The Iliad of Homer
Page: 319Nor let him more (our anger if he dread)
Vent his mad vengeance on the sacred dead;
But yield to ransom and the father's prayer;
The mournful father, Iris shall prepare
With gifts to sue; and offer to his hands
Whate'er his honour asks, or heart demands."
His word the silver-footed queen attends,
And from Olympus' snowy tops descends.
Arrived, she heard the voice of loud lament,
And echoing groans that shook the lofty tent:
His friends prepare the victim, and dispose
Repast unheeded, while he vents his woes;
The goddess seats her by her pensive son,
She press'd his hand, and tender thus begun:
"How long, unhappy! shall thy sorrows flow,
And thy heart waste with life-consuming woe:
Mindless of food, or love, whose pleasing reign
Soothes weary life, and softens human pain?
O snatch the moments yet within thy power;
Not long to live, indulge the amorous hour!
Lo! Jove himself (for Jove's command I bear)
Forbids to tempt the wrath of heaven too far.
No longer then (his fury if thou dread)
Detain the relics of great Hector dead;
Nor vent on senseless earth thy vengeance vain,
But yield to ransom, and restore the slain."
To whom Achilles: "Be the ransom given,
And we submit, since such the will of heaven."
While thus they communed, from the Olympian bowers
Jove orders Iris to the Trojan towers:
"Haste, winged goddess! to the sacred town,[pg 434]
And urge her monarch to redeem his son.
Alone the Ilian ramparts let him leave,