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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
 
Translations from Homer
The Iliad
Book II. The Trial of the Army and Catalogue of the Forces
 
        
The Argument
  Jupiter, in pursuance of the request of Thetis, sends a deceitful vision to Agamemnon, persuading him to lead the army to battle; in order to make the Greeks sensible of their want of Achilles. The general, who is deluded with the hopes of taking Troy without his assistance, but fears the army was discouraged by his absence and the late plague, as well as by length of time, contrives to make trial of their disposition by a stratagem. He first communicates his design to the Princes in council, that he would propose a return to the soldiers, and that they should put a stop to them if the proposal was embraced. Then he assembles the whole host, and upon moving for a return to Greece, they unanimously agree to it, and run to prepare the ships. They are detained by the management of Ulysses, who chastises the insolence of Thersites. The assembly is recalled, several speeches made on the occasion, and at length the advice of Nestor followed, which was to make a general muster of the troops, and to divide them into their several nations, before they proceeded to battle. This gives occasion to the poet to enumerate all the forces of the Greeks and Trojans, in a large catalogue.
  The time employed in this book consists not entirely of one day. The scene lies in the Grecian camp and upon the seashore; toward the end it removes to Troy.

  NOW pleasing sleep had seal’d each mortal eye,
Stretch’d in the tents the Grecian leaders lie,
Th’ immortal slumber’d on their thrones above;
All but the ever-wakeful eyes of Jove.
To honour Thetis’ son he bends his care,        5
And plunge the Greeks in all the woes of war:
Then bids an empty Phantom rise to sight,
And thus commands the Vision of the night:
  ‘Fly hence, deluding Dream! and, light as air,
To Agamemnon’s ample tent repair.        10
Bid him in arms draw forth th’ embattled train,
Lead all his Grecians to the dusty plain.
Declare, ev’n now ’t is given him to destroy
The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
For now no more the Gods with Fate contend,        15
At Juno’s suit the heav’nly factions end.
Destruction hangs o’er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits th’ impending fall.’
  Swift as the word the vain Illusion fled,
Descends, and hovers o’er Atrides’ head;        20
Clothed in the figure of the Pylian sage,
Renown’d for wisdom, and revered for age;
Around his temples spreads his golden wing,
And thus the flatt’ring Dream deceives the King:
  ‘Canst thou, with all a Monarch’s cares oppress’d,        25
O Atreus’ son! canst thou indulge thy rest?
Ill fits a chief who mighty nations guides,
Directs in council, and in war presides,
To whom its safety a whole people owes,
To waste long nights in indolent repose.        30
Monarch, awake! ’t is Jove’s command I bear,
Thou and thy glory claim his heav’nly care.
In just array draw forth th’ embattled train,
Lead all thy Grecians to the dusty plain;
Ev’n now, O King! ’t is given thee to destroy        35
The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
For now no more the Gods with Fate contend,
At Juno’s suit the heav’nly factions end.
Destruction hangs o’er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits th’ impending fall,        40
Awake, but, waking, this advice approve,
And trust the vision that descends from Jove.’
  The Phantom said; then vanish’d from his sight,
Resolves to air, and mixes with the night.
A thousand schemes the Monarch’s mind employ;        45
Elate in thought, he sacks untaken Troy;
Vain as he was, and to the future blind;
Nor saw what Jove and secret Fate design’d;
What mighty toils to either host remain,
What scenes of grief, and numbers of the slain!        50
Eager he rises, and in fancy hears
The voice celestial murm’ring in his ears.
First on his limbs a slender vest he drew,
Around him next the regal mantle threw,
Th’ embroider’d sandals on his feet were tied;        55
The starry falchion glitter’d at his side:
And last his arm the massy sceptre loads,
Unstain’d, immortal, and the gift of Gods.
  Now rosy Morn ascends the court of Jove,
Lifts up her light, and opens day above.        60
The King dispatch’d his heralds with commands
To range the camp and summon all the bands:
The gath’ring hosts the Monarch’s word obey;
While to the fleet Atrides bends his way.
In his black ship the Pylian Prince he found;        65
There calls a senate of the peers around:
Th’ assembly placed, the King of Men express’d
The counsels lab’ring in his artful breast:
  ‘Friends and confed’rates! with attentive ear
Receive my words, and credit what you hear.        70
Late as I slumber’d in the shades of night,
A Dream divine appear’d before my sight;
Whose visionary form like Nestor came,
The same in habit, and in mien the same.
The heav’nly Phantom hover’d o’er my head,        75
And, “Dost thou sleep, O Atreus’ son?” (he said)
“Ill fits a chief who mighty nations guides,
Directs in council, and in war presides,
To whom its safety a whole people owes,
To waste long nights in indolent repose.        80
Monarch, awake! ’t is Jove’s command I bear,
Thou and thy glory claim his heav’nly care;
In just array draw forth th’ embattled train,
And lead the Grecians to the dusty plain.
Ev’n now, O King! ’t is giv’n thee to destroy        85
The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy.
For now no more the Gods with Fate contend,
At Juno’s suit the heav’nly factions end.
Destruction hangs o’er yon devoted wall,
And nodding Ilion waits th’ impending fall.        90
This hear observant, and the Gods obey!”
The Vision spoke, and pass’d in air away.
Now, valiant chiefs! since Heav’n itself alarms,
Unite, and rouse the sons of Greece to arms.
But first, with caution, try what yet they dare,        95
Worn with nine years of unsuccessful war.
To move the troops to measure back the main,
Be mine; and yours the province to detain.’
  He spoke, and sat; when Nestor rising said
(Nestor, whom Pylos’ sandy realms obey’d):        100
‘Princes of Greece, your faithful ears incline,
Nor doubt the Vision of the Powers divine;
Sent by great Jove to him who rules the host,
Forbid it, Heav’n! this warning should be lost!
Then let us haste, obey the God’s alarms,        105
And join to rouse the sons of Greece to arms.’
  Thus spoke the sage: the Kings without delay
Dissolve the council, and their Chief obey:
The sceptred rulers lead; the foll’wing host,
Pour’d forth by thousands, darkens all the coast.        110
As from some rocky cleft the shepherd sees
Clust’ring in heaps on heaps the driving bees,
Rolling and black’ning, swarms succeeding swarms
With deeper murmurs and more hoarse alarms;
Dusky they spread, a close-embodied crowd,        115
And o’er the vale descends the living cloud.
