The Fall of Troy

Page: 93

How the sons of Troy for the last time fought from her walls and her towers.

  Troy's daughters mourned within her walls; might none
  Go forth to Paris' tomb, for far away
  From high-built Troy it lay. But the young men
  Without the city toiled unceasingly
  In fight wherein from slaughter rest was none,
  Though dead was Paris; for the Achaeans pressed
  Hard on the Trojans even unto Troy.
  Yet these charged forth—they could not choose but so,
  For Strife and deadly Enyo in their midst
  Stalked, like the fell Erinyes to behold,
  Breathing destruction from their lips like flame.
  Beside them raged the ruthless-hearted Fates
  Fiercely: here Panic-fear and Ares there
  Stirred up the hosts: hard after followed
  Dread With slaughter's gore besprent, that in one host
  Might men see, and be strong, in the other fear;
  And all around were javelins, spears, and darts
  Murder-athirst from this side, that side, showered.
  Aye, as they hurled together, armour clashed,
  As foe with foe grappled in murderous fight.

  There Neoptolemus slew Laodamas,
  Whom Lycia nurtured by fair Xanthus' stream,
  The stream revealed to men by Leto, bride
  Of Thunderer Zeus, when Lycia's stony plain
  Was by her hands uptorn mid agonies
  Of travail-throes wherein she brought to light
  Mid bitter pangs those babes of birth divine.
  Nirus upon him laid he dead; the spear
  Crashed through his jaw, and clear through mouth and tongue
  Passed: on the lance's irresistible point
  Shrieking was he impaled: flooded with gore
  His mouth was as he cried. The cruel shaft,
  Sped on by that strong hand, dashed him to earth
  In throes of death. Evenor next he smote
  Above the flank, and onward drave the spear
  Into his liver: swiftly anguished death
  Came upon him. Iphition next he slew:
  He quelled Hippomedon, Hippasus' bold son,
  Whom Ocyone the Nymph had borne beside
  Sangarius' river-flow. Ne'er welcomed she
  Her son's returning face, but ruthless Fate
  With anguish thrilled her of her child bereaved.

  Bremon Aeneas slew, and Andromachus,
  Of Cnossus this, of hallowed Lyctus that:
  On one spot both from their swift chariots fell;
  This gasped for breath, his throat by the long spear
  Transfixed; that other, by a massy stone,
  Sped from a strong hand, on the temple struck,
  Breathed out his life, and black doom shrouded him.
  The startled steeds, bereft of charioteers,
  Fleeing, mid all those corpses were confused,
  And princely Aeneas' henchmen seized on them
  With hearts exulting in the goodly spoil.

  There Philoctetes with his deadly shaft
  Smote Peirasus in act to flee the war:
  The tendons twain behind the knee it snapped,
  And palsied all his speed. A Danaan marked,
  And leapt on that maimed man with sweep of sword
  Shearing his neck through. On the breast of earth
  The headless body fell: the head far flung
  Went rolling with lips parted as to shriek;
  And swiftly fleeted thence the homeless soul.

  Polydamas struck down Eurymachus
  And Cleon with his spear. From Syme came
  With Nireus' following these: cunning were both
  In craft of fisher-folk to east the hook
  Baited with guile, to drop into the sea
  The net, from the boat's prow with deftest hands
  Swiftly and straight to plunge the three-forked spear.
  But not from bane their sea-craft saved them now.