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different modulations of his numbers ; to preserve, in scribers, and the most distinguished patrons and the more active or descriptive parts, a warmth and ornaments of learning as my chief encouragers ? elevation; in the more sedate or narrative, a plain- Amongst these it is a particular pleasure to me to ness and solemnity; in the speeches, a fulness and find, that my highest obligations are to such who perspicuity; in the sentences, a shortness und gravity : have done most honour to the name of poet: that his not to neglect even the little figures and turns on the grace the duke of Buckingham was not displeased I words, nor sometimes the very cast of the periods ; should undertake the author to whom he has given neither to omit nor confound any rites or customs (in his excellent Essay) so complete a praise : of antiquity : perhaps too he ought to include the
* Read Homer once, and you can read no more whole in a shorter compass, than has been hitherto For all books else appear so mean, so poor, done by any translator, who has tolerably preserved
Verse will seem prose: but still persist to read, either the sense or poetry. What I would farther
And Homer will be all the books you need: recommend to him, is to study his author rather from That the earl of Halifax was one of the first to fahis own text, than from any commentaries, how your me, of whom it is hard to say whether the adlearned soever, or whatever figure they may make in vancement of the polite arts is more owing to his genethe estimation of the world ; to consider him atten- rosity or his example: that such a genius as my lord tively in comparison with Virgil above all the an- Bolingbroke, not more distinguished in the great cients, and with Milton above all the moderns. Next scenes of business than in all the useful and entertainthese, the archbishop of Cambray's Telemachus may ing parts of learning, has not refused to be the critic of give him the truest idea of the spirit and turn of our these sheets, and the patron of their writer : and that author, and Bossu's admirable treatise of the Epic so excellent an imitator of Homer as the noble author Poem the justest notion of his design and conduct. of the tragedy of Heroic Love, has continued his But after all, with whatever judgment and study a partiality to me, from my writing Pastorals, to my man may proceed, or with whatever happiness he attempting the Iliad. I cannot deny myself the pride may perform such a work, he must hope to please of confessing, that I have had the advantage not only but a few; those only who have at once a taste of of their advice for the conduct in general, but their poetry, and competent learning. For to satisfy such as correction of several particulars of this translation. want either, is not in the nature of this undertaking; I could say a great deal of the pleasure of being since a mere modern wit can like nothing that is not distinguished by the earl of Carnarvon; but it is al modern, and a pedant nothing that is not Greek. most absurd to particularize any one generous action
What I have done is submitted to the pnblic, from in a person whose whole life is a continued series of whose opinions I am prepared to learn ; though I them. Mr. Stanhope, the present secretary of state, fear no judges so little as our best poets, who are will pardon my desire of having it known that he more sensible of the weight of this task. As for the was pleased to promote this affair. The particular worst, whatever they shall please to say, they may zeal of Mr. Harcourt (the son of the late lord changive me some concern as they are unhappy men, cellor) gave me a proof how much I am honoured but none as they are malignant writers. I was in a share of his friendship. I must attribute to the guided in this translation by judgments very different same motive that of several others of my friends, to from theirs, and persons for whom they can have no whom all acknowledgments are rendered unneceskindness, if an old observation be true, that the sary by the privileges of a familiar correspondence: strongest antipathy in the world is that of fools to and I am satisfied I can no way better oblige men of men of wit. Mr. Addison was the first whose advice their turn, than by my silence. determined me to undertake this task, who was In short, I have found more patrons than ever Hopleased to write to me on that occasion in such mer wanted. He would have thought himself happy terms as I cannot repeat without vanity. I was to have met the same favour at Athens that has been obliged to Sir Richard Steel for a very early recom-shown me by its learned rival, the university of Ox mendation of my undertaking to the public. Dr. ford. If my author had the wits of after-ages for his Swift promoted my interest with that warmth with defenders, his translator has had the beautios of the which he always serves his friend. The humanity present for his advocates; a pleasure too great to be and frankness of Sir Samuel Garth are what I never changed for any fame in reversion. And I can hardly knew wanting on any occasion. I must also ac- envy him those pompous honours he received after knowledge, with infinite pleasure, the many friendly death, when I reflect on the enjoyment of so many offices, as well as sincere criticisms of Mr. Congreve, agreeable obligations, and easy friendships, which who had led me the way in translating some parts make the satisfaction of life. This distinction is the of Homer; as I wish for the sake of the world he more to be acknowledged, as it is shown to one had prevented me in the rest. I must add the names whose pen has never gratified the prejudices of par of Mr. Rowe and Dr. Parnell, though I shall take a ticular parties, or the vanities of particular men. farther opportunity of doing justice to the last, whose Whatever the success may prove, I shall never repent good nature (to give it a great panegyric) is no less of an undertaking in which I have experienced the extensive than his learning. The favour of these candour and friendship of so many persons of merit; gentlemen is not entirely undeserved by one who and in which I hope to pass some of those years of bears them so true an affection. But what can I say youth that are generaily lost in a circle of follies, of the honour so many of the great have done me, after a manner neither wholly unuseful to others while the first names of the age appear as my sub-l nor disagreeable to myself.
