The Fall of Troy
Page: 33So for slain Peleus' son did she lament
With woeful handmaids and heart-anguished Greeks,
Mourning a king, a husband. Never dried
Her tears were: ever to the earth they streamed
Like sunless water trickling from a rock
While rime and snow yet mantle o'er the earth
Above it; yet the frost melts down before
The east-wind and the flame-shafts of the sun.
Now came the sound of that upringing wail
To Nereus' Daughters, dwellers in the depths
Unfathomed. With sore anguish all their hearts
Were smitten: piteously they moaned: their cry
Shivered along the waves of Hellespont.
Then with dark mantles overpalled they sped
Swiftly to where the Argive men were thronged.
As rushed their troop up silver paths of sea,
The flood disported round them as they came.
With one wild cry they floated up; it rang,
A sound as when fleet-flying cranes forebode
A great storm. Moaned the monsters of the deep
Plaintively round that train of mourners. Fast
On sped they to their goal, with awesome cry
Wailing the while their sister's mighty son.
Swiftly from Helicon the Muses came
Heart-burdened with undying grief, for love
And honour to the Nereid starry-eyed.
Then Zeus with courage filled the Argive men,
That-eyes of flesh might undismayed behold
That glorious gathering of Goddesses.
Then those Divine Ones round Achilles' corse
Pealed forth with one voice from immortal lips
A lamentation. Rang again the shores
Of Hellespont. As rain upon the earth
Their tears fell round the dead man, Aeacus' son;
For out of depths of sorrow rose their moan.
And all the armour, yea, the tents, the ships
Of that great sorrowing multitude were wet
With tears from ever-welling springs of grief.
His mother cast her on him, clasping him,
And kissed her son's lips, crying through her tears:
"Now let the rosy-vestured Dawn in heaven
Exult! Now let broad-flowing Axius
Exult, and for Asteropaeus dead
Put by his wrath! Let Priam's seed be glad
But I unto Olympus will ascend,
And at the feet of everlasting Zeus
Will cast me, bitterly planning that he gave
Me, an unwilling bride, unto a man—
A man whom joyless eld soon overtook,
To whom the Fates are near, with death for gift.
Yet not so much for his lot do I grieve
As for Achilles; for Zeus promised me
To make him glorious in the Aeacid halls,
In recompense for the bridal I so loathed
That into wild wind now I changed me, now
To water, now in fashion as a bird
I was, now as the blast of flame; nor might
A mortal win me for his bride, who seemed
All shapes in turn that earth and heaven contain,
Until the Olympian pledged him to bestow
A godlike son on me, a lord of war.
Yea, in a manner this did he fulfil
Faithfully; for my son was mightiest
Of men. But Zeus made brief his span of life
Unto my sorrow. Therefore up to heaven
Will I: to Zeus's mansion will I go
And wail my son, and will put Zeus in mind
Of all my travail for him and his sons
In their sore stress, and sting his soul with shame."