So, from the tents and ships, a length’ning train
Spreads all the beach, and wide o’ershades the plain;
Along the region runs a deaf’ning sound;
Beneath their footsteps groans the trembling ground.        120
Fame flies before, the messenger of Jove,
And shining soars, and claps her wings above.
Nine sacred heralds now proclaiming loud
The Monarch’s will, suspend the list’ning crowd.
Soon as the throngs in order ranged appear,        125
And fainter murmurs died upon the ear,
The King of Kings his awful figure raised;
High in his hand the golden sceptre blazed:
The golden sceptre, of celestial frame,
By Vulcan form’d, from Jove to Hermes came:        130
To Pelops he th’ immortal gift resign’d;
Th’ immortal gift great Pelops left behind,
In Atreus’ hand, which not with Atreus ends,
To rich Thyestes next the prize descends;
And now, the mark of Agamemnon’s reign,        135
Subjects all Argos, and controls the main.
  On this bright sceptre now the King reclin’d,
And artful thus pronounced the speech design’d;
‘Ye sons of Mars! partake your leader’s care,
Heroes of Greece, and brothers of the war!        140
Of partial Jove with justice I complain,
And heav’nly oracles believ’d in vain.
A safe return was promis’d to our toils,
Renown’d, triumphant, and enrich’d with spoils.
Now shameful flight alone can save the host,        145
Our blood, our treasure, and our glory lost.
So Jove decrees, resistless Lord of all!
At whose command whole empires rise or fall:
He shakes the feeble props of human trust,
And towns and armies humbles to the dust.        150
What shame to Greece a fruitless war to wage,
Oh lasting shame in ev’ry future age!
Once great in arms, the common scorn we grow,
Repuls’d and baffled by a feeble foe.
So small their number, that, if wars were ceas’d,        155
And Greece triumphant held a gen’ral feast,
All rank’d by tens; whole decades, when they dine,
Must want a Trojan slave to pour the wine.
But other forces have our hopes o’erthrown,
And Troy prevails by armies not her own.        160
Now nine long years of mighty Jove are run,
Since first the labours of this war begun;
Our cordage torn, decay’d our vessels lie,
And scarce ensure the wretched power to fly.
Haste then, for ever leave the Trojan wall!        165
Our weeping wives, our tender children call;
Love, Duty, Safety, summon us away,
’T is Nature’s voice, and Nature we obey.
Our shatter’d barks may yet transport us o’er,
Safe and inglorious, to our native shore.        170
Fly, Grecians, fly! your sails and oars employ,
And dream no more of Heav’n-defended Troy.’
  His deep design unknown, the hosts approve
Atrides’ speech. The mighty numbers move.
So roll the billows to th’ Icarian shore,        175
From east and south when winds begin to roar,
Burst their dark mansions in the clouds, and sweep
The whitening surface of the ruffled deep:
And as on corn when western gusts descend,
Before the blast the lofty harvests bend;        180
Thus o’er the field the moving host appears,
With nodding plumes and groves of waving spears,
The gath’ring murmur spreads, their trampling feet
Beat the loose sands, and thicken to the fleet.
With long-resounding cries they urge the train        185
To fit the ships, and launch into the main.
They toil, they sweat, thick clouds of dust arise,
The doubling clamours echo thro’ the skies.
Ev’n then the Greeks had left the hostile plain,
And Fate decreed the fall of Troy in vain;        190
But Jove’s imperial Queen their flight survey’d,
And sighing thus bespoke the blue-eyed maid:
  ‘Shall then the Grecians fly? O dire disgrace!
And leave unpunish’d this perfidious race?
Shall Troy, shall Priam, and the adult’rous spouse,        195
In peace enjoy the fruits of broken vows?
And bravest chiefs, in Helen’s quarrel slain,
Lie unavenged on yon detested plain?
No: let my Greeks, unmov’d by vain alarms,
Once more refulgent shine in brazen arms.        200
Haste, Goddess, haste! the flying host detain,
Nor let one sail be hoisted on the main.’
  Pallas obeys, and from Olympus’ height
Swift to the ships precipitates her flight;
Ulysses, first in public cares, she found,        205
For prudent counsel like the Gods renown’d;
Oppress’d with gen’rous grief the hero stood;
Nor drew his sable vessels to the flood.
‘And is it thus, divine Laërtes’ son!
Thus fly the Greeks?’ (the Martial Maid begun)        210
‘Thus to their country bear their own disgrace,
And Fame eternal leave to Priam’s race?
Shall beauteous Helen still remain unfreed,
Still unrevenged a thousand heroes bleed?
Haste, gen’rous Ithacus! prevent the shame,        215
Recall your armies, and your chiefs reclaim.
Your own resistless eloquence employ,
And to th’ immortals trust the fall of Troy.’
  The voice divine confess’d the Warlike Maid,
Ulysses heard, nor uninspired obey’d:        220
Then, meeting first Atrides, from his hand
Receiv’d th’ imperial sceptre of command.
Thus graced, attention and respect to gain,
He runs, he flies thro’ all the Grecian train,
Each Prince of name, or Chief in arms approv’d,        225
He fired with praise, or with persuasion mov’d:
  ‘Warriors like you, with strength and wisdom blest,
By brave examples should confirm the rest.
The Monarch’s will not yet reveal’d appears;
He tries our courage, but resents our fears.        230
Th’ unwary Greeks his fury may provoke;
Not thus the King in secret council spoke.
Jove loves our Chief, from Jove his honour springs,
Beware! for dreadful is the wrath of Kings.’
  But if a clam’rous vile plebeian rose,        235
Him with reproof he check’d or tamed with blows.
‘Be still, thou slave, and to thy betters yield;
Unknown alike in council and in field:
Ye Gods, what dastards would our host command?
Swept to the war, the number of a land.        240
Be silent, wretch, and think not here allow’d
That worst of tyrants, an usurping crowd.
To one sole monarch Jove commits the sway;
His are the laws, and him let all obey.’
  With words like these the troops Ulysses ruled,        245
The loudest silenc’d, and the fiercest cool’d.
Back to th’ assembly roll the thronging train,
Desert the ships, and pour upon the plain.
Murm’ring they move, as when old Ocean roars,
And heaves huge surges to the trembling shores:        250
The groaning banks are burst with bellowing sound,
The rocks remurmur, and the deeps rebound.
