The Fall of Troy
Page: 115Then were Demophoon and Acamas
By mighty Theseus' mother Aethra met.
Yearning to see them was she guided on
To meet them by some Blessed One, the while
'Wildered from war and fire she fled. They saw
In that red glare a woman royal-tall,
Imperial-moulded, and they weened that this
Was Priam's queen, and with swift eagerness
Laid hands on her, to lead her captive thence
To the Danaans; but piteously she moaned:
"Ah, do not, noble sons of warrior Greeks,
To your ships hale me, as I were a foe!
I am not of Trojan birth: of Danaans came
My princely blood renowned. In Troezen's halls
Pittheus begat me, Aegeus wedded me,
And of my womb sprang Theseus glory-crowned.
For great Zeus' sake, for your dear parents' sake,
I pray you, if the seed of Theseus came
Hither with Atreus' sons, O bring ye me
Unto their yearning eyes. I trow they be
Young men like you. My soul shall be refreshed
If living I behold those chieftains twain."
Hearkening to her they called their sire to mind,
His deeds for Helen's sake, and how the sons
Of Zeus the Thunderer in the old time smote
Aphidnae, when, because these were but babes,
Their nurses hid them far from peril of fight;
And Aethra they remembered—all she endured
Through wars, as mother-in-law at first, and thrall
Thereafter of Helen. Dumb for joy were they,
Till spake Demophoon to that wistful one:
"Even now the Gods fulfil thine heart's desire:
We whom thou seest are the sons of him,
Thy noble son: thee shall our loving hands
Bear to the ships: with joy to Hellas' soil
Thee will we bring, where once thou wast a queen."
Then his great father's mother clasped him round
With clinging arms: she kissed his shoulders broad,
His head, his breast, his bearded lips she kissed,
And Acamas kissed withal, the while she shed
Glad tears on these who could not choose but weep.
As when one tarries long mid alien men,
And folk report him dead, but suddenly
He cometh home: his children see his face,
And break into glad weeping; yea, and he,
His arms around them, and their little heads
Upon his shoulders, sobs: echoes the home
With happy mourning's music-beating wings;
So wept they with sweet sighs and sorrowless moans.
Then, too, affliction-burdened Priam's child,
Laodice, say they, stretched her hands to heaven,
Praying the mighty Gods that earth might gape
To swallow her, ere she defiled her hand
With thralls' work; and a God gave ear, and rent
Deep earth beneath her: so by Heaven's decree
Did earth's abysmal chasm receive the maid
In Troy's last hour. Electra's self withal,
The Star-queen lovely-robed, shrouded her form
In mist and cloud, and left the Pleiad-band,
Her sisters, as the olden legend tells.