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the names of Mr. Rowe and Dr. Parnell, though I shall take a farther opportunity of doing justice to the last, whose good-nature (to give it a great panegyric) is no less extensive than his learning. The favour of these gentlemen is not entirely undeserved by one who bears them so true an affection. But what can I say of the honour so many of the great have done me, while the first names of the age appear as my subscribers, and the most distinguished patrons and ornaments of learning as my chief encouragers? Among these it is a particular pleasure to me to find, that my highest obligations are to such who have done most honour to the name of poet; that his grace the duke of Buckingham was not displeased I should undertake the author to whom he has given (in his excellent essay) so complete a praise:

Read Homer once and you can read no more;
For all books else appear so mean, and poor.
Verse will seem prose: but still persist to read,
And Homer will be all the books you need.

That the earl of Halifax was one of the first to favour me, of whom it is hard to say whether the advancement of the polite arts is more owing to his generosity or his example. That such a genius as my lord Bolingbroke, not more distinguished in the great scenes of business, than in all the useful and entertaining parts of learning, has not refused to be the critic of these sheets, and the patron of their writer. And that so excellent an imitator of Homer as the noble author of the tragedy of Heroic Love, has continued his partiality to me, from my writing pastorals, to my attempting the Iliad. I cannot deny myself the pride of confessing, that I have had the advantage not only of their advice for the conduct in general, but their correction of several particulars of this translation.

I could say a great deal of the pleasure of being distinguished by the earl of Carnarvon : but it is almost absurd to particularize any one generous action in a person whose whole life is a continued series of them. Mr. Stanhope, the present secretary of state, will pardon my desire of having it known that he was pleased to promote this affair. The particular zeal of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late lord chancellor) gave me a proof how much I am honoured in a share of his friendship. I must attribute to the same motive that of several others of my friends, to whom all acknowledgments are rendered unnecessary by the privileges of a familiar correspondence: and I am satisfied I can no way better oblige men of their turn, than by my silence.

In short, I have found more patrons than ever Homer wanted. He would have thought himself happy to have met the same favour at Athens, that has been shown me by its learned rival, the university of Oxford. If my author had the wits of after-ages for his defenders, his translator has had the beauties of the present for his advocates; a pleasure too great to be changed for any fame in reversion. And I can hardly envy him those pompous honours he received after death, when I reflect on the enjoyment of so many agreeable obligations, and easy friendships, which make the satisfaction of life. This distinction is the more to be acknowledged, as it is shown to one whose pen has never gratified the prejudices of particular parties, or the vanities of particular men. Whatever the success may prove, I shall never repent of an undertaking in which I have experienced the candour and friendship of so many persons of merit; and in which I hope to pass some of those years of youth, that are generally lost in a circle of follies, after a manner neither wholly unuseful to others, nor disagreeable to myself.








Is the war of Troy, the Greeks, having sacked some of the neighbouring towns, and taken from thence two beautiful captives, Chryseïs and Briseis, allotted the first to Agamemnon, and the last to Achilles. Chryses, the father of Chrys-is, and priest of Apollo, comes to the Grecian camp to ransom her; with which the action of the poem opens, in the tenth year of the siege. The priest being refused, and insolently dismissed by Agamemnon, entreats for vengeance from his god, who inflicts a pestilence on the Greeks. Achilles calls a council, and encourages Chalcas to declare the cause of it, who attributes it to the refusal of Chryseis. The king being obliged to send back his captive, enters into a furious contest with Achilles, which Nestor pacifies; however, as he had the absolute command of the army, he seizes on Briseis in revenge. Achilles, in discontent, withdraws himself and his forces from the rest of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the wrong done to her son, by giving victory to the Trojans. Jupiter granting her suit incenses Juno, between whom the debate runs high, till they are reconciled by the address of Vulcan.

