The Fall of Troy
Page: 63Then spake the old man to that stricken one:
"To all men Fate assigns one same sad lot,
Bereavement: earth shall cover all alike,
Albeit we tread not the same path of life,
And none the path he chooseth; for on high
Good things and bad lie on the knees of
Gods Unnumbered, indistinguishably blent.
These no Immortal seeth; they are veiled
In mystic cloud-folds. Only Fate puts forth
Her hands thereto, nor looks at what she takes,
But casts them from Olympus down to earth.
This way and that they are wafted, as it were
By gusts of wind. The good man oft is whelmed
In suffering: wealth undeserved is heaped
On the vile person. Blind is each man's life;
Therefore he never walketh surely; oft
He stumbleth: ever devious is his path,
Now sloping down to sorrow, mounting now
To bliss. All-happy is no living man
From the beginning to the end, but still
The good and evil clash. Our life is short;
Beseems not then in grief to live. Hope on,
Still hope for better days: chain not to woe
Thine heart. There is a saying among men
That to the heavens unperishing mount the souls
Of good men, and to nether darkness sink
Souls of the wicked. Both to God and man
Dear was thy brother, good to brother-men,
And son of an Immortal. Sure am I
That to the company of Gods shall he
Ascend, by intercession of thy sire."
Then raised he that reluctant mourner up
With comfortable words. From that dark grave
He drew him, backward gazing oft with groans.
To the ships they came, where Greeks and Trojan men
Had bitter travail of rekindled war.
Eurypylus there, in dauntless spirit like
The War-god, with mad-raging spear and hands
Resistless, smote down hosts of foes: the earth
Was clogged with dead men slain on either side.
On strode he midst the corpses, awelessly
He fought, with blood-bespattered hands and feet;
Never a moment from grim strife he ceased.
Peneleos the mighty-hearted came
Against him in the pitiless fray: he fell
Before Eurypylus' spear: yea, many more
Fell round him. Ceased not those destroying hands,
But wrathful on the Argives still he pressed,
As when of old on Pholoe's long-ridged heights
Upon the Centaurs terrible Hercules rushed
Storming in might, and slew them, passing-swift
And strong and battle-cunning though they were;
So rushed he on, so smote he down the array,
One after other, of the Danaan spears.
Heaps upon heaps, here, there, in throngs they fell
Strewn in the dust. As when a river in flood
Comes thundering down, banks crumble on either side
To drifting sand: on seaward rolls the surge
Tossing wild crests, while cliffs on every hand
Ring crashing echoes, as their brows break down
Beneath long-leaping roaring waterfalls,
And dikes are swept away; so fell in dust
The war-famed Argives by Eurypylus slain,
Such as he overtook in that red rout.
Some few escaped, whom strength of fleeing feet
Delivered. Yet in that sore strait they drew
Peneleos from the shrieking tumult forth,
And bare to the ships, though with swift feet themselves
Were fleeing from ghastly death, from pitiless doom.
Behind the rampart of the ships they fled
In huddled rout: they had no heart to stand
Before Eurypylus, for Hercules,
To crown with glory his son's stalwart son,
Thrilled them with panic. There behind their wall
They cowered, as goats to leeward of a hill
Shrink from the wild cold rushing of the wind
That bringeth snow and heavy sleet and haft.
No longing for the pasture tempteth them
Over the brow to step, and face the blast,
But huddling screened by rock-wall and ravine
They abide the storm, and crop the scanty grass
Under dim copses thronging, till the gusts
Of that ill wind shall lull: so, by their towers
Screened, did the trembling Danaans abide
Telephus' mighty son. Yea, he had burnt
The ships, and all that host had he destroyed,
Had not Athena at the last inspired
The Argive men with courage. Ceaselessly
From the high rampart hurled they at the foe
With bitter-biting darts, and slew them fast;
And all the walls were splashed with reeking gore,
And aye went up a moan of smitten men.