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To whom when met, and ranged in meet conclave, Achilles swift of foot arose and spake. ·
“Oh sons of Atreus! Now, I trow, will we Turn us again, and drift—if flee we may From death-ev'n thither whence we came: since war
75 And pestilence at once lay low the Greeks. But hearken. Seek we now some seer, or priest; Or dream-interpreter ;-dreams come from Zeus ;To tell us what hath stirred Apollo thus. If of a prayer, a sacrifice withheld,
80 He doth rebuke us: should it be his will, Incense of lambs and goodliest of the goats Accepting, to remove from us this plague.”
He spake and sate him down. Then rose to them High chief of augurs, Calchas, Thestor's son, 85 Who knew what is and was and is to be, Who into Ilion piloted the Greeks, By virtue of his art, Apollo's gift. He friendly-minded rose and spake in the midst.
“Lo! thou command’st me, oh beloved of Zeus,
Achilles, to declare Apollo's wrath,
And then Achilles swift of foot replied. “The thing that thou dost know take heart and speak. For by Apollo, loved of Zeus, whom thou, 105 Oh Calchas, worshipping interpretest Unto the Danaans the things of God: The hand of no man out of all this host Shall, while I live and see the light of day, By yon broad ships be heavy upon thee: 110 Not if thou namest Agamemnon, him Who vaunts himself this day the chiefest Greek.”
Then the good prophet took him heart and spake. “Not of a prayer or of a sacrifice Doth he rebuke: but for his servant's sake, 115 Whom Agamemnon did disdain, nor gave His child, nor took her price : for this, I ween, The Smiter deals us, and shall deal us, woe. And heavy still shall be his wasting hand, Till to her father dear the bright-eyed maid 120 Be giv'n, unbought, unransomed; and we bear To Chryse holy sacrifice. This done, It may be he will hear us and repent.”
He spake, and sate him down, Then rose to
them Broad-realmed Agamemnon, Atreus' son, 125 A mighty man, sore angered. Fury filled His heart's dark places : gleamed his eyes like fires. First Calchas, boding mischief, he bespake.
“Prophet of ill! Thou spak'st me never yet A fair word. For thy soul loves evil still, 130 Nor aught good spak’st thou e’er, or brought'st to
What prophesiest thou now before the host ?
And then the swift Achilles answered him. “Most honoured, most gain-greedy of mankind ! 145 How may the generous Greeks find gifts for thee ? We wot not yet of public treasury : The spoils of cities sacked we've parted all, And should do ill re-levying these anew. Now yield her to the god—and threefold we 150 And fourfold will repay thee, let but Zeus Grant us to level yon fair walls of Troy."
And royal Agamemnon made reply. “Brave though thou art, great chief, yet play not
thus The knave: thou shalt not dupe me nor cajole. 155 Would'st thou—so thou have honour—that I sit With empty hands and bidd'st me yield her up? Now if the generous Greeks will grant å giftOne my soul loves, a meet equivalentWell : but if not, I'll take with mine own arm Thine, or thine, Aias, or, Odysseus, thine, 161 And bear it off: and wrath mayhap he'll be Whom I shall visit.—But of this anon.Launch we a dark ship on the great sea now, Give her her tale of oars, and place on board A hundred oxen, and embark therein 166 Fair-cheeked Briseis. And be one, a king, Her captain ; Aias, or Idomeneus, Or great Odysseus, or, Achilles, thou Most terrible of men; that thou mayest win 170 Back with thy rites the god who smites from far.”
Answered the swiftfoot chief with lowering brow: “Oh clothed with shamelessness ! oh selfish-souled !