book 1

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
So he spoke, and the old man was seized with fear and obeyed his word. He went forth in silence along the shore of the loud-resounding sea, and earnestly then, when he had gone apart, the old man prayedto the lord Apollo, whom fair-haired Leto bore: Hear me, god of the silver bow, who stand over Chryse and holy Cilla, and rule mightily over Tenedos, Sminthian god,1 if ever I roofed over a temple to your pleasing, or if ever I burned to you fat thigh-pieces of bulls and goats,fulfill this prayer for me: let the Danaans pay for my tears by your arrows So he spoke in prayer, and Phoebus Apollo heard him. Down from the peaks of Olympus he strode, angered at heart, bearing on his shoulders his bow and covered quiver.The arrows rattled on the shoulders of the angry god as he moved, and his coming was like the night. Then he sat down apart from the ships and let fly an arrow: terrible was the twang of the silver bow. The mules he assailed first and the swift dogs,but then on the men themselves he let fly his stinging shafts, and struck; and constantly the pyres of the dead burned thick. For nine days the missiles of the god ranged among the host, but on the tenth Achilles called the people to assembly, for the goddess, white-armed Hera, had put it in his heart,since she pitied the Danaans, when she saw them dying. When they were assembled and gathered together, among them arose and spoke swift-footed Achilles: Son of Atreus, now I think we shall return home, beaten back again, should we even escape death,if war and pestilence alike are to ravage the Achaeans. But come, let us ask some seer or priest, or some reader of dreams—for a dream too is from Zeus—who might say why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, whether he finds fault with a vow or a hecatomb;in hope that he may accept the savour of lambs and unblemished goats, and be willing to ward off the pestilence from us.
When he had thus spoken he sat down, and among them arose Calchas son of Thestor, far the best of bird-diviners, who knew the things that were, and that were to be, and that had been before,and who had guided the ships of the Achaeans to Ilios by his own prophetic powers which Phoebus Apollo had bestowed upon him. He with good intent addressed the gathering, and spoke among them: Achilles, dear to Zeus, you bid me declare the wrath of Apollo, the lord who strikes from afar.Therefore I will speak; but take thought and swear that you will readily defend me with word and with might of hand; for I think I shall anger a man who rules mightily over all the Argives, and whom the Achaeans obey. For mightier is a king, when he is angry at a lesser man.Even if he swallows down his wrath for that day, yet afterwards he cherishes resentment in his heart till he brings it to fulfillment. Say then, if you will keep me safe. In answer to him spoke swift-footed Achilles: Take heart, and speak out whatever oracle you know;for by Apollo, dear to Zeus, to whom you, Calchas, pray when you reveal oracles to the Danaans, no one, while I live and have sight on the earth, shall lay heavy hands on you beside the hollow ships, no one of the whole host of the Danaans,not even if you name Agamemnon, who now claims to be far the best of the Achaeans.
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
In answer to him spoke lord Agamemnon: Do not thus, mighty though you are, godlike Achilles, seek to deceive me with your wit; for you will not get by me nor persuade me. Are you willing, so that your yourself may keep your prize, for me to sit here idly in want, while you order me to give her back? No, if the great-hearted Achaeans give me a prize,suiting it to my mind, so that it will be worth just as much—but if they do not, I myself will come and take your prize, or that of Aias, or that of Odysseus I will seize and bear away. Angry will he be, to whomever I come. But these things we will consider hereafter.Let us now drag a black ship to the shining sea, and quickly gather suitable rowers into it, and place on board a hecatomb, and embark on it the fair-cheeked daughter of Chryses herself. Let one prudent man be its commander, either Aias, or Idomeneus, or brilliant Odysseus,or you, son of Peleus, of all men most extreme, so that on our behalf you may propitiate the god who strikes from afar by offering sacrifice. Glaring from beneath his brows spoke to him swift-footed Achilles: Ah me, clothed in shamelessness, thinking of profit, how shall any man of the Achaeans obey your words with a ready hearteither to go on a journey or to fight against men with force? It was not on account of the Trojan spearmen that I came here to fight, since they have done no wrong to me. Never have they driven off my cattle or my horses, nor ever in deep-soiled Phthia, nurse of men,did they lay waste the harvest, for many things lie between us—shadowy mountains and sounding sea. But you, shameless one, we followed, so that you might rejoice, seeking to win recompense for Menelaus and for yourself, dog-face, from the Trojans. This you disregard, and take no heed of.And now you threaten that you will yourself take my prize away from me, for which I toiled so much, which the sons of the Achaeans gave to me. Never have I prize like yours, whenever the Achaeans sack a well-inhabited citadel of the Trojans. The brunt of furious battledo my hands undertake, but if ever an apportionment comes, your prize is far greater, while small but dear is the reward I take to my ships, when I have worn myself out in the fighting. Now I will go back to Phthia, since it is far better to return home with my beaked ships, nor do I intendwhile I am here dishonoured to pile up riches and wealth for you.
Then the king of men, Agamemnon, answered him: Flee then, if your heart urges you; I do not beg you to remain for my sake. With me are others who will honour me, and above all Zeus, the lord of counsel.Most hateful to me are you of all the kings that Zeus nurtures, for always strife is dear to you, and wars and battles. If you are very strong, it was a god, I think, who gave you this gift. Go home with your ships and your companions and lord it over the Myrmidons; for you I care not,nor take heed of your wrath. But I will threaten you thus: as Phoebus Apollo takes from me the daughter of Chryses, her with my ship and my companions I will send back, but I will myself come to your tent and take the fair-cheeked Briseis, your prize, so that you will understandhow much mightier I am than you, and another may shrink from declaring himself my equal and likening himself to me to my face. So he spoke. Grief came upon the son of Peleus, and within his shaggy breast his heart was divided, whether he should draw his sharp sword from beside his thigh,and break up the assembly, and slay the son of Atreus, or stay his anger and curb his spirit. While he pondered this in mind and heart, and was drawing from its sheath his great sword, Athene came from heaven. The white-armed goddess Hera had sent her forth,for in her heart she loved and cared for both men alike. She stood behind him, and seized the son of Peleus by his fair hair, appearing to him alone. No one of the others saw her. Achilles was seized with wonder, and turned around, and immediately recognized Pallas Athene. Terribly her eyes shone.Then he addressed her with winged words, and said: Why now, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, have you come? Is it so that you might see the arrogance of Agamemnon, son of Atreus? One thing I will tell you, and I think this will be brought to pass: through his own excessive pride shall he presently lose his life.
