The Fall of Troy

Page: 90

  So prayed he; but her darkly-brooding heart
  Was steeled, and her words mocked his agony:
  "Thou comest unto me!—thou, who didst leave
  Erewhile a wailing wife in a desolate home!—
  Didst leave her for thy Tyndarid darling! Go,
  Lie laughing in her arms for bliss! She is better
  Than thy true wife—is, rumour saith, immortal!
  Make haste to kneel to her but not to me!
  Weep not to me, nor whimper pitiful prayers!
  Oh that mine heart beat with a tigress' strength,
  That I might tear thy flesh and lap thy blood
  For all the pain thy folly brought on me!
  Vile wretch! where now is Love's Queen glory-crowned?
  Hath Zeus forgotten his daughter's paramour?
  Have them for thy deliverers! Get thee hence
  Far from my dwelling, curse of Gods and men!
  Yea, for through thee, thou miscreant, sorrow came
  On deathless Gods, for sons and sons' sons slain.
  Hence from my threshold!—to thine Helen go!
  Agonize day and night beside her bed:
  There whimper, pierced to the heart with cruel pangs,
  Until she heal thee of thy grievous pain."

  So from her doors she drave that groaning man—
  Ah fool! not knowing her own doom, whose weird
  Was straightway after him to tread the path
  Of death! So Fate had spun her destiny-thread.

  Then, as he stumbled down through Ida's brakes,
  Where Doom on his death-path was leading him
  Painfully halting, racked with heart-sick pain,
  Hera beheld him, with rejoicing soul
  Throned in the Olympian palace-court of Zeus.
  And seated at her side were handmaids four
  Whom radiant-faced Selene bare to the Sun
  To be unwearying ministers in Heaven,
  In form and office diverse each from each;
  For of these Seasons one was summer's queen,
  And one of winter and his stormy star,
  Of spring the third, of autumn-tide the fourth.
  So in four portions parted is man's year
  Ruled by these Queens in turn—but of all this
  Be Zeus himself the Overseer in heaven.
  And of those issues now these spake with her
  Which baleful Fate in her all-ruining heart
  Was shaping to the birth the new espousals
  Of Helen, fatal to Deiphobus—
  The wrath of Helenus, who hoped in vain
  For that fair bride, and how, when he had fled,
  Wroth with the Trojans, to the mountain-height,
  Achaea's sons would seize him and would hale
  Unto their ships—how, by his counselling
  Strong Tydeus' son should with Odysseus scale
  The great wall, and should slay Alcathous
  The temple-warder, and should bear away
  Pallas the Gracious, with her free consent,
  Whose image was the sure defence of Troy;—
  Yea, for not even a God, how wroth soe'er,
  Had power to lay the City of Priam waste
  While that immortal shape stood warder there.
  No man had carven that celestial form,
  But Cronos' Son himself had cast it down
  From heaven to Priam's gold-abounding burg.

  Of these things with her handmaids did the Queen
  Of Heaven hold converse, and of many such,
  But Paris, while they talked, gave up the ghost
  On Ida: never Helen saw him more.
  Loud wailed the Nymphs around him; for they still
  Remembered how their nursling wont to lisp
  His childish prattle, compassed with their smiles.
  And with them mourned the neatherds light of foot,
  Sorrowful-hearted; moaned the mountain-glens.