Thursday, October 04, 2007

501. Hephaestus Starts Achilles' Shield


Hephaestus Starts Achilles' Shield
in Iliad XVIII: 508, Lombardo translation

Hephaestus...went to his bellows,
Turned them toward the fire, and ordered them to work.
And the bellows, all twenty, blew on the crucibles,
Blasting out waves of heat...
He cast durable bronze onto the fire, and tin,
Precious gold and silver. Then he positioned
His enormous anvil up on its block
And grasped his mighty hammer
In one hand, and in the other his tongs.
He made a shield first, heavy and huge,
Every inch of it intricately designed.
He threw a triple rim around it, glittering
Like lightning, and he made the strap silver.

The shield itself was five layers thick, and he
Crafted its surface with all of his genius.
On it he made the earth, the sky, the sea,
The unwearied sun, and the moon near full,
And all the signs that garland the sky,
Pleiades, Hyades, mighty Orion,
and the Gear they also call the Wagon....
On it it he made two cities, peopled
And beautiful.

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