Book I




BOOK I

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that

brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did

it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a

prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove

fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men,

and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was

the son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent

a pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son

of Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had

come to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had

brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the

sceptre of Apollo wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he

besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus,

who were their chiefs.

"Sons of Atreus," he cried, "and all other Achaeans, may the gods

who dwell in Olympus grant you to sack the city of Priam, and to

reach your homes in safety; but free my daughter, and accept a

ransom for her, in reverence to Apollo, son of Jove."

On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for

respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but

not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly

away. "Old man," said he, "let me not find you tarrying about our

ships, nor yet coming hereafter. Your sceptre of the god and your

wreath shall profit you nothing. I will not free her. She shall

grow old in my house at Argos far from her own home, busying

herself with her loom and visiting my couch; so go, and do not

provoke me or it shall be the worse for you."

The old man feared him and obeyed. Not a word he spoke, but went

by the shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo

whom lovely Leto had borne. "Hear me," he cried, "O god of the

silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest

Tenedos with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have

ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones

in fat of bulls or goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows

avenge these my tears upon the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He came down

furious from the summits of Olympus, with his bow and his quiver

upon his shoulder, and the arrows rattled on his back with the

rage that trembled within him. He sat himself down away from the

ships with a face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death

as he shot his arrow in the midst of them. First he smote their

mules and their hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the

people themselves, and all day long the pyres of the dead were

burning.

For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon

the tenth day Achilles called them in assembly--moved thereto by

Juno, who saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had

compassion upon them. Then, when they were got together, he rose

and spoke among them.

"Son of Atreus," said he, "I deem that we should now turn roving

home if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by

war and pestilence at once. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or

some reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Jove) who can tell

us why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some

vow that we have broken, or hecatomb that we have not offered,

and whether he will accept the savour of lambs and goats without

blemish, so as to take away the plague from us."

With these words he sat down, and Calchas son of Thestor, wisest

of augurs, who knew things past present and to come, rose to

speak. He it was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to

Ilius, through the prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had

inspired him. With all sincerity and goodwill he addressed them

thus:--

"Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger

of King Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and

swear that you will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I

know that I shall offend one who rules the Argives with might, to

whom all the Achaeans are in subjection. A plain man cannot stand

against the anger of a king, who if he swallow his displeasure

now, will yet nurse revenge till he has wreaked it. Consider,

therefore, whether or no you will protect me."

And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in

upon you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray,

and whose oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships

shall lay his hand upon you, while I yet live to look upon the

face of the earth--no, not though you name Agamemnon himself, who

is by far the foremost of the Achaeans."

Thereon the seer spoke boldly. "The god," he said, "is angry

neither about vow nor hecatomb, but for his priest's sake, whom

Agamemnon has dishonoured, in that he would not free his daughter

nor take a ransom for her; therefore has he sent these evils upon

us, and will yet send others. He will not deliver the Danaans

from this pestilence till Agamemnon has restored the girl without

fee or ransom to her father, and has sent a holy hecatomb to

Chryse. Thus we may perhaps appease him."

With these words he sat down, and Agamemnon rose in anger. His

heart was black with rage, and his eyes flashed fire as he

scowled on Calchas and said, "Seer of evil, you never yet

prophesied smooth things concerning me, but have ever loved to

foretell that which was evil. You have brought me neither comfort

nor performance; and now you come seeing among Danaans, and

saying that Apollo has plagued us because I would not take a

ransom for this girl, the daughter of Chryses. I have set my

heart on keeping her in my own house, for I love her better even

than my own wife Clytemnestra, whose peer she is alike in form

and feature, in understanding and accomplishments. Still I will

give her up if I must, for I would have the people live, not die;

but you must find me a prize instead, or I alone among the

Argives shall be without one. This is not well; for you behold,

all of you, that my prize is to go elsewhither."

