Juvenal, 450 BC Satires, Extravagance and Simplicity of Living, Satire X1

Our humble home does not take up such trifles another man will hear the clacks of castanets along with words that a naked slave standing for sale in a smelly brothel would refrain from; another man will enjoy
obscene voices and every art of lust, a man who wets his inlaid floor of Lacedaemonian marbles with spit-out wine. Our dinner party today will provide other amusements. The author of the Iliad will sing, and the poems of Vergil that make the supremacy of Homer doubtful. What does it matter by what voice such verses are read? Non capit has nugas humilis domus audiat ille testarum crepitus cum uerbis, nudum olido stans fornice mancipium quibus abstinet, ille fruatur uocibus obscenis omnique libidinis arte, qui Lacedaemonium pytismate lubricat orbem; nostra dabunt alios hodie conuiuia ludos: conditor Iliados cantabitur atque Maronis altisoni dubiam facientia carmina palmam quid refert, tales uersus qua uoce legantur? If Atticus dines sumptuously, he is thought a fine gentleman; if Rutilus does the same, people say he has lost his senses: for at what does the public laugh so loudly as at an Apicius reduced to poverty? Every dinner table, all the baths, lounging-places and theatres have their fling at Rutilus; for while still young, active, and warm-blooded, and fit to wear a helmet, he plunges on till he will have to enrol himself not compelled indeed, but not forbidden by the Tribune under the rules and royal mandates of a trainer of gladiators. You may see many of these gentry being waited for by an oft-eluded creditor at the entrance to the meat-market men whose sole reason for living lies in their palate. The greater their straits though the house is ready to fall, and the daylight begins to show between the cracks the more luxuriously and daintily do they dine. Meanwhile they ransack all the elements for new relishes; no cost ever stands in their way; if you look closely into it, the greater the price, the greater the pleasure. So when they want to raise money to go after the rest, they think nothing of pawning their plate, or breaking up the image of their mother; and having thus seasoned their gluttonous delf at a cost of four hundred sesterces, they come down at last to the hotch-potch of the gladiatorial school. It matters much therefore who provides the feast; what is extravagant in Rutilus, gets a fine name in Ventidius, and takes its character from his means. Rightly do I despise a man who knows how much higher Atlas is than all the other mountains of Africa, and yet knows not the difference between a purse and an iron-bound money-box. The maxim “Know thyself” comes down to us from the skies; it should be imprinted in the heart, and stored in the memory, whether you are looking for a wife, or wishing for a seat in the sacred Senate: even Thersites never asked for that breastplate of Achilles in which Ulysses cut such a sorry figure. If you are preparing to conduct a great and difficult cause, take counsel of yourself and tell yourself what you are—-are you a great orator, or just a spouter like Curtius and Matho? Let a man take his own measure and have regard to it in things great or small, even in the buying of a fish, that he set not his heart upon a mullet, when he has only a gudgeon in his purse. For if your purse is getting empty while your maw is expanding, what will be your end when you have sunk your paternal fortune and all your belongings in a belly which can hold capital and solid silver as well as flocks and lands? With such owners the last thing to go is the ring; poor Pollio, his finger stripped, has to go a-begging! It is not an early death or an untimely grave that extravagance has to dread: old age is more terrible to it than death. The regular stages are these: money is borrowed in Rome and squandered before the owner’s eyes; when some little of it is still left, and the lender’s face grows pale, these gentlemen give leg bail, and make off for Baiae and its oyster-beds for in these days people think no more of absconding from the Forum than of flitting from the stuffy Subuva to the Esquiline. One pang, one sorrow only, afflicts these exiles, that they must, for one season, miss the Circensian games! No drop of blood lingers in their cheek: Shame is ridiculed as she flees from the city, and few would bid her stay. To-day, friend Persicus, you will discover whether I make good, in deed and in my ways of life, the fair maxims which I preach, or whether, while commending beans, I am at heart a glutton: openly bidding my slave to bring me porridge, but whispering “cheese-cakes” in his ear. For now that you have promised to be my guest, you will find in me an Evander; you yourself will be the Tirynthian, or the guest less great than he, though he too came of blood divine the one by water, the other borne by fire, to the stars. And now hear my feast, which no meat-market shall adorn. From my Tiburtine farm there will come a plump kid, tenderest of the flock, innocent of grass, that has never yet dared to nibble the twigs of the dwarf willow, and has more of milk in him than blood; some wild asparagus, gathered by the bailiff’s wife when done with her spindle, and some lordly eggs, warm in their wisps of hay, together with the hens that laid them. There will be crapes too, kept half the year, as fresh as when they hung upon the tree; pears from Signia and Syria, and in the same baskets fresh-smelling apples that rival those of Picenum, and of which you need not be afraid, seeing that winter’s cold has dried up their autumnal juice, and removed the perils of unripeness. Such were the banquets of our Senate in days of old, when already grown luxurious; when Curius, with his own hands, would lay upon his modest hearth the simple herbs he had gathered in his little garden herbs scoffed at nowadays by the dirty ditcher who works in chains, and remembers the savour of tripe in the reeking cookshop. For feast days, in olden times, they would keep a side of dried pork, hanging from an open rack, or put before the relations a flitch of birthday bacon, with the addition of some fresh meat, if there happened to be a sacrifice to supply it. A kinsman who had thrice been hailed as Consul, who had commanded armies, and filled the office of Dictator, would come home earlier than was his wont for such a feast, shouldering the spade with which he had been subduing the hillside. For when men quailed before a Fabius or a stern Cato, before a Scaurus or a Fabricius when even a Censor might dread the severe verdict of his colleague no one deemed it a matter of grave and serious concern what kind of tortoise-shell was swimming in the waves of Ocean to form a head-rest for our Troy-born grandees. Couches in those days were small, their sides unadorned: a simple headpiece of bronze would display the head of a be-garlanded ass, beside which would romp in play the children of the village. Thus house and furniture were all in keeping with the fare. The rude soldier of those days had no taste for, or knowledge of, Greek art; if allotted cups made by great artists as his share in the booty of a captured city, he would break them up to provide gay trappings for his horse, or to chase a helmet that should display to the dying foe an image of the Romulean beast bidden by Rome’s destiny to grow tame, with the twin Quirini beneath a rock, and the nude effigy of the God swooping down with spear and shield. Their messes of spelt were then served on platters of earthenware; such silver as there was glittered only on their arms—-all which things you may envy if you are at all inclined that way. The majesty of the temples also was more near to help us; it was then that was heard through the entire city that midnight voice telling how the Gauls were advancing from the shores of Ocean, the Gods taking on them the part of prophecy. Such were the warnings of Jupiter, such the cave which he bestowed on the concerns of Latium when he was made of clay, and undefiled by gold. In those days our tables were home-grown, made of our own trees; for such use was kept some aged chestnut blown down perchance by the Southwestern blast. But nowadays a rich man takes no pleasure in his dinner his turbot and his venison have no taste, his unguents and his roses no perfume unless the broad slabs of his dinner-table rest upon a ramping, gaping leopard of solid ivory, made of the tusks sent to us by the swift-footed Moor from the portal of Syene or by the still duskier Indian or perhaps shed by the monstrous beast in the Nabataean forest when too big and too heavy for his head. These are the things that give good appetite and good digestion; for to these gentlemen a table with a leg of silver is like a finger with an iron ring. For this reason I will have none of your haughty guests to make comparisons between himself and me, and look down upon my humble state. So destitute am I of ivory that neither my dice nor counters are made of it; even my knife-handles are of bone. Yet are not the viands tainted thereby, nor does the pullet cut up any the worse on that account. Nor shall I have a carver to whom the whole carving-school must bow, a pupil of the learned Trypherus, in whose school is cut up, with blunt knives, a magnificent feast of hares and sow’s paunches, of boars and antelopes, of Scythian fowls and tall flamingoes and Gaetulian gazelles, until the whole Subura rings with the clatter of the elm-wood banquet. My raw youngster, untutored all his days, has never learnt how to filch a slice of kid or the wing of a guinea-fowl, unpractised save in the theft of scraps. Cups of common ware, bought for a few pence, will be handed round by an unpolished lad, clad so as to keep out the cold. No Phrygian or Lycian youth, none bought from a dealer at a huge price, will you find; when you want anything, ask for it in Latin. They are all dressed alike; their hair cut close and uncurled, and only combed to-day because of the company. One is the son of a hardy shepherd; another of the cattle-man: he sighs for the mother whom he has not seen for so long, and thinks wistfully of the little cottage and the kids he knew so well; a lad of open countenance and simple modesty, such as those ought to be who are clothed in glowing purple. No noisy frequenter he of baths, presenting his armpits to be cleared of hair, and with only an oil-flask to conceal his nudity. He will hand you a wine that was bottled on the hills among which he was born, and beneath whose tops he played for wine and servant alike have one and the same fatherland. You may look perhaps for a troop of Spanish maidens to win applause by immodest dance and song, sinking down with quivering thighs to the floor such sights as brides behold seated beside their husbands, though it were a shame to speak of such things in their presence my humble home has no place for follies such as these. The clatter of castanets, words too foul for the strumpet that stands naked in a reeking archway, with all the arts and language of lust, may be left to him who spits wine upon floors of Lacedaemonian marble; such men we pardon because of their high station. In men of moderate position gaming and adultery are shameful; but when those others do these same things, they are called gay fellows and fine gentlemen. My feast to-day will provide other performances than these. The bard of the Iliad will be sung, and the lays of the lofty-toned Maro that contest the palm with his. What matters it with what voice strains like these are read? And now put away cares and cast business to the winds! Present yourself with a welcome holiday, now that you may be idle for the entire day. Let there be no talk of money, and let there be no secret wrath or suspicion in your heart because your wife is wont to go forth at dawn and to come home at night with crumpled hair and flushed face and ears. Cast off straightway before my threshold all that troubles you, all thought of house and slaves, with all that slaves break or lose, and above all put away all thought of thankless friends. Meantime the solemn Idaean rite of the Megalesian napkin is being held; there sits the Praetor in his triumphal state, the prey of horseflesh; and (if I may say so without offence to the vast unnumbered mob) all Rome to-day is in the Circus. A roar strikes upon my ear which tells me that the Green has won; for had it lost, Rome would be as sad and dismayed as when the Consuls were vanquished in the dust of Cannae. Such sights are for the young, whom it befits to shout and make bold wagers with a smart damsel by their side: but let my shrivelled skin drink in the vernal sun, and escape the toga. You may go at once to your bath with no shame on your brow, though it wants a whole hour of mid-day. That you could not do for five days continuously, since even such a life has weariness. It is rarity that gives zest to pleasure.

Horace, Satires 1V A Modest Proposal to Famine, circa 450BC

Ho Catius! whence and whither?

Catius. Not to-day:
I cannot stop to talk: I must away
To set down words of wisdom, which surpass
The Athenian sage and deep Pythagoras.

Horace. Faith, I did ill at such an awkward time
To cross your path; but you’ll forgive the crime:
If you’ve lost aught, you’ll get it back ere long
By nature or by art; in both you’re strong.

Catius. Ah, ’twas a task to keep the whole in mind,
For style and matter were alike refined.

Horace. But who was lecturer? tell me whence he came.

Catius. I give the precepts, but suppress the name.
The oblong eggs by connoisseurs are placed
Above the round for whiteness and for taste:
Procure them for your table without fail,
For they’re more fleshy, and their yolk is male.
The cabbage of dry fields is sweeter found
Than the weak growth of washed-out garden ground.
Should some chance guest surprise you late at night,
For fear the new-killed fowl prove tough to bite,
Plunge it while living in Falernian lees,
And then ’twill be as tender as you please.
Mushrooms that grow in meadows are far best;
You can’t be too suspicious of the rest.
He that would pass through summer without hurt
Should eat a plate of mulberries for dessert,
But mind to pluck them in the morning hour,
Before the mid-day sun exerts its power.
Aufidius used Falernian, rich and strong,
To mingle with his honey: he did wrong:
For when the veins are empty, ’tis not well
To pour in fiery drinks to make them swell:
Mild gentle draughts will better do their part
In nourishing the cockles of the heart.
In costive cases, limpets from the shell
Are a cheap way the evil to dispel,
With groundling sorrel: but white Coan neat
You’ll want to make the recipe complete.
For catching shell-fish the new moon’s the time,
But there’s a difference between clime and clime;
Baiae is good, but to the Lucrine yields;
Circeii ranks as best for oyster-fields;
Misenum’s cape with urchins is supplied;
Flat bivalve mussels are Tarentum’s pride.
Let no man fancy he knows how to dine
Till he has learnt how taste and taste combine.
‘Tis not enough to sweep your fish away
From the dear stall, and chuckle as you pay,
Not knowing which want sauce, and which when broiled
Will tempt a guest whose appetite is spoiled.
The man who hates wild boars that eat like tame
Gets his from Umbria, genuine mast-fed game:
For the Laurentian beast, that makes its fat
Off sedge and reeds, is flavourless and flat.
The flesh of roes that feed upon the vine
Is not to be relied on when you dine.
With those who know what parts of hare are best
You’ll find the wings are mostly in request.
Fishes and fowls, their nature and their age,
Have oft employed the attention of the sage;
But how to solve the problem ne’er was known
By mortal palate previous to my own.
There are whose whole invention is confined
To novel sweets: that shows a narrow mind;
As if you wished your wines to be first-rate,
But cared not with what oil your fish you ate.
Put Massic wine to stand ‘neath a clear sky
All night, away the heady fumes will fly,
Purged by cool air: if ’tis through linen strained,
You spoil the flavour, and there’s nothing gained.
Who mix Surrentine with Falernian dregs
Clear off the sediment with pigeons’ eggs:
The yolk goes down; all foreign matters sink
Therewith, and leave the beverage fit to drink.
‘Tis best with roasted shrimps and Afric snails
To rouse your drinker when his vigour fails:
Not lettuce; lettuce after wine ne’er lies
Still in the stomach, but is sure to rise:
The appetite, disordered and distressed,
Wants ham and sausage to restore its zest;
Nay, craves for peppered viands and what not,
Fetched from some greasy cookshop steaming hot.
There are two kinds of sauce; and I may say
That each is worth attention in its way.
Sweet oil’s the staple of the first; but wine
Should be thrown in, and strong Byzantine brine.
Now take this compound, pickle, wine, and oil,
Mix it with herbs chopped small, then make it boil,
Put saffron in, and add, when cool, the juice
Venafrum’s choicest olive-yards produce.
In taste Tiburtian apples count as worse
Than Picene; in appearance, the reverse.
For pots, Venucule grapes the best may suit:
For drying, Albans are your safer fruit.
‘Twas I who first, authorities declare,
Served grapes with apples, lees with caviare,
White pepper with black salt, and had them set
Before each diner as his private whet.
‘Tis gross to squander hundreds upon fish,
Yet pen them cooked within too small a dish.
So too it turns the stomach, if there sticks
Dirt to the bowl wherein your wine you mix;
Or if the servant, who behind you stands,
Has fouled the beaker with his greasy hands.
Brooms, dish-cloths, saw-dust, what a mite they cost!
Neglect them though, your reputation’s lost.
What? sweep with dirty broom a floor inlaid,
Spread unwashed cloths o’er tapestry and brocade,
Forgetting, sure, the less such things entail
Of care and cost, the more the shame to fail,
Worse than fall short in luxuries, which one sees
At no man’s table but your rich grandees’?

