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The Fall of Troy

Page: 112

  So cried she, longing for the grave; for vile
  Is life to them whose glory is swallowed up
  Of shame: a horror is the scorn of men.
  But, spite her prayers, to thraldom dragged they her.

  In all the homes of Troy lay dying men,
  And rose from all a lamentable cry,
  Save only Antenor's halls; for unto him
  The Argives rendered hospitality's debt,
  For that in time past had his roof received
  And sheltered godlike Menelaus, when
  He with Odysseus came to claim his own.
  Therefore the mighty sons of Achaea showed
  Grace to him, as to a friend, and spared his life
  And substance, fearing Themis who seeth all.

  Then also princely Anchises' noble son—
  Hard had he fought through Priam's burg that night
  With spear and valour, and many had he slain—
  When now he saw the city set aflame
  By hands of foes, saw her folk perishing
  In multitudes, her treasures spoiled, her wives
  And children dragged to thraldom from their homes,
  No more he hoped to see the stately walls
  Of his birth-city, but bethought him now
  How from that mighty ruin to escape.
  And as the helmsman of a ship, who toils
  On the deep sea, and matches all his craft
  Against the winds and waves from every side
  Rushing against him in the stormy time,
  Forspent at last, both hand and heart, when now
  The ship is foundering in the surge, forsakes
  The helm, to launch forth in a little boat,
  And heeds no longer ship and lading; so
  Anchises' gallant son forsook the town
  And left her to her foes, a sea of fire.
  His son and father alone he snatched from death;
  The old man broken down with years he set
  On his broad shoulders with his own strong hands,
  And led the young child by his small soft hand,
  Whose little footsteps lightly touched the ground;
  And, as he quaked to see that work of deaths
  His father led him through the roar of fight,
  And clinging hung on him the tender child,
  Tears down his soft cheeks streaming. But the man
  O'er many a body sprang with hurrying feet,
  And in the darkness in his own despite
  Trampled on many. Cypris guided them,
  Earnest to save from that wild ruin her son,
  His father, and his child. As on he pressed,
  The flames gave back before him everywhere:
  The blast of the Fire-god's breath to right and left
  Was cloven asunder. Spears and javelins hurled
  Against him by the Achaeans harmless fell.
  Also, to stay them, Calchas cried aloud:
  "Forbear against Aeneas' noble head
  To hurl the bitter dart, the deadly spear!
  Fated he is by the high Gods' decree
  To pass from Xanthus, and by Tiber's flood
  To found a city holy and glorious
  Through all time, and to rule o'er tribes of men
  Far-sundered. Of his seed shall lords of earth
  Rule from the rising to the setting sun.
  Yea, with the Immortals ever shall he dwell,
  Who is son of Aphrodite lovely-tressed.
  From him too is it meet we hold our hands
  Because he hath preferred his father and son
  To gold, to all things that might profit a man
  Who fleeth exiled to an alien land.
  This one night hath revealed to us a man
  Faithful to death to his father and his child."


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