The Iliad of Homer
Page: 133Lives dark and dreadful in deep hell's abodes,
And mortals hate him, as the worst of gods
Great though he be, it fits him to obey,
Since more than his my years, and more my sway."
The monarch thus. The reverend Nestor then:
"Great Agamemnon! glorious king of men!
Such are thy offers as a prince may take,
And such as fits a generous king to make.
Let chosen delegates this hour be sent
(Myself will name them) to Pelides' tent.
Let Phoenix lead, revered for hoary age,
Great Ajax next, and Ithacus the sage.
Yet more to sanctify the word you send,
Let Hodius and Eurybates attend.[pg 165]
Now pray to Jove to grant what Greece demands;
He said; and all approved. The heralds bring
The cleansing water from the living spring.
The youth with wine the sacred goblets crown'd,
And large libations drench'd the sands around.
The rite perform'd, the chiefs their thirst allay,
Then from the royal tent they take their way;
Wise Nestor turns on each his careful eye,
Forbids to offend, instructs them to apply;
Much he advised them all, Ulysses most,
To deprecate the chief, and save the host.
Through the still night they march, and hear the roar
Of murmuring billows on the sounding shore.
To Neptune, ruler of the seas profound,
Whose liquid arms the mighty globe surround,
They pour forth vows, their embassy to bless,
And calm the rage of stern Æacides.
And now, arrived, where on the sandy bay
The Myrmidonian tents and vessels lay;
Amused at ease, the godlike man they found,
Pleased with the solemn harp's harmonious sound.
(The well wrought harp from conquered Thebae came;
Of polish'd silver was its costly frame.)[pg 166]
With this he soothes his angry soul, and sings
The immortal deeds of heroes and of kings.
Patroclus only of the royal train,
Placed in his tent, attends the lofty strain:
Full opposite he sat, and listen'd long,
In silence waiting till he ceased the song.
Unseen the Grecian embassy proceeds
To his high tent; the great Ulysses leads.
Achilles starting, as the chiefs he spied,
Leap'd from his seat, and laid the harp aside.
With like surprise arose Menoetius' son:
Pelides grasp'd their hands, and thus begun:
"Princes, all hail! whatever brought you here.
Or strong necessity, or urgent fear;
Welcome, though Greeks! for not as foes ye came;
To me more dear than all that bear the name."
With that, the chiefs beneath his roof he led,
And placed in seats with purple carpets spread.
Then thus—"Patroclus, crown a larger bowl,
Mix purer wine, and open every soul.
Of all the warriors yonder host can send,
Thy friend most honours these, and these thy friend."
He said: Patroclus o'er the blazing fire
Heaps in a brazen vase three chines entire:
The brazen vase Automedon sustains,
Which flesh of porker, sheep, and goat contains.
Achilles at the genial feast presides,