ILIAD OF HOMER.
By these he begs ; and lowly bending down,
Extends the sceptre and the laurel crown. 20 ARGUMENT.
He sued to all, but chief implored for grace The Contention of Achilles and Agamemnon. The brother-kings of Atreus' royal race. In the war of Troy, the Greeks, having sacked some of Ye kings and warriors! may your vows be crown'd, the neighbouring towns, and taken from thence two And Troy's proud walls lie level with the ground beautiful captives, Chryseis and Briseis, allotted the May Jove restore you, when your toils are o'er, first to Agamemnon, and last to Achilles
. Chryses, Safe to the pleasures of your native shore; the father of Chryseis, and priest of Apollo, comes to the Grecian camp to ransom her; with which the ac- But oh! relieve a wretched parent's pain, tion of the poem opens, in the tenth year of the siege. And give Chrysers to these arms again ; The priest being refused, and insolently dismissed by If mercy fail, yet let my presents move, Agamemnon, entreats for vengeance from his god, who And dread avenging Phæbus, son of Jove,
30 inflicts a pestilence on the Greeks. Achilles calls a The Greeks in shouts their joint assent declare, council, and encourages Chalcas to declare the cause The priest to reverence, and release the fair of it, who attributes it to the refusal of Chryseïs. Not so Atrides : he, with kingly pride, The king being obliged to send back his captive, en. ters into a furious contest with Achilles, which Nes Repulsed the sacred sire, and thus replied: tor pacifies; however, as he had the absolute command
Hence, on thy life, and fly these hostile plains, of the army, he seizes on Briseis in revenge. Achilles Nor ask, presumptuous, what the king detains ; in discoatent withdraws himself and his forces from Hence, with thy laurel crown and golden rod, the rest of the Greeks; and complaining to Thetis, Nor trust too far those ensigns of thy god. she supplicates Jupiter to render them sensible of the Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain; wrong done to her son, by giving victory to the Tro. And prayers, and tears, and bribes, shall plead in vain, jans. Jupiter granting her suit incenses Juno, be- Tull time shall rifle every youthful grace, 41 tween whom the debate runs high, till they are recon. And age dismiss her from my cold embrace,
ciled by the address of Vulcan.
book; nine during the plague, one in the council and Or doom'd to deck the bed she once enjoy'd.
And in the anguish of a father, mourn'd.
Silent he wander'd by the sounding main : 50
Till, safe at distance, to his god he prays, ACHILLES wrath, to Greece the direful spring The god who darts around the world his rays Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing ! O Smintheus ! sprung from fair Latona's line, That wrath which harl'd to Pluto's gloomy reign Thou guardian power of Cilla the divine, The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain; Thou source of light! whom Tenedos adores, Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore, And whose bright presence gilds thy Chrysa's shores: Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore;
If e'er with wreaths I hung thy sacred fane, Since great Achilles and Atrides strove.
Or fed the flames with fat of oxen slain; Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of God of the silver bow! thy shafts employ, Jove!
Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy. 60 Declare, O Muse! in what ill-fated hour
Thus Chryses pray'd : the favouring power attends Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power? | And from Olympus' lofty tops descends. Latona's son a dire contagion spread,
11 Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound, And heap'd the camp with mountains of the dead; Fierce as he moved, his silver shafts resound. The king of men his reverend priest defied, Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread, And for the king's offence the people died. And gloomy darkness roll'd around his head.