And Achilles answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, covetous beyond

all mankind, how shall the Achaeans find you another prize? We

have no common store from which to take one. Those we took from

the cities have been awarded; we cannot disallow the awards that

have been made already. Give this girl, therefore, to the god,

and if ever Jove grants us to sack the city of Troy we will

requite you three and fourfold."

Then Agamemnon said, "Achilles, valiant though you be, you shall

not thus outwit me. You shall not overreach and you shall not

persuade me. Are you to keep your own prize, while I sit tamely

under my loss and give up the girl at your bidding? Let the

Achaeans find me a prize in fair exchange to my liking, or I will

come and take your own, or that of Ajax or of Ulysses; and he to

whomsoever I may come shall rue my coming. But of this we will

take thought hereafter; for the present, let us draw a ship into

the sea, and find a crew for her expressly; let us put a hecatomb

on board, and let us send Chryseis also; further, let some chief

man among us be in command, either Ajax, or Idomeneus, or

yourself, son of Peleus, mighty warrior that you are, that we may

offer sacrifice and appease the the anger of the god."

Achilles scowled at him and answered, "You are steeped in

insolence and lust of gain. With what heart can any of the

Achaeans do your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting? I

came not warring here for any ill the Trojans had done me. I have

no quarrel with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my

horses, nor cut down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia;

for between me and them there is a great space, both mountain and

sounding sea. We have followed you, Sir Insolence! for your

pleasure, not ours--to gain satisfaction from the Trojans for

your shameless self and for Menelaus. You forget this, and

threaten to rob me of the prize for which I have toiled, and

which the sons of the Achaeans have given me. Never when the

Achaeans sack any rich city of the Trojans do I receive so good a

prize as you do, though it is my hands that do the better part of

the fighting. When the sharing comes, your share is far the

largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my ships, take what I

can get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting is done. Now,

therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much better for

me to return home with my ships, for I will not stay here

dishonoured to gather gold and substance for you."

And Agamemnon answered, "Fly if you will, I shall make you no

prayers to stay you. I have others here who will do me honour,

and above all Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so

hateful to me as you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill-

affected. What though you be brave? Was it not heaven that made

you so? Go home, then, with your ships and comrades to lord it

over the Myrmidons. I care neither for you nor for your anger;

and thus will I do: since Phoebus Apollo is taking Chryseis from

me, I shall send her with my ship and my followers, but I shall

come to your tent and take your own prize Briseis, that you may

learn how much stronger I am than you are, and that another may

fear to set himself up as equal or comparable with me."

The son of Peleus was furious, and his heart within his shaggy

breast was divided whether to draw his sword, push the others

aside, and kill the son of Atreus, or to restrain himself and

check his anger. While he was thus in two minds, and was drawing

his mighty sword from its scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven

(for Juno had sent her in the love she bore to them both), and

seized the son of Peleus by his yellow hair, visible to him

alone, for of the others no man could see her. Achilles turned in

amaze, and by the fire that flashed from her eyes at once knew

that she was Minerva. "Why are you here," said he, "daughter of

aegis-bearing Jove? To see the pride of Agamemnon, son of Atreus?

Let me tell you--and it shall surely be--he shall pay for this

insolence with his life."

And Minerva said, "I come from heaven, if you will hear me, to

bid you stay your anger. Juno has sent me, who cares for both of

you alike. Cease, then, this brawling, and do not draw your

sword; rail at him if you will, and your railing will not be

vain, for I tell you--and it shall surely be--that you shall

hereafter receive gifts three times as splendid by reason of this

present insult. Hold, therefore, and obey."

"Goddess," answered Achilles, "however angry a man may be, he

must do as you two command him. This will be best, for the gods

ever hear the prayers of him who has obeyed them."

He stayed his hand on the silver hilt of his sword, and thrust it

back into the scabbard as Minerva bade him. Then she went back to

Olympus among the other gods, and to the house of aegis-bearing

Jove.

But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus,

for he was still in a rage. "Wine-bibber," he cried, "with the

face of a dog and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out

with the host in fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade.