At length the tumult sinks, the noises cease,
And a still silence lulls the camp to peace.
  Thersites only clamour’d in the throng,        255
Loquacious, loud, and turbulent of tongue:
Awed by no shame, by no respect controll’d,
In scandal busy, in reproaches bold;
With witty malice studious to defame;
Scorn all his joy, and laughter all his aim.        260
But chief he gloried with licentious style
To lash the great, and monarchs to revile.
His figure such as might his soul proclaim:
One eye was blinking, and one leg was lame:
His mountain-shoulders half his breast o’erspread;        265
Thin hairs bestrew’d his long misshapen head.
Spleen to mankind his envious heart possess’d,
And much he hated all, but most the best.
Ulysses or Achilles still his theme;
But royal scandal his delight supreme.        270
Long had he lived the scorn of ev’ry Greek;
Vex’d when he spoke, yet still they heard him speak.
Sharp was his voice; which, in the shrillest tone,
Thus with injurious taunts attack’d the throne:
  ‘Amidst the glories of so bright a reign,        275
What moves the great Atrides to complain?
’T is thine whate’er the warrior’s breast inflames,
The golden spoil, and thine the lovely dames.
With all the wealth our wars and blood bestow,
Thy tents are crowded, and thy chests o’erflow.        280
Thus at full ease, in heaps of riches roll’d,
What grieves the Monarch? Is it thirst of gold?
Say, shall we march with our unconquer’d powers
(The Greeks and I), to Ilion’s hostile towers,
And bring the race of royal bastards here,        285
For Troy to ransom at a price too dear?
But safer plunder thy own host supplies;
Say, wouldst thou seize some valiant leader’s prize?
Or, if thy heart to gen’rous love be led,
Some captive fair, to bless thy kingly bed?        290
Whate’er our master craves, submit we must,
Plagued with his pride, or punish’d for his lust.
Oh, women of Achaia! men no more!
Hence let us fly, and let him waste his store
In loves and pleasures on the Phrygian shore.        295
We may be wanted on some busy day,
When Hector comes: so great Achilles may:
From him be forced the prize we jointly gave,
From him, the fierce, the fearless, and the brave:
And durst he, as he ought, resent that wrong,        300
This mighty tyrant were no tyrant long.’
  Fierce from his seat, at this, Ulysses springs
In gen’rous vengeance of the King of Kings.
With indignation sparkling in his eyes,
He views the wretch, and sternly thus replies:        305
  ‘Peace, factious monster! born to vex the state,
With wrangling talents form’d for foul debate:
Curb that impetuous tongue, nor, rashly vain
And singly mad, asperse the sov’reign reign.
Have we not known thee, Slave! of all our host,        310
The man who acts the least, upbraids the most?
Think not the Greeks to shameful flight to bring,
Nor let those lips profane the name of King.
For our return we trust the heav’nly powers;
Be that their care; to fight like men be ours.        315
But grant the host with wealth the gen’ral load,
Except detraction, what hast thou bestow’d?
Suppose some hero should his spoils resign,
Art thou that hero, could those spoils be thine?
Gods! let me perish on this hateful shore,        320
And let these eyes behold my son no more;
If, on thy next offence, this hand forbear
To strip those arms thou ill deserv’st to wear,
Expel the council where our Princes meet,
And send thee scourged, and howling thro’ the fleet.’        325
  He said, and cow’ring as the dastard bends,
The weighty sceptre on his back descends,
On the round bunch the bloody tumours rise;
The tears spring starting from his haggard eyes:
Trembling he sat, and, shrunk in abject fears,        330
From his vile visage wiped the scalding tears.
While to his neighbour each express’d his thought:
‘Ye Gods! what wonders has Ulysses wrought!
What fruits his conduct and his courage yield,
Great in the council, glorious in the field!        335
Gen’rous he rises in the Crown’s defence,
To curb the factious tongue of insolence.
Such just examples on offenders shewn
Sedition silence, and assert the throne.’
  ’T was thus the gen’ral voice the hero praised        340
Who, rising high, th’ imperial sceptre rais’d:
The blue-eyed Pallas, his celestial friend
(In form a herald), bade the crowds attend;
Th’ expecting crowds in still attention hung,
To hear the wisdom of his heav’nly tongue.        345
Then, deeply thoughtful, pausing ere he spoke,
His silence thus the prudent hero broke:
  ‘Unhappy Monarch! whom the Grecian race,
With shame deserting, heap with vile disgrace,
Not such at Argos was their gen’rous vow,        350
Once all their voice, but ah! forgotten now:
Ne’er to return, was then the common cry,
Till Troy’s proud structures should in ashes lie.
Behold them weeping for their native shore!
What could their wives or helpless children more?        355
What heart but melts to leave the tender train,
And, one short month, endure the wintry main?
Few leagues remov’d, we wish our peaceful seat,
When the ship tosses and the tempests beat:
Then well may this long stay provoke their tears,        360
The tedious length of nine revolving years.
Not for their grief the Grecian host I blame;
But vanquish’d! baffled! oh eternal shame!
Expect the time to Troy’s destruction giv’n,
And try the faith of Calchas and of Heav’n.        365
What pass’d at Aulis, Greece can witness bear,
And all who live to breathe this Phrygian air.
Beside a fountain’s sacred brink we rais’d
Our verdant altars, and the victims blazed
(’T was where the plane-tree spread its shades around);        370
The altars heav’d; and from the crumbling ground
A mighty dragon shot, of dire portent;
From Jove himself the dreadful sign was sent.
Straight to the tree his sanguine spires he roll’d,
And curl’d around in many a winding fold.        375
The topmost branch a mother-bird possess’d;
Eight callow infants fill’d the mossy nest;
Herself the ninth: the serpent, as he hung,
Stretch’d his black jaws, and crash’d the crying young;
While hov’ring near, with miserable moan,        380
The drooping mother wail’d her children gone.
The mother last, as round the nest she flew,
Seiz’d by the beating wing, the moster slew:
Nor long survived; to marble turn’d he stands
A lasting prodigy on Aulis’ sands,        385
Such was the will of Jove; and hence we dare
Trust in his omen, and support the war.
