Monday, April 12, 2010

The Illiad - Book One - 20

by Homer

Thetis wept and answered, "My son, woe is me that I should have
borne or suckled you. Would indeed that you had lived your span
free from all sorrow at your ships, for it is all too brief;
alas, that you should be at once short of life and long of sorrow
above your peers: woe, therefore, was the hour in which I bore
you; nevertheless I will go to the snowy heights of Olympus, and
tell this tale to Jove, if he will hear our prayer: meanwhile
stay where you are with your ships, nurse your anger against the
Achaeans, and hold aloof from fight. For Jove went yesterday to
Oceanus, to a feast among the Ethiopians, and the other gods went
with him. He will return to Olympus twelve days hence; I will
then go to his mansion paved with bronze and will beseech him;
nor do I doubt that I shall be able to persuade him."

On this she left him, still furious at the loss of her that had
been taken from him. Meanwhile Ulysses reached Chryse with the
hecatomb. When they had come inside the harbour they furled the
sails and laid them in the ship's hold; they slackened the
forestays, lowered the mast into its place, and rowed the ship to
the place where they would have her lie; there they cast out
their mooring-stones and made fast the hawsers. They then got out
upon the sea-shore and landed the hecatomb for Apollo; Chryseis
also left the ship, and Ulysses led her to the altar to deliver
her into the hands of her father. "Chryses," said he, "King
Agamemnon has sent me to bring you back your child, and to offer
sacrifice to Apollo on behalf of the Danaans, that we may
propitiate the god, who has now brought sorrow upon the Argives."

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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