You shun this as you do death itself. You had rather go round and

rob his prizes from any man who contradicts you. You devour your

people, for you are king over a feeble folk; otherwise, son of

Atreus, henceforward you would insult no man. Therefore I say,

and swear it with a great oath--nay, by this my sceptre which

shalt sprout neither leaf nor shoot, nor bud anew from the day on

which it left its parent stem upon the mountains--for the axe

stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans

bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of heaven--so

surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall look

fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your

distress, when your men fall dying by the murderous hand of

Hector, you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your

heart with rage for the hour when you offered insult to the

bravest of the Achaeans."

With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on

the ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was

beginning fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then

uprose smooth-tongued Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians,

and the words fell from his lips sweeter than honey. Two

generations of men born and bred in Pylos had passed away under

his rule, and he was now reigning over the third. With all

sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:--

"Of a truth," he said, "a great sorrow has befallen the Achaean

land. Surely Priam with his sons would rejoice, and the Trojans

be glad at heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two,

who are so excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either

of you; therefore be guided by me. Moreover I have been the

familiar friend of men even greater than you are, and they did

not disregard my counsels. Never again can I behold such men as

Pirithous and Dryas shepherd of his people, or as Caeneus,

Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus son of Aegeus, peer of

the immortals. These were the mightiest men ever born upon this

earth: mightiest were they, and when they fought the fiercest

tribes of mountain savages they utterly overthrew them. I came

from distant Pylos, and went about among them, for they would

have me come, and I fought as it was in me to do. Not a man now

living could withstand them, but they heard my words, and were

persuaded by them. So be it also with yourselves, for this is the

more excellent way. Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong,

take not this girl away, for the sons of the Achaeans have

already given her to Achilles; and you, Achilles, strive not

further with the king, for no man who by the grace of Jove wields

a sceptre has like honour with Agamemnon. You are strong, and

have a goddess for your mother; but Agamemnon is stronger than

you, for he has more people under him. Son of Atreus, check your

anger, I implore you; end this quarrel with Achilles, who in the

day of battle is a tower of strength to the Achaeans."

And Agamemnon answered, "Sir, all that you have said is true, but

this fellow must needs become our lord and master: he must be

lord of all, king of all, and captain of all, and this shall

hardly be. Granted that the gods have made him a great warrior,

have they also given him the right to speak with railing?"

Achilles interrupted him. "I should be a mean coward," he cried,

"were I to give in to you in all things. Order other people

about, not me, for I shall obey no longer. Furthermore I say--and

lay my saying to your heart--I shall fight neither you nor any

man about this girl, for those that take were those also that

gave. But of all else that is at my ship you shall carry away

nothing by force. Try, that others may see; if you do, my spear

shall be reddened with your blood."

When they had quarrelled thus angrily, they rose, and broke up

the assembly at the ships of the Achaeans. The son of Peleus went

back to his tents and ships with the son of Menoetius and his

company, while Agamemnon drew a vessel into the water and chose a

crew of twenty oarsmen. He escorted Chryseis on board and sent

moreover a hecatomb for the god. And Ulysses went as captain.

These, then, went on board and sailed their ways over the sea.

But the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves; so they

purified themselves and cast their filth into the sea. Then they

offered hecatombs of bulls and goats without blemish on the

sea-shore, and the smoke with the savour of their sacrifice rose

curling up towards heaven.

Thus did they busy themselves throughout the host. But Agamemnon

did not forget the threat that he had made Achilles, and called

his trusty messengers and squires Talthybius and Eurybates. "Go,"

said he, "to the tent of Achilles, son of Peleus; take Briseis by

the hand and bring her hither; if he will not give her I shall

come with others and take her--which will press him harder."

