The Iliad of Homer

Page: 129

Nor Priam nor his sons obtain'd their grace;
Proud Troy they hated, and her guilty race.
The troops exulting sat in order round,
And beaming fires illumined all the ground.
As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,Illustration: THE <strong><a href=SHIELD OF ACHILLES." title= "THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES." />

[pg 159]




Agamemnon, after the last day's defeat, proposes to the Greeks to quit the siege, and return to their country. Diomed opposes this, and Nestor seconds him, praising his wisdom and resolution. He orders the guard to be strengthened, and a council summoned to deliberate what measures are to be followed in this emergency. Agamemnon pursues this advice, and Nestor further prevails upon him to send ambassadors to Achilles, in order to move him to a reconciliation. Ulysses and Ajax are made choice of, who are accompanied by old Phoenix. They make, each of them, very moving and pressing speeches, but are rejected with roughness by Achilles, who notwithstanding retains Phoenix in his tent. The ambassadors return unsuccessfully to the camp, and the troops betake themselves to sleep.

This book, and the next following, take up the space of one night, which is the twenty-seventh from the beginning of the poem. The scene lies on the sea-shore, the station of the Grecian ships.

Thus joyful Troy maintain'd the watch of night;
While fear, pale comrade of inglorious flight,199
And heaven-bred horror, on the Grecian part,
Sat on each face, and sadden'd every heart.
As from its cloudy dungeon issuing forth,
A double tempest of the west and north
Swells o'er the sea, from Thracia's frozen shore,
Heaps waves on waves, and bids the Ægean roar:
This way and that the boiling deeps are toss'd:
Such various passions urged the troubled host,
Great Agamemnon grieved above the rest;
Superior sorrows swell'd his royal breast;
Himself his orders to the heralds bears,
To bid to council all the Grecian peers,
But bid in whispers: these surround their chief,
In solemn sadness and majestic grief.
The king amidst the mournful circle rose: