The Fall of Troy
Page: 78With groans and tears so pleaded Ganymede.
Then Zeus himself with one vast pall of cloud
Veiled all the city of Priam world-renowned;
And all the murderous fight was drowned in mist,
And like a vanished phantom was the wall
In vapours heavy-hung no eye could pierce;
And all around crashed thunders, lightnings flamed
From heaven. The Danaans heard Zeus' clarion peal
Awe-struck; and Neleus' son cried unto them:
"Far-famous lords of Argives, all our strength
Palsied shall be, while Zeus protecteth thus
Our foes. A great tide of calamity
On us is rolling; haste we then to the ships;
Cease we awhile from bitter toil of strife,
Lest the fire of his wrath consume us all.
Submit we to his portents; needs must all
Obey him ever, who is mightier far
Than all strong Gods, all weakling sons of men.
On the presumptuous Titans once in wrath
He poured down fire from heaven: then burned all earth
Beneath, and Ocean's world-engirdling flood
Boiled from its depths, yea, to its utmost bounds:
Far-flowing mighty rivers were dried up:
Perished all broods of life-sustaining earth,
All fosterlings of the boundless sea, and all
Dwellers in rivers: smoke and ashes veiled
The air: earth fainted in the fervent heat.
Therefore this day I dread the might of Zeus.
Now, pass we to the ships, since for to-day
He helpeth Troy. To us too shall he grant
Glory hereafter; for the dawn on men,
Though whiles it frown, anon shall smile. Not yet,
But soon, shall Fate lead us to smite yon town,
If true indeed was Calchas' prophecy
Spoken aforetime to the assembled Greeks,
That in the tenth year Priam's burg should fall."
Then left they that far-famous town, and turned
From war, in awe of Zeus's threatenings,
Hearkening to one with ancient wisdom wise.
Yet they forgat not friends in battle slain,
But bare them from the field and buried them.
These the mist hid not, but the town alone
And its unscaleable wall, around which fell
Trojans and Argives many in battle slain.
So came they to the ships, and put from them
Their battle-gear, and strode into the waves
Of Hellespont fair-flowing, and washed away
All stain of dust and sweat and clotted gore.
The sun drave down his never-wearying steeds
Into the dark west: night streamed o'er the earth,
Bidding men cease from toil. The Argives then
Acclaimed Achilles' valiant son with praise
High as his father's. Mid triumphant mirth
He feasted in kings' tents: no battle-toil
Had wearied him; for Thetis from his limbs
Had charmed all ache of travail, making him
As one whom labour had no power to tire.
When his strong heart was satisfied with meat,
He passed to his father's tent, and over him
Sleep's dews were poured. The Greeks slept in the plain
Before the ships, by ever-changing guards
Watched; for they dreaded lest the host of Troy,
Or of her staunch allies, should kindle flame
Upon the ships, and from them all cut off
Their home-return. In Priam's burg the while
By gate and wall men watched and slept in turn,
Adread to hear the Argives' onset-shout.