The Iliad Of Homer: Translated Into English Blank Verse: Book II.

A poem by William Cowper

Argument Of The Second Book.

Jupiter, in pursuance of his purpose to distress the Grecians in answer to the prayer of Thetis, deceives Agamemnon by a dream. He, in consequence of it, calls a council, the result of which is that the army shall go forth to battle. Thersites is mutinous, and is chastised by Ulysses. Ulysses, Nestor, and Agamemnon, harangue the people; and preparation is made for battle. An exact account follows of the forces on both sides.

[1]All night both Gods and Chiefs equestrian slept,
But not the Sire of all. He, waking soon,
Mused how to exalt Achilles, and destroy
No few in battle at the Grecian fleet.
This counsel, at the last, as best he chose
And likeliest; to dispatch an evil Dream
To Agamemnon's tent, and to his side
The phantom summoning, him thus addressed.
Haste, evil Dream! Fly to the Grecian fleet,
And, entering royal Agamemnon's tent,
His ear possess thou thus, omitting nought
Of all that I enjoin thee. Bid him arm
His universal host, for that the time
When the Achaians shall at length possess
Wide Ilium, hath arrived. The Gods above
No longer dwell at variance. The request
Of Juno hath prevail'd; now, wo to Troy!
So charged, the Dream departed. At the ships
Well-built arriving of Achaia's host,
He Agamemnon, son of Atreus, sought.
Him sleeping in his tent he found, immersed
In soft repose ambrosial. At his head
The shadow stood, similitude exact
Of Nestor, son of Neleus; sage, with whom
In Agamemnon's thought might none compare.
His form assumed, the sacred Dream began.
Oh son of Atreus the renown'd in arms
And in the race! Sleep'st thou? It ill behoves
To sleep all night the man of high employ,
And charged, as thou art, with a people's care.
Now, therefore, mark me well, who, sent from Jove,
Inform thee, that although so far remote,
He yet compassionates and thinks on thee
With kind solicitude. He bids thee arm
Thy universal host, for that the time
When the Achaians shall at length possess
Wide Ilium, hath arrived. The Gods above
No longer dwell at variance. The requests
Of Juno have prevail'd. Now, wo to Troy
From Jove himself! Her fate is on the wing.
Awaking from thy dewy slumbers, hold
In firm remembrance all that thou hast heard.
So spake the Dream, and vanishing, him left
In false hopes occupied and musings vain.
Full sure he thought, ignorant of the plan
By Jove design'd, that day the last of Troy.
Fond thought! For toils and agonies to Greeks
And Trojans both, in many a bloody field
To be endured, the Thunderer yet ordain'd.
Starting he woke, and seeming still to hear
The warning voice divine, with hasty leap
Sprang from his bed, and sat.[2] His fleecy vest
New-woven he put on, and mantle wide;
His sandals fair to his unsullied feet
He braced, and slung his argent-studded sword.
Then, incorruptible for evermore
The sceptre of his sires he took, with which
He issued forth into the camp of Greece.
Aurora now on the Olympian heights
Proclaiming stood new day to all in heaven,
When he his clear-voiced heralds bade convene
The Greeks in council. Went the summons forth
Into all quarters, and the throng began.
First, at the ship of Nestor, Pylian King,[3]
The senior Chiefs for high exploits renown'd
He gather'd, whom he prudent thus address'd.
My fellow warriors, hear! A dream from heaven,
Amid the stillness of the vacant night
Approach'd me, semblance close in stature, bulk,
And air, of noble Nestor. At mine head
The shadow took his stand, and thus he spake.
Oh son of Atreus the renown'd in arms
And in the race, sleep'st thou? It ill behoves
To sleep all night the man of high employ,
And charged as thou art with a people's care.
Now, therefore, mark me well, who, sent from Jove,
Inform thee, that although so far remote,
He yet compassionates and thinks on thee
With kind solicitude. He bids thee arm
Thy universal host; for that the time
When the Achaians shall at length possess
Wide Ilium, hath arrived. The Gods above
No longer dwell at variance. The requests
Of Juno have prevail'd. Now, wo to Troy
From Jove himself! Her fate is on the wing.
Charge this on thy remembrance. Thus he spake,
Then vanished suddenly, and I awoke.
Haste therefore, let us arm, if arm we may,[4]
The warlike sons of Greece; but first, myself
Will prove them, recommending instant flight
With all our ships, and ye throughout the host
Dispersed, shall, next, encourage all to stay.
He ceased, and sat; when in the midst arose
Of highest fame for wisdom, Nestor, King
Of sandy Pylus, who them thus bespake.
Friends, Counsellors, and Leaders of the Greeks!
Had any meaner Argive told his dream,
We had pronounced it false, and should the more
Have shrunk from battle; but the dream is his
Who boasts himself our highest in command.
Haste, arm we, if we may, the sons of Greece.
So saying, he left the council; him, at once
The sceptred Chiefs, obedient to his voice,
Arising, follow'd; and the throng began.
As from the hollow rock bees stream abroad,
And in succession endless seek the fields,
Now clustering, and now scattered far and near,
In spring-time, among all the new-blown flowers,
So they to council swarm'd, troop after troop,
Grecians of every tribe, from camp and fleet
Assembling orderly o'er all the plain
Beside the shore of Ocean. In the midst
A kindling rumor, messenger of Jove,
Impell'd them, and they went. Loud was the din
Of the assembling thousands; groan'd the earth
When down they sat, and murmurs ran around.
Nine heralds cried aloud--Will ye restrain
Your clamors, that your heaven-taught Kings may speak?
