were.
There went with him from Cynus and Opus,
Hobbes1839: 490From Bessa, Scarphe, Thronius, Aygiæ,
Tarphe, Calliarus, Boagrius,
Forty good ships well fitted for the sea.
Th’ Eubœans were by Elephenor led,
That dwell in Chalcis and Eretriæ,
Hobbes1839: 495Cerinthus, Dion (that holds high her head),
Carystus, Styra, and in Istiæa.
And by the name Abantes they all go,
Good men, and that in battle use the spear,
And love to pierce the armour of a foe.
Hobbes1839: 500And these on forty ships embarked were.
From Athens (who Erectheus’ people were,
Aurora’s son, by Pallas nourished
In her own temple, in which ev’ry year
Many good bulls and lambs are offered),
Hobbes1839: 505Under Menesteus fifty ships did pass,
Who for the ord’ring of a battle well
Of horse or foot the best of all men was,
Save Nestor, who in age did him excel.
From Salamis came to the Trojan shore,
Hobbes1839: 510And by the greater Ajax govern’d were,
The son of Telamon, twelve good ships more,
And lay at anchor to th’ Athenians near.
Argos, Tyrinthe, Trœzen, Asine,
And Epidaurus, and Hermione,
Hobbes1839: 515Mases and Ægina, and Eione,
Amongst them all put four score ships to sea.
Of which there were three captains, Diomed,
Euryalus, and Sthenelus. But they
By Diomed were chiefly governed.
Hobbes1839: 520For him they all commanded were t’ obey.
And from Mycenæ, Corinth, Cleonæ,
And Orthe, and Hyperesiæ,
From Sicyon, and Aræthuree,
And Gonoessa, and from Helice,
Hobbes1839: 525Pellenæ, Ægium, and all that shore,
An hundred ships were laid upon the sea;
And with King Agamemnon passed o’er,
And his peculiar command were these.
Amongst them he puts on his armour then,
Hobbes1839: 530Proud that he was of all the heroes best.
For of his own he thither brought most men,
And chief commander was of all the rest.
From Sparta, Pharæ, Messa, Brysiæ,
From about Otylus, with those from Laus,
Hobbes1839: 535Helos, Amyclæ, and from Aygiæ,
Went thirty good black ships with Menelaus.
Which from his brother’s forces stood apart,
And he amongst them heart’ning them to fight,
And breathing courage into every heart.
Hobbes1839: 540For to the Trojans he bare greatest spite.
Pylus, Arene, Cyparisseis,
Amphigenia, Æpy, and Thryus,
(Whereat a ford i’ th’ stream Alpheus is)
Elos, and Pteleus, and Dorius.
Hobbes1839: 545(Here ’twas the Muses met with Toamyris
The Thracian fiddler, which their art did slight,
And said their skill was not so good as his,
And they depriv’d him both of art and sight.)
The number of the ships those towns set forth,
Hobbes1839: 550In all amounted to four score and ten;
And led were by a captain of great worth.
’Twas Nestor the command had of these men.
From Phene, Ripe, and Orchomenus,
And from Enispe, and from Stratiæ,
Hobbes1839: 555Tege, Mantinea, Stymphalus,
And those that dwelled in Parrhasia,
(Arcadians all, and in sharp war well skill’d)
Came sixty ships by Agapenor led,
And ev’ry ship sufficiently fill’d.
Hobbes1839: 560But then the ships Atrides furnished.
The men of Helis, and Buprasium,
And all the ground enclos’d by Hyrmine,
Myrsinus, Olene, Alisium,
Amongst them all put forty ships to sea,
Hobbes1839: 565Led by Amphimachus and Thalpius,
Diores, and Polyxenus, the son
Of martial Agasthenes, and then
Ten good ships were commanded by each one.
Dulichium, and th’ isles Echinades,
Hobbes1839: 570Sent forty ships. Messes commander went
The son of Phyleus, who for his ease
Liv’d from his father there in discontent.
Ulysses also brought out twelve good ships
From Ithaca, Neritus, Ceph’lonia,
Hobbes1839: 575From Same, and from Zant, and Ægylips,
And from Epirus, and Croæylia.
Th’ Ætolians with Thoas Andræmon’s son
Sent from Pylene, and from Chalcis, and
From Olenus, Pleuron, and Calydon
Hobbes1839: 580Sent forty ships, whereof the sole command
In Thoas was. For Œneus was dead,
And Meleager; all the royal race.
Andræmon’s son their men to Troy to lead
By suffrage of the cities chosen was.
Hobbes1839: 585From Crossus, Gortys (in the isle of Crete)
Lictus, Miletus, Phæstus, Rycius,
Lycastus, and some others went a fleet
Of eighty ships with King Idomenus.
And valiant as Mars Meriones.
Hobbes1839: 590And nine good ships went with Tlepolemus
(That was the son of mighty Hercules)
From Lindus, Camirus, Ialissus.
For Hercules Tlepolemus begat
On Astyochia whom in war he won,
Hobbes1839: 595And for her many cities had laid flat.
But after Hercules was dead and gone,
Tlepolemus, now grown a man and bold,
Licymnius (his father’s uncle) slew
By th’ mother’s side, a branch of Mars, but old.
Hobbes1839: 600Then cuts down trees, and rigs a navy new,
And many men together gathered,
And wandered till to Rhodes he came at last,
And there dwelt in three tribes distributed.
Fear of his kindred made him go in haste.
Hobbes1839: 605And mightily in little time they throve,
And ev’ry day in wealth and power grew,
And favour’d were continually by Jove.
For daily he unto them riches threw.
From Syme went with Nireus ships three,
Hobbes1839: 610Nireus that was the fairest man of all
(Achilles always must excepted be)
But weak was Nireus, and his number small.
From Casus, Carpathus, and Nisyrus,
Calydnæ Islands, and the Isle of Cous
Hobbes1839: 615Went thirty ships. Two sons of Thessalus
The son of Hercules commanded those.
And the Pelasgic Argives sent to sea
From Trechis, and from Hellas, and Halus,
From Pthia, and the port of Alope,
Hobbes1839: 620Commanded by the son of Peleus,
Fifty good ships of Myrmidons, which some
Achæans, others Hellens used to call.
But these would not to any battle come.
For sullen sat ashore their general,
Hobbes1839: 625Because Briseis they had forc’d away,
Which when he won Lyrnessus, was his prize,
And did Epistrophus and Mynes slay.
There sat he then, but shall again arise.
From Inon, Phylace, and Pyrasus,
Hobbes1839: 630From Pteleus, and Antron on the sea
Went forty ships, with Protesilaus,
Which he commanded while alive was he.
But he was dead. For as he leapt to land
From out his ship, he was the first man slain
Hobbes1839: 635Of all th’ Achæans by a Trojan hand,
And left his wife to tear her hair in vain,
His house at Phylace half finished.
His soldiers chose Podarces in his place,
His younger brother, who at Troy them led.
Hobbes1839: 640A captain good; but th’ elder better was.
And they that dwelt about Boebeis Lake,
Iaolcus, Boebe, Pheræ, Glaphyræ,
Put all together, ships eleven make.
Under Eumelus these were put to sea.
Hobbes1839: 645From rugged Olizon and Melibœa,
The towns Methone and Thomacia sent
Seven ships of fifty oars apiece to sea,
And Philoctetes their commander went.
But him the Achæans left in Lemnos isle,
Hobbes1839: 650In cruel torment bitten by a snake.
And of his ships medon took charge the while.
But better care of him the Greeks will take.
From Tricca then, and from Methone steep,
And from Oechalia (seat of Euritus),
Hobbes1839: 655Thirty good ships to Troy went o’er the sea,
By Machaon led and Podalirius,
Two skilful sons of Æsculapius.
From chalky Titanus Hyperia, and
Astirius, and from Ormenius,
Hobbes1839: 660Eurypilus did forty ships command.
And from the towns Argissa and Gyrtone,
From Oloosson, Orthe on the Hill,
With those that sent were from the town Elone,
So many went as forty ships did fill.
Hobbes1839: 665And had two leaders. Polypœtes one,
Son of Perithous the son of Jove,
And gotten by him was the day whereon
He and the Lapiths ’gainst the Centaurs strove,
And drave them from the mountain Pelion.
Hobbes1839: 670The other leader was Leontius,
Whose father was Capaneus, who the son
Was of the valiant Lapith Cœneus.
The Ænians and Perrhibœans bold
Did two-and-twenty good black ships set out,
Hobbes1839: 675From hollow Cyphus, and Dodona cold,
And other habitations about
The pleasant river Titaretius,
That into Peneus runs, but doth not mix,
But glides like oil at top of Peneus,
Hobbes1839: 680For Titaretius is a branch of Styx.
These Gonneus led. Then the Magnesians sent
From towns upon the banks of Peneus,
And sides of Pelion mountain eminent,
Forty good ships under swift Prothous.
Hobbes1839: 685These were the leaders of the Achæan forces.
O Goddess, tell me now who was the best
In battle of the leaders, and whose horses
In swiftness and in force excell’d the rest.
Eumelus, his two horses did surpass
Hobbes1839: 690(Though they were females) all the rest for speed;
Their colour, age, and stature equal was,
Sprung in Pieria from Apollo’s breed,
That terror drew about as swift as wind.
’Mongst Greeks the greater Ajax had no peer.
Hobbes1839: 695For now Achilles had the war declin’d,
Whom none in prowess equall’d or came near,
Nor other horses could with his compare.
But at his ships he discontented stay’d,
And full of spite which he th’ Atrides bare,
Hobbes1839: 700Whilst on the beach idle his soldiers play’d
At who could furthest throw a dart or stone.
The horses loosely wander’d here and there
Amongst the people, and had riders none,
Or upon lote and cinquefoil feeding were.
Hobbes1839: 705But the Achæans to Scamander march’d
Swiftly as when a fire runs o’er a plain
Which Phœbus had with a long summer parch’d,
And going made the ground to groan again,
As when Jove angry lasheth Arimy,
Hobbes1839: 710Which men say of Typhæus is the bed,
The earth therewith is made to groan and sigh,
So groan’d the ground when they to Troy were led.
Then Jove unto the Trojans Iris sent,
Who old and young were then at Priam’s gate
Hobbes1839: 715Assembled with the king in parliament.
Over their heads stood Iris as they sate.
Her voice was like to that of Priam’s son
Polytes, that was watching at the tomb
Of old Æsuites, there to wait upon
Hobbes1839: 720The coming of the Greeks to Ilium.
Old man, said she, you love to hear men preach
As in a time of peace. But now ’tis war.
The Greeks no more lie idle on the beach,
But at your gates, and numberless they are,
Hobbes1839: 725As sands by the sea-side, or leaves in spring.
And to the city now they bring the war.
Hector, to you this counsel now I bring.
Within the city many people are
To aid you come of divers languages.
Hobbes1839: 730Let them that hither led them lead them here,
Arm, and command them each one as he please.
When she had done, dismiss’d the people were.
Hector to open all the gates commands,
And with great clamour horse and foot come out.
Hobbes1839: 735Before the city a high pillar stands,
To which the field lies open round about;
And Battiea called was by men;
Which ’mongst the Gods another name did bear,
Myrinna’s sepulchre. And there again
Hobbes1839: 740The Trojans and their succours muster’d were.
The Trojans were by Hector led. The best
In battle, and in number most were these,
With spear in hand, and brass on back and breast.
The Dardans were commanded by Æneas,
Hobbes1839: 745(Anchises’ son; but Venus was his mother;
Amongst the hills of Ida got he was.)
And joint commanders with him were two other
Brave men, Archilochus and Acamas.
And of Zeleia the inhabitants,
Hobbes1839: 750Which of Mount Ida lieth at the foot,
And on the river of Æsopus stands,
Under command of Pandarus were put,
Son of Lycaon, and that well knew how
To make an arrow in the air fly true.
Hobbes1839: 755Phœbus himself had given him a bow,
And how to use the same none better knew.
Th’ Adrasteians and the men of Apæsus,
Of Pityeia and Tereia hill
Were by Adrastus led and Amphius,
Hobbes1839: 760Two sons of Merops, that had mighty skill
In prophecy, and both of them forbad
Themselves to venture in the war at Troy.
But Fate a greater power with them had,
And made them go, but brought them not away.
Hobbes1839: 765The people of Percosia, and they
That dwell upon the banks of Practius,
Arisbe, Sestus, Abydus, obey
The orders of their leader Asius
The son of Hyrtacus, whose chariot
Hobbes1839: 770By horses great and black as any coal,
And on it he to Ilium was brought;
And of Selleis race each one a foal.
Larissa was Pelasgic by descent.
Under Pylæus and Hyppothous,
Hobbes1839: 775Two stout Pelasgic leaders these were sent,
Who both the grandsons were of Teutomus.
The Thracians on this side Hellespont,
Were led by Pirus and by Achamas.
O’ th’ Cycon who do these oppose in front
Hobbes1839: 780Trœzenus’ son Euphemus leader was.
From Amydon that standeth on the side
Of Axius, the fairest stream that flows,
The Pœons came. Pyrechmus them did guide,
And arm’d they were with arrows and with bows.
Hobbes1839: 785The Enneti in Paphlagonia,
From whence proceedeth of wild mules the race,
Parthenius’ brook and the town Coronia,
Cytorus, Sesamus, and the high place
Of th’ Erithius, and of Ægyalus
Hobbes1839: 790The charge was given to Pylomenus,
And of the Halizons t’ Epistrophus,
But not alone; join’d with him was Dius
Of Alybe, where is a silver mine.
The leaders of the Mysians were Chronis,
Hobbes1839: 795And Enomus. Both of them could divine
By flight of birds, though they foresaw not this
That in Scamander stream they both should die,
Slain by Achilles who there massacred
Many a Trojan, many a good ally,
Hobbes1839: 800Which to the sea the river carried.
The Phrygians from Ascania, far off,
Were led by Phorcys and Ascanius;
And battle lov’d. But the commanders of
The Mæones, Mesthles and Antiphus,
Hobbes1839: 805The two sons were of old Pylomenes,
Both of them born upon Gygæna lake,
(At th’ foot of Tmolus dwell the Mæones.)
Amphimachus and Nastes charge did take
Of those of Caria, people of rude tongue;
810And of Miletus, and the hill Phtheiron,
And of the towns that seated are among
The windings of Mæander, and upon
Mount Mycale. And Nastes carried gold
Unto the battle, like a child or sot;
815Wherewith his life he did not buy but sold.
For slain he was; his gold Achilles got,
And left him lying at the river dead.
The succours by the Lycians sent to Troy,
By Glaucus were and King Sarpedon led.
Far off they dwelt, and a long march had they.
When both the armies were prepar’d for fight,
The Trojans marched on with noise and cry.
As in the air of cackling fowl a flight,
Or like the cranes when from the north they fly,
Hobbes1839: 5The army of Pygmæan men to charge,
And shun the winter, with a mighty cry
Fly through the air over the ocean large;
So swiftly march’d the Greeks, but silently
Resolved one another to assist.
Hobbes1839: 10And such a dust between both hosts did rise,
As when upon the mountains lies a mist,
Which to a stone’s cast limiteth the eyes.
(Which good for thieves is, but for shepherds not)
So great a dust the middle space possest.
Hobbes1839: 15When they were near to one another got,
Came Alexander forth before the rest.
A leopard’s skin he wore upon his shoulders,
Two spears in hand, his sword girt at his side,
Bow at his back, and brave to the beholders;
Hobbes1839: 20And any of Achæan host defied.
And glad was Menelaus to see this.
As when a lion finds a lusty prey,
A wild goat or a stag well pleased is,
And hungry seizes him without delay,
Hobbes1839: 25Although by hunters and by hounds pursu’d;
So glad was Menelaus him to see.
And soon as he his person had well view’d,
Arm’d from his char’ot to the ground leap’d he.
Assured, as he thought, revenge to take.
Hobbes1839: 30But soon as Alexander once saw that,
He fled into the throng, as from a snake
Seen unawares, trembling and pale thereat.
Then Hector him with words of great disgrace
Reprov’d and said, Fine man and lover keen,
Hobbes1839: 35Cajoler, that confidest in thy face,
I would to God thou born hadst never been,
Or never hadst been married. For that
A great deal better had been of the twain,
Than to be scorn’d of men, and pointed at
Hobbes1839: 40For one that durst not his own word maintain.
O how the Greeks are laughing now to see
That so absurdly they themselves mistook,
Supposing you some mighty man to be
That art worth nothing, judging by your look.
Hobbes1839: 45Was’t you to Lacedemon pass’d the deep,
And fetch’d fair Helen thence, the bane of Troy,
And now, when it concerns you her to keep,
You dare not in her husband’s presence stay?
For you would quickly know what kind of man
Hobbes1839: 50You have bereav’d unjustly of his wife.
Neither your cittern, nor your beauty can,
Nor other gifts of Venus save your life.
Were not the Trojans fearful more than needs,
You had a coat of stones by this time had,
Hobbes1839: 55A fit reward for all your evil deeds.
This answer then to Hector, Paris made.
Hector, since your reproof is just, said he,
And your hard language (as when help’d by art
A shipwright’s axe strikes deep into a tree)
Hobbes1839: 60Like rigid steel has cut me to the heart;
If with Atrides you would have me fight,
Object not Venus’ favours (’tis unfit
The gifts of the immortal Gods to slight),
But make the Greeks and Trojans both to sit.
Hobbes1839: 65And in the midst set me and Menelaus,
And which of us shall have the victory,
Helen be his, and all the wealth she has,
And ’twixt the Greeks and Trojans amity.
Let this be sworn to, that we may remain
Hobbes1839: 70At Troy in quiet, and the Greeks repass
To Argos and Achæa back again.
At this brave proffer Hector joyful was;
And stepping forth, the Trojan ranks kept in
With both his hands o’ th’ middle of his spear.
Hobbes1839: 75And to shoot at him the Greeks begin,
And many took up stones and hurling were.
But Agamemnon with a voice as high
As high as he could raise it, to the Greeks cried, hold.
Throw no more stones, let no more arrows fly;
Hobbes1839: 80Hector to us has somewhat to unfold.
This said, they held their hands, and silent were,
And Hector both to Greeks and Trojans spake.
May you be pleased on both sides to hear
The motion I from Alexander make.
Hobbes1839: 85Let arms, said he, on both sides be laid by,
And in the midst set him and Menelaus,
And which of them shall have the victory,
Be Helen his, with all the wealth she has.
And let the rest an oath on both sides take
Hobbes1839: 90The pacts agreed on not to violate.
When this was said, then Menelaus spake,
And both the armies with great silence sate.
Hear me too then, said Menelaus, who
By Alexander have been most offended.
Hobbes1839: 95If you’ll do that which I advise you to,
The quarrel he began will soon be ended.
Which of us two shall fall in single fight,
Let him die only, and the rest agree.
Bring forth two lambs, one black, another white,
Hobbes1839: 100To t’ Earth and Sun a sacrifice to be.
Another we will sacrifice to Jove.
And let the old King Priam present be,
(His proud sons think themselves all oaths above)
That what is sworn he may performed see.
Hobbes1839: 105No hold is to be taken of an oath
Which young men make, whose likings change like wind.
But old men can foresee what’s good for both.
’Tis good for both that makes a contract bind.
These words did to both armies sweetly sound;
Hobbes1839: 110They thought the worst was past; and up they tied
Their horses; and their spears stuck in the ground,
With spaces left between them, but not wide.
Then Hector to the king two heralds sent,
To fetch the lambs, and Priam to implore
Hobbes1839: 115To take the oath. From Agamemnon went
Talthybius to the fleet to fetch two more.
Meanwhile to the fair Helen Iris came,
So like t’ Antenor’s wife Laodice,
King Priam’s daughter, that she seem’d the same.
Hobbes1839: 120Quickly she found her; for at work was she
Upon a double splendid web, wherein
Many a cruel battle she had wrought
The Trojans and th’ incensed Greeks between,
That for her own sake only had been fought.
Hobbes1839: 125Come nymph, said Iris, see one battle more
Between the gallant men of Greece and Troy.
They fight not altogether as before,
But silent sit, and from their arms away.
Shields are their cushions, planted are their spears;
Hobbes1839: 130Paris and Menelaus only fight.
Save these two no man any armour wears;
And you his wife are, that has greatest might.
Thus Iris said, and her inspir’d anew
With love to Menelaus as before.
Hobbes1839: 135Then o’er her head a milk-white scarf she threw,
And out went weeping at the chamber door,
But not alone; two maidens follow’d her,
Fair Æthre Pittheus’ child, and Clymene.
