The Fall of Troy
How came for the helping of Troy Eurypylus, Hercules' grandson.
Rose Dawn from Ocean and Tithonus' bed,
And climbed the steeps of heaven, scattering round
Flushed flakes of splendour; laughed all earth and air.
Then turned unto their labours, each to each,
Mortals, frail creatures daily dying. Then
Streamed to a folkmote all the Achaean men
At Menelaus' summons. When the host
Were gathered all, then in their midst he spake:
"Hearken my words, ye god-descended kings:
Mine heart within my breast is burdened sore
For men which perish, men that for my sake
Came to the bitter war, whose home-return
Parents and home shall welcome nevermore;
For Fate hath cut off thousands in their prime.
Oh that the heavy hand of death had fallen
On me, ere hitherward I gathered these!
But now hath God laid on me cureless pain
In seeing all these ills. Who could rejoice
Beholding strivings, struggles of despair?
Come, let us, which be yet alive, in haste
Flee in the ships, each to his several land,
Since Aias and Achilles both are dead.
I look not, now they are slain, that we the rest
Shall 'scape destruction; nay, but we shall fall
Before yon terrible Trojans for my sake
And shameless Helen's! Think not that I care
For her: for you I care, when I behold
Good men in battle slain. Away with her --
Her and her paltry paramour! The Gods
Stole all discretion out of her false heart
When she forsook mine home and marriage-bed.
Let Priam and the Trojans cherish her!
But let us straight return: 'twere better far
To flee from dolorous war than perish all."
So spake he but to try the Argive men.
Far other thoughts than these made his heart burn
With passionate desire to slay his foes,
To break the long walls of their city down
From their foundations, and to glut with blood
Ares, when Paris mid the slain should fall.
Fiercer is naught than passionate desire!
Thus as he pondered, sitting in his place,
Uprose Tydeides, shaker of the shield,
And chode in fiery speech with Menelaus:
"O coward Atreus' son, what craven fear
Hath gripped thee, that thou speakest so to us
As might a weakling child or woman speak?
Not unto thee Achaea's noblest sons
Will hearken, ere Troy's coronal of towers
Be wholly dashed to the dust: for unto men
Valour is high renown, and flight is shame!
If any man shall hearken to the words
Of this thy counsel, I will smite from him
His head with sharp blue steel, and hurl it down
For soaring kites to feast on. Up! all ye
Who care to enkindle men to battle: rouse
Our warriors all throughout the fleet to whet
The spear, to burnish corslet, helm and shield;
And cause both man and horse, all which be keen
In fight, to break their fast. Then in yon plain
Who is the stronger Ares shall decide."
So speaking, in his place he sat him down;
Then rose up Thestor's son, and in the midst,
Where meet it is to speak, stood forth and cried:
"Hear me, ye sons of battle-biding Greeks:
Ye know I have the spirit of prophecy.
Erewhile I said that ye in the tenth year
Should lay waste towered Ilium: this the Gods
Are even now fulfilling; victory lies
At the Argives' very feet. Come, let us send
Tydeides and Odysseus battle-staunch
With speed to Scyros overseas, by prayers
Hither to bring Achilles' hero son:
A light of victory shall he be to us."
So spake wise Thestius' son, and all the folk
Shouted for joy; for all their hearts and hopes
Yearned to see Calchas' prophecy fulfilled.
Then to the Argives spake Laertes' son:
"Friends, it befits not to say many words
This day to you, in sorrow's weariness.
I know that wearied men can find no joy
In speech or song, though the Pierides,
The immortal Muses, love it. At such time
Few words do men desire. But now, this thing
That pleaseth all the Achaean host, will I
Accomplish, so Tydeides fare with me;
For, if we twain go, we shall surely bring,
Won by our words, war-fain Achilles' son,
Yea, though his mother, weeping sore, should strive
Within her halls to keep him; for mine heart
Trusts that he is a hero's valorous son."
