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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 268

The bright far-shooting god who gilds the day
(Confess'd we saw him) tore his arms way.
No—could our swiftness o'er the winds prevail,
Or beat the pinions of the western gale,
All were in vain—the Fates thy death demand,
Due to a mortal and immortal hand."
Then ceased for ever, by the Furies tied,
His fateful voice. The intrepid chief replied
With unabated rage—"So let it be!
Portents and prodigies are lost on me.
I know my fate: to die, to see no more
My much-loved parents, and my native shore—
Enough—when heaven ordains, I sink in night:
Now perish Troy!" He said, and rush'd to fight.

Illustration: HERCULES.

HERCULES.

[pg 360]

BOOK XX.

ARGUMENT.

THE BATTLE OF THE GODS, AND THE ACTS OF ACHILLES.

Jupiter, upon Achilles' return to the battle, calls a council of the gods, and permits them to assist either party. The terrors of the combat described, when the deities are engaged. Apollo encourages Æneas to meet Achilles. After a long conversation, these two heroes encounter; but Æneas is preserved by the assistance of Neptune. Achilles falls upon the rest of the Trojans, and is upon the point of killing Hector, but Apollo conveys him away in a cloud. Achilles pursues the Trojans with a great slaughter.

The same day continues. The scene is in the field before Troy.

Thus round Pelides breathing war and blood
Greece, sheathed in arms, beside her vessels stood;
While near impending from a neighbouring height,
Troy's black battalions wait the shock of fight.
Then Jove to Themis gives command, to call
The gods to council in the starry hall:
Swift o'er Olympus' hundred hills she flies,
And summons all the senate of the skies.
These shining on, in long procession come
To Jove's eternal adamantine dome.
Not one was absent, not a rural power
That haunts the verdant gloom, or rosy bower;
Each fair-hair'd dryad of the shady wood,
Each azure sister of the silver flood;
All but old Ocean, hoary sire! who keeps
His ancient seat beneath the sacred deeps.
On marble thrones, with lucid columns crown'd,
(The work of Vulcan,) sat the powers around.
Even he whose trident sways the watery reign
Heard the loud summons, and forsook the main,
Assumed his throne amid the bright abodes,
And question'd thus the sire of men and gods:
"What moves the god who heaven and earth commands,
And grasps the thunder in his awful hands,
[pg 361]
Thus to convene the whole ethereal state?
Is Greece and Troy the subject in debate?
Already met, the louring hosts appear,
And death stands ardent on the edge of war."
"'Tis true (the cloud-compelling power replies)
This day we call the council of the skies
In care of human race; even Jove's own eye
Sees with regret unhappy mortals die.
Far on Olympus' top in secret state
Ourself will sit, and see the hand of fate
Work out our will. Celestial powers! descend,
And as your minds direct, your succour lend
To either host. Troy soon must lie o'erthrown,

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