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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 14

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Agamemnon and the other wounded chiefs visit the battle with Nestor. Juno, having borrowed the cestus of Venus, first obtains the assistance of Sleep, and then hastens to Ida to inveigle Jove. She prevails, Jove sleeps, and Neptune seizes the opportunity to aid the Trojans.


But the shouting did not entirely escape the notice of Nestor, although drinking, but he addressed winged words to the son of Aesculapius: "Consider, noble Machaon, how these things will be; greater, certainly, [grows] the shouting of the blooming youths at the ships. But sitting here at present, drink indeed the dark wine, until fair-haired Hecamede has warmed the tepid baths, and washed away the bloody gore; whilst I, going with speed to a watchtower, will gain information."

So saying, he took the well-made shield of his own son, horse-breaking Thrasymedes, [which was] lying in the tent, all shining with brass (for he had the shield of his sire); and seized a strong spear, pointed with sharp brass; and stood without the tent, and soon beheld an unseemly deed,--these [the Greeks] in confusion, and those, the haughty Trojans, routing them in the rear; but the wall of the Greeks had fallen. And as when the vast deep blackens with the noiseless[454] wave, foreboding with no effect, the rapid courses of the shrill blasts, nor yet is it rolled forwards or backwards, before some decisive blast comes down from Jove: so meditated the old man, distracted in his mind between two opinions: whether he should go amongst the throng of fleet-horsed Greeks, or to Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, shepherd of the people. But to him thus reflecting, it appeared better to go in quest of the son of Atreus. Meanwhile they kept slaughtering each other, contending, and the solid brass around their bodies rang, as they were stricken with the swords and two-edged spears.

[Footnote 454: Literally, "deaf." So "surdi fluctus," Ovid, Epist. xviii. 211; "Omnia surda tacent," Propert. iv. 3, 53; "Surdaque vota condidit Ionio," Pers. Sat. vi. 28.]

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