Horace. Catius, I beg, by all that binds a friend,
Let me go with you, when you next attend;
For though you’ve every detail at command,
There’s something must be lost at second hand.
Then the man’s look, his manner–these may seem
Mere things of course, perhaps, in your esteem,
So privileged as you are: for me, I feel
An inborn thirst, a more than common zeal,
Up to the distant river-head to mount,
And quaff these precious waters at their fount.

The Iliad 8 BCE Homer, Greek

μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος

οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκε,

πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προί̈αψεν

ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν

οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι, Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή,

ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε

Ἀτρεί̈δης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

τίς τ’ ἄρ σφωε θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνέηκε μάχεσθαι;

Λητοῦς καὶ Διὸς υἱός: ὃ γὰρ βασιλῆϊ χολωθεὶς

νοῦσον ἀνὰ στρατὸν ὄρσε κακήν, ὀλέκοντο δὲ λαοί,

οὕνεκα τὸν Χρύσην ἠτίμασεν ἀρητῆρα

Ἀτρεί̈δης: ὃ γὰρ ἦλθε θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν

λυσόμενός τε θύγατρα φέρων τ’ ἀπερείσι’ ἄποινα,

στέμματ’ ἔχων ἐν χερσὶν ἑκηβόλου Ἀπόλλωνος

χρυσέῳ ἀνὰ σκήπτρῳ, καὶ λίσσετο πάντας Ἀχαιούς,

Ἀτρεί̈δα δὲ μάλιστα δύω, κοσμήτορε λαῶν:

Ἀτρεί̈δαι τε καὶ ἄλλοι ἐϋκνήμιδες Ἀχαιοί,

ὑμῖν μὲν θεοὶ δοῖεν Ὀλύμπια δώματ’ ἔχοντες

ἐκπέρσαι Πριάμοιο πόλιν, εὖ δ’ οἴκαδ’ ἱκέσθαι:

παῖδα δ’ ἐμοὶ λύσαιτε φίλην, τὰ δ’ ἄποινα δέχεσθαι,

ἁζόμενοι Διὸς υἱὸν ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα.

ἔνθ’ ἄλλοι μὲν πάντες ἐπευφήμησαν Ἀχαιοὶ

αἰδεῖσθαί θ’ ἱερῆα καὶ ἀγλαὰ δέχθαι ἄποινα:

ἀλλ’ οὐκ Ἀτρεί̈δῃ Ἀγαμέμνονι ἥνδανε θυμῷ,

ἀλλὰ κακῶς ἀφίει, κρατερὸν δ’ ἐπὶ μῦθον ἔτελλε:

μή σε γέρον κοίλῃσιν ἐγὼ παρὰ νηυσὶ κιχείω

ἢ νῦν δηθύνοντ’ ἢ ὕστερον αὖτις ἰόντα,

μή νύ τοι οὐ χραίσμῃ σκῆπτρον καὶ στέμμα θεοῖο:

τὴν δ’ ἐγὼ οὐ λύσω: πρίν μιν καὶ γῆρας ἔπεισιν

ἡμετέρῳ ἐνὶ οἴκῳ ἐν Ἄργεϊ τηλόθι πάτρης

ἱστὸν ἐποιχομένην καὶ ἐμὸν λέχος ἀντιόωσαν:

ἀλλ’ ἴθι μή μ’ ἐρέθιζε σαώτερος ὥς κε νέηαι.

ὣς ἔφατ’, ἔδεισεν δ’ ὃ γέρων καὶ ἐπείθετο μύθῳ:

βῆ δ’ ἀκέων παρὰ θῖνα πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης:

πολλὰ δ’ ἔπειτ’ ἀπάνευθε κιὼν ἠρᾶθ’ ὃ γεραιὸς

Ἀπόλλωνι ἄνακτι, τὸν ἠύ̈κομος τέκε Λητώ:

κλῦθί μευ ἀργυρότοξ’, ὃς Χρύσην ἀμφιβέβηκας

Κίλλάν τε ζαθέην Τενέδοιό τε ἶφι ἀνάσσεις,

Σμινθεῦ εἴ ποτέ τοι χαρίεντ’ ἐπὶ νηὸν ἔρεψα,

ἢ εἰ δή ποτέ τοι κατὰ πίονα μηρί’ ἔκηα

ταύρων ἠδ’ αἰγῶν, τὸ δέ μοι κρήηνον ἐέλδωρ:

τίσειαν Δαναοὶ ἐμὰ δάκρυα σοῖσι βέλεσσιν.

ὣς ἔφατ’ εὐχόμενος, τοῦ δ’ ἔκλυε Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων,

βῆ δὲ κατ’ Οὐλύμποιο καρήνων χωόμενος κῆρ,

τόξ’ ὤμοισιν ἔχων ἀμφηρεφέα τε φαρέτρην:

ἔκλαγξαν δ’ ἄρ’ ὀϊστοὶ ἐπ’ ὤμων χωομένοιο,

αὐτοῦ κινηθέντος: ὃ δ’ ἤϊε νυκτὶ ἐοικώς.

ἕζετ’ ἔπειτ’ ἀπάνευθε νεῶν, μετὰ δ’ ἰὸν ἕηκε:

δεινὴ δὲ κλαγγὴ γένετ’ ἀργυρέοιο βιοῖο:

οὐρῆας μὲν πρῶτον ἐπῴχετο καὶ κύνας ἀργούς,

αὐτὰρ ἔπειτ’ αὐτοῖσι βέλος ἐχεπευκὲς ἐφιεὶς

βάλλ’: αἰεὶ δὲ πυραὶ νεκύων καίοντο θαμειαί.

ἐννῆμαρ μὲν ἀνὰ στρατὸν ᾤχετο κῆλα θεοῖο,

τῇ δεκάτῃ δ’ ἀγορὴν δὲ καλέσσατο λαὸν Ἀχιλλεύς:

τῷ γὰρ ἐπὶ φρεσὶ θῆκε θεὰ λευκώλενος Ἥρη:

κήδετο γὰρ Δαναῶν, ὅτι ῥα θνήσκοντας ὁρᾶτο.

οἳ δ’ ἐπεὶ οὖν ἤγερθεν ὁμηγερέες τε γένοντο,

τοῖσι δ’ ἀνιστάμενος μετέφη πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς:

Ἀτρεί̈δη νῦν ἄμμε παλιμπλαγχθέντας ὀί̈ω

ἂψ ἀπονοστήσειν, εἴ κεν θάνατόν γε φύγοιμεν,

εἰ δὴ ὁμοῦ πόλεμός τε δαμᾷ καὶ λοιμὸς Ἀχαιούς:

ἀλλ’ ἄγε δή τινα μάντιν ἐρείομεν ἢ ἱερῆα

ἢ καὶ ὀνειροπόλον, καὶ γάρ τ’ ὄναρ ἐκ Διός ἐστιν,

ὅς κ’ εἴποι ὅ τι τόσσον ἐχώσατο Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων,

εἴτ’ ἄρ’ ὅ γ’ εὐχωλῆς ἐπιμέμφεται ἠδ’ ἑκατόμβης,

αἴ κέν πως ἀρνῶν κνίσης αἰγῶν τε τελείων

βούλεται ἀντιάσας ἡμῖν ἀπὸ λοιγὸν ἀμῦναι.

ἤτοι ὅ γ’ ὣς εἰπὼν κατ’ ἄρ’ ἕζετο: τοῖσι δ’ ἀνέστη

Κάλχας Θεστορίδης οἰωνοπόλων ὄχ’ ἄριστος,

ὃς ᾔδη τά τ’ ἐόντα τά τ’ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ’ ἐόντα,

καὶ νήεσσ’ ἡγήσατ’ Ἀχαιῶν Ἴλιον εἴσω

ἣν διὰ μαντοσύνην, τήν οἱ πόρε Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων:

ὅ σφιν ἐὺ φρονέων ἀγορήσατο καὶ μετέειπεν:

ὦ Ἀχιλεῦ κέλεαί με Διὶ̈ φίλε μυθήσασθαι

μῆνιν Ἀπόλλωνος ἑκατηβελέταο ἄνακτος:

τοὶ γὰρ ἐγὼν ἐρέω: σὺ δὲ σύνθεο καί μοι ὄμοσσον

ἦ μέν μοι πρόφρων ἔπεσιν καὶ χερσὶν ἀρήξειν:

ἦ γὰρ ὀί̈ομαι ἄνδρα χολωσέμεν, ὃς μέγα πάντων

Ἀργείων κρατέει καί οἱ πείθονται Ἀχαιοί:

κρείσσων γὰρ βασιλεὺς ὅτε χώσεται ἀνδρὶ χέρηϊ:

εἴ περ γάρ τε χόλον γε καὶ αὐτῆμαρ καταπέψῃ,

ἀλλά τε καὶ μετόπισθεν ἔχει κότον, ὄφρα τελέσσῃ,

ἐν στήθεσσιν ἑοῖσι: σὺ δὲ φράσαι εἴ με σαώσεις.

τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφη πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς:

θαρσήσας μάλα εἰπὲ θεοπρόπιον ὅ τι οἶσθα:

οὐ μὰ γὰρ Ἀπόλλωνα Διὶ̈ φίλον, ᾧ τε σὺ Κάλχαν

εὐχόμενος Δαναοῖσι θεοπροπίας ἀναφαίνεις,

οὔ τις ἐμεῦ ζῶντος καὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ δερκομένοιο

σοὶ κοίλῃς παρὰ νηυσί βαρείας χεῖρας ἐποίσει

συμπάντων Δαναῶν, οὐδ’ ἢν Ἀγαμέμνονα εἴπῃς,

ὃς νῦν πολλὸν ἄριστος Ἀχαιῶν εὔχεται εἶναι.

καὶ τότε δὴ θάρσησε καὶ ηὔδα μάντις ἀμύμων:

οὔ τ’ ἄρ ὅ γ’ εὐχωλῆς ἐπιμέμφεται οὐδ’ ἑκατόμβης,

ἀλλ’ ἕνεκ’ ἀρητῆρος ὃν ἠτίμησ’ Ἀγαμέμνων,

οὐδ’ ἀπέλυσε θύγατρα καὶ οὐκ ἀπεδέξατ’ ἄποινα,

τοὔνεκ’ ἄρ’ ἄλγε’ ἔδωκεν ἑκηβόλος ἠδ’ ἔτι δώσει:

οὐδ’ ὅ γε πρὶν Δαναοῖσιν ἀεικέα λοιγὸν ἀπώσει

πρίν γ’ ἀπὸ πατρὶ φίλῳ δόμεναι ἑλικώπιδα κούρην

ἀπριάτην ἀνάποινον, ἄγειν θ’ ἱερὴν ἑκατόμβην

ἐς Χρύσην: τότε κέν μιν ἱλασσάμενοι πεπίθοιμεν.

Book L



Achilles’ wrath to Greece the direful spring

Of woes unnumber’d heavenly goddess sing !

That wrath which hurl’d to Pluto’s gloomy reign

The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain ;

Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore,

Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.

Since great Achilles and Atrides strove,

Such was the sovereign doom and such the will of Jove !

Declare, O Muse ! in what ill-fated hour

Sprung the fierce strife, from what offended power

Latona’s son a dire contagion spread,

And heap’d the camp with mountains of the dead;

The king of men his reverent priest defied,

And for the king’s offense the people died.

For Chryses sought with costly gifts to gain

His captive daughter from the victor’s chain.

Suppliant the venerable father stands;

Apollo’s awful ensigns grace his hands;

By these he begs; and lowly bending down,

Extends the scepter and the laurel crown.

He sued to all, but chief implor’d for grace

The brother-kings of Atreus’ royal race:

“Ye kings and warriors may your vows be crown’d,

And Troy’s proud walls lie level with the ground.

May Jove restore you when your toils are o’er

Safe to the pleasures of your native shore.

But, oh ! relieve a wretched parent’s pain,

And give Chryseis to these arms again ;

If mercy fail, yet let my presents move,

And dread avenging Phoebus, son of Jove.”

The Greeks in shouts their joint assent declare,

The priest to reverence, and release the fair.

Not so Atrides; he with kingly pride,

Repuls’d the sacred sire, and thus replied :

” Hence on thy life, and fly these hostile plains

Nor ask, presumptuous, what the king detains.

Hence, with thy laurel crown, and golden rod

Nor trust too far those ensigns of thy god.

Mine is thy daughter, priest, and shall remain

And prayers, and tears, and bribes, shall plead in vain;

Till time shall rifle every youthful grace,

And age dismiss her from my cold embrace,

In daily labors of the loom employ’d,

Or doom’d to deck the bed she once enjoy’d.

Hence then; to Argos’ shall the maid retire,

Far from her native soil and weeping sire.”

The trembling priest along the shore return’d,

And in the anguish of a father mourn’d.