The time of two and twenty days is taken up in this book: nine during the plague, one in the council and quarrel of the princes, and twelve for Jupiter's stay with the Ethiopians, at whose return Thetis prefers her petition. The scene lies in the Grecian camp, then changes to Chrysa, and lastly to Olympus.

ACHILLES' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess sing!
That wrath which hurl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain;

Whose limbs, unbury'd on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore;
Since great Achilles and Atrides strove, [of Jove.
Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will
Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated hour,
Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power?
Latona's son a dire contagion spread,
And heap'd the camp with mountains of the dead;
The king of men his reverend priest defy'd,
And for the king's offence the people dy'd.

For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain
His captive daughter from the victor's chain.
Suppliant the venerable father stands,
Apollo's awful ensigns grace his hands:
By these he begs; and, lowly bending down,
Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown.
He sued to all, but chief implor'd for grace
The brother kings of Atreus' royal race.

"Ye kings and warriors! may your vows be


And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground a
May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er,
Safe to the pleasures of your native shore.
But, oh! relieve a wretched parent's pain,
And give Chryseïs to these arms again;
If mercy fail, yet let my presents move,
And dread avenging Phoebus, son of Jove."

The Greeks in shouts their joint assent declare,
The priest to reverence, and release the fair.
Not so Atrides: he with kingly pride,
Repuls'd the sacred sire, and thus reply'd:

"Hence, on thy life, and fly these hostile plains, Nor ask, presumptuous, what the king detains! Hence, with thy laurel crown, and golden rod, Nor trust too far those ensigns of thy god. Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain ; And prayers, and tears, and bribes, shall plead in vain;

Till time shall rifle every youthful grace,
And age dismiss her from my cold embrace,
In daily labours of the loom employ'd,
Or doom'd to deck the bed she once enjoy'd.
Hence then, to Argos shall the maid retire,
Far from her native soil, and weeping sire.'

The trembling priest along the shore return'd,
And in the anguish of a father mourn'd.
Disconsolate, not daring to complain,
Silent he wander'd by the sounding main :
Till safe at distance, to his god he prays,
The god who darts around the world his rays.


"O Smintheus! sprung from fair Latona's line,
Thou guardian power of Cilla the divine,
Thou source of light! whom Tenedos adores,
And whose bright presence gilds thy Chrysa's
shores :

If e'er with wreaths I hung thy sacred fane,
Or fed the flames with fat of oxen slain;
God of the silver bow! thy shafts employ,
Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy."

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Thus Chryses pray'd: the favouring power at-
And from Olympus' lofty tops descends.
Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound ;
Fierce as he mov'd, his silver shafts resound;
Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread,
And gloomy darkness roll'd about his head.
The fleet in view, he twang'd his deadly bow,
And hissing fly the feather'd fates below.
On mules and dogs th' infection first began;
And last, the vengeful arrows fix'd in man.
For nine long nights through all the dusky air
The pyres thick-flaming shot a dismal glare.
But ere the tenth revolving day was run,
Inspir'd by Juno, Thetis' god-like son
Conven'd to council all the Grecian train ;
For much the goddess mourn'd her heroes slain.
Th' assembly seated, rising o'er the rest,
Achilles thus the king of men addrest:


"Why leave we not the fatal Trojan shore,
And measure back the seas we crost before?
The plague destroying whom the sword would
'Tis time to save the few remains of war.
But let some prophet, or some sacred sage,
Explore the cause of great Apollo's rage;
Or learn the wasteful vengeance to remove,
By mystic dreams, for dreams descend from Jove.
If broken vows this heavy curse have laid,
Let altars smoke, and hecatombs be paid,
So Heaven aton'd shall dying Greece restore,
And Phoebus dart his burning shafts no more."

He said, and sat: when Chalcas thus reply'd:
Chalcas the wise, the Grecian priest and guide,
That sacred seer, whose comprehensive view
The past, the present, and the future, knew:
Uprising slow, the venerable sage

Thus spoke the prudence and the fears of age:
"Belov'd of Jove, Achilles! would'st thou know
Why angry Phoebus bends his fatal bow?

