From the Iliad
Sing, O daughter of heaven, – of Peleus’ son, of Achilles,
Him whose terrible wrath – brought thousand woes on Achaio,
Many a stalwart soul did it hurl – untimely to Hades,
Souls of the heroes of old: – and their bones lay strewn on the sea-sands,
Prey to the vulture and dog. – Yet was Zeus fulfilling a purpose;
Since that far-off day, when – in hot strife parted asunder
Atreus’ sceptered son, and the – chos’n of heaven, Achilles.
Say then, which of the Gods – bid arise up battle between them?
Zeus and Leto’s son. With – the king was kindled his anger:
Then went sickness abroad, – and the people died of the sickness:
For that of Atreus’ son – had his priest been lightly entreated,
Chryses, Apollo’s priest – For he came to the ships of Achaia,
Bearing a daughter’s ransom, – a sum not easy to number:
And in his hand was the emblem – of Him, far darting Apollo,
High on a sceptre of gold: – and he prayed to the hosts of Achaia;
Chiefly to Atreus’ sons, – twin chieftains, ordering armies.
“Chiefs sprung of Atreus’ loins; – and ye, brazen-greaved Achaians!
So may the Gods this day, – the Olympus-palaced, grant you
Priam’s city to raze, – and return unscathed to your homesteads:
Only my own dear daughter – I ask; take ransom and yield her,
Rev’rencing His great name, – son of Zeus, far-darting Apollo.”
Then from the host of Achaians – arose tumultuous answer:
“Due to the priest is his honour; – accept rich ransom and yield her.”
But there was war in the spirit – of Atreus’ son, Agamemnon;
Disdainful he dismissed him, – a right stern fiat appending: –
“Woe be to thee, old man, – if I find thee lingering longer,
Yea or returning again, – by the hollow ships of Achaians!
Scarce much then will avail thee – the great god’s sceptre and emblem.
Her will I never release. – Old age must first come upon her,
In my own home, yea in Argos, – afar from the land of her fathers,
Following the loom, and attending – upon my bed. But avaunt thee!
Go, and provoke not me, – that thy way may be haply securer.”
These were the words of the king, – and the old man feared and obeyed him:
Voiceless he went by the shore – of the the great dull-echoing ocean,
Thither he gat him apart, – that ancient man; and a long prayer
Prayed to Apollo his Lord, – son of golden-ringleted Leto:
“Lord of the silver bow, thou whose arm girds Chryse and Cilla, –
Cilla beloved of the Gods, – and in might sways Tenedos, hearken!
Oh! if, in days gone by, – I have guilt from floor unto cornice,
Smintheus, a fair shrine for thee, – or burned in the flames of the altar
Fat flesh of bulls and of goats; then do this thing that I ask thee:
Hurl on the Greeks thy shafts, – that they servant’s tears be avenged!”
So did he pray, and his prayer reached the ears of Phœbus Apollo.
Dark was the soul of the god as he moved from the heights of Olympus,
Shouldering a bow, and a quiver – on this side fast and on that side.
Onward in anger he moved. – And the arrows, stirred by the motion,
Rattled and rang on his shoulder: – he came as cometh the midnight.
Hard by the ships he stayed him, – and loosed one shaft from the bow-string;
Harshly the stretched string twanged of the bow all silvery-shining.
First fell his wrath on the mules, – and the swift-footed hound of the herdsman;
Afterward smote he the host. – With a rankling arrow he smote them
Aye; and the morn and the even – were red with the glare of the corpse-fires.
From Iliad VIII
As in the heights of the heaven – the moon gleams clear, and around her
Shine in their beauty the stars, – nor is one cloud moving in ether;
Shines forth every cliff, and the jutting peaks of the headlands,
Forest and glen: then, – as opens the rifting firmament heavenwards, –
Star is revealed upon star: – and gay is the heart of the herdsman:-
Not in less number than they, – from the Xanthus’ stream to the sea sands,
Glimmered the red watch fires – that encompassed Ilion alway;-
Glimmered amid Troy’s host – as a thousand stars; and at each one
There sat three score and ten, – their face lighted up by the fire brand.