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The Fall of Troy

Page: 76

  Then Neoptolemus slew one far-renowned,
  Perimedes, who had dwelt by Smintheus' grove;
  Next Cestrus died, Phalerus battle-staunch,
  Perilaus the strong, Menalcas lord of spears,
  Whom Iphianassa bare by the haunted foot
  Of Cilla to the cunning craftsman Medon.
  In the home-land afar the sire abode,
  And never kissed his son's returning head:
  For that fair home and all his cunning works
  Did far-off kinsmen wrangle o'er his grave.
  Deiphobus slew Lycon battle-staunch:
  The lance-head pierced him close above the groin,
  And round the long spear all his bowels gushed out.
  Aeneas smote down Dymas, who erewhile
  In Aulis dwelt, and followed unto Troy
  Arcesilaus, and saw never more
  The dear home-land. Euryalus hurled a dart,
  And through Astraeus' breast the death-winged point
  Flew, shearing through the breathways of man's life;
  And all that lay within was drenched with blood.
  And hard thereby great-souled Agenor slew
  Hippomenes, hero Teucer's comrade staunch,
  With one swift thrust 'twixt shoulder and neck: his soul
  Rushed forth in blood; death's night swept over him.
  Grief for his comrade slain on Teucer fell;
  He strained his bow, a swift-winged shaft he sped,
  But smote him not, for slightly Agenor swerved.
  Yet nigh him Deiophontes stood; the shaft
  Into his left eye plunged, passed through the ball,
  And out through his right ear, because the Fates
  Whither they willed thrust on the bitter barbs.
  Even as in agony he leapt full height,
  Yet once again the archer's arrow hissed:
  It pierced his throat, through the neck-sinews cleft
  Unswerving, and his hard doom came on him.

  So man to man dealt death; and joyed the Fates
  And Doom, and fell Strife in her maddened glee
  Shouted aloud, and Ares terribly
  Shouted in answer, and with courage thrilled
  The Trojans, and with panic fear the Greeks,
  And shook their reeling squadrons. But one man
  He scared not, even Achilles' son; he abode,
  And fought undaunted, slaying foes on foes.
  As when a young lad sweeps his hand around
  Flies swarming over milk, and nigh the bowl
  Here, there they lie, struck dead by that light touch,
  And gleefully the child still plies the work;
  So stern Achilles' glorious scion joyed
  Over the slain, and recked not of the God
  Who spurred the Trojans on: man after man
  Tasted his vengeance of their charging host.
  Even as a giant mountain-peak withstands
  On-rushing hurricane-blasts, so he abode
  Unquailing. Ares at his eager mood
  Grew wroth, and would have cast his veil of cloud
  Away, and met him face to face in fight,
  But now Athena from Olympus swooped
  To forest-mantled Ida. Quaked the earth
  And Xanthus' murmuring streams; so mightily
  She shook them: terror-stricken were the souls
  Of all the Nymphs, adread for Priam's town.
  From her immortal armour flashed around
  The hovering lightnings; fearful serpents breathed
  Fire from her shield invincible; the crest
  Of her great helmet swept the clouds. And now
  She was at point to close in sudden fight
  With Ares; but the mighty will of Zeus
  Daunted them both, from high heaven thundering
  His terrors. Ares drew back from the war,
  For manifest to him was Zeus's wrath.
  To wintry Thrace he passed; his haughty heart
  Reeked no more of the Trojans. In the plain
  Of Troy no more stayed Pallas; she was gone
  To hallowed Athens. But the armies still
  Strove in the deadly fray; and fainted now
  The Trojans' prowess; but all battle-fain
  The Argives pressed on these as they gave ground.
  As winds chase ships that fly with straining sails
  On to the outsea—as on forest-brakes
  Leapeth the fury of flame—as swift hounds drive
  Deer through the mountains, eager for the prey,
  So did the Argives chase them: Achilles' son
  Still cheered them on, still slew with that great spear
  Whomso he overtook. On, on they fled
  Till into stately-gated Troy they poured.


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