First give thy faith, and plight a prince's word
Of sure protection, by thy power and sword.
For I must speak what wisdom would conceal,
And truths, invidious to the great, reveal.
Bold is the task, when subjects, grown too wise,
Instruct a monarch where his errour lies;
For though we deem the short-liv'd fury past,
'Tis sure, the mighty will revenge at last."
To whom Pelides.
Speak what thou know'st, and speak without con-
"From thy inmost soul

Ev'n by that god I swear, who rules the day,
To whom thy hands the vows of Greece convey,
And whose blest oracles thy lips declare;
Long as Achilles breathes this vital air,
No daring Greek of all the numerous band
Against his priest shall lift an impious hand:
Not ev'n the chief by whom our hosts are led,
The king of kings, shall touch that sacred head.
Encourag'd thus, the blameless man replies;
"Nor vows unpaid, nor slighted sacrifice,
But he, our chief, provok'd the raging pest,
Apollo's vengeance for his injur'd priest;

Nor will the god's awaken'd fury cease,
But plagues shall spread, and funeral fires increase
Till the great king, without a ransom paid,
To her own Chrysa send the black-ey'd maid.
Perhaps, with added sacrifice and prayer,
The priest may pardon, and the god may spare.”
The prophet spoke; when, with a gloomy frown,
The monarch started from his shining throne;
Black chofer fill'd his breast that boil'd with ire,
And from his eye-balls flash'd the living fire.
"Augur accurst! denouncing mischief still,
Prophet of plagues, for ever boding ill!

Still must that tongue some wounding message


And still thy priestly pride provoke thy king?
For this are Phoebus' oracles explor'd,

To teach the Greeks to murmur at their lord?
For this with falsehoods is my honour stain'd,
Is Heaven offended, and a priest profan'd;
Because my prize, my beauteous maid, I hold,
And heavenly charms prefer to proffer'd gold
A maid, unmatch'd in manners as in face,
Skill'd in each art, and crown'd with every grace.
Not half so dear were Clytemnestra's charms,
When first her blooming beauties blest my arms.
Yet, if the gods demand her, let her sail;
Our cares are only for the public weal:
Let me be deem'd the hateful cause of all,
And suffer, rather than my people fall.
The prize, the beauteous prize, I will resign,
So dearly valued, and so justly mine.
But since, for common good, I yield the fair,
My private loss let grateful Greece repair;
That he alone has fought and bled in vain."
Nor unrewarded let your prince complain,

"Insatiate king," Achilles thus replies,
"Fond of the power, but fonder of the prize!
Would'st thou the Greeks their lawful prey should

The due reward of many a well-fought field?
The spoils of cities raz'd, and warriours slain,
We share with justice, as with toil we gain:
But to resume whate'er thy avarice craves
(That trick of tyrants) may be borne by slaves.
The spoils of Ilion shall thy loss requite,
Yet if our chief for plunder only fight,
Whene'er by Jove's decree our conquering powers
Shall humble to the dust her lofty towers."

Then thus the king. "Shall I my prize resign
With tame content, and thou possest of thine?
Great as thou art, and like a god in fight,
Think not to rob me of a soldier's right.
At thy demand shall I restore the maid?
First let the just equivalent be paid;
Such as a king might ask; and let it be
A treasure worthy her, and worthy me.

Or grant me this, or with a monarch's claim,
This hand shall seize some other captive dame;
The mighty Ajax shall his prize resign,
Ulysses' spoils, or ev'n thy own, be mine.
The man who suffers, loudly may complain;
And rage he may, but he shall rage in vain.
But this when time requires-It now remains
We lanch a bark to plough the watery plains,
And waft the sacrifice to Chrysa's shores,
With chosen pilots, and with labouring oars.
Soon shall the fair the sable ship ascend,
And some deputed prince the charge attend:
This Creta's king, or Ajax shall fulfil,
Or wise Ulysses see perform'd our will;

