The Fall of Troy

Page: 115

  Then 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.