He may reveal what cause thus enrages Phœbus Apollo.
Whether a broken vow, or gift withheld from his altar,
Angers the God:—and whether the blood of lambs and of sucklings,
Spotless, slain at his shrine, may appease and stay the destroyer."
Thus did he speak; then sat: and then uprose in the presence,
Calchas, Thestor's son;— most skilful far of diviners!
Both the dim past, and the present, he knew; and the mystical future. 70
By his prophetic art, it was given by Phœbus Apollo,
He, unto Ilion's shores, had guided the ships of Achaia.
Now, much moved for the weal of the people, he spake to Achilleus.
"Thou, O beloved of Zeus, O Achilleus, bidst me discover
Whence is the wrath of the King, of the far-darting archer Apollo.
At thy command, then, I speak:—but do thou, by the faith of a monarch,
Swear with the word of thy mouth and the might of thine arm to protect me.
Little, perchance, will the tale I must tell please a notable leader;
Mightily ruling in Argos;—renown'd among all the Achaians.
Monarch to private man is in sooth an unequal opponent. 80
Haply within his breast he may keep down the wrath for an instant:
But it is brooding there: it still has an end to accomplish;
Deep in his heart.—Then consider, and say if you wish to protect me."
Then uprose in his place and spake in answer Achilleus.
"Boldly speak as thou know'st!—Speak all, as the Gods have disclosed it!
For, by the God Zeus-loved, by Apollo's self, do I swear it,
—E'en by the God whose oracular will by thy mouth is revealèd,—
None, while I tread earth, and live in the light of the sunshine,
None of the Danaan host upon thee lays finger to harm thee,
Name as thou wilt.—Were it even the best and the bravest among us; 90
E'en were it he, first of all the Achaians, the King Agamemnon."
Then did the blameless Seer take courage;— and thus he proceeded.