Scarce were they settled, and the clang had ceased,
When Agamemnon, sovereign o'er them all,
Sceptre in hand, arose. (That sceptre erst
Vulcan with labor forged, and to the hand
Consign'd it of the King, Saturnian Jove;
Jove to the vanquisher[5] of Ino's[6] guard,
And he to Pelops; Pelops in his turn,
To royal Atreus; Atreus at his death
Bequeath'd it to Thyestes rich in flocks,
And rich Thyestes left it to be borne
By Agamemnon, symbol of his right
To empire over Argos and her isles)
On that he lean'd, and rapid, thus began.[7]
Friends, Grecian Heroes, ministers of Mars!
Ye see me here entangled in the snares
Of unpropitious Jove. He promised once,
And with a nod confirm'd it, that with spoils
Of Ilium laden, we should hence return;
But now, devising ill, he sends me shamed,
And with diminished numbers, home to Greece.
So stands his sovereign pleasure, who hath laid
The bulwarks of full many a city low,
And more shall level, matchless in his might.
That such a numerous host of Greeks as we,
Warring with fewer than ourselves, should find
No fruit of all our toil, (and none appears)
Will make us vile with ages yet to come.
For should we now strike truce, till Greece and Troy
Might number each her own, and were the Greeks
Distributed in bands, ten Greeks in each,
Our banded decads should exceed so far
Their units, that all Troy could not supply
For every ten, a man, to fill us wine;
So far the Achaians, in my thought, surpass
The native Trojans. But in Troy are those
Who baffle much my purpose; aids derived
From other states, spear-arm'd auxiliars, firm
In the defence of Ilium's lofty towers.
Nine years have passed us over, nine long years;
Our ships are rotted, and our tackle marr'd,
And all our wives and little-ones at home
Sit watching our return, while this attempt
Hangs still in doubt, for which that home we left.
Accept ye then my counsel. Fly we swift
With all our fleet back to our native land,
Hopeless of Troy, not yet to be subdued.
So spake the King, whom all the concourse heard
With minds in tumult toss'd; all, save the few,
Partners of his intent. Commotion shook
The whole assembly, such as heaves the flood
Of the Icarian Deep, when South and East
Burst forth together from the clouds of Jove.
And as when vehement the West-wind falls
On standing corn mature, the loaded ears
Innumerable bow before the gale,
So was the council shaken. With a shout
All flew toward the ships; uprais'd, the dust
Stood o'er them; universal was the cry,
"Now clear the passages, strike down the props,
Set every vessel free, launch, and away!"
Heaven rang with exclamation of the host
All homeward bent, and launching glad the fleet.
Then baffled Fate had the Achaians seen
Returning premature, but Juno thus,
With admonition quick to Pallas spake.
Unconquer'd daughter of Jove Ægis-arm'd!
Ah foul dishonor! Is it thus at last
That the Achaians on the billows borne,
Shall seek again their country, leaving here,
To be the vaunt of Ilium and her King,
Helen of Argos, in whose cause the Greeks
Have numerous perish'd from their home remote?
Haste! Seek the mail-arm'd multitude, by force
Detain them of thy soothing speech, ere yet
All launch their oary barks into the flood.
She spake, nor did Minerva not comply,
But darting swift from the Olympian heights,
Reach'd soon Achaia's fleet. There, she perceived
Prudent as Jove himself, Ulysses; firm
He stood; he touch'd not even with his hand
His sable bark, for sorrow whelm'd his soul.
The Athenæan Goddess azure-eyed
Beside him stood, and thus the Chief bespake.
Laertes' noble son, for wiles renown'd!
Why seek ye, thus precipitate, your ships?
Intend ye flight? And is it thus at last,
That the Achaians on the billows borne,
Shall seek again their country, leaving here,
To be the vaunt of Ilium and her King,
Helen of Argos, in whose cause the Greeks
Have numerous perish'd from their home remote?
Delay not. Rush into the throng; by force
Detain them of thy soothing speech, ere yet
All launch their oary barks into the flood.
She ceased, whom by her voice Ulysses knew,
Casting his mantle from him, which his friend
Eurybates the Ithacensian caught,
He ran; and in his course meeting the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, from his hand
The everlasting sceptre quick received,
Which bearing, through Achaia's fleet he pass'd.
What King soever, or distinguish'd Greek
He found, approaching to his side, in terms
Of gentle sort he stay'd him. Sir, he cried,
It is unseemly that a man renown'd
As thou, should tremble. Go--Resume the seat
Which thou hast left, and bid the people sit.
Thou know'st not clearly yet the monarch's mind.
He proves us now, but soon he will chastize.
All were not present; few of us have heard
His speech this day in council. Oh, beware,
Lest in resentment of this hasty course
Irregular, he let his anger loose.
Dread is the anger of a King; he reigns
By Jove's own ordinance, and is dear to Jove,
But what plebeian base soe'er he heard
Stretching his throat to swell the general cry,
He laid the sceptre smartly on his back,
With reprimand severe. Fellow, he said,
Sit still; hear others; thy superiors hear.
For who art thou? A dastard and a drone,
Of none account in council, or in arms.
By no means may we all alike bear sway
At Ilium; such plurality of Kings
Were evil. One suffices. One, to whom
The son of politic Saturn hath assign'd
The sceptre, and inforcement of the laws,
That he may rule us as a monarch ought.[8]
With such authority the troubled host
He sway'd; they, quitting camp and fleet again
Rush'd back to council; deafening was the sound
As when a billow of the boisterous deep
Some broad beach dashes, and the Ocean roars.
The host all seated, and the benches fill'd,
Thersites only of loquacious tongue
Ungovern'd, clamor'd mutinous; a wretch
Of utterance prompt, but in coarse phrase obscene
Deep learn'd alone, with which to slander Kings.
Might he but set the rabble in a roar,
He cared not with what jest; of all from Greece
To Ilium sent, his country's chief reproach.
Cross-eyed he was, and halting moved on legs
Ill-pair'd; his gibbous shoulders o'er his breast
Contracted, pinch'd it; to a peak his head
Was moulded sharp, and sprinkled thin with hair
Of starveling length, flimsy and soft as down.