Him then the goddess, bright-eyed Athene, answered: I have come from heaven to stay your anger, if you will obey, The goddess white-armed Hera sent me forth, for in her heart she loves and cares for both of you. But come, cease from strife, and do not grasp the sword with your hand.With words indeed taunt him, telling him how it shall be.1 For thus will I speak, and this thing shall truly be brought to pass. Hereafter three times as many glorious gifts shall be yours on account of this arrogance. But refrain, and obey us. In answer to her spoke swift-footed Achilles: It is necessary, goddess, to observe the words of you two, however angered a man be in his heart, for is it better so. Whoever obeys the gods, to him do they gladly give ear. He spoke, and stayed his heavy hand on the silver hilt, and back into its sheath thrust the great sword, and did not disobeythe word of Athene. She returned to Olympus to the palace of aegis-bearing Zeus, to join the company of the other gods. But the son of Peleus again addressed with violent words the son of Atreus, and in no way ceased from his wrath: Heavy with wine, with the face of a dog but the heart of a deer,never have you had courage to arm for battle along with your people, or go forth to an ambush with the chiefs of the Achaeans. That seems to you even as death. Indeed it is far better throughout the wide camp of the Achaeans to deprive of his prize whoever speaks contrary to you.People-devouring king, since you rule over nobodies; else, son of Atreus, this would be your last piece of insolence. But I will speak out to you, and will swear thereto a mighty oath: by this staff, that shall never more put forth leaves or shoots since first it left its stump among the mountains,nor shall it again grow green, for the bronze has stripped it on all sides of leaves and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans carry it in their hands when they act as judges, those who guard the ordinances that come from Zeus; and this shall be for you a mighty oath. Surely some day a longing for Achilles will come upon the sons of the Achaeansone and all, and on that day you will not be able to help them at all, for all your grief, when many shall fall dying before man-slaying Hector. But you will gnaw the heart within you, in anger that you did no honour to the best of the Achaeans.
So spoke the son of Peleus, and down to the earth he dashedthe staff studded with golden nails, and himself sat down, while over against him the son of Atreus continued to vent his wrath. Then among them arose Nestor, sweet of speech, the clear-voiced orator of the Pylians, from whose tongue flowed speech sweeter than honey. Two generations of mortal men had passed away in his lifetime,who had been born and reared with him before in sacred Pylos, and he was king among the third. He with good intent addressed the gathering and spoke among them: Comrades, great grief has come upon the land of Achaea. Truly would Priam and the sons of Priamrejoice, and the rest of the Trojans would be most glad at heart, were they to hear all this of you two quarrelling, you who are chief among the Danaans in counsel and chief in war. Listen to me, for you are both younger than I. In earlier times I moved among men more warlike than you,and never did they despise me. Such warriors have I never since seen, nor shall I see, as Peirithous was and Dryas, shepherd of the people, and Caeneus and Exadius and godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus, son of Aegeus, a man like the immortals.Mightiest were these of men reared upon the earth; mightiest were they, and with the mightiest they fought, the mountain-dwelling centaurs, and they destroyed them terribly. With these men I had fellowship, when I came from Pylos, from a distant land far away; for they themselves called me.And I fought on my own;1 with those men could no one fight of the mortals now upon the earth. Yes, and they listened to my counsel, and obeyed my words. So also should you obey, since to obey is better. Neither do you, mighty though you are, take away the girl,but let her be, as the sons of the Achaeans first gave her to him as a prize; nor do you, son of Peleus, be minded to strive with a king, might against might, for it is no common honour that is the portion of a sceptre-holding king, to whom Zeus gives glory. If you are a stronger fighter, and a goddess mother bore you,yet he is the mightier, since he is king over more. Son of Atreus, check your rage. Indeed, I beg you to let go your anger against Achilles, who is for all the Achaeans a mighty bulwark in evil war.
In answer to him spoke lord Agamemnon: All these things, old man, to be sure, you have spoken as is right. But this man wishes to be above all others; over all he wishes to rule and over all to be king, and to all to give orders; in this, I think, there is someone who will not obey. If the gods who exist for ever made him a spearman,do they therefore license him1 to keep uttering insults? Brilliant Achilles broke in upon him and replied: Surely I would be called cowardly and of no account, if I am to yield to you in every matter that you say. On others lay these commands, but do not give orders to me,for I do not think I shall obey you any longer. And another thing I will tell you, and take it to heart: with my hands I will not fight for the girl's sake either with you nor with any other, since you are taking away what you have given. But of all else that is mine by my swift black ship,nothing will you take or carry away against my will. Come, just try, so that these too may know: forthwith will your dark blood flow forth about my spear. So when the two had made an end of contending with violent words, they rose, and broke up the gathering beside the ships of the Achaeans.The son of Peleus went his way to his huts and his balanced ships together with the son of Menoetius, and with his men; but the son of Atreus launched a swift ship on the sea, and chose for it twenty rowers, and drove on board a hecatomb for the god, and brought the fair-cheeked daughter of Chryses and set her in the ship;and Odysseus of many wiles went on board to take command.
So these embarked and sailed over the watery ways; but the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves. And they purified themselves, and cast the defilement into the sea, and offered to Apollo perfect hecatombsof bulls and goats by the shore of the barren1 sea; and the savour thereof went up to heaven, eddying amid the smoke. Thus were they busied throughout the camp; but Agamemnon did not cease from the strife with which he had first threatened Achilles, but called to Talthybius and Eurybates,who were his heralds and ready squires: Go to the hut of Achilles, Peleus' son, and take by the hand the fair-cheeked Briseis, and lead her hither; and if he give her not, I will myself go with a larger company and take her; that will be even the worse for him. So saying he sent them forth, and laid upon them a stern command. Unwilling went the two along the shore of the barren sea, and came to the tents and the ships of the Myrmidons. Him they found sitting beside his tent and his black ship; and Achilles was not glad at sight of them.The two, seized with dread and in awe of the king, stood, and spoke no word to him, nor made question; but he knew in his heart, and spoke: Hail, heralds, messengers of Zeus and men, draw near. It is not you who are guilty in my sight, but Agamemnon,who sent you forth for the sake of the girl, Briseis. But come, Patroclus, sprung from Zeus, bring forth the girl, and give her to them to lead away. However, let these two themselves be witnesses before the blessed gods and mortal men, and before him, that ruthless king, if hereafterthere shall be need of me to ward off shameful ruin from the host. Truly he rages with baneful mind, and knows not at all to look both before and after, that his Achaeans might wage war in safety beside their ships.
