The Iliad of Homer
Page: 197Lies whelm'd in ruins of the Theban wall;
Brave in his life, and glorious in his fall.
With three bold sons was generous Prothous bless'd,
Who Pleuron's walls and Calydon possess'd;
Melas and Agrius, but (who far surpass'd
The rest in courage) OEneus was the last.
From him, my sire. From Calydon expell'd,
He pass'd to Argos, and in exile dwell'd;
The monarch's daughter there (so Jove ordain'd)
He won, and flourish'd where Adrastus reign'd;
There, rich in fortune's gifts, his acres till'd,
Beheld his vines their liquid harvest yield,
And numerous flocks that whiten'd all the field.
Such Tydeus was, the foremost once in fame!
Nor lives in Greece a stranger to his name.
Then, what for common good my thoughts inspire,
Attend, and in the son respect the sire.
Though sore of battle, though with wounds oppress'd,
Let each go forth, and animate the rest,
Advance the glory which he cannot share,
Though not partaker, witness of the war.
But lest new wounds on wounds o'erpower us quite,
Beyond the missile javelin's sounding flight,
Safe let us stand; and, from the tumult far,
Inspire the ranks, and rule the distant war."
He added not: the listening kings obey,
Slow moving on; Atrides leads the way.
The god of ocean (to inflame their rage)
Appears a warrior furrowed o'er with age;
Press'd in his own, the general's hand he took,
And thus the venerable hero spoke:
"Atrides! lo! with what disdainful eye
Achilles sees his country's forces fly;
Blind, impious man! whose anger is his guide,
Who glories in unutterable pride.
So may he perish, so may Jove disclaim
The wretch relentless, and o'erwhelm with shame!
But Heaven forsakes not thee: o'er yonder sands
Soon shall thou view the scattered Trojan bands[pg 257]
Fly diverse; while proud kings, and chiefs renown'd,
Driven heaps on heaps, with clouds involved around
Of rolling dust, their winged wheels employ
To hide their ignominious heads in Troy."
He spoke, then rush'd amid the warrior crew,
And sent his voice before him as he flew,
Loud, as the shout encountering armies yield
When twice ten thousand shake the labouring field;
Such was the voice, and such the thundering sound
Of him whose trident rends the solid ground.
Each Argive bosom beats to meet the fight,
And grisly war appears a pleasing sight.
Meantime Saturnia from Olympus' brow,
High-throned in gold, beheld the fields below;
With joy the glorious conflict she survey'd,
Where her great brother gave the Grecians aid.
But placed aloft, on Ida's shady height
She sees her Jove, and trembles at the sight.
Jove to deceive, what methods shall she try,
What arts, to blind his all-beholding eye?
At length she trusts her power; resolved to prove
The old, yet still successful, cheat of love;
Against his wisdom to oppose her charms,
And lull the lord of thunders in her arms.
Swift to her bright apartment she repairs,
Sacred to dress and beauty's pleasing cares:
With skill divine had Vulcan form'd the bower,