Imatges de pàgina
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Inexorable, and the torturing hour
Call us to penance ?-More destroy'd than thrus,
We should be quite abolish'd, and expire.
What fear we then :-what doubt we to incense
Ilis utmost ire? which, to the height enrag'd,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential; happier far,
Thàn miserable to bave eternal being;
Or if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are, at worst,
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our pow'r suflicient to disturb his heaven,
And with perpetual inroad to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne;
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.

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XXI. The specch of Belial dissuading war..

I should be much for open war,

0 peers,
As not behind in hate, if what were urg'd
Main reason to persuade immediate war,
Did not dissuade me more, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who, most excels in fact of arms,
In what he counsels, and in what excels,
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair,
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The tow'rs of heav'n are fill'd
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable: qft on the bord’ring deep
Encamp their legions: or, with obscure wing,
Scout far and wide into the realms of night,
Scorning surprise.- Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels, all hel} should rise
With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heav'n's purest light; yet our great enemy :
All incorruptible, would, on his throne,
Sit unpolluted; and th' etherial mondo
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,

Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat despair; we must exasperate
Th’almighty victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that inust be our cure
To be no more.-Sad cure!—for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost
In the wide tomb of uncrcated night,
Deroid of sense and motion ?-And who knows
(Let this be good) whether qur angry foe
Can give it, or will ever? how he

can, Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure.

Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, | Belike through impotence, or unawares,

To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves
To punish endless 2-4.66 Wherefore cease we then ?
Say they, “who counsel war; we are decreed,
Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe :
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse?" Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What, when we fled amain, pursu'd and struck
With heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? this hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds ! or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? that sure was worse,
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awak’d, should blow them into sev’nfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? what if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impending horrors, threat'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we, perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurl'd
Each on his rock transfix d, the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to conferse with everlasting groans,

Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,
Ages of hopeless end?-this would be worscs
War, therefore, open or conceal'd, alike
My voice dissuades.

XXII. Old Nestor's speech, endeđvouring to recon.

cile Achilles and Agamemnon.

2

Ye gods! great sorrow falls op Greece to-day.
Priam, and Priam's sons, with all in Troy
Oh how will they exult, what triumph feel,
Once hearing of this strife aris'n between
The prime of Greece in council and in arms.
But be persuaded; ye are younger both
Than I, and I was conversant of old
With princes your superiors, yet from them
No disrespect at any time received.
Their equals saw I never; never shall;
Pirithous, Dryas, godlike Polypheme,
Exadius, Cæneus, and the hero son
Of Ægeus, mighty Theseus; warriors, all,
In force superior to the race of man.
Brave chiefs they were, and with brave foes they foughts
With the rude dwellers on the mountain-heights
The Centaurs, whom with havock such as fame
Shall never cease to celebrate, they slew.
With these men I consorted erst, what time
From Pylas, though a land from theirs remote,
They call’d me forth, and such as was my strength,
With all that strength I serv'd them. Who is he?
What prince or chief of the degen’rate race
Now seen on earth, who might with these compare ?
Yet even these wonld listen to my voice,
Which hear yo also; for compliance proves
Ofttimes the safer and the manlier course.
Thou, Agamemnon, valiant as thou art,
Seize not the maid, his portion from the Greeks,
But leave her his; nor thou, Achilles, strive
With our imperial chief; for never king
Had equal honour at the hands of Jove
With Agamemnon, or was thron'd so high."

Say thou art stronger, and art goddess-born.
How then? His territory passes thine,
And he is lord of thousands more than thou.
Cease therefore, Agamemnon; calm thy wrath;
And it shall be mine office to entreat
Achilles also to a calm, whose might
The chief munition is of all our host.

XXIII. Agamemnon's artful speech, proposing

return, in order to try the disposition of the army.

FRIENDS, Grecian heroes, ministers of Mars !
Hard is my lot, entangled as I am
By unpropitious Jove. He promised once,
And with a sign, that Troy should be our own;
But now, (that promise void) he sends me back
To Greece, ashamed and with diminish'd pow'rs.
So stands his sov'reign pleasure, who hath laid
Many a proud citadel in dust, and more
Hereafter shall, resistless in his might.'.
That such a numerous host of Greeks as we,
Warring with fewer than ourselves, should find
No fruit of all our toil, (and none appears,)
Will make us vile with ages yet to come.
For should we now swear truce, till Greece and Troy
Might number each her own, and were the Greeks
Distributed in'bands, ten Greeks-in each,
Our banded decads should exceed so far
Their units, that all Troy could not supply
For ev'ry ten, a man, to fill us wine;
So far the Grecians, in my thought, surpass
The native Trojans. But her walls include
Still others--men from various cities call'd,
Who much impede me, and defeat my wish
To desolate her streets with sword and fire.

years have also pass’d, nine years complete;
Our ships are rotted, and our tackle marred,
And all our wives and little ones at home
Sit watching our return; meantime, the work
That brought us, is a work still unperform'd.
Accept ye then my counsel. Let us hence-

Nine

Hence to our country since in vain we wait
The fall of Troy, not yet to be subdu'd.

XXIV. "Mutinous harungue of Thersites.

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WHEREOF complains, what wants Atrides now?
Thy tents are fill'd with treasure, and contain
The choicest damsels, giv’n thee hy the Greeks,
And taken in the towns that we have won.
Or is more gold thy wish? A ransom brought
By some rich Trojan for his son's release,
Whom I, or other valiant Greek may bind?
Or yet some new Chryseïs, to be thine,
And thine for ever? Our Supreme, methinks,
Ought not have caus'd us that accursed plague,

Oh nerveless things! mere women as we are !
Why launch we not our barks, and leave him here.
To brood his hoards alone, that he may learn
The value of a chief without his host?
For he hath dared to irritate a man
Far braver than himself, whose lovely prize
He even now detains. But as for him,
He sleeps; Achilles is an easy man
And gall hath none within hiin, or his hand
Would make this contumelious, wrong thy lask.

XXV. Ulysses' indignant rebuke of Thersites.

THERSITES ! railer peace nor deem thyself,
Although thus eloquent, alone excused
The def'rence due to kings. Thou, least of all
Atrides' followers, being, as thou art,
So far the worst of all, shouldst dare to sport
With royal names, or take them on thy lips.
Nor art thou worthier to appoint the Greeks
Their time to voyage home. How soon, how late,
With what success, at last, we shall return,
Is dark and doubtful to the wisest here.
And whenco thy spleen? and wherefore from thy seats

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