So he spoke, and Patroclus obeyed his dear comrade,and led forth from the hut the fair-cheeked Briseis, and gave her to them to lead away. So the two went back beside the ships of the Achaeans, and with them, all unwilling, went the woman. But Achilles burst into tears, and withdrew apart from his comrades, and sat down on the shore of the grey sea, looking forth over the wine-dark deep.Earnestly he prayed to his dear mother with hands outstretched: Mother, since you bore me, though to so brief a span of life, honour surely ought the Olympian to have given into my hands, Zeus who thunders on high; but now he has honoured me not a bit. Truly the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnonhas dishonoured me: for he has taken and keeps my prize through his own arrogant act. So he spoke, weeping, and his lady mother heard him, as she sat in the depths of the sea beside the old man, her father. And speedily she came forth from the grey sea like a mist, and sat down before him, as he wept,and she stroked him with her hand, and spoke to him, and called him by name: My child, why do you weep? What sorrow has come upon your heart? Speak out; hide it not in your mind, that we both may know. Then with heavy moaning spoke swift-footed Achilles to her: You know. Why then should I tell the tale to you who knows all?We went forth to Thebe, the sacred city of Eetion, and laid it waste, and brought here all the spoil. This the sons of the Achaeans divided properly among themselves, but for the son of Atreus they chose out the fair-cheeked daughter of Chryses. However, Chryses, priest of Apollo, who strikes from afar,came to the swift ships of the bronze-clad Achaeans, to free his daughter, bearing ransom past counting, and in his hands he held the wreaths of Apollo who strikes from afar, on a staff of gold, and he implored all the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus, marshallers of the people.Then all the rest of the Achaeans shouted assent, to reverence the priest and accept the glorious ransom; yet the thing did not please the heart of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, but he sent him away harshly, and laid upon him a stern command. So the old man went back again in anger; and Apolloheard his prayer, for he was very dear to him, and sent against the Argives an evil shaft. Then the people began to die thick and fast, and the shafts of the god ranged everywhere throughout the wide camp of the Achaeans. But to us the prophet with sure knowledge declared the oracles of the god who strikes from afar.
Forthwith, then, I first bade propitiate the god, but thereafter anger seized the son of Atreus, and straightway he arose and spoke a threatening word, which now has come to pass. For the quick-glancing Achaeans are taking the maiden in a swift ship to Chryse, and are bearing gifts to the god;while the other woman the heralds have just now taken from my tent and led away, the daughter of Briseus, whom the sons of the Achaeans gave me. But, you, if you are able, guard your own son; go to Olympus and make prayer to Zeus, if ever you have gladdened his heart by word or deed.For often I have heard you glorying in the halls of my father, and declaring that you alone among the immortals warded off shameful ruin from the son of Cronos, lord of the dark clouds, on the day when the other Olympians wished to put him in bonds, even Hera and Poseidon and Pallas Athene.But you came, goddess, and freed him from his bonds, when you had quickly called to high Olympus him of the hundred hands, whom the gods call Briareus, but all men Aegaeon; for he is mightier than his father.1 He sat down by the side of the son of Cronos, exulting in his glory,and the blessed gods were seized with fear of him, and did not bind Zeus. Bring this now to his remembrance, and sit by his side, and clasp his knees, in hope that he might perhaps wish to succour the Trojans, and for those others, the Achaeans, to pen them in among the sterns of their ships and around the sea as they are slain, so that they may all have profit of their king,and that the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon may know his blindness in that he did no honour to the best of the Achaeans. Then Thetis answered him as she wept: Ah me, my child, why did I rear you, cursed in my child-bearing? Would that it had been your lot to remain by your ships without tears and without grief,since your span of life is brief and endures no long time; but now you are doomed to a speedy death and are laden with sorrow above all men; therefore to an evil fate I bore you in our halls. Yet in order to tell this your word to Zeus who delights in the thunderbolt I will myself go to snowy Olympus, in hope that he may be persuaded.But remain by your swift, sea-faring ships, and continue your wrath against the Achaeans, and refrain utterly from battle; for Zeus went yesterday to Oceanus, to the blameless Ethiopians for a feast, and all the gods followed with him; but on the twelfth day he will come back again to Olympus,and then will I go to the house of Zeus with threshold of bronze, and will clasp his knees in prayer, and I think I shall win him.
So saying, she went her way and left him where he was, angry at heart for the fair-girdled woman's sake, whom they had taken from him by force though he was unwilling; and meanwhile Odysseuscame to Chryse bringing the holy hecatomb. When they had arrived within the deep harbour, they furled the sail, and stowed it in the black ship, and the mast they lowered by the forestays and brought it to the crutch with speed, and rowed her with oars to the place of anchorage.Then they cast out the mooring-stones and made fast the stern cables, and themselves went forth upon the shore of the sea. They brought forth the hecatomb for Apollo, who strikes from afar, and forth stepped also the daughter of Chryses from the sea-faring ship. Her then did Odysseus of many wiles lead to the altar,and place in the arms of her dear father, saying to him: Chryses, Agamemnon, king of men, sent me forth to bring to you your daughter, and to offer to Phoebus a holy hecatomb on the Danaans' behalf, that therewith we may propitiate the lord, who has now brought upon the Argives woeful lamentation. So saying he placed her in his arms, and he joyfully took his dear child; but they made haste to set in array for the god the holy hecatomb around the well-built altar, and then they washed their hands and took up the barley grains. Then Chryses lifted up his hands, and prayed aloud for them: Hear me, god of the silver bow, who stands over Chryse and holy Cilla, and rules mightily over Tenedos. As before you heard me when I prayed—to me you did honour, and mightily smote the host of the Achaeans—even so now fulfill me this my desire:ward off now from the Danaans the loathly pestilence.
So he spoke in prayer, and Phoebus Apollo heard him. Then, when they had prayed, and had sprinkled the barley grains, they first drew back the victims' heads, and cut their throats, and flayed them, and cut out the thighs and covered themwith a double layer of fat, and laid raw flesh thereon. And the old man burned them on stakes of wood, and made libation over them of gleaming wine; and beside him the young men held in their hands the five-pronged forks. But when the thigh-pieces were wholly burned, and they had tasted the entrails, they cut up the rest and spitted it,and roasted it carefully, and drew all off the spits. Then, when they had ceased from their labour and had made ready the meal, they feasted, nor did their hearts lack anything of the equal feast. But when they had put from them the desire for food and drink, the youths filled the bowls brim full of drinkand served out to all, first pouring drops for libation into the cups. So the whole day long they sought to appease the god with song, singing the beautiful paean, the sons of the Achaeans, hymning the god who works from afar; and his heart was glad, as he heard. But when the sun set and darkness came on,they lay down to rest by the stern cables of the ship, and as soon as early rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, then they set sail for the wide camp of the Achaeans. And Apollo, who works from afar, sent them a favouring wind, and they set up the mast and spread the white sail.So the wind filled the belly of the sail, and the dark wave sang loudly about the stem of the ship, as she went, and she sped over the wave, accomplishing her way. But when they came to the wide camp of the Achaeans, they drew the black ship up on the shore,high upon the sands, and set in line the long props beneath, and themselves scattered among the tents and ships. But he in his wrath sat beside his swift-faring ships, the Zeus-sprung son of Peleus, swift-footed Achilles. Never did he go forth to the place of gathering, where men win glory,nor ever to war, but wasted away his own heart, as he tarried where he was; and he longed for the war-cry and the battle.
