Изображения страниц

were by his influence and example engaged in the same interest I hope therefore the publick will excuse my

ambition for thus intruding into the number of those applauded men, who have paid him this kind of homage : especially since I am also prompted to it by gratitude, for the protection with which he had begun to honour me ; and do it at a time when he cannot suffer by the iiportunity of my acknowledgments.


Must inform the reader that when I began this

first book, I had some thoughts of translating the whole Iliad : but had the pleasure of being diverted from that design, by finding the work was fallen into a much abler hand. I would not therefore be thought to have any other view in publishing this small fpecimen of Homer's Iliad, than to bespeak, if possible, the favour of the publick to a translation of Homer's Odysleis, wherein I have already made fome progress.


CHILLES’ fatal wrath, whence discord rose,
That brought the sons of Greece unnumber'd

goddess, fing. Fuil many a hero's ghost
Was driven untimely to th’ infernal coast,
While in promiscuous heaps their bodies lay,
A feast for dogs, and every bird of prey.

[ocr errors]

So did the fire of gods and men fulfil
His stedfast purpose, and alınighty will;
What time the haughty chiefs their jars begun,
Atrides, king of men, and Peleus' godlike son.

What god in Grife the princes did engage ?
Apollo burning with vindictive rage
Against the scornful king, whose impious pride
His priest dishonour'd, and his power defy'd.
Hence swift contagion, by the god's commands,
Swept throngh the camp, and thinn’d the Grecian bands.

For, wealth immense the holy Chryses bore,
(His daughter's ransom) to the tented shore :
His fceptre stretching forth, the golden rod,
Hung round with hallow'd garlands of his god,
Of all the host, of every princely chief,
But first of Atreus' fons, he begg'd relief:

16 Great Atreus' fons and warlike Greeks attend.

So may th' immortal gods your cause befriend, • So may you Priam's lofty bulwarks burn, • And rich in gather?d spoils to Greece return, • As for these gifts my daughter you bestow, • And reverence due to great Apollo show,

Jove's favourite offspring, terrible in war, ( Who sends his shafts unerring from afar.'

Throughout the host consenting murmurs rise, The priest to reverence, and give back the prize; When the great king, incens'd, his filence broke In words reproachful, and thus fternly spoke:

• Hence, dotard, from my sight. Nor ever more Approach, I warn thee, this forbidden shore;


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

« Left thou stretch forth, my fury to restrain,

The wreaths and sceptre of thy god, in vain.
- The captive maid I never will resign.
". Till age o'ertakes her, I have vow'd her mine.
• To distant Argos shall the fair be led :

She shall; to ply the loom, and grace my bed.
• Begone, ere evil intercept thy way.
• Hence, on thy life : nor urge me by thy stay.'

He ended frowning. Speechless and dismay’d,
The aged fire his stern command obey'd.
Silent he pass’d, amid the deafening roar
Of tumbling billows, on the lonely shore;
Far from the camp he pass’d: then suppliant stood;
And thus the hoary priest invok'd his god

• Dread warrior with the silver bow, give ear.
• Patron of Chrysa and of Cilla, hear.
· To thee the guard of Tenedos belongs ;

Propitious Smintheus ! Oh! redress my wrongs.
• If e'er within thy fane, with wreaths adorn’d,
"The fat of bulls and well-fed goats I burn'd,
"O! hear my prayer. Let Greece thy fury know,
And with thy shafts avenge thy servant's woe.'

Apollo heard his injur'd suppliant's cry.
Down rush'd the vengeful warrior from the sky;
Across his breast the glittering bow he flung,
And at his back the well-stor'd quiver hung :
(His arrows rattled, as he urg'd his flight.)
In clouds he few, conceal'd from mortal sight;
Then took his stand, the well-aiin'd înaft to throw :
Fierce sprung the string, and twang’d the filver bow.


[ocr errors]

M 3

The dogs and mules his firit keen arrow llew;
Amid the ranks the next more fital flew,
A deathful dart. The funeral piles around
For ever blaz’d on the devoted ground.

Nine days entire, he vex'd th’embattled hoft,
The tenth, Achilles through the winding coast
Summon’d a council, by the queen's command
Who wields heaven's sceptre in her snowy hand :
She mourn'd her favourite Greeks, who now inclose
The hero, swiftly speaking as he rose :

" What now, O Atreus' son, remains in view, • But o'er the deep our wanderings to renew, • Doom'd to destruction, while our wasted powers • The sword and pestilence at once devours ?

Why hafte we not some prophet's skill to prove, · Or seek by dreams ? (for dreams descend from Jove.) • What moves Apollo's rage let him explain, • What yow withheld, what hecatomb unsain : « And if the blood of lambs and goats can pay • 'The price for guilt, and turn this curse away?'

Thus he. And next the reverend Calchas rose,
Their guide to Ilion whom the Grecians chose;
The prince of angurs, whose enlighten'd eye
Could things past, present, and to come, descry :
Such wisdom Phæbus gave. He thus began,
His speech addressing to the gollike man:

Me then command's thou, lovd of Jove, to show • What moves the god that bends the dreadful bow? • First plight thy faith thy ready help to lend,

By words to aid me, or by arms defend.

< For

[ocr errors]

• For I foresee his rage, whose ample sway
· The Argian powers and sceptred chiefs obey.
• The wrath of kings what subject can oppose ?
• Deep in their breasts the smother'd vengeance glows,

Still watchful to destroy. Swear, valiant youth,
Swear, wilt thou guard me, if I speak the truth?

To this Achilles swift replies : o Be bold.
- Disclose, what Phæbus tells thée, uncontrol'd.
• By him, who, listening to thy powerful prayer,

Reveals the secret, I devoutly swear, - That, while these eyes behold the light, no hand • Shall dare to wrong thee on this crowded strand.

Not Atreus' fon. Though now himself he boat • The king of men, and sovereign of the host.'

Then boldly he. • Nor does the god complain • Of vows withheld, or hecatombs unílain.

Chryseïs to her awful fire refus'd, • The gifts rejected, and the priest abus’d, • Call down these judgments, and for more they call, • Just ready on th' exhausted camp to fall; « Till ransom-free the damsel is bestow'd,

And hecatombs are sent to footh the god, « To Chrysa sent. Perhaps Apollo's rage · The gifts may expiate, and the priest afruage.'

He spoke, and fat. When, with an angry frown, The chief of kings upstarted from his throne. Disdain and vengeance in his bofom rise, Lour in his brows, and sparkle in his eyes : Full at the priest their fiery orbs he bent, And all at once his fury found a vent.



« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »