The Iliad of Homer
Page: 206[pg 270]
Vanquish'd at last by Hector's lance he lies.
Then, nor till then, shall great Achilles rise:
And lo! that instant, godlike Hector dies.
From that great hour the war's whole fortune turns,
Not till that day shall Jove relax his rage,
Nor one of all the heavenly host engage
In aid of Greece. The promise of a god
I gave, and seal'd it with the almighty nod,
Achilles' glory to the stars to raise;
Such was our word, and fate the word obeys."
The trembling queen (the almighty order given)
Swift from the Idaean summit shot to heaven.
As some wayfaring man, who wanders o'er
In thought a length of lands he trod before,
Sends forth his active mind from place to place,
Joins hill to dale, and measures space with space:
So swift flew Juno to the bless'd abodes,
If thought of man can match the speed of gods.
There sat the powers in awful synod placed;
They bow'd, and made obeisance as she pass'd
Through all the brazen dome: with goblets crown'd239
They hail her queen; the nectar streams around.
Fair Themis first presents the golden bowl,
And anxious asks what cares disturb her soul?
To whom the white-arm'd goddess thus replies:
"Enough thou know'st the tyrant of the skies,
Severely bent his purpose to fulfil,
Unmoved his mind, and unrestrain'd his will.
Go thou, the feasts of heaven attend thy call;
Bid the crown'd nectar circle round the hall:
But Jove shall thunder through the ethereal dome
Such stern decrees, such threaten'd woes to come,
As soon shall freeze mankind with dire surprise,
And damp the eternal banquets of the skies."
The goddess said, and sullen took her place;
Black horror sadden'd each celestial face.
To see the gathering grudge in every breast,
Smiles on her lips a spleenful joy express'd;
While on her wrinkled front, and eyebrow bent,
Sat stedfast care, and lowering discontent.
Thus she proceeds—"Attend, ye powers above!
But know, 'tis madness to contest with Jove:
Supreme he sits; and sees, in pride of sway.
Your vassal godheads grudgingly obey:
Fierce in the majesty of power controls;
Shakes all the thrones of heaven, and bends the poles.
Submiss, immortals! all he wills, obey:
And thou, great Mars, begin and show the way.[pg 271]
Behold Ascalaphus! behold him die,
But dare not murmur, dare not vent a sigh;
Thy own loved boasted offspring lies o'erthrown,
If that loved boasted offspring be thy own."
Stern Mars, with anguish for his slaughter'd son,
Smote his rebelling breast, and fierce begun:
"Thus then, immortals! thus shall Mars obey;
Forgive me, gods, and yield my vengeance way:
Descending first to yon forbidden plain,
The god of battles dares avenge the slain;
Dares, though the thunder bursting o'er my head
Should hurl me blazing on those heaps of dead."
With that he gives command to Fear and Flight
To join his rapid coursers for the fight:
Then grim in arms, with hasty vengeance flies;