Then out spake Menelaus earnestly:
"Odysseus, the strong Argives' help at need,
If mighty-souled Achilles' valiant son
From Scyros by thy suasion come to aid
Us who yearn for him, and some Heavenly One
Grant victory to our prayers, and I win home
To Hellas, I will give to him to wife
My noble child Hermione, with gifts
Many and goodly for her marriage-dower
With a glad heart. I trow he shall not scorn
Either his bride or high-born sire-in-law."
With a great shout the Danaans hailed his words.
Then was the throng dispersed, and to the ships
They scattered hungering for the morning meat
Which strengtheneth man's heart. So when they ceased
From eating, and desire was satisfied,
Then with the wise Odysseus Tydeus' son
Drew down a swift ship to the boundless sea,
And victual and all tackling cast therein.
Then stepped they aboard, and with them twenty men,
Men skilled to row when winds were contrary,
Or when the unrippled sea slept 'neath a calm.
They smote the brine, and flashed the boiling foam:
On leapt the ship; a watery way was cleft
About the oars that sweating rowers tugged.
As when hard-toiling oxen, 'neath the yoke
Straining, drag on a massy-timbered wain,
While creaks the circling axle 'neath its load,
And from their weary necks and shoulders streams
Down to the ground the sweat abundantly;
So at the stiff oars toiled those stalwart men,
And fast they laid behind them leagues of sea.
Gazed after them the Achaeans as they went,
Then turned to whet their deadly darts and spears,
The weapons of their warfare. In their town
The aweless Trojans armed themselves the while
War-eager, praying to the Gods to grant
Respite from slaughter, breathing-space from toil.
To these, while sorely thus they yearned, the Gods
Brought present help in trouble, even the seed
Of mighty Hercules, Eurypylus.
A great host followed him, in battle skilled,
All that by long Caicus' outflow dwelt,
Full of triumphant trust in their strong spears.
Round them rejoicing thronged the sons of Troy:
As when tame geese within a pen gaze up
On him who casts them corn, and round his feet
Throng hissing uncouth love, and his heart warms
As he looks down on them; so thronged the sons
Of Troy, as on fierce-heart Eurypylus
They gazed; and gladdened was his aweless soul
To see those throngs: from porchways women looked
Wide-eyed with wonder on the godlike man.
Above all men he towered as on he strode,
As looks a lion when amid the hills
He comes on jackals. Paris welcomed him,
As Hector honouring him, his cousin he,
Being of one blood with him, who was born Of
Astyoche, King Priam's sister fair
Whom Telephus embraced in his strong arms,
Telephus, whom to aweless Hercules
Auge the bright-haired bare in secret love.
That babe, a suckling craving for the breast,
A swift hind fostered, giving him the teat
As to her own fawn in all love; for Zeus
So willed it, in whose eyes it was not meet
That Hercules' child should perish wretchedly.
His glorious son with glad heart Paris led
Unto his palace through the wide-wayed burg
Beside Assaracus' tomb and stately halls
Of Hector, and Tritonis' holy fane.
Hard by his mansion stood, and therebeside
The stainless altar of Home-warder Zeus
Rose. As they went, he lovingly questioned him
Of brethren, parents, and of marriage-kin;
And all he craved to know Eurypylus told.
So communed they, on-pacing side by side.
Then came they to a palace great and rich:
There goddess-like sat Helen, clothed upon
With beauty of the Graces. Maidens four
About her plied their tasks: others apart
Within that goodly bower wrought the works
Beseeming handmaids. Helen marvelling gazed
Upon Eurypylus, on Helen he.
Then these in converse each with other spake
In that all-odorous bower. The handmaids brought
And set beside their lady high-seats twain;
And Paris sat him down, and at his side
Eurypylus. That hero's host encamped
Without the city, where the Trojan guards
Kept watch. Their armour laid they on the earth;
Their steeds, yet breathing battle, stood thereby,
And cribs were heaped with horses' provender.