For while around we gazed with wond’ring eyes,
And trembling sought the Powers with sacrifice,
Full of his God, the rev’rend Calchas cried;        390
“Ye Grecian warriors! lay your fears aside:
This wondrous signal Jove himself displays,
Of long, long labours, but eternal praise,
As many birds as by the snake were slain,
So many years the toils of Greece remain;        395
But wait the tenth, for Ilion’s fall decreed:”
Thus spoke the prophet, thus the Fates succeed.
Obey, ye Grecians, with submission wait,
Nor let your flight avert the Trojan fate.’
  He said: the shores with loud applauses sound,        400
The hollow ships each deaf’ning shout rebound.
Then Nestor thus: ‘These vain debates forbear:
Ye talk like children, not like heroes dare.
Where now are all your high resolves at last?
Your leagues concluded, your engagements past?        405
Vow’d with libations and with victims then,
Now vanish’d like their smoke: the faith of men!
While useless words consume th’ unactive hours,
No wonder Troy so long resists our powers.
Rise, great Atrides! and with courage sway;        410
We march to war, if thou direct the way.
But leave the few that dare resist thy laws,
The mean deserters of the Grecian cause,
To grudge the conquests mighty Jove prepares,
And view, with envy, our successful wars.        415
On that great day when first the martial train,
Big with the fate of Ilion, plough’d the main;
Jove on the right a prosp’rous signal sent,
And thunder rolling shook the firmament.
Encouraged hence, maintain the glorious strife,        420
Till ev’ry soldier grasp a Phrygian wife,
Till Helen’s woes at full revenged appear,
And Troy’s proud matrons render tear for tear.
Before that day, if any Greek invite
His country’s troops to base, inglorious flight,        425
Stand forth that Greek! and hoist his sail to fly;
And die the dastard first, who dreads to die.
But now, O monarch! all thy Chiefs advise:
Nor what they offer, thou thyself despise.
Among those counsels, let not mine be vain;        430
In tribes and nations to divide thy train:
His sep’rate troops let ev’ry leader call,
Each strengthen each, and all encourage all.
What Chief, or soldier, of the numerous band,
Or bravely fights, or ill obeys command,        435
When thus distinct they war, shall soon be known,
And what the cause of Ilion not o’erthrown;
If Fate resists, or if our arms are slow,
If Gods above prevent, or men below.’
  To him the King: ‘How much thy years excel        440
In arts of council, and in speaking well!
Oh would the Gods, in love to Greece, decree
But ten such sages as they grant in thee;
Such wisdom soon should Priam’s force destroy,
And soon should fall the haughty towers of Troy!        445
But Jove forbids, who plunges those he hates
In fierce contention and in vain debates.
Now great Achilles from our aid withdraws,
By me provoked; a captive maid the cause:
If e’er as friends we join, the Trojan wall        450
Must shake, and heavy will the vengeance fall!
But now, ye warriors, take a short repast;
And, well-refresh’d, to bloody conflict haste.
His sharpen’d spear let every Grecian wield
And every Grecian fix his brazen shield;        455
Let all excite the fiery steeds of war,
And all for combat fit the rattling car.
This day, this dreadful day, let each contend;
No rest, no respite, till the shades descend;
Till darkness, or till death shall cover all,        460
Let the war bleed, and let the mighty fall;
Till bathed in sweat be ev’ry manly breast,
With the huge shield each brawny arm depress’d,
Each aching nerve refuse the lance to throw,
And each spent courser at the chariot blow.        465
Who dares, inglorious, in his ships to stay,
Who dares to tremble on this signal day,
That wretch, too mean to fall by martial power,
The birds shall mangle and the dogs devour.’
  The Monarch spoke: and straight a murmur rose,        470
Loud as the surges when the tempest blows,
That dash’d on broken rocks tumultuous roar,
And foam and thunder on the stony shore.
Straight to the tents the troops dispersing bend,
The fires are kindled, and the smokes ascend;        475
With hasty feasts they sacrifice, and pray
T’ avert the dangers of the doubtful day.
A steer of five years’ age, large limb’d, and fed,
To Jove’s high altars Agamemnon led:
There bade the noblest of the Grecian peers,        480
And Nestor first, as most advanc’d in years.
Next came Idomeneus and Tydeus’ son,
Ajax the less, and Ajax Telamon;
Then wise Ulysses in his rank was placed;
And Menelaus came unbid, the last.        485
The Chiefs surround the destin’d beast, and take
The sacred off’ring of the salted cake:
When thus the King prefers his solemn prayer:
‘Oh thou! whose thunder rends the clouded air,
Who in the Heav’n of Heav’ns hast fix’d thy throne,        490
Supreme of Gods! unbounded and alone!
Hear, and before the burning sun descends,
Before the night her gloomy veil extends,
Low in the dust be laid yon hostile spires,
Be Priam’s palace sunk in Grecian fires,        495
In Hector’s breast be plunged this shining sword,
And slaughter’d heroes groan around their lord!’
  Thus pray’d the Chief: his unavailing prayer
Great Jove refused, and toss’d in empty air:
The God, averse, while yet the fumes arose,        500
Prepar’d new toils, and doubled woes on woes.
Their prayers perform’d, the Chiefs the rites pursue,
The barley sprinkled, and the victim slew.
The limbs they sever from th’ enclosing hide,
The thighs, selected to the Gods, divide.        505
On these, in double cauls involv’d with art,
The choicest morsels lie from every part.
From the cleft wood the crackling flames aspire,
While the fat victim feeds the sacred fire.
The thighs thus sacrificed and entrails dress’d,        510
Th’ assistants part, transfix, and roast the rest;
Then spread the tables, the repast prepare,
Each takes his seat, and each receives his share.
Soon as the rage of hunger was suppress’d,
The gen’rous Nestor thus the Prince address’d:        515
  ‘Now bid thy heralds sound the loud alarms,
And call the squadrons sheathed in brazen arms:
Now seize th’ occasion, now the troops survey,
And lead to war when Heav’n directs the way.’
  He said; the Monarch issued his commands;        520
Straight the loud heralds call the gath’ring bands.
The Chiefs enclose their King: the hosts divide,
In tribes and nations rank’d on either side.
High in the midst the blue-eyed Virgin flies;
From rank to rank she darts her ardent eyes:        525
The dreadful ægis, Jove’s immortal shield,
Blazed on her arm, and lighten’d all the field:
Round the vast orb a hundred serpents roll’d,
Form’d the bright fringe, and seem’d to burn in gold.