Disconsolate, not daring to complain,

Silent he wander’d by the sounding main;

Till, safe at distance, to his god he prays,

The god who darts around the world his rays:

” O Smintheus! sprung from fair Latona’s line,

Thou guardian power of Cilia’ the divine,

Thou source of light! whom Tenedos adores,

And whose bright presence gilds thy Chyrsa’s shores!

If e’er with wreaths I hung thy sacred fane,

Or fed the flames with fat of oxen slain;

God of the silver bow ! thy shafts employ,

Avenge thy servant, and the Greeks destroy.”

Thus Chryses pray’d :—the favoring power attends,

And from Olympus’ lofty tops descends.

Bent was his bow, the Grecian hearts to wound;

Fierce as he mov’d, his silver shafts resound.

Breathing revenge, a sudden night he spread,

And gloomy darkness roll’d about his head.

The fleet in view, he twang’d his deadly bow,

And hissing fly the feather’d fates1 below.

On mules and dogs the infection first began;

And last, the vengeful arrows fix’d in man.

For nine long nights, through all the dusky air,

The pyres, thick-flaming, shot a dismal glare.

But ere the tenth revolving day was run,

lnspir’d by Juno Thetis’ godlike son

Conven’d to council all the Grecian train;

For much the goddess mourn’d her heroes slain.

The assembly seated, rising o’er the rest,

Achilles thus the king of men address’d:

” Why leave we not the fatal Trojan shore,

And measure back the seas we cross’d before?

The plague destroying whom the sword would spare,

‘Tis time to save the few remains of war.

But let some prophet, or some sacred sage,

Explore the cause of great Apollo’s rage;

Or learn the wasteful vengeance to remove

By mystic dreams, for dreams descend from Jove.

If broken vows this heavy curse have laid,

Let altars smoke, and hecatombs1 be paid.

So Heaven, aton’d, shall dying Greece restore,

And Phoebus dart his burning shafts no more.”

He said, and sat: when Calchas’ thus replied;

Calchas the wise, the Grecian priest and guide,

That sacred seer, whose comprehensive view,
The past, the present, and the future knew.

Uprising slow, the venerable sage

Thus spoke the prudence and the fears of age:

” Belov’d of Jove, Achilles ! would’st thou know

Why angry Phoebus bends his fatal bow?

First give thy faith, and plight a prince’s word

Of sure protection, by thy power and sword;

For I must speak what wisdom would conceal,

And truths, invidious4 to the great, reveal.

Bold is the task, when subjects, grown too wise,

Instruct a monarch where his error lies ;

For though we deem the short-lived fury past

‘Tis sure the mighty will revenge at last.”

To whom Pelides: ” From thy inmost soul

Speak what thou know’st, and speak without control.

E’en by that god I swear who rules the day,

To whom thy hands the vows of Greece convey, no

And whose bless’d oracles thy lips declare;

Long as Achilles breathes this vital air,

No daring Greek, of all the numerous band,

Against his priest shall lift an impious hand ;

Not e’en the chief by whom our hosts are led,

The king of kings, shall touch that sacred head.”

Encourag’d thus, the blameless’ man replies :

” Nor’ vows unpaid, nor slighted sacrifice,

But he, our chief, provok’d the raging pest,

Apollo’s vengeance for his injur’d priest.

Nor will the god’s awaken’d fury cease,

But plagues shall spread, and funeral fires increase,

Till the great king, without a ransom paid,

To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid.

Perhaps, with added sacrifice and prayer,

The priest may pardon, and the god may spare.”

The prophet spoke : when with a gloomy frown

The monarch started from his shining throne;

Black choler fill’d his breast that boil’d with ire,

And from his eyeballs flash’d the living fire:

” Augur accurs’d ! denouncing mischief still,

Prophet of plagues, forever boding ill !

Still must that tongue some wounding message bring,

And still thy priestly pride provoke thy king?

For this are Phcebus’ oracles explor’d,

To teach the Greeks to murmur at their lord ?

For this with falsehood is my honor stain’d,

Is heaven offended, and a priest profan’d:

Because my prize, my beauteous maid, I hold,

And heavenly charms prefer to proffer’d gold?

A maid, unmatch’d in manners as in face,

Skill’d in each art, and crown’d with every grace;

Not half so dear were Clytemnestra’s charms,

When first her blooming beauties bless’d my arms.

Yet, if the gods demand her, let her sail;

Our cares are only for the public weal.

Let me be deem’d the hateful cause of all,

And suffer, rather than my people fall.

The prize, the beauteous prize, I will resign,

So dearly valued, and so justly mine.

But since for common good I yield the fair,

My private loss let grateful Greece repair;

Nor unrewarded let your prince complain,

That he alone has fought and bled in vain.”‘

” Insatiate king (Achilles thus replies),

Fond of the power, but fonder of the prize!

Would’st thou the Greeks their lawful prey should yield,

The due reward of many a well fought field?

The spoils of cities raz’d and warriors slain,

We share with justice, as with toil we gain ;

But to resume whate’er thy avarice craves

(That trick of tyrants) may be borne by slaves.

Yet if our chief for plunder only fight,

The spoils of Ilion shall thy loss requite,

Whene’er, by Jove’s decree, our conquering powers

Shall humble to the dust her lofty towers.”

Then thus the king : .” Shall I my prize resign

With tame content, and thou possess’d of thine?

Great as thou art, and like a god in fight,

Think not to rob me of a soldier’s right.

At thy demand shall I restore the maid?

First let the just equivalent be paid,

Such as a king might ask; and let it be

A treasure worthy her, and worthy me.

Or1 grant me this, or with a monarch’s claim

This hand shall seize some other captive dame.

The mighty Ajax shall his prize resign;

Ulysses” spoils, or even thy own, be mine.

The man who suffers, loudly may complain;

And rage he may, but he shall rage in vain.

But this when time requires.—It now remains

We launch a bark to plough the watery plains,

And waft the sacrifice to Chrysa’s shores,

With chosen pilots, and with laboring oars.

Soon shall the fair the sable* ship ascend,

And some deputed prince the charge attend.

This Creta’s king, or Ajax shall fulfill,
Or wise Ulysses see perform’d our will;

Or, if our royal pleasure shall ordain,

Achilles’ self conduct her o’er the main;

Let fierce Achilles, dreadful in his rage,

The god propitiate, and the pest assuage.”

At this, Pelides, frowning stern, replied :

” O tyrant, arm’d with insolence and pride!

Inglorious slave to interest, ever join’d

With fraud, unworthy of a royal mind!

What generous Greek, obedient to thy word,’

Shall form an ambush, or shall lift the sword?

What cause have I to war at thy decree ?

The distant Trojans never injur’d me;

To Phthia’s realms no hostile troops they led;

Safe in her vales my warlike coursers fed;

Far hence remov’d, the hoarse-resounding main,

And walls of rocks, secure ray native reign,

Whose fruitful soil luxuriant harvests grace,

Rich in her fruits, and in her martial race.

Hither we sail’d, a voluntary throng,

To avenge a private, not a public wrong.

What else to Troy the assembled nations draws,

But thine, ungrateful, and thy brother’s cause?

Is this the pay our blood and toils deserve,—

Disgrac’d and injur’d by the man we serve?

And dar’st thou threat to snatch my prize away,

Due to the deeds of many a dreadful day?

A prize as small, O tyrant ! match’d with thine,

As thy own actions if compared to mine.

Thine in each conquest is the wealthy prey,

Though mine the sweat and danger of the day.

Some trivial present to my ships I bear,

Or barren praises pay the wounds of war.

But know, proud monarch, I’m thy slave no more;

My fleet shall waft me to Thessalia’s shore.

Left by Achilles on the Trojan plain,

What spoils, what conquests, shall Atrides gain? ”

To this the king: ” Fly, mighty warrior ! fly;

Thy aid we need not, and thy threats defy.

There want not chiefs in such a cause to fight,

And Jove himself shall guard a monarch’s right.’

Of all the kings (the god’s distinguish’d care)

To power superior none such hatred bear;

Strife and debate thy restless soul employ,

And wars and horrors are thy savage joy.

If thou hast strength;twas Heaven that strength bestow

For know, vain man ! thy valor is from God.

Haste, launch thy vessels, fly with speed away;

Rule thy own realms with arbitrary sway ;

I heed thee not, but prize at equal rate

Thy short-lived friendship and thy groundless hate.

Go, threat thy earth-born Myrmidons; but here;

Tis mine to threaten, prince, and thine to fear.

Know, if the god the beauteous dame demand,

My bark shall waft her to her native land;

But then prepare, imperious prince ! prepare,

Fierce as thou art, to yield thy captive fair;

Even in thy tent seize the blooming prize,

Thy loved Briseis with the radiant eyes.

Hence shalt thou prove my might, and curse the hour

Thou stoodst a rival of imperial power;

And hence, to all our hosts it shall be known,

That kings are subject to the gods alone.

Achilles heard with grief and rage oppress

His heart swelled high and labored in his breast

Distracting thoughts by turns his bosom rule;

Now fired by wrath, and now by reason cooled;

That prompts his hand to draw the deadly sword,

Force through the Greeks, and pierce their haughty lord;

This whispers soft his vengeance to control,

And calm the rising tempest of his soul.
Just as in anguish of suspense he stayed,

While half unsheathed appeared the glittering blade,

Minerva swift descended from above,

Sent by the sister and the wife of Jove

(For both the princes claimed her equal care).

Behind she stood, and by the golden hair

Achilles seized, to him alone confessed;

A sable cloud concealed her from the rest.

He sees, and sudden to the goddess cries,

Known by the flames that sparkle from her eyes;

Descends Minerva, in her guardian care,

A heavenly witness of the wrongs I bear

From Atreus son? Then let those eyes that view

The daring crime, behold the vengeance too;

Forbear (the progeny of Jove replies);

To calm thy fury I forsake the skies.

Let great Achilles, to the gods resigned

To reason yield the empire over his mind.

By awful Juno this command is given;

The king and you are both the care of heaven.

The force of keen reproaches let him feel;

But sheathe, obedient, thy revenging steel.

For I pronounce (and trust a heavenly power)

Thy injured honor has its fated hour,
When the proud monarch shall thy arms implore,

And bribe thy friendship with a boundless store.

Then let revenge no longer bear the sway;

Command thy passions, and the gods obey/

To her Pelides :With regardful ear;

Tis just, O goddess!

I thy dictates hear.

Hard as it is, my vengeance I suppress;

Those who revere the gods the gods will bless.

He said, observant of the blue-eyed maid;

Then in the sheath returned the shining blade.

The goddess swift to high Olympus flies,

And joins the sacred senate of the skies.

Nor yet the rage his boiling breast forsook,

Which thus redoubling on Atrides broke :

O monster ! mixed of insolence and fear,

Thou dog in forehead, but in heart a deer!

When wert thou known in ambushed fights to dare,

Or nobly face the horrid front of war?

Tis ours, the chance of fighting fields to try;

Thine to look on and bid the valiant die.

So much tis safer through the camp to go,

And rob a subject than despoil a foe.

Scourge of thy people violent and base!

Sent in Jove’s anger on a slavish race

Who, lost to sense of generous freedom past,

Are tamed to wrongs;—or this had been thy last.

Now by this sacred scepter hear me swear,

Which never more shall leaves or blossoms bear,

Which, severed from the trunk (as I from thee),

On the bare mountains left its parent tree;

This scepter, formed by tempered steel to prove

An ensign of the delegates of Jove,

From whom the power of laws and justice springs

(Tremendous oath ! inviolate to kings),

By this I swear :—when bleeding Greece again

Shall call Achilles, she shall call in vain.

Insolently bold as a dog in carriage but timid as a deer at heart.

When, flushed with slaughter Hector comes to spread

The purpled shore with mountains of the dead,

Then shalt thou mourn the affront thy madness gave,

Forced to deplore when impotent to save;

Then rage in bitterness of soul to know

This act has made the bravest Greek thy foe;

He spoke; and furious hurled against the ground

His scepter starred with golden studs around;

Then sternly silent sat. With like disdain

The raging king returned his frowns again.

To calm their passion with the words of age,

Slow from his seat arose the Pylian sage,

Experienced Nestor in persuasion skill;

Words, sweet as honey, from his lips distilled.

Two generations now had passed away,

Wise by his rules, and happy by his sway;

Two ages over his native realm he reigned,

And now the example of the third remained.

All viewed with awe the venerable man,

Who thus with mild benevolence began:

What shame, what woe is this to Greece!

what joy to Troy’s proud monarch, and the friends of Troy!

That adverse gods commit to stern debate

The best, the bravest, of the Grecian state.

Young as ye are, this youthful heat restrain,

Nor think your Nestor’s years and wisdom vain.

A godlike race of heroes once I knew,

Such as no more these aged eyes shall view!

Lives there a chief to match Pirithous” fame,

Dryas the bold, or Ceneus deathless name?

Theseus, endued with more than mortal might,

Or Polyphemus like the gods in fight?

With these of old, to toils of battle bred,

In early youth my hardy days I led.

Fir’d with the thirst which virtuous envy breeds,

And smit with love of honorable deeds,

Strongest of men, they pierc’d the mountain boar,

Rang’d the wild deserts red with monsters’ gore,

And from their hills the shaggy Centaurs tore.

Yet these with soft persuasive arts I sway’d;

When Nestor spoke, they listen’d and obey’d.

If in my youth, even these esteem’d me wise;

Do you, young warriors, hear my age advise.—

Atrides, seize not on the beauteous slave;

That prize the Greeks by common suffrage gave.—

Nor thou, Achilles, treat our prince with pride ;

Let kings be just, and sovereign power preside.

Thee, the first honors of the war adorn,

Like gods in strength, and of a goddess born ;

Him, awful majesty exalts above

The powers of earth, and scepter’d sons of Jove.

Let both unite with well-consenting mind;

So shall authority with strength be join’d.—

Leave me, O king ! to calm Achilles’ rage;

Rule thou thyself, as more advanc’d in age.—

Dryas was a hunter. A famous king of the Lapithse.

The legendary founder of the Athenian state.

