Page:The Iliad of Homer in English Hexameter Verse.djvu/21

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Flowery wreaths of mine have bloom'd—if e'er, by my offering,
Bulls, and the blood of goats, have nourish'd the flame of thine altars;
Tear for tear that I shed, let a Danaan[1] die by thine arrows!"

Earnestly pray'd his priest; and the prayer rose to Phœbus Apollo!
Down from the peaks of Olympus, in all of the pride of his anger,
Down the avenger came:—and the silver bow on his shoulder,
Clang'd as he rush'd along; and the shafts rattled loud in the quiver,
E'en as alive with the wrath of the God:—as like night he descended.
Planted afar from the fleet, on the fleet flew his terrible arrows.
Dire was the clang of the silvery string as it sounded and bounded!
First upon mules, and dogs swift-limb'd, and then upon mortals,
Hurtled the shafts[2]; and fast thro' the air rose flames from the death-piles.
Nine long days thro' the camp raged the shafts of the God:—on the tenth day,
Came into Council the chiefs, convened by the voice of Achilleus.
Herè urged him on—for the white-armed Queen of Olympus
Mourn'd for the Danaan hosts, and lamented the deaths of her people. 50

Then, when the chiefs were met—all rang'd in the crowded assemblage,
Rising above their ranks, thus spake the swift-footed Achilleus!—

"Sure, it were better, Atrides, that we, the remains of the people,
Wandering back as we came, should fly, if we can, from destruction! 60
War and pest combined are thinning the ranks of Achaia.
Let us at least consult some prophet or skilful diviner,
E'en an expounder of dreams—(for Zeus sends dreams to the dreamer,)—

  1. The word "Greek," however familiar to the reader of Pope, or Cowper, or Lord
    Derby, does not occur in the original of the Iliad. The expressions, "Danai,"
    "Argives," and "Atheians," are frequently used to denote the entire body of the besieging army, although properly applicable only to particular portions or classes. The translator has generally preserved in each place the peculiar designation which occurs in the original.
  2. It is said that such is the order in which Oriental pestilences usually affect the animal creation.