With this each Grecian’s manly breast she warms,        530
Swells their bold hearts, and strings their nervous arms;
No more they sigh inglorious to return,
But breathe revenge, and for the combat burn.
  As on some mountain, thro’ the lofty grove,
The crackling flames ascend and blaze above,        535
The fires, expanding as the winds arise,
Shoot their long beams, and kindle half the skies,
So from the polish’d arms, and brazen shields,
A gleamy splendour flash’d along the fields.
Not less their number than th’ embodied cranes,        540
Or milk-white swans in Asius’ wat’ry plains,
That o’er the windings of Caÿster’s springs
Stretch their long necks, and clap their rustling wings,
Now tower aloft, and course in airy rounds;
Now light with noise; with noise the field resounds.        545
Thus numerous and confused, extending wide,
The legions crowd Scamander’s flow’ry side;
With rushing troops the plains are cover’d o’er,
And thund’ring footsteps shake the sounding shore;
Along the river’s level meads they stand,        550
Thick as in spring the flowers adorn the land,
Or leaves the trees; or thick as insects play,
The wand’ring nation of a summer’s day,
That, drawn by milky steams, at ev’ning hours,
In gather’d swarms surround the rural bowers;        555
From pail to pail with busy murmur run
The gilded legions, glitt’ring in the sun.
So throng’d, so close, the Grecian squadrons stood
In radiant arms, and thirst for Trojan blood.
Each leader now his scatter’d force conjoins        560
In close array, and forms the deep’ning lines.
Not with more ease the skilful shepherd swain
Collects his flock from thousands on the plain.
The King of Kings, majestically tall,
Towers o’er his armies, and outshines them all:        565
Like some proud bull that round the pastures leads
His subject-herds, the monarch of the meads.
Great as the Gods th’ exalted Chief was seen,
His strength like Neptune, and like Mars his mien;
Jove o’er his eyes celestial glories spread,        570
And dawning conquest play’d around his head.
  Say, Virgins, seated round the throne divine,
All-knowing Goddesses! immortal Nine!
Since earth’s wide regions, Heav’n’s unmeasured height,
And Hell’s abyss, hide nothing from your sight        575
(We, wretched mortals! lost in doubts below,
But guess by rumour, and but boast we know),
Oh say what heroes, fired by thirst of fame,
Or urged by wrongs, to Troy’s destruction came?
To count them all, demands a thousand tongues,        580
A throat of brass, and adamantine lungs;
Daughters of Jove, assist! inspired by you,
The mighty labour dauntless I pursue:
What crowded armies, from what climes, they bring,
Their names, their numbers, and their Chiefs, I sing.        585
  The hardy warriors whom Bœotia bred,
Peneleus, Leitus, Prothoënor led:
With these Arcesilaus and Clonius stand,
Equal in arms, and equal in command.
These head the troops that rocky Aulis yields,        590
And Eteon’s hills, and Hyrie’s wat’ry fields,
And Schœnos, Scolos, Græa near the main,
And Mycalessia’s ample piny plain.
Those who in Peteon or Ilesion dwell,
Or Harma, where Apollo’s prophet fell;        595
Heleon and Hyle, which the springs o’erflow;
And Medeon lofty, and Ocalea low;
Or in the meads of Haliartus stray,
Or Thespia, sacred to the God of Day.
Onchestus, Neptune’s celebrated groves;        600
Copæ, and Thisbè, famed for silver doves,
For flocks Erythræ, Glissa for the vine;
Platæa green, and Nisa the divine.
And they whom Thebes’ well-built walls enclose,
Where Myde, Eutresis, Coronè rose;        605
And Arne rich, with purple harvests crown’d;
And Anthedon, Bœotia’s utmost bound.
Full fifty ships they send, and each conveys
Twice sixty warriors thro’ the foaming seas.
  To these succeed Asplendon’s martial train,        610
Who plough the spacious Orchomenian plain.
Two valiant brothers rule th’ undaunted throng,
Iälmen and Ascalaphus the strong,
Sons of Astyoche, the heav’nly Fair,
Whose virgin charms subdued the God of War        615
(In Actor’s court as she retired to rest,
The strength of Mars the blushing maid compress’d):
Their troops in thirty sable vessels sweep,
With equal oars, the hoarse-resounding deep.
  The Phocians next in forty barks repair,        620
Epistrophus and Schedius head the war;
From those rich regions where Cephissus leads
His silver current thro’ the flowery meads;
From Panopea, Chrysa the divine,
Where Anemoria’s stately turrets shine,        625
Where Pytho, Daulis, Cyparissus stood,
And fair Lilæa views the rising flood.
These, ranged in order on the floating tide,
Close, on the left, the bold Bœotians’ side.
  Fierce Ajax led the Locrian squadrons on,        630
Ajax the less, Oïleus’ valiant son;
Skill’d to direct the flying dart aright;
Swift in pursuit, and active in the fight.
Him, as their chief, the chosen troops attend,
Which Bessa, Thronus, and rich Cynos send;        635
Opus, Calliarus, and Scarphe’s bands;
And those who dwell where pleasing Augia stands,
And where Boägrius floats the lowly lands,
Or in fair Tarphe’s sylvan seats reside;
In forty vessels cut the yielding tide.        640
  Eubœa next her martial sons prepares,
And sends the brave Abantes to the wars;
Breathing revenge, in arms they take their way
From Chalcis’ walls, and strong Eretria;
Th’ Isteian fields for gen’rous vines renown’d,        645
The fair Carystos, and the Styrian ground;
Where Dios from her towers o’erlooks the plain,
And high Cerinthus views the neighb’ring main,
Down their broad shoulders falls a length of hair;
Their hands dismiss not the long lance in air:        650
But with portended spears, in fighting fields,
Pierce the tough corselets and the brazen shields.
Twice twenty ships transport the warlike bands,
Which bold Elphenor, fierce in arms, commands.
  Full fifty more from Athens stem the main,        655
Led by Menestheus thro’ the liquid plain
(Athens the fair, where great Erectheus sway’d,
That owed his nurture to the blue-eyed maid,
But from the teeming furrow took his birth,
The mighty offspring of the foodfull earth.        660
Him Pallas placed amidst her wealthy fane,
Ador’d with sacrifice and oxen slain;
Where as the years revolve her altars blaze,
And all the tribes resound the Goddess’ praise).