Upfloated night, and darkened earth and air;
Then feasted they before that cliff-like wall,
Ceteian men and Trojans: babel of talk
Rose from the feasters: all around the glow
Of blazing campfires lighted up the tents:
Pealed out the pipe's sweet voice, and hautboys rang
With their clear-shrilling reeds; the witching strain
Of lyres was rippling round. From far away
The Argives gazed and marvelled, seeing the plain
Aglare with many fires, and hearing notes
Of flutes and lyres, neighing of chariot-steeds
And pipes, the shepherd's and the banquet's joy.
Therefore they bade their fellows each in turn
Keep watch and ward about the tents till dawn,
Lest those proud Trojans feasting by their walls
Should fall on them, and set the ships aflame.
Within the halls of Paris all this while
With kings and princes Telephus' hero son
Feasted; and Priam and the sons of Troy
Each after each prayed him to play the man
Against the Argives, and in bitter doom
To lay them low; and blithe he promised all.
So when they had supped, each hied him to his home;
But there Eurypylus laid him down to rest
Full nigh the feast-hall, in the stately bower
Where Paris theretofore himself had slept
With Helen world-renowned. A bower it was
Most wondrous fair, the goodliest of them all.
There lay he down; but otherwhere their rest
Took they, till rose the bright-throned Queen of Morn.
Up sprang with dawn the son of Telephus,
And passed to the host with all those other kings
In Troy abiding. Straightway did the folk
All battle-eager don their warrior-gear,
Burning to strike in forefront of the fight.
And now Eurypylus clad his mighty limbs
In armour that like levin-flashes gleamed;
Upon his shield by cunning hands were wrought
All the great labours of strong Hercules.
Thereon were seen two serpents flickering
Black tongues from grimly jaws: they seemed in act
To dart; but Hercules' hands to right and left --
Albeit a babe's hands -- now were throttling them;
For aweless was his spirit. As Zeus' strength
From the beginning was his strength. The seed
Of Heaven-abiders never deedless is
Nor helpless, but hath boundless prowess, yea,
Even when in the womb unborn it lies.
Nemea's mighty lion there was seen
Strangled in the strong arms of Hercules,
His grim jaws dashed about with bloody foam:
He seemed in verity gasping out his life.
Thereby was wrought the Hydra many-necked
Flickering its dread tongues. Of its fearful heads
Some severed lay on earth, but many more
Were budding from its necks, while Hercules
And Iolaus, dauntless-hearted twain,
Toiled hard; the one with lightning sickle-sweeps
Lopped the fierce heads, his fellow seared each neck
With glowing iron; the monster so was slain.
Thereby was wrought the mighty tameless Boar
With foaming jaws; real seemed the pictured thing,
As by Aleides' giant strength the brute
Was to Eurystheus living borne on high.
There fashioned was the fleetfoot stag which laid
The vineyards waste of hapless husbandmen.
The Hero's hands held fast its golden horns,
The while it snorted breath of ravening fire.
Thereon were seen the fierce Stymphalian Birds,
Some arrow-smitten dying in the dust,
Some through the grey air darting in swift flight.
At this, at that one -- hot in haste he seemed --
Hercules sped the arrows of his wrath.
Augeias' monstrous stable there was wrought
With cunning craft on that invincible targe;
And Hercules was turning through the same
The deep flow of Alpheius' stream divine,
While wondering Nymphs looked down on every hand
Upon that mighty work. Elsewhere portrayed
Was the Fire-breathing Bull: the Hero's grip
On his strong horns wrenched round the massive neck:
The straining muscles on his arm stood out:
The huge beast seemed to bellow. Next thereto
Wrought on the shield was one in beauty arrayed
As of a Goddess, even Hippolyta.
The hero by the hair was dragging her
From her swift steed, with fierce resolve to wrest
With his strong hands the Girdle Marvellous
From the Amazon Queen, while quailing shrank away
The Maids of War. There in the Thracian land
Were Diomedes' grim man-eating steeds:
These at their gruesome mangers had he slain,
And dead they lay with their fiend-hearted lord.
