Monday, March 22, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 17

by Homer

They stood fearfully and reverently before him, and never a
word did they speak, but he knew them and said, "Welcome,
heralds, messengers of gods and men; draw near; my quarrel is not
with you but with Agamemnon who has sent you for the girl
Briseis. Therefore, Patroclus, bring her and give her to them,
but let them be witnesses by the blessed gods, by mortal men, and
by the fierceness of Agamemnon's anger, that if ever again there
be need of me to save the people from ruin, they shall seek and
they shall not find. Agamemnon is mad with rage and knows not how
to look before and after that the Achaeans may fight by their
ships in safety."

Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him. He brought
Briseis from the tent and gave her over to the heralds, who took
her with them to the ships of the Achaeans--and the woman was
loth to go. Then Achilles went all alone by the side of the hoar
sea, weeping and looking out upon the boundless waste of waters.
He raised his hands in prayer to his immortal mother, "Mother,"
he cried, "you bore me doomed to live but for a little season;
surely Jove, who thunders from Olympus, might have made that
little glorious. It is not so. Agamemnon, son of Atreus, has done
me dishonour, and has robbed me of my prize by force."

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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