The Descent of Neptune to Aid the Greeks: From the Thirteenth Book of the Iliad

THE monarch Neptune kept no idle watch;
For he in Thracian Samos, dark with woods,
Aloft upon the highest summit sat,
And thence o’erlooked the tumult of the war.
For thence could he behold the Idæan mount
And Priam’s city and the fleet of Greece.
There, coming from the ocean-deeps, he sat,
And pitied the Greek warriors put to rout
Before the Trojans, and was wroth with Jove.
Soon he descended from those rugged steeps,
And trod the earth with rapid strides: the hills
And forests quaked beneath the immortal feet
Of Neptune as he walked. Three strides he took,
And at the fourth reached Ægæ. where he stopped,
And where his sumptuous palace-halls arose
Deep down in ocean,—golden, glittering, proof
Against decay of time. These when he reached
He yoked his fleet and brazen-footed steeds,
With manes of flowing gold, to draw his car,
And put on golden mail, and took his scourge,
Wrought of fine gold, and climbed the chariot-seat,
And rode upon the waves. The whales came forth
From their deep haunts, and gambolled round his way :
They knew their king. The waves rejoicing smoothed
A path, and rapidly the coursers flew;
Nor was the brazen axle wet beneath.
And thus they brought him to the Grecian host.
Deep in the sea there is a spacious cave,
Between the rugged Imbrus and the isle
Of Tenedos. There Neptune, he who shakes
The shores, held back his steeds, took off their yoke,
Gave them ambrosial food; and, binding next
Their feet with golden fetters which no power
Might break or loosen, so that they might wait
Their lord’s return, he sought the Grecian fleet.