Page images

Honour and fame at least the thunderer ow'd,
And ill he pays the promise of a god;
If yon proud monarch thus thy son defies,
Obscures my glories, and resumes my prize."
Far from the deep recesses of the main,
Where aged Ocean holds his watery reign,
The goddess-mother heard. The waves divide;
And like a mist she rose above the tide;
Beheld him mourning on the naked shores,
And thus the sorrows of his soul explores.
"Why grieves my son? Thy anguish let me share,
Reveal the cause, and trust a parent's care."

He deeply sighing said: "To tell my woe,
Is but to mention what too well you know.
From Thebe sacred to Apollo's name,
(Aetion's realm) our conquering army came,
With treasure loaded and triumphant spoils,
Whose just division crown'd the soldier's toils;
But bright Chryseïs, heavenly prize! was led,
By vote selected, to the general's bed.
The priest of Phoebus sought by gifts to gain
His beauteous daughter from the victor's chain;
The fleet he reach'd, and, lowly bending down,
Held forth the sceptre and the laurel crown,
Entreating all but chief implor'd for grace
The brother-kings of Atreus' royal race:
The generous Greeks their joint consent declare
The priest to reverence, and release the fair;
Not so Atrides: he, with wonted pride,
The sire insulted, and his gifts deny'd:
Th' insulted sire (his god's peculiar care)

To Phoebus pray'd, and Phoebus heard the prayer:
A dreadful plague ensues; th' avenging darts
Incessant fly, and pierce the Grecian hearts.
A prophet then, inspir'd by Heaven, arose,
And points the crime, and thence derives the woes.
Myself the first th' assembled chiefs incline
Tavert the vengeance of the power divine;
Then rising in his wrath, the monarch storm'd;
Incens'd he threaten'd, and his threats perform'd:
The fair Chryseis to her sire was sent,
With offer'd gifts to make the god relent;
But now he seiz'd Briseïs heav'nly charms,.
And of my valour's prize defrauds my arms,
Defrauds the votes of all the Grecian train;
And service, faith, and justice, plead in vain.
But, goddess! thou thy suppliant son attend,
To bigh Olympus' shining court ascend,
Urge all the ties to former service ow'd,
And sue for vengeance to the thundering god.
Oft hast thou triumph'd in the glorious boast,
That thou stood'st forth of all th' ethereal host,
When bold rebellion shook the realms above,
Th' undaunted guard of cloud-compelling Jove.
When the bright partner of his awful reign,
Th' warlike maid, and monarch of the main,
The traitor-gods, by mad ambition driven,
Durst threat with chains th' omnipotence of Heaven.
Then call'd by thee, the monster Titan came,
(Whom gods Briareus, men Ægeon name)
Through wondering skies enormous stalk'd along;
Not he that shakes the solid Earth so strong:
With giant pride at Jove's high throne he stands,
And brandish'd round him all his hundred hands;
Ta' afrighted gods confess'd their awful lord,
They dropt the fetters, trembled, and ador'd.
This, goddess, this to his remembrance call,
Embrace his knees, at his tribunal fall;


! Neptune.

Conjure him far to drive the Grecian train,
To hurl them headlong to their fleet and main,
To heap the shores with copious death, and bring
The Greeks to know the curse of such a king:
Let Agamemnon lift his haughty head
O'er all his wide dominion of the dead,
And mourn in blood, that e'er he durst disgrace
The boldest warrior of the Grecian race."

Unhappy son!" fair Thetis thus replies,
While tears celestial trickle from her eyes,

[ocr errors]

Why have I borne thee with a mother's throes, To fates averse, and nurs'd for future woes? So short a space the light of Heaven to view! So short a space and fill'd with sorrow too! O might a parent's careful wish prevail, Far, far from Ilion should thy vessels sail, And thou, from camps remote, the danger shun, Which now, alas! too nearly threats my son. Yet (what I can) to move thy suit I'll go To great Olympus crown'd with fleecy snow. Meantime, secure within thy ships, from far Behold the field, nor mingle in the war. The sire of gods and all th' ethereal train, On the warm limits of the farthest main, Now mix with mortals, nor disdain to grace The feast of Ethiopia's blameless race; Twelve days the powers indulge the genial rite, Returning with the twelfth revolving light. Then will I mount the brazen dome, and move The high tribunal of immortal Jove.”