There lay the bulk of giant Geryon
Dead mid his kine. His gory heads were cast
In dust, dashed down by that resistless club.
Before him slain lay that most murderous hound
Orthros, in furious might like Cerberus
His brother-hound: a herdman lay thereby,
Eurytion, all bedabbled with his blood.
There were the Golden Apples wrought, that gleamed
In the Hesperides' garden undefiled:
All round the fearful Serpent's dead coils lay,
And shrank the Maids aghast from Zeus' bold son.
And there, a dread sight even for Gods to see,
Was Cerberus, whom the Loathly Worm had borne
To Typho in a craggy cavern's gloom
Close on the borders of Eternal Night,
A hideous monster, warder of the Gate
Of Hades, Home of Wailing, jailer-hound
Of dead folk in the shadowy Gulf of Doom.
But lightly Zeus' son with his crashing blows
Tamed him, and haled him from the cataract flood
Of Styx, with heavy-drooping head, and dragged
The Dog sore loth to the strange upper air
All dauntlessly. And there, at the world's end,
Were Caucasus' long glens, where Hercules,
Rending Prometheus' chains, and hurling them
This way and that with fragments of the rock
Whereinto they were riveted, set free
The mighty Titan. Arrow-smitten lay
The Eagle of the Torment therebeside.
There stormed the wild rout of the Centaurs round
The hall of Pholus: goaded on by Strife
And wine, with Hercules the monsters fought.
Amidst the pine-trunks stricken to death they lay
Still grasping those strange weapons in dead hands,
While some with stems long-shafted still fought on
In fury, and refrained not from the strife;
And all their heads, gashed in the pitiless fight,
Were drenched with gore -- the whole scene seemed to live --
With blood the wine was mingled: meats and bowls
And tables in one ruin shattered lay.
There by Evenus' torrent, in fierce wrath
For his sweet bride, he laid with the arrow low
Nessus in mid-flight. There withal was wrought
Antaeus' brawny strength, who challenged him
To wrestling-strife; he in those sinewy arms
Raised high above the earth, was crushed to death.
There where swift Hellespont meets the outer sea,
Lay the sea-monster slain by his ruthless shafts,
While from Hesione he rent her chains.
Of bold Alcides many a deed beside
Shone on the broad shield of Eurypylus.
He seemed the War-god, as from rank to rank
He sped; rejoiced the Trojans following him,
Seeing his arms, and him clothed with the might
Of Gods; and Paris hailed him to the fray:
"Glad am I for thy coming, for mine heart
Trusts that the Argives all shall wretchedly
Be with their ships destroyed; for such a man
Mid Greeks or Trojans never have I seen.
Now, by the strength and fury of Hercules --
To whom in stature, might, and goodlihead
Most like thou art I pray thee, have in mind
Him, and resolve to match his deeds with thine.
Be the strong shield of Trojans hard-bestead:
Win us a breathing-space. Thou only, I trow,
From perishing Troy canst thrust the dark doom back."
With kindling words he spake. That hero cried:
"Great-hearted Paris, like the Blessed Ones
In goodlihead, this lieth foreordained
On the Gods' knees, who in the fight shall fall,
And who outlive it. I, as honour bids,
And as my strength sufficeth, will not flinch
From Troy's defence. I swear to turn from fight
Never, except in victory or death."
Gallantly spake he: with exceeding joy
Rejoiced the Trojans. Champions then he chose,
Alexander and Aeneas fiery-souled,
Polydamas, Pammon, and Deiphobus,
And Aethicus, of Paphlagonian men
The staunchest man to stem the tide of war;
These chose he, cunning all in battle-toil,
To meet the foe in forefront of the fight.
Swiftly they strode before that warrior-throng
Then from the city cheering charged. The host
Followed them in their thousands, as when bees
Follow by bands their leaders from the hives,
With loud hum on a spring day pouring forth.
