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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 117

Now, ere the morn had streak'd with reddening light
The doubtful confines of the day and night,
About the dying flames the Greeks appear'd,
And round the pile a general tomb they rear'd.
Then, to secure the camp and naval powers,
They raised embattled walls with lofty towers:186
[pg 139]
From space to space were ample gates around,
For passing chariots, and a trench profound
Of large extent; and deep in earth below,
Strong piles infix'd stood adverse to the foe.
So toil'd the Greeks: meanwhile the gods above,
In shining circle round their father Jove,
Amazed beheld the wondrous works of man:
Then he, whose trident shakes the earth, began:
"What mortals henceforth shall our power adore,
Our fanes frequent, our oracles implore,
If the proud Grecians thus successful boast
Their rising bulwarks on the sea-beat coast?
See the long walls extending to the main,
No god consulted, and no victim slain!
Their fame shall fill the world's remotest ends,
Wide as the morn her golden beam extends;
While old Laomedon's divine abodes,
Those radiant structures raised by labouring gods,
Shall, razed and lost, in long oblivion sleep."
Thus spoke the hoary monarch of the deep.
The almighty Thunderer with a frown replies,
That clouds the world, and blackens half the skies:
"Strong god of ocean! thou, whose rage can make
The solid earth's eternal basis shake!
What cause of fear from mortal works could move187
The meanest subject of our realms above?
Where'er the sun's refulgent rays are cast,
Thy power is honour'd, and thy fame shall last.
But yon proud work no future age shall view,
No trace remain where once the glory grew.
The sapp'd foundations by thy force shall fall,
And, whelm'd beneath the waves, drop the huge wall:
Vast drifts of sand shall change the former shore:
The ruin vanish'd, and the name no more."
Thus they in heaven: while, o'er the Grecian train,
The rolling sun descending to the main
Beheld the finish'd work. Their bulls they slew;
Back from the tents the savoury vapour flew.
And now the fleet, arrived from Lemnos' strands,
With Bacchus' blessings cheered the generous bands.
Of fragrant wines the rich Eunaeus sent
A thousant measures to the royal tent.
(Eunaeus, whom Hypsipyle of yore
To Jason, shepherd of his people, bore,)
[pg 140]
The rest they purchased at their proper cost,
And well the plenteous freight supplied the host:
Each, in exchange, proportion'd treasures gave;188
Some, brass or iron; some, an ox, or slave.
All night they feast, the Greek and Trojan powers:
Those on the fields, and these within their towers.
But Jove averse the signs of wrath display'd,
And shot red lightnings through the gloomy shade:
Humbled they stood; pale horror seized on all,
While the deep thunder shook the aerial hall.
Each pour'd to Jove before the bowl was crown'd;
And large libations drench'd the thirsty ground:
Then late, refresh'd with sleep from toils of fight,
Enjoy'd the balmy blessings of the night.

Illustration: GREEK AMPHORA—WINE VESSELS.
GREEK AMPHORA—WINE VESSELS.


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