The Fall of Troy

Page: 99

  But from Aeneas valiant-souled afar
  Fought Aias, speeding midst the men of Troy
  Winged death; for now his arrow straight through air
  Flew, now his deadly dart, and smote them down
  One after one: yet others cowered away
  Before his peerless prowess, and abode
  The fight no more, but fenceless left the wall

  Then one, of all the Locrians mightiest,
  Fierce-souled Alcimedon, trusting in his prince
  And his own might and valour of his youth,
  All battle-eager on a ladder set
  Swift feet, to pave for friends a death-strewn path
  Into the town. Above his head he raised

  The screening shield; up that dread path he went
  Hardening his heart from trembling, in his hand
  Now shook the threatening spear, now upward climbed
  Fast high in air he trod the perilous way.
  Now on the Trojans had disaster come,
  But, even as above the parapet
  His head rose, and for the first time and the last
  From her high rampart he looked down on Troy,
  Aeneas, who had marked, albeit afar,
  That bold assault, rushed on him, dashed on his head
  So huge a stone that the hero's mighty strength
  Shattered the ladder. Down from on high he rushed
  As arrow from the string: death followed him
  As whirling round he fell; with air was blent
  His lost life, ere he crashed to the stony ground.
  Strong spear, broad shield, in mid fall flew from his hands,
  And from his head the helm: his corslet came
  Alone with him to earth. The Locrian men
  Groaned, seeing their champion quelled by evil doom;
  For all his hair and all the stones around
  Were brain-bespattered: all his bones were crushed,
  And his once active limbs besprent with gore.

  Then godlike Poeas' war-triumphant son
  Marked where Aeneas stormed along the wall
  In lion-like strength, and straightway shot a shaft
  Aimed at that glorious hero, neither missed
  The man: yet not through his unyielding targe
  To the fair flesh it won, being turned aside
  By Cytherea and the shield, but grazed
  The buckler lightly: yet not all in vain
  Fell earthward, but between the targe and helm
  Smote Medon: from the tower he fell, as falls
  A wild goat from a crag, the hunter's shaft
  Deep in its heart: so nerveless-flung he fell,
  And fled away from him the precious life.
  Wroth for his friend, a stone Aeneas hurled,
  And Philoctetes' stalwart comrade slew,
  Toxaechmes; for he shattered his head and crushed
  Helmet and skull-bones; and his noble heart
  Was stilled. Loud shouted princely Poeas' son:
  "Aeneas, thou, forsooth, dost deem thyself
  A mighty champion, fighting from a tower
  Whence craven women war with foes! Now if
  Thou be a man, come forth without the wall
  In battle-harness, and so learn to know
  In spear-craft and in bow-craft Poeas' son!"

  So cried he; but Anchises' valiant seed,
  How fain soe'er, naught answered, for the stress
  Of desperate conflict round that wall and burg
  Ceaselessly raging: pause from fight was none:
  Yea, for long time no respite had there been
  For the war-weary from that endless toil.