The goddess spoke: the rolling waves unclose; Then down the deep she plung'd from whence she And left him sorrowing on the lonely coast, [rose, In wild resentment for the fair he lost.

In Chrysa's port now sage Ulysses rode; Beneath the deck the destin'd victims stow'd; The sails they furl'd, they lash'd the mast aside, And dropp'd their anchors, and the pinnace ty'd. Next on the shore their hecatomb they land, Chryseïs last descending on the strand. Her, thus returning from the furrow'd main, Ulysses led to Phœbus' sacred fane; Where at his solemn altar as the maid He gave to Chryses, thus the hero said:

"Hail! reverend priest! to Phoebus' awful dome A suppliant I from great Atrides come : Unransom'd here receive the spotless fair; Accept the hecatombs the Greeks prepare ; And may thy god, who scatters darts around, Aton'd by sacrifice, desist to wound."

At this the sire embrac'd the maid again, So sadly lost, so lately sought in vain. Then near the altar of the darting king, Dispos'd in rank their hecatomb they bring: With water purify their hands, and take The sacred offering of the salted cake; While thus with arms devoutly rais'd in air, And solemn voice, the priest directs his prayer: "God of the silver bow, thy ear incline, Whose power encircles Cilla the divine; Whose sacred eye thy Tenedos surveys, And gilds fair Chrysa with distinguish'd rays! If, fir'd to vengeance at thy priest's request, Thy direful darts inflict the raging pest; Once more attend! avert the wasteful woe, And smile propitious, and unbend thy bow."

So Chryses pray'd, Apollo heard his prayer : And now the Greeks their hecatomb prepare; Between their horns the salted barley threw, And with their heads to Heaven the victims slew:


The limbs they sever from th' enclosing hide;
The thighs, selected to the gods, divide:
On these, in double cawls involv'd with art,
The choicest morsels lay from every part.
The priest himself before his altar stands,
And burns the offering with his holy hands;
Pours the black wine, and sees the flames aspire;
The youth with instruments surround the fire:
The thighs thus sacrific'd, and entrails drest,
Th' assistants part, transfix, and roast the rest:
Then spread the tables, the repast prepare,
Each takes his seat, and each receives his share.
When now the rage of hunger was represt,
With pure libations they conclude the feast;
The youths with wine the copious goblets crown'd,
And, pleas'd, dispense the flowing bowls around.
With hymns divine the joyous banquet ends,
The Pæans lengthen'd till the Sun descends:
The Greeks, restor'd, the grateful notes prolong;
Apollo listens, and approves the song.

'Twas night; the chiefs beside their vessel lie,
Till rosy Morn had purpled o'er the sky:
Then lanch, and hoist the mast; indulgent gales,
Supply'd by Phoebus, fill the swelling sails;
The milk-white canvas bellying as they blow,
The parted ocean foams and roars below;
Above the bounding billows swift they flew,
Till now the Grecian camp appear'd in view.
Far on the beach they haul their bark to land
(The crooked keel divides the yellow sand);
Then part, where stretch'd along the winding bay
The ships and tents in mingled prospect lay.

But raging still, amidst his navy sate
The stern Achilles, stedfast in his hate;
Nor mix'd in combat, nor in council join'd;
But wasting cares lay heavy on his mind:
In his black thoughts revenge and slaughter roll,
And scenes of blood rise dreadful in his soul.

