Literary Quotations
Browse quotes by source | Browse quotes by author

Quotes from:

THE ILIAD

by: Homer


If you're all that strong, it's just a gift from some god.

--Book I

With them went Athena, holding her goatskin-tippet, precious, unfading, incorruptible, with a hundred dangling tassels of solid gold, neatly braided, worth each a hundred oxen. Through the host she passed, dazzling them with the vision, and filling each heart with courage to wage war implacable and unceasing. In a moment war became sweeter to them than to sail back safely to their own native land.

--Book II

One came to the war all over gold, like a girl. Poor fool! it did not save him from cruel death.

--Book II

Thick as autumnal leaves, or driving sand,
The moving squadrons blacken all the strand.

--Book II

Gods! How the son degenerates from the sire!

--Book IV

But loud clamorous cries resounded throughout the Trojan host: for they had not one speech and one language, but a confusion of tongues, since they were called from many lands. They were like a huge flock of ewes innumerable standing in a wide farmyard to be milked, which bleat without ceasing as they hear the cries of their lambs.

--Book IV

As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning. So one generation of men will grow while another dies.

--Book VI

Victory passes back and forth between men.

--Book VI

Inflaming wine, pernicious to mankind,
Unnerves the limbs, and dulls the noble mind.

--Book VI

’T is man’s to fight, but Heaven’s to give success.

--Book VI

Short is my date, but deathless my renown.

--Book IX

Clanless, lawless, homeless is he who is in love with civil war, that brutal ferocious thing.

--Book IX

A generous friendship no cold medium knows,
Burns with one love, with one resentment glows.

--Book IX

Injustice, swift, erect, and unconfin’d,
Sweeps the wide earth, and tramples o’er mankind.

--Book IX

The other chiefs and princes slept soundly all the night long: but not Agamemnon. No sleeps visited his eyes; the lord and commander of that great host had too much to make him anxious. He groaned again and again from the bottom of his heart, and his spirit trembled within him. There was storm in his mind; as when Zeus Thunderer flashes the lightning and sends torrents of rain or hail, or covers the fields with snow, or when he opens the mouth of ravening war. So we may imagine the King puffing and groaning as thick as hail, when he looked out over the plain.

--Book X

Fate stands now upon the razor's edge.

--Book X

Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle, would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal, so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost, nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory. But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us in their thousands, no man can turn aside or escape them, let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.

--Book XII

Such were the calamities which the two mighty sons of Cronos brought upon the fighting hosts by their conflicting wills. Zeus willed victory to Hector and the Trojans.... Poseidon was for the Argives; he slipt out secretly from the sea and supported them because he was grieved at their discomfiture and indignant against Zeus.... So the two gripped the rope of war and tugged away over both armies with strong pulls, never breaking or loosing it while they loosed the knees of many a man.

--Book XIII

The best of things, beyond their measure, cloy;
Sleep’s balmy blessing, love’s endearing joy;
The feast, the dance; whate’er mankind desire,
Even the sweet charms of sacred numbers tire.
But Troy for ever reaps a dire delight
In thirst of slaughter, and in lust of fight.

--Book XIII

Zeus it seems has given us from youth to old age a nice ball of wool to wind-nothing but wars upon wars until we shall perish every one.

--Book XIV

For our country ’t is a bliss to die.

--Book XV

Words are potent in debate, deeds in war decide your fate.

--Book XVI

Among all creatures that breathe on earth and crawl on it there is not anywhere a thing more dismal than man is.

--Book XVII

The God of War will see fair play--he's often slain that wants to slay!

--Book XVIII

Men soon grow sick of battle; when Zeus the steward of warfare tilts the scales, and cold steel reaps the fields, the grain is very little but the straw is very much. The belly is a bad mourner, and fasting will not bury the dead. Too many are falling, man after man and day after day; how could one ever have a moment's rest from privations? No, we must harden our hearts, and bury the man who dies and shed our tears that day. But those who survive the horrors of war should not forget to eat and drink, and then we shall be better able to wear our armour, which never grows weary, and to fight our enemies for ever and ever.

--Book XIX

Who dies in youth and vigour, dies the best.

--Book XXII

Pity, while yet I live, these silver hairs;
While yet thy father feels the woes he bears,
Yet cursed with sense! a wretch, whom in his rage
(All trembling on the verge of helpless age)
Great Jove has placed, sad spectacle of pain!
The bitter dregs of fortune’s cup to drain:
To fill with scenes of death his closing eyes,
And number all his days by miseries!
My heroes slain, my bridal bed o’erturn’d,
My daughters ravish’d, and my city burn’d,
My bleeding infants dash’d against the floor;
These I have yet to see, perhaps yet more!
Perhaps even I, reserved by angry fate,
The last sad relic of my ruin’d state,
(Dire pomp of sovereign wretchedness!) must fall,
And stain the pavement of my regal hall;
Where famish’d dogs, late guardians of my door,
Shall lick their mangled master’s spatter’d gore.

--Book XXII

Thou know’st the o’er-eager vehemence of youth,
How quick in temper, and in judgement weak.

--Book XXIII

’T is true, ’t is certain; man though dead retains
Part of himself: the immortal mind remains.

--Book XXIII