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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 4

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Thus he spoke: but Minerva and Juno murmured with closed lips, for they were sitting near, and were devising evils for the Trojans. Minerva, indeed, was silent, nor said anything, indignant with her father Jove, for dreadful rage possessed her. But Juno could not retain her fury in her breast, but addressed him:

"Most baleful son of Saturn! what a sentence hast thou uttered! How dost thou wish to render my labour vain, and my sweat fruitless, which I have sweated through with toil? For the steeds are tired to me assembling the host, evils to Priam and to his sons. Do so: but all we the other gods do not approve."

But her cloud-compelling Jove, in great wrath, answered: "Strange one! how now do Priam and the sons of Priam work so many wrongs against thee, that thou desirest implacably to overturn the well-built city of Ilion? But if thou, entering the gates and the lofty walls, couldst devour alive[170] Priam and the sons of Priam, and the other Trojans, then perhaps thou mightst satiate thy fury. Do as thou wilt, lest this contention be in future a great strife between thee and me. But another thing I tell thee, and do thou lay it up in thy soul: whenever haply I, anxiously desiring, shall wish to destroy some city, where men dear to thee are born, retard not my rage, but suffer me; for I have given thee this of free will, though with unwilling mind. For of those cities of earthly men, which are situated under the sun and the starry heaven, sacred Ilion was most honoured by me in my heart, and Priam and the people of Priam skilled in the ashen spear. For there my altars never lacked a due banquet and libation, and savour; for this honour were we allotted."

[Footnote 170: Literally, "eat raw." Cf. Xenoph. Anab. iv. 8, 14. [Greek: Toutous en pos dynometha, kai omous dei kataphagein].—Clarke.]

Him then the venerable full-eyed Juno answered: "There are three cities, indeed, most dear to me: Argos, and Sparta, and wide-wayed Mycenae;[171] destroy these whenever they become hateful to thy soul. In behalf of these I neither stand forth, nor do I grudge them to thee: for even were I to grudge them, and not suffer thee to destroy them, by grudging I avail nothing, since thou art much more powerful. And yet it becomes [thee] to render my labour not fruitless; for I am a goddess, and thence my race, whence thine; and wily Saturn begat me, very venerable on two accounts, both by my parentage, and because I have been called thy spouse. Moreover, thou rulest amongst all the immortals. But truly let us make these concessions to each other: I, on my part, to thee, and thou to me; and the other immortal gods will follow. Do thou without delay bid Minerva go to the dreadful battle-din of the Trojans and Greeks, and contrive that the Trojans may first begin to injure the most renowned Greeks, contrary to the leagues."

[Footnote 171: "It certainly seems to me, that, in a reference so distinct to the three great Peloponnesian cities which the Dorians invaded and possessed, Homer makes as broad an allusion to the conquests of the Heraclidae, not only as would be consistent with the pride of an Ionic Greek in attesting the triumphs of the national Dorian foe, but as the nature of a theme cast in a distant period, and remarkably removed, in its general conduct, from the historical detail of subsequent events, would warrant to the poet."—Bulwer, Athens, i. 8. The correctness of this view, however, depends upon the true date of Homer's existence.]

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