The Fall of Troy
Page: 5So 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.