A giant who dwelt in a cave near Mt. Etna.

Forbid it, gods ! Achilles should be lost,

The pride of Greece, and bulwark of our host.”

This said, he ceas’d. The king of men replies:

Thy years are awful, and thy words are wise.

But that imperious, that unconquer’d soul,

No laws can limit, no respect control.

Before his pride must his superiors fall,

His word the law, and he the lord of all?

Him must our hosts our chiefs ourself obey?

What king can bear a rival in his sway?

Grant that the gods his matchless force have given;

Has foul reproach a privilege from heaven? ”

Here on the monarch’s speech Achilles broke,

And furious, thus, and interrupting, spoke:

” Tyrant, I well deserv’d thy galling chain,

To live thy slave, and still to serve in vain,

Should I submit to each unjust decree;

Command thy vassals, but command not me.

Seize on Briseis, whom the Grecians doom’d

My prize of war, yet tamely see resum’d;

And seize secure no more Achilles draws

His conquering sword in any woman’s cause.

The gods command me to forgive the past;

But let this first invasion be the last.

For know, thy blood, when next thou dar’st invade,

Shall stream in vengeance on my reeking blade.”

At this they ceas’d ; the stern debate expir’d;

The chiefs in sullen majesty retir’d.

Achilles with Patroclus took his way

Where near his tents his hollow vessels lay.

Meantime Atrides launch’d with numerous oars

A well-rigg’d ship for Chrysa’s sacred shores;

High on the deck was fair Chryseis plac’d,

And sage Ulysses with the conduct grac’d.

Safe in her sides the hecatomb they stow’d,

Then swiftly sailing, cut the liquid road.

The host to expiate next the king prepares,

With pure lustrations and with solemn prayers.

Wash’d by the briny wave the pious train

Are cleans’d; and cast the ablutions in the main.

Along the shore whole hecatombs were laid,

And bulls and goats to Phoebus’ altars paid;

The sable fumes in curling spires arise,

And waft their grateful odors to the skies.

The army thus in sacred rites engag’d,

Atrides still with deep resentment rag’d.

To wait his will two sacred’ heralds stood,

Talthybius and Eurybates the good.

” Haste to the fierce Achilles’ tent (he cries),

Thence bear Briseis as our royal prize.

Submit he must; or if they will not part,

Ourself in arms shall tear her from his heart.”

The unwilling heralds act their lord’s commands;

Pensive they walk along the barren sands.

Arriv’d, the hero in his tent they find,

With gloomy aspect on his arm reclin’d.

At awful distance* long they silent stand,

Loath to advance, and speak their hard command;

Decent confusion ! This the godlike man

Perceiv’d, and thus with accent mild began :

” With leave and honor enter our abodes,

Ve sacred ministers of men and gods!

I know your message; by constraint you came;

Not you, but your imperious lord I blame.

Patroclus, haste, the fair Briseis bring;

Conduct my captive to the haughty king.

But witness, heralds, and proclaim my vow,

Witness to gods above and men below!

But first, and loudest, to your prince declare

(That lawless tyrant whose commands you bear),

Unmov’d as death Achilles shall remain,

Though prostrate Greece shall bleed at every vein.

The raging chief, in frantic passion lost,

Blind to himself, and useless to his host,

Unskill’d to judge the future by the past,

In blood and slaughter shall repent at last.”

Patroclus now the unwilling beauty brought;

She, in soft sorrows, and in pensive thought,

Pass’d silent, as the heralds held her hand,

And oft look’d back, slow-moving o’er the strand.

Not so his loss the fierce Achilles bore;

But sad, retiring to the sounding shore,

O’er the wild margin of the deep he hung,

That kindred deep from whence his mother sprung.

There bath’d in tears of anger and disdain,

Thus loud lamented to the stormy main :

” O parent goddess ! since in early bloom

Thy son must fall, by too severe a doom;

Sure to so short a race of glory born,

Great Jove in justice should this span adorn.

Honor and fame at least the Thunderer’d

And ill he pays the promise of a god,

If yon proud monarch thus thy son defies,

Obscures my glories, and resumes my prize.”

Far from the deep recesses of the main,

Where aged Ocean ‘ holds his watery reign,

The goddess-mother heard. The waves divide;

And like a mists she rose above the tide;

Beheld him mourning on the naked shores,

And thus the sorrows of his soul explores:

” Why grieves my son ? Thy anguish let me share;

Reveal the cause, and trust a parent’s care.”

He deeply sighing said : “To tell my woe

Is but to mention what too well you know.

From Thebe sacred to Apollo’s name

(Aetion’s realm), our conquering army came,

With treasure loaded and triumphant spoils,

Whose just division crown’d the soldier’s toils;

But bright Chryseis, heavenly prize! was led,

By vote selected, to the general’s bed.

The priest of Phoebus sought by gifts to gain

His beauteous daughter from the victor’s chain;

The fleet he reach’d, and, lowly bending down,

Held forth the scepter and the laurel crown,

Intreating all; but chief implor’d for grace

The brother-kings of Atreus’ royal race.

The generous Greeks their joint consent declare,

The priest to reverence, and release the fair;

Not so Atrides;he, with wonted pride,

The sire insulted, and his gifts denied.

The insulted sire (his god’s peculiar care)

To Phoebus pray’d, and Phcebus heard the prayer.

A godlike race of heroes once I knew,

Such as no more these aged eyes shall view!

Lives there a chief to match Pirithous” fame,

Dryas the bold, or Ceneus’ deathless name?

Theseus endued with more than mortal might,

Or Polyphemus like the gods in fight?

With these of old, to toils of battle bred,

In early youth my hardy days I led.

Fir’d with the thirst which virtuous envy breeds,

And smit with love of honorable deeds,

Strongest of men, they pierc’d the mountain boar,

Rang’d the wild deserts red with monsters’ gore,

And from their hills the shaggy Centaurs tore.

Yet these with soft persuasive arts I sway’d;

When Nestor spoke, they listen’d and obey’d.

If in my youth, even these esteem’d me wise;

Do you, young warriors, hear my age advise.—

Atrides, seize not on the beauteous slave;

That prize the Greeks by common suffrage gave.

Nor thou, Achilles, treat our prince with pride ;

Let kings be just, and sovereign power preside.

Thee, the first honors of the war adorn,

Like gods in strength, and of a goddess born ;

Him, awful majesty exalts above

The powers of earth, and scepter’d sons of Jove.

Let both unite with well-consenting mind;

So shall authority with strength be join’d.

Leave me, O king ! to calm Achilles’ rage;

Rule thou thyself, as more advanc’d in age.

Forbid it, gods ! Achilles should be lost,

The pride of Greece, and bulwark of our host.”

This said, he ceas’d. The king of men replies:

Thy years are awful, and thy words are wise.

But that imperious, that unconquer’d soul,

No laws can limit, no respect control.

Before his pride must his superiors fall,

His word the law and he the lord of all?

Him must our hosts our chiefs ourself obey?

What king can bear a rival in his sway?

Grant that the gods his matchless force have given;

Has foul reproach a privilege from heaven? ”
To Phoebus pray’d, and Phcebus heard the prayer.

A dreadful plague ensues; the avenging darts

Incessant fly, and pierce the Grecian hearts.

A prophet then, inspir’d by heaven, arose,

And points the crime, and thence derives the woes;

Myself the first the assembled chiefs incline

To avert the vengeance of the power divine.

Then rising in his wrath, the monarch storm’d;

Incens’d he threaten’d, and his threats perform’d:

The fair Chryseis to her sire was sent,

With offer’d gifts to make the god relent;

But now he seiz’d Briseis’ heavenly charms,

And of my valor’s prize defrauds my arms,

Defrauds the votes’ of all the Grecian train;

And service, faith, and justice, plead in vain.

But, goddess ! thou thy suppliant son attend.

To high Olympus’ shining court ascend,

Urge all the ties to former service owed,

And sue for vengeance to the thundering god.

Oft hast thou triumph’d in the glorious boast

That thou stood’st forth of all the ethereal host,

When bold rebellion shook the realms above,

The undaunted guard of cloud-compelling Jove,

When the bright partner of his awful reign,

Te warlike maid, and monarch of the main,

The traitor-gods, by mad ambition driven,

Durst threat with chains the omnipotence of Heaven.

Then, call’d by thee, the monster Titan came

Through wondering skies * enormous stalk’d along ;

Not he’ that shakes the solid earth so strong.

With giant pride at Jove’s high throne he stands,

And brandish’d round him all his hundred hands;

The affrighted gods confess’d their awful lord,

They dropp’d the fetters, trembled, and ador’d.

This, goddess, this to his remembrance call,

Embrace his knees, at his tribunal fall;

Conjure him far to drive the Grecian train,

To hurl them headlong to their fleet and main,

To heap the shores with copious death and bring

The Greeks to know the curse of such a king.

Let Agamemnon lift his haughty head

O’er all his wide dominion of the dead,

And mourn in blood that e’er he durst disgrace

The boldest warrior of the Grecian race.”

” Unhappy son ! (fair Thetis thus replies,

While tears celestial trickle from her eyes,)

Why have I borne thee with a mother’s throes

To fates averse, and nurs’d for future woes?

So short a space the light of heaven to view!

So short a space ! and fill’d with sorrow too!

O might a parent’s careful wish prevail,

Far, far from Ilion should thy vessels sail,

And thou, from camps remote, the danger shun

Which now, alas ! too nearly threats my son.

Yet (what I can) to move thy suit I’ll go

To great Olympus crown’d with fleecy snow.

Meantime, secure within thy ships, from far

Behold the field, nor mingle in the war.

The sire of gods and all the ethereal train,

On the warm limits of the farthest main,

Now mix with mortals nor disdain to grace

The feasts of Ethiopia’s blameless race;

Twelve days the powers indulge the genial rite,

Returning with the twelfth revolving light.

Then will I mount the brazen dome and move

The high tribunal of immortal Jove.”

The goddess spoke; the rolling waves unclose;

Then down the steep she plung’d from whence she rose,

And left him sorrowing on the lonely coast,

In wild resentment for the fair he lost.

In Chrysa’s port now sage Ulysses rode,
Beneath the deck the destin’d victims stow’d ;

The sails they furl’d, they lash the mast aside,

And dropp’d their anchors, and the pinnace tied.

Next on the shore their hecatomb they land;

Chryseis last descending on the strand.

Her, thus returning from the furrow’d main,

Ulysses led to Phoebus’ sacred fane;

Where at his solemn altar, as the maid

He gave to Chryses, thus the hero said :

” Hail, reverend priest! to Phoebus’ awful dome

A suppliant I from great Atrides come.

Unransom’d, here receive the spotless fair;

Accept the hecatomb the Greeks prepare;

The dome of Olympus as resplendent as burnished brass.

And may thy god who scatters darts around,

Aton’d by sacrifice desist to wound.”

At this the sire embrac’d the maid again,

So sadly lost so lately sought in vain.

Then near the altar of the darting king,

Dispos’d in rank their hecatomb they bring;

With water purify their hands, and take

The sacred offering of the salted cake;

While thus with arms devoutly rais’d in air,

And solemn voice, the priest directs his prayer:

“God of the silver bow, thy ear incline,

Whose power encircles Cilia the divine;

Whose sacred eye thy Tenedos surveys,

And gilds fair Chrysa with distinguish’d rays !

If, fir’d to vengeance at thy priest’s request,

Thy direful darts inflict the raging pest,

Once more attend ! avert the wasteful woe,

And smile propitious, and unbend thy bow.”

So Chryses pray’d. Apollo heard his prayer.

And now the Greeks their hecatomb prepare;

Between their horns the salted barley threw,

And, with their heads to heaven, the victims slew ;

The limbs they sever from the inclosing hide;

The thighs, selected to the gods, divide;

On these, in double cauls involv’d with art,

The choicest morsels lay from every part.

The priest himself before his altar stands,

And burns the offering with his holy hands,

Pours the black wine, and sees the flames aspire;

The youth with instruments surround the fire.

Twelve days were past and now the dawning light

The gods had summon’d to the Olympian height.

Jove, first ascending from the watery bowers,

Leads the long order of ethereal powers;

When, like the morning mist in early day,

Rose from the flood the daughter of the sea,

And to the seats divine her flight address’d.

There, far apart, and high above the rest,

The Thunderer sat where old Olympus shrouds

His hundred heads in heaven, and props the clouds.

Suppliant the goddess stood; one hand she plac’d

Beneath his beard, and one his knees embrac’d.’

” If e’er, O father of the gods ! (she said)

My words could please thee, or my actions aid,

Some marks of honor on my son bestow,

And pay in glory what in life you owe.

Fame is at least by heavenly promise due

To life so short, and now dishonor’d too.

Avenge this wrong, O ever just and wise!

Let Greece be humbled, and the Trojans rise;

Till the proud king and all the Achaian race

Shall heap with honors him they now disgrace.”

Thus Thetis spoke; but Jove in silence held

The sacred counsels of his breast conceal’d.

Not so repuls’d, the goddess closer press’d,

Still grasp’d his knees, and urg’d the dear request.

” O sire of gods and men ! thy suppliant hear ;
Refuse, or grant; for what has Jove to fear?

Or oh ! declare, of all the powers above,

Is wretched Thetis least the care of Jove? ”

She said and sighing thus the god replies,

Who rolls the thunder o’er the vaulted skies :

” What hast thou ask’d ah, why should Jove engage

In foreign contests and domestic rage,

The gods’ complaints, and Juno’s fierce alarms,

While I, too partial, aid the Trojan arms?’

Go, lest the haughty partner of my sway

With jealous eyes thy close access survey.

But part in peace, secure thy prayer is sped;

Witness the sacred honors of our head,

The nod that ratifies the will divine,

The faithful, fix’d, irrevocable sign;

This seals thy suit, and this fulfills thy vows.

He spoke, and awful bends his sable brows,

Shakes his ambrosiala curls and gives the nod,

The stamp of fate and sanction of the god.

High heaven with trembling the dread signal took,

And all Olympus to the center shook.

Swift to the seas profound the goddess flies,

Jove to his starry mansions in the skies.