And quickly at the Scæan gate they were,
Hobbes1839: 140Where Priam sate; and in his company
Were the old lords, Lampus and Clytius,
And Icetaon, and Ucalegon,
Antenor, Thymetes, and Panthous,
Whence both the armies they might look upon.
Hobbes1839: 145Old men they were, but had brave captains been,
And now for consultation prized were.
As soon as Helen came into their sight,
They whisper’d one another in the ear,
I cannot blame the man that for her strives,
Hobbes1839: 150Like an immortal God she is. Yet so,
Rather than we should hazard all our lives,
I should advise the king to let her go.
Thus said they one t’ another. But the king
Call’d her and said, daughter, sit down by me,
Hobbes1839: 155(Not you, but the immortal powers bring
Upon the Trojans this calamity.)
And tell me who that great Achæan is.
I see some higher by the head than he,
But comelier man I never saw than this,
Hobbes1839: 160Nor liker to a king in majesty.
O king, then answered Helen, to whom I
Of all men owe most reverence and fear,
Would I had rather chosen there to die,
Than to your son’s ill counsel given ear,
Hobbes1839: 165Leaving my house, my child, and brothers two,
And all my sweet companions for his sake.
But since I cannot what is done undo,
Unto your question I’ll now answer make.
The man you point to Agamemnon is,
Hobbes1839: 170A good king, and a valiant man in fight,
And brother to the husband is of this
Unworthy woman, me, that did him slight.
And Priam then the man admiring said,
Happy Atrides, great is thy command,
Hobbes1839: 175Whose soldiers though now very much decay’d,
In such great multitude before us stand.
At a great fight I was in Phrygia,
And brought to Otreus and Mygdon aid
Against the Amazons. I never saw
Hobbes1839: 180Till then, so many for a fight array’d,
As were the Amazons, upon the banks
Of Sangareus, and yet they fewer were,
Than are contained in the bristled ranks
Of th’ armed Greeks that stand before us here.
Hobbes1839: 185Again Ulysses coming in his sight,
Tell me, said he, sweet daughter, who is this?
He wants the head of Agamemnon’s height,
But at the breast and shoulders broader is.
His arms lie still upon the ground; but he
Hobbes1839: 190In no one certain place himself can keep,
But through the ranks and files runs busily,
Just as a ram runs in a fold of sheep.
To this Jove’s daughter, Helen, thus replies.
Ulysses ’tis, the old Laertes’ son,
Hobbes1839: 195Of Ithaca; to counsel and devise,
In all the army like him there is none.
O Helen, said Antenor, you say right;
On your affair he once came into Troy
With Menelaus. I did them both invite
Hobbes1839: 200To sup with me; and in my house they lay.
I them compar’d. When at their audience
They both stood up, Atrides taller seem’d;
Sitting Ulysses won most reverence,
And was amongst the people most esteem’d.
Hobbes1839: 205And when they were orations to make,
Atrides’ words went easily and close,
For little he, but to the purpose spake,
Though th’ younger man. But when Ulysses rose,
Upon the ground a while he fix’d his eyes,
Hobbes1839: 210Nor ever mov’d the sceptre in his hand;
You would have thought him sullen or unwise,
That did not yet his bus’ness understand.
But when his voice was raised to the height,
And like a snow upon a winter’s day
Hobbes1839: 215His gentle words fell from him, no man might
With him compare; so much his words did weigh.
Then Priam seeing Ajax, ask’d again,
What Greek is that, that taller by the head
And shoulders is than all the other men?
Hobbes1839: 220And Helen to the king thus answered,
Great Ajax; who of th’ Argives is the sconce:
And he o’ th’ other side Idomeneus,
Who was the guest of Menelaus once,
And lodg’d at Lacedemon in his house.
Hobbes1839: 225And now I see the rest, and could them name.
But Castor I and Pollux cannot see.
Two princes are they, and well known by Fame,
And by one mother brothers are to me.
Did they not pass the sea? Yes sure they did
Hobbes1839: 230Come with the rest; but are asham’d of me.
And in the Argive fleet lie somewhere hid,
And will not in my shame partakers be.
Thus Helen said, because she could not tell
Whether her brothers were alive or dead.
Hobbes1839: 235But dead they were; and, where they both did dwell,
In Lacedemon they were buried.
The heralds now the two lambs had brought in,
That for their sacrifice appointed were,
And full of noble wine a great goat skin.
Hobbes1839: 240Idæus with the golden cups stood near,
And pray’d the king to go down to the plain.
There stay for you the Greeks and Trojans both;
A peace agreed on is; but all in vain
Unless you also go and take the oath.
Hobbes1839: 245For Paris must with Menelaus fight,
And he must Helen and her wealth enjoy
Upon whose side the victory shall light;
The Greeks return; and peace remain at Troy.
These words to th’ old man’s heart came cold as ice.
Hobbes1839: 250But straight he bade his coach made ready be.
The servants made it ready in a trice,
And up into ’t Antenor went and he;
And pass’d the Scæan gate into the plain.
And when they came near to Scamander’s banks,
Hobbes1839: 255From out the coach alighted they again,
And stood between the adverse armies’ ranks.
Then Agamemnon and Ulysses came,
And to the contract for the Greeks did swear.
And Priam and Antenor swore the same.
Hobbes1839: 260The heralds mix the wine with water clear;
And poured water on the princes’ hands.
Atrides at his sword a knife did wear,
And as he near unto the victims stands,
Cuts with it from their foreheads locks of hair,
Hobbes1839: 265Which by the heralds were distributed,
Till ev’ry leader part had of the hair.
The ceremonies being finished,
Atrides to the Gods then made this prayer.
O mighty Jove, the monarch of the Gods,
Hobbes1839: 270O glorious Sun, with thy all-seeing eye,
O Streams, O Earth, O you that hold the rod
Beneath the earth, scourges of perjury,
Hear me, and be you witnesses of this.
If Menelaus be by Paris slain,
Hobbes1839: 275Let Helen and the wealth she has be his,
And to Achæ we return again.
If slain by Menelaus Paris be,
Let Helen with her wealth to Greece be sent
With some amends made for the injury,
Hobbes1839: 280To be of th’ wrong done an acknowledgment.
If such amends the Trojans will not make,
I will pursue the war, and here abide,
Till I the town of Ilium shall take,
Or till the Gods the quarrel shall decide.
Hobbes1839: 285This said, the victims with his knife he slew.
And sprawling there upon the place they lay.
Then into golden cups the wine they drew,
And pour’d it on the lambs. Then prayed they
Both Greeks and Trojans; Jove, and pow’rs divine,
Hobbes1839: 290Who first to break this peace shall go about,
As poured on the victims is this wine,
So they, and their sons’ brains be poured out.
Thus prayed they. But Jove that pray’r did slight.
Then Priam said, To Troy return will I.
Hobbes1839: 295It cannot please me to behold the fight.
For none but Gods know which of them shall die.
And then into the char’ot went again
He and Antenor, and drave t’ Ilium,
And with them carried their victims slain.
Hobbes1839: 300Then in Ulysses and great Hector come,
And having measur’d out the lists, wherein
They were to fight, then the two lots they drew
For who to throw his spear should first begin.