For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain The fleet in view, he twang'd his deadly bow, His captive daughter from the victor's chain. And hissing fly the feather'd fates below. Suppliant the venerable father stands,
On mules and dogs the infection first began; Apollo's awful ensigns grace his hands :
And last, the vengeful arrons fix'd on man 70 2 E
For nine long nights through all the dusky air, | Because my prize, my beauteous maid I hold,
A maid, unmatch'd in manners as in face,
Skill'd in each art, and crown'd with every grace. Convened to council all the Grecian train; Not half so dear were Clytæmnestra's charms, For much the goddess mourn'd her heroes slain. When first her blooming beauties bless'd my arms.
The assembly seated, rising o'er the rest, Yet if the gods demand her, let her sail;
Our cares are only for the public weal:
So dearly valued, and so justly mine.
My private loss let grateful Greece repair ;
Nor unrewarded let your prince complain, By mystic dreams, for dreams descend from Jove. That he alone has fought and bled in vain. If broken vows this heavy curse have laid,
Insatiate king! (Achilles thus replies) Let altars smoke, and hecatombs be paid.
Fond of the power, but fonder of the prize! So heaven, atoned, shall dying Greece restore, Wouldst thou the Greeks their lawful prey should yield, And Phæbus dart his burning shafts no more. 90 The due reward of many a well-fought field?
He said, and sat: when Chalcas thus replied ; The spoils of cities ras'd, and warriors slain, Chalcas the wise, the Grecian priest and guide, We share with justice, as with toil we gain: 160 That sacred seer, whose comprehensive view But to resume whate'er thy avarice craves The past, the present, and the future knew : (That trick of tyrants) may be borne by slaves. Uprising slow, the venerable sage
Yet if our chief for plunder only fight, Thus spoke the prudence and the fears of age. The spoils of Ilion shall thy loss requite,
Beloved of Jove, Achilles ! wouldst thou know Whene'er by Jove's decree our conquering powers Why angry Phæbus bends his fatal bow? Shall humble to the dust her lofty towers. First give thy faith, and plight a prince's word Then thus the king : Shall I my prize resiga Of gure protection, by thy power and sword. 100 With tame content, and thou possess'd of thine ? For I must speak what wisdom would conceal, Great as thou art, and like a god in fight, And truths, invidious to the great, reveal.
Think not to rob me of a soldier's right, 170 Bold is the task, when subjects, grown too wise, At thy demand shall I restore the maid ? Instruct a monarch where his error lies :
First let the just equivalent be paid; For though we deem the short-lived fury past, Such as a king might ask; and let it be "Tis sure, the mighty will revenge at last.
A treasure worthy her, and worthy me. To whom Pelides : From thy inmost soul Or grant me this, or with a monarch's claim Speak what thou know'st, and speak without controul: This hand shall seize some other captive dame E'en by that god I swear, who rules the day, The mighty Ajax shall his prize resign, To whom thy hands the vows of Greece convey, 110 Ulysses spoils, or e'en thy own be mine. And whose bless'd oracles thy lips declare ; The man who suffers loudly may complain ; Long as Achilles breathes this vital air,
And rage he may, but he shall rage in vain. No daring Greek of all the numerous band
But this when time requires.-It now remains Against his priest shall lift an impious hand: We launch a bark to plough the watery plains, Not e'en the chief by whom our hosts are led, And waft the sacrifice to Chrysa's shores, The king of kings, shall touch that sacred head. With chosen pilots and with labouring oars.
Encouraged thus, the blameless man replies : Soon shall the fair the sable ship ascend, Nor vows unpaid, nor slighted sacrifice,
And some deputed prince the charge attend; But he, our chief, provoked the raging pest, This Creta's king, or Ajax shall fulfil, Apollo's vengeance for his injured priest. 120 Or wise Ulysses see perform'd our will; Nor will the god's awaken'd fury cease,
Or, if our royal pleasure shall ordain, But plagues shall spread, and funeral fires increase, Achilles' self conduct her o'er the main : 190 Till the great king, without a ransom paid, Let fierce Achilles, dreadful in his rage, To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid. The god propitiate, and the pest assuage. Perhaps, with added sacrifice and prayer,
At this, Pelides, frowning stern, replied: The priest may pardon, and the god may spare. O tyrant, arm'd with insolence and pride!
The prophet spoke; when with a gloomy frown Inglorious slave to interest, ever join'd The monarch started from his shining throne; With fraud, unworthy of a royal mind! Black choler fill'd his breast that boil'd with ire, What generous Greek, obedient to thy word, And from his eye-balls flash'd the living fire. 130 Shall form an ambush, or shall lift the sword ? Augur accursed! denouncing mischief still, What cause have I to war at thy decree? Prophet of plagues, for ever boding ill!
