The Fall of Troy
Page: 109But when the whole host reached the walls of Troy,
Into the city of Priam, breathing rage
Of fight, with reckless battle-lust they poured;
And all that fortress found they full of war
And slaughter, palaces, temples, horribly
Blazing on all sides; glowed their hearts with joy.
In deadly mood then charged they on the foe.
Ares and fell Enyo maddened there:
Blood ran in torrents, drenched was all the earth,
As Trojans and their alien helpers died.
Here were men lying quelled by bitter death
All up and down the city in their blood;
Others on them were falling, gasping forth
Their life's strength; others, clutching in their hands
Their bowels that looked through hideous gashes forth,
Wandered in wretched plight around their homes:
Others, whose feet, while yet asleep they lay,
Had been hewn off, with groans unutterable
Crawled mid the corpses. Some, who had rushed to fight,
Lay now in dust, with hands and heads hewn off.
Some were there, through whose backs, even as they fled,
The spear had passed, clear through to the breast, and some
Whose waists the lance had pierced, impaling them
Where sharpest stings the anguish-laden steel.
And all about the city dolorous howls
Of dogs uprose, and miserable moans
Of strong men stricken to death; and every home
With awful cries was echoing. Rang the shrieks
Of women, like to screams of cranes, which see
An eagle stooping on them from the sky,
Which have no courage to resist, but scream
Long terror-shrieks in dread of Zeus's bird;
So here, so there the Trojan women wailed,
Some starting from their sleep, some to the ground
Leaping: they thought not in that agony
Of robe and zone; in naught but tunics clad
Distraught they wandered: others found nor veil
Nor cloak to cast about them, but, as came
Onward their foes, they stood with beating hearts
Trembling, as lettered by despair, essaying,
All-hapless, with their hands alone to hide
Their nakedness. And some in frenzy of woe:
Their tresses tore, and beat their breasts, and screamed.
Others against that stormy torrent of foes
Recklessly rushed, insensible of fear,
Through mad desire to aid the perishing,
Husbands or children; for despair had given
High courage. Shrieks had startled from their sleep
Soft little babes whose hearts had never known
Trouble—and there one with another lay
Gasping their lives out! Some there were whose dreams
Changed to a sudden vision of doom. All round
The fell Fates gloated horribly o'er the slain.
And even as swine be slaughtered in the court
Of a rich king who makes his folk a feast,
So without number were they slain. The wine
Left in the mixing-bowls was blent with blood
Gruesomely. No man bare a sword unstained
With murder of defenceless folk of Troy,
Though he were but a weakling in fair fight.
And as by wolves or jackals sheep are torn,
What time the furnace-breath of midnoon-heat
Darts down, and all the flock beneath the shade
Are crowded, and the shepherd is not there,
But to the homestead bears afar their milk;
And the fierce brutes leap on them, tear their throats,
Gorge to the full their ravenous maws, and then
Lap the dark blood, and linger still to slay
All in mere lust of slaughter, and provide
An evil banquet for that shepherd-lord;
So through the city of Priam Danaans slew
One after other in that last fight of all.
No Trojan there was woundless, all men's limbs
With blood in torrents spilt were darkly dashed.