The Right of Might

The king of heaven, Zeus, sent Might, his guard,
To chain Prometheus and put him in ward;
And Violence sent he too to lend his hand,
Lest the judgment fail and the guilty stand
Unpunished for the crimes that he committed;
Though Vulcan begged the felon be acquitted:
But Zeus would not be swayed to turn from Right,
And so he gave command and sent forth Might.
These led Prometheus to the mountain top,
And found a place for him on a rocky crop;
And Might commanded Vulcan take a chain
And bind Prometheus, who cried in vain;
And Vulcan sought in earnest to assuage
The punishment that Zeus meted in his rage:
But Might reminded Vulcan he was charged
To do the will of Zeus who was enlarged
In all his power, holding sovereign sway;
And yet did Vulcan seek to wile by delay.
But Might was quick to threaten, so Vulcan did
As Might commanded what by Zeus was bid.
He bound the Titan thief that stole the fire
And thought that men therewith he could inspire:
By lies and theft the malefactor thought
He could subdue the king with whom he fought:
But cunning trickery only finds a way
When rulers cease to make might and right their way;
And so the thief was bound where his tongue could not
Spread through heaven’s ranks its deceit and rot.
Once he was tightly bound, Vulcan gave a sigh
And said “This is a sight that hurts the eye;
This plight pains the spirit when it observes.”
But Might said “I see he got what he deserves.”
So they left Prometheus where his words
Would be heard by none but wild beasts and birds;
Though he speak a thousand years he’d not succeed
In men or gods to rank rebellion breed.

The Defeat of the Titans

The Titan Kronos, crooked slave of age,
Aroused through all his cruelty Zeus’ rage.
Kronos ate his children soon as they were born,
And so left his wife dejected and forlorn:
For prophecy had said he’d be overthrown
By one of his seed that in Earth he’d sown.
But Rhea deceived, and fed him a stone:
And Earth reared Zeus in secret till he was grown.
The sons of Heaven had Ouranos bound
And doomed to live in chains beneath the ground,
In subterranean caves devoid of light,
He imprisoned them in a fit of spite:
But Zeus freed them. The slav’ry was undone.
Also fought with Zeus the great Titan Sun:
The best of all the Titans was Helios,
Who shining destroys whatever Darkness cloaks;
And Oceanos too sided with Zeus;
Since crooked Cronos’ bonds great Zeus did loose.
But Prometheus, who was a lying thief,
Allied with Zeus only to bring him grief:
When the war was over he sought to deceive,
So Zeus of his freedom did him relieve.
Prometheus stole all he ever had,
Even the fire that he thought would make men glad:
This from Hephaistos, the lame servant of Zeus,
Did he take for his own mischievous use.
From different mountains did the forces come,
All the gods with Zeus, with Kronos other some.
Th’ Olympians they had anger in their hearts,
From which they drew the strength to hurl their darts.
Love, the poison, the weakening disease,
Not a moment the heart of Zeus did seize.
For ten full years the war raged between the two,
No side found victory o’er the other crew.
At last to Heaven’s sons great Zeus gave a speech,
“Great sons of Heaven naught is beyond your reach.
Long has been the war, the fight for victory;
Now the day has come to bring calamity
On crooked Kronos, the Titan king. The time
Has come for him to pay for his wicked crime.”
Kottos, Gyes, and Briareus, all
Sons whom Heaven had in anger held in thrall,
These Zeus had freed and thus to them he spoke,
And in their spirits great battle rage awoke.
All that stood with Zeus against the Titan horde,
They clashed with Kronos who before was their lord.
Against the Titans they hurled giant rocks,
And it thundered when great Zeus shook his locks.
The sea roared all around and great heaven groaned,
When the Titans by mighty blows were stoned.
Then Zeus came down from heaven in his wrath,
And his thunderbolts before him blazed a path.
His lightning lit the earth, laying Titans waste;
Before him Terror scattered all in haste.
The forests burned and all the seas were boiled,
And the earthborn Titans to a one were spoiled.
Such a dreadful din of noise filled the air:
But Zeus would not relent nor a one would spare.
Quaking shook the Earth; duststorms swirled about:
Earthborn Titans were put to utter rout.
Even to Chaos, the first of all the gods,
Reached the awful heat of Zeus’ lightning rods.
And wicked Kronos was overthrown at last,
By the strength of Zeus and his awful blast.
And Heaven’s sons they hurled three hundred stones,
And the Titans were wounded to their bones.
In everlasting darkness underground
Were they cast and there by great Zeus were bound.
In Tartarus forever are they chained,
Forever cloaked in Night: so Zeus has deigned.
Before the place Poseidon built a gate,
To keep in prison the Titan king of Hate:
This fate did crooked Kronos justly earn;
This all the wise in all ages do discern.
Kottos, Gyes, and Briareus, they
Whom Zeus had freed before the gates do stay;
As guards these sons of Heaven stand for Zeus,
That never again the Titans be set loose.