The Iliad of Homer
Page: 125Shall wretched Greece no more confess our care,
Condemn'd to suffer the full force of fate,
And drain the dregs of heaven's relentless hate?
Gods! shall one raging hand thus level all?
What numbers fell! what numbers yet shall fall!
What power divine shall Hector's wrath assuage?
Still swells the slaughter, and still grows the rage!"
So spake the imperial regent of the skies;
To whom the goddess with the azure eyes:
"Long since had Hector stain'd these fields with gore,
Stretch'd by some Argive on his native shore:
But he above, the sire of heaven, withstands,
Mocks our attempts, and slights our just demands;
The stubborn god, inflexible and hard,
Forgets my service and deserved reward:
Saved I, for this, his favourite son distress'd,
By stern Eurystheus with long labours press'd?
He begg'd, with tears he begg'd, in deep dismay;
I shot from heaven, and gave his arm the day.
Oh had my wisdom known this dire event,
When to grim Pluto's gloomy gates he went;
The triple dog had never felt his chain,
Nor Styx been cross'd, nor hell explored in vain.
Averse to me of all his heaven of gods,
At Thetis' suit the partial Thunderer nods;
To grace her gloomy, fierce, resenting son,
My hopes are frustrate, and my Greeks undone.
Some future day, perhaps, he may be moved
To call his blue-eyed maid his best beloved.
Haste, launch thy chariot, through yon ranks to ride;
Myself will arm, and thunder at thy side.
Then, goddess! say, shall Hector glory then?
(That terror of the Greeks, that man of men)
When Juno's self, and Pallas shall appear,
All dreadful in the crimson walks of war!
What mighty Trojan then, on yonder shore,
Expiring, pale, and terrible no more,
Shall feast the fowls, and glut the dogs with gore?"
She ceased, and Juno rein'd the steeds with care:
(Heaven's awful empress, Saturn's other heir:)
Pallas, meanwhile, her various veil unbound,
With flowers adorn'd, with art immortal crown'd;
The radiant robe her sacred fingers wove
Floats in rich waves, and spreads the court of Jove.
Her father's arms her mighty limbs invest,
His cuirass blazes on her ample breast.
The vigorous power the trembling car ascends:[pg 152]
Shook by her arm, the massy javelin bends:
Huge, ponderous, strong! that when her fury burns
Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts o'erturns.
Saturnia lends the lash; the coursers fly;
Smooth glides the chariot through the liquid sky.
Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers,
Heaven's golden gates, kept by the winged Hours.
Commission'd in alternate watch they stand,
The sun's bright portals and the skies command;
Close, or unfold, the eternal gates of day
Bar heaven with clouds, or roll those clouds away.
The sounding hinges ring, the clouds divide.
Prone down the steep of heaven their course they guide.
But Jove, incensed, from Ida's top survey'd,
And thus enjoin'd the many-colour'd maid.
JUNO AND MINERVA GOING TO ASSIST THE GREEKS.
"Thaumantia! mount the winds, and stop their car;
Against the highest who shall wage the war?