So to the fight the warriors followed these;
And, as they charged, the thunder-tramp of men
And steeds, and clang of armour, rang to heaven.
As when a rushing mighty wind stirs up
The barren sea-plain from its nethermost floor,
And darkling to the strand roll roaring waves
Belching sea-tangle from the bursting surf,
And wild sounds rise from beaches harvestless;
So, as they charged, the wide earth rang again.
Now from their rampart forth the Argives poured
Round godlike Agamemnon. Rang their shouts
Cheering each other on to face the fight,
And not to cower beside the ships in dread
Of onset-shouts of battle-eager foes.
They met those charging hosts with hearts as light
As calves bear, when they leap to meet the kine
Down faring from hill-pastures in the spring
Unto the steading, when the fields are green
With corn-blades, when the earth is glad with flowers,
And bowls are brimmed with milk of kine and ewes,
And multitudinous lowing far and near
Uprises as the mothers meet their young,
And in their midst the herdman joys; so great
Was the uproar that rose when met the fronts
Of battle: dread it rang on either hand.
Hard-strained was then the fight: incarnate
Strife Stalked through the midst, with Slaughter ghastly-faced.
Crashed bull-hide shields, and spears, and helmet-crests
Meeting: the brass flashed out like leaping flames.
Bristled the battle with the lances; earth
Ran red with blood, as slaughtered heroes fell
And horses, mid a tangle of shattered ears,
Some yet with spear-wounds gasping, while on them
Others were falling. Through the air upshrieked
An awful indistinguishable roar;
For on both hosts fell iron-hearted Strife.
Here were men hurling cruel jagged stones,
There speeding arrows and new-whetted darts,
There with the axe or twibill hewing hard,
Slashing with swords, and thrusting out with spears:
Their mad hands clutched all manner of tools of death.
At first the Argives bore the ranks of Troy
Backward a little; but they rallied, charged,
Leapt on the foe, and drenched the field with blood.
Like a black hurricane rushed Eurypylus
Cheering his men on, hewing Argives down
Awelessly: measureless might was lent to him
By Zeus, for a grace to glorious Hercules.
Nireus, a man in beauty like the Gods,
His spear long-shafted stabbed beneath the ribs,
Down on the plain he fell, forth streamed the blood
Drenching his splendid arms, drenching the form
Glorious of mould, and his thick-clustering hair.
There mid the slain in dust and blood he lay,
Like a young lusty olive-sapling, which
A river rushing down in roaring flood,
Tearing its banks away, and cleaving wide
A chasm-channel, hath disrooted; low
It lieth heavy-blossomed; so lay then
The goodly form, the grace of loveliness
Of Nireus on earth's breast. But o'er the slain
Loud rang the taunting of Eurypylus:
"Lie there in dust! Thy beauty marvellous
Naught hath availed thee! I have plucked thee away
From life, to which thou wast so fain to cling.
Rash fool, who didst defy a mightier man
Unknowing! Beauty is no match for strength!"
He spake, and leapt upon the slain to strip
His goodly arms: but now against him came
Machaon wroth for Nireus, by his side
Doom-overtaken. With his spear he drave
At his right shoulder: strong albeit he was,
He touched him, and blood spurted from the gash.
Yet, ere he might leap back from grapple of death,
Even as a lion or fierce mountain-boar
Maddens mid thronging huntsmen, furious-fain
To rend the man whose hand first wounded him;
So fierce Eurypylus on Machaon rushed.
The long lance shot out swiftly, and pierced him through
On the right haunch; yet would he not give back,
Nor flinch from the onset, fast though flowed the blood.
In haste he snatched a huge stone from the ground,
And dashed it on the head of Telephus' son;
But his helm warded him from death or harm
Then waxed Eurypylus more hotly wroth
With that strong warrior, and in fury of soul
Clear through Machaon's breast he drave his spear,
And through the midriff passed the gory point.