And then the Greeks and Trojans pray’d anew.
Hobbes1839: 305O glorious Jove, whom all the Gods obey,
Let him that of the war the author was
Be slain, and all the rest firm peace enjoy.
Then mighty Hector shook the skull of brass.
The lot that was the first drawn out, was that
Hobbes1839: 310Which gave to Paris the right to begin.
Then down upon the ground the people sate
In order as their armour plac’d had been.
And Paris arm’d himself, and first puts on
His leg-pieces of brass, and closely ties,
Hobbes1839: 315That silver’d over were at th’ ancle-bone.
And then his breast-plate to his breast applies.
Lycaon’s breast-plate ’twas, but ev’ry whit
As just upon him sat, as it had done
Upon Lycaon when he used it.
Hobbes1839: 320And next to this his good sword he puts on.
And then his broad shield and his helmet good.
And last of all a spear takes in his hand.
And in like armour Menelaus stood.
Then come they forth, and in the lists they stand.
Hobbes1839: 325And one did on another fiercely look.
(The people stupid sat ’twixt hope and fear.)
And when they come were nigh, their spears they shook.
But Paris was the first to throw his spear,
And threw, and smote the shield of Menelaus,
Hobbes1839: 330But through the mettle tough it passed not,
But turn’d, and bended at the point it was.
Then Menelaus was to throw by lot.
But first he prayed. Grant me, O Jove, said he,
That this my spear may Alexander slay,
Hobbes1839: 335Who was the first that did the injury;
That they who shall be born hereafter may
Not dare to violate the sacred laws
Of hospitality. Having thus said,
He threw his spear, which Paris’ shield did pass,
Hobbes1839: 340And through his breast-plate quite, and there it stay’d;
But tore his coat. And there he had been dead,
But that his belly somewhat he drew back.
Then with his sword Atrides smote his head
Which arm’d was, and the sword in pieces broke.
Hobbes1839: 345Then Menelaus grieved at the heart,
Looking to heaven did on Jove complain.
O Jove, that of the Gods most cruel art,
Broken my sword, my spear is thrown in vain.
Then suddenly laid hold on Paris’ crest,
Hobbes1839: 350And to the Greeks to drag him did begin,
And Paris then was mightily distrest,
Choakt by the latchet underneath his chin.
And to the Greeks had dragg’d been by the head,
If Venus to his aid had not come in,
Hobbes1839: 355Who broke the string and him delivered.
Atrides’ conquest else had famous been.
Then to the Greeks the empty cask he threw.
But Venus snatcht him from him in a mist.
And whither she convey’d him none there knew.
Hobbes1839: 360A God she is, and can do what she list.
When Paris to his chamber was convey’d,
His chamber which of perfumes sweetly smelt,
Then puts she on the form of an old maid
That Helen serv’d when she at Sparta dwelt.
Hobbes1839: 365And in that shape went to call Helen home,
That stood with other ladies of the town
Upon a tow’r. When she was to her come,
She gently with her finger stirr’d her gown.
Helen, said she, Paris has for you sent,
Hobbes1839: 370And on his glorious bed doth for you stay,
Not as a man that came from fight, but went
To dance, or from it were new come away.
Helen at this was mov’d, and mark’d her eyes,
And of her lovely neck did notice take,
Hobbes1839: 375And knew ’twas Venus though in this disguise;
And troubled as she was, thus to her spake.
Venus, why seek you to deceive me still,
Since Menelaus has the victory?
Though I have wrong’d him, he receive me will,
Hobbes1839: 380And you come hither now to hinder me.
Whither d’ye mean to send me further yet;
To Phrygia or to Mœonia,
That there I may another husband get?
You shall not me to Alexander draw.
Hobbes1839: 385Go to him you, and Heaven for ever quit;
Grieve with him; have a care the man to save,
And by his side continually to sit,
Till he his bride have made you, or his slave.
I will not to him go (for ’twere a shame)
Hobbes1839: 390Nor any longer meddle with his bed,
Nor longer bear the scorns, nor mocks, nor blame
Which from the wives of Troy I suffered.
Then Venus vext, Hussie, said she, no more
Provoke my anger. If I angry be,
Hobbes1839: 395And hate you as I loved you before,
The armies both will to your death agree.
This said, the beauteous Helen frighted was,
And with the Goddess went, who led the way,
And by the Trojan wives did quiet pass
Hobbes1839: 400Unto the house where Alexander lay.
I’th’ rooms below at work her women were,
But up went Helen with the Goddess fair.
And when to Alexander they were near,
The Goddess unto Helen fetcht a chair.
Hobbes1839: 405Then sat she down, and look’d at him again.
You come from battle. I would you had there
And by my former husband’s hand, been slain.
You bragg’d you were his better at a spear.
Go challenge him again, and fight anew.
Hobbes1839: 410But do not though, for fear you should be kill’d
But rather when you see him, him eschew,
Lest he should leave you dead upon the field.
To Helen Alexander then replied.
Forbear; though he have now the victory
Hobbes1839: 415By Pallas’ help; there are Gods on our side,
And they another time may favour me.
Let’s go to bed, and in sweet love agree.
Your beauty never did me so much move,
At Lacedemon, nor in Cranae;
Hobbes1839: 420Where the first blessing I had of your love.
This said, to bed they went, first he, then she.
Atrides then sought Paris in the throng
O’th’ Trojans and their aids; but could not see
Nor hear of him the company among.
Hobbes1839: 425They would not have conceal’d him though they might;
But had to Menelaus him betray’d.
So hateful to the Trojans was his sight.
Then stood King Agamemnon up and said,
Hear me ye Trojans and your aids. ’Tis plain
Hobbes1839: 430That Menelaus has the victory.
Let Helen therefore rendered be again,
And pay your fine. ’Tis right, the Greeks all cry.
The articles broken by the Trojans.
Mean while the Gods at counsel drinking sat.
Hebe the nectar carried up and down.
And Jove amongst them present was thereat,
And sitting had his eyes upon Troy town.
Hobbes1839: 5Then Jupiter puts out a word, to see
What Juno would unto the same reply.
Two Goddesses assistants are (said he)
To Menelaus, but sit idly by,
Pallas and Juno; but on th’other side
Hobbes1839: 10Venus gives Paris aid, and really
Has helpt him when he thought he should have died;
Though Menelaus have the victory.
But let us now think which the best will be,
To suffer war to make an end of Troy,
Hobbes1839: 15Or let Troy stand and make them to agree,
And Helen with Atrides go her way.
Juno and Pallas that together sat,
Grumble and plot; Pallas her spite kept in.
But such of Juno was the choler, that
Hobbes1839: 20Had she not spoke, her heart had broken been.
Harsh Jove, said she, what do you mean by this?
Shall I with so much sweat, and labour spent,
And horses tir’d, now of my purpose miss?
Do. But the other Gods will not consent.
Hobbes1839: 25Devil, said Jove, what hurt is done to you
By Priam and his sons, that you should so
Fiercely the ruin of the town pursue?
