The Fall of Troy
Page: 76Then 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.