Twelve days were past, and now the dawning light
The gods had summon'd to th' Olympian height:
Jove first ascending from the watery bowers,
Leads the long order of ethereal powers.
When, like the morning mist in early day,
Rose from the flood the daughter of the sea;
And to the seats divine her flight addrest.
There, far apart, and high above the rest,
The thunderer sat; where old Olympus shrouds
His hundred heads in Heaven, and props the clouds.
Suppliant the goddess stood: one hand she plac'd
Beneath his beard, and one his knee embrac'd:
"If e'er, O father of the gods !" she said,
"My words could please thee, or my actions aid;
Some marks of honour on my son bestow,
And pay in glory what in life you owe.
Fame is at least by heavenly pronise due
To life so short, and now dishonour'd too.
Avenge this wrong, oh, ever just and wise!
Let Greece be humbled, and the Trojans rise;
Till the proud king, and the Achaian race,
Shall heap with honours him they now disgrace."
Thus Thetis spoke, but Jove in silence held
The sacred conncils of his breast conceal'd.
Not so repuls'd, the goddess closer prest,
Still grasp'd his knees, and urg'd the dear request:
"O sire of gods and men! thy suppliant hear;
Refuse, or grant; for what has Jove to fear?
Or, oh! declare, of all the powers above,
Is wretched Thetis least the care of Jove?"
She said, and sighing thus the god replies,
Who rolls the thunder o'er the vaulted skies:

"What hast thou ask'd? Ah, why should Jove
In foreign contests, and domestic rage, [engage
The gods' complaints, and Juno's fierce alarms,
While I, too partial, aid the Trojan arms?
Go, lest the haughty partner of my sway,
With jealous eyes, thy close access survey;
But part in peace, secure thy prayer is sped:
Witness the sacred honours of our head,
The nod that ratifies the will divine,
The faithful, fix'd, irrevocable sign,
This seals thy suit, and this fulfils thy vows-"
He spoke, and awful bends his sable brows;
Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod;
The stamp of fate, and sanction of the god :
High Heaven with trembling the dread signal took,
And all Olympus to the centre sbook.

Swift to the seas profound the goddess flies,
Jove to his starry mansion in the skies.
The shining synod of th' immortals wait
The coming god, and from their thrones of state
Arising silent, wrapt in holy fear,
Before the majesty of Heaven appear,
Trembling they stand, while Jove assumes the throne,
All, but the god's imperious queen alone:
Late had she view'd the silver-footed dame,
And all her passions kindled into flame.
"Say, artful manager of Heaven," she cries,
"Who now partakes the secrets of the skies?
Thy Juno knows not the decrees of fate,
In vain the partner of imperial state.
What favourite goddess then those cares divides,
Which Jove in prudence from his consort hides ?"
To this the thunderer: "Seek not thou to find
The sacred counsels of almighty mind:
Involv'd in darkness lies the great decree,
Nor can the depths of fate be pierc'd by thee.
What fits thy knowledge, thou the first shalt know
The first of gods above and men below;
But thou,nor they, shall search the thoughts that roll
Deep in the close recesses of my soul."

Full on the sire the goddess of the skies
Roll'd the large orbs of her majestic eyes,
And thus return'd: "Austere Saturnius, say
From whence this wrath, or who controls thy sway
Thy boundless will for me remains, in force,
And all thy councils take the destin'd course.
But 'tis for Greece I fear for late was seen
In close consult the silver-footed queen.
Jove to his Thetis nothing could deny,
Nor was the signal vain that shook the sky.
What fatal favour has the goddess won,
To grace her fierce, inexorable son?
Perhaps in Grecian blood to drench the plain,
And glut his vengeance with my people slain.”

Then thus the god: "Oh restless fate of pride,
That strives to learn what Heaven resolves to hide;
Vain is the search, presumptuous and abhorr'd,
Anxious to thee, and odious to thy lord.
Let this suffice; th' immutable decree
No force can shake: what is, that ought to be.
Goddess submit, nor dare our will withstand,
But dread the power of this avenging hand;
Th' united strength of all the gods above
In vain resists th' omnipotence of Jove."

The thunderer spoke, nor durst the queen reply,
A reverend horrour silenc'd all the sky.
The feast disturb'd, with sorrow Vulcan saw
His mother menac'd, and the gods in awe;
Peace at his heart, and pleasure his design,
Thus interpos'd the architect divine:

"The wretched quarrels of the mortal state
Are far unworthy, gods! of your debate:
Let men their days in senseless strife employ,
We, in eternal peace and constant joy.
Thou, goddess-mother, with our sire comply,
Nor break the sacred union of the sky;
Lest rous'd to rage, he shake the blest abodes,
Lanch the red lightning, and dethrone the gods.
If you submit, the thunderer stands appeas'd;
The gracious power is willing to be pleas'd."