Now when the twelfth morning thereafter had come, then into Olympus came the gods who are for ever, all in one company, and Zeus led the way. And Thetis did not forget the behestof her son, but rose up from the wave of the sea, and at early morning went up to great heaven and Olympus. There she found the far-seeing son of Cronos sitting apart from the rest upon the topmost peak of many-ridged Olympus. So she sat down before him, and clasped his kneeswith her left hand, while with her right she touched him beneath the chin, and she spoke in prayer to king Zeus, son of Cronos: Father Zeus, if ever amid the immortals I gave you aid by word or deed, grant me this prayer: do honour to my son, who is doomed to a speedy death beyond all other men;yet now Agamemnon, king of men, has dishonoured him, for he has taken and keeps his prize by his own arrogant act. But honour him, Olympian Zeus, lord of counsel; and give might to the Trojans, until the Achaeans do honour to my son, and magnify him with recompense. So she spoke; but Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, spoke no word to her, but sat a long time in silence. Yet Thetis, even as she had clasped his knees, so held to him, clinging close, and questioned him again a second time: Give me your infallible promise, and bow your head to it, or else deny me, for there is nothing to make you afraid; so that I may know wellhow far I among all the gods am honoured the least. Then, greatly troubled, Zeus, the cloud-gatherer spoke to her: Surely this will be sorry work, since you will set me on to engage in strife with Hera, when she shall anger me with taunting words. Even now she always upbraids me among the immortal gods,and declares that I give aid to the Trojans in battle. But for the present, depart again, lest Hera note something; and I will take thought for these things to bring all to pass. Come, I will bow my head to you, that thou may be certain, for this from me is the surest token among the immortals;no word of mine may be recalled, nor is false, nor unfulfilled, to which I bow my head. The son of Cronos spoke, and bowed his dark brow in assent, and the ambrosial locks waved from the king's immortal head; and he made great Olympus quake.
When the two had taken counsel together in this way, they parted; she leapt straightway into the deep sea from gleaming Olympus, and Zeus went to his own palace. All the gods together rose from their seats before the face of their father; no one dared to await his coming, but they all rose up before him.So he sat down there upon his throne; but Hera saw, and failed not to note how silver-footed Thetis, daughter of the old man of the sea, had taken counsel with him. Forthwith then she spoke to Zeus, son of Cronos, with mocking words: Who of the gods, crafty one, has now again taken counsel with you?Always is it your pleasure to hold aloof from me, and to give judgments which you have pondered in secret, nor have you ever brought yourself with a ready heart to declare to me the matter which you devise. In answer to her spoke the father of men and gods: Hera, do not hope to know all my words:hard will they prove for you, though you are my wife. Whatever it is fitting for you to hear, this none other shall know before you, whether of gods or men; but what I wish to devise apart from the gods, of all this do not in any way inquire nor ask. In answer to him spoke the ox-eyed lady Hera: Most dread son of Cronos, what a word you have said! Truly, in the past I have not been accustomed to inquire nor ask you, but at your ease you devise all things whatever you wish. But now I have wondrous dread at heart, lestsilver-footed Thetis, daughter of the old man of the sea, have beguiled you; for at early dawn she sat by you and clasped your knees. To her, I think, you bowed your head in sure token that you will honour Achilles, and bring many to death beside the ships of the Achaeans. Then in answer to her spoke Zeus, the cloud-gatherer: Strange one,1 you are always suspecting, and I do not escape you; yet you shall be able to accomplish nothing, but shall be even further from my heart; and that shall be the worse for you. If this thing is as you say, then it must be pleasing to me. Sit down in silence, and obey my word,lest all the gods that are in Olympus avail you not against my drawing near, when I put forth upon you my irresistible hands.
He spoke, and ox-eyed lady Hera was seized with fear, and sat down in silence, curbing her heart. Then troubled were the gods of heaven throughout the palace of Zeus,and among them Hephaestus, the famed craftsman, was first to speak, doing pleasure to his dear mother, white-armed Hera: Surely this will be sorry work, that is no longer bearable, if you two are to wrangle thus for mortals' sakes, and set the gods in tumult; neither will there be any joy in the excellent feast,since worse things prevail. And I give counsel to my mother, wise though she be herself, to do pleasure to our dear father Zeus, that the father upbraid her not again, and bring confusion upon our feast. What if the Olympian, the lord of the lightning, were mindedto dash us from our seats! for he is mightiest far. But address him with gentle words; so shall the Olympian forthwith be gracious to us. So saying, he sprang up and placed in his dear mother's hand the double cup, and spoke to her: Be patient, my mother, and endure for all your grief, lest, dear as you are to me, my eyes see you stricken, and then I shall in no way be able to succour you for all my sorrow; for a hard foe is the Olympian to meet in strife. On a time before this, when I was striving to save you,he caught me by the foot and hurled me from the heavenly threshold; the whole day long I was carried headlong, and at sunset I fell in Lemnos, and but little life was in me. There the Sintian folk quickly tended me for my fall. So he spoke, and the goddess, white-armed Hera, smiled,and smiling took in her hand the cup from her son. Then he poured wine for all the other gods from left to right, drawing forth sweet nectar from the bowl. And unquenchable laughter arose among the blessed gods, as they saw Hephaestus puffing through the palace.Thus the whole day long till the setting of the sun they feasted, nor did their heart lack anything of the equal feast, nor of the beauteous lyre, that Apollo held, nor yet of the Muses, who sang, replying one to the other with sweet voices. But when the bright light of the sun was set,they went each to his own house to take their rest, where for each one a palace had been built with cunning skill by the famed Hephaestus, the limping god; and Zeus, the Olympian, lord of the lightning, went to his couch, where of old he took his rest, whenever sweet sleep came upon him.There went he up and slept, and beside him lay Hera of the golden throne.

