The Fall of Troy

Page: 33

  So for slain Peleus' son did she lament
  With woeful handmaids and heart-anguished Greeks,
  Mourning a king, a husband. Never dried
  Her tears were: ever to the earth they streamed
  Like sunless water trickling from a rock
  While rime and snow yet mantle o'er the earth
  Above it; yet the frost melts down before
  The east-wind and the flame-shafts of the sun.

  Now came the sound of that upringing wail
  To Nereus' Daughters, dwellers in the depths
  Unfathomed. With sore anguish all their hearts
  Were smitten: piteously they moaned: their cry
  Shivered along the waves of Hellespont.
  Then with dark mantles overpalled they sped
  Swiftly to where the Argive men were thronged.
  As rushed their troop up silver paths of sea,
  The flood disported round them as they came.
  With one wild cry they floated up; it rang,
  A sound as when fleet-flying cranes forebode
  A great storm. Moaned the monsters of the deep
  Plaintively round that train of mourners. Fast
  On sped they to their goal, with awesome cry
  Wailing the while their sister's mighty son.
  Swiftly from Helicon the Muses came
  Heart-burdened with undying grief, for love
  And honour to the Nereid starry-eyed.

  Then Zeus with courage filled the Argive men,
  That-eyes of flesh might undismayed behold
  That glorious gathering of Goddesses.
  Then those Divine Ones round Achilles' corse
  Pealed forth with one voice from immortal lips
  A lamentation. Rang again the shores
  Of Hellespont. As rain upon the earth
  Their tears fell round the dead man, Aeacus' son;
  For out of depths of sorrow rose their moan.
  And all the armour, yea, the tents, the ships
  Of that great sorrowing multitude were wet
  With tears from ever-welling springs of grief.
  His mother cast her on him, clasping him,
  And kissed her son's lips, crying through her tears:
  "Now let the rosy-vestured Dawn in heaven
  Exult! Now let broad-flowing Axius
  Exult, and for Asteropaeus dead
  Put by his wrath! Let Priam's seed be glad
  But I unto Olympus will ascend,
  And at the feet of everlasting Zeus
  Will cast me, bitterly planning that he gave
  Me, an unwilling bride, unto a man—
  A man whom joyless eld soon overtook,
  To whom the Fates are near, with death for gift.
  Yet not so much for his lot do I grieve
  As for Achilles; for Zeus promised me
  To make him glorious in the Aeacid halls,
  In recompense for the bridal I so loathed
  That into wild wind now I changed me, now
  To water, now in fashion as a bird
  I was, now as the blast of flame; nor might
  A mortal win me for his bride, who seemed
  All shapes in turn that earth and heaven contain,
  Until the Olympian pledged him to bestow
  A godlike son on me, a lord of war.
  Yea, in a manner this did he fulfil
  Faithfully; for my son was mightiest
  Of men. But Zeus made brief his span of life
  Unto my sorrow. Therefore up to heaven
  Will I: to Zeus's mansion will I go
  And wail my son, and will put Zeus in mind
  Of all my travail for him and his sons
  In their sore stress, and sting his soul with shame."