PERFIDY


So although we approve of many things in
Homer, this we will not approve .... nor will
we approve of Aeschylus when he makes Thetis say
that Apollo sang at her wedding in celebration of
her child:
"that he would not know sickness, would live long,
      and every blessing would be his;
and he sang praises, such that he rejoiced my heart.
  And I had hopes that the divine Apollo's lips,
so fluent in the art of prophecy, would not prove false:
But it was he who had proclaimed these things....
who killed my son.. ."
Plato, Republic, II


The day that Thetis wedded Peleus, soon
Apollo, rising at the splendid nuptial feast,
acclaimed the newlyweds on their expected blest event,
the offspring that would issue from their union.
Said he, "Subject to sickness he will never be;
and he will have long life".--And this
pleased Thetis greatly, for Apollo was
at home with prophecy, and so his words
to her were certain warrant for the child.
Thus, while Achilles was maturing, with such loveliness
that had become the pride of Thessaly,
the great god's words by Thetis always were recalled.
But then one day some older men brought news,
the story that Achilles had been slain at Troy.
Now Thetis rent her purple robes,
cast down her rings and bracelets to the ground,
and in her deep distress recalled the god's old words
and asked, what was the wise Apollo doing at the time?
Where was the poet who at banquets spoke
so eloquently? Where was he, the prophet, wandering
when they laid low her son in his first prime?
And these old men responded that the god
had come in person down to Troy,
and with the Trojans slain her son.

Go BackReturn to home page