Thus Vulcan spoke; and rising with a bound,
The double bowl with sparkling nectar crown'd,
Which held to Juno in a cheerful way,
"Goddess," (he cried) "be patient and obey.
Dear as you are, if Jove his arm extend,
I can but grieve, unable to defend.
What god so daring in your aid to move,
Or lift his hand against the force of Jove?
Once in your cause I felt his matchless might,
Hari'd deadlong downward from th' ethereal height;
Tost all the day in rapid circles round;
Nor, till the Sun descended, touch'd the ground:
Breathless I fell, in giddy motions lost;
The Sinthians rais'd me on the Lemnian coast."
He said, and to her hands the goblet heav'd,
Which, with a smile, the white-arm'd queen re-
Then to the rest he fill'd; and in his turn, [ceiv'd.
Each to his lips apply'd the nectar'd urn.
Vulcan with awkward grace his office plies,
And unextinguish'd laughter shakes the skies.
Thus the blest gods the genial day prolong,
In feasts ambrosial, and celestial song.
Apollo tun'd the lyre; the Muses round
With voice alternate aid the silver sound.
Mean time the radiant Sun, to mortal sight
Descending swift, roll'd down the rapid light.
Then to their starry domes the gods depart,
The shining monuments of Vulcan's art:
Jove on his couch reclin'd his awful head,
And Juno slumber'd on the golden bed.






JUPITER, in pursuance of the request of Thetis, sends a deceitful vision to Agamemnon, persuading him to lead the army to battle; in order to make the Greeks sensible of their want of Achilles. The general, who is deluded with the hopes of taking Troy without his assistance, but fears the army was discouraged by his absence and the late plague, as well as by the length of time, contrives to make trial of their disposition by a stratagem. He first communicates his design to the princes in council, that he would propose a return to the soldiers, and that they should put a stop to them if the proposal was embraced Then he assembles the whole host, and upon moving for a return to Greece, they unanimously agree to it, and run to prepare the

[ocr errors]

ships. They are detained by the management of Ulysses, who chastises the insolence of Thersites. The assembly is recalled, several speeches made on the occasion, and at length the advice of Nestor followed, which was, to make a general muster of the troops, and to divide them into their several nations, before they proceeded to battle. This gives occasion to the poet to enumerate all the forces of the Greeks and Trojans, and in a large catalogue.

The time employed in this book consists not entirely of one day. The scene lies in the Grecian camp and upon the sea-shore; toward the end it removes to Troy.

Now pleasing sleep had seal'd each mortal eye,
Stretch'd in the tents the Grecian leaders lie,
Th' immortals slumber'd on their thrones above;
All, but the ever wakeful eyes of Jove.
To honour Thetis' son he bends his care,
And plunge the Greeks in all the woes of war:
Then bids an empty phantom rise to sight,
And thus commands the vision of the night:

"Fly hence, deluding dream! and, light as air,
To Agamemnon's ample tent repair.
Bid him in arms draw forth th' embattled train,
Lead all his Grecians to the dusty plain.
Declare, ev'n now 'tis given him to destroy
The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
For now no more the gods with fate contend,
At Juno's suit the heavenly factions end.
Destruction hangs o'er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits th' impending fall."

Swift as the word the vain illusion fled, Descends, and hovers o'er Atrides' head; Cloth'd in the figure of the Pylian sage, Renown'd for wisdom, and rever'd for age; Around his temples spreads his golden wing, And thus the flattering dream deceives the king: "Can'st thou,with all a monarch's cares opprest, Oh, Atreus' son! canst thou indulge thy rest? Ill fits a chief who mighty nations guides, Directs in council, and in war presides, To whom its safety a whole people owes, To waste long nights in indolent repose. Monarch, awake' 'tis Jove's command I bear; Thou, and thy glory, clain his heavenly care. In just array draw forth th' embattled train, Lead all thy Grecians to the dusty plain; Ev'n now, O king, tis given thee to destroy The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy. For now no more the gods with fate contend, At Juno's suit the heavenly factious end. Destruction hangs o'er yon devoted wall, And nodding Ilion waits th' impending fall. Awake, but waking this advice approve, And trust the vision that descends from Jove."