He charged them straightly further and dismissed them, whereon

they went their way sorrowfully by the seaside, till they came to

the tents and ships of the Myrmidons. They found Achilles sitting

by his tent and his ships, and ill-pleased he was when he beheld

them. They stood fearfully and reverently before him, and never a

word did they speak, but he knew them and said, "Welcome,

heralds, messengers of gods and men; draw near; my quarrel is not

with you but with Agamemnon who has sent you for the girl

Briseis. Therefore, Patroclus, bring her and give her to them,

but let them be witnesses by the blessed gods, by mortal men, and

by the fierceness of Agamemnon's anger, that if ever again there

be need of me to save the people from ruin, they shall seek and

they shall not find. Agamemnon is mad with rage and knows not how

to look before and after that the Achaeans may fight by their

ships in safety."

Patroclus did as his dear comrade had bidden him. He brought

Briseis from the tent and gave her over to the heralds, who took

her with them to the ships of the Achaeans--and the woman was

loth to go. Then Achilles went all alone by the side of the hoar

sea, weeping and looking out upon the boundless waste of waters.

He raised his hands in prayer to his immortal mother, "Mother,"

he cried, "you bore me doomed to live but for a little season;

surely Jove, who thunders from Olympus, might have made that

little glorious. It is not so. Agamemnon, son of Atreus, has done

me dishonour, and has robbed me of my prize by force."

As he spoke he wept aloud, and his mother heard him where she was

sitting in the depths of the sea hard by the old man her father.

Forthwith she rose as it were a grey mist out of the waves, sat

down before him as he stood weeping, caressed him with her hand,

and said, "My son, why are you weeping? What is it that grieves

you? Keep it not from me, but tell me, that we may know it

together."

Achilles drew a deep sigh and said, "You know it; why tell you

what you know well already? We went to Thebe the strong city of

Eetion, sacked it, and brought hither the spoil. The sons of the

Achaeans shared it duly among themselves, and chose lovely

Chryseis as the meed of Agamemnon; but Chryses, priest of Apollo,

came to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and

brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the

sceptre of Apollo, wreathed with a suppliant's wreath, and he

besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus who

were their chiefs.

"On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for

respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but

not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly

away. So he went back in anger, and Apollo, who loved him dearly,

heard his prayer. Then the god sent a deadly dart upon the

Argives, and the people died thick on one another, for the arrows

went everywhither among the wide host of the Achaeans. At last a

seer in the fulness of his knowledge declared to us the oracles

of Apollo, and I was myself first to say that we should appease

him. Whereon the son of Atreus rose in anger, and threatened that

which he has since done. The Achaeans are now taking the girl in

a ship to Chryse, and sending gifts of sacrifice to the god; but

the heralds have just taken from my tent the daughter of Briseus,

whom the Achaeans had awarded to myself.

"Help your brave son, therefore, if you are able. Go to Olympus,

and if you have ever done him service in word or deed, implore

the aid of Jove. Ofttimes in my father's house have I heard you

glory in that you alone of the immortals saved the son of Saturn

from ruin, when the others, with Juno, Neptune, and Pallas

Minerva would have put him in bonds. It was you, goddess, who

delivered him by calling to Olympus the hundred-handed monster

whom gods call Briareus, but men Aegaeon, for he is stronger even

than his father; when therefore he took his seat all-glorious

beside the son of Saturn, the other gods were afraid, and did not

bind him. Go, then, to him, remind him of all this, clasp his

knees, and bid him give succour to the Trojans. Let the Achaeans

be hemmed in at the sterns of their ships, and perish on the

sea-shore, that they may reap what joy they may of their king,

and that Agamemnon may rue his blindness in offering insult to

the foremost of the Achaeans."

Thetis wept and answered, "My son, woe is me that I should have

borne or suckled you. Would indeed that you had lived your span

free from all sorrow at your ships, for it is all too brief;

alas, that you should be at once short of life and long of sorrow

above your peers: woe, therefore, was the hour in which I bore

you; nevertheless I will go to the snowy heights of Olympus, and

tell this tale to Jove, if he will hear our prayer: meanwhile

stay where you are with your ships, nurse your anger against the

Achaeans, and hold aloof from fight. For Jove went yesterday to

Oceanus, to a feast among the Ethiopians, and the other gods went

with him. He will return to Olympus twelve days hence; I will

then go to his mansion paved with bronze and will beseech him;

nor do I doubt that I shall be able to persuade him."