” So was his will

Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath

That shook heav’n’s whole circumference, confirm’d.”

The shining synod of the immortals wait

The coming god, and from their thrones of state

Arising silent, wrapp’d in holy fear,

Before the majesty of Heaven appear.

Trembling they stand, while Jove assumes the throne,

All, but the god’s imperious queen alone.

Late had she view’d the silver-footed dame,

And all her passions kindled into flame.

” Say, artful manager of heaven (she cries),

Who now partakes the secrets of the skies ?

Thy Juno knows not the decrees of fate,

In vain the partner of imperial state.

What favorite goddess then those cares divides,

Which Jove in prudence from his consort hides? ”

To this the Thunderer: ” Seek not thou to find

The sacred counsels of almighty mind;

Involv’d in darkness lies the great decree,

Nor can the depths of fate be pierc’d by thee.

What fits thy knowledge, thou the first shalt know,

The first of gods above, and men below;

But thou nor they shall search the thoughts that roll

Deep in the close recesses of my soul.”

Full on the Sire the goddess of the skies

Roll’d the large orbs of her majestic eyes,

And thus return’d : ” Austere Saturnius, say,

From whence this wrath, or who controls thy sway?

Thy boundless will, for me, remains in force,

And all thy counsels take the destin’d course.

But ’tis for Greece I fear ; for late was seen,

In close consult, the silver-footed queen.

Jove to his Thetis nothing could deny,

Nor was the signal vain that shook the sky.

What fatal favor has the goddess won,

To grace her fierce, inexorable son?

Perhaps in Grecian blood to drench the plain,

And glut his vengeance with my people slain.”

Then thus the god: “O restless fate of pride,

That strives to learn what Heaven resolves to hide;

Vain is the search, presumptuous and abhorr’d,

Anxious to thee, and odious to thy lord.

Let this suffice: the immutable decree

No force can shake ; what is, that ought to be.

Goddess, submit; nor dare our will withstand,

But dread the power of this avenging hand;

The united strength of all the gods above

In vain resists the omnipotence of Jove.”

The Thunderer spoke, nor durst the queen reply ;

A reverent horror silenc’d all the sky.

The feast disturb’d, with sorrow Vulcan’ saw

His mother menac’d, and the gods in awe.

Peace at his heart, and pleasure his design,

Thus interpos’d the architect divine:

” The wretched quarrels of the mortal state

Are far unworthy, gods, of your debate.

Let men their days in senseless strife employ,

We, in eternal peace and constant joy.

Thou, goddess mother, with our sire comply,

Nor break the sacred union of the sky;

Lest, rous’d to rage, he shake the bless’d abodes,

Launch the red lightning, and dethrone the gods.

If you submit, the Thunderer stands appeas’d;

The gracious power is willing to be pleas’d.”

Thus Vulcan spoke; and rising with a bound,

The double bowl with sparkling nectar’ crown’d,

Which held to Juno in a cheerful way :

” Goddess (he cried), be patient and obey.

Dear as you are, if Jove his arm extend,

I can but grieve, unable to defend.
What god so daring in your aid to move,

Or lift his hand against the force of Jove?

Once in your cause I felt his matchless might,

Hurl’d headlong down from the ethereal height;

Toss’d all the day in rapid circles round;

Nor till the sun descended touch’d the ground.

Breathless I fell, in giddy motion lost;

The Sinthians rais’d me on the Lemnian coast.”

He said, and to her hands the goblet heav’d,

Which, with a smile, the white-arm’d queen receiv’d.

Then, to the rest he fill’d ; and in his turn,

Each to his lips applied the nectar’d urn ;

” Nor was his name unheard or unador’d

In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land

Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell

From heav’n they fabled, thrown by angry Jove

Sheer o’er the crystal battlements; from morn

To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,

A summer’s day; and with the setting sun

Dropp’d from the zenith like a falling star

On Lemnos, the Egean isle; thus they relate.”

