The Fall of Troy

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How died for Troy the Queen of the Amazons, Penthesileia.

  When godlike Hector by Peleides slain
  Passed, and the pyre had ravined up his flesh,
  And earth had veiled his bones, the Trojans then
  Tarried in Priam's city, sore afraid
  Before the might of stout-heart Aeacus' son:
  As kine they were, that midst the copses shrink
  From faring forth to meet a lion grim,
  But in dense thickets terror-huddled cower;
  So in their fortress shivered these to see
  That mighty man. Of those already dead
  They thought of all whose lives he reft away
  As by Scamander's outfall on he rushed,
  And all that in mid-flight to that high wall
  He slew, how he quelled Hector, how he haled
  His corse round Troy;—yea, and of all beside
  Laid low by him since that first day whereon
  O'er restless seas he brought the Trojans doom.
  Ay, all these they remembered, while they stayed
  Thus in their town, and o'er them anguished grief
  Hovered dark-winged, as though that very day
  All Troy with shrieks were crumbling down in fire.

  Then from Thermodon, from broad-sweeping streams,
  Came, clothed upon with beauty of Goddesses,
  Penthesileia—came athirst indeed
  For groan-resounding battle, but yet more
  Fleeing abhorred reproach and evil fame,
  Lest they of her own folk should rail on her
  Because of her own sister's death, for whom
  Ever her sorrows waxed, Hippolyte,
  Whom she had struck dead with her mighty spear,
  Not of her will—'twas at a stag she hurled.
  So came she to the far-famed land of Troy.
  Yea, and her warrior spirit pricked her on,
  Of murder's dread pollution thus to cleanse
  Her soul, and with such sacrifice to appease
  The Awful Ones, the Erinnyes, who in wrath
  For her slain sister straightway haunted her
  Unseen: for ever round the sinner's steps
  They hover; none may 'scape those Goddesses.
  And with her followed twelve beside, each one
  A princess, hot for war and battle grim,
  Far-famous each, yet handmaids unto her:
  Penthesileia far outshone them all.
  As when in the broad sky amidst the stars
  The moon rides over all pre-eminent,
  When through the thunderclouds the cleaving heavens
  Open, when sleep the fury-breathing winds;
  So peerless was she mid that charging host.
  Clonie was there, Polemusa, Derinoe,
  Evandre, and Antandre, and Bremusa,
  Hippothoe, dark-eyed Harmothoe,
  Alcibie, Derimacheia, Antibrote,
  And Thermodosa glorying with the spear.
  All these to battle fared with warrior-souled
  Penthesileia: even as when descends
  Dawn from Olympus' crest of adamant,
  Dawn, heart-exultant in her radiant steeds
  Amidst the bright-haired Hours; and o'er them all,
  How flawless-fair soever these may be,
  Her splendour of beauty glows pre-eminent;
  So peerless amid all the Amazons Unto
  Troy-town Penthesileia came.
  To right, to left, from all sides hurrying thronged
  The Trojans, greatly marvelling, when they saw
  The tireless War-god's child, the mailed maid,
  Like to the Blessed Gods; for in her face
  Glowed beauty glorious and terrible.
  Her smile was ravishing: beneath her brows
  Her love-enkindling eyes shone like to stars,
  And with the crimson rose of shamefastness
  Bright were her cheeks, and mantled over them
  Unearthly grace with battle-prowess clad.