But, in the self-same day, Brisèis, daintily featured,
Thine own prize, do I seize; within thy tent do I seize her.
Thus, all strong as thou art, my sway shall be known as the stronger.
So may none other be ready to deem him my peer, or oppose me."
So spake the King:—right sore was the strife in the breast of Achilleus.
Much did he doubt whether, baring the blade of his terrible broadsword,
Bursting the crowd right asunder, to strike at Atrides, and slay him;
Or to contain his wrath, and vanquish the storm of his passion. 190
Still in his mind and soul was the strife of conflicting emotions.
Half he unsheath'd his blade.—But down came Pallas Athenè,
Down from the skies she descended; (the white-arm'd Queen of Olympus,
Sent her, for both of the chiefs were guarded and loved by the Goddess)—
Gliding behind him, she finger'd the golden locks of Achilleus,
Only revealed unto him—none else saw the heavenly vision.
Thrill'd to her finger Pelides: and turning his head he beheld her;
Saw, and knew her well;—for her eyes shone fearfully on him:—
Knew her for Pallas Athenè; and rapidly thus he address'd her.
"Why thus here upon Earth, child of Zeus, of the Ægis-wielder? 200
Is it, that thou may'st note the injurious pride of Atrides?—
Then, do thou hear me predict—and see the prediction accomplished—
Soon shall his forfeit life pay the price of his insolent rashness!"
Then, in reply to the chieftain, the blue-eyed Goddess Athenè.—
"Not to see this, but to temper thy wrath, I descend from the heavens:
Nor do I come of myself; for the white-arm'd Herè has sent me.
He and thou both alike are guarded and loved by the Goddess.
Then put an end to the strife, nor draw that sword from its scabbard!
Use not the cold keen blade, but the keener edge of invective!
- Although the "prize" of Achilles, and living with him in a state of concubinage, the position of Brisèis seems to have been rather that of an intended wife than of an ordinary mistress. See II. ix., v. 340; and 2 Gladstone's Hom. 496.