Now here’s another tale from ancient Troy,
The Taming of Achilles, to enjoy;
Though such a tale was never told before,
Of how a maiden tamed this man of war.
The anger of Achilles onward sped,
Through bodies heaped in mountains of the dead,
Like hecatombs that marred the naked shore,
And dogs devoured and hungry vultures tore.
This leveler of towns, nothing would quell,
Until he came upon a cloistered dell,
And there a maiden matched his fight with fair,
And left our hero love-struck with despair.
This young Briseis, aptly was so named,
The daughter of Chryseis, highly-famed;
Towards a faithful marriage, she aspired,
With skills to slay a dragon, if required.
Now bold Achilles enters the melee,
And ~ kicking, screaming ~ carries her away,
And to his tent, the man of war retreated,
But, there, his lack of manners were defeated.
For then an almost-miracle occurred,
When, for his lack of virtue, she demurred,
Consigning him to sleep out in the rain,
And lonely walks along the sounding main.
And so, the man, with wounded pride, resigned,
To ponder love and beauty, when aligned,
And when the new man, to the upright tended,
She vowed to marry when the war had ended.
And so, to expedite their wedding day,
She prods Achilles to the fighting fray,
And there, the groom-to-be took up his shield,
And, filled with motivation, stormed the field.
The lover, to the enemy, is drawn,
Wielding silver sword like a baton,
But, then, of death instead to disabuse,
He draws the Trojan army to a truce.
And so, the Queen of War, in anger, cried
For mad Achilles had been gentrified;
And vowed to fill his spirit with her fire,
And Agamemnon’s heart with dark desire.
Now Agamemnon claims the fiancé,
And so we find Achilles in dismay,
That never will his parting peace regain,
Till every mortal on the field is slain.
And now the Fates his last restraints unbind,
And once again, Achilles’ lost his mind,
Now through the gorge, where Trojan bodies fall,
Achilles corners Hector at the wall.
And here, the horseman, Hector, is cut down,
His body dragged around the stone-walled town;
In front of Priam’s eyes, the desperate king,
Reduced to tears, his spirit languishing.
That night, concealed by darkness, Priam went
Defenseless, into mad Achilles’ tent,
With ransom begging for his son’s remains,
To lay to rest, the sable king explains.
Astonished by his sheer humility,
Achilles acts with rare humanity,
Returning Hector’s last remains, in kind,
And, in so doing, gains his peace of mind.
But no one knows what happened to Briseis,
For, here, our story turns to young Aeneis;
Though Agamemnon married many wives,
And Clytemnestra greeted him with knives.
The Same in Prose
This is a story from the Trojan War. It has likely never been told before, how mad Achilles was tamed by a woman.
Now, Achilles was the fiercest of men. So fierce was he that he left Trojan bodies piled high on the shore.
But then, in a quiet hamlet, he met a damsel, named Briseis, whose beauty surpassed his anger. And so Achilles carried away the young woman as his prize.
But later, in his tent, the virtuous woman would tolerate none of Achilles’ ill manners, but consigned him instead to leave the tent and not return until he had acquired virtue. Achilles complies, and after pondering nature, returns gentrified. So the maiden vows to marry Achilles after the war. And to hasten their honeymoon, she bids him to make a quick end to the Trojans.
As he fights, instead of slaying his enemies, the newly-noble Achilles pushes them towards a speedy truce. Hera, the goddess of war, angered by this peace, tempts Agamemnon, the Spartan General, to claim Briseis as his own.
Achilles flies into a rage, and slaughters the entire Trojan army, including Hector, the son of King Priam, whose body is desecrated before his father’s tear-filled eyes.
At night, King Priam finds his way, through the Spartan camp, to Achilles’ tent, and begs him to return the body of his son for proper burial. Achilles is so astonished by Priam’s humility, he returns to Priam the body of Hector.
In so doing, Achilles regains his peace of mind.
This marks the end of the book of Homer.