Prayer of Baruch Jewish Saviour Torah BC

Blessed are you more than we who live but I will say this as I think. The noonday does not always burn nor do the rays of the sun constantly give light. Do not expect that you will always he prosperous and rejoicing and be not greatly up lifted and boastful. For assuredly in its own season shall the divine wrath awake against you. Which now in long-suffering is held in as it were by reins but I will say this as I think and speak against you the land that is prospering. Not always does the noonday burn nor do the rays of the sun constantly give light and do not you expect to rejoice nor condemn greatly but now you peoples and nations you are guilty for I have always benefited you and you have always been ungrateful for the bene­ficence devise and speak with a word and forthwith the works of creation stood before you and you did say that you wouldst make for your world man righteous are carried off and the impious are prospered and as regards what you have said but now because he transgressed wittingly on this ground that he knows he shall be tormented strife and a labor with much trouble and that accordingly which is to come a crown with great glory and I answered and said the years of this time are few and evil and who is able in his little time to acquire that which is measureless. Adam that he lived nine hundred and thirty years and transgressed that which he was commanded. He that lighted has taken from the light and there are but few that have imitated him and he answered and said unto me wherefore at that time he appointed for them a covenant and said behold I have placed before you life and death the light in which nothing could err for now it is the consummation of time man is shamefully entreated in his beginnings and at his end is prospered though each one were prospered and in his end was destroyed zion has been taken. I will reveal myself to you and speak true things with you and I will give you commandment regarding the method of the times. The prayer of Baruch the son of Neriah and I went there and sat in the valley in a cave of the earth and I sanctified my soul. I began to speak in the presence of the mighty one and said you that have made the earth that have fixed the firmament by the word and have made firm the height of the heaven by the spirit that have called from the beginning of the world that which did not yet exist you that have commanded the air by your nod and have seen those things which are to be as those things which you are doing rule you know where you preserve the end of those who have sinned or the consummation of those who have been righteous. For if a consummation had not been prepared for all in vain would have been their beginning. How long will that which is corruptible remain because you have called us a beloved people who sleep in the earth on whose account you did say that you had created the world till all souls are born the end cannot come and it came to pass after these things that the heavens were opened and I saw and power was given to me and a voice said Baruch Baruch why are you troubled. He who promises to give a present to another but does not fulfill it or he who sows the earth but does not reap its fruit in its season does he not lose everything or he who plants a plant unless it grows till the time suitable to it does he who planted it expect to receive fruit the coming judgment for it shall come to pass at that time. Sign of the coming judgment when a stupor shall seize the inhabitants of the earth and they shall fall into many tribulations,and again when they shall fall into great torments and it will come to pass when they say in their thoughts by reason of their much tribulation and I answered and said will that tribulation which is to be continue a long time and will that necessity embrace many years. The messiah and the temporary messianic kingdom and he answered into twelve parts is that time divided and each one of them is reserved for that which is appointed for it. Commotions, slaying, fall, sending of the sword, famine and the withholding of rain, earthquakes, terrors, wanting, multitude, fire, rapine and oppression, wickedness, confusion. For these parts of that time are reserved and I answered and said it is good for man but I will say this also will he who is incorruptible despise those things which are corruptible. In one of the parts of the earth that those things are come to pass or will the whole earth experience them and he answered and said unto me whatever will then befall will befall the whole earth. It shall come to pass when all is accomplished that was to come to pass in those parts, that the messiah shall then begin to be revealed and behemoth shall be revealed from his place and leviathan shall ascend from the sea those two great monsters which I created on the fifth day of creation and shall have kept until that time and then they shall be for food for all that are left and it shall come to pass after these things when the time of the advent and it shall come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the number of the souls of the righteous and they shall come forth and a multitude of souls shall be seen together in one assemblage of one thought and the first shall rejoice and the last shall not be grieved. Baruch exhorts the people to prepare themselves for worse evils. All your elders and I will speak words unto them and they all assembled. I answered and said unto them israel and I will speak to you and give ear and I will instruct you forget not but hold in remembrance. For the days come when everything that is shall become the prey of corruption but as for you if you prepare your hearts so as to sow in them the fruits shall protect you in that time in which the mighty is to shake the whole creation. It were good for us all to die before you and then that you should withdraw from us and Baruch went for how shall I lament for zion and how shall I mourn for jerusalem. The vision of the forest the vine the fountain and the cedar and when I had said these things I fell asleep there and I saw a vision in the night and a forest of trees planted on the plain and lofty and rugged rocky mountains surrounded it and that forest occupied much space and over against it arose a vine and from under it there went forth a fountain peacefully. Now that fountain came to the forest and was stirred into great waves and those waves submerged that forest and suddenly they rooted out the greater part of that forest and overthrew all the mountains which were round about it and the height of the forest began to be made low and the top of the mountains was made low and that fountain prevailed greatly so that it left nothing of that great forest save one cedar also when it had cast it down and had destroyed and rooted out the greater part of that forest so that nothing was left of it nor could its place be recognized then that vine began to come with the fountain in peace and great tranquility and it came to a place which was not far from that cedar and they brought the cedar which had been cast down to it and I beheld that vine opened its mouth and spoke and said to that cedar art you not that cedar which was left of the forest of wickedness and by whose means wickedness persisted and was wrought all those years and goodness never conquering that which was not yours and to that which was yours you did never show compassion and you did keep extending your power over those who were far from you and those who drew near you you did hold fast in the toils of your wickedness your hour is come. These things I saw that cedar burning and the vine growing itself and all around the plain full of unfading flowers.Your law is life and your wisdom is right guidance which once destroyed zion and it will be subjected to that which comes after it. Moreover that also again after a time will be destroyed and another a third will arise and that also will have dominion for its time and will be destroyed and after these things a fourth kingdom will arise whose power will be harsh and evil far beyond those which were before it and will exalt itself by it the truth will be hidden and all those who are polluted with iniquity will flee to it as evil beasts flee and creep into the forest and it will come to pass when the time of its consummation that it should fall has approached then the principate of my messiah will be revealed which is like the fountain and the vine and when it is revealed it will root out the multitude of its host. As touching that which you have seen the lofty cedar which was left of that forest and the fact that the vine spoke those words with it which you did hear.The last leader of that time will be left alive when the multitude of his hosts will be put to the sword and he will be bound. The destiny of the apostates and I answered and said for whom and for how many shall these things be for I will speak before you everything that I think and I will ask of you regarding those things which I meditate. What therefore will be to them or how will the last time receive them or perhaps the time of these will assuredly be weighed and as the beam inclines will they be judged accordingly and time shall succeed to time and season to season and one shall receive from another and then with a view to the consummation shall everything be compared according to the measure of the times and the hours of the seasons. For corruption shall take those that belong to it and the dust shall be called there shall be said to it give back that which is not yours and raise up all that you have kept until its time. Baruch told of his death and bidden to give his last commands to the people but encourages them to expect the consolation of zion and Baruch went. For the judgment of the mighty one shall be made known and his ways which though past finding out are right because whatever is now is nothing for everything that is corruptible shall pass away and everything that dies shall depart and all the present time shall be forgotten nor shall there be any remembrance of the present time shall we hope for it is a time that passes not away and the hour comes which abides for ever and the new world comes which does not turn to corruption those who depart to its blessedness and has no mercy on those who depart to torment and leads not to perdition those who live in it the mighty one humiliated us to such a degree and there shall be no light to the people. I said unto them the throne of the mighty one I cannot resist nevertheless there shall not be wanting to israel a wise man nor a son of the law to the race of jacob but only prepare you your hearts that you may obey. I go to hebron for thither the mighty one hath sent me and I came to that place. Prayer of Baruch and it came to pass after the seventh day that I prayed before the mighty one and said you summon the advent of the times, and they stand before you cause the power of the ages to pass away and they do not resist you you arrange the method of the seasons and they obey you. You alone know and you weigh the lightness of the wind you explore the limit of the heights and you scrutinize the depths of the darkness. You care for the number which pass away that they may be preserved and you prepare an abode for those that are to be you remember the beginning which you have made. You forget not with nods of fear and indignation you command the flames and they change into spirits and with a word you quicken that which was not and with mighty power you hold that which has not yet come you instruct created things in the understanding of you and you make wise the spheres so as to minister in their orders armies innumerable stand before you and minister in their orders quietly at your nod but with you hours are as a time and days as generations by your gift do we come into the world and we depart not of our own will. For we said not to our parents beget us nor did we send to receive us gentiles for we are all one celebrated people one law and the law which is amongst us will aid us and the surpassing wisdom which is in us will help us and when I had prayed and said these things you have prayed Baruch and my law exacts its rights. For from your words I will answer you for this is as follows he has both wrought iniquity so far as lie and has not remembered goodness. Therefore you shall be taken up as I before told you. For that time shall arise which brings affliction for it shall come and pass by with quick vehemence and it shall be turbulent coming in the heat of indignation and it shall come to pass in those days that all the inhabitants of the earth shall be moved one againstanother. For there shall not be found wise. Moreover even those who know shall most of all be silent and there shall be many rumors and tidings not a few and the doing of phantasms shall be manifest and promises not a few be recounted some of them idle and some of them shall be confirmed and probity destroyed and beauty shall become ugliness and many shall say to many at that time where hath the multitude of intelligence hidden itself and whither hath the multitude of wisdom removed itself and whilst they are meditating these things then envy shall arise in those who had not thought aught of themselves and passion shall seize him that is peaceful and many shall be stirred up in anger to injure many and they shall rouse up armies in order to shed blood and it shall come to pass at the self-same time that a change of times shall manifestly appeal to every man because in all those times they polluted themselves and they practiced oppression and walked every man in his own works remembered not the law of the mighty one therefore a fire shall consume their thoughts and in flame shall the meditations of their reins be tried for the judge shall come and will not tarry because each of the inhabitants of the earth knew when he was transgressing but my law they knew not by reason of their pride many shall then assuredly weep over the living more than over the dead and I answered and said adam what have you done to all those who are born from you and what will be said to the first eve who hearkened to the serpent. Nor is there any numbering but I will speak in your presence. Know what is in your creature for you did of old command the dust to produce adam. Convict them. Address of Baruch to the people; but now let us dismiss the wicked and inquire about the righteous and I will recount their blessedness and not be silent in celebrating which is reserved for them. For assuredly as in a little time in this transitory world you have endured much labor. So in that world to which there is no end you shall receive great light. The nature of the resurrection body and the wicked. Nevertheless I will again ask from you mighty one I will ask made all things in what shape will those live who live in your day or how will the splendor continue will they then resume this form of the present and put on these entrammelling members which are now involved in evils consummated or will you perchance change these things which have been in the world as also the world and he answered and said unto me Baruch this word and write in the remembrance of your heart all that you shall learn for the earth which it now receives in order topreserve them. It shall make no change in their form as it has received so shall it restore them and as I delivered them unto it so also shall it raise them for then it will be necessary to show the living that the dead have come to life again, and that those who had departed have returned and it shall come to pass when they have severally recognized those whom they now know then judgment shall grow strong and those things which before were spoken of shall come shall come to pass when that appointed day has gone by that then shall the aspect of those who are condemned be afterwards changed. For the aspect of those who now act wickedly shall become worse than it is as they shall suffer torment. The glory of those who have now been justified in my law who have had understanding in their life and who have planted in their heart wisdom that they may be able to acquire and receive the world which does not die. For over this above all shall those who come then lament that they rejected. When therefore they see those over whom they are now and glorified more than they the latter into the splendor of angel and the former shall yet more waste away in wonder at the visions and in the beholding of the forms. For they shall first behold and afterwards depart to be tormented but those who have been saved by their works and to whom the law has been now a hope and understanding an expectation and wisdom a confidence shall wonders appear in their time for they shall behold the world which is now invisible to them and they shall behold the time which is now hidden from them and time shall no longer age them. For there shall be spread before them the extents of paradise, and there shall be shown to them the beauty of the majesty of the living creatures which are beneath the throne and all the armies of the angels who are now held fast by my word, lest they should appear and are held fast by a command that they may stand in their places till their advent comes. Moreover there shall then be excellency in the righteous surpassing that in the angels. For the first shall receive the last those whom they were expecting and the last those of whom they used to hear that they had passed away. For they have been delivered from this world of tribulation laid down the burden of anguish for what then have men lost their life and for what have those who were on the earth exchanged their soul for then they chose not for themselves this time which beyond the reach of anguish could not pass away and I answered and said how can we forget those for whom woe is then reserved and why therefore do we again mourn for those who die or why do we weep for those who depart to Sheol. Let lamentations be reserved for the beginning of that coming torment and let tears be laid up for the advent of the destruction of that time but even in the face of these things will I speak and as for the righteous what will they do now. Rejoice you in the suffering which you now suffer for why do you look for the decline of your enemies. Make ready your soul for that which is reserved for you and prepare your souls for the reward which is laid up for you. The vision of the cloud with black and white waters and when I had said these things I fell asleep there and I saw the cloud passing swiftly in quick courses and it covered all the earth and it came to pass after these things that that cloud began to pour upon the earth the waters that were in it and I saw that there was not one and the same like­ness in the waters which descended from it. For in the first beginning they were black and many or a time and afterwards I saw that the waters became bright but they were not many and after these things again I saw black waters and after these things again bright and again black and again bright. Now this was done twelve times, but the black were always more numerous than the bright and it came to pass at the end of the cloud it rained black waters and they were darker than had been all those waters that were before, and fire was mingled with them and where those waters descended they wrought devastation and destruction and after these things I saw how that lightning which I had seen on the summit of the cloud, seized hold of it and hurled it to the earth. Now that lightning shone exceedingly so as to illuminate the whole earth and it took hold of the whole earth and had dominion over it and I saw after these things, and twelve rivers were ascending from the sea and they began to surround that lightning and to become subject to it and by reason of my fear I awoke.Baruch’s prayer for an interpretation of the vision advent for this purpose and I besought the mighty one and said lord know of aforetime the deep things of the world and the things which befall in their times you bring about by your word and against the works of the inhabitants of the earth you do hasten the beginnings of the times and the end of the seasons you alone know for whom nothing is too hard who do everything easily by a nod you to whom the depths come as the heights you who reveal to those who fear you what is prepared for them that thenceforth they may be comforted you break up the enclosure of those who are ignorant and lightest up what is dark and reveal what is pure who in faith have submitted themselves to you and your law. Reveal to me also its interpretation. For I know that as regards those things what voice I should praise you and from what members I should cause praises and hallelujahs to ascend to you for if my members were mouths, and the hairs of my head voices nor laud you as is befitting nor could I recount your praise or what am I amongst men or why am I reckoned amongst those who are more excellent than I that I have heard all these marvelous things from the most high and numberless promises from him. Blessed be my mother among those that bear. For I will not be silent in praising the mighty one and with the voice of praise I will recount.For who doeth like unto your marvelous deeds o god or who comprehend your deep thought of life. For with your counsel you do govern all the creatures which your right hand has created and you have established every fountain of light beside you and the treasures of wisdom beneath your throne have you prepared and justly do they perish who have not loved your law and the torment of judgment shall await those who have not submitted themselves to your power. For though adam first sinned. Each one of them has prepared for his own soul torment to come and again each one of them has chosen for himself glories to come. For assuredly he who believeth will receive reward. Wicked that now are turn you to destruction because you shall speedily be visited in that formerly you rejected the understanding. For his works have not taught you nor has the skill of his creation which is at all times persuaded you. Adam is therefore not the cause save only of his own soul but each of us has been the adam of his own soul but do you lord expound to me regarding those things which you have revealed to me inform me regarding that. For at the consummation of the world vengeance shall be taken upon those who have done wickedness according to their wickedness and you will glorify the faithful according to their faithfulness. For those who are amongst your own you rule and those who sin you blot out from amongst your own and it came to pass when I had finished speaking the words of this prayer that I sat there under a tree that I might rest in the shade of the branches and I wondered and was astonished and pondered in my thoughts regarding the multitude of goodness which sinners who are upon the earth have rejected and regarding the great torment which they have despised though they knew that they should be tormented because of the sin they had committed and when I was pondering on these things and the angel who presides over true visions was sent to me and he said unto me: Why does your heart trouble you Baruch and why does your thought disturb you. For if owing to the report which you have only heard of judgment you are so moved what wilt you be when you shall see it manifestly with your eyes and if with the expectation wherewith you do expect the day of the mighty one you are so overcome what wilt you be when you shall come to its advent and if at the word of the announcement of the torment of those who have done foolishly you are so wholly distraught how much more when the event will reveal marvelous thing and if you have heard tidings of the good and evil things which are then coming and are grieved what wilt you be when you shall behold what the majesty will reveal which shall convict these and cause those to rejoice. Interpretation of the vision. The black and bright waters symbolize the advent. Nevertheless because you have besought the most high to reveal to you the interpretation of the vision which you have seen I have been sent to tell you and the mighty one hath assuredly made known to you the methods of the times that have passed and of those that are destined to pass in his world from the beginning of its creation even unto its consummation of those things which are deceit and of those which are in truth. For as you did see a great cloud which ascended from the sea and went and covered the earth this is the duration of the world which the mighty one made when he took counsel to make the world and it came to pass when the word had gone forth from his presence that the duration of the world had come into being in a small degree and was established according to the multitude of the intelligence of him who sent it and as you did previously see on the summit of the cloud black waters which descended previously on the earth this is the transgression wherewith adam transgressed. Grief was named and anguish was prepared and pain was created and trouble consummated and disease began to be established and Sheol kept demanding that it should be renewed in blood and the begetting of children was brought about and the passion of parents produced and the greatness of humanity was humiliated and goodness languished. What therefore can be blacker or darker than these things this is the beginning of the black waters which you have seen and from these black water again were black derived and the darkness of darkness was produced. For he became a danger to his own soul even to the angel. For moreover at that time when he was created they enjoyed liberty and became he a danger some of them descended and mingled with the women but the rest of the multitude of themselves and those who dwelt on the earth perished together with them through the waters of the deluge and after these waters you did see bright waters this is the fount of abraham also his generations and advent of his son and of his son’s son and of those like them because at that time the unwritten law was named amongst them and the works of the commandments were then fulfilled and belief in the coming judgment was then generated and hope of the world that was to be renewed was then built up and the promise of the life that should come hereafter was implanted.