No Chief like thee, Menestheus! Greece could yield,        665
To marshal armies in the dusty field,
Th’ extended wings of battle to display,
Or close th’ embodied host in firm array.
Nestor alone, improv’d by length of days,
For martial conduct bore an equal praise.        670
With these appear the Salaminian bands,
Whom the gigantic Telamon commands;
In twelve black ships to Troy they steer their course,
And with the great Athenians join their force.
  Next move to war the gen’rous Argive train        675
From high Trœzene, and Maseta’s plain,
And fair Ægina circled by the main:
Whom strong Tirynthe’s lofty walls surround,
And Epidaure with viny harvests crown’d:
And where fair Asinen and Hermion shew        680
Their cliffs above, and ample bay below.
These by the brave Euryalus were led,
Great Sthenelus, and greater Diomed,
But Chief Tydides bore the sov’reign sway;
In fourscore barks they plough the wat’ry way.        685
  The proud Mycene arms her martial powers,
Cleone, Corinth, with imperial towers,
Fair Aræthyrea, Ornia’s fruitful plain,
And Ægion, and Adrastus’ ancient reign;
And those who dwell along the sandy shore,        690
And where Pellene yields her fleecy store,
Where Helice and Hyperesia lie,
And Gonoëssa’s spires salute the sky.
Great Agamemnon rules the numerous band,
A hundred vessels in long order stand,        695
And crowded nations wait his dread command.
High on the deck the King of men appears,
And his refulgent arms in triumph wears;
Proud of his host, unrivall’d in his reign,
In silent pomp he moves along the main.        700
  His brother follows, and to vengeance warms
The hardy Spartans, exercised in arms:
Phares and Brysia’s valiant troops, and those
Whom Lacedæmon’s lofty hills enclose:
Or Messe’s towers for silver doves renown’d,        705
Amyclæ, Laäs, Augia’s happy ground,
And those whom Œtylos’ low walls contain,
And Helos on the margin of the main:
These o’er the bending ocean, Helen’s cause
In sixty ships with Menelaus draws:        710
Eager and loud, from man to man he flies,
Revenge and fury flaming in his eyes;
While, vainly fond, in fancy oft he hears
The fair one’s grief, and sees her falling tears.
  In ninety sail, from Pylos’ sandy coast,        715
Nestor the sage conducts his chosen host:
From Amphigenia’s ever-fruitful land;
Where Æpy high, and little Pteleon stand:
Where beauteous Arene her structures shows,
And Thryon’s walls Alpheüs’ streams enclose:        720
And Dorion, famed for Thamyris’ disgrace,
Superior once of all the tuneful race,
Till, vain of mortal’s empty praise, he strove
To match the seed of cloud-compelling Jove!
Too daring bard! whose unsuccessful pride        725
Th’ immortal Muses in their art defied.
Th’ avenging Muses of the light of day
Deprived his eyes, and snatch’d his voice away;
No more his heav’nly voice was heard to sing;
His hand no more awaked the silver string.        730
Where under high Cyllenè, crown’d with wood,
The shaded tomb of old Æpytus stood;
From Ripè, Stratie, Tegea’s bord’ring towns,
The Phenean fields, and Orchomenian downs,
Where the fat herds in plenteous pasture rove;        735
And Stymphelus with her surrounding grove,
Parrhasia, on her snowy cliffs reclin’d,
And high Enispè shook by wintry wind,
And fair Mantinea’s ever-pleasing site;
In sixty sail th’ Arcadian bands unite.        740
Bold Agapenor, glorious at their head
(Ancæus’ son), the mighty squadron led.
Their ships, supplied by Agamemnon’s care,
Thro’ roaring seas the wond’ring warriors bear;
The first to battle on th’ appointed plain,        745
But new to all the dangers of the main.
  Those, where fair Elis and Buprasium join;
Whom Hyrmin, here, and Myrsinus confine,
And bounded there, where o’er the valleys rose
Th’ Olenian rock; and where Alisium flows;        750
Beneath four Chiefs (a numerous army) came:
The strength and glory of th’ Epean name.
In sep’rate squadrons these their train divide,
Each leads ten vessels thro’ the yielding tide.
One was Amphimachus, and Thalpius one;        755
(Eurytus’ this, and that Teätus’ son):
Diores sprung from Amarynceus’ line;
And great Polyxenus, of force divine.
  But those who view fair Elis o’er the seas
From the blest islands of th’ Echinades,        760
In forty vessels under Meges move,
Begot by Phyleus, the belov’d of Jove.
To strong Dulichium from his sire he fled,
And thence to Troy his hardy warriors led.
  Ulysses follow’d thro’ the wat’ry road,        765
A Chief, in wisdom equal to a God.
With those whom Cephallenia’s isle enclosed,
Or till their fields along the coast opposed;
Or where fair Ithaca o’erlooks the floods,
Where high Neritos shakes his waving woods,        770
Where Ægilipa’s rugged sides are seen,
Crocylia rocky, and Zacynthus green.
These, in twelve galleys with vermillion prores,
Beneath his conduct sought the Phrygian shores.
  Thoas came next, Andræmon’s valiant son,        775
From Pleuron’s walls and chalky Calydon,
And rough Pylenè, and th’ Olenian steep,
And Chalcis, beaten by the rolling deep.
He led the warriors from th’ Ætolian shore,
For now the sons of Œneus were no more!        780
The glories of the mighty race were fled!
Œneus himself, and Meleager dead!
To Thoas’ care now trust the martial train:
His forty vessels follow thro’ the main.
  Next eighty barks the Cretan King commands,        785
Of Gnossus, Lyctus, and Gortyna’s bands,
And those who dwell where Rhytion’s domes arise,
Or white Lycastus glitters to the skies,
Or where by Phæstus silver Jardan runs;
Crete’s hundred cities pour forth all her sons.        790
These march’d, Idomeneus, beneath thy care,
And Merion, dreadful as the God of War.
Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules,
Led nine swift vessels thro’ the foamy seas;
From Rhodes, with everlasting sunshine bright,        795
Jalyssus, Lindus and Camirus white.
