The Iliad of Homer
Page: 94If warring gods for ever guard the wall!
Mars, red with slaughter, aids our hated foes:
Haste, let us arm, and force with force oppose!"
She spoke; Minerva burns to meet the war:
And now heaven's empress calls her blazing car.
At her command rush forth the steeds divine;
Rich with immortal gold their trappings shine.[pg 103]
The whirling wheels are to the chariot hung.
On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel
Of sounding brass; the polished axle steel.
Eight brazen spokes in radiant order flame;
The circles gold, of uncorrupted frame,
Such as the heavens produce: and round the gold
Two brazen rings of work divine were roll'd.
The bossy naves of sold silver shone;
Braces of gold suspend the moving throne:
The car, behind, an arching figure bore;
The bending concave form'd an arch before.
Silver the beam, the extended yoke was gold,
And golden reins the immortal coursers hold.
Herself, impatient, to the ready car,
The coursers joins, and breathes revenge and war.
Pallas disrobes; her radiant veil untied,
With flowers adorn'd, with art diversified,
(The laboured veil her heavenly fingers wove,)
Flows on the pavement of the court of Jove.
Now heaven's dread arms her mighty limbs invest,
Jove's cuirass blazes on her ample breast;
Deck'd in sad triumph for the mournful field,
O'er her broad shoulders hangs his horrid shield,
Dire, black, tremendous! Round the margin roll'd,
A fringe of serpents hissing guards the gold:
Here all the terrors of grim War appear,
Here rages Force, here tremble Flight and Fear,
Here storm'd Contention, and here Fury frown'd,
And the dire orb portentous Gorgon crown'd.
The massy golden helm she next assumes,
That dreadful nods with four o'ershading plumes;
So vast, the broad circumference contains
A hundred armies on a hundred plains.
The goddess thus the imperial car ascends;
Shook by her arm the mighty javelin bends,
Ponderous and huge; that when her fury burns,
Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts o'erturns.
Swift at the scourge the ethereal coursers fly,
While the smooth chariot cuts the liquid sky.
Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers,155
Heaven's golden gates, kept by the winged Hours;156[pg 104]
Commission'd in alternate watch they stand,
The sun's bright portals and the skies command,
Involve in clouds the eternal gates of day,
Or the dark barrier roll with ease away.
The sounding hinges ring on either side
The gloomy volumes, pierced with light, divide.
The chariot mounts, where deep in ambient skies,
Confused, Olympus' hundred heads arise;
Where far apart the Thunderer fills his throne,
O'er all the gods superior and alone.
There with her snowy hand the queen restrains
The fiery steeds, and thus to Jove complains:
"O sire! can no resentment touch thy soul?
Can Mars rebel, and does no thunder roll?
What lawless rage on yon forbidden plain,
What rash destruction! and what heroes slain!
Venus, and Phoebus with the dreadful bow,
Smile on the slaughter, and enjoy my woe.