The Fall of Troy
Page: 82Elsewhere did Agamemnon, Tydeus' son,
And other chieftains of the Danaans toil
With fury in the fight. Yet never quailed
The mighty men of Troy: with heart and soul
They also fought, and ever stayed from flight
Such as gave back. Yet many heeded not
Their chiefs, but fled, cowed by the Achaeans' might.
Now at the last Achilles' strong son marked
How fast beside Scamander's outfall Greeks
Were perishing. Those Troyward-fleeing foes
Whom he had followed slaying, left he now,
And bade Automedon thither drive, where hosts
Were falling of the Achaeans. Straightway he
Hearkened, and scourged the steeds immortal on
To that wild fray: bearing their lord they flew
Swiftly o'er battle-highways paved with death.
As Ares chariot-borne to murderous war
Fares forth, and round his onrush quakes the ground,
While on the God's breast clash celestial arms
Outflashing fire, so charged Achilles' son
Against Deiphobus. Clouds of dust upsoared
About his horses' feet. Automedon marked
The Trojan chief, and knew him. To his lord
Straightway he named that hero war-renowned:
"My king, this is Deiphobus' array—
The man who from thy father fled in fear.
Some God or fiend with courage fills him now."
Naught answered Neoptolemus, save to bid
Drive on the steeds yet faster, that with speed
He might avert grim death from perishing friends.
But when to each other now full nigh they drew,
Deiphobus, despite his battle-lust,
Stayed, as a ravening fire stays when it meets
Water. He marvelled, seeing Achilles' steeds
And that gigantic son, huge as his sire;
And his heart wavered, choosing now to flee,
And now to face that hero, man to man
As when a mountain boar from his young brood
Chases the jackals—then a lion leaps
From hidden ambush into view: the boar
Halts in his furious onset, loth to advance,
Loth to retreat, while foam his jaws about
His whetted tusks; so halted Priam's son
Car-steeds and car, perplexed, while quivered his hands
About the lance. Shouted Achilles' son:
"Ho, Priam's son, why thus so mad to smite
Those weaker Argives, who have feared thy wrath
And fled thine onset? So thou deem'st thyself
Far mightiest! If thine heart be brave indeed,
Of my spear now make trial in the strife."
On rushed he, as a lion against a stag,
Borne by the steeds and chariot of his sire.
And now full soon his lance had slain his foe,
Him and his charioteer—but Phoebus poured
A dense cloud round him from the viewless heights
Of heaven, and snatched him from the deadly fray,
And set him down in Troy, amid the rout
Of fleeing Trojans: so did Peleus' son
Stab but the empty air; and loud he cried:
"Dog, thou hast 'scaped my wrath! No might of thine
Saved thee, though ne'er so fain! Some God hath cast
Night's veil o'er thee, and snatched thee from thy death."
Then Cronos' Son dispersed that dense dark cloud:
Mist-like it thinned and vanished into air:
Straightway the plain and all the land were seen.
Then far away about the Scaean Gate
He saw the Trojans: seeming like his sire,
He sped against them; they at his coming quailed.
As shipmen tremble when a wild wave bears
Down on their bark, wind-heaved until it swings
Broad, mountain-high above them, when the sea
Is mad with tempest; so, as on he came,
Terror clad all those Trojans as a cloak,
The while he shouted, cheering on his men:
"Hear, friends!—fill full your hearts with dauntless strength,
The strength that well beseemeth mighty men
Who thirst to win them glorious victory,
To win renown from battle's tumult! Come,
Brave hearts, now strive we even beyond our strength
Till we smite Troy's proud city, till we win
Our hearts' desire! Foul shame it were to abide
Long deedless here and strengthless, womanlike!
Ere I be called war-blencher, let me die!"