Or, if our royal pleasure shall ordain,
Achilles' self conduct her o'er the main;
Let tierce Achilles, dreadful in his rage,
The god propitiate, and the pest assuage,"

At this Pelides, frowning stern, reply'd:
"O tyrant, arm'd with insolence and pride!
Inglorious slave to interest, ever join'd
With fraud, unworthy of a royal mind!
What generous Greek, obedient to thy word,
Shall form an ambush, or shall lift the sword?
What cause have I to war at thy decree?
The distant Trojans never injur'd me:
To Phthia's realms no hostile troops they led,
Safe in her vales my warlike coursers fed;
Far hence remov'd, the hoarse-resounding main,
And walls of rocks, secure my native reign,
Whose fruitful soil luxuriant harvests grace,
Rich in her fruits, and in her martial race.
Hither we sail'd, a voluntary throng,
Tavenge a private, not a public wrong:
What else to Troy th' assembled nations draws,
But thine, ungrateful, and thy brother's cause?
Is this the pay our blood and toils deserve:
Disgrac'd and injur'd by the man we serve?
And dar'st thou threat to snatch my prize away,
Due to the deeds of many a dreadful day?
A prize as small, O tyrant! match'd with thine,
As thy own actions, if compar'd to mine.
Thine in each conquest is the wealthy prey,
Though mine the sweat and danger of the day.
Some trivial presents to my ships I bear,
Or barren praises pay the wounds of war.
But know, proud monarch, I'm thy slave no more;
My fleet shall waft me to Thessalia's shore.
Left by Achilles on the Trojan plain,
What spoils, what conquests, shall Atrides gain?"
To this the king: "Fly, mighty warrior! fly,
Thy aid we need not. and thy threats defy.
There want not chiefs in such a cause to fight,
And Jove himself shall guard a monarch's right.
Of all the kings (the gods' distinguish'd care)
To power superior none such hatred bear:
Strife and debate thy restless soul employ,
And wars and horrours are thy savage joy;
If thou hast strength, 'twas Heaven that strength

For know, vain man! thy valour is from God.
Haste, la nch thy vessels, fly with speed away,
Rule thy own realms with arbitrary sway:
I heed thee not, but prize at equal rate
Thy short-liv'd friendship, and thy groundless hate.
Go, threat thy earth-born myrmidons; but here
'Tis mine to threaten, prince, and thine to fear.
Know, if the god the beauteous dame demand,
My bark shall waft her to her native land;
But then prepare, imperions prince! prepare,
Fierce as thou art, to yield thy captive fair:
Even in thy tent I'll seize the blooming prize,
Thy lov'd Briseis with the radiant eyes.
Hence shalt thou prove my might, and curse the
Thou stood'st a rival of imperial power;
And hence to all our host it shall be known,
That kings are subject to the gods alone."


Achilles heard, with grief and rage opprest, His heart swell'd high, and labour'd in his breast. Distracting thoughts by turns his bosom rul'd, Now fir'd by wrath, and now by reason cool'd: That prompts his hand to draw the deadly sword, Force through the Greeks, and pierce their haughty lord;

This whispers soft, his vengeance to control,
And calm the rising tempest of his soul.
Just as in anguish of suspence he stay'd,
While half unsheath'd appear'd the glittering blade,
Minerva swift descended from above,

Sent by the sister and the wife of Jove
(For both the princes claim'd her equal care);
Behind she stood, and by the golden hair
Achilles seiz'd: to him alone confest;

A sable cloud conceal'd her from the rest.
He sees, and sudden to the goddess cries,
Known by the flames that sparkle from her eyes:
"Descends Minerva in her guardian care,

A heavenly witness of the wrongs I bear
From Atreus' son? then let those eyes that view
The daring crime, behold the vengeance too."
"Forbear!" the progeny of Jove replies;
"To calm thy fury I forsake the skies:
Let great Achilles, to the gods resign'd,
To reason yield the empire o'er his mind.
By awful Juno this command is given;
The king and you are both the care of Heaven.
The force of keen reproaches let him feel,
But sheath, obedient, thy revenging steel.
For I pronounce (and trust a heavenly power)
Thy injur'd honour has its fated hour,
When the proud monarch shall thy arms implore,
And bribe thy friendship with a boundless store.
Then let revenge no longer bear the sway,
Command thy passions, and the gods obey."