Achilles and Ulysses had incurr'd
Most his aversion; them he never spared;
But now, imperial Agamemnon 'self
In piercing accents stridulous he charged
With foul reproach. The Grecians with contempt
Listen'd, and indignation, while with voice
At highest pitch, he thus the monarch mock'd.
What wouldst thou now? Whereof is thy complaint
Now, Agamemnon? Thou hast fill'd thy tents
With treasure, and the Grecians, when they take
A city, choose the loveliest girls for thee.
Is gold thy wish? More gold? A ransom brought
By some chief Trojan for his son's release
Whom I, or other valiant Greek may bind?
Or wouldst thou yet a virgin, one, by right
Another's claim, but made by force thine own?
It was not well, great Sir, that thou shouldst bring
A plague on the Achaians, as of late.
But come, my Grecian sisters, soldiers named
Unfitly, of a sex too soft for war,
Come, let us homeward: let him here digest
What he shall gorge, alone; that he may learn
If our assistance profit him or not.
For when he shamed Achilles, he disgraced
A Chief far worthier than himself, whose prize
He now withholds. But tush,--Achilles lacks
Himself the spirit of a man; no gall
Hath he within him, or his hand long since
Had stopp'd that mouth,[9] that it should scoff no more.
Thus, mocking royal Agamemnon, spake
Thersites. Instant starting to his side,
Noble Ulysses with indignant brows
Survey'd him, and him thus reproved severe.
Thersites! Railer!--peace. Think not thyself,
Although thus eloquent, alone exempt
From obligation not to slander Kings.
I deem thee most contemptible, the worst
Of Agamemnon's followers to the war;
Presume not then to take the names revered
Of Sovereigns on thy sordid lips, to asperse
Their sacred character, and to appoint
The Greeks a time when they shall voyage home.
How soon, how late, with what success at last
We shall return, we know not: but because
Achaia's heroes numerous spoils allot
To Agamemnon, Leader of the host,
Thou therefore from thy seat revilest the King.
But mark me. If I find thee, as even now,
Raving and foaming at the lips again,
May never man behold Ulysses' head
On these my shoulders more, and may my son
Prove the begotten of another Sire,
If I not strip thee to that hide of thine
As bare as thou wast born, and whip thee hence
Home to thy galley, sniveling like a boy.
He ceased, and with his sceptre on the back
And shoulders smote him. Writhing to and fro,
He wept profuse, while many a bloody whelk
Protuberant beneath the sceptre sprang.
Awe-quell'd he sat, and from his visage mean,
Deep-sighing, wiped the rheums. It was no time
For mirth, yet mirth illumined every face,
And laughing, thus they spake. A thousand acts
Illustrious, both by well-concerted plans
And prudent disposition of the host
Ulysses hath achieved, but this by far
Transcends his former praise, that he hath quell'd
Such contumelious rhetoric profuse.
The valiant talker shall not soon, we judge,
Take liberties with royal names again.[10]
So spake the multitude. Then, stretching forth
The sceptre, city-spoiler Chief, arose
Ulysses. Him beside, herald in form,
Appeared Minerva. Silence she enjoined
To all, that all Achaia's sons might hear,
Foremost and rearmost, and might weigh his words.
He then his counsel, prudent, thus proposed.
Atrides! Monarch! The Achaians seek
To make thee ignominious above all
In sight of all mankind. None recollects
His promise more in steed-famed Argos pledged,
Here to abide till Ilium wall'd to heaven
Should vanquish'd sink, and all her wealth be ours.
No--now, like widow'd women, or weak boys,
They whimper to each other, wishing home.
And home, I grant, to the afflicted soul
Seems pleasant.[11] The poor seaman from his wife
One month detain'd, cheerless his ship and sad
Possesses, by the force of wintry blasts,
And by the billows of the troubled deep
Fast lock'd in port. But us the ninth long year
Revolving, finds camp'd under Ilium still.
I therefore blame not, if they mourn beside
Their sable barks, the Grecians. Yet the shame
That must attend us after absence long
Returning unsuccessful, who can bear?
Be patient, friends! wait only till we learn
If Calchas truly prophesied, or not;
For well we know, and I to all appeal,
Whom Fate hath not already snatch'd away,
(It seems but yesterday, or at the most
A day or two before) that when the ships
Wo-fraught for Priam, and the race of Troy,
At Aulis met, and we beside the fount
With perfect hecatombs the Gods adored
Beneath the plane-tree, from whose root a stream
Ran crystal-clear, there we beheld a sign
Wonderful in all eyes. A serpent huge,
Tremendous spectacle! with crimson spots
His back all dappled, by Olympian Jove
Himself protruded, from the altar's foot
Slipp'd into light, and glided to the tree.
There on the topmost bough, close-cover'd sat
With foliage broad, eight sparrows, younglings all,
Then newly feather'd, with their dam, the ninth.
The little ones lamenting shrill he gorged,
While, wheeling o'er his head, with screams the dam
Bewail'd her darling brood. Her also next,
Hovering and clamoring, he by the wing
Within his spiry folds drew, and devoured.
All eaten thus, the nestlings and the dam,
The God who sent him, signalized him too,
For him Saturnian Jove transform'd to stone.
We wondering stood, to see that strange portent
Intrude itself into our holy rites,
When Calchas, instant, thus the sign explain'd.
Why stand ye, Greeks, astonish'd? Ye behold
A prodigy by Jove himself produced,
An omen, whose accomplishment indeed
Is distant, but whose fame shall never die.[12]
E'en as this serpent in your sight devour'd
Eight youngling sparrows, with their dam, the ninth,
So we nine years must war on yonder plain,
And in the tenth, wide-bulwark'd Troy is ours.
So spake the seer, and as he spake, is done.
Wait, therefore, brave Achaians! go not hence
Till Priam's spacious city be your prize.
