The Fall of Troy

Page: 5

  So spake Eetion's lovely-ankled child
  Low to her own soul, thinking on her lord.
  So evermore the faithful-hearted wife
  Nurseth for her lost love undying grief.

  Then in swift revolution sweeping round
  Into the Ocean's deep stream sank the sun,
  And daylight died. So when the banqueters
  Ceased from the wine-cup and the goodly feast,
  Then did the handmaids spread in Priam's halls
  For Penthesileia dauntless-souled the couch
  Heart-cheering, and she laid her down to rest;
  And slumber mist-like overveiled her eyes [depths
  Like sweet dew dropping round. From heavens' blue
  Slid down the might of a deceitful dream
  At [Pallas]' hest, that so the warrior-maid
  Might see it, and become a curse to Troy
  And to herself, when strained her soul to meet;
  The whirlwind of the battle. In this wise
  The Trito-born, the subtle-souled, contrived:
  Stood o'er the maiden's head that baleful dream
  In likeness of her father, kindling her
  Fearlessly front to front to meet in fight
  Fleetfoot Achilles. And she heard the voice,
  And all her heart exulted, for she weened
  That she should on that dawning day achieve
  A mighty deed in battle's deadly toil
  Ah, fool, who trusted for her sorrow a dream
  Out of the sunless land, such as beguiles
  Full oft the travail-burdened tribes of men,
  Whispering mocking lies in sleeping ears,
  And to the battle's travail lured her then!

  But when the Dawn, the rosy-ankled, leapt
  Up from her bed, then, clad in mighty strength
  Of spirit, suddenly from her couch uprose
  Penthesileia. Then did she array
  Her shoulders in those wondrous-fashioned arms
  Given her of the War-god. First she laid
  Beneath her silver-gleaming knees the greaves
  Fashioned of gold, close-clipping the strong limbs.
  Her rainbow-radiant corslet clasped she then
  About her, and around her shoulders slung,
  With glory in her heart, the massy brand
  Whose shining length was in a scabbard sheathed
  Of ivory and silver. Next, her shield
  Unearthly splendid, caught she up, whose rim
  Swelled like the young moon's arching chariot-rail
  When high o'er Ocean's fathomless-flowing stream
  She rises, with the space half filled with light
  Betwixt her bowing horns. So did it shine
  Unutterably fair. Then on her head
  She settled the bright helmet overstreamed
  With a wild mane of golden-glistering hairs.
  So stood she, lapped about with flaming mail,
  In semblance like the lightning, which the might,
  The never-wearied might of Zeus, to earth
  Hurleth, what time he showeth forth to men
  Fury of thunderous-roaring rain, or swoop
  Resistless of his shouting host of winds.
  Then in hot haste forth of her bower to pass
  Caught she two javelins in the hand that grasped
  Her shield-band; but her strong right hand laid hold
  On a huge halberd, sharp of either blade,
  Which terrible Eris gave to Ares' child
  To be her Titan weapon in the strife
  That raveneth souls of men. Laughing for glee
  Thereover, swiftly flashed she forth the ring
  Of towers. Her coming kindled all the sons
  Of Troy to rush into the battle forth
  Which crowneth men with glory. Swiftly all
  Hearkened her gathering-ery, and thronging came,
  Champions, yea, even such as theretofore
  Shrank back from standing in the ranks of war
  Against Achilles the all-ravager.
  But she in pride of triumph on she rode
  Throned on a goodly steed and fleet, the gift
  Of Oreithyia, the wild North-wind's bride,
  Given to her guest the warrior-maid, what time
  She came to Thrace, a steed whose flying feet
  Could match the Harpies' wings. Riding thereon
  Penthesileia in her goodlihead
  Left the tall palaces of Troy behind.
  And ever were the ghastly-visaged Fates
  Thrusting her on into the battle, doomed
  To be her first against the Greeks—and last!
  To right, to left, with unreturning feet
  The Trojan thousands followed to the fray,
  The pitiless fray, that death-doomed warrior-maid,
  Followed in throngs, as follow sheep the ram
  That by the shepherd's art strides before all.
  So followed they, with battle-fury filled,
  Strong Trojans and wild-hearted Amazons.
  And like Tritonis seemed she, as she went
  To meet the Giants, or as flasheth far
  Through war-hosts Eris, waker of onset-shouts.
  So mighty in the Trojans' midst she seemed,
  Penthesileia of the flying feet.