Notes to the Reader

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
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Notes to the Reader

The reader will perhaps also be helped by the following list of the Greek and Latin names of the gods and goddesses who play important parts in the narrative. When the Greek names are new to him, the corresponding Latin names may be more familiar.

(Pallas) Athene.Minerva.
Hephaestus. Vulcan.
The sacred soil of Ilios is rent
With shaft and pit; foiled waters wander slow
Through plains where Simois and Scamander went
To war with gods and heroes long ago.
Not yet to dark Cassandra lying low
In rich Mycenae do the Fates relent;
The bones of Agamemnon are a show,
And ruined is his royal monument.
The dust and awful treasures of the dead
Hath learning scattered wide; but vainly thee,
Homer, she meteth with her Lesbian lead,
And strives to rend thy songs, too blind is she
To know the crown on thine immortal head
Of indivisible supremacy.


Athwart the sunrise of our western day
The form of great Achilles, high and clear,
Stands forth in arms, wielding the Pelian spear.
The sanguine tides of that immortal fray,
Swept on by gods, around him surge and sway,
Wherethrough the helms of many a warrior peer,
Strong men and swift, their tossing plumes uprear.
But stronger, swifter, goodlier he than they,
More awful, more divine. Yet mark anigh;
Some fiery pang hath rent his soul within,
Some hovering shade his brows encompasseth.
What gifts hath Fate for all his chivalry?
Even such as hearts heroic oftenest win;
Honour, a friend, anguish, untimely death.


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