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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 272

In Grecian chains her captive race were cast;
'Tis true, the great Aeneas fled too fast.
Defrauded of my conquest once before,
What then I lost, the gods this day restore.
Go; while thou may'st, avoid the threaten'd fate;
Fools stay to feel it, and are wise too late."
To this Anchises' son: "Such words employ
To one that fears thee, some unwarlike boy;
Such we disdain; the best may be defied
With mean reproaches, and unmanly pride;
[pg 366]
Unworthy the high race from which we came
Proclaim'd so loudly by the voice of fame:
Each from illustrious fathers draws his line;
Each goddess-born; half human, half divine.
Thetis' this day, or Venus' offspring dies,
And tears shall trickle from celestial eyes:
For when two heroes, thus derived, contend,
'Tis not in words the glorious strife can end.
If yet thou further seek to learn my birth
(A tale resounded through the spacious earth)
Hear how the glorious origin we prove
From ancient Dardanus, the first from Jove:
Dardania's walls he raised; for Ilion, then,
(The city since of many-languaged men,)
Was not. The natives were content to till
The shady foot of Ida's fountful hill.264
From Dardanus great Erichthonius springs,
The richest, once, of Asia's wealthy kings;
Three thousand mares his spacious pastures bred,
Three thousand foals beside their mothers fed.
Boreas, enamour'd of the sprightly train,
Conceal'd his godhead in a flowing mane,
With voice dissembled to his loves he neigh'd,
And coursed the dappled beauties o'er the mead:
Hence sprung twelve others of unrivall'd kind,
Swift as their mother mares, and father wind.
These lightly skimming, when they swept the plain,
Nor plied the grass, nor bent the tender grain;
And when along the level seas they flew,265
Scarce on the surface curl'd the briny dew.
Such Erichthonius was: from him there came
The sacred Tros, of whom the Trojan name.
Three sons renown'd adorn'd his nuptial bed,
Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymed:
The matchless Ganymed, divinely fair,
Whom heaven, enamour'd, snatch'd to upper air,
To bear the cup of Jove (ethereal guest,
The grace and glory of the ambrosial feast).
The two remaining sons the line divide:
First rose Laomedon from Ilus' side;
From him Tithonus, now in cares grown old,
And Priam, bless'd with Hector, brave and bold;
Clytius and Lampus, ever-honour'd pair;
[pg 367]
And Hicetaon, thunderbolt of war.
From great Assaracus sprang Capys, he
Begat Anchises, and Anchises me.
Such is our race: 'tis fortune gives us birth,
But Jove alone endues the soul with worth:
He, source of power and might! with boundless sway,
All human courage gives, or takes away.
Long in the field of words we may contend,
Reproach is infinite, and knows no end,
Arm'd or with truth or falsehood, right or wrong;
So voluble a weapon is the tongue;
Wounded, we wound; and neither side can fail,
For every man has equal strength to rail:
Women alone, when in the streets they jar,
Perhaps excel us in this wordy war;

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