The Fall of Troy
Page: 3BOOK I:
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.