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Rhapsody 20

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Page 2

"Why again, O hurler of the glowing lightning, hast thou summoned the gods to an assembly? Dost thou deliberate anything respecting the Trojans and Greeks? For now their combat and the battle are on the point of being kindled."

But him cloud-compelling Jove answering, addressed:

"Thou knowest, O earth-shaker, my design within my breast, [and] for whose sake I have assembled you; for though about to perish, they are a care to me. I will, however, remain sitting on the top of Olympus, whence looking, I shall delight my soul; but depart the rest of you, that ye may go to the Trojans and Greeks. Give aid to both, according as is the inclination of each. For if Achilles alone shall fight against the Trojans, they will not even for a little sustain the swift-footed son of Peleus. Formerly even beholding him, they fled terrified; but now when he is grievously enraged in his mind on account of his companion, I fear lest he overthrow the wall, even contrary to fate."

Thus spoke Saturnian Jove, and he stirred up the unyielding[641] contest; and the gods hastened to proceed to the battle, having discordant minds. Juno, indeed, and Pallas Minerva [went] to the assemblage of the ships, as well as earth-shaking Neptune, and useful Mercury, who excelled in a prudent mind, with whom went Vulcan, looking savage in his might, limping, and under him his weak limbs moved with all their force. But to the Trojans [went] crest-tossing Mars, and with him unshorn Phoebus,[642] and Diana, delighting in archery, Latona, Xanthus, and laughter-loving Venus. As long as the gods were apart from mortal men, so long the Greeks were greatly elated, because Achilles appeared, for he had long abstained from the dire battle; and a violent tremor came upon the Trojans, upon each of them as to their limbs, fearing because they beheld the swift-footed son of Peleus glittering in arms, equal to man-slaughtering Mars. But after the Olympians had come to the crowd of men, then arose fierce Contention, the exciter of the people, and Minerva shouted, sometimes standing beside the trench, outside the wall, at other times she loudly shouted along the echoing shores. But Mars yelled aloud on the other side, like unto a dark whirlwind, keenly animating the Trojans from the lofty city, at other times running along the Simois over Callicolone.[643]

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