book 2

Now all the other gods and men, lords of chariots, slumbered the whole night through, but Zeus was not holden of sweet sleep, for he was pondering in his heart how he might do honour to Achilles and lay many low beside the ships of the Achaeans. And this plan seemed to his mind the best,to send to Agamemnon, son of Atreus, a baneful dream. So he spake, and addressed him with winged words: Up, go, thou baneful Dream, unto the swift ships of the Achaeans, and when thou art come to the hut of Agamemnon, son of Atreus,tell him all my word truly, even as I charge thee. Bid him arm the long-haired Achaeans with all speed, since now he may take the broad-wayed city of the Trojans. For the immortals, that have homes upon Olympus, are no longer divided in counsel,since Hera hath Vent the minds of all by her supplication, and over the Trojans hang woes. So spake he, and the Dream went his way, when he had heard this saying. Forthwith he came to the swift ships of the Achaeans, and went his way to Agamemnon, son of Atreus, and found him sleeping in his hut, and over him was shed ambrosial slumber.So he took his stand above his head, in the likeness of the son of Neleus, even Nestor, whom above all the elders Agamemnon held in honour; likening himself to him, the Dream from heaven spake, saying: Thou sleepest, son of wise-hearted Atreus, the tamer of horses. To sleep the whole night through beseemeth not a man that is a counsellor,to whom a host is entrusted, and upon whom rest so many cares. But now, hearken thou quickly unto me, for I am a messenger to thee from Zeus, who, far away though he be, hath exceeding care for thee and pity. He biddeth thee arm the long-haired Achaeans with all speed, since now thou mayest take the broad-wayed city of the Trojans.For the immortals that have homes upon Olympus are no longer divided in counsel, since Hera hath bent the minds of all by her supplication, and over the Trojans hang woes by the will of Zeus. But do thou keep this in thy heart, nor let forgetfulness lay hold of thee, whenso honey-hearted sleep shall let thee go.
So spoke the Dream, and departed, and left him there, pondering in his heart on things that were not to be brought to pass. For in sooth he deemed that he should take the city of Priam that very day, fool that he was! seeing he knew not what deeds Zeus was purposing,who was yet to bring woes and groanings on Trojans alike and Danaans throughout the course of stubborn fights. Then he awoke from sleep, and the divine voice was ringing in his ears. He sat upright and did on his soft tunic, fair and glistering,1 and about him cast his great cloak, and beneath his shining feet he bound his fair sandals,and about his shoulders flung his silver-studded sword; and he grasped the sceptre of his fathers, imperishable ever, and therewith took his way along the ships of the brazen-coated Achaeans. Now the goddess Dawn went up to high Olympus, to announce the light to Zeus and the other immortals,but Agamemnon bade the clear-voiced heralds summon to the place of gathering the long-haired Achaeans. And they made summons, and the men gathered full quickly. But the king first made the council of the great-souled elders to sit down beside the ship of Nestor, the king Pylos-born.And when he had called them together, he contrived a cunning plan, and said: Hearken, my friends, a Dream from heaven came to me in my sleep through the ambrosial night, and most like was it to goodly Nestor, in form and in stature and in build. It took its stand above my head, and spake to me, saying:‘Thou sleepest, son of wise-hearted Atreus, the tamer of horses. To sleep the whole night through beseemeth not a man that is a counsellor, to whom a host is entrusted, and upon whom rest so many cares. But now, hearken thou quickly unto me, for I am a messenger to thee from Zeus, who, far away though he be, hath exceeding care for thee and pity.He biddeth thee arm the long-haired Achaeans with all speed, since now thou mayest take the broad-wayed city of the Trojans. For the immortals that have homes upon Olympus are no longer divided in counsel, since Hera hath bent the minds of all by her supplication, and over the Trojans hang woes by the will of Zeus.But do thou keep this in thy heart.’ So spake he, and was flown away, and sweet sleep let me go. Nay, come now, if in any wise we may, let us arm the sons of the Achaeans; but first will I make trial of them in speech, as is right, and will bid them flee with their benched ships;but do you from this side and from that bespeak them, and strive to hold them back.
So saying, he sate him down, and among them uprose Nestor, that was king of sandy Pylos. He with good intent addressed their gathering and spake among them: My friends, leaders and rulers of the Argives,were it any other of the Achaeans that told us this dream we might deem it a false thing, and turn away therefrom the more; but now hath he seen it who declares himself to be far the mightiest of the Achaeans. Nay, come then, if in any wise we may arm the sons of the Achaeans. He spake, and led the way forth from the council,and the other sceptred kings rose up thereat and obeyed the shepherd of the host; and the people the while were hastening on. Even as the tribes of thronging bees go forth from some hollow rock, ever coming on afresh, and in clusters over the flowers of spring fly in throngs, some here, some there;even so from the ships and huts before the low sea-beach marched forth in companies their many tribes to the place of gathering. And in their midst blazed forth Rumour, messenger of Zeus, urging them to go; and they were gathered.And the place of gathering was in a turmoil, and the earth groaned beneath them, as the people sate them down, and a din arose. Nine heralds with shouting sought to restrain them, if so be they might refrain from uproar and give ear to the kings, nurtured of Zeus. Hardly at the last were the people made to sit, and were stayed in their places,ceasing from their clamour. Then among them lord Agamemnon uprose, bearing in his hands the sceptre which Hephaestus had wrought with toil. Hephaestus gave it to king Zeus, son of Cronos, and Zeus gave it to the messenger Argeïphontes; and Hermes, the lord, gave it to Pelops, driver of horses,and Pelops in turn gave it to Atreus, shepherd of the host; and Atreus at his death left it to Thyestes, rich in flocks, and Thyestes again left it to Agamemnon to bear, that so he might be lord of many isles and of all Argos.
