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Antenor, rising, thus demands their ear :
“ Ye Trojans, Dardans, and auxiliars, hear .
'Tis heaven the counsel of my breast inspires,
And I but move what every god requires :
Let Sparta's treasures be this hour restored,
And Argive Helen own her ancient lord.
The ties of faith, the sworn alliance, broke,
Our impious battles the just gods provoke.
As this advice ye practise, or reject,
So hope success, or dread the dire effect.”
The senior spoke and sate. To whom replied
The graceful husband of the Spartan bride :
“ Cold counsels, Trojan, may become thy years,
But sound ungrateful in a warrior's ears:
Old man, if void of fallacy or art,
Thy words express
purpose of thy heart,
Thou, in thy time, more sound advice hast given;
But wisdom has its date, assign'd by heaven.
Then hear me, princes of the Trojan name !
Their treasures I'll restore, but not the dame;
My treasures too, for peace, I will resign;
But be this bright possession ever mine."
'Twas then, the growing discord to compose,
Slow from his seat the reverend Priam rose:
His godlike aspect deep attention drew :
He paused, and these pacific words ensue:
“Ye Trojans, Dardans, and auxiliar bands !
Now take refreshment as the hour demands;
Guard well the walls, relieve the watch of night.
Till the new sun restores the cheerful light.
Then shall our herald, to the Atrides sent,
Before their ships proclaim my son's intent.
Next let a truce be ask'd, that Troy may burn
Her slaughter'd heroes, and their bones inurn;
That done, once more the fate of war be tried,
And whose the conquest, mighty Jove decide!”
The monarch spoke : the warriors snatch'd with haste
(Each at his post in arms) a short repast.
Soon as the rosy morn had waked the day,
To the black ships Idæus bent his way;
There, to the sons of Mars, in council found,
He raised his voice: the host stood listening round.
“Ye sons of Atreus, and ye Greeks, give ear!
The words of Troy, and Troy's great monarch, hear.
Pleased may ye hear (so heaven succeed my prayers)
What Paris, author of the war, declares.
The spoils and treasures he to l'on bore
(Oh had he perish'd ere they touch'd our shore !)
He proffers injured Greece: with large increase
Of added Trojan wealth to buy the peace.
But to restore the beauteous bride again,
This Greece demands, and Troy requests in vain.
Next, O ye chiefs ! we ask a truce to burn
Our slaughter'd heroes, and their bones inurn.
That done, once more the fate of war be tried,
And whose the conquest, mighty Jove decide !”
The Greeks gave ear, but none the silence broke ; At length Aydides rose, and rising spoke :
Oh, take not, friends! defrauded of your fame, Their proffer'd wealth, nor even the Spartan dame. Let conquest make them ours : fate shakes their wall, And Troy already totters to her fall.”
The admiring chiefs, and all the Grecian name,
With general shouts return'd him loud acclaim.
Then thus the king of kings rejects the peace :
“ Herald ! in him thou hear'st the voice of Greece
For what remains; let funeral flames be fed
With heroes' corps : I war not with the dead :
Go search your slaughter'd chiefs on yonder plain,
And gratify the manes of the slain.
Be witness, Jove, whose thunder rolls on high !”
He said, and rear'd his sceptre to the sky.
To sacred Troy, where all her princes lay
To wait the event, the herald bent his way.
He came, and standing in the midst, explain'd
The peace rejected, but the truce obtain'd.
Straight to their several cares the Trojans move,
Some search the plains, some fell the sounding grove :
Nor less the Greeks, descending on the shore,
Hew'd the green forests, and the bodies bore.
And now from forth the chambers of the main,
To shed his sacred light on earth again,
Arose the golden chariot of the day,
And tipp'd the mountains with a purple ray.
In mingled throngs the Greek and Trojan train
Through heaps of carnage search'd the mournful plain.
Scarce could the friend his slaughter'd friend explore,
With dust dishonor'd, and deformed with gore.
The wounds they wash’d, their pious tears they shed,
And, laid along their cars, deplored the dead.
Sage Priam check'd their grief: with silent haste
The bodies decent on the piles were placed :
With melting hearts the cold remains they burn'd,
And, sadly slow, to sacred Troy return'd.
Nor less the Greeks their pious sorrows shed,
And decent on the pile dispose the dead;
The cold remains consume with equal care ;
And slowly, sadly, to their fleet repair.
Now, ere the morn had streak'd with reddening light
The doubtful confines of the day and night,
About the dying flames the Greeks appear'd,
And round the pile a general tomb they rear'd.
Then, to secure the camp and naval powers,
They raised embattled walls with lofty towers :
From space to space were ample gates around,
For passing chariots, and a trench profound
Of large extent; and deep in earth below,
Strong piles infix'd stood adverse to the foe.
