The Fall of Troy
Page: 121With anguished heart: so went they aboard the ships.
But Calchas would not with that eager host
Launch forth; yea, he had fain withheld therefrom
All the Achaeans, for his prophet-soul
Foreboded dread destruction looming o'er
The Argives by the Rocks Capherean.
But naught they heeded him; malignant
Fate Deluded men's souls: only Amphilochus
The wise in prophet-lore, the gallant son
Of princely Amphiaraus, stayed with him.
Fated were these twain, far from their own land,
To reach Pamphylian and Cilician burgs;
And this the Gods thereafter brought to pass.
But now the Achaeans cast the hawsers loose
From shore: in haste they heaved the anchor-stones.
Roared Hellespont beneath swift-flashing oars;
Crashed the prows through the sea. About the bows
Much armour of slain foes was lying heaped:
Along the bulwarks victory-trophies hung
Countless. With garlands wreathed they all the ships,
Their heads, the spears, the shields wherewith they had fought
Against their foes. The chiefs stood on the prows,
And poured into the dark sea once and again
Wine to the Gods, to grant them safe return.
But with the winds their prayers mixed; far away
Vainly they floated blent with cloud and air.
With anguished hearts the captive maids looked back
On Ilium, and with sobs and moans they wailed,
Striving to hide their grief from Argive eyes.
Clasping their knees some sat; in misery some
Veiled with their hands their faces; others nursed
Young children in their arms: those innocents
Not yet bewailed their day of bondage, nor
Their country's ruin; all their thoughts were set
On comfort of the breast, for the babe's heart
Hath none affinity with sorrow. All
Sat with unbraided hair and pitiful breasts
Scored with their fingers. On their cheeks there lay
Stains of dried tears, and streamed thereover now
Fresh tears full fast, as still they gazed aback
On the lost hapless home, wherefrom yet rose
The flames, and o'er it writhed the rolling smoke.
Now on Cassandra marvelling they gazed,
Calling to mind her prophecy of doom;
But at their tears she laughed in bitter scorn,
In anguish for the ruin of her land.
Such Trojans as had scaped from pitiless war
Gathered to render now the burial-dues
Unto their city's slain. Antenor led
To that sad work: one pyre for all they raised.
But laughed with triumphing hearts the Argive men,
As now with oars they swept o'er dark sea-ways,
Now hastily hoised the sails high o'er the ships,
And fleeted fast astern Dardania-land,
And Hero Achilles' tomb. But now their hearts,
How blithe soe'er, remembered comrades slain,
And sorely grieved, and wistfully they looked
Back to the alien's land; it seemed to them
Aye sliding farther from their ships. Full soon
By Tenedos' beaches slipt they: now they ran
By Chrysa, Sminthian Phoebus' holy place,
And hallowed Cilla. Far away were glimpsed
The windy heights of Lesbos. Rounded now
Was Lecton's foreland, where is the last peak
Of Ida. In the sails loud hummed the wind,
Crashed round the prows the dark surge: the long waves
Showed shadowy hollows, far the white wake gleamed.
Now had the Argives all to the hallowed soil
Of Hellas won, by perils of the deep
Unscathed, but for Athena Daughter of Zeus
The Thunderer, and her indignation's wrath.
When nigh Euboea's windy heights they drew,
She rose, in anger unappeasable
Against the Locrian king, devising doom
Crushing and pitiless, and drew nigh to Zeus
Lord of the Gods, and spake to him apart
In wrath that in her breast would not be pent:
"Zeus, Father, unendurable of Gods
Is men's presumption! They reck not of thee,
Of none of the Blessed reck they, forasmuch
As vengeance followeth after sin no more;
And ofttimes more afflicted are good men
Than evil, and their misery hath no end.
Therefore no man regardeth justice: shame
Lives not with men! And I, I will not dwell
Hereafter in Olympus, not be named
Thy daughter, if I may not be avenged
On the Achaeans' reckless sin! Behold,
Within my very temple Oileus' son
Hath wrought iniquity, hath pitied not
Cassandra stretching unregarded hands
Once and again to me; nor did he dread
My might, nor reverenced in his wicked heart
The Immortal, but a deed intolerable
He did. Therefore let not thy spirit divine
Begrudge mine heart's desire, that so all men
May quake before the manifest wrath of Gods."