These are the bright waters which you have seen and the black third waters which you have seen these are the mingling of all sins which the nations afterwards wrought after the death of those righteous men and the wickedness of the land of egypt and the bright fourth waters which you have seen are the advent of moses and aaron and miriam and joshua the son of caleb and of all those like them. For at that time the lamp of the eternal law shone on all those who sat in darkness which announced to them that believe the promise of their reward and to them that deny the torment of fire which is reserved for them. But also the heavens at that time were shaken from their place, and those who were under the throne of the mighty one were perturbed, when he was taking moses unto himself. For he showed him many admonitions together with the principles of the law and the consummation of the times as also to you, and likewise the pattern of zion and its measures in the pattern of which the sanctuary of the present time was to be made but then also he showed to him the measures of the fire also the depths of the abyss and the weight of the winds and the number of the drops of rain and the suppression of anger and the multitude of long-suffering and the truth of judgment and the root of wisdom and the riches of understanding and the fount of knowledge and the height of the air and the greatness of paradise and the consummation of the ages and the beginning of the day of judgment and the number of the offerings and the earths which have not yet come and the mouth of gehenna and the station of vengeance and the place of faith and the region of hope and the likeness of future torment and the multitude of innumerable angels and the flaming hosts and the splendor of the lightnings and the voice of the thunders and the orders of the chiefs of the angels and the treasuries of light and the changes of the times and the investigations of the law.These are the bright fourth waters which you have seen and the black fifth waters which you have seen raining are the works which the amorites wrought and the spells of their incantations which they wrought and the wickedness of their mysteries and the mingling of their pollution but even israel was then polluted by sins in the days of the judges though they saw many signs which were from him who made them and the bright sixth waters which did see this is the time in which david and solomon were born and there was at that time the building and the dedication of the sanctuary and the shedding of much blood of the nations that sinned then and many offerings which were offered then in the dedication of the sanctuary and peace and tranquility existed at that time and wisdom was heard in the assembly and the riches of understanding were magnified in the congregations and the holy festivals were joy and the judgment of the rulers was then seen to be without guile and righteousness of the precepts of the mighty one was accomplished with truth and was beloved by the lord and because its inhabitants sinned not it was glorified beyond all lands and the city over. These are the bright waters which you have seen and the black seventh waters which you have seen this is the perversion brought about by the counsel of jeroboam, who took counsel to make two calves of gold and all the iniquities which kings who were after him iniquitously wrought and the curse of jezebel and the worship of idols which israel practiced at that time and the withholding of rain and the famines which occurred until women eat the fruit of their wombs and the time of their captivity they were in many sins and shalmanezzar king of assyria came and led them away captive but regarding the gentiles it were tedious to tell how they always wrought impiety and wickedness and never wrought righteousness.These are the black seventh waters which you have seen and the bright eighth waters which you have seen this is the rectitude and uprightness of hezekiah king of judah and the grace of god which came upon him. For when sennacherib was stirred up in order that he might perish and his wrath troubled him in order that he might thereby perish for the multitude also of the nations which were with him. When moreover hezekiah the king heard those things which the king of assyria was devising i.e to come and seize him and destroy more he wished to overthrow zion also then hezekiah trusted in his works and had hope in his righteousness and spoke with the mighty one and said sennacherib is prepared to destroy us and he will be boastful and uplifted when he has destroyed zion and the mighty one heard him for hezekiah was wise and he had respect unto his prayer because he was righteous and thereupon the the number of whose chiefs only was a hundred and eighty-five thousand and each one of them had an equal number at his command and at that time I burned their bodies within but their raiment and arms I preserved outwardly in order that the still more wonderful deeds of the mighty one might appear and that thereby his name might be spoken of throughout the whole earth and zion was saved and jerusalem was freed and all those who were in the holy land rejoiced and the name of the mighty one was glorified so that it was spoken these are the bright waters which you have seen and the black ninth waters which you have seen this is all the wickedness which was in the days of manasseh the son of hezekiah. For he wrought much impiety and he slew the righteous and he wrested judgment and he shed the blood of the innocent and wedded women he violently polluted and he overturned the altars and destroyed their offerings and drove forth their priests lest they should minister in the sanctuary and he made an image with five faces four of them looked to the four winds, and the fifth on the summit of the image as an adversary of the zeal of the mighty one and then wrath went forth from the presence of the mighty one to the intent that zion should be rooted out as also it befell in your days but also against the two tribes and a half went forth a decree that they should also be led away captive as you have now seen and to such a degree did the impiety of manasseh increase that it removed the praise of the most high from the sanctuary. On this account manasseh was at that time named the impious and finally his abode was in the fire. For though his prayer was heard with the most high finally when he was cast into the brazen horse and the brazen horse was melted it served as a sign unto him for the hour. For he had not lived perfectly, for he was not worthybut that thenceforward he might know by whom finally he should be tormented for he who is able to benefit is also able to torment. Thus did manasseh act impiously and thought that in his time the mighty one would not inquire into these things. These are the black ninth waters which you have seen and the bright tenth waters which you have seen this is the purity of the generations of josiah king of judah who was the only one at the time who submitted himself to the mighty one with all his heart and with all his soul and he cleansed the land from idols and hallowed all the vessels which had been polluted and restored the offerings to the altar and raised the horn of the holy and exalted and honored all that were wise in understanding and brought back the priests to their ministry and removed the magicians and enchanters and necromancers from the land and not only did he slay the impious that were living, but they also took from the sepulchers the bones of the dead and burned them with fire and the festivals and the Sabbaths he established in their sanctity and their polluted ones he burnt in the fire, and the lying prophets which deceived the people, these also he burnt in the fire, and the people who listened to them when they were living, he cast them into the brook kidron and heaped stones upon them and he was zealous with zeal for the mighty one with all his soul and he alone was firm in the law at that time so that he left none that was uncircumcised or that wrought impiety in all the land all the days of his life. Therefore he shall receive an eternal reward and he shall be glorified with the mighty one beyond many at a later time. For on his account and on account of those who are like him were created and prepared. These are the bright waters which you have seen and the black eleventh waters which you have seen this is the calamity which is now befalling zion. Do you think that there is no anguish to the angels in the presence of the mighty one that zion was so delivered up and that the gentiles boast in their hearts and assemble before their idols and say she is trodden down who often times trod down and she has been reduced to servitude who reduced others. Dost you think that in these things the most high rejoices. Yet after these things shall the dispersed among the gentiles be taken hold of by tribulation and in shame shall they dwell in every place because so far as zion is delivered up and jerusalem laid waste idols prosper and the vapor of the smoke of the incense of the righteousness which is by the law is extinguished in zion and in the region of zion in every place there is the smoke of impiety but the king of babylon will arise who has now destroyed zion and he will boast over the people and he will speak great things in his heart in the presence of the most high but he also shall fall at last. These are the black waters and the bright twelfth waters which you have seen this is the word. For after these things time will come when your people shall fall into distress so that they shall all run the risk of perishing. They will be saved and their enemies will fall in their presence and they will have in due time much joy and at that time after a little interval zion will again be rebuilt and its offerings will again be restored, and the priests will return to their ministry, and also the gentiles will come to glorify it. But it will come to pass after these things that there will be the fall of many nations. These are the bright waters which you have seen. For the last waters which you have seen which were darker than all that were before them, those which were after the twelfth number which were collected together belong to the whole world. For the most high made division from the beginning because he alone knows what will befall. For as to the enormities and the impieties which should be wrought before him he foresaw six kinds of them and of the good works of the righteous which should be accomplished before him he foresaw six kinds of them beyond those which he should work at the consummation of the age. On his account there were not black waters with black nor bright with bright for it is consummation.Hear therefore the interpretation of the last black waters which are to come after the black this the word. The days come and it shall be when the time of the age has ripened and the harvest of its evil and good seeds has come that the mighty one will bring upon the earth and its inhabitants and upon its rulersperturbation of spirit and stupor and they shall hate one another and provoke one another to fight and those who were nothing shall rule over the strong and the poor shall have and the impious shall exalt themselves above the heroic and the wise shall be silent and the foolish shall speak neither shall the thought of men be then confirmed nor the counsel of the mighty nor shall the hope of those who hope be confirmed and when those things which were predicted have come to pass then shall confusion fall upon all men. And some of them shall fall in battle and some of them shall perish in anguish and some of them shall be destroyed by their own then the most high peoples whom he has prepared before and they shall come and make war with the leaders that shall then be left and it shall come to pass that whoever gets safe out of the war shall die in the earthquake and whoever gets safe out of the earthquake shall be burned by the fire and whoever gets safe out of the fire shall be destroyed by famine and it shall come to pass that whoever of the victors and the vanquished gets safe out of and escapes all these things aforesaid will be delivered into the hands of my servant messiah. For all the earth shall devour its inhabitants and the holy land shall have mercy on its own and it shall protect its inhabitants at that time. This is the vision which you have seen and this is the interpretation. For I have come to tell you these things because your prayer has been heard with the most high. Hear now also regarding the bright lightning which is to come at the consummation after these black waters this is the word. After the signs have come of which you were told before when the nations become turbulent and the time of my messiah is come he shall both summon all the nations and some of them he shall spare and some of them he shall slay. These things therefore shall come upon the nations which are to be spared by him. Every nation which knows not israel and has not trodden down the seed of jacob shall indeed be and this because some out of every nation shall be subjected to your people but all those who have ruled over you or have known you shall be given up to the sword and it shall come to pass when he has brought low everything that is in the world and has sat down in peace for the age on the throne of his kingdom that joy shall then be revealed and rest shall appear and then healing shall descend in dewAnd disease shall withdraw and anxiety and anguish and lamentation pass from amongst men and gladness proceed through the whole earth and no one shall again die untimely. Nor shall any adversity suddenly befall and judgments, abusive talk, contentions, revenges and blood, passions, envy, hatred and whatsoever things are like these shall go into condemnation when they are removed for it is these very things which have filled this world with evils and on account of these the life of man has been greatly troubled and wild beasts shall come from the forest and minister unto men and asps and dragons shall come forth from their holes to submit to a little child and women no longer have pain when they bear nor shall they suffer torment when they yield the fruit of the womb and it shall come to pass in those days that the reapers shall not grow weary nor those that build be toil-worn for the works shall of themselves advance therefore those things which were predicted shall belong to it herefore it is far away from evils, and near to those things which die not. This is the bright lightning which came after the last dark waters. Baruch’s hymn on the unsearchableness of god’s ways and on his mercies through which the faithful shall attain to a blessed consummation and I answered and said who can understand, o lord your goodness or who can search into your compassions which are infinite or who can comprehend your intelligence or who is able to recount the thoughts of your mind or who of those who are born can hope to come to those things unless he is one to whom you are merciful and gracious. Because, if you did not have compassion on man, those who are under your right hand they could not come to those things but those who are in the numbers named can be called. But if, indeed, we who exist know wherefore we have come and submit ourselves to him who brought us out of egypt we shall come again and remember those things which have passed and shall rejoice regarding that which has been. But if now we know not wherefore we have come and recognize not the principate of him who brought us up out of egypt we shall come again and seek after those things which have been now and be grieved with pain because of those things which have befallen. Baruch to instruct the people his assumption on the advent of the messiah and he answered and said unto me in as much as the revelation of this vision has been interpreted to you as you requested hear the word of the most high that you may know what is to befall you after these things. For you shall surely depart from this earth, nevertheless not unto death but you shall be preserved unto the consummation of the times. Go up therefore to the top of that mountain, and there shall pass before you all the regions of that land, and the figure of the inhabited world, and the tops of the mountains and the depths of the valleys and the depths of the seas and the number of the rivers that you may see what you are leaving and whither you are going. Now this shall befall after forty days.Go now therefore during these days and instruct the people so far as you are able, that they may learn so as not to die at the last time, but may learn in order that they may live at the last times.Baruch’s admonition to the people and his writing of two letters one to the nine and a half tribes in assyria and the other to the two and a half in babylon. Baruch went there and came to the people and assembled them together from the greatest to the least and said unto them hear you children of israel behold how many you are who remain of the twelve tribes of israel. For to you and to your fathers the lord gave a law more excellent than to all peoples. And because your brethren transgressed the commandments of the most high he brought vengeance upon you and upon them and he spared not the former the latter he gave into captivity and he left not a residue of them but you are here with me. If, therefore, you direct your ways aright ye also shall not depart as your brethren departed but they shall come to you for he is merciful whom you worship and he is gracious and he is true so that he shall do good and not evil. Have you not seen here what has befallen zion or do you perchance think that the place had sinned and that on this account it was overthrown or that the land had wrought foolishness and that therefore it was delivered up and know you not that on account of you who did sin that which sinned not was overthrown and on account of those who wrought wickedly that which wrought not foolishness was delivered up to its enemies. And the whole people answered and said unto me so far as we can recall the good things which the mighty one has done unto us we do recall them and those things which we do not remember he in his mercy knows. Nevertheless do this for us your people write also to our brethren in babylon an epistle of doctrine and of hope that you may confirm them also before you do depart from us. For the shepherds of israel have perished the lamps which gave light are extinguished and the fountains have withheld their stream whence we used to drink and we are left in the darkness and amid the trees of the forest and the thirst of the wilderness and I answered and said unto them shepherds and lamps and fountains come from the law and though we depart yet the law abides. If therefore you have respect to the law and are intent on wisdom a lamp will not be wanting and a shepherd will not fail and a fountain will not dry up. Nevertheless as you said unto me I will write also unto your brethren in babylon and I will send by means of men and I will write in like manner to the nine tribes and a half and send by means of a bird and it came to pass on the one and twentieth day in the eighth month that Baruch came and sat down under the oak under the shadow of the branches, and no man was with me, but I was alone. And I wrote these two epistles: one I sent by an eagle to the nine and a half tribes and the other I sent to those that were at babylon by means of three men. And I called the eagle and spoke these words unto it the most high hath made you that you should be higher than all birds and now go and tarry not in any place nor enter a nest nor settle upon any tree till you have passed over the breadth of the many waters of the river euphrates, and have gone to the people that dwell there and cast down to them this epistle. Remember moreover that at the time of the deluge, noah received from a dove the fruit of the olive when he sent it forth from the ark. The ravens ministered to elijah bearing him food as they had been commanded. Solo­mon in the time of his kingdom whithersoever he wished to send or seek for anything commanded a bird to go thither and it obeyed him as he commanded it and now let it not weary you and turn not to the right hand nor the left, but fly and go by a direct way that you may preserve the command of the mighty one, according as I said unto you. The epistle of Baruch the son of Neriah which he wrote to the nine and a half tribes. These are the words of that epistle which Baruch the son of Neriah sent to the nine and a half tribes which were across the river euphrates in which these things were written. Thus Baruch the son of Neriah to the brethren carried into captivity mercy and peace. I bear in mind the love created us who loved us from of old and never hated us but above all educated us and truly I know that behold all we the twelve tribes are bound by one bond inasmuch as we are born from one father. Wherefore I have been the more careful to leave you the words of this epistle before I die that you may be comforted regarding the evils which have come upon you and that you may be grieved also regarding the evil that has befallen your brethren and again also that you may justify his judgment which he has decreed against you that you should be carried away captive for what you have suffered is disproportioned to what you have done in order that at the last times you may be found worthy of your fathers. Therefore if you consider that ye have now suffered those things for your good that you may not finally be condemned and tormented, then you will receive eternal hope; if above all you destroy from your heart vain error on account of which you departed hence. For if you so do these things he will continually remember you he who always promised on our behalf to those who were more excellent than we that he will never forget or forsake us, but with much mercy will gather together again those who were dispersed. Now learn first what befell zion how that nebuchadnezzar king of babylon came up against us. For we have sinned against him who made us, and we have not kept the commandments which he commanded us yet he hath not chastened us as we deserved. For what befell you we also suffer in a pre-eminent degree for it befell us also and now I make known unto you that when the enemy had surrounded the city the angels of the most high were sent and they overthrew the fortifications of the strong wall, and they destroyed the firm iron corners, which could not be rooted out. Nevertheless they hid all the vessels of the sanctuary lest the enemy should get possession of them and when they had done these things they delivered thereupon to the enemy the overthrown wall and the plundered house and the burnt temple and the people who were overcome because they were delivered up lest the enemy should boast and say thus by force have we been able to lay waste even the house of the most high in war.Your brethren also have they bound and led away to babylon and have caused them to dwell there. But we have been left here, being very few. This is the tribulation about which I wrote to you. For assuredly I know that the consolation of the inhabitants of zion consoles you so far as you knew that it was prospered your consolation was greater than the tribulation which you endured in having to depart from it but regarding consolation hear the word. For I was mourning regarding zion and I prayed for mercy from the most high and I said how long will these things endure for us and will these evils come upon us always and the mighty one did according to the multitude of his mercies and the most high according to the greatness of his compassion and he revealed unto me the word that I might receive consolation and he showed me visions that I should not again endure anguish and he made known to me the mystery of the times. And the advent of the hours he showed me. Therefore I have written to you that you may comfort yourselves regarding the multitude of your tribulations. For know you that our maker will assuredly avenge us on all our enemies according to all that they have done to us also that the consummation which the most high will make is very nigh. We see now the multitude of the prosperity of the gentiles though they act impiously but they shall be like a vapor and we behold the multitude of their power though they do wickedly but they shall be made like unto a drop and we see the firmness of their might. Though they resist the mighty one every hour but they shall be accounted as spittle. And we consider the glory of their greatness though they do not keep the statutes of the most high but as smoke shall they pass away. And we meditate on the beauty of their gracefulness though they have to do with pollutions but as grass that withers shall they fade away. And we consider the strength of their cruelty though they remember not the end (thereof) but as a wave that passes shall they be broken. And we remark the boastfulness of their might though they deny the beneficence of god, who gave it to them but they shall pass away as a passing cloud for the most high will assuredly hasten his times and he will assuredly bring on his hours. And he will assuredly judge those who are in his world and will visit in truth all things by means of all their hidden works and he will assuredly examine the secret thoughts and that which is laid up in the secret chambers of all the members.And will make them manifest in the presence of all with reproof. Let none therefore of these present things ascend into your hearts but above all let us be expectant because that which is promised to us shall come and let us not now look unto the delights of the gentiles in the present but let us remember what has been promised to us in the end. For the ends of the times and of the seasons and whatsoever is with them shall assuredly pass by together. The consummation moreover of the age shall then show the great might of its ruler when all things come to judgment. Do you therefore prepare your hearts for that which before you believed lest you come to be in bondage in both worlds so that you be led away captive here and be tormented there. For that which exists now or which has passed away or which is to come in all these things neither is the evil fully evil nor again the good fully good. For all healthinesses of this time are turning into diseases and all might of this time is turning into weakness and all the force of this time is turning into impotence and every energy of youth is turning into old age and consummation and every beauty of gracefulness of this time is turning faded and hateful and every proud dominion of the present is turning into humiliation and shame and every praise of the glory of this time is turning into the shame of silence and every vain splendor and insolence of this time is turning into voiceless ruin and every delight and joy of this time is turning to corruption and every clamor of the pride of this time is turning into dust and stillness and every possession of riches of this time is being turned into Sheol alone and all the rapine of passion of this time is turning into involuntary death, and every passion of the lusts of this time is turning into a judgment of torment. And every artifice and craftiness of this time is turning into a proof of the truth, and every sweetness of this time is turning into judgment and condemnation, and every love of lying is turning to contumely since therefore all these things are done now does anyone think that they will not be avenged. But the consummation of all things will come to the truth. I have therefore made known unto you these things whilst I live for I have said it that you should learn the things that are excellent for the mighty one hath commanded me to instruct you and I will set before you some of the commandments of his judgment before I die. Remember that formerly moses assuredly called heaven and earth to witness against you and said if you transgress the law you shall be dispersed but if you keep it you shall be kept and other things also he used to say unto you when you the twelve tribes were together in the desert and after his death you cast them away from you on this account there came upon you what had been predicted and now moses used to tell you before they befell you and they have befallen you for you have forsaken the law.I also say unto you after you have suffered that if you obey those things which have been said unto you, you will receive from the mighty one whatever has been laid up and reserved for you. Moreover, let this epistle be for a testimony between me and you that you may remember the commandments of the mighty one and that also there may be to me a defense in the presence of him who sent me and remember you the law and zion and the holy land and the covenant and forget not the festivals and the sabbaths and at all times make request perseveringly and pray diligently with your whole heart that the mighty one may be reconciled to you and that he may not reckon. For if he judge us not according to the multitude of his mercies woe unto all us who are born. Know that in former times and in the generations of old our fathers had helpers righteous men and holy prophets no more we were in our own land and they helped us when we sinned.

