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Vulcan with aukward grace his office plies,
Thus the blest Gods the genial day prolong,
ARGU M E N T.
The Trial of the Army, and Catalogue of the Forces. 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 fenfible 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 abfence and the late plague, as well as by the length of time, contrives to make trial of their difposition 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 infolence of Therfites. The assembly is recalled, several speeches made on the occasion, and at length the advice of Neftor 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, and 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 sea-Ahore; toward the end it removes to Troy.
Τ Η Ε
I L I A
воок п. Now
LOW pleasing sleep had seal'd each mortal
eye, Stretch'd in the tents the Grecian leaders lie, Th' Immortals 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 fight, 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 'tis given him to destroy The lofty towers of wide-extended Troy. Før now no more the Gods with fate contend, At Juno's suit the heavenly factions end. Destruction hangs o’er.yon devoted wall, And nodding Ilion waits th’impending fall.
Swift as the word the vain illusion filed, Descends, and hovers o'er Atrides' head ; Cloath'd in the figure of the Pilian sage, Renown'd for wisdom, and rever'd for age;