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The Fall of Troy

Page: 102

  But while the Danaans o'er Epeius' work
  Joyed, and their routed foes within the walls
  Tarried, and shrank from death and pitiless doom,
  Then, when imperious Zeus far from the Gods
  Had gone to Ocean's streams and Tethys' caves,
  Strife rose between the Immortals: heart with heart
  Was set at variance. Riding on the blasts
  Of winds, from heaven to earth they swooped: the air
  Crashed round them. Lighting down by Xanthus' stream
  Arrayed they stood against each other, these
  For the Achaeans, for the Trojans those;
  And all their souls were thrilled with lust of war:
  There gathered too the Lords of the wide Sea.
  These in their wrath were eager to destroy
  The Horse of Guile and all the ships, and those
  Fair Ilium. But all-contriving Fate
  Held them therefrom, and turned their hearts to strife
  Against each other. Ares to the fray
  Rose first, and on Athena rushed. Thereat
  Fell each on other: clashed around their limbs
  The golden arms celestial as they charged.
  Round them the wide sea thundered, the dark earth
  Quaked 'neath immortal feet. Rang from them all
  Far-pealing battle-shouts; that awful cry
  Rolled up to the broad-arching heaven, and down
  Even to Hades' fathomless abyss:
  Trembled the Titans there in depths of gloom.
  Ida's long ridges sighed, sobbed clamorous streams
  Of ever-flowing rivers, groaned ravines
  Far-furrowed, Argive ships, and Priam's towers.
  Yet men feared not, for naught they knew of all
  That strife, by Heaven's decree. Then her high peaks
  The Gods' hands wrenched from Ida's crest, and hurled
  Against each other: but like crumbling sands
  Shivered they fell round those invincible limbs,
  Shattered to small dust. But the mind of Zeus,
  At the utmost verge of earth, was ware of all:
  Straight left he Ocean's stream, and to wide heaven
  Ascended, charioted upon the winds,
  The East, the North, the West-wind, and the South:
  For Iris rainbow-plumed led 'neath the yoke
  Of his eternal ear that stormy team,
  The ear which Time the immortal framed for him
  Of adamant with never-wearying hands.
  So came he to Olympus' giant ridge.
  His wrath shook all the firmament, as crashed
  From east to west his thunders; lightnings gleamed,
  As thick and fast his thunderbolts poured to earth,
  And flamed the limitless welkin. Terror fell
  Upon the hearts of those Immortals: quaked
  The limbs of all—ay, deathless though they were!
  Then Themis, trembling for them, swift as thought
  Leapt down through clouds, and came with speed to them—
  For in the strife she only had no part
  And stood between the fighters, and she cried:
  "Forbear the conflict! O, when Zeus is wroth,
  It ill beseems that everlasting Gods
  Should fight for men's sake, creatures of a day:
  Else shall ye be all suddenly destroyed;
  For Zeus will tear up all the hills, and hurl
  Upon you: sons nor daughters will he spare,
  But bury 'neath one ruin of shattered earth
  All. No escape shall ye find thence to light,
  In horror of darkness prisoned evermore."


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