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The Fall of Troy

Page: 70

  Two sons he slew of Meges rich in gold,
  Scion of Dymas—sons of high renown,
  Cunning to hurl the dart, to drive the steed
  In war, and deftly cast the lance afar,
  Born at one birth beside Sangarius' banks
  Of Periboea to him, Celtus one,
  And Eubius the other. But not long
  His boundless wealth enjoyed they, for the
  Fates Span them a thread of life exceeding brief.
  As on one day they saw the light, they died
  On one day by the same hand. To the heart
  Of one Neoptolemus sped a javelin; one
  He smote down with a massy stone that crashed
  Through his strong helmet, shattered all its ridge,
  And dashed his brains to earth. Around them fell
  Foes many, a host untold. The War-god's work
  Waxed ever mightier till the eventide,
  Till failed the light celestial; then the host
  Of brave Eurypylus from the ships drew back
  A little: they that held those leaguered towers
  Had a short breathing-space; the sons of Troy
  Had respite from the deadly-echoing strife,
  From that hard rampart-battle. Verily all
  The Argives had beside their ships been slain,
  Had not Achilles' strong son on that day
  Withstood the host of foes and their great chief
  Eurypylus. Came to that young hero's side
  Phoenix the old, and marvelling gazed on one
  The image of Peleides. Tides of joy
  And grief swept o'er him—grief, for memories
  Of that swift-footed father—joy, for sight
  Of such a son. He for sheer gladness wept;
  For never without tears the tribes of men
  Live—nay, not mid the transports of delight.
  He clasped him round as father claspeth son
  Whom, after long and troublous wanderings,
  The Gods bring home to gladden a father's heart.
  So kissed he Neoptolemus' head and breast,
  Clasping him round, and cried in rapture of joy:
  "Hail, goodly son of that Achilles whom
  I nursed a little one in mine own arms
  With a glad heart. By Heaven's high providence
  Like a strong sapling waxed he in stature fast,
  And daily I rejoiced to see his form
  And prowess, my life's blessing, honouring him
  As though he were the son of mine old age;
  For like a father did he honour me.
  I was indeed his father, he my son
  In spirit: thou hadst deemed us of one blood
  Who were in heart one: but of nobler mould
  Was he by far, in form and strength a God.
  Thou art wholly like him—yea, I seem to see
  Alive amid the Argives him for whom
  Sharp anguish shrouds me ever. I waste away
  In sorrowful age—oh that the grave had closed
  On me while yet he lived! How blest to be
  By loving hands of kinsmen laid to rest!
  Ah child, my sorrowing heart will nevermore
  Forget him! Chide me not for this my grief.
  But now, help thou the Myrmidons and Greeks
  In their sore strait: wreak on the foe thy wrath
  For thy brave sire. It shall be thy renown
  To slay this war-insatiate Telephus' son;
  For mightier art thou, and shalt prove, than he,
  As was thy father than his wretched sire."


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