He fell, as falls beneath a lion's jaws
A bull, and round him clashed his glancing arms.
Swiftly Eurypylus plucked the lance of death
Out of the wound, and vaunting cried aloud:
"Wretch, wisdom was not bound up in thine heart,
That thou, a weakling, didst come forth to fight
A mightier. Therefore art thou in the toils
Of Doom. Much profit shall be thine, when kites
Devour the flesh of thee in battle slain!
Ha, dost thou hope still to return, to 'scape
Mine hands? A leech art thou, and soothing salves
Thou knowest, and by these didst haply hope
To flee the evil day! Not thine own sire,
On the wind's wings descending from Olympus,
Should save thy life, not though between thy lips
He should pour nectar and ambrosia!"
Faint-breathing answered him the dying man:
"Eurypylus, thine own weird is to live
Not long: Fate is at point to meet thee here
On Troy's plain, and to still thine impious tongue."
So passed his spirit into Hades' halls.
Then to the dead man spake his conqueror:
"Now on the earth lie thou. What shall betide
Hereafter, care I not -- yea, though this day
Death's doom stand by my feet: no man may live
For ever: each man's fate is foreordained."
Stabbing the corpse he spake. Then shouted loud
Teucer, at seeing Machaon in the dust.
Far thence he stood hard-toiling in the fight,
For on the centre sore the battle lay:
Foe after foe pressed on; yet not for this
Was Teucer heedless of the fallen brave,
Neither of Nireus lying hard thereby
Behind Machaon in the dust. He saw,
And with a great voice raised the rescue-cry:
"Charge, Argives! Flinch not from the charging foe!
For shame unspeakable shall cover us
If Trojan men hale back to Ilium
Noble Machaon and Nireus godlike-fair.
Come, with a good heart let us face the foe
To rescue these slain friends, or fall ourselves
Beside them. Duty bids that men defend
Friends, and to aliens leave them not a prey,
Not without sweat of toil is glory won!"
Then were the Danaans anguish-stung: the earth
All round them dyed they red with blood of slain,
As foe fought foe in even-balanced fight.
By this to Podaleirius tidings came
How that in dust his brother lay, struck down
By woeful death. Beside the ships he sat
Ministering to the hurts of men with spears
Stricken. In wrath for his brother's sake he rose,
He clad him in his armour; in his breast
Dread battle-prowess swelled. For conflict grim
He panted: boiled the mad blood round his heart
He leapt amidst the foemen; his swift hands
Swung the snake-headed javelin up, and hurled,
And slew with its winged speed Agamestor's son
Cleitus, a bright-haired Nymph had given him birth
Beside Parthenius, whose quiet stream
Fleets smooth as oil through green lands, till it pours
Its shining ripples to the Euxine sea.
Then by his warrior-brother laid he low
Lassus, whom Pronoe, fair as a goddess, bare
Beside Nymphaeus' stream, hard by a cave,
A wide and wondrous cave: sacred it is
Men say, unto the Nymphs, even all that haunt
The long-ridged Paphlagonian hills, and all
That by full-clustered Heracleia dwell.
That cave is like the work of gods, of stone
In manner marvellous moulded: through it flows
Cold water crystal-clear: in niches round
Stand bowls of stone upon the rugged rock,
Seeming as they were wrought by carvers' hands.
Statues of Wood-gods stand around, fair Nymphs,
Looms, distaffs, all such things as mortal craft
Fashioneth. Wondrous seem they unto men
Which pass into that hallowed cave. It hath,
Up-leading and down-leading, doorways twain,
Facing, the one, the wild North's shrilling blasts,
And one the dank rain-burdened South. By this
Do mortals pass beneath the Nymphs' wide cave;
But that is the Immortals' path: no man
May tread it, for a chasm deep and wide
Down-reaching unto Hades, yawns between.
This track the Blest Gods may alone behold.
So died a host on either side that warred
Over Machaon and Aglaia's son.
