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The Iliad of Homer Translated into English Blank Verse by William Cowper

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Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus' son;His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woesCaused to Achaia's host, sent many a soulIllustrious into Ades premature,And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove)5To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey,When fierce dispute had separated onceThe noble Chief Achilles from the sonOf Atreus, Agamemnon, King of men.

Who them to strife impell'd? What power divine?10Latona's son and Jove's. For he, incensed004 Against the King, a foul contagion raisedIn all the host, and multitudes destroy'd,For that the son of Atreus had his priestDishonored, Chryses. To the fleet he came15Bearing rich ransom glorious to redeemHis daughter, and his hands charged with the wreathAnd golden sceptre of the God shaft-arm'd.

His supplication was at large to allThe host of Greece, but most of all to two,20The sons of Atreus, highest in command.

Ye gallant Chiefs, and ye their gallant host,(So may the Gods who in Olympus dwellGive Priam's treasures to you for a spoilAnd ye return in safety,) take my gifts25And loose my child, in honor of the sonOf Jove, Apollo, archer of the skies.

At once the voice of all was to respectThe priest, and to accept the bounteous price;But so it pleased not Atreus' mighty son,30Who with rude threatenings stern him thence dismiss'd.

Beware, old man! that at these hollow barksI find thee not now lingering, or henceforthReturning, lest the garland of thy God005 And his bright sceptre should avail thee nought.35I will not loose thy daughter, till old ageSteal on her. From her native country far,In Argos, in my palace, she shall plyThe loom, and shall be partner of my bed.Move me no more. Begone; hence while thou may'st.40

He spake, the old priest trembled and obey'd.Forlorn he roamed the ocean's sounding shore,And, solitary, with much prayer his KingBright-hair'd Latona's son, Phœbus, implored.

God of the silver bow, who with thy power45Encirclest Chrysa, and who reign'st supremeIn Tenedos and Cilla the divine,Sminthian Apollo! If I e'er adornedThy beauteous fane, or on the altar burn'dThe fat acceptable of bulls or goats,50Grant my petition. With thy shafts avengeOn the Achaian host thy servant's tears.

Such prayer he made, and it was heard. The God,Down from Olympus with his radiant bow006 And his full quiver o'er his shoulder slung,55Marched in his anger; shaken as he movedHis rattling arrows told of his approach.Gloomy he came as night; sat from the shipsApart, and sent an arrow. Clang'd the cordDread-sounding, bounding on the silver bow.60Mules first and dogs he struck, but at themselvesDispatching soon his bitter arrows keen,Smote them. Death-piles on all sides always blazed.Nine days throughout the camp his arrows flew;The tenth, Achilles from all parts convened65The host in council. Juno the white-armedMoved at the sight of Grecians all aroundDying, imparted to his mind the thought.The full assembly, therefore, now convened,Uprose Achilles ardent, and began....