He ceased, and such a shout ensued, that all
The hollow ships the deafening roar return'd
Of acclamation, every voice the speech
Extolling of Ulysses, glorious Chief.
Then Nestor the Gerenian,[13] warrior old,
Arising, spake; and, by the Gods, he said,
Ye more resemble children inexpert
In war, than disciplined and prudent men.
Where now are all your promises and vows,
Councils, libations, right-hand covenants?[14]
Burn them, since all our occupation here
Is to debate and wrangle, whereof end
Or fruit though long we wait, shall none be found.
But, Sovereign, be not thou appall'd. Be firm.
Relax not aught of thine accustomed sway,
But set the battle forth as thou art wont.
And if there be a Grecian, here and there,
One,[15] adverse to the general voice, let such
Wither alone. He shall not see his wish
Gratified, neither will we hence return
To Argos, ere events shall yet have proved
Jove's promise false or true. For when we climb'd
Our gallant barks full-charged with Ilium's fate,
Saturnian Jove omnipotent, that day,
(Omen propitious!) thunder'd on the right.
Let no man therefore pant for home, till each
Possess a Trojan spouse, and from her lips
Take sweet revenge for Helen's pangs of heart.
Who then? What soldier languishes and sighs
To leave us? Let him dare to lay his hand
On his own vessel, and he dies the first.
But hear, O King! I shall suggest a course
Not trivial. Agamemnon! sort the Greeks
By districts and by tribes, that tribe may tribe
Support, and each his fellow. This performed,
And with consent of all, thou shalt discern
With ease what Chief, what private man deserts,
And who performs his part. The base, the brave,
Such disposition made, shall both appear;
And thou shalt also know, if heaven or we,
The Gods, or our supineness, succor Troy.
To whom Atrides, King of men, replied.
Old Chief! Thou passest all Achaia's sons
In consultation; would to Jove our Sire,
To Athenæan Pallas, and Apollo!
That I had ten such coadjutors, wise
As thou art, and the royal city soon
Of Priam, with her wealth, should all be ours.[16]
But me the son of Saturn, Jove supreme
Himself afflicts, who in contentious broils
Involves me, and in altercation vain.
Thence all that wordy tempest for a girl
Achilles and myself between, and I
The fierce aggressor. Be that breach but heal'd!
And Troy's reprieve thenceforth is at an end.
Go--take refreshment now that we may march
Forth to our enemies. Let each whet well
His spear, brace well his shield, well feed his brisk
High-mettled horses, well survey and search
His chariot on all sides, that no defect
Disgrace his bright habiliments of war.
So will we give the day from morn to eve
To dreadful battle. Pause there shall be none
Till night divide us. Every buckler's thong
Shall sweat on the toil'd bosom, every hand
That shakes the spear shall ache, and every steed
Shall smoke that whirls the chariot o'er the plain.
Wo then to whom I shall discover here
Loitering among the tents; let him escape
My vengeance if he can. The vulture's maw
Shall have his carcase, and the dogs his bones.
He spake; whom all applauded with a shout
Loud as against some headland cliff the waves
Roll'd by the stormy South o'er rocks that shoot
Afar into the deep, which in all winds
The flood still overspreads, blow whence they may.
Arising, forth they rush'd, among the ships
All scatter'd; smoke from every tent arose,
The host their food preparing; next, his God
Each man invoked (of the Immortals him
Whom he preferr'd) with sacrifice and prayer
For safe escape from danger and from death.
But Agamemnon to Saturnian Jove
Omnipotent, an ox of the fifth year
Full-flesh'd devoted, and the Princes call'd
Noblest of all the Grecians to his feast.
First, Nestor with Idomeneus the King,
Then either Ajax, and the son he call'd
Of Tydeus, with Ulysses sixth and last,
Jove's peer in wisdom. Menelaus went,
Heroic Chief! unbidden, for he knew
His brother's mind with weight of care oppress'd.
The ox encircling, and their hands with meal
Of consecration fill'd, the assembly stood,
When Agamemnon thus his prayer preferred.
Almighty Father! Glorious above all!
Cloud-girt, who dwell'st in heaven thy throne sublime,
Let not the sun go down, till Priam's roof
Fall flat into the flames; till I shall burn
His gates with fire; till I shall hew away
His hack'd and riven corslet from the breast
Of Hector, and till numerous Chiefs, his friends,
Around him, prone in dust, shall bite the ground.
So prayed he, but with none effect, The God
Received his offering, but to double toil
Doom'd them, and sorrow more than all the past.
They then, the triturated barley grain
First duly sprinkling, the sharp steel infix'd
Deep in the victim's neck reversed, then stripp'd
The carcase, and divided at their joint
The thighs, which in the double caul involved
They spread with slices crude, and burn'd with fire
Ascending fierce from billets sere and dry.
The spitted entrails next they o'er the coals
Suspended held. The thighs with fire consumed,
They gave to each his portion of the maw,
Then slash'd the remnant, pierced it with the spits,
And managing with culinary skill
The roast, withdrew it from the spits again.
Thus, all their task accomplished, and the board
Set forth, they feasted, and were all sufficed.
When neither hunger more nor thirst remain'd
Unsatisfied, Gerenian Nestor spake.
Atrides! Agamemnon! King of men!
No longer waste we time in useless words,
Nor to a distant hour postpone the work
To which heaven calls thee. Send thine heralds forth.
Who shall convene the Achaians at the fleet,
That we, the Chiefs assembled here, may range,
Together, the imbattled multitude,
And edge their spirits for immediate fight.
He spake, nor Agamemnon not complied.
At once he bade his clear-voiced heralds call
The Greeks to battle. They the summons loud
Gave forth, and at the sound the people throng'd.
