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There is much in this book which is worthy of close attention. The consummate genius, the varied and versatile power, the eloquence, truth, and nature displayed in it, will always be admired. Perhaps there is no portion of the poem more remarkable for these attributes.—FELTON.
ARGUMENT OF THE TENTH BOOK.
Diomede and Ulysses enter the Trojan host by night, and slay Rhesus.
All night the leaders of the host of Greece
Lay sunk in soft repose, all, save the Chief,
The son of Atreus; him from thought to thought
Roving solicitous, no sleep relieved.
As when the spouse of beauteous Juno, darts 5
His frequent fires, designing heavy rain
Immense, or hail-storm, or field-whitening snow,
Or else wide-throated war calamitous,
So frequent were the groans by Atreus’ son
Heaved from his inmost heart, trembling with dread. 10
For cast he but his eye toward the plain
Of Ilium, there, astonish’d he beheld
The city fronted with bright fires, and heard
Pipes, and recorders, and the hum of war;
But when again the Grecian fleet he view’d, 15
And thought on his own people, then his hair
Uprooted elevating to the Gods,
He from his generous bosom groan’d again.
At length he thus resolved; of all the Greeks
To seek Neleian Nestor first, with whom 20
He might, perchance, some plan for the defence
Of the afflicted Danai devise.
Rising, he wrapp’d his tunic to his breast,
And to his royal feet unsullied bound
His sandals; o’er his shoulders, next, he threw 25
Of amplest size a lion’s tawny skin
That swept his footsteps, dappled o’er with blood,
Then took his spear. Meantime, not less appall’d
Was Menelaus, on whose eyelids sleep
Sat not, lest the Achaians for his sake 30
O’er many waters borne, and now intent
On glorious deeds, should perish all at Troy.
With a pard’s spotted hide his shoulders broad
He mantled over; to his head he raised
His brazen helmet, and with vigorous hand 35
Grasping his spear, forth issued to arouse
His brother, mighty sovereign of the host,
And by the Grecians like a God revered.
He found him at his galley’s stern, his arms
Assuming radiant; welcome he arrived 40
To Agamemnon, whom he thus address’d.
Why arm’st thou, brother? Wouldst thou urge abroad
Some trusty spy into the Trojan camp?
I fear lest none so hardy shall be found
As to adventure, in the dead still night, 45
So far, alone; valiant indeed were he!