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The Iliad of Homer

Page: 318

Stood proud to hymn, and tune his youthful lyre."
Then thus the Thunderer checks the imperial dame:
"Let not thy wrath the court of heaven inflame;
Their merits, nor their honours, are the same.
But mine, and every god's peculiar grace
Hector deserves, of all the Trojan race:
Still on our shrines his grateful offerings lay,
(The only honours men to gods can pay,)
Nor ever from our smoking altar ceased
The pure libation, and the holy feast:
Howe'er by stealth to snatch the corse away,
We will not: Thetis guards it night and day.
But haste, and summon to our courts above
The azure queen; let her persuasion move
Her furious son from Priam to receive
The proffer'd ransom, and the corse to leave."
He added not: and Iris from the skies,
Swift as a whirlwind, on the message flies,
Meteorous the face of ocean sweeps,
Refulgent gliding o'er the sable deeps.
Between where Samos wide his forests spreads,
And rocky Imbrus lifts its pointed heads,
Down plunged the maid; (the parted waves resound;)
She plunged and instant shot the dark profound.
As bearing death in the fallacious bait,
From the bent angle sinks the leaden weight;
So pass'd the goddess through the closing wave,
Where Thetis sorrow'd in her secret cave:
There placed amidst her melancholy train
(The blue-hair'd sisters of the sacred main)
Pensive she sat, revolving fates to come,
And wept her godlike son's approaching doom.
Then thus the goddess of the painted bow:
"Arise, O Thetis! from thy seats below,
'Tis Jove that calls."ā€”"And why (the dame replies)
Calls Jove his Thetis to the hated skies?
Sad object as I am for heavenly sight!
Ah may my sorrows ever shun the light!
Howe'er, be heaven's almighty sire obey'dā€”"
She spake, and veil'd her head in sable shade,
Which, flowing long, her graceful person clad;
And forth she paced, majestically sad.
Then through the world of waters they repair
(The way fair Iris led) to upper air.
The deeps dividing, o'er the coast they rise,
And touch with momentary flight the skies.
There in the lightning's blaze the sire they found,
[pg 433]
And all the gods in shining synod round.
Thetis approach'd with anguish in her face,
(Minerva rising, gave the mourner place,)
Even Juno sought her sorrows to console,
And offer'd from her hand the nectar-bowl:
She tasted, and resign'd it: then began
The sacred sire of gods and mortal man:
"Thou comest, fair Thetis, but with grief o'ercast;
Maternal sorrows; long, ah, long to last!
Suffice, we know and we partake thy cares;
But yield to fate, and hear what Jove declares
Nine days are past since all the court above
In Hector's cause have moved the ear of Jove;
'Twas voted, Hermes from his godlike foe
By stealth should bear him, but we will'd not so:
We will, thy son himself the corse restore,
And to his conquest add this glory more.
Then hie thee to him, and our mandate bear:
Tell him he tempts the wrath of heaven too far;

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