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The Fall of Troy

Page: 51

  So cried he groaning sore; with answering moan
  Queenly Tecmessa wailed, the princess-bride
  Of noble Aias, captive of his spear,
  Yet ta'en by him to wife, and household-queen
  O'er all his substance, even all that wives
  Won with a bride-price rule for wedded lords.
  Clasped in his mighty arms, she bare to him
  A son Eurysaces, in all things like
  Unto his father, far as babe might be
  Yet cradled in his tent. With bitter moan
  Fell she on that dear corpse, all her fair form
  Close-shrouded in her veil, and dust-defiled,
  And from her anguished heart cried piteously:
  "Alas for me, for me now thou art dead,
  Not by the hands of foes in fight struck down,
  But by thine own! On me is come a grief
  Ever-abiding! Never had I looked
  To see thy woeful death-day here by Troy.
  Ah, visions shattered by rude hands of Fate!
  Oh that the earth had yawned wide for my grave
  Ere I beheld thy bitter doom! On me
  No sharper, more heart-piercing pang hath come—
  No, not when first from fatherland afar
  And parents thou didst bear me, wailing sore
  Mid other captives, when the day of bondage
  Had come on me, a princess theretofore.
  Not for that dear lost home so much I grieve,
  Nor for my parents dead, as now for thee:
  For all thine heart was kindness unto me
  The hapless, and thou madest me thy wife,
  One soul with thee; yea, and thou promisedst
  To throne me queen of fair-towered Salamis,
  When home we won from Troy. The Gods denied
  Accomplishment thereof. And thou hast passed
  Unto the Unseen Land: thou hast forgot
  Me and thy child, who never shall make glad
  His father's heart, shall never mount thy throne.
  But him shall strangers make a wretched thrall:
  For when the father is no more, the babe
  Is ward of meaner men. A weary life
  The orphan knows, and suffering cometh in
  From every side upon him like a flood.
  To me too thraldom's day shall doubtless come,
  Now thou hast died, who wast my god on earth."

  Then in all kindness Agamemnon spake:
  "Princess, no man on earth shall make thee thrall,
  While Teucer liveth yet, while yet I live.
  Thou shalt have worship of us evermore
  And honour as a Goddess, with thy son,
  As though yet living were that godlike man,
  Aias, who was the Achaeans' chiefest strength.
  Ah that he had not laid this load of grief
  On all, in dying by his own right hand!
  For all the countless armies of his foes
  Never availed to slay him in fair fight."


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