BETA

The Wile of Juno.

( Iliad 14 ; line 153–353.)
Queen Juno does an artful wile,
’Gainst Jupiter employ ;
And hinders him, by aid of sleep,
From giving help to Troy.

1.

The golden-throned queen of heaven beheld1
The arduous conflict from the Olympian height ;2
Well pleased she saw, upon th’ ensanguined field,3
King Neptune toiling in the glorious fight :4
But Jove she viewed not with the like delight5
On wat’ry Ida’s loftiest peak reclined ;6
The goddess, filled with hatred at his sight,7
Stood pondering long what method she could find,8
With artful wile to cheat th’ Almighty Thunderer’s mind,9

2.

Thus she resolves at length ; to go to Ide,10
Adorned with all-the aiding powers of art11
There on the force of beauty she relied,12
To win the Ægis-bearing monarch’s heart ;13
Then from the fight to turn his eyes apart,14
Bending his lids with sleep’s oblivious load ;15
Pleased with the thought she hastens to depart,16
And speeds her steps to gain her own abode,17
Built by her favourite son, Valcan the artist God.18

3.

Then to her secret bower she bent her way,19
None, save herself, its threshold ever passed ;20
Its doors she oped with her mysterious key,21
Then entering, closed the splendid portal fast :22
O’er her fair form ambrosial streams she cast,23
And oil, soft, fragrant, grateful to the sense ;24
Its powerful perfume from the chamber past25
Through the whole dome ; the gales conveyed it thence,26
O’er all the heavens and earth new fragrance to dispense.27

4.

This labour done, she wreathes her heavenly hair,28
On her immortal head in curls to twine ;29
Then round her casts the robe of beauty rare,30
Which Pallas wrought with many a rich design ;31
Its folds above bright golden clasps confine,32
A circling zone close binds it at the waist,33
A zone round which a hundred tassels shine,34
A splendid fringe ; then in her ears she placed35
Her sparkling rings of gold, with three fair brilliants graced.36

5.

Next her fine form the mantle’s folds surround,37
New-woven, of splendour dazzling as the sun ;38
Her sandals last upon her feet she bound,39
And then the pleasing cares of dress were done ;40
Straight from her bower to Venus has she gone,41
Whom she addressed, withdrawing her apart ;42
Say, daughter dear, shall my request be won ?43
Or wilt thou scorn my suit, enraged at heart44
That I espouse the Greek, and thou the Trojan part ?’45

6.

Fair Venus gave the queen a mild reply,46
Be thy request, imperial Juno, made,47
Nor fear that Venus will the suit deny ;48
If I can grant thy bidding is obey’d.”49
With artful wile the heavenly sovereign said :50
Grant that I may those powerful charms display,51
By which the sons of heaven and earth are swayed ;52
For I to earth’s far limits bend my way,53
Where Ocean, sire of Gods, and ancient Tethys sway.54

7.

Me to their realms my mother Rhea sent55
Where I was bred beneath their fostering care ;56
Where Saturn, under earth and ocean pent,57
Resigned to Jove the empire of the air.58
I haste to reconcile the ancient pair,59
Since angry quarrels have disturbed their peace ;60
No more the genial couch of love they share,61
But if my voice should bid the contest cease, 62
How would their former love, for such kind care, increase.”63

8.

Could I refuse,” the queen of smiles replied,64
The regal consort of the Almighty Sire ?” 65
Then from her breast the cestus she untied,66
In which was stored whate’er can love inspire ;67
In it was tender passion, warm desire,68
Fond lovers’ soft and amorous intercourse,69
Th’ endearing looks and accents that can fire70
The soul with passionate love’s resistless force,71
’Gainst which the wisest find in wisdom no resource.72

9.

Into Saturnia’s hand she gave the zone,73
And said, “ Conceal this cestus in thy breast74
Such is th’ embroidered girdle’s power, that none75
Can e’er refuse to grant thee thy request.”76
Gladly the queen received it, and expressed77
Her heartfelt pleasure by a gracious smile ;78
Quick to her bosom she the girdle pressed :— 79
Fair Venus sought the Thunderer’s lordly pile,80
And Juno left the skies to seek the Lemnian isle.81

10.

Above Pieria’s realms the goddess speeds,82
O’er fair Emathia, o’er the mountains steep83
Of snowy Thrace, renowned for generous steeds ;84
Nor touched the earth. She then descends to sweep 85
From Atho’s summit o’er the billowy deep ;86
Lemnos, where noble Thoas held command,87
Quickly she gains, and meets the god of sleep ;88
Death’s drowsy brother taking by the hand,89
She urges thus her suit in accents soft and bland :—90

11.

Sleep, whose dominion gods and men obey,91
If to assist me thou did’st e’er incline,92
Assist me now. I grateful shall repay,93
If Jove’s bright eyes to slumber thou consign,94
While in his fond embraces I recline.95
A golden throne Vulcan my son shall mould,96
In recompence for this, with art divine ;97
A throne and footstool of the purest gold,98
Which will thy shapely feet at the gay feast uphold.”99

12.

Sleep thus replied : “ Saturnia, queen supreme,100
On any other should my influence fall101
Among th’ immortals, even upon the stream102
Of ancient Ocean, parent of us all,103
But not on Jove, save when he deigns to call. 104
At thy request I ventured once before105
In my soft bonds his senses to enthral,106
What time his conquering gallies from the shore107
Of subjugated Troy the great Alcides bore.108

13.