To her Pelides. "With regardful ear
'Tis just, O goddess! I thy dictates hear.
Hard as it is, my vengeance I suppress:
Those who revere the gods, the gods will bless."
He said, observant of the blue-ey'd maid;
Then in the sheath return'd the shining blade.
The goddess swift to high Olympus flies,
And joins the sacred senate of the skies.

Nor yet the rage his boiling breast forsook, Which thus redoubling on Atrides broke. "O monster! mix'd of insolence and fear, Thou dog in forehead, but in heart a deer! When wert thou known in ambush'd fights to dare, Or nobly face the horrid front of war? 'Tis ours, the chance of fighting fields to try, Thine to look on, and bid the valiant die. So much 'tis safer through the camp to go, And rob a subject, than despoil a foe. Scourge of thy people, violent and base! Sent in Jove's anger on a slavish race, Who, lost to sense of generous freedom past, Are tam'd to wrongs, or this had been thy last. Now by this sacred sceptre hear me swear, Which never more shall leaves or blossoms bear, Which sever'd from the trunk (as I from thee) On the bare mountains left its parent tree; This sceptre, form'd by temper'd steel to prove An ensign of the delegates of Jove, From whom the power of laws and justice springs (Tremendous oath inviolate to kings): By this I swear, when bleeding Greece again Shall call Achilles, she shall call in vain. When, flush'd with slaughter, Hector comes to

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He spoke: and furious hurl'd against the ground
His sceptre starr'd with golden studs around.
Then sternly silent sat. With like disdain,
The raging king return'd his frowns again.

To calm their passions with the words of age,
Slow from his seat arose the Pylian sage
Experienc'd Nestor, in persuasion skill'd,
Words sweet as honey from his lips distill'd;
Two generations now had pass'd away,
Wise by his rules, and happy by his sway;
Two ages o'er his native realm he reign'd,
And now th' example of the third remain'd.
All view'd with awe the venerable man ;
Who thus with mild benevolence began:

"What shame, what woe is this to Greece! what joy

To Troy's proud monarch, and the friends of Troy!
That adverse gods commit to stern debate
The best, the bravest of the Grecian state.
Young as ye are, this youthful head restrain,
Nor think your Nestor's years and wisdom vain.
A godlike race of heroes once I knew,
Such as no more these aged eyes shall view!
Lives there a chief to match Pirithous' fame,
Dryas the bold, or Ceneus' deathless name;
Theseus, endued with more than mortal might,
Or Polyphemus, like the gods in fight?
With these of old to toils of battle bred,
In early youth my hardy days I led :
Fir'd with the thirst which virtuous envy breeds,
And smit with love of honourable deeds.
Strongest of men, they pierc'd the mountain boar,
Rang'd the wild deserts red with monsters' gore,
And from their hills, the shaggy Centaurs tore.
Yet these with soft, persuasive arts I sway'd;
When Nestor spoke, they listen'd and obey'd.
If in my youth, ev'n these esteem'd me wise;
Do you, young warriors, hear my age advise.
Atrides, seize not on the beauteous slave;
That prize the Greeks by common suffrage gave:
Nor thou, Achilles, treat our prince with pride;
Let kings be just, and sovereign power preside.
Thee, the first honours of the war adorn,
Like gods in strength, and of a goddess born;
Him, awful majesty exalts above

The powers of Earth, and scepter'd son of Jove.
Let both unite, with well-consenting mind,
So shall authority with strength be join'd.
Leave me, O king! to calm Achilles' rage;
Rule thou thyself, as more advanc'd in age.
Forbid it, gods! Achilles should be lost,
The pride of Greece, and bulwark of our host."