On this she left him, still furious at the loss of her that had

been taken from him. Meanwhile Ulysses reached Chryse with the

hecatomb. When they had come inside the harbour they furled the

sails and laid them in the ship's hold; they slackened the

forestays, lowered the mast into its place, and rowed the ship to

the place where they would have her lie; there they cast out

their mooring-stones and made fast the hawsers. They then got out

upon the sea-shore and landed the hecatomb for Apollo; Chryseis

also left the ship, and Ulysses led her to the altar to deliver

her into the hands of her father. "Chryses," said he, "King

Agamemnon has sent me to bring you back your child, and to offer

sacrifice to Apollo on behalf of the Danaans, that we may

propitiate the god, who has now brought sorrow upon the Argives."

So saying he gave the girl over to her father, who received her

gladly, and they ranged the holy hecatomb all orderly round the

altar of the god. They washed their hands and took up the

barley-meal to sprinkle over the victims, while Chryses lifted up

his hands and prayed aloud on their behalf. "Hear me," he cried,

"O god of the silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla,

and rulest Tenedos with thy might. Even as thou didst hear me

aforetime when I prayed, and didst press hardly upon the

Achaeans, so hear me yet again, and stay this fearful pestilence

from the Danaans."

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. When they had done

praying and sprinkling the barley-meal, they drew back the heads

of the victims and killed and flayed them. They cut out the

thigh-bones, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, set some

pieces of raw meat on the top of them, and then Chryses laid them

on the wood fire and poured wine over them, while the young men

stood near him with five-pronged spits in their hands. When the

thigh-bones were burned and they had tasted the inward meats,

they cut the rest up small, put the pieces upon the spits,

roasted them till they were done, and drew them off: then, when

they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they ate

it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied.

As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, pages filled the

mixing-bowl with wine and water and handed it round, after giving

every man his drink-offering.

Thus all day long the young men worshipped the god with song,

hymning him and chaunting the joyous paean, and the god took

pleasure in their voices; but when the sun went down, and it came

on dark, they laid themselves down to sleep by the stern cables

of the ship, and when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn,

appeared they again set sail for the host of the Achaeans. Apollo

sent them a fair wind, so they raised their mast and hoisted

their white sails aloft. As the sail bellied with the wind the

ship flew through the deep blue water, and the foam hissed

against her bows as she sped onward. When they reached the

wide-stretching host of the Achaeans, they drew the vessel

ashore, high and dry upon the sands, set her strong props beneath

her, and went their ways to their own tents and ships.

But Achilles abode at his ships and nursed his anger. He went not

to the honourable assembly, and sallied not forth to fight, but

gnawed at his own heart, pining for battle and the war-cry.

Now after twelve days the immortal gods came back in a body to

Olympus, and Jove led the way. Thetis was not unmindful of the

charge her son had laid upon her, so she rose from under the sea

and went through great heaven with early morning to Olympus,

where she found the mighty son of Saturn sitting all alone upon

its topmost ridges. She sat herself down before him, and with her

left hand seized his knees, while with her right she caught him

under the chin, and besought him, saying:--

"Father Jove, if I ever did you service in word or deed among the

immortals, hear my prayer, and do honour to my son, whose life is

to be cut short so early. King Agamemnon has dishonoured him by

taking his prize and keeping her. Honour him then yourself,

Olympian lord of counsel, and grant victory to the Trojans, till

the Achaeans give my son his due and load him with riches in

requital."

Jove sat for a while silent, and without a word, but Thetis still

kept firm hold of his knees, and besought him a second time.

"Incline your head," said she, "and promise me surely, or else

deny me--for you have nothing to fear--that I may learn how

greatly you disdain me."