The phantom said; then vanish'd from his sight, Resolves to air, and mixes with the night. A thousand schemes the monarch's mind employ; Elate in thought, he sacks untaken Troy : Vain as he was, and to the future blind; Nor saw what Jove and secret fate design'd, What mighty toils to either host remain, What scenes of grief, and numbers of the slain! Eager he rises, and in fancy hears The voice celestial murmuring in his ears. First on his limbs a siender vest he drew, Around him next the regal mantle threw;

Th' embroider'd sandals on his feet were tied;
The starry falchion glitter'd at his side;
And last his arm the massy sceptre loads,
Unstain'd, immortal, and the gift of gods.
Now rosy Morn ascends the court of Jove,
Lifts up her light, and opens day above.
The king dispatch'd his heralds with commands
To range the camp, and summon all the bands:
The gathering hosts the monarch's word obey;
While to the fleet Atrides bends his way.
In his black ship the Pylian prince he found;
There calls a senate of the peers around;
Th' assembly plac'd, the king of men exprest
The counsels labouring in his artful breast;
"Friends and confederates! with attentive ear
Receive my words, and credit what you hear.
Late as I slumber'd in the shades of night,
A dream divine appear'd before my sight;
Whose visionary form like Nestor came,
The same in habit and in mien the same.
The heavenly phantom hover'd o'er my head,
And, dost thou sleep, Oh, Atreus' son?' (he said)
Ill fits a chief who mighty nations guides,
Directs in council, and in war presides,
To whom its safety a whole people owes;
To waste long night in indolent repose.
Monarch, awake! 'tis Jove's command I bear,
Thou and thy glory claim his heavenly care.
In just array draw forth th' embattled train,
And lead the Grecians to the dusty plain;
Ev'n now, O king! 'tis given thee to destroy
'The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
For now no more the gods with fate contend;
At Juno's suit the heavenly factions end.
Destruction hangs o'er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits th' impending fall.
This hear observant, and the gods obey!'
The vision spoke, and past in air away.
Now, valiant chiefs! since Heaven itself alarms!
Unite, and rouse the sons of Greece to arms.
But first, with caution try what yet they dare,
Worn with nine years of unsuccessful war!
To move the troops to measure back the main,
Be mine; and your's the province to detain."

[ocr errors]

He spoke, and sat; when Nestor rising said, (Nestor, whom Pylos' sandy realms obey'd) "Princes of Greece, your faithful ears incline, Nor doubt the vision of the powers divine; Sent by great Jove to him who rules the host, Forbid it, Heaven! this warning should be lost! Then let us haste, obey the god's alarms, And join to rouse the sons of Greece to arms. Thus spoke the sage: the kings without delay Dissolve the council, and their chief obey: The sceptred rulers lead; the following host Pour'd forth by thousands, darkens all the coast. As from some rocky cleft the shepherd sees Clustering in heaps on heaps the driving bees, Rolling, and blackening, swarms succeeding swarms, With deeper murmurs and more hoarse alarms; Dusky they spread, a close embody'd crowd, And o'er the vale descends the living cloud. So, from the tents and ships, a lengthening train Spreads all the beach, and wide o'ershades the plain: Along the region runs a deafening sound; Beneath their footsteps groans the trembling ground. Fame flies before, the messenger of Jove, And shining soars, and claps her wings above. Nine sacred heralds now, proclaiming loud The monarch's will, suspend the listening crowd.

Soon as the throngs in order rang`d appear,
And fainter murmurs dy'd upon the ear,
The king of kings his awful figure rais'd;
High in his hand the golden sceptre blaz'd:
The golden sceptre, of celestial frame,
By Vulcan form'd, from Jove to Hermes came:
To Pelops he th' immortal gift resign'd;
Th' immortal gift great Pelops left behind,
In Atreus' hand, which not with Atreus ends,
To rich Thyestes next the prize descends :
And now the mark of Agamemnon's reign,
Subjects all Argos, and controls the main.

