previous next
[63] 30. "I should, of course, marvel at that famous story you got out of Homer about Calchas predicting the years of the Trojan War from the number of [p. 443] sparrows—if I believed it!1 In a leisure moment I thus translated what Agamemnon2 in Homer says about this prophecy:
Be patient, men; with fortitude endure
Your grievous tasks till we can ascertain
If what our Calchas prophesies be true,
Or only idle fancies of his breast.
For all who have not left the light of day,
In gloomy shades to dwell, retain these signs
Imprinted on their minds. When Aulis first
Was decked with Grecian fleets, which carried death
For Priam, ruin for Troy, we stood about
The fountains cool and sought to please the gods
With gold-crowned bulls on smoking altars laid.
Beneath the plane-tree's shade, whence gushed a spring,
We saw a frightful dragon, huge of size,
With mighty folds, forth from an altar come,
By Jove impelled. It seized some sparrows hid
Within the plane-tree's leafy boughs and eight
Devoured; the ninth—the mother bird—began
To flutter round and utter plaintive cries:
From her the cruel beast her vitals tore.

1 Cf. i. 33 72,

2 It was Ulysses, not Agamemnon; cf. II. ii. 299.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (C. F. W. Müller, 1915)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
hide References (14 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: