Monday, February 22, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 13

by Homer

With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on
the ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was
beginning fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then
uprose smooth-tongued Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians,
and the words fell from his lips sweeter than honey. Two
generations of men born and bred in Pylos had passed away under
his rule, and he was now reigning over the third. With all
sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Of a truth," he said, "a great sorrow has befallen the Achaean
land. Surely Priam with his sons would rejoice, and the Trojans
be glad at heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two,
who are so excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either
of you; therefore be guided by me. Moreover I have been the
familiar friend of men even greater than you are, and they did
not disregard my counsels. Never again can I behold such men as
Pirithous and Dryas shepherd of his people, or as Caeneus,
Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus son of Aegeus, peer of
the immortals. These were the mightiest men ever born upon this
earth: mightiest were they, and when they fought the fiercest
tribes of mountain savages they utterly overthrew them.

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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