But at the last through desperate wrestle of fight
The Danaans rescued them: yet few were they
Which bare them to the ships: by bitter stress
Of conflict were the more part compassed round,
And needs must still abide the battle's brunt.
But when full many had filled the measure up
Of fate, mid tumult, blood and agony,
Then to their ships did many Argives flee
Pressed by Eurypylus hard, an avalanche
Of havoc. Yet a few abode the strife
Round Aias and the Atreidae rallying;
And haply these had perished all, beset
By throngs on throngs of foes on every hand,
Had not Oileus' son stabbed with his spear
'Twixt shoulder and breast war-wise Polydamas;
Forth gushed the blood, and he recoiled a space.
Then Menelaus pierced Deiphobus
By the right breast, that with swift feet he fled.
And many of that slaughter-breathing throng
Were slain by Agamemnon: furiously
He rushed on godlike Aethicus with the spear;
But he shrank from the forefront back mid friends.
Now when Eurypylus the battle-stay
Marked how the ranks of Troy gave back from fight,
He turned him from the host that he had chased
Even to the ships, and rushed with eagle-swoop
On Atreus' strong sons and Oileus' seed
Stout-hearted, who was passing fleet of foot
And in fight peerless. Swiftly he charged on these
Grasping his spear long-shafted: at Iris side
Charged Paris, charged Aeneas stout of heart,
Who hurled a stone exceeding huge, that crashed
On Aias' helmet: dashed to the dust he was,
Yet gave not up the ghost, whose day of doom
Was fate-ordained amidst Caphaerus' rocks
On the home-voyage. Now his valiant men
Out of the foes' hands snatched him, bare him thence,
Scarce drawing breath, to the Achaean ships.
And now the Atreid kings, the war-renowned,
Were left alone, and murder-breathing foes
Encompassed them, and hurled from every side
Whate'er their hands might find the deadly shaft
Some showered, some the stone, the javelin some.
They in the midst aye turned this way and that,
As boars or lions compassed round with pales
On that day when kings gather to the sport
The people, and have penned the mighty beasts
Within the toils of death; but these, although
With walls ringed round, yet tear with tusk and fang
What luckless thrall soever draweth near.
So these death-compassed heroes slew their foes
Ever as they pressed on. Yet had their might
Availed not for defence, for all their will,
Had Teucer and Idomeneus strong of heart
Come not to help, with Thoas, Meriones,
And godlike Thrasymedes, they which shrank
Erewhile before Eurypylus yea, had fled
Unto the ships to 'scape the crushing doom,
But that, in fear for Atreus' sons, they rallied
Against Eurypylus: deadly waxed the fight.
Then Teucer with a mighty spear-thrust smote
Aeneas' shield, yet wounded not his flesh,
For the great fourfold buckler warded him;
Yet feared he, and recoiled a little space.
Leapt Meriones upon Laophoon
The son of Paeon, born by Axius' flood
Of bright-haired Cleomede. Unto Troy
With noble Asteropaeus had he come
To aid her folk: him Meriones' keen spear
Stabbed 'neath the navel, and the lance-head tore
His bowels forth; swift sped his soul away
Into the Shadow-land. Alcimedes,
The warrior-friend of Aias, Oileus' son,
Shot mid the press of Trojans; for he sped
With taunting shout a sharp stone from a sling
Into their battle's heart. They quailed in fear
Before the hum and onrush of the bolt.
Fate winged its flight to the bold charioteer
Of Pammon, Hippasus' son: his brow it smote
While yet he grasped the reins, and flung him stunned
Down from the chariot-seat before the wheels.
The rushing war-wain whirled his wretched form
'Twixt tyres and heels of onward-leaping steeds,
And awful death in that hour swallowed him
When whip and reins had flown from his nerveless hands.
Then grief thrilled Pammon: hard necessity
Made him both chariot-lord and charioteer.
Now to his doom and death-day had he bowed,
Had not a Trojan through that gory strife
Leapt, grasped the reins, and saved the prince, when now
His strength failed 'neath the murderous hands of foes.
