The Iliad of Homer
Page: 208This if refused, he bids thee timely weigh
His elder birthright, and superior sway.
How shall thy rashness stand the dire alarms
If heaven's omnipotence descend in arms?
Striv'st thou with him by whom all power is given?
And art thou equal to the lord of heaven?"
"What means the haughty sovereign of the skies?
(The king of ocean thus, incensed, replies;)
Rule as he will his portion'd realms on high;
No vassal god, nor of his train, am I.
Three brother deities from Saturn came,
And ancient Rhea, earth's immortal dame:
Assign'd by lot, our triple rule we know;
Infernal Pluto sways the shades below;
O'er the wide clouds, and o'er the starry plain,
Ethereal Jove extends his high domain;
My court beneath the hoary waves I keep,
And hush the roarings of the sacred deep;
Olympus, and this earth, in common lie:
What claim has here the tyrant of the sky?
Far in the distant clouds let him control,
And awe the younger brothers of the pole;[pg 273]
There to his children his commands be given,
The trembling, servile, second race of heaven."
"And must I then (said she), O sire of floods!
Bear this fierce answer to the king of gods?
Correct it yet, and change thy rash intent;
A noble mind disdains not to repent.
To elder brothers guardian fiends are given,
To scourge the wretch insulting them and heaven."
"Great is the profit (thus the god rejoin'd)
When ministers are blest with prudent mind:
Warn'd by thy words, to powerful Jove I yield,
And quit, though angry, the contended field:
Not but his threats with justice I disclaim,
The same our honours, and our birth the same.
If yet, forgetful of his promise given
To favour Ilion, that perfidious place,
He breaks his faith with half the ethereal race;
Give him to know, unless the Grecian train
Lay yon proud structures level with the plain,
Howe'er the offence by other gods be pass'd,
The wrath of Neptune shall for ever last."
Thus speaking, furious from the field he strode,
And plunged into the bosom of the flood.
The lord of thunders, from his lofty height
Beheld, and thus bespoke the source of light:
"Behold! the god whose liquid arms are hurl'd
Around the globe, whose earthquakes rock the world,
Desists at length his rebel-war to wage,
Seeks his own seas, and trembles at our rage;
Else had my wrath, heaven's thrones all shaking round,
Burn'd to the bottom of his seas profound;
And all the gods that round old Saturn dwell
Had heard the thunders to the deeps of hell.
Well was the crime, and well the vengeance spared;
Even power immense had found such battle hard.
Go thou, my son! the trembling Greeks alarm,
Shake my broad aegis on thy active arm,
Be godlike Hector thy peculiar care,
Swell his bold heart, and urge his strength to war:
Let Ilion conquer, till the Achaian train
Fly to their ships and Hellespont again: