(Not without hope) that I may hence expel
These dogs, whom Ilium’s unpropitious fates
Have wafted hither in their sable barks.
But we will also watch this night, ourselves,
And, arming with the dawn, will at their ships 615
Give them brisk onset. Then shall it appear
If Diomede the brave shall me compel
Back to our walls, or I, his arms blood-stain’d,
Torn from his breathless body, bear away.
To-morrow, if he dare but to abide 620
My lance, he shall not want occasion meet
For show of valor. But much more I judge
That the next rising sun shall see him slain
With no few friends around him. Would to heaven!
I were as sure to ’scape the blight of age 625
And share their honors with the Gods above,
As comes the morrow fraught with wo to Greece.
So Hector, whom his host with loud acclaim
All praised. Then each his sweating steeds released,
And rein’d them safely at his chariot-side. 630
And now from Troy provision large they brought,
Oxen, and sheep, with store of wine and bread,
And fuel much was gather’d. Next the Gods
With sacrifice they sought, and from the plain
Upwafted by the winds the smoke aspired 635
Savoury, but unacceptable to those
Above; such hatred in their hearts they bore
To Priam, to the people of the brave
Spear-practised Priam, and to sacred Troy.
Big with great purposes and proud, they sat, 640
Not disarray’d, but in fair form disposed
Of even ranks, and watch’d their numerous fires,
As when around the clear bright moon, the stars
Shine in full splendor, and the winds are hush’d,
The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland-heights 645
Stand all apparent, not a vapor streaks
The boundless blue, but ether open’d wide
All glitters, and the shepherd’s heart is cheer’d;
So numerous seem’d those fires the bank between
Of Xanthus, blazing, and the fleet of Greece, 650
In prospect all of Troy; a thousand fires,
Each watch’d by fifty warriors seated near.
The steeds beside the chariots stood, their corn
Chewing, and waiting till the golden-throned
Aurora should restore the light of day. 655
ARGUMENT OF THE NINTH BOOK.
By advice of Nestor, Agamemnon sends Ulysses, Phoenix, and Ajax to the tent of Achilles with proposals of reconciliation. They execute their commission, but without effect. Phoenix remains with Achilles; Ulysses and Ajax return.