Page:The Iliad of Homer in English Hexameter Verse.djvu/23

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"Neither for broken vow, nor gift kept back from his altar,
But for his priest—whom he, Agamemnon, wrong'd—is the vengeance;
And for the maid denied, and slighted price of the ransom.—
Therefore the shafts of the God have flown!—And yet will they pierce us,
Nor shall his grievous hand be amoved, nor the pest be abated,
Till unto Chrysa, the maid of the eyes so bright in their blackness,
Ransomless home be returned;—with hecatombs, meet for the altars
Of the offended God.—Then, perchance, he may pardon and spare us."100

Calchas spake, and sat:—and then, amid all the assemblage,
Rose up the hero Atrides, the wide-ruling King Agamemnon.
Furious he rose;—and the black veins filled in the breast of the monarch:
And in his rolling eyes flash'd brightly the terrible anger.
Bent on the Seer were his wrathful brows, and in wrath he addressed him.

"Prophet of ill! that tongue never yet spake of peace to thy monarch!
Dear unto thee is the art which promiseth ill to thy neighbour!
Little the good that thou speak'st, nor greater the good that thou doest.
And is it now thy task to suggest to the Danaan leaders,—
Ill-boding priest as thou art,—that for me have the shafts of the day-God, 110
Smitten the host? for that I, their King, the rich gifts of the ransom
Spurn'd, as the price of Chrysèis?—Dear to my soul is the maiden;
Hoped-for light of my home!—More dear than my spouse Clytemnestra;
Wife of my youth as she was!—My prize is her equal in all things:
Equal in face, in form, in mind, and in gifts of the artist.
Yet, as she is, I am ready to yield her, if safety demand it!
Dearer to me than all this are the safety and weal of my people.
But some prize at once should be mine in the place of the maiden[1].
Ill befitting it were, that your monarch, alone of the Argives,
Prizeless remain! for ye see that my own first prize is departing." 120

Then to the King in reply spake the great swift-footed Achilleus.

  1. It must be remembered that Agamemnon had already been offered an ample ransom
    for Chrysèis; and by his refusal to accept it had brought the plague upon the army.