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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 254

'Twas now no season for prolong'd debate;
They saw Achilles, and in him their fate.
Silent they stood: Polydamas at last,
Skill'd to discern the future by the past,
The son of Panthus, thus express'd his fears
[pg 338]Illustration: JUNO COMMANDING THE SUN TO SET.
JUNO COMMANDING THE SUN TO SET.
"In free debate, my friends, your sentence speak;
For me, I move, before the morning break,
To raise our camp: too dangerous here our post,
Far from Troy walls, and on a naked coast.
I deem'd not Greece so dreadful, while engaged
In mutual feuds her king and hero raged;
Then, while we hoped our armies might prevail
We boldly camp'd beside a thousand sail.
I dread Pelides now: his rage of mind
Not long continues to the shores confined,
Nor to the fields, where long in equal fray
Contending nations won and lost the day;
For Troy, for Troy, shall henceforth be the strife,
And the hard contest not for fame, but life.
Haste then to Ilion, while the favouring night
Detains these terrors, keeps that arm from fight.
If but the morrow's sun behold us here,
That arm, those terrors, we shall feel, not fear;
And hearts that now disdain, shall leap with joy,
If heaven permit them then to enter Troy.
Let not my fatal prophecy be true,
Nor what I tremble but to think, ensue.
Whatever be our fate, yet let us try
What force of thought and reason can supply;
Let us on counsel for our guard depend;
The town her gates and bulwarks shall defend.
[pg 339]
When morning dawns, our well-appointed powers,
Array'd in arms, shall line the lofty towers.
Let the fierce hero, then, when fury calls,
Vent his mad vengeance on our rocky walls,
Or fetch a thousand circles round the plain,
Till his spent coursers seek the fleet again:
So may his rage be tired, and labour'd down!
And dogs shall tear him ere he sack the town."
"Return! (said Hector, fired with stern disdain)
What! coop whole armies in our walls again?
Was't not enough, ye valiant warriors, say,
Nine years imprison'd in those towers ye lay?
Wide o'er the world was Ilion famed of old
For brass exhaustless, and for mines of gold:
But while inglorious in her walls we stay'd,
Sunk were her treasures, and her stores decay'd;
The Phrygians now her scatter'd spoils enjoy,
And proud Maeonia wastes the fruits of Troy.
Great Jove at length my arms to conquest calls,
And shuts the Grecians in their wooden walls,
Darest thou dispirit whom the gods incite?
Flies any Trojan? I shall stop his flight.
To better counsel then attention lend;
Take due refreshment, and the watch attend.
If there be one whose riches cost him care,
Forth let him bring them for the troops to share;
'Tis better generously bestow'd on those,
Than left the plunder of our country's foes.

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