As godlike Acamas charged, the stalwart son
Of Nestor thrust the spear above his knee,
And with that wound sore anguish came on him:
Back from the fight he drew; the deadly strife
He left unto his comrades: quenched was now
His battle-lust. Eurypylus' henchman smote
Echemmon, Thoas' friend, amidst the fray
Beneath the shoulder: nigh his heart the spear
Passed bitter-biting: o'er his limbs brake out
Mingled with blood cold sweat of agony.
He turned to flee; Eurypylus' giant might
Chased, caught him, shearing his heel-tendons through:
There, where the blow fell, his reluctant feet
Stayed, and the spirit left his mortal frame.
Thoas pricked Paris with quick-thrusting spear
On the right thigh: backward a space he ran
For his death-speeding bow, which had been left
To rearward of the fight. Idomeneus
Upheaved a stone, huge as his hands could swing,
And dashed it on Eurypylus' arm: to earth
Fell his death-dealing spear. Backward he stepped
To grasp another, since from out his hand
The first was smitten. So had Atreus' sons
A moment's breathing-space from stress of war.
But swiftly drew Eurypylus' henchmen near
Bearing a stubborn-shafted lance, wherewith
He brake the strength of many. In stormy might
Then charged he on the foe: whomso he met
He slew, and spread wide havoc through their ranks.
Now neither Atreus' sons might steadfast stand,
Nor any valiant Danaan beside,
For ruinous panic suddenly gripped the hearts
Of all; for on them all Eurypylus rushed
Flashing death in their faces, chased them, slew,
Cried to the Trojans and to his chariot-lords:
"Friends, be of good heart! To these Danaans
Let us deal slaughter and doom's darkness now!
Lo, how like scared sheep back to the ships they flee!
Forget not your death-dealing battle-lore,
O ye that from your youth are men of war!"
Then charged they on the Argives as one man;
And these in utter panic turned and fled
The bitter battle, those hard after them
Followed, as white-fanged hounds hold deer in chase
Up the long forest-glens. Full many in dust
They dashed down, howsoe'er they longed to escape.
The slaughter grim and great of that wild fray.
Eurypylus hath slain Bucolion,
Nesus, and Chromion and Antiphus;
Twain in Mycenae dwelt, a goodly land;
In Lacedaemon twain. Men of renown
Albeit they were, he slew them. Then he smote
A host unnumbered of the common throng.
My strength should not suffice to sing their fate,
How fain soever, though within my breast
Were iron lungs. Aeneas slew withal
Antimachus and Pheres, twain which left
Crete with Idomeneus. Agenor smote
Molus the princely, -- with king Sthenelus
He came from Argos, -- hurled from far behind
A dart new-whetted, as he fled from fight,
Piercing his right leg, and the eager shaft
Cut sheer through the broad sinew, shattering
The bones with anguished pain: and so his doom
Met him, to die a death of agony.
Then Paris' arrows laid proud Phorcys low,
And Mosynus, brethren both, from Salamis
Who came in Aias' ships, and nevermore
Saw the home-land. Cleolaus smote he next,
Meges' stout henchman; for the arrow struck
His left breast: deadly night enwrapped him round,
And his soul fleeted forth: his fainting heart
Still in his breast fluttering convulsively
Made the winged arrow shiver. Yet again
Did Paris shoot at bold Eetion.
Through his jaw leapt the sudden-flashing brass:
He groaned, and with his blood were mingled tears.
So ever man slew man, till all the space
Was heaped with Argives each on other cast.
Now had the Trojans burnt with fire the ships,
Had not night, trailing heavy-folded mist,
Uprisen. So Eurypylus drew back,
And Troy's sons with him, from the ships aloof
A little space, by Simois' outfall; there
Camped they exultant. But amidst the ships
Flung down upon the sands the Argives wailed
Heart-anguished for the slain, so many of whom
Dark fate had overtaken and laid in dust.
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