Euripides Bacchantes, 450 BC.


In the Athenian playwright Euripides’ tragedy Bacchantes, which is named for the followers of the wine god Dionysus “O Dionysus! now ’tis thine to act, for thou art not far away; let us take vengeance on him. First drive him mad by fixing in his soul a wayward frenzy; for never,whilst his senses are his own,will he consent to don a woman’s dress; but when his mind is gone astray he will put it on. And fain would I make him a laughing-stock to Thebes as he is led in woman’s dress through the city, after those threats with which he menaced me before. But I will go to array Pentheus in those robes which he shall wear when he sets out for Hades’ halls, a victim to his own mother’s fury; so shall he recognize Dionysus, the son of Zeus, who proves himself at last a god most terrible, for all his gentleness to man.”

The Dionysian character of Greeks

DRAMA is a form of religious worship to Dionysis. Aristotle and Greek Drama: Aristotle’s defines our tragic hero as : coming from nobility, upholding tragedy maybe pride or hubris, having undergone a reversal of fortune and meeting his downfall. As a result, willfully recognizes his mistakes (in a catharsis or purgation of pity and fear). Structure of plays: expositionary, active, climactic, falling action and denouement/resolution. Greek plays were first performed at year festivals in Dionysis’s honor. Some of Greek drama’s elements were the dithyramb: a chorus of 50 men who chanted stories and danced in unison in this festival event; Deus ex machina: “god on machine,” which lowered gods down from the top of the theater to wrap up a storyline and the chorus the voice of citizens in a tragedy. Dramatic protagonists/antagonists: the protagonist is heroic and antagonists are persons and things that are working against. In Greeks, the unities were the way of providing a central focus to a play. Aristotle believed that perfect tragedies had unity of time; it took place in a 24 hour. The play had only one setting unity of place: The play had one plot and no mixture of tragedy and comedy. The protagonist’s actions would arouse feelings of pity and fear in the audience. Pity because the protagonist was better so we placed ourselves into his empathy fear because we too do not know our future or fate. By the end of the play the audience should be purged of pity and fear in order for catharsis. The tragic protagonist must ask the first and last of all questions: What does it mean to be? He must face the world alone, unaccomodated, and kick against his fate. He can never escape his fate and will insist upon accepting fate on his own terms. SOPHOCLIAN DRAMA. Plays dealt with the pain and suffering caused when individuals defied divine command and obeyed their inner will at the risk of sacrifice of their own lives.

The Metamorphoses of Ovid, 43 B.C.E: Analysis by John Dryden 1800

Of bodies chang’d to various forms, I sing:
Ye Gods, from whom these miracles did spring,
Inspire my numbers with coelestial heat;
‘Till I my long laborious work compleat:
And add perpetual tenour to my rhimes,
Deduc’d from Nature’s birth, to Caesar’s times.
Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball,
And Heav’n’s high canopy, that covers all,
One was the face of Nature; if a face:
Rather a rude and indigested mass:
A lifeless lump, unfashion’d, and unfram’d,
Of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos nam’d.
No sun was lighted up, the world to view;
No moon did yet her blunted horns renew:
Nor yet was Earth suspended in the sky,
Nor pois’d, did on her own foundations lye:
Nor seas about the shores their arms had thrown;
But earth, and air, and water, were in one.
Thus air was void of light, and earth unstable,
And water’s dark abyss unnavigable.
No certain form on any was imprest;
All were confus’d, and each disturb’d the rest.
For hot and cold were in one body fixt;
And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt.
But God, or Nature, while they thus contend,
To these intestine discords put an end:
Then earth from air, and seas from earth were driv’n,
And grosser air sunk from aetherial Heav’n.
Thus disembroil’d, they take their proper place;
The next of kin, contiguously embrace;
And foes are sunder’d, by a larger space.
The force of fire ascended first on high,
And took its dwelling in the vaulted sky:
Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire;
Whose atoms from unactive earth retire.
Earth sinks beneath, and draws a num’rous throng
Of pondrous, thick, unwieldy seeds along.
About her coasts, unruly waters roar;
And rising, on a ridge, insult the shore.
Thus when the God, whatever God was he,
Had form’d the whole, and made the parts agree,
That no unequal portions might be found,
He moulded Earth into a spacious round:
Then with a breath, he gave the winds to blow;
And bad the congregated waters flow.
He adds the running springs, and standing lakes;
And bounding banks for winding rivers makes.
Some part, in Earth are swallow’d up, the most
In ample oceans, disembogu’d, are lost.
He shades the woods, the vallies he restrains
With rocky mountains, and extends the plains.
And as five zones th’ aetherial regions bind,
Five, correspondent, are to Earth assign’d:
The sun with rays, directly darting down,
Fires all beneath, and fries the middle zone:
The two beneath the distant poles, complain
Of endless winter, and perpetual rain.
Betwixt th’ extreams, two happier climates hold
The temper that partakes of hot, and cold.
The fields of liquid air, inclosing all,
Surround the compass of this earthly ball:
The lighter parts lye next the fires above;
The grosser near the watry surface move:
Thick clouds are spread, and storms engender there,
And thunder’s voice, which wretched mortals fear,
And winds that on their wings cold winter bear.
Nor were those blustring brethren left at large,
On seas, and shores, their fury to discharge:
Bound as they are, and circumscrib’d in place,
They rend the world, resistless, where they pass;
And mighty marks of mischief leave behind;
Such is the rage of their tempestuous kind.
First Eurus to the rising morn is sent
(The regions of the balmy continent);
And Eastern realms, where early Persians run,
To greet the blest appearance of the sun.
Westward, the wanton Zephyr wings his flight;
Pleas’d with the remnants of departing light:
Fierce Boreas, with his off-spring, issues forth
T’ invade the frozen waggon of the North.
While frowning Auster seeks the Southern sphere;
And rots, with endless rain, th’ unwholsom year.
High o’er the clouds, and empty realms of wind,
The God a clearer space for Heav’n design’d;
Where fields of light, and liquid aether flow;
Purg’d from the pondrous dregs of Earth below.
Scarce had the Pow’r distinguish’d these, when streight
The stars, no longer overlaid with weight,
Exert their heads, from underneath the mass;
And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass,
And with diffusive light adorn their heav’nly place.
Then, every void of Nature to supply,
With forms of Gods he fills the vacant sky:
New herds of beasts he sends, the plains to share:
New colonies of birds, to people air:
And to their oozy beds, the finny fish repair.
A creature of a more exalted kind
Was wanting yet, and then was Man design’d:
Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast,
For empire form’d, and fit to rule the rest:
Whether with particles of heav’nly fire
The God of Nature did his soul inspire,
Or Earth, but new divided from the sky,
And, pliant, still retain’d th’ aetherial energy:
Which wise Prometheus temper’d into paste,
And, mixt with living streams, the godlike image cast.
Thus, while the mute creation downward bend
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
Man looks aloft; and with erected eyes
Beholds his own hereditary skies.
From such rude principles our form began;
And earth was metamorphos’d into Man.
Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles
nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum.
nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan,
nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe,
nec circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus
ponderibus librata suis, nec bracchia longo
margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite;
utque aer, tellus illic et pontus et aether.
Sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda,
lucis egens aer: nulli sua forma manebat,
obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno
frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis,
mollia cum duris, sine pondere habentia pondus.

Presence of an External Master of Knowledge, Wallace Stevens, 1954

Presence of an External Master of Knowledge A poem for Ulysses, The Hero.

Under the shape of his sail, Ulysses,
Symbol of the seeker, crossing by night
The giant sea, read his own mind.
He said, “As I know, I am and have
The right to be.” He guided his boat
Beneath the middle stars and said:

“Here I feel the human loneliness
And that, in space and solitude,
Which knowledge is: the world and fate,
The right within me and about me,
Joined in a triumphant vigor,
Like a direction on which I depend . . .

A longer, deeper breath sustains
This eloquence of right, since knowing
And being are one – the right to know
Is equal to the right to be.
The great Omnium descends on me,
Like an absolute out of this eloquence.”

The sharp sail of Ulysses seemed,
In the breathings of that soliloquy,
Alive with an enigma’s flittering,
And bodying, and being there,
As he moved, straightly, on and on
Through clumped stars dangling all the way.


The Lost Art of Rhetoric by Thomas Wilson 1524-1581 AD

E L O Q V E N C E   F I R S T
giuen by God, and after lost

by man, and last repayred
by God againe.

MAn (in whom is powred the breath of life) was made at the first being an euerliuing creature, vnto the likenesse of God, endued with reason, and appointed Lorde ouer all other thinges liuing. But after the fall of our first Father, sinne so crept in that our knowledge was much darkned, and by corruption of this our flesh, mans reason and entendement were both ouerwhelmed. At what time God being sore greeued with the follie of one man, pitied of his mere goodnesse the whole state and posteritie of Mankind. And therefore (whereas through the wicked suggestion of our ghostly enemie, the ioyfull fruition of Gods glorie was altogether lost:) it pleased our heauenly Father to repaire mankind of his free mercie, and to graunt an euerliuing enheritaunce, vnto all such as would by constaunt faith seeke earnestly hereafter. Long it was ere that man knewe himselfe, being destitute of Gods grace, so that all thinges waxed sauage, the earth vntilled, societie neglected, Gods will not knowne, man against man, one against an other, and all against order. Some liued by spoyle: some like brute beastes grased vpon the ground: some went naked: some roomed like Woodoses: none did any thing by reason, but most did what they could by manhood. None almost considered the euerliuing GOD, but all liued most commonly after their owne lust. By death they thought that all thinges ended: by life they looked for none other liuing. None remembred the true obseruation of Wedlocke: none tendered the education of their children: Lawes were not regarded: true dealing was not once vsed. For vertue, vice bare place: for right and equitie, might vsed authoritie. And therefore, whereas man through reason might haue vsed order: man through folie fell into errour. And thus for lacke of skill, and for want of grace euill so preuailed, that the deuil was most esteemed, and God either almost vnknowne among them all, or els nothing feared among so many. Therefore, euen now when man was thus past all hope of amendement, God still tendering his owne workmanshippe, stirring vp his faithfull and elect, to perswade with reason all men to societie. And gaue his appointed Ministers knowledge both to see the natures of men, and also graunted them the gift of vtteraunce, that they might with ease win folke at their will, and frame them by reason to all good order. And therefore, whereas men liued brutishly in open feeldes, hauing neither house to shroude them in, nor attire to clothe their backes, nor yet any regard to seeke their best auaile: these appointed of GOD called them together by vtteraunce of speech, and perswaded with them what was good, what was bad, & what was gainful for mankind. And although at first the rude could hardly learne, and either for the straungenesse of the thing, would not gladly receiue the offer, or els for lack of knowledge, could not perceiue the goodnesse: yet being somewhat drawne, and delited with the pleasantnesse of reason, and the sweetnesse of vtteraunce: after a certaine space they became through Nurture and good aduisement, of wilde, sober: of cruell, gentle: of fooles, wise: and of beastes, men: such force hath the tongue, and such is the power of Eloquence and reason, that most men are forced euen to yeeld in that which most standeth against their will. And therefore the Poets doe feine, that Hercules beeing a man of great wisedome, had all men lincked together by the eares in a chaine, to drawe them and leade them euen as he lusted. For his witte was so great, his tongue so eloquent, and his experience such, that no one man was able to withstande his reason, but euery one was rather driuen to doe that which he would, and to will that which he did: agreeing to his aduise both in word and worke in all that euer they were able. Neither can I see that men could haue beene brought by any other meanes, to liue together in fellowship of life, to maintaine Cities, to deale truely, and willingly obeye one an other, if men at the first had not by art and eloquence, perswaded that which they full oft found out by reason. For what man I pray you, beeing better able to maintaine himself by valiaunt courage, then by liuing in base subiection, would not rather looke to rule like a Lord, then to liue like an vnderling: if by reason he were not perswaded, that it behoueth euery man to liue in his owne vocation: and not to seeke any higher roume, then wherunto he was at the first appointed? Who would digge and delue from Morne till Euening? Who would trauaile and toyle with ye sweat of his browes? Yea, who would for his Kings pleasure aduenture and hassarde his life, if witte had not so won men, that they thought nothing more needfull in this world, nor any thing whereunto they were more bounden: then here to liue in their duetie, and to traine their whole life according to their calling. Therefore, whereas men are in many thinges weake by Nature, and subiect to much infirmitie: I thinke in this one poinct they passe all other creatures liuing, that haue the gift of speech and reason. And among all other, I thinke him most worthie fame, and amongst all men to bee taken for halfe a GOD: that therein doth chiefly and aboue all other excell men, wherein men doe excell beastes. For he that is among the reasonable of al most reasonable, and among the wittie, of all most wittie, and among the eloquent, of all most eloquent: him thinke I among all men, not onely to be taken for a singuler man, but rather to be coumpted for halfe a God. For, in seeking the excellencie hereof, the soner he draweth to perfection, the nyer he commeth to God, who is the cheefe wisedome, and therfore called God, because he is most wise, or rather wisedome it self.

Now then, seing that God giueth his heauenly grace, vnto al such as call vnto him with stretched handes,and humble heart,neuer wanting to those,that want not to themselues:I purpose by his grace andespeciall assistence, to set forth such precepts of eloquence, and to shewe what obseruation the wise haue vsed, in handeling of their matters: that the vnlearned by seeing the practise of others, maie haue some knowledge themselues, and learne by their neighbours deuise, what is necessarie forthem selues in their owne case.