The Fall of Troy
Page: 97But now when many had perished in the dust,
Then did the Argive might prevail at last
By stern decree of Pallas; for she came
Into the heart of battle, hot to help
The Greeks to lay waste Priam's glorious town.
Then Aphrodite, who lamented sore
For Paris slain, snatched suddenly away
Renowned Aeneas from the deadly strife,
And poured thick mist about him. Fate forbade
That hero any longer to contend
With Argive foes without the high-built wall.
Yea, and his mother sorely feared the wrath
Of Pallas passing-wise, whose heart was keen
To help the Danaans now—yea, feared lest she
Might slay him even beyond his doom, who spared
Not Ares' self, a mightier far than he.
No more the Trojans now abode the edge
Of fight, but all disheartened backward drew.
For like fierce ravening beasts the Argive men
Leapt on them, mad with murderous rage of war.
Choked with their slain the river-channels were,
Heaped was the field; in red dust thousands fell,
Horses and men; and chariots overturned
Were strewn there: blood was streaming all around
Like rain, for deadly Doom raged through the fray.
Men stabbed with swords, and men impaled on spears
Lay all confusedly, like scattered beams,
When on the strand of the low-thundering sea
Men from great girders of a tall ship's hull
Strike out the bolts and clamps, and scatter wide
Long planks and timbers, till the whole broad beach
Is paved with beams o'erplashed by darkling surge;
So lay in dust and blood those slaughtered men,
Rapture and pain of fight forgotten now.
A remnant from the pitiless strife escaped
Entered their stronghold, scarce eluding doom.
Children and wives from their limbs blood-besprent
Received their arms bedabbled with foul gore;
And baths for all were heated. Leeches ran
Through all the town in hot haste to the homes
Of wounded men to minister to their hurts.
Here wives and daughters moaned round men come back
From war, there cried on many who came not
Here, men stung to the soul by bitter pangs
Groaned upon beds of pain; there, toil-spent men
Turned them to supper. Whinnied the swift steeds
And neighed o'er mangers heaped. By tent and ship
Far off the Greeks did even as they of Troy.
When o'er the streams of Ocean Dawn drove up
Her splendour-flashing steeds, and earth's tribes waked,
Then the strong Argives' battle-eager sons
Marched against Priam's city lofty-towered,
Save some that mid the tents by wounded men
Tarried, lest haply raiders on the ships
Might fall, to help the Trojans, while these fought
The foe from towers, while rose the flame of war.
Before the Scaean gate fought Capaneus' son
And godlike Diomedes. High above
Deiphobus battle-staunch and strong Polites
With many comrades, stoutly held them back
With arrows and huge stones. Clanged evermore
The smitten helms and shields that fenced strong men
From bitter doom and unrelenting fate,
Before the Gate Idaean Achilles' son
Set in array the fight: around him toiled
His host of battle-cunning Myrmidons.
Helenus and Agenor gallant-souled,
Down-hailing darts, against them held the wall,
Aye cheering on their men. No spurring these
Needed to fight hard for their country's walls.