Monday, February 15, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 12

by Homer

But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus,
for he was still in a rage. "Wine-bibber," he cried, "with the
face of a dog and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out
with the host in fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade.
You shun this as you do death itself. You had rather go round and
rob his prizes from any man who contradicts you. You devour your
people, for you are king over a feeble folk; otherwise, son of
Atreus, henceforward you would insult no man. Therefore I say,
and swear it with a great oath--nay, by this my sceptre which
shalt sprout neither leaf nor shoot, nor bud anew from the day on
which it left its parent stem upon the mountains--for the axe
stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans
bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of heaven--so
surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall look
fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your
distress, when your men fall dying by the murderous hand of
Hector, you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your
heart with rage for the hour when you offered insult to the
bravest of the Achaeans."

Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

More About This Book

From the earliest days of Ancient Greece, the author(s) of this poem were contemporaries of the writers of the Bible's Old Testament.

Summary of First Book: The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles--Achilles withdraws from the war, and sends his mother Thetis to ask Jove to help the Trojans--Scene between Jove and Juno on Olympus.

Painting: The Wrath of Achilles by Michael Drolling, 1819.

More information here:
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