Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 1.djvu/49

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ACHILLES


HIS REPLY TO THE ENVOYS[1]

(LEGENDARY)


Date of Homer's birth and death unknown, but 8OO to 900 B.C. the period usually accepted. Of the seven cities contending for the honor of having been his birthplace, Smyrna possesses the best evidence. Many critics contend that the poems bearing Homer's fame were written by various persons in different ages, but it is probable that at least the Iliad, or a considerable part of it, was the product of a single mind.


Heaven-sprung son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, in openness must I now declare unto you my saying, even as I am minded and as the fulfilment thereof shall be, that ye may not sit before me and coax this way and that. For hateful to me, even as the gates of hell, is he that hideth one thing in his heart and uttereth another: but I will speak what me seemeth best. Not me, I ween, nor the other Danaans, shall Agamemnon, son of Atreus, persuade, seeing we were to have no thank for battling with the foeman ever without respite. He that abideth at home hath equal share with him that fightest his best, and in like honor are held

  1. Addressed more particularly to Odysseus, one of the envoys, than to Phoinix and Ajax, the others. These envoys had been sent by Agamemnon to plead with Achilles for his return to action in the war against Troy. The Lang. Leaf and Myers translation. Printed by arrangement with Macmillan & Co. of London.

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