His captive mother fierce Alcides bore
From Ephyr’s walls, and Sellè’s winding shore,
Where mighty towns in ruins spread the plain,
And saw their blooming warriors early slain.        800
The hero, when to manly years he grew,
Alcides’ uncle, old Licymnius, slew;
For this constrain’d to quit his native place,
And shun the vengeance of th’ Herculean race,
A fleet he built, and with a numerous train        805
Of willing exiles, wander’d o’er the main;
Where, many seas and many suff’rings past,
On happy Rhodes the Chief arrived at last:
There in three tribes divides his native band,
And rules them peaceful in a foreign land;        810
Increas’d and prosper’d in their new abodes
By mighty Jove, the sire of men and Gods;
With joy they saw the growing empire rise,
And showers of wealth descending from the skies.
  Three ships with Nireus sought the Trojan shore,        815
Nireus, whom Aglaë to Charopus bore,
Nireus, in faultless shape, and blooming grace,
The loveliest youth of all the Grecian race;
Pelides only match’d his early charms;
But few his troops, and small his strength in arms.        820
  Next thirty galleys cleave the liquid plain,
Of those Calydnæ’s sea-girt isles contain;
With them the youth of Nisyrus repair,
Casus the strong, and Crapathus the fair;
Cos, where Eurypylus possess’d the sway,        825
Till great Alcides made the realms obey:
These Antiphus and bold Phidippus bring,
Sprung from the God by Thessalus the King.
  Now, Muse, recount Pelasgic Argos’ powers,
From Alos, Alopè, and Trechin’s towers;        830
From Phthia’s spacious vales; and Hella, bless’d
With female beauty far beyond the rest.
Full fifty ships beneath Achilles’ care
Th’ Achaians, Myrmidons, Hellenians bear;
Thessalians all, tho’ various in their name,        835
The same their nation, and their Chief the same.
But now inglorious, stretch’d along the shore,
They hear the brazen voice of war no more;
No more the foe they face in dire array:
Close in his fleet their angry leader lay;        840
Since fair Briseïs from his arms was torn,
The noblest spoil from sack’d Lyrnessus borne,
Then, when the Chief the Theban walls o’erthrew,
And the bold sons of great Evenus slew.
There mourn’d Achilles, plunged in depth of care,        845
But soon to rise in slaughter, blood, and war.
  To these the youth of Phylacè succeed,
Itona, famous for her fleecy breed,
And grassy Pteleon deck’d with cheerful greens,
The bowers of Ceres, and the sylvan scenes,        850
Sweet Pyrrhasus, with blooming flowerets crown’d,
And Antron’s wat’ry dens, and cavern’d ground.
These own’d as Chief Protesilas the brave,
Who now lay silent in the gloomy grave:
The first who boldly touch’d the Trojan shore,        855
And dyed a Phrygian lance with Grecian gore;
There lies, far distant from his native plain;
Unfinish’d his proud palaces remain,
And his sad consort beats her breast in vain.
His troops in forty ships Podarces led,        860
Iphiclus’ son, and brother to the dead;
Nor he unworthy to command the host;
Yet still they mourn’d their ancient leader lost.
  The men who Glaphyra’s fair soil partake,
Where hills encircle Bœbe’s lowly lake,        865
Where Pheræ hears the neighb’ring waters fall,
Or proud Iolcus lifts her airy wall,
In ten black ships embark’d for Ilion’s shore,
With bold Eumelus, whom Alcestè bore:
All Pelias’ race Alcestè far outshined,        870
The grace and glory of the beauteous kind.
  The troops Methonè or Thaumacia yields,
Olizon’s rocks, or Melibœa’s fields,
With Philoctetes sail’d, whose matchless art
From the tough bow directs the feather’d dart.        875
Seven were his ships: each vessel fifty row,
Skill’d in his science of the dart and bow.
But he lay raging on the Lemnian ground;
A pois’nous Hydra gave the burning wound;
There groan’d the Chief in agonizing pain,        880
Whom Greece at length shall wish, nor wish in vain.
His forces Medon led from Lemnos’ shore,
Oïleus’ son, whom beauteous Rhena bore.
  Th’ Œchalian race, in those high towers contain’d,
Where once Eurytus in proud triumph reign’d,        885
Or where her humbler turrets Tricca rears,
Or where Ithomè, rough with rocks, appears;
In thirty sail the sparkling waves divide,
Which Podalirius and Machaon guide.
To these his skill their Parent-god imparts,        890
Divine professors of the healing arts.
  The bold Ormenian and Asterian bands
In forty barks Eurypylus commands,
Where Titan hides his hoary head in snow,
And where Hyperia’s silver fountains flow.        895
  Thy troops, Argissa, Polypœtes leads,
And Eleon, shelter’d by Olympus’ shades,
Grytonè’s warriors; and where Orthè lies,
And Oloösson’s chalky cliffs arise.
Sprung from Pirithoüs of immortal race,        900
The fruit of fair Hippodame’s embrace
(That day, when, hurl’d from Pelion’s cloudy head,
To distant dens the shaggy Centaurs fled),
With Polypœtes join’d in equal sway,
Leonteus leads, and forty ships obey.        905
  In twenty sail the bold Perrhæbians came
From Cyphus, Guneus was their leader’s name.
With these the Enians join’d, and those who freeze
Where cold Dodona lifts her holy trees;
Or where the pleasing Titaresius glides,        910
And into Peneus rolls his easy tides;
Yet o’er the silver surface pure they flow,
The sacred stream unmix’d with streams below,
Sacred and awful! From the dark abodes
Styx pours them forth, the dreadful oath of Gods!        915
  Last under Prothous the Magnesians stood,
Prothous the swift, of old Tenthredon’s blood;
Who dwell where Pelion, crown’d with piny boughs,
Obscures the glade, and nods his shaggy brows:
Or where thro’ flowery Tempè Peneus stray’d        920
(The region stretch’d beneath his mighty shade):
In forty sable barks they stemm’d the main;
Such were the Chiefs, and such the Grecian train.
  Say next, O Muse! of all Achaia breeds,
Who bravest fought, or rein’d the noblest steeds?        925
Eumelus’ mares were foremost in the chase,
As eagles fleet, and of Pheretian race;
Bred where Pieria’s fruitful fountains flow,
And train’d by him who bears the silver bow.
Fierce in the fight, their nostrils breathed a flame,        930
Their height, their colour, and their age, the same;
O’er fields of death they whirl the rapid car,
And break the ranks, and thunder thro’ the war.
