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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 207

Arms that reflect a radiance through the skies.
And now had Jove, by bold rebellion driven,
Discharged his wrath on half the host of heaven;
But Pallas, springing through the bright abode,
Starts from her azure throne to calm the god.
Struck for the immortal race with timely fear,
From frantic Mars she snatch'd the shield and spear;
Then the huge helmet lifting from his head,
Thus to the impetuous homicide she said:
"By what wild passion, furious! art thou toss'd?
Striv'st thou with Jove? thou art already lost.
Shall not the Thunderer's dread command restrain,
And was imperial Juno heard in vain?
Back to the skies wouldst thou with shame be driven,
And in thy guilt involve the host of heaven?
Ilion and Greece no more should Jove engage,
The skies would yield an ampler scene of rage;
Guilty and guiltless find an equal fate
And one vast ruin whelm the Olympian state.
Cease then thy offspring's death unjust to call;
Heroes as great have died, and yet shall fall.
Why should heaven's law with foolish man comply
Exempted from the race ordain'd to die?"
This menace fix'd the warrior to his throne;
Sullen he sat, and curb'd the rising groan.
Then Juno call'd (Jove's orders to obey)
The winged Iris, and the god of day.
"Go wait the Thunderer's will (Saturnia cried)
On yon tall summit of the fountful Ide:
There in the father's awful presence stand,
Receive, and execute his dread command."
She said, and sat; the god that gilds the day,
And various Iris, wing their airy way.
Swift as the wind, to Ida's hills they came,
(Fair nurse of fountains, and of savage game)
[pg 272]
There sat the eternal; he whose nod controls
The trembling world, and shakes the steady poles.
Veil'd in a mist of fragrance him they found,
With clouds of gold and purple circled round.
Well-pleased the Thunderer saw their earnest care,
And prompt obedience to the queen of air;
Then (while a smile serenes his awful brow)
Commands the goddess of the showery bow:
"Iris! descend, and what we here ordain,
Report to yon mad tyrant of the main.
Bid him from fight to his own deeps repair,
Or breathe from slaughter in the fields of air.
If he refuse, then let him timely weigh
Our elder birthright, and superior sway.
How shall his rashness stand the dire alarms,
If heaven's omnipotence descend in arms?
Strives he with me, by whom his power was given,
And is there equal to the lord of heaven?"
The all-mighty spoke; the goddess wing'd her flight
To sacred Ilion from the Idaean height.
Swift as the rattling hail, or fleecy snows,
Drive through the skies, when Boreas fiercely blows;
So from the clouds descending Iris falls,
And to blue Neptune thus the goddess calls:
"Attend the mandate of the sire above!
In me behold the messenger of Jove:
He bids thee from forbidden wars repair
To thine own deeps, or to the fields of air.

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