The distant Trojans never injured me;
200 Still must that tongue some wounding message bring, To Phthia's realms no hostile troops they led, And still thy priestly pride provoke thy king ? Safe in her vales my warlike coursers fed ; For this are Phæbus' oracles explored,
Far hence removed, the hoarse-resounding main, To teach the Greeks to murmur at their lord ? And walls of rocks, secure my native reign For this with falsehoods is my honour stain'd, Whose fruitful soil luxuriant harvests grace, Is heaven offended, and a priest profaned; Rich in her fruits, and in her martial race.
Hither we sail'd, a voluntary throng,
Forbear! (the progeny of Jove replies) To avenge a private, not a public wrong:
To calm thy fury I forsake the skies: What else to Troy the assembled nations draws, Let great Achilles, to the gods resign'd, But thine, ungrateful, and thy brother's cause ? 210 To reason yield the empire o'er his mind. Is this the pay our blood and toils deserve; By awful Juno this command is given; Disgraced and injured by the man we serve ? The king and you are both the care of heaven. And darest thou threat to snatch my prize away, The force of keen reproaches let him feel, Due to the deeds of many a dreadful day? But sheath, obedient, thy revenging steel. 280 A prize as small, O tyrant ! match'd with thine, For I pronounce and trust a heavenly power) As thy own actions if compared to mine.
Thy injured honour has its fated hour,
Then let revenge no longer bear the sway,
Hard as it is, my vengeance I suppress:
To this the king : Fly, mighty warrior! fly, He said, observant of the blue-eyed maid;
O monster! mix'd of insolence and fear,
Or nobly face the horrid front of war? 300 For know, vain man! thy valour is from God. l'Tis ours the chance of fighting fields to try, Haste, launch thy vessels, fly with speed away, Thine to look on, and bid the valiant die. Rule thy own realms with arbitrary sway: So much 'tis safer through the camp to go, I heed thee not, but prize at equal rate
And rob a subject, than despoil a foe. Thy short-lived friendship, and thy groundless hate. Scourge of thy people, violent and base ! Go, threat thy earth-born Myrmidons; but here Sent in Jove's anger on a slavish race, 'Tis mine to threaten, prince, and thine to fear. 240 Who, lost to sense of generous freedom past, Know, if the god the beauteous dame demand, Are tamed to wrongs, or this had been thy last. My bark shall waft her to her native land; Now by this sacred sceptre hear me swear, But then prepare, imperious prince! prepare Which never more shall leaves or blossoms bear, 310 Fierce as thou art, to yield thy captive fair : Which sever'd from the trunk (as 1 from thee) E'en in thy tent I'll seize the blooming prize, On the bare mountains left its parent tree; Thy loved Briseis with the radiant eyes.
This sceptre, form'd by temper'd steel to prove Hence shalt thou prove my might, and curse the An ensign of the delegates of Jove, hour
From whom the power of laws and justice springs Thou stood'st a rival of imperial power ;
(Tremendous oath ! inviolate to kings :)
Achilles heard, with grief and rage oppressid, When, flush'd with slaughter, Hector comes to spread
His sceptre starr'd with golden studs around.
Then sternly silent sat. With like disdain While half unsheath'd appear'd the glittering blade, The raging king return'd his frowns again. Minerva swift descended from above,
261 To calm their passions with the words of age, Sent by the sister and the wife of Jove;
Slow from his seat arose the Pylian sage, 330 (For both the princes claim'd her equal care ;) Experienced Nestor, in persuasion skill'd, Behind she stood, and by the golden hair Words sweet as honey from his lips distillid; Achilles seized; to him alone confess'd;
Two generations now had pass'd away, A sable cloud conceal'd her from the rest.
Wise by his rules, and happy by his sway;
Descends Minerva in her guardian care, All view'd with awe the venerable man;
That adverse gods commit to stern debate 341 Safe in her sides the hecatomb they stow'd,
The host to expiate, next the king prepares, 410
Wash'd by the briny wave, the pious train Such as no more these aged eyes shall view! Are cleansed, and cast the ablutions in the main. Lives there a chief to match Pirithous' fame, Along the shore whole hecatombs were laid, Dryas the bold, or Ceneus' deathless name; And bulls and goats to Phæbus' altars paid. Theseus, endued with more than mortal might, The sable fumes in curling spires arise, Or Polyphemus, like the gods in fight? 350 And waft their grateful odours to the skies. With these of old to toils of battle bred,
The army thus in sacred rites engaged, In early youth my hardy days I led;
Atrides still with deep resentment raged. Fired with the thirst which virtuous envy breeds, To wait his will two sacred heralds stood, 420 And smit with love of honourable deeds.