Ajax in arms the first renown acquired,
While stern Achilles in his wrath retired        935
(His was the strength that mortal might exceeds,
And his th’ unrivall’d race of heav’nly steeds):
But Thetis’ son now shines in arms no more;
His troops, neglected on the sandy shore,
In empty air their sportive jav’lins throw,        940
Or whirl the disk, or bend an idle bow:
Unstain’d with blood his cover’d chariots stand;
Th’ immortal coursers graze along the strand;
But the brave Chiefs th’ inglorious life deplor’d,
And, wand’ring o’er the camp, required their lord.        945
  Now, like a deluge, cov’ring all around,
The shining armies swept along the ground;
Swift as a flood of fire, when storms arise,
Floats the wide field, and blazes to the skies.
Earth groan’d beneath them; as when angry Jove        950
Hurls down the forky lightning from above,
On Arimè when he the thunder throws,
And fires Typhœus with redoubled blows,
Where Typhon, press’d beneath the burning load,
Still feels the fury of th’ avenging God.        955
  But various Iris, Jove’s commands to bear,
Speeds on the wings of winds thro’ liquid air;
In Priam’s porch the Trojan Chiefs she found,
The old consulting, and the youths around.
Polites’ shape, the monarch’s son, she chose,        960
Who from Æsetes’ tomb observ’d the foes,
High on the mound; from whence in prospect lay
The fields, the tents, the navy, and the bay.
In this dissembled form she hastes to bring
Th’ unwelcome message to the Phrygian King:        965
  ‘Cease to consult, the time for action calls,
War, horrid war, approaches to your walls!
Assembled armies oft have I beheld,
But ne’er till now such numbers charged a field.
Thick as autumnal leaves, or driving sand,        970
The moving squadrons blacken all the strand.
Thou, godlike Hector! all thy force employ,
Assemble all th’ united bands of Troy;
In just array let every leader call
The foreign troops: this day demands them all.’        975
  The voice divine the mighty Chief alarms;
The council breaks, the warriors rush to arms.
The gates unfolding pour forth all their train,
Nations on nations fill the dusky plain,
Men, steeds, and chariots, shake the trembling ground;        980
The tumult thickens, and the skies resound.
Amidst the plain in sight of Ilion stands
A rising mount, the work of human hands
(This for Myrinne’s tomb th’ immortals know,
Tho’ call’d Bateia in the world below);        985
Beneath their Chiefs in martial order here
Th’ auxiliar troops and Trojan hosts appear.
  The godlike Hector, high above the rest,
Shakes his huge spear, and nods his plumy crest:
In throngs around his native bands appear,        990
And groves of lances glitter in the air.
  Divine Æneas brings the Dardan race,
Anchises’ son, by Venus’ stol’n embrace,
Born in the shades of Ida’s secret grove
(A mortal mixing with the Queen of Love);        995
Archilochus and Acamas divide
The warrior’s toils, and combat by his side.
  Who fair Zeleia’s wealthy valleys till,
Fast by the foot of Ida’s sacred hill;
Or drink, Æsepus, of thy sable flood;        1000
Were led by Pandarus, of royal blood.
To whom his art Apollo deign’d to shew,
Graced with the present of his shafts and bow.
  From rich Apæsus and Adrestia’s towers,
High Teree’s summits, and Pityea’s bowers;        1005
From these the congregated troops obey
Young Amphius and Adrastus’ equal sway;
Old Merops’ sons; whom, skill’d in fates to come,
The sire forewarn’d, and prophesied their doom:
Fate urged them on! the sire forewarn’d in vain,        1010
They rush’d to war, and perish’d on the plain.
  From Practius’ stream, Percotè’s pasture lands,
And Sestos and Abydos’ neighb’ring strands,
From great Arisba’s walls and Sellè’s coast,
Asius Hyrtacides conducts his host:        1015
High on his car he shakes the flowing reins,
His fiery coursers thunder o’er the plains.
  The fierce Pelasgi next, in war renown’d,
March from Larissa’s ever-fertile ground:
In equal arms their brother leaders shine,        1020
Hippothous bold, and Pyleus the divine.
  Next Acamas and Pyroüs lead their hosts
In dread array, from Thracia’s wintry coasts;
Round the black realms where Hellespontus roars,
And Boreas beats the hoarse-resounding shores.        1025
  With great Euphemus the Ciconians move,
Sprung from Trœzenian Ceüs, lov’d by Jove.
  Pyræchmes the Pæonian troops attend,
Skill’d in the fight their crooked bows to bend;
From Axius’ ample bed he leads them on,        1030
Axius, that laves the distant Amydon,
Axius, that swells with all his neighb’ring rills,
And wide around the floating region fills.
  The Paphlagonians Pylæmenes rules,
Where rich Henetia breeds her savage mules,        1035
Where Erythinus’ rising cliffs are seen,
Thy groves of box, Cytorus! ever green;
And where Ægialus and Cromna lie,
And lofty Sesamus invades the sky;
And where Parthenius roll’d thro’ banks of flowers,        1040
Reflects her bord’ring palaces and bowers.
  Here march’d in arms the Halizonian band,
Whom Odius and Epistrophus command,
From those far regions where the sun refines
The ripening silver in Alybean mines.        1045
  There, mighty Chromis led the Mysian train,
And augur Ennomus, inspired in vain,
For stern Achilles lopp’d his sacred head,
Roll’d down Scamander with the vulgar dead.
  Phoreys and brave Ascanius here unite        1050
Th’ Ascanian Phrygians, eager for the fight.
  Of those who round Mæonia’s realms reside,
Or whom the vales in shade of Tmolus hide,
Mestles and Antiphus the charge partake;
Born on the banks of Gyges’ silent lake.        1055
There, from the fields where wild Mæander flows,
High Mycalè, and Latmos’ shady brows,
And proud Miletus, came the Carian throngs,
With mingled clamours, and with barb’rous tongues:
Amphimachus and Naustes guide the train,        1060
Naustes the bold, Amphimachus the vain,
Who, trick’d with gold, and glitt’ring on his car,
Rode like a woman to the field of war.
Fool that he was! by fierce Achilles slain,
The river swept him to the briny main:        1065
There whelm’d with waves the gaudy warrior lies;
The valiant victor seiz’d the golden prize.
  The forces last in fair array succeed,
Which blameless Glaucus and Sarpedon lead;
The warlike bands that distant Lycia yields        1070
Where gulfy Xanthus foams along the fields.
 
 
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