The Iliad of Homer
Page: 119Trembling they stood before their sovereign's look;
At length his best-beloved, the power of wisdom, spoke:
"O first and greatest! God, by gods adored
We own thy might, our father and our lord!
But, ah! permit to pity human state:
If not to help, at least lament their fate.
From fields forbidden we submiss refrain,
With arms unaiding mourn our Argives slain;
Yet grant my counsels still their breasts may move,
Or all must perish in the wrath of Jove."
The cloud-compelling god her suit approved,
And smiled superior on his best beloved;
Then call'd his coursers, and his chariot took;
The stedfast firmament beneath them shook:
Rapt by the ethereal steeds the chariot roll'd;
Brass were their hoofs, their curling manes of gold:
Of heaven's undrossy gold the gods array,
Refulgent, flash'd intolerable day.
High on the throne he shines: his coursers fly
Between the extended earth and starry sky.
But when to Ida's topmost height he came,
(Fair nurse of fountains, and of savage game,)
Where o'er her pointed summits proudly raised,
His fane breathed odours, and his altar blazed:
There, from his radiant car, the sacred sire
Of gods and men released the steeds of fire:
Blue ambient mists the immortal steeds embraced;
High on the cloudy point his seat he placed;
Thence his broad eye the subject world surveys,
The town, and tents, and navigable seas.
Now had the Grecians snatch'd a short repast,
And buckled on their shining arms with haste.
Troy roused as soon; for on this dreadful day
The fate of fathers, wives, and infants lay.
The gates unfolding pour forth all their train;
Squadrons on squadrons cloud the dusky plain:
Men, steeds, and chariots shake the trembling ground,
The tumult thickens, and the skies resound;
And now with shouts the shocking armies closed,
To lances lances, shields to shields opposed,
Host against host with shadowy legends drew,
The sounding darts in iron tempests flew;
Victors and vanquish'd join promiscuous cries,
Triumphant shouts and dying groans arise;
With streaming blood the slippery fields are dyed,
And slaughter'd heroes swell the dreadful tide.
Long as the morning beams, increasing bright,
O'er heaven's clear azure spread the sacred light,
Commutual death the fate of war confounds,
Each adverse battle gored with equal wounds.
But when the sun the height of heaven ascends,
The sire of gods his golden scales suspends,192[pg 144]
With equal hand: in these explored the fate
Of Greece and Troy, and poised the mighty weight:
Press'd with its load, the Grecian balance lies
Low sunk on earth, the Trojan strikes the skies.
Then Jove from Ida's top his horrors spreads;
The clouds burst dreadful o'er the Grecian heads;
Thick lightnings flash; the muttering thunder rolls;
Their strength he withers, and unmans their souls.
Before his wrath the trembling hosts retire;
The gods in terrors, and the skies on fire.
Nor great Idomeneus that sight could bear,
Nor each stern Ajax, thunderbolts of war:
Nor he, the king of war, the alarm sustain'd