The Fall of Troy

Page: 44


How the Arms of Achilles were cause of madness and death unto Aias.

  So when all other contests had an end,
  Thetis the Goddess laid down in the midst
  Great-souled Achilles' arms divinely wrought;
  And all around flashed out the cunning work
  Wherewith the Fire-god overchased the shield
  Fashioned for Aeacus' son, the dauntless-souled.

  Inwrought upon that labour of a God
  Were first high heaven and cloudland, and beneath
  Lay earth and sea: the winds, the clouds were there,
  The moon and sun, each in its several place;
  There too were all the stars that, fixed in heaven,
  Are borne in its eternal circlings round.
  Above and through all was the infinite air
  Where to and fro flit birds of slender beak:
  Thou hadst said they lived, and floated on the breeze.
  Here Tethys' all-embracing arms were wrought,
  And Ocean's fathomless flow. The outrushing flood
  Of rivers crying to the echoing hills
  All round, to right, to left, rolled o'er the land.

  Round it rose league-long mountain-ridges, haunts
  Of terrible lions and foul jackals: there
  Fierce bears and panthers prowled; with these were seen
  Wild boars that whetted deadly-clashing tusks
  In grimly-frothing jaws. There hunters sped
  After the hounds: beaters with stone and dart,
  To the life portrayed, toiled in the woodland sport.