I think if you int’ Ilium should go,
And eat up Priam and his children all,
Hobbes1839: 30And every Trojan in the town beside,
Man, woman, child alive within the wall,
Your anger will at last be satisfied.
Do as you please. It shall breed no contention
’Twixt you and me. But then remember this,
Hobbes1839: 35When I to raze a city have intention
That yours, and greatly in your favour is,
To let me do’t without plea or request;
Since to give you your will I lose my own.
For Ilium I love above the rest,
Hobbes1839: 40Though under Heaven be many a goodly town.
For I by Priam and his people still
Have honour’d been, my altars richly serv’d
With wine and sacrifices to my will,
Which is the honour to the Gods reserv’d.
Hobbes1839: 45To this the Goddess Juno then replied,
Three cities I prefer before the rest,
Argos, and Sparta, and Mycena wide.
Destroy you may which of them you think best,
If you see cause; I’ll not stand in your way.
Hobbes1839: 50Or if I do, what mends can I have so?
For since your power does mine so much outweigh,
It will be done whether I will or no.
But you ought not t’undo what I have done,
For I a Goddess am, and have the same
Hobbes1839: 55Parents, of whom you boast to be the son.
And further of your wife I bear the name,
Whom mortals and immortals all obey.
Then let us not in such things disagree.
But I to you, and you to me give way.
Hobbes1839: 60For of our two minds all the Gods will be.
Let Pallas to the army straight be sent
To make the Trojans first the peace to break.
And Jupiter to do so was content,
And did (as he was bid) to Pallas speak.
Hobbes1839: 65Pallas, said he, down to the armies go,
Let not this peace be by the Trojans kept.
When Pallas heard her father Jove say so,
Glad of the errand, from the sky she leapt,
Just like a falling star, which Saturn sends
Hobbes1839: 70To armies or unto seafaring men;
Which change of fortune, commonly portends.
The Goddess through the air descending then,
Splendid and sparkling on the ground did light.
The armies that were in the field array’d,
Hobbes1839: 75Both Greeks and Trojans wond’red at the sight;
And one unto another next him said,
This bloody war will sure return again,
Or else the peace be surer made than ’tis;
But which o’ th’ two Jove has not yet made plain,
Hobbes1839: 80Who both of peace and war disposer is.
Pallas the form took of Laodocus,
Antenor’s son, and went into the throng
O’ th’ Trojans to inquire for Pandarus.
At last she found him his own troops among,
Hobbes1839: 85That were of Lycaonia the bands,
And from Zeleia led by Pandarus
To Ilium. There Pallas by him stands
Like to Antenor’s son; and to him thus:
Lycaon’s son, says she, dare you let fly
Hobbes1839: 90A shaft at Menelaus? For I know
The Trojans all would thank you, specially
Paris, the son of Priam, and bestow
Great presents on you if you should him kill.
Shoot at him then, and to Apollo pray,
Hobbes1839: 95The God of archers, that he help you will.
And vow a hecatomb of lambs to pay,
When to Zeleia safely you come home.
For there your people to Apollo vow.
When this was said, the vain man overcome,
Hobbes1839: 100From off his shoulders taketh down his bow,
(Which did a lusty goat’s head once adorn,
Which with a shaft he killed had among
The rocks, and taken from his head the horn,
Which was no less than sixteen handfuls long.
Hobbes1839: 105And to a fletcher gave it to be wrought,
Shaven, and polish’d, and gilt at the hand.)
This bow he bent; and lest the foe should know’t,
He crouched down, and laid it on the sand.
But lest the Greeks should rush on him, before
Hobbes1839: 110He ready were to shoot, they that stood near,
Before him with their bucklers stood good store.
And being now delivered of that fear,
From out the quiver takes an arrow keen,
And new, well wing’d to carry mischief true,
Hobbes1839: 115Which shot before that time had never been.
But yet his vow before his arrow flew.
Phœbus, said he, if I Atrides slay;
As soon as I shall to Zeleia come,
I vow unto your deity to pay
Hobbes1839: 120Of my first-yeaned lambs an hecatomb.
Then to his breast he drew the leather string,
And to the bow return’d the arrow head.
Out leapt the shaft, and as it went did sing
Amongst the throng, as pleas’d man’s blood to shed.
Hobbes1839: 125And, Menelaus, now the Gods you blest,
And chiefly Pallas, that before you stood,
And turn’d the deadly arrow from your breast,
About as much as a kind mother could
From her child’s face divert a busy fly;
Hobbes1839: 130And made it on the golden buckle fall,
Where of his breast-plate double was the ply,
And though it pass’d through buckle, plate, and all,
And girdle which his coat unto him bound,
The shaft into his body penetrated,
Hobbes1839: 135And made, though not a great one, yet a wound,
The force it went with being much abated;
Yet out the blood ran. As when ivory
Is stain’d with crimson, to adorn the cheeks
Of the proud steeds, and please the driver’s eye,
Hobbes1839: 140Many a cavalier to have it seeks.
The dame that stain’d it then holds up the prize,
And keeps it by her as a precious thing;
So lovely seems the colour to her eyes,
As to be sold to none but to a king.
Hobbes1839: 145So look’d his body when the streams of blood
His iv’ry legs and insteps did defile.
But Agamemnon stiff with horror stood;
And so did Menelaus for a while.
But when he saw the arrow barbs appear
Hobbes1839: 150Above the nerve, his courage came again.
But Agamemnon, not yet out of fear,
Did of the Trojans’ perjury complain.
Brother, said he, and took him by the hand,
Dear brother, ’tis the oath that has you slain,
Hobbes1839: 155Making you thus before the Trojans stand.
But sure I am the oath cannot be vain,
Confirmed with so great solemnity.
They shall, though late, pay for it with their lives;
(For Jove ne’er fails to punish perjury)
Hobbes1839: 160Both they themselves, their children, and their wives.
For I well know the fatal day will come
To Priam, and to Priam’s people all.
Jove will his black shield shake o’er Ilium,
And for this ugly action make it fall.
Hobbes1839: 165This, Menelaus, is a thing to come.
But what if of your wound you chance to die?
The Argives straight will think of going home.
How by the Greeks then scorned shall be I!
How proud will Priam and the Trojans be,
Hobbes1839: 170When Argive Helen shall be left behind,
And your bones rotting in the ground they see,
Without effecting what they had design’d?
Some trampling on your grave perhaps will say,
Would Agamemnon thus would always vent
Hobbes1839: 175His choler, as he now has done at Troy,
Now gone with empty ships back to repent,
Leaving his brother Menelaus here.
Then should I wish the earth would swallow me.
But Menelaus, to displace that fear,
Hobbes1839: 180Fright not the army, brother, thus said he.
Not mortal is the wound. ’Twixt me and death
My armour and the clasps stood, all of brass;
Besides a good tough girdle underneath.
Pray God ’t be true, said he to Menelaus,
Hobbes1839: 185But we must send for a chirurgeon,
To mitigate with lenitives the pain.
