Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story...
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy. He saw the townlands and learned the minds of many distant men, and weathered many bitter nights and days in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only to save his life, to bring his shipmates home. But not by will nor valor could he save them, for their own recklessness destroyed them all— children and fools, they killed and feasted on the cattle of Lord Hêlios, the Sun, and he who moves all day through the heaven took from their eyes the dawn of their return.
Anger be now your song, immortal one, Akhilleus' anger, doomed and ruinous, that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss and crowded brave souls into the undergloom, leaving so many dead men—carrion for dogs and birds; and the will of Zeus was done. Begin it when the two men first contending broke with one another—the Lord Marshal Agamémnon, Atreus' son, and Prince Akhilleus. Among the gods, who brought this quarrel on? The son of Zeus by Lêto. Agamémnon angered him, so he made a burning wind of plague rise in the army: rank and file sickened and died for the ill their chief had done in despising a man of prayer.
I sing of warfare and a man at war. From the sea-coast of Troy in early days He came to Italy by destiny, To our Lavinian western shore, A fugitive, this captain, buffeted Cruelly on land as on the sea By blows from powers of the air—behind them Baleful Juno in her sleepless rage. And cruel losses were his lot in war, Till he could found a city and bring home His gods to Latium, land of the Latin race, The Alban lords, and the high walls of Rome. Tell me the causes now, O Muse, how galled In her divine pride, and how sore at heart From her old wound, the queen of gods compelled him— A man apart, devoted to his mission— To undergo so many perilous days And enter on so many trials. Can anger Black as this prey on the minds of heaven?