The Fall of Troy

Page: 103

  Dreading Zeus' menace gave they heed to her,
  From strife refrained, and cast away their wrath,
  And were made one in peace and amity.
  Some heavenward soared, some plunged into the sea,
  On earth stayed some. Amid the Achaean host
  Spake in his subtlety Laertes' son:
  "O valorous-hearted lords of the Argive host,
  Now prove in time of need what men ye be,
  How passing-strong, how flawless-brave! The hour
  Is this for desperate emprise: now, with hearts
  Heroic, enter ye yon carven horse,
  So to attain the goal of this stern war.
  For better it is by stratagem and craft
  Now to destroy this city, for whose sake
  Hither we came, and still are suffering
  Many afflictions far from our own land.
  Come then, and let your hearts be stout and strong
  For he who in stress of fight hath turned to bay
  And snatched a desperate courage from despair,
  Oft, though the weaker, slays a mightier foe.
  For courage, which is all men's glory, makes
  The heart great. Come then, set the ambush, ye
  Which be our mightiest, and the rest shall go
  To Tenedos' hallowed burg, and there abide
  Until our foes have haled within their walls
  Us with the Horse, as deeming that they bring
  A gift unto Tritonis. Some brave man,
  One whom the Trojans know not, yet we lack,
  To harden his heart as steel, and to abide
  Near by the Horse. Let that man bear in mind
  Heedfully whatsoe'er I said erewhile.
  And let none other thought be in his heart,
  Lest to the foe our counsel be revealed."

  Then, when all others feared, a man far-famed
  Made answer, Sinon, marked of destiny
  To bring the great work to accomplishment.
  Therefore with worship all men looked on him,
  The loyal of heart, as in the midst he spake:
  "Odysseus, and all ye Achaean chiefs,
  This work for which ye crave will I perform—
  Yea, though they torture me, though into fire
  Living they thrust me; for mine heart is fixed
  Not to escape, but die by hands of foes,
  Except I crown with glory your desire."

  Stoutly he spake: right glad the Argives were;
  And one said: "How the Gods have given to-day
  High courage to this man! He hath not been
  Heretofore valiant. Heaven is kindling him
  To be the Trojans' ruin, but to us
  Salvation. Now full soon, I trow, we reach
  The goal of grievous war, so long unseen."

  So a voice murmured mid the Achaean host.
  Then, to stir up the heroes, Nestor cried:
  "Now is the time, dear sons, for courage and strength:
  Now do the Gods bring nigh the end of toil:
  Now give they victory to our longing hands.
  Come, bravely enter ye this cavernous Horse.
  For high renown attendeth courage high.
  Oh that my limbs were mighty as of old,
  When Aeson's son for heroes called, to man
  Swift Argo, when of the heroes foremost I
  Would gladly have entered her, but Pelias
  The king withheld me in my own despite.
  Ah me, but now the burden of years—O nay,
  As I were young, into the Horse will I
  Fearlessly! Glory and strength shall courage give."