Then Agamemnon and the Kings of Greece
Dispatchful drew them into order just,
With whom Minerva azure-eyed advanced,
The inestimable Ægis on her arm,
Immortal, unobnoxious to decay
A hundred braids, close twisted, all of gold,
Each valued at a hundred beeves,[17] around
Dependent fringed it. She from side to side
Her eyes cerulean rolled, infusing thirst
Of battle endless into every breast.
War won them now, war sweeter now to each
Than gales to waft them over ocean home.[18]
As when devouring flames some forest seize
On the high mountains, splendid from afar
The blaze appears, so, moving on the plain,
The steel-clad host innumerous flash'd to heaven.
And as a multitude of fowls in flocks
Assembled various, geese, or cranes, or swans
Lithe-neck'd, long hovering o'er Caÿster's banks
On wanton plumes, successive on the mead
Alight at last, and with a clang so loud
That all the hollow vale of Asius rings;
In number such from ships and tents effused,
They cover'd the Scamandrian plain; the earth
Rebellow'd to the feet of steeds and men.
They overspread Scamander's grassy vale,
Myriads, as leaves, or as the flowers of spring.
As in the hovel where the peasant milks
His kine in spring-time, when his pails are fill'd,
Thick clouds of humming insects on the wing
Swarm all around him, so the Grecians swarm'd
An unsumm'd multitude o'er all the plain,
Bright arm'd, high crested, and athirst for war.
As goat-herds separate their numerous flocks
With ease, though fed promiscuous, with like ease
Their leaders them on every side reduced
To martial order glorious;[19] among whom
Stood Agamemnon "with an eye like Jove's,
To threaten or command," like Mars in girth,
And with the port of Neptune. As the bull
Conspicuous among all the herd appears,
For he surpasses all, such Jove ordain'd
That day the son of Atreus, in the midst
Of Heroes, eminent above them all.
Tell me, (for ye are are heavenly, and beheld[20]
A scene, whereof the faint report alone
Hath reached our ears, remote and ill-informed,)
Tell me, ye Muses, under whom, beneath
What Chiefs of royal or of humbler note
Stood forth the embattled Greeks? The host at large;
They were a multitude in number more
Than with ten tongues, and with ten mouths, each mouth
Made vocal with a trumpet's throat of brass
I might declare, unless the Olympian nine,
Jove's daughters, would the chronicle themselves
Indite, of all assembled, under Troy.
I will rehearse the Captains and their fleets.
[21]Boeotia's sturdy sons Peneleus led,
And Leïtus, whose partners in command
Arcesilaus and Prothoenor came,
And Clonius. Them the dwellers on the rocks
Of Aulis followed, with the hardy clans
Of Hyrie, Schoenos, Scholos, and the hills
Of Eteon; Thespia, Græa, and the plains
Of Mycalessus them, and Harma served,
Eleon, Erythræ, Peteon; Hyle them,
Hesius and Ocalea, and the strength
Of Medeon; Copæ also in their train
Marched, with Eutresis and the mighty men
Of Thisbe famed for doves; nor pass unnamed
Whom Coronæa, and the grassy land
Of Haliartus added to the war,
Nor whom Platæa, nor whom Glissa bred,
And Hypothebæ,[22] and thy sacred groves
To Neptune, dark Onchestus. Arne claims
A record next for her illustrious sons,
Vine-bearing Arne. Thou wast also there
Mideia, and thou Nissa; nor be thine
Though last, Anthedon, a forgotten name.
These in Boeotia's fair and gallant fleet
Of fifty ships, each bearing o'er the waves
Thrice forty warriors, had arrived at Troy.
In thirty ships deep-laden with the brave,
Aspledon and Orchomenos had sent
Their chosen youth; them ruled a noble pair,
Sons of Astyoche; she, lovely nymph,
Received by stealth, on Actor's stately roof,
The embraces of a God, and bore to Mars
Twins like himself, Ascalaphus the bold,
And bold Iälmenus, expert in arms.
Beneath Epistrophus and Schedius, took
Their destined station on Boeotia's left,
The brave Phocensians; they in forty ships
From Cyparissus came, and from the rocks
Of Python, and from Crissa the divine;
From Anemoria, Daulis, Panopeus,
And from Hyampolis, and from the banks
Of the Cephissus, sacred stream, and from
Lilæa, seated at its fountain-head.
Next from beyond Euboea's happy isle
In forty ships conveyed, stood forth well armed
The Locrians; dwellers in Augeia some
The pleasant, some of Opoëis possessed,
Some of Calliarus; these Scarpha sent,
And Cynus those; from Bessa came the rest,
From Tarpha, Thronius, and from the brink
Of loud Boagrius; Ajax them, the swift,
Son of Oïleus led, not such as he
From Telamon, big-boned and lofty built,
But small of limb, and of an humbler crest;
Yet he, competitor had none throughout
The Grecians of what land soe'er, for skill
In ushering to its mark the rapid lance.
Elphenor brought (Calchodon's mighty son)
The Euboeans to the field. In forty ships
From Histrïæa for her vintage famed,
From Chalcis, from Iretria, from the gates
Of maritime Cerinthus, from the heights
Of Dios rock-built citadel sublime,
And from Caristus and from Styra came
His warlike multitudes, all named alike
Abantes, on whose shoulders fell behind
Their locks profuse,[23] and they were eager all
To split the hauberk with the pointed spear.
Nor Athens had withheld her generous sons,
The people of Erectheus. Him of old
The teeming glebe produced, a wondrous birth!
And Pallas rear'd him: her own unctuous fane
She made his habitation, where with bulls
The youth of Athens, and with slaughter'd lambs
Her annual worship celebrate. Then led
Menestheus, whom, (sage Nestor's self except,
Thrice school'd in all events of human life,)
None rivall'd ever in the just array
Of horse and man to battle. Fifty ships
Black-prowed, had borne them to the distant war.
