The Iliad, books 18 – 24


Imagine how the pyre of a burning town
will tower to heaven and be seen for miles
from the island under attack, while all day long
outside their town, in brutal combat, pikemen
suffer the wargod’s winnowing; at sundown
flare on flare is lit, the signal fires
shoot up for other islanders to see,
that some relieving force in ships may come:
just so the baleful radiance from Akhilleus
lit the sky.

– Book 18, The Immortal Shield, lines 240 – 255


You see, don’t you, how large
I am, how well-made? My father is noble,
a goddess bore me. Yet death waits for me,
for me as well, in all the power of fate.
A morning comes or evening or high noon
when someone takes my life away in war,
a spear-cast, or an arrow from a bowstring.

– Book 21, The Clash of Man and River, lines 123- 130


As translated by Roger Fitzgerald. Farrar, Straus, Gioux: New York, New York; 2004.