Talthybius, said he, call Machaon,
And having found him quickly come again.
Tell him he must to Menelaus come,
Hobbes1839: 190Who by a foe is with an arrow shot,
Trojan or Lycian, I know not whom,
That with great grief to us has honour got.
This said, the herald went and look’d about
Amongst the troops of Tricca which he led.
Hobbes1839: 195Nor was it long before he found him out
With many targetiers environed.
You must, said he, to Menelaus come,
Who by some foe is with an arrow shot,
Trojan or Lycian, I know not whom,
Hobbes1839: 200That, with great grief to us, has honour got.
’Tis Agamemnon calls you. Then they pass
Together through the host, and hastened
Till they were come where Menelaus was
With many other lords encompassed.
Hobbes1839: 205There Machaon the arrow first pulls out.
(The barbs were broken as they came away)
Then took he off his armour and his coat.
Then sucked he the wound the blood to stay;
And laid on unguents to allay the pain.
Hobbes1839: 210Meanwhile the Trojans arm’d were coming in.
And then the Greeks were forc’d to arm again.
And Agamemnon’s virtue now was seen.
He did not at their coming sleep nor start,
But speedily prepared for the fight,
Hobbes1839: 215And of a chief commander did the part,
His own commanders first to disaffright.
His horses and his chariot he sent off.
T’ Eurymeaon, the son of Ptolemy,
The son of Pirus he gave charge thereof,
The first battle.
Hobbes1839: 220And bad him with it always to be nigh,
To use when labour tired had his knees.
Through the great army then on foot he went,
And where them hasting to the fight he sees,
He gives them in few words encouragement.
Hobbes1839: 225On, Argives, and be sure Jove never fights
Against good men for such perfidious knaves,
But leave them will for food to dogs and kites,
And to their foes their wives and children slaves.
But where he saw the soldiers negligent,
Hobbes1839: 230His admonition was then severe.
Fie, Argives, what d’ you fear? To what intent
Stand you thus staring like a herd of deer?
Just like so many deer that had been chased
O’er some great plain looking about they stay,
Hobbes1839: 235So stand you here like frighted deer amazed,
Till to our ships come down the troops of Troy,
To try if Jove will help you there or no.
Thus he commanding went the host throughout.
And when the martial Cretans he came to,
Hobbes1839: 240Where armed stood Idomeneus stout.
(Meriones the rear led, he the van)
And Agamemnon look’d on them with joy;
And to Idomeneus thus began.
Of all the Greeks that me assist at Troy
Hobbes1839: 245I value you the most, both in the war
And otherwise. And when at feast we drink,
Other men’s cups by measure stinted are,
But yours, as mine, stands always full to th’ brink.
The King of Crete replied, I shall, said he,
Hobbes1839: 250Continue still your good confederate,
As heretofore I promis’d you to be.
But go, and th’ other leaders animate,
That we may with the Trojans quickly fight.
Then woe be to them, sure they are to die
Hobbes1839: 255Who of the Gods and sacred oaths make light.
Then on went Agamemnon joyfully;
And came to the quarters of the Ajaxes,
There armed both complete, and followed
With a huge multitude of Greeks he sees,
Hobbes1839: 260And ready to the battle to be led.
As when a shepherd from a hill espies
A full-charg’d cloud march tow’rds him in the deep,
It seems as black as pitch unto his eyes,
And makes him seek a shelter for his sheep;
Hobbes1839: 265So black the squadrons of the Ajaxes,
And horrible with thick and upright spears
T’ Atrides seem, and well it did him please,
And both of them he thus commends and cheers.
O Ajaxes, expect not I should bid
Hobbes1839: 270You hearten up your army for the fight;
’Tis done so well already, there’s no need.
O Jove, Apollo, Pallas, that I might
Find all the other leaders such as you,
We should not need from Argos long to stay
Hobbes1839: 275Ere we the town of Priam should subdue
And rifle. And this said, he went away,
And came to Nestor, who was ordering
His troops and bands of horse and foot, each one
Against the enemy encouraging.
Hobbes1839: 280And with him stood Alastor, Pelagon,
Hæmon, and Chromius, skilful men in war.
I’ th’ front the char’ots and the horsemen were.
The most and best infantry placed are
(A hedge unto the battle in the rear.)
Hobbes1839: 285The middle ranks were filled up with those,
Upon whose courage he did least rely.
For these would fight because they could not choose;
Since they could neither back nor forward fly.
And Nestor to the horsemen spake. Let none,
Hobbes1839: 290Said he, before another go, to shew
His manhood or his skill. But all go on
At once. To single is to weaken you.
Further, If any of you should have need
To mount into another’s chariot,
Hobbes1839: 295There let him use his spear; but still take heed
That with the horses reins he meddle not.
Our fathers have before us us’d these laws,
And thereby many cities level laid.
Thus Nestor taught them. Glad Atrides was,
Hobbes1839: 300And with great approbation to him said,
O Nestor, that your arms were but as strong
As is your mind! But they’re decay’d by age.
Or could you give your age to some man young,
And with the youngest of the foes engage.
Hobbes1839: 305Atrides, then said Nestor, so wish I.
Would I were as when Eruthalyon
I slew. But Gods’ gifts come successively.
I then was young; and age is now come on.
But as I am I’ll ride amongst my horse,
Hobbes1839: 310And as becomes an old man, give advice,
While they that may presume upon their force,
With spear in hand charge on their enemies.
Atrides pass’d on to th’ Athenians
That by Menestheus commanded were.
Hobbes1839: 315And by these stood the Cephalonians
Ulysses’ bands. Neither of these did hear
The clamour of the battle new begun,
But stood unmoved, because they did expect
Some greater troops of Greeks should first fall on.
Hobbes1839: 320For this Atrides grievously them check’d.
Menestheus, said he, son of a king,
And you the crafty man Ulysses, why
When you your men should to the battle bring,
Stand you here shrinking from the enemy?
Hobbes1839: 325You hear the first when there will be a feast,
And stay for no man. For your messes are
Greater than other men’s; your wine the best,
And without stint. And therefore in the war
You should strive who should be the first to fight.
Hobbes1839: 330But now, though ten troops were before you there,
You would not be displeased with the sight.
These words came harshly to Ulysses’ ear,
And with a frowning look, what’s this, said he,
Are we not making all the haste we can?
Hobbes1839: 335Telemachus his father you shall see
By and by fighting in the Trojan van,
And that this reprehension needless was.
But Agamemnon smiling then replied,
(Seeing his censure did not kindly pass)
Hobbes1839: 340Noble Ulysses, I meant not to chide,
Nor to direct you, that so skilful are.
For we are both of us of the same mind.
What’s said amiss I shall again repair.
But let it now away go with the wind.
Hobbes1839: 345Then on he went and came to Diomed,
Whom mounted on his chariot he found
With Capaneus’ son accompanied,
And other lords that him encompass’d round.
Ay me, Tydides, wherefore stand you thus,
Hobbes1839: 350As if you for some bridge did look about.
You do not as your father Tydeus,,
Who still before his fellows leaped out.
