The Iliad of Homer
Page: 65Both brave in arms, and both approved in arts.
Erect, the Spartan most engaged our view;
Ulysses seated, greater reverence drew.
When Atreus' son harangued the listening train,
Just was his sense, and his expression plain,
His words succinct, yet full, without a fault;
He spoke no more than just the thing he ought.
But when Ulysses rose, in thought profound,116
His modest eyes he fix'd upon the ground;
As one unskill'd or dumb, he seem'd to stand,[pg 058]
Nor raised his head, nor stretch'd his sceptred hand;
But, when he speaks, what elocution flows!
Soft as the fleeces of descending snows,117
The copious accents fall, with easy art;
Melting they fall, and sink into the heart!
Wondering we hear, and fix'd in deep surprise,
Our ears refute the censure of our eyes."
The king then ask'd (as yet the camp he view'd)
"What chief is that, with giant strength endued,
Whose brawny shoulders, and whose swelling chest,
And lofty stature, far exceed the rest?
"Ajax the great, (the beauteous queen replied,)
Himself a host: the Grecian strength and pride.
See! bold Idomeneus superior towers
Amid yon circle of his Cretan powers,
Great as a god! I saw him once before,
With Menelaus on the Spartan shore.
The rest I know, and could in order name;
All valiant chiefs, and men of mighty fame.
Yet two are wanting of the numerous train,
Whom long my eyes have sought, but sought in vain:
One bold on foot, and one renown'd for horse.
My brothers these; the same our native shore,
One house contain'd us, as one mother bore.
Perhaps the chiefs, from warlike toils at ease,
For distant Troy refused to sail the seas;
Perhaps their swords some nobler quarrel draws,
Ashamed to combat in their sister's cause."
So spoke the fair, nor knew her brothers' doom;118
Wrapt in the cold embraces of the tomb;
Adorn'd with honours in their native shore,
Silent they slept, and heard of wars no more.
Meantime the heralds, through the crowded town.
Bring the rich wine and destined victims down.
Idaeus' arms the golden goblets press'd,119
Who thus the venerable king address'd:
"Arise, O father of the Trojan state!
The nations call, thy joyful people wait
To seal the truce, and end the dire debate.
In measured lists to toss the weighty lance;
And who his rival shall in arms subdue,
His be the dame, and his the treasure too.[pg 059]
Thus with a lasting league our toils may cease,
And Troy possess her fertile fields in peace:
So shall the Greeks review their native shore,
Much famed for generous steeds, for beauty more."
With grief he heard, and bade the chiefs prepare
To join his milk-white coursers to the car;
He mounts the seat, Antenor at his side;
The gentle steeds through Scaea's gates they guide:120
Next from the car descending on the plain,
Amid the Grecian host and Trojan train,