On this bright sceptre now the king reclin❜d,
And artful thus pronounc'd the speech design'd;
"Ye sons of Mars! partake your leader's care,
Heroes of Greece, and brothers of the war!
Of partial Jove with justice I complain,
And heavenly oracles believ'd in vain.
A safe return was promis'd to our toils,
Renown, triumphant, and enrich'd with spoils.
Now shameful flight alone can save the host,
Our blood, our treasure, and our glory lost.
So Jove decrees, resistless lord of all!
At whose command whole empires rise or fall:
He shakes the feeble props of human trust,
And towns and armies humbles to the dust.
What shame to Greece a fruitless war to wage,
Oh, lasting shame in every future age!
Once great in arms, the common scorn we grow,
Repuls'd and baffled by a feeble foe:

So small their number, that if wars were ceas'd,
And Greece triumphant held a general feast,
All rank'd by tens, whole decads when they dine
Must want a Trojan slave to pour the wine.
But other forces have our hopes o'erthrown,
And Troy prevails by armies not her own.
Now nine long years of mighty Jove are run,
Since first the labours of this war begun :
Our cordage torn, decay'd our vessels lie,
And scarce ensure the wretched power to fly.
Haste then, for ever leave the Trojan wall!
Our weeping wives, our tender children call:
Love, duty, safety, summon us away,
'Tis nature's voice, and nature we obey.
Our shatter'd barks may yet transport us o'er,
Safe and inglorious, to our native shore.
Fly, Grecians, fly, your sails and oars employ,
And dream no more of heaven-defended Troy."

His deep design unknown, the hosts approve
Atrides' speech. The mighty numbers move.
So roll the billows to th' Icarian shore,
From east and south when winds begin to roar,
Burst their dark mansions in the clouds, and sweep
The whitening surface of the ruffled deep,
And as on corn when western gusts descend,
Before the blast the lofty harvest bends :
Thus o'er the field the moving host appears,
With nodding plumes, and groves of waving spears.
The gathering murmur spreads, their trampling feet
Beat the loose sands, and thicken to the fleet.
With long-resounding cries they urge the train
To fit the ships, and lanch into the main.
They toil, they sweat, thick clouds of dust arise,
The doubling clamours echo to the skies.
Ev'n then the Greeks had left the hostile plain,
And fate decreed the fall of Troy in vain;
But Jove's imperial queen their flight survey'd,
And sighing, thus bespoke the blue-ey'd maid:

"Shall then the Grecians fly! O dire disgrace! And leave unpunish'd this perfidious race?

Shall Troy, shall Priam, and th' adulterous spouse,
In peace enjoy the fruits of broken vows?
And bravest chiefs, in Helen's quarrel slain,
Lie unreveng'd on yon detested plain?
No: let my Greeks, unmov'd by vain alarms,
Once more refulgent shine in brazen arms.
Haste, goddess, haste! the flying host detain,
Nor let one sail be hoisted on the main."

Pallas obeys, and from Olympus' height
Swift to the ships precipitates her flight;
Ulysses, first in public cares, she found,
For prudent counsel like the gods renown'd;
Oppress'd with gen'rous grief the hero stood,
Nor drew his sable vessels to the flood.
"And is it thus, divine Laërtes' son!

Thus fly the Greeks" (the martial maid begun)
"Thus to their country bear their own disgrace,
And fame eternal leave to Priam's race?
Shall beauteous Helen still remain unfreed,
Still unreveng'd a thousand heroes bleed?
Haste, generous Ithacus ! prevent the shame,
Recall your armies, and your chiefs reclaim.
Your own resistless eloquence employ,
And to the immortals trust the fall of Troy."

The voice divine confess'd the warlike maid,
Ulysses heard, nor uninspir'd obey'd:
Then meeting first Atrides, from his hand
Receiv'd th' imperial sceptre of command.
Thus grac'd, attention and respect to gain,
He runs, he flies, through all the Grecian train,
Each prince of name, or chief in arms approv'd,
He fir'd with praise, or with persuasion mov'd.
"Warriors, like you, with strength and wisdom

By brave examples should confirm the rest.
The monarch's will not yet reveal'd appears,
He trics our courage, but resents our fears:
Th' unwary Greeks his fury may provoke;
Not thus the king in secret council spoke.
Jove loves our chief, from Jove his honour springs,
Beware! for dreadful is the wrath of kings."

But if a clamorous vile plebeian rose,
Him with reproof he check'd, or tam'd with blows.
Be still, thou slave, and to thy betters yield;
"Unknown alike in council and in field!
Ye gods, what dastards would our host command,
Swept to the war, the lumber of a land!
Be silent, wretch, and think not here allow'd
That worst of tyrants, an usurping crowd:
To one sole monarch Jove commits the sway;
His are the laws, and him let all obey."

With words like these the troops Ulysses rul'd, The loudest silenc'd, and the fiercest cool'd. Back to th' assembly roll'd the thronging train, Desert the ships, and pour upon the plain. Marmuring they move, as when old Ocean roars, And heaves huge surges to the trembling shores : The groaning banks are burst with bellowing


The rocks remurmur, and the deeps rebound.
At length the tumult sinks, the noises cease,
And a stil! silence lulls the camp to peace;
Thersites only clamour'd in the throng,
Loquacious, loud, and turbulent of tongue:
Aw'd by no shame, by no respects control'd,
Ia scandal busy, in reproaches bold;
With witty malice studious to defame:
Scorn all his joy, and laughter all his aim;
But chief he glory d, with licentious style,
To lash the great, and monarchs to revile.

His figure such as might his soul proclaim;
One eye was blinking, and one leg was lame;
His mountain shoulders half his breast o'erspread,
Thin hairs bestrew'd his long misshapen head.
Spleen to mankind his envious heart possest,
And much he hated all, but most the best.
Ulysses or Achilles still his theme;
But royal scandal his delight supreme.
Long had he liv'd the scorn of every Greek,
Vext when he spoke, yet still they heard him

[ocr errors]


Sharp was his voice, which, in the shrillest tas,
Thus with injurious taunts attack'd the throne:
'Amidst the glories of so bright a reign
What moves the great Atrides to complain?
"Tis thine whate'er the warrior's breast inlanes,
The golden spoil, and thine the lovely dames.
With all the wealth our wars and blood bestow,
Thy tents are crowded, and thy chests o'erflow,
Thus at full ease in heaps of riches roll'd,
What grieves the monarch? Is it thirst of gold?
Say, shall we march with our unconquer'd powers,
(The Greeks and I) to Ilion's hostile towers,
And bring the race of royal bastards here,
For Troy to ransom at a price too dear?
But safer plunder thy own host supplics;
Say would'st thou seize some valiant leader's prize?
Or, if thy heart to generous love be led.
Some captive fair, to bless thy kingly bed?
Whate'er our master craves, submit we must,
Plagued with his pride, or punish'd for his lust.
Oh women of Achaia! men no more!
Hence let us fly, and let him waste his store
In loves and pleasures on the Phrygian shore;
We may be wanted on some busy day,
When Hector comes: so great Achilles may:
From him he forc'd the prize we jointly gave,
From him, the fierce, the fearless, and the brave:
And durst he, as he ought, resent that wrong,
This mighty tyrant were no tyrant long."
Fierce from his seat at this Ulysses springs,
In generous vengeance of the king of kings:
With indignation sparkling in his eyes,

He views the wretch, and sternly thus replies:

[ocr errors]

Peace, factious monster, born to vex the state, With wrangling talents form'd for foul debate: Curb that impetuous tongue, nor, rashly vain And singly mad, asperse the sovereign reign. Have we not known thee, slave of all our host, The man who acts the least, unbraids the most? Think not the Greeks to shameful flight to bring, Nor let those lips profane the name of king. For our return we trust the heavenly powers; Be that their care; to fight like men be ours. But grant the host with wealth the g nemal load, Except detraction, what hast thou bestow'd? Suppose some hero should his spoils resign, Art thou that hero, could those spoils be thine? Gods! let me perish on this hateful shore, And let these eyes behold my son no more, If, on thy next offence, this hand forbear To strip those arins thou ill deserv'st to wear, Expel the council where our princes meet, And send thee scourg'd and howling thro' the fleet." He said, and cowering as the dastard bends, The weighty sceptre on his back descends: On the round bunch the bloody tumours rise; The tears spring starting from his haggard eyes: Trembling he sat, and, shrunk in abject fears, From his wild visage wip'd the scalding tears.

« PreviousContinue »