This said, he ceas'd: the king of men replies:
"Thy years are awful, and thy words are wise.
But that imperious, that unconquer'd soul,
No laws can limit, no respect control.
Before his pride must his superiors fall,
His word the law, and he the lord of all?
Him must our hosts, our chiefs, ourselves obey?
What king can bear a rival in his sway!
Grant that the gods his matchless force have given;
Has foul reproach a privilege from Heaven?"

Here on the monarch's speech Achilles broke,
And furious, thus, and interrupting spoke :
"Tyrant, I well deserv'd thy galling chain,
To live thy slave, and still to serve in vain,
Should I submit to each unjust decree:
Command thy vassals, but command not me.
Seize on Briseïs, whom the Grecians dooin'd
My prize of war, yet tamely see resum'd;

And seize secure; no more Achilles draws
His conquering sword in any woman's cause.
The gods command me to forgive the past;
But let this first invasion be the last :

For know, thy blood, when next thou dar'st invade,
Shall stream in vengeance on my reeking blade.".
At this they ceas'd; the stern debate expir'd:
The chiefs in sullen majesty retir'd.

Achilles with Patroclus took his way,
Where near his tents his hollow vessels lay.
Mean time Atrides lanch'd with numerous oars
A well-rigg'd ship for Chrysa's sacred shores:
High on the deck was fair Chryseïs plac'd,
And sage Ulysses with the conduct grac'd;
Safe in her sides the hecatomb they stow'd,
Then, swiftly sailing, cut the liquid road.

The host to expiate, next the king prepares,
With pure lustrations, and with solemn prayers.
Wash'd by the briny wave, the pious train
Are cleans'd, and cast th' ablutions in the main.
Along the shore whole hecatombs were laid,
And bulls and goats to Phoebus' altars paid,
The sable fuines in curling spires arise,
And waft their grateful odours to the skies.

The army thus in sacred rites engag'd,
Atrides still with deep resentment rag'd.
To wait his will, two sacred heralds stood,
Talthybius and Eurybates the good.
"Haste to the fierce Achiles' tent," he cries,
"Thence bear Briseis as our royal prize :
Submit he must: or, if they will not part,
Ourself in arms shall tear her from his heart."

Th' unwilling heralds act their lord's commands;
Pensive they walk along the barren sands:
Arriv'd, the hero in his tent they find,
With gloomy aspect, on his arm reclin'd,
At awful distance lang they silent stand,
Loth to advance, or speak their hard command;
Decent confusion! This the godlike man
Perceiv'd, and thus with accent mild began:

"With leave and honour enter our abodes, Ye sacred ministers of men and gods!

I know your message; by constraint you came;
Not you, but your imperious lord, I blame.
Patroclus, haste, the fair Briseïs bring;
Conduct my captive to the haughty king,
But witness, heralds, and proclaim my vow,
Witness to gods above, and men below!
But first, and loudest to your prince declare,
That lawless tyrant whose commands you bear;
Unmov'd as death Achilles shall remain,
Though prostrateGreece should blced at ev'ry vein;
The raging chief in frantic passion lost,
Blind to himself, and useless to his host,
Unskill'd to judge the future by the past,
In blood and slaughter shall repent at last."

Patroclus now th' unwilling beauty brought;
She, in soft sorrow, and in pensive thought,
Past silent, as the heralds held her hand,
And oft look'd back, slow moving o'er the strand.
Not so his loss the fierce Achilles bore;
But sad retiring to the sounding shore,
O'er the wild margin of the deep he hung,
That kindred'deep from whence his mother sprung:
There, bath'd in tears of anger and disdain,
Thus loud lamented to the stormy main:

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O parent goddess! since in early bloom Thy son must fall, by too severe a doom; Sure, to so short a race of glory born, Great Jove in justice should this span adorn:

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