Ajax from Salamis twelve vessels brought,
And where the Athenian band in phalanx stood
Marshall'd compact, there station'd he his powers.
The men of Argos and Tyrintha next,
And of Hermione, that stands retired
With Asine, within her spacious bay;
Of Epidaurus, crown'd with purple vines,
And of Troezena, with the Achaian youth
Of sea-begirt Ægina, and with thine,
Maseta, and the dwellers on thy coast,
Wave-worn Eïonæ; these all obeyed
The dauntless Hero Diomede, whom served
Sthenelus, son of Capaneus, a Chief
Of deathless fame, his second in command,
And godlike man, Euryalus, the son
Of King Mecisteus, Talaüs' son, his third.
But Diomede controll'd them all, and him
Twice forty sable ships their leader own'd.
Came Agamemnon with a hundred ships,
Exulting in his powers; more numerous they,
And more illustrious far than other Chief
Could boast, whoever. Clad in burnish'd brass,
And conscious of pre-eminence, he stood.
He drew his host from cities far renown'd,
Mycenæ, and Corinthus, seat of wealth,
Orneia, and Cleonæ bulwark'd strong,
And lovely Aræthyria; Sicyon, where
His seat of royal power held at the first
Adrastus: Hyperesia, and the heights
Of Gonoëssa; Ægium, with the towns
That sprinkle all that far-extended coast,
Pellene also and wide Helice
With all their shores, were number'd in his train.
From hollow Lacedæmon's glen profound,
From Phare, Sparta, and from Messa, still
Resounding with the ring-dove's amorous moan,
From Brysia, from Augeia, from the rocks
Of Laas, from Amycla, Otilus,
And from the towers of Helos, at whose foot
The surf of Ocean falls, came sixty barks
With Menelaus. From the monarch's host
The royal brother ranged his own apart,
and panted for revenge of Helen's wrongs,
And of her sighs and tears.[24] From rank to rank,
Conscious of dauntless might he pass'd, and sent
Into all hearts the fervor of his own.
Gerenian Nestor in thrice thirty ships
Had brought his warriors; they from Pylus came,
From blithe Arene, and from Thryos, built
Fast by the fords of Alpheus, and from steep
And stately Æpy. Their confederate powers
Sent Amphigenia, Cyparissa veiled
With broad redundance of funereal shades,
Pteleos and Helos, and of deathless fame
Dorion. In Dorion erst the Muses met
Threïcian Thamyris, on his return
From Eurytus, Oechalian Chief, and hush'd
His song for ever; for he dared to vaunt
That he would pass in song even themselves
The Muses, daughters of Jove Ægis-arm'd.
They therefore, by his boast incensed, the bard
Struck blind, and from his memory dash'd severe
All traces of his once celestial strains.
Arcadia's sons, the dwellers at the foot
Of mount Cyllene, where Æpytus sleeps
Intomb'd; a generation bold in fight,
And warriors hand to hand; the valiant men
Of Pheneus, of Orchomenos by flocks
Grazed numberless, of Ripe, Stratia, bleak
Enispe; Mantinea city fair,
Stymphelus and Parrhasia, and the youth
Of Tegea; royal Agapenor these,
Ancæus' offspring, had in sixty ships
To Troy conducted; numerous was the crew,
And skilled in arms, which every vessel brought,
And Agamemnon had with barks himself
Supplied them, for, of inland realms possessed,
They little heeded maritime employs.[25]
The dwellers in Buprasium, on the shores
Of pleasant Elis, and in all the land
Myrsinus and the Hyrminian plain between,
The rock Olenian, and the Alysian fount;
These all obey'd four Chiefs, and galleys ten
Each Chief commanded, with Epeans filled.
Amphimachus and Thalpius govern'd these,
This, son of Cteatus, the other, sprung
From Eurytus, and both of Actor's house.
Diores, son of Amarynceus, those
Led on, and, for his godlike form renown'd,
Polyxenus was Chieftain o'er the rest,
Son of Agasthenes, Augeias' son.
Dulichium, and her sister sacred isles
The Echinades, whose opposite aspect
Looks toward Elis o'er the curling waves,
Sent forth their powers with Meges at their head,
Brave son of Phyleus, warrior dear to Jove.
Phyleus in wrath, his father's house renounced,
And to Dulichium wandering, there abode.
Twice twenty ships had follow'd Meges forth.
Ulysses led the Cephallenians bold.
From Ithaca, and from the lofty woods
Of Neritus they came, and from the rocks
Of rude Ægilipa. Crocylia these,
And these Zacynthus own'd; nor yet a few
From Samos, from Epirus join'd their aid,
And from the opposite Ionian shore.
Them, wise as Jove himself, Ulysses led
In twelve fair ships, with crimson prows adorn'd.
From forty ships, Thoas, Andræmon's son,
Had landed his Ætolians; for extinct
Was Meleager, and extinct the house
Of Oeneus all, nor Oeneus self survived;
To Thoas therefore had Ætolia fallen;
Him Olenos, Pylene, Chalcis served,
With Pleuro, and the rock-bound Calydon.
Idomeneus, spear-practised warrior, led
The numerous Cretans. In twice forty ships
He brought his powers to Troy. The warlike bands
Of Cnossus, of Gortyna wall'd around,
Of Lyctus, of Lycastus chalky-white,
Of Phæstus, of Miletus, with the youth
Of Rhytius him obey'd; nor these were all,
But others from her hundred cities Crete
Sent forth, all whom Idomeneus the brave
Commanded, with Meriones in arms
Dread as the God of battles blood-imbrued.
Nine ships Tlepolemus, Herculean-born,
For courage famed and for superior size,
Fill'd with his haughty Rhodians. They, in tribes
Divided, dwelt distinct. Jelyssus these,
Those Lindus, and the rest the shining soil
Of white Camirus occupied. Him bore
To Hercules, (what time he led the nymph
From Ephyre, and from Sellea's banks,
After full many a city laid in dust.)
