<<<
>>>

The Fall of Troy

Page: 21

  So drew he back a little space, and left
  Lying in dust his son, since now no more
  Lived in the once lithe limbs the olden strength,
  For the years' weight lay heavy on his head.
  Back leapt Thrasymedes likewise, spearman good,
  And battle-eager Phereus, and the rest
  Their comrades; for that slaughter-dealing man
  Pressed hard on them. As when from mountains high
  A shouting river with wide-echoing din
  Sweeps down its fathomless whirlpools through the gloom,
  When God with tumult of a mighty storm
  Hath palled the sky in cloud from verge to verge,
  When thunders crash all round, when thick and fast
  Gleam lightnings from the huddling clouds, when fields
  Are flooded as the hissing rain descends,
  And all the air is filled with awful roar
  Of torrents pouring down the hill-ravines;
  So Memnon toward the shores of Hellespont
  Before him hurled the Argives, following hard
  Behind them, slaughtering ever. Many a man
  Fell in the dust, and left his life in blood
  'Neath Aethiop hands. Stained was the earth with gore
  As Danaans died. Exulted Memnon's soul
  As on the ranks of foemen ever he rushed,
  And heaped with dead was all the plain of Troy.
  And still from fight refrained he not; he hoped
  To be a light of safety unto Troy
  And bane to Danaans. But all the while
  Stood baleful Doom beside him, and spurred on
  To strife, with flattering smile. To right, to left
  His stalwart helpers wrought in battle-toil,
  Alcyoneus and Nychius, and the son
  Of Asius furious-souled; Meneclus' spear,
  Clydon and Alexippus, yea, a host
  Eager to chase the foe, men who in fight
  Quit them like men, exulting in their king.
  Then, as Meneclus on the Danaans charged,
  The son of Neleus slew him. Wroth for his friend,
  Whole throngs of foes fierce-hearted Memnon slew.
  As when a hunter midst the mountains drives
  Swift deer within the dark lines of his toils—
  The eager ring of beaters closing in
  Presses the huddled throng into the snares
  Of death: the dogs are wild with joy of the chase
  Ceaselessly giving tongue, the while his darts
  Leap winged with death on brocket and on hind;
  So Memnon slew and ever slew: his men
  Rejoiced, the while in panic stricken rout
  Before that glorious man the Argives fled.
  As when from a steep mountain's precipice-brow
  Leaps a huge crag, which all-resistless Zeus
  By stroke of thunderbolt hath hurled from the crest;
  Crash oakwood copses, echo long ravines,
  Shudders the forest to its rattle and roar,
  And flocks therein and herds and wild things flee
  Scattering, as bounding, whirling, it descends
  With deadly pitiless onrush; so his foes
  Fled from the lightning-flash of Memnon's spear.

  Then to the side of Aeacus' mighty son
  Came Nestor. Anguished for his son he cried:
  "Achilles, thou great bulwark of the Greeks,
  Slain is my child! The armour of my dead
  Hath Memnon, and I fear me lest his corse
  Be cast a prey to dogs. Haste to his help!
  True friend is he who still remembereth
  A friend though slain, and grieves for one no more."


<<<
>>>