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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 15

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Page 2

Thus he spoke; but venerable large-eyed Juno shuddered, and, addressing him, spoke winged words:

"Be witness now, Earth, and boundless Heaven above, and the water of Styx gliding beneath, which is the greatest and most dreaded oath amongst the blessed gods; likewise thy sacred head, and our own nuptial couch, by which I would not rashly swear at any time, that it is not by my instigation that earth-shaking Neptune harasses the Trojans and Hector, and aids the other side; but certainly his own mind incites and orders him; for, beholding the Greeks oppressed at the ships, he took compassion on them. And even him would I advise to go there, where thou, O Cloud-collector, mayest command."

Thus she spoke; but the father of men and gods smiled, and answering her, spoke winged words:

"If indeed thou from henceforth, O venerable, large-eyed Juno, wouldst sit amongst the immortals, being of the same mind with me, then truly would Neptune, even although he very much wishes otherwise, immediately change his mind to the same point, to thy wish and mine. But if indeed thou speakest in sincerity and truly, go now to the assemblies of the gods, and call Iris to come hither, and Apollo, renowned in archery, that she may go to the people of the brazen-mailed Greeks, and tell king Neptune, ceasing from battle, to repair to his own palaces; but let Phoebus Apollo excite Hector to battle, and breathe strength into him again, and make him forgetful of the pains which now afflict him in his mind: but let him again put the Greeks to flight, exciting unwarlike panic [amongst them], and, flying, let them fall back upon the many-benched ships of Achilles, the son of Peleus. Then shall he stimulate his companion Patroclus, whom illustrious Hector shall slay with his spear before Ilium, [Patroclus] having slain many other youths, and with them my son, noble Sarpedon; but noble Achilles shall slay Hector. From this time forward will I always continually effect for thee, that there shall be a retreat [of the Trojans] from the ships, until the Greeks, by the counsels of Minerva, shall take lofty Ilium. However, I shall not abate my anger, nor will I here permit any of the immortals to assist the Greeks, before that the request of the son of Peleus be completed; as first I promised to him, and nodded assent with my head, on that day when the goddess Thetis touched my knees, beseeching me that I would honour Achilles, the destroyer of cities."

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