Thereon he leaned, and spake his word among the Argives: My friends, Danaan warriors, squires of Ares, great Zeus, son of Cronos, hath ensnared me in grievous blindness of heart, cruel god! seeing that of old he promised me, and bowed his head thereto, that not until I had sacked well-walled Ilios should I get me home; but now hath he planned cruel deceit, and bids me return inglorious to Argos,when I have lost much people. So, I ween, must be the good pleasure of Zeus, supreme in might, who hath laid low the heads of many cities, yea, and shall yet lay low, for his power is above all. A shameful thing is this even for the hearing of men that are yet to be,how that thus vainly so goodly and so great a host of the Achaeans warred a bootless war, and fought with men fewer than they, and no end thereof hath as yet been seen. For should we be minded, both Achaeans and Trojans, to swear a solemn oath with sacrifice, and to number ourselves,and should the Trojans be gathered together, even all they that have dwellings in the city, and we Achaeans be marshalled by tens, and choose, each company of us, a man of the Trojans to pour our wine, then would many tens lack a cup-bearer; so far, I deem, do the sons of the Achaeans outnumber the Trojans that dwell in the city.But allies there be out of many cities, men that wield the spear, who hinder me mightily, and for all that I am fain, suffer me not to sack the well-peopled citadel of Ilios. Already have nine years of great Zeus gone by,and lo, our ships' timbers are rotted, and the tackling loosed; and our wives, I ween, and little children sit in our halls awaiting us; yet is our task wholly unaccomplished in furtherance whereof we came hither. Nay, come, even as I shall bid, let us all obey:let us flee with our ships to our dear native land; for no more is there hope that we shall take broad-wayed Troy. So spake he, and roused the hearts in the breasts of all throughout the multitude, as many as had not heard the council. And the gathering was stirred like the long sea-waves of the Icarian main,which the East Wind or the South Wind has raised, rushing upon them from the clouds of father Zeus. And even as when the West Wind at its coming stirreth a deep cornfield with its violent blast, and the ears bow thereunder, even so was all their gathering stirred, and they with loud shouting rushed towards the ships;and from beneath their feet the dust arose on high. And they called each one to his fellow to lay hold of the ships and draw them into the bright sea, and they set themselves to clear the launching-ways, and their shouting went up to heaven, so fain were they of their return home; and they began to take the props from beneath the ships.
Then would the Argives have accomplished their return even beyond what was ordained, had not Hera spoken a word to Athena, saying: Out upon it, child of Zeus that beareth the aegis, unwearied one! Is it thus indeed that the Argives are to flee to their dear native land over the broad back of the sea?Aye, and they would leave to Priam and the Trojans their boast, even Argive Helen, for whose sake many an Achaean hath perished in Troy, far from his dear native land. But go thou now throughout the host of the brazen-coated Achaeans; with thy gentle words seek thou to restrain every man,neither suffer them to draw into the sea their curved ships. So spake she, and the goddess, flashing-eyed Athene, failed not to hearken. Down from the peaks of Olympus she went darting, and speedily came to the swift ships of the Achaeans. There she found Odysseus, the peer of Zeus in counsel,as he stood. He laid no hand upon his benched, black ship, for that grief had come upon his heart and soul; and flashing-eyed Athene stood near him, and said: Son of Laërtes, sprung from Zeus, Odysseus of many wiles, is it thus indeed that ye will fling yourselveson your benched ships to flee to your dear native land? Aye, and ye would leave to Priam and the Trojans their boast, even Argive Helen, for whose sake many an Achaean hath perished in Troy, far from his dear native land. But go thou now throughout the host of the Achaeans, and hold thee back no more;and with thy gentle words seek thou to restrain every man, neither suffer them to draw into the sea their curved ships. So said she, and he knew the voice of the goddess as she spake, and set him to run, and cast from him his cloak, which his herald gathered up, even Eurybates of Ithaca, that waited on him.But himself he went straight to Agamemnon, son of Atreus, and received at his hand the staff of his fathers, imperishable ever, and therewith went his way along the ships of the brazen-coated Achaeans.
Whomsoever he met that was a chieftain or man of note, to his side would he come and with gentle words seek to restrain him, saying: Good Sir, it beseems not to seek to affright thee as if thou were a coward, but do thou thyself sit thee down, and make the rest of thy people to sit. For thou knowest not yet clearly what is the mind of the son of Atreus; now he does but make trial, whereas soon he will smite the sons of the Achaeans. Did we not all hear what he spake in the council?Beware lest waxing wroth he work mischief to the sons of the Achaeans. Proud is the heart of kings, fostered of heaven; for their honour is from Zeus, and Zeus, god of counsel, loveth them. But whatsoever man of the people he saw, and found brawling, him would he smite with his staff; and chide with words, saying, Fellow, sit thou still, and hearken to the words of others that are better men than thou; whereas thou art unwarlike and a weakling, neither to be counted in war nor in counsel. In no wise shall we Achaeans all be kings here. No good thing is a multitude of lords; let there be one lord,one king, to whom the son of crooked-counselling Cronos hath vouchsafed the sceptre and judgments, that he may take counsel for his people. Thus masterfully did he range through the host, and they hasted back to the place of gathering from their ships and huts with noise, as when a wave of the loud-resounding seathundereth on the long beach, and the deep roareth. Now the others sate them down and were stayed in their places, only there still kept chattering on Thersites of measureless speech, whose mind was full of great store of disorderly words, wherewith to utter revilings against the kings, idly, and in no orderly wise,but whatsoever he deemed would raise a laugh among the Argives. Evil-favoured was he beyond all men that came to Ilios: he was bandy-legged and lame in the one foot, and his two shoulders were rounded, stooping together over his chest, and above them his head was warped, and a scant stubble grew thereon.Hateful was he to Achilles above all, and to Odysseus, for it was they twain that he was wont to revile; but now again with shrill cries he uttered abuse against goodly Agamemnon. With him were the Achaeans exceeding wroth, and had indignation in their hearts.
Howbeit with loud shoutings he spake and chid Agamemnon: Son of Atreus, with what art thou now again discontent, or what lack is thine? Filled are thy huts with bronze, and women full many are in thy huts, chosen spoils that we Achaeans give thee first of all, whensoe'er we take a citadel. Or dost thou still want gold also,which some man of the horse-taming Trojans shall bring thee out of Ilios as a ransom for his son, whom I haply have bound and led away or some other of the Achaeans? Or is it some young girl for thee to know in love, whom thou wilt keep apart for thyself? Nay, it beseemeth not one that is their captain to bring to ill the sons of the Achaeans.Soft fools! base things of shame, ye women of Achaea, men no more, homeward let us go with our ships, and leave this fellow here in the land of Troy to digest his prizes, that so he may learn whether in us too there is aught of aid for him or no—for him that hath now done dishonour to Achilles, a man better far than he;for he hath taken away, and keepeth his prize by his own arrogant act. Of a surety there is naught of wrath in the heart of Achilles; nay, he heedeth not at all; else, son of Atreus, wouldest thou now work insolence for the last time. So spake Thersites, railing at Agamemnon, shepherd of the host. But quickly to his side came goodly Odysseus,and with an angry glance from beneath his brows, chid him with harsh words, saying: Thersites of reckless speech, clear-voiced talker though thou art, refrain thee, and be not minded to strive singly against kings. For I deem that there is no viler mortal than thou amongst all those that with the sons of Atreus came beneath Ilios.Wherefore 'twere well thou shouldst not take the name of kings in thy mouth as thou protest, to cast reproaches upon them, and to watch for home-going. In no wise do we know clearly as yet how these things are to be, whether it be for good or ill that we sons of the Achaeans shall return. Therefore dost thou now continually utter revilings against Atreus' son, Agamemnon, shepherd of the host,for that the Danaan warriors give him gifts full many; whereas thou pratest on with railings. But I will speak out to thee, and this word shall verily be brought to pass: if I find thee again playing the fool, even as now thou dost, then may the head of Odysseus abide no more upon his shoulders,nor may I any more be called the father of Telemachus, if I take thee not, and strip off thy raiment, thy cloak, and thy tunic that cover thy nakedness, and for thyself send thee wailing to the swift ships, beaten forth from the place of gathering with shameful blows.
