The Iliad of Homer

Page: 142

Fix'd is his wrath, unconquer'd is his pride;
He slights thy friendship, thy proposals scorns,
And, thus implored, with fiercer fury burns.
To save our army, and our fleets to free,
Is not his care; but left to Greece and thee.
Your eyes shall view, when morning paints the sky,
Beneath his oars the whitening billows fly;
Us too he bids our oars and sails employ,
Nor hope the fall of heaven-protected Troy;
For Jove o'ershades her with his arm divine,
Inspires her war, and bids her glory shine.
Such was his word: what further he declared,
These sacred heralds and great Ajax heard.
But Phoenix in his tent the chief retains,
Safe to transport him to his native plains
When morning dawns; if other he decree,
His age is sacred, and his choice is free."
Ulysses ceased: the great Achaian host,
With sorrow seized, in consternation lost,
Attend the stern reply. Tydides broke
The general silence, and undaunted spoke.
"Why should we gifts to proud Achilles send,
Or strive with prayers his haughty soul to bend?
His country's woes he glories to deride,
And prayers will burst that swelling heart with pride.
Be the fierce impulse of his rage obey'd,
Our battles let him or desert or aid;
Then let him arm when Jove or he think fit:
That, to his madness, or to Heaven commit:
What for ourselves we can, is always ours;
This night, let due repast refresh our powers;
(For strength consists in spirits and in blood,
And those are owed to generous wine and food;)
But when the rosy messenger of day
Strikes the blue mountains with her golden ray,
Ranged at the ships, let all our squadrons shine
In flaming arms, a long-extended line:
In the dread front let great Atrides stand,
The first in danger, as in high command."
[pg 179]Illustration: <strong><a href=ACHILLES." title= "ACHILLES." />

[pg 180]




Upon the refusal of Achilles to return to the army, the distress of Agamemnon is described in the most lively manner. He takes no rest that night, but passes through the camp, awaking the leaders, and contriving all possible methods for the public safety. Menelaus, Nestor, Ulysses, and Diomed are employed in raising the rest of the captains. They call a council of war, and determine to send scouts into the enemies' camp, to learn their posture, and discover their intentions. Diomed undertakes this hazardous enterprise, and makes choice of Ulysses for his companion. In their passage they surprise Dolon, whom Hector had sent on a like design to the camp of the Grecians. From him they are informed of the situation of the Trojan and auxiliary forces, and particularly of Rhesus, and the Thracians who were lately arrived. They pass on with success; kill Rhesus, with several of his officers, and seize the famous horses of that prince, with which they return in triumph to the camp.