The Iliad "Plough The Watery Deep"
by Simone Weil

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"Plough The Watery Deep"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: After nine years of war, the siege of Troy is lifted for a short time as the two champions, Paris and Menelaüs, prepare for a duel to decide in single combat the outcome of the long quarrel. Both sides solemnize the occasion by sacrificial offerings, the opposing kings joining together on the plains to discuss the terms. Agamemnon himself performs the rites, saying

"Hear and be witness. If, by Paris slain,Great Menelaüs press the fatal plain;The dame and treasures let the Trojan keep,And Greece returning plough the watery deep.If by my brother's lance the Trojan bleed,Be his the wealth and beauteous dame decreed:The appointed fine let Ilion justly pay,And every age record the signal day.This if the Phrygians shall refuse to yield,Arms must revenge, and Mars decide the field."