Astyocheia. In his father's house
Magnificent, Tlepolemus spear-famed
Had scarce up-grown to manhood's lusty prime
When he his father's hoary uncle slew
Lycimnius, branch of Mars. Then built he ships,
And, pushing forth to sea, fled from the threats
Of the whole house of Hercules. Huge toil
And many woes he suffer'd, till at length
At Rhodes arriving, in three separate bands
He spread himself abroad, Much was he loved
Of all-commanding Jove, who bless'd him there,
And shower'd abundant riches on them all.
Nireus of Syma, with three vessels came;
Nireus, Aglæa's offspring, whom she bore
To Charopus the King; Nireus in form,
(The faultless son of Peleus sole except,)
Loveliest of all the Grecians call'd to Troy.
But he was heartless and his men were few.[26]
Nisyrus, Casus, Crapathus, and Cos
Where reign'd Eurypylus, with all the isles
Calydnæ named, under two valiant Chiefs
Their troops disposed; Phidippus one, and one,
His brother Antiphus, begotten both
By Thessalus, whom Hercules begat.
In thirty ships they sought the shores of Troy.
The warriors of Pelasgian Argos next,
Of Alus, and Alope, and who held
Trechina, Phthia, and for women fair
Distinguish'd, Hellas; known by various names
Hellenes, Myrmidons, Achæans, them
In fifty ships embark'd, Achilles ruled.
But these were deaf to the hoarse-throated war,
For there was none to draw their battle forth,
And give them just array. Close in his ships
Achilles, after loss of the bright-hair'd
Brisëis, lay, resentful; her obtained
Not without labor hard, and after sack
Of Thebes and of Lyrnessus, where he slew
Two mighty Chiefs, sons of Evenus both,
Epistrophus and Mynes, her he mourn'd,
And for her sake self-prison'd in his fleet
And idle lay, though soon to rise again.
From Phylace, and from the flowery fields
Of Pyrrhasus, a land to Ceres given
By consecration, and from Iton green,
Mother of flocks; from Antron by the sea,
And from the grassy meads of Pteleus, came
A people, whom while yet he lived, the brave
Protesilaüs led; but him the earth
Now cover'd dark and drear. A wife he left,
To rend in Phylace her bleeding cheeks,
And an unfinish'd mansion. First he died
Of all the Greeks; for as he leap'd to land
Foremost by far, a Dardan struck him dead.
Nor had his troops, though filled with deep regret,
No leader; them Podarces led, a Chief
Like Mars in battle, brother of the slain,
But younger born, and from Iphiclus sprung
Who sprang from Phylacus the rich in flocks.
But him Protesilaüs, as in years,
So also in desert of arms excell'd
Heroic, whom his host, although they saw
Podarces at their head, still justly mourn'd;
For he was fierce in battle, and at Troy
With forty sable-sided ships arrived.
Eleven galleys, Pheræ on the lake,
And Boebe, and Iölchus, and the vale
Of Glaphyræ supplied with crews robust
Under Eumelus; him Alcestis, praised
For beauty above all her sisters fair,
In Thessaly to King Admetus bore.
Methone, and Olizon's craggy coast,
With Meliboea and Thaumasia sent
Seven ships; their rowers were good archers all,
And every vessel dipped into the wave
Her fifty oars. Them Philoctetes, skill'd
To draw with sinewy arm the stubborn bow,
Commanded; but he suffering anguish keen
Inflicted by a serpent's venom'd tooth,
Lay sick in Lemnos; him the Grecians there
Had left sore-wounded, but were destined soon
To call to dear remembrance whom they left.
Meantime, though sorrowing for his sake, his troops
Yet wanted not a chief; them Medon ruled,
Whom Rhena to the far-famed conqueror bore
Oïleus, fruit of their unsanction'd loves.
From Tricca, from Ithome rough and rude
With rocks and glens, and from Oechalia, town
Of Eurytus Oechalian-born, came forth
Their warlike youth by Podalirius led
And by Machaon, healers both expert
Of all disease, and thirty ships were theirs.
The men of Ormenus, and from beside
The fountain Hypereia, from the tops
Of chalky Titan, and Asteria's band;
Them ruled Eurypylus, Evæmon's son
Illustrious, whom twice twenty ships obeyed.
Orthe, Gyrtone, Oloösson white,
Argissa and Helone; they their youth
Gave to control of Polypoetes, son
Undaunted of Pirithoüs, son of Jove.
Him, to Pirithoüs, (on the self-same day
When he the Centaurs punish'd and pursued
Sheer to Æthicæ driven from Pelion's heights
The shaggy race) Hippodamia bore.
Nor he alone them led. With him was join'd
Leonteus dauntless warrior, from the bold
Coronus sprung, who Cæneus call'd his sire.
Twice twenty ships awaited their command.
Guneus from Cyphus twenty and two ships
Led forth; the Enienes him obey'd,
And the robust Peroebi, warriors bold,
And dwellers on Dodona's wintry brow.
To these were join'd who till the pleasant fields
Where Titaresius winds; the gentle flood
Pours into Peneus all his limpid stores,
But with the silver-eddied Peneus flows
Unmixt as oil;[27] for Stygian is his stream,
And Styx is the inviolable oath.
Last with his forty ships, Tenthredon's son,
The active Prothoüs came. From the green banks
Of Peneus his Magnesians far and near
He gather'd, and from Pelion forest-crown'd.
These were the princes and the Chiefs of Greece.
Say, Muse, who most in personal desert
Excell'd, and whose were the most warlike steeds
And of the noblest strain. Their hue, their age,
Their height the same, swift as the winds of heaven
And passing far all others, were the mares
Which drew Eumelus; on Pierian hills
The heavenly Archer of the silver bow,
Apollo, bred them. But of men, the chief
Was Telamonian Ajax, while wrath-bound
Achilles lay; for he was worthier far,
And more illustrious were the steeds which bore
The noble son of Peleus; but revenge
On Agamemnon leader of the host
Was all his thought, while in his gallant ships
Sharp-keel'd to cut the foaming flood, he lay.
