Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus’
His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woes
Caused to Achaia’s host, sent many a soul
Illustrious into Ades premature,
And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove) 5
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey,
When fierce dispute had separated once
The noble Chief Achilles from the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, King of men.
Who them to strife impell’d? What power divine? 10
Latona’s son and Jove’s. For he, incensed
Against the King, a foul contagion raised
In all the host, and multitudes destroy’d,
For that the son of Atreus had his priest
Dishonored, Chryses. To the fleet he came 15
Bearing rich ransom glorious to redeem
His daughter, and his hands charged with the wreath
And golden sceptre of the God shaft-arm’d.
His supplication was at large to all
The host of Greece, but most of all to two, 20
The sons of Atreus, highest in command.
Ye gallant Chiefs, and ye their gallant host,
(So may the Gods who in Olympus dwell
Give Priam’s treasures to you for a spoil
And ye return in safety,) take my gifts 25
And loose my child, in honor of the son
Of Jove, Apollo, archer of the skies.
At once the voice of all was to respect
The priest, and to accept the bounteous price;
But so it pleased not Atreus’ mighty son, 30
Who with rude threatenings stern him thence dismiss’d.
Beware, old man! that at these hollow barks
I find thee not now lingering, or henceforth
Returning, lest the garland of thy God
And his bright sceptre should avail thee nought. 35
I will not loose thy daughter, till old age
Steal on her. From her native country far,
In Argos, in my palace, she shall ply
The loom, and shall be partner of my bed.
Move me no more. Begone; hence while thou may’st. 40
He spake, the old priest trembled and obey’d.
Forlorn he roamed the ocean’s sounding shore,
And, solitary, with much prayer his King
Bright-hair’d Latona’s son, Phoebus, implored.
God of the silver bow, who with thy power 45
Encirclest Chrysa, and who reign’st supreme
In Tenedos and Cilla the divine,
Sminthian Apollo! If I e’er adorned
Thy beauteous fane, or on the altar burn’d
The fat acceptable of bulls or goats, 50
Grant my petition. With thy shafts avenge
On the Achaian host thy servant’s tears.
Such prayer he made, and it was heard. The God,
Down from Olympus with his radiant bow
And his full quiver o’er his shoulder slung, 55
Marched in his anger; shaken as he moved
His rattling arrows told of his approach.
Gloomy he came as night; sat from the ships