So spake Odysseus, and with his staff smote his back and shoulders; and Thersites cowered down, and a big tear fell from him, and a bloody weal rose up on his back beneath the staff of gold. Then he sate him down, and fear came upon him, and stung by pain with helpless looks he wiped away the tear. But the Achaeans, sore vexed at heart though they were, broke into a merry laugh at him, and thus would one speak with a glance at his neighbour: Out upon it! verily hath Odysseus ere now wrought good deeds without number as leader in good counsel and setting battle in army, but now is this deed far the best that he hath wrought among the Argives,seeing he hath made this scurrilous babbler to cease from his prating. Never again, I ween, will his proud spirit henceforth set him on to rail at kings with words of reviling. So spake the multitude; but up rose Odysseus, sacker of cities, the sceptre in his hand, and by his side flashing-eyed Athene,in the likeness of a herald, bade the host keep silence, that the sons of the Achaeans, both the nearest and the farthest, might hear his words, and lay to heart his counsel. He with good intent addressed their gathering and spake among them: Son of Atreus, now verily are the Achaeans minded to make thee, O king,the most despised among all mortal men, nor will they fulfill the promise that they made to thee, while faring hitherward from Argos, the pasture-land of horses, that not until thou hadst sacked well-walled Ilios shouldest thou get thee home. For like little children or widow womendo they wail each to the other in longing to return home. Verily there is toil enough to make a man return disheartened. For he that abideth but one single month far from his wife in his benched ship hath vexation of heart, even he whom winter blasts and surging seas keep afar;but for us is the ninth year at its turn, while we abide here; wherefore I count it not shame that the Achaeans have vexation of heart beside their beaked ships; yet even so it is a shameful thing to tarry long, and return empty. Endure, my friends, and abide for a time, that we may knowwhether the prophecies of Calchas be true, or no.
For this in truth do we know well in our hearts, and ye are all witnesses thereto, even as many as the fates of death have not borne away. It was but as yesterday or the day before, when the ships of the Achaeans were gathering in Aulis,1 laden with woes for Priam and the Trojans;and we round about a spring were offering to the immortals upon the holy altars hecatombs that bring fulfillment, beneath a fair plane-tree from whence flowed the bright water; then appeared a great portent: a serpent, blood-red on the back, terrible, whom the Olympian himself had sent forth to the light,glided from beneath the altar and darted to the plane-tree. Now upon this were the younglings of a sparrow, tender little ones, on the topmost bough, cowering beneath the leaves, eight in all, and the mother that bare them was the ninth, Then the serpent devoured them as they twittered piteously,and the mother fluttered around them, wailing for her dear little ones; howbeit he coiled himself and caught her by the wing as she screamed about him. But when he had devoured the sparrow's little ones and the mother with them, the god, who had brought him to the light, made him to be unseen; for the son of crooked-counselling Cronos turned him to stone;and we stood there and marveled at what was wrought. So, when the dread portent brake in upon the hecatombs of the gods, then straightway did Calchas prophesy, and address our gathering, saying: 'Why are ye thus silent, ye long-haired Achaeans? To us hath Zeus the counsellor shewed this great sign,late in coming, late in fulfillment, the fame whereof shall never perish. Even as this serpent devoured the sparrow's little ones and the mother with them—the eight, and the mother that bare them was the ninth—so shall we war there for so many years, but in the tenth shall we take the broad-wayed city.' On this wise spake Calchas,and now all this is verily being brought to pass. Nay, come, abide ye all, ye well-greaved Achaeans, even where ye are, until we take the great city of Priam. So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud, and all round about them the ships echoed wondrously beneath the shouting of the Achaeans,as they praised the words of godlike Odysseus.
And there spake among them the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia: Now look you; in very truth are ye holding assembly after the manner of silly boys that care no whit for deeds of war. What then is to be the end of our compacts and our oaths?Nay, into the fire let us cast all counsels and plans of warriors, the drink-offerings of unmixed wine, and the hand-clasps wherein we put our trust. For vainly do we wrangle with words, nor can we find any device at all, for all our long-tarrying here. Son of Atreus, do thou as of old keep unbending purpose,and be leader of the Argives throughout stubborn fights; and for these, let them perish, the one or two of the Achaeans, that take secret counsel apart—yet no accomplishment shall come therefrom—to depart first to Argos or ever we have learned whether the promise of Zeus that beareth the aegis be a lie or no.For I declare that Cronos' son, supreme in might, gave promise with his nod on that day when the Argives went on board their swift-faring ships, bearing unto the Trojans death and fate; for he lightened on our right and shewed forth signs of good. Wherefore let no man make haste to depart homewards until each have lain with the wife of some Trojan,and have got him requital for his strivings and groanings for Helen's sake.1 Howbeit, if any man is exceeding fain to depart homewards, let him lay his hand upon his black, well-benched ship, that before the face of all he may meet death and fate.But do thou, O King, thyself take good counsel, and hearken to another; the word whatsoever I speak, shalt thou not lightly cast aside. Separate thy men by tribes, by clans, Agamemnon, that clan may bear aid to clan and tribe to tribe. If thou do thus, and the Achaeans obey thee,thou wilt know then who among thy captains is a coward, and who among thy men, and who too is brave; for they will fight each clan for itself.2 So shalt thou know whether it is even by the will of heaven that thou shalt not take the city, or by the cowardice of thy folk and their witlessness in war.