Meantime, along the margin of the deep
His soldiers hurled the disk, or bent the bow.
Or to its mark dispatch'd the quivering lance.
Beside the chariots stood the unharness'd steeds
Cropping the lotus, or at leisure browsed
On celery wild, from watery freshes gleaned.
Beneath the shadow of the sheltering tent
The chariot stood, while they, the charioteers
Roam'd here and there the camp, their warlike lord
Regretting sad, and idle for his sake.
As if a fire had burnt along the ground,
Such seem'd their march; earth groan'd their steps beneath;
As when in Arimi, where fame reports
Typhoëus stretch'd, the fires of angry Jove
Down darted, lash the ground, so groan'd the earth
Beneath them, for they traversed swift the plain.
And now from Jove, with heavy tidings charged,
Wind-footed Iris to the Trojans came.
It was the time of council, when the throng
At Priam's gate assembled, young and old:
Them, standing nigh, the messenger of heaven
Accosted with the voice of Priam's son,
Polites. He, confiding in his speed
For sure deliverance, posted was abroad
On Æsyeta's tomb,[28] intent to watch
When the Achaian host should leave the fleet.
The Goddess in his form thus them address'd.
Oh, ancient Monarch! Ever, evermore
Speaking, debating, as if all were peace;
I have seen many a bright-embattled field,
But never one so throng'd as this to-day.
For like the leaves, or like the sands they come
Swept by the winds, to gird the city round.
But Hector! chiefly thee I shall exhort.
In Priam's spacious city are allies
Collected numerous, and of nations wide
Disseminated various are the tongues.
Let every Chief his proper troop command,
And marshal his own citizens to war.
She ceased; her Hector heard intelligent,
And quick dissolved the council. All took arms.
Wide flew the gates; forth rush'd the multitude,
Horsemen and foot, and boisterous stir arose.
In front of Ilium, distant on the plain,
Clear all around from all obstruction, stands
An eminence high-raised, by mortal men
Call'd Bateia, but the Gods the tomb
Have named it of Myrinna swift in fight.
Troy and her aids there set the battle forth.
Huge Priameian Hector, fierce in arms,
Led on the Trojans; with whom march'd the most
And the most valiant, dexterous at the spear.
Æneas, (on the hills of Ida him
The lovely Venus to Anchises bore,
A Goddess by a mortal man embraced)
Led the Dardanians; but not he alone;
Archilochus with him and Acamas
Stood forth, the offspring of Antenor, each,
And well instructed in all forms of war.
Fast by the foot of Ida, where they drank
The limpid waters of Æsepus, dwelt
The Trojans of Zeleia. Rich were they
And led by Pandarus, Lycaon's son,
Whom Phoebus self graced with the bow he bore.
Apæsus, Adrastea, Terie steep,
And Pitueia--them, Amphius clad
In mail thick-woven, and Adrastus, ruled.
They were the sons of the Percosian seer
Merops, expert in the soothsayers' art
Above all other; he his sons forbad
The bloody fight, but disobedient they
Still sought it, for their destiny prevailed.
The warriors of Percote, and who dwelt
In Practius, in Arisba, city fair,
In Sestus, in Abydus, march'd behind
Princely Hyrtacides; his tawny steeds,
Strong-built and tall, from Sellcentes' bank
And from Arisba, had him borne to Troy.
Hippothous and Pilmus, branch of Mars,
Both sons of Lethus the Pelasgian, they,
Forth from Larissa for her fertile soil
Far-famed, the spear-expert Pelasgians brought.
The Thracians (all whom Hellespont includes
Within the banks of his swift-racing tide)
Heroic Acamas and Pirous led.
Euphemus, offspring of Troezenus, son
Of Jove-protected Ceas, was the Chief
Whom the spear-arm'd Ciconian band obey'd.
Pæonia's archers follow'd to the field
Pyræchmes; they from Amydon remote
Were drawn, where Axius winds; broad Axius, stream
Diffused delightful over all the vale.
Pylæmenes, a Chief of giant might
From the Eneti for forest-mules renowned
March'd with his Paphlagonians; dwellers they
In Sesamus and in Cytorus were,
And by the stream Parthenius; Cromna these
Sent forth, and those Ægialus on the lip
And margin of the land, and some, the heights
Of Erythini, rugged and abrupt.
Epistrophus and Odius from the land
Of Alybe, a region far remote,
Where veins of silver wind, led to the field
The Halizonians. With the Mysians came
Chromis their Chief, and Ennomus; him skill'd
In augury, but skill'd in vain, his art
Saved not, but by Æacides[29] the swift,
With others in the Xanthus[30] slain, he died.
Ascanius, lovely youth, and Phorcis, led
The Phrygians from Ascania far remote,
Ardent for battle. The Moeonian race,
(All those who at the foot of Tmolus dwelt,)
Mesthles and Antiphus, fraternal pair,
Sons of Pylæmenes commanded, both
Of the Gygæan lake in Lydia born.
Amphimachus and Nastes led to fight
The Carians, people of a barbarous speech,[31]
With the Milesians, and the mountain-race
Of wood-crown'd Phthira, and who dwelt beside
Mæander, or on Mycale sublime.
Them led Amphimachus and Nastes, sons
Renown'd of Nomion. Like a simple girl
Came forth Amphimachus with gold bedight,
But him his trappings from a woful death
Saved not, when whirled beneath the bloody tide
To Peleus' stormy son his spoils he left.
Sarpedon with the noble Glaucus led
Their warriors forth from farthest Lycia, where
Xanthus deep-dimpled rolls his oozy tide.

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