Talthybius and Enrybates the good. Strongest of men, they pierced the mountain boar, Haste to the fierce Achilles' tent (he cries ;) Ranged the wild deserts red with monsters' gore,
Thence bear Briseïs as our royal prize : And from their hills the shaggy Centaurs tore.
Submit he must! or, if they will not part, Yet these with soft persuasive arts I sway'd; Ourself in arms shall tear her from his heart. When Nestor spoke, they listen'd and obey'd. The unwilling heralds act their lord's commands; If in my youth e'en these esteem'd me wise, 360 Pensive they walk along the barren sands : Do you, young warriors, hear my age advise. Arrived, the hero in his tent they find, Atrides, seize not on the beauteous slave; With gloomy aspect, on his arm reclined. That prize the Greeks by common suffrage gave : At awful distance long they silent stand, 430 Nor thou, Achilles, treat our prince with pride; Loath to advance, or speak their hard command; Let kings be just, and sovereign power preside. Decent confusion! This the godlike man Thee, the first honours of the war adorn,
Perceived, and thus with accent mild began : Like gods in strength, and of a goddess born; With leave and honour enter our abodes, Him awful majesty exalts above
Ye sacred ministers of men and gods ! The powers of earth, and scepter'd sons of Jove. I know your message; by constraint you came; Let both unite, with well-consenting mind, 370 Not you, but your imperious lord I blame. So shall authority with strength be join'd.
Patroclus, haste, the fair Briseïs bring; Leave me, O king! to calm Achilles' rage; Conduct my captive to the haughty king. Rule thou thyself, as more advanced in age. But witness, heralds, and proclaim my vow, Forbid it, gods! Achilles should be lost,
Witness to gods above, and men below!
This said, he ceased. The king of men replies: That lawless tyrant whose commands you bear,
The raging chief, in frantic passion lost,
Unskill'd to judge the future by the past, Him must our hosts, our chiefs, ourselves obey ? In blood and slaughter shall repent at last. What king can bear a rival in his sway?
Patroclus now the unwilling beauty brought; 450 Grant that the gods his matchless force have given; She, in soft sorrows and in pensive thought, Has foul reproach a privilege from heaven? Pass'd silent, as the heralds held her hand,
Here on the monarch's speech Achilles broke And oft look'd back, slow moving o'er the strand. And furious thus, and interrupting, spoke : Not so his loss the fierce Achilles bore; Tyrant! I well deserved thy galling chain, But sad retiring to the sounding shore, To live thy slave, and still to serve in vain, O'er the wild margin of the deep he hung, Should I submit to each unjust decree, 390 That kindred deep from whence his mother sprung: Command thy vassals, but command not me. There, bathed in tears of anger and disdain, Seize on Briseis, whom the Grecians doom'd Thus loud lamented to the stormy main : My prize of war, yet tamely see resumed:
O parent goddess ! since in early bloom 460 And seize secure; no more Achilles draws Thy son must fall, by too severe a doom; His conquering sword in any woman's cause; Sure, to so short a race of glory born, The gods command me to forgive the past; Great Jove in justice should this span adorn : But let this first invasion be the last :
Honour and fame at least the Thunderer owed; For know, thy blood, when next thou darest in. And ill he pays the promise of a god, vade,
If yon proud monarch thus thy son defies,
At this they ceased : the stern debate expired : 400 Far in the deep recesses of the main,
Where aged Ocean holds his watery reign,
The goddess-mother heard. The waves divide: 470 Where near his tents his hollow vessels lay. And like a mist she rose above the tide; Meantime Atrides launch'd with numerous oars Beheld him mourning on the naked shores, A well-rigg'd ship for Chrysa's sacred shores : And thus the sorrows of his soul explores : High on the deck was fair Chryseis placed, Why grieves my son? Thy anguish let me share, And sage Ulysses with the conduct graced : Reveal the cause, and trust a parent's care.