The Fall of Troy
Page: 51So cried he groaning sore; with answering moan
Queenly Tecmessa wailed, the princess-bride
Of noble Aias, captive of his spear,
Yet ta'en by him to wife, and household-queen
O'er all his substance, even all that wives
Won with a bride-price rule for wedded lords.
Clasped in his mighty arms, she bare to him
A son Eurysaces, in all things like
Unto his father, far as babe might be
Yet cradled in his tent. With bitter moan
Fell she on that dear corpse, all her fair form
Close-shrouded in her veil, and dust-defiled,
And from her anguished heart cried piteously:
"Alas for me, for me now thou art dead,
Not by the hands of foes in fight struck down,
But by thine own! On me is come a grief
Ever-abiding! Never had I looked
To see thy woeful death-day here by Troy.
Ah, visions shattered by rude hands of Fate!
Oh that the earth had yawned wide for my grave
Ere I beheld thy bitter doom! On me
No sharper, more heart-piercing pang hath come—
No, not when first from fatherland afar
And parents thou didst bear me, wailing sore
Mid other captives, when the day of bondage
Had come on me, a princess theretofore.
Not for that dear lost home so much I grieve,
Nor for my parents dead, as now for thee:
For all thine heart was kindness unto me
The hapless, and thou madest me thy wife,
One soul with thee; yea, and thou promisedst
To throne me queen of fair-towered Salamis,
When home we won from Troy. The Gods denied
Accomplishment thereof. And thou hast passed
Unto the Unseen Land: thou hast forgot
Me and thy child, who never shall make glad
His father's heart, shall never mount thy throne.
But him shall strangers make a wretched thrall:
For when the father is no more, the babe
Is ward of meaner men. A weary life
The orphan knows, and suffering cometh in
From every side upon him like a flood.
To me too thraldom's day shall doubtless come,
Now thou hast died, who wast my god on earth."
Then in all kindness Agamemnon spake:
"Princess, no man on earth shall make thee thrall,
While Teucer liveth yet, while yet I live.
Thou shalt have worship of us evermore
And honour as a Goddess, with thy son,
As though yet living were that godlike man,
Aias, who was the Achaeans' chiefest strength.
Ah that he had not laid this load of grief
On all, in dying by his own right hand!
For all the countless armies of his foes
Never availed to slay him in fair fight."