The Fall of Troy
Page: 95Nigh to Aeneas then Apollo came,
And to Eurymachus, brave Antenor's son;
For these against the mighty Achaeans fought
Shoulder to shoulder, as two strong oxen, matched
In age, yoked to a wain; nor ever ceased
From battling. Suddenly spake the God to these
In Polymestor's shape, the seer his mother
By Xanthus bare to the Far-darter's priest:
"Eurymachus, Aeneas, seed of Gods,
'Twere shame if ye should flinch from Argives! Nay,
Not Ares' self should joy to encounter you,
An ye would face him in the fray; for Fate
Hath spun long destiny-threads for thee and thee."
He spake, and vanished, mingling with the winds.
But their hearts felt the God's power: suddenly
Flooded with boundless courage were their frames,
Maddened their spirits: on the foe they leapt
Like furious wasps that in a storm of rage
Swoop upon bees, beholding them draw nigh
In latter-summer to the mellowing grapes,
Or from their hives forth-streaming thitherward;
So fiercely leapt these sons of Troy to meet
War-hardened Greeks. The black Fates joyed to see
Their conflict, Ares laughed, Enyo yelled
Horribly. Loud their glancing armour clanged:
They stabbed, they hewed down hosts of foes untold
With irresistible hands. The reeling ranks
Fell, as the swath falls in the harvest heat,
When the swift-handed reapers, ranged adown
The field's long furrows, ply the sickle fast;
So fell before their hands ranks numberless:
With corpses earth was heaped, with torrent blood
Was streaming: Strife incarnate o'er the slain
Gloated. They paused not from the awful toil,
But aye pressed on, like lions chasing sheep.
Then turned the Greeks to craven flight; all feet
Unmaimed as yet fled from the murderous war.
Aye followed on Anchises' warrior son,
Smiting foes' backs with his avenging spear:
On pressed Eurymachus, while glowed the heart
Of Healer Apollo watching from on high.
As when a man descries a herd of swine
Draw nigh his ripening corn, before the sheaves
Fall neath the reapers' hands, and harketh on
Against them his strong dogs; as down they rush,
The spoilers see and quake; no more think they
Of feasting, but they turn in panic flight
Huddling: fast follow at their heels the hounds
Biting remorselessly, while long and loud
Squealing they flee, and joys the harvest's lord;
So rejoiced Phoebus, seeing from the war
Fleeing the mighty Argive host. No more
Cared they for deeds of men, but cried to the Gods
For swift feet, in whose feet alone was hope
To escape Eurymachus' and Aeneas' spears
Which lightened ever all along their rear.
But one Greek, over-trusting in his strength,
Or by Fate's malice to destruction drawn,
Curbed in mid flight from war's turmoil his steed,
And strove to wheel him round into the fight
To face the foe. But fierce Agenor thrust
Ere he was ware; his two-edged partizan
Shore though his shoulder; yea, the very bone
Of that gashed arm was cloven by the steel;
The tendons parted, the veins spirted blood:
Down by his horse's neck he slid, and straight
Fell mid the dead. But still the strong arm hung
With rigid fingers locked about the reins
Like a live man's. Weird marvel was that sight,
The bloody hand down hanging from the rein,
Scaring the foes yet more, by Ares' will.
Thou hadst said, "It craveth still for horsemanship!"
So bare the steed that sign of his slain lord.