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Close to their ship they laid them down to rest.
And when the rosy-finger'd morn appeard,
Back to the camp they took their homeward way.
A fav’ring breeze the Far-destroyer sent:
They stepp'd the mast, and spread the snowy sail :
Full in the midst the bellying sail receiv'd
The gallant breeze; and round the vessel's prow
The dark waves loudly roar'd, as on she rush'd
Skimming the seas, and cut her watery way.
Arriv'd where lay the wide-spread host of Greece,
Their dark-ribb’d vessel on the beach they drew
High on the sand, and strongly shor'd her up;
Then through the camp they took their sev'ral ways.
Meantime, beside the ships Achilles sat,
The Heav'n-born son of Peleus, swift of foot,
Chafing with rage repress’d; no more he sought
The honour'd council, nor the battle-field;
But wore his soul away, and inly pin'd
For the fierce joy and tumult of the fight.
But when the twelfth revolving day was come,
Back to Olympus' heights th’immortal Gods,
Jove at their head, together all return'd.
Then Thetis, mindful of her son's request,
Rose from the ocean wave, and sped in haste
To high Olympus, and the courts of Heav'n.
The broad-brow'd son of Saturn there she found
Sitting apart upon the topmost crest
Of many-ridg'd Olympus; at his feet
She sat, and while her left hand clasp'd his knees,
Her right approach'd his beard, and suppliant thus
She made her pray’r to Saturn's royal son :
"Father, if e'er amid th’immortal Gods
By word or deed I did thee service true,
Hear now my pray'r! Avenge my hapless son,
The shortest-liv'd of mortals, whom e’en now
Doth Agamemnon, king of men, insult,
And plunder of his lawful spoils of war.
But Jove, Olympian, Lord of counsel, Thou
Avenge his cause; and give to Trojan arms
Such strength and power that Greeks may learn how much
They need my son, and give him honour due.”
She said : the Cloud-compeller answer'd not,
But silent sat; then Thetis clasp'd his knees :
And hung about him, and her suit renew'd :
“Give me thy promise true, thy gracious nod,
Or else refuse (for thou hast none to fear),
That I may learn, of all th' immortal Gods,
How far I stand the lowest in thine eyes.”
Then, much disturb’d, the Cloud-compeller spoke:
“Sad work thou mak’st, in bidding me oppose
My will to Juno's, when her bitter words
for full oft with this reproach
She taunts me, that I aid the Trojan cause.
But thou return, that Juno see thee not,
And leave to me the furth’rance of thy suit.
Lo, to confirm thy faith, I nod my head;
And well among th’immortal Gods is known
The solemn import of that pledge from me:
For ne'er my promise shall deceive, or fail,
Or be recall'd, if with a nod confirm'd.”
He said, and nodded with his shadowy brows;
Wav'd on th' immortal head th' ambrosial locks,
And all Olympus trembled at his nod.
They parted thus; from bright Olympus' heights
The Goddess hasted to her ocean-caves,-
Jove to his palace; at his entrance all
Rose from their seats at once; not one presum’d
To wait his coming, but advanc'd to meet.
Then on his throne he sat; but not unmark'd
Of Juno's eye had been the council held
In secret with the silver-footed Queen,
The daughter of the aged Ocean-God;
And with sharp words she thus address'd her lord :
“Tell me, deceiver, who was she with whom
Thou late held’st council ? ever 'tis thy way
Apart from me to weave thy secret schemes,
Nor dost thou freely share with me thy mind.”
To whom the Sire of Gods and men replied :
Expect not, Juno, all my mind to know;
My wife thou art, yet would such knowledge be
Too much for thee; whate'er I deem it fit
That thou shouldst know, nor God nor man shall hear
Before thee; but what I in secret plan,
Seek not to know, nor curiously inquire.”
To whom replied the stag-ey'd Queen of Heav'n:
“What words, dread son of Saturn, dost thou speak ?
Ne’er have I sought, or now, or heretofore,
Thy secret thoughts to know; what thou think’st fit
To tell, I wait thy gracious will to hear.
Yet fear I in my soul thou art beguild
By wiles of Thetis, silver-footed Queen,
The daughter of the aged Ocean-God;
For she was with thee early, and embrac'd
Thy knees, and has, I think, thy promise sure,
Thou wilt avenge Achilles' cause, and bring
Destructive slaughter on the Grecian host."
To whom the Cloud-compeller thus replied :
Presumptuous, to thy busy thoughts thou givést
Too free a range, and watchest all I do;
Yet shalt thou not prevail, but rather thus
Be alien'd from my heart—the worse for thee!
If this be so, it is my sov'reign will.
But, now, keep silence, and my words obey,
Lest all th'Immortals fail, if I be wroth,
To rescue thee from my resistless hand."