At this Jove was much troubled and answered, "I shall have

trouble if you set me quarrelling with Juno, for she will provoke

me with her taunting speeches; even now she is always railing at

me before the other gods and accusing me of giving aid to the

Trojans. Go back now, lest she should find out. I will consider

the matter, and will bring it about as you wish. See, I incline

my head that you may believe me. This is the most solemn promise

that I can give to any god. I never recall my word, or deceive,

or fail to do what I say, when I have nodded my head."

As he spoke the son of Saturn bowed his dark brows, and the

ambrosial locks swayed on his immortal head, till vast Olympus

reeled.

When the pair had thus laid their plans, they parted--Jove to his

house, while the goddess quitted the splendour of Olympus, and

plunged into the depths of the sea. The gods rose from their

seats, before the coming of their sire. Not one of them dared to

remain sitting, but all stood up as he came among them. There,

then, he took his seat. But Juno, when she saw him, knew that he

and the old merman's daughter, silver-footed Thetis, had been

hatching mischief, so she at once began to upbraid him.

"Trickster," she cried, "which of the gods have you been taking

into your counsels now? You are always settling matters in secret

behind my back, and have never yet told me, if you could help it,

one word of your intentions."

"Juno," replied the sire of gods and men, "you must not expect to

be informed of all my counsels. You are my wife, but you would

find it hard to understand them. When it is proper for you to

hear, there is no one, god or man, who will be told sooner, but

when I mean to keep a matter to myself, you must not pry nor ask

questions."

"Dread son of Saturn," answered Juno, "what are you talking

about? I? Pry and ask questions? Never. I let you have your own

way in everything. Still, I have a strong misgiving that the old

merman's daughter Thetis has been talking you over, for she was

with you and had hold of your knees this self-same morning. I

believe, therefore, that you have been promising her to give

glory to Achilles, and to kill much people at the ships of the

Achaeans."

"Wife," said Jove, "I can do nothing but you suspect me and find

it out. You will take nothing by it, for I shall only dislike you

the more, and it will go harder with you. Granted that it is as

you say; I mean to have it so; sit down and hold your tongue as I

bid you for if I once begin to lay my hands about you, though all

heaven were on your side it would profit you nothing."

On this Juno was frightened, so she curbed her stubborn will and

sat down in silence. But the heavenly beings were disquieted

throughout the house of Jove, till the cunning workman Vulcan

began to try and pacify his mother Juno. "It will be

intolerable," said he, "if you two fall to wrangling and setting

heaven in an uproar about a pack of mortals. If such ill counsels

are to prevail, we shall have no pleasure at our banquet. Let me

then advise my mother--and she must herself know that it will be

better--to make friends with my dear father Jove, lest he again

scold her and disturb our feast. If the Olympian Thunderer wants

to hurl us all from our seats, he can do so, for he is far the

strongest, so give him fair words, and he will then soon be in a

good humour with us."

As he spoke, he took a double cup of nectar, and placed it in his

mother's hand. "Cheer up, my dear mother," said he, "and make the

best of it. I love you dearly, and should be very sorry to see

you get a thrashing; however grieved I might be, I could not help,

for there is no standing against Jove. Once before when I was

trying to help you, he caught me by the foot and flung me from

the heavenly threshold. All day long from morn till eve, was I

falling, till at sunset I came to ground in the island of Lemnos,

and there I lay, with very little life left in me, till the

Sintians came and tended me."

Juno smiled at this, and as she smiled she took the cup from her

son's hands. Then Vulcan drew sweet nectar from the mixing-bowl,

and served it round among the gods, going from left to right; and

the blessed gods laughed out a loud applause as they saw him

bustling about the heavenly mansion.

Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun they

feasted, and every one had his full share, so that all were

satisfied. Apollo struck his lyre, and the Muses lifted up their

sweet voices, calling and answering one another. But when the

sun's glorious light had faded, they went home to bed, each in

his own abode, which lame Vulcan with his consummate skill had

fashioned for them. So Jove, the Olympian Lord of Thunder, hied

him to the bed in which he always slept; and when he had got on

to it he went to sleep, with Juno of the golden throne by his

side.



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