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Athena
May I address the mighty god whom the gods revere and who to my own father is very near in blood, [50] laying aside our former enmity?

Poseidon
You may; for over the soul the ties of kin exert no feeble spell, great queen Athena.

Athena
For your forgiving mood my thanks! I have messages to impart affecting both yourself and me, lord.

Poseidon
[55] Do you bring fresh tidings from some god, from Zeus, or from some lesser power?

Athena
From none of these; but on behalf of Troy, whose soil we tread, I have come to seek your mighty aid, to make it one with mine.

Poseidon
What! have you laid your former hate aside [60] to take compassion on the town now that it is burnt to ashes?

Athena
First go back to the former point; will you make common cause with me in the scheme I purpose?

Poseidon
Yes, surely; but I want to learn your wishes, whether you have come to help Achaeans or Phrygians.

Athena
[65] I wish to give my former foes, the Trojans, joy, and on the Achaean army impose a bitter return.

Poseidon
Why do you leap thus from mood to mood? Your love and hate both go too far, on whomever centred.

Athena
Do you not know the insult done to me and to the shrine I love?

Poseidon
[70] I do: when Aias dragged away Cassandra by force.

Athena
Yes, and the Achaeans did nothing, said nothing to him.

Poseidon
And yet it was by your mighty aid they sacked Ilium.

Athena
For which cause I would join with you to do them harm.

Poseidon
My powers are ready at your will. What is your intent?

Athena
[75] I will impose on them a return that is no return.

Poseidon
While they stay on shore, or as they cross the salt sea?

Athena
When they have set sail from Ilium for their homes. On them will Zeus also send his rain and fearful hail, [80] and inky tempests from the sky; and he promises to grant me his thunder-bolts to hurl on the Achaeans and fire their ships. And you, for your part, make the Aegean strait to roar with mighty billows and whirlpools, and fill Euboea's hollow bay with corpses, [85] that Achaeans may learn henceforth to reverence my temples and regard all other deities.

Poseidon
So shall it be, for this favor needs only a few words. I will vex the broad Aegean sea; and the beach of Myconos and the reefs round Delos, [90] Scyros and Lemnos too, and the cliffs of Caphareus shall be strewn with many a corpse. You go to Olympus, and taking from your father's hand his lightning bolts, keep careful watch against the hour when Argos' army lets slip its cables. [95] A fool is he who sacks the towns of men, with shrines and tombs, the dead man's hallowed home, for at the last he makes a desert round himself and dies.

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  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 495
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1273
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 1440
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