Around his soul my balmy influence cast109
Lulled into sleep th’ all-seeing eyes of Jove ;110
While, roused by thee, the terrors of the blast111
Against his son in tempest fury strove,112
And into populous Cos his vessels drove113
Far from his friends—when Jove awaked again114
He hurled th’ immortals through the halls above ;115
Me chief he sought, to ’w helm me in the main,116
Did not resistless Night his ’v engeful ire restrain.117

14.

To her, who spreads her unsubdued control118
O’er men and gods, I bent my hasty flight,119
Jove then forgave, though angry in his soul,120
For he revered the power of ancient Night.121
Then canst thou me forgetful thus invite,122
Rashly again the sovereign’s wrath to dare ?”123
Let not such idle thoughts thy soul affright,”124
Juno replied, “ Has Jupiter such care125
For Ilium’s haughty sons, as for his valorous heir.126

15.

Can they to him their lofty lineage trace?127
But come, I’ll gift thee with a heavenly bride,128
Pasithea, the fair, the youthful Grace,129
The maid for whose bright charms thou long hast sighed.”130
She ceased, o’erjoyed the slumberous god replied,131
By Styx, inviolable river, swear ;132
Let one hand touch the ocean’s level tide,133
Let fruitful earth the other hand upbear,134
That the dark gods below the solemn vow may hear.135

16.

That they may witness, from the depths of space,136
Where round old Saturn circled they remain,137
That thou wilt gift me with that heavenly Grace138
For whose bright charms I sigh so long in vain.139
Fair Juno took the oath ; in solemn strain140
By name invoking from the realms below141
The subtartarean gods, the Titan train,142
That they the sacred covenant might know,143
Thus was the contract made, and ratified the vow.144

17.

Then bent on speed, the Imbrian shore they leave145
And wrapt in darkness, for Mount Ida make ;146
Arrived at Lectos, springing from the wave,147
Aloft in air their soaring course they take ;148
Beneath their feet the lofty forests shake,149
As o’er their topmost boughs in haste they flew150
And where the branches formed a veil opaque,151
Somnus remained, to shun the Thunderer’s view,152
Perched in a lofty fir, the tallest there that grew,153

18.

Changed to a mountain bird, concealed from all,154
Close nestling in the shadowing boughs he lies,155
(The shrill-toned bird which men Cymindis call,156
Calchis the immortals name it in the skies),157
Meanwhile to Gargarus Saturnia hies,158
And there she met the cloud-compelling Jove :159
He saw! he loved ! such beauties met his eyes,160
That all his soul love’s warmest transports move,161
Not warmer did he feel when first he learned to love.162

19.

Not even when first in her encircling arms,163
In sweet, in stolen embraces, he reclined ;164
Seized with desire, enraptured with her charms,165
He thus addressed the queen in accents kind :166
Why didst thou leave thy car and steeds behind,167
And thus on foot from far Olympus stray ?”168
Him Juno answered, with dissembling mind,169
To Earth’s far limits I direct my way,170
Where Ocean, sire of Gods, and ancient Tethys sway.171

20.

In youth they reared me with parental care,172
And now to them I hasten as a friend ;173
For filled with wrath, the couch no more they share,174
And much I wish the angry strife to end ;175
At Ida’s foot my steeds and car attend,176
Seated on which o’er land and sea I speed ;177
But ere on this long tour my course I bend,178
I ask thy leave ; for quarrel it might breed,179
Did I, unknown to thee, to Ocean’s streams proceed.”180

21.

Her answered thus the cloud compelling Jove :—181
That task, fair queen, another time perform ;182
But now devote the precious hours to love ;183
For ne’er did mortal on immortal form184
My soul ere this with such fierce passion warm :185
Not even Ixion’s wife, from whose embrace186
Pirithous came, had such a power to charm ;—187
Not even fair Danae, maid of matchless grace,188
From whom brave Perseus sprung, noblest of human race !189

22.

Not so I loved the royal maid of Tyre,190
From whom just Rhadamanth and Minos came ;191
Nor did Alcmena’s charms such love inspire,192
Who bore Alcides, chief of glorious name ;193
Not so did Semele my soul inflame,194
Who Bacchus, joyous god to mortals, bore ;195
Not so I loved Queen Ceres, fair-haired dame ;196
Nor Leto—no, nor even thyself before,197
As now with fond desire transported I adore.”198

23.

With artful words Queen Juno answered Jove,199
What dost thou thus, impatient king, propose ?200
Wouldst thou the sacred mysteries of love201
On Ida’s top to open view expose ?202
What would ensue if, ere from sleep we rose,203
Some God should view me locked in thy embrace,204
And to the Immortal Powers the tale disclose ?205
Ne’er to thy dome could I my steps retrace,206
Arising from thy couch, confounded in disgrace.207

24.

But if to love thy wishes be disposed,208
To thine own bower, by Vulcan built, repair ;209
His art the solid doors has firmly closed,210
And there the genial bed of love we’ll share.”211
Nor God nor man,” cried Jove,” “ (dismiss that care)212
Shall view us here ; for such a dusky cloud213
Of gold shall darken the surrounding air,214
Not even the sun shall pierce th’ obscuring shroud,215
Whose beams with brightest powers of splendour are endowed216

25.

He spoke, and round the queen his arms he flung.217
Beneath them Earth her freshest herbage threw ;218
For their soft couch the hyacinth up sprung,219
The saffron flower, the lotus bathed. in dew ;220
Upraised on this they lay concealed from view ;221
A golden cloud enveloped them around,222
Distilling dew-drops of resplendent hue ;223
The monarch’s arms his lovely spouse surround,224
On Gargarus’ lofty top, in love and slumber drowned.225

Thus Jupiter with Juno here,226
Forgot the fight be,227
While Ajax, helped by Neptune’s might,228
Does Hector overthrow.229