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The Fall of Troy

Page: 60

  Now when Eurypylus the battle-stay
  Marked how the ranks of Troy gave back from fight,
  He turned him from the host that he had chased
  Even to the ships, and rushed with eagle-swoop
  On Atreus' strong sons and Oileus' seed
  Stout-hearted, who was passing fleet of foot
  And in fight peerless. Swiftly he charged on these
  Grasping his spear long-shafted: at Iris side
  Charged Paris, charged Aeneas stout of heart,
  Who hurled a stone exceeding huge, that crashed
  On Aias' helmet: dashed to the dust he was,
  Yet gave not up the ghost, whose day of doom
  Was fate-ordained amidst Caphaerus' rocks
  On the home-voyage. Now his valiant men
  Out of the foes' hands snatched him, bare him thence,
  Scarce drawing breath, to the Achaean ships.
  And now the Atreid kings, the war-renowned,
  Were left alone, and murder-breathing foes
  Encompassed them, and hurled from every side
  Whate'er their hands might find the deadly shaft
  Some showered, some the stone, the javelin some.
  They in the midst aye turned this way and that,
  As boars or lions compassed round with pales
  On that day when kings gather to the sport
  The people, and have penned the mighty beasts
  Within the toils of death; but these, although
  With walls ringed round, yet tear with tusk and fang
  What luckless thrall soever draweth near.
  So these death-compassed heroes slew their foes
  Ever as they pressed on. Yet had their might
  Availed not for defence, for all their will,
  Had Teucer and Idomeneus strong of heart
  Come not to help, with Thoas, Meriones,
  And godlike Thrasymedes, they which shrank
  Erewhile before Eurypylus yea, had fled
  Unto the ships to 'scape the crushing doom,
  But that, in fear for Atreus' sons, they rallied
  Against Eurypylus: deadly waxed the fight.

  Then Teucer with a mighty spear-thrust smote
  Aeneas' shield, yet wounded not his flesh,
  For the great fourfold buckler warded him;
  Yet feared he, and recoiled a little space.
  Leapt Meriones upon Laophoon
  The son of Paeon, born by Axius' flood
  Of bright-haired Cleomede. Unto Troy
  With noble Asteropaeus had he come
  To aid her folk: him Meriones' keen spear
  Stabbed 'neath the navel, and the lance-head tore
  His bowels forth; swift sped his soul away
  Into the Shadow-land. Alcimedes,
  The warrior-friend of Aias, Oileus' son,
  Shot mid the press of Trojans; for he sped
  With taunting shout a sharp stone from a sling
  Into their battle's heart. They quailed in fear
  Before the hum and onrush of the bolt.
  Fate winged its flight to the bold charioteer
  Of Pammon, Hippasus' son: his brow it smote
  While yet he grasped the reins, and flung him stunned
  Down from the chariot-seat before the wheels.
  The rushing war-wain whirled his wretched form
  'Twixt tyres and heels of onward-leaping steeds,
  And awful death in that hour swallowed him
  When whip and reins had flown from his nerveless hands.
  Then grief thrilled Pammon: hard necessity
  Made him both chariot-lord and charioteer.
  Now to his doom and death-day had he bowed,
  Had not a Trojan through that gory strife
  Leapt, grasped the reins, and saved the prince, when now
  His strength failed 'neath the murderous hands of foes.


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