Then in answer to him spake the king, Agamemnon: Aye verily once more, old sir, art thou pre-eminent in speech above the sons of the Achaeans. I would, O father Zeus and Athene and Apollo, that I had ten such counsellors; then would the city of king Priam forthwith bow her head, taken and laid waste beneath our hands.But the son of Cronos, even Zeus that beareth the aegis, hath brought sorrows upon me, in that he casteth me into the midst of fruitless strifes and wranglings. For verily I and Achilles fought about a girl with violent words, and it was I that waxed wroth the first; but if e'er we shall be at one in counsel,then shall there no more be any putting off of evil for the Trojans, no not for an instant. But for this present go ye to your meal, that we may join battle. Let every man whet well his spear and bestow well his shield, and let him well give to his swift-footed horses their food, and look well to his chariot on every side, and bethink him of fighting;that the whole day through we may contend in hateful war. For of respite shall there intervene, no, not a whit, until night at its coming shall part the fury of warriors. Wet with sweat about the breast of many a man shall be the baldric of his sheltering shield, and about the spear shall his hand grow weary,and wet with sweat shall a man's horse be, as he tugs at the polished car. But whomsoever I shall see minded to tarry apart from the fight beside the beaked ships, for him shall there be no hope thereafter to escape the dogs and birds. So spake he, and the Argives shouted aloud as a wave against a high headland,when the South Wind cometh and maketh it to swell—even against a jutting crag that is never left by the waves of all the winds that come from this side or from that. And they arose and hasted to scatter among the ships, and made fires in the huts, and took their meal.And they made sacrifice one to one of the gods that are for ever, and one to another, with the prayer that they might escape from death and the toil of war. But Agamemnon, king of men, slew a fat bull of five years to the son of Cronos, supreme in might, and let call the elders, the chieftains of the Achaean host,Nestor, first of all, and king Idomeneus, and thereafter the twain Aiantes and the son of Tydeus, and as the sixth Odysseus, the peer of Zeus in counsel. And unbidden came to him Menelaus, good at the war-cry,1 for he knew in his heart wherewith his brother was busied.About the bull they stood and took up the barley grains, and in prayer lord Agamemnon spake among them, saying. Zeus, most glorious, most great, lord of the dark clouds, that dwellest in the heaven, grant that the sun set not, neither darkness come upon us, until I have cast down in headlong ruin the hall of Priam, blackened with smoke,and have burned with consuming fire the portals thereof, and cloven about the breast of Hector his tunic, rent with the bronze; and in throngs may his comrades round about him fall headlong in the dust, and bite the earth.
So spake he; but not as yet would the son of Cronos grant him fulfillment;nay, he accepted the sacrifice, but toil he made to wax unceasingly. Then, when they had prayed and had sprinkled the barley grains, they first drew back the victims' heads and cut their throats, and flayed them; and they cut out the thigh-pieces and covered them with a double layer of fat, and laid raw flesh thereon.These they burned on billets of wood stripped of leaves, and the inner parts they pierced with spits, and held them over the flame of Hephaestus. But when the thigh-pieces were wholly burned and they had tasted of the inner parts, they cut up the rest and spitted it, and roasted it carefully, and drew all off the spits.Then, when they had ceased from their labour and had made ready the meal, they feasted, nor did their hearts lack aught of the equal feast. But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, among them the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia, was first to speak, saying: Most glorious son of Atreus, Agamemnon, king of men,let us now not any more remain gathered here, nor any more put off the work which verily the god vouchsafeth us. Nay, come, let the heralds of the brazen-coated Achaeans make proclamation, and gather together the host throughout the ships, and let us go thus in a body through the broad camp of the Achaeans,that we may with the more speed stir up sharp battle. So spake he, and the king of men, Agamemnon, failed not to hearken. Straightway he bade the clear-voiced heralds summon to battle the long-haired Achaeans. And they made summons, and the host gathered full quickly.The kings, nurtured of Zeus, that were about Atreus' son, sped swiftly, marshalling the host, and in their midst was the flashing-eyed Athene, bearing the priceless aegis, that knoweth neither age nor death, wherefrom are hung an hundred tassels all of gold, all of them cunningly woven, and each one of the worth of an hundred oxen.Therewith she sped dazzling throughout the host of the Achaeans, urging them to go forth; and in the heart of each man she roused strength to war and to battle without ceasing. And to them forthwith war became sweeter than to return in their hollow ships to their dear native land. Even as a consuming fire maketh a boundless forest to blaze on the peaks of a mountain, and from afar is the glare thereof to be seen, even so from their innumerable bronze, as they marched forth, went the dazzling gleam up through the sky unto the heavens.
And as the many tribes of winged fowl,wild geese or cranes or long-necked swans on the Asian mead by the streams of Caystrius, fly this way and that, glorying in their strength of wing, and with loud cries settle ever onwards,1 and the mead resoundeth; even so their many tribes poured forth from ships and hutsinto the plain of Scamander, and the earth echoed wondrously beneath the tread of men and horses. So they took their stand in the flowery mead of Scamander, numberless, as are the leaves and the flowers in their season. Even as the many tribes of swarming fliesthat buzz to and fro throughout the herdsman's farmstead in the season of spring, when the milk drenches the pails, even in such numbers stood the long-haired Achaeans upon the plain in the face of the men of Troy, eager to rend them asunder. And even as goatherds separate easily the wide-scattered flocks of goats,when they mingle in the pasture, so did their leaders marshal them on this side and on that to enter into the battle, and among them lord Agamemnon, his eyes and head like unto Zeus that hurleth the thunderbolt, his waist like unto Ares, and his breast unto Poseidon.Even as a bull among the herd stands forth far the chiefest over all, for that he is pre-eminent among the gathering kine, even such did Zeus make Agamemnon on that day, pre-eminent among many, and chiefest amid warriors. Tell me now, ye Muses that have dwellings on Olympus—for ye are goddesses and are at hand and know all things, whereas we hear but a rumour and know not anything—who were the captains of the Danaans and their lords. But the common folk I could not tell nor name, nay, not though ten tongues were mine and ten mouthsand a voice unwearying, and though the heart within me were of bronze, did not the Muses of Olympus, daughters of Zeus that beareth the aegis, call to my mind all them that came beneath Ilios. Now will I tell the captains of the ships and the ships in their order.1Of the Boeotians Peneleos and Leïtus were captains,and Arcesilaus and Prothoënor and Clonius; these were they that dwelt in Hyria and rocky Aulis and Schoenus and Scolus and Eteonus with its many ridges, Thespeia, Graea, and spacious Mycalessus; and that dwelt about Harma and Eilesium and Erythrae;and that held Eleon and Hyle and Peteon, Ocalea and Medeon, the well-built citadel, Copae, Eutresis, and Thisbe, the haunt of doves; that dwelt in Coroneia and grassy Haliartus, and that held Plataea and dwelt in Glisas;that held lower Thebe, the well-built citadel, and holy Onchestus, the bright grove of Poseidon; and that held Arne, rich in vines, and Mideia and sacred Nisa and Anthedon on the seaboard. Of these there came fifty ships, and on board of eachwent young men of the Boeotians an hundred and twenty.