So said they that had seen him at the war,
Which I did not, but take it upon fame,
Hobbes1839: 355Which him above the rest preferred far.
But certain ’tis, he to Mycena came
With Polynices, to desire their aid
Against the Thebans. And they willingly
Had granted it, but that they were afraid.
Hobbes1839: 360For Jove forbad them by a prodigy.
Then to the brook Asopus back they went,
Which doth the Theban territory bound.
To Tydeus the Greeks a letter sent
To enter Thebes, and terms of peace propound.
Hobbes1839: 365To Thebes he went, and with Eteocles
He found the chief o’ th’ Thebans at a feast.
And at all manly games the prize with ease,
By Pallas’ help, he carried from the best.
And when for spite they sent out fifty men
Hobbes1839: 370With Mæon Hæmon’s son, and Lycophon
To murder him as he went back again,
Slain by Tydeus they were all but one.
For he sav’d Mæon, warned by the Gods.
Such Tydeus was, but left a son behind
Hobbes1839: 375That less could do, but for words had the odds.
But valiant Diomed reply declined,
Who gave t’Atrides what respect was due.
The other answered him with language rude.
You say, said he, what you know is not true.
Hobbes1839: 380We than our fathers there more manhood shew’d.
For we with fewer men proud Thebes did gain,
By Jove’s help, and observances divine,
Whilst the Cadmeans for their pride were slain.
How from our fathers then do we decline?
Hobbes1839: 385But straight reprov’d he was by Diomed.
My friend, said he, are you more grieved than I?
Would you not have the army ordered?
Atrides, both i’ th’ loss and victory
Is most concern’d. Let us of battle think,
Hobbes1839: 390And down he leapt, as soon as that was said,
In complete arms, with such a sudden chink,
As might a constant man have made afraid.
As when the billows of the sea rais’d high
By some great wind, go rolling to the shore,
Hobbes1839: 495And follow one another to the dry,
There stopp’d and broken are, and foam, and roar:
So then the Greeks up to the Trojans come,
Obeying each his leader silently,
(You would have thought them, though so many, dumb)
Hobbes1839: 400In glittering arms, and glorious to the eye.
On th’other side, the Trojans made a noise,
Like ewes a milking kept off from their lambs
When in the field abroad they hear their cries,
And they again bleat back unto their dams.
Hobbes1839: 405But did not one another understand;
For few there were whose language was the same.
Some were of one, some of another land,
And most of them from far off thither came.
Pallas the Greeks, Mars Trojans favoured.
Hobbes1839: 410Then Fright came in, with (Mars his sister) Strife,
Little when born, but grew until her head
Was in the clouds; for she grows all her life.
But when the armies were together near,
Then man to man came close, and shield to shield,
Hobbes1839: 415And mingled in the front was spear with spear,
And horrible the noise was in the field;
Whilst some insult and others groaning die.
And th’earth they stood on covered was with blood.
As when great torrents from the mountains high
Hobbes1839: 420Pour down into the valleys a great flood;
The streams through thousand channels falling roar;
The trembling shepherds hear it on the hills.
So much the noise o’th’ battle the air tore,
And all the region with terror fills.
Hobbes1839: 425A Trojan was the first man that was slain,
Echepolus son of Thalysias.
He smote was with a spear into the brain;
Antilochus the man that smote him was.
His armour rattled on him as he fell,
Hobbes1839: 430As if some tow’r had fall’n. But then Elphenor
(To strip him of his arms that hoped well)
Dragging him off was killed by Agenor.
For whilst in stooping he his flank unhides.
Agenor quickly his advantage spies,
Hobbes1839: 435And pierc’d him with his spear through both his sides.
Then down he fell, and darkness seiz’d his eyes.
And then about his body rose great strife,
And one upon another falling on,
Antheman’s son, a fair youth, lost his life,
Hobbes1839: 440Slain by great Ajax, son of Telamon,
And Simoisius called was by name,
’Cause born upon the bank of Simois,
Whither from Ida both his parents came
To view their flocks, lest aught should be amiss;
Hobbes1839: 445But had no joy of him. He was unblest
To be the first that came in Ajax’s way,
Who smote him with his spear quite through the breast.
There dead he fell, and by the river lay.
As when a man has fell’d a poplar tree,
Hobbes1839: 450Tall, straight, and smooth, with many fair boughs on,
Of which he meant a cart-wheel made shall be,
And leaves it on the bank to dry i’ th’ sun;
So lay the comely Simoisius,
Slain by great Ajax, son of Telamon.
Hobbes1839: 455At Ajax then a spear threw Antiphus,
Bright-arm’d Antiphus, King Priam’s son.
Death the spear carries, but of Ajax misses,
And deadly wounds the groin of Leucus bold,
And well beloved soldier of Ulysses,
Hobbes1839: 460Who dragg’d the dead, but now lets go his hold.
Ulysses, angry that his friend was slain,
Went out before the rest, and coming close
To th’ Trojan front, some fit revenge to gain.
Democoon, King Priam’s son, he chose,
Hobbes1839: 465(A lawful son where nature is the law).
The Trojans when they saw him look about,
Into the shelter of the ranks withdraw.
Then soon his spear Democoon pick’d out,
And through both temples forward went the head.
Hobbes1839: 470Then heavily he falls, his armour chinks,
His eyes with endless night are covered,
And Hector with his Trojans from him shrinks.
The Greeks then shouted, and drew off their slain,
And on the Trojans pressing further were.
Hobbes1839: 475But then Apollo cried out amain
From Pergam tow’r, O Trojans, what d’ye fear?
Go on upon the Greeks; no more give way.
Their bodies neither are of stone nor steel,
Nor able are the force of brass to stay,
Hobbes1839: 480No less than you the wounds it makes they feel.
Nor fights Achilles here, but angry lies,
And wishes that the Greeks were overthrown.
So Phœbus. ’Mongst the Argives Pallas flies,
Through ranks and files encouraging each one.
Hobbes1839: 485And then Diores slain was with a stone,
By Pyros, whom the Thracians obey’d.
Crush’d of his right leg was the ankle-bone,
And in the dust upon his back was laid,
Unto his fellows holding up his hands.
Hobbes1839: 490Ready to die he for assistance cries.
Pyros comes quickly in, and o’er him stands,
And wounds him in the belly. Then he dies.
But Thoas then slew Pyros with his spear,
That pass’d his breast till in his lungs it stopp’d.
Hobbes1839: 495Then coming in he drew his sword, and there
His belly ripp’d till out his bowels dropp’d,
But to disarm him could not stay, because
So many Thracians about him stood.
Then back retir’d he, and well pelted was,
Hobbes1839: 500Leaving two leaders wrapp’d in dust and blood,
One an Epeian, th’ other Thracian,
And many others lying by them dead.
This battle was well fought. Although a man
Through both the armies safely had been led
Hobbes1839: 505By Pallas, and protected by her shield,
He had no want of courage seen that day,
So many Greeks and Trojans in the field
Depriv’d of life by one another lay.