So toil'd the Greeks : meanwhile the gods above,
In shining circle round their father Jove,
Amazed beheld the wondrous works of man:
Then he, whose trident shakes the earth, began :
“What mortals henceforth shall our power adore,
Our fanes frequent, our oracles implore,
If the proud Grecians thus successful boast
Their rising bulwarks on the sea-beat coast?
See the long walls extending to the main,
No god consulted, and no victim slain !
'Their fame shall fill the world's remotest ends,
Wide as the morn her golden beam extends ;
While old Laomedon's divine abodes,
Those radiant structures raised by laboring gods,
Shall, razed and lost, in long oblivion sleep.
Thus spoke the hoary monarch of the deep.
The almighty Thunderer with a frown replies,
That clouds the world, and blackens half the skies:
Strong god of ocean! thou, whose rage can make
The solid earth's eternal basis shake!
What cause of fear from mortal works could move t
+ Embattled walls. “ Another essential basis of mechanical unity in the poem is
the construction of the rampart. This takes place in the seventh book. The reason
ascribed for the glaring improbability that the Greeks should have left their camp and
fleet unfortified during nine years in the midst of a hostile country, is a purely poetical
one : "So long as Achilles fought, the terror of his name sufficed to keep every foe at
a distance.' The disasters consequent on his secession first led to the necessity of
other means of protection. Accordingly, in the battles previous to the eighth book,
no allusion occurs to a rampart; in all those which follow it forms a prominent feature.
Here, then, in the anomaly as in the propriety of the Iliad, the destiny of Achilles, or
rather this peculiar crisis of it, forms the pervading bond of connection to the whole
poem.”—Mure, vol. i. p. 257.
* What cause of fear, &c.
" Seest thou not this? or do we fear in vain
Thy boasted thunders, and thy thoughtless reign ?".
Dryden's Virgil, iv. 304.
The meanest subject of our realms above ?
Where'er the sun's refulgent rays are cast,
Thy power is honor'd, and thy fame shall last.
But yon proud work no future age shall view,
No trace remain where once the glory grew.
The sapp'd foundations by thy force shall fall,
And, whelmid beneath thy waves, drop the huge wall :
Vast drifts of sand shall change the former shore:
The ruin vanish'd, and the name no more."
Thus they in heaven : while, o'er the Grecian train,
The rolling sun descending to the main
Beheld the finish d work. Their bulls they slew;
Black from their tents the savory vapor few.
And now the fleet, arrived from Lemnos' strands,
With Bacchus' blessings cheered the generous bands.
Of fragrant wines the rich Eunæus sent
A thousand measures to the royal tent.
(Eunæus, whom Hypsipylé of yore
To Jason, shepherd of his people, bore).
The rest they purchased at their proper cost,
And well the plenteous freight supplied the host :
Each, in exchange, proportion’d treasures gave ;
Some, brass or iron; some, an ox, or slave.
All night they feast, the Greek and Trojan powers:
Those on the fields, and these within their towers.
But Jove averse the signs of wrath display'd,
And shot red lightnings through the gloomy shade :
Humbled they stood; pale horror seized on all,
While the deep thunder shook the aërian hall.
Each pour'd to Jove before the bowl was crown'd;
And large libations drench'd the thirsty ground:
Then late, refresh'd with sleep from toils of fight,
Enjoy'd the balmy blessings of the night.
THE SECOND BATTLE, AND THE DISTRESS OF THE GREEKS.
Jupiter assembles a council of the deities, and threatens them with the pains of Tar.
tarus if they assist either side: Minerva only obtains of him that she may direct the Greeks by her counsels. The armies join battle: Jupiter on Mount Ida weighs in his balances the fates of both, and affrights the Greeks with his thunders and lightnings. Nestor alone continues in the field in great danger: Diomed relieves him; whose exploits, and those of Hector, are excellently described. Juno endeavors to animate Neptune to the assistance of the Greeks, but in vain. The acts of Teucer, who is at length wounded by Hector, and carried off. Juno and Minerva prepare to aid the Grecians, but are restrained by Iris, sent from Jupiter. The night puts an end to the battle. Hector continues in the field (the Greeks being driven to their fortifications before the ships), and gives orders to keep the watch all night in the camp, to prevent the enemy from re-embarking and escaping by flight. They kindle fires through all the fields, and pass the night under arms.
The time of seven and twenty days is employed from the opening of the poem to the end of this book. The scene here (except of the celestial machines) lies in the field towards the seashore.
AURORA now, fair daughter of the dawn,
Sprinkled with rosy light the dewy lawn;
When Jove convened the senate of the skies,
Where high Olympus' cloudy tops arise.
The sire of gods his awful silence broke ;
The heavens attentive trembled as he spoke : *
" Celestial states ! immortal gods! give ear,
Hear our decree, and reverence what ye hear;
The fix'd clecree which not all heaven can move;
Thou, fate! fulfil it! and, ye powers, approve !
What god but enters yon forbidden field,
Who yields assistance, or but wills to yield,
